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Dec 25, 2010

Saturday December 25, 2010 Doug Peterson

Total words: 72

Total blocks: 30

Merry Christmas! Today we've got a symmetrically placed Christmas mini theme:

1A. Noted list keeper : SANTA CLAUS. Ho Ho Ho, lovely entry for our Santa Argyle.

60A. Ad exec's pithy description of 1-Across? : NICK AT NITE. Fun clue/answer.

We also have NOEL (3D. "The First __") and NAST ( 14D. Cartoonist credited with the modern image of 1-Across). Thomas Nast.

Doug placed ten 10s in the grid, triple stacks of Acrosses & pairs of Downs. The puzzle is anchored by a flashy grid spanner OFF-SPEED PITCHES (35A. Surprises for some swingers). Curveballs/Changeups, etc.

Across:

11. Deuce follower, at times : AD IN. Tennis. Ad(vantage) In.

15. Depot : STOREHOUSE. Was picturing a train station.

16. Isle of Mull neighbor : IONA. On the lower left. Hebrides isle.

17. Superhero who had an arch foe named Bull's-Eye : GREEN ARROW. Unknown figure to me.

18. Expeditions, e.g. : SUVs

19. Latvian chess champ of 1960-'61 : TAL (Mikhail)

20. Biblical reformer : EZRA. I can only nail EZRA when it's poet Pound related.

21. "Ri-i-ight" : I'LL BET

23. Not well-defined : HAZY

24. Gets down, in a way : KNEELS. Thought it might be duck down.

25A. They might be stolen : BASES. I sure was not thinking of baseball. GOODS popped up in my mind.

28. __ Bass Fishing: video game : SEGA. Educated guess.

29. And such: Abbr. : ETC

31. "Haven't decided yet" : I MAY

32. Battle of Salamis victors : GREEKS. Battle of Salamis is between Greeks and Persians in 400 BC. Also new to me. Salamis is an island west of Athens.

34. Tenn. awards org. : CMA (Country Music Association)

38. Gallic title: Abbr. : MME (Madame)

39. Take over : INFEST

40. Breakfast item : LINK. Felt silly staring at ???K forever. I just don't eat links.

41. Penn. is on it : EST (Eastern Standard Time)

42. Change one's position : STIR

43. Philippics : RANTS. Dictionary says Philippic comes from the Athenian orator Demosthenes, who delivered several attacks on Philip, king of Macedon.

44. "'Tis he, that villain Romeo" speaker : TYBALT. No idea. From "Romeo and Juliet". Tybalt is Juliet's cousin.

46. Time for action : D-DAY

48. Composed : SERENE. Adjective "composed".

49. A-line designer : DIOR. Christian Dior pioneered A-line.

50. "That's odd ..." : HMM

53. __ Mountains: Mt. Narodnaya's range : URAL. Mt. Narodnaya is the highest peak of the Urals. Not in my radar.

54. Military foothold : BRIDGEHEAD. Also a new word to me.

57. Diamond with records : NEIL. Neil Diamond.

58. Bath additive : EPSOM SALTS. I add three big spoons to my bath every night.

59. Nut for drinks : KOLA. Same as cola, isn't it?

Down:

1. Mil. squad leader, perhaps : SSGT

2. Its Plus version has a lubricating strip :.. Was ignorant of Atra Plus.

4. Roman numeral : TRE. Hmm, not III.

5. Trojan War survivor : AENEAS. Protagonist of Virgil's "Aeneid".

6. Palminteri of "A Bronx Tale" : CHAZZ. Gimme for Melissa/Dennis. Both have seen his performance in person.

7. Hampshire hauler : LORRY. Hampshire England.

8. Subtle quality : AURA

9. Private entertainers, for short? : USO. Nailed it.

10. Place for pins and needles : SEWING KIT. Nice clue.

11. Target area : AISLE. Target store.

12. Chewing gum could help prevent one : DOUBLE CHIN. Great entry.

13. Bond, for one : INVESTMENT. Not James Bond.

22. Numerical extreme : LEAST. Don't get the clue.

23. Cries for attention : HEYs

24. Doesn't go bad : KEEPS

25. Tundra or coral reef, e.g. : BIOME

26. Auto feature : AM/FM STEREO. Lots of nice multi-words in the grid.

27. Toddler's bed attachment : SAFETY RAIL.

28. Meal during Nisan : SEDER

30. Staved containers : CASKS

32. '60s TV role for Bruno the Bear : GENTLE BEN. Blind spot for me.

33. Ready for another voyage : REFIT

36. Fibonacci, by birth : PISAN. Fibonacci is also known Leonardo of Pisa, Italian mathematician. Total foreign to me.

37. Makeup of Martha's Vineyard's Gay Head Cliffs : CLAY. Tough clue for me.

43. Hardest to get hold of : RAREST

45. "Twilight" protagonist : BELLA. Have never seen "Twilight".

46. Got by : DID OK

47. Bane of liberal religion : DOGMA

48. Doomed : SUNK

49. Piece in the game Reversi : DISC. First encounter with Reversi.

50. Pad opener : HELI. Helipad.

51. Simpsons creator Groening : MATT

52. Inventory abbr. : MDSE (Merchandise)

55. Tech sch. overlooking the Hudson : RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). OK, another shout-out to Splyinter who graduated from there.

56. Solo in sci-fi : HAN. "Star Wars".

Answer grid.

Safe travels, Dennis. You've made it. Have fun in Florida!

C.C.

25 comments:

Lemonade714 said...

What a nice surprise a Doug Peterson puzzle from our old batfriend. Green Arrow and Bull's Eye are part of the DC universe where the batman roamed. A really challenging but fair and interesting offering with a hint of Christmas mixed in. Thanks CC and Doug; must sleep

Dennis said...

Good morning, C.C. and gang, and a very Merry Christmas to all - I hope it's a day of unbridled joy for everyone.

This, I thought, was one of Doug's best and I struggled like hell with it, even though 'Santa Claus' was pretty obvious. My biggest problem was in the area of the crossing of 'Tybalt', 'Pisan' and 'Bella', 'cause I didn't know any of them.

I had three favorite clues: 'Private entertainers, for short?', 'Target area' and the best, 'Ad exec's pithy description of 1-across?'. A solid twenty-minute solve, and a fun one.

After working some long hours every day since Thanksgiving, I'm definitely ready for a getaway. Gonna leave in a bit to drive to Virginia, get on the AutoTrain and park my ass in the lounge car till they make me move for dinner.

Merry Christmas to all.

Bill said...

Just a short note to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. Did one xword Mon and have been tied up since. So, no xword praises or complaints.
Cy'all LAter

Barry G. said...

Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate such things (and Happy Saturday to everybody else)!

Not much time -- the little guy will be up and at the presents momentarily. Enjoyed the puzzle and made steady progress throughout. In the end, though, I couldn't finish due to having SANK/ARAL instead of SUNK/URAL. Finally had to turn on the red-letter help to find the mistake. Ah well...

Splynter said...

Merry Christmas to all ~!

I was glad to see a puzzle and a blog for today - and yes, 1A was obvious, but fitting.

Did well, 20:00 spot-on, with lots of good diversions - Target area had me totally stumped, and I still don't get TRE...I was thinking KISSES or GLANCES could be stolen, and LOOKS was the only word to fit. My good friends met at ballroom dancing, so I was not on a baseball wavelength for OFF-SPEED PITCHES, but it's still a good answer.

Ugh, so NOT into Twilight, I didn't know Bell-A.

Was stuck on James Bond, not finances; ETON ALUMNI did work - but one man is not plural.

Ahh, thanks for the RPI shout-out and the second posting of my picture, C.C. - had a game Wed, intense, and came out on top by one goal...my resolution for 2011 is to play forward in a game.

Again, a Merry to all !!!!

Splynter

Anonymous said...

Handsome man, Splynter.

Nice Cuppa said...

Merry Christmas, or whatever you call your Winter Solstice celebration.

The days are finally getting longer again - in the Northern Hemisphere, that is. Sorry, Oz.

Well, the center of this crossword stumped me (a cricketing term), as the central word, "OFFSPEEDPITCHERS", was unknown to me, even though I figured it was a baseball question; and it was crossed by too many unknowns - PISAN, GENTLEBEN, CLAY, DOUBLECHIN (??). Just too much of a sticky wicket, I'm afraid.

It reminded me of how far I am from my birth-home and family this year. Still, no time to be maudlin. It was my choice.

It must be tea time by now; and later I'll raise a cup of something stronger to all of my new friends here.

NC.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Missed checking in yesterday. Good puzzle, but I got a DNF, due to the SE corner. Went to T-town m the a.m. to get my mom, then the rest of the family showed up. Lots of fun for all.

Best Christmas present - Tom is on his way home from Afghanistan. He's at his 2nd stop inside the country, and should be out by tomorrow. The whole trip home takes about a week.

Gotta run - many miles to travel today.

Merry Christmas and Happy holidays to all.

Cheers!
JzB

Doug P said...

Merry Christmas, puzzlers! And thanks to C.C. for making the time to do a nice write-up for the holiday.

Rich came up with the idea of doing a SANTA CLAUS / NICK AT NITE mini-theme, and I'm glad it turned out well. I hope you all found everything you wanted under the tree this morning.

Bill G. said...

Merry Christmas morning and Happy Holiday Season to everybody. I struggled through the tough puzzle but got 'er done with a little red-letter help. Thank you Doug and C.C. Have a nice trip Dennis.

The milk and cookies are all gone except for a few drops and crumbs. Jordan and the rest of the family should be here around nine. After the presents are unwrapped, I will be called upon to make my signature omelettes. Then, when the troops have gone, it may be time for a little nap to bolster myself for the Lakers vs. the Heat.

Grumpy 1 said...

Good Morning CC and solvers all. Thanks, Doug for a great Christmas challenge and CC for a great dissection of the beast.

After the first pass through I still had lots of empty spaces but there were just enough knowns that I could keep picking away and come up with another entry. It was slow going, though, as there were several total unknowns.


Gentle Ben came to mind immediately, although I don't recall watching the show. That helped a lot in the lower half of the puzzle.

The NE and Mideast were slow to fall. I wanted TREY to fallow duece and MILK for breakfast. I'M SURE instead of I'LL BET and SKYE instead of IONA... ARRRRGH! I finally decided that the cliffs had to be CLAY, that led to LINK and suddenly a DOUBLE CHIN was jutting out at me. That gave me enough to correct everything else down the east side, although it took awhile to figure out AD IN. Wait a minute, Dummy, we just had AD OUT a couple of days ago! Tennis, not cards! DOH!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Grumpy 1 said...

If you really need another irreverent carol to round out your holiday music library, this one might do.

MJ said...

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and best wishes for a healthy and Happy New Year!

creature said...

Merry Christmas all,

Thanks so much ,C.C. for your time on the great write-up.

Fibonacca was my look up,and with my guess of a 'B',Tybalt-Bella, filled in. 56D,'solo in sci-fi' is unknown to me, but perped.
And I did the same as Barry, with
'Aral/sank-Ural/sunk'.

I don't understand 'tre' for roman numeral either. Hope someone steps up on that.

This was a challenge and I enjoyed it. Thanks for your Christmas effort, Doug. I always have enjoyed your work.

Fermatprime ,Happy Birthday! Hope this coming year will be a healthier year; take good care.

Have a Happy Holiday everyone.

Grumpy 1 said...

When in Rome, do as the Romans do... Count in Italian. one uno, two due, three tre, four quattro, five cinque, six sei, seven sette, etc.

Abejo said...

Thanks to C.C. and Doug :Peterson for all the hard work. The puzzle was tough one for me.

No bus ride for me today. I worked endlessly on this puzzle all morning and could not get the SE corner. I was able to get EPSOMSALTS, HELI, MDSE, MATT, HMM, HAN, and GENTLEBEN. The rest I was stuck. Oh, well, tomorrow is another day.

22D Numerical Extreme would be the lowest number of any items, or LEAST amount of something. Extreme meaning there can be no number lower than the LEAST. LEAST is the extreme end of that quantity. My two cents. I thought it was a good clue. Abejo

Dick said...

Good afternoon CC and all, another difficult puzzle for me today. I did not get many answers the first time through, but each pass through I got a few more. Finally I had everything but the center west. Just no way I could complete that area as I did not know biome and could not see I may and hays.

I thought this was a difficult, but fair puzzle and should have been completely doable. Nice job Doug.

CC, if you saw or read “The DaVinci Code” there was a reference to Fibonacci progression in both.

Hope you all had a great holiday and do have a great Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Dennis said he struggled like hell, but finished in 20 minutes. I thought it was an easy Saturday and it took me an hour.. Loved the puzzle. The cluing was original, tricky but fair.

Got things to do, so I'm hiding my ID in the name of speed

Merry Christmas to all and a big thank you, C. C., for this blog.

Gunghy

PS Thanks you Doug for a great puzzle and for checking in.

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, I just wanted to check in to wish those of you who celebrate today, a Merry Christmas.

Also thank you to C.C. for our blog. I enjoyed reading the clues and comments, though the puzzle was only partly finished when I finally gave up. Too much to think about doing today to really concentrate.

Thanks also to Doug Peterson for checking in today.

What in the world is a DIDOK? Duh!! I have a real dent in my forehead as I hit it hard with that favorite can of Carols.

Lucina said...

I just wanted to chime in and wish everyone a happy Christmas Day!

I worked on this off and on and was successful throught the top, center and bottom. But the NE and west center just wouldn't click.

Finally I checked your blog, C.C. and finished it. Very tough challenge today.

Until tomorrow!

Bob said...

Merry Christmas to everyone. We woke up to a beautiful white Christmas this morning in southeastern Tennessee, the first one in 41 years and only the second one in the last 100 years. A fantastic Christmas present from Mother Nature. Those of you who live farther north no doubt see far too much of the white stuff, but it is fairly rare in these parts and especially so in December, although this isn't our first snow this month. Some photos are attached. Click on SLIDESHOW tab.

Didn't get a newspaper today, so I didn't do the puzzle....yet.

Christmas Snowfall

Barry G. said...

Evening, all!

Just back from our traditional Christmas Day Chinese Food Family Feast. And we've been doing it long before the movie "Christmas Story" came out... ^_^

Just found out that they are predicting an honest to God blizzard here late Sunday and into Monday. What joy. Fortunately, we can get all our grocery shopping done in the morning (assuming there's any food left on the shelves) and the whole family is on vacation Monday and Tuesday anyway with no plans other than playing outside in the snow. If we're going to get snowed in, I can't think of a better time!

Bill G. said...

I enjoyed the slide show of the snow in Tennessee. We would often get snows like that in northern Virginia where I grew up. It would be so quiet at night, a dead giveaway that snow was falling. I would shine a flashlight out the window to see the snowflakes. Sledding was anticipated the next day and, if we were really lucky, a snow day off from school.

I miss the occasional snow like we used to get in Virginia but not the serious snow shoveling that you folks in the north central US have been experiencing or in the snow belt east of Lake Erie near Buffalo, New York. That's some serious snow!

Seldom Seen said...

We are getting a frosting of snow. Just perfect. Bunker down northeast. Merry Christmas everyone.

Lucina said...

Thanks, Bob, for your slide show of snow. That is as close as I want to be to that fluffy white stuff.

Good night, everyone!