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Jun 24, 2010

Thursday June 24 John Lampkin

Theme: Life-less - The word LIFE is missing from the end of four "classic" song titles.

17A. Beatles classic: A DAY IN THE.

24A. Stevie Wonder classic: FOR ONCE IN MY.

37A. "Annie" classic: ITS THE HARD KNOCK.

46A. "Dirty Dancing" classic: THE TIME OF MY.

58A. Sinatra classic, and hint to what's missing from this puzzle's other classics: THAT'S LIFE.

So, how was this for you? The last part to fall for me was the center.

Several clue echos in the grid. John's hallmark. Best clues:

32D. James's creator:
IAN. Ian Fleming, James Bond.

48D. Bond creator: EPOXY
. Chemical bond.

Al here, and we're off to the races.

Across:

1. Chain of hills: RIDGE. From Old English hrycg, meaning the back of a man or beast. Appearing like the lumps of your backbone in a narrow line. That makes calling the ridgeback breed of dog sort of redundant, although I think that is just extra hair...

6. Top rating: TEN.

9. Startle: SCARE.

14. Stay a step ahead of: ONE-UP.

15. Tribe that fought the Navajo: UTE. Didn't like Mormons much, either...

16. Soaked: HOSED.

19. China's Zhou __: EN LAI.

20. Covers: LIDS.

21. Very long time: EON.

22. Woofer's output?: ARF ARF. Wanted something to do with a sound system bass speaker at first, not a dog.

23. Code word: DAH. The sound of the long pulse in Morse code, written as a dash. DIT is the sound for the short pulse, written as a period (or dot).

26. Thor's father: ODIN. Also called Wodan, wod being Old English for mad or frenzied. Odin was not known for being a happy Norse God.

28. Hot: IRED. Like Odin.

29. What peddlers peddle: WARES. Said Simple Simon to the pie man, let me taste your wares.

31. Bank leader?: CITI. Leader to the word Citibank, one of the first to introduce ATMs, way back in the 70's.

33. Genesis twin: ESAU. First-born, Jacob was the other twin.

40. Celebratory feeling: GLEE.

41. Bit of naughtiness: NONO.

42. Sharp: ACUTE. With an angle less than 90 degrees.

43. Dover domestic: CHAR. An English servant, or chore-woman. Dover, in England faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel. Also in the grid 31D. Regular duty: CHORE.

45. WWII gun: STEN.

51. Coming-out party?: DEB. Party here refers to the person, a debutant, not a celebration, as in "party of the first part".

54. American elk: WAPITI. A single male elk can produce 22 to 25 lbs of antler velvet annually and on ranches in the United States, Canada and New Zealand, this velvet is collected and sold to markets in east Asia, where it is used in medicine.

55. Robert Morse title role: TRU. Truman Capote.

56. Efficient: ABLE.

57. Two little words?: I LOVE. The phrase "Three little words" have been used in song and movies, and movies about song. Here you only get two out of three. It's not about you. I wanted "pull my finger".

60. Snazzes (up): SEXES.

61. A-line line: HEM. Sewing appearing in a skirt.

62. Offer, as one's two cents: PUT IN. I usually hear it used derisively: Who asked you to put in your two cents worth? A nominal fee to be allowed to offer your opinion, not usually collected.

63. Hot meeting?: TRYST. From Old French tristre, an appointed station in hunting.

64. Source of iron: ORE. Too short to fit spinach in there.

65. Church closings: AMENS. I was trying to come up with something along the lines of a special purpose door or such-like.

Down:

1. "Fantastic Mr Fox" author Dahl: ROALD. Author for several children's books, although they can still hold an adult's interest as well.. Usually somewhat dark, with clearly defined good/bad characters and morality lessons built in.

2. Home to more than a billion: INDIA.

3. Beating one won't get you anywhere: DEAD HORSE.

4. Half a 1950 musical: GUYS. and Dolls.

5. Center opening?: EPI. An epicenter is the point on the earth's surface directly above the origin of an earthquake or underground explosion. Also a prefix-indication clue, along with 7D: Centric opening: ETHNO.

6. Teach privately: TUTOR.

8. At birth: NEE.

9. Actress North, once touted as "the new Marilyn Monroe": SHEREE. As Advertised.

10. Kind of man or game: CONFIDENCE. From the many scams in which the victim is induced to hand over money as a token of confidence: "con men". Also Congress. Not picking a side here, politics in general is something we could do with less of from both sides. That word comes from poly, meaning many, and tics, meaning blood-sucking parasites.

11. Narnia lion: ASLAN. Created by author C.S. Lewis.

12. Fix, as a slot machine?: REARM. Slot machine = one armed bandit.

13. Uplift: EDIFY. From Latin, to build or construct, as an edifice. Late Latin meaning: to improve spiritually or instruct.

18. Night light: NEON. Red is the only color actual neon gas produces. There are now more than 150 colors possible; almost every color other than red is produced using argon, mercury and phosphor. Neon tubes actually refer to all positive-column discharge lamps, regardless of the gas filling. The colors in order of discovery were blue (Mercury), white (Co2), gold (Helium), red (Neon), and then different colors from phosphor-coated tubes. The mercury spectrum is rich in ultraviolet light which in turn excites a phosphor coating on the inside of the tube to glow. Be very careful disposing of "neon" tubes, which are most probably mercury vapor instead.

22. Astringent: ACRID. Sharp, bitter, fierce. Related word: acrimony. I wouldn't have thought of acrid meaning quite the same as astringent, but I'm seeing more than one related pair in this puzzle (56D. Astringent compound: ALUM.), so that's probably why it was clued that way.

24. Bass or drum: FISH. Bass can be largemouth or smallmouth. Drumfish.

25. Blast cause, briefly: NITRO. Nitroglycerin. Also the N in TNT (Tri-Nitro-Toluene).

27. Some cops: DETECTIVES. Monk, Moto, Chan, even Wojo.

29. Rug: WIG. Hairpiece. Construction of a wig is similar to the process of making a rug: using a hook to attach tufts of hair to a piece of base material. Apparently the term started in the theater industry where many actors needed wigs to play their roles.

30. Ga. airport: ATL. Atlanta, Georgia.

34. News promo: SOUNDBITE. "The Eagle has landed" "Elvis has left the building".

35. Take the stage: ACT. Did anyone try to take the stagecoach?

36. Mandolin kin: UKE. Both are small plucked strings. The abbreviation is in the language, like rhino, so an indicator wasn't necessary.

38. As a friend, to Fifi: EN AMI. French phrase.

39. "High Noon" actress Jurado: KATY. 1952 movie starring Gary Cooper.

44. Regular alternative, informally: HI TEST. Only necessary if you have a high-performance (high-compression) engine to prevent knocking. In a regular engine, you don't get any benefit for the extra cost.

45. X-rated stuff: SMUT.

46. Unexpected climax: TWIST. I can't believe the proximity of the answer above was a complete accident...

47. In better health: HALER. Hale means whole, in the sense of wellness.

49. "... O, be some __ name": Juliet: OTHER. What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. (Ref 57A above, "pull my finger")

50. Bowler's division: FRAME. Ten per game.

52. Puckish: ELFIN. Puck is a mischievous fairy in "A Midsummer Night's Dream". A second Shakespeare clue/answer.

53. Has-__: BEENS.

58. Nevertheless, briefly: THO. Although.

59. Baths: SPA. Spa is actually a municipality in Belgium, and is the site of many healing hot springs. Agatha Christie's fictional detective (27D) Hercule Poirot was born in Spa.

Answer grid.

Pictures of the Day: Say Hello to Cameron, who was born on June 21, 2010. Look how happy Grandma JD is. Here is a another look at the handsome guy.

Al

82 comments:

Dennis said...

Good morning, Al, C.C. and gang - a tough puzzle for me today; my first pass left a picket fence throughout.

I started with 'range' for 1A, and of course, three of the letters worked, so then I couldn't figure out how to stretch 'asia' to 5 letters for 2D. The light bulb came on with 3D, which had to be 'Dead horse'. Then I bit on 'Woofer's output', trying to think of what the sound would be called coming out of the speakers. Then, I thought I was clever remembering 'Sherre' North, but of course it's 'Sheree', which led to our old friend 'ired'. 'Bass or drum' got me too, as did 'Bond creator', which had me thinking Ian Fleming, which of course was the answer to 32D.

I always thought 'edify' meant to instruct. Had no idea 'acrid' and 'astringent' were even remotely synonymous. Did not like 'efficient'/'able' - they don't mean the same thing, as you can be able without being efficient - and I thought 'Coming-out party' required 'abbr'. Overall, though, I enjoyed the challenge, and tip my hat to John, who got me repeatedly once again. And I loved all the 'echoes'.
Al, great job, as usual; I especially liked the 'neon' explanation. I have several neon signs in my stores, and I never knew neon gas only produced red. And JD, great pictures, and re-congratulations.

Today is Swim a Lap Day. Also a 22nd anniversary for us, and.....HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the absent Barb B; maybe Melissa Bee can pass along best wishes from the blogsters.
Did you know:

- In 1904, a cruise from New York to Great Britain was $10 (third class).

- The longest railway in the world is the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia; it's nearly 6,000 miles long.

- Washington, D.C., has more psychiatrists per capita than any other city in the country. (anybody surprised?)

fermatprime said...

Good day fellow puzzlers. I have been reading the blog regularly but haven't had anything significant to say. (People do not seem to want to answer my questions anyway.)

Thanks John Lampkin. Puzzle today great fun. But the songs were difficult for me, apart from Sinatra's. My favorite fills was ARFARF, IAN and EPOXY . Really would have preferred "A DEAD HORSE." Wish IRED would just go away.

Have been having a difficult time finding swimming partners. I think it wise not to swim alone at my age, what with all of the aches and pains. Pool heater had required repair twice already too!

A Russian former colleague of mine is staying at my humble abode with his 2 daughters (6 and 14) for 7 weeks. He is a fruit-aholic. I find bowls of it laid out for me everyday. Nice, but hard on the already expanded waistline.

Anyone watching summer shows, like Burn Notice and Leverage?

Have a wonderful day!

Dennis said...

Fermatprime, yes, love Leverage.

What questions have gone unanswered?

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

This was a total slog for me from start to finish. For awhile, I didn't even think I would even be able to finish, but I finally twigged CONFIDENCE at 10D and that let me get the NE corner.

Lots of unknowns today, a tricky theme, lots of misleading clues, and a few WTF moments. I really thought the song from "Annie" was "It's a hard knock life." And why is SPA clued as "baths"?

Ah well, as I said, I finished it. Finally. That has to count for something...

Paolo said...

Top of the morning, all!

Al: Super write-up, as usual, really enjoyed info about RIDGE and NEON. Love starting a day with some new knowledge.

Cameron: Welcome to the world, you cutie! I'm jealous, JD, as we have no grandchildren (yet).

Dennis: Buon anniversario!

Needed lots of red letter help today. Was fooled by all the mis-directs. Theme fills were easy and really enjoyed: AMENS, EPOXY, ARFARF, REARM, HITEST, CITI.

Dick said...

Good morning Al and All, a very nice write up today Al. I liked your dissertation on neon and ridges. I can sum up this puzzle by saying ditto to Dennis and Barry G. I seemed to have all of the same problems they had and maybe even a few others.

Hope you all have a great Thursday.

Mainiac said...

Good Morning Al, CC and All,

Over Confidence must have played a roll today after I was so pumped after a successful Wednesday. I was tripped up all over the place. The song names were tough for me but once That's Life fell a dim light began to burn brighter. Still needed red letters to finish.

Great writeup as usual Al.

Happy Anniversary Dennis.

Happy Birthday BarbB, wherever you are.

JD, Cameron's a good looking guy!

Lucina said...

Good morning Al and fellow puzzlers.

Great write up, Al, with fascinating information. Thank you.

IRED again? I could say yes, but that's because of insomnia, a rarity for me.

A bit of a slog today, very erratic, but finally got a foothold in bottom SW when I recalled WAPITI.

I really liked the echoes already mentioned and some very clever misdirection, namely, Bond creator, EPOXY and James's creator, IAN. Tricky.

I remembered Katy Jurado, first because she was beautiful and then not many hispanic actresses back then.

SHEREE North just flew out from somewhere.

A-line line, HEM, clever, too.

Bye for now; I'm going to try sleeping again.

Have a delightful Thursday!

Lucina said...

Happy anniversary, Dennis.

Lovely pictures, JD. He already looks wise.

Lemonade714 said...

Good morning Al, C.C. and the blogettes:

John Lampkin certainly woke me and up after an easy week, this puzzle has more TWISTS than Goldie Hawn in the 60’s. I love how much time I wasted on thinking about woofers and subwoofers, and then ARF ARF filled, which made perfect sense with little Orphan Annie also in the puzzle, I could hear Sandy, though the song title was a slog. Al, you did a great job identifying all of the echoes, and ARF one to me was very well hidden.

Meanwhile, before we could even finish our rant about IRED being used by Dan, there it is the HOT new fill, along with HOT MEETING: TRYST. I liked seeing CONfidence man spelled out, and a puzzle with SMUT and SEXES has possibilities. I had trouble focusing on HI TEST, looking for some superlative to compare with a REGULAR.

Yes. JD the baby is precious, Happy Anniversary Dennis and birthday BarbB, and great day to you all.

Lemonade714 said...

And for all you music lovers, KATY JURADO , and our by 'ol blues eyes and SHEREE NORTH .

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone. Nice write-up Al. Happy Anniversary, Dennis.

John constructed a real good puzzle that gave pause on many of the fills. Took several passes plus a break to finally finish. No look-ups needed; just a lot of patience. The NE was tough, but after figuring out who the real 'woofer' was, REARM the slot machine fell. Clever clues included those for AMENS, FISH, EPOXY, and HI-TEST. Liked WAPITI after I could think of it.

IRED - (they're baack). This may or may not be in your favorite dictionary or scrabble ref. or directions on how to run your chain saw. Any questions, check yesterday's blog.

Thor's father - nice touch for Thursday. today

DEAD HORSE - In the Navy, a draw of advance pay to cover the cost of uniforms or some official need. - to be paid back later. When a Sailor pays off a debt to the command (advance pay, overpayments, etc...) they say they've paid off a Dead Horse.

Enjoy the day.

lois said...

Good morning Al, CC. et al., Interesting puzzle. Not my favorite. Had the same problems as BarryG exactly and still don't understand how 'sexes' equates to snazzes (up), but absolutely love the SW corner fills.

What a hoot! It really could be 'the time of my' life w/'a-cute' cowboy -one of the 'guys' that 'I love' in a 'tryst' with a 'hi test''twist' between the 'haler' 'sexes'. Actually, the 'haler' they are the 'tru'er is 'its a hard knock' life, but that 'hosed' up 'dead horse' can become personified eventually if you're not careful. Ride 'em hard (amens!!) but it's a big 'no no' to put 'em away wet. Don't want them to turn into has 'beens' before their time 'tho', so ya have to 'edify 'their 'confidence' by 'putin' a 'glee'm in their eye and running your fingers thru their 'wig'. If it comes off, slip in some 'wapiti' or buffalo grahdu. Works like 'epoxy'. That should keep the 'lids' on. If he complains, say "hey, 'that's life' on the'ridge', buckaroo. You're not in the 'citi' any more. Then a nice dip in the 'spa' (watering hole) where the 'fish' are jumpin' and a good massage and he's
'rearm'ed and 'able' again in no time. It's a gift.

Excellent job, Al. Enjoyed it more than the puzzle really.

Happy Anniversary, Dennis. Wish you many many more.

JD: that baby boy is so adorable and you are just radiant. Great pix. Thanks for sharing.

windhover said...

fermatprime:
You must be a middle child!
I will be happy to answer any and all your questions, and please note:
I did not capitalize any letters in your name. That seems to be a sensitive issue lately.

Lrc said...

Good morning - Good job, Al. Slow start but then steady progress. I had "bowwow" for ARFARF at first. I also had trouble frow the SW to the center but finally got CHAR and NITRO and that got things rolling and finished with no help.

4D GUYS and 58A THATSLIFE; A Frank Sinatra connection as he was in the movie Guys & Dolls. I just watched part of a Dean Martin Show infomercial a few days ago (I know, I have no life) & they showed Dean & Frank singing "Nathan Detroit".

Liked REARM and EPOXY.

Getting tired of ETHNO.

Good day.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers - It's been said already. That was a tough go, and loaded with misdirections, every one of which I fell for. Could not see FISH, and where did CHAR come from?? NONO felt like a stretch, and astringent/ACRID doesn't line up in my world. May we vote on IRED? I think it should be deep-sixed as being simply wrong.

Had to resort to red letters to fix that center. Want coffee.

JimmyB said...

What's with Thursdays lately? This one took me longer than last week's Thursday puzzle. Dennis and Barry G have pretty much covered all that ailed me. I was most HOSED in the NE and SW, baffled by SHEREE, ASLAN, CHAR, etc. And I can never remember WAPITI: I got the opening "W" and the closing "I" and all I could think of was WATUSI. Must have been the "Dirty Dancing" clue that triggered that one.

Thanks, Al. Great learning moment with NEON.

Dennis said...

Gee thanks, JimmyB - now I've got this image of a wapiti doing the watusi locked in my head.

At least it has plenty of room...

Bob said...

The middle section of this puzzle gave me fits, but after 46 minutes I finally got everything to fall into place. A real challenge today.

Bill G. said...

Fermatprime, the ads and trailers for Burn Notice didn't inspire me. I've been watching Leverage since last summer. It required a lot of effort to suspend disbelief but it's a fun caper.

Spitzboov said...

Barry G. said And why is SPA clued as "baths"?.

I guess because a Spa can include or involve baths.
An example is the Saratoga Spa which has the Lincoln Mineral Baths.
Argyle lives closer to the area and may be able to add to this.

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, Great Thursday, except for IRED, of course.

I was having a difficult time of the theme entries, until I got to IT"S THE HARD KNOCK. "Bingo!" It all made sense and the rest of them came easy.

I came close to shouting, "That's wrong!" Even though I've seen the movie, stage productions twice, and have the Annie soundtrack, in spite of written evidence, I thought the title was IT'S A HARD KNOCK LIFE..."D'oh!"

Come to think of it, we have all the theme songs, except THAT'S LIFE on one CD or another.

I loved 22A ARF ARF and 48D EPOXY.

Not so much 22D Astringent/ACRID. I'm not sciency at all, so I have to accept the explanation (Thanks, Al) and the very last definition in Merriam-Webster online. For me and most women, astringent is a cosmetic skin toner, like witch hazel.

Whenever I see CHAR I think of Carol Burnett's character CHARwoman and Charlie This clip has a teeny ELFIN Gloria Swanson as Charlie Chaplin.

Lois' post @8:54 did the SW corner proud...we knew she would.

Happy anniversary, Dennis and Happy birthday, Barb B.

fermatprime, GAH is hooked on Leverage. It does require "the willing suspension of disbelief", but I enjoy it too.

From last night, "No" Lucina, middle sister doesn't read this blog...probably a very good thing for family harmony.

GarlicGal said...

Slog? You got that right. My eraser really had a workout this a.m. Sherie for Sherree, Hard "luck"life...didn't work either. Hids for lids...groan. Neo for nee. No need to mention sexes at this point. 31 minutes later I filled in the last blank. Whew!

GarlicGal said...

Slog? You got that right. My eraser really had a workout this a.m. Sherie for Sherree, Hard "luck"life...didn't work either. Hids for lids...groan. Neo for nee. No need to mention sexes at this point. 31 minutes later I filled in the last blank. Whew!

JD said...

Good morning Al, CC and all,

I loved this puzzle today, although it was slow going, but I got the theme and remembered wapiti,& sten.Sheree came to mind right away, but not the spelling.ARG! The perps helped with char, epi, ethno, haler and I was really on the wrong track with confidence as I wanted com man.

Thought of sexy for 45D (smut) so was surprised to see sexes.

Hardest and last fill was Ian. I kept thinking, "Who *-*!! is James?

Favorites:rearm and deadhorse.

Happy Birthday Barb B.; we miss you

Happy Anniversary Dennis, don't forget to say those 2 little words.

Al, loved your blogging-always learn a lot.

Paolo, I was the LAST one of my friends to get the gift of grandchildren. It was worth the wait, plus I have a plethora of hand-me-downs.

BTW, John Isner finally won the tennis match in the 5th set, 3rd day of play:70-68! Got to feel sorry for the Frenchman.

JD said...

typo...con man..I know it didn't fit so I was boggled for a bit.

Bill G. said...

Re: Wimbledon. It's a shame either of them had to lose...

carol said...

Hi everyone -

Al, great job with this puppy! Many things are clearer now.

I could not get into this, it was like a difficult Saturday puzzle for me. Too many movie titles/actresses/authors/song titles,etc. Those are my weak spots (well, some of them-LOL).

Did anyone else have a problem with 53D? The answer is plural, but it was not indicated in the clue so I hesitated to put 'beenS' in.

Dennis: all the best on your anniversary - I know you'll do the 'morel' thing.

BarbB - A very happy birthday! We do miss you!

Barry G - congratulations on completing the puzzle, you have more fortitude than I. I just finally had to give it up or lose what little brain cells I have left :)

JD: Cameron is soooo sweet, what a wonderful picture of the two of you! His little 'cheekers' beg for a kiss.

John Lampkin said...

Thanks Al, especially for the neat mini-treatise on NEON. One of the great perks of living in the cruciverbal world is this type of educational sidebar journey.

And thank you all for your comments. Lois, the clue I actually submitted to Rich for SEXES was "Genders, coming and going" which plays on the palindromic read in both directions. And of course it's terribly naughty (DF, as it were) with TRYST crossing the "Unexpected climax." We constructors seldom know why our clues get changed, but in this case I think we can assume that it was too just too risque in this context.

And hey Barry, a lot of WTFs on a Thursday is a good thing, right? And I had to smile at the confusion about ITS THE HARD KNOCK LIFE, because during my original brainstorm, I made the same mistake thinking that it was an A in there instead of a THE. This in spite of the fact that I've taught the piano version many times over the years. Duh.

Yesterday, I groaned when I read you all ranting about IRED in Dan's puzzle, knowing that we were in for another round. However, like dandruff and navel lint, IRED is a necessary nuisance. Hey, THAT'S LIFE!

Tinbeni said...

Al, Great job, very informative.

Since I searched out the theme reveal,
THAT'S LIFE, got me going early.

HI-TEST, Regular alternative, informaly, for a type of gas was ACUTE clue. (Sorry 'bout that)
I LOVE, SEXES, TRYST (Hot meeting?), nice stack.
Throw in the NONO SMUT, was there an underlying theme?

Annette said...

Nice blogging, Al! Interesting and informative, as always. You’re not supposed to collect the 2 cents…? :-)

Excellent puzzle, John! Great theme, and plenty of fun, DF fodder throughout. After getting the first theme answer, I knew LIFE had to be an answer somewhere in the grid. I actually did the long theme fills first this time! My favorites: ARF ARF and EPOXY. I thought “James’s Creator” was referring to “James and the Giant Peach” – I’m not into James Bond movies, so missed the echo.

I LOVE "THAT'S LIFE", too! Nice neighboring fill.

Is 6D TUTOR referring to John Lampkin himself, as a private music teacher?

Didn’t SHEREE North used to be very common crosswordese? I haven’t seen it in a long while though?

Lrc, good catch on the G&D / Sinatra echo!

JimmyB, I tried putting in WATUSI too. LOL - thanks, Dennis for sharing that image!

Clear Ayes said...

How thoughtful of John Lampkin to stop by with insights to today's puzzle.

Yesterday I was thinking about names and wondered if all of you know where our ARBAON came up with the pseudonym.

Shakespeare mostly wrote in iambic pentameter, which makes just about everything a very long poem. The following is no exception. (In this case it isn't Ro-me-oh, it is Rome-yo.)

It is from Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II. Juliet is bemoaning the fact that her family, the Capulets are enemies with Romeo's family, the Montagues. She is saying that the name doesn't matter, it is the person behind the name that is important.

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy.
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name
would smell as sweet.
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name;
And for that name, which is no part of thee,
Take all myself.

So call me Clear Ayes, Clear Eyes, C.A., or CA. As the old saying goes, "Just don't call me late for dinner."

Dennis said...

John, thanks for checking in. One of the things I think we all love about this blog is the opportunity to get a 'behind the scenes' glimpse into the construction/thought process of a given puzzle.

Keep those 'WTF's coming!

Annette said...

Tinbeni, I thought that was a nice stack, too!

I also liked how AMEN was the final answer that ‘closed’ the puzzle.

Carol, I can see the family resemblance between you and Cameron, especially around the eyes. Congratulations, again! Thanks for sharing your joy.

Happy 22nd, Dennis! And Happy Birthday to Barb B.

fermatprime, I’ve been enjoying Burn Notice since the beginning, too.

John, thanks for stopping in and providing your insight!

MR ED said...

never heard 'sexes' and 'snazzes' used interchangably. what a stretch.

this site and puzzle are so predictable. ho-hum.

MJ said...

Good afternoon, All.

Great write-up. Al. I always appreciate your educational asides.

I played quite a game of hopscotch with the puzzle today, but, like Barry G., finally finished. Had to give myself many breaks along the way to attend to menial tasks to allow some gray cells to regenerate. Thanks, John Lampkin, for today's challenge, and thanks for stopping by and sharing with us.

Loved the "James creator/Bond creator" clues and corresponding fill.

Jeannie, I hope you have a wonderful trip. Wishing you travel safeties, as well.

JD, lovely photos of you and little Cameron.

Dennis, Happy Anniversary to you and your bride of 22 years.

Enjoy the day!

windhover said...

I predict that eventually there will be a talking horse, but it won't ever say anything of consequence.

Janet said...

Thursdays are when things get difficult for me. SHEREE, WAPITI and EN AMI were new ones. I didn't know was HITEST was and had to read the blog to find out that 44D was HI-TEST.

I'm reading a book, 'The Lost City of Z' about the explorer Percy Fawcett, who disappeared in the Amazon in 1925. His last known location was DEAD HORSE camp. It was called that because their horses really did die there. There is supposed to be a movie version with Brad Pitt. I hope so.

Today's blog is like a breath of fresh air. Thank you C.C.

Argyle said...

Spitzboov said @ 11:05 AM
Barry G. said And why is SPA clued as "baths"?.

"An example is the Saratoga Spa which has the Lincoln Mineral Baths.
Argyle lives closer to the area and may be able to add to this."

And so I shall: bath – noun

(7.) Usually, baths. a town or resort visited for medical treatment by bathing or the like; spa.

Dictionary.com Unabridged - Based on the Random House Dictionary,

The Saratoga Spa State Park had a bit of a scandal in 2007. They had been mixing tap water with the mineral water! Such skullduggery!

C. C. said...

EddyB,
Your comment @12:53pm was deleted. Read my post at 9:30pm yesterday. I asked you to leave this blog. You are not welcome here.

carol said...

Annette, I'd love to claim Cameron as part of my family but he is JD's little grandson :)

fermatprime: I meant to tell you that fruit is not fattening so please enjoy several pieces.

WH: (12:44) LOL

Jeannie said...

Well, I didn’t score a perfect “ten” today, and I kind of lost my “confidence” a little until I reminded myself it was Thursday. About the only thing I caught onto right away was the theme as I snuck down and worked the NE corner and figured out that the Sinatra tune had to be “That’s life”. That helped me get the rest of the theme answers. John, you had me fooled all over the place. I thought that “epoxy” for bond creator was a very clever clue. Red letter and perp help were needed for en lai, char, and Roald. I wanted something musical for bass and drum. I have never heard of a drum fish and by the looks of it, I wouldn’t want that thing on the end of my hook! I grok’d how I love, sexes, and tryst stacked up on top on one another. Very DF!

JD, can you beam any brighter holding that precious little guy?

Dennis, enjoy your 22nd anniversary. Any special plans that you can share on the blog?

It’s finally just a “wake-up” for me. I’ll check in with you all when I get back!

Clear Ayes said...

Al, I usually glaze over when science stuff comes up, but your explanation of NEON was interesting and simple enough for me to understand. Thanks.

About that 60A SEXES (up). Here's Wikipedia's take on it.

10A CONFIDENCE ties into yesterday's I BEEN HAD. I bet Bernie Madoff's victims were sophisticated enough to say I'VE BEEN TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF.

Also from yesterday's I BEEN HAD. Argyle, about "Sting victim's wail" comment, "I don't care for his music but I thought that was a bit harsh". Very funny.

What's in a name? I had to laugh at Dodo's Spitzbumpa and Annette mixing up JD and Carol.

BTW, JD, adorable Cameron looks a little confused..."I was so comfy and warm....How did I get here?"

Have a great visit, Jeannie.

Crockett1947 said...

Good morning, everyone!

Number two of four boys here -- guess that makes me a "middle" child.

Dr. Dad, good to see you back here. Hope you can stay around.

Dennis, the "Bass or drum" brought back a fond memory of one of my late singing buddies, John, the "largemouth bass." Took me a while to make the fish connection. Hope you have a great anniversary celebration.

Happy Birthday, Bar B, wherever you may be. (I see Mainiac and I are on the same track here.)

Fermatprime, don't watch much of any TV season. I think I heard that Leverage is filming here in Portland.

Paolo, I really enjoy your comments every day. You are such a ray of sunshine!

Lucina, hope you can get that rest. WAPITI is a neat word -- one I find fun to say/remember.

Lemonade714, what exactly is a blogette? Thanks for the links.

Spitzboov, thanks for my new fact for the day. Will have to ask my b-i-l Navy guys about that one.

Lrc, bowwow made me laugh. Thanks.

Clear Ayes, I hope GAH is recovering from that kidney stone. OUCH!

GarlicGal, love the name! Have you shared the significance of it yet?

John Lampkin, love your original clue for SEXES -- that's beyond clever. You honor us by your presence. Thank you.

Argyle, you just can't trust anyone these days....

Jeannie, I hope you have the most awesome trip. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!

Have a fantastic Thursday!!

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon everyone.
great write up, AL, as usual. Enjoyed the info you gave us.

Dennis: Happy anniversary. My old book that has what's supposed to be the present for which anniversary decrees that the traditional for the 20th (no 22nd given) is china and the modern is platinum. Which do you need?

Carol, yes, I didn't put has beens because of the s at the end.

Jeannie: Bon voyage.

Cheers

Lucina said...

Crockett1947:
You are awesome! How kind of you to think of everyone here.

Yes, thank you, I did sleep a few more hours and feel refreshed.

Dodo:
A very special thank you for linking me with Creme Fraiche. It makes a wonderful topping/mix for fruit which I eat for breakfast. This morning it was strawberries.

fermatmprime:
If you are so inclined, you might enjoy it on fruit. It quite tasty, from Trader Joe's. One TBSP with a few drops of honey goes a long way.

CA:
I love your choice of poetry. And I am sure you and your sisters must have a great time together. Being able to jest like that speaks of harmony.

John Lampkin:
Thank you for stopping by; I so enjoy your puzzles especially when they challenge me, which is often, since you add those twists, trysts, and acute misdirections.

I hope you are all enjoying Thor's day!

Lemonade714 said...

John Lampkin:

How delightful that you stopped by, and revealed the brilliant Palindrome (is that why Sarah Palin does not know if she is coming or going?) clue for SEXES which you submitted. Now that you are here, is it true you had ITS THE HARD KNOCK (LIFE) as your seed LIFELESS song, and you has ARF ARF in mind immediately?

Dudley, thank you for “the rest of the story” Are you a fan of Annette B.? Maybe Funicello? Anetter, how about you. I liked the one with Michael Douglas as president

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Al - excellent!

Interesting insight into RIDGE/hrycg. The CG in O.E. was pronounced like the DGE in RIDGE.

I never noticed this before, but RIDGE is probably some sort of cognate with the German word fragment Rück, which occurs in the words for back (body part), and return (go back.)

There's a ridge in Germany called the Hunsruck (chickenback.)

Nice of John Lampkin to stop by.

I usually like John's puzzle a lot. Alas, this one did not work for me, despite is copious high cleverness, but I'll refrain from CARPing (which is another FISH) and just say ARF ARF.

Gota run. Park concert tonight.

Remember, trombonists have horns; WAPITI have antlers.

Cheers!
JzB who only SOUNDS like velvet . . .

Anonymous said...

Lemonade, what if someone said Obama didn't know if he was coming or going, even as a joke? Would he or she not be chastised?

Inappropriate political comment is inappropriate political comment, no matter which side is attacked.

I don't personally care for Ms. Palin, but fair is fair, and you should know that.

Dennis said...

Sallie, I'll go with the traditional, china. I'll be sure to pick up a plate on the way home tonight. Thanks.

Bob said...

Janet: I read "The Lost City of Z" a few months ago and really enjoyed it. Hard to imagine how anyone who had experienced first-hand the difficulties of an uncharted trek through Amazonia a hundred years ago would have voluntarily elected to return. It's also hard to imagine how a tenderfoot like David Grann would take on the challenge today, for the sake of his book. Fawcett was certainly made of stern and sturdy stuff, although even that wasn't enough to save him and his son in 1925.

Annette said...

Carol and JD - I'm so sorry for the mix-up of your names! I don't know where my mind was...

However, Cameron is adorable, and does resemble his grandmother around the eyes.

Jeannie, I hope you have a safe and wonderful visit with your family!

John Lampkin said...

To reply to Lemonade's question: The puzzle started out as a rebus idea, with LIFE filling up one square. I had about 50 possibilities, like midLIFEcrisis, LIFEraft, etc. Whenever there are too many possibilities, a productive course to follow is to try to tighten the theme as much as possible before doing anything else. I immediately noticed that I had those songs with LIFE in there as the final word, so I developed a theme list for Rich to review that had
YOUARETHESUNSHINEOFMY as a grid-spanning 21, thinking that it would make a good Sunday puzzle. Rich thought the gimmick would become predictable very quickly, too quickly for a Sunday, and suggested that I prune to a Thursday 15. Rich is usually right (Rich, if you are reading this, I meant to say "Rich is ALWAYS right.), so I was happy to oblige. This 15 is tight, and a 21 would have been sloppier since there aren't that many songs that end with LIFE.

Since you asked about ARFARF, it just popped up as I was cluing. Yes, I could have tied it to Sandy. Should have thought of that! Remind me next time!

Sense of Humor said...

Aww, come on 3:33, and lighten up. Nothing wrong with a political jab. I'm an Obama voter and I think lots of jokes about him have been funny. How about this cartoon, or "After a quick meet-and-greet with King Abdullah, Obama was off to Israel, where he made a quick stop at the manger in Bethlehem where he was born." —Jon Stewart, on Barack Obama's Middle East trip

Making an obvious joke is a lot different than making hateful divisive statements. If you can't laugh at politicians, who can you laugh at? We even now?

Lemonade714 said...

Thanks SOH, by now I thought everyone knew I was the class clown.

Mr. Lampkin, anytime you want me to remind you of the world of trivial references, I am here at your disposal, which sadly is where most of my material ends its journey. Can I get one more chorus of oar, oar, oar your boat...? Does Rich do rebi in the LA Times?

Annette, sorry I misspelled your name, fingers just have minds of their own.

Lucina said...

My sisters and I like to vacation at SPAs; our favorites are Glen Ivy in CA and Palm Springs Resort (can't recall the exact name); they consist of several kinds of minral baths. They are quite soothing and salubrious for those of a certain age with aches and pains.

Marge said...

Hi all,
It is 7:15 Pm central time. I just turned to a TV station that is showing the 1982 version of 'Annie". I had to listen really hard to hear "It's the hard knock life" instead of " A hard knock life."

What a coincident!
Good day every one,
Maege

Chickie said...

Hello All--I was glad to note that others had the same problems that affected me today. My weaknesses are popular songs, and proper names. Need I say more?

I Googled the songs, and after getting the Beatle's song in I realized what was missing, so the search was easier after that one fill. I finished everything but with a great deal of help.

I enjoyed the Bond creator/epoxy as well as the A-line line/Hem clues. Very clever.

John Lampkin, thank you for stopping by. I'm always amazed at the thoughts behind the puzzle construction.

Lois, I knew you would have a lot of grist for your mill today with the clues in the SW corner. You didn't disappoint!

Happy 22nd Dennis and Happy Birthday, Barb B.

Al, Elk Velvet--Who knew?
An informative writeup as usual.

Gunghy said...

My God, I loved this one!!!!!!! Thank you John. And thank you for stopping by. Take every positive comment anyone made and I'm standing in my chair waving my hand over my head yelling, "Me too!!" I even liked IRED this time around. (Don't know why, just seemed to fit.)

Did I mention yet that I didn't finish? I don't watch many movies, so knowledge of musicals is problematic. 46A was The TALE of My Life, making 38D (OOH, that's a tempting DF link) EN_LI and 44D _ATEST.

ACERB for ACRID And NUKES for NITRO slowed me for a while. By the Way, if you'd ever open a bottle of strong acid, you'd never question that clue.

I've decided I'm not going to compliment the bloggers any more. I type too slow and it's a daily thing. So C.C. and all the guests, print this out and tape it to your screen:
Gunghy said...
Another great blog today!!

On the other hand, JD, he's a doll. Unless my son gets careless, I'm not expecting one soon, ...sigh. My daughter has already informed me I have to wait until she's 30, and she has the degree to insure that: animal science with an emphasis on endocrinology and genetics. Ow well, pictures from friends help.

SPA, Belgium is a resort famous for its mineral BATHS. This is the origin of the word spa. It's original use in the English language was to denote a resort with mineral baths or hot springs. I believe that the meaning began to change with the increased popularity of hot tubs.

Windhover @ 12:44 Isn't that Congress?

Anonymous, I will say it: I don't believe Obama knows if he's coming or going. However, I'm sure Ms Palin doesn't have a clue where she is, let alone where she's aimed. OK, let's test Sense of Humor's thesis; I've got a thick skin, let me have it.

Gunghy said...

Windhover, I blew it, I was thinking of the wrong end of the horse for congress.

I used to work for a principal with a first name of Ed. We called him Mr. Ed. He thought it was cute; too young to get the reference, I guess.

Anonymous said...

To Clear Ayes:

Its kind of late, and I don't know whether you will see this comment.

RE: ARBAON ... you wanted to know the significance of the coded name ... I'm guessing that maybe you have to reverse the label ... NO A BRA.

... probably a militant feminist from the 60's/70's ... or a guy with breast fixation.


ARBAON ... my sincere apologies if I offended you ... just speculating out loud.(lol).Please don't get mad.



C.A. ... I hope your hubby is doing better ... kidney stones are a precursor of a host of other potential problems... so better to get throughly checked out- for PCKD poly Cyst Kid dis.. or a maladjusted purine metabolism, or any gouty incidence etc.

KS's are mostly Calcium oxalates and formates and they crystlz/precipitate out of the urine because of supersaturation in the solution, post- kidney.

Consuming a small amount of beer is useful , in the system, because it is a diuretic ( causes more frequent urination) ... but drinking copious amounts of good ole water is best.

Keep those kidneys hydrated.I'll pray for you both.

Some men have said that passing a kidney stone is more painful than an extended labor during delivery. I wouldn't know .... but I notice only a man would say such a thing.

Argyle said...

RE: ARBAON - A rose by any other name

ARBAON said...

Argyle: Thanks for having my back! I saw my name in the puzzle but have been working on three bushels of peas today and haven`t had time to actually work on it.

Your very sore thumbed "A Rose By Any Other Name."

Anon @8:09: I forgive you but don`t push your luck! :)

erieruth said...

Today's puzzle was cool, clever, and challenging. I LOVED it. The last block I fillin in was the X in sexes and epoxy. I could not figure that one out until I went through every letter of the alphabet and then ... X!!! What fun. This was my favorite puzzle in the past few weeks.

Did anyone else try *toner* for astringent (22A)? It threw me until I got the perp (I now know what that is) 'For once in my life'.

Does anyone do the JUMBLE??? Today's was very cute - about the high jumper!!!

Annette said...

Lemonade714, I thought you were using the nickname you christened me with a few days ago. Here, I thought you'd been drinking or something, and it was just a plain, old typo. :-)

Actually, it took me a while to figure out your train of thought. I had forgotten about Dudley's Annette Bening story late last night (isn't she beautiful?! Annette Funicello too.), and my last name also starts with a "B", so I thought Annette B. was me!

That movie and "Air Force One" are my favorite presidential movies.

So, I've seen all sorts of variations on your screen name - L714, Lemon, Lemonade, etc. Do you have a preference? Despite my earlier mistake, I really do put a lot of effort into spelling people's names as they appear here, so as not to offend... although I would dearly love to type C.C. without the periods, just out of sheer laziness!

Clear Ayes said...

Hi ARBAON, sorry to hear about the pea shucking thumbs. Also sorry if I didn't make it clear when I posted the Romeo and Juliet speech that your name is an abbreviation of the phrase A Rose By Any Other Name.

For those who asked, GAH is feeling fine. So far no further discomfort. He is drinking lots of water, but not too much.

I had a friend who was recently hospitalized for hyponatremia, which is too little sodium in the blood. In her case, it was caused because she had been dieting and was guzzling enough water to dilute her sodium levels. She fainted and wound up in the hospital for five days. So too much water, too fast can be bad for you too.

erieruth, yes, I thought of TONER also (as in witch hazel).

Annette said...

erieruth, I tried putting in toner too. I try to do the jumbles once in a while, but I'm really not very good with them unless they're very, very easy.

I bet Jerome can do them with his eyes closed AND one arm tied behind his back though! :-)

Dennis said...

erieruth, yes, the jumble was clever. Do you also do the cryptogram and sudoku? They were both well done today also.

ClearAyes, I heard about a radio contest to see who could drink the most water the fastest. The woman who won died, I think from just that.

Dudley said...

Lemonade 3:25 - I guess I haven't seen enough Annette B. movies to have become a fan. The same is true for Annette Funicello: I was a bit young for her batch of beach movies, and the Mousketeers were on the tube before I was even born (I remember B&W reruns after school, however). My (much) older brothers seemed to think she was...appealing.

HUTCH said...

Por Favor! Would someone tell me what "Red Letter" Help means? Thank you.

Dennis said...

Dudley, I seem to remember Annette F. having a couple of outstanding assets...

Annette, I think we were actually hotter here than it was there today - supposedly touched on 100 here. May have to run down there to cool off a bit.

Crockett1947 said...

Hutch, if one solves from the L.A. Times page, there is an option to solve as an expert or regular. In the regular mode (don;t know what it's called - I use AcrossLite) any incorrect letter shows red. Ergo, time to change it!

Hope this helps you out!

erieruth said...

Dennis - The cryptogram doesn't come in our paper - I don't think I'd be very good at them. I usually do the sudoku, but I haven't completed today's ... yet!!!

Dennis said...

erieruth, good luck with it; a pretty tough one today.

Lemonade714 said...

'Nettie:

You can call me any variation on the lemon theme which ap peals (i know a zesty pun).

Did you watch the remake of The Women with AB and Meg Ryan, and an all female cast?

Jumbles are all jumbly, like Winnie the Pooh

nite nite

dodo said...

Hi, C.C.,Al and everyone, Again everything I could say has been said: Loved the blog and the info, enjoyed the puzzle but it wasn't easy.

AND I surrender re: 'ired'! I give up, it showed up again so soon and I'm throwing away all my reference books! (I still don't like it!)

I'm still embarassed about the names, but at least I'm not alone! Thanks, Annette.

JD, you have such beautiful little grandsons! How I wish mine were still babies. But they're all nice young men, so I can't complain. Just wish one of them would provide a great-. There's nothing like a new baby to give you a new outlook on the world~. OMI, I'm missing Rachel Maddow!

Bill G. said...

Hutch, I know a lot of folks here prefer Across Lite to the LA Times applet. I don't. I do the CW puzzles online on the LAT website. I use the Master mode on Monday and Tuesday and switch to Regular on the harder puzzles. As Crockett said, the incorrect letters immediately show up in red. Or, if you get stuck, you can ask for the applet to give you the correct letter or the correct word. I much prefer that than giving up on the puzzle and coming here for the correct answers.

Lucina said...

I love Annette Benning! The American President is also one of my favorites, but in BEING JULIA she really showed her talent.

Warning: it is X rated and much of her is revealed.

Annette said...

Lemonade, I haven't seen 'The Women' yet, but I do want to.

I like Sudoku too, but didn't have time to do it today. I usually do the ones online from USA Today too.

I don't think we have the cryptogram in our paper anymore.

Good night, all!

Lucina said...

Ooops. I meant Rrated for Being Julia.

Annette said...

Dennis, I heard from my sister in Richmond at 4 pm today that it was 101 there. It was only 90 here at the time. Come on down! Between Lemonade and I, I'm sure we could make you forget the weather back home. Wouldn't that make a wonderful anniversary trip for you and your wife?

Oh, and Friday is "Take your dog (pet) to work" Day, per the Google search window. I guess they don't want us bringing pets in our offices, so they suggested we post pictures of them on our desk or wall to share with others.

Karin P. said...

C.C. & fellow bloggers: What a tribute it is to you and this wonderful community you have created, that our puzzle constructors, such as Mr John Lampkin, et al, stop in to offer their comments, insights, and inside analyses!

You were faced with a difficult situation here the last few days, and you handled this situation with great courage, grace and aplomb, all for the betterment of this fine group.

Daily reader yet infrequent commenter, here, but I admire you and your hand-picked associate bloggers, Argyle, JZB, LemonAde Esq., and Al, who do an excellent job at educating, inspiring and entertaining us. Thank you, all.

So many more "small people" such as myself read this blog than comment here, and we appreciate your collective magic.
[Dare I add in reference to the BP Swede, that the Swedish version of "small people" is quite nearly as offensive in Swedish as English, , There's a perfectly good, correct, version in Swedish for "everyone effected" or "the broader public" that should have been used instead.] This a linguistic comment, no politics inferred.

I must now go sharpen my pencil to face tomorrow's puzzle.
k.p.