Feb 28, 2009

Saturday February 28, 2009 Tom Pruce

Theme: None

Total blocks: 28

Total words: 70

Noticed how this puzzle differs from Matthew Higgins' themeless? The sparse and prudent use suffixes. Two ED and several S, which are very common in any Saturday grid. I simply can't stand puzzles with oodles of affixes like ER, RE, ING, ED and EST.

Lots of 10-letter words. 12, to be exact. That results in plenty of 4-letter words, most of which are clued pretty straighforwardedly.

The clue for NEWSSTANDS (1A: Place for papers) should be in plural form. I understand the constructor's alliteration purpose in cluing MISSEND (50A) as "Mail by mistake". I just dislike the letter duplication. "Mail by error" sounds OK to me.

I am lost on ANTECEDENT (14D: Cause). What's the rationale here?

For those regulars who don't have TMS Sunday puzzle, click "Over and Over". I will publish Argyle's blog post here tomorrow morning.

Across:

11A: Caesar's partner: COCA. Stumped immediately. I need "Caesar's TV partner" to think of the Imogene COCA. I thought of Caesar salad.

15A: Pharmacist: APOTHECARY. Recognize this word when I see it. But I can't spell it out.

16A: Son of Judah: ONAN. The guy who spilled his seeds on the ground. Onanism is easier to remember than the Latin "coitus interruptus". "Can I ...?"

17A: Ballet turns: PIROUETTES

18A: Flat fee?: RENT. Nice clue.

19A: Get a whiff of: SCENT. I wrote SMELL first.

21A: Summon to court: CITE. Would have come to me immediately if the clue were "Quote".

22A: Sicilian volcano: ETNA. The insurance giant AETNA is named after this volcano. Greek for "I burn". My surname Burn-ikel has no burning desire at all. It simply means "Don't kill the child" in Viking talks.

27A: Chandler novel, with "The": BIG SLEEP. Easy guess. I've never read this book.

31A: Team spirit: MORALE. I bet those Afghan warlords' MORALE is very high now, with CIA's supply of our friendship blue pills. Viagra is a potent weapon in war on terror, correct?

36A: Abbr. on folk music: TRAD. Add a prefix S, you suddenly have Joshua Bell's expensive STRAD.

46A: Black sea port: ODESSA. Still remember AZOV the "Black sea arm"? It's quite close to ODESSA.

46A: Unskilled: INEXPERT. Only know EXPERT.

56A: Of the kidney: RENAL. And OTIC (60A: Of the ear). What is "Of love"?

65A: Facial features: LINEAMENTS. You won't believe it, but I really have never heard of this word before.

67A: Took the first step: STARTED OUT

Down:

2D: Heroic in scope: EPIC. Are you a fan of "The Lord of the Rings"? Somehow I've never developed an interest in those fantasy novels.

5D: Airport connector: SHUTTLE

11D: Washington D.C. art gallery: CORCORAN. No idea. What is their most precious collection?

12D: Body of water near Syracuse: ONEIDA LAKE. It's the largest lake entirely within NY State. I just learned this morning that the name ONEIDA literally means "Erected stone".

13D: Type of bridge: CANTILEVER. Like this one? According to Dictionary, only one end of the CANTILEVER bridge is fixed. That picture does not seem to fit the definition.

24D: Sponsorship: AEGIS. See Athena's AEGIS shield. The center is Medusa's head. Poor Medusa. She used to be pretty. But then she made love to Poseidon in Athena's temple. Bam! Athena turned her into a monster! Her ugly face could turn any onlooker into stone, maybe an "Erected stone".

26D: Hang in loose folds: LOP. Not a familiar definition to me. "Chop off" is more common.

28D: Casts light on: IRRADIATES

29D: Jefferson Airplane singer: GRACE SLICK. Easy guess. In Chinese culture, that's a very rude gesture.

37D: Examines in minute detail: DISSECTS

44D: Off the charts: EXTREME. "Off the chart" is a new phrase to me.

51D: Shipboard crane: DAVIT. Is it mainly used to lift boat?

55D: Gershon of "Bound": GINA. Don't know "Bound". Only saw GINA Gershon in "Showgirls". She was rumored to have affair with Bill Clinton last year.

57D: One-billionth: pref.: NANO

58D: Westernmost of the Aleutian Islands: ATTU. Also the westernmost of the US.

C.C.

Feb 27, 2009

Friday February 27, 2009 Jo Vita

Theme: Go a-head

17A: Deceived: HOODWINKED

34A: Eat quickly: SCARF DOWN

45A: Hockey feats: HAT-TRICKS

66A: Collectible toy tot: BEANIE BABY

11D: North African city: FEZ, MOROCCO

29D: Financial investor: CAPITALIST

I am not hip into the hockey term HAT-TRICK. Is it equivalent to baseball's grand slam?

This puzzle held my interest. Great to see FEZ, MOROCCO in the grid. What a brilliant theme entry! Bonnet is missing. So is bowler hat. What else can you think of?

Why "Wild again" for FERAL (12D)? Isn't "Wild" sufficient? I would have clued SMEAR (72A: Smudge) as "Campaign tactic" due to my averseness to letter duplication. SLOTH (24D: Unau or ai) made me think of our constructor John Underwood. His old website is called SLOTH2toed. Our editor used to clue UNAU as "Two-toed sloth". AI is a just 3-toed sloth that lives in who knows where.

Across:

1A: Booty: SWAG. I forgot this slang. It's clued as "Thief's haul" last time.

15A: Artist Matisse: HENRI. Without Gertrude/Leo Stein, I doubt Matisse would have achieved what he later achieved.

19A: Stone or Pound: EZRA. In 10 years' time, EZRA probably will be clued as "Pundit Klein". He is the current liberal darling.

20A: Touchdown vessel: LANDER. Like LEM?

23A: Puppy barks: YIPS. Have yet to see YIPS clued as golf-related.

27A: NRC preceder: AEC. Existed from 1946 to 1975.

32A: Czech physicist Beckmann: PETR. Zowie! Look at the book he is holding, "The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear". I wonder if his theories have been challenged. Anyway, I forgot all about him. He also wrote "The History of Pi." I think his mom forgot to put an vowel at the end of his name.

38A: Corsican patriot: PAOLI. Had to get reacquainted with this fellow again. Could only think of Napoléon, as he was born in Corsica. Why is he considered a patriot?

41A: Natural starter?: SUPER. Supernatural. Good clue.

44A: Artless: NAIVE

50A: Explorer Johnson: OSA. Are those eggs? Her name escaped me once again. OSA, OSA, she-bear. Won't forget you next time.

51A: Andes tuber: OCA. Learned these tubers the way I learned about UGLI, from doing crossword.

56A: Ayres and Wallace: LEWS. I wanted ELIS again, confusing the "Ben-Hur" author LEW Wallace with ELI Wallach. Wikipedia says the actor LEW Ayres was married to Ginger Rogers from 1934 until 1940. And Jane Wyman fell in love with him while filing "Johnny Belinda" and left her husband Ronald Reagan for him, "albeit unsuccessfully".

61A: Kevin of "SNL": NEALON. I googled his name. Hard to find a perfect Granny Smith at this time of the year.

68A: Unless, in law: NISI. Decree NISI. Learned from doing crossword. You can't get married if you have received "Decree NISI" but not "Decree absolute". Maybe Paul McCartney has secretly married to her girlfriend, who received her "Decree absolute" from the court a while ago.

69A: Eccentric: OUTRE. I wrote down WEIRD first.

70A: Ends of small intestines: ILEA. Singular is ileum. (Note: Sorry about the mistake earlier. I mixed it up with the hipbones ILIA (singular Ilium).

71A: 1994 pact: GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades). Gimme. GATT was mentioned so often in China around the time when I graduated from college. It was replaced by WTO in 1994. Tough entering process for China.

73A: DEA Operative: NARC. DEA is often clued as "Narc's agcy."

Down:

3D: Egyptian god: AMON. Or AMEN/AMUN. No AMIN, since there is no "I" in modern interpretation of those Egyptian heiroglyphs. See this AMON-Ra on relief.

4D: Lee of Rush: GEDDY. No idea. Not familiar with the Canadian rock band Rush or the lead singer Geddy Lee, the guy in the middle.

7D: Egyptian cross: ANKH. I tend to confuse this word with the Hindu SIKH.

18D: Chinese dynasty: WEI. There are two WEI Dynasties in Chinese history. Here is a great list of all major dynasties. Click on Three Kingdoms or Southern and Northern Dynasties, you will find detailed information on the two WEIs that you don't really need to know.

28D: S. Amer. nation: ECUA. Capital: Quito. Currency: Sucre. Sucre has nothing to do with sugar. It's named after a South American independence leader named Antonio Jose de Sucre.

33D: Hirsch sitcom: TAXI. Easy guess. I've never heard of the actor Judd Hirsch. He is the guy with big nose. I was thinking of Emile Hirsch, the actor in "Into the Wild". Are they somehow related?

35D: Dream in Rheims: REVE. French for "Dream". Got the answer. Had no idea where exactly Rheims is. No painting is more erotic and DF than Picasso's "Le REVE".

36D: Soft-drink brand: FRESCA. Only Pepsi products in our house.

39D: Bird's display area: LEKS. I forgot. Saw this clue before. It's basically bird's mating arena. LEK is also Albanian currency.

48D: Some sports cars: TURBOS. Don't know anything about sports cars.

52D: Compound in ceramics: CERIA. Completely unknown to me. Some kind of white powder to polish ceramics or glass.

54D: Lung: pref: PNEUM. This prefix stumps me all the time.

57D: Polio vaccine developer: SABIN. He developed oral, "live virus" vaccine. Salk developed "killed virus" injection vaccine.

62D: Los Angeles land?: LA-LA

63D: German head waiter: OBER. Alien to me. I only know Über, German for "over".

64D: Central park S. landmark: NYAC (New York Athletic Club). Blue murder! I can never remember this building or its abbreviation.

Is anyone going to attend the ACPT this weekend? Barry Silk will be there.

C.C.

Feb 26, 2009

Thursday February 26, 2009 Ed Voile

Theme: Love is Sharing

17A: Start of a quip: LOVE DOES

29A: Part 2 of quip: NOT EXIST

44A: Part 3 of quip: UNLESS IT

58A: End of quip: IS SHARED

This is so similiar to that memorable line in "Into the Wild": Happiness is only real when it's shared.

Anyway, I beg to differ. Unrequited love is not shared, but it does exist.

Nothing exciting about this puzzle. I think "Most senior" is more accurate than just "Senior " for 63A ELDEST. Really liked the clue for PARER (49D: Trimmer). The clue misguided me into thinking LEANER/THINNER.

If you have solved Barry Silk's LA Times themeless puzzle (Feb 21, Saturday), please scroll own and read Dr. Dad's blog post. I apologize for the earlier release. I am aware that some of you have not solved the puzzle yet. Neither have I, as I intended to publish the post here on March 1 Sunday. I had planned to solve it on Saturday myself so I would have fresh memories when I comment. Unfortunately the news was leaked last night and I don't want to dilute the comments into various segments.

Across:

5A: __ d'Isere, France: VAL. The French skiing resort. Literally "Valley of the Isere River".

19A: Hogs the mirror: PRIMPS. Brought back the campus life again. The girl who used to hog our mirror has changed so much.

22A: Also: PLUS. Did not come to me immediately. I am more used to the "Plus" clue for ALSO.

25A: Republican symbol: ELEPHANT. The symbol was created by cartoonist Nast. It first appeard in Harper's Weekly on Nov 7, 1874.

31A: Cover crop: SOY. What exactly is "Cover crop"?

37A: Tippy vessel: CANOE. The Eskimo CANOE is Kayak, "man's boat". Umiak is literally "woman's boat". All those paddlers are men though.

40A: Singer Vallee: RUDY. Vaguely remember this singer. What are his signature songs?

41A: Kin partner: KITH. KITH and kin.

52A: Tracy's Trueheart: TESS. I like this name Trueheart. Ada Lovelace, Baron's daughter, has an affectionate surname too.

55A: Neville and Burr: AARONS. Oh, AARON Neville and Linda Ronstadst made "Don't Know Much" famous. I did not know that.

62A: Selfsame: VERY. I thought "selfsame" means "identical", "the same".

Down:

1D: Ike's opponent: ADLAI. Better than "Loser to Ike". I imagine Illinois was as messy as it is today when ADLAI Stevenson was the governor.

5D: Bluish purple: VIOLET. This puzzle is so boring today. Let's create some silly poems. Roses are red, VIOLETS are blue .... now you finish the last two lines.

10D: Actress Van Devere: TRISH. Easy guess. She was married to George C Scott.

22D: Bases of columns: PLINTHS. I thought of PILLARS first.

25D: Demanded with force: EXACTED. Kim Jong-il has been suspiciously missing.

30D: Stars in Bordeaux: ETOILES. Van Gogh's "La Nuit Etoilée" ("Starry Night"). I wish I could paint my dreams.

36D: Capital of Ecuador: QUITO. ECUADOR was clued as "Quito's country" a week ago. Sucre is their monetary unit.

39D: Computer snag: GLITCH

41D: Israel's parliament: KNESSET. Netanyahu's right-wing Likud Party won 27 seats (out of a total of 120) in the last election. Does he look charming to you?

45D: Group in a group: SUBSET. I am very confused.

55D: Bart's grandpa: ABE. "The Simpsons". Homer's father.

56D: To a man: ALL. "To a man" is a new phrase to me. Is it similar to "As one man"?

57D: Actor Steiger: ROD. He won Best Actor Oscar for "In the Heat of the Night", my favorite Sidney Poitier movie.

C.C.

Saturday, February 21, 2009 Barry Silk LA Times

(Note from C.C.: Today's post is blogged by Dr. Dad who is currently on a business trip. Barry Silk's themeless puzzle was published in LA Times on Saturday Feb 21, 2009.)

Hello! My name is Dr. Dad. I found C.C.'s Star Tribune Crossword Corner by accident a while ago when solving the Trib puzzle published in the Providence Journal (RI). I have had a great time on her site and she graciously asked me to guest blog and, therefore - today I am guest blogging for the Star Tribune Crossword Corner. She does an excellent job with analyzing crosswords and has numerous visitors. I hope I do her justice with Barry Silk's themeless puzzle of February 21st.

There seems to be a hint of a "theme" in this puzzle - 12D: Action Hero. Many times the heroes of action films can be seen wearing Jump Suits (35D) and Life Jackets (1A) with numerous Sweat Stains (57A). They need a lot of Horse Sense (14D), especially when Standing Guard (13D). Not my best effort at figuring out themes, but ---

Enough of that. Off to the puzzle (70 words).

Across:

11A: Bills: CASH. My cash is dwindling in this troubled economy.

15A: It's 42 miles NNW of Bar Harbor: ORONO, MAINE. I was surprised that the answer contained the state as well. The University of Maine is located here and Orono is a frequent answer in Xwords.

16A: Pi opening?: OCTO. Nice trick. I looked for other Greek letters. Ugly looking but they taste delicious. I first ate them when I visited China.

17A: Warning sign: DO NOT ENTER.

18A: Sky light: STAR.

19A: _____' acte: ENTR. French for "between the acts." It can refer to an intermission but more often refers to a piece of music performed between acts of a theatrical production. It is also a 1924 film.

20A: Short change?: CTS. Goes hand in hand with my "11A cash" that is also getting short.

21A: Morning prayers: MATINS. The early morning or night prayer service in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox liturgies.

23A: Liberally "strong" in Hawaiian: MAHI. Mahi Mahi is "strong strong" for dolphin fish. This Mahi Mahi with Ginger Soy Sauce looks delicious.

25A: 1963 system based on a 1944 Robert Moon proposal: ZIP CODE. I wonder if Mr. Moon prepared for the nine-digit system or only the five-digit one.

26A: Like jambalaya: CREOLE. Creole is not the same as Cajun.

29A: Billboard listings: HIT SONGS.

30A: Energize: REV UP. Plenty of revving up a couple of Sundays ago at this place.

31A: Soprano Fleming: RENEE. Not familiar with this person. My favorite is Ian.

32A: Old TV knob: HUE. Does anyone still own a TV with knobs?

33A: Latin 101 verb: AMAS

34A: Dermatology issues: SORES. What about acne?

35A: Psychologist Piaget: JEAN. Well known (but not to me) for his work studying children and their cognitive development.

36A: Adverb ending: IAL

37A: Runs through: STABS

38A: Doesn't knock?: PURRS. Most of the engines at Daytona were "purring."

39A: Some tennis players: GRUNTERS. At 101 decibels, Wimbledon's defending champion Maria Sharapova is judged the loudest grunter so far.

41A: No longer très chic: DEMODE. Très chic is from French "very smart". Démodé is French, past participle of démoder, to outmode.

42A: Christmas village display figures: SKATERS. I still think she was one of the best.

43A: One for the books?: PERP. Help! I don't understand this one. All I know is perpendicular for Xwords. And the perp helped me to get this answer.

44A: Not on time for: LATE TO

45A: Military rank: MAJ. Major.

46A: Where T. Rex Sue was found: SDAK. South Dakota. You can see her at the Field Museum.

50A: Sacred bird of old Egypt: IBIS

51A: Not enough: INADEQUATE. Like my cash and short change and if you have enough you can give it to:

54A: Bandit one hopefully gives money to?: SLOT. And then your CPA can be concerned with:

55A: DEDUCTIBLE(s)

56A: Knockouts, so to speak: TENS. Kind of in keeping with the short change and bills. Not enough to go around.

Down:

1D: Valuable deposit: LODE. Wish I'd find one to help my short change, cash, and tens.

2D: Word with hand or horse: IRON. Fits well with "Horse Sense" in this puzzle.

3D: Newspaper option: FONT.

4D: Titanic: ENORMOUS. And SHE was. Loved the movie.

5D: Scribble: JOT

6D: "Cocoon" Oscar Winner: AMECHE. I am glad that Heath Ledger got the posthumous award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

7D: "C'mon . . . please?": CAN'T I?

8D: Hobbyists' buys: KITS

9D: Storm hdg: ENE. Much better than "opposite of "WSW."

10D: Home wreckers: TERMITES. I thought of "Exes" but then again, I have had termites and they truly are home wreckers.

11D: BJ's competitor: COSTCO. Another competitor is Sam's Club (used to be PACE).

22D: Sanctuary section: APSE. A crossword staple, along with NAVE.

24D: Matterhorn, e.g.: ALP. Here is another famous Alp - the Eiger (Clint Eastwood fans might remember "The Eiger Sanction.").

25D: Popular issues: ZINES. (pronounced 'zene') - An abbreviation of the word fanzine, or magazine. It is most commonly a small circulation, non-commercial publication of original or appropriated texts and images.

26D: Alternative to newspaper classifieds: CRAIG'S LIST. This is indeed becoming popular as the alternative.

27D: Noteworthy: REMARKABLE. Describes nicely the tribute Barry Silk gave C.C. and her site with his "Star Tribune Crossword Puzzle" from last week. Thanks, Barry.

28D: Critique: EVALUATION

29D: Tea flavorings: HERBS

31D: Comedy club sounds: ROARS

34D" Subject of the 2007 Mitchell Report: STEROIDS. 'Nuff' said on this subject.

37D: Proof instruction: STET. Another Xword staple.

38D: By way of: PER. This helped me get "perp" for 43A which I still don't understand.

40D: Powerful experiments: NTESTS. The chemist in me kept thinking laboratory. Here is one of the most powerful N Tests. I am glad we stopped these and hope no one else wants to start.

41D: Bring down: DEJECT

43D: "The Taming of the Shrew" setting: PADUA. Here is the the map.

45D: Good way to have it: MADE. Don't we all wish that?

47D: "The Aba ___ Honeymoon": DABA. I was glad it was 'daba' because all I could think of was Fred Flintstone and 'Yabba Dabba Doo!"

48D: Mythical Hun King: ATLI. This has become a staple in recent Xwords.

49D: Insightful: KEEN

52D: Just out: NEW. As am I on this crossword blogging. I hope I've done okay.

53D: Dairy units: Abbr.: QTS.

Thank you, C.C. for asking me to do this. It was fun and I hope you and all visitors like my "Critique = Evaluation (28D)".

Dr. Dad

Feb 25, 2009

Wednesday February 25, 2009 Annabel Michaels

Theme: "Pulp" Art

17A: Accordion: SQUEEZE BOX

26A: Broadway moneymaker: SMASH HIT

32A: 1977-79 Broncos' nickname: ORANGE CRUSH

41A: Crash protection space: CRUMPLE ZONE

50A: Whiskey ingredient: SOUR MASH

61A: When push comes to shove: CRUNCH TIME

I think we've done two similar themed puzzles before, though neither contained so many theme answers.

What exactly is SOUR MASH? I got the answer from down fills. ORANGE CRUSH was an easy guess. I don't even know why Vikings were called "Purple People Eaters" in 1970's. Who cares! They want to move to Los Angeles anyway.

There should be a "briefly" with the clue for TKOS (60A: Fight stoppers). Otherwise, no twisty clues. Solvable if you are not PRESSed for time.

Across:

1A: Tessie or Milo: O'SHEA. Not familiar with Welsh actress/singer Tessie O'SHEA. She sounds like genuinely funny. Wikipedia says she was on "The Ed Sullivan Show" the same day when the Beatles made their first appearance.

10A: Sphere starter?: ATMO. Atmosphere.

15A: Corduroy rib: WALE. Faintly remembered the term corduroy WALE.

22A: French floor: ETAGE. The bric-a-brac shelf ETAGERE is rooted in ETAGE.

28AL Czech Republic region: MORAVIA. No idea. I could only think of Bohemia. Here is the map. Madeleine Albright is probably the most famous Czech American. She could, if she would, have become Czech's President in 2002.

31A: Balanced conditions: STASES. Singular is STASIS. Can you make a sentence for me? I've never used this word before. Equilibriums, yes.

35A: Wall upright: STUD. Very unfamiliar definition to me. Dictionary explains STUD as "an upright post in the framework of a wall for supporting sheets of lath, wallboard, or similar material."

36A: Moon car, briefly: LEM. To an untrained eye, this Apollo 11 Eagle looks ugly and junky. Who is that astronaut?

45A: Greek letters: THETAS. The 8th of Greek alphabet (total 24). Consonant. Interesting how Egyptian hieroglyph has 24 glyphes, but no vowel. I like that "tongue" (mdw).

49A: Wise king: SOLOMON. OK, the first paragraph here: "I've been staring at this Academy Award ballot for the past 20 minutes. The decisions! Now I know how SOLOMON felt." What does "The decisions! Now I know how SOLOMON felt" mean?

66A: "Bellefleur" writer: OATES. Probably our editor's favorite OATES book. He keeps using the same clue. Have you read Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar"? Joyce Carol OATES said it's a "near perfect work of art".

67A: Unfledged bird: EYAS. Uh-uh, nope, this is an imagined word.

69A: City on the Adige: TRENT. Called TRENTO in Italy. Adige River seems to be a branch of that unnamed river that runs through Trento, doesn't it?

Down:

2D: Roman acronym: SPQR. Senatus Populusque Romanus (the Senate and the people of Rome). I can only remember "pigs". Maria mentioned last time that Italians call SPQR "Sono Porci Questi Romani", loosely translated as "These Romans are Pigs".

3D: Soccer mom in Munich?: HAUSFRAU. It's just German for "housewife", right, Kazie? I don't know what's so fun about this clue.

5D: Peer Gynt's mother: ASE. I can never remember this lady's name. Nor can I commit the African bushy-tailed fox ASSE into my memory. Can anyone who has read this Ibsen play give us a short summary of what "Peer Gynt" is about?

6D: Bedside pitcher: EWER. No EWER on my bedside table. Never. What's on your bedside? EWER?

9D: Put forth flowers: BLOOM. "Put forth" sounds so laborious. Most flowers "Burst through". The clue reminded me of this Anais Nin quote: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

11D: Synagogue scrolls: TORAHS. Does synagogue allow non-Jewish people in?

12D: Actress Smith: MAGGIE. She is so old. Time to clue MAGGIE Q, the hottest MAGGIE on earth.

18D: Yikes!: ZOWIE. I need to use this word often.

34D: Pitch callers: UMPS. Cute, so cute. Can't find an UMP bobblehead. Has to be 1960's & Made in Japan to be valuable.

37D: Black Sea arm: AZOV. I was unaware of Sea of AZOV.

45D: Pestilent fly: TSETSE. Have you heard of blow-fly? Wikipedia says it belongs to the same family as TSETSE fly does.

47D: Satellite of Jupiter: EUROPA. Galileo must be very versed in Greek mythology. Otherwise, he would not have named this moon as EUROPA.

52D: Noon and midnight, e.g.: HOURS. Boy, I felt dense. This did not come to me readily at all.

61D: 905: CMV

C.C.

Feb 24, 2009

Tuesday February 24, 2009 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: Double O

17A: Kenny Loggins hit: FOOT LOOSE

22A: Handyman's space: TOOL ROOM

33A: Alternative to a T-top: MOON ROOF

40A: Chef's reading: COOKBOOK

49A: Make light of: POOH-POOH

59A: Handsomeness: GOOD LOOK

11D: Cereal brand: FROOT LOOPS

27D: Expectorant source: BLOODROOTS

I have never heard of BLOODROOTS before. They look so clean and innocent. I think I am more of a "Double O" CHOO-CHOO solver rather than a BLOODROOTS one. The clue "Expectorant" is too sophisticated for me to understand.

Too bad GOODEN (45D: Former Mets pitcher), the rotational partner for BOOBOO (5D: Child's injury), is not called GOO GOO, otherwise, We would have one more pair of theme answers.

Dwight GOODEN ruined his career with drug abuse. His rookie season is 1985, the same as Kirby Puckett's and Roger Clemens'. Now Kirby is dead, Clemens is implicated in steroid scandal.

Structurally this is an outstanding puzzle, with total 38 Os in the grid, easily smashed NY Time's 34 Os record created on Dec 16, 1993.

Also, there are 68 theme squares, that's about 35% of the total fills (Total: 191. And 34 blocks). I think that's the most I've encountered in a TMS puzzle.

But I was not excited about this puzzle at all. Too many Os confused me. I like daily puzzles with no more than 5 theme entries.

Across:

5A: A/C figures: BTUS (British Thermal Units). Memorized from doing the Xword. I don't really know what the heck BTU measures.

9A: To the most extreme degree: BY FAR. Really? I've never used "BY FAR" this way. Maybe I confuse BY FAR with SO FAR.

15A: Birthplace of Camembert: ORNE. No idea. ORNE is a department in the northwest of France, named named after the ORNE River. Every time I see Camembert, Dali's "Melting Clock"("The Persistence of Memory") pops into my head. He was inspired by the leftover Camembert cheese dissolving on a hot summer's day.

19A: Feel rapture: SWOON. Its rotational symmetrical partner is BROOD (58A: Hatch eggs). I would prefer BROOD clued as "Feel moody" to contrast "Feel rapture".

20A: Deprive of strength: ENFEEBLE. Thought of ENERVATE, which has 8 letters also.

21A: Fit in: BELONG. Embien, why "You BELONG with me" instead of "You BELONG to me"?

25A: Queen of the fairies: MAB. Coined by Shakespeare. MAB is supposedly "a tiny fairy who comes to people when they sleep. Then she haunts their dreams by making the person dream of what they want and cannot have." Sounds very cruel, doesn't it? Reminds me of Odin's wife Frigg. She has the prophecy power yet she never reveals to others what she knows.

37A: Le Mans lasses: abbr.: MLLES. Got the answer. Did not know where Le Mans is. Quite close to Paris. Host to the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans car race, whatever it is. Know nothing about Grand Prix or Formula One racing. Doubt I will ever be interested. What a mess! You, sir, should have resigned a year ago.

42A: Newton's fruit?: APPLE. Good clue. Could be FIG too.

47A: Shortened bk: ABR (Abridged)

52A: Freetown moola: LEONES. See these banknotes. Had no idea that Freetown is the capital of Sierra Leone. Now, there is word describing a Middle East sheik or some big potatoe. It spells similiar to moola. What is that word? This is really bothering me. It's not moula.

54A: Formal written defense: APOLOGIA. New word to me. Any famous one in history?

60A: MetLife rival: AETNA. Named after the Sicilian vocano I suppose.

63A: Stuffy-sounding: NASAL

Down:

2D: Carolina university: ELON. See this Phoenix Rising statue at ELON University. Their sports teams are called the Phoenix. Learned from doing Xword.

4D: Church coral work: MOTET. I forgot this word. It's "a composition based on a sacred text and usually sung without accompaniment". Rooted in French word "mot".

6D: Ogre associates: TROLLS. I once had a beautifully ugly Norwegian TROLL similar to this one. The real deal.

7D: Family of Indy winners: UNSER

9D: First, second or third infielder: BASEMAN. My favorite BASEMAN.

10D: Mournful wail: YOWL. In Chinese countryside, those villagers really YOWL at the funerals, as if the loudness of their YOWL is the measurement of their love for the deceased.

12D: Egyptian symbols: ATONS. Or ATENS. I am used to the "Egyptian sun god" clue. I have a question JD: If the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs contained only consonants and involved no vowels, why did the moderan interpreation become ATON/ATEN instead of ATIN/ATUN?

18D: Spinks and Ames: LEONS. Bill mentioned the boxer LEON Spinks last time, but I forgot. I also did not know the actor LEON Ames.

21D: Julius or Guy of golf: BOROS. Julius is in Golf HOF. Nothing extraordinary about his son Guy. I've never heard of their names before. Too obscure.

25D: 1700 in letters: MDCC

26D: Saab model: AERO. More often see AERO clued as "Prefix for dynamics".

41D: Two-footed: BIPEDAL. Only know BIPED.

44D: Place side by side: APPOSE. How is it different from juxtapose?

47D: Composer Berg: ALBAN. Why do keep I forgetting this Austrian composer?

48D: Suburb of Cleveland: BEREA. Bloody blue murder! No idea. What's so special about this suburb?

50D: Hawaiian word for foreign: HAOLE. Just learned this word a few days ago. It actually only refers to white people.

53D: Nine: pref.: NONA. As in nonagon. New to me. I only know NONET, the composition for group of nine. Our editor clued ENNEA as "Nine: pref: " before.

55D: Wound from a bullfight: GORE. Come on, this is really "The Assault on Reason", Mr. Editor. Why "Wound" when you have a Nobel Peace/Oscar winner as clue?

C.C.

Feb 23, 2009

Monday February 23, 2009 Adele Mann

Theme: Down-load

20A: Not readily apparent: BELOW THE SURFACE

40A: Feeling poorly: UNDER THE WEATHER

54A: Lower than low: BENEATH CONTEMPT

This is the 4th Adele Mann puzzle we've solved in Feb. Ms. Mann, if you are reading this blog, please email me or visit us at the Comments section. We'd like to know more about you. Is Adele your real name?

No "Speak Persians?" cute clue today. No obscure name or imaginative word either. Feels quite smooth to me.

I don't think TERSE (64A) is "Short and sweet". Short, yes. Sweet, no. To me, TERSE connotes a sense of being "curt"and "rude".

Can you give me an example of TAWNY (30D: Brownish orange) color? Is this night owl TAWNY?

Across:

10A: Actress Blanchett: CATE. Very talented Aussi. I liked her the most in "The Good German". Her bone structure does have a Katharine Hepburn chiseled look. Her performance in "The Aviator" seems a bit rigid though.

15A: Pestiferous insect: ROACH. "Pestiferous" is a new word to me. What a contrast with melliferous.

43A: Cartoonist Drucker: MORT. Yawner. Just had him yesterday. Dictionary says MORT is also a 3-year-old salmon. What is a 2-year old salmon then? SMOLT? How about 1-year old? Will they be called adult salmon when they are 4-year old?

44A: Reddish-orange dye: HENNAS. Like this man's beard. I was thinking of SENNA (the medicinal herb), confusing it with SIENNA, which is a yellow-brown pigment or the beautiful SIENNA Miller. She looks like the current Ukraine Prime Minister, doesn't she?

46A: King of Troy: PRIAM. Father of Paris, Hector and Cassandra. Nouriel Roubini predicted this crazy housing bubble several years ago. He was dismissed as Cassandra/Dr. Doom.

49A: Two-masted sailboats: YAWLS. I thought of YOWLS first, and I was not wholly wrong. Dictionary says YOWL is a variant of YAWL the boat. I don't know a fig about sailing. Is three-masted sailboard quicker? Slower? Bigger? Smaller? More expensive? Cheaper?

71A: Collar stiffener: STAY. I've never seen a collar STAY in person.

Down:

1D: Sepulcher: TOMB. Now there is a word with very similar spelling as "Sepulcher" , but it means orifice or some other body part. What is it? I vaguely remember Dennis has a comment about that word a few months ago.

9D: Doubtful gesture: SHRUG. Don't think the French SHRUG indicates such gesture. "So what?", yes.

10D: Open clash: CONFLICT. Hey, my old obsession Netanyahu is back. With his hardline attitude, the CONFLICT there will go on forever. I've moved on anyway.

21D: More ironic: WRYER. Or wrier.

25D: Losing streak: SLUMP. Tim Geithner should be thankful for this clue. Isn't ironic that two years ago Bush did not even acknowlege the existance of recession? Now we are talking about depression.

27D: Arboreal lemur: INDRI. The Madagascar short-tailed lemur. Literally "Look" due to the misunderstanding of the local language.

34D: Feudal peons: SERFS. Sometimes the answer is ESNES. I don't know the difference.

37D: Highest degree: NTH. I wonder if anyone thought of Ph.D. It's the highest degree you can achieve academically, right?

41D: Bric-a-brac stands: ETAGERES

53D: Demonstrate subservience: KNEEL. Not always a sign of "subservience".

54D: Very dry, as champagne: BRUT

58D: Projecting rock: CRAG. The name Craig is derived from CRAG, right, Mr. Bond (Daniel Craig)?

59D: Peak on Thessaly: OSSA. Holy moley, do you know that OS is a stand-alone Latin word for bone? And OSSA is its plural form. I always thought it's a prefix like "osteo".

62D: Bridge team: THEY. I presume the other team is WE. I am a dummy. Will never understand this game. See this photo. We/THEY are on written on the top.

C.C.

Feb 22, 2009

Sunday February 22, 2009 Michael T. Williams

Theme: Canine Collection

32A: Simpson's pooch: SANTA'S LITTLE HELPER

50A: Disney pooch: OLD YELLER

82A: Comic strip pooch: MARMADUKE

103A: Roy Rogers' pooch: BULLET THE WONDER DOG

7D: Cartoon pooch: DOGGIE DADDY

24D: Silver screen pooch: RIN TIN TIN

69D: Cartoon pooch: AUGIE DOGGIE

71D: Animated pooch: SCOOBY- DOO

Scroll down the first page to read Argyle's post on Barry's special puzzle for us.

Our TMS crossword superstars ASTA and LASSIE are missing.

I had never heard of DOGGIE DADDY or AUGIE DOGGIE or MARMADUKE. But they were quite inferable. The upper right corner where CALX /HRA/GORE-TEX intersect was impossible for me.

I also went through huge trouble filling in CROTON. I wonder why the constructor did not pick up Peggy NOONAN for clue 110A ("Gentleman prefer Blondes" co-star). Is Tommy NOONAN a very famous name? All I could think of is Marilyn Monroe. I like Peggy NOONAN. Bush's former speech writer Michael Gerson also writes very well-reasoned piece, though I often disagree with what they say.

I think "Ancient" needs to be added to the EDOM clue (55A: Dead Sea kingdom). I also disliked the clue for DIA (101A: Dist. across). It should be "Dist. across a circle".

Across:

15A: Shamus: TEC. Did not know "Shamus" is a slang for detective.

21A: Old-time actress Menken: ADAH. She was in our puzzle yesterday. Dumas' love interest.

22A: Govt. med. grp.: HRA (Health Reimbursement Accounts). Not a familiar grp. to me. I wanted HMO.

23A: Pat who shot Billy: GARRETT. Unknown figure. A real photo of Billy the Kid with gun is probably very valuable now.

31A: Waterproof fabric: GORE-TEX. I forgot. It appeared in our puzzle before. Used in raincoat I suppose.

28A: Xmas honcho: ST. NICK

35A: Sahl and Drucker: MORTS. MORT Drucker is the MAD cartoonist.

38A: Laura of LPGA: DAVIES. Here is Laura Davies with John Daly. Funny pair. I've seen her several times in person. She never uses tee. She just kicks in the ground with her shoes and forms a little bulge to put her ball on. There is another Laura in LPGA, Laura Diaz. She used to be very good.

44A: Lower layer of Earth's outer crust: SIMA. Silica and Magnesium. I forgot of course.

46A: McKellen and McShane: IANS. Did not know the English actor IAN McShane.

48A: Strasbourg's region: ALSACE. The pink area: ALSACE-Lorraine. I think the food there is very German.

57A: Shinto gateway: TORII. TORII gate. I finally remember this name because of Angels' TORII Hunter (ex-Twin).

60A: Violin-maker Amati: ANDREA. Good to know. AMATI if often clued as "Valuable violin".

68A: __ buena: YERBA. Not a familiar herb to me. Kind of mint.

73A: Comic Crosby: NORM. I wanted BING. Have never heard of NORM Crosby.

77A: Come to pass: OCCUR

96A: Lay it on thick: BEDAUB. Besmear. What a waste of two letter BE.

99A: Danube tributary: ISAR. OK, see here. Click on it, the map will enlarge. The river flows through Munich.

102A: Floral clusters: CYMES. No idea. My goodness, so many names for flower clusters.

107A: Skip like a stone: SKITTER. Did not like the SKI repetition.

112A: Long-haired felines: PERSIANS

114A: Space juice?: TANG

115A: __ de Saint-Exupery: ANTOINE. No idea. He was a French author. His image was on France's 50-franc note before Euro.

117A: Noninvasive med. exams: MRIS

118A: 2501: MMDI

120A: "Born on the Bayou" grp.: CCR (Credence Clearwater Rivival). Here is the song.

125A: J. J. Pershing's troops: AEF (American Expeditionary Force). Was this a gimme to you? I've never heard of General Pershing or his WWI troops.

Down:

2D: Reaches base after a bunt: BEATS OUT. Nick Punto needs to learn how to bunt. He is just awful.

3D: O'Higgins of Chile: BERNARDO. Another google. His position sounds like that of our second President John Adams, right?

5D: Alaska city on Baranof Island: SITKA. This has become a gimme. Largest city in the US by area.

11D: Brits. flyboys: RAF (Royal Air Force). Churchill had a famous saying about RAF: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." History has really been made by a few.

13D: Macmillan or Wilson: HAROLD. Both served as Prime Minister of the UK.

14D: Everest guide: SHERPA

15D: Franz Kafka novel: THE TRIAL. Know the book. Have never read it though.

16D: First name in mysteries: ERLE. ERLE Stanley Gardner.

17D: Crumbly metal residue: CALX. Struggled mightily with this weird word. It just looks so wrong, with LX together.

27D: Granary pests: WEEVILS

29D: Indians' third baseman of the 1950's: AL ROSEN. I have this card (reprint). He once said: "The greatest thrill in the world is to end the game with a home run and watch everybody else walk off the field while you're running the bases on air. "

34D: Lincoln's V.P.: HAMLIN. No idea. I thought it's Andrew Johnson. Why did President Lincoln ditch him after the first term then?

51D: Noted drama school: YALE. Easily inferable. Who are the famous YALE drama graduates?

52D: Catcher Howard: ELSTON. First African-American to play for the Yankees.

54D: Brown shade: SIENNA

60D: Agamemnon's father: ATREUS. Had to google again. Agamemnon is the brother-in- law of Helen of Troy. Obviously he played a huge role in the Trojan War. When he returned home, he and his concubine Cassandra were killed by his wife, who was then murdered by their son, who was being pursued by Erinyes (the three Furies) in this picture I linked a few months ago.

63D: Def. mil.grp.: TAC (Tactical Air Command). SAC is Strategic Air Command. Both are unfamiliar abbreviations to me.

76D: Group fund: TONTINE. No idea. What is it?

78D: Two dots over vowels: UMLAUTS. Like the two dots above Häagen-Dazs.

84D: Cardinals: RED BIRDS

86D: Mortarboard tosser: GRAD. These guys.

88D: Daryle of gridiron: LAMONICA. Sigh. Maybe Daryle LAMONICA can send me his autographed card. Then I will remember him. La Monica, what a strange name.

93D: Gandhi's title: MAHATMA. The title was given to him by Tagore.

97D: Last syllable of a word: ULTIMA. The next to last syllable is penultima.

98D: Vaguely outlined: BLEARY

100D: Make over: REVAMP

102D: New York reservoir: CROTON. This word gave me the most trouble. I stared at ?R??ON there forever. Have never heard of the CROTON Reservoir.

104D: Banks of Wrigley: ERNIE. This is his rookie card. He is a HOFer of course. 1954 is also Hank Aaron's rookie season.

108D: Berry and Norton: KENS. Easy guess. KEN Norton is multi-time world champion heavyweight boxer. Ex-Marine. Three KEN Berry's here, I don't know which one the constructor was thinking.

C.C.

Sunday February 22, 2009 Barry Silk

Theme: Star Tribune Crossword Corner (Blogged by Argle)

17A: It produces expanding bubbles of multimillion degree gas: STARBURST GALAXY

26A: Daily newspaper published in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, with "The": TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT

45A: Professional cruciverbalist, perhaps: CROSSWORD EDITOR

59A: Gain a monopoly: CORNER THE MARKET

(Note from C.C.: Click here if you have not solved the puzzle. Please save your discussions on Barry's LA themeless (Feb 21. LA Times has a 30-day archive.) for next Sunday's blog post. Also, NT Times just published Barry and Doug Peterson's "The Cruciverbalist" puzzle this morning. Should appear in syndication paper next Sunday. I won't blog it since Rex and Orange have covered it pretty well.)

Back to Argyle.

Thank you, Barry Silk, for giving C.C. and us our own crossword. I hope my blog does it justice.

There are many acronyms and abbreviations to deal with and a few proper names, too, but none of the dreaded crossings of unknowns, IMHO.

All in all, an enjoyable puzzle.

Across:

1A: Engage in, as war: WAGE.

5A: Grazing grounds: LEAS. Cows at an al fresco café.

9A: Cuban currency: PESOS. Images.

14A: Mystique: AURA. Mystique: noun, an AURA of heightened value or interest or meaning surrounding a person or thing.

15A: Sea World performer: ORCA. SeaWorlds are in San Diego, CA, Orlando, FL, and San Antonio, TX. ORCA, also known as killer whale, is a black and white predatory whale.

16A: Sticker: DECAL. Here's a sticker for your SASE.

17A: It produces expanding bubbles of multimillion degree gas: STARBURST GALAXY. I picked the one that looked hottest, the Starburst Galaxy He2-10 .

20A: Miss America of 1971: ___ George: PHYLLIS. PHYLLIS George has worked as a television host and sportscaster. She was previously married to Robert Evans and to former Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown, Jr., with whom she had two children. She is also the author of several books and a business woman.

21A: Return destination?: Abbr.: IRS. 1040 Tax return (no picture, we all know what it looks like.)

22A: Fannie ___ : MAE. The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), commonly known as Fannie MAE, was founded in 1938 during the Great Depression. The corporation's purpose is to purchase and securitize mortgages in order to ensure that funds are consistently available to the institutions that lend money to home buyers.

On September 7, 2008, it was announced that Fannie MAE and Freddie Mac were being placed into conservatorship of the FHFA. The action is "one of the most sweeping government interventions in private financial markets in decades". As of 2008, Fannie MAE and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) owned or guaranteed about half of the U.S.'s $12 trillion mortgage market. (Not a pretty picture)

23A: Intl. assn. created in 1948: OAS. Organization of American States.

24A: Onassis nickname: ARI. ARIstotle Onassis, billionaire Greek shipping magnate, married Jackie Kennedy in 1968.

25A: Pouches: SACS. Pouchlike structures in a plant or an animal, sometimes filled with fluid.

26A: Daily newspaper published in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, with "The": TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT. Front cover, Serving Grater Johnstown Since 1853.

31A: Intertwined: WOVE.

32A: U.S.N. clerk: Abbr.: YEO. United States Navy YEOman, a petty officer, having chiefly clerical duties.

33A: Pendulum partner: PIT. A short story written by Edgar Allan Poe, “The PIT and the Pendulum” (1843).

34A: Whatever: ANY. Adjective- whatever it may be: cheap at ANY price / cheap at whatever cost.

35A: Spies' quest: SECRETS. True Lies.

38A: Games grp.: IOC. International Olympic Committee.

41A: Director's cry: CUT. CUT, CUT, CUT!

43A: William F. Buckley was one: ELI. Nickname for a Yale University student, which Mr. Buckley was, Class of '50.

44A: Number near an APR: MSRP. New car sticker APR: annual percentage rate. MSRP: Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price.

45A: Professional cruciverbalist, perhaps: CROSSWORD EDITOR. Wayne Robert Williams, perhaps.

50A: Possess: HAVE

51A: Stat. for Ryan Howard: HRS. Home RunS: Howard is the 6'4" and 260 lb. first baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies. On June 27, 2007, Howard became the player to reach 100 HRS the quickest in Major League Baseball history.

52A: Pentagon fig.: GEN. High ranking milatary officer: GENeral

53A: The Beatles' "___ Mine": I ME. Beatles song, written and sung by George Harrison.

54A: Org. that maintains 35-Across: CIA. Central Intelligence Agency.

55A: Lese __: high crime: MAJESTE. (The crime) of injured majesty. French partial translation of Latin: (crīmen) laesae māiestātis, laesae, feminine genitive of laesus, past participle of laedere, to injure + māiestātis, genitive of māiestās, majesty.

59A: Gain a monopoly: CORNER THE MARKET. Monopoly! Now that would be a good theme for a crossword puzzle.

62A: Work with the hands: KNEAD. You need to KNEAD that dough.

63A: Concert wind: OBOE. But not "A Mighty Wind".

64A: Bee or Em: AUNT. Bee, from Mayberry, and Em, still in Kansas.

65A: Marsh plant: SEDGE. Also called swale grass; I can remember when I was a kid, the old farmers would talk about having to cut swale grass from the swamps to feed the livestock if they ran out of hay in the winter.

66A: Spreadsheet divisions: ROWS

67A: Running behind: LATE

Down:

1D: Member of a colony: WASP. Social insects living in a common nest. Usually, we think of ants.

2D: Bibliography abbr.: AUTH. AUTHor.

3D: Overcast: GRAY. Skies.

4D: Where to find a stud: EARLOBE. Oops, wrong kind of stud.

5D: Onetime regular on "Curb Your Enthusiam": LOUIS NYE. He was a regular on the old Steve Allen's "Man in the Street" bit. "Hi-ho, Steverino!"

6D: Goofs up: ERRS

7D: Coolers, for short: ACS. Air ConditionerS.

8D: Mad specialty: SATIRE. A can of worms for PromiseMeThis if he doesn't get this one.

9D: BlackBerry devices and iPhones,briefly: PDAS. Personal Digital AssistantS.

10D: Migratory fish: EEL. Unlike many fish, they migrate from fresh water to salt water to spawn.

11D: Phony: SCAM ARTIST. The Talented Mr. Bernard L. Madoff.

12D: State that borders Guerrero: OAXACA. Map. The historic home of the Zapotec and Mixtec peoples.

13D: Most foxlike: SLYEST. Or sliest.

18D: Berliner ___: dark pigment: BLAU. In English, Berlin blue. Another name for the color, Prussian blue, it was discovered accidentally in Berlin in 1704. One of the first synthetic pigments, it is a very dark blue, colorfast, non-toxic pigment.

19D: Harsh: GRIM

24D: Devoted fans: ADORERS. Such are the fans of Barry Silk puzzles.

25D: Phys., e.g.: SCI. The SCIence of PHYSics

26D: Old "Up, up and away" sloganeer: TWA. Trans World Airlines.

27D: Presidential nickname: RON. 40th President of the United States, RONald Wilson Reagan.

28D: Like some of University of Pennsylvania's buildings: IVY-COVERED. A land-grant university and a member of the Ivy League. "Leges sine Moribus vanae".

29D: Overseas trade org.: EEC. European Economic Community, official name of the Common Market.

30D: Photo finish?: OPS. PHOTOgraphic OPportunitieS, Occasions that lend themself to (or are deliberately arranged for) taking photographs that provide favorable publicity.

35D: Urban intersectors: Abbr.: STS. STreetS

36D: Former days, in former days: ELD. noun: Archaic. antiquity.

37D: Draws: TIES. When neither side is winning a contest.

39D: Colombian gold: ORO. Spanish is spoken in Columbia and ORO is Spanish for gold.

40D: EMT's specialty: CPR. Emergency Medical Technician performs CardioPulmonary Resuscitation.

42D: Capitalize on: USE.

44D: Kind of deposit: MINERAL. Too much MINERAL deposits will give you "hard" water and then you will need a water softener.

45D: Dixie ___ : CHICKS. Three female singing group. Picture and Song (I'll tell you up front, the song is Not Ready to Make Nice for those of you who do not want to listen to the Dixie CHICKS.) Lyrics.

46D: Assumed family name in punk rock: RAMONES. American rock band often regarded as the first punk rock group. Formed in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, in 1974. Picture and Song (I'll tell you up front, the song is I wanna be Sedated for those of you who do not want to listen to The RAMONES.)

47D: Fan's production: WHIR. Imitative of the sound the fan blades make when spinning.

48D: Speaker: ORATOR.

49D: ___ vu: DEJA. The feeling that what is happening now, has happened before.

54D: Relinquish: CEDE.

55D: Speak Persian?: MEOW. Persian is a type of cat.

56D: Antarctic flier: SKUA. Any of several Arctic and Boreal predatory sea birds that harass smaller birds and snatch the food they drop. They sound like bullies.

57D: Temporary shelter: TENT

58D: Suffix with kitchen: ETTE

60D: Complain constantly: NAG

61D: "Curb Your Enthusiam" channel: HBO. Home Box Office.

Argyle

Feb 21, 2009

Saturday February 21, 2009 Matthew Higgins

Theme: None

Total blocks: 28

Total words: 70

Now I am feeling like "A RAISIN in the Sun (42D), completely dried up. Some of the clues/ANSWERS are relentlessly obscure to me. I definitely need the theme as my Sherpa. Themeless is too much of a Sisyphean challenge to me.

I would prefer "Abused verbally" rather than "Assailed abusively" for REVILED because ASSAILANTS is the answer for 17A: Violent attackers.

To those who did not read my Wednesday's post, Argyle will blog Barry Silk's Bonus Puzzle tomorrow morning. Also, LA Times just published Barry's themeless today. The blog will be published here on March 1 (Sunday). I have never solved a Saturday LA Times before. Very curious to see how it differs from our TMS themeless.

Across:

1A: Navigation aid: CHART. Would be easier if the clue is "Navigation map". All I could think of is COMPASS.

14A: Financial aid form: PAPER CHASE. New term to me. Chinese government paid all my college education, so I did not need any financial aid.

16A: Hokey rural humor: CORN. Did not know it's a "rural" humor.

19A: Remove from active use: SHELVE

20A: Lesser Antilles republic: DOMINICA. Here is a map.

25A: Judicial: ARBITRAL. They are not synonymous to me. "Judicial" is pertaining to the judge/justice, while ARBITRAL has something to do with arbiter or arbitration.

31A: Entrench oneself: DIG IN. Did not come to me readily.

35A: African fox: ASSE. Simply forgot. Also called Cape Fox. It "inhabits dry areas of southern Africa and has large pointed ears, silvery gray coat, and a bushy tail with a black tip".

36A: Type of boom: SONIC. SONIC boom. Like the boom from Concorde?

37A: Matador's adversary: TORO

38A: Cool or groovy: HIP. "Hep" in old times.

43A: Sound units: DECIBELS. SONE is often clued as "Loudness unit". It's 40 DECIBELS.

45A: Impedes: RETARDS. I wanted HINDERS. But it did not fit.

47A: Fillet fish: SOLE. I've never had SOLE fish. It's also called flatfish. I misread "Fillet" as a verb, so SKIN & DEBONE popped into my mind.

48A: Named: ENTITLED

50A: Belgrade's republic: SERBIA. Fully landlocked. It gained full independence in 2006. Not an EU memeber yet. SERBIA (esp Kosovo) and the whole Balkan area baffle the hell of me, very confusing civil/ethnic/religious fights.

54A: Suit toppers: ACES

55A: Fading away gradually: EVANESCING. New word to me. I only knew convalesce.

58A: Form into a network: RETICULATE. Another new word. RETIA is often clued as "Networks".

Down:

2D: Corned-beef dish: HASH

3D: Area in a basilica: APSE. Sometimes the answer is NAVE.

4D: Chronologically unbroken: REAL TIME. The clue does not feel natural to me.

5D: Hot-dish stands: TRIVETS. Was clued as "Hot-platter platform" last time.

8D: John Jacob and Mary: ASTOR

9D: Hypnotic: MESMERIC. I am used to the word "mesmerizing".

10D: Formulaic stylistically: ICONIC. This clue is too fancy for me. Why not "Like Jackie's sunglasses"?

11D: House trailer: MOBILE HOME. And RESIDENCE ((26D: Abodes)

12D: Of the rules: PROCEDURAL. Would not have got this word without the across fills. Have heard of PROCEDURAL vote many times. Never understand what it means.

13D: Slammin' Sammy: SNEAD. Hogan and SNEAD, Jack and Arnie, Tiger and Phil.

21D: Reitman or Pavlov: IVAN. Did not know the Canadian film producer/director IVAN Reitman. His lower lip is very thick.

23D: Hazardous gas: RADON

25D: Old-time actress Menken: ADAH. No idea. She died when she was only 33. Wikipedia said she was romanced by Dumas when she performed in Paris. Dumas looks so content and happy.

27D: Splashes with mud: BESPATTERS. Knew SPATTER only.

28D: Like some tablets: LINED. Here is a somewhat LINED but MESMERIC face. Lots of milliadonis in my book.

32D: Lytton Strachey's first name: GILES. Bloody blue murder! Have never heard of this British writer/critic. He died in 1932. Wrote a biography of Queen Victoria.

36D: Blacksmiths' cohorts: SADDLERS. Oh, I had no idea that there are people specializing in saddle making/repairing.

37D: Protuberance on a bone: TUBERCLE. Only knew TUBER.

44D: Trig. function: COSEC. Mine was COSIN.

45D: Ranch in the movie "Giant": REATA. Carol probably still wants RIATA.

46D: "The __ Samurai": SEVEN. Probably the most famous Japanese movie ever made. The Tom Cruise movie is titled "The Last Samurai".

56D: Quick drink: NIP

C.C.