Dec 23, 2010

Thursday December 23, 2010 John Lampkin

Theme: Seasonal puns, tipped off by a "?" in the clue. Wackiness ensues. No revealing entry in the grid.

20A. Seasonal cheeses?: SUMMER BRIES. Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts.

59A. Seasonal seasoning?: WINTER THYME. Wintertime by The Steve Miller Band.

11D. Seasonal smoked salmon?: SPRING LOX. This one puzzled me a bit as to exactly how it fits in with the theme. There are the Soo locks which open in the spring (closed in winter), and there are types of mechanical locks and latches where the bolt is driven home by a spring. Also spring lock washers. I couldn't come up with a musical connection for this like the others.

35D. Seasonal costume?: FALL GUISE. The Boys (guys) of Fall by Kenny Chesney.

Al here, with John Lampkin continuing his streak for a second Thursday in a row, talk about deja vu. Like Melissa yesterday, I saw several music tie-ins, probably unintended. As per John's style, there are clue echoes present, including one (61D) that the answer is ECHO


1. Ptolemaic constellation that is now divided into Carina (the keel), Puppis (the poop deck) and Vela (the sails): ARGO. That has to be one of the longest clue descriptions for Jason's ship, ever.

5. Utter: SHEER. Used here as an intensifier (utter delight, sheer delight), not "to say out loud".

10. Exxon forerunner: ESSO. Standard Oil, ess oh (S.O.) Along with ENCO, the combined name would have been the 4-letter EXON, but James Exon was governor of Nebraska, so to avoid problems, they added the second X.

14. Miller's product: MEAL. Cornmeal, for example, ground by a milling stone. I really wanted to put BEER instead.

15. Grade leader?: CENTI. Centigrade (100 gradients or degrees) is now called Celsius (after Swedish Astronomer Anders Celcius), because the desire for name recognition is stronger than being reasonable about having an understandable label.

16. Peak: APEX. Latin for top, peak, summit. Can be clued many ways.

17. West Point team: ARMY. U.S. Military Academy.

18A. Mountain nymph: OREAD. Tree nymph: DRYAD Water nymph: NEREID. Along with clecho 61D. Nymph who loved her own voice: ECHO.

19. Hammock support: TREE.

23. Place purveying potent pints: INN. Nice alliteration in the clue. Along with clecho 65A. Potent pints: ALES.

24. Grab from the shelves: SNAP UP.

25. Miller's salesman: LOMAN. Henry Miller's Death of a Salesman, Harry (Hap) Loman.

27. Dickens's Heep: URIAH. Also a 70's rock band.

30. Fried chicken piece: NUGGET. How they're made.

33. Klutzes: OAFS. OAF "a changeling; a foolish child left by the fairies", is related to ELF.

36. "What's cooking?" elicitor: ODOR.

38. Race with batons: RELAY.

39. Finance major's deg.: MBA. Master of Business Administration.

40. Fuming: IN A HUFF.

42. Sitcom planet: ORK. Is Mork & Mindy being rerun on some cable channel lately? It seems to be showing up a lot lately.

43. Pooped: ALL IN.

45. Con __: briskly, on scores: MOTO. Italian musical term.

46. Wheelbarrow feature: AXLE.

47. Empathize: RELATE. As in "I can relate to that".

49. Gallery events: SHOWS.

51. Troll: GNOME. Both are "earth-dwelling spirits", but not really the same. You would get an argument from someone who plays Dungeons and Dragons. Gnomes are small, usually associated with gardens (or Travelocity), and have red pointy hats. Trolls are much larger, hairier, meaner, less intelligent, and seem to densely inhabit blog comment boards.

53. Peak: TIPTOP.

57. Feathered runner: EMU. A ratite (flightless bird) Also related: ostrich, rhea, cassowary, and kiwi. Extinct species: moa and aepyornis.

62. Put down: LAID. Past tense.

64. "__ under pressure": guts, to Hemingway: GRACE.

66. Japanese soup: MISO. Has health benefits due to Omega-3 and vitamin-K content. Tastes good, too.

67. Retirement plans, informally: ROTHS. An individual retirement account, with taxes pre-paid.

68. New kids' block since 1958: LEGO. Examples of Escher structures.

69. Foreshadowing: OMEN.

70. "Cats" poet: ELIOT. T.S. Eliot, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which I'll skip any links for.

71. Musical syllables: TRAS.


1. Stockpile: AMASS.

2. Old air fare?: RERUN. Like Mork & Mindy.

3. Kind of ray emitted by a supernova: GAMMA.

4. Greek mount: OLYMPUS.

5. Venomous arachnid: SCORPION. Rock you like a hurricane.

6. It may be medicinal: HERB.

7. Nuke-testing dept.: ENER. U.S. Department of Energy.

8. Much modern business: ETAIL. Love it or hate it as a crossword answer, it's so much more convenient than trying to find a parking spot during the Christmas rush.

9. Continue the journey, oater-style: RIDE ON.

10. Corrode: EAT.

12. Dated: SEEN. Past tense of (I'm seeing her. I'm dating her.) And clecho 26D. Dating concern: AGE.

13. Paired pullers: OXEN.

21. Ger. setting: EUR. Germany, Europe.

22. Blue toon: SMURF. You'd be blue too, if there was only one female (Smurfette) in your entire village.

28. Sixth-day creation: ADAM. And all the creatures of the land.

29. Seasonal rooftop noises?: HO-HOS. I wanted HOOFS at first, but then thought it was the wrong spelling for hooves. Turns out it is a legit alternate form, but still the wrong answer.

31. British nobleman: EARL. Had to wait for perps, could have been DUKE.

32. Kid: TYKE.

33. "Rubáiyát" poet Khayyám: OMAR.

34. One-time pal of Baker and Charlie?: ABLE. Pre-1954 U.S. Navy Radio Alphabet. Replaced with the NATO phonetic alphabet: Alpha Bravo Charlie

37. Pianist Laredo: RUTH. Introduced by Van Cliburn.

40. Like trailers on the road: IN TOW.

41. Ottoman: FOOT REST. More precisely, a couch with no arms or back, for laying on, which was so-named because of the perception of Eastern (Ottoman empire) culture.

44. "At Seventeen" singer Janis: IAN.

46. Cloverleaf cover: ASPHALT.

48. Political refugee: EMIGRE.

50. Cleverness: WIT.

52. Join: ENROL. Seems odd to see only one L, but is a legit alternate spelling.

54. Tippecanoe's partner, in an 1840 campaign: TYLER. Tippecanoe (William Henry Harrison, who died shortly after being elected), and Tyler, too.

55. Last in a series: OMEGA. Last letter of the Greek alphabet.

56. Sonoran smackeroos: PESOS. Mexican Money. See? I can alliterate, too.

57. Saint with a fire: ELMO. An electrical corona plasma discharge.

58. Hurt severely: MAIM. I always hear the sequence from the old Kung-Fu TV series when I see this word: Perceive the way of nature and no force of man can harm you. Do not meet a wave head on: avoid it. You do not have to stop force: it is easier to redirect it. Learn more ways to preserve rather than destroy. Avoid rather than check. Check rather than hurt. Hurt rather than maim. Maim rather than kill. For all life is precious nor can any be replaced.

60. "Mon Oncle" director: TATI.

63. Put on: DON.

Answer grid.

Here is a fantastic Lunar Eclipse picture John Lampkin took on Tuesday. Perfect image for today's theme.



Lemonade714 said...

Counting down;

Good morning all, up at 5 so I am here to say what a pleasant surprise, a Lampkin puzzle again this week, after his 3 puzzles and assist last week, woow!

Al, with JL’s musical background, I am sure the references were all intended. I loved the misdirection of MILLER” MEAL and MILLER’s Salesman: LOMAN. Also 16A. PEAK and 53A. PEAK.

Did not know the history of ARGO, shame on me!

Maybe the music references for the THEME answers which were across, is what separated them from the down’s which are not song titles?

Al, you did a great job with all the music, we could have snuck in some Stevie Tyler, but it is all good thank you and JL

Lemonade714 said...

The eclipse picture is amazing, where was he when he took it?

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

I loves me a good pun, and this puzzle had several of them. Like Al, however, I wasn't exactly happy with SPRING LOX. Also, like Al, I wanted HOOFS for 29D, despite the fact that I wasn't happy with the spelling. That center section really slowed me down, since I've never heard of con MOTO (con BRIO, yes) and had no idea who Ms. Laredo was (I thought it might be RUSH at first).

Everything else was pretty straightforward. And I'll forgive the one awkward pun because I'm about to go have some bagels and lox for breakfast...

Lemonade714 said...

The salesman was actually WILLIE LOMAN, Hap and Biff the sons. Dustin Hoffman and Lee J. Cobb were both wonderful in the part on Broadway.

The inclusion of a reference to Jacques TATI is timely as the animate movie THE ILLUSIONIST which came out this year is a tribute to a respected comedic actor and director.

Hahtoolah said...

Great photo and puzzle, John! Thanks for sharing the amazing photograph with us!

I was not familiar with RUTH Laredo.

Yesterday we had George Eliot, today we had a reference to TS ELIOT. I must say, though, that I never understood the attraction of the Broadway rendition of the poems.

They Might Be Giants makes another musical connection for Tippecanoe and TYLER, too.

My favorite clue was Old Air Fare? = RERUN.

QOD: How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself? ~ Anaïs Nin

Dick said...

Good morning Al and all, a good Thursday lever puzzle. I did not start off too well as I had no clue to 1A and had to travel a long way before I got a foothold on the east side. Very slowly and little by little I did manage to get most of the puzzle unaided, but it was a long slog. Finally I got back to the NW corner and saw Argo and that corner fell quickly after that.

Al, you have done another superb blog creation.

Mr. Lamkin you sure had me mislead many times in your puzzle. I think the most misleading clue/answer was clover leaf cover/asphalt. Geez I was looking for dew, rime ice, rain, dust etc. Obviously none of those fit and when I got tip toe that whole section came together.

I never did get the cross of Adam and moto, my mind just seemed to shut down there. Oh well, I’m happy to get what I did in a misleading and somewhat difficult puzzle Thursday. Great job of creating a fun puzzle John, It gave me a few enjoyable DOH moments.

Hope you all have a great Thursday

creature said...

Good Morning C.C.,Al and all,

Al, thanks for a great write-up and links.

John's theme has perfect timing. I loved the "echo" idea of it- really ingenious!

45A moto,37D Ruth and 44D Ian were unknowns to me; only perps and wags pulled them in.

Fav clue: "old air fare"

John your eclipse photo is a thrill for me; I feel so lucky to have seen it. This was quite an effort on your part;plus, you're so multi-talented. Thanks, for both.

Have a nice day everyone.

creature said...

Lemon, he said Hudson Valley.

Tinbeni said...

Al, Outstanding write-up and links.
Thank you very much.

WOW, John I really liked this puzzle.

But here's the thing, at 6-D,"It may be medicinal" ... all I could think of was Avatar, Scotch, Pinch, Chivas ... and HERB was the last answer to fall.

Then I got to 59-A,"Seasonal seasoning?" ... see above. (You get something in your head and all forms of reason goes out the window).

ASPHALT for Cloverleaf cover, showed your WIT ... very clever.

And HO-HO'S crossing IN-A-HUFF makes sense.
Santa doesn't have much time on each roof-top.

PLUS: LAID for put-down ...
Damn, John you were on-a-roll for this crowd.

Maybe not my favorite puzzle this year ... but it is certainly in the "Top 2" ...

You lead the Sunset Toast at 5:41.

Cheer's to One-and-All !!!

thehondohurricane said...

Good day folks,

Al, excellent job with the blog. Like others, spring lox left me wondering. I thought "in a huff" was a bit mild for fuming. I kept thinking beer,brew, or suds for Millers product , but the perps saved the day. Finally, I'm glad Tinbeni beat me to the punch mentioning "laid" for put down. Sometimes, the less said..........

Sonoran smackeroos had me thinking kissing and I kept trying to make beso work. Peso finally forced its way in. I may be wrong, but from the days of Spanish classes, I remember beso being Spanish for kissing. Can someone let me know if I'm right/wrong? Mucho gracias.

This was a fun puzzle with lots of fresh clues. Good job John, keep them coming.

Abejo said...

Nice write-up Al, and great puzzle, John. I clicked on the links at work but my computer has no sound card. I did my puzzle, as usual, on the bus this morning. I did not finish until I got to work. I was going great guns until I hit that center section. I am a musician, amateur, but did not know CON MOTO. I know it now! Also did not know RUTH LAREDO. I know her now! SHEER was a hold out for me for a while, but it hit me in the head (ie: utter madness; SHEER madness). I liked the "Place Purveying Potent Pints" clue. Looking forward to Friday. Abejo

HeartRx said...

Good Morning Al, C.C. et al.

Loved your write-up, Al. You had me chuckling with your explanation of the difference between a GNOME and a "troll".

I really liked this puzzle today - it was just enough of a challenge, without being dastardly. Just one clue had me refusing to fill in the obvious answer: 23A "Purveyor of potent pints". I had I_N but just couldn't RELATE the answer to the clue. I finally put in the N, got the tada, and came here for the connection.

John, your photo of the lunar eclipse is outstanding! Thanks for sharing with those of us who were clouded over, too tired, partying, or otherwise indisposed to see it in person.

Have a great day everyone!

kazie said...

Good morning to all,
I never would have gotten those musical connections since none of the artists mentioned are known to me. I also couldn't think of BRIES and had BLUES there, which thoroughly mucked up the center north, especially since I was thinking utterance for utter and SHEER never came to me.

I also screwed up the center by having TIFF, and then MIFF, HUFF should have occurred to me but didn't. I also had HOOFS for HOHOS, and my non musical nature meant MOTO and hence RUTH never came either.

I didn't have any other holes in the grid though, and didn't look up anything. Loved ASPHALT, LAID and EMU. Many WAGs used today, and thoroughly enjoyed JL's WIT and punniness.

Great photo too! You were lucky to have clear skies, I think most of the country didn't.

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning Al, CC and puzzlers all.

What a great, fun puzzle! And a shoutout to our own Santa right in the middle, too.

Yes, I wandered into that HOOFS trap, too, then wanted IN A TIFF but couldn't make that work with any known rooftop sound. I finally saw HUFF and cleared that up. I knew the 37d/45a cross had to be RUSH/MOSO or RUTH/MOTO. Moto seemed to be more likely to relate to quick (maybe my two years of Latin finally paid off) so that was my Wag of the day.

SPRINGLOX came easily from the SPR. Your front door latch is a form of spring lock if it can be locked. The bolt slides into place with the aid of a spring when you close the door but can only be opened by mechanical linkage to retract the bolt and compress the spring. If a key is required, it's a lock. If no key is required, it's a latch. Dead bolts are a whole 'nuther creature.

I really liked the Miller/MEAL Miller/LOMAN pairing. Nice setup and misdirection, John.

All together now... John, we love your puzzles but we hate 'E' tail and all of those other Ewords!

Thanks for a fun start to Sure Happy It's Thursday day.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers - Yep, you hit the same snags I did - BEER and HOOFS mainly. Wanted PUB for INN but the world wouldn't let me.

JL, you've done it again, and a superb eclipse picture to boot. Keep 'em coming.

Wonder where the phrase "to boot" comes from...

Dudley said...

Husker - Yeah, I had WEED, too. In the puzzle I mean.

Grumpy 1 said...

thehondohurricane, beso is the Spanish masculine noun for kiss.

Since we have a penchant for musical links here on the blog, this song by Paul Anka is probably the best known 'beso' song.

Husker Gary said...

Al, John, et al, I finally got a start in the NE and then finished the bottom and like Santa, returned to the North Pole. I looked up and it was only a half-hour but what a ride! Al’s amazing write-up really gave me pause about the contents of chicken nuggets. I thought there was actual meat in there! Wow!

The musical offerings from Scorpion to Ruth Laredo were truly eclectic. The “Rock You Like a Hurricane” video shows how a rock song only needs a small musical “hook” (Here I am, Rock You Like a Hurricane) and it can sell records! That’s been true forever, heck, Beethoven’s Ninth had a hook too, all right, a magnificent hook but still…

-The astronomer in me could only think of ARES as a 4 letter constellation.
-Utter was not only not SPEAK, it was also not a bovine faucet
-Old air fare was not RADIO either
-My recliner from which I am writing has a lovely footrest
-As a physics teacher, I always teach centi, milli, etc. and then the science gurus stick Anders’ name on the 100 degree temp. scale. AARRGGHH!
-Mountain nymph? Wanted Sylphs, no clue on the others!
-Death of a Salesman is my favorite stage play and Miller even married Marilyn (if you have to ask Marilyn who?, you have cultural issues)!
-Fuming? I had _______off. Hmmmm….
-Did anyone think of the WEED (The real San Francisco Treat) for medicinal? “Yeah, man, like it’s medicine, you know?”
-Oaters MOSEYON, but too many letters
-HO HO HO? Too crude! PC version – Lady of the evening, Lady of the Evening, Lady of the Evening (from Nebraska’s own Larry the Cable Guy)
-I don’t think there is any piece of music that catches the angst of adolescent girls better than “At Seventeen”. I project those lyrics on all the teen age girls I see in a day!

lois said...

Good morning Al, CC, et al., another fun puzzle by John Lampkin, and I thought it was perfect for Thursday. Loved the cute theme and all the misdirections. This is just so well done as is that gorgeous moon shot.

Aside from John's outstanding talent, the concept of a moon shot 'relate's so well w/the plans that I have 'laid' for Santa at th-'e-tail' end of his w'ork' run tomorrow night. With the 'odor' of fresh baked cookies lingering, the presence of a few 'ales', and the hope that Santa isn't 'all in' or 'in a huff', plans won't be the only thing 'laid' that night. I'm hoping his 'ho hos' will still be 'in tow, his step 'con moto'and that 'ride on' is given a whole meaning. Well, it won't be his 'as-phalt' if he is too tired to even 'eat' a cookie. It's a big night and I'll just wait for his 'ener'gy to regain its
'olympus' status. I don't want to get him 'in a huff'. I've 'seen' what he did to that poor angel who asked him one too many times what he wanted to do with that tree. I'll wait, thank you very much. Besides, it's all good.

Great job, Al. Loved the links esp the Ruth Laredo. Spent way too much time following all those fabulous links around. Excellent job.

Lemonade: how are your eyes? Maybe I've missed a recent update. You're in my thoughts.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Quick in and out today. Superlatives to John and Al. Lo mejor, mi amigos!

Speaking of SHOWS, I'm off to the Opera House this afternoon to see Mary Poppins with five of my best girls: the LW, DIL Lisa, grandaughters Amanda (13), Rebekka (10) and Samantha (8). No ON-A-HUFF 17's to deal with.


You don't see GNOME every day. But in my part of the country, they are quite popular.

IMBO, Con MOTO. Cheers!
JzB who has an MBA

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone. Nice informative commentary, Al

Not much new to add to the previous comments. I'm getting to like John's puzzles quite a bit and this one was no exception. I appreciate all the thought and creativity he seems to put into his creations. Enjoyed the theme. I'm not good at literature, but URIAH just flowed right out.

John - great picture of the eclipse. We had full cloud cover over the Mohawk Valley so we missed it here.

I'll be standing-down for a few days (puzzle-wise) to visit kids and grandkids near Boston. Have a great Christmas and weekend, everyone.

Bob said...

Some total lunar eclipse images taken by my brother in Florida, with his notes:

A quick composite image made of just 3 of the 158 shots I took over a 4 hour span.

Eclipse Composite 1

Made from 23 separate images. Small image at the top right is just before the beginning of umbra penetration. The top left image is mid-eclipse and the one beside it is right at the beginning of the total phase. On the bottom row, the bottom right image is mid-eclipse and the one beside it is right at the end of the total phase. The bottom left image is just after the end of umbra penetration. The big image in the middle is mid-eclipse, the one on the right is half-way between beginning of umbra penetration and beginning of totality, the one on the left is half-way between end of totality and end of umbra penetration.

Eclipse Composite 2

lois said...

Bob: outstanding pictures! What a treat to see them and what a talent your brother! Thank you very much for sharing. Outstanding!

Spitzboov said...

Great images and presentation, Bob. Congrats to your brother. Thanks for looking in on us and posting the links.

Husker Gary said...

Bob, those were spectacular pictures! What equipment did he use to get those amazing images?

I am going to show these pix to my kids after the holidays to try to compensate for the cloud cover we had here.

ARBAON said...

Jazz: What the one I drive for laughingly calls "stump water" is the best ginger ale there is! (Vernor`s)

Dick said...

Bob, thanks for sharing your photos. They are great. Here in western PA we were in complete cloud cover so, obviously, we missed it completely.

Bill G. said...

I enjoyed the John Lampkin puzzle and Al's writeup. The eclipse photos were excellent. Rain here so I couldn't view it.

Al, I agree with you about the prefix Centi. It always made sense to me. I feel the same way about Hertz replacing Cycles per Second.

I especially enjoyed the link to "At Seventeen" by Janis Ian. It's has relevant and emotional lyrics and a melody that hooks you. They don't seem to write music like that anymore.

Rob said...

Good Morning,

Al, excellent write-up and links.
Thank a lot.

I really liked this puzzle, some fun answers and clues. I was thrown off by wanting to put hoofs where hohos went.
26d Dating concern: Age? Yep that would be important for some. I was not crazy about Fall Guise for 35 down but all in all a good puzzle.

Jeannie, in answer to your question yesterday I work for a plumbing supply wholesaler, we have over 30 locations throughout Texas.

I will be away from a computer next week at boy scout winter camp with my 13 year old so if I do not get to comment tomorrow I want to say for everyone to be safe if they are traveling and have a Happy New Year.


thehondohurricane said...


Thanks for the info and the Anka piece. Nice to know I still have some recall!


eddyB said...

Hi all.
Had a lot of fun doing this last night.
Thought someone would link The Four Seasons. Thought about Princesss Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring from Howdy Doody.
Great photos. Would have had to be on my back to shoot. The moon was high over head, very small and I
didn't have my 55-300 mm lens.(yet)

Have to get the grass cut before Sat.

Take care.

Bob said...

Husker Gary:
Info on the equipment my brother used for the eclipse photos, from an email I just received from him:

These shots were made using my Canon DSLR (instead of my SBIG CCD Camera) attached to my 4" Takahashi scope. Essentially, it's like attaching a 600mm lens to a camera. Of course, my scope was then attached to my Takahashi mount which I had tracking at the lunar rate instead of at a sidereal rate. This setup allowed me to slew off to a bright star and automatically focus just like I do with my CCD Camera. I ended up focusing once right before the eclipse began and then again just after the middle of totality (mid-eclipse) although the solution for the second focus came out to the same position as the first.

I used Photoshop to assemble the composition. I had to insert some temporary guide lines to make sure all the images were lined up and spaced consistently. It turned out better than I expected...I even went to the trouble of submitting it to the guys at NASA's APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day) site for consideration. Doubt anything will come of it.

Webpage on his equipment set up:
Astrophoto Equipment

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Wonderful puzzle and writeup today. My thanks.

The alliteration of the 23A clue made me strongly want PUB there to continue/complete the alliteration. It was SHEER agony to have to change it to INN.

Some terrific fill, including SCORPION, OLYMPUS, URIAH, and ASPHALT.

Wanted FLOUR for Miller's product, but obviously that didn't fit.

Wanted BESOS for Sonoran smackeroos, which I think might have been the intent.

Hands up for first thinking of HOOFS for 29D. I also overly confidently pencilled in BRIO for 45A. Almost LAID myself low in the center because of those two fooler-doolers.

Lovely photographs; thank you.

Best wishes to you all.

Robin said...

Great puzzle John and photo.

Love your blogging Al and the links.

Happy Christmas to all, love and joy come to you......

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, First, I wanted to congratulate John Lampkin on his beautiful Lunar Eclipse photo, and the puzzle that gave us a seasonal high.

Secondly, Al, thanks for the great blogging today.

Most of the puzzle wasn't too difficult, though I had to look up the "Grace under pressure" quote, "At Seventeen singer Janis Ian, and "Mon Oncle" director Tati. Those lookups aided me in finishing the lower part of the puzzle.

I wasnt't familiar with Ruth Loredo, but the perps took care of that unknown.

Putting in shout for sheer, and clown for centi kept me from finishing the top-mid section today. I just couldn't think of anything else that would fit. Centi is a new word for me. This was my learning moment for today. Tinbeni, I'm with you in that when you get something into your head, all form of reasoning goes out the window.

John Lampkin said...

Season's beatings! (musically speaking of course)

Thank you Al for the thorough and entertaining write up, thank you C.C. for posting my greeting card pic of the eclipse and thank you all for sharing your thoughts. They are helpful, and as my card says, you are all my puzzled friends. :)

Credit goes to editor Rich Norris for his timing on this puzzle which I submitted a year ago. Couldn't have been better! You can also thank Rich for the 1A clue which got us off to an erudite and rousing start.

Bob, thank you so much for posting that stunning sequence. It's a perfect complement to the puzzle. Perhaps your brother should put a copyright notice and contact info lower right since that composite is likely to find its way around the web. Thank him also for sharing the camera info. I guessed that a good telescope was part of the link when I saw the lack of light trails. Those with handheld point and shoots might wonder why their own shots didn't turn out so well. There's the answer.

My equipment is middle of the road, a new Nikon d7000 with a 300 mm prime lens. A prime lens is one that is fixed and doesn't zoom. Prime lenses give noticeably sharper images which is why I prefer them. Whatever the camera, just as important is the use of Photoshop to post-process the image. Bob, your brother is a whiz. Could you please email me at Thanks.

And that, my cyber-friends was my last puzzle for the year. And what a great year it has been with so many memorable puzzles from so many talented constructors, edited by one of the greats. We are truly blessed! Best to all for a healthy and happy. -- John

eddyB said...

John, agree about the sharpness. A zoom is more versatile tho.
A 5" reflector with a camera mount just went on my list to Santa.
APOD photo today is by Chris Hetlage of DAV.
Bob. Nice!
Flipping a coin tonight. Navy or the Steelers?
Going out now to see if the mower
will start.

Happy Holidays all.

kazie said...

Fantastic pix from your brother. Thank him from all of us, and thank you for sharing them.

Forgot to mention earlier that I also loved RERUN for 'old air fare' and nailed it right away. Must have had some perps there already.

I've been trying to get the last of my Christmas letters done all morning, and then the printer went down. So I installed the Dell that came with my computer and had never been out of the box in all the years I've had the computer. Amazingly it did the job and saved the day.

Now I don't know whether to try and fix the old Deskjet or not. everyone told me the Dell isn't worth keeping, but I was glad today that I did.

Gunghy said...

I haven't read all the comments yet, but I want to post before John stops by. Mostly to say I love this puzzle. Hand up for HOOFS, I figured that he would have put in a third HO. Did anyone else try OARS for 13D? I don't even mind etail, which may be the only eword I'll accept besides email. My only gripe was with ENER. It's hard to over-write USDE with anything legible if you're using ink.

I have no problem with spring locks. All the "deadbolts" in the 1890 farmhouse that I grew up in were spring driven locks. Also all my gates are held closed by a similar mechanism, although I call them spring latches. Here's a spring lock some of our readers might recognize.

While the amount is atypical, this has been a typical La Nina winter so far. Most of the water has gone north or south of Fresno. We are thrilled to have gotten about 2.5 inches of rain compared to L.A.'s 7.8. But then, Fresno's average rainfall is about 12 inches. Where most of ours goes is into the mountains. Those pictures were taken Monday afternoon. I blew my porch 3 times after that.

Time to meet HM3 Joseph Thorburn for lunch.

Jeannie said...

This was a great puzzle from you John, and a beautiful photo! Your brother’s too Bob. Thank you for sharing as others have stated it happened to be overcast and snowing here during the event. It was also an excellent write up from you, Al. I always know I am going to have a “learning” moment when you blog. I started out slow with that darned long clue for 1A – Argo. I needed to work the downs for amass, reruns, gamma and Olympus to get the answer! I got the theme right away with summer bries and winter thyme so knew I was looking for spring and fall in the others. That helped me a lot. Ones I wouldn’t have gotten without a little red letter and perp help were Uriah, Moto, and Tati. I don’t think I have ever heard of a pub/bar being called an “inn” so that kind of threw me too. All in all it was an enjoyable Thursday puzzler.

Inventory is done, my bags are packed and am heading to the airport soon. I hope everyone has a terrific holiday season with your family and friends.

Love, Jeannie.

Husker Gary said...

Jeannie, Be careful in that full body scan! Those images could fetch a lot of money! Go for the frisk (grope).

Have a great holiday!

Gunghy said...

Darned, too slow. Oh well, further comments:

MOTO/RUTH was also my WAG of the day.
I missed MBA and DON due to Perp fill.

Al, I, too, loved your description of trolls.

My favorite reminder of BESOS.

EddyB, the forest service won't let me plant grass, but you can come up and mow down the native stuff where my car is parked.

What amazing photos!!

MR ED said...

It's Christmas time.

MR ED said...

Joy to the world, the Lord has come.

MR ED said...

Is there anyone who visits here that does not celebrate Christmas as a holiday? Non religous holiday of course.

Tinbeni said...

John & Bob
Great photo's, thanks.

Even I, the total agnostic, goes to my (raised) Episcopal Church at Christmas and Easter.
OK, I have some questions ... but I figure it is a great idea to cover ALL the bases.

Plus I love to say: "Merry Christmas!"

Just got back from giving blood.
Asked about "Why the aspirin question?"
Yeah, they said all they wanted to know was had it been taken in the last 3 days.
Just that the pint would be marked.

Seems to me, when I started donating over 40 years ago, way back then, they would ask you to return in a few days.
(Back then there were only 8 questions).

Hmmm, that Pinch is going to have a "special kick" at Sunset ...
Like I'm going to wait?
Not !!!

PS The car keys are "Off-limits" as of 4:30 pm ...

Clear Ayes said...

Good Afternoon All, I didn't get to the puzzle until late morning, so all of the "knew this", "didn't know that" comments had all been written (and better than I would have anyway).

I just had to add my compliments to John L. for his puzzle construction. I loved the theme. The puns were so clever and I loved the connections to the different seasons of the year.

I particularly enjoyed SPRING LOX. I'm looking forward to bringing the lox, bagels and cream cheese for the Christmas morning breakfast at my daughter's house. Add a thin slice of purple onion and a thicker slice of tomato and that's a perfect breakfast, as far as I'm concerned.

Wow...both to John L. and Bob's brother for the eclipse photos. We were clouded over, but I'm sure I wouldn't have had the patience it took to produce such spectacular photos.

Great blogging and links, Al. I enjoyed it all.

With all the music links, here's another one to go with the season. Our chorus sang this at our concert (probably not as well as this group) and our audience enjoyed it a lot. A Musicological Journey Through The 12 Days of Christmas. I particularly enjoyed the Wagnerian 8th day. It made all us altos feel very Valkyrie-ish.

LaLaLinda said...

Hello Everyone ~~

I really enjoyed John Lampkin's puzzle and Al's write up--great links. My one look-up was for 'ARGO.' Also, 'Old air fare' and 'Empathize' took me longer than they should have, but it finally all came together. Lots of fun in solving this one!

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday and a happy and healthy New Year!

HeartRx said...

Tinbeni, glad to hear you waited for your avatar until AFTER donating blood - thank you for remembering to do this noble deed during the holidays!

And yes, I remember that we would mark the "aspirin" units, so as not to give them to potential bleeders. Thanks for the confirmation that it is not a "prohibition" for donating.

Unfortunately, I have had both cancer and hepatitis, so I am permanently "barred". After being a five gallon donor, it is sad to think I can't do it any more. But I can still encourage others!

I also want to add my thanks to you Bob, for your brother's fantastic photos. I have a Meade 5000 telescope and planned to use it that night, but the clouds did not cooperate. Arrrgh...

Hahtoolah said...

Bob: Those are amazing photographs! Thanks so much for sharing. They make a great learning tool.

dodo said...

Hi, everyone,

WOW! What an information-loaded blog today! John, I loved this puzzle and your greeting with the terrific picture. Wonderful finale for 2010! Congratulations on your packet of puzzles and many thsnks. Merry Christmas to you and wishes for a wonderful New Year!

And Al, whatta Blog! So many learning ops and great links, and humor! I adored the discussion re: trolls vs. gnomes. I completely agree that gnomes are much superior! Now, next time can we hear about elves vs. goblins?

Bob, hearing about your brother's photographing of the eclipse was really thrilling! I knew we wouldn't be able to see it here due to the weather, but I think it was even my interesting just reading your brother's commentary! Thank you much for sharing! I learned a lot. I'm curious as to the length of time of the eclipse. Should I have seen that info somewhere. Is that a dumb question that has an obvious answer? I'm interested, anyway.

Yes, Gunghi, I went for 'oars', too. I guess we are the only ones who thought in nautical terms. Maybe it was because of the first reference to Jason's Argo.'Apex' fixed that up in a hurry.

Jayce, I cringed a bit at having to enter 'inn', too. Such a great example of alliteration was a real intro for 'pub'.

Happy Holidays, all! Mr. Ed, youve said it all! Whatever one's religious leanings, it's a wonderful time of the yeaar!

Lucina said...

Greetings, cyber friends!

Ahhhhhhhhh, so late for this party and what fun all around.

I actually did most of this before leaving for my nail appointment at 9:30 and then many last minute errands afterward.

Finally had a chance to finish this beautiful opus by John Lampkin. I know you've been here already, John, but I hope you see this and know how much enjoyment you have brought.

I also loved the eclipse photos, John's and Bob's brother. Thank you for taking the time, Bob.

I wish to nominate John Lampkin as heir apparent to Dan Naddor; no one, obviously, can take Dan's place, but John, I believe is our next luminary.

I had the same errors as most of you, PUB for INN, ROOFS for HOHOS but most of the fills were fairly quick except for the top center, which once I got SCORPION, the rest fell in place.

I can't recall which nymph is which, so thank you Al, for that summary. I've now entered them in my puzzle notebook.

Also, my mind shut off at ABLE and ADAM/MOTO. It refused to think any more.

Wonderful theme, again, thank you, John.

Jeannie, I hope you have a wonderful and safe trip.

I wish wonderful, love filled holidays for all of you.

Chickie said...

Bob, Thank you for posting your brother's pictures of the eclipse. They were spectacular. As others have said, weather prevented us from having a good view, so we have to enjoy what others have been kind enough to post.

Jeannie, have a wonderful holiday. Be safe.

Kazie, our Dell printer that also came with a computer eons ago, has been a workhorse. i'm glad you had a backup.

CA, I enjoyed the 12 Days music so much. I can see why your audience enjoyed it, too.

Bill G. said...

Dear Dodo,

A total lunar eclipse can be longer or shorter depending on how close the moon passes through the center of the earth's shadow. From beginning to end, the longest eclipse is about 3.8 hours. The longest period of totality (where the moon is completely in shadow) is about 107 minutes. Most lunar eclipses are shorter than that. Where you are located, totality for this eclipse was a little over an hour.

The rain has gone away for a while and I managed to get in a short bike ride along the Pacific. The rain should bring out an abundance of wildflowers soon.

Seldom Seen said...

I would like to echo Lucina's earlier comment regarding John Lambkin. Before coming to this blog, I was not aware of the constructors nor of the varied styles.

Now when I see John's name I think "this should be fun" and it always is.

So thank you, Mr. Lampkin.

Bob: I'm not sure what I enjoyed more, the pictures and comments of the eclipse or the pictures and comments of the equipment and process.

Bob said...

Dodo: Mathematical calculation of the occurrence and length of a lunar eclipse is not a trivial matter since both the earth and moon have complex orbital dynamics. First, a lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon. Second, for a total eclipse the moon has to move precisely in line with the sun and earth, but often it is not properly aligned during full moon and can be offset by as much as 5 degrees of arc. Third, the length of the eclipse depends largely on the earth-moon distance, which is also quite variable. And finally, eclipse length depends on your geographical location on the earth. The longest possible lunar eclipse, from start to finish, is 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Lemonade714 said...

I guess I am affected by my son being in archaeology, but I interpreted 26D. Dating concern: AGE as being related to carbon dating, and other measuring of the age of things, not worrying about Cougars or dirty old men like me. I met a girl recently who is 31, and told her how wonderful that was, as so was I. I was just doing it for the second time. Which reminds, me Jeannie have a great time with your family; Robin, you change avatars like I change underwear, but I am still waiting for my cookie. Lois and Carol, be careful, CA, keep feeling better, Fermatprime, it will all add up one day, and for all of you who are going to be missing my Christmas eve blog, have a great holiday, and come back and entertain.

The eclipse pics are awesome; thanks creature, I did not scroll down and did not know JL had written anything. JL, you did not answer my implied question, which was if all the music references and semi-references were intentional.

Buckeye, Crockett, Embien and anyone else, happy and healthy holidays

Tinbeni said...

Our prior discussion had me wondering. I am so sorry to hear why you can no longer donate.

For me, it is like having a "check-up" every two months ... while helping my fellow citizens.

If a person can donate BLOOD, I strongly encourage them to do so.

But then it hit me, about half way through the second Avatar, maybe I should have imbibed before going, in the "spirit-of-the-season" ...

Gunghy said...

Thanks for reminding me, I am 2 weeks overdue to donate. I too, want to encourage everyone who can to donate blood.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to all.

Spitzboov said...

Some special Swan Lake for the holidays.

Anonymous said...

Good night everyone.

Great puzzle, those parts that I could figure out. And a superb write up, Al.
The links were fun, and it has been such a joy to click while holding down the shift key so I could return to the comments.
And I surely enjoyed your troll comment.

John and Bob, thank you for the eclipse pix. I couldn't get up at that hour to even look.

Dennis said...

Hey gang - only have a minute, but I wanted to say:

JLamp, Bob, outstanding pictures; thanks for sharing them. John, I look at your accomplishments/interests and think, "there is a true renaissance man".

The puzzle kicked my ass this morning. I was going great right up to 1A...

Al, wonderful blogging -- always most informtative and enlightning.

I'm going to bed, so I can get up and do it one more time; business has been rocking, and I'm really beat. Haven't been able to get to the gym in 3 weeks, and boy, do I feel it. Thoughts of the topless beach in South Beach that's waiting for me keep me going.

Have a great night, hopefully seeya tomorrow sometime.

kazie said...

I thought, now why is he linking Swan Lake--Nutcracker is the traditional Christmas ballet.
Then I watched it, amazing. A Christmas present in itself. How incredible is doing a pirouette on her partner's head? I wonder how much hair she pulls out going around like that! Thank you for that! The costumes were lovely too--I liked the feathery tails on the tutus.

Lucina said...

Thank you for that spectacular link! What a feat and what strength to hold her up for such a lengthy time. Whew!

Thanks for that treat.

Good night everyone!