Dec 30, 2010

Thursday December 30, 2010 Kelsey Blakley

Theme: 1A. Squish: MASHed up city names. The middle city name uses parts of the end of the first city name and the beginning of the last city name without adding any extra letters. Of all the cities presented, Pierre, SD and Annapolis, MD, and Concord NH are the only ones that are state capitals.

20A. Iowa/Arizona/Maryland tri-city area?: AMES ANNAPOLIS. AMES MESA ANNAPOLIS.

32A. Washington/Georgia/ New Hampshire tri-city area?: TACOMA CONCORD. TACOMA MACON CONCORD.

40A. South Dakota/Nevada/ Virginia tri-city area?: PIERRE NORFOLK. PIERRE RENO NORFOLK.

55A. California/Alaska/ Tennessee tri-city area?: FRESNO MEMPHIS.

Al here.

What a puzzle. I can't imagine what it must have taken to get all four theme entries to all be 13 letters each with overlapping names, and then fit them symmetrically into a grid with eight other non-theme answers having 9 to 10 letters in them, and 6 of them crossing 3 theme entries each.

I needed the short ones today just to get enough traction to get started. The crossing of Narz and Lai was just a guess, and the NW and SE corners did not come easily. Lots of music again today.


5. Flintstone word: DABBA. Yabba dabba doo. Song written and performed by Hoagy Carmichael on the show.

10. Bairn, e.g.: SCOT. Scottish for baby.

14. Pick of the litter?: ALPO. (Dog food) Trademark applied for by Alpo circa 1985: IT'S THE PICK OF VETERINARIANS AND THE PICK OF THE LITTER

15. Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie __": AMOUR.

16. Horse around: PLAY.

17. Zoo retreat: LAIR. The root is in "lie", as "to lie down".

18. Red and yellow but not green: WARM COLORS. This had me thinking about sea names at first.

22. Sing like Slim Clark: YODEL. Not my favorite kind of music, but hey, to each their own. I had never heard of him, but with a name similar to Slim Whitman, it had to be yodeling.

23. Cut from the staff: AXE.

24. Arterial implant: STENT. A rigid tube implanted to hold a (weakened) passageway open.

27. "__ Town Too": 1981 hit: HER. James Taylor.

29. The Concord Sage's monogram: RWE. Ralph Waldo Emerson.

31. My __, Vietnam: LAI. The mass murder conducted by a unit of the U.S. Army on March 16, 1968 of 347–504 unarmed citizens in South Vietnam, all of whom were civilians and a majority of whom were women, children (including babies) and elderly people. While 26 U.S. soldiers were initially charged with criminal offenses for their actions at My Lai, only William Calley was convicted. He served only three years of an original life sentence, spent on house arrest.

36. K-12: EL-HI. Elementary - High School.

38. It may be precious: METAL.

39. Percolate: OOZE. I don't usually think of upwards percolation, but it does happen, and can cause sinkholes.

43. Like some outlet mall mdse.: IRR. Irregular.

44. Quite a long time: EON.

45. Announcer Hall: EDD. Replaced Ed McMahon on the Tonight Show after Johnny Carson retired and Jay Leno took over.

46. Alberta natives: CREES.

48. Anesthesiologists' work sites, briefly: ORS. Had to wait to see whether it would be ERs.

51. Neapolitan song starter: O SOLE. Mio.

58. Soldier who has completed most of his tour of duty: SHORT TIMER. Or an employee who has given two week's notice. Just wishful thinking these days.

60. Drops off: EBBS.

61. Saarinen who designed the Gateway Arch: EERO.

62. Even a little: AT ALL.

63. Passed-down tales: LORE. Related to "learn".

64. Skating maneuver: AXEL. Named for Norwegian figure skater Axel Paulsen.

65. Broadway matchmaker: YENTE. Fiddler on the Roof.

66. Oven cleaner chemicals: LYES. Also Butane, Monoethanolamine, Diethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether, and Diethanolamine. Wear a mask and don't breathe any of the vapors...


1. Asia's __ Peninsula: MALAY. Southwest of Vietnam.

2. 2007 Enterprise acquisition: ALAMO. (Rent-a-car companies) Enterprise's slogan: "We'll pick you up."

3. Spotted: SPIED.

4. Paintbrush material: HORSE HAIR. Also sable, squirrel, hog, ox, and goat.

5. Become clear to, with "on": DAWN. It took a while for this answer to, um, come to mind.

6. Radarange maker: AMANA. Now owned by Whirlpool.

7. Cleansing agent: BORAX. Anti-microbial, basic pH, buffer, dispersant. But also toxic, especially if ingested, so use it carefully if you choose to do so.

8. Crash course vehicle?: BUMPER CAR.

9. Not pizzicato: ARCO. Return to the usual smooth method of play.

10. Cheerleader's feat: SPLIT. Ouch!

11. More than a glance: CLOSE LOOK.

12. Crew tool: OAR.

13. Cobb et al.: TYS.

19. "The Daily Planet" reporter: OLSEN. Jimmy, Superman's pal.

21. Pianist Templeton: ALEC. Composer, satirist, popularizer of classical music with a jazz feel. Also blind. Died in 1963, and yet there's a Youtube clip...

25. '70s "Concentration" host Jack: NARZ. Former daytime game show host. Needed all perps for this.

26. Ocean phenomenon: TIDE. From Old English tid, a marking unit of time, in the sense of high water time. To "tide you over" is the sense of "to carry, as the tide does". Also tidings, as news, carried on the tide.

28. Lover boy: ROMEO. Always with the male bias. Why isn't there a term for a lover girl called Juliet?

30. Stout hero Nero: WOLFE. Rex Stout, but as played by Robert Conrad, also stout in stature.

32. Start of a conclusion: THEREFORE. Good play on words for the clue.

33. Anabaptist denomination: MENNONITE. All I got out of researching this was they believed in baptizing adults, not babies, then I lost interest.

34. "From __ Zinc": vitamin slogan: A TO. Centrum brand. Do your own research, but you won't catch me taking these.

35. Time to bundle up: COLD SPELL.

36. Like some proportions: EPIC.

37. NYC commuter line: LIRR. Long Island Rail Road.

41. Odometer button: RESET.

42. Blue Moon of '60s-'70s baseball: ODOM. Apparently was round-faced as a child, he got the nickname in grade school from a friend, Joe Morris.

47. Swashbuckler Flynn: ERROL. I can never remember if this is ERROL or EROLL.

49. __ candle: ROMAN. Fireworks, because scented doesn't fit.

50. Silver fish: SMELT. I remember these. Three scoopfuls with a net to fill a wash bucket, 10 minutes tops. Two hours driving round trip. Hours and hours cleaning and bagging to freeze. Pan-fried in oil with flour, salt, and pepper. They were good, but I was kind of glad the run only happened once per year.

52. "Whoopee!": OH BOY.

53. Vers __: free verse: LIBRE. French.

54. Switchback features: ESSES. Hilly roads.

56. Layover: STAY.

57. Contemporary of Rex and Agatha: ERLE. Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, Erle Stanley Gardner. Mystery/murder writers.

58. Something fishy: SEA. Until about 2048 or even sooner, unless commercial fishing is controlled and dumping garbage is stopped.

59. Give the evil eye: HEX. Both hag and hex are shortenings of the same words in Old English: hægtesse or Old High German hagazussa.

Answer Grid.



Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Running late, no time to chat. Lovely puzzle, wonderful theme. But NARZ? Seriously? Sheeeesh...

Hahtoolah said...

Morning my friends. This puzzle reminded me of the Before and After category on Jeopardy. TACOMACONCORD was my first theme clue, and that helped me with the rest.

I had several erasures in this puzzle, but managed to get it finished without the assistance of Mr. G. I tried Camel Hair instead of HORSE HAIR for paintbrush material. I also wanted Baby instead of SCOT for Bairn.

My favorite clues were Crash Course Vehicle = BUMPER CAR; and

Time To Bundle Up = COLD SPELL

It might reach 70 here, today, so maybe we are out of our cold spell. We got over 3.5 inches of rain last night, which set a record.

QOD: The hardest tumble a man can take is to fall over his own bluff. ~ Ambrose Bierce

Mainiac said...

Morning Al, CC and All,

Good puzzle but the theme entries only were had with perps. Made for a bit of a slog but I still got it unaided but I erased so much some of the blanks were faded.

Single digits last night.

Deadlines to meet.

Have a great day.

creature said...

Good Morning C.C.,Al and all,

Superior work, Al. As usual. Thanks.

I really 'dug' this puzzle. The theme was titillating.

I got my bearings in the south, and saw Fresno-Memphis with the partials; filled the other theme cities and the rest fell.

Didn't know '70s Concentration host or 31A- the 'A' was a wag.

It took a genious to figure this out; I don't know how in the world,Kelsey came up with this, but I'm in awe.Thank you.

Liked 'Pick of the litter'.

Al reminded me of the anguish that we all felt over the My Lai tragedy. It will cross my mind again, off and on for a while.

C.C., I reread your note about the LAT info. I think it was very clear. I don't know how I came out with such a skewed version. Please forgive me.

Have a nice day everyone.

thehondohurricane said...

Good day folks,

A fun, but difficult puzzle. Like Hahtool and Mainiac, lots of erasures. I lye not! I never picked up on the theme until I had finished. Perp help was a big part of solving this crossword.

Favorite clues were squish, pick of the litter, & something fishy. I screwed up Odom, by beginning with Vida (Blue). Eventually I woke up to my mistake.

The one clue I don't agree with is "Daily Planet reporter." I entered Clark because Lois Lane wouldn't fit, but Olsen soon became apparent. Jimmy Olsen was the paper's photographer. He may have eventually been "promoted" to a cub reporter, but I still think the clue was, at best, misleading.

Enough ranting for today, have to get back to the year end inventory. Yuck.

Enjoy your day and to you football fans, let's hope UConn doesn't get too embarrassed in the Fiesta Bowl. The Big East needs a good showing.

C.C. Burnikel said...

You are so gracious. No need to apologize. I don't think I worded it clearly as JD misunderstood it as well.

FYI, we have about 6 Dan Naddor puzzles left, 2 per month, so Dan should be with us until next March.

Lemonade714 said...

Good morning:

Thanks Al, I thought this was a wonderful theme and was also impressed by the skill in building this symmetrically. It was challenging in places, with the reference to JACK NARZ who along with his brother Jim, who worked as TOM KENNEDY, were major players in the game show circuit for more than 40 years.

Rex Stout and Nero Wolfe were critical in my becoming a mystery reader. I did not care for Conrad as Wolfe, who was quite large in the books as well. I did enjoy the A & E version with Maury Chaykin, who died recently, and Tim Hutton as a magnificent Archie Goodwin. The critics speculated Wolfe was patterned after Mycroft Holmes.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Clear Ayes,
I forgot to thank you the other day for the Chairman Mao poem. The one you posted is probably his most famous one. Most Chinese my age can recite it, Chinese version of course.

Abejo said...

To Kelsey. Great puzzle. It must have taken a lot of work to piece it together. Good write-up Al. I kind of got started in the middle and at the bottom. My first theme answer was FRESNOMEMPHIS. After that the rest cam easily. I missed on OLSEN. I had OLSON. I was not sure of the monogram and just assumed it was right. Oh well, I should have known better. I got ARCO right, but with the crosswords. I am an amateur musician, but I do not know all the technical words. Fun puzzle. See you all tomorrow on New Year's Eve. Abejo

Lemonade714 said...

William Calley was a Florida born young man who was only 5'4" tall, and while I am not that small, many speculated it was part Napoleon complex which led to the massacre. He had family in Gainesville while I was going to law school, so it was a big topic there for a long time.

We are back on our wat to the 70's so I guess we have outlasted Dennis and will have a sunny New Year.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning all. Al, thanks for a great commentary.

Not difficult for a Thursday. Got early traction in almost all areas. The NE was last to fall but was helped by the theme. Saw the AMES ANNAPOLIS fill early with MESA embedded, so that showed the way to the rest of the theme 'cities'. Could not remember Emerson's first initial, at first, but it finally clicked in. I also liked the clue for BUMPER CAR. Did not know NARZ, but the perps sufficed. Funny how we got NORFOLK 2 days in a row. Overall, a fun puzzle to solve.

Enjoy the day.

Hahtoolah said...

Al: Concord is the capital of New Hampshire, so there are actually 3 state capitals in the theme answers.

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning, all and a Happy New Year's Eve Eve.

I thought this puzzle was extremely clever. It took a bit to get traction on the theme, but perps let me see Memphis with Nome overlapping. I knew what to look for in the rest of the entries and could fill them with a few perps and a fair knowledge of geography. NARZ was a total unknown, but the perps were solid for all four letters.

EL-HI needed perp help too. For once, Mr. Saarinen's first name came to mind easily. We've seen it at least a couple of times this year.

It's agood thing I checked all the downs before coming here. I had YABBA, which gave me YAWN for 5d. I almost left it there since it looked OK, but then I read the clue and knew I had to make a change.

Hat's off to Mr Blakley for a very clever puzzle and to Al for a great writeup.

Dennis said...

Good morning, gang -

Never quite made it to Key West yesterday. One and a half hours into what should've been a three-hour drive, we were sitting in bumper-to-bumper southbound traffic in Key Largo at the top of the Keys. After another hour and maybe five miles, and just before my head was about to explode, we decided to bag it and spent the day/night in South Beach. Might try the Key West thing again some trip, but that pretty much sucked. Plus, it was cloudy and we wouldn't have gotten to experience the great sunset there anyway.

As Lemonade pointed out, the weather's finally getting back into the 70s, so life is good.

What's everybody doing for New Year's Eve?

kazie said...

There was so much in this puzzle that I simply didn't know, that at first I felt like giving up, but ended up with just a swath from NW to SE that was blank. Then once I decided that horses could provide hair for paintbrushes as well as sable, and the penny dropped for ALPO, that corner filled.

I ended up with only YENTL/ERLL, RWO/OLSON and LEI/NERZ wrong. Never heard of NARZ, ODOM, or REX, and I didn't know who the Concord sage was. So guessing to avoid googling meant I finished with errors.

Our local newspaper here was owned for many years by one James Olson, editor, so hence my confusion over the spelling of OLSEN.

I also couldn't for the life of me figure out how those areas for the cities were going to be tri-city areas. Never saw the overlapping names, and just had to guess at what fitted the perps. I normally don't give the themes too much thought, and that's what did me in today for understanding the theme.

I also thought it was going to be COLD AS HELL for 35D, but then realized I had a letter missing.

Dick said...

Good morning Al and all, an absolutely brilliant puzzle this morning. I am in awe of people that are so creative and to have everything fit with the interlacing of words and then the crossings. Wow! Nice write up Al.

On the first pass I did not get many answers so I started at the bottom and worked up The first theme name to appear was Nome and then I was off and running. From there I worked on the theme answers, got all of them and started to do the crosses.

I had several erasures this morning, but did manage to complete the puzzle unassisted. Once I came here I realized that I had two errors. I spelled My Lai as My Lei and I had osmoe for osole.

A few other missteps for me was thinking seas for 18A, cage for lair, seep for ooze, stop for stay and for some reason I wanted Vita Blue for Blue moon Odem. Fortunately all of these were corrected with perps. Overall a really fun and interesting crossword.

Hope you all have a great Thursday.

Burrito34 said...

Good Thursday everyone (It's Friday for me though :D)

Hahtool, if 3.5 inches of rain is too much please send some down to Oklahoma. We're starting to get drought conditions here. The last two rains we got were just enough to speckle the dust on my Ford Ranger.

Today's puzzle was my favorite of the week with the tri-city clues. Annapolis, MD first became apparent to me leaving four letters at the front. I thought of cities in Iowa and Arizona with four letters (Ames, Mesa, Ames, hmm) and then it dawned on me.

I didn't know the Crees came from Alberta or about Slim Clark (thought of Whitman) or Jack Narz. Thanks for the song links, Al. They do add a nice touch to the morning. 35Down, "Time to Bundle Up" I was also leaning towards "cold as hell" but it merely turned out to be a cold spell.

The only red letter help I needed was on 29A's "Concord Sage's Monogram", due to my misspelling of "Olsen". Once I saw RWE was correct it hit me that was Ralph Waldo Emerson. And so I'll end with one of his quotes:

"The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it."

Best to all,

Anonymous said...

Great Write-up on the blog and especially the commentary.

Anesth's normally dont work in ER's - emergency rooms - since there is never enough time to wait for an Anesth. to turn up. They may be called on an emergency though, to secure a clear airway - which is critical for survival - and ( clearing the airway ) is what the Anesths. are typically specialists in.

carol said...

Hi gang,

Well, I have a headache try to solve this bad boy. I had to give up and come here. I don't do well with clue/answers like 20A, 32A etc. I admire the thought and talent that went into creating such things, but my brain just doesn't work that way.

We have freezing fog and black ice this morning, and I am so glad I no longer have to slog out to a job!

windhover said...

Dennis: New Years Eve plans?
Are you familiar with the Cliff Claven theory of how beer makes you smarter? I plan to raise my IQ by several points and get a little aerobic exercise (on the dance floor. The Irish and I plan to hit our favorite red-neck bar, the Shakey Ground, and listen and dance to our friends' rock cover band, Slingblade.
Any one else have plans?

Al said...

Hahtool, thanks. The main blog entry has now had Concord, NH added to the list of capitals. I'm blaming it on sleep deprivation, and getting sidetracked by youtube and google distractions. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

Also thanks, anon at 9:22, that makes sense. Although, I think that I would still wait for perps anyway if presented with the same clue again, just in case.

@Dennis, New Year's Eve? I'll be working all night again. It's OK, I suppose, as I never venture out on Amateur night anyway.

eddyB said...

Hi all.

A lot of work went into this one. Great job!
Kept seeing Jimmy with his 4X5 Grafic. But, Olsen fit.
Narz O perps 1.
Frost on the pumpkins this morning.

Take care.

Husker Gary said...

Al, et al (other al’s?), I finished this in the waiting room at the surgical center in our town as my lovely bride had that most personal of “scopes” done this morning and all turned out well. That did not prevent her from getting worked into a wad in anticipation, but she is fine. Recovery will put a damper on New Year’s Eve here but no big deal! A year ago, New Years was spent in Long Beach, CA the night before the Rose Parade which was beyond amazing! A big check-off on our bucket list!

It is approaching 60 today and the morning felt like a winter morning in Orlando – a humid but cool beginning. Here in eastern Nebraska, of course, this is a harbinger of snow which will be here tonight and tomorrow!

- Our puzzle today had a very nice “hook” and since the NW did not start easily for me, the Annapolis, MD. Completion helped get me going so I could work backwards! Very satisfying!
-Fred and Barney had a “gay old time” to that old music
-Loved pick of the litter
-My Lai was horrible and a consequence of sending young men in to a horrible, day after day, meat grinder. I hope I would have had the courage to stop it as I could have been there at that age and that time
-El-Hi? Really? Never saw it in my 42 year career!
-I prefer my coffee not OOZE
-Crees are wonderful fishing guides in central Canada although I had better luck getting words out of the Northern Pike I caught. Very competent at their business, however!
-The Amana Colonies in central Iowa are a wonderful place to visit. They provide proof that socialism is a wonderful idea but an impractical way to run a society. Eventually Hans started noticing that Fritz was pretty lazy but getting the same money from the community and so years and years ago, they disbanded the colony and became capitalistic.
-Iowa has Amish colonies near the Amana colonies and there is NO connection between them as some think
-I remember Jack Narz, Wink Martindale, etc. very well

The Huskers reprise the game they played earlier against Washington tonight. They beat them handily in September and so a win means nothing and a loss would be horrible. Ya gotta love the bowls. Husker fans sold the place out a year ago (as they travel as well as any program) but ain’t all that interested this year for a repeat game in the same venue.

daffy dill said...

Good morning, C.C. Thanks, Al.

This seemed like an easy puzzle for a Thursday. I glommed onto the nice, complicated theme very quickly. Got my Texas dander up when I saw that Enterprise had acquired the ALAMO, but then I had a "duh" moment. I knew LAI and RWE. I had a professor who admired Mr. Emerson and mentioned him often as the "Sage of Concord." I never heard of Jack NARZ. Even seeing his picture didn't ring any bells. Same with ALEC Templeton. I had yABBA for 5A, but "yAWN on" didn't make sense. Changed it to DABBA/DAWN and got the TaDa! No look ups and no red letters today.

Is anybody else having black-eyed peas for New Years? Neither DH nor I are superstitious, but we thought "Eh, why not?" We both like them so we will cook up some BEPeas and cornbread for N.Y.'s lunch. No late night shenanigans. I need my sleep.

JD said...

Good morning Al,C.C. and all,

First of all, thank you Al for a great write up and clearing up the mystery of the tri states. I never saw the middle city and wondered.

Very clever Mr. Blakley!! Kudos for a fun run.I miss Bob's shout out of 5 min. This took me 40 min with 3 stops to G: Narz(I thought it was Hugh Downs),Alec and Odem.

I had a hard time getting any traction on my 1st run.As soon as I filled in the theme answers, everything filled in nicely.

Had to sing My Cherie Amour but it didn't help with spelling, a WAG.Hearing it and seeing it are 2 different things. What song is this? Oh a tree in motion That was my version.

Yodeling: I'm with you, Al, not my favorite. I'm good for 2 minutes max, but this little yodeler was pretty cute.

JD said...

Hi C.C., Just read last night's comments. Thanks...I will look forward to Friday's xwd anyway.

Anonymous said...

Something fishy -
Great puzzle, but keep your editorial comments to yourself. Our garbage is not killing the fish, it's feeding the fish. Think about it! This world is a lot more dynamic and resilient than many people give it credit. Again, just stick to the crosswords.

Bill G. said...

I had a hard time getting started with this puzzle (in the upper-left as always) but I got going and enjoyed it. Very clever theme.

JD, I enjoyed the little yodeler. Her enthusiasm was infectious.

Boy, it's cold here with the wind whistling under the eaves.

Jeannie said...

Before I even posted I skimmed through the blog and just knew I would be channeling Kazie and Carol today, so you can just read their posts regarding the puzzle. I must admit I am horrible at geography so I wouldn’t have gotten most of those cities without hitting the g-spot, and that’s no fun! I see we have “lye” again being described as an oven cleaner….yet just another reason not to eat lutefisk! I thought “crash course vehicle” – bumper car was clever. Smelting brings back fond memories for me. My dad and uncle would bring back about a garbage can full of the things, and my Mom and I would clean them for hours! It’s actually a simple process; snip off the heads, run the scissors up the middle and follow that path with your thumb. The pay off was fantastic! I still try to find every smelt fry I can when they are running. Here is an interesting article on smelting in Michigan.

Of all things it is pouring rain here in my neck of the woods on December 30th. It’s probably a good thing it’s not snow as it would be quite the accumulation! I have no plans on New Year’s Eve. I have to work all day tomorrow and might stop for one at my local watering hole, but that’s about it. Everyone enjoy your plans what ever they may be.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. I whole-heartedly (aortically?) agree with everyone that this was a magnificently constructed puzzle today. I loved it. Thank you, Kelsey Blakley. And thank you, Al, for your informative writeup.

My hand goes up for pencilling in YABBA and then changing to DABBA later on.

Unfortunately, I never did manage to fill in the middle west side, so this was a DNF today. Couldn't get the L in ELHI, and not knowing LIRR didn't help. The same with IRR; I had to leave it as I_R. It's a difficulty for me when abbreviations cross abbreviations, because the perps are of no help.

I loved the mashed up city names idea, and once having filled in ANNAPOLIS and CONCORD I caught on to the system and somewhat easily filled in the rest. I specially liked the FRESNOMEMPHIS one. I had the same thought process as Burrito34 did about AMES ("(Ames, Mesa, Ames, hmm)."). Kept trying to think of a town in Arizona ending with ANN.

And like Hahtool, at first I wanted BABY instead of SCOT and CAMELHAIR instead of HORSEHAIR.

Interesting how sometimes we all get ripped up at the same places in the puzzle. Also interesting how just as often we each have difficulties in different areas. I truly enjoy reading about your thought processes.

By the way, whatever happened to that person who said they had psychoanalyzed all of us? I'm kinda curious what that person would have to say about each of us.

LW and I will be staying home on New Year's Eve, as we usually do. We don't like to be out on the roads at that time. We have some extra special champagne chilling in the fridge. New Year's Day will be a day to relax even more than we usually do, and engage in phone calls with various family members.

Dennis, I hope you finally make it to Key West and that the weather is gorgeous while you're there. It was 25 degrees (Fahrenheit) here this morning according to the thermometer in our side yard. It's about 35 now as I write this. Brr! At least it's sunny today, though.

Melissa Bee, you've been quiet. Are you all right?

More later maybe. Best wishes to you all.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Anonymous @12:36pm,
Please go away if you can't stomach what Al says. I welcome his provocative & thought-provoking opinion.

Jayce said...

I forgot to mention that it was a pleasure seeing ALEC Templeton appear today. I have fond memories of listening many times to his performance of Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue on 78-rpm records when I was a kid. Man oh man, that guy could sure play!

Interesting that he, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Marcus Roberts (and probably many others) were all blind, and talented, pianists. Never seen a blind violinist.

I cannot resist saying that I don't believe plastic and glass garbage (you prefer to call it trash?) can possibly be fish food by any stretch of the imagination.

I'll shut up now :)

Gunghy said...

One pass through and I had 8 fills. Fortunately, 3 of them were 41D, 47D and 56D (although, I had STOP): I live in Fresno, so it kinda jumped out. The rest of the fill flowed in and I was off and running.

YABAH and AMORE sure slowed down the North-Central, but my only error at the end was Ralph Waldo Omerson. Narz and Alec were both 100% perps.

I have seen Elhi used once, but that was after I first saw it in a Xword. But check out the mentioned in and references section in this Dictionary. I think I also saw elin (Elementary - Intermediate) once, but thankfully, googling Elin produces entirely different results.

Guilty pleasure: I love yodeling.

For New Years, I intend to reprise my role in the China Peak Torch Run. I'm the fifth one in the first picture. It's followed by fireworks and a dance in the lodge, but I doubt I'll make it to midnight.

Gunghy said...

There is no garbage in the ocean, only fish food.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Excellent job, Al. Love the Alec Templeton clip.

Also great inventiveness and technical virtuosity by Kelsey Blakeley in today's puzzle.

Alas, too much gratuitous obscurity for it to be a great deal of fun, IMHO. OTOH, it's like a cushy pillow: lots of great long down fill -- across too, actually. So - my feelings are very mixed.

Tom has been delayed and delayed again in some mystery location outside of Afghanistan, but still far from home. If all goes well, he should be heading this way early tomorrow, his time, middle of the nightish our time. First Stateside destination is Balt, than on the FLA with current ETA the afternoon of New Years Day. A long treck from Christmas eve.


P.S. I don't usually throw fish heads at the trolls, but @ ANON @12:36 --

First off - and this should be pretty obvious - you don't get to make the rules here. Second, you are doing the exact thing you are accusing Al - who happens to base his pronouncements on facts and thought -of doing. You have an opinion, which is fine, but, alas, nothing to back it up, so it's drivel.

It you don't like what you see here, then there's the door, and watch your ass. You can either get your own damned blog and spout whatever nonsense you like, or better yet, STFU!

john28man said...

We are going to get a major snowstorm on the Front Range (of the Rockies) today & tomorrow. I hope the East Coast is not going to get a Noreaster about the time this our storm gets to the Northeast. This happens in February, 1978 when we lived in relatively rural Fairfield County, CT. As I recall we snowed in for about three days. This would be real bed after last weekend.

Anonymous said...

Dear CC,

I hope you're not getting rude CC. You're welcome to your opinion as I am welcome to mine or Al is to his. My post was only a reminder to stay focused on puzzling and not doomsday prophesying. This is not an environmentalist blog site. My comment must have been provocative as well - it worked on you! Besides, I thought this site invited responders not turning them away.



Anonymous said...

Dear JzB and other readers,

Please be aware that you are the one getting rude and insulting, JzB, not me. I don't understand why you cannot be cordial. There were no "facts" presented in the original "fishy" opinion, either. Again I appeal to you JzB; please be respectful and courteous. I may respond, but I will not be pulled into an unfriendly conversation. Keep it nice!


P.N. (aka anon)

p.s. Maybe I don't make the rules, but does that mean that you do?

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, I actually caught on to the theme with the Tacoma-Macon-Concord fill and that helped a lot with filling in the other long answers. Once those were in I had a little easier time finishing up.

I enjoyed seeing Paintbrush Material/Horse Hair and Horsing Around/Play in the top half of the puzzle.

This was a very cleverly constructed puzzle. Thank you Mr Blakley, and you, too, Al for a great write up.

Some unknowns sent me to Google assistance. I didn't know Narz, Blue Moon of Baseball (I put in Vida), and I wasn't sure of "The Concord Sage" Monogram. I put in Yabba instead of Dabba and so that area was the last to fall. Warm Colors didn't come immediately to mind--Primary, yes, but that wouldn't fit! Ala Hahatool, I had Baby for Bairn, and Camel Hair for Horse Hair. The eraser was used a lot today.

The Mennonite's had a large number of missionaries in Colombia when we were there. They were teachers (in our school), Public Health Nurses, (in the jungle area), and Clerics. They were doing a lot of good in a country that had a great need in the 60's.

Jayce said...

Hi again, all. Looking at your links to switchback roads, Al, brings back more fond memories of my insouciant youth, this time of driving up Mount Rushmore on what we called pigtails. Going around one of those was almost like time travel; we used to exclaim in amazement, "We're back to before where we started!"

LW and I visited there a few years ago, and the fact that it's now a 4-lane highway and that there is a huge visitor's center where there used to be nothing but a wooden deck, does not in the least detract from its awesome magnificence.

Jerome said...

My Lai was not our finest hour. However, there was one incredible act of bravery that day. Helicopter pilot, and Warrant Officer, Hugh Thompson saw what was happening, landed his chopper and ordered his men to fire on any soldier continuing the slaughter. Him and his crew put an end to the massacre immediately. Thompson was later given the Distinguished Flying Cross medal. His men, the Bronze Star for their heroism.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys: remember to not feed the trolls. It leads to more ramblings.

windhover said...

We know you're right, but just consider this a little blog etiquette lesson (not that you need it).

If you have been lurking long (or if you're a regular who doesn't have the nerve to use your name), you should know that it is bad form for any visitor to say "what this blog should be". We are all guests; CC is the hostess. When she asks you to refrain from some behavior (as she has done with me), the only acceptable response, and mine on several occasions, is "Yes, Ma'am". If you can not do that, then you should do as she suggested earlier and go away.

Also, it doesn't help your argument (if you had the right to make one, which you nor the rest of us do) that you are flat wrong and Al was right.
Happy New Year!

carol said...

JD, thanks so much for the clip on the little yodeler!! She was just great, and what a voice!! I love listening to yodeling...just wish I could do it. I wonder how one learns how.

Jeannie: your comments on smelting brought back fond memories to me too.
When I was about 5/6 years old, Dad would take me with him to a river about 20 miles from here where the smelt ran very heavily every year in early spring. He (and many other men in the neighborhood) took their kids, nets and gunny sacks and we stood on the river bank while they dipped the nets in and in no time pull them out full of smelt....into the gunny sacks they went. When we got home my poor Mom was at the sink for hours cleaning them, but boy were they delicious all floured and fried..YUM.
Unfortunately they no longer run in that river and haven't for decades.

Dennis, what was the cause of the 'traffic jam' that prevented you from going to the keys yesterday? I know there is only one highway but are there that many people there this time of year? I sort of wish I was too, as it is very cold her (not Great Lakes cold, but for us 32 at 1:50 pm is cold. Thankfully no wind is howling or snow falling. No bike rides for us today...could cause frozen body parts ;)

Marsh said...

A call for civility is a "rambling"? Everyone mind your netiquette. I can't believe the hostility I'm reading.

Political anarchist said...

Ultimate Bumper sticker to oppose 'everything' -

Carbon nuke the feminist gay whales

Jerome said...

Thats just silly.

Jerome said...

Not funny, nor clever.

Jazzbumpa said...

Jerome -

I did not know that fact about Hugh Thompson. Wow, and more wow!

P.N. aka anon -

I might have overstepped, but there is at least a chance that I might have some standing on this blog to make a pronouncement. You, on the other hand, most definitely do not.

Here is some grandfatherly advice. This blog is remarkably open and welcoming to newcomers - so you are wrong there, as well - whether they be lurkers (of which there are literally thousands,) passers-by, or those who decide to join in as regulars. We are all delighted when that happens. This is a fun and tolerant community, in large part because nobody here behaves the way you did today - like a troll.

In addressing you, I was blunt, not rude - grow an epidermis - and I most certainly was not insulting. I spoke the truth, and if you don't like it, well - that's your problem.

You were outrageously presumptuous to dictate to a member of the blogging staff what the content of C.C.'s blog ought to be; and, as Windhover and others pointed out, you simply don't have the facts on your side. And attempting to play offense in order to cover your lack of a defense does you no good. When you're in a hole, please stop digging.

I've lived long enough to know that cordiality is wasted on the undeserving. OTOH, I'm not much of a grudge holder, so I will give it - and you - a chance to prove me wrong. Turn blue, join the fun, and I'm quite sure by-gones will be by-gones.

As I say on my blog, play nice and we'll all have fun.

JzB who just remembered mentioning a different tri-cities area yesterday

Jazzbumpa said...

Marsh -

One of the characteristics of a close-knit community is that we stick up for each other - most especially when we're right!

PN's ill-advised comment was rude, presumptuous, and butt-ignorant.

What you are seeing is not hostility, but a reaction to inappropriate behavior.

Think of it as tough love, it that helps.

Reread the relevant posts, and I'm sure you'll see what I mean.


Bill G. said...

Barbara and I just got back from seeing "The King's Speech." It's probably been a year since we've gone to a movie theater and it may be a while again. Cable TV and a DVR has helped to shorten my attention span. Parking was a bit of a hassle. The theater has gone to reserved seating and two senior tickets were $23.

The movie was very good, especially if you are a Colin Firth fan as Barbara is (me too). The acting was excellent and it was an emotional and engrossing story about King George VI trying to overcome his stammering as he got the throne from his brother who abdicated. He had to speak to the world over radio as England entered WWII against Germany. I liked the period feel to the whole thing.

ARBAON said...

Every time I`m away...some anonymous
coward starts something! Let`s start the New Year off by playing nice!

Have had no puzzle or printer for days...

We also do the blackeyed pea thing and we add "hog jowl", similar to good bacon. I do a fruit salad, Mexican corn bread, potatoes au gratin and dessert. YUM!

creature said...

Some days this is an environmental as well as a crossword blog. It is many different blogs as well as a crossword blog. Our group takes us where we need to go. We accomodate each other as the need and subject arises. The blog has rules for no politics and no religion. Our common denominators are crosswords,humanity,mutual respect..the list goes on. I wish someone would pick up where I left off or what they want to add.This is my only addition..Arrogance and
impudence have no place here. If you have a personality problem, take it elsewhere..individualism is not in that category.If your mother failed to raise you with manners please go find some elsewhere. Honestly, you have heard this before,many don't act surprised.

Jerome said...

Jazz- Thompson threw his Flying Cross medal away because the Brass lied in the citation, calling My Lai a battle. However, he stayed in the military as a combat pilot, eventually breaking his back after being shot down. He died in 2006 at the age of only 63.

VirginiaSycamore said...

Good Evening,

To everyone who is still checking today's puzzle. Thanks Al, for the great writeup and music links.

I was busy today running errands as we have a balmy (for Dec. 30) 41F in northern Ohio.

I was able to get it all, SLOWLY with the perps. But I didn't know if it was ALEC or OLEC Templeton and I thought it was AMES TUCSON ANNAPOLIS for the long clue, I didn't get that the words matched exactly.

For the sage of Concord, I had to wait to see if it was Emerson or Thoreau, HDT. The perps helped.

Finally, on the subject of garbage; when GIGO, the program acronymn Garbage In Garbage Out, was explained to me, the programmer explained the difference between rubbish, garbage, and I think trash. Anyway, garbage could be fed to the hogs, as it included food scraps and peelings. So garbage would help fish, but, obviously, rubbish and trash wouldn't.

It seems ironic that the hot water from power plants is helping some Manatee stay alive in the cold spell. I think finding ways to be symbiotic is the key.

Daffy Dill, I like the idea of making black eyed peas for New Years. I think I have heard it called "Hopping John", maybe with pork in it. It makes for a good start in the New Year.

Have a good New Years Eve, all.

Jeannie said...

Well, it's still raining here and the snow has gone down about 8" or so" (watch it Carol). It's kind of making me nervous as I am pretty sure the temps will drop and snow will ensue. I really have to make it to work tomorrow for "year end" stuff. I am rallying at work to have the "mainframe" installed on my home computer so when the occasion arises that I have to be there, I can essentially do the work at home.

Husker Gary, as always you amuse me, but something tells me you can't wait to bust out that new blower you have waiting in the wings.

Gunghy, your link of the Torch Run and pointing your self out as the fifth runner made me LMAO.

ARBAON and Daffydill, the "black eyed peas" ritual is new to me. I know my southern Mama knows how to make them, but my northern Dad would have no part of them. Is this a common thang in the south? I must admit I have never tasted them. I have on the other hand tasted collard greens and LOVE THEM.

One last note...Anon, in case you haven't noticed (and I think you have) this is just not a crossword blog that dissects a crossword puzzle. For me it's also a learning experience. There have been many folks that have actually met, vacationed together and keep in contact outside of the blog. We share our triumphs, our problems, our recipes, our births, and also our deaths. We are a close knit community that are always welcoming in newcomers and are most gracious doing so. We also can be a protective bunch when one is attacked. I have been chastised here by C.C. as well as Dennis and Windhover and others too. Do you now realize what keeps me returning?

VirginiaSycamore said...


Thanks for your wrap up on the ettiquette.

Have you heard of Progarms like "Go To My PC"? It makes a link with your home screen and keyboard so that you run work the computer from home. I got my first PC in the '80s so I could do main frame homework from home for college. That way I was home for my kids as I worked all night finishing assignments.

Jeannie said...

Virginia, until they load the "Reinhart Alpha" system on my computer at home, I cannot access our main computer system to place an order, change a delivery date, confirm an order for pricing or change order quantities. I can check my e-mail from here, but that's about it. I need specific product information that is classified to my company to do my job. Thanks for trying to give me info though. Also, thanks for the kudos. I would like to hear more from you on this blog!

ARBAON said...

My very southern Mom never did the pea thing...nor does my son`s fiance`s family...from the midwest...but my former mother-in-law...also from the midwest, introduced me to the dried peas AND the jowl...which she could only get this time of the year. So I guess it`s not just by national region but also by regions within states. "Hoppin` John" is made from the cooked peas but with added ingredients.
I will put the peas in to soak tomorrow evening. They will almost double in size over night and be ready to cook the next morning.
The meal is tasty, but not something I want more than once a year. There`s also a saying that goes with the peas" "A thousand good things and all in one bowl"

BTW: You can have my collards. If I eat greens at all, I prefer turnip greens. My former mother in law could also cook a wild green called "poke salat" and make it palatable...but I could eat it only once in a great while. Her "pea helper" was equal parts of chopped, fresh bell pepper, white onion and fresh tomato dressed with watered-down white vinegar with salt, pepper and a little sugar and just a hint of garlic powder added. That I could eat with a spoon!

Clear Ayes said...

Good Evening All, I'm very late to the party this evening and it has taken me a long time to finish up the puzzle and to read all the comments so far.

The puzzle was really Thursday pitch-perfect. Nope, I didn't know ALEC, NARZ, LIRR, or EDD. Fortunately they all filled in with picket fence perping. EL-HI was a gimme. It is about time I got that one.

Tough theme answers, but they fitted in well with the Thursday level.

I loved HORSE HAIR, although I had HORSE TAIL to begin with. How about the combo of WARM COLORS and COLD SPELL? Loved those too.

Gunghy@1:36, a picture...or worth a whole lot of words.
Creature@7:09 and Jeannie@7:56, some great comments.

Our trip to Tracy went fine today. Dollie the pitbull mix took the trip very well and both my sister and brother-in-law are right on track with falling in love with her. Dollie was a perfect lady and introduced herself on her best manners. GAH and I think it will be a good match.

I got to play a little Wii bowling with our grand daughter and her cousins who are visiting from Washington this week. It takes some getting used to, but it was fun.

Our New Year's Eve will be dinner and some wine with some friends. They are not wrapped up in the "make it to midnight, no matter what" tradition, so if we are ready to say "See you next year" and go home at 11:00, it will be fine.

JD said...

VirginiaS., well said on rubbish, garbage and trash. Also ...
"It seems ironic that the hot water from power plants is helping some Manatee stay alive in the cold spell. I think finding ways to be symbiotic is the key."

Dennis, this is your are a hottie;go hug a manatee.Here's the sad news today.

Carol, maybe some of that traffic was due to this.

Jeannie said...

I just got an invite to some friends home tomorrow night with the extended invitation of a bed. They are a fun couple and usually we end up playing either beer pong or some other games. The bed sold me as I will not drink so much as a beer and drive on New Year's. So now I am whipping up an appetizer to bring to the party. I looked in the pantry and fridge it's looking like BLT dip.

LizLee said...

I'm one of those "literally thousands" of lurkers mentioned by Jazzbumpa. Once in a while I just have to put in a two cents worth!

Very interesting info about smelting. I've only had them from the grocery store, frozen in a bag like some sort of strange vegetable, but oh so good. They must be a lot better when they're fresh.

Moved from the Rocky Mountains to coastal North Carolina close to fifteen years ago - talk about culture shock! Black eyed peas are definitely tradtional here for New Year's. Apparently this is true for the southeastern US in general. (I just Googled it.) Also most "natives" here use the dried ones, NOT the canned variety. I think it's a matter of pride as well as flavor.

I've got a bag of the dried ones which I'll turn into Hoppin' John. Now if I was just brave enough to try collards, yuuuummmy!

BTW I was also tickled and amazed at today's genius puzzle. WOW! I did it in the newspaper and for some reason it went semi-smoothly. I even sort of figured out the theme which is almost unheard of for me.

Jeannie said...

Lizlee, welcome to our humble abode. recipe is as close as they can come to the recipe my Mom used to make. Go blue and tell us a little bit about yourself.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers - REALLY late to the party today, so of course all the good comments have been taken!

John28Man 1:42 - Ah, the Blizzard of '78! That was a memorable one. I was at home in W. Mass, where the snowfall was more modest, only about 3 feet. A classmate was out at Framingham State College, which was shut down for about a week. The shelves at their local package store were picked clean on the first day...

Greater Boston was immobilized. The hospitals were running out of blood, so the authorities scooped out a portion of Route 128 to form a makeshift runway. Once the snow stopped, our local Civil Air Patrol outfit selected the lightest-weight pilot they had - a 95 pound girl named Jeannie - to fly a maximum load of blood out to Rt. 128 in a small aircraft. A massive truck got the critical stuff the rest of the way, no doubt saving lives.

Marge said...

CC and Al,
I just posted a blog on yesterdays blog instead of today. I thought I had todays puzzle.

Chickie said...

My Arkansas relatives never celebrated New Years without Black Eyed Peas and Greens. If you don't like collard greens, chard, turnip or spinach will do in a pinch. We like Spinich with Bacon fried in the pan first,then the greens steamed for just a minute or two with a lid on the pan.

Smelt aren't just river fish. We fished for Delta Smelt. They are considered a pelagic species that live in the low salinity estuaries that feed into SF bay. My parents would throw a net into the surf near Half Moon Bay, and bring home a gunny sack full of fish. There isn't anything better, breaded in cornmeal and fried quickly.

Jeannie said...

Marge, I have made that error in the past, as I always read the late night posts before I post here, just in case I want to make a comment regarding them. Sometimes those late night posts get really interesting. Sometimes I am part of them and sometimes not. Don't fret. I love that word "fret" and am surprised we don't see more of "fret" in a crossword puzzle.

Enjoy the rest of your night folks, I am off to "Beddynummy" as Thelma (my Mom) used to call it.

"Jeannie why don't you drift off to beddy-nummy"? Usually followed by this tune

Jeannie said...

Chickie dearest, who is in your new avatar?

(Nailed it my favorite counselor!)

Bill G. said...

Collard greens, spinach; I like 'em all. But my favorite are beet tops (greens). Cook them like spinach or collards. Sometimes, you can even get them for free because many folks throw them out when buying beets.

Ooh, and some corn bread or spoon bread. I'm getting hungry!

Marge said...

(Misplaced post)

This puzzle was too hard for me but I did get a few answers. Mennonite was one, and my ancestors, from my Grandparents back to the 1700's, were mennonites. When you said "I read where they baptize adults, not babies" so I lost interest, it was like a knife went through my heart. I think if you do some more research you will see why and see that it was that way in the Bible. The New Testament never records any infant being baptized. I believe both infants and adults can be baptized.

PS I know we aren't supposed to write about religion but this is a different situation. I hope you research the subject some more and you will find Mennonites are kind, loving, educated people who do a lot of good in the world.

dodo said...

Hello, all,

Bill G. I'm with you on beet greens! They are the BEST! After that, maybe, chard, and then spinach. All my favorite veggies,but alas, they seem to all be a threat to the effectiveness of Warfarin, which I'm in the process of adding to my list of pharmacueticals. Such is the life of octogenarians! If it keeps me alive another ten years, IGuess it's worthwhile.Argueably!

As for the somewhat testy discussions, even though I deplore the lack of civility of some of the trolls, it does bring out some eloquent arguments and displays of solidarity within our little community, which is to me very endearing! I don't think any of us is what one of the trolls referred to as 'hostile'; simply stating facts. If the critics won't even identify themselves, they deserve to be shunned. I say "hooray!" Jazz, Windhover, C.C. Jeanie, Creature, and anyone else who came to the fray. And PN, just go find another outlet for your pettiness!

I LOVE this Blog!

Gunghy said...

Poke salad!!!

Gunghy said...


Blog Lover said...


I was also surprised by the flippant tone of that comment.

Maybe is wasn't meant to be so.

Al said...

@Marge, I didn't mean that the way it may have sounded... What I meant was that adult baptism was the only thing I did find interesting, because that made it a personal choice instead of something just performed en masse before any concious decisions could even be made. Nothing else about how they worship seemed all that different to me apart from any other sect. Perhaps that they were more against violence and war, but shouldn't the point of any religion be peace on earth and goodwill to all people? I know, that's just crazy talk...

Chickie said...

Jeannie, if you are still up this late, I haven't had a new Avatar for quite a while, but that is my daughter and Polly, the lab. Polly belongs to another daughter who breeds labs.

Both were here again this year for Christmas.

WM said...

Totally past the witching hour but a couple of comments on an otherwise stunning and very clever puzzle. Loved it! The FRESnomePHIS connection turned on the light bulb. Terrific fun.

A couple of issues with the clues though...first of all, horsehair is rarely used on its own for a paint brush but usually as a filler with other materials. It lacks the ability to hold paint well. The tail hair is more commonly put to use in the making of bows for stringed instruments.

The second clue that threw me was the Warm Colors clue because all colors have both cool and warm ranges so adding in the green didn't help me at all... a few letters in the grid forced me to put in the correct answer. Green can most certainly be warm and both reds and yellows have cool colors in their spectrum.

Other than that...just stopping in to wish everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Dear Crossword Bloggers all,

(from PN anon)

I don't know if any of you will read this or not, as it is 5:00pm on the west coast on 12/31. I did read all the other blogs and thankfully there were some who were not rude in their comments to and about me. I have some words for all of you.
1. I had no intention of offending anyone and I was not trying to be rude.
2. I have never blogged before and yesterday was the first time I even read this site's blog comments, so I was not a "lurker".
3. I was totally shocked to receive such rude comments, and yes JzB you were rude, curse words are rude and there is nothing in the definition of rude that includes insults suac as "troll" that I am aware of.
4. Part of the problem was probably my choice of words as I did not clarify my definition of "garbage". I believe it was Jeannie who got it right in that I was thinking of food waste and not plastics, etc. Food waste is of course fish food. I am well aware of the growing problem of plastics and other trash accumulating in our oceans and I think it is a terrible problem that should be corrected. But instead of clarifying my position, JzB and others seemed to assume the worst and rudely called me a troll.
5. Imagine my dismay when the very first time I try to blog, I receive such harsh treatment. Again, I apologize if I offended anyone.
6. I had no idea that this blog and perhaps most others contain such a close knit group. I was assuming that the bloggers were all random like me.
7. I still say that personally I don't think that any of you should call any blogger a "troll" or other such treatment. I know that is my opinion and I'm not trying to "dictate" to anyone about anything. Swearing and resorting to insults is something I never do no matter how violently someone is opposed to me.
8. In the future, any resonses I have I will try to word them more carefully.
9. I am a big crossword fan and very good at solving like most of you. I hope I can be welcome at this site.
10. Also please know that if I read any of you calling some other newcomer a "troll", I will try to kindly remind you to refrain.


PN (anon)