Mar 25, 2010

Thursday March 25, 2010 Jeff Chen

Theme: Four of a Kind - Theme answers are clued with four identical question marked capitalized letters which are pronounced the same as the real hidden clues.

20A. CCCC? (4 C's, pronounced like "foresees"): TELLS THE FUTURE

39A. AAAA? (4 A's, pronounced like "forays"): MILITARY ATTACKS

56A. TTTT? (4 T's, pronounced like "forties"): CHILLY FORECAST

This puzzle reminds of Ashish Vengsarkar's NY Times July 30, 2009 puzzle. Ashish clued EEEE (Ease) as "Facility", QQQQ (Cues) as "Signals" and TTTT (Tease) as "Razz".

Sharon E. Petersen's last LAT has an interesting twist too. Among her theme answers are: CC (Seize) THE DAY (clued as "Time is fleeting" philosophy?) and GG (Jeez) LOUISE (clued as "Good grief!"?)

Anyway, today's theme answers themselves are not very interesting, they seldom are when clues and answers switch positions. But the theme concept itself is so inventive & fun. Jeff Chen has a imaginative mind.

Lots of four-letter words with straightforward cluing, guess that's why I had a easier time earlier.


1. Torah holders: ARKS

5. Dishonorable types: CADS. We also have NE'ER (67. ____-do-well).

9. Gets off the road, in a way: PLOWS. Get snow off the road I suppose.

14. Spear or pepper follower: MINT. Do you like peppermint tea?

15. End of grace: AMEN

16. Sound portion: AUDIO. The visual portion is VIDEO.

18. Pro __: RATA. Pro rata = In proportion.

19. Spills carelessly: SLOPS

23. Amount consumed: INTAKE

24. Yokel: RUBE

25. Bird was one, briefly: CELT. Larry Bird. Boston Celtics.

27. Hemingway's Santiago, in the story's title: OLD MAN. The title character in "The Old Man and the Sea".

32. Pontificate: ORATE

35. Jessica of "Good Luck Chuck": ALBA. I've never seen the movie. Sounds silly.

42. "Get outta here!": SCAT

43. Coward of the stage: NOEL. Noel Coward.

44. Clarifying words: ID EST. The full form of i.e.. Latin for "that is". I fell prey to I MEAN.

45. Inchon native: KOREAN. Inchon is a seaport in W South Korea.

49. Deli option: TUNA

52. Hunk: ADONIS. A reverse of our recent "Adonis"/HUNK clue. He is my ideal Adonis.

60. Santa __: Silicon Valley city: CLARA. So many CA references in LA Times puzzle.

61. Fuzz: LINT

62. DEA agent's discovery: KILO. DEA uses kilo rather than pound as drug unit?

63. Big jerks: BOZOS

64. Ocean predator: ORCA

65. Penultimate fairy tale word: EVER. "... and they lived happily EVER after.". Also ONCE (59D. Fairy tale opener). Nice fairy tale clue echos.

66. Used up: SPENT

68. Information __: DESK


1. Valuable violin: AMATI. Another one is STRAD. Loved "The Red Violin". Very real depiction of chaos during Chinese Cultural Revolution.

2. Like baked dough: RISEN. The dough is already risen before it's baked, isn't it?

3. Prepared to speak to a tot, maybe: KNELT. Nice new clue.

4. Overhead projection?: STALACTITE. It hangs from the roof of a cavern, formed from the dripping of mineral-rich water. Shaped like icicle. New word to me.

5. Monopoly: CARTEL

6. Eastern nurse: AMAH. Called so in Hongkong area. We just call is Ama in Guangzhou.

7. Discourage: DETER

8. Messy situation: SNAFU

9. Many a Matisse: PASTEL. Without Gertrude Stein, Matisse might not have achieved such fame.

10. Doozy: LULU

11. It's added to natural gas: ODOR. No idea. Why?

12. Use a rag on: WIPE

13. Coast Guard pickup: SOS. Oh, the signal pickup.

21. Olympic event since 1968: SKEET. Someone just mentioned this trivia on the blog.

22. Wolf pack member: U-BOAT. The WWII German sub. So U-boats form a wolf pack like attacking pack? I've never heard of the term before.

26. Poi essential: TARO. I really miss Cantonese taro cakes.

28. At an impasse, as the Senate: DEADLOCKED. One of two long non-theme entries.

29. Medieval club: MACE

30. More than wonders: ASKS

32. Trans-Siberian Railroad city: OMSK. The red arrow area.

33. Moneyed, in Madrid: RICO. Spanish for "rich". Alliteration again. Puerto Rico = Rich Port.

34. Banned apple spray: ALAR. Banned in 1989.

37. Indonesian island: BALI

40. Invalidate: ANNUL

41. España feature: TILDE. The diacritic mark above ñ. We just had UMLAUT yesterday.

46. "Finally!": AT LAST

48. __ sauce: seafood serving: TARTAR

50. Polymer introduced by DuPont in 1938: NYLON

51. Blazing: AFIRE

53. Like a babe in the woods: NAIVE

54. British __: ISLES

55. Childbirth symbol: STORK. I wonder what's the origin of stork delivering babies.

56. Equine sound: CLOP. Was thinking of the sound from equine itself rather than the sound it makes on the road.

57. Smog, e.g.: HAZE

58. Make smooth, in a way: IRON

60. Items used by good buddies: CBS. CB radios.

Answer grid.

Picture of the Day: Here is a great photo of our talented wordsmith Lois and her daughter Katie at VA Beach on a windy day.

Additionally, Dan Naddor has his second puzzle published by NY Times today. Here is the write-up from the Wordplay blog. Lovely notes from Will Shortz and moving tribute from Dan's wife Tracie.

Ming Tian Jian!



Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. and gang - very ingenious theme today that had me faked out at first. With the first theme answer, I thought ok, it's 'Cs' as in 'sees the future'. Then when I got to the 'AAAA' clue, I was lost. Took a while to put the word 'four' in front of them. Nice job, Jeff.

The rest was pretty straightforward. Favorites were 'big jerks'/'bozos' (I just like that word) and 'Items used by good buddies'/CBs'.

C.C., odor is added to natural gas so you can tell if there's a leak.

Lois, great picture of your and your daughter. A 'windy day', huh? I shoulda been there.

In case anybody passed over it, be sure to read the Dan Naddor link C.C. has on the main page - his wife is an extremely eloquent writer, and what a beautiful family he left behind! I still think about Dan almost every morning when I turn to the crossword.

Today is both Pecan Day and Waffle Day. Pecan waffles were very big in my old hometown of Atlanta.

Today's Words of Wisdom: "As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in the public schools." -- Anonymous

And a couple more random thoughts:

- How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?

- Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Lemonade714 said...

This was a very different Thursday puzzle, and a far cry from our old quotation days. Lots of thoughtful clues for familiar fill, gets off the road, in a way: PLOWS, Sound portion: AUDIO, end of grace: AMEN, Pontificate: ORATE, overhead projection: STALACTITE as a few examples. Also, the theme required one to ‘hear’ the words, not just read them, which was fun. Until I filled in TELLS THE FUTURE, I had no clue. I also like RISEN next to KNELT

I did not know much about OMSK , and was not aware of the use of PASTEL by MATISSE who like Picasso, was alive in my lifetime. Speaking of pastels, which are always nice for ALBA .

I have a nephew who is a student of military history who could really appreciate the cross of MILITARY TACTIC and UBOAT . I personally knew nothing of this German use of their submarines.

Nice picture Annette, and I like all the new avatars, and welcome Eddie and Dudley and all you other lurker newbies, come in out of the dark. See how easy and fun it is to send pics to CC to post

Lemonade714 said...

Thank you for linking the latest tribute to Dan Naddor, it was intersting because the posters all seemed to experience what I did with his puzzles, an initial sense they were impossible, but then almost magically,they are done, but with much wit and new stuff.

I really enjoyed the link yesterday to the Crossword Puzzle Tournament site. It was interesting to see many of our friends and familiar names and how they placed, such as our esteemed editor, Mr. Norris, delightful Doug Peterson, bodacious Barry Silk and more. I also learned our some time friend Rex Parker, is using a pseudonym. I wonder if it is a cross between Rex Stout and Robert Parker? I will have to ask…

Hahtool said...

Good Morning, CC and all. Loved the puzzle today. No internet connection this morning but could complete the Thursday puzzle with no outside help.

Lived in Boston during Larry Bird's tenure with the Celtics. Was a poor student then, but went to a few games.

Liked seeing the beginning (ONCE) and near ending(EVER) of a fairy tale.

CLIP for equine sound was a great response. Also liked STALACTITE.

QOD: if men were angels, no government would be necessary. - James Madison.

I loved the Red Violin. I listen to the sound track often.

Bob said...

Pretty easy puzzle today. Liked clue for 4D. I notice "Adonis" made a reappearance, this time as a fill. 15 minutes.

Dick said...

Good morning CC and All, a very nice and difficult puzzle today. I got most of the puzzle, but never did get the theme. I stared at the wolf pack member clue for a long time. I already had the U and B from the perps, but nothing came to mind until the DOH moment. Wow, and so obvious. The solve today was very slow and I had to go through the clues several times until the answers revealed themselves. For some reason I felt very satisfied at completing this puzzle, more so than most.

Kazie, from yesterday, thanks for the eagle clip. I have been observing two eagles at my mountain camp since last fall. I knew they were building a nest somewhere on the property and finally found the nest this spring. The two eagles take turns on the nest while the other goes for food. I haven’t shown anyone else the location of the nest, but will try to get some telephoto pictures over the next few weeks.

I used to have difficulty remembering which is a stalactite and which is a stalagmite until I realized that if something is hanging it will be pulling down and therefore pulling tight.

Hope you all have a great Thursday

Hahtool said...

Oops, meant CLOP, not clip.

No Internet b/c DH thought he could set up the new router. He was wrong. New admiration for WH for his postings via the iPhone. Tough for me.

Dick. I remember stalactite b/c it must hold "tight" (tite) to stay connected to the ceiling.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Really great, fun, puzzle today. I got the theme almost immediately (for a second I thought CCCC mean "seas" instead of "foresees") and then breezed through most of the puzzle. I got really hung up in the SW corner, however. I'm not sure what happened, but it was like my brain just ground to a halt.

I had the FORECAST part of 56A, but couldn't guess the CHILLY part for the life of me. Maybe because, after a long winter here in the NE, temperatures in the 40s don't sound particularly CHILLY to me.

Just about everything else in that section (CLOP, BOZOS, HAZE, IRON, CLARA, SPENT) stubbornly refused to make an appearance in my mind as I read the clues. It wasn't until I got CBS for 60D that I was able to get CLARA, which led to CLOP and CHILLY, and that let me get the rest. Probably half my total solving time was spend staring at the little corner of the puzzle, though...

Anonymous said...


When did you live there? I lived in Boston in 1992. I met Larry Bird when I was working for a politician during an election cycle.

Tinbeni said...

This puzzle was a LULU.

Working from the bottom up, even after I had the 3rd & 2nd themes, I still didn't get it as I entered TELLS THE FUTURE.
Then I slapped my forehead at the DUH! moment. Geez, good job Jeff Chen.

OMSK was a gimmie since I had the KOREAN and the only other 4 letter former USSR city I know is Kiev, which is now in Ukraine.

kazie said...

Good morning all.
I struggled mightily with this one, ending up with it filled, but with no clue as to the theme connections.

Yes, bread dough is definitely risen before baking.

My way of remembering stalaCtite and stalaGmite is the C for ceiling and G for ground.

I had to google KOREAN, SANTA CLARA, and spent way too long trying to find the childbirth symbol, before perps in that corner revealed it. I guess I just wasn't on the wavelength today.

Getting NOEL (which for once was a name I know), reminded me that someone here yesterday said their relative had an Umlaut over the E in their name.

It's not called that over an e, and only occurs in German over a, o, or u. Its use on an e is French, and it's then called a dieresis (alternate spelling: diaeresis). Where the Umlaut changes the sound of its letter, the dieresis shows that the e is to be pronounced separately from the preceding vowel, where it normally would form a diphthong. Contrast oeuvre as in hors d'oeuvre with Noël or Noëlle, the feminine version.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning C.C. and all. Kudos to Jeff on a fine puzzle.

Not hard for a Thursday. Wanted gridlocked before the perps gave DEADLOCKED. Favorite clues: MACE and CBS.

U-BOAT - stands for Unterseeboot. (under sea boat) Clever clue. Briefly thought of A (alpha) male.

Hahtool - Roger that on "Red Violin". Wonderful movie.

Kazie: Thanks for dieresis. Can not remember that word.

CA and Annette: Thanks for your understanding words of encouragement.

Welcome aboard EZEdward.

Enjoy the day.

Anonymous said...

Re: 11. It's added to natural gas: ODOR. No idea. Why?

Natural gas is odorless. It also can kill you at high enough concentrations, therefore, the odor, thiophane (thio = sulfur) is added so you can detect if there is a leak.

Love doing these crosswords in the morning and also enjoy looking at your blog, even when I complete the crossword. You links are great.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Is it proper to pluralize ARKS? Wasn't there just one?

Fun puzzle today, and pretty tough. ID EST meant nothing to me, but it fell from the vertical wors, i.e. perps.

Filled in STRAD at first.

The penultimate fairy word is also next to last in the puzzle, in a way. Good placement.

I have never ordered TUNA in a deli.

To elaborate on what Dennis said, natural gas is not only flammable, but highly explosive. A leak could be violently fatal, and cause lots of collateral damage, so the a tiny amount of a sulfur compound is added as a marker. Cutting the gas line to someone's house is pretty close to attempted murder, and ought to be dealt with as such.

A house blew up in Toledo last year, about two blocks from where I used to live. Nobody was home at the time, so no fatalities. It left a hole in the ground, and caused surface damage to all the houses around it. The one next door was pretty badly scorched. Siding had to be replaced across the street.

Lots to do today, rehearsal tonight.

IMBO. Cheers!
JzB the NAIVE trombonist

Hahtool said...

JazzB: I am okay with the plural of Ark here. Since every synagogue has Torah scrolls, there are multiple Arks in the world. There is one Temple, however, and that was destroyed in 70 C.E.

tfrank said...

Good morning, C.C. & pals,

Interesting puzzle this morning. I had all the theme clues answered without the faintest idea of what they meant until I came here. Very clever, Jeff. The only unknown for me was id est, as I never studied Latin. I am sure i have seen it in xwords before, but did not recall it.

Thanks for the Chen interview, C.C., and the link to the Dan Naddor tribute. He was quite a guy and taken from us far to soon. There must be a shortage of constructors in Heaven.

Great picture, Lois. In my Navy days, my LST was stationed at Little Creek, so I spent some time at Virginia Beach. Loved that area.

Have a great day, everybody!

MR ED said...

You are correct. The smell of garlic is added to natural gas.

Elissa said...

Couldn't resist commenting on SNAFU, one of a number of acronym we used in the military, meaning Situation Normal, All F***ed Up. There was also FIGMO (F***it, I've Got My Orders), FUBAR (F***ed Up Beyond All Recognition)and my favorite BOHICA (Bend Over, Here It Comes Again). Are you seeing a theme here? Do you remember others?

Crockett1947 said...

Good morning, everyone.

C.C., I'm more of a spearmint person, but I really like peach tea (one of my late Dad's favorites).

I hope you all go to the Wordplay link and read the comments. The Naddor legacy just grows and grows. Not ashamed to admit to tears while reading the comments.

Good Thursday, all.

Dennis said...

Mr Ed, I believe it's a sulfur smell that's added to natural gas.

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, An "Aha" moment with the theme. After saying "C...C...C...C" and "A...A...A...A", the light dawned when I said "There are four C's". "Aha" and "D'OH!".

C.C. Thanks for the clarifying of 44A "Clarifying words".I had it filled in, but had no idea if it was I DEST, IDE ST or ID EST.

I'm with Jazzbumpa. That 49A TUNA option would have to be in a deli that is out of corned beef and pastrami.

I've never thought of Matisse as a prolific PASTEL artist. Degas is always the one who comes to mind with PASTEL. But "Many a Matisse" is good alliteration. How would "Degas drawing" sound?

I thought STALACTITE was wonderful. Nice that the SKEET clue no longer referred to Trap Shooting. U-BOAT for "Wolf pack member" was also an "Aha".

ODOR - the sulfur rotten egg smell is added to our propane gas too. It's happened a couple of times that one of our stove burners was turned on, but had failed to light. I knew it immediately.

Lovely photo, Lois...happy times!

Elissa, where have you been? You are missed.

Paulfisherman said...

Odor is added to natural gas so people can smell it if there is a gas leak. Hope that helps.

A said...

Kazie: My "memory aid" for the formations in caves is that the stalactites must "hold on tight" in order to stay on the ceiling. That only leaves the floor for the others (stalagmites.)

Dennis; When I asked my gas man about the "rotten egg" smell..he said rotten eggs also have a sulfur odor. And that`s why the stench is similar.

Lmade714: RP also bills himself as the "44th greatest crossword solver in the world." Aren`t there just about 43 solvers/bloggers for the LAT puzzle?

Anonymous said...

@eddy, can you share your crab cake recipe?

eddyB said...

Hello all.

Did Jeff's puzzle yesterday afternoon as soon as it was available. I read the clues before I start and said to myself four Cs, four As and four Ts. Ok, then started filling in.

tfrank. For me, it was Dam Neck for
Class A school. We called the road across the swamp - mesquito heaven.

Nothing new on the falcon cam. How are the eagles doing?


kazie said...

I forgot earlier--great photo--you both look like you're having a blast.

I don't think the eagle cam is on today--it hasn't moved since I tuned in earlier. I was a bit shocked last night to see there was a light on it all evening. I hope that was just a night vision thing in the camera and not an actual light on the nest!

g8rmomx2 said...

Hi c.c. and all:

Fun puzzle and no googling, but I did not get the long clues right away as I wasn't saying it as 4 C's, 4 A's and 4 T's. Once I did it went easy.

Annette: Glad you like your short visits to Port Charlottde. We love it here. We are on the water so we do a lot of boating/fishing. And, we are only about 45 min to an hour to Sarasota and about the same to Fort Myers, 1 1/2 hours to Tampa and about 2 hours to Orlando. So, plenty to do and see. My youngest daughter lives on the other coast in the city of Sunrise, FL. It takes her 2 hours 15 minutes to get here.

Have a great one everybody!

Lemonade714 said...

A said: "Lmade714: RP also bills himself as the "44th greatest crossword solver in the world." Aren`t there just about 43 solvers/bloggers for the LAT puzzle?"

I assume RP finished 44th in a recognized solving tournament which led to his billing. I also 'knew' Rex Parker was not a real name but I learned more

Tinbeni said...

Michael Sharp, aka Rex Parker, finished 44th at the ACPT in 2009.

This year Amy Reynaldo, aka Orange, finished 9th. In 2009 she was 6th.

I check out both LAT blogs.
I need all the inside info into solving crosswords that I can get.

Scott Atkinson said...

To all those who have posted here that this theme is excellent, I say

Hear Hear

Well done Jeff Chen

JD said...

Good morning CC and all,

It took a long time for me to get going on this puzzle; I never got the theme until I came here.The perps weren't as helpful today, so I left too many empties. When reading your answers, I know I should have filled them.
bird-I thought of the Admiral
wolf pack member- " " alpha
plows-thought of Dick
tilde, umlaut,maybe a tittle tomorrow
Santa Clara-I taught there for 40 yrs./might eventually be the new home of the 49ers (boooo, the schools need the money-don't get me started on our Hollywood gov.!!)

Stalactite was a great word. Thanks to Dick, Hahtool and Kazie, we will remember the difference.

Kazie, I like your eagle cam so much better than our falcon one.As Eddy said, there's not a lot of action going on...until the eggs hatch.

Elissa, lovely picture. I remember you used some of those descriptive acronyms in your book. :)

Best picture yet Lois!

Traci's tribute to Dan made me weep; it was beautifully written.

Dennis, loved the WOW today.

carol said...

Hi everyone,

Great puzzle - I really enjoyed it and must have been on Mr. Chen's wave length as it was not as difficult for me as most Thursday ones are. Although I solved the long clues, I didn't catch on to the theme until reading C.C.'s comments. Very clever, and I have more insight for the future 'sticklers' that are sure to come.

I had to wipe my eyes a bit while reading Tracie Naddor's tribute to Dan. Very moving.

Lois, great picture of you and Katie!

There was a house explosion about 5 miles from our house on New Years Day - had to be at least 15 years ago, but I will never forget the noise it made...even that far away, we heard it clearly. We soon learned that a man committed suicide by cutting the gas line in his basement and then ignited the escaping gas. We went to the sight and there were clothes, debris of all sorts strewn out several block. All the houses close to his sustained a lot of damage,the one right next door was blown off its foundation. We didn't want to think of the whereabouts of the poor man...what a tragedy, but I don't think anyone else was killed..don't know about injuries.

MJ said...

Good day, C.C. and all,
Had great fun with this crossword today. Caught on to the theme with about half of TELLS THE FUTURE filled in, and smiled my way through the rest of the puzzle. Impressively clever theme, well executed.

Annette and Lois, nice to "see" you.

Kazie-I'd encourage your DIL to definitely get her green card before making any moves, if that is indeed what they decide on. From what I've seen through the experience my niece's husband had (he's British born, had worked in Oz and Canada, now living in Seattle since their marriage a year and a half ago), it's well worth it.

C.C.-Thanks for the link to the Wordplay blog and tributes to Dan Naddor. Our local paper publishes the NYT crossword, so I went to the newsstand to get a copy. Alas, it's not the current puzzle, but one from the past, so not Dan Naddor. Bummer!

Enjoy the day!

Glen C said...

Wow. I never did get the theme today until I came here.
Stalactites and stalagmites are like ants in your pants -- When the mites go up, the tites go down...


Lucina said...

Good day, C.C. and everyone.

I have to remember it's afternoon for most of you, yet morning here.

Congratulations, Jeff Chen on a great theme today.

I didn't go back to pronounce it, just filled it all in; fairly straightforward. Just got stuck on the NW corner where I wanted "slows" instead of plows(?) which I still find strange. I knew Santiago was the old man, but I stubbornly wanted "gridlock" instead of "deadlocked". It took a while, but I finally saw the light.

I also love the Red Violin and occasionally watch it again.

The tilde (~)is not regularly used in English, presumably because most keyboards can't accommodate it and of course in xwds it's used as a regular letter n.

Kilos is used because most of the drugs originate in countries where that measurement is used and they are packaged in kilo bricks. Here at the Arizona border truckloads are found trying to cross from Mexico and dozens of tunnels have been dug to smuggle drugs, often under the homes of dealers.

Lois, I love the picure of you and your daughter. She resembles you.

Id est, abbrev. i.e,and other Latin prases, is a phrase that was required at our college for all term papers, foot notes, etc.

"Stick tight" is also the phrase I taught students to recall stalactite. Has anyone been to Carlsbad Caverns? It's awesome.

I hope you all have a thrilling Thursday!

eddyB said...


Tonight is the last good night to see Mars untill 2012 due to our orbits.

The moon has 2 1/2 days to get full
so we can have Easter in Sunday.

Momma eagle sure looked brothered by something yesterday. Hope she isn't scared off the nest.

Also hope the rain crosses Fl and stays north of Tampa by Sunday.

Anon@11:36. As soon as I know who you are. Use my gmail if you don't
want the world to know. But, as Nimitz once said, " ... the world wonders. RR".


Clear Ayes said...

The Wordplay blog tribute to Dan Naddor from his wife was very touching. We all knew Dan had a delicious sense of humor and every witty fill brought a smile.

Dennis' "Random Thoughts", Lois' delightful posts, too seldom musings from Buckeye, and so many other contributors give us smiles and laughs every day.


Life is a jest;
Take the delight of it.
Laughter is best;
Sing through the night of it.
Swiftly the tear
And the hurt and the ache of it
Find us down here;
Life must be what we make of it.
Life is a song;
Let us dance to the thrill of it.
Grief's hours are long,
And cold is the chill of it.
Joy is man's need;
Let us smile for the sake of it.
This be our creed:
Life must be what we make of it.
Life is a soul;
The virtue and vice of it.
Strife for a goal,
And man's strength is the price of it.
Your life and mine,
The bare bread and the cake of it,
End in this line:
Life must be what we make of it.

- Edgar Albert Guest, 1881-1959

Jeff said...

Thanks for the comments everyone! And thanks to CC for asking me to be interviewed. My first reaction: "wha? me?" Very flattering!

This puzzle was a fun back and forth with Rich. I originally had TTTT answered as BIGBEERBOTTLES, but Rich thought it wasn't common enough. I was envisioning blog links to Billy Dee's hilarious Colt 45 commercials. We compromised on CHILLYFORECAST, even though many parts of the country would consider the 40's pretty nice (it's about 45 in Seattle today, not bad!).

I also had a fourth theme answer in, IIII answered as PLAYGROUNDTAUNT, but Rich didn't like that it was an insult. It also didn't exactly fit with the other theme answers since it was a two word phrase. Redoing the puzzle with only three theme answers allowed me to get better fill in, and I was happy to put in STALACTITE and DEADLOCKED (which I originally clued as "Solidly 50-50").

Glad that I could provide a nice little break in people's days!


Doug said...

Good Morning. I LOL at myself for 29d. For the longest time I pictured olde farts running around in suits of armor! I still think too literally, or not literal enough. Natural gas, or propane reminds me of me some days. Propane can be really dangerous, because it's heavier than air, and collect at a lowest level.

Dennis said...

Jeff, good of you to check in, and for the insight. I personally love TTTT and your initial clue, although I might've clued it as referencing a part of a woman's anatomy.

Lemonade714 said...

Jeff, please join as a regular, as osme others in your filed have chosen as part of their amusement. We really do like puzzles and people who make them. Since you had two of our March offerings, you fit well.

I like IIII as PLAYGROUND TAUNT even it is an insult; every child in America has heard it or said it. And TTTT being the BIG BEER BOTTLES would also have been fun, but my sons are still on college campuses, so it might have been easy for me and not fair to others.

I am very pleased to see the new pictures coming in, Lois, most wonderful fo Lois and little Lois, maybe it is itme for new pics form everybody.

I knew RP had finished 44th, just was not sure of the year. Rich Norris did make it as high as 28 one year I think, and Doug Peterson had a top ten and a runner up B-division.

Dennis you live lose, when are you going to go?

Also nice to see returning people; MOON where are you? TARRAJO, how is BRADY JO and the twins?

Jerome said...

eddyB- I'm guessing eagles don't appreciate foreign objects in their nests.

And I'm sure, Dennis, you would clue "Trash talk" as QQQQ.

Clear Ayes said...

Hi to Jeff Chen. It's always fun to get a little extra inside information from constructors.

Lucina, Carlsbad Caverns are truly amazing. How's The Dolls' Theater in "The Big Room" for some STALACTITEs? A note on the park website states, "The 110-plus caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park were carved out not by running water and streams like many limestone caves in the world, rather these caves were dissolved by very aggressive sulfuric acid." I wonder if the Caves smelled of rotten eggs when they were forming? Now they just smell damp and chilly, although it is not in the TTTT...(groan)

Clear Ayes said...

And "MMMM?" could be BLOG SITES

Dudley said...

Back to Elissa 10:22 - I was taught by an ex-sailor that there was a progression of severity in those acronyms. In his view, it starts at SNAFU (for your everyday dysfunction), rises to TARFU for greater calamity, and quits at FUBAR for really bad situations requiring high-level intervention. I am uneasy with having SNAFU creep into the ordinary (although non-vulgar) use it enjoys today, as a noun meaning "glitch". I'd rather it had kept its military brawn.

Lee said...

Natural gas has no odor added smell so gas leaks can be found before big boom.


Anonymous said...

Eagle cam is working again

Dennis said...

Jerome, outstanding. And correct. Clear Ayes, yours is great as well; took me a minute.

Lemonade, when am I gonna go where? The tournament? Those people are way out of my league.

Dudley, your sailor friend is correct - only the most severe situations reached FUBAR levels. As he said, SNAFUs were almost daily events.

Anybody know why they added an odor to natural gas?

Spitzboov said...

EddyB said: Tonight is the last good night to see Mars untill 2012 due to our orbits..

Mars will be visible in the evening sky until late November this year.

The attribution to Nimitz was actually an imbedded decoding error. He did not have that phrase in the original message.

lois said...

Good Afternoon, CC, et al., 'Amen' to the cleverness of this puzzle. Felt like a 'rube' for not picking up on the theme as early as most, but what's new. That 'ne'er' ever 'deter's me from enjoying it. Had to laugh at the SW corner w/'clara'bell and 'bozos' the clowns coming to mind. Guess Little 'LuLu' could be counted in the funnies too, but she wasn't as 'naive' as the 'cads' would have hoped.

'Arks' has new meaning for me today as I just watched the movie 2012 last wkend. Wonder if that really 'tells the future'. That scenario certainly takes 'haze',
'wipe'out, and 'chilly forecast' to a whole new level. Scary!

Have a new pianah 'tuna' coming today. Cave man, 'Adonis' or 'old man' I don't care. If he can bring my instrument up to 'mint' condition, 'it'll' be money well 'spent'. If you hear an 'SOS', it'll be b/c of that whole NW corner and him using a 'stalactite' as a tuner. Then we'll all know who arrived.

CA: LOVED that poem.

Crockett: I think I missed your birthday...right after your anniversary. You do know how to pack the fun times. Happy belated birthday.

Dennis: No worries. Windy days always brings you to mind.

Thank you all for the sweet comments on the picture.

Enjoy your day. Ooops, he's here. Long hair and lookin' kind of rough. Stay 'tuned'.

Gary D'Indian said...

This is only an occasional user ...

The chemical added to give the odor to natural gas,.... methane, butane, iso-butane, pentane, pentene .. whatever ... is ethyl mercaptan.. or certain other isomers. .. a very tightly controlled substance ( by the government ..) ... and a very expensive chemical. The odor is so characteristic that someone , carelessly leaving one thousandth of a gram of ETHMer in a wrong place, could empty out a mall or a city.( It actually happened in the Severance Mall in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1984's )... during a strike by ( ironically ... ) workers of the East Ohio Gas Co. ...!

A garlicky or a sulfurous smell is not necessarily a turn off in food though. Cooked foodstuffs from India routinely use Asafoetida ( very strong garlicky like and dank smell ...) in their cooking. That is also the origin of the word 'fetid'. (I personally think it smells yummy and is indispensable to my ( good... ) taste.)

Also many indians use a type of rock salt as a flavoring .... called 'black salt ' or 'red salt' ... which is rock salt saturated with sulfurous smells from a gas geyser ... generally copious amounts of Hydrogen sulphide ( H2S)trapped in the salt crystalline structure. . H2S is the gas that comes out when you fart ... because it is much heavier than air... so it comes out of your lower opening. H2S is poisonous in large quantities ... but in small quantities , it is a delightful and a very necessary flavoring in some indian savories.( Try it sometime , you may like it ...)

( More than what you wanted to know, about all this, huh ? )

Anonymous said...

Thursday puzzle, Tuesday clues.

Chickie said...

Hello All--I filled in the entire puzzle and didn't have a clue as to the theme until I came here. I thought I was incorrect when I'd filled in Id est. That was my lesson for today. I learn something new every day by doing the crossword.

I loved seeing Santa Clara in the puzzle today, as that is my home town. I started my teaching career there, also.

My favorite clues today were End of grace, Coast Guard pickup, and Overhead projection?

Wolf pack was used by the news media during WWII so that was a gimmee.

Elissa, is was good to see you today. You have been missed.

Crockett1947 said...

Dennis, I think that odor is added to natural gas so a leak is readily detected. What do you think?

Lois, TY!

Chickie said...

Lois, Such happy smiles. You and your daughter look like you were having a great time.

Kazie: from last night, Chemnitz area is where my husband's ancestors are from. We did genealogy there three years ago. It is a beautiful part of Germany and the drive from Dresden to Chemnitz is lovely.

Tinbeni said...

I've read all 55 of the previous comments and I'm now confused.

Though you mentioned the reason in your FIRST comment ... why is an "Odor" added to natural gas?

Bob said...

I liked the creative memory devices posted here for remembering the difference between stalactites and stalagmites--none of which I'd ever heard before. I was taught that the one that descends from the ceiling has a "c," and the one that rises from the ground has a "g."

Dennis said...

Tinbeni, I was making a joke (which Crockett caught), because the same answer's been given about a half dozen times today.

Tinbeni said...

I was making a joke because after you explained it in your FIRST comment it became very funny to me that closer to ten others also chimed in.
Some to the point of minusha far exceeding a resonable explanation.

Lucina said...

Gary D'Indian:
Thank you! That explanation is, I believe the most complete one I've read on the subject.

This is truly a learning blog.

Lucina said...

Was that the final test question?

Chickie said...

I was unable to open the website for the Dan Naddor remembrance. I'll try again. I would really like to read it.

Thank you C.C. for your excellent interview with Jeff. and to Jeff, we always enjoy it when constructors visit us here on the blog with further commentary.

Dennis said...

Lucina, I sure as hell hope so.

Jeannie said...

I just got home and managed to finish the puzzle somewhat unaided. Okay, just a little red letter help. Jeff, very clever theme and I caught on with the 4-C's. I am somewhat disappointed that C.C. didn't give us an Adonis. A hard working gal like me would have appreciated that this evening. Maybe Lois got lucky with the "tuning". BTW Lois, the nut sure didn't fall far from the tree. It looks like you are all a little sun kissed.

Dennis, did you hear about the man that passed gas at church? He sat in his own pew....

Tinbeni, that was a joke.

Lemonade714 said...

Isn't natural gas odorless?

Dennis, there were 643 at the last contest, I am sure you are better than many. You go under 5 minutes, something I never do and I am pretty good. Besides you could meet many of our heroes/

Minutiae is pronounced that way, but not spelt that way. I guess that is me over and out

Argyle said...

I just uploaded a nasty looking puzzle to my KeepandShare site, if anyone cares to try it.

From a local weekly paper:

Puzzle Theme CROSSWORD: REJUVENATION by James Barrick.

I would be curious if anyone else has seen this puzzle. On alternate weeks, it is by Robert Zimmerman.

windhover said...

I read somewhere recently that it is, but I think somebody accidently put rotten eggs in the pipeline somewhere. The pipeline that runs through my farm originates in Texas and terminates in New Jersey. You smelled anything lately, Dennis? We're missing a couple of laying hens. We thought a fox got them, but this could explain it.

I really hate to get religious on you people, but the state religion of Kentucky is basketball, and I really have to say,


eddyB said...


I don't care what they add to the gas as long as I can smell it.

Mars will be next to the moon tonight. As it moves further and further away from us, it will get dimmer and dimmer. One will need a larger telescope or a GO TO motor on their scope to find it. By
the 29th Saturn will be next to the moon.

As to Nimitz/Halsey, it was for the Anon who wanted the crab cake recipe. Guess he didn't want it after all. I will go back to read
about Halsey leaving the beachs at Leyte and going after the decoy fleet.


Jeannie said...

EddyB or Mainiac, I believe BillG asked for your crab cake recipe. I would like it too. My fingers on my keying hand are selling up like sausages. I am told it's tedinitis. Gonna lay low. Foodshow is on the horizon Monday and Tuesday so I will not be able to read this great blog those days as I won't have internet access as I don't own a laptop. Night all.

There, hope I snabbed it.

Bill G. said...

To waste more space on natural gas, in addition to being odorless, it is not harmful to breathe. It only gets to be a problem if the concentration is so great that there's not enough oxygen.

Go Big Red!

Mainiac said...

Hey All,

I've been in the lawyer and regulator doldrums lately and my brain hurts. No offense Lemonade or anyone else in the law or oversight fields. I've been getting squished!

I've had trouble today,definitely my brain, not the grid. Red letter was the only way I finished and I was looking for some sort of elongated CAT clue for a theme. Big struggle but once I got here everything made sense. Excellent work Jeff and great that you checked in here.

BillG, EddyB and Jeannie, Crab is my least favorite seafood. But! mom was raised in Maryland and I actually eat her crab cakes. They are great! She won't be home till the end of April so the recipe won't be available if you are still interested.

Jeannie, the Paella was fabulous. My wife reminded me that my sister (who lives in Conn) served that dish two years ago for Thanksgiving Dinner. Good Stuff!

Lois, Great Pic!!

Tournament is on.

Good night all!

eddyB said...


WONDERS was padding to the main message which was between the GG and RR. The message was sent and
was not an encryption error.

So sayest Wiki. "Battle of Leyte Gulf".


Jeannie said...

Mainiac, I was wondering about your success with paella. It's one of the only seefood (pun for you spellers out there) recipes that I can actually prepare given my locale. I would bet that yours was better than mine as I didn't get to out and dig my own mussells and clams. Your lobster in the freezer was a plus as well as lobster up here is insanely expensive.

Smelt are running though and I am going on a smelt dipping excursion the weekend after next.

Jeannie said...

Mainiac, meant to say your "shrimp" in the freezer. I must be tired, hope I didn't overpost.

Jeannie, the wannabee Lo-li-ta persona.

Tinbeni said...

But the encryption guy left off the first four words and included the last three "The World Wonders."
Actually very interesting read you cited at wiki.
And after Leyte Gulf the Japanese Navy fairly, practically, ceased to exist ...
It was one hell-of-a battle.
Halsey was "da man!"

Hahtool said...

Wonder of wonders, my computer is back up and running again! Yea! Now I can more easily check out the links.

The tribute to Dan was truly touching. It did bring tears to my eyes.

I thought Wolf pack related to a university athletic team (especially since the NCAA basketball tourney is on). The first letters I had were UB_A_. I thought of U-Boat, but still initially wanted a school.

Now, about that natural gas ... You say it is odorless? Not the natural gas that Jeannie referenced at 6:40!

Annette said...

Lois: Nice picture of you and your daughter! It's good to have a face to put those clever posts with.

Jeff Chen: Thanks for the wonderful diversion today!

I got the theme pretty quickly, but had major trouble in the NE as I had TEL?ST?FORTUNE and was too stubborn to believe fortune wasn't right. So close...but so far away!

carol said...

Jeannie, you just evoked a memory when you mentioned smelt. I had no idea they would be in Minnesota! When I was a child my Dad would go with the men in our neighborhood to a river just east of Portland (Crockett - it was the Sandy River) and he would take me with him. I watched them dip their nets and bring up the smelt...they would put them in gunny sacks. I hated to see the poor things flopping around but I sure loved the taste of them at dinner that night. I remember Mom cleaning all those tiny fish then placing them in seasoned flour, and putting them in the hot grease in the large cast iron frying pan to brown. They were sooooo good!