Dec 6, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010 Donna S. Levin

Theme: On Solid Footing - Four phrases that end with a word that indicates what you may build on, literally or metaphorically.

20A. Sidewalk periodical vendor : NEWSPAPER STAND

25A. Edwards or Langley, e.g. : AIR FORCE BASE

42A. Court-ordered parental obligation : CHILD SUPPORT

48A. Philanthropic group chartered by auto execs : FORD FOUNDATION

Argyle here.

If you have a strong crossword background to build on, then Donna's offering should cause you little trouble. The grid is well grounded with strong blocks at the corners and lengthy cross ties.

I'm going to assume we all have basic expertise in puzzles and do minimal comments; there are entries from the past and the present. Anybody with a question, just ask it and someone will answer it.


1. Try to obtain sensitive info using an Internet scam : PHISH

6. Chase down, as a fly ball : SHAG

10. Falls behind : LAGS

14. "Tiny Bubbles" singer : DON HO. Hawaiian

15. Tip-top : A-ONE

16. Towards the sheltered side, at sea : ALEE

17. Specialized jargon : ARGOT

18. "__ call us, we'll ..." : DON'T. Video. (3:24)

19. Red sky, to a sailor : OMEN

23. __-Locka, Florida : OPA. A city located in Miami-Dade County.

24. Gut courses : EASY A'S. Knew the answer but not the clue. The best definition I found is that a gut course is a class so easy that you can forgo studying, go with your gut instincts, and still get an A.

31. Political corruption : GRAFT

32. Police busts : RAIDS

33. Revolutionary statesman Franklin : BEN

36. Knocks on the door : RAPS

37. Response to a fencing lunge : PARRY

38. Nothing, in tennis : LOVE

39. Picnic invader : ANT

40. Intimidated : COWED. "Don't have a cow, man!": Bart Simpson.

41. Tendon : SINEW

44. Show hosts : EMCEEs

47. Actor Mineo : SAL

54. Notion : IDEA

55. Univ. sports group : NCAA

56. Liberate from the hitching post : UNTIE. That is just PETA talk.

58. Shakespearean king : LEAR

59. Tiger Woods's ex : ELIN

60. Allow to pass : LET BY

61. Benevolent order : ELKS

62. Cowgirl Evans : DALE

63. Cropped up : AROSE


1. High-tech organizer, briefly : PDA. Personal digital assistant, an electronic device which can include some of the functions of a computer, a cellphone, a music player, a camera and a partridge in a pear tree.

2. English or French instrument : HORN. English or French.

3. "Picnic" dramatist : INGE

4. Braggarts : SHOW-OFFS

5. Lively nightclub : HOT SPOT

6. Thompson of "Family" : SADA

7. Hula __ : HOOP

8. Green Gables girl : ANNE. The tale of a red-headed girl.

9. Prepare : GET READY

10. Taoism founder : LAO-TSE. Laozi, Laosi, Lao Tse, Lao Tu, Lao-Tzu, Lao-Tsu, Laotze, Lao Zi, Laocius, and other variations.

11. Hypoallergenic skin care brand : ALMAY

12. Davis who played Thelma : GEENA. Cover.

13. Transmits : SENDS

21. Bogey beater : PAR

22. Impertinence : SASS

25. Taj Mahal city : AGRA

26. Pakistan neighbor : IRAN

27. Engrossed : RAPT

28. Move like a baby : CRAWL

29. Like some seals : EARED

30. Feathered friends : BIRDS

33. Sonny of Sonny and Cher : BONO. Sadly, their "I GOT YOU BABE" turned into "IT AIN'T ME BABE".

34. Happily __ after : EVER

35. Eft, when mature : NEWT

37. Like the victims in "Arsenic and Old Lace" : POISONED. Performed as a school play everywhere.

38. Pencil for one's kisser : LIP LINER

40. Kitchen VIP : CHEF

41. Pancake flipper : SPATULA

42. Coniferous trees : CEDARS

43. Mex. neighbor : USA

44. Submit a tax return over the Internet : E-FILE

45. Hobbyist's plane, e.g. : MODEL

46. Old floorboard sound : CREAK

49. Golden State sch. : UCLA

50. Carpentry fastener : NAIL

51. Certain Scandinavian : DANE. From Denmark.

52. Filmdom's Preminger : OTTO

53. Penpoints : NIBS

57. Sight organ : EYE

Answer grid.

Notes from C.C.:

1) This is a week of birthday celebrations on our blog. Today we sing "Happy Birthday to You" to the ever sunny, happy & DD-Delightful Lucina. On her left in lovely aqua is our exotic bird Dodo, who just had her 85th birthday on October 29.

2) If you want to be included in our Blog Photos archive, please send me a picture or two ( We'd love to "see" you.


Added later: Today is also constructor Donna Levin's birthday. Happy Birthday, Donna!


Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Pretty much a walk in the park, which is fitting for a Monday. The only hesitation was right at the top where SADA was a complete unknown and SHAG didn't spring immediately to mind. I also had LIPSTICK instead of LIP LINER at first, but that was quickly resolved via the perps and didn't actually slow me down at all. Everything else was smooth, smooth, smooth.

Have a great one! I'm going to spend the day consuming mass quantities of caffeinated beverages in a doomed effort to stay awake and watch the whole Pats/Jets game tonight....

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Argyle and friends.

The week doesn't start off any better than with a Donna Levin puzzle. This was very easy, but it didn't disappoint. The only clue I had trouble with was 2-Across, but the perps helped me there. I wasn't aware that SHAG could also mean Chasing Down a Fly Ball. I knew of another, not so polite, meaning as well.

My favorite clue was the Court-Ordered Parental Obligation = CHILD SUPPORT. For some reason, I found that rather amusing.

A big Happy Birthday to you, Lucina. I hope you do something very special!

QOD: Adventure is not outside the man; it is within. ~ George Eliot.

creature said...

Good Morning C.C.,Argyle and all,

Thanks, Argyle for your write-up.

There were two words, that, had they not been coaxed with perps, I would not have gotten: Opa and parry.Following on their tails, would be Laotse, Almay and I probably would have still been shagging shag. Donna's context was the secret to a good Monday's puzzle,IMHO.
Argyle, your list for Laotse made me laugh out loud.

Great photo, Gary and Joann. So much fun to 'see' you and Happy Anniversary.Very attractive couple.

Happy Birthday, Lucina! Your granddaughter looks like you. I think your 'super family 'does celebrations in such fine fashion. Family Birthday parties, no less.
Thanks for reminding me about your trip this way. If it stays on the books, let me know. I might be near the area, and would love to really see you. Hope today is as special as you are. Love.

Grumpy, I like your face better than the sunset.

Dodo, you look a lot younger than your age; but, I guess you've heard that plenty of times.

Have a nice day, everyone.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone. Thanks for the write-up Argyle.

Another good puzzle, Donna. Not hard but some clues gave pause. Had to wait for SHAG to well up from the depths due to non-use over the years. Got AIR FORCE BASE early and FORD FOUNDATION made sense. Didn't fully suss the theme before coming here.

OPA - Also German for 'Grandfather'. (Oma is Grandmother.)

Have a nice day.

HeartRx said...

Good Morning Argyle, C.C. et al.

Nice easy Monday, with straight-forward clues all around. I used to SHAG bunches of fly-balls when I was a kid. The names and places were all very familiar, too. Not much else to comment on.

Happy Birthday Lucina! Great to "see" you and Dodo having a great time.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Dick said...

Good morning Argyle and all, a nice easy puzzle today, but typical for a Monday. No struggles except in the NE corner. I did not know 10D Laotse, 11D Almay and I never heard the expression “gut courses” for easy “A”. I made a couple of swags in that area and got them correct, or so I assumed, as they fit with omen.

Like Barry I confidently inserted lip stick for 38D, but the perps quickly corrected that error.

A big Happy Birthday to you, Lucina.

Congratulations to Husker on his 45 year anniversary.

Hope you all have a great Monday

Grumpy 1 said...

Good Monday Argyle, CC and Solvers.

After the first pass across I was surprised at how little I had filled for a Monday. The downs started dropping into place, though and, with a few letters, the remaining acrosses suddenly became obvious.

I guess that one person's unknown is another's gimme. Creature's unknowns, OPA and PARRY were among the few that I filled without hesitation on the first pass.

Happy Happy Happy, Lucina. May there be many more.

Thanks for the compliment, Creature. The Naples tourism board hasn't sent me a check for promoting our gorgeous Naple's sunsets, so I'll probably change Avatar back to me.

fermatprime said...

Hello All!

Great work Argyle and Donna. I hit a new speed record! Nothing stood out. Theme only so-so.

Husker Gary--nice photo! Many congrats!

Lucina--have a happy natal day! Nice picture!

Still trying to sleep. Slept too long during the day!

Everyone have a good week!

Spitzboov said...

Oh, I'm sorry I forgot:

Happy Birthday Lucina!

Tomorrow is the 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Some of you, especially the veterans, might like this column by a former Air Force tech sergeant about his military remembrances.

MH said...

Well, pretty easy but not a slam-dunk for me. I struggled in the NE corner where I didn't know ALMAY and couldn't grock the clue to EASYAS. I guessed LAOTSE, then figured out OMEN but still couldn't get those last two without help. Like others I initially had LIPSTICK but the perps set me straight.

Happy first of the week to everyone. And thanks for great blog, Argyle.

Denis said...

This is Donna Levin's husband. C.C. said "This is a week of birthday celebrations on our blog." Let me add one more: it's Donna's birthday today! Happy birthday to my favorite constructor and the love of my life.

kazie said...

What a treat to look over all our old photos. I'd forgotten how many there were of everyone. Thank you C.C. for giving us such a wonderful cyber family!

As with others, the puzzle was a nice Monday romp for me. Unknowns that got perped were LAOTSE, SHAG, SADA and OPA. Also had lipstick before liner. Several clues went unread.

HBTY Lucina!

Awoke today to realize it is St. Nicholaustag (St. Nicholas Day). Our son and D-I-L had taken our shoes from the closet near the front door and filled them with treats. Like last year, I had been working diligently on the computer until very late, so they must have had to wait until it was safe to come upstairs to do it, so of course they haven't surfaced again yet. That gave me time to rescue some of their as yet unwrapped gifts and reciprocate. These Germans!

kazie said...

Another Happy Birthday to Donna!

And anniversary wishes to Husker and Joann too.

Tinbeni said...

Argyle, Wonderful write-up!!!

First off:
Happy Birthday Lucina!
21 Again?
I'm NOT surprised!

Donna gave us a PERFECT Monday! A-ONE!!!

Liked that Happily EVER after crossed LOVE.

For Tiger's Ex, first thought was rich, but I knew her name was ELIN.

GRAFT RAIDS BEN ... hmmm, who does this refer to?

Also liked the down line GET READY USA.

The "toast" at Sunset looks to be a cool one.
Alas, no snow, so that Snowman will have to wait.

Sugarloaf is playing (loudly) in the background.
Thank you Argyle!
It goes perfectly while I'm emailing out proposals.
(Sometimes these worry me ... Moscow has been asking me to re-locate thru May to their city.
Jeez, this Florida guy would rather suffer with the record, day low of 42 on 12/6, than minus 30!).

C.C. Burnikel said...

Thanks for letting us know it's Donna's birthday. Sheng Ri Kuai Le, Donna!

Kazie et al,
Here is a gorgeous photo of Donna. I snipped it from Stan Newman's Newsday website sometime ago.

Lucina said...

Greetings, Argyle and all cyber friends.

Thank you for the birthday greetings and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our constructor Donna! It's rare to meet or know of someone who shares a same day birthday.

Great and easy puzzle today with the answers flying in before I could fill them.

Had to wait for SHAG because SADA was unknown but the light went on as we have seen it and all of these before as Santa mentioned.

CHILDSUPPORT reminds me of my exS-I-L who sometimes quits his job to stop paying it. Not the most noble of men is he.

I'd like to share a birthday memory with you; it happened on our first trip to Hawaii which coincided with my BDY. My late DH arranged for a toast at 30,000 feet in the air. When champagne glasses were passed I was quite impressed with the airline service until the pilot announced a toast for my birthday! All the passengers then toasted and sang. It was an unforgettable moment.

As it happens my confirmation name is Nicolasa in honor of St. Nicholas.

Tonight some Arab exchange students are cooking dinner for me and some friends. I'm looking forward to that.

I wish you all a magnificent Monday!

Splynter said...

Hi All ~!

Happy B'days to our celebrants, and as for the puzzle, I was worried I might not finish, with the cross of OPA and HOTSPOT - I had LINGO for ARGOT, and forgot to change the last O, sat staring at a HOO**O*, and some "things" came to mind....

I did actually know about OPA and OMA; my Ex was previously married with kids of Dutch descent, and each summer they went to Europe to visit the grandparents.

I did not know Cedar was coniferous, shame on my carpentry mind...

As a goalie, I have had occasion to SHAG a glove save here and there, I am proud to say...

Take care ~


Nice Cuppa said...

Well I say! All this talk of SHAGGING on a Monday morning - it's a bit much for a chap to take, really.

But Spitzboov, I'm sure many us can sympathize with having to wait for one to well up from the depths due to years of non-use.

I just don't think "The spy who chased me down, as a fly ball" would have worked so well for Mr. Powers.

As to GUT COURSES, when I had the starting E, the only word that came remotely to mind was ENEMAS.

Well, I'd better get my brain out of the "Netherlands", and off to work.


carol said...

Hi all -

Love Donna Levin puzzles! Happy Birthday Donna - hope you have a wonderful day. Great picture of you :)

Happy 45th anniversary Husker Gary! (lovely picture of you too!)

Happy Birthday to you Lucina! You and Dodo look so cute together.

Isn't today's technology great??? It wasn't that long ago we would never have been able to 'see' each other or even have this blog!

On to the puzzle...I raced through all but the NW corner. I have never heard of the word 'PHISH'. I don't have a PDA so I keep forgetting that word too and I could not for the life of me think of HOT SPOT, even thought back in the day, we boogied our butts off in some.

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, (23A) OPA-Locka Florida was the complete unknown for me today. As is usual for a Monday, it filled in via helpful perps.

Speaking of perps, I didn't even know I'd filled 38D LIPLINER until the puzzle was finished and I went back to review any clues I had skipped.

Luckily I spelled (10D) LAO TSE correctly, so there wasn't a problem in the NE.

A nod to Donna L. for coming up with clever phrases that have a word that can connect them to the theme. My brain doesn't work that way and I am always impressed with people who can do it.

Happy birthday to Lucina! That is a nice photo of you and Dodo.

How sweet of Donna Levin's husband Denis to stop by and wish his very pretty wife a happy birthday.

Another busy day with a craft class this morning and art class this afternoon. I am determined to finish that watercolor I started and keep putting aside.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Argyle said...

I'm sorry I couldn't find a bigger picture of Donna's husband. I bet they make a beautiful couple.

Denis W. Loring, a numismatic expert, is married to Donna Levin, a cruciverbalist, and lives in Florida.

Carlos del Oeste said...

Happy B'Day Lucina!

Bill G. said...

Happy birthday Donna and Lucina!

I did recognize 'Gut course' but have a minor bone to pick with the clue for spatula. I don't think of it as a pancake flipper but instead a plastic or rubber implement for stirring cake batter or scraping it away from the sides of the bowl. It is rounded on one side and flat on the other. Agreed? Or am I confused?

Shag is one of those fun British words. Snogging is another. Knickers, Willy, Bum, the list goes on...

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers - I agree, Donna gave us a first-rate Monday project. So thanks, Donna, and Happy Birthday!

HBTY also to Lucina.

OPA turns up in more places than I expected. Our local brewpub, owned by a Greek family, is called Opa Opa. Apparently Greeks use "opa!" as a cheer at parties or whatever.

G'Day All!

Husker Gary said...

Argyle and fellow Lunarday travelers, I appreciate all the kind comments on the picture of me and my wife that C.C. posted yesterday. The mystery remains as to how such a lovely woman has stuck with me since 1967. BTW, I probably miscommunicated but our anniversary date. It is not until Feb. 17. God only knows what I posted late last night but your warm wishes were appreciated anyway!

Musings –
-Phishing is a techie word and I have to remind Joann not to respond to any stupid email, because they don’t care if you chew them out, they are simply “phishing” for valid emails.
-Shag as applied to baseball is also a little esoteric but I have used that term for years in softball and volleyball coaching, not the way Austin Powers did in “The Spy Who Shagged Me.”
-Gut courses? Never heard of ‘em! Pushovers, cupcakes, easy, wait a minute that might be some dates I have heard about. Certainly not mine!
-Congrats to anyone under 50 who knew Dale Evans. A wealthy man here in Omaha runs a big time cable network called RFD and he just paid big money for the stuffed Trigger.
-We tech guys have a whole different take on “Hotspot”
-Geena Davis was fabulous in “League of Their Own”. That movie and “Field of Dreams” can choke me up because the only common thread I had with my brother and Dad was baseball.
-Our high school put on Arsenic and Old Lace the night of November 22, 1963 despite all the sadness of events earlier in that horrible day
-I refuse to pay to file electronically. Uncle Sammy gettin’ paper returns until filing online is free. I have never paid to have someone to my returns and I’m not paying to send them in. Flat tax, come and get me! No one should need help, let alone a billion dollar industry, to pay taxes.

eddyB said...

Hi all.

Strong background so no problems.
Almost 50 years of solving.

Miss Dennis telling us what day it is. Yesterday was Repeal Day (Dec 5, 1933.) Had a drink for that.

Fingers are bloodly stumps after watching the 4th guarter. Go

Speaking of Elin and Tiger, he blew a 4 shot lead and lost the play-off.

Have a good week and take care.

HeartRx said...

Bill G., I use a SPATULA all the time to flip pancakes. I'm not sure what else I would call it? A cake spatula can, indeed, have more of a "spoon shape", and I have used those on occasion as well.

Jeannie said...

I always enjoy Donna’s puzzles and today was no exception. Happy Birthday, BTW Donna! I love that your picture is in a library surrounded by books. Does anyone use “lip liner” anymore? I use lip stick or lip gloss but have never “lined” my lips. My “gut course” was Algebra. For some reason it just made sense and was incredibly easy for me. Geometry not so much. Doesn’t the word “shag” have a whole other definition in Great Britain? Opa, Inge, and Agra were all filled in via the perps. No red letter help or no look ups today.

Well, out my way once the snow was over and done Friday/Saturday we ended up with about 8” of snow. I spent the better part of Saturday on the back end of a snowmobile. It’s been a while since I had ridden one, and by the way my back side feels it will probably be a while before I do again!

Bill G, I think you have the rubber scraper and spatula mixed up. I use a spatula to turn hamburgers, eggs, pancakes…etc. I use the rubber scraper to scrape the bowl.

Happy Birthday to you Lucina! I wish I was going to be able to taste that meal your Arab exchange students are whipping up for you.

Husker Gary, you do have a lovely wife, Joann. Heck, you’re not too hard to look at either.

Everyone enjoy what’s left of your Monday!

Vidwan827 said...

Happy Birthday to Lucina and Donna Levin. May it a great one, and may you have many many more.

We rarely think of puzzle constructors and their valiant and heroic efforts, because they somehow always fly under our radar. I'm glad Donna's husband, wrote in, and because of that we can all think about her, and (one of her -) her magnum opus, and thank her for a most wonderful puzzle... and I notice she also keeps her 'maiden' name, which is the true spirit of feminism.

Argyle, your commentary was simply delightful and informative, and it was a pleasure to read... which is why this blog is such a pleasure to come to... you all, make it so worthwhile.

I would also like to agree with those who thought a 'spatula' cannot really be a flipper for a flapjack.

I had a few errors before I cleared them up , ... EMMA instead of SADA thompson - and I couldnt parse DON HO although I have watched Hawaii Five-O.

And, Hahtool, I look forward to your QOD's like Dennis' National Lollypop Days etc. .... but really, what would George Eliot have known about the 'inside' of a man - since she was a woman ?? (lol)

Tinbeni said...

Never used Lip Liner. lol

Chap stick on extreme winter days.
Which are generally "few and far between" here in TB.
(Damn, the High in Key West is only 62, but sunny, today).

Yeah, I toasted my 2nd favorite day of the year yesterday.
Prohibition would have been very difficult for me.
(Toast the Sunset with ... Milk? No way!)

I still love your Naples sunset avatar.

I'm still listening to "Don't Call Us" ...
yikes, it is 14 in Moscow right now !!!

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon everyone.

Thanks for the write-up Argyle. I agree that not much explanation was called for. I had warn for 19A, which held me up awhile in the NE.

Happy birthday Lucina. Great picture of you and Dodo.

Happy birthday Donna. I could only iterate Clear Ayes comments.

I'm off to buy an iPad for DH's Christmas. As he's been a confirmed PC user forever, it's a surprise that he wants a Mac device. I may convert him after all. Hooray


Vidwan827 said...

Sorry, May I thank Husker Gary ( and his lovely wife ) for their photo(s). You are a wonderful couple and may I wish you the very best for your future. BTW I love your commentary as well - you are a straight shooter and speak from the heart... your point of view is much appreciated.

Yesterday, some Anon criticized Leomonade for 'explaining' some legal terms - I think that might have been another lawyer ... I know some in that profession who are very sensitive to the fact that too many laymen might 'learn' the law, and dispense with their ( the JD's, that is ) services altogether. I know of an actual case where a county official,(Recorder ) ( who was a lawyer, in his own right - ) , in our state, who held a press conference, to 'assist' his constituents in preparing a home deed, ( estate by the entireties - ) - as a public service - and was sued in court by the local County Bar association, for free dispensation of legal advice.

On another note, the entire notion of 'Child Support', and the laws and the prosecution of cases, seems to be such a sad reflection of our society and the callous attitude ( of mostly fathers - ) towards their own progeny, of their own life, blood and soul.

End of rant.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Donna - Happy birth day, and thank for a fine start to the puzzling week.

Lucina - feliz cumpleaƱos!
(y gracias to Google translator for the tilde and correct spelling)

Tom was at Langley when they lived in VA, so AIR FORCE BASE was a gimmee.

For me, "Gut course" is new ARGOT. Had to get some help from the LW for ALMAY, making (not so) EASY A'S my last fill.

SPATULAS come in
many shapes, sizes, and designs.

Our accountant SENDS E-FILE.
Do limb replacements require a SINEW GRAFT?
Remember the band KISS? They were LIP LINER SHOW OFFS!
SASS the CHEF and you might get smacked with a SPATULA.

This is the busiest week of the year. Rehearsal tonight, Wed., and Thus.; performances Friday and next Monday, the usual Mom maintenance on Sat, Lions game on Sun, granddaughter Alexa's school play is tomorrow (probably not Arsenic and Old Lace) Son-In-Law Joe has knee surgery on Friday.

I might need to take a nap.

JzB who did not sleep well last night

Lemonade714 said...

Happy Birthday Lucina, bonita chica and likewise our dear Donna Levin, who in true Hobbit spirit, provided us a fun puzzle as her present to us on her birthday. Also, it was very heartwarming to have her husband stop by and let us know. Along with 45 years for Gary and Joanne, we can see there are happy marriages in the world.

VIDWAN, the reason I am not shaking in my boots about my comments, is they have never amounted to advise to anyone. To define a term is not dispensing legal advice, and I certainly never told anyone HOW TO do anything (like draft a Warranty Deed) however, in light of silly litigious society, I now affirmatively state, I am not representing anyone, nor providing any advice. Should any member of this community need legal assistance, I would be happy to refer them to an attorney in their area.

I am off to the doctor, as the week end was not fun, ciao.

Shagging indeed! Yes, I too did lots when I was young.

Or as I said when I was watching Zorba abd drinking Ouzom OPA!

Jazzbumpa said...

This is pretty cool. The only way I can think to relate it to the puzzle is to note how all the countries CRAWL up out of the poor, sick quadrant.

Cheers (i.e. here's to life, health and wealth)

Zcarguy said...

Good morning all,
Happy b'day Lucina and Donna
Not much to comment on the x-word today,, easy A for the most part,
I do have a couple questions tho, if anybody cares to answer... First of ,,, what's coniferous mean ??
And how does Benevolent order means Elks.

Lemon714,, if giving a free legal advise is illegal,, how does Pro Bono come into play?? Isn't it also a freedom of speech to comment or advise ??

Jeannie said...

Zcarguy, coniferous trees do not lose their leaves in the fall/winter. The Benevolent Order of the Elks is an organization or club so to speak.

Rob said...

Hello everyone! I have been solving this puzzle for quite some time in the Houston Chronicle but I just came across this blog. Everyone here seems like family and I wanted to check to see if a new person would be welcome.

windhover said...

As you will find out very quickly, yes, you are welcome.

A very happy birthday to you. Perhaps someday you and I can have a joint celebration. What the hell, let's have a drink as well. Happy Birthday to you.

In the not exactly a news flash department:
Donna Levin is a very pretty woman.
One n Denis is a very lucky guy.
So for that matter is our two n Dennis.

As has been pointed out earlier, tomorrow is the 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I will be celebrating it for the 65th time. Wednesday is the 38th birthday of my youngest son.
It is 20 degrees and snowing at 2:00 PM at Windhover in the Outer Bluegrass. In front of the wood stove it is 78.
Just finished yesterdays puzzle, today's will arrive, with the Irish, about 6:00.

Penny Pantyhose said...


This blog started by CC, ( more about her on the front page - ) is for everyone -( please follow good netietiquette -). We look forward to having you and your comments - preferably, but not necessarily limited to the crossword of the day.

We especially appreciate smart comments, witticisms and puns and general information. So write to your hearts content. If there be paradise on earth ( in a blog - ) - This is it.

Husker Gary said...


I am teaching day/night, year and seasons to 7th graders today and they have a firm grip on seasons being reversed between us and Australia (Oz). They call December Summer etc but one girl asked, "What is their school year like down under?". Do they have a summer break during the warm weather after 180 days of school or what?

I told her I was on a blog with lots of smart people and would ask.

Windhover Admirer said...

'The Irish' is one lucky woman to have such a sensitive, caring person by her side. All the best for the future to both of them.

Bill G. said...

Husker Gary, from Wikipedia: "In most countries, the academic year begins with the start of autumn and ends during the following summer. In Southern Hemisphere countries, this means that the academic year lasts from February or March to November or December; in Northern Hemisphere countries, it lasts from August or September to May, June or July instead."

Zcarguy said...

Thanks Jeannie !

thehondohurricane said...

Good Day Folks,

The cold weather has arrived in Ct. and thank you to all midwestern residents for sending it our way. Weather prognosticators are predicting low teens for much of the week overnight and into the AM.

Today's puzzle was a nice easy start to the week. Only hang-up was 17A and 1D. The A was a swag, unlike shag. Any other comments would be redundant to those who have preceded me today.

And to everyone having a birthday today, enjoy your very special day.

Barry G.... I'll be trying to stay awake for the Pats/Jets too.It should be a terrific game. I'm looking forward to it because I have no rooting interest. My guys kicked Redskin butt yesterday.

Argyle said...

OK, so what is a shag bag?

creature said...

Vidwan- Hahtool's qod uses 'the man' as 'the person' 'human'-hence male or female or all inclusive.
Often, 'man' is used in this connotation.

Donna- Happy Birthday. Thanks for your puzzle and celebrate!

Welcome, Rob!

Argyle said...

Sound of an English horn. Clip.(0:25) It is a double-reed instrument in the woodwind family.

Sound of a French horn. Clip.(1:03) It is a brass wind instrument.

Penny Pantyhose said...

Bill G. and Husker Gary - Most Asian countries like China, Taiwan, S Korea, Japan and Singapore - to name a few - have more than 180 days in the school year - often, as many as 228* to 292* days - and smaller, shorter holidays and vacations.

*BTW, the 'days' include weekend holidays.

For, it is well known that:

1. Long vacations for Xmas and Summer, lower our & our kid's IQ's - they forget a part of what was learnt.
2. Consequently, some the past year's material has to be retaught.
3. It is an inefficient use of schools and classroom facilities to be unused for long periods of time - the equipment depreciates/deteriorates just the same, and computers still continue to get obsolete.
4. Teachers, Admin and everyone still have to be paid, and the buildings still need maintenance and upkeep. Tutors and aides, who are paid monthly, without a contract, still need their periodic income.

5. AND FINALLY, you can teach more in 10 months than in 6, and kids learn more, at even intervals, and progress faster, and achieve a higher level of understanding - and this is reflected in the higher levels of achievement, compared to the western countries that follow a shorter school year.

6. Education is far far more competitive , in for instance, Japan, that kids often go to cram classes, and private tuitions, and ( see KUMON - the Math Course !! ) post school special classes that even 230 days can be inadequate. Just letting you know , whats the standard in the other countries.

Donna L. said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes ... and a happy birthday to my fellow Sagitarrian Lucina. All the nice blog comments made my day!

-- Donna

Grumpy 1 said...

@ Argyle

My first thought was a sleeping bag for two... but then I Googled it... nevermind

Lucina said...

Penny Pantyhose:
Thank you for the fine summary of education in other hemispheres. I'm sure Kazie will weigh in, too, if she's available.

One comment i have is that in U.S. teachers are not paid during the summer. I have found that to be a common a misconception.

Thank you, again, for all the happy birthday wishes. You bloggers are truly extraordinary!

Hahtoolah said...

Happy Birthday to you, Donna, and thanks for the fun puzzle. Good of you and your husband to stop by and "see" us. How special to have your puzzle appear on your birthday! Lots of Sagittarians on this blog.

Creature: I think Vidwan was being ironic with his comment about George Eliot.

Welcome, Rob! We are like one big family, mostly happy, but occasionally a spat or two.

Grumpy: Nice new avatar with your lovely bride, I assume.

daffy dill said...

Lucina, I don't know if it is still an option, but when my mother was teaching (many years ago,) she had a choice of taking her salary on a 9 or 12 month schedule. Same amount of money, of course, just divided differently.

Nothing to say about the puzzle that someone else hasn't already said. Easy Monday effort. I didn't even read some of the clues before perps filled them.

Happy B.D. to those celebrating. Many happy returns.

Argyle said...

C'mon, Penny Pantyhose, I want to see what your avatar will be.

creature said...

Hahtool- Really....

Bill G. said...

We just got back from the local mountains where we hiked back into the snow with our trusty axe and chopped down a beautiful Christmas tree...

Well, not exactly. We went to the local nursery early so there is a good selection of 5-6 foot noble firs. We picked out one to be delivered at a later date. It will remain standing in water until then. It's a bit more expensive that way but we are assured of getting a fresh tree. We keep it with water in the stand through Christmas. We have a huge plastic bag under it to pull up around it when Christmas is over so we don't get a houseful of needles when we take it out. It's not the cheapest way of getting a tree but it's convenient and it suits us these days.

melissa bee said...

good afternoon c.c., argyle and all,

fun puzzle, made quick work of it, as expected for a monday. what's not to love about words like phish, don ho, and shag? happy, happy birthday donna, how nice of you and yours to stop by.

happy, happy to you also lucina, any special plans?

jeannie and zcarguy, an evergreen keeps its leaves all year, while a conifer is a tree with cones. most conifers are evergreens.

welcome rob, the more the merrier. we were all new once.

Jeannie said...

@Penny sister is a teacher and she OPTS to have her salary spread out throughout the year. All I can say is I am glad I am not from any of those foreign countries you spoke about. When is a kid supposed to be a kid? Somehow, I think all of us on this blog all turned out to be somewhat successful in our careers of choice with the amount of schooling we had to get as children and chose to as adults.

Grumpy1, your idea of what a "shag bag" is was much more romantic than what sprang into my head.

Welcome Rob, please add more to your profile so we know your background and interests. What part of Texas are you from? I know you mentioned the Houston paper, but is that where you are from? BTW, what's the weather there?

Bill G, I have my annual Christmas party for about 12-20 people this Saturday. I took Friday off as I need to cook, and one of my retired buddies takes me out to the nearest tree farm (about 5 miles from here) where we trudge through the snow looking for that "special tree" to chop down. I have a vaulted ceiling so look for about a 8'-10' tree. Believe it or not, it only costs about $35.00. I am curious what some of you others pay for a live tree. I will be sure to wear my gators and sorels along with my snow pants as the snow should be about 10" deep. Did I mention he also has a nice thermos of hot chocolate and schnapps to take the nip out of the air?

Gunghy, do you celebrate Christmas at your winter retreat?

My favorite counselor, I hope that your doctor's visit turned out favorable and that you are not over using that eye.

Seldom Seen said...

I am surprised that this eclectic group has yet to mention the eclectic neo-hippy group Phish. Their jam sessions can go on forever but this one was made for T.V.

Bob said...

Easy Monday puzzle, as usual (10 minutes).

Lao-Tse (or Lao-Tzu or Laozi or Laotze) is pretty much a mythological figure in Chinese history, credited with beginning the Taoist (or Daoist) movement and with writing the Tao Te Ching, perhaps in the 300's BC. Kind of like Homer in Greek history--not much more than a name.

Happy Birthdays to Donna and Lucina. Hope you've had a great day.

Clear Ayes said...

Nice to hear from Rob and Penny Pantyhose. Penny, do we know you under another name?

I finished the albatross hanging around my neck (otherwise known as a watercolor painting of an old barn). The last class for the semester was today. I think next semester is our choice of medium...pastels for me!

Congratulations to Husker Gary and his wife, even if it is a little early. 44 years is not easily done....way to go!

Grumpy 1, with a pretty wife and a snazzy suit for you, what can you possibly be grumpy about. Nice photo of both of you! This blog seems to attract good looking men.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Late to the party today; been bopping around on many errands. Best birthday wishes to you birthday folks, and congratulations to you folks who are celebrating that special day with your spouse! (Wow, that sure sounded generic. LOL)

Good puzzle, thank you Donna. I enjoyed it a lot.

Best wishes to you all.

Jayce said...

Clear Ayes, really nice painting. Good to look at. Thanks for 'exhibiting' it.

kazie said...

Husker Gary,
Just an answer to your Oz school year question: They have about 6-7 weeks school holidays in summer, starting from about mid December through the end of January (after Australia Day which is on January 26). Then it varies a bit from state to state, but in NSW now they have 4 terms--it used to be 3 when I was teaching there, with breaks of 10 days to 2 weeks between each. I'm not sure how many days that works out at for the year, but as said above, each state is slightly different anyway.

The seasons officially begin on the 1st of the month--much more sensible, I think. So summer is December through February, autumn March-May, winter June-August, Spring is September- November.

People argue a lot over the number of days in the year here, but you need to consider how long the school days are, and how much is forgotten over the long summers we have. Europeans end up with a similar number of days, but they study more intensely and break for longer times during the year to offset the shorter summers.

The French researched and found everyone is more proficient with this arrangement: 4 terms of 9 weeks, two weeks between each with a 6-7 week summer break.

MJ said...

Good evening, all!

It's been a while since I posted, as I wasn't at home with a computer. The trade-off was a lot of time outdoors, and walks with "grand-dog" Gunther.

Happy Birthday, Lucina! It sounds like you are being royally feted today!

Donna Levin, Happy Birthday to you, as well. How special that your DH Denis chimed in to alert us to your special day! BTW, I enjoyed your puzzle today, and appreciate your ability to create puzzles of variable difficulty which we can enjoy throughout the week.

Enjoy the night!

dodo said...

Hello, Argyle and all,

A big Happy Birthday to you, dear Lucy! Some one wished you a very special day, and I concur. However, your life is so full it seems almost every day is special!

And a Happy one to you, too, Ms.Donna Levin. I love your puzzles and I must say, you are a lot prettier than any of the other constructors I've seen!

Jeannie, thanks for explaining the difference between a spatula and a "scraper", which name I couldn't really think of. The ones I have are now silicon. scrapers, I mean. I couldn't manage without my spatulas! and the scrapers, too, I guess.

BTW, I was told while viewing the pix that I was not "invited" to look at the whole group. I ignored that and kept right on, but I guess I'm persona non grata for some reason. O woe is I!

Bill G. said...

Jeannie asked about the price of Christmas trees.

We used to get a plain old generic Douglas Fir at Target or some other places for about $10. Lately they've all gone to manicured plantation firs or Noble Firs. The manicured trees look more symmetric but are denser and harder to trim. (The ornaments don't hang down straight.)

The nursery puts a fresh cut on all the delivered trees and keeps them in a stand with water. The 6-foot Noble Fir cost us $69 plus delivery. It's worth it to us 'cause the tree stays fresh and I don't have to lug it up the stairs. It's only money. :>)

We too have a vaulted ceiling and could handle a taller tree but the shorter tree is easier.

We drove down the street and Jordan visited Santa tonight. Santa recognized me and told Jordan I taught him all the math he knows.

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, especially Lucina on her special day today. HBTY and many, many more. It sounds as if you will have a fabulous dinner tonight. Enjoy!

The puzzle was easy except for Argot. New word for me. Other unknowns were all filled in with a few letters to give me a hint, or with the perps.

Gut courses? Well I thought Easy As looked ok. Thanks Argyle for Easy A's. That sure made more sense!

Thanks to Donna Levin for a fun puzzle which wasn't a walk-away for me, but still gave me a chance to finish without lookups. Also, a very Happy Birthday to you.

Husker Gary, What a great picture of you and your wife. Thanks for sharing with us.

My weekend was soooo busy, but now all I have to do it put away lots of dishes, put the furniture back into place and get ready for the next big activity. We have 14 boxes of gifts, gift cards, and food and paper goods for the family that we are helping this year. The members of my College alum group were so generous this year.

Kath said...

Kath here,

Still very new to your blog, but it is becoming the highlight of my evening here in San Diego County!

I always look forward to Monday's crossword...and Happy Birthday to ALL who have birthdays today!

You are all so entertaining! The blog certainly adds "flavor" to doing a crossword puzzle!

Chickie said...

When I started teaching way back in the dark ages, I was required to have 16 and 2/3% of my salary withheld (over and above all the other deductions) to be given back to me in two equal summer payments. The thinking was the teachers would not be asking for welfare for the summer months.

The only problem with that was that there was no interest (to us) on the money that was withheld from everyone's paycheck and we didn't have a choice to receive our pay without the summer withholding. Somebody else was getting a great deal of interest off the money which was withheld. I can't remember if it was the state or the district.

It is now illegal to do this and we were then given the choice of 10 mo. or 12 mo. payments.

Did anyone else have this done in their districts or states? Ours was a statewide practice. It was abolished sometime in the 60's much to everyone's relief.

Lemonade714 said...

DODO dear what do you mean, "BTW, I was told while viewing the pix that I was not "invited" to look at the whole group. I ignored that and kept right on, but I guess I'm persona non grata for some reason. O woe is I!"

Not invited by whom, and what group?

Penny your inflections sound like CAW, our recent Asian addition, but either way, welcome and go BLUE, it iwll suit you. Also ROB and KATH, lets colorize your lives here at the center of the blogosphere. You can go back in the archives and read all of our comments ad you will see how witty and caring we are (most of the time).

Donna, it is always an honor to be recognized by one the best, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Good night everyone.

I just want to weigh in on the subject of teachers' pay. I taught in Maine, NY, NJ, IL, and NM.(Retired in '88.) In all the school year was 180 days, and 180 days is what we were paid for. No vacation pay, no pay during Christmas break, etc.

Plus, I needed the summer time off to recharge my batteries. Teaching is very hard, albeit rewarding, work. And I agree that the kids do too if they don't spend all their free time on tech devises.


WikWak said...

I certainly agree with others' comments about today's puzzle; I didn't even have trouble with SPATULA. But it seems that I am the only one who didn't like 20A (Sidewalk periodical vendor : NEWSPAPER STAND). The NEWSPAPER part came quickly, but I refused to believe that STAND could be correct, because how can a stand vend anything? So I tried a gazillion ways to fit a person or a machine in there, and finally gave up and left it for the perps to fill... and it WAS stand! Oh well--it was a fun puzzle anyway.

WikWak said...

And to Zcarguy @12:43: I quickly learned to look for the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) in roughly every eleventh crossword puzzle... it's pretty common and they've been around a long time (my dad joined just after he returned from WWII).

Annette said...

Thank you for a very enjoyable puzzle, Donna! I understand it takes as much or even more skill to make a Monday puzzle interesting and fun, as the more difficult, later in the week puzzles. And a very Happy Birthday to you! How lucky you are to have such a thoughtful husband, too.

Lucina, I wish you a very Happy Birthday too!

Lemonade, I hope all went well with your dr's. appt. today. I was sorry to hear you had such an uncomfortable weekend, and hope your eyes are better today.

Welcome to our newcomers!

Jeannie said...

Chickie, being the "foodie" that I am, I am wondering what you served for that "fabulous" brunch. I am still going through my recipes to pick out "just the right" appetizers to serve my friends this weekend. I tend to make favorites that everyone enjoys year after year, but this year I am going to mix it up a bit. I just can't decide what to omit and what to add. You share your menu, and I'll share mine; albeit, mine is a night gathering and yours was brunch.

Lucina, I am still waiting to hear how your dinner went tonight. Details, details!!!

Bill G, we usually cut down a spruce tree...I can't be more specific than that. I am sure there is a better name for them. I also collect (too many) glass ornaments from Poland, Germany, France, and England. They are very intricate and very fragile, so making sure they hang just right is important to their well-being.

Where is Dennis or Windhover when you throw a line out there like that? LOL, until tomorrow...