Jun 30, 2010

Wednesday June 30, 2010 Mike Peluso

Theme: ANAGRAMS! - The second word of each theme answer is an anagram of 'Skate.'

16A Prospector's funding: GRUBSTAKE. New to me. Noun: Supplies or funds advanced to a mining prospector or a person starting a business in return for a promised share of the profits. Also a historic restaurant near me.

23A. Compete in a derby, maybe: ROLLER SKATE. Roller derby.

36A. "To Autumn" poet: JOHN KEATS. There's your cue, Clear Ayes.

54A. Disbelieving looks: DOUBLE TAKES

62A. Tenderized cut of beef: CUBE STEAK

Only other possible anagram is TEAKS. But it has the same scheme as TAKES, with the plural form.

Melissa Bee here. Mike scattered in lots of artistic references today: RED A, JOHN KEATS, DELFT, ERIK, ALULA, ADELE and KLEE.


1. State of disarray: MESS

5. BLT condiment: MAYO. i have been making my own, very easy.

9. Ding-a-ling: DODO. and 45D: Featherbrain: AIRHEAD

13. __ Alto: PALO. Gimme for Californians.

14. Baby step? A TO B

15. Human, e.g.: BI-PED. Two -footed.

18. Simpson of fashion: ADELE. Is it just me, or does she look exactly like Erma Bombeck?

19. Zone: AREA

20. It's not pretty: EYESORE

22. "Bad Moon Rising" band, familiarly: CCR. American rock band, Credence Clearwater Revival. Played at Woodstock.

27. Remedial treatment: THERAPY. A term used in massage therapy, and, as i just learned, also in forestry and woodworking.

29. Opus __: "The Da Vinci Code" sect: DEI. Never saw it. Yeah, yeah, i know.

30. Rolodex no.: TEL. Telephone number. Does anyone still use a Rolodex? Seems a little archaic, but then again you never had to worry about viruses or power outages.

31. "The Scarlet Letter" letter: RED A. Nathaniel Hawthorne's book about an Adulteress in 17th century Boston. Also a play and a movie.

32. __-en-Provence, France: AIX

34. Run-down: SEEDY. Like this. Or this

40. Son of Abraham: ISAAC

43. Memorable time: ERA. Yawn.

44. Lawyer's aide: PARA. Paralegal.

48. Spa benefit, for short: TLC. That'll be extra.

49. FedEx rival: UPS

52. Tehran inhabitant: IRANIAN

57. Some OR staff: RNS. Registered Nurses in the Operating Room.

58. Showing no emotion: STOICAL

59. German chancellor, 1982-'98: KOHL. Helmut. Oversaw the end of the Cold War and the German reunification. According to George H. W. Bush, "the greatest European leader of the second half of the 20th century."

61. Flay and Ray, e.g.: CHEFS. Bobby and Rachel. Even though i don't watch t.v., i nailed it.

66. Dutch city known for its blue-and-white pottery: DELFT. View of Delft, by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.

67. Swiss abstractionist: KLEE. We've seen his name before. He liked shapes and colors.

68. Fee: RATE

69. Breyers competitor: EDYS. Ice cream brands.

70. Succumbed to being grilled: SANG. Grill is slang for interrogate. Sang is slang for confessed, or ratted out. Made me think of this.

71. Mideast city on its own gulf: ADEN. Seaport city in Yemen, in the crater of an extinct volcano.


1. EPA sticker datum: MPG. Environmental Protection Agency / Miles Per Gallon.

2. Otitis: EARACHE

3. Like a sot's speech: SLURRED

4. Fruit juice brand: SOBE

5. Protective pad: MAT. Here's Drew with hers.

6. Words with clip or time: AT A

7. Backwoods type: YOKEL

8. Heeded: OBEYED

9. Passed, say: DID OK

10. Run: OPERATE

11. Erased: DELETED

12. 36-Across work: ODE

15. Paul McCartney or Sting: BASSIST

17. Lee with frozen desserts: SARA

21. Poetic preposition: ERE

22. NFL snapper: CTR. The center passes (or "snaps") the ball to the quarterback at the start of each play.

24. Shimmering aquarium fish: OPAH

25. "__ Eyes": Eagles hit: LYIN'

26. Tarzan portrayer Ron: ELY

28. Rani's spouse: RAJA

33. 1960s-'70s Jaguar Down: XKE

35. "Baseball Tonight" airer: ESPN

37. Eye doctor: OCULIST

38. The Phantom of the Opera: ERIK

39. Bern's river: AARE. Wow, beautiful.

40. "__ be an honor": IT'D. Groan. I suppose it can't be helped.

41. Waded (through): SLOSHED

42. Keen way to be aware: ACUTELY

46. Lasted longer than expected, as a meeting: RAN LATE. Not always a bad thing.

47. Q&A part: Abbr.: ANS. Question and answer.

50. Push-up target: PEC. i was thinking this.

51. IHOP servings: STACKS. Pancakes.

53. Wants to know: ASKS. And if you don't want to know … don't ask.

55. Smash hits, in slang: BOFFS. No comment.

56. "Be-Bop-__": 1956 hit: A-LULA. Originally by Gene Vincent, but check out one of the greatest live albums ever, imo, Van Morrison's A Night in San Francisco - disc 2, track 4.

60. Other, in Oaxaca: OTRA

61. B-F connectors: C-D-E

63. Kingsley who played Gandhi: BEN

64. Short head lines?: EEG. 'Short' to indicate abbreviation. EEG = Electroencephalogram.

65. Baseball's Griffey: KEN

Answer grid.


Note from C.C.:

I am very pleased to announce that Melissa Bee will blog two Wednesday puzzles a month from now on. Melissa joined the blog in May 2008 and has entertained & educated us with many of her fun links and witty comments. Thanks for the time and commitment, Melissa!

Jun 29, 2010

Tuesday June 29, 2010 Bruce Venzke

Theme: P_T with Vowel Progression - Not much of a theme but, oh!, what a grid.

17. Dad's legal protection: PATERNITY RIGHTS.

23. Arizona tourist mecca: PETRIFIED FOREST.

39. Batting practice aid: PITCHING MACHINE.

49. One-room schoolhouse heater: POTBELLIED STOVE.

61. Using a euphemism: PUTTING IT MILDLY.

Argyle here.

Tough Tuesday. Five grid-spanning theme entries. Four nine-letter fills cutting down through three theme entries each and the center theme crossed by all four. Impressive. So what if the theme is weak, I say.

If you gave anybody yesterday's puzzle, you might want to steer them away from this one.


1. Pirate's booty: LOOT.

5. Lash marking: WELT.

9. One of the deadly sins: SLOTH. Sin of "laziness".

14. Sacramento's __ Arena: ARCO. Home to the NBA's Sacramento Kings. Image

15. Aglio e __: pasta dish: OLIO. A traditional Italian pasta dish. Image

16. __ Puffs: COCOA. Cereal.

20. Unborn, after "in": UTERO.

21. Manitoba native: CREE. About the only Canadian Indians I know.

22. Gazetteer statistic: AREA. A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary or directory, used in conjunction with a map or a full atlas, with important references about toponomy.

26. On fire: LIT.

27. Reagan's "Star Wars" prog.: SDI. Strategic Defense Initiative.

28. Whale of a tale: SAGA. Whale Tail (The Devil made me do it.)

32. Iwo __: JIMA. Home to Mount Suribachi.

35. "Fine by me": "IT'S OK".

42. Love: ADORE. I had AMORE first.

43. Auto financing org.: GMAC. General Motors Acceptance Corporation. On May 10, 2010, GMAC Inc announced that it re-branded itself as Ally Financial Inc.

44. Cat call: MEOW.

45. Lode material: ORE.

47. Stephen of "Michael Collins": REA. Northern Irish actor who was nominated for an Academy Award for his lead performance as Fergus in the 1992 film The Crying Game. "Michael Collins" is a 1996 biopic about General Michael Collins, the Irish patriot and revolutionary who died in the Irish Civil War.

58. Keds competitor: AVIA. They call them trainers now but they are still sneakers to me.

59. Boot out: OUST.

60. Like some basins: TIDAL.

64. __-Chalmers: onetime big name in farm machinery: ALLIS. Now they are Fiat-Allis part of New Holland Ag.

65. Physics subject: ATOM.

66. GPA spoilers: DEEs. Grade Point Average takes a hit from a "D" grade.

67. Bloodsucker: LEECH.

68. Upsurge: RISE.

69. 1920s Folies-Bergère designer: ERTÉ. Russian-born French artist and designer known by the pseudonym Erté, the French pronunciation of his initials, R.T.


1. Drink like a cat: LAP UP.

2. Go on the stump: ORATE. On a stump or a soap box, to give a speech.

3. Large chamber group: OCTET. Chamber music is a form of classical music , written for a small group, in this case, eight.

4. "__ is human ...": TO ERR.

5. Took the cup: WON.

6. Drawing out: ELICITING.

7. Unit of petrol: LITRE. British form in the clue and answer.

8. Trifled (with): TOYED.

9. Biol., e.g.: SCI.. Biology, science.

10. Slide rule number: LOGARITHM. Coined by Scottish mathematician John Napier, literally "ratio-number,"

11. Yellow shade: OCHRE.

12. Handy bags: TOTES.

13. Laces into: HAS AT. Not a common term.

18. Stir up: ROIL.

19. Flag throwers, at times: REFS.

24. South Pacific archipelago and nation: FIJI. On the lower right of this map.

25. Like Pindar's works: ODIC. Pindar was an Ancient Greek lyric poet.

28. Mud bath locale: SPA.

29. Assist: AID.

30. Potent '60s-'70s Pontiac: GTO. Image of an early GTO

31. Like trapeze artists: ACROBATIC.

33. Leo's studio: MGM. Leo is the MGM lion. Roar!

34. Almond liqueurs: AMARETTOS. Pour it on some good vanilla ice cream, yum!

36. Potsdam pronoun: SIE. Alliteration, German.

37. "Double Fantasy" artist Yoko: ONO. Back to just her last name.

38. London's __ Gardens: KEW. Actual name is Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, The name Kew is a combination of two words: the Old French kai (landing place; 'quay' derives from this) and Old English hoh (spur of land). The land spur is the bend in the Thames. The name was recorded in 1327 as Cayho.

40. "What have we __?": HERE.

41. Passed and then some: ACED.

46. North Carolina college town: ELON.

48. Sparkling-wine center: ASTI.

49. Like decrees from Benedict XVI, e.g.: PAPAL. He was a Pope.

50. Seed-to-be: OVULE.

51. Champ's prize: TITLE.

52. Dick __, Hoosier senator since 1977: LUGAR. This man.

53. Question about Biblical betrayal: "IS IT I?". During the Last Supper.

54. Señor's feature?: TILDE. The diacritic (~) placed over the n.

55. More off-the-wall: ODDER.

56. Parking helper: VALET.

57. "Family Ties" mom: ELYSE. This woman.

62. "Sorta" suffix: -ISH. Sorta-ish a bad word.

63. Bovary's title: Abbr.: MME.. Madame. Flaubert's "Madame Bovary".

Answer grid.


Jun 28, 2010

Monday June 28, 2010 Scott Atkinson

Theme: Wild Kingdom - Animals described by two separate animal names and before someone says a spider or a shark isn't an animal, I see everything as animal, vegetable, or mineral and they aren't one of the last two.

17A. Hammerhead relative with stripes: TIGER SHARK. Image.

27A. Huge walrus relative: ELEPHANT SEAL. Image.

48A. Primate with spindly limbs: SPIDER MONKEY. Image.

63A. One of two in "The Twelve Days of Christmas": TURTLE DOVE. Image.

Argyle here.

What a straightforward puzzle. Hardly a tricky clue in the batch. Entries from across the board. This is the one you might give to people to get them started on crosswords.


1. Apple computers: MACS

5. Subsurface woodwork decoration: INLAY

10. Coffeehouse convenience for Web surfers: WI-FI

14. Give off, as light: EMIT

15. '80s Pontiac roadster: FIERO. Image.

16. Ruckuses: ADOs

19. Pulls, as a camper: TOWS

20. Visibly stunned: AGAPE

21. 1930s-'40s New York mayor La Guardia: FIORELLO. Mayor for three terms from 1934 to 1945. La Guardia ordered construction of the airport that bears his name after his TWA flight arrived at Newark, NJ, even though his ticket said New York.

23. Submarine weapon: TORPEDO

26. Orange Free State settler: BOER. The Republic of the Orange Free State (Dutch) was an independent Boer republic in southern Africa. Boer is the Dutch word for farmer.

32. Covert __: spy activities: OPS. OPS is short for operations.

35. Be untruthful: LIE

36. Sharpshooter Annie: OAKLEY

37. Supreme Court intern: CLERK

40. Antlered critter: ELK and 42. Plains grazer: BISON. Two bonus animals.

43. Cooking class, for short: HOME EC

45. "__ Miz": LES. A colloquialism for the 1980 musical production, Les Misérables

47. Curry of "Today": ANN. Image.

52. One-named Irish singer: ENYA

53. Pago Pago natives: SAMOANS. From the South Seas.

57. Talky gatherings: GABFESTS

61. Large wall picture: MURAL. What our WM is known to paint.

62. Eins, zwei, __: DREI. German 1, 2, 3.

66. Alda of "M*A*S*H": ALAN

67. Clarinetist Shaw: ARTIE

68. Words of understanding: "I SEE"

69. Oxen's harness: YOKE

70. Have a new __ on life: LEASE

71. Hanukkah moolah: GELT. The word gelt means money in Yiddish.


1. Convened in: MET AT

2. Compadre: AMIGO

3. "Close, but no __": CIGAR

4. Treeless Siberian tract: STEPPE

5. "No __, ands or buts": IFS

6. Fed. research org.: NIH. National Institutes of Health.

7. Fall faller: LEAF. An alliterate clue.

8. Speedy Gonzales exclamation: "¡ARRIBA!". Used as an exclamation of pleasure, approval, or elation. Speedy Gonzales is a Mexican cartoon mouse. Clip.

9. John Lennon's love: YOKO ONO. Her full name, for a change.

10. Ride behind a speedboat: WATER SKI

11. TV's "American __": IDOL

12. Chicks, ducks, etc.: FOWL

13. "That __ yesterday!": IS SO. Do they still call this Valley Speak?

18. Fishing line holder: REEL

22. Adjust a paragraph setting: RETAB

24. Biden's state: Abbr.: DEL.. Delaware.

25. Mayberry boy: OPIE

28. Phone call response: "HELLO?"

29. "Born Free" lioness: ELSA

30. Long, long time: AEON

31. Nashville's Loretta: LYNN. She was a Coal Miner's Daughter.

32. Folk legend Phil: OCHS. Philip Ochs(1940 – 1976) was an American protest singer (or, as he preferred, a topical singer) and songwriter who was known for his sharp wit, sardonic humor, earnest humanism, political activism, insightful and alliterative lyrics, and haunting voice. He wrote "Draft Dodger Rag".

33. Sit (down) undaintily: PLOP

34. 18-wheeler: SEMI

38. Give new meaning to: REDEFINE

39. New Hampshire city: KEENE

41. Barbies' counterparts: KENS

44. Waterford product: CRYSTAL. A trademark brand of crystal glassware.

46. Caribbean music: SKA

49. Grown-up: MATURE

50. Plus-size supermodel: EMME. Image.

51. Cool cat's "Get it?": "YOU DIG?"

54. Cropped up: ARISE. (Correction: It's AROSE. Thanks, Tinbeni.)

55. Bellybutton: NAVEL

56. Winter hazard: SLEET

57. Melbourne greeting: "G'DAY". Kazie, are you there?

58. "The Motorcycle Song" singer Guthrie: ARLO. "I don't want a pickle, just wanna ride on my motorcycle"

59. Toucan's pride: BEAK. Here is a picture of a toucan's pride.

60. Mex. miss: SRTA

64. "__ the season ...": 'TIS

65. Jeans brand: LEE

Okay, I admit there may be an East Coast bias to this puzzle.

Answer grid.


Jun 27, 2010

Sunday June 27, 2010 Ed Sessa

Theme: The Ends Justify the Meanings - The end word in each theme answer is split into a compound word, and the first part of which forms a familiar "__ and __" phrase with the start of each theme entry.

23A. Angler's go-to lure?: BREAD AND BUTTER FLY. Bread and Butter. Butterfly. Anglers use artificial flies as lure.

37A. Intermittent photo session?: ON AND OFF SHOOT. On and off. Offshoot.

67A. "Father Knows Best," to some: MOM AND POP CORN. Mom and Pop. Popcorn. I've never watched "Father Knows Best". Is it really corny?

97A. Zigzags?:: IN-AND-OUT LINES. In-and-Out. Outlines.

114A.Wavering conservative faction?: BACK AND FORTH RIGHT. Back and Forth. Forthright. Conservative faction = Right.

16D. Thrill from using a mouse?: DRAG AND DROP KICK. Drag and Drop. Dropkick. Fun clue/answer.

43D. Fancy dance marathon?: HUFF AND PUFF BALL. Huff and Puff. Puffball. Very evocative answer.

Fun theme.

It reminds me slightly of Doug Peterson and Barry Silk's collaboration Sunday puzzle "And another thing...". Different approach of course.

None of the expensive letters J/Q/X/Z is used in this grid. Out of 36 3-letter & 32 4-letter entries, quite a few are abbreviations. Fortunately most of them have become gimmes to me. I've been solving & blogging puzzles for more than two and a half years.


1. Long cold spell: ICE AGE. Nice clue.

7. "The Whiffenpoof Song" words: BAAS. Wikipedia says "The Whiffenpoof Song" ends in "Baa, baa, humbug!". Unknown to me.

11. Big bang: BLAST. Triple alliteration.

16. Mil. decoration: DSM (Distinguished Service Medal)

19. Grand Canyon nester: CONDOR. Had trouble obtaining the answer.

20. Quartet named for its singers: ABBA. Initials of their first names.

21. Alice's husband in '50s TV: RALPH

22. Reine's spouse: ROI. Reine = Queen (in French)

26. Hole puncher: AWL

27. Dustin's "Kramer vs. Kramer" co-star: MERYL(Streep)

28. "Jingle Bells" contraction: O'ER

29. Some nest eggs, briefly: IRAS

30. Mirrored: IMAGED

32. Sign that makes an angel happy: SRO (Stand Room Only). Angel here refers to a person who finances a Broadway show or a film.

33. Religious symbol: ICON

35. "Hold on __!": A SEC

36. Say over: ITERATE. And REPEAT (121.Echo)

40. __ White: SNOW

41. '90s Olds: ACHIEVA. Replaced by Alero in 1999. New trivia to me.

44. Work at assiduously: PLY

45. Took potshots: SNIPED

47. Lugs: HAULS

48. "A Doll's House" heroine: NORA. I forgot.

50. Passé platters: LPS. Cool clue!

52. Candy named for its creators: M AND M'S. Odd to see M & M's spelled out.

55. Overrun en masse, as ants: INFEST

57. Pedal pusher: CYCLER

59. Minsk's home: BELARUS. Nailed it.

60. Where wildebeest roam: Abbr.: AFR. Wildebeest = Gnu.

61. Possess, to Burns: HAE. "Have".

63. Two bells, at sea: ONE AM. Guessed. Don't really know the bells and the corresponded time.

65. Admission of defeat: I LOST

66. Palindromic Altar: ARA. Literally "Altar" in Latin.

71. Ale servings: Abbr.: PTS (Pints)

72. Yorba __, Calif. : LINDA. Just learned that the Nixon Library is located here.

74. Cockamamie: INANE

75. Here, to Pierre: ICI

76. Letters before a 76-Down: AKA. Nice crossing with ALIAS (76D. See 76-Across).

77. Blues Brothers toppers: FEDORAS. And SNL (118.Where the Blues Brothers began, briefly).

79. Like some outfield walls: PADDED

82. Quartz compound: SILICA

85. Quakers in the woods: ASPENS. Aspen quakes. The "in the woods" did not dissuade me from thinking of the religious Quakers.

86. These, to Thérèse: CES

87. Formerly, formerly: ERST

89. Suitable spot for a statue: NICHE. Triple alliteration in the clue.

90. Has the last of: USES UP

92. TV Guide abbr. : TBA

93. Director's do-overs: RETAKES

95. Sword handle: HAFT

101.1980s-'90s N.Y. senator D'Amato: ALFONSE. I peeked at the answer sheet.

103."Denial __ just a river in Egypt": Twain: AIN'T

104.State with conviction: AVER

105.Sleep lab acronym: REM

108.Bump off: RUB OUT

109.Anthem starter: O SAY

110.Expected: DUE

111.Typical start?: PROTO. Start of the word Prototypical.

113.GP's gp. : AMA

119.Taken as a whole: IN ALL

120.__ worlde: quaintly fashionable: OLDE

122."Rebel Without a Cause" actor Mineo: SAL

123.World carrier: ATLAS. The clue needs a question mark, does it?

124.Lanolin source: WOOL. Did not know the meaning of lanolin: a fatty substance obtained from wool and used in soaps, cosmetics, and ointments.

125.Fuel in a can: STERNO


1. Some WMDs: ICBMS. Stumper. ICBM = InterContinental Ballistic Missile.

2. Semicircular utensil: CORER. I seldom use our corer.

3. Hot time in Chile: ENERO. January.

4. Beatles' "__ in the Life": A DAY

5. Sanctity: GODLINESS

6. '70s NOW cause: ERA. I know NOW = National Organization for Women. But I don't get the clue.

7. Villains often come to one: BAD END. Wish it's true in real life.

8. Mass. or Miss.: ABBR. Can't get STATE out of my mind.

9. "Aladdin" monkey: ABU. No idea.

10. Make happy: SATISFY

11. Dam damage: BREACH

12. "__ and the Real Girl": 2007 film: LARS. Here is the poster. Doesn't look interesting to me.

13. Franklin's 1936 foe: ALF (Landon)

14. Mid-race statistic: SPLIT TIME. Car race?

15. Part of a Simon & Garfunkel quartet: THYME. "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme". Love the song.

17. Johannesburg area: SOWETO. Nope. What's it famous for?

18. Shower problem: MILDEW

24. Reagan speechwriter: NOONAN (Peggy)

25. Spanish crowd?: TRES. Spanish for "three". Three's a crowd.

31. Military depot: ARSENAL

34. Cleveland hoopster, for short: CAV. Cavaliers.

35. Company with a spokesduck: AFLAC

36. Charge carrier: ION. I blanked on the clue.

37. Crude carrier: OILER. Nice consecutive "carrier' clues.

38. Venue for Minnie Pearl: OPRY

39. CIA predecessor: OSS (Office of Strategic Services)

41. Sashimi fish: AHI. Yummy!

42. Birds named for an island group: CANARIES

46. Monty Python member: PALIN. Someone is pouting for the clue.

49. Neptune's domain: OCEAN

50. O'Brien's successor: LENO

51. Type of school: PREP

53. Pencil or toothbrush, e.g.: MUSTACHE. Devious clue!

54. Retd. boomers: SSTS. Nailed it.

56. Howe'er: THO

58. Ran easily: LOPED

59. College QB, often: BMOC (Big Man on Campus)

62. "Time's Arrow" author: AMIS (Martin). Has anyone read the book?

64. Bases' antitheses: ACIDS

66. Bravo preceder: ALFA. Alfa and Alpha both right.

67. Seine tributary: MARNE. Can never remember this river.

68. Kitty pickup spot: NAPE

69. Spiral molecules: DNAS

70. Grafton's "__ for Ricochet": R IS

73. Argumentative cry: DOES TOO

78. Second: ASSISTANT. Constructors love this kind of ambiguous part of speech.

80. Coming-out: DEBUT

81. Part of Q.E.D.: ERAT

83. Make sense of: INTERPRET

84. DDE adversary: AES (Adlai Ewing Stevenson)

86. Audit rep: CPA. And HRS (117. 86-Down billing units).

88. Hot-pot support: TRIVET. Three-legged stand.

91. Somme one: UNE. In French.

92. Wally Cleaver portrayer: TONY DOW. Learned from doing Xword.

94. Reno-to-Elko dir.: ENE

95. Bust chops: HARASS. "Bust chops" is new slang to me.

96. Wellesley grad: ALUMNA. Women's college.

98. Some sonorant sounds: NASALS. Another triple alliteration.

99. "Gorillas in the Mist" subject Fossey: DIAN. Can never commit her name to my brain.

100. Victory emblem: LAUREL

102.Ancient Nile Valley kingdom: NUBIA. Current Egypt-Sudan region. JD said Aida is from Nubia.

105.Ham's "Gotcha": ROGER

106.Frome of fiction: ETHAN

107.Words often etched in stone: MOTTO

109.Sooner St.: OKLA. Lois is there now.

110.Birdbrain: DODO. Our Dodo got her avatar name from the starting two letters of her given & family name.

112.Ready to pluck: RIPE

115.Baseball "Iron Man" Ripken: CAL. So humble!

116.Waitress at Mel's: FLO

Answer grid.

Happy 75th Birthday to Jeannie's Dad!


Jun 26, 2010

Saturday June 26, 2010 Joel Fagliano

Theme: None

Total words: 70

Total blocks: 32

The empty grid sure does not look intimidating, does it? No forbidding stacks of long letter entries or grid spanners. Just a couple of 8s and 9s, then a bunch of 7s (total 24).

But it's a tough journey for me. The clues are very tricky, epitomized by TO BE (50A. Part of a stage question). "To be, or not to be". Devious!

I'd also like to highlight the "it/its" clues in this puzzle:

7A. You might be unprepared for it: POP QUIZ. Scrabbly. Letters H & X are unused in today's grid.

16A. It makes it easier for you to lose your balance: ATM CARD. Sly clue!

27A. Its capital is Doha: QATAR. Know it only because of Doha Conference.

46A. It may be thrown in: TOWEL. Throw in the towel.

51A. Old Navy is one of its brands: GAP. I like their jeans.

Do you enjoy those "it/its" or too many for your taste?


1. Comfort food snack for some, briefly: PB AND J. It's either "Comfort food" or "snack" for me. I've never used the full term "Comfort food snack".

14. Country with a mostly red, white and blue flag: SERBIA. OK, here's their flag. Why "mostly"? It seems the flag consists of those three colors only.

15. Receiving aid: ANTENNA

18. General plan: ROAD MAP

19. Time out?: NAP. The question mark did not prevent me from thinking of sports.

20. Einstein and Planck, e.g.: GERMANS. Not familiar with Max Planck, founder of quantum theory.

22. Unproven ability, for short: ESP

23. Brew choice: DRIP. Oh dear. I was thinking of beer. Don't drink coffee.

25. One of the Allmans: DUANE. Not familiar with his name either. He died at age 24 of a motorcycle accident.

26. Scruff: NAPE

29. LP filler?: MNO. Alphabet: L (MNO) P. Nailed it.

30. Colombian title: SENOR

31. Modus operandi: SYSTEM

33. Gettysburg general: PICKETT (George). Have vaguely heard of Pickett's Charge. Could only think of R.E. Lee.

35. Weighed: EVALUATED

37. "I intend to live __. So far, so good": Steven Wright: FOREVER. I guessed.

39. Forgetful, in a way: SENILE

43. Crow: VAUNT

44. Five-time Fiesta Bowl champs, for short: ASU (Arizona State University). The Sun Devils.

47. Digging, so to speak: INTO

48. Six-time U.S. Open winner: EVERT (Chris). Tennis. Sad to hear her marriage to Greg Norman ended so quickly.

52. Urges: PRESSES

54. Accident consequence: JAM. Did not leap to me quickly.

55. Salad bar option: ITALIAN. Dressing.

57. Trig inverse: ARC SINE. No idea. I was totally confused at my high school math class. Inverse of sine.

59. Driving need: LICENSE

60. Shade of pink: SALMON. I bet this was a gimme for ARBAON. She was just talking about
salmon and coral the other day.

61. Like aftershave: SCENTED

62. Wide of the mark: ERRANT. Shouldn't be "Wide off the mark"?


1. Things to mind: PS AND QS. Mind one's Ps and Qs.

2. Radioactive emission: BETA-RAY. New phrase to me.

3. Axillae: ARMPITS. This I knew.

4. "Heroes" home: NBC

5. Bishop's rte.: DIAG (Diagonal). Don't play chess.

6. "Chapter 27" star Leto: JARED. His mug looks familiar. Don't recall his name at all.

7. "Knowing all the facts," according to Woody Allen: PARANOIA. The quote clue feels incomplete to me. I'd prefer: "It's knowing all the facts, " according to Woody Allen.

8. Two __: hockey advantage: ON ONE. Hockey clue always stumps me.

9. Class-conscious orgs.?: PTAS. Got me again.

10. Logical letters: QED. Can't jam ERGO in.

11. Not intended: UNMEANT. Man, I checked. It's in the dictionary.

12. Up the creek: IN A SPOT

13. Remote: ZAPPER. Was unaware that zapper is slang for remote control.

17. Word with kettle or steel: DRUM

21. Handbag counterparts: MAN PURSES. Just like this?

24. Major college football's winningest coach: PATERNO (Joe). Penn State. Some blog comments about him a while ago.

26. Is unobliged to: NEED NOT

28. Protect from erosion, as a riverbank: REVET. First encounter with this word.

30. Shooting sport: SKEET

32. Amer. Airlines Center player: MAV. Dallas Mavericks.

34. Tender abbr.: CTS. I don't get this one. Cents? Tender here refers to "money"?

36. Unlike matzo: LEAVENED

37. Monomaniac: FANATIC

38. Beat: OUTPACE

40. Mount Suribachi's island: IWO JIMA. I peeked at the answer sheet.

41. Part of ancient Phoenicia, today: LEBANON. Gimme, JD?

42. Gold, e.g.: ELEMENT

43. Watches: VIGILS. I was looking at my own watch and could not come up with anything.

45. __ Minor: URSA. Penned in ASIA.

48. Remove: ERASE

49. Clipped: TERSE. Can you give me examples about how they are interchangeable?

52. Pub serving: PINT

53. __ tissue: SCAR

56. Football Hall of Famer Dawson: LEN

58. Point-and-shoot alternative, briefly: SLR (Single-Lens Reflex)

Answer grid.

Happy 45th Wedding Anniversary to Spitzboov! Have a great cruise to Bermuda!


Jun 25, 2010

Friday June 25, 2010 Mark Feldman

Theme: Food Pun - The first word of each two-word familiar food item is substituted by a city, whose country is given in the corresponding clue.

20A. Swiss poultry dish?: BASEL CHICKEN. Basil Chicken. Basel is a city in Switzerland.

27A. Korean menu listing?: SEOUL FOOD. Soul Food. I do love Seoul food. Hot!

35A. Indian lunch fare?: DELHI SANDWICH. Deli Sandwich. Do Indians use naan as sandwich wrap?

43A. Moroccan hearty meal? RABAT STEW. Rabbit Stew. Rabat is the capital of Morocco.

52A. Meccan omelet ingredient? JEDDAH CHEESE. Cheddar Cheese. I've never heard of Jeddah, a port city in Saudi Arabia. Near Mecca indeed. The only theme entry with a city rather than a country as clue hint.

All of the theme answers are punning on the first word. I like the consistency.

Some more food/drink references:

17A. 2006 farce involving a drinking contest: BEER FEST. Total four 8-letter entries today.

48A. Fare that's filled and baked: MEAT PIE

63A. Fruitcake: NUT. OK, not really food.

49D. __ four: PETIT

50D. Bean products?: IDEAS. Nailed it. The question mark told me it's not sprouts. I have stir-fried bean sprouts every Tuesday.

We don't often see four clusters of four black squares in a puzzle. It sure increases the total black square count in a hurry (Total 42 in today's grid).

My favorite clue (I presume Seen's too) is RED (43D. Bench, once). Johnny Bench. Cincinnati Reds. Dennis told me about a card show near our home a few months ago and I was able to see Bench in person. Pete Rose was there too.


1. A.L. East team: BOS. Boston Red Sox. Quite a few abbr. in this grid.

4. 1960 Olimpiadi host: ROMA. The Italian clue suggests the answer will be in Italian.

8. Padlocked, perhaps: HASPED

14. Glob suffix: ULE

15. Receptive: OPEN

16. More gray: ASHIER

19. "Magic Hour" author": ISAACS (Susan). Don't know the author or the book. What's it about?

22. Memo abbr.: ATTN

23. Move beyond: OUTGROW

32. Frost: HOAR

33. Fast horse: ARAB

34. Frayed: TATTY

40. Certain Net user: AOLER. Net is capitalized.

41. '60s Mod staple: MINI

42. Letters that come at the end of the week: TGIF. We also have FRI (29D. It can be casual: Abbr.). Not fond of the two in the same grid.

51. Race: TEAR. Did not leap to me readily.

57. All one had: ESTATE. Great clue.

60. Transfers again, as computer files: RECOPIES

61. Hungary neighbor: SERBIA

62. Barrie Newfoundland: NANA. The dog in "Peter Pan".

64. Is out there: EXISTS

65. African antelope: ORYX. It has long, straight-horns, Lois!

66. Rte. finder: GPS


1. Good ol' boys: BUBBAS

2. Fatty acid salt: OLEATE. Ate is a suffix for "salt".

3. Handles: SEES TO

4. Texter's response to a hilarious joke: ROFL

5. Crude org. : OPEC. Crude oil.

6. Interlock: MESH

7. Boycotting, perhaps: ANTI

8. Basho's forte: HAIKU. Have never heard of Basho, a Japanese 17th century poet known for Haiku poems.

9. Black listing?: ASSET. Awesome clue.

10. City near the Yangtze River: SHANGHAI. No, not "near". It's at the mouth of the Yangtze River. I worked in Shanghai for some time.

11. Emmy-winning news anchor Lindström: PIA. No idea. She's Ingrid Bergman's daughter.

12. Common Mkt.: EEC

13. "ER" extras: DRS

18. Contact lens solution brand: RENU. The only brand I know.

21. Cape __ : COD

24. VMI program: ROTC. VMI = Virginia Military Institute. New to me.

25. Bit of irreverence: OATH

26. Twisted: WRY

28. Lionized actor?: LAHR (Bert). The Cowardly Lion in "The Wizard of Oz".

30. Treaty gp. since 1948: OAS

31. President with two Grammys: OBAMA. Loved Lemonade's Palin palindrome comment yesterday. John's SEXES clue is awesome too. I think I mentioned on the blog before. Japanese say "I am going" to mean "I am coming".

34. Fool: TWIT

35. Old Venetian judge: DOGE

36. "The Praise of Chimney-Sweepers" essayist: ELIA

37. Right crosses may follow them: LEFT JABS. Needed crossing help.

38. Point: NIB

39. Stranded material: DNA

40. 20s provider, for short: ATM

44. Dance move: STEP

45. Elevating, in a way: TEEING. Various balls.

46. Relax: EASE UP

47. Takes by force: WRESTS

53. Cartoonist Peter: ARNO. Total stranger to me.

54. When repeated, word of agreement: HEAR

55. Manhattan sch.: CCNY (City College of NY)

56. Piltdown man, e.g. : HOAX

57. Language suffix: ESE

58. Bio datum: SEX

59. Head of state?: TRI. I don't get this one. Wanted ESS, the starting letter of the word state.

Answer grid.

Welcome back Kazie! You were dearly missed.


Jun 24, 2010

Thursday June 24 John Lampkin

Theme: Life-less - The word LIFE is missing from the end of four "classic" song titles.

17A. Beatles classic: A DAY IN THE.

24A. Stevie Wonder classic: FOR ONCE IN MY.

37A. "Annie" classic: ITS THE HARD KNOCK.

46A. "Dirty Dancing" classic: THE TIME OF MY.

58A. Sinatra classic, and hint to what's missing from this puzzle's other classics: THAT'S LIFE.

So, how was this for you? The last part to fall for me was the center.

Several clue echos in the grid. John's hallmark. Best clues:

32D. James's creator:
IAN. Ian Fleming, James Bond.

48D. Bond creator: EPOXY
. Chemical bond.

Al here, and we're off to the races.


1. Chain of hills: RIDGE. From Old English hrycg, meaning the back of a man or beast. Appearing like the lumps of your backbone in a narrow line. That makes calling the ridgeback breed of dog sort of redundant, although I think that is just extra hair...

6. Top rating: TEN.

9. Startle: SCARE.

14. Stay a step ahead of: ONE-UP.

15. Tribe that fought the Navajo: UTE. Didn't like Mormons much, either...

16. Soaked: HOSED.

19. China's Zhou __: EN LAI.

20. Covers: LIDS.

21. Very long time: EON.

22. Woofer's output?: ARF ARF. Wanted something to do with a sound system bass speaker at first, not a dog.

23. Code word: DAH. The sound of the long pulse in Morse code, written as a dash. DIT is the sound for the short pulse, written as a period (or dot).

26. Thor's father: ODIN. Also called Wodan, wod being Old English for mad or frenzied. Odin was not known for being a happy Norse God.

28. Hot: IRED. Like Odin.

29. What peddlers peddle: WARES. Said Simple Simon to the pie man, let me taste your wares.

31. Bank leader?: CITI. Leader to the word Citibank, one of the first to introduce ATMs, way back in the 70's.

33. Genesis twin: ESAU. First-born, Jacob was the other twin.

40. Celebratory feeling: GLEE.

41. Bit of naughtiness: NONO.

42. Sharp: ACUTE. With an angle less than 90 degrees.

43. Dover domestic: CHAR. An English servant, or chore-woman. Dover, in England faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel. Also in the grid 31D. Regular duty: CHORE.

45. WWII gun: STEN.

51. Coming-out party?: DEB. Party here refers to the person, a debutant, not a celebration, as in "party of the first part".

54. American elk: WAPITI. A single male elk can produce 22 to 25 lbs of antler velvet annually and on ranches in the United States, Canada and New Zealand, this velvet is collected and sold to markets in east Asia, where it is used in medicine.

55. Robert Morse title role: TRU. Truman Capote.

56. Efficient: ABLE.

57. Two little words?: I LOVE. The phrase "Three little words" have been used in song and movies, and movies about song. Here you only get two out of three. It's not about you. I wanted "pull my finger".

60. Snazzes (up): SEXES.

61. A-line line: HEM. Sewing appearing in a skirt.

62. Offer, as one's two cents: PUT IN. I usually hear it used derisively: Who asked you to put in your two cents worth? A nominal fee to be allowed to offer your opinion, not usually collected.

63. Hot meeting?: TRYST. From Old French tristre, an appointed station in hunting.

64. Source of iron: ORE. Too short to fit spinach in there.

65. Church closings: AMENS. I was trying to come up with something along the lines of a special purpose door or such-like.


1. "Fantastic Mr Fox" author Dahl: ROALD. Author for several children's books, although they can still hold an adult's interest as well.. Usually somewhat dark, with clearly defined good/bad characters and morality lessons built in.

2. Home to more than a billion: INDIA.

3. Beating one won't get you anywhere: DEAD HORSE.

4. Half a 1950 musical: GUYS. and Dolls.

5. Center opening?: EPI. An epicenter is the point on the earth's surface directly above the origin of an earthquake or underground explosion. Also a prefix-indication clue, along with 7D: Centric opening: ETHNO.

6. Teach privately: TUTOR.

8. At birth: NEE.

9. Actress North, once touted as "the new Marilyn Monroe": SHEREE. As Advertised.

10. Kind of man or game: CONFIDENCE. From the many scams in which the victim is induced to hand over money as a token of confidence: "con men". Also Congress. Not picking a side here, politics in general is something we could do with less of from both sides. That word comes from poly, meaning many, and tics, meaning blood-sucking parasites.

11. Narnia lion: ASLAN. Created by author C.S. Lewis.

12. Fix, as a slot machine?: REARM. Slot machine = one armed bandit.

13. Uplift: EDIFY. From Latin, to build or construct, as an edifice. Late Latin meaning: to improve spiritually or instruct.

18. Night light: NEON. Red is the only color actual neon gas produces. There are now more than 150 colors possible; almost every color other than red is produced using argon, mercury and phosphor. Neon tubes actually refer to all positive-column discharge lamps, regardless of the gas filling. The colors in order of discovery were blue (Mercury), white (Co2), gold (Helium), red (Neon), and then different colors from phosphor-coated tubes. The mercury spectrum is rich in ultraviolet light which in turn excites a phosphor coating on the inside of the tube to glow. Be very careful disposing of "neon" tubes, which are most probably mercury vapor instead.

22. Astringent: ACRID. Sharp, bitter, fierce. Related word: acrimony. I wouldn't have thought of acrid meaning quite the same as astringent, but I'm seeing more than one related pair in this puzzle (56D. Astringent compound: ALUM.), so that's probably why it was clued that way.

24. Bass or drum: FISH. Bass can be largemouth or smallmouth. Drumfish.

25. Blast cause, briefly: NITRO. Nitroglycerin. Also the N in TNT (Tri-Nitro-Toluene).

27. Some cops: DETECTIVES. Monk, Moto, Chan, even Wojo.

29. Rug: WIG. Hairpiece. Construction of a wig is similar to the process of making a rug: using a hook to attach tufts of hair to a piece of base material. Apparently the term started in the theater industry where many actors needed wigs to play their roles.

30. Ga. airport: ATL. Atlanta, Georgia.

34. News promo: SOUNDBITE. "The Eagle has landed" "Elvis has left the building".

35. Take the stage: ACT. Did anyone try to take the stagecoach?

36. Mandolin kin: UKE. Both are small plucked strings. The abbreviation is in the language, like rhino, so an indicator wasn't necessary.

38. As a friend, to Fifi: EN AMI. French phrase.

39. "High Noon" actress Jurado: KATY. 1952 movie starring Gary Cooper.

44. Regular alternative, informally: HI TEST. Only necessary if you have a high-performance (high-compression) engine to prevent knocking. In a regular engine, you don't get any benefit for the extra cost.

45. X-rated stuff: SMUT.

46. Unexpected climax: TWIST. I can't believe the proximity of the answer above was a complete accident...

47. In better health: HALER. Hale means whole, in the sense of wellness.

49. "... O, be some __ name": Juliet: OTHER. What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. (Ref 57A above, "pull my finger")

50. Bowler's division: FRAME. Ten per game.

52. Puckish: ELFIN. Puck is a mischievous fairy in "A Midsummer Night's Dream". A second Shakespeare clue/answer.

53. Has-__: BEENS.

58. Nevertheless, briefly: THO. Although.

59. Baths: SPA. Spa is actually a municipality in Belgium, and is the site of many healing hot springs. Agatha Christie's fictional detective (27D) Hercule Poirot was born in Spa.

Answer grid.

Pictures of the Day: Say Hello to Cameron, who was born on June 21, 2010. Look how happy Grandma JD is. Here is a another look at the handsome guy.


Jun 23, 2010

Wednesday June 23, 2010 Dan Naddor

Theme: ESSES - The second word of each two-word phrase contains a pair of consecutive letter S.

20A. Confident: SELF- POSSESSED. Or maybe when a Demon invades his own body?

26A. Second-counter's opening: ONE MISSISSIPPI. My first thought was wondering who was the first counter.

41A. Evaluation by co-workers: PEER ASSESSMENT.

47A. Professional hitter?: HIRED ASSASSIN. Did anyone go for baseball? I thought of the wonderful series of books about Keller a hit man created by Lawrence Block, who has many series characters, all of which are quite flawed, but the books are fun.

And the unifier:

61A. Each of the four longest puzzle answers has two pairs of them: ESSES.

And as a little bonus, a half answer, 16A. Essence: SOUL.

Lemonade here, and getting to blog a Dan Naddor, I was so excited, but I found this to be an unusually easy puzzle from Dan, with flashes of brilliance but it went too quickly…well, let’s get right to work.


1A. "Stay" singer Lisa: LOEB Reality Bites she met Ethan Hawke, and gave him a demo, he then played the song for Ben Stiller, who was directing the film, and it ended up playing during the credits, and becoming a #1 hit, without ever being released anywhere else.

5A. DeMille with an Oscar: CECIL B., the original movie mogul.

10A. Short pans?: UGHS. This is classic Dan Naddor, not only do you have to recognize the pun (PANS – PANTS) but you have interpret PAN to mean to be critical of, then you can get the answer.

14A. The Dixie Chicks, e.g.: TRIO. There were three of them, but I think they broke up.

15A. Wet, in a way: RAINY.

17A. Bell sound: DONG. Well the bell is rung, and I bet this inspires our DF ladies to read this puzzle more carefully.

18A. Make a delivery?: ORATE.

19A. Salinger title girl: ESME. This is our fifth visit from this character this year.

23A. "In a sec": NOT YET. This took some perp work.

25A. Sierra Club founder John et al.: MUIRS. I guess this is better than the Ghost and Mrs._______.

31A. Inventor Howe: ELIAS. My grandfather was a tailor, so I had this one sewed up.

32A. Bonehead: IDIOT. This word is a favorite of baseball announcers when describing poor decisions by players.

33A. Fontanne of Broadway: LYNN. Along with her husband Alfred Lun she was a dominating force on Broadway for many years, still working into the 70’s.

34A. Mix: BLEND. My fist thought was TOM.

35A. High-quality cotton: PIMA. There, now you know everything.

39A. Son of Sarah: ISAAC. We had the discussion of ISHMAEL, and ISAAC, ABRAHAM’s first two sons.

40A. Cream dispensers: TUBES. I thought of coffee.

45A. Cut into slices: CARVE. Made me think of peanuts.

46A. Materialize: APPEAR.

52A. Ahmadinejad's land: IRAN. Not a nice man.

53A. Nut-yielding tree: BEECH. Ah the memories, Beech Nut.

54A. Perlman of "Cheers": RHEA. Married to Danny DeVito for many years.

57A. Telescope part: LENS.

58A. Carpenter's machine: LATHE.

59A. Rows: OARS. OAR, OAR your boat, gently down the stream…

60A. "__ Anything": "Oliver!" song: I’D DO. I like this one better.

62A. Fargo's st.: N. Dak.. To balance or SDAK.

Yay, let’s get down tonight, I did some work for KC in the 80’s.


1D. Inc., in London: LTD. Abbreviation for Limited, popular in many countries.

2D. What Pizarro sought: ORO. Gee, we just saw OAR; anyway, a double dipper, you have to know the explorer, that he sought gold, and the Spanish word for gold. This is not the old White Sox left hander, Juan Pizarro.

3D. Brain: EINSTEIN.

4D. Under-the-bed hider: BOGEY MAN. What plagued Tiger and Phil down the stretch at the Open.

5D. Partner of Seals: CROFTS. We had a beautiful Summer Breeze by my place tonight.

6D. Tombstone lawman: EARP. They were still in Kansas, Toto.

7D. "Later!": CIAO. Rhymes with HAO NAO BRAON CAO.

8D. QB's misthrows: INTS. Since QB is abbreviated, so is the answer.

9D. Cleaning compounds: LYES. You do not buy them in packs.

10D. Exhausts: USES UP. I thought of fumes.

11D. Dirt: GOSSIP. Makes sense when you are reading the Enquirer while you wait in line at the grocery store.

12D. Scapulae-to-ulnae bones: HUMERI. There must be punch line here somewhere.

13D. Mushers' vehicles: SLEDS.

21D. Luau souvenirs: LEIS. Ah, the good old days when we had a Hawaiian contingent.

22D. Discharge: EMIT. Honey, DISCHARGE on the VISA is way too much.

23D. Christmas air: NOEL. Air?

24D. Without siblings: ONLY. How many of our midst are only children? I am the third of three boys.

27D. Marner of fiction: SILAS, where were the Spark Notes in my day? A book by a woman named George; I was confused. He was a nasty miser, but he wasn’t, geeze.

28D. Think tank output: IDEAS.

29D. Subsequently: SINCE.

30D. Landscaper's supply: SOD. I love the British use, SOD ALL…

34D. Jamboree gp.: BSA. Boy Scouts of America.

35D. Lift weights: PUMPING IRON . I wonder what Arnold will do now.

36D. Sting victim's wail: I BEEN HAD. Sounds kinda Arabic.

37D. Actress Suvari: MENA. Cute, what did you all think of American Beauty?

38D. Galileo's sci.: ASTR. Astronomy.

39D. Burned up: IRED. I get the concept, of IRE, but I cannot find it in a dictionary.

40D. Recipe amts.: TSPS. Always this or TBSP.

41D. Like socks, hopefully: PAIRED.

42D. Trip to the bank, say: ERRAND.

43D. Nonetheless: EVEN SO.

44D. Pane holders: SASHES. Windows, the old kind you look through.

45D. Common cook-off dish: CHILI. CHILI today, Hot TAMALE.

48D. Skilled: ABLE.

49D. Neptune's realm: SEAS.

50D. Match makers?: SETS. very tricky, in honor of the Wimbledon Fortnight, Tennis matches.

51D. Hurt: ACHE.

55D. Procter & Gamble detergent: ERA. Well, at least it avoids any political discussion of equal rights.

56D. "Shoot!": ASK.

Answer grid.

That’s all folks. I wish you each a very happy and hurricane free summer.