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Dec 17, 2008

Wednesday December 17, 2008 Diane C. Baldwin

Theme: Choice Words

20A: Poker player's alternative: GET IN OR GET OUT

39A: Negotiator's option: TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT

53A: A call for action: FISH OR CUT BAIT

This constructor seems to favor three theme answers, with the middle one running through the grid.

Lots of vowels in this puzzle. And quite a few 5-letter words with 3 vowels alone. Felt like I just had a few OREO cookies for breakfast. I think I need more than that to sustain me through the morning.

The clue for ODDS (54D: Track stats) needs to be changed into "Track figures", as "stats" suggests an abbreviation. I would prefer a "Track fence" clue for RAIL (55D: Balustrade), since ODDS parallels RAIL in the grid.

Across:

1A: Plunk down: PLOP. I dislike the letter duplications. "Set down heavily" is fine. Or simply clue PLOP as a noun, like "Stone dropping into water sound", or something like that.

9A: Power for Fulton: STEAM

14A: Tibetan monk: LAMA. Literally "superior one" in Tibetan language. Wikipedia has a different definition, claiming it's similar to Sankrit "Guru", meaning "teacher".

19A: Bow lubricant: ROSIN. Baseball pitchers also use ROSIN for better grip, when their hands are wet or cold.

30A: Removal from office: OUSTING. I did not expect an *ING ending noun.

35A: Render harmless: UNARM. Same clue applies to DISARM I suppose.

38A: Debate side: ANTI. And ANTE (8D: Feed the kitty). They are of different root, so it's acceptable to place the two words in one grid.

44A: Captain Nemo's creator: VERNE (Jules). "Father of Science Fiction". Interesting, Wikipedia says Verne is "the second most translated author of all time, only behind Agatha Christie". I wonder where Shakepeare is placed.

46A: Snappy comeback: RIPOSTE. It's the same as repartee, isn't it?

49A: Yule quaff: EGGNOG. Very seasonable answer. Seasoned too of course, with nutmeg.

67A: Abrasive cloth: EMERY. This lower left corner is very boring, with NICER crossing RARER.

69A: Wild plum: SLOE. "Wild plum"? New to me. I thought SLOE only looks like a plum. I am more used to the "Blackthorn" clue.

69A: Big jerk: YANK. "Big jerk"? Is this about Yankees' Steinbrenner?

Down:

4D: Place for a barbecue: PATIO. Another 3-vowel word.

5D: Number puzzle: SUDOKU. Numbers give me headache.

7D: Percussion instrument: GONG. I wonder if our editor is aware of GONG Li, who has been the most influential Chinese actress in the past two decades.

10D: Rainbow in the water: TROUT

11D: New Yorkers, for instance: EASTERNERS

12D: Rope-a-dope poet: ALI. I was not aware of the origin.

21D: Model Campbell: NAOMI. Hebrew for “pleasant”, not a word to describe NAOMI Campbell though. NAOMI Watts, yes.

25D: Eyeball membrane: RETINA

26D: Treated with malice: SPITED

28D: Digital alternative: ANALOG

29D: Machine gun assault, perhaps: RAKING FIRE. The answer revealed itself after I filled in the across fills. Have never heard of this term before.

36D: Gen. Powell's status: RET. I wonder if Gen. Powell knows that RET is "Soak flax" in our Xword world. His wife is an avid crossword solver.

38D: Hail to Caesar: AVE. Probably not many St. for Caesar to cross during his life time.

40D: Dark meat serving: THIGH. Can you imagine what Dennis would say if the clue were "Breast alternative"?

52D: Dark, heavy wood: EBONY. I just saw "The Piano" last night. Are black piano keys still made of EBONY?

60D: Bard's before: ERE

C.C.

78 comments:

Dennis said...

Good morning, c.c. and gang - yet another very easy Wednesday puzzle, and the theme made it even faster. Nothing to even comment on. Oops, sorry -- nothing on which to even comment.

What's everyone's Christmas plans? Going away? Entertaining a houseful? A nice relaxing 'down' day?

Keeping the 'dipping' theme, today is National Maple Syrup Day. Oh, and it's yet another "Set Your Own Blog Counter # Day" as well.

Make it a great hump day. Maybe even with a great 'hump'...

Anonymous said...

CC-
To yank on something is to give it a hard pull. This clue has nothing to do with the Bronx Bombers.
I like your imagination, though!

Dick said...

Good morning CC and all. Another very easy one today. I did not time it but it was non stop. I had to get several of the perps before 39A revealed itself. Like yesterday there is not much to comment about.

It is cold and raining here today and I am hoping the temperature stays above freezing now as we had freezing rain last night. I am looking forward to Friday as that is the day my wife and I leave for a 10 day cruise to Panama.

Hope you all have a great day.

NYTAnonimo said...

"Traditionally, the black keys were made from ebony and the white keys were covered with strips of ivory, but since ivory-yielding species are now endangered and protected by treaty, plastics are now almost exclusively used. Also, ivory tends to chip more easily than plastic. Legal ivory can still be obtained in limited quantities. At one time, the Yamaha firm innovated a plastic called "Ivorine" or "Ivorite", since imitated by other makers, that mimics the look and feel of ivory."The above from wikipedia cc. Liked your "Choice Words" theme and commentary cc. We're visiting my relatives and friends who live nearby for the holiday Dennis-how about you-what are your plans?

Dennis said...

c.c., I know riposte and repartee can mean the same, but I've always considered repartee to be more of a verbal 'sparring', usually full of ripostes.

Off to the gym.

C. C. said...

Dennis,
We will just invite a few friends/families over for Christmas. "Set Your Own Blog Counter" again? Hmmm, I am actually not surprised. Site Meter does allow people to set and re-set their hit numbers, for reasons I can never understand. I've seen bloggers started their counts at 35,000 or over. How ridiculous!

Anonymous @5:39am,
But the clue is "Big jerk", it's asking for a noun.

Dick,
Nice poem yesterday.

NYTanonimo,
Thanks for the EBONY information.

NYTAnonimo said...

"Modern high-quality pianos still have ebony for black keys, but other pianos have black keys made of plastic or acrylic. Acrylic sharps come in either a gloss or a matte finish. Ebony sharps are much more expensive than plastic ones, but for a complete restoration, ebony is usually more appropriate."The above from here.Realized after I posted that you were asking about ebony not ivory.

C. C. said...

Bethann,
Is ASL a required course for your major?

Calef,
Thanks for El and Elohim. So many different Jewish words for God.

Richshif,
I seemed to remember an SNL chocolate ball clip someone linked long time.

JD,
I've never had chocolate balls before. Are there nuts inside?

lois said...

Good morning CC et al, Did this one in my version of 'Dennis time' and wonder how many seconds it took Dennis this morning. My pen couldn't write fast enough and that was enjoyable. The theme answers are pretty much my philosophy of life.."Get'er Done".

Am taking 6 of us to OK. May be too cold for outdoor cowboy stuff, but I'm sure we'll be well entertained otherwise. Texas Hold 'em may take on a whole different dimension.

Dick: Have a wonderful trip. Sounds fabulous.

Dennis: what are YOUR plans?

Real Maple Syrup is one of my favorites...dipping with that will be an absolute over the top pleasure!

Martin said...

13 minutes 31 seconds. What took me a while was FISH AND CUT BAIT. I've heard the expression before but I never knew what it meant until today. I wanted GAYER for NICER and RESPOND for RIPOSTE. Turns out RIPOSTE comes from the French RISPOSTE which comes from the Italian RISPOSTA which comes from the Latin RESPONDERE which is also where the English RESPOND comes from. REPARTEE also comes from French and means "take apart" which, as Dennis says, requires verbal sparing as opposed to a single witty remark.

Martin

Barry G. said...

Morning, folks!

Not a lot to say about this one, to be honest. Nothing particularly unusual or exciting, easy to solve, and no major complaints (or minor nitpicks, even). My only struggle was my complete inability to spell SUDOKO correctly (I first put SODUKU and then SODUKU), despite the fact that my paper actually has the daily SUDOKO printed directly below the crossword puzzle.

I was also a bit peeved that the constructor could get away with spelling the word OUTTING without a "var." notation, until I realized that it was actually OUSTING. No harm, no foul.

As for Christmas, my sister will be visiting from out of town, so her and my mom will come over to our house Christmas Eve and we'll probably order in pizza (my sister lives in California and is always complaining that she can't get "good" pizza out there). Then, on Christmas Day, we'll go over to my mom's place where we'll be joined by my brother and sister-in-law and have our traditional Chinese food feast (we all bring something from our favorite local restaurant). Years ago, we used to all get together at my Jewish great aunt's house for Christmas dinner, but when she got too old to do all the cooking we started going out to Chinese restaurants instead. She passed away years ago, but in her memory we still do Chinese on Christmas Day.

[As an aside, I was in college when I first saw "A Christmas Story" with my roommates. At the end of the movie, the family is forced to go out to a Chinese restaurant for dinner because the dog ate the turkey that had been cooked. My roommates thought it was hilarious that people would go to a Chinese restaurant for Christmas dinner, but I didn't get the joke since we did that every year....]

Dick said...

@ Lois, Your comment at 6:17 "Texas Hold 'em may take on a whole different dimension." provided a good laugh for me. Somehow I had a vision when I read that comment and the vision was good.

Anonymous said...

C.C.,
Absolutely, the Elohim is referring to the trinity. Unless of course, you are Jewish. I am familiar with everything you have mentioned. The Ego Eimi (variation sp.), I AM THAT I AM, was used by Jesus to describe Himself. I believe that He is God Incarnate, fully God and fully man. That is why they crucified Him because to the Jews that would have been heresy and a death penalty offense.

Terri

Chris in LA said...

Good morniing CC etal,

Second "no google" day in a row - fairly easy. Didn't like UNARM - should have been "disarm".

"Jerk" can be a verb - prior to landing a fish, you "jerk" the line to set the hook.

CC: I suspect you might be confused as Chocolate Salty Balls might be getting mixed up with SNL Christmas suggestion

Both are funny (IMHO).

No plans for Xmas. Just me and the dogs.

Dennis said...

C.C., 35,000?? Why would someone do that? To try and appear popular?

Oh, and on that subject, 'jerk' can definitely be a verb, as Chris astutely pointed out.

Lois, Nytanon, thanks for asking. I'm in the process of trying to put together a last-minute trip to Florida. I love spontaneous trips, and so far I got the last bedroom on the Auto Train Christmas Day, and have another one for the trip back January 2nd. Just gotta find something good in Lauderdale or Boca now. I'm praying the temperature holds down there - so far, it's been around 80.

Lois, the 'texas hold'em' comment almost cost me a mouthful of cereal. You are a piece of work.

Martin said...

El and Elohim from Monday's puzzle are the singular and plural of extrodinarily ancient (pre Abraham) language, meaning God or god. -Calef

A simular word in the Sumerian language was Anunnaki: Anu was the Sumerian sky god and the Anunnaki were his family, ie the Sumerian pantheon. Another plural word that appears in the Bible (Genesis Chapter 6, verses 1 through 4) is Nephilim which means "the fallen". The Nephilim presumably lived during the time before the great flood "and also afterward" which suggests that Noah and his family were not the only survivors, in contrast to the way the story is usually interpreted.

The second link above is interesting because it mentions the sons of Anu, Enki (the god of water) and Enlil (the god of wind). In Sumerian mythology, it was Enlil who sent the great flood to destroy mankind and Enki who told Atrahasis to build a boat and save himself.

Martin

Anonymous said...

9:31 today! I don't think that I have worked the puzzle this fast before.

30 A Removal from office I wanted impeach

It is strange that word fit going across. but in the end it wasn't what Diane was thinking of when she made the puzzle.

If you haven't read Dave Letterman's new book Late Show Fun Facts, I suggest that you do. The book is great! $20 at any book store. If you read one book this year let it be that one.

Late Show Fun Fact:

Milton Bradley invented the game twister as an excuse to touch women at parties.

There is no “I” in team, but there are two “I”s in Hawaii.

“Canada” is an Iroquois word meaning ‘Place where Canadians live”

And finally, Every four years, Cinco de Mayo falls on May 6th.

I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I did.

Anonymous said...

CC

Chocolate balls are from South Park.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnNYXgV7L-c

Alec Baldwin "Pete Schweddy"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUxRrzVs8vM

C. C. said...

Chris & Anon @ 8:07am,
I was actually thinking of Alec Baldwin's "Schweaty Balls" skit. But I can't find a Youtube link.

Dennis, Barry and Martin,
RE: YANK/"Big Jerk". The answer we have here in the grid is a noun, isn't it? I just can't rationalize the adjective "Big".

Dennis said...

C.C., while some people consider Yanks to be big jerks, the crossword is looking for a verb.

Barry G. said...

RE: YANK/"Big Jerk". The answer we have here in the grid is a noun, isn't it? I just can't rationalize the adjective "Big".

Looks like a noun to me. "She gave the crank a heck of a yank, and Johnny Bobeck was meat!"

Anonymous said...

Pete Schweddy, played by Alec Baldwin, is a guest on The Delicious Dish to promote his Christmas treat of Schweddy Balls. This clip also features Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer

Good Morning to CC and Jeannie and all who blog here.

My fav SNL skits were Chris Farley as Matt Foley

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppN-Q4fCpoQ

Dennis said...

Barry's right - brain fart.

kazie said...

c.c. and Barry G,
I agree about the jerk/yank thing--definitely a noun. You can't have a verb with an adjective. But it works anyway, as in Barry's example.

Very easy puzzle. I did it oveer breakfast, as usual, so no timing, but there were no pauses at all. I like puzzles that test our word knowledge more than trivia.

Christmas for us will be with my sister-in-law, since our boys will not be here. It means a 2 hour road trip so we are hoping for good weather. Right now, after a really pretty snowfall overnight, it looks very Christmassy outside.

Bill said...

Check this for yank and jerk

Not really bad today (except the weather)! Only problem I had was a spelling error on 62a. Somehow I wanted DIAS instead of DAIS. Knew that DIAL and SLOE were right and I was pretty sure of rail so I had to change it. Once I did it even looked better!!
Christmas: My son and daughter and the grandkids, along with my sister, for breakfast around 6:30AM or so; then gifts; then they go home and do thier own celebration. Nancy, my sister and I will go to the nursing home to have dinner & gifts with Mom.
By then I'll be all Christmased out and ready for a nap!!!

Dr. Dad said...

Good morning. Real late start today but the puzzle was easy.

When I saw "gong" it made me think of that really horrible show, "The Gong Show."

I don't know for sure what we will do for Christmas, Dennis. Maybe go down your way and visit my daughter in Moorestown.

I didn't find Maple Syrup Day. Thanks for letting us know Dennis.

Yanking on something could have some DF implications. And then C.C. starts talking about chocolate balls with nuts inside.

Black Keys and White Keys brings to mind Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder's Ebony and Ivory.

Today we are celebrating Saturnalia. It is an ancient festival and time of merriment celebrating the Roman god Saturn and believed by many to have influenced the early Catholic Church’s decision to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th.

The Wright Brothers made their first flight in 1903.

Have a great Wednesday.

C. C. said...

Anon @ 8:07am,
Sorry for my lack of attention earlier. Your second link is indeed what I was thinking of. But the video is not there. I wonder why. Copyright or something?

Barry & Kazie & Dennis & Bill,
Thanks for YANK. I still don't like "Big". "Jerk" alone is sufficient. "Big jerk" really made me think of George Steinbrenner and his Yankees.

Martin,
Did you study Sumerian religion in college?

Democrat,
“Canada” is an Iroquois word meaning ‘Place where Canadians live”. He is joking, right?

Dennis said...

Drdad, you're right - I think my problem was that I somehow enjoy thinking of the verb uses of yank and jerk...

Anonymous said...

mark - Buenos Aires

barry G you mean sudokU, or have I got it wrong?

c.c. Do you know the main characteristic of an American bra?

One good Yank and its off!

Christmas is a nonentity for us, my girlfriend´s eighteen year old daughter was crushed to death (along with 193 others asphixiated or crushed) at a concert some three years ago. I hope there is a lot of transport work for us that day.

chau

Argyle said...

53A my first choice was fight or flight. Anybody else?

jerk vs. yank

Trying to get something unstuck, I give it a jerk, then get mad and give it a yank which results in an unsticking and me falling on my ass. Same motion but to a different degree.

Any comment on 34A - Exercise count / rep...short for repetitions.

Razzberry said...

Morning C. C. & Fellow DF's...

Big Jerk made me think of a Tom Hanks / Steve Martin double feature; Big & The Jerk both enjoyable flicks.

Possibly big jerk = yank / small jerk = tug???

DFettes jerkin', yankin' and tuggin' with chocolate and maple syrup all around...visions of sugar plums and other good things?

Barry G. said...

barry G you mean sudokU, or have I got it wrong?

Beats me! I still can't spell the damn word...

Argyle said...

1A has been clued to this before.

DoesItinInk said...

Another call to action: Sh-t or get off the pot! (Too long for a daily crossword.)

@cc: Are black keys still made from ebony? According to one source “For many years ebony was used for the black keys on the piano, but increasing costs have necessitated the use of synthetic substitutes. Today, only the most expensive concert pianos are still made with ebony. Ebony is also used in stringed instruments for tension pegs and fingerboards.” At an earlier time ivory was used for the white keys.

Regarding 69A...”Big jerk” is like a hard tug, hence YANK. Or were you being ironic about Steinbrenner, cc? BTB-yank can be a noun as well as a verb.

@Mark in Buenos Aires…I am very sorry about the loss of your girlfriend’s daughter. I can’t imagine the magnitude of the loss you both have experienced.

Barb B said...

The puzzle was a real confidence builder; fun and easy. I need those to keep me from getting discouraged. I enjoyed it, but I’m enjoying the conversation here even more.

Martin, interesting information about Anunnaki: Anu. Thank you for summarizing it for us. I found it a little hard to follow in Wiki, but still there is a common thread with other creation stories, isn’t there? It’s like looking at a prism; all facets reflect the same image, only from different perspectives.
Dr. Dad, ditto the info about Saturnalia.

Nephilim are only mentioned once in the bible, and it is so cryptic that no one can be entirely sure of the meaning. Commentaries usually don’t even mention them. I have heard them referred to as the angels fallen from heaven after the great battle between Satan and God. Haven’t heard your version; something to think about.

Democrat in a Red State: 30 A Removal from office I wanted impeach. Is that a subtle hint about your convictions? Lol

Mark, so, so sorry. I hope there is lots of work for you that day.

Razzberry, are you taking us back to the limericks?

PromiseMeThis said...

Good Morning All,

Dennis, I think you will be in luck. I live in the Fort Lauderdale area (Wilton Manors to be precise) and, as I type this, it is not yet noon and it is 80 degrees. I hope you have a pleasant trip.

Dick said...

You know a couple of yanks and then you are jerking. I'm off see you later! Verbs

carol said...

Good morning C.C. and all,
I had a good time with this puzzle! Not Dennis time (who can write that fast?) :)

It wasn't so long ago that I had a difficult time with Diane Baldwin's puzzles. I always had to look up several words...either I am getting much better or she is getting easier. (I meant that in the nicest possible was).

Lois at 6:17 LOL - Great going! Give all those ol' cowboys a loose jerk!

Dick, Have a wonderful cruise, sounds so good to be going somewhere warm.

Mark, I am so sorry for the loss you and your girlfriend suffered. I hope you can find comfort in helping others over Christmas.

C. C. said...

Mark,
So do you like or dislike American bra?

Argyle,
I have no problem with REP. It's a well accepted exercise unit. I like your comparison of jerk and YANK. Nice "Alka-Seltzer sound" clue for PLOP.

Ink & Razzberry,
I just dislike this "big" so much. "Hard jerk" yes. I am not fond of Razzberry's "Small jerk" for "Tug" either. "Light jerk" yes. Big and small are to describe sizes, right? Big balls & small balls.

Dennis said...

Excuse me???

C. C. said...

Dennis,
Excuse you for what? Was I wrong in saying that "big" and "small" are for sizes?

Barb B et al,
"Rather than washing the dishes or watching a soap opera to tune out negative thoughts, solving crossword is even better.

Dennis said...

No, not at all, C.C. I think I just got mixed up with the confluence of tug and yank, and big balls and small balls...

Carl said...

Good morning C.C. & all - the only way this one could have been any easier would be if it would have arrived with the squares already filled in. Breezed to my coveted blackout before I even finished my first coup of coffee. My only stumble was fishorcutbait - I wanted tossle for 47D & sank for 59D.

Hope you all have a bodacious day & I'm outta here.

ttfn

Anonymous said...

mark - Buenos Aires

c.c. I am ambivalent - I don´t wear one.

Crockett1947 said...

Good morning, all. A very easy romp on-line last night. Not much in the way of proper names, so that helped me a great deal.

Looking for more snow followed by freezing rain today. The Portland schools closed once again, but Vancouver WA, across the Columbia, decided to stay open. I doubt we'll make our two singing gigs today in Vancouver.

We'll just be at home for Christmas. Jeanette has to work the 24th and the 26th, and I've scheduled a platelet donation for the 26th, so we won't be going out of town.

C.C., I think "Big jerk" can also be a verb, or is that a gerund form? I don't know. When one starts a lawnmower, one must give it a BIG JERK or it won't start for one. (Such stilted English is pretty horrid, n'est-ce pas?) OK, I'm now convinced that it really is a noun.

@barry So that's why our local Chinese restaurant is open on Christmas day! Thanks for sharing. It sounds like an embedded Christmas tradition. (Watch it, Lois and DF's)

@mark in Buenos Aires -- LMAO. How tragic about your girlfriend's daughter. I wish you both a healing trip as you work through your grief.

@razzberry Good to see you, man!

@dick Masterful!

Have a great Wednesday!!

jeannie said...

Good morning to you too, Democrat!Easy puzzle for me today. However, can someone explain to me why a small inroad is a "dent"? Being the DFette that I am, I like all the yanking, jerking jargon. I have found the best way to "unarm" an "man" and to let of some "steam" is to give his "hose" a "yank" or "toss" or "tousle" 'em. "Odds" are they will "take it" before "they leave it". I am not too often "spited".

Can someone pass me the maple syrup?

dougl said...

The more I think about, "yank" = "big jerk" is pretty funny if you think of it as a noun -- New Yorkers (beyond Steinbrenner)are not typically known for their politeness. Pretty funny interpretation, even though I'm sure that's not what Diane was thinking.

dougl said...

Jeannie, can someone explain to me why a small inroad is a "dent"?

I think it's in the sense of "I finally made a dent in that paperwork I've been putting off." A bit obscure, but makes sense.

DoesItinInk said...

@jeannie...If I made a "small inroad" on a project, I have made a DENT in what needed to be done.

bethann said...

A big Hey to everyone. Pretty easy for me this morning. Maybe it was because I am done with finals and my mind id not on anything else. "Take it or leave it" is something you want to avoid during negotiations because it may cause the other side to become a big "Jerk" and then some one may get "hose"d and then it goes in the "tank". I learned this recently in my conflict management class. I wanted retort for 46a but alas it would not fit.

Lois are you from OK? My husband is from Tulsa and is a big OU fan! We live in Boise and when OU played Boise in the Fiesta Bowl a few years back it was not a good night in our household.

c.c. ASL is not required however a foriegn language is. ASL is now officially a foriegn language. I took a semester of spanish but it took sooooo much of my time. ASL is a bit more easy in that it is in english but sentence structure is different and they don't have signs for some english words. We have a fairly large Deaf community here and they welcome us into it to help us learn their beautiful language.

Mark, I hope you and your girlfriend are healing from your horrific loss. There are a lot of support groups out here if you need them.

We are having a small gathering at my parents home for Christmas. It is definitly going to be a lean year for presents, but most of us are grownups and can deal with it. Hop you all are staying warm it is 10 degrees here this morning and is expected to keep getting colder with more snow!

Dr. Dad said...

Dick @ 11:11 - a couple of yanks and then you are jerking. I'm off!!

omg

carol said...

Dick - Does that make you a "Yankee Doodle"? "Diddle"? ;)

Crockett1947 said...

Wow! I think I may be overstimulating my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex since I do both crosswords and chess! You never know......

Barb B said...

Thanks, C.C, for the article bout crossword puzzles. You know how I love learning about how the brain works. Hurray for crosswords!

Seriously, it’s a sobering study from the perspective of a librarian. Generally speaking, the trend in library usage is away from anything challenging and toward movies and Internet use for social networking (not to mention job searches.) It’s something we try to address every day. Not that we are against either networking or movies. Both are good things and whatever brings them in provides exposure to new things.

There’s a growing segment of library users who see us as their only affordable means of escape from crushing anxiety.

As a Spiritual Director, I think I can use it as a tool. Argyle mentioned that he wanted ‘fight or flight’ for 53A. That reminded me that we have only recently given credibility to the THIRD instinct of survival – Freeze. It’s much more common and approaching epidemic proportions. Many people live with daily fear and anxiety.

What a simple, non-threatening way to help someone escape from anxiety, and at the same time get their brains back in gear!

See Mark? You have exactly the right attitude; stay busy and work crosswords.

embien said...

8:32 today. No unknowns.

69a: Big jerk (YANK) is definitely asking for the verb form of "yank". Otherwise there should be some indication of an abbreviation, as YANK in noun form would be a shortened version of YANKEE. "Big jerk" in this clue is a bit of misdirection, to make one think of a Steinbrennerish character and not the physical act of pulling (on a rope, for example).

@c.c.: Big and small are to describe sizes, right? Big balls & small balls.

But "big" and "small" can also refer to degrees, so a "big dive" (as in diving into a swimming pool) can refer to a difficult maneuver, and not merely how high the diver jumped.

lois said...

Dennis: You are a piece of work. So I've been told.

Crockett: Yeah, I've got your "embedded Christmas tradition" right here...dipped in Real Maple Syrup no less!

DoesItinInk said...

@embien: Jerk and yank can both be nouns as in "I gave the rope a hard jerk", or "I gave the rope a hard yank." Yank in this sense is not an abbreviation of Yankee, and thus the clue does not need an indication of an abbreviation.

KittyB said...

Hi, all.

This was another easy one. It's a pleasure to be able to speed through a crossword like this.

Mark in B.A., I'm so sorry for your loss. As others have said, keeping busy is the best plan.

Christmas Eve will be quiet here. Part of my family will gather on Sunday to celebrate. Dear Husband's daughter invites us to her house on Christmas Day. She doesn't care for my cooking, so I'm excused from k.p. that day! *G*

Quip Thursday is up next. Will it be as easy as this one??

Clear Ayes said...

Good Afternoon All, Didn't get to the puzzle or your comments until after my appointment for a much needed haircut.

There wasn't anything new or particularly difficult in today's puzzle. You've all gone over the jerk/yank controversy pretty thoroughly.

JD, How did the rum balls turn out? LOL

Dr. Dad, Saturnalia sounds like a good time to be had by all.

After seeing the Festivus For The Rest Of Us episode on Seinfeld, my son-in-law has put up a Festivus pole next to the Christmas tree every year. Yes, we have the "airing of grievances" at dinner, although we keep them lighthearted. We also have a rousing arm wrestling "feats of strength" competition after dinner. It is always good for a laugh.

We'll be doing the same thing this year when we spend Christmas day with daughter, S-I-L and the grandkids.

JD said...

"I've never had chocolate balls before. Are there nuts inside?"

C.C., it depends on what you desire in your chocolate balls; everything has variations

Razzberry said...

A very weak effort at humor...if you don't like it just give me a raspberry!!!! Hehe ;~p

There was a big Tank named Yank
Who got his engine started with a yank
But if Yank drank
He would pull (yank) a prank
And add maple syrup & chocolate to the hot tub tank

Big balls
Little balls
Rum balls
Chocolate balls
One time Willie Mays was thrown four errant pitches and was walking to first base
A novice fan was yelling for Willie to run
Their friend said, “He doesn’t have to run, he got four balls”
To which the novice shouted, “Walk proud Willie, walk proud!”

Dennis said...

PromiseMeThis, thanks for the heads-up on the weather down there; I hope it holds. Wilton Manors is just above Sunrise, isn't it?

Razz, good to see you back.

RichShif said...

Good Evening C.C. and all,

Surprised to have gotten a ball thread going. I do remember the Schweddy Ball skit and found the Video.

Found today's puzzle easy. Did not have a problem with jerk/yank as I have used yank many times as a noun. Thought C.C. was making a Steinbrenner joke at 69a. Did not know riposte had to check dictionay when I got home to verify it.

Is everybody getting ready for the analog to digital change over for the over the air TV signals in Feb.? Wonder if there will be a rush of new TV sold after Christmas?

Mark, Sorry about the tragedy with your girlfriends daughter. It is a shame when that type of thing happens.

C. C. said...

Crockett,
I thought of you when I read the Anxious Crossword article. Crossword & Chess = You.

Embien,
Thanks for "big".

Razzberry,
Nice "four balls"/YANK post. Very chocolaty.

Richshif,
That's the link I've been looking for. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

20A is a reach. Also, re anonymous 12/17: yank is also short for yankee which is what a bronx bomber is.

Anonymous said...

I think Gong Li is a real looker. best bust i ever saw on an ASIAN woman.

lois said...

Bethann: Yes, I am a Sooner, born and bred, but from Lawton. OU is one of my Alma Maters...Texas Tech another...isn't that a hoot? OU football is such fun - totally electrifying. I love it! Glad to know there are fans in Boise too!

Razz: that was sooo funny! Great job! Cute poem and having 4 balls would make running difficult. Funny! What more could make a Willie proud?

Rich: that Shweddy ball clip is hilarious! Thanks for that. I'm going to go wrap my mouth around a big rum ball or two...w/nuts now and find something to yank.

Mark: I too am so sorry for your loss. I wish you both peace and lots to keep you busy.

kazie said...

Mark,
let me join the others in adding my condolences for you and your girlfriend's loss. That's a terrible thing to have happen.

Richshif,
Thanks for the video--I always roll on the floor when I see that skit.

JD said...

Good evening to anyone who is still on line; I seem to be getting later 'n later when all is said and done .I had not heard of sloe ( except for sloe gin), riposte or raking fire, and it took awhile to fill in "Take it or leave it."

Clear Ayes, I went with Russian Tea Balls instead, WITH NUTS. Yum!

C.C., were you just yanking my chain?

On c'mas, my family will be here for brunch and the "Opening of the Stockings". My girls have made that a big deal. Then they will help me prepare dinner and we'll play Scrabble, and the guys will watch football.More family will probably come by for dinner. Bob and I both have a sister living in our area.

Barb B said...

JD -
SCRABBLE!!?? Me too!

I'll be going to my niece's house, to share potluck with my sister, niece and nephew and assorted others. We can't get together without playing scrabble. Sometimes there isn't enough time for a game, so we've discovered Banana - 140 letter tiles in a pouch shaped like a banana. The goal is to make crosswords until the tiles are gone - with a few little challenges to make it more fun.

JD said...

Barb, that sounds like fun. I'll look for it.

Martin said...

Re: yank and jerk

Remember the Neil Armstrong quote?

"One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind."

Martin

Anonymous said...

hey Anonymous,

enjoy this..................

http://images.askmen.com/galleries/actress/gong-li/pictures/gong-li-picture-1.jpg

Maga said...

34A What does REP mean?

Anonymous said...

Excuse my ignorance,

What incidence has happened? I was wondering why others were offering condolences I was wondering what did transpired I can't find the post explaining the incident.

C. C. said...

Maga,
REP: Repetition.

Anonymous @ 9:53am,
Read Mark - Buenos Aires @ 9:19am message.

Anonymous said...

I'm unable to find Mark Buenos Aires @ 9;19 AM post

CC can you just explain please?

C. C. said...

Here is what Mark said @ 9:19am:

"Christmas is a nonentity for us, my girlfriend´s eighteen year old daughter was crushed to death (along with 193 others asphixiated or crushed) at a concert some three years ago. I hope there is a lot of transport work for us that day."