Dec 26, 2010

Sunday December 26, 2010 Kathleen Fay O'Brien

Theme: Many Happy Returns - The last word of each common phrase is spelled backward. The resulted phrases are then humorously clued.

23A. "Honest, Professor, I studied very hard for this test"? : ALLEGED PREP. Alleged perp.

25A. Visibly shaken king? : PALE REGAL. Pale lager.

37A. Rejection at McDonald's? : HAMBURGER SNUB. Hamburger buns.

64A. Error that just got bigger? : DILATED SLIP-UP. Dilated pupils.

91A. What Red Riding Hood wisely didn't do? : GO WITH THE WOLF. Go with the flow.

109A. Green poet? : OLIVE BARD. Olive drab.

112A. Effect of Pepé Le Pew battling a romantic rival? : DOUBLE STINK. Double knits.

40D. Quick look across the moat? : CASTLE PEEK. What is "Castle keep"?

45D. Fowl injustice? : TURKEY TORT. Turkey Trot.

I initially thought the last word is only an anagram and couldn't quite grok the "Many Happy Returns" title.

Neat theme. Must have taken the constructor lots of time to find phrases ending in "returnable" words. I like the grid design too. All theme entries (9) are spread out.


1. Hussein : Obama :: __ : Garfield : ABRAM. Both middle names.

6. Comforter : DUVET

11. Taking badly? : ABDUCTION. Nice clue.

20. Dunces : BOOBS

21. Informal bid : ONE NO. Bridge bid.


26. Circus leaper : FLEA. Not real fleas, right?

27. Ad gp. : AGCY

28. U.S. tender : DOLs.

30. Oddly amusing : DROLL

31. It affects your take-home pay : TAX RATE

33. Civil War authority Shelby : FOOTE. Not familiar with this Civil War historian.

35. Per : A POP

40. Things used in semi circles? : CBs. "Semi circles" = Those who drive semis.

43. Bucky, in "Get Fuzzy" : PET CAT. What's your favorite comic strip?

47. Concludes : ENDS

48. Photographing giraffes, perhaps : ON SAFARI

50. Reunion attendees : ALUMS

51. Technology prefix : NANO. Nanotechnology

52. Pico de gallo holders : TACOS. Is pico de gallo similar to salsa?

54. Pronto, to execs : ASAP

55. Scarlett's refuge : TARA. "Gone With the Wind".

56. Like granola : OATY

57. Deck out : ARRAY

58. Bar orders for the calorie-conscious : LITES

59. Laser alternatives : INKJETS.

61. Expected to land : DUE IN

62. Gloomy atmosphere : PALL

63. Dedicated verse : ODE

68. PC panic button : ESC. I wonder if Al uses this button often.

71. The "Y" in YSL : YVES

73. Wise guys : SAGES

74. Detailed : IN DEPTH

76. Unlock the door for : LET IN

78. House reporter? : C-SPAN. House of Representatives.

79. Harlem sch. : CCNY (City College of New York)

81. Princess born on Polis Massa : LEIA. "Star Wars".

82. Love, to Caesar : AMOR. Then we also have 116. All, to Caesar : OMNIA. "Omnia vincit amor" = "Love conquers all".

83. Acts skittish : SHIES

84. Vidal's Breckinridge : MYRA. Second encounter with the book.

85. Lurches : REELS

86. Fighting practice : WAR GAMES. Nice entry.

88. Kemo __ : SABE

89. Like the Finger of Fate on "Laugh-In" : FICKLE. "The flying, fickle finger of fate". Unfamiliar reference to me.

90. Friday, e.g.: Abbr. : SGT. Sgt Joe Friday."Dragnet".

95. Betty Grable's were insured : LEGS. How tall is Grable?

96. Show again : RE-AIR

97. Source of inside info? : CAT SCAN. Saw similar clue before.

102. Suite spot : HOTEL

105. "Mr. Mom" actress : GARR (Teri)

106. Do some bartending : POUR. Hey, Jerome!

108. Wrist-to-elbow bone : ULNA

115. Pretends to be what one isn't : LIVES A LIE. Funny, I couldn't parse my answer earlier.

117. Els on the links : ERNIE

118. Backyard buildings : TOOL SHEDS

119. One you might not want to meet? : MAKER. Meet one's maker = Die.

120. Carried on : WAGED


1. Sternward : ABAFT

2. Italian vintner : BOLLA. Got me last time with the "125-year-old wine company" clue.

3. Subject of the book "The Best of Time" : ROLEX. Intuitable

4. Tough test metaphor : A BEAR

5. Stir-fry additive : MSG. No one uses it any more.

6. Former bumper car trademark : DODGEM. Learning moment to me.

7. Like "waitress," e.g. : UN-PC

8. "Ha ha" : VERY FUNNY

9. L.A.-to-N.Y. dir. : ENE

10. Champs : TOP DOGS. I always associate this phrase with big potato/cheese, not champ.

11. More copious : AMPLER

12. Preconception : BIAS

13. MCCC halved : DCL. Half of 1,300= 650

14. Cult following? : URE. Culture. Awesome clue.

15. City on the Guadalquivir River : CORDOBA. Capital of Spain under the Moors. South of Madrid. Another learning moment for me.

16. Insignificant one : TWERP

17. Othello's betrayer : IAGO

18. Like many a palette : OVAL

19. "Little" Dickens girl : NELL. Is this from the book "The Old Curiosity Shop"?

24. Bother : EAT AT

29. Suffix with Capri : OTE. Capriote.

32. Cries of clarity : AHAs

34. Novus __ seclorum: Great Seal motto : ORDO. We just had this a few weeks ago. Ordo = Order.

35. Bother : ANNOY

36. Kisser : PUSS

38. Lick : BEAT. Are you familiar with "smear" meaning "decidedly defeat"?

39. "Me too!" : SO CAN I

41. Bluff in Banff : BRAE. Scottish hillside. Banff is a town in SE Scotland. I always connect it with Canada.

42. Small samplings : SIPS

43. House party setting : PATIO

44. Serengeti grazer : ELAND

46. Key of Bizet's most popular sym. : C-MAJ. No idea.

49. Bomb : FAIL

51. Chicago Sting org. : NASL (North American Soccer League, 1968-1984). Chicago Sting was its last champion in 1984. Complete unknown to me.

52. Hair piece : TRESS

53. Seed covering : ARIL. Classic crosswordese.

56. Publisher Chandler : OTIS. Of LA Times.

57. "September 1, 1939" poet : AUDEN. W. H. Auden. Hahtool might have quoted him before.

58. Lt. Columbo's employer : LAPD. Have never seen "Columbo".

60. Starting place? : EDEN

61. Painter of ballerinas : DEGAS

62. Small and weak : PUNY

65. St. Clare's town : ASSISI. St Clare was a follower of St. Francis (of Assisi).

66. Word with deck or drive : TAPE. Got the answer via crosses.

67. __ colada : PINA

69. Unmoving : STILL

70. Scene with stuntmen : CHASE

72. Shenandoah Natl. Park site : VIRG. Was ignorant of the park, Lois!

75. Wire service?: Abbr. : ELEC (Electricity)

76. Code contents, maybe : LAWS

77. Webzine : E-MAG

78. Scolds, with "out" : CHEWS

79. High tech/lowlife sci-fi genre : CYBERPUNK. Just learned this term not long ago.

80. Hands across the water? : CREW. Oh, sailors.

83. Skyline obscurer : SMOG

84. Half a fish : MAHI. Mahi-mahi.

85. Falling-out : RIFT

87. Eternal : AGELESS

88. "Overnight" surprise for some : STARDOM. Overnight success.

89. Turnpike alert : FLARE

92. Sports page deals : TRADES. Shaq seems to have fun in Boston.

93. Ship designation : HER

94. Eye-related : OCULAR

95. Flatten : LEVEL

98. Kama __ : SUTRA. Then you can't kiss in public in India. What a complicated culture!

99. Stick : CLING

100. "Tomorrow" musical : ANNIE

101. Starkers, across the pond : NAKED. Starkers look like a plural noun rather than an adjective, isn't it, Nice Cuppa?

102. Romance novelist Victoria : HOLT. Alien to me. Man, she had so many pen names.

103. Eclectic assortment : OLIO

104. Show recorder : TiVO

105. Crisscross pattern : GRID. Like crossword.

107. Tony's cousin : OBIE. Tony: Broadway award. Obie is for off-Broadway shows.

110. Dissatisfied cry : BAH

111. Bar quaff : ALE

113. Medical suffix : OMA. "Tumor", like lymphoma.

114. Alter, perhaps : SEW

Answer grid.



MR ED said...

where is everybody?

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

I don't know where "everybody" is, but I'm right here... ^_^

Great Sunday challenge with a [mostly] spot-on theme. I had trouble getting into it at first, since I'm not familiar with "pale lager" and thought that PALEREAGAL was somehow playing on the word "paralegal." In other words, I knew there was some linguistic trickery afoot, but I didn't realize that the last word was backwards for a bit.

"Olive drab", "castle keep" and "double knits" are all legitimate phrases, but none of them were familiar enough to leap immediately to mind upon getting the first word of each phrase. So those took awhile as well.

I think my favorite was GOES WITH THE WOLF.

Have a great one!

Dick said...

Good morning CC and all, another slog for me today. This was another puzzle that I had to walk away from several times before I could complete it. In the end I was able to complete most of it, but did need to turn on the red letter help. The cross of Holt and Olive bard was not obtainable for me. Duh! Otherwise this was a very nice, doable puzzle. My hat is off to the constructor for her creativity.

I did not get the theme until coming here although I had all the fills except for the above mentioned cross.

When I got 48A "on safari" I had to give a shout out to JD and Bob.

Hair piece = tress had me going in the wrong direction as I was thinking wigs, rugs etc. I liked starting place = Eden. Great clue/answer!

Mr. Ed your post showed 1:23 am, if so, I was in bed.

Hope you all have a great Sunday.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, CC and Friends. This was a tough run for me. TURKEY TORT was my Rosetta Stone, which helped decipher that the last word of each theme clue was spelled backwards.

Nice Cuppa can probably explain the Castle Keep, but I first learned about them when I read Victoria HOLT's novels when I was in High School.

CORDOBA is also famous for the Alhambra.

My favorite clue was Laser Alternatives = INK JETS.

I hope everyone had a peaceful Christmas.

QOD: The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~ Burton Hillis

Argyle said...

Is everybody as frazzled as I am, but with a great afterglow that has nothing to do with the egg nog?

Dick just covered most of what I had to say. It took me forever to see MICROWAVE for Zap: how bad is that? And that wasn't the only one. I have a very dented half-gallon size can of V-8 now.

Splynter said...

Hi All ~!

WOW, this was "A BEAR" for me, way over the half-hour mark for me. Stared at the Top Middle for some time before DODGEM and TOP DOGS finally materialized.

Ashamed to say I did not get the LEIA clue, and I consider myself a huge Star Wars fan.

Answers like "A POP" instead of EACH really EAT AT me, but ultimately I did like the theme...

I love Castles, so that was my favorite clue, and before I grokked the theme, I thought it might be a missing "RE-" word, like RE-port...and I knew the answer to 91A was "GO WITH THE f.l.o.w.", but still needed the theme from other clues.

Keep is essentially the center "tower" or building of a castle, the last point of defense.

I liked GET FUZZY, but I don't get that paper any more - I know we have some Calvin & Hobbes fans here.

Three-day weekend for me, only planning on digging out of the snow for Tuesday !!!


HeartRx said...

Good Morning C.C. et al.

Thank you for the great write-up, C.C. ! I don't think it was the "length" of Betty Grable's LEGS that made them so valuable, but rather the "shape" that made them desirable, LOL ! Anyway, that answer helped me in the SW, so I am grateful to Ms. Grable.

I finally grokked the theme with DILATED SLIP-UP, and realized the last word was "pupils" backwards. So I went back up north and filled in the missing blanks.

Last to fall was the "W" in WAR GAMES. I initially had "b", then "c" (what are "LAcS"??), tried defghijklmno... hmmm: "p"???, nope...qrs "t"???, nope...uv.... AHA !! "W" !!! TA DAAAAH!

We are in for a blow this evening, so we are spending the day cooking up some leftovers and home-made bread to tide us over.

Have a great day everyone !

Mikey said...

I desperately wanted "Hair piece" to be the name of a song from Hair, but as it turned out I was trying to be far too clever for early Sunday morning. OLIVE BARD tipped me to the theme and provided a bunch of free fills. Thought DILATEDSLIPUP was a bit of a stretch, though. All in all, tough but fun way to start off a nasty day with my Ovaltine.

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning CC and the gang.

Wow! What a slog! I wandered around the grid, dropped in a few gimmes here and there and surprised myself that DEGAS was obvious with no perp help. The SW corner was fairly easy and OLIVE BARD filled easily from the perps. It seemed like a strange entry until I thought about the title and realized I could reverse BARD and get the more familiar 'drab'. That sent me back to the other long entries to see if I could find other reversibles on the ends.

I had already put in PALE LAGER, which was really messing up that corner, but when I reversed 'lager' to 'regal' that corner completed itself nicely.

I was studying the 'fighting practice' clue, getting nowhere, and then I heard something about the South Korean WARGAMES on the news. Well, DUH! Thanks, Fox News!

All in all, this was pretty challenging, took way too long, but I really enjoyed it. I hope we see more efforts by Ms. O'brien.

I hope everyone enjoyed the Holiday and don't have a need to head to the mall for 'many happy (or unhappy) returns'.

Did anyone actually give/receive an Obama Chia Pet?

Burrito34 said...

This was one tough nut to crack today. Couldn't finish it without red letter help and google. Whew!

My answer to C.C's question on 43 across, "What's your favorite comic strip?"

That would be "Pearls Before Swine", by Stephan Pastis

97A, "Source of inside info?" reminded me of this old joke:

A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest. After a moment or two, the vet shook his head sadly and said, 'I'm so sorry, your Duck, Cuddles, has passed away.'

The distressed owner wailed, 'Are you sure?'

'Yes, I am sure. The duck is dead', he replied.

'How can you be so sure?' she protested. 'I mean, you haven't done any testing on him or anything! He might just be in a coma or something.'

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room, and returned a few moments later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head. The vet patted the dog and took it out, and returned a few moments later with a cat.

The cat jumped up on the table and also sniffed delicately at the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on it's haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said, 'I'm sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.'

Then the vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman. The duck's owner, still in shock, took the bill.

'$100!' she cried, '$100 just to tell me my duck is dead!!'

The vet shrugged.' I'm sorry. If you' d taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it's now $100'

lois said...

Good afternoon, CC et al., Dick pretty much summed it up, as did Grumpy, but at least they finished. I had most of the puzzle but gave up and came here. CC, you amaze me. Thank you for the clarification and the links, and the shout out on 22D Virg..Shenandoah Park..beautiful (esp in Oct) along the Blue Ridge mtns. I still don't get
'starkers' across the pond 101D for Naked, but I'm all about that in any case. I'm impressed w/the creativity of Ms. O'Brien. I'd like to see her work more...ohh, that's funny. Great underhanded comment on a letter of recommendation. I really mean to say I'd like to see more of her work.

I about lost it when boobs came out. And the 'chase' was on! Kama Sutra, legs, puss, lick, naked,' suite spot', 'pina's and 'let in' - Holy Mother of all Hotwicks! That's all enough to make me 'go with the wolf' and make my 'tool shed'(s) for at least 30 mins. What a puzzle! I love Kathleen O'Brien on many different levels!
What a hoot!

Hope all the travelers are safe. We're having a near blizzard with about 10-12 inches of snow already. For us it's paralyzing but so beautiful!

Santa, cutie: thank you so much. the pleasure was most definately mutual. I'm workin' it to get off your 'good' list and onto your 'best' list. LOL What are the chances?

Enjoy this beautiful day.

Bill G. said...

I'm here too. I was working on this puzzle when I got a call from some friends reminding me I had forgotten to meet them for breakfast. Luckily, they were only 10 minutes away. I'm back now.

Geez, this was a hard puzzle for me. I'm guessing I wouldn't have finished it if I had been doing it on paper. Thanks goodness for some red-letter help. Clever theme though. I enjoyed it even though it was a hard one for me.

Shenandoah National Park is a very pretty area in Virginia. I grew up seeing the Blue Ridge mountains from both sides. I have never seen Virginia abbreviated as VIRG though. Almost always VA.

My favorite comic strip is Drabble these days. It makes me smile. So did Columbo; a great old TV cop drama with Peter Falk giving it a comic twist.

Let's see. We have BOOBS, LEGS, AMOR, PUSS, VIRG, Kama SUTRA and NAKED in the same puzzle. A mini theme?

MR ED said...

hi cc and everyone else here.
I feel so foolish. I came here at 1:23 am thinking i was on saturday's puzzle blog. there were no posts, so i left the one i did.
i liked the duck story today. for me, the clues were very hard to understand and the answer for 7D really confuses me.
CC, i have to ask you, were you able to do this puzzle?


Anonymous said...

Both CC and Lois might want to check Google for some pics regarding "Starkers". Its a club in London where the patrons are "stark" naked.

MR ED said...


'Columbo' was a mystery show on T-V around the late 70's - early 80's, usually a 2 hour show.
Lt. Columbo, of the Los Angeles Police Department, portrayed by Peter Falk, was the star and would solve the mystery by finding the most obscure clues imaginable. Much like Charlie Chan in the movies from the early 1940's. Both favorites of mine.

MR ED said...

Lois, Your flowers are pretty on your pic, but I have to ask you ... IS THAT THE BEST YOU'VE GOT?

Anonymous said...

What's that supposed to mean?

eddyB said...

Hi all.

Brian, Ali and Daisy came for Xmas diner last night. Strange having a puppy in the house again. So cute.

Ali did some of the puzzle before they left. I finished before 10PM
in time to read CC's write-up.

Dilbert - of course. - life as I knew it. Pearls Before Swine a #2.

Loved the movie Castle Keep with Burt Lancaster.

Take care. Black clouds moving into area.

lois said...

Anon: thank you so much for the 'starkers' info. I had no idea and am so disappointed that I didn't know about this before I went to London a year ago today. Dang the luck! Well, it's something to do next time.

Mr. Ed: Thanks for the comment. no, the best I've got is a pic that really shows a firey bush up close. I'll keep this one for now. Your pic is from 2005. Why don't you update and give us a good smile?

Lemonade714 said...

My favorite "starkers" is Ash from the Martha Grimes' Inspector Jury mysteries who is married to White Ellie and is forever getting arrested for being starkers. You can learn even from silly mysteries. Hard puzzle, very chilly wind

hope you all got what you wanted

Argyle said...

The thing about Columbo was that he knew who did it right from the start but he used his bumbling persona to trick the villian into revealing him/herself.

Abejo said...

Greetings all. Thank you to Kathleen O'Brien for occupying most of my day. Nice review C.C.

Well, I got through most of the puzzle without too much trouble. The theme was very clever. It took me a while to figure it out, howevr. TURKEYTORT was my first answer to a theme clue, but I did not realize it was the entire last word that was reversed. PALEREGAL gave me the solution. Nevertheless, the NW corner gave me hours of stewing. I could not get all the words there. Bummer. Fortunately the Chicago Bears game was on and gave me a great afternoon. They beat the Jets 38-34.

Regarding FLEA, I believe that real fleas are what was referred to. A circus has many animals and there must be tons of real fleas that leap all the time.

See you all tomorrow. Abejo

windhover said...

Pic for pic?

Bill G. said...

Hahtool mentioned La Alhambra. That reminded me of one of my favorite classical guitar pieces, Recuerdos de la Alhambra. I first heard it by Andres Segovia and I linked it here. (Click the pink arrow in the upper-left.) That technique is called 'tremelo' and Segovia was one of the best. Down below on that link I found a version by Chet Atkins. Very good too. It gave me a brand new respect for him as a serious guitar player.

Gunghy said...

The Flea Circus is a real form of entertainment. It used to be quite common, but is dying out. Here are examples of the kind of acts.

Puzzle got me in the central north. Theme was fun.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas.

lois said...

WH: you're on! LOL

MR ED said...

My pic is current but my camera battery was bad and I replaced it but screwed-up setting the date, can't smile because I broke a tooth in front and didn't get it fixed yet because my insurance ran out for 2010 so I have to wait 'till 2011 or pay for it myself.

When it's fixed I'll take a new pic, smile and all, just for you. But then you have to show me your BEST! up close. can't wait(all excited).

Husker Gary said...

C.C. et al, just a check in as we have returned from Lincoln where Christmas was spent with the greatest little people in the world!

The puzzle was a lovely slog on a wintry, cold day with the Packer and KC games to entertain! A very hard earned 100%!

It took PALEREGAL for me to get the fun theme and am ready for the holidays to be over. I must have said ALLEGEDPREP 20 times without any cognizance of what it was!

Dilbert is the best strip in the paper. It fits all industries but school bureaucracies are front and center.

windhover said...

You have the address. You first. I won't be a slacker. Yours gets mine.

MR ED said...

Bill G, ever hear Carlos Montoya?
Great acoustic guitarist.

JD said...

Good evening C.C. and all,

This was more of a challenge than I had time for, although it was a terrific puzzle. My 1st run through the ACROSSES, I only had 20 1/2 real gimmes, which shows you my state of mind. Is anybody home?? Although I did not complete it, I loved the clues: "Taking badly?" and "Zap" - oh, and ""What Red Riding Hood wisely didn't do?"

twerp: that was just one of the names I was called by my 3 older sisters.Well, I was the youngest and definitely not the smartest, but I was the only college graduate.

fav. comic: definitely "Pickles". Brian Crane must know Bob! A few weeks ago Nelson's grandpa was ranting on about closing the door because he couldn't afford to heat the whole town. LMAO!

Listening to weather. Hope all of you are safe and warm. No worries where most of us puzzlers live in CA; no flooding or mud slides here.

Bill G. said...

Yes, I know of Carlos Montoya. He's an excellent flamenco guitarist. However, my favorite is classical guitar music; Andres Segovia, John Williams, Julian Bream, Christopher Parkening, etc.

I took lessons from a great teacher. Alas, I had very little talent but could make some pretty music occasionally through lots of memorization and practice.

Jeannie said...

Hi all, just got home from "Thelma and Nick" time. I have to admit I enjoyed my "Thelma" time more. We got up early yesterday morning to make the cinnamon rolls she had rising, prepped the ham, peeled potatoes, boiled them to make augratin's and played about 5 games of cribbage in between, and caught up. In case you haven't been here in a while, I miss my Mom. She is a really big part of who I am. It was the best Christmas present I could ask for to spend some time with her, and cook once again in the midst of her expertise. It was even a better present for me to teach an old dog new tricks.

Windhover, if you ever met my Mom, you would know the epitomy of "Southern Comfort". She also has one helluva sense of humor. Hmm, wonder where I got that?

Husker Gary, thanks for the recommendation on the "grope". It was much more satisying.

Lucina said...

Hello, everyone!

It's my first chance to post as our family holds an annual White Elephant party and it is just a riot of fun. someone brought an actual white elephant statue today! It got great laughs.

My concentration was off on the puzzle so I didn't finish the last of it and never glommed the theme. How clever!

You posted that beautiful photo of the former mosque in Cordoba which was never used because it was slightely off from facing east.

I believe you were thinking of Granada where the Alhambra is located.

Good night everyone!

George said...

Been out of town and just found this puzzle and I have a problem, to wit: The use of "Amor" with the clue "Love, to Cesar" is, I believe, incorrect usage. The term "Amor" come from the latin phrase "Omnia vincit Amor", which originally appeared in Eclogue X of the Eclogues, a series of poems by Virgil (70 BC - 19 BC). This phrase uses "Amor" as a reference to "Eros" (or "Cupid") in 1st century BC Latin and cannot be translated to mean love as a verb. Ergo, "love to Caesar" would have to be "Amo", "Amas", or
"Amat". Just say'n!