Sep 30, 2010

Thursday September 30, 2010 David Poole

Theme: I, for one, welcome our new bird overlords - All the two-word theme answers start with a type of bird that, except for the center, when taken in full are not actually about birds per se. The clues are indicated with a "?" to indicate a wacky interpretation. (Note: All the two-word theme clues are BB alliterative.)

18A. Bird bonnet?: ROBIN HOOD. Speculation on his "realness" mostly debunked, a few shreds of speculative coincidence for two different men named Robert Hood.

24A. Bird boo-boo?: CARDINAL SIN. The final seven: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

34A. Bird brain?: CHICKEN NOODLE. Soup or flavored pasta, it still contains chicken.

50A. Bird backpackers?: EAGLE SCOUTS. Gerald Ford was the only US President to ever be one.

56A. Bird bottoms?: KITE TAILS. A kite is a raptor in the same family as hawks, eagles and other birds of prey.

Al here.

Did you notice a lot of artist references, or is it just me? Composers, painters, Actors, directors, poets, writers, performers. Or, maybe that's just another way to say there were a lot of proper names in the puzzle. Even so, most of the cluing didn't seem all that tricky. I didn't need any helper squares, and finished it faster than Dan's puzzle yesterday.


1. Bouillabaisse base: BROTH. Fish stew. The broth is made using olive oil, onions, garlic, celery, bay leaf, pepper, thyme, fish bones, water and wine. Alliterative clue and answer.

6. "Coffee Cantata" composer: BACH. A small excerpt.

10. "Once I had ... love and it was __": Blondie lyric: A GAS. Heart of Glass. This clip contains the original PITA phrase that they had to clean up to perform on TV. Most wouldn't give it a second thought today.

14. So out it's in: RETRO. Latin prefix meaning: backwards, behind.

15. In unison, musically: A DUE.

16. Caffeine source: COLA. Kola nuts. And 30D. 16-Across, e.g.: SODA.

17. One of Israel's 12 tribes: ASHER. I'm pretty sure this refers to the 12 sons of Jacob who became tribal patriarchs: 1-Reuben 2-Simeon 3-Levi 4-Judah 5-Dan 6-Naphtali 7-Gad 8-Asher 9-Issachar 10-Zebulun 11-Joseph (and his amazing technicolor dreamcoat) 12-Benjamin.

20. Shows scorn: SNEERS.

22. Director Wertmüller: LINA. The original "Swept Away" movie before the, perhaps, not so great Madonna remake.

23. Hound over a debt: DUN."to insist on payment of debt," 1620s, perhaps related to dunnen "to sound, resound, make a din", or shortened from dunkirk "privateer," a private vessel licensed to attack enemy ships during wartime, from Dunkirk, French port from which they sailed. The oldest theory traces it to a Joe Dun, supposedly a London bailiff famous for catching defaulters.

26. Ruby of "A Raisin in the Sun": DEE. With Sidney Poitier.

27. Favorable times, as for pics: OPS. Photo ops.

28. Marshland: FEN.

29. Afternoon services: TEA SETS.

31. Mazda MX-5, familiarly: MIATA. Zoom Zoom.

33. Granola grains: OATS.

39. Author Silverstein: SHEL. Cartoonist, poet, and songwriter. Along with his children's books, he also wrote "The Unicorn Song" which was a big hit for the Irish Rovers.

40. First first name in Olympic gymnastic tens: NADIA. Comăneci. She grew up...

41. Cardinal Cooke: TERENCE. Later Archbishop of New York.

45. 1,000 G's: MIL. Million, one megabuck.

46. Free TV ad: PSA. Public Service Announcement. No longer a mandate that stations must air them for free.

49. Suffix with expert: ISE.

53. Cubs, on scoreboards: CHI. One of two Chicago baseball teams.

54. Morlock haters: ELOI. The Time Machine races.

55. Clawed: TORE AT.

59. "Tootsie" Oscar winner: LANGE. Jessica. Best Supporting Actress.

60. Ireland, to poets: ERIN. Always need to wait for perps to distinguish from EIRE.

61. Cuba, to Castro: ISLA. Spanish for island.

62. Polecat relative: OTTER. Interesting factoid. Another: fishermen in southern Bangladesh have bred otters and trained them to chase fish into their nets.

63. Something to take lying down: REST.

64. It helps you get up: STEP. I liked the proximity of this clue with the previous clue, both a little tricky, too.

65. Orchestra section: REEDS.


1. 1997 Depp title role: BRASCO. Joseph Dominick Pistone, alias Donnie Brasco, is a former FBI agent who worked undercover for six years infiltrating two of the Five Families of the Mafia in New York City. He wrote the book Donnie Brasco, which became the movie. Not to be confused with "Donnie Darko", which was an entirely different Mad World.

2. Close again, as a change purse: RE-SNAP. I don't know if this should be hyphenated or not. Funny word, the "re" is kind of unnecessary.

3. Unlisted ones: OTHERS. Et al.

4. Cornered, in a way: TREED.

5. Frightful: HORRIFIC. Literally: hair-raising.

6. Milky Way, e.g.: BAR. Galaxy didn't fit.

7. "Be __": "Help me out": A DOLL. This seems like an old movie line, but I can't quite place it... If you try a search like I did, be careful what you click on, the word doll seems to return lots of "interesting" results.

8. Georges Braque, for one: CUBIST. Picasso is another. In cubist artworks, objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form—instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context. Often the surfaces intersect at seemingly random angles, removing a coherent sense of depth.

9. Bum: HEINIE. Prat. Fanny (US). Arse (UK).

10. Oberhausen "Oh!": ACH. German.

11. Considerable amount: GOOD DEAL.

12. Traditional song with the line "Je te plumerai": ALOUETTE. Anyone else have to sing this as a round back when they were in school?

13. Blue state: SADNESS. No politics, please...

19. Zola novel: NANA. Emile Zola. What a cheerful book. A story of a prostitute who destroys every man who pursues her. Several are ruined financially, others commit suicide, one with scissors, another burns himself to death in his barn. In the end, she dies of smallpox described in graphic detail. Critically acclaimed, of course.

21. Furtive type: SNEAK. Root words for sneak and snake are related.

25. Get in the game: ANTE. From Latin: before. Paying to play (cards).

31. Miss's equal?: MILE. idiom: "A miss is as good as a mile." Close only counts in horseshoes. Close but no cigar.

32. Landers with advice: ANN. As well as her sister Abigail Van Buren. (Dear Abby)

34. Wonderland cat: CHESHIRE. Grinning like one actually pre-dates Lewis Carrol. John Wolcot (Peter Pindar) used it in his satire, but the phrase was probably common before being written down. One interesting possible guess is that some influential family in Cheshire, with a lion rampant as its crest, employed some sign painter to paint the crest on the signboards of many of the inns. The painter was none too sure of the appearance of a lion and the final result looked, to the country folk, like an attempt to depict a grinning cat.

35. Finder's cry: HERE IT IS.

36. Title: NAME.

37. Keats or Shelley: ODIST. I'll leave poetry to the experts...

38. Artist's choice: OIL COLOR.

39. Price that's rarely paid: STICKER.

42. Depilatory brand: NEET. Name has been changed to Veet.

43. French city near a Chunnel terminus: CALAIS.

44. Diva, stereotypically: EGOIST. At least they have a sense of humor about themselves...

46. Mambo bandleader Tito: PUENTE.

47. Faked, as a fight: STAGED.

48. Autumn blooms: ASTERS. From a Greek word meaning star.

51. Former French textile city: LILLE. L'Isle, the island, in a mostly marshy area. So named for the castle of the counts of Flanders built on dry land in the middle of the marsh.

52. Use the soapbox: ORATE.

57. Tolkien's Treebeard is one: ENT. Tolkien borrowed "Ent" from the (same) Anglo-Saxon word meaning "giant".

58. Doofus: SAP. Probably from earlier sapskull, from sap as a shortened form of sapwood "soft wood between the inner bark and the heartwood, that is to say, "soft in the head".

Answer Grid.


Sep 29, 2010

Wednesday September 29, 2010 Dan Naddor

Theme: STOCK SPLIT - Each of the five theme answers have the word STOCK wrapped around them.

18A. Hurricane zone: STORM TRACK. No hurricane, but we do have a TROPICAL DEPRESSION bringing us flooding by the time you all are reading this; eerie.

20A. Unflappable: STEADY AS A ROCK. Steady enough ladies? IMAGE .

33A. "Time out!": STOP THE CLOCK. I remember this SHOW better. My mother was on the radio with Bud Collyer during the 1939 .World’s Fair. Which is ironic because we have 45A. 1970 World's Fair site: OSAKA. All you missed is HERE .

42A. Dismay at the dealer: STICKER SHOCK. It is not just cars, but many BILLS .

56A. Sprinter's device: STARTING BLOCK. Okay I ran out of ideas.

60A. Sign of corporate success, and a literal hint to the puzzle theme found in 18-, 20-, 33-, 42- and 56-Across: STOCK SPLIT - this is when the shares of a publicly traded company become so expensive, the company splits the shares to lower the price, so instead of one $100.00 share, you would have 2 $50.00 shares.

Happy Wednesday, and Happy Birthday to my number two son; what a great present, a Dan Naddor, with six theme related answers and 69 letters of themeage.

For all you newbies, Dan will always be very special to us, both for his wit and his courage. And of course his prolific puzzle publications.

He really loved to trick so many ways, with the most common the run on answer, where if you see a partial fill, you will think you made a mistake because the letters cannot be in the same word; today’s examples:

24A. __ in November: N AS. This has nothing to do with the rapper, just the letter that begins the word.

28A. Alternatively: IF NOT. Yes, F and N can be next to each other.

50A. Polite oater response: YES'M. I was an extra once in a movie starring JOHNNY CRAWFORD , and Victoria PRINCIPAL .

66A. Prayer opening: O LORD. Reminds me of this MOVIE .

1D. Appends: ADDS ON. Not to be confused with this PENDS .

9D. Not digressing: ON TOPIC. This is so big in classrooms these days, I am told; the kids must stay on topic; not me, I am afraid, I love digressing. Last evening, we had someone come in for an interview…

48D. Oregon State's conf.: PAC TEN. Off to a great start with Oregon, Stanford and USC all playing well and UCLA stunning Texas. OSU (the one in Oregon) did not do so well on the blue turf, though.

52D. He rid Ire. of snakes, as the legend goes: ST PAT. Notice how Dan just tells you it is an abbreviation by referencing IRE.

56D_ speak: SO TO. I thought of sotto voce.

Anyway, time to tackle the rest of the puzzle; sorry I am being so long winded, but Dan stokes me.


1. Hitchcock's wife and collaborator: ALMA. Man what a way to start, I did not recall this Mrs. H. . I think I will read the book their daughter wrote.

5. Floater with a ladder: RAFT. The miracles of technology; right GEORGE .

9. Garnish on a toothpick: OLIVE. Does everybody use Vodka now for their DRINK .

14. Radio tuner: DIAL. No soap, I had trouble with this one; I guess it was too easy.

15. Peace Prize city: OSLO. For our Norwegian members, a reminder plug.

16. Kind of spray: NASAL. Also my ex-girlfriend, ick.

17. Ringing sound: DONG. A very versatile WORD .

22. Playful swimmer: OTTER. Ah the MEMORIES .

23. Craft: SHIP.

25. Bodybuilder's pride: ABS. What you think LADIES ?

37. TV ad-skipping aid: TIVO.

40. "M*A*S*H" role: RADAR.

41. Palo __, Calif.: ALTO. Home of Stanford (PAC TEN) and the last Super Bowl the Dolphins played, and the only one with Dan Marino. We were there, sad.

46. Hearth burn consequence: ASH. Did you read it as "Heart burn"? I did not not get this clue, and all I could think of was THIS BURN .

47. Jacuzzi, e.g.: SPA. Like Kleenex and Jello, a product name that became the product. Did you know it was the name of the family who invented it?

54. Destroyer destroyer: U-BOAT. Really fun clue, and fine FILM .

62. Con: ANTI.

63. Supple: LITHE. Like THESE .

64. Cornerstone word: ANNO. In the cement in the corner of the building, the YEAR it was built, part of the never ending Latin lesson of CW, which includes 39D. By way of: VIA.

65. Spotted: SEEN. I was thinking Leopards.

67. Ball holders: TEES. Geez, this and DONG in one puzzle.

68. Coastal raptors: ERNS. This bird has flown through often lately.


2. Ray of "GoodFellas": LIOTTA. I have seen this Movie 35 times, as one of the Lufthansa Gang became a client.

3. Some Musée d'Orsay works: MANETS. Love pretty PICTURES .

4. Pool problem: ALGAE. Our problem is the sumbitch Iguana who sneaks out to poop in de pool.

5. Optimistic: ROSY. “If we could all wear green glasses, it would not be so hard to see the grass would always be greener in our own back yard.”

6. "The Thin Man" pooch: ASTA. A true Hollywood STAR .

7. Dentist's suggestion: FLOSS. My cousin flosses so much, she always has some hanging off of her.

8. Holy scroll: TORAH. Tonight is the last night of Sukkhot. Happy Holiday.

10. Prix de __ de Triomphe: annual horse race: L'ARC. Now this is deceptive, most of us would get Arc de Triomphe right away, but make it a horse race, and the puzzle becomes a horse race.

11. Writer Dinesen: ISAK. I never heard of this woman (yes, woman) but h=she has some great QUOTES .

12. Shop cleaner, briefly: VAC.

13. Caribou kin: ELK. Hmm, are they YUMMY ?

19. Diagnostic proc.: MRI. Another clue abbr.

21. "Shoot!": DRAT. One of my favorite words, another of those Brit words that hides the blasphemy WORDS .

26. Drag: BORE. You like THIS .

27. Joust verbally: SPAR.

29. Strong criticism: FLAK. I like it, and don’t give me any….

30. Mardi Gras city's Amtrak code: NOL. I do not think anyone memorizes Amtrak codes. But the airport there is MSY; know why?

31. Trick-or-treat mo.: OCT. Another abbr.

32. Bout stopper, for short: TKO.

33. Wallop: SOCK. This fists in nicely in a puzzle filled with STOCK.

34. NFL scores: TDS.

35. "That's a riot—not": HA HA. Go ahead and Google derisive laughter, my my.

36. Cupid, to the Greeks: EROS.

37. General associated with chicken: TSO. Time to LEARN .

38. "__ a date!": IT’S. Maybe save your LIFE .

43. Negotiated white water, perhaps: KAYAKED.

44. Thick-bodied fish: CHUB. Talk about live and LEARN MORE.

47. One vis-à-vis two: SOONER. Less? Normal? Some hidden FRENCH .

49. Diet doctor: ATKINS.

51. Med. drama sets: ERS. Ah yes, another GEORGE .

53. Pooh's creator: MILNE.

55. Unimpressed: BLASE. You get TWO .

57. Freq. test giver: TCHR. Another abbr., but really?

58. Prime-time time: NINE.

59. Pontiac muscle cars: GTOS. Dennis, is this REAL .

60. Road warning: SLO.

61. Up to, in ads: TIL.

Way too much, but like the puzzle, I rambled. So hello and see you all later.

Answer grid.


Sep 28, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 Mark Bickham

Theme: Promos - The first word of each two-word common phrase is a synonym of "ads". Each common phrase is then humorously clued as if it's ads related.

20A. Promo after promo after promo?: AD INFINITUM

35A. Thesis on promos?: COMMERCIAL PAPER

52A. One who takes a promo off the air?: SPOT REMOVER

Argyle here.

Meh, Meh, Meh. Bland theme (The theme clues are fun). Ambitious vertical stacks in the corners, sides broke into just two segments, which results in triple columns of 6s & 8s in each corner ... Total 74 words. 32 black squares. Still, meh. No sparkle fill.

I had hopes when the Z's appeared but the only WIT was 27 Across (Bon mot expert). Of course, your experience may vary.


1. Jane Austen classic : EMMA

5. Lose it : SNAP

9. Marathoner's pants? : GASPS. A little misdirection.

14. Campus area : QUAD

15. Sport with mallets : POLO

16. Like Andean pyramids : INCAN

17. More than suggest : URGE

18. Loud laugh : ROAR

19. Swordsman of lore : ZORRO.
Zorro's Theme Song.

23. Ike's WWII arena : ETO. United States Army European Theater of Operations (ETO). General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander.

24. Gumshoe : TEC. Detective

25. Chowed down : ATE

26. Old Olds creation : REO. Early auto, used the initials of its maker, Ransom Eli Olds.

27. Bon mot expert : WIT

28. Artificial : ERSATZ. German, from ersetzen, to substitute.

30. Put into words : SAY

31. Fourth century start : CCCI

32. Well-endowed, so to speak : CHESTY. Who comes to mind?

34. Oil-yielding rock : SHALE

39. "Doe, __ ...": song lyric : A DEER

40. Metallic mixtures : ALLOYS.
Here is one example.

41. __ and turn : TOSS

42. Astern : AFT

43. Black Sea port : ODESSA

47. Printers' widths : EMS

48. Keebler cookiemaker : ELF

49. "__ Beso": Paul Anka hit : ESO. A Spanish/Italian? version.

50. Part of D.A.: Abbr. : ATT. District Attorney

51. Portuguese king : REI

55. Forest bucks : STAGS

57. __ Star State : LONE

58. "By __!" : JOVE

59. Little laugh : TE-HEE

60. Knock off : DOIN

61. Aggressive Greek god : ARES. Olympian god of war.

62. Sci-fi writer __ Scott Card : ORSON. The only author to win both of American science fiction's top prizes in consecutive years.
Wikipedia entry, with image.

63. Snow coaster : SLED

64. "Winning __ everything" : ISN'T


1D. Put "=" between : EQUATE

2D. Scream bloody __ : MURDER

3D. Voodoo and wizardry : MAGICS

4D. Yemeni port : ADEN

5D. Wine-and-soda drink : SPRITZER. OK, this is sparkling(or is it just the soda?).

6D. Nary a soul : NO ONE

7D. Jai __ : ALAI

8D. Actor's job : PORTRAYAL

9D. Thingamajig : GIZMO. Names for things you don't know the name for.

10D. "Wheel of Fortune" purchase : AN O. "Alec, I would like to buy a vowel."

11D. Twist-off top : SCREW CAP

12D. Word with board or physics : PARTICLE.
Board made from small pieces of wood pressed and glued together. Physics studies of the elementary subatomic constituents of matter and radiation, and the interactive relationship between them.

13D. More stuck-up : SNOOTIER

21D. Darth, to Luke : FATHER. Bad clue. In Star Wars, Darth is the title of a Sith Lord or Master, the first part of the new name they take on. It was once believed to be a condensed version of 'Dark Lord of the Sith', and thus the reason for the title. Luke's father was- spoiler alert -Darth Vader

22D. One-eighty : UEY. U-turn.

29D. High points : ACMES

30D. Long-legged bird : STILT.

31D. Banking giant : CHASE. Anybody read this as "Baking giant"?

33D. Building repair platforms : SCAFFOLDS

34D. World of espionage : SPYDOM

35D. Waits on hand and foot : CATERS TO

36D. Dashboard gauge : ODOMETER

37D. Saviors : MESSIAHS

38D. Detail to tie up : LOOSE END

42D. Matterhorn or Monte Leone : ALP

44D. Really enjoys : SAVORS

45D. Director Spielberg : STEVEN

46D. Motionless : AT REST

48D. Museum Folkwang city : ESSEN. Germany. The term Folkwang is taken from the Edda; Folkvangar and means "hall of the people". Somebody here surely has visited it and can tell us more about it.

49D. "Sesame Street" regular : ERNIE

53D. Saw or plane : TOOL

54D. City east of Santa Barbara : OJAI.

56D. Political beginning? : GEO

Answer grid.


Sep 27, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010 Betty Keller

Theme: Three Diminutive Swine - First word of the first three long entries describe the protagonist of this classic children's tale. Also included are the integral structures associated with the story.

17A. High rollers: BIG SPENDERS

29A. "Do as I say, not as I do" speakers: BAD EXAMPLES

45A. Shrill "compliment" to a pretty woman: WOLF WHISTLE

61A. Catch your breath, or what the subject of this puzzle (found at the start of 17-, 29- and 45-Across) does: HUFF AND PUFF


39A. Like the house this puzzle's subject couldn't destroy: BRICK. Very center of the grid.

26D. Like a house destroyed by this puzzle's subject: STRAW

33D. See 26-Down clue: STICK. Both fragile houses are symmetrically placed along the edges of the grid. Very nice.

And a bonus entry: PENNED (6D. Confined, as pigs).

Argyle here.

Heavy themeage (57 theme squares) for a Monday with some questionable abbreviations but no real problems. It has been over a year since we have had a puzzle from Betty Keller and again, she isn't big on trickery or obscurity, as is right for a Monday. I think "cute" would be my description of this puzzle.


1. Sign up : ENROL

6. "My Cousin Vinny" star Joe : PESCI

11. Cooperstown shrine: Abbr. : HOF. The official site of the National Baseball Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown, NY.

14. First lady before Michelle : LAURA. Mrs. Bush.

15. Revolutionary Allen : ETHAN. Vermonter. His brother, Ira, did not get the press that Ethan did.

16. Tic-tac-toe loser : OXO

19. Pin for hanging : PEG

20. Election losers : ALSO-RANS

21. Observing : EYING

23. Musical scale unit : NOTE

24. Morales of "Jericho" : ESAI. We have seen this regular lately. His vowel-laden name use to show up on a seemingly weekly basis.

26. Duped person : SAP

34. Deal in stocks : TRADE

36. Stimpy's partner : REN. Ren is the scrawny "Asthma-Hound" Chihuahua

37. Actor Brad : PITT. Must post picture or else! Image.

38. Thinker Descartes : RENÉ. "Father of Modern Philosophy".

41. K-12 sch. years : ELHI

42. On a cruise : ASEA

43. "The View" network : ABC

44. Dig discovery : RELIC

49. "How revolting!" : ICK

50. One, to Beethoven : EINS. German.

51. Den or parlor : ROOM

53. One in a multiple birth : QUINT

56. Pet lizards' homes : TERRARIA

60. German conjunction : UND. More German.

64. Swearing-in words : I DO

65. Motionless : INERT

66. Nightmare loc. of film : ELM ST.

67. D.C. deal-maker : POL

68. Like a catching-up letter : NEWSY

69. Some towed vehicles, briefly : REPOS


1. Napoleon's exile isle : ELBA

2. File target : NAIL

3. Carpets : RUGS

4. Director Welles : ORSON

5. Carriage passenger's warmer : LAP ROBE

7. Approx. takeoff hrs. : ETDs. Estimated Time of Departure (ETD)

8. Boater's pronoun : SHE

9. Automobile : CAR

10. Crotch-to-ankle pants measure : INSEAM

11. Native Arizonans : HOPI

12. Plow pullers : OXEN

13. Verne's circumnavigator Phileas : FOGG. World traveller in Jules Verne's 1873 novel, "Around the World in Eighty Days". (Updated later: the original clue Phineas is a typo.)

18. "I could __ horse!" : EAT A

22. "Yahoo!" : YIPPEE

24. Biz VIP : EXEC. Very Important Person in business.

25. Went down like a stone : SANK

27. "Am not!" retort : ARE SO

28. Group of judges : PANEL

30. Idle and Clapton : ERICs. Eric Idle, English comedian, performed as a member of the British comedy group Monty Python. Eric Clapton, English guitarist, performed as a member of rock bands the Yardbirds and Cream.

31. Actress Palmer : LILLI. She was married to Rex Harrison. Image.

32. Code of conduct : ETHIC

35. Overwhelm with noise : DEAFEN

39. German road : BAHN. More German...again.

40. MLB scoring stats : RBIs

44. Stock up again : REORDER

46. Live __ one's means : WITHIN

47. The "T" in NATO : TREATY. North Atlantic Treaty Organization

48. Forsaken : LORN. Forlorn is the more common usage.

52. Source of Canada's symbolic leaf : MAPLE

53. Comical comment : QUIP

54. Cancel : UNDO

55. Fan club favorite : IDOL

56. Swaps between accts. : TFRS.. Is this a common abbreviation?

57. Type of roast : RUMP

58. In that event : IF SO

59. P.M. periods : AFTS. Now this abbreviation is a strain.

62. A, to Berlioz : UNE. Louis-Hector Berlioz was a French composer, regarded as a pioneer of modern orchestration.

63. Not many : FEW

Answer grid.


Added 8:45am:

Congratulations to constructor Mangesh Ghogre and his wife Rupali. They just had a new baby boy today. Their first, I think.

Sep 26, 2010

Sunday September 26, 2010 Damien Peterson

Theme: Mal de Mer -"Mer" is added to the ends of various parts of common phrases.

23A. Response to "What's a six-letter answer for 'Silent performer'?"? : MUMMER'S THE WORD. The base phrase is "Mum's the word".

50A. Seaside vacation disappointment? : BEACH BUMMER. Beach bum. We also have PIERS (27. Spots for seaside strolls) and SHORE (30A. Spot for seaside strolls). Three "seaside" clechos (clue echos).

60A. Prison performer? : SLAMMER DANCER. Slam dancer. Slammer is a slang for "prison".

75A. Team in an agricultural all-star game? : THE FARMER SIDE. The Far Side. From Argyle. I don't get the joke.

84A. Station that exclusively plays rapper MC's hits? : HAMMER RADIO. Ham radio. Rapper MC Hammer.

118A. Like steak cooked by an enchanting chef? : CHARMER BROILED. Charbroiled.

32D. Sugary complaint? : CANDIED YAMMER. Candid yam. With a bit of toasted walnuts, delicious!

34D. More cordial old-timer? : WARMER VETERAN. War veteran.

Some of the MERs are inserted to the end of the first word, some the middle word, some the end. Nice variety. Five of the them are attached to a M-ending word.

Like Doug Peterson's last "El Week" (playing on "Hell Week" ), the title "Mal de Mer" is just a title, not a direct summary of the theme, nothing seasick, nothing mal with de mer. But French references aplenty:

70A. Capital of Nord, France : LILLE. Je ne sais pas. De Gaulle's birthplace.

104A. Idée source : TETE. Head in French.

106A. French wine region : RHONE

58D. 1956 star of Vadim's "And God Created Woman" : BARDOT (Brigitte). Gorgeous.

61D. "Les __" : MIZ

71D. M.'s partner : MME. Monsieur/Madame.

85D. Dada co-founder : ARP (Jean)

111D. Fille's father : PERE. Fille = Daughter.

Interesting theme entry placement. The grid has a nice week-day style edges, with two fingers (the black square blocks, called so because they look like fingers poking into the grid) rather than three fingers, resulting in plenty of 7s and 6s on the outside and lots of 3s in the middle, esp Downs, several are abbrs.


1. Railroad foundation : ROADBED. Had road track in mind.

8. Short chat? : CONFAB. Short for confabulation.

14. Destroys : WRECKS

20. Philosopher's term : A PRIORI. Argument without evidence/analysis.

21. Portugal's second-largest city : OPORTO. Also PORTO, from which port wine gets its name.

22. __ reason : WITHIN

25. Superficiality : FACADE

26. Memo opener : AS PER

28. Professor's end? : IAL.End to the word professorial.

31. Agnus __: Mass prayers : DEIS

32. Poolroom array : CUES

33. Loud bird : MACAW

35. The whole shebang : A TO Z. Colorful clue.

36. Bermuda hrs. : AST. Atlantic Standard Time.

37. Five-time NBA championship-winning coach : PAT RILEY. Came to me without difficulty. We must have seen either his given name or surname in the puzzle before.

40. Shah's land, once : IRAN

42. Manhattan cooler? : ICE. Cocktail.

43. Siskel or Shalit : GENE. Only know former.

44. Sleeveless garment : VEST

45. Dinghy pair : OARLOCKS

47. Mountainous region in Genesis : GILEAD. No idea. In Jordan.

52. Sub in a tub : OLEO. Sub of butter. Nice rhyme. Has a Clear Aye style poetic euphony/rhythm feel.

53. Actress Lupino : IDA

55. Being, to Augustus : ESSE

56. Corn remnants : COBS

66. Full of team spirit : RAH RAH

68. Different : ODD

69. Picture cards? : IDS. ID cards.

71. Super Bowl honoree : MVP. Vikings have never won a Super Bowl.

72. Palindromic "before" : ERE

73. Agitated state : FRENZY

78. Roller on a Rolls : TYRE. Good clue.

79. Rhein tributary : AARE

82. Worked (up) : HET

83. Pair at the altar : I DO'S. Pair of oaths.

90. Sci-fi psychic : EMPATH. I only know empathy, rooted in empath, I presume?

92. Declared : AFFIRMED

95. Powerful energy-market gp. : OPEC

96. Abbey titles : FRAS

97. Mex. title : SRA

98. Bench-presser's pride : PECS

99. "Risky Business" co-star : DE MORNAY (Rebecca). Recognized her face when I googled.

101. Flightless bird, nowadays? : SST. Now grounded, hence "flightless".

108. Heads or tails, e.g. : NOUN. This kind of clue gets me all the time.

109. Repentant one : RUER

110. Wrap-up : RECAP

112. Program file suffix : EXE

113. Relief agcy. founded in the U.K. in 1942 : OXFAM. Stands for Oxford Committee for Famine Relief. Unknown to me.

115. NFL ref, in slang : ZEBRA

116. Sacred birds : IBISES. Sacred in Egypt.

121. Bistro, informally : NITERY

122. Comes up : ARISES

123. Unisex : EPICENE. Does not seem to have "sex" root, does it? Not that I know what "sex" root is.

124. Yellowstone attraction : GEYSER

125. "Candid Camera" bits : PUT-ONS

126. Name of earthshaking importance? : RICHTER


1. Inn crowd option : RAMADA. Great play on "In crowd".

2. Musical works : OPUSES. Thought of OPERAS first.

3. It's exposed many times during the singing of "YMCA" : ARMPIT. Wow, let's see. Awesome clue.

4. 40% of quarters? : DIMES. Yep. I had to calculate in paper. I can't do mental math.

5. Transvaal settler : BOER. Dutch has those kind of aa clusters.

6. Make a misstep : ERR

7. Argument : DISPUTE. Followed by COHESIVE (8. Like good arguments). Another clecho.

9. Phone abbr. : OPER

10. "__ the time!" : NOW'S

11. Not to : FRO. To and fro.

12. Hotel courts : ATRIA

13. Amazing, in dialect : BODACIOUS. Crockett likes to use this word.

14. Hulk Hogan's '80s-'90s org. : WWF (World Wrestling Federation). Learning moment.

15. River inlets : RIAS

16. __ Sketch : ETCH A

17. Hardly orderly : CHAOTIC

18. "All Summer Long" singer, 2008 : KID ROCK. Great song.

19. Cold signs : SNEEZES

24. Theater section : TIER

29. '40s-'70s Coliseum team : LA RAMS. Needed crossing help.

33. It's not true : MYTH. TALE too.

37. Stew veggie : PEA

38. Cow country : LEA

39. Part of many a mtge. payment : ESC. Escrow?

41. Marlins' div. : NLE. National League East.

43. Trig. prerequisite : GEOM

46. Mus. ensemble : ORCH

47. Become lenient, as on crime : GO SOFT. The judge, right?

48. Offer to a dishwasher : I'LL DRY. Dishwasher does all the work for us.

49. Boss : LEADER

50. Counterfeit : BAD

51. Kentucky college or its city : BEREA. Not familiar with Berea College. What is it famous for?

54. Operations mgrs. : DRS. Directors?

57. Food company named for two states : ORE-IDA. Oregon-Idaho.

59. "Yikes!" : SHEESH

62. Modify : ALTER

63. Bethesda-based research org. : NIH. Unknown trivia to me.

64. Largest OH airport : CLE. You'd think it's Cincinnati.

65. Santa staffer : ELF

67. Car loan abbr. : APR. Annual Percentage Rate. I drew a blank.

74. Grape soda brand : NEHI

76. P-like letter : RHO

77. Makes a drink last : SIPS

80. "Cocoon" Oscar winner : AMECHE (Don). Again, recognized him only after I googled.

81. Fenway souvenir : RED SOX CAP. Man, this opens a slew of possible new entries. Twins' Cap, Twins' Program, Twins' Jersey, etc.

86. Used taxis : RODE

87. Big klutz : APE

88. JFK, but not LAX : DEM. Of course I was thinking of JFK Airport. It would really be a cool clue if LAX were named after a famous Republican.

89. Case-breaking words : I CONFESS. Nice entry.

91. When moms are honored : MAY

92. Guitar's second-lowest : A STRING. Well, Al knows.

93. Hotel soap, say : FREEBIE

94. Easy Street's metropolis? : FAT CITY. Both new slang for me. Comfortable living.

96. Stop in photography? : F NUMBER

100. Engine sound : ROAR

101. Lease prohibition : SUBLET

102. Unruffled : SERENE

103. Wall Street worker : TRADER

105. Facilitates : EASES

107. India's prime minister before Shastri : NEHRU. Intuitive guess. Was ignorant that Shastri is India's second prime minister.

109. Wealthy, in Weimar : REICH. Oh, really? I thought it's a just noun.

113. Roughly : OR SO

114. Marvel Comics heroes : X-MEN

115. Suffix with Paleo- : ZOIC

117. Half of the UAR : SYR. The other half is Egypt.

119. Thames islet : AIT. Classic crosswordese.

120. Sch. in Troy, NY : RPI. Spitzboov's alma mater.

Answer grid.

Happy Birthday, Dennis! Hope it's a memorable one and filled with love, joy and every pleasure you desire.


Added later: Damien Peterson is another alias name of Rich Norris, anagram of "Editor's Pen Name".

Sep 25, 2010

Saturday September 25, 2010 Barry Silk

Theme: None

Total words: 72

Total blocks: 30

This puzzle is anchored by two intersecting 15s right in the middle of the grid:

37A. Four-time NBA MVP: WILT CHAMBERLAIN. So, how old was he when he claimed that he had had sex with 20,000 many women?

8D. Residential street warning : SPEED BUMPS AHEAD. Brilliant debut entry.

Barry then builds up his grid with two Down 10s, two Across 9s, then triple stacks of 8s in the upper left and lower right corners.

My favorite fill and clue today is FATTY ACID (47A. It may be essential). Essential fatty acid.


1. Places for pieces : GUN RACKS. I wanted ARMORIES.

9. Support base : PLINTH

15. Worker's advocate : UNION REP. Needs "for short" in the clue, doesn't it?

16. Foe of Mark Antony : CICERO. Was ignorant that these two even lived in the same time.

17. Imagination : MIND'S EYE. Had trouble seeing the answer.

18. Screwed up : BLEW IT

19. NEA supporters : PTAS. Seems like Husker Gary can write a Ph. D thesis on the function of Nebraska NEA.

20. Third of seven: Abbr. : TUES. My week always starts on Monday.

22. Quantum mechanics subjects : ATOMS

23. "Bojangles" Robinson, for one : TAP DANCER. Recognized the guy when I googled.

25. El Cid player, 1961 : HESTON (Charlton). Have only seen his "The Ten Commandments".

29. Life lines? : BIO. Nice clue.

30. Mass garb : ALBS

33. Like an excited World Series crowd : AROAR. I bet Barry is already picturing his Phillies win the World Series. Also in the grid is ERA (36. Baseball stat). Any Roy Halladay fan?

34. Sign of life : PULSE

40. White, in Waikiki : KEA. As in Mauna Kea (White Mountain).

41. Up : HAPPY

42. Cox who played Drew in "Deliverance" : RONNY. Nope. Can't recall his name. "Deliverance" is absolutely terrifying.

43. Old pol. units : SSRS

45. Substitutes for forgotten words : LAs. In songs?

46. Releases : LETS GO

50. Sterno, for one : JELLY. Ha ha, I thought it's gas inside the Sterno.

52. Vengeful Quaker of fiction : AHAB. No idea about the Quaker connection. Have never read "Moby Dick".

53. Gee : THOU (Thousand). Weird to see G spelled out.

57. Profits : AVAILS

59. Party animal? : ELEPHANT. For the GOP. Great clue.

61. Abrasive mineral : GARNET. Lovely deep red color.

62. Compact : ALLIANCE

63. Derisive : SNEERY

64. Can't abide : DESPISES


1. Winston Groom hero : GUMP. Forrest Gump. Did not know the author.

2. Newton or curie : UNIT. OK, Dictionary says the un-capitalized curie is a unit of radioactivity.

3. La __: ocean phenomenon : NINA

4. Angler's supply : RODS

5. Q&A part: Abbr. : ANS

6. Greek islander : CRETAN. From Crete.

7. Excite : KEY UP

9. Pollutant found in NCR paper : PCB. What is NCR paper?

10. Color similar to pale plum : LILAC

11. Summer cooler : ICE TEA. No D again.

12. Where to get a muffuletta sandwich : NEW ORLEANS. I've certainly heard of muffuletta sandwich.

13. Garnish : TRIM. As a Christmas tree.

14. Red __: candy : HOTS

21. Pass on a ketch : SAIL BY. Ketch is sailing boat.

23. Tribal Council prop : TORCH. Don't get the clue.

24. Narrow margin : NOSE

25. Peddles : HAWKS

26. Native New Yorkers : ERIES. This refers to the Native Americans, correct?

27. Phenomenon that emits X-rays : SOLAR FLARE. I thought X-ray is emitted by the machine.

28. Work with a shuttle : TAT. Use shuttle to make lace.

31. Fetch : BRING

32. Maker of eneloop rechargeable batteries : SANYO. Not familiar with the batteries.

34. Melonlike fruit : PAPAYA. Looks ugly, but delicious. I like all tropical fruit.

35. Didn't get 100, say : ERRED

38. Stop order : HALT

39. Large amount : LOT

44. Hospital solution : SALINE

46. Abuses freedom of the press, perhaps : LIBELS. Had difficulty parsing the clue.

48. Texas city named for a president : TYLER. No idea. Wiki said the city is named for John Tyler in recognition of his support for Texas' admission to the United States

49. Valencia street : CALLE. Spanish for "street".

50. Flings : JAGS. Did not know jag can mean "spree" also.

51. Novelist Hunter : EVAN

53. Golden Triangle native : THAI. Drug in Golden Triangle. Heroin.

54. Former UN weapons inspector Blix : HANS. Man, it's been a long time. I can still hear his accented English about WMD.

55. Formerly : ONCE

56. Versatile wheels : UTES. Well, here it comes again.

58. Dump : STY

60. Spot : PIP. Playing card spot.

Answer grid.

Thanks for the sweet words about my Dennis birthday puzzle, everyone. I had fun doing it.


Sep 24, 2010

Friday September 24, 2010 Kelsey Blakley

Theme: SPOONERISM - Two-layered theme. The initial consonant(s) of common word/phrases are switched, and the end of each spoonerized two-word answer is a type of knife.

17A. Choose deli platter items? : PICK CHEESE. The unspoonerized word is Chickpeas. Cheese knife.

25A. Beef marinated in Jim's bourbon? : BEAM STEAK. Steam Bake. Not a familiar cooking term to me. Steak knife.

34A. Rooster's spread? : COCK'S BUTTER. A bit DF, isn't it? Box Cutter. Massive spoonerism in this one. The only entry where the middle consonants X experiences spelling CK change. Sound remains the same of course. Butter knife.

49A. "Casablanca" nightclub income? : RICK BREAD. Brick Red. Rick's Cafe in "Casablanca". Bread here means "money", right? The other three theme entries all end in real food. Bread knife.

58A. What each of the other four longest answers in this puzzle is : SPOONERISM

55A. Ironically, the 58-Acrosses in this puzzle end in types of them : KNIVES. "Ironically"? Are they supposed to end in "SPOONS"?

We also have TINE (19A. Jabber?). You use fork to jab I suppose.

Rather complicated scheme, isn't it? I was clueless about theme until I reached the unifier. Even then I still needed a bit of head-scratching to untangle the initial base phrase.

Total 21 non-theme entries of six or more letters. Quite impressive. Mainly a result of breaking down left and right edges of the grid into two rather than our normal three parts. Two-part edges are often seen in Saturday themeless.


1. Elián Gonzalez's home : CUBA. Easy start.

5. Legendary brothers in law : EARPS. At O.K. Corral. Not brothers-in-law.

10. Hogwarts messengers : OWLS. Lovely entry for Argyle.

14. What the connected have : AN IN. Have an in. The connected people.

15. Sole projection : CLEAT. SPIKE too, in golf.

16. Unconvincing : THIN

20. Opera set on Cyprus : OTELLO. Verdi opera based on Shakespeare's Othello. Did not know where it's set.

21. Spiced 23-Across : CHAI. And TEA (23. See 21-Across). Several cross-referenced clues in the grid.

24. Oater camp sight : TEPEE

27. Both Begleys : EDS

28. Chrysler division : RAM. Dodge Ram.

30. Shooting gadget : SYRINGE. Was not picturing medicine shooting.

31. Oklahoma tribe : KIOWA. Only know OTOE.

33. Dutch physics Nobelist Simon van der __ : MEER. No idea. 1984 Physics co-Nobelist. Still alive.

38. Shelled out : PAID

40. Rival of 2-Down : US AIR. And UNITED (2D. Red Carpet Club flier). Also, MOTH (54A. Light-headed flier?). Flier clecho (clue echo)

41. Bring charges against : ARRAIGN. Learned from watching "Law & Order".

45. Stumble : ERR

46. Sagittarian's mo., probably : DEC. Probably, yes.

51. Friend of Jesús : AMIGOS. Funny clue. To me, Jesus lived in Israel and spoke Hebrew, so did his friends. (Correction: The answer is singular AMIGO.)

53. Shih __ : TZU. The Tibetan dog.

56. Pack member : WOLF

60. Subj. with skeletons in the closet?: Abbr. : ANAT. Nice clue too.

61. Balm : SALVE

62. Within: Pref. : ENTO. Opposite ECT(O).

63. Place to keep stock? : YARD. Livestock? Don't quite get the clue.

64. Grammy winner Gormé : EYDIE. Faintly rang a bell.

65. Mtg. : SESS. Meeting/Session.


1. "In Cold Blood" author : CAPOTE (Truman)

3. Arm & Hammer logo feature : BICEPS. Arm & Hammer baking soda. Novel clue.

4. __ socks : ANKLE

5. Pilot's "E" : ECHO. Well, gimme for our pilot Dudley.

6. It may be blonde or brown : ALE. Got via crosses. Tricky clue.

7. Volleyball star Gabrielle : REECE. Model too.

8. Ottoman lords : PASHAS. Used to stump me.

9. Hot and heavy : STEAMY. Love. Sex.

10. Baseball's Master Melvin : OTT. Man, I never knew Mel Ott is nicknamed called "Master Melvin".

11. Bleach : WHITENER

12. Roots : LINEAGE

13. British : trainer :: American : __ : SNEAKER. Really, Nice Cuppa, you call sneakers "trainers" in Britain?

18. Ayatollah, e.g. : CLERIC

22. Camp David Accords signer: Abbr. : ISR. Egypt too. Camp David Accords.

25. Upscale imports : BMWS

26. Source of ticking : TIMER

29. Verbal thumbs-up : A-OK. Reminded me of Jennifer Aniston "Love Happens".

31. Maker of the FunSaver disposable camera : KODAK

32. __ Dhabi : ABU

34. Advertising notice : CIRCULAR

35. Recycled : USED

36. What many rural roads lack : TAR

37. Albania's capital : TIRANE. How can I remember this name? Looks so ordinary.

38. Not completely : PARTWAY

39. Home of Carefree Highway : ARIZONA. I guessed.

42. Chip maker : IBM. Computer chips.

43. Detroit suburb __ Pointe : GROSSE. Nope. Was it the place first settled down by the French?

44. Take-home : NET PAY

46. Like some wisdom : DIVINE

47. Discharges : EGESTS. Opposite INGESTS.

48. Carl Sagan PBS series : COSMOS

50. Get __ of: locate : A HOLD

52. Entangles : MIRES

55. Bouncing joint? : KNEE. Bouncing what? Soccer ball?

57. Wire svc. involved in many arrangements : FTD. Oh, flowers.

59. Egg opening : OVI. Prefix.

Answer grid.

Since many of you do not come to the blog on weekend, I'd like to share with you a birthday puzzle I made for a special blog contributor, who is celebrating his birthday this coming Sunday. The clues are very general, you don't need to know him to solve the grid.

Click here for the puz file (Across Lite), and here for the pdf version. I also had a write-up of the puzzle and my thought process. But don't read until you solve the puzzle. It's here.


Sep 23, 2010

Thursday September 23, 2010 John Pounders

Theme: The Kool-Aid Man's catchphrase, Oh, Yeah! All three answers end with THAT. Each is punctuated differently to have a different meaning.

20A. "Oh, yeah?": SURE ABOUT THAT?

36A. "Oh, yeah!": I LIKE IT LIKE THAT.

53A. "Oh, yeah ...": I REMEMBER THAT.

Al here.

Lots of tricky cluing today, only four proper names and a couple of geography clues. A fun puzzle, but nothing really stood out structurally to me, so on with the answers.


1. A teaspoon, maybe: DOSE. It seems so obvious after you see it. Not so much before.

5. It may involve splashing: BATH.

9. Old hat: PASSE. Out of fashion, trite. The allusion is to nothing more than the appearance of worn-out headgear, but there is an older, more vulgar meaning...

14. Quechua speaker: INCA. Estimates are that 6-8 million people in the Andes region speak it today. You can take lessons...

15. Return from the Alps?: ECHO. Hike, anyone?

16. Sticky resin used in paint: ALKYD. Oil-based as opposed to Latex water-based. The term alkyd is a modification of the original name "alcid", reflecting the fact that they are derived from alcohol and organic acids.

17. Hot quaff: GROG. Supposedly an allusion to Old Grog, nickname of Edward Vernon (1684-1757), British admiral who wore a grogram cloak and who in August 1740 ordered his sailors' rum to be diluted.

18. Love god: EROS. Greek. Cupid was the corresponding Roman God.

19. "Thelma and Louise" car: T-BIRD. Movie Spoiler picture.

23. __ manual: USERS. The one for my blue ray player came in 8 different languages. What a waste of paper.

24. Canadian sentence enders?: EHS. How do you spell the country to our north? C, eh? N, eh? D, eh?

25. Start using: TAP. Like a beer keg.

28. High degree: PHD. Needed perps to eliminate NTH.

29. Prone: LIABLE. Apt is actually the older meaning from Latin: bent forward, inclined. To lie face-down wasn't recorded until the 1570s.

33. "Carnival of Harlequin" surrealist: MIRO. Joan. We just had him for "Sill Life With Shoes" last Thursday.

34. Angler's accessory: SEINE. A net.

35. Silas Marner, e.g.: MISER. Subtitled The Weaver of Raveloe, by George Eliot (the pseudonym of Mary Ann(e) Evans).

41. Garden bulb: TULIP. Do you think of flowers or vegetables first when you see or hear the word garden? I wanted ONION at first. Gardenias are named for naturalist Dr. Alexander Garden, Vice President of the Royal Society.

42. Sharp ridge: ARETE. There are several in this picture.

43. Repose: CALM. A related word to repose is "pause". Calm is from from Old Italian calma, which is from Late Latin cauma "heat of the mid-day sun" (in Italy, a time when everything rests and is still).

44. Journey: VOYAGE. A journey was originally one day's travel. Or a group once again made popular by a bunch of Gleeks.

46. Merit badge org.: BSA. Boy Scouts of America.

49. Quarterback's cry: HUT. Why? I also found this, which claims that back when Roman Centurions gave orders, they then said HUT to execute it immediately. It could be true, the military today still uses HUT in marching cadence.

50. Time in a pool: DIP. To dip was originally to baptize, and is possibly related to "deep".

51. Willow tree twig: OSIER. Used in basket weaving. And they're coming to take me away, ha ha.

58. Virile one: HE-MAN. Dolph Lundgren in the live movie adaptation of the earlier cartoon.

60. Cranny's partner: NOOK. I think we just had INGLE recently, too.

61. First name in Indian music: RAVI. Shankar. Father of Norah Jones.

62. Church chorus: AMENS. Choir first anyone?

63. Tackle box item: LURE.

64. Mars counterpart: ARES. Mars/Roman, Ares/Greek Gods of war. Ares and "ire" are related. He was an angry god.

65. Opinion giver: JUDGE.

66. Cravings: YENS. Earlier yin "intense craving for opium", from Chinese yan "craving," or from a Beijing dialect word for "smoke." Reinforced in Eng. by influence of "yearn".

67. Word with cheap or bike: DIRT.


1. Unearths: DIGS UP.

2. Assault: ONRUSH. Assault from Latin prefix ad- (toward) + saltus (a leap or jump).

3. Homered, say: SCORED. Baseball home run. Nothing to do with the Simpsons.

4. Thirsty: EAGER.

5. Overseas network, with "the": BEEB. BBC is the British Broadcasting corporation. Also called "Auntie" Beeb.

6. Polis leader?: ACRO. Acropolis, acro for "high", and polis for "city". Usually translated as "citadel". The famous one at Athens, Greece. A picture that shows it high on a hill.

7. Commandment pronoun: THOU.

8. Hiker's stopover: HOSTEL. Not sure why a hiker, specifically. More budget-oriented than a hotel, I suppose.

9. Rustic ways: PATHS.

10. Jessica of "Sin City": ALBA. Another "comic book" movie. "Visually groundbreaking", rated moderately high.

11. People-wary, as a horse: SKITTISH.

12. Turk. neighbor: SYR. Turkey, Syria.

13. Byrnes of "77 Sunset Strip": EDD. TV detective show, ended in 1964.

21. Dreaming, perhaps: ASLEEP.

22. Not just a: THE. Definite article "the" vs. indefinite "a".

26. Space: AREA.

27. Sea side: PORT. The left side of a ship, that faces the harbor when docked. Opposite of starboard (the side where early boats were steered)

30. 1969 Super Bowl: III. The first two were retroactively renamed Super Bowls. They weren't called that at the time.

31. Colony dweller: ANT. From a compound of bases *ai- "off, away" + *mait- "cut." Thus the insect's name is "the biter off." Emmet survived into the 20th c. as an alternative form.

32. Secure, as a ship's line: BELAY. To coil a running rope around a cleat or pin.

33. Tick cousin: MITE. Little suckers. Another recent word.

34. Whole alternative: SKIM. Wanted semi. Didn't think of milk at first.

35. Falling star: METEOR. Meteor formerly meant any atmospheric phenomenon (thus meteorology for weather study). Atmospheric phenomena were formerly classified as aerial meteors (wind), aqueous meteors (rain, snow, hail), luminous meteors (aurora, rainbows), and igneous meteors (lightning, shooting stars).

36. Allergic reaction: ITCH.

37. Place to see grass skirts: LUAU. Had HULA in there at first.

38. Poorly planned: ILL-TIMED.

39. Bank offering, for short: IRA. Individual Retirement Account.

40. Powder container: KEG.

44. Animation: VIM.

45. For all to see: OPENLY.

46. Native of NE India: BIHARI. Bihar.

47. Pitcher known as "Tom Terrific": SEAVER. Awards galore.

48. Escape __: ARTIST. Hatch was too short.

50. Crowded: DENSE. Also Thick.

52. Valuable violin: STRAD. Also AMATI.

54. "You __?": RANG. Lurch, from the Addams Family.

55. Pout: MOUE.

56. Conceived, as an idea: BORN.

57. Barely manages, with "out": EKES.

58. Muslim's duty: HAJ. Hajj, Hadj

59. Source of lean meat: EMU.

Answer Grid.