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Apr 30, 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 Michael T. Williams

Theme: HOLIDAYS

18A: December Day: CHRISTMAS

62A: February Day: GROUND HOG

3D: May Day: MEMORIAL

5D: March Day: ST. PATRICK'S

32D: February Day: VALENTINE'S

35D: Jan. Day: MLK

40D: October Day: COLUMBUS

Um, it looks like our editor's pipeline is drying up. Two Josiah Breward puzzles in less than 4 days, and now another Michael T. Williams. TMS definitely needs to ante up their woeful payment to attract some creative puzzle constructors. We need fresh blood and we deserve quality puzzles!

In case you have not heard yet, Michael T. Williams is the nephew of our editor Mr. Wayne Robert Williams, who often uses Josiah Breward or Willy A. Wiseman as his alias names.

But this is a great puzzle, isn't it? Lovely theme. Simple yet elegant grid structure, though the intersection of MLK and AMORAL bothered me a bit. I was not able to close the deal today unassisted, not even with the generous help from those long self-revealing theme entries. Too bad, I squandered a great chance for a Wednesday home run. I completely screwed up the lower left corner. I did not know what was Quamash (CAMASS), had no idea who was the French historian (RENAN), forgot Saul's uncle's name (NER). PNIN also escaped me this morning. PECCAVI was a total stranger to me too.

ACROSS:

1A: Spiritual leaders: LAMAS. LAMA originally referred to a monk of higher rank, now it has evolved into "Guru" status. FYI, Dalai means "Ocean". So "Dalai LAMA" literally means a man of great spiritual depth.

6A: Consumer protection org.: FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Thought of FDA (Food and Drug Administration) first.

9A: Use elbow grease: SCRUB

16A: Stomachs of ruminants: OMASA. Singular is Omasum. Unknown to me. It's "the third stomach of a ruminant, between the reticulum and the abomasum". Also called manyplie.

17A: Recapitulate: SUM UP

20A: Funny Phillips: EMO. Vaguely heard of this name before.

21A: City in Pennsylvania: ALTOONA. Have never heard of this city. Strung the words together by down clues.

23A: Ball carriers, briefly: RBS. Why? What ball carriers? (Update from Dennis: RBS is Running backs)

27A: Green target: HOLE. Nice clue, though my first response was PIN. You shoot for the PIN when you are in the fairway, or rough, or bunker, don't you? But of course, you target is HOLE when your ball safely lands on the green.

28A: Make clucking sounds: CHIRRUP. Stumper for me. This word looks so wrong to me.
31A: Dodges: EVADES

33A: Raccoon's cousin: COATI

34A: Lacking values: AMORAL

37A: Reminder of times past: RELIC

38A: They: Fr: ILS. Tired of French words/painters/authors every day. How about "Instrument Landing System, briefly?"

39A: Legal: LICIT. English is strange. See, you add one letter E, then you have this completely different ELICIT (68A: EDUCE). Different root I suppose.

43A: Lurks: SKULKS

46A: Black: EBONY. Also a magazine name.

46A: Quamash: CAMASS. No idea. It's the definition of CAMASS: "any of several plants of the genus Camassia, of the lily family, esp. C quamash, of western North America, having long clusters of blue to white flowers and edible bulbs." Here is a picture.

49A: Ring-shaped: ANNULAR

51A: Arabian sultanate: OMAN. Clued as "Muscat's land" in yesterday's puzzle.

52A: Boob Tubes: TVS. Would be an OK clue if not for the intersecting 53D: TV monitor.

55A: Aleutian island: ATTU. Sometimes it's ADAK or ATKA.

56A: Saul's uncle: NER

57A: Confession: PECCAVI. Latin, literally I have sinned (first person singular).

66A: Pathogenic bacteria: E. COLI

67A: Inhabitant of: suff.: ITE. I can only think of "Israelite" at this moment.

69A: French historian: RENAN (Ernest). Total étranger to me. Is he very well known?

70A: Score figs.: PTS (Points)

71A: Bird in "Peter and the Wolf": SASHA. No idea, thought it's very gettable.

DOWN:

1D: _ majesty: LESE. It's "a crime committed against the sovereign power". Treason. I suppose LESE comes from French word LÉSER (damage)

2D: Bard grad, e.g.: ALUM

4D: Prefix for puncture: ACU. Aw, the painful needles. Have you ever had acupuncture before?

6D: Datum: FACT

8D: Entertainer Channing: CAROL. Unknown to me until this morning. I always thought Marilyn Monroe was the original singer of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend."

10D: "Most Wanted Live" stn.: CMT (Country Music TV). Did not know this before. I was actually thinking of John Walsh's "America Most Wanted" (FOX).

11D: Exemplar of stiffness: RAMROD

12D: Operative: USABLE

13D: Deep voices: BASSES

22D: Fighting Tigers of the NCAA: LSU (Louisiana State University). Fighting Tigers always reminds me of General Chennault and his "Flying Tigers".

25D: Crafty person?: ARTISAN. Good clue.

27D: Large flatfish: HALIBUT

28D: "Born on the Bayou" grp.: CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival). Do not know the song nor the band.

41D: Balin or Claire: INA. Learned from doing crossword of course.

42D: Norse deity: TYR. I faintly I remember I saw this word somewhere before. It's God of Strife/War. Son of Odin. English equivalent is TIU.

44D: You in the Yucatan: USTED. Spanish for You (the formal address).

46D: Marine eel: CONGER

47D: Punish arbitrarily: AMERCE. OK, AMERCE is from à merci, at the mercy of). Is this a special legal term?

48D: Abandon: MAROON

50D: Map reader abbr.: NAV. Navigation I gather?

53D: TV monitor: V-CHIP. See here for more information.

54D: George C. ___: SCOTT. I like his "Patton".

57D: Nabokov novel: PNIN. Has anyone read this book?

60D: Mr. Walesa: LECH. A TMS stalwart.

61D: Ends of small intestines: ILEA. Singular is Ilium.

63D: Tail of a fib?: ULA. Fibula. Plural is Fibulae.

65D: Harem room: ODA. Definitely a repeat offender. OK, some extra information: HAREM is Islamic women's quarters, which could also be called SERAGIO (a sequestered area for wives). Hijab is the headscarf Muslim women wear. Houri is the beautiful virgin promised to those faithfuls in their Koranic paradise.

C.C.

Apr 29, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008 Josiah Breward

Theme: FRUIT COLORED WORDS

17A: Purple creeper?: GRAPEVINE

56A: Green illumination?: LIMELIGHT

10D: Red explosive?: CHERRY BOMBS

24D: Reddish-yellow waterway: ORANGE RIVER

Hmm, how about LEMON GRASS, APPLE PIE, STRAWBERRY JAM, and OLIVE BRANCH? What else?

Another TV guide style puzzle, heavily blanketed with Show biz personality' names, highly inferable though. Great grid structure, very balanced theme entries. The word CELEB is perfectly anchored in the middle of the puzzle. The only flaw with the theme entries is the plural form of CHERRY BOMBS, all the other 3 are in singular form.

I was a venturesome solver this morning. I willfully took a few bold guesses at those dreadful Movie/TV star names, and was stunned again that they turned out to be the correct fills. McCOY, O'SHEA, ETHEL & KOPELL all yielded so easily to me. And I knew none of them. Wow, I've been so encouraged by my recklessness in crossword solving lately.

I did not finish the puzzle though. Could not close the deal on the upper left corner. I simply forgot ALGER, had no idea who was Uncle Miltie, did not know that ABATE can be transitive verb, and I put PAT instead of TAP for "Touch lightly".

ACROSS:

1A: Moderate: ABATE. Always thought ABATE as an intr v.

6A: Sine __non: QUA. Latin: Without which not. Basically it refers to something essential and indispensable. Is this blog a sine qua non to your daily happiness?

9A: "Bones" of "Star Trek": McCOY. No idea. Ferreted out the name by down fills.

14A: Type of pad or brief: LEGAL

15A: WWW address: URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

23A: Pierre Auguste and Jean: RENOIRS. Have never heard of Jean RENOIR. The painter RENOIR, yes. Saw several of his pieces at Musée D'Orsay, did not like any. Not to my taste.

25A: Scorch: CHAR

27A: Shirley Temple movie: CURLY TOP. Oh, Shirley Temple, how do I love thee! Adorable.

31A:Musician Hayes: ISAAC. Stranger to me. Easy gettable though.

35A: Cylinder diameter: BORE. Unknown to me before.

37A: Show biz personality: CELEB. Need to reword the clue due to 46A answer (For SHOW).

38A: Muscat's land: OMAN. Muscat is also a kind of grape.

39A: __-pong: PING. Also a huge golf equipment brand. PING sponsors Solheim Cup.

40A: Place for cargo: HOLD. "The entire cargo space in the hull of a vessel."

41A: Fuse, as ores: SMELT

42A: Makes glossy: SLEEKENS. A new verb to me.

44A: Catch red-handed: NAB

46A: Diana of the Supremes: ROSS. Again?

46A: Just to keep up appearances: FOR SHOW

50A: Play lines: SCRIPT

55A: Popeye's honey: OLIVE (Oyl)

58A: Ring-shaped roll: BAGEL. Hmm, BAGEL + cream cheese + lox, sandwich in heaven!

60A: Singer Merman: ETHEL. Unknown to me. I strung it together by down clues.

61A: Comb stopper: SNARL

63A: School paper: ESSAY

DOWN:

1D: Horatio of fiction: ALGER. Clued as "Ragged Dick" author on last Friday's puzzle. I just forgot. I will probably forget it again in 2 hours.

2D: Uncle Miltie: BERLE. Stumper here. Is it gimme to you?

4D: Touch lightly: TAP

5D: Funereal: ELEGIAC. Too sorrowful a word to see so early in the morning.

6D: Witty remarks: QUIPS

7D: Diner brewers: URNS. Another dreadful word to look at despite the cheerful clue.

9D: Fatal: MORTAL. Alright, I got it. ELEGIAC, URN & MORTAL. All Memento MORI.

13D: Poisonous evergreens: YEWS. Did not know that they are poisonous.

22D: Decorative plant: SHRUB

25D: Made well: CURED. I like how CURED intersects with CELEB. Want to cure your drug/alcohol addition? Do crosswords!

29D: Kind of thermometer: ORAL. See 49D.

34D: Lowly workers: PEONS. Spanish for peasants.

37D: Storage box: CHEST

41D: Bakery products trade name: SARA LEE

43D: "Love Boat" co-star: KOPELL (Bernie). Unknown to me. The clue for 17A: Purple Creeper & this "Love Boat" reminded me of our purple Vikings' Love Boat Party Scandal.

47D: Downs and Grant: HUGHS. Adore HUGH Grant, have never heard of HUGH Downs.

44D: Musical symbol: NOTE. Has anyone seen HUGH Grant and Drew Barrymore's " Music & Lyrics"?

48D: Actress Tessie: O'SHEA. Stranger to me. Where is Milo? Wikipedia says that Tessie O'SHEA was a guest on the "The Ed Sullivan Show" the night Beatles made their debut.

49D: How a water balloon impacts: WETLY. Hmm, it's an ART to put ORAL & WETLY in the same puzzle, so close to each other, isn't it?

53D: Critical: DIRE. Ugh, this "Silent Tsunami" food crisis. Scary.

57D: "___ Not Unusual": ITS. Tom Jones' song. Not familiar to me. Here is my favorite.

C.C.

Apr 28, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008 Ed Voile

Theme: COLORFUL ANIMALS

17A: Colorful marine mammal: BLUE WHALE

37A: Colorful ruminant: RED DEER

58A: Colorful kodiak: BROWN BEAR

11D: Colorful reptile: GREEN SNAKE

29D: Colorful farm animal: BLACK SHEEP

Here are more subdued colors:

6D: Horse shade: ROAN

25D: Harbor hazard: SAND BAR

20D: Made of mud: EARTHEN

62A: Natural tone: ECRU

Let's see how many animals we've got here: WHALE, DEER, BEAR, SHEEP, SNAKE, BURRO, ROAN (Horse), BABE (the Ox, or the Pig), ALBEE, LEERAT, ABATTOIR, BOARDED. Total 12, plus yesterday's 8. I think I've had enough. No more animal tomorrow please!

I love the structure of this animal puzzle, and I really admire Ed Voile's ingenuity in building a DEN at the very center of the puzzle as an anchor. Superb!

CHOPPY is how I describe my solving experience this morning. The weather was very calm when I started the sail, but it got stormy when I met ANGER. BURRO (letter B) would not yield, and ABATTOIR simply refused to give me a hint of his name. So I had A_ATTOIR staring at me for eons. I decided to turn around clockwise and found the SKIN corner to be very thin and easy to crumble. The lower right DRUG corner was very weak too. I think I conquered it in less than 1 minute.

Then the weather turned tempestuous again. I had no idea what was KILOBAR, did not know BERBER, forgot URIAH, have never met PADDY. I did not get panicky though. I stayed cool and collected, and I made several educated guesses. In the end, they turned out to be correct. I think this is probably how experienced solvers tackle their puzzles. They may not know every entry of the crossword, but they have no problem ferreting out every fill. I definitely need to train myself to be more disciplined and refrain from checking on dictionary or flirting with google too impulsively.

Oh, a quick question for those who solve the TMS crossword from Chicago Tribune newspaper: Who is the author for last Saturday's themeless puzzle (April 26)? Is it Josiah Breward or Ed Voile? Or is the author name not printed in your paper?

ACROSS:

1A: Second to none: BEST. Great crossing of BABE & BEST. The Bambino is indeed the best of all time, isn't he? See also 59D: Slugger's stat: RBI. Good touch. The Ortiz jersey hex would probably send Babe spinning in his grave. Doe any one know what is Babe's career RBI number?

5A: Caspian feeder: URAL. The URAL River. Or the URAL Mountains. Again, I love how ALL & SOLE intersects in this corner.

9A: Madden: ANGER

16A: Pack animal: BURRO. A small donkey.

19A: Best players: A TEAM

25A: Crisp crackers: SALTINES

27A: "Seascape" playwright: ALBEE (Edward). He is still alive!

30A: Tom and Dennis of golf: WATSONS. Both of them are Senior PGA tour pros. The golf world now belongs to our bad boy Bubba WATSON!

31A: Tuesday in movie: WELD. Unknown to me. Pure guess. Another actress. Why did she change her name into Tuesday?

32A: Cozy room: DEN. Terrific fill! I do hate the crossing of DEN and DENOTE though.

33A: In a can in England: TINNED

36A: Actress Gabor: EVA. Or this beautiful "Desperate Housewife" actress (EVA Longoria).

42A: Tavern: BAR. Good to see ALE in the same grid with BAR, though I think PUB would probably be a more accurate companion.

44A: Pressure unit: KILOBAR. It's "a unit of pressure, equal to 1000 bars (14,500 pounds per square inch; equivalent to 100 megapascals). Abbreviation: kb". I am not fond of the intersection of BAR, KILOBAR, SANDBAR.

46A: White-sale buy: SHEET

47A: Certain New Yorker: UP STATER

49A: Aberdeen's river: DEE. Saw this clue before. The river is in Scotland.

52A: Got on: BOARDED. I don't get this one. Why? Can you give me an example?

56A: Fruit of the mind: IDEAS. Good one, though I prefer the clue to be "Fruit of the brain".

63A: Promoted to excess: HYPED. Oh the Hanna Montana fever. Incredible!

65A: Chinese secret society: TONG. Please! It's "Chinese American secret society"!

DOWN:

2D: Cinder ending?: ELLA. Cinderella.

4D: Grew molars: TEETHED

5D: Lead to seats: USHER. Hmm, I like this USHER and his Confessions. "YEAH!"

9D: Slaughterhouse: ABATTOIR. It's originated from French word ABATTRE (cut down). "Oir" is a noun-forming suffix I gather.

18D: Shout of joy: WHEE. I don't know. I've never shouted "WHEE". I might have cried "Oui, Oui" when I was expecting certain joy on certain occasions.

22D: Irish frieze overcoat: ULSTER. OK, it's " A loose, long overcoat made of heavy, rugged fabric and often belted". I suppose it's named after ULSTER the Irish province. Here is gentleman in his Ulster overcoat. What's he holding in his hands?

28D: Dolly of "Hello, Dolly": LEVI

37D: Backslid: RELAPSED

41D: Caboodle's partner?: KIT. The whole kit and caboodle. See here for its origin.

43D: Icy dessert: SHERBET. Isn't called SORBET in America? Want some Strawberry SHERBET?

45D: North African nomad: BERBER. Totally unknown to me. Hmm, interesting root. BERBER comes from Greek "Barbaros" meaning "barbarians" . It's "a member of a North African, primarily Muslim people living in settled or nomadic tribes from Morocco to Egypt." BERBERS settled in the region called Barbary, which was later conquered by the Arab.

47D: Heep of Dickens: URIAH. Have to commit this name to my memory, somehow!

48D: "Marty" writer Chayesfsky: PADDY. Complete stranger to me. Here is some information about him.

49D: Use a divining rod: DOWSE

52D: Moves up and down: BOBS. Have a look at this Holy Grail of Bobbing Head. Mickey Mantle, early 1960s, made in Japan, with the original box. Be a NODDER and bring this baby home.

53D: Art__: DECO. And the artist is ERTE.

C.C.

Apr 27, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008 Alan P. Olschwang

Theme: NO ZOO

27A: Mechanic: GREASE MONKEY

55A: All-bark-and-no-bite type: PAPER TIGER

81A: Equipment used in an English sport: CRICKET BAT

111A: Intentional out: SACRIFICE FLY

12D: Crop protector: SCARE CROW

15D: Surprise package: TROJAN HORSE

68D: Classroom contest: SPELLING BEE

80D: Street banker: LOAN SHARK

Absolutely, NO ZOO here, just a menagerie of innocuous idiomatic phrases embedded with animal names. It's a real stunner, isn't it? From land animal to sea animal, from wildlife to farm favorite, from giant SHARK to tiny BEE. Simple, colloquial phrases. Beautiful!

I thought of "CROCODILE Tear" this morning, but it did not fit the above theme pattern, did anything interesting pop into your brain?

It looks like I was wrong last time in doubting the authorship of the "PLAY BALL" puzzle. It's indeed Mr. Olschwang's work. Great! I am so tired of his Quip/Quote puzzles. I can not wait to work on his next Sunday offering.

This is the most striking TMS Sunday puzzle I've ever done. So fluid. I did not see any forced fill. Except for clue 121A: "Normal Rae" director (as RAES also appeared as an answer for 58A), I don't have anything else to gripe about. And this small flaw could have been easily smoothed over had our Editor done his job.

I breezed through this puzzle, stalled only at the C.W. MOSS (65D) corner. I had no idea who Pollard was. I've never heard of C.W. MOSS before. URANIC was a complete stranger to me, and it's such a weird looking word. I thought of penning in CURSOR, but CWMOSS just looked so wrong to me. So I needlessly flirted with Google and I regretted immediately.

I also had to check in my dictionary for NONU and PICT. Have never met with them before.

ACROSS:

1A: Gauge face: DIAL

5A: Folk singer Guthrie: ARLO. Oh, the chip off Woody's block!

13A: Ad-ending words: ACT NOW

19A: Eye covetously: OGLE. Want to know how Larry Page got the name "GOOGLE" for his search engine? Read here.

21A: Like Pindar's poetry: ODIC

22A: Singer fired on-air by Arthur Godfrey: LA ROSA (Julius). No idea. I know neither of them. Got it from down clues (after the NONU dictionary check).

23A: High time?: NOON. "High NOON" movie. So so. Not a fan of Gary Cooper.

24A: Tibetan leader: DALAI LAMA. He transcends religion & nationality. A great man.

26A: Words of denial: I DO NOT

29A: Tune again: READJUST

31A: Some TV sets: GES (General Electric).

33A: Iran, once: PERSIA. Changed into Iran in 1935.

34A: Expire: RUN OUT

37A: Dante's love: BEATRICE. I've never known this before. What an inspiring love!

39A: Sign up (var.): ENROL

43A: Concluded: OVER

44A: Zeno's birthplace: ELEA. Alright, Zeno of ELEA, the Greek philosopher. There is also another Zeno, Zeno of Citium (the Stoic).

46A: Violinist Leopold: AUER. The Hungarian violinist. Saw this clue before.

47A: Cling: ADHERE

48A: Intended: MEANT

50A: Swedish physicist Angstrom: ANDERS. Unknown to me. Pieced it together from down clues. Denmark's ANDERS Hensen has to win Masters in order to make his name in the TMS puzzle.

52A: Sailor's admin.: ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence)

58A: Dawn Chong and Carruth: RAES. Heard of Rae Dawn Chong, not Carruth.

59A: Last Mrs. Chaplin: OONA. It's the only Mrs. Chaplin I know.

63A: Contract consummation time: CLOSING

65A: Computer pointer: CURSOR. Could not believe I screwed up here.

69A: Calif. daily: LA TIMES

72A: Not close-minded about: OPEN TO

73A: Prepared a present: WRAPPED

75A: Novelist Morrison: TONI. I've never read any of her book. Know her only because she said Bill Clinton was the "first Black President". She endorsed Obama though.

76A: Ancient Brit: PICT. Unknown to me. I wanted CELT. "One of an ancient people of northern Britain. They remained undefeated by the Romans and in the ninth century joined with the Scots to form a kingdom later to become Scotland." Dictionary says that this word could be from the Latin "picti", meaning painted, pp form).

87A: Scott Turow title: ONE L. It's about the life of a first year law student in Harvard. Very interesting read. A bit too intense for me though.

89A: Fly in an aircraft: AVIATE

91A: Dilettante's paintings: DAUBS

92A: Edges along: SIDLES . I often confuse this word with SADDLE.

94: Christie of fiction: ANNA. Did not know this. Eugene O'Neil play. Looks like Mr. Olschwang likes O'Neil and his daughter OONA. I bet he likes baseball too. SACRIFICE FLY is awesome.

96A: Govt. training leg.: CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act)

98A: Negri of the silents: POLA. Know her name from doing crossword.

99A: Thin curtain: SCRIM. Saw this clue before.

100A: Gets cozy: SNUGGLES

102A: Stephen of the Supreme court: BREYER. Gimme for me. He is often on the liberal side.

107A: 2005 AL MVP: AROD. When are you going to clue the 2006 AL MVP Justin Morneau?

108A: Inscription on a statute: EPIGRAPH

116A: Legal profession: THE BAR. And ONE L. a bit of Law sub-theme here.

117A: Protein builder: AMINO ACID

119A: Gumshoe's lead: CLUE

120A: Prove oneself capable of coping with: RISE TO

121A: "Norma Rae" director: RITT (Martin). Got it from down clues. Not familiar with RITT.

122A: U.S. legislative body: CONG. And Let me see the latest approval rating for the Congress... 23% (AP/Ipsos)? Wow, that's a big improvement over last Sept's 11%. But what the heck have they done to improve that number?

123A: Tropical nut tree: KOLA

124A: High regard: ESTEEM

125A: Intimate greeting: KISS. Cheek? Or where? How intimate? Do you like "KISS"? I don't. They are too wild for me. I have my own KISS Principle (Keep it Sweet & Simple).

126A: Patella's place: KNEE

127A: Cowboy's prod: SPUR

DOWN:

1D: Bell sound: DONG

2D: Frankensetein's goer: IGOR. Or "Composer Stravinsky".

4D: "Stormy Weather" singer: LENA HORNE. Don't know the song. Know the author. Alicia Keys is going to play LENA HORNE in the upcoming biopic.

5D: One way to cook pasta: AL DENTE. It's the only way I cook mine.

7D: Composer Schifrin: LALO. Saw his name before. The Argentine-American composer. What does "LALO" mean?

8D: Summer time refresher: ORANGEADE. I've never had it.

9D: Polaris: POLE STAR. Don't like the clue.

10D: Singer Anita: O'DAY. No idea. She is dead.

14D: Carried the club: CADDIED. Ahh, the always cool Steve Williams.

16D: Polynesian tree: NONU. Also known as NONI, NONO. Wikipedia says its fruit has a very pungent odor, also called "Cheese Fruit". Looks ugly, doesn't it? Here is a NONU tree.

17D: Spanish bears: OSOS. ORO is gold in Spanish. So how do you say Jack Nicklaus' nickname "Golden Bear" in Spanish then?

18D: Unit of power: WATT

25D: Home decor company: IKEA

28D: Old French coin: SOU. Sometimes it's ECU.

34D: Cavort: ROMP

35D: Iris part: UVEA

36D: Quarterly-moon tide: NEAP

37D: Bay of __: BENGAL. Here is the map.

38D: USSR hub: RUS. I was initially thinking of Sov or Soc as the two SS in USSR.

41D: Familiarize with new conditions: ORIENT

42D: Shall we be off?: LET'S GO

45D: Reclined: LAIN. (Update later: Sorry about the LAID mistake earlier). I truly like this Monet's Olympia painting, let's show again.

47D: Spacecraft antechamber: AIRLOCK. No idea.

49D: Group of soldier: TROOP

51D: Muse of poetry: ERATO. Alright, let's delve into Greek mythology muses. Their parents are Mnemosyne (Goddess of memory,that's how we get Mnemonic I suppose), and Zeus (father of other god, son of Rhea, brother of Hera, etc). The 9 muses are: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (lyric poetry), Euterpe (music), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (religious music), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), and Urania (astronomy). Hard, isn't it?

53D: Sony rival: NEC (Nippon Electric Company). I like their TV ads.

56D: Bullfighters: TOREROS. The matador. TORERO is from Latin "taurus" meaning bull.

62D: Italian friends: AMICI. Singular is AMICO (masculine form). The feminine form is AMICA, AMICHE is the plural form. OK, a bit Chinese for you: "女朋友" is girlfriend, and "男朋友" is boyfriend. "I love you" is "我爱你"(pronounced like Wo Ai Ni). What else do you need to know?

63D: Expressed a preference: OPTED

65D: Pollard in "Bonnie and Clyde": C.W. MOSS. Big stumper for me. Michael J. Pollard played CW MOSS in "Bonnie and Clyde".

66D: Celestial: URANIC. Unknown to me. It's from the Greek word "ouran" (heaven).

67D: Like a movie for person over 17: RATED R

71D: Treats with malice: SPITES. I learned a new phrase this morning: "Cut off one's nose to spite one's face". Very interesting way to "create a disadvantage to oneself through one's own spiteful action."

77D: "Rhyme Pays" rapper: ICE T. Don't know the song, know ICE T though.

82D: Tout's hangout: RACE TRACK

83D: Cassette players: TAPE DECKS

84D: Channel marker: BUOY

85D: Willing companion?: ABLE. Willing and Able: Not reluctant.

89D: "Brokeback Mountain" director Lee: ANG. "I wish I knew how to quit you."

90D: Wandering bums: VAGRANTS. Thought of VAGABOND. Discarded the idea quickly.

93D: UAE constituent: EMIRATE. It's a country full of EMEER, AMEER, EMIR & AMIR I suppose.

97D: Shorten: ABRIDGE

100D: Cal. abbr.: SEP. Add one S, you've got one deadly SEPS snake (thanks for the picture link drdad). To those Sunday-only solvers, this lethal SEPS was clued "Numidian serpent" on Tuesday April 23 and it stumped many of us.

101D: Wacko: LOCO

103D: Mythical bird: ROC. The giant bird. The mythical elephant eater.

105D: Billiards shot: CAROM

107D: Kern tune"___ Romance": A FINE. I've never heard of it. With no KISSES? Doesn't sound romance to me. "A Fine Romance" is also a movie (Judi Dench).

108D: To be, in Toulouse: ETRE. Now I know why the constructor always picks up "Toulouse": for the sole purpose of alliteration. Je m'ennui! The same with "Sapporo sash" for OBI. It gets insufferably boring after awhile.

113D: Dud: FLOP

114D: Humdinger: LULU. I tend to confuse this "humdinger" with "harbinger".

115D: Twelvemonth: YEAR

118D: DI times II: MII (501*2=1,002)

C.C.

Apr 26, 2008

April 26, 2008 Saturday Ed Voile

Theme: NONE

Wow, this is the worst Ed Voile puzzle I've ever solved. What a monstrous NESS grid! Grotesque!

Look:

52D: Lock for monsters: NESS

13D: Shiny quality: GLOSSINESS

14D: Tranquility: SERENENESS

35D: Slice-and-dice quality: GORINESS

58A: Hefty state: STOUTNESS

Wait, there are more SS.

24A: Part of USTA: ASSN

40A: First of September?: ESS

43A: Leaky balloon sound: SSS

And more lazy S cluing in HEDGEHOGS, PAVANES, PIS, SAGOS, RAMS, SATIRES, ETUIS, ENTHRONES.

What's the obsession with S today? What's on your mind exactly? If you can not build a good themeless Saturday grid without abusing prefixes and suffixes, just stick to your themed puzzle then!

Ugly. I hate it. I was actually very intrigued by the unusual grid structure when I had my first glance at the puzzle. And I expected some sparkling fills for 12D, 13D and 14D. However, after I filled in SSS and ESS for 40A and 43A, I realized that 13D and 15D would both end in NESS. Then I was very annoyed. I could not believe my eyes when I came to 52D: NESS, and got completely irked when GORINESS and STOUTNESS emerged.

All in all, a bad construction work from the author and a bad editing work from Mr. Williams.

ACROSS:

1A: Sean of "The Lord of Rings": ASTIN. Have never watched the "The Lord of Rings" series. But what a stellar cast! I adore Viggo Mortensen.

5A: Porcupines' kin: HEDGEHOGS. OK, so a group of porcupines is called a "Prickle". Interesting, isn't it? The name "porcupine" comes from French "porc d'épine" which means thorny, prickled or quilled pig/pork, hence the nickname "quill pig".

15A: Sufficient room: SPACE

16A: Fair: EQUITABLE. Good one.

17A: "The Alienist" author Carr: CALEB. Unknown to me. Here is more information about him. Now, how can I remember his name CALEB? OK, CALEB is a Hebrew word meaning "Dog". His initials is C. C. too.

18A: Supported, in a way: PULLED FOR

19A: Bring upon oneself: INCUR

22A: 16th-century dances: PAVANES. I faintly remember seeing this clue before. It's a "slow, stately court dance of the 16th and 17th centuries, usually in duple meter."

24A: Part of USTA: ASSN (Association). USTA is United States Tennis Association.

25A: Greek letters: PIS

28A: Palm starches: SAGOS. Kind of like tapioca. Very popular starch thickener in Southeast Asia.

29A: Daughter of Desi Arnaz: LUCIE

30A: Genetic carrier: RNA. Never know when to put DNA, when to put RNA.

31A: Kentucky fort: KNOX. Why not try "Gelatin brand" for a change?

32A: "Valley of the Dolls" writer: SUSANN (Jacqueline). Not familiar with either the book or the author.

33A: Pharmacy abbr.: OTC (Over-the-Counter)

34A: Actress Jillian: ANN. Saw this clue before. Not familiar with her works.

35A: Plant secretion: GUM

36A: Little links item: TEE. Links Golf Course. Tough to play. You'd better be good with your iron shots.

37A: Sister of Venus: SERENA. The Williams sisters.

39A: Memento __: MORI. "A reminder of life's mortality" (Latin). Remember you are mortal, so carpe diem!

40A: First of September?: ESS (First letter of September is ESS)

41A: Across: pref.: TRANS. Transaction. Transfer, etc.

42A: Theologian Kierkegarrd: SOREN. Father of Existentialism. He wrote "Fear and Trembling". His philosophy (or later Jean-Paul Sartre) is too complicated for me. I have a simple brain. I do love his quote "Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it." So true.

44A: Butts: RAMS

45A: Swiftian works: SATIRES. Jonathan Swift.

48A: Michael of Monty Python: PALIN. Saw his name before. Then I promptly forgot.

49A: Femme fatale: SIREN. Or one of the part-woman, part-bird sea nymphs who lured seamen with their enchanting music (Greek Mythology). I love this picture The Siren. So suggestive yet sensual. She is holding a harp, isn't she?

53A: Not fully worked out: TENTATIVE. Please explain this to me. I don't get it.

55A: Glasgow's river: CLYDE. Vaguely remember "Firth of Clyde". I suppose "Bonnie & ___" would be too easy for a Saturday puzzle. Learned this morning that "CLYDE" can also mean "a stupid, inept, or boorish person".

56A: Makes a king: ENTHRONES

57A: Needle cases: ETUIS. Look, she is back! Oh my goodness, this word can also be spelled as ETWEE. Just for your information, ETUI came from old French ESTUIER meaning "to keep".

59A: Force units: DYNES. DYNE came from Greek word "dýnamis "(force, power).

DOWN:

1D: Spore sacs: ASCI. Like the alliteration of the clue. Singular is "ASCUS". It's "the sac in ascomycetes in which the sexual spores are formed."

2D: Reach across: SPAN. Need to reword the clue, "across" has already appeared in 41A.

3D: Soft mineral: TALC

4D: Freeze: ICE UP

5D: Omaha populace: NEBRASKANS. I like how it's structured against SACRAMENTO.

6D: Figure with seven sides: HEPTAGON

7D: 3/20 and 9/23 approx.: EQUINOX. My favorite clue today, though I am not fond of NOX & NOX intersection at 7D & 31A. NOX is Roman goddess of night. Its Greek counterpart is NYX. Add one letter O, you've got ONYX which has nothing to do with night.

8D: D. C. airport: DULLES

9D: Rupert of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer": GILES. Thought it was a actor name. Wrong. It's the character's name in the TV series. Complete stranger to me.

12D: Makes confusing intentionally: OBFUSCATES. Again, I like the structural balance of this word with LUMINESCED.

23D: Letter-turner White: VANNA. I forgot. "Wheel of Fortune" co-host.

24D: Eur. nation: AUS (Austria)

25D: Shows subservience: PROSTRATES

26D: Go-between: INTERAGENT

27D: California capital: SACRAMENTO

29D: Shone, as from a chemical reaction: LUMINESCED. I am not familiar with this word, but it's inferable.

32D: More reliable: SURER

38D: Letters in tennis?: ENS. TENNIS. Very nice clue.

39D: Causes: MOTIVES

42D: Sterile solution: SALINE

45D: Squelched: SAT ON

46D: Like choked deltas: SILTY. This whole puzzle feels choked to me.

48D: Piece of the whole: PART

50D: Distance runner Jim: RYUN. No idea. RYUN, interesting name, no wonder he ran. He served in the Congress from 1996-2007. Looks like he was very conservative.

51D: Falco or McClurg: EDIE. How rare! I know them both. Everything I learn, I learned from doing crossword.

54D: Wk. part: THU

C.C.

Apr 25, 2008

How Long Have You Been Doing Crosswords? Poll Result

Question: How Long Have You Been Doing Crosswords?

Total votes: 573

Less than a year: 88 (15%)

1-3 years: 56 (9%)

3-5 years: 54 (9%)

5-10 years: 96 (9%)

10-20 years: 95 (9%)

More than 20 years: 184 (32%)

Thank you for the participation.

By the way, if you've got any poll idea, please comment here or email me.

C. C.

Friday, April 25, 2008 Stanley B. Whitten

Theme: CARS

18A: Canadian body of water: HUDSON BAY

24A: Historic D. C. spot: FORD'S THEATRE (sorry about the mistake earlier)

53A: Mayflower landing: PLYMOUTH ROCK

64A: "Gunsmoke" setting: DODGE CITY

Thank you FORD, without your surprise profit yesterday, the stock market would've plunged! Alan Mulally has finally seen the view from the mountaintop: Hey, look at me Boeing, still happy with your McNerney choice?

I've never heard of HUDSON car, nor have I known LEK, KIROV, SELMA, ASHLAR and BEMA. Tough puzzle today, esp the northwest region.

I filled in SCABS, BLONDE and STAFF with a brio, then my nightmare started. I did not know that "SEND UP" means "lampoon", so naturally I fell into the S trap and penned in S at the intersection of 5D and 35A. I did not know "Ragged Dick" author ALGER. Would've probably got ARGON if it were clued as "Inert gas". And the FIENDS, I could not even get the FIENDS! Sorry Orange!

Had to flirt with Mr. Google, and he quickly gave me what I wanted without making any OUTRÉ demand. Excellent!

ACROSS:

1A: Wound crusts: SCABS. No need to wobble between SCAR and SCAB due to clue 4D.

6A: Synagogue platform: BEMA. Unknown to me. It originated from Greek word "bēma" "meaning step or platform. Dictionary also says that BEMA is "the enclosed space surrounding the altar" in Eastern Orthodox Church, or "an open space between the end of the nave arcade and the apse" in a Christian basilica.

10A: Software platform: TECH

14A: Very fine netting: TULLE. Oh, isn't she beautiful in her satin and tulle mermaid wedding gown? TULLE is named after the French city where it's made.

15A: Firefighters' tools: AXES

17A: About 1% of the atmosphere: ARGON. AT NO. #18. Inert gas.

20A: Maniacs: FIENDS

23A: Begley and McMahon: EDS. Oh, McMahon, the "Heeeeere's Johnny" guy. It would make me happy if Bradley rather than Begley were clued.

28A: Haves of thirds: SIXTHS

35A: Bell ringers' performance: PEALS

38A: Japanese-American: NISEI. The root word SEI means birth, Ni means second. So NISEI means second generation. ISSEI is first generation (IS means first). SANSEI is third generation (SAN means third), don't confuse it with SENSEI (Judo/Karate teacher). Oh, KIBEI is a person of Japanese descent, born in the U.S. but educated in Japan (KI is to return, BEI is America). Have some SAKE with George Clooney if this explanation make you headache!

41A: Small birds: WRENS. Is that cactus you are perching upon?

43A: Skater Lipinski: TARA. She "won Olympic gold medal in figure skating at 1998 Winter Olympics, and remains the youngest gold medalist in the history of the Olympic Winter Games", according to Wikipedia.

44A: Russian city: KIROV. Have never heard of it. It's "a city in the E Russian Federation in Europe". Kirov is known as the "city of twins" for the unusually high number of multiple births there.

46A: Singer Ross: DIANA. Didn't she receive the Kennedy Center Honor last year?

48A: Diamond and others: SELMAS. No idea.

62A: Two-toed sloth: UNAU. Oh, the ugly UNAU is back. AIS is a 3-toed sloth.

63A: Loafer, e.g. : SLIP-ON

69A: Poet pound: EZRA. This is one incorrigible repeat offender.

70A: Hindu queen: var.: RANEE (RANI)

73A: Flexible Flyers: SLEDS. Totally unknown to me, I strung it together from the down clues. Here is a picture.

DOWN:

2D: Antique shop item: CURIO (from curiosity). I always thought CURIO refers to the "CURIO Box". Or do you call any of those old rusty stuff at the antique shop as CURIO?

3D: "Ragged Dick" author: ALGER (Horatio). Unknown to me. Boy, he sure was prolific.

5D: Lampoons: SENDS UP. New phrase to me.

7D: Ooze forth: EXUDE

8D: Euripides drama: MEDEA. Saw this clue before, then I promptly forgot. MEDEA is also the wife of "Jason the Argonaut".

9D: Holdings: ASSETS

11D: River of Hamburg: ELBE. Here is the map.

12D: Enclothed: CLAD. (Nelly said) It's gettin hot in here, so......

13D: "Airplane" star Robert: HAYS. Got his name from across clues. But I think I saw this clue before.

19D: Senator Hatch: ORRIN. Gimme Gimme. Utah Senator (R).

21D: Scatter: STREW

25D: Collection of artifacts: HOARD. Doesn't HOARD have a negative overtone? This clue does not feel smooth to me.

30D: Sub: Hero. "My heroes have always been the cowboys". How about yours?

32D: Birds' display areas: LEKS. Totally unknown to me. It's "a traditional place where males assemble during the mating season and engage in competitive displays that attract females". Courtship display then. Hmm, this clue is definitely more colorful than "Money unit of Alabama"

33D: Mayberry lad: OPIE. Learned his name from doing crossword. I know nothing about "The Andy Griffith Show."

37D: Military muddle: SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fouled UP). Were you thinking of Dennis when you saw this clue? I was. Still remember how stunned I was when he first explained the sanitized version of SNAFU. When will FUBAR appear then?

40D: Freebie: COMP

47D: Masonry stones: ASHLARS. OK, ASHLAR is "a squared block of building stone", like this. This word is easily gettable though.

50D: Matched up: SYNCED. Never know that SYNC can be a verb.

52D: Clannish: TRIBAL. Not SEPT -ish something?

54D: Indian corn: MAIZE

55D: Bizarre: OUTRÉ. Past participle of French word OUTRER (to push beyond the bound).

56D: Voice a thought: OPINE

61D: Biblical paradise: EDEN & 65D: Figure of worship: GOD. Great parallel.

C.C.

Apr 24, 2008

Newspaper Updates

Here is an update on all the newspapers that carry TMS (Tribune Media Service) crossword puzzle.

Please note that you can find TMS puzzle on line at Chicago Tribune's website (7-day archive only).

Please write a comment here or send me an email if you do not find your paper on the list. Thanks.

C.C.

Total: 89

International: 11

the Nation, Bangkok, Thailand.
Globe & Mail, Toronto, ON, Canada
Times Colonist, Victoria, BC, Cananda
The Province, Vancouver, B.C. Canada
The Montreal Gazette, Q.C., Canada (Sunday only, but publishes the puzzle on its Saturday "Weekend" section)
Taipei Times, Taiwan
Viet Nam News, Vietnam
??? Philippines (Levie, pls provide me with your paper name)
Times of India, Bangalore, India
Buenos Aires Herald, Buenos Aires, Argentina

??? UK

US: 77

AL: Anniston Star (Anniston); The Birmingham News (Birmingham)

AK:

AR: Arkansas Democrat Gazette (Little Rock)

AZ:

CA: Orange County Register; San Jose Mercury News (Mon. to Sat.); Bakersfield California; Daily Bulletin (Rancho Cucamonga); The Californian (Salinas, Mon.-Sat.); Redding Record Searchlight; "The Press-Enterprise" (Inland southern California, Riverside)

CO: Colorado Springs Gazette

CT: Waterbury Republican (Torrington, Sun.)

DE:

DC: Washington Post (Tue. to Thur, delivered to MD, DC and VA; Crossynergy puzzles from Monday to Friday).

FL: Palm Beach Post; Naples Daily News; Sun-Sentinel; St. Petersburg Times. Port Saint Lucie News (Port Saint Lucie); Tampa Tribune (Tampa); Florida Times Union- Jacksonville; The Ledger (Lakeland); Orlando Sentinel.


GA: Savannah Morning News

HI:

ID: Idaho Statesman (Boise)

IL: Chicago Tribune

IN: Herald-Bulletin (Anderson)

IA: Iowa State Daily (Ames)

KS:

KY: Daily News (Bowling Green); Lexington Herald-Leader; Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro).

LA: Lake Charles American Press; The Times Picayune (New Orleans)

ME: Bangor Daily News

MD: Baltimore Sun (only Sun.)

MA: The Boston Globe

MI: Detroit Free Press

MN: Minneapolis Star Tribune (Mon.-Sun.); the Minnesota Daily (U of M paper); St. Cloud Times

MO:

MS:

NE: The Omaha World Herald (Omaha)

NV: Review Journal (Las Vegas, Sun. only)

NH: Concord Monitor Concord

NJ: Philadelphia Inquirer (Medford Lakes)

NM: Santa Fe New Mexican (Mon - Sat)

NY: AM New York; New York Daily News; Post Stars (Glens Falls); Times-Union (Albany); Utica Observer Dispatch; Post Standard (Syracuse); The Daily Freeman (Kingston, Mon-Sat)

NC: The Courier-Tribune (Asheboro, NC)

ND: The Forum (Fargo)

OH: Dayton Daily News (Mon.-Sat.); Louisville Herald Leader, the News Herald (Willoughby); Spring Field News-Sun (Mon.-Sat.)

OK:

OR: the Oregonian (Portland, Mon. to Sat.); Mail Tribune (Medford)

PA: Reading Eagle (Reading); Philadelphia Inquirer; Beaver Valley Times (Mon.-Sat.); Pittsburgh Post Gazette (Sun.)

RI: The Providence Journal(Providence)

SC: The Sun News (Myrtle Beach).

SD: Argus Leader (Sioux Falls)

TN:

TX: Abilene Reporter News (Abilene, Mon.-Sun.); Amarillo Globe-News; Osessa American; San Angelo Standard-Times (Mon. to Sat.); Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, TX); Corpus Christi Caller-Times; San Angelo Standard Times

UT:

VT:

VA: The Virginia Pilot; The Daily Press

WA: The Seattle Times; Spokesman-Review (Spokane)

WV: Daily Athenaeum (Morgantown, campus paper)

WI: Wisconsin State Journal (Madison)

WY:

Thursday, April 24, 2008 Robert H. Wolfe

Theme: INSULT

18A: Start of an insult: LET'S PLAY

20A: Part 2 of an insult: HORSE I'LL PRETEND

35A: Part 3 of insult: TO BE THE FRONT END

54A: Part 4 of insult: AND YOU CAN JUST BE

60A: End of an insult: YOURSELF

Wow, can I say this to Jeff Immelt? Can I tell him that I've had enough of his Kool-Aid and he can go to hell with his Bear Stearns meltdown-I-could-NOT-close-asset-deals excuse? GE sucks!

Oh I am so delirious with my 3rd career home run today, though I had no idea that DELIRIA is the name of the "Interactive urban fantasy game".

I had a very impulsive start, filling in ASLOPE and ASHORE rather recklessly. I was stunned that they turned out to be right fills. The whole northwest corner yielded to me so quickly that I started to think I had entered the Tiger Zone.

I proceeded very boldly to the other areas, and really astonished myself by conquering the whole field without much resistance. I had no idea what is SEPT, or who are BOYD or TASSO, but I was able to piece the names together either by the across or the down clues.

No need to flirt with Mr. Google.

ACROSS:

1A: Topped (off): CAPPED

10A: Belgrade native: SERB

14A: Slanted: ASLOPE. Aslant. Atilt. What else?

17A: Inclined troughs: CHUTES. Here is a picture.

24A: Interactive urban fantasy game: DELIRIA. Have never heard of it. But the answer is easily gettable.

32A: Italian epic poet: TASSO. Unknown to me. The only Italian poet I know is Dante and his "Divine Comedy". Tasso wrote the epic "Jerusalem Delivered"(1581), an account of the capture of the city during the First Crusade, according to the dictionary.

34A: Uniform: EVEN. The crossing of EVE and EVEN bugs me.

41A: NFL kicker Jason: ELAM. Vaguely remembered seeing his name before. Wow, his uniform is #1. Cool! Is he good?

42A: Fancy headdress: TIARA

47A: Pecan candy: PRALINE. I've never had this candy before.

51A: Coniferous tree: SPRUCE

61A: Peter or Annette: O'TOOLE. Know Peter, not Annette.

62A: Morales of "La Bamba": ESAI. He is always Tony Rodriguez to me.

64A:"Maverick" star: GARNER (James). Total stranger to me. I strung his name together by down clues. To make Ben Affleck happy, please clue the beautiful Jennifer GARNER next time!

65A: Ward of "The Fugitive": SELA

66A: 1960s radical grp: S.D.S. (Students for a Democratic Society). I tend to confuse this SDS with S.L.A. (Symbionese Liberation Army). Aren't they both from 1960s?

67A: Change direction sharply: SHEERS. Had no idea that SHEER can be a verb.

DOWNS:

1D: Hidden away: CACHED

2D: Off the boat: ASHORE

3D: More than one: PLURAL

6D: Bandleader Arnaz: DESI. "I Love Lucy", who doesn't?

7D: Type of lily: CALLA. Beautiful, isn't it?

8D: Proficient one: ADEPTS

9D: Lengths in France: MÈTRES

10D: Family clans: SEPTS. My dictionary says it's a variation of SECT (probably by confusion with Latin word Septum, meaning paddock, enclosure). It refers to a clan in Ancient Ireland and Scotland. I have no idea. I only know SEPT is French for 7.

11D: Perry's creator: ERLE (Stanley Gardner)

12D: Horse color: ROAN

13D: "Ben Hur" co-star: BOYD (Stephen). No idea. Only knew Charlton Heston was in the movie.

19D: Inoculants: SERA. Singular form is "Serum".

25D: Thing: ITEM

30D: Sebaceous cyst: WEN. Did not know the meaning of "sebaceous". But cyst is sufficient for me to ferret out the answer. OK, "Sebaceous" means fatty, greasy. The root word is "sebum", fatty secretion of sebaceous glands, like tallow I suppose. Then "aceous" is a suffix meaning "resembling, made of", oh, like curvaceous?

34D: List ender: ET. AL. Hey, he is back!

38D: Mature: RIPEN

39D: Dinghy mover: OAR. I want to be in this dinghy.

40D: Blue Eagle org.: NRA (National Recovery Administration). NRA is also the powerful National Rifle Association.

44D: Mil. mail drops: APOS (Army & Air Force Post Office). OK, what's the mail drop for the Marines and Navy Force then? (Update from Dennis: It's Fleet Post Office).

46D: Geometry master: EUCLID. I know his Chinese name from my middle school geometry class. No idea how to spell it in English. But it's easily pieced together from across clues. EUCLID is the "Greek mathematician who applied the deductive principles of logic to geometry, thereby deriving statements from clearly defined axioms."

45D: Vinegar holders: CRUETS

48D: Chant: INTONE

49D: More aristocratic: NOBLER

50D: Muslim leaders: var: EMEERS. When are you going to unleash AMIR?

51D: Assad's land: SYRIA. The Assad family has been in power since 1970. There are no "EMIRS" in Syria, right?

52D: Bistros: CAFÉS

54D: Mariner's assents: AYES

57D: Trots: JOGS. I like the appearance of "J" in the puzzle. Its scrabbliness (Is it a word?) adds weight to the grid and zests up the puzzle.

58D: Bryce Canyon state: UTAH

59D: Achy: SORE. What the heck has happened to you? Achy every day, hit too many "clubs"?

C.C.

Apr 23, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 Verna Suit

Theme: THREE BLUE THINGS

17A: Three blue things: PRINT TOOTH GRASS

57A: Three blue things: STREAK JAY CHEESE

3D: Three blue things: CHIP DANUBE BERRY

11D: Three blue things: JEANS RIBBON BELL

Alright, it looks like Hillary is hellbent on fighting until the very last "Bitter" end, since she has scored a string of big BLUE States wins. Why can't Obama close the deal?

Anyway, I don't care. I only want to know how Jeff Immelt faces shareholders' PILLORY today in PA. I want to know how he spins his rationale for the GE's disastrous report. More "BLUE Chips blue" excuse? Bear Stearn's collapse? What on earth happened during the last month of the quarter? Gosh, this guy is unbelievable!

I've never heard of BLUE DANUBE, BLUE TOOTH and BLUE STREAK, but the "BLUE" theme eased my solving pain tremendously. My nightmare this morning was the MAU MAUS and MaCrae part of the puzzle. After penning in TSAR, I put SCORN for "Pillory purpose" (SHAME). Have never watched the "Terminator", so "I'M BACK" did not succumb to me easily. I've heard of TAMIL Tigers many times, but I had no idea that TAMIL refers to the language. Philip AHN, MAU MAUS, MaCrae were all strangers to me. Wanted BHUTAN for 46A: Borneao sultanate (BRUNEI), but NOKIA and DEEJAY both said NO.

So, I called Mr. Google, and we had a short but intense flirting.

ACROSS:

1A: PC alternative: MACS

5A: Intruded: BARGED

11A: Tight spot: JAM

14A: Massage target: ACHE. Massage again? Didn't you just have one yesterday? Oh ACHY!

15A: Former San Francisco mayor: ALIOTO (Joseph). No idea. Gavin Newsom is enough for me!

20A: Old photo color: SEPIA

21A: Harrow rival: ETON. James Bond's school. Churchill attended Harrow.

23A: "___ the Explora": DORA. Hi Dora!

29A: Unhip one: NERD

34A: Philip of "Kung Fu": AHN. See here for more information.

35A: Velvety flora: MOSS. Too unhip! Try her next time! That's my perfume. (Update later: The Opium girl in the picture is supermodel Kate MOSS)

36A: Lake near Syracuse: ONEIDA

37A: '50s Kenyan rebels: MAU MAUS

39A: Sowing site: SEEDBED

40A: "Terminator" sequel words: I'M BACK

41A: Micro-processors': abbr.: CPUS (Central Processing Unit)

43A: Parasitic creature: LEECH

44A: Take off: DOFF

45A: Refuses to: WON'T

46A: Borneo sultanate: BRUNEI. Its capital city is Bandar Seri Begawan, no wonder the constructor used the island name for the clue. Here is a map.

52A: Prefix for one: OENO. Hey, any oenophilia here? OENO is also "Goddess of Wine" in Greek Mythology.

54A: Scrapbook: ALBUM

61A: Luxury watch maker: PIAGET. Faintly remembered it.

64A: Hounds, sometimes: BAYERS

DOWN:

5D: Night flyer: BAT. Wish it were clued as "Baseball player's club", it would be great companion for MISS (13D: Not hit).

7D: Unruly mob: RIOTERS

8D: Aged: GOT OLD

9D: Culture: pref.: ETHNO. As in Ethnology.

13D: Not hit: MISS

19D: Shortened, as sails: REEFED. Did not know it until today.

24D: Actress Aimee: ANOUK. Saw AIMEE clued as "Actress Anouk" before.

26D: French door parts: PANES

27D: Sri Lankan language: TAMIL

28D: Pillory purpose: SHAME

30D: Tee preceder: ESS. Put "TO A" first.

32D: Classic theater: ODEON. Better than "Music Hall" clue.

35D: ___ Picchu: MACHU

36D: French eggs: OEUFS. Hmm, want some oeufs brouillés?

38D: Gordon of "Oklahoma": MacRae. See here for more information.

39D: Tanning lotion letters: SPF (Sun Protection Factor). I think mine is SPF30.

41D: Mint function: COINAGE. I put REFRESH first, but quickly corrected myself.

44D: Record player?: DEEJAY. Why question mark?

45D: Polish Peace Nobelist: WALESA. Nice touch here by the Editor. He avoided "Nobelist Lech" due to clue 43A (Leech).

47D: Cell phone maker: NOKIA

49D: Crying sound: WAH

50D: Nile snakes: ASPS. As lethal as SEPS?

53D: __ and terminer: OYER. No idea. Wanted COMMENCER but could not cram it in!

55D: Old VOA parent: USIA (United States Information Agency). Used to like VOA China.

56D: Shea nine: METS. Hello Santana, we miss you!

58D: Police call letters: APB (All Points Bulletin)

59D: $ percentages: CTS (CENTS)

C. C.