, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: Friday September 25, 2009 Kurt Mueller


Sep 25, 2009

Friday September 25, 2009 Kurt Mueller

Theme: Kinship - KIN is inserted into a familiar phrase.

17A. Gear up for Halloween?: PRIME THE PUMP(KIN). Dictionary defines "prime the pump" as "to increase government expenditure in an effort to stimulate the economy". So the current economic stimulus package is pump-priming, correct?

38A. Yokel resting in the woods?: BUMP(KIN) ON A LOG. "Like a bump on a log" = unmoving/inactive. New idiom to me.

60A. Steals the dinner cloth from Garfield's lap?: TAKES A CAT NAP(KIN). Take a catnap. Garfield is a cat in comic strip "Garfield".

How I wish the last theme answer started with KIN*! It would be very balanced.

We seem to follow the old TMS Daily mode now. Monday and Tuesday puzzles get a bit tougher than normal and the late week puzzles are considerably easier.

How do feel about this trend? Happy? Unhappy? Come to the Comments section and let me know your opinion.


1. Held (on) by stitches: SEWN. It's clued as "Attached with thread" the other day. Rich mentioned he tries not to repeat the same clue for at least 2 months.

5. Cavalry weapon: LANCE. Oh, still no Armstrong reference? "It's Not about Bike" is a great read.

10. Farm females: EWES. Tell us more about EWE or you, Windhover. What are you going to bring to the Farmer's Market tomorrow?

15. Starting unit: A-TEAM

20. Heart-to-heart talk: TETE-A-TETE. Just mentioned this phrase the other day. Literally "head to head".

21. Hurricane feature: EYE

22. Maui strings: UKE. Waiting for Al for some G string education.

23. Pin near the gutter: TEN. Or SEVEN.

24. Per se: AS SUCH

27. "Frankenstein" author Shelley: MARY. Poet Shelley's wife.

29. Swings around: SLUES

32. Mahmoud Abbas's gp.: PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization). Abbas looks like a person of reason. Arafat was hopeless.

36. How ballerinas dance: ON TIPTOE

41. Split up: SEPARATE

43. Withdrawal site, for short: ATM. Ha ha, money. I was picturing a REHAB center.

44. Arcade games trailblazer: ATARI

46. Univ. sports organizer: NCAA

50. Any one of Cinderella's stepfamily, e.g.: MEANIE. JD has over 60 versions of Cinderella.

52. Expert on IRS forms: CPA. This answer pops up way too often.

55. Fest mo.: OCT. Octoberfest.

56. Wood of the Rolling Stones: RON

57. Enter stealthily: SNEAK INTO. There is a KIN inside this phrase.

63. Rink jump: AXEL

65. Ballesteros of the PGA: SEVE. He'll be at the British Open next year. No Tom Watson miracle I am afraid.

66. Queens team: METS. Sigh! Tigers won again, Jazzbumpa/Fred.


1. Facial wall that may be deviated: SEPTUM. New word to me. The clue means nothing to me.

2. "Bingo!": EUREKA. Ah, California!

3. Columnist, e.g.: WRITER. "Blogger, e.g." too.

4. Alaskan gold-rush town: NOME. Gold-rush around 1899, when NOME was the most populated city in Alaska.

5. Cappuccino cousin: LATTE

6. Capital north of the Sea of Crete: ATHENS

7. Big name in hair-removal cream: NEET. Rival of NAIR.

9. Big bird: EMU. Big and flightless. I like the two "Big" clue echo.

10. Annual sports awards: ESPYS. ESPY Awards = Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards.

11. Be roused from sleep by, as music: WAKE UP TO

12. Yale Blue wearer: ELI. "Boola Boola" is Yale's fight song.

18. Put away: EAT. Got the answer from Across fill. Not a familiar definition to me.

19. Handel oratorio: MESSIAH. Handel's most famous work.

24. Health insurance giant: AETNA. Named after the volcano ETNA. AETNA might have start ed as fire insurance company.

25. Roto-Rooter target: CLOG

26. Weeding tool: HOE. I am going to grow zucchini next year. Sounds fun.

28. Arizona city on the Colorado River: YUMA

30. Soloist?: LONER. Reminds me of the single bullet theory. Who do you think killed JFK?

31. Game with Skip cards: UNO

34. Wrist twists, e.g.: SPRAINS. I've sprained my left ankle three times.

35. Boot with a blade: SKATE

38. __ noire: bane: BETE. Literally beast. BETE noire = black beast.

39. High-end, as merchandise: UPMARKET. New word to me.

41. Friend of Frodo: SAM. Easy guess. Have never read "The Lord of the Rings".

45. Summer drink with a lemon twist, maybe: ICE TEA. Or ICED TEA. The latter is more common. I only drink hot tea.

47. Bopped on the bean: CONKED

48. On the go: ACTIVE

53. Cultivated violet: PANSY. Delicate yet hardy.

54. Rap sheet letters: AKA

58. Part of N.L.: Abbr.: NATL

59. __ facto: IPSO. Literally itself. facto= fact. IPSO facto = by the fact itself.

60. Skye cap: TAM. Skye is an island in Scotland. The clue plays on skycap the airport porter.

61. Dismiss, informally: AXE

62. Pal of Pierre: AMI. Boring clue, isn't it? Alliteration won't help.

Answer grid.

When you have time, read this crossword article Dennis linked yesterday. The constructor Bernice Gorden is 95 years old and still at it.

Come back tomorrow to celebrate the birthday and the guest-blogging debut of a regular commenter.



Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. and gang - a good puzzle today, not too simple, but gettable with a bit of perp help. Clever theme as well. C.C., I disagree, I thought today's was a bit tougher than the Monday/Tuesday puzzles.

Biggest goof for me was confidently putting 'saber' for 5A, 'Cavalry weapon'. Once that was straightened out, fairly smooth sailing through the rest of it. Favorite clues were 'Facial wall that may be deviated', 'withdrawal site' and 'Skye cap'.

Today is National Comic Book Day and Native American Day.

Today's Words of Wisdom: "There'll be two dates on your tombstone. And all your friends will read 'em. But all that's gonna matter is that little dash between 'em." -- Kevin Welch

Some Mae West-isms:

- "A man in love is like a clipped coupon; it's time to cash in."

- "I used to be Snow White...but I drifted."

Zhouqin (C.C.) Burnikel said...

Sorry, I did not express myself clearly. I meant the current Friday puzzles are much easier than the normal Friday ones. And the Monday/Tuesday puzzles tougher than the ones given to us a month ago.

Blaster box baseball cards are those boxes of sealed retail boxes of cards sold at Target. They are cheaper than hobby box, but do not contain a guaranteed autograph/jersey cards. Maybe Dennis can explain more.

Anonymous said...

Last night @ dinner I was out and the local restaurant had the TV tuned to CNN and I caught the item gmail outage now restored.

maybe that's why I wasn't able to post as RSD when I logged in from here instead of my blog.

Nope I was wrong I still have to go to my blog page log in and then return to refresh and voila I'm logged in as RSD.

Hahtoolah said...

Morning, All! I loved this puzzle. What a great theme. After I got PRIME THE PUMPKIN, I knew what to look for. This was the first Friday puzzle I have been able to complete without any outside assistance (no hitting the g-spot today). The puzzle was a bit more challenging than those earlier in the week, but not so hard I got discouraged before completing it.

My first thought for a cavalry weapon was Saber instead of LANCE (5A), but I couldn’t think of a coffee drink that began with an “s”.

SEPTUM (1D) is the in the “wall” in the nose.

We saw a boot with a blade yesterday, so that SKATE (35D) came quickly to me.

I didn’t know that the health insurance company, AETNA was named after the volcano! There must be a joke in there somewhere.

Favorite clues: Soloist? / LONER (30D) and Skye Cap / TAM (60D).

September 25 Birthdays:

1952 ~ Christopher Reeve (d. 2004), Actor best known for his role as Superman. He became paralyzed following an equestrian accident.

1951 ~ Mark Hamill, Actor who played Luke Skywalker in the initial Star Wars movie.

1944 ~ Michael Douglas shares his birthday with his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones (b. 1969).

1930 ~ Shel Silverstein (d. 1991), Humorist and writer.

1929 ~ Barbara Walters

1897 ~ William Faulkner (d. 1962), American novelist.

1764 ~ Christian Fletcher (d. 1793), English mutineer. He lead the mutiny on the HRM Bounty, against Captain Bligh.

QOD: A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation. ~ Saki.

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, I fell asleep so early last night that I am almost awake before 4 AM CA time. I still can't beat our early birds :o).

I would like to see at least one tougher puzzle during the week, to satisfy that CONKED on the head feeling we all seem to like once in a while.

This Friday puzzle wasn't particularly difficult. My daughter has a deviated SEPTUM, so I got that right away. Haven't we seen LATTE several times this week? Didn't C.C. mention TETE A TETE yesterday?...Another crossword coincidence.

I also got the theme after PUMPKIN and BUMPKIN and went on to fill in NAPKIN, which helped a lot in the SE corner.

I thought WAKE UP TO and UP MARKET were clever matching UP fills.

"Yawn," I think it is time to go ON TIPTOE back to bed for an hour for so for a CAT NAP. See you all later.

PJB-Chicago said...

Good morning! Busy day ahead, but want to follow up with C. C.'s query about the puzzles' level of difficulty. I also have an idea, may be good, may not, but it's a start.
Rich Norris indicated that solvers were complaining about the difficulty of late-week puzzles and so he is keeping more of the puzzles pegged at about a Mon.-Wed. level. For many of us, the end of week grids are a nice challenge which we often enjoy. "The mastery of the thing."

Maybe the problem is that the average solver is stymied because s/he isn't aware of the progression through the week? Compare the crossword to the Sudoku, which in Chicago's two leading papers is given a rating, either numerical (1 to 4) or graphic (1 to 4 or 1 to 5 stars) to indicate relative difficulty. That way the solver knows up front what to expect each day. For instance, I know that Thursdays in Sudokustan are about my limit, but I still try Fridays to improve my skill.
Imagine the poor person on the train or at home or work doing her/his first Norris puzzle on a Friday before the recent changes. That person will likely assume that that every day is that brain-twisting and give up, probably for good. Same goes for a more seasoned solver who might have started on a Tuesday and jumped to the conclusion that the grids are too easy.
So, my question is, would it perhaps help to employ a similar rating for the crossword? Or at least run every so often an editor's note about how the difficulty ramps up every couple days during the week?
Just a thought. If this was discussed before I joined the blog, then "mea culpa." Perhaps there are other ideas to consider.
Will check back in as time and caffeine permit. pjb.

Mainiac said...

Good Morning CC and All,

Although this was enjoyable, I was looking forward to needing some red letter help to complete a Friday grid. None needed here, my only erasure was Sword and then Lance filled in with perps. I think of Knights fighting with lances rather than Cavalry. Maui Strings I thought should be plural, even though four strings on a Uke.

CC, I like the difficulty progressively harder through the week. Since I don't have internet access at home, I haven't yet experienced the weekend's difficulty. I would like to see things kicked up a notch or two.

Jazz, Positive thoughts for your fellow trombonist.

I'm yanking tomato plants this weekend and having a fire. Do I need to worry about fruit that has dropped into the garden that likely has blight?

Have a great day everyone!

Lemonade714 said...


I thought this was the easiest Friday we have had at LAT; the clues were enjoyable, but it still was a 10 minute experience.

Back when women tried to not be obvious about using plastic surgeons, the DEVIATED SEPTUM diagnosis was used as an excuse to reshape the noses of many. I shared the hospital with them when I had my first transplant. It makes the patient look like they were beaten, with two black eyes. Well I am late, did not sleep until 4, making it a 24 hour yesterday for me.

KittyB said...

Maniac, it's best to rake up all that you can. Next year, plant your tomatoes in a different area, and mulch below them.

Some of the best advice I've seen on planting is to divide the bed into four squares and rotate the tomatoes through those squares over a four year period. Try to avoid getting dirt on the lower leaves when the tomatoes are watered. You can cover the tomato bed with black plastic, and cut into the plastic where you want to plant, or you can mulch heavily with compost and wood chips. Choose plants which have been engineered to resist disease.

melissa bee said...

good morning c.c. and all,

this seemed like about a tuesday to me. don't think i've heard SLUES before, and didn't know SEVE. does anyone over the age of 8 use the word MEANIE? fun seeing SNEAK INTO and ON TIPTOE in the same puzzle. count me as one who misses the weekly ramp up. don't love the monotone feel.

jazz, i have a relative who is recovering from acute leukemia, it is a battle that can be won.

looking forward to tomorrow, i know who it is.

Hahtoolah said...

Lemonade: You opened the door to this line of inquiry ~ You roomed in the hospital with WOMEN? Your FIRST transplant? How many have you had, and are you alright now?

Andrea said...

Good Morning, All -

My pattern lately has been that I get all but one or two last squares... Today's was the crossing of Queens team and Skye cap. I had Upmarked instead of Upmarket, so couldn't figure out ta_ and _eds. I was even on the right track trying to think of a NY team! Other than that, the puzzle was smooth sailing with no outside help. Liked the theme, and easily got those answers.

Favorite clue was withdrawal site.

I went to the Farmers Market yesterday, and picked up some beautifully sweet carrots just picked that morning, and some incredibly juicy but crisp Asian pears. YUM! Also got a bagful of tomatoes to make some more tomato sauce for the freezer.

PJB - I like your puzzle rating idea. Before I started following this blog, I had no idea of the difficulty progression over the week.

Time to wake up all the sleepy heads.


Anonymous said...

I like the puzzles the way they are now - doable but not simple


windhover said...

since I doubt anyone wants to hear much more about me, I'll answer your question by saying my sheep (ewes) are Border Cheviots, so named because the breed originated in the Cheviot Hills on the border between England and Scotland. They are a very hardy, independent animal with all white wool. They are distinctive among sheep breeds for having no wool on their face or legs. The meat from Cheviot lambs is very tasty, and that is what I will be selling at the Farmers Market tomorrow.
My two cents on the puzzle difficulty question:
I too like the more challenging puzzles later in the week, as long as they are mostly doable. I don't mind not finishing one now and then. It's been several weeks since I have encountered a puzzle I couldn't complete without help. But I still prefer the LAT puzzle to the old WRW, because both the words and the cluing remain mostly fresh.
One question: has anyone read a report recently of large amounts of lithium or some other mind numbing drug gone missing? Saw some suggestion of that yesterday. Dennis?

Dennis said...

There will always be a couple schools of thought about the difficulty level. I think we're very close to the 'old' level, and speaking only for myself, the enjoyment level is way down. Maybe I just need challenges more than most, but 5 minutes of filling in blanks without a lot of thought is not my idea of an enjoyable puzzle experience. Again, that's just me, and I understand the importance of appealing to the widest possible audience.

I think PJB's idea is excellent.

Regarding 'blaster boxes', they're small (usually 8-10 packs) boxes of sports card packs sold only in the big box retail stores like Target, Walmart etc. The odds for getting valuable 'insert' cards are usually much higher than the odds of getting them in the 'hobby only' packs or boxes. The one thing I would tell everybody is to never buy loose packs in one of those stores; there are people who make a living 'searching' loose packs to see if they can feel an insert card, and the employees don't seem to police it.

Windhover, yes, I believe we've seen evidence of it.

kazie said...

Hi Everyone,
I agree with PJB, the Sudoku ratings let you know what to expect up front. I can do all levels some of the time, but not every time--depends on how anxiously the dog is bothering me! They would work well for our puzzles too.

I had no real problems today and needed no external assists. Did confuse Cinderella with Snow White at first and was trying to fit a dwarf in there, and missread Skye as sky for a while. I also have a deviated SEPTUM that doesn't help my snoring. Thought of SWORD for LANCE but held off putting it in--I always check perps before rushing in where several things are possible.

I actually got the theme early and it helped. The KIN in sneak into is stealthy, isn't it? Didn't know ESPYS, SEVE or NCAA, but all were either guessable or perpable.

Mainiac said...

I like PJB's idea of rating the puzzle's difficulty also.

KittyB, Thanks for the tips. I'm going to miss canning tomatoes this fall and don't want a repeat next season.

Off to look for a new washer with the wife. Everything seems to be breaking on us lately.

Bill said...

I like it. The difficulty level COULD be a little more on Fri. Byt, for the first time since the inception of the LA Times X word, I've actually been confident that I have a chance of solving on any given day. That said, I understand where some of you might see the new ones as too easy. That would have to do with the diverse education levels of our large solving group. There seems to be quite a few in the group who are or have been educators, scientists, or some such. In any case, quite a higher level of scooling. Which leads to, I think, a broader vocabulary. Some of us common folks have yet to get beyond our basic ABC's.

Any, I did like the puzzle today. When I saw OCT and PUMPKIN in the grad I really looked for a Halloween theme but alas it wasn't there. Gotta go,
CY'All Later

Anonymous said...

Good morning everyone.
Today's level of difficulty is about right for me. I didn't get the theme until I came here, as usual. At first I thought this would be an impossible one, but as I worked through finding words I did know, suddenly it became clearer. Had no idea about ESPYS.

My favorite is Withdrawal site. Had the TM in, so it became obvious even to me.


Anonymous said...

I'm also disappointed with the easier Friday and Saturday puzzles... it was like a challenge and felt great about solving a difficult one. My husband and I would each try to get them individually and then compare answers. Please bring back the challenges.....

Anonymous said...

A Friday puzzle completed with no help in 10 minutes is a bit to easy for me. I too agree with PJB in that we could do some sort of difficulty rating to let people know that they progress through the week. I am with Dennis, that I like having a little more of a challenge some days. I think the variation is good. I feel like you aren't working toward completing harder puzzles if you never do them.

My daughter has just started to do some of the puzzles on Monday/Tuesday. She is so proud that she can complete them, but I bet she will get bored with them very soon if she doesn't try more challenging ones too. Unfortunately, I am guessing that those of us who like more challenge are the ones who aren't as loud about our preferences. We just look elsewhere. Maybe it is time for us to speak up too.

That is my soapbox for the day. Certainly like the theme and the clever cluing of this puzzle much more than the Newsday puzzle that the Star Trib carries. Who knows if we will have a paper much longer any way. Our carrier just quit as they cut his pay about 40%.

Off to work at school. It is homecoming pep fest today, and my son is "dancing" with the dance team. Got all the cameras set to go! Should be lots of laughs watching him. Maybe I will utube it so all can see.

lois said...

Good morning CC et al., This was a 'neet' puzzle to 'wake up to'. Had to laugh as my 'active' imagination was running from A to Z with a story being 'sewn' together with 'prime the pumpkin' being in the same puzzle w/'hoe', 'tete a tete','lance'
'mates' and ending w/'messiah',
'atones' and 'sen'. There would've been 'no els' except for the word 'lance'. 'U-ke'n see where that's all going anyway. No brain 'sprain' there.

Gotta run. Enjoy your day.

Great pic Bill of you and Nancy. I'm looking forward to meeting you guys again at the Amelia Festival. That was so much fun.

Warren said...

Hi C.C. & gang, An easy Friday puzzle with a few twists. e.g. our first guess for 5A was Sabre also but it didn't fit with the perp's. I came up with 'neet' for 7D and my wife quickly came up with 'lance'.

For windhover: We visited England and Wales in 2007 and in Wales they called the hills 'green with white bumps' for the white sheep on the hillsides...

Barb B said...

I'm running fast today, so I just have time for two comments - or three.

Loved the puzzle.

No dew on those pansies.

Prefer the puzzles to be increasingly difficult. More satisfaction for solving the hard ones, and it helps me improve my skills.

Moon said...

Good Morning!
Am off from work today and hence overslept.
This puzzle was the simplest one for me, for this week. I couldnt believe it was a Friday.
Ofcourse I used perp help but no red letters at all. I did not get the theme though (till I came here) as I never heard of PRIME THE PUMP, BUMP ON A LOG.
Fav clue: Withdrawal site. I was off thinking about rehab, AAA etc.

Frankly I prefer the puzzles to get harder even if I struggle. The enjoyment is in the new learning and the AHA moments :)

Off to shop and clean the house as I'm throwing a dinner party tonight.

Have a great day, everyone!

DCannon said...

Clear Ayes, I was up at 3am. Woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. A nap is in order later this morning.

The way I work the puzzle is I work all the "across" clues, filling in all the answers I know. Then I go back and do the down. Usually works well, but not so today. Wanted "sword" instead of "lance" at first, but as soon as I read 5D clue, I realized my mistake. Also, wanted "on pointe" for the ballerinas clue, but changed it when I got to the Handel clue of 19D. The rest went smoothly. I even got the theme today.

windhover said...

no offense, but when I read your post I thought the next to last 's' in your second comment was a 't'. That then led to read the third comment in a much different light. I thought, "She has really taken that "randy mystic" thing to heart,"
When I read said second comment, I was driving and drinking a soft drink. I now have the steering wheel, instrument panel and dashboard to clean sugar water from.
At least it wasn't coffee.
And before any of you lecture me, yes I know I shouldn't be blogging and driving. I did pull over to type this into the iPhone.

Kelev said...

That should teach you not to drink and drive, WH!

DCannon said...

I intended to add that I do like progressively more difficult puzzles toward the end of the week.

Well, windhover, I'm going to lecture anyway. That could have been blood and brain all over your steering wheel, etc. I'm glad I wasn't sharing the street with you! I had a required driving class every year at work and had safety drummed into my consciousness. Even drinking a Coke was a no-no when driving a company vehicle.

Bill G. said...

Hi everybody.

I can do all the puzzles now where I used to give up on many of the Friday puzzles. So maybe a compromise with the puzzles getting harder but not quite as hard as they used to be.

Also, I would prefer the most difficult puzzles on Saturday to have a theme too. The theme adds to my solving enjoyment. Just my two-cents worth.

eddyB said...

Good morning all,

Its pinochle day so there's little time for long comments.

Jill used to work for Aetna as a claims supervisor. Used her medical knowledge to interface with the doctors.

Kazie, The comment was for you. After the exchange of comments on suffering fools on Wednesday. I was saying that that super was the biggest fool that I've ever met.
To make a long story short, the super alienated everyone with an attitude of "I'm charge and you don't matter". Both the super and the board lost CTA support and were soon gone. Jill's one or two
words were really a heated argument. Good news was that the Apples were saved.

It is hard to believe that we will get to 90 today with all of this beautiful fog.

Back at 5PM.


Warren said...

For C.C.: upmarket

I liked this definition the best

"Upmarket (or high-end) commodities are products, services or real estate targeted at high-income consumers. Examples of products would include items from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Hammacher-Schlemmer, and Chanel."

We've bought products from Hammacher-Schlemmer before, does this make us anything special?

Al said...

Hmmm, g-string comments on a UKE? I'm used to the guitar where the g-string is the third string and the pitches go in order, but even though it is the fourth string on a uke, it is not the lowest pitch. The C on the third string is actually lower. I don't remember if I posted this before, but here's Jake Shimabukuro. If you've never seen or heard of him, you will be amazed.

Here's Air On The G String, played by Sarah Chang. Simply etherial.

Here and here are different takes for air on the g-string.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

I have no particular feeling about difficulty, as long as the extremes are avoided. I evaluate a puzzle along the lines of a highly personal aesthetic.

C.C. - today's theme answers are balanced: First and third have KIN at the end, middle fill has it in the middle. All at the end would be tighter, but the symmetry is OK, too.

PRIME THE PUMPKIN is terrific.

Two straight days of only 3 theme entries - thought thy are long fills. I didn't coult the non-theme long fills, but it looks like a high Dan NAddor index puzzle today.

I agree CPA is getting old - along with AXEL, EURO, and ODES. But, you also have to be practical. Was it Dan Naddor who pointed out the trade-off a while back? You have to allow some of that to crosswordese to get BUMPKIN ON A LOG.

ATHENS should be clued as "Home of the Bobcats."

Here's an I-RONic symmetry: EYE RON.

Oldest granddaughter dances on her tiptoes - it's called EN POITE. Five girls in her dancing group got their pointe shoes at the same time a couple of years ago. Usually there is some stumpling and swaying (even falling down) for first-timers, but they all went up EN POINTE and stayed there.

Our symphony concerts earlier in the year were televised on local cable, and we had a chance to buy DVD's. I picked them up on Wed, and am watching the March concert -all Russian music: Borodin, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky as I write. (Yikes - just got a close up of me. I look like a real MEANIE.) It's not perfect, but - wow, we did a nice job. Almost an A TEAM performance.

Thanks for the good thoughts wished and prayers for my trombone buddy. It's a bit poignant seeing him next to me looking so healthy.

WH - What DCannon said. I want you looking healthy, too

JzB the EYE RONic tronmbonist

carol said...

Hi all - I agree with PJB - Numbering the difficulty level is a great idea.
The puzzles are beginning to be too easy for me too - imagine that!!! Now, I know I used to whine about the Fri and Sat puzzles-probably more than most of you. Sometimes I just laid them in the recycle bag. I would appreciate one or two that would make me grab my V-8 can.

29A SLUES? That is a new one for me.

Laughed over 43A (WITHDRAWAL SITE) The answer was not the one I was thinking of.

Dennis & WH: Will the culprit be caught and brought to justice? Soon??

Barb B: really cute picture! See you in a week...yea!

Lemonade714 said...


It was at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear wing of Mass General Hospital, and the were large wards, with separations between the men and women, but not walls. I have had three corneal transplants, the first(in 1968 at Mass Gen) the last two in Forida, one at Shands in Gainesville, whil ein Law School, and one in Miami. The operations were successful, but not completely as I still do not have useful vision in one eye. Like Windover, you probably do not want to be near me on the road, though I have been faking it driving for years.

Linda said...

Hello CC and friends: It`s amazing how things (like this puzzle) can occupy your mind and give relief from worries. So glad I found it and this blog! It doesn`t matter to me if the difficulty increases with the week or not...just so I have one for when I sit down to rest. If I want "nearly impossible", I can find those, too.

Priming the pump originally meant pouring water down it before pumping...somehow, it helped bring the water up. "Pen near the gutter" took a while. Had to lookup "seve', tried to read the "Lord of the Rings" series...couldn`t, either.

CC: "At it?" :)

Kazie: Just completed "The House at Riverton" by your fellow Aussie , Kate Morton. It`s about the crumbling of the aristocracy in England at the turn of the 20th century. Fascinating. Heard of it? Read it?

WH: Use that awesome intelligence you possess. I need your balance here on the blog. (All of us do.)
Did you abscond with all that lithium? :)

Jeannie: Your recipe sounds wonderful.

Tarajo: Your little guy does, too! My little guy will turn 11 on October 1st. (Only grandson)

LA714: Thanks for the explanation...the mind will take you everywhere when you are speculating...

Clear Ayes said...

Windhover, take care of the cows as well as those sheep.

Most of us remember Arthur Conan Doyle from Sherlock Holmes fame. He was also a poet and, as a agnostic and follower of spiritualism, wrote some thought provoking AND amusing poems.

by Arthur Conan Doyle
1859-1930, written in 1916

A Parable
The cheese-mites asked how the cheese got there,
And warmly debated the matter;
The Orthodox said that it came from the air,
And the Heretics said from the platter.
They argued it long and they argued it strong,
And I hear they are arguing now;
But of all the choice spirits who lived in the cheese,
Not one of them thought of a cow.

Jerome said...

The fun I get out of a puzzle doesn't come from it's level of difficulty. Give me a clever, interesting theme, snappy fill and fresh cluing and I'm satisfied. Today's puzzle was an enjoyable experience on all accounts.

I think Rich is simply trying to make the LAT crosswords doable for the broadest amount of people on any given day. Let's not forget that the puzzle is a product that can only thrive with mass appeal. Tough job to do if most solvers can't complete difficult Friday, Saturday puzzles.

For those who no longer find the LAT puzzles challenging in the late week, I have a suggestion. Consider constructing a puzzle. OK, stop right now... YES YOU CAN!
There's tons of information out there that will help give you a start. Join Cruciverb and Cruciverb-L. Ask some questions. Get your toes wet. You might find that it will become one of the grandest and most satisfying things you've ever done.

embien said...

6:01 today Easier than a normal Friday (anything six minutes or less for me is a pretty easy puzzle).

As Jerome said, when the fill is as lively as in this puzzle, I don't really mind it being so easy. PRIME THE PUMPKIN is inspired!

I really like PJB's idea of having a rating system for the puzzles. One reason Sudoku is so popular is that many papers put stars indicating level of difficulty for the Sudoku and people have grown used to that.

A star rating system for the LAT crossword would put our puzzle in the forefront of puzzledom. In my experience very few people are aware of the NY Times "day of the week==level of difficulty" system.

@Mainiac: we always used to put down some dolomite lime on the tomato bed after pulling the plants in the fall. This, and rotating the crops year-to-year as @KittyB stated, will greatly reduce the chance for blight on your tomatoes.

Andrea said...

For those interested, here is the link to the TV interview my husband I did to promote Madison's Free to Breathe 5k this weekend.

There are similar events coming up in other cities: 9/27 in KC, 10/3 Lincoln, NE, 10/17 Providence, RI, 11/1 Philly, 11/7 Raleigh NC. Check here for more details. (

kazie said...

Thanks for explaining. I also had the supreme satisfaction of an administrator who tried to kill my program repeatedly, but then was axed himself long before I retired.

I copied and pasted your recipe into my food file. It sounds terrific!

Haven't really read any books for months--I hardly can get through all the great mags we get here. I don't know how I ever found time to work!

Thanks for the lime tip--we'll have to try that this year.

Please, try to only be doing one thing on the road: DRIVING!! Ditto what the others have said--we need you!

Kristin said...

I like the puzzle to get harder as the week progresses. Puns and plays on words are good, obscure names are not


Mary said...

Just a quick hello and a vote for some more difficult puzzles.

windhover said...

OK, here it is, the second PoC (post of contrition) this week:

I, Windhover (sounds like a good title for my ghost-written autobiography), promise to never blog and drive again. Or to drink and drive. (I hate to be distracted when I'm drinking, anyway).
No drinking and blogging, either, for the same reason.
Have a nice weekend, friends, and loosen up.

JD said...

Good afternoon CC and all,

Fun puzzle, even though I also left a couple of holes, it went smoothly.Slues, bete noir, and upmarket were new to me.Had trouble reading assuch because I saw it as one word. Doh! Loved "pin near the gutter".For once the theme helped me, although I didn't get it until I had filled in pumpkin and bumpkin.

I wouldn't mind a bit more of a challenge on a Friday puzzle. Rarely do I need to look up anything, yet I don't want to have to finish by Googling everything. I agree with Moon that the enjoyment is in the challenge, and the learning.I love doing these puzzles and I so enjoy this group.

CC, thanks so much for reposting Dennis's article on Bernice Gordon. What an amazing lady.

Loved all the tips on planting tomatoes.

I think the plumber is living under our house.The cat is not happy.

Chickie said...

Hello All--I managed to get through the entire puzzle without any Google help. This was an easier than usual Friday puzzle for me.

I'm torn between liking the idea that I can finish a puzzle without help and having a more difficult puzzle that gives me more of a challenge. I think that the rating system that PJB suggested would be a good idea. That way we know what we are in for each day. I know that when I do finish an exceptionally difficult puzzle (even if I need to get outside help)I have a feeling of real accomplishment and have learned something along the way.

As for today's puzzle, I also had the rehab mind set for Withdrawal site, and started with sword, then saber for Cavalry weapon, but that changed when I, too, couldn't think of a single coffee drink starting with an s. I liked the clues for Skye cap/tam and Soloist?/loner. Have a bruise from the head slap for both!

Andrea, A great interview for a really important cause. We lost my father to lung cancer a few years back and he hadn't smoked for over 40 years.

MJ said...

Re: the difficulty of the puzzles at LA Times. I like any puzzle that has some clever cluing, non-obscure fresh fills, and a well developed theme. For anyone who wants more challenge later in the week, there are a lot of other puzzles--USA Today, Washington Post, and NY Times to name a few. (There was a great one yesterday by Bob Klahn in the Washington Post.) Also, I think C.C.'s interviews with constructor's, as well as the daily blogs, have given me insight into "parsing" the puzzles, making them easier to solve. My two-cents worth for free.

Barb B and Mainiac--great new avatars!

Andrea-Thanks for the link to the interview. I hope the event Sunday is successful.

gmony said...

Missed SEPTUM! Put SETSUM. So it made the Pumpkin answer wrong and "Face To Face" wrong too and of course "EAT". But got all the others. Friday's crossword a first finish for me!!!!! (Even if you ask me that SEPTUM I never heard of). Oh yes I did not use the internet!!!

Bill G. said...

Since I just started using Across Lite, I'm hoping some of you can help me with a question. Is there a way to get rid of the annoying clock that's right in the middle of everything?

carol said...

Found a great omelet recipe that my sister sent to me a while back. Fun to do and good for a weekend family get-together or guests. The best part is that no one has to wait for their omelet


Have everyone write their name on a quart-size Ziploc freezer bag with permanent marker.
Crack 2 eggs (large or extra large) into the bag (not more than 2),break yolks and shake to combine them.
Put out a variety of ingredients such as: cheeses, ham, onion, green pepper, tomato, hash browns, salsa, etc.
Each person adds prepared ingredients of choice to their bag and shake. Make sure to get the air out of the bag and zip it up.
Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes. You can usually cook 6-8 omelets in a large pot. For more, make another pot of boiling water.
Open the bags by cutting them with a scissor about half way down from the top of bag. Omelet will roll out easily.
Be prepared for everyone to be amazed.
Nice to serve with fresh fruit and coffee cake. Everyone gets involved in the process and it's a great conversation piece.

embien said...

@BillG: You can move the clock by clicking and dragging with the mouse and thereby get it out of your way. You can pause the clock by clicking on the green button in the clock icon (click again to restart the clock).

You can remove the clock entirely by doing the following:
Click on Edit
Select Options
Select the Tools tab
Select the Across Timer and Scoring add-on
Under Options, select "Switch off timing."

Hope this helps.

eddyB said...

Good evening,

My nose has been broken twice so it
goes one way and the septum goes the other way. Makes it hard to breathe this way.

I agree with Dennis, it is no fun
just filling in the blanks. I will set the puzzle aside just so don't finish it too soon. Maybe the ones this weekend will be more difficult. Thought that both the USA and Chron puzzles were more difficult than the LAT today. At least they took longer to do.

If someone wants to buy me a few
Macallans, I'll finish the long verson of the story about the big, bad super.

Have to go and eat now.


Anonymous said...

We enjoyed the puzzle today & didn't have any major problems. Skye cap was my favorite clue. I could enjoy a puzzle just a tad more difficult as long as the difficulty isn't cause by names!

Andrea, our TV star - A good interview. I hope everything goes well on Sunday. You should have
good weather according to the forecast.

How do you make your tomato sauce for freezing? I just made some spaghetti sauce & froze it. Is yours something more basic that you doctor up when you use it?


kazie said...

I too wish you get beautiful weather Sunday and a good crowd. Hope it brings in a lot of money.

I've been busy today preparing for our "early Thanksgiving" meal tomorrow for the German visitors--all ready to put the turkey in the overn in the morning. Hope they enjoy it as well as we liked the goose legs at Christmas with them.