Mar 31, 2010

Wednesday March 31, 2010 Jennifer Nutt

Theme: FOOT PARTS (35A. This puzzle's theme if you listen to the beginnings of 20-, 40- and 59-Across and 11-Down) - The start of each theme answer is a homophone of foot part.

20A. Proverbial advice to a physician: HEAL THYSELF. (Heel). The epithet of St Luke, a patron saint of doctors, as used by Paul in Colossians 4:14. Early 15th century King James version, the meaning is that before attempting to correct others you should make sure that you are not guilty of the same faults. "First do no harm" is part of the Hippocratic oath all doctors must take. If you read the warnings about any drug, "no" must have a rather loose definition.

40A. Scold vigorously: BAWL OUT. (Ball).

59A. Certain no-parking area: TOW-AWAY ZONE. (Toe).

11A. Motown genre: SOUL MUSIC. (Sole). Also a book by Terry Pratchett.

Al here, guesting once more. Yesterday's many three-letter answers have been upgraded to fours and fives, but still a pretty easy puzzle for a Wednesday.


1. Basic Latin lesson word: AMAT. He/She/It loves.

5. Bedtime story preceder, perhaps: BATH.

9. '70s dance club: DISCO.

14. Dancer Falana: LOLA. Appeared on the Muppet Show and posed for Playboy. Not at the same time.

15. Canyon effect: ECHO. A nymph in Greek tragedy who was condemned to speak only by repeating what others had spoken. She also fell in love with Narcissus, who did not return her love, so Echo prayed that he would fall in love with himself. On his death he was transformed into the flower narcissus and as some varieties of this flower contain a sleep-inducing drug, the word "narcotic" was used to describe it. So, from the interwoven Greek myth, we have gained the word "echo", "narcissism" meaning self love, "narcissus" the flower and "narcotic" the effects of certain drugs.

16. Not whispered: ALOUD.

17. Response bias may affect one: POLL. Very difficult to compose neutral questions, especially around politics. Do they really care about your responses? Or is the whole point to simply influence the person being polled without seeming to...

18. Weak, as a novel plot: THIN.

19. Piccolo, e.g.: FLUTE. A half-sized one.

23. "__ Miz": LES. Les Misérables, the miserable ones.

24. Stick: ADHERE.

25. Reasoned belief in a supreme being: DEISM. Derived from the latin word "Deus", meaning god, which also gave us Zeus.

27. Scaredy-cat: SISSY.

30. Appoint as a posse member, say: DEPUTE. This word is technically correct, but my preference outside of crosswords would be to use "deputize" instead. Too many old westerns, perhaps.

33. Huck's transport: RAFT. Huckleberry Finn.

36. Consider: DEEM. To pronounce judgment on something or someone.

38. Obama's younger daughter: SASHA. Natasha. Her older sister is Nalia, lots of vowels and common consonants. (Correction: It's Malia, not Nalia.)

39. "The Name of the Rose" writer: ECO. Umberto.

42. Damaged, as mdse.: IRR. Irregular is not necessarily damaged. Navajo blankets anyone?

43. BP merger partner: AMOCO. Beyond Petroleum. They kind of downplayed the original British Petroleum name when they bought the AMerican Oil CO.

45. Stretch of time: SPAN. Interminable if you are forced to watch C-SPAN.

46. Bra size: B-CUP. Made you look...

47. Falling star: METEOR. Meteor vs meteorite vs meteoroid

49. Lesley of "60 Minutes": STAHL.

51. Model's array: POSES. What were they thinking?

53. "Get lost!": BEAT IT. Don't 'cha make me repeat it.

57. Defense gp.?: ABA. American Bar Association. Why "Bar"? In the 1550s, from the railing that separated benchers from the hall in the Inns of Court. Students who had attained a certain standing were "called" to it to take part in the important exercises of the house. After c.1600, however, this was popularly assumed to mean the bar in a courtroom, which was the wooden railing marking off the area around the judge's seat, where prisoners stood for arraignment and where a barrister stood to plead.

62. Brink: VERGE. Edge, rim. Different origin than Converge, which is "bent together".

64. Hit the ground: ALIT.

65. 1814-'15 exile site: ELBA. Napoleon technically ruled there during exile, but wasn't allowed to leave.

66. River romper: OTTER.

67. Titicaca, for one: LAKE. Borders on Peru and Bolivia, one of the highest navigable lakes in the world. The largest lake in South America by volume.

68. Cause a stench: REEK.

69. Natural homes: NESTS.

70. Author Bagnold: ENID. National Velvet.

71. Norms: Abbr.: STDS. Standards.


1. Top dog: ALPHA.

2. Was heard from the herd: MOOED.

3. Muslim god: ALLAH. Apparently has more than 99 names.

4. Like a basketball team's center, usually: TALLEST.

5. National Institutes of Health city: BETHESDA. Maryland.

6. In need of a massage: ACHY. I'll spare you from linking Billy Ray Cyrus today...

7. "Now hear __!": THIS.

8. Sharpened: HONED.

9. Most goofy: DAFFIEST.

10. Laid up: ILL.

12. Adorable: CUTE. A Japanese Bento box. (someone's lunch)

13. Shelley works: ODES. Percy Bysshe Shelley.

21. Prefix with sect or cycle: TRI. Trisect: to divide a line or an angle in three equal parts.

22. Captained: LED.

26. Hot tub: SPA. Balneotherapy

28. Monopolizes, with "up": SEWS.

29. Kennel sounds: YELPS.

31. No __ traffic: THRU.

32. O.K. Corral fighter: EARP. Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan.

33. 500 sheets: REAM. 24 sheets: quire. 10 reams: bale.

34. Zenith: ACME. From the Greek word: Akme. Apex is from Latin.

37. Defensive trench: MOAT. Similar to a ha-ha around a British garden (to keep cattle out originally).

40. Fans: BOOSTERS.

41. With sustained force: UNABATED. Unlike your breath, when you wait for something important.

44. Jobs, vis-à-vis Apple Inc.: CEO. Steve Jobs, (not employment jobs).

46. Oregon NBA team, familiarly: BLAZERS. Portland Trailblazers.

48. Old touring car: REO. Ransom Eli Olds.

50. "Yo!": HEY. Yo, Adrian!

52. Low, moist area: SWALE.

54. Apartment sign: TO LET.

55. Asleep, probably: IN BED.

56. Tropical hardwoods: TEAKS. That would be multiple species of teak, I guess...

57. Stratford's river: AVON.

58. __ noire: BETE. Literally "black beast", an insufferable person.

60. Actor Rickman: ALAN. Professor Snape from Harry Potter, Hans Gruber in Die Hard, and Metatron (the voice of God) in Dogma. He can play any character type, good, bad or in-between.

61. Collaborative Web site: WIKI. "Simple" database software so that anyone can contribute without having database experience. A Hawaiian word for "fast", it has been "bacronymed" to mean "What I Know Is". A Bacronym is a made up phrase after a word is already in use to try to make an acronym of it, such as POSH, which does not actually come from port out starboard home...

63. Figure out: GET.

Answer grid.


Mar 30, 2010

Tuesday March 30, 2010 Robert A. Doll

Theme: Scenes from a Horror Movie? - First words of all the theme phrases are all synonyms of "cleaving". Pretty rough stuff for the breakfast table.

17A. Critters with powerful jaws: SNAPPING TURTLES.

27A. Program interruption: BREAKING NEWS.

46A. Spurning learning: CUTTING CLASS.

60A. Discontinuing relations of any kind: SEVERING ALL TIES.

Argyle here. An interesting theme but not very hard. More Monday than Monday was.


1A. Casey and Kildare: Abbr.: DRs. Ben Casey and Dr. Kildare were medical drama series which ran from 1961 to 1966 on ABC and NBC, respectively. Dr. Kildare goes back much farther with movies and radio shows.

4A. Clairvoyant's claim, for short: ESP. (extrasensory perception)

7A. Courses for coll. credit: APs. Advanced Placement classes to earn credits while still in high school.

10A. Ball support: TEE. (golf)

13A. Actor McKellen: IAN. Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings.

14A. Classic Jag: XKE. Sweet ride

15A. California fruit: RAISINs. Short clip.

20A. Server on skates: CARHOP. I want to see the hands of any former carhops here.

21A. Sniggler's prey: EEL.

22A. Eliel Saarinen's son: EERO. Eliel Saarinen was a Finnish architect. Eero Saarinen was also a Finnish architect and furniture designer.

23A. Normandy battleground: ST. LO. LOL A map from previous CrosswordCorner puzzle.

24A. Chinese government bigwig: PREMIER.

32A. Bedroom set piece: ARMOIRE. With the doors open

35A. Sun. speech: SER.. (Sunday sermon)

36A. Catch a few z's: NAP.

37A. "Green Eggs and Ham" author: SEUSS. Another Dr.

38A. Writer Jong: ERICA. "Fear of Flying" was her 1973 novel.

40A. USNA grad: ENS. (United States Naval Academy) (Ensign)

41A. Sephia automaker: KIA. South Korea's second largest automobile manufacturer, behind Hyundai. Sephia is a small family car(or a car for a small family).

44A. Took, as advice: ACTED ON.

49A. Caribbean isl. belonging to France: ST. BARTS. Map.

50A. "¿Cómo __ usted?": ESTÁ. Spanish for "How are you?".

54A. The Phantom of the Opera: ERIK. One name star? "Erik" was not, in fact, his birth name.

57A. River inlet: RIA.

58A. Game in which love is expressed frequently?: TENNIS.

63A. Apple-polishers: TOADIES.

64A. __ canto: singing style: BEL.

65A. Post- opposite: PRE. Pre - before, Post - after.

66A. Govt. ID: SSN.

67A. Frequently, in verse: OFT.

68A. Words in a simile: AS A.

69A. Old JFK arrival: SST. (airport/airplane)


1D. 45s, e.g.: DISCs.

2D. Charged: RAN AT. Also, could be RAN UP.

3D. Watchdog's warning: SNARL.
4D. __ 67: Montreal World's Fair: EXPO. Short for Exposition.

5D. Ship's captain: SKIPPER. Who else but...?

6D. Proverbial sword beater: PEN. "The pen is mightier than the sword"

7D. Apollo's twin sister: ARTEMIS. The twins. Apollo was a God of Music, Artemis was Goddess of the Hunt.

8D. Movie girl with "perils": PAULINE. "The Perils of Pauline" Was she an equivalent of Indiana Jones?

9D. "To __, With Love": SIR. 1967 British drama film starring Sidney Poitier as a teacher.

10D. Mah-jongg piece: TILE.

11D. Cabinet dept. formed after the 1977 oil crisis: ENER..

12D. "Tiger in your tank" company: ESSO. Old commercial and the old name(except in Canada and overseas.)

16D. Bow's opposite: STERN. (on a boat)

18D. Greek god of fear: PHOBOS. Where we get the word phobia.

19D. Nerd: GEEK.

25D. Actress __ Dawn Chong: RAE. Tommy (Cheech&Chong) Chong's daughter.

26D. "Snowy" wading birds: EGRETS. (a small white heron)

28D. Take a chance: RISK IT.

29D. Arthurian lady: ENID. Geraint, one of King Arthur's men, married the beautiful Enid. They met while he was on a mission to defeat a cruel knight, and her family provided him with armor and food. They later had domestic difficulties.

30D. Texas city on the Brazos: WACO. The Brazos River, called the Rio de los Brazos de Dios by early Spanish explorers (translated as "The River of the Arms of God").

31D. Wing tip-to-wing tip distance: SPAN.

32D. "Just __!": A SEC.

33D. Contact lens solution brand: RENU. I got it this time.

34D. Is required to: MUST.

39D. Take offense at: RESENT.

42D. "To sum up ...": "IN BRIEF ...".

43D. Not with: AGAINST.

44D. Cockpit abbr.: ALT..

45D. Sand structures: CASTLE. Anybody watch Castle last night?

47D. Tut-tutted: TSKED.

48D. Rugged rock: CRAG.

51D. Haircut sounds: SNIPS. Much gentler than our theme.

52D. Stadium levels: TIERS.

53D. Balance sheet item: ASSET.

54D. Approximations: Abbr.: ESTS..

55D. Classic autos: REOs. But don't forget GTOs and LTDs.

56D. 58-Across star Lendl: IVAN. Former No. 1 professional tennis player in the world.

59D. Cinders of old comics: ELLA. The daily version was launched June 1, 1925, and a Sunday page followed two years later. It was discontinued in 1961. Book.

61D. __ de Janeiro: RIO.

62D. Lawyers' gp.: ABA. (American Bar Association)

Answer grid.

Happy 96th Birthday to Irv, the oldest LA Times crossword solver on our blog.


Mar 29, 2010

Monday March 29, 2010 Barry Silk

Theme: "Keep it Under Your __" HAT (73A. The last word of this puzzle's five longest answers is a type of one)

18A. Gyroscopic toy: SPINNING TOP. A child's toy.
Top hat.

24A. Central American fishing mecca: GULF OF PANAMA. On the Pacific end of the canal.
Panama hat. (No, I don't know who he is.)

40A. Pretender in a ten-gallon hat and boots: DRUGSTORE COWBOY. Ersatz cowboy.
Cowboy hat. Regrettable hat/HAT duplication.

52A. Proverbial backbreaker for a camel: THE LAST STRAW. One step over the limit.
Straw hat. This is one of many styles; they just have to be made of 'straw'.

63. Arctic solar phenomenon: MIDNIGHT SUN. When the Earth's axis is tilted towards the sun, it never sets.
Sun hat, extreme.

Astounded Argyle here. A Barry Silk with five long theme entries plus a unifier (Total 64 theme squares) on a Monday, what is Rich Norris smoking? A 'Z' short of a pangram. I better get busy.


1A. Calligrapher's need: INK. Calligrapher- One who is highly skilled in decorative handwriting, as with a great many flourishes.

4A. Hilton alternative: HYATT. (Hotels)

9A. Fragrant wood: CEDAR.

14A. Lair: DEN.

15A. Surrounding glows: AURAE. (or AURAS)

16A. Fuming: IRATE. When I had AURAS instead of AURAE.

17A. Day "Grey's Anatomy" airs: Abbr.: THU.

20A. Archery projectile: ARROW.

22A. Time past: YORE.

23A. Comic Philips: EMO. Is he still around, besides in cw?

28A. At liberty: FREE. Often said of escaped prisoners.

29A. "Flying kangaroo" airline: QANTAS.
An acronym of Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services. 'Q' without a 'U'. Plane.

33A. The Beatles' "__ the Walrus": I AM.

36A. Skin layer: DERMA.

39A. British nobleman: EARL.

44A. Division word: INTO.

45A. __ Bruce, '30s-'40s Dr. Watson portrayer: NIGEL. The good

46A. Scand. nation: SWE.. (Scandinavia) (Sweden)

47A. Be lenient: GO EASY.

50A. Chinese leader?: INTO. (Indochinese)

58A. IV squared: XVI. 4x4=16, in Roman numerals.

61A. The same, on the Seine: EGAL. French: Remember "Liberty, Egality, Brotherhood".

62A. Bush successor: OBAMA.

67A. __ alai: JAI.

68A. Kindle download: E-BOOK. Amazon Kindle is a software and hardware platform for the rendering and displaying of e-books and other digital media.

69A. Gizmo: THING.

70A. Ques. response: ANS.. (Question and Answer)

71A. Homes in trees: NESTS.

72A. Letters after thetas: IOTAS. (Greek Alphabet)


1D. Dog collar attachment: ID TAG.

2D. India's first prime minister: NEHRU.

3D. Small knob: KNURL. A knob, knot, or other small protuberance. Also, a small ridge or bead, esp. one of a series, as on a button for decoration or on the edge of a thumbscrew to assist in obtaining a firm grip.

4D. Argues: HAS WORDS.

5D. "Fer sure!": "YUP!".

6D. The Diamondbacks, on scoreboards: ARI. Arizona Diamondbacks are a baseball team.

7D. Tucker of country music: TANYA.
Delta Dawn.

8D. Part of a carpenter's joint: TENON.

9D. Movie theater: CINEMA.

10D. Fraction of a joule: ERG. Joule is equivalent to 10 to the power of 7 ergs

11D. Dinner and a movie, say: DATE.

12D. Tiny particle: ATOM.

13D. Seized auto, for short: REPO. Repossessed.

19D. Big oil exporter: IRAQ.

21D. Not quite right: OFF.

25D. There are three in every yard: FEET. And
a cross-referred SIT (65D. Get off one's 25-Down).

26D. Eva of Argentina: PERÓN. "Evita" is the musical based on the life of Argentine political leader Eva Perón.

27D. From square one: ANEW.

30D. Folder features: TABS.

31D. Get one's ducks in __: A ROW.

32D. Leonard __: Roy Rogers's birth name: SLYE. Roy was a cowboy and actor before he became a fast food chain.

33D. "Got it, man!": "I DIG!".

34D. Pisa's river: ARNO.

35D. "Turn off the sound" button: MUTE.

37D. X-ray cousin, briefly: MRI. (Magnetic resonance imaging)

38D. Auspices: AEGIS. (patronage, support, sponsorship)

41D. Nanny __: GOAT. WH?

42D. Penny: CENT.

43D. Numbers on 45s: OLD SONGS. Musical numbers on 45RPM records, from an earlier time.

48D. Arab chieftains: SHEIKS.

49D. Safecracker: YEGG. (unknown origin)

51D. Gambling parlor letters: OTB.

53D. "Chicago Hope" actress Christine: LAHTI.
Her picture.

54D. Even if, informally: ALTHO.

55D. Indian prince: RAJAH.

56D. Kenmore competitor: AMANA.

57D. Spot for a belt: WAIST.

58D. Mutant superhero group: X-MEN.

59D. Hard-to-describe feeling: VIBE. Shortened vibration.

60D. Nuptial vows: I DO'S.

64D. "Wayne's World" catchword: "NOT!".

66D. Italian article: UNA.

Answer grid.


Mar 28, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010 Pamela Amick Klawitter

Theme: From the Produce Department - Different fruit is embedded in each theme answer.

23A. Chancellor Angela Merkel leads it: GERMAN GOVERNMENT. Mango. I love tropical fruit, esp pineapple.

32A. Bologna location: DELI MEAT COUNTER. Lime. Thought of the Italian city Bologna first.

54A. 1989 Fred Savage comedy: LITTLE MONSTERS. Lemon. Have never heard of the film.

70A. Houdini et al.: ESCAPE ARTISTS. Pear. Asian pear is the best. Sweet and crisp.

91A. Proving ground NW of Vegas: NEVADA TEST SITE. Date. I love almond stuffed Medjool dates. Heavenly!

105A. 50:1 bet, e.g.: EXTREME LONG SHOT. Melon.

122A. Striped reef dweller: EMPEROR ANGELFISH. No idea. Looks fake.

112A. A different one is hidden in each of this puzzle's seven longest answers: FRUIT

All of the fruit spans across two word, quite consistent. Lime, lemon & orange, Ms. Klawitter must love citrus fruit then.

Also a bit of Italian undercurrent:

58A. Firenze's land: ITALIA. Firenze is Italian for Florence.

68A. Ristorante dessert: TIRAMISU. "Pick-me-up" in Italian.

77A. Con __: spiritedly: BRIO. Most musical terms seem to be rooted in Italian.

95A. Olive Garden specialty: PASTA

50D. Sistine Chapel ceiling figure: ADAM

93D. Slowly, to Liszt: ADAGIO. Ad agio is "at ease" in Italian.

Smooth sailing for me today. Simple & sweet theme. Very few unknowns.


1. Pamplona parlor: SALA. Spanish for "room". Inside a casa (house). Alliteration in the clue.

5. 1912 Nobelist Root: ELIHU

10. New Balance rival: ASICS. Wikipidia says ASICS is an acronym of the Latin phrase "anima sana in corpore sano" which translates to "a healthy soul in a healthy body" or "a sound mind in a sound body".

15. Ancient symbols of Egyptian royalty: ASPS

19. 2005 A.L. MVP, familiarly: A-ROD. I've never liked him.

20. They get carried away: REPOS. Great clue.

22. First name in "Popeye"?: SWEE. Swee'Pea.

26. Clue: LEAD

27. Historical records: ANNALS

28. Oft-named period: ERA. Victorian Period, Obama Era, etc.

29. __-a-brac: BRIC

30. Cathedral feature: APSE

36. Top cards: ACES

38. Radio CD players: DJS

39. "Mad Men" airer: AMC. I guessed ABC first.

40. Tubs with jets: SPAS

46. Internet commerce: E-TAIL. So many nice baseball cards on Ebay.

49. Truman's Missouri birthplace: LAMAR. Can never remember this name.

57. Tussaud, for one: MADAME

59. Luau fare: POI

60. Friend of Rover: FIDO. And ARF (47D. Corgi comment). Dogs.

62. Neural impulse conductor: AXON. Are you a impulsive person?

63. 1983 self-titled debut album: MADONNA. The answer emerged itself.

65. Pigged out (on): OD'ED. Overdosed.

73. Do covers: HAIR NETS. Hairdo.

78. Furniture movers: CASTERS. Man, I never know the wheels under my chair are called casters.

83. Salinger character who said "I prefer stories about squalor": ESME. "For Esme with Love and Squalor".

84. Ply a scythe: REAP

86. School name follower in many addresses: EDU

88. Eye maliciously: LEER AT

89. Car shoppers' options: LEASES

96. Had an effect on: FAZED. Big effect then. Now, what does this Marisa Miller have an effect on you, guys?

97. Bigfoot cousin: YETI. The Abominable Snowman.

98. Come across as: SEEM

99. Genealogically based men's gp.: SAR (Sons of the American Revolution). Got me.

101. "Norma __": RAE

103. Rave partner: RANT. Rant and Rave.

117. Ditzy waitress on "Alice": VERA. No idea. Which one is Vera?

118. Trompe l'__: OEIL. "Eye' in French.

119. Winter coat: ICE

120. Sault-Marie filler: SAINTE. Sault Sainte Marie.

121. Dhow sailor: ARAB. Dhow is sailboat used by the Arabs. New to me.

126. Diana's escort: DODI (Fayed). I remember the tragic car crash. I like ARAB sits atop DODI in the grid. Dodi is an Egyptian Arab.

127. Lingerie shade: BEIGE

128. "__ a Grecian Urn": ODE ON. Keats poem.

129. Heavy reading?: TOME. Can't fool me.

130. Crossed (out): EX'ED. We often see X'ED.

131. "Consequently ...": AND SO

132. Jane of "Father Knows Best": WYATT. Have never heard of this lady.

133. NY Giants lineman Chris: SNEE. Also a mystery figure to me.


1. Epics: SAGAS

2. Ain't like it oughta be?: AREN'T. Lovely clue.

3. Doone of Devon: LORNA. "Lorna Doone". Alliteration.

4. Hyper?: AD MAN. Oh, I get it: hyper = one who hypes up.

5. Coastal raptors: ERNS

6. Something to shake or break, so to speak: LEG. Shake/break a leg. Nice rhyme.

7. NYSE launch: IPO (Initial Public Offering)

8. Ramshackle home: HOVEL

9. PIN relative: USER ID

10. Philip of "Kung Fu": AHN. Of Korean descent. Chinese for Ahn is Ang, as in Ang Lee.

11. Carnival dance: SAMBA

12. Like helium: INERT

13. Like dunce caps: CONICAL

14. "The Big Bang Theory," e.g.: SITCOM

15. Lewis lion: ASLAN. C.S. Lewis's lion in "Chronicles of Narnia".

16. Used a broom: SWEPT

17. Veggies in a porridge: PEASE. Pease porridge hot... Our split pea soup.

18. Passover feast: SEDER

24. "Flash of Genius" actor: ALDA

25. Certain aircraft engine: RAMJET. No idea. Know nothing about airplane.

32. Regard: DEEM

33. Prohibit, legally: ESTOP

34. Right on a mapa: ESTE. Spanish for "east".

35. Golden State sch.: UCLA

37. Spot removers: CLEANSERS

40. Unlikely: SLIM. Unlikely/slim chance.

41. Gyro bread: PITA. I am hungry.

42. The slightest bit: A TAD

43. Manche department capital: ST. LO. The D-Day Normandy town.

45. Poke around: SNOOP

48. Last Supper query: IS IT I. And IT'S ME (115. Shout upon arrival).

51. Modest skirt: MAXI

52. Cookie guy Wally: AMOS. The real "Famous Amos".

53. Eye care brand: RENU. Bausch & Lomb contact lens brand.

55. Sheets and such: LINEN

56. Hit back?: SIDE B. Nailed it. Side A is the hit side.

57. Sermon subject: MORTAL SIN. Rich Norris is really in the alliteration mood.

61. Record: DISC

64. French play part: ACTE

66. Kernel holder: EAR

67. Did a dishwashing chore: DRIED. Dishwasher does the job for us.

69. Plus: ASSET

71. Yoga position: ASANA (AH-suh-nuh). Sanskrit for "sitting down". New word to me also.

72. USA __: TODAY

73. Troubleshooting menu: HELP

74. Cruising, maybe: ASEA

75. "__ shocked as you are!": I'M AS

76. Musical symbol: REST

79. Alec D'Urberville's slayer: TESS. "Tess of the D'Urbervilles". She killed the jerk Alec.

80. Northern terminus of I-79: ERIE. New clue for a tired entry.

81. Matter of interest?: RATE. Interest rate. Another awesome clue.

82. Apple projection: STEM. Hey, one more fruit, though in the clue.

85. Candy originally from Austria: PEZ. I have a few Twins Pez. Most of the Pez are still marked "Made in Austria".

87. Unborn, after "in": UTERO

90. Effortlessness: EASE

92. Offscreen friend in "Ernest" films: VERN. I peeked at the answer sheet. Names often kill me. Why is Vern "offscreen"?

94. Coup d'__: ETAT

96. Citizens: FREEMEN

100. Lab slide critter: AMOEBA

102. Third-party account: ESCROW. Holding account

104. Nonstick cookware brand: T-FAL. What does T-FAL stand for?

105. Dodge: EVADE

106. Copy: XEROX

107. Diamond deal: TRADE. Bloody!

108. Beyond gung-ho: RABID

109. Oily compound: LIPID. Fatty!

110. Designer Cassini et al.: OLEGS. Cassini is the only Oleg I know of.

111. Intoxicating, as wine: HEADY

113. Breaks in relations: RIFTS

114. Strike caller: UNION. Thought of UMPIRE first.

116. Little laugh: TE-HEE

123. Vintage auto: REO

124. Museum funder: Abbr.: NEA (National Endowment for the Arts)

125. Figured out: GOT

Answer grid.

Picture of the Day: Here is a great photo of Jeannie's Mom & Dad on their wedding day heading off to their honeymoon in 1960. They just celebrated their 50-year anniversary on March 19, 2010.


Mar 27, 2010

Saturday March 27, 2010 Brad Wilber

Theme: None

Total words: 70

Total blocks: 29

No extra-long stacks this week. More words and fewer blocks than last Saturday. Pretty open-looking grid. These are not details I usually pay much attention to.

Hi gang, it's JazzBumpa taking a big step out of the comfort zone. C.C. wished a Brad Wilbur puzzle on me, and her wish came true. Regular readers will know themeless Saturday Puzzles are not my favorite. This one seems perhaps a bit easier than usual, though I went for technical assistance early and often, in the interest of getting to bed before dawn.

Pretty good puzzle. By my reckoning, only a Q away from a pangram. Three Js.


1. Google oneself: EGOSURF. First thing tomorrow, I'm googling myself!

8. Produce greenery: FOLIATE. Burst out in leaves.

15. Exceeded, as a time limit: RAN OVER. If I exceed my time limit tonight, tomorrow I'll feel like something RAN OVER me.

16. Scale used in summer weather forecasts: UV INDEX. A warning of sun exposure danger, a bit like a terrror alert.

17. Way back when: AGES AGO. "When I was a young man, never been kissed . . ."

18. Researcher's garb: LAB COAT. Traditional protective garment for all sorts of experimentation. What you wear with it is optional.

19. Mlle. counterpart: SRTA: Abbrv. for Señora. Now how can you possibly know this is looking for a Spanish answer? (Update: from Anon@7:46 AM Señorita, not Señora.)

20. Card game declaration: I CALL. Guessed, and got it. In poker, a call is a decision to match the latest bet. Alternatives are to raise or fold.

22. Start to dominate? PRE. Start of the word predominate. Where would we be without the mandatory affix?

23. Want-ads fairness pledge: Abbr.: EEO. Equal Employment Opportunity, a promise to be fair, according to Federal guidelines.

24. Only non-actor ever chosen as People's Sexiest Man Alive, familiarly: JFK, JR. I didn't know this, but it's not a surprise. His was a very poignant story, on many levels. He and his wife and her sister died when he crashed his plane in bad weather. He had a leg injury and shouldn't have been flying. Here he is as a man, and in a famous sad picture as a boy.

25. Like some kitchens: EAT IN. A kitchen with a place to eat at - either a dinette set or standing at the sink.

27. Apology element: REGRET. No RUER today. I don't regret that.

29. Cockpit reading: AIR SPEED. I know one of our regulars will be able comment on this one better than I can.

31. MGM co-founder: LOEW. I had no idea. MGM is Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Maybe this explains the MGM lion since the name LOEW is not indicated by the initials. LOEWE is "lion" on German.

32. Dagwood's boss: MR. DITHERS, shown here with some of his peers. Not the best boss, ever.

33. "Star Trek" (2009) villain: NERO. This guy. Nope. Never watched any of the later generations.

35. Case for notions: ETUI. A little decorative box for storing doodads. My notion is, I'd almost rather have RUER.

36. Life partners: TRUE LOVES. If you're lucky enough to find each other. I mean, really - what are the chances?

40. Chimes in: ADDS. Makes a comment that advances the conversation. Presumably.

43. Extemporized: WINGED IT. Hemmed, hawed, add libbed (my original answer - I know, it doesn't fit), improvised, made stuff up, read crib notes off your hand . . .

44. Faux: ERSATZ. We've discussed this at length in the past. Poor quality substitute for the real thing.

46. Crawling with creepers: IVIED. I was relieved by this answer. It could have been something creepy crawly, that I don't want to link.

47. In advance: EARLY. They both indicate before some specified time, but they seem non-equivalent to me. What do you think?

49. Dude: BRO. Just some guy. By the way -- Don't tase me, DUDE.

50. Tip for an exam taker?: NIB. The tip of a pen, not a bit of good advice, like study, or write the answers on your hand.

51. Key of Mahler's "Symphony of a Thousand": E FLAT. Never heard of it. Had to get perp help, then it was easy.

52. "Kisses Sweeter __ Wine": Jimmie Rodgers hit: THAN. I like dry red wine and sweet wet kisses.

53. Italian pistol: BERETTA. An actual firearm. Not this son of a gun.

56. Database with openings: JOB BANK. They have a web site for job seekers

58. Deforestation concern: EROSION. Trees and other green growing things stabilize the soil and prevent runoff. But you knew that.

59. Orchestrate: ARRANGE. Assign the notes to the specific instruments. I've done a bit of that. Ravel was the master.

60. "__ Creek," TV series that launched Katie Holmes's career. DAWSON'S. The show, Dawson's Creek, which I never watched, had my homie girl Katie in one of the starring rolls. What is it about Tom Cruse and gullible Catholic girls?

61. Pack rat: HOARDER: Designation for somebody who can't throw anything out. Know anybody like that? But they, speaking of creepy crawlers, are also real critters.


1. Tip for an exam taker? ERASER. Aha! the tip at the other end of the pencil. Misdirection, in more ways than one. Very clever.

2. Common DVD bonus feature: GAG REEL. This often contains humorous out-takes, mistakes, etc.

3. Pizzeria shout: ONE TO GO. Alright. this is a legit answer, but I don't think much of it. We had Costco pizza tonight. Not bad.

4. Cubs' all-time home run leader. SOSA. A pretty good baseball player, and the other Slammin' Sammie.

5. The Cavaliers of the ACC: U. VA. University of Virginia Cavaliers of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

6. Wrap again, with questionable etiquette: REGIFT. Got a gift you're not fond of? Next time around, wrap it up and give it to someone you're not fond of.

7. Monastic attire: FROCK. That about wraps it up for monks, but they can still have a fine time.

8. Enviable scholarships: FULL RIDES. An all expense paid excursion at the University that choses you.

9. Many a racetrack: OVAL. For cars, sure. What about horse races? Are those tracks oval or round? Don't ask me. I'm not a racist.

10. Empowerment word: LIB. As in "Women's LIB," I suppose. Does liberation = empowerment? To me, this looks close, but not quite on target.

11. Entrepreneurial monthly: INC. : The perfect magazine for the kick-ass start-up promoter in you.

12. Anne of Green Gables, for one: ADOPTEE. One who is adopted, generally after being orphaned. Presumably, a better second chance. I don't know anything about Anne.

13. Less stoic: TEARIER. Shedding more tears. I guess big stoics don't cry.

14. Stretches: EXTENDS. For example muscles, before and after exertion, or the mind, by taking on a Saturday puzzle.

21. Slightly cracked: AJAR. Neither quite opened, not quite closed. A slightly cracked jar is something all together different.

24. Like Faberge eggs: JEWELED. Just in time for my family's early Easter celebration. Though they may be slightly too elaborate for our humble tastes.

25. Puget Sound, e.g.: ESTUARY. An estuary is a water passage where the tide meets a river current. Your current events item of the day.

26. Rose garden bane: APHIDS. They will eat your plants. Lady bugs will eat them. I believe it's bugs, all the way down.

28. Back out: RENEGE. Just this morning, I reneged the car from my garage. Otherwise, it means to fail to carry out a promise or commitment. For shame!

30. Slowing, in mus.: RIT. Abbrev. for RITARDANDO, literally, slowing down in Italian.

32. Oscar night devotees: MOVIE FANS. I guess I'm not one, since I just don't care.

34. Poet McKuen: ROD. An American poet. Here is his home page. Clear Ayes, do you have a favorite?

36. Half a sleeping pair: TWIN BED. Another nice misdirection. A pair of matching beds, each suited for a single sleeper. I wanted jammies.

37. Mediterranean hot spot: RIVIERA. The Mediterranean coast of France and Italy with many nice beaches. Those who have been there can tell us about it.

38. Bert has one, but not Ernie: UNIBROW: A single continuous eyebrow extending over both eyes, or a condition with enough hair between the brows to suggest that effect. Here's the boys.

39. "Too many more to mention" abbr.: ET. AL. Latin for, "and others."

41. Expert: DAB HAND. Evidently, this is a British Isles expression.

42. Idiosyncratic: STRANGE. Close enough, I guess. One of my favorite novels was Idiosyncratic in an Idiosyncratic Land.

44. Banderillero's foe: EL TORO. In bullfighting, El Banderillero sticks little flags into the bull's shoulders. Don't ask me why.

45. "Doonesbury" hippie: ZONKER. A cool dude, BRO.

48. Indian royal: RAJAH

51. Hugh Laurie's alma mater: ETON. Is ETON everybody's alma mater? And Who is High Laurie? Anyway, nice EAT IN - ETON echo.

52. Vanishing slope sight: T-BAR. A device to pull you up the ski slope, so you can slide back down again. Why are they vanishing?

54. Three dots, to Morse: ESS. Three dots indicate the letter "S" in Morse code. Hence the famous dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot for SOS.

55. Familia member: TIO. Tio is Spanish for uncle.

57. Top at the shore: BRA. The top part off a lady's two piece swim suit, and a great way to top off this puzzle.

Well, I might not have EXCEEDED my time tonight, but I certainly EXTENDED it.

Answer grid.

Picture of the Day: Here is a great photo of our fellow LA Times solver Dodo and her late husband. Here is a closer look at Dodo's avatar picture. Dodo is a 84-year-old retired teacher living in Stockton, CA.



Mar 26, 2010

Friday March 26, 2010 Gary Steinmehl

Theme: THE POWER OF TEN (51A. Exponential measurement, and in a way, what's demonstrated in how answers were formed in 20-, 34- and 41-Across?) - IO, which looks like Arabic number 10 in a way, is attached to the end of each common phrase.

20A. Barbecue area without chairs?: STANDING PAT(IO). Standing Pat.

34A. Relative value used in a scientific workplace?: LABORATORY RAT(IO). Laboratory Rat.

41A. Small apartment for a comical septet?: SEVEN CARD STUD(IO). Seven-Card Stud. Poker game. (Card is a slang for someone who is comical/facetious. Thanks, Dennis.)

Then we also have OHIO (63A. One of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers). OH, IO, marvelous! Did you guys catch the IO & 10 connection immediately? I hope Bill G did. He just encountered a similar gimmick in another puzzle.

I really like the theme tie-in entry THE POWER OF TEN. It certainly spices up our regular add/delete/substitute a letter string Friday fare, exponentially.

The four 9-letter non-theme answers all crumbled easily for me, with their straightforward clues. Did struggle a bit with a few short entries, very deceptive clues with several alternative answers.


1. Sugar substitute?: DEAR. Endearment "Sugar" substitute. The intersecting DOT (1D. Pointillism unit) prevented me from filling in BABY/BABE. Shout-out to our Dot, whose husband Irv will be 96 years old at the end of this month. Possibly the oldest crossword solver in our group.

5. Flirtation: PASS

9. Travel needs, perhaps: VISAS. Travel abroad.

14. End of an estimate: OR SO

15. Rival rival: ALPO. Not familiar with the pet food brand Rival.

16. __ coffee: IRISH. I wanted TEA OR.

17. Hobart resident: TASMANIAN. Did not know Hobart is the capital of Tasmania, though the answer appeared rather swiftly.

19. Lip-smacking: TASTY.

22. Certain mil. member: NCO

23. Gray head?: LEE (R. E. ). The Civil War "Gray" side. Great clue.

24. Cereal ingredient: BRAN

27. Stallone role: RAMBO. Did you want ROCKY also?

31. Plant activity: Abbr.: MFG (Manufacturing)

38. Lost a lap?: AROSE. Mine was STOOD. At least, I was in the correct "lap" direction.

39. Padre's hermana: TIA. Hermana is Spanish for "sister". Father's sister = Aunt. Several Spanish references in the grid.

40. Snacking (on) to excess: OD'ING. Overdosing.

44. Before, in verse: ERE

45. Backspace, often: ERASE. And ERROR (61. What an X may indicate).

46. "O, gie me the __ that has acres o' charms": Burns: LASS. I peeked at the answer sheet. Have ne'er heard of the poem.

47. Word-word link: FOR. Word for word. FOR links word & word.

49. Pres. between JAG and GC: CAA (Chester A. Arthur). JAG = James A Garfield. GC = Grover Cleveland. Stumped me. Gimme, Melissa?

58. Bread: MOOLA. Tough without the question mark.

59. Like clones: IDENTICAL

62. Supply, as paper to a copier: FEED

64. California baseballer: GIANT. Could also be ANGEL.

65. Signs: INKS

66. Chuck __, only coach to win four Super Bowls: NOLL. With the Steelers. Learning moment for me.


3. __ mgr.: ASST

4. Prominent facial feature: ROMAN NOSE

5. Ill-fated opener of myth: PANDORA. Pandora's Box.

6. Et __: and others: ALII. Masculine plural. Et alia is neutral plural. Et aliae is feminine plural.

7. Bridge: SPAN

8. Berlin number: SONG. Irving Berlin. I bet Kazie was in the German "number" direction too.

9. Curriculum __: VITAE. CV. Resumé.

10. Fit to be tied: IRATE

11. Spanish ayes: SI SI

12. Reference words: AS TO

13. Unassuming: SHY. Was surprised by how unassuming Andre Agassi is in his various interviews.

18. Mandela's gp.: ANC (African National Congress)

21. Gamer's maneuver: PLOT. (Added later: The answer should be PLOY. Sorry for the error.)

24. Apathetic: BLASE

25. Harder to dig up: RARER. Harder to find (dig up), like a Mint/Near Mint condition Mickey Mantle Topps 1956.

26. Upstairs: ABOVE

28. Fragrant oil: ATTAR. Rose oil.

29. Kelly of "One Tree Hill": MOIRA. First encounter with this actress. She looks demure.

30. Wire fasteners: BRADS

31. Highest peak on Crete: Abbr.: MT. IDA. Got me again. MT always give me trouble.

32. "Done!": FINIS. I sure need a French hint in the clue.

33. "We Got the Beat" singers: GO-GO'S. Here is the clip. I cheated.

35. TV Chihuahua: REN. Ren and Stimpy.

36. Baloney: ROT

37. Excessive flattery: ADULATION

42. Uno minus uno: CERO. Spanish for "zero" I suppose.

43. They can ruin diets: SECONDS. Really?

47. Pen resident: FELON. The prison "pen". I just can't get pigs out of my mind. I am a Pig. Can't be friends with those who are born in the year of Snake.

48. Illusionary genre: OP ART

50. Back on the water: AFT. Back of the boat.

51. Famous Amos: TORI. Tori Amos. Loved the sweet "Famous Amos" clue. What's your favorite cookie?

52. Joyful group dance: HORA

53. Coffeehouse connection: WIFI

54. 1950s British prime minister: EDEN (Anthony). Prime Minister from 1955-1957. Succeeded Churchill on the latter's second term.

55. Offend the olfactories: REEK. Thanks for the ODOR explanation yesterday, everyone.

57. Pointed fastener: NAIL

58. Unit of RAM: MEG (Megbyte). I was thinking of the component word unit for RAM (Random Access Memory).

60. Texter's tehee: LOL.

Answer grid.

Picture of the Day: Here is a happy photo of our gifted linguist Kazie and her husband in front of the Little Rock Capitol Building. The picture was taken last Friday March 19, 2010.

On the front page of the blog, there is a Blog Photo sidebar. Please email me ( your picture if you want to be included in our virtual family. Thanks.


Mar 25, 2010

Interview with Jeff Chen

Jeff Chen made his LA Times debut on July 3, 2009 with a fascinating "Set In" puzzle, in which four familiar phrases are subjected to literal cluing and twisting. For example, THE ELEPHANT ROOM is clued as "It's too important to ignore, literally", a word play on "Elephant in the Room".

And many of us enjoyed his last FALL puzzle (FALL can be added to each descending theme entry to form a common word). It has a very simple & elegant visual image. Jeff gave us more in-depth analysis on that puzzle in today's interview. He might provide us with his inspiration for today's "Four of a Kind" puzzle in the Comments section if he finds time later today.

How did the FALL theme idea come to you? And what kind of troubles did you go through to make the grid work?

After doing the New York Times and Los Angeles Times puzzles every day for about six months, I began to wonder why they always had horizontal theme entries, hardly ever vertical. I thought it would be fun to put a theme together that play off of vertical answers. One item on my running list of ideas was "words that can be followed by the word FALL" (this was back in August), but I had put it on the back-burner because both the LAT and NYT were going away from that over-used type of puzzle theme. But tying it to a vertical set of answers seemed like it might make it fresh enough to get accepted. Luckily, Rich agreed!

Theme and block placement is a fun puzzle in itself. Most of the time it's not so difficult to come up with a set of placements, unless you have more than 4 theme entries, or most of your entries are 12 or 13 letters long. Both conditions restrict the amount of space you can put between theme entries, due to the rules of crosswords. Having more space between theme entries gives you more flexibility in coming up with a clean fill. This particular grid was only challenging because I couldn't get my mind to work with vertical answers. Once I flipped everything to construct horizontally, it didn't take long. Simple matter to switch the grid diagonally after that.

You mentioned earlier on our blog that "Trying to anticipate solvers' "aha" moments as well as points of frustration has been a great exercise in creativity". Which entries did you think would give the solvers the "Aha" moments and which ones did you expect some groans or frustration?

I like the idea of people wondering why theme entries tie together while they work their way through the puzzle, then all of a sudden figuring it out in a little moment of happiness. I hoped that the answer FALL being in the bottom corner would do that. I also like looking for odd words and phrases to put in after the main answers, such as THWACK. I don't know why, but that word makes me laugh.

Perhaps the most important thing I've picked up from reading blogs (thank you all!) is that solvers (maybe above all else), hate being frustrated or bored when doing what should be an entertaining diversion to the day. Therefore, I try to work really hard in avoiding "crosswordese", partials, or little known names. Sometimes this means completely redoing a grid from the start, but for me it's worth it.

What is it like to work with Rich Norris? What have you learned about his theme/fill preferences?

I've really enjoyed working with Rich. I agree with his notion that it's a high priority is to avoid those annoying words and partials that only crossword fanatics know. He's very responsive, and spends time thinking about what his audience would like. An example of his responsiveness: I was curious how to get more crosswords published, so asked him what he needed more of. He was quick to answer that he could use fresh, easy Monday level puzzles, as well as Sundays, so I've been focusing my efforts on those. It's nice to go back and forth with him on puzzles.

What's your background? And what prompted you to construct your first crossword?

I got my Mechanical Engineering BS and MS in 1993/1994, and worked for seven years in product design consulting. I loved working on medical devices, which I felt could help so many people with the quality and length of their lives. I went to business school to make a career change toward more decision-making, and helped a friend start a pharmaceutical company in 2002, Acucela Inc. We did a nice deal in 2008 so I decided to leave the company, travel, and work more with local non-profits.

I enjoy all kinds of puzzles (one of my goals in life is to finish top 50 in the Google World Puzzle Championship qualifying exam), but for some reason shied away from crosswords. A friend got me into them two years ago, and I couldn't believe what I'd been missing. Not too long after, I decided that another goal of mine would be to get one published.

How does becoming a constructor affect the way you solve & enjoy a puzzle?

I find that I stare at and analyze grids before I even start solving. I love seeing a Monday puzzle with wide-open space, an odd grid where someone bends a rule but comes up with something interesting, or especially when a constructor manages to stuff a puzzle with goodies without compromising the solver's fun factor.

What kind of puzzles do you solve every day? And who are your favorite constructors?

Due to time constraints, I just do the LA Times and the NY Times daily, and CrossSynergy on Sundays. Another of my goals is to be able to solve the NYT Saturday regularly, but I'm still a long ways off. About 75% of the time I can almost finish the NYT Friday. There's usually a small pocket of squares that causes me to bang my head against the wall.

I enjoy the variety within constructors, but I look forward to, and simultaneously shudder, when I see Bob Klahn's name on a themeless puzzle. KLAHN!!! It's tough to beat Elizabeth Gorski when it comes to visual puzzles. She's amazingly productive and creative. I could go on and on about all the great constructors out there.

Besides crossword, what else do you do for fun?

I rock climb, mostly indoors, where yet another goal of mine is to consistently boulder V5 problems (intermediate difficulty stuff). Other climbers sometimes wonder why I spend so much time on my computer there! I love playing bridge, and have a small group of people I play with semi-regularly. I also spend a lot of time in investment management - I help out with a couple of friends and family with their portfolios. I have another goal (tired of listening to my goals yet?) of setting up three friends so they get married, before I turn 40. I only have two years left now, but two friends are getting married in July, so it's still possible! I also play Ultimate Frisbee with my team, "Genghis Khan Wild". Finally, I volunteer with several local non-profits in Seattle: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, Treehouse for Kids, GambiaHELP, Passages Northwest. It's been great to see Obama's call to action spur so many young people to action. I hope it continues!