Advertisements

Feb 28, 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011 Jeffrey Lease

Theme: Rank - that goes with the first parts of the answers to starred clues: CAPTAIN.(38A.)

17A. *1968 sci-fi classic remade in 2001: "PLANET OF THE APES". Without going to deep into it, CAPTAIN PLANET is a TV animation with a "green" super-hero.

23A. *Chili competitions: COOK-OFFS. CAPTAIN COOK was an actual British explorer of the Pacific Ocean.

50A. *Reason for rhinoplasty: HOOK NOSE. CAPTAIN HOOK, of course, was from the story of Peter Pan.

58A. *1980 Disney comedy about an all-night puzzle-solving race: "MIDNIGHT MADNESS". CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT was first broadcast as a radio serial from 1938. Captain Midnight was a code name. He wasn't a super-hero but an extremely skilled aviator with an ability to fly almost any aircraft superlatively.

Argyle here and running late. This appears to be our first encounter with this constructor. I liked it and thought the grid layout was pleasing to look at.

Across:

1. One with a degree : GRAD. The first of several words are shortened versions of the parent word but seem to stand alone and aren't considered abbreviations, at least by some.

5. Double reed instrument : OBOE

9. Bit of campaign nastiness : SMEAR

14. Assistant : AIDE

15. Course of action : PLAN

16. Croatian-born physicist Nikola : TESLA. He's back!

20. Jewish : SEMITIC

21. Rotten : BAD

22. Conference including Duke and UNC : ACC. Atlantic Coast Conference.

28. Liver secretion : BILE

30. "What's up, __?" : DOC

31. Clean the floor : SWEEP

32. Was victorious : WON

33. Dissertations : THESES. The plural of THESIS.

36. It can be airtight or waterproof : SEAL

37. Fishing pole : ROD

40. Support garment : BRA

41. Slightly : A BIT

43. Jump (on) suddenly : POUNCE

44. Tennis call : LET

45. Keg party attire : TOGAs. A reference to the movie "Animal House".

47. Band-Aid and Barbie, e.g.: Abbr. : TMs. Trademarks.

48. Like much wine and cheese : AGED

52. Rover's warning : "GRR!"

53. Corn unit : EAR

54. Inexpensive brand : CHEAPIE

63. Overindulge, as kids : SPOIL

64. Wrinkle remover : IRON

65. Fight for air : GASP

66. Wedding dresses : GOWNS

67. Fey of "30 Rock" : TINA

68. School attended by many princes and prime ministers : ETON

Down:

1. Spaces : GAPS

2. Annoy : RILE

3. TV Batman West : ADAM

4. "I did not!" is one : DENIAL

5. __ nerve : OPTIC

6. Voting group : BLOC

7. Palooka : OAF

8. Tolkien's Treebeard, for one : ENT

9. Texas Roadhouse fare : STEAKS

10. Grassy fields : MEADOWS

11. Sixth sense, briefly : ESP

12. Pub pick : ALE

13. Dorm supervisors: Abbr. : RAs. Resident Advisors.

18. "And so on and so forth," for short : "ETC., ETC."

19. "True Blood" airer : HBO

23. Party disguise : COSTUME

24. Indian and Arctic : OCEANS

25. Lacking strength : FEEBLE

26. Dreaded : FEARED

27. Bug-hitting-windshield sound : SPLAT

28. Owie : BOO-BOO

29. Spectrum color between blue and violet : INDIGO

30. Train stations : DEPOTS

32. Ire : WRATH

34. Occurrence : HAP

35. Start of a guard dog command : "SIC"

39. Approached : NEARED

42. Deceived : TAKEN IN

46. Slow mollusks : SNAILS

49. Farm : GRANGE. Word Origin & History - c.1112 (implied in granger ), "granary, barn," from O.Fr. grange, from M.L. granica, from L. granum "grain." Sense evolved to "outlying farm" (late 14c.), then "country house" (1550s). per Online Etymology Dictionary.
51. Nonprofit's URL ending : .ORG

52. The Gold Coast, since 1957 : GHANA

54. "Let's roll!" : "C'MON!"

55. __ moss : PEAT

56. "This __ silly!" : IS SO

57. "Monday Night Football" channel : ESPN

58. Chinese food additive : MSG

59. Wall St. debut : IPO. Initial Public Offering, a chance to get in on the ground floor, assuming the price goes up; not guaranteed.

60. Wall Street index, with "the" : DOW. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA).

61. Smack : HIT

62. Prefix with athlete : TRI

Answer grid.

Argyle. I picked a good day to run late. Phew!

Feb 27, 2011

Sunday February 27, 2011 Jeremy Horwitz & Byron Walden

Theme: It's an Honor Just to be Nominated - Tribute puzzle to Peter O'Toole. The starred answers, which are symmetrically placed (together with his names & the category he's nominated), are 8 films for which he's nominated for Oscar Best Actor but never won.

1A. *1964 : BECKET

7A. *2006 : VENUS

28A. *1968 : THE LION IN WINTER

43A. *1972, with "The" : RULING CLASS

65A. *1982 : MY FAVORITE YEAR

67A. *With 71-Across, 1962 : LAWRENCE. And OF ARABIA (71A. See 67-Across). Broken down for symmetry.

72A. *1969 : GOODBYE, MR CHIPS

96A. *1980 : THE STUNT MAN

112A. See 127-Across : BEST ACTOR OSCARS

127A. With 128-Across, performer nominated for 112-Across (he didn't win any) in all of the answers to starred clues : PETER. And O'TOOLE (128A. See 127-Across).

What a great symmetry! The constructors must be excited to discover the numbers of letters in various films. But luck alone wouldn't work. Takes skills to split certain entry & place each one in its perfect spot.

Very challenging puzzle for me. Not a movie person like Clear Ayes. Definitely needed Downs for most of the films.

Quite a few cross-references in the puzzle. The clues are tougher than our normal Sunday also. Take JAI (62D. "__ Ho": 2008 Best Original Song) for example. I am used to the "__ alai" clue. I do appreciate the fresh clue  & Oscar tie-in.

Across:

12. Award since WWI : DSC (Distinguished Service Cross)

15. Try for a contract : BID

18. Dressed like Cinderella : IN RAGS

19. "Pardon my __" : FRENCH

21. Letter after pi : RHO. Before Sigma.

22. With 39-Across, soapbox racer, e.g. : ONE. And 39. See 22-Across : SEATER.

23. Concerned with pupils? : OCULAR. Eyes. Not students.

24. Shoemaker on a horse : WILLIE. Jockey. Bill Shoemaker. Faintly rang a bell.

25. 2009-'10 "At the Movies" co-host : A. O. SCOTT. Film critic for the New York Times. Stumped me.

27. Sprayed in defense : MACED

30. Prefix with gram : EPI. Epigram.

31. Venetian evening : SERA. Oh, always thought it means "will be". Que Sera, Sera.

33. Yule VIP : ST. NICK. VIP suggests an abbreviated answer.

34. "I Put a Spell on You" singer Simone : NINA

35. Bygone ruler : TSAR

37. Sadie Hawkins Day suitors : GALs

42. PC backup key : ESC

47. Item, such as interest, recorded only when earned : NON-ASSET. The clue gave me headache.

49. "Man alive!" : I'LL BE. Well, I'll be.

50. Prizes : ESTEEMS

53. J.D. holder : ATT. For our JD, that'll be Bob.

54. 1981 World Series co-MVP Ron : CEY. Spent a long time with the Dodgers.

55. Rental ad abbr. : RMs

57. Made misty : BLEARED. Spell check doesn't like this word.

60. Muslim pilgrim : HAJJI. The ending I must mean "person" then, since the pilgrimage itself is called HAJJ.

64. Fertility clinic cells : OVA

78. Baseball's "Master Melvin" : OTT. Mel Ott. And RBIs (102. 78-Across's 1,860, briefly).

79. Record of the year? : ANNAL

80. Take on, as tenants : LEASE TO

81. Kyrgyzstan city : OSH. Well, maybe Borat knows. Not me.

82. Op. __ : CIT

85. Cyclotron bit : ION

87. Make sense : STACK UP. Your excuse doesn't stake up.

89. Peerless : ALONE

91. Eye of round, etc. : LEAN CUTS

98. Part of ETO: Abbr. : EUR

99. Tennis shoe that debuted at Wimbledon in 1966 : K-SWISS. Founded by two Swiss brothers. So what does the K stand for?

103. Told, as a tale : SPUN

104. Some PX patrons : SGTs. And LTs (90D. Superiors of 104-Across).

106. Creeps : INCHES

109. "Love Me, I'm a Liberal" singer : OCHS (Phil)

111. It always increases : AGE. True.

116. Egyptian sky god : HORUS. Son of Isis & Osiris. Falcon-headed.

118. Needing serious help : IN A SPOT

119. Make it to : ATTEND

120. Schleppers : TOTERS

121. Have the flu, say : AIL

122. Valuable deposit : ORE. Mine deposit.

123. Mambo bandleader Tito : PUENTE. "The King of Latin Music". We often see TITO in the grid.

124. Vital supply lines : AORTAE

125. Once known as : NEE

126. According to : PER

Down:

1. Like the most secure passports nowadays : BIOMETRIC. Homeland Security charged me quite a bit for my biometrics data during the naturalization process.

2. Summarize : ENCAPSULE

3. Vitally : CRUCIALLY

4. Leafy green : KALE. Tough for my taste.

5. "Gadzooks!" : EGADS

6. Original Dungeons & Dragons co. : TSR. Wikipedia says it stands for Tactical Studies Rules.

7. Facilities for many ex-GIs : VFW HALLS. Our local baseball card shows are often held there.

8. Buffalo's lake : ERIE

9. "Gimme a Break" star Carter et al. : NELLS. First encounter with this lady.

10. Turned off : UNLIT

11. Descendants : SCIONS

12. Toasted : DRANK TO

13. Tell partner : SHOW. Show and tell.

14. Squeeze album "__ Fan Tutti Frutti" : COSI. Have never heard of the British band Squeeze.

15. Soft shoes : BOOTIES

16. Like nail-biters : INTENSE

17. Take away : DETRACT

20. '20s-'30s skating gold medalist : HENIE (Sonja)

26. King's station : CNN. Larry King. Do you like Piers Morgan?

28. Hints : TRACES

29. Empowering motto : I CAN

32. Hunt subject : EGG. D'oh, Easter!

36. Kid : RIB

38. Didn't act : SAT BY

40. Grandmother of Spain's Juan Carlos : ENA

41. Instead of : RATHER THAN. Nice 10-letter entry.

44. Remedy for a pain in the neck : NERVE BLOCK. Don't know this term.

45. Note to __ : SELF

46. "I __ Darkness": 1999 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy album : SEE A. Was ignorant of the singer and his album.

48. Patronize, as an inn : STAY AT

51. Dallas cager : MAV (Maverick)

52. Sign of a big hit : SRO (Standing Room Only)

56. Loads of : MANY

58. Psyche's lover : EROS

59. Variance, in the vernacular : DIF (Difference)

61. Gettysburg general Stuart : J.E.B.

63. Glass on the radio : IRA. Ira Glass. Host of NPR's "This American Life".

64. Decree : ORDAIN

65. "Who wants candy?" response : ME, ME

66. Kit Carson House site : TAOS

67. Queens, N.Y., airport : LGA

68. Chicago Loop's __ Center : AON

69. Broke the tape : WON. Finish line tape.

70. "Ice Age" unit, e.g. : CEL. Have never seen "Ice Age", animated film. Do they still use cels now everything is digital?

73. Dorm VIPs : RAs (Resident Advisers)

74. Winnipeg winter hrs. : CST

75. Spiciness : HEAT

76. Rash reaction : ITCH

77. It may involve drawing : POKER. Tricky clue.

81. Light-minded pursuit? : OPTICS. Another tricky one.

82. Rate against : COMPARE TO

83. Quadrennial national rite : INAUGURAL

84. Titans' home : TENNESSEE

86. Letters before xis : NUs.

88. It runs through four Great Lakes : US BORDER. Nice answer.

91. Either parent in "Heather Has Two Mommies" : LESBIAN

92. Prince Andrew's younger daughter : EUGENIE. Quite pretty. I only know her mother Fergie, who now has a show with Oprah's OWN.

93. Place to buy prints : ART SALE

94. Site with tweets : TWITTER

95. __-Japanese War : SINO. I always wonder why China is called SINO.

97. Find a seat for, in slang : USH. Lots of groan last time.

100. Throw out : SCRAP

101. Grew quickly : SHOT UP. And SHOOT (110D. Fire). Same root, isn't it?

105. Peter, Paul and Mary: Abbr. : STS. Not the singers.

107. Rival of Helena : ESTEE. Is Helena a cosmetic brand?

108. Obsession, for one : SCENT. This I know. Calvin Klein's Obsession.

113. Individually : A POP

114. Center : CORE

115. Date opening? : ANTE. Antedate.

117. Óscar's other : OTRO. Is Óscar Spanish for Oscar? I don't get this clue.

120. Way of the East : TAO. Indeed, it's literally "way".

Answer grid.

C.C.

Feb 26, 2011

Saturday February 26, 2011 Bob Peoples

Theme: None

Total words: 70

Total blocks: 26

I often look at the empty grid before I attack a puzzle. Today's sure doesn't look too intimidating. No grid spanner or long triple stacks. But it took me eons to gain a toehold.

Tough cluing overall, typified by GAI (20A. "__-Jin": Clavell novel), would be a gimme if it were clued as "Moo goo __ pan". I was ignorant of the book. Gai-Jin is Japanese for "foreigner". Gai = outside. Jin = Person. Same as Chinese character.

The three 9s don't really grab me today, but the eight 8s are solid. My favorites are:

1A. It might make marks on your dog : BBQ GRILL. Hot dog.

15A. "Great job!" : YOU DID IT. Great answer.

58A. Part of a smear campaign : ATTACK AD

Across:

9. Walks quickly : LEGS IT

16. Johnson & Johnson skin care brand : AVEENO. Wikipedia says Aveeno is derived from the scientific name for the common oat, Avena sativa. No wonder oats are featured prominently in their products.

17. Some mousses : HAIR GELS

18. Destinies : KARMAS. Or in sense of "vibes".

19. Auto insurer's request: Abbr. : EST

21. One concerned with bites : DENTIST. Tricky clue.

22. Rate __: be perfect : A TEN

24. Entrapments : SETUPS

26. H.S. support group : PTA

27. Start over, in a way : RESET. Reset a button.

29. Make go away : SHOO

30. Subj. partner : PRED (Predicate). Got me.

31. Geographical parallel : TROPIC. Tropic of Cancer & Tropic of Capricorn.

33. Skunk River city : AMES, IOWA. Home of Iowa State University (The Cyclones). Went there once, but don't remember the Skunk River.

35A. Entirely, with "from" : HEAD TO TOE

37. Utter fiasco : WATERLOO

40. Logo, e.g. : SYMBOL

44. "__ Esau": kids' rhyme book : I SAW. Don't know the book.

45. Advanced : LENT. Oh, like money then.

47. Restaurateur known for satiric wall art : SARDI. Of Sardi's.

48. Recipe amt. : TSP

49. Post product : CEREAL

51. Network meeting point : NODE

52. Ones going to court? : SUITORS. Court = Woo. Of course I was thinking of judge & lawyers.

54. Sony competitor : NEC

56. Japanese band : OBI. Sash band. Not music. Nailed it.

57. Verdi title bandit : ERNANI. Sigh! I can never remember this name.

60. Brought home : NETTED. EARNED has same number of letters.

61. Worst of the worst : FROM HELL

62. Some smart phones : DROIDs. Dennis lost his, in his own store.

63. Spoon : CANOODLE . Sweet.

Down:

1. Without notes : BY HEART. Know something by heart.

2. Bigmouth : BOASTER

3. "Most assuredly" : QUITE SO

4. E. Berlin's land : GDR (German Democratic Republic). Didn't come to me immediately.

5. 1997 Emmy winner for TV's "Rebecca" : RIGG (Diana). Might have got her if the clue were "The Avengers" related.

6. Head lights? : IDEAS. Saw this clue before.

7. Ornamental flowers : LILIES

8. West Point grads: Abbr. : LTS (Lieutenants).

9D. Coleridge, Southey and Wordsworth : LAKE POETS. Is this a well-known term?  

10. Mary Ann __, George Eliot's birth name : EVANS. Who knows?!

11. Goldfinger portrayer Fröbe : GERT. Recognized the face, not the name.

12. Part-time, in a way : SEMI-PRO

13. Het up : IN A STEW

14. Taco relative : TOSTADA. Looks yummy.

21. Milano cathedral : DUOMO. No idea. Wiki says it's a generic Italian term for a cathedral church. Derived from Latin "domus", meaning "house".

23. One crying uncle? : NEPHEW. Fun clue.

25. Choice words : THAT ONE

28. Level : TIER

30. Acquaintance of Simon : PIE MAN. "Simple Simon met a pie man...". The nursery rhyme.

32. Revealing numbers : CALLER IDS

34. Edamame beans : SOYS. Edamame is just green soybean in its pod.

36. They don't just sit around : DOERS

37. Giving-up point : WIT'S END. At wit's end.

38. One offering comfort : ASSURER. This puzzle has two ER suffix words.

39. Draw on : TAP INTO. Resource, experience, etc.

41. Put up with : BROOK. New meaning of "brook" to me.

42. Eccentric : ODDBALL

43. Remain in mothballs : LIE IDLE

46. Asian enlightenment doctrine : TANTRA. Sanskrit for "warp", hence "underlying principle". a la dictionary.

49. Shaped like a megaphone : CONED

50. Gave away : LET ON

53. Filmmaker Jacques : TATI. The guy who directed "Mon Oncle".

55. Outfit you don't want to be seen in, briefly : CAMO

58. Jets' org. : AFC. NY Jets. I don't really know which ones belong to AFC or NFC.

59. John who played Sulu in "Star Trek" (2009) : CHO. Very handsome. He's of Korean root, just as Margaret Cho. Cho is a Korean name. Same character as Chinese zhao/cao.

Answer grid.

C.C.

Feb 25, 2011

Friday, February 25, Annemarie Brethauer

Theme: Welcome to LA LA land. The letters LA are inserted into a common phrase to elicit an entirely different and witty new expression. There also is a hint clue at the end. A shout out to our own La LA Linda among others.

16A. Move from Crystal to Caesar's?: CHANGE OF PALACE. CHANGE OF PACE morphs into two famous gambling palaces. I know she is likely referring to the CRYSTAL PALACE built in London, by I like the symmetry of the hotel casinos.

28A. Antelope of questionable virtue?: LOOSE ELAND. What a visual! An Eland on the side of the jungle road, trying to solicit the big game hunters. Anyway, we began with LOOSE END,

33A. "Another regulation, sorry to say"? : ALAS A RULE. AS A RULE.

43A. Greengrocer's grab bags?: SALAD SACKS. SAD SACKS, the poor bungler created by cartoonist george baker in the 1940’s.

And the theme hint, not quite a unifier, but...

53. 1997 Kevin Spacey film, and a hint to this puzzle's theme: LA CONFIDENTIAL. This was a very powerful FILM starring Kevin Spacey, NZ born Australia raised Russell Crowe in a very impressive role. England born, Australia raised Guy Pearce as a particularly despicable character, Kim Basinger looking quite fetching, Australian Simon Baker making his US debut, long before The Mentalist and many more. If you have not seen the movie, it is very well done.

Hello all, Lemonade here. Sorry I missed the Naples trip, but work beckoned. This is our second puzzle this month from Annemarie, who gave us the interesting President Reagan quote to begin the month, and who Grumpy 1 located in an Ohio magazine write up. It was a really challenging puzzle for me, with ALAS A RULE, the fill that tipped me as to the theme. Without knowing the theme, I would never have been able to finish, because there is so much misdirection and so many Friday level clues. Let’s get on with untangling the web she created.

ACROSS:

1. Rigged support: MAST. Jeannie, you want to explain about sails and riggings?

5. Curve of a cabriole leg: KNEE. Wow, bam, a really hard four letter fill immediately. My ex-f-i-l sold antiques, so I knew this term was for those fancy table legs which are concave on the top and convex on the bottom, often with an animal claw at the bottom (see Queen Anne furniture). I believe the word comes from the French Cabrioler, which means to leap, I think. Here I defer to our linguist, Kazie. I was saved by the juxtaposition of the anagram, 5D. Gung-ho: KEEN, which was also not that easy, as the term is rather out-dated.

9. Sheet of stamps: PANE. Wow, it makes sense, but I did not know this DEFINITION. What a miserable start for me.

13. "So that's how it's going to be": I SEE. For those of us married and divorced, this visual is all too real. I can still here the clam, “I see” before the storm.

14. Anago and unagi: EELS. A nice shout for our feerless leader who often had mention her unagi preference.

15. An amulet may ward it off, purportedly: EVIL. Finally, a clue I could answer.

19. Danish poker star Gus: HANSEN. The all-time leading money winner on the World Poker Tour, or at least he was the last time I watched.

20. Curling surface: ICE. The beginning of an onslaught of deceptive clues. Luckily, the Winter Olympics showed lots of this bizarre sport, so Iwas able to rid my brain of the image of old linoleum coming up.

21. Texter's "Heavens!": OMG. Oh My, another answer.

23. Oscar night figure: EMCEE. Again, did you thing about the statue? This is where I wonder how intricate the mind of this constructor is as this year the co-host of the Oscar presentations is Anne Hathaway, who is clued in 29D. 2004 Anne Hathaway title role: ELLA, a cute little MOVIE .

24. Small, vocal bird: WREN.

26. __ market: FLEA. We have many huge ones in Fort Lauderdale, including the SWAP SHOP which used to have a circus all the time.

27. Cliff, Carlos and Derrek of baseball: LEES. Even if you do not know much baseball, you may have heard of CLIFF LEE the Cy Young winning pitcher who spurned the evil empire to sign with the Phillies after helping Texas to its first world series last year. Carlos and Derrek are both children of ex-major leaguers, but none are related to each other.

30. Mag wheels?: EDS. Well, this had my head spinning even after I got the letters from the perps, then d’oh, MAGAZINE big shots! Editors. More deception.

31. Pound output: POEM. Slap, EZRA POUND, not money, not hitting, a poet. POUND was instrumental in so many careers from Joyce, T.S. Eliot and Hemingway, it is unfortunate he embraced fascism and Hitler and denounced all Jews.

32. Has a powerful desire (for): LUSTS. Here, I defer to LOIS and CAROL our other linguistic experts.

36. Gait between walk and canter: AMBLE. I always thought STROLL was in between, but I Guess AMBLE works.

39. Wine Train valley: NAPA. This is a worthwhile TRIP .

40. MoveOn.org, e.g.: Abbr.: PAC. Political Action Committee, our modern lobbyists.

46. Hole maker: MOTH.

47. Mongol sovereign: KHAN. Genghis anyone?

48. Trap, in a way: TREE. To force a person or an animal into a position from which he cannot escape, to corner.

49. "Cheers" waitress: CARLA. A very feisty character played by RHEA PERLMAN who is married to Danny DeVito who was in LA CONFIDENTIAL. I wonder if this clue is intended to foreshadow 11D. French president Sarkozy: NICOLAS the MAN who married CARLA BRUNI.

50. Sixth rock from the sun: Abbr.: SAT. My meh fill of the puzzle, SATURN being the 6th planet in our solar system.

51. Rye go-with: HAM. I used to see that ordered lots, but now there are too many bread types.

52. Repartee: BANTER. The stock in trade of this Corner, on our good days.

57. Lowdown: INFO.

58. "Exodus" novelist: URIS. Leon has become crosswordese.

59. Compass __ :ROSE. This had me stomped for a while, if only I had a PICTURE .

60. Riding: ATOP. Our obligatory “A” word.

61. Took off: LEFT. Nobody shedding any clothes here, just leaving.

62. Dot and Flik, in "A Bug's Life": ANTS. I missed this masterpiece of animated ANTics, but it was a pretty sage guess.

Okay, now breathe, we still must do the downs

Down:

1. "Glee" star Lea __: MICHELE. While I am not a Gleek, perhaps you all appreciate this ACTRESS .

2. Embarrassed: ASHAMED. I see these two as not really being synonymous, as I was embarrasses how long it took me to fill this grid, but I am not ashamed of my performance.

3. Medium settings: SEANCES. Okay, did we think stove top, appliances, anything but psychic mumbo-jumbo.

4. Time indicators of a sort: TENSES. An easy one for our English teachers.

6. Rebirth prefix: NEO. Perhaps another hint we are approaching the easter season.

7. "The Silmarillion" being: ELF. How many have read Tolkien’s pre-quel to the Hobbit and LOTR, in which we learn the history of middle earth? It was a difficult read for me, with so much detail and “history” to absorb, but it set the stage for the books I had read years before.

8. Uses binoculars, say: ESPIES. How many of you have played, “I spy with my little eye” with your children on long car rides? That and the license plate game kept me sane when they were young, as I had a 400+ mile trip with them every month.

9. Athlete dubbed "O Rei do Futebol": PELE. This is the Portuguese rendition of King of Football (soccer) for the incomparable Brazilian star of soccer, Edison "Edson" Arantes do Nascimento.

10. Gardner of "Mayerling": AVA. A very pretty GIRL who was married to both Mickey Rooney and Frank Sinatra. Hollywood is a strange place.

12. Gold or silver: ELEMENT. Nothing to do with their value, just there base nature.

17. "Hmm ...": GEE. Hmm, gee.

18. Embarrassing marks: ACNE. No, not DEES, but zits.

22. Roams: GADS. Not the first though I had, as again, gadding about is a rather archaic phrase, but it works. How many grew up watching GADDABOUT GADDIS, the FLYING FISHERMAN?

24. Troubles: WOES. Trouble, with a capital T.

25. Jennifer Crusie's genre: ROMANCE. I never heard of this AUTHOR but with ROM, what else could it be?

26. Obstacle for Santa?: FLUE. Hi, Argyle. I think a roaring fire might be more of a statement.

28. Mauna __: LOA. Has to be LOA or KEA, the Hawaiian peaks.

31. Responded in court: PLED. The little shout out to me, and my past trail work.

33. King of comedy: ALAN. One of the longest lasting of the Catskill Comics, who presented a more intellectual comedy than Henny Youngman, Shecky Greene and others. He probably influenced many young comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, by his style of talking to the audience rather than just one-liners. Of course, a one liner has its place, like Why do Jewish divorces cost so much? They're worth it.

34. Shed tool: RAKE. Many of the comedians were rakes.

35. Adds to: UPS. For example, UPS the ante, the was Gus Hansen does.

36. Sets a price: ASKS. Also known as the asking price.

37. Jackson dubbed "Queen of Gospel": MAHALIA. For all of you cruel wits, who realized MICHAEL is the correct number of letters, not funny! Well maybe funny, but you should not miss the incredible voice of this PERFORMER .

38. Sticking out: BLATANT.

40. Helping: PORTION. Again, not knowing that helping is being clued as a noun, made this a challenge.

41. In any case: AT LEAST.

42. River to Boston Harbor: CHARLES. A complete gimme for many of us; I have many fond memories of my youth and the Charles river, not far from where I had my first transplant.

44. Seven-time N.L. batting champ Musial: STAN. When I was a kid, it was Stan the Man versus Ted Williams.

45. Two or three bags of groceries, say: ARMFUL. With plastic bags, I try to carry 8-10 at a time.

46. Transforming syllable: MANTRA. OM. OM. OM. OM. OM. OM. Feel better?

49. Lockup: CAN. Lockup as a noun means jail, which is also known as the CAN (and the Calaboose).

51. Stud alternative: HOOP. Okay, gang, I know you were disappointed this misdirection was only talking about earrings.

52. As good as it gets: BEST. This puzzle is pretty close.

54. Corp. exec: CFO.

55. Fury: IRE. I like the horse better.

56. "What's the __?": DIF. The question mark tips you to the abbreviation of DIFFERENCE in an in the language expression.

Well, GEE, we have reached the end of another journey of learning and laughing. I enjoyed this because it was both very hard but filled with wit and I hope you all stayed for the ride. Remember, the links are only for those who want them. See you next time.


Lemonade

Feb 24, 2011

Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 Harvey Estes

Theme: Good 'ole homonyms. The first word of all the punnily(?) clued answers substitutes a word with changed spelling. Good theme strength, the first words all end with OLE, and are all pronounced the same way as the words they replace.

17A. Money for the Warsaw government?: POLE TAXES. Warsaw, Poland. A poll tax was used in the south to try to circumvent the 14th amendment and prevent civil rights.  It took the 24th amendment to make it illegal.

25A. Foot-tapping songs?: SOLE MUSIC. Soul music is sort of Gospel blended with rhythm & blues.

35A. Songwriting, to Porter?: COLE FIELD. Coal fields. Night and Day, Cole Porter's field of expertise.

49A. Actor's messages from an agent?: ROLE CALLS. I'll bet Dennis still remembers roll call.

58A. Grain for bagels?: HOLE WHEAT. I only eat the holes in bagels and donuts.

Hi all, Al again. Working with a dodgy loaner PC. Mine is in for repairs and the space bar isn't working very well on this one. Ah, well, enough excuses. Onward to the rest.  A bit of nostalgia in several music references today, I thought. The tough part was narrowing down all the choices there are for each song to be able to choose only one and not get distracted by all the other music links.

ACROSS:

1. Lee followers: REBS. The South shall rise again.

5. Works in the Uffizi Gallery: ARTE. Italian art : Florence, Italy museum location.

9. Gets ready: PREPS.

14. "__ Rhythm": I GOT. Lena Horne doing a Gershwin classic.

15. Role for Carrie: LEIA. Carrie Fischer, Star Wars.

16. Singer Gorme: EYDIE. As Long as he needs me. A torch song from "Oliver!".

19. Letter alternative: LEGAL. Paper sizes.

20. They may be precious: STONES. They might also be a double-entendre. (and still be precious)

21. Divulge: TELL. Divulge, to make common property. Related to "vulgar", common, ordinary.

23. Hydrocarbon suffix: ENE. As usual, need perps for generic chemical ending clues. Could have been made into something helpful by adding "double-bond" in front of hydrocarbon.

24. Fluorescent bulb filler: ARGON. Also contains excited mercury vapor, dispose of these carefully.

27. "1984" protagonist __ Smith: WINSTON. A double-plus good novel by George Orwell.

29. Cut it out: DESIST. Latin sistere, to come to a stand. Related to assist, to stand by.

30. Place to be pampered: SPA.

31. French mystic Simone: WEIL. Unknown to me.

34. Maundy Thursday period: LENT. Holy Thursday, commemorates the Last Supper.

38. G-note: THOU. Grand, thousand.

40. Increase in intensity, with "up": RAMP.

41. Previously: AGO.

44. Weather map features: FRONTS. Where air masses of different density meet.

46. Ardor: PASSION. Latin ardorem: to burn. Passion originally meant suffering (the passion of the Christ), then evolved to strong emotions and desire.

52. __ asada (Mexican meat dish): CARNE. Roasted meat, barbecue.

53. TV's Alf and others: ETS. Alf was a puppet extra-terrestrial that liked to eat cats.

54. Skin-soothing stuff: ALOE.

55. Bouquets: POSIES. "line of verse engraved on the inner surface of a ring," from poesy, recorded in this sense from early 15th century. The meaning "flower, bouquet" first recorded 1570s, from notion of the language of flowers.

56. Rob of "90210": ESTES. Nope, still don't know who he is.

60. Sport with clay pigeons: SKEET. A name chosen as "a very old form of our present word 'shoot.' " Perhaps Old Norse skotja "to shoot" was intended.

61. Auth. of many quotes?: ANON. Can you spell anonymous without looking it up? I have early access to  internet file servers and FTP to thank for that skill.

62. Old Boston Bruin nickname: ESPO. Phil Esposito, hockey.

63. Newbies: TYROS. Latin tiro, young soldier, recruit.

64. Following: NEXT.

65. Remarriage prefix: STEP. Step-brother, sister, son, daughter, etc.

DOWN:

1. With-the-grain cutters: RIPSAWS.

2. Vacation for the vain?: EGO TRIP. Punny.

3. Smoked deli meat: BOLOGNA. I would think it would be hard to light and harder to keep it going.  You'd need a big ashtray, too.

4. Dictators' aides: STENOS. Greek stenos "narrow", graphy "writing": shorthand.

5. Wistful word: ALAS. Originally a word of weariness, related: lassitude.

6. "Wonder Dog" of comics: REX. Selected as a test subject for a super-soldier serum. After receiving an injection of the serum, Rex found himself endowed with great strength, speed, stamina, and intelligence. Dr. Anabolus was killed by a Nazi spy soon after, and as Anabolus left no records, this led to Rex being the only dog of his kind. Hmmm, I think they may have"borrowed" this story line from Captain America...

7. Relate with: TIE TO.

8. Drawing support: EASEL. Just a noun for a picture holder, not "attracting a crowd of protesters", as seems to be all over in the news lately.. And 39D. It can facilitate drawing: HOLSTER.Drawing a weapon, not a picture.

9. Willy-nilly: PELL-MELL. They seem unrelated when you investigate their origins. Contraction of "will I, nill I", with or without the will of the person concerned. And "confusedly" from Old French pesle mesle, apparently a rhyme on the second word, which is from the stem of the verb mesler "to mix, mingle."

10. 3-Down might be on it: RYE. Deli bread.

11. Enters carefully: EDGES IN.

12. Rachmaninoff, e.g.: PIANIST. Sort of like calling Woody Allen an actor.

13. Prime: SELECT. Choice. I think we had a meaty discussion about these words before.

18. Certain caterpillar's creation: TENT. Not a pleasant sight. Can do a lot of damage to a tree.

22. Was in front: LED.

25. Look from Snidely Whiplash: SNEER. Dudley Do-Right (cartoon) villain, always kidnapping Nell.

26. Broken in: USED.

28. Rice University mascot: OWL.

32. "__ picture paints ...": song lyric: IF A. Bread, soft rock from the 70's. The song "IF" was covered by such diverse artists as Petula Clark, Cleo Laine, Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Jack Jones, Shirley Bassey, and ... Telly Savalas (yes, Kojak) who took it to the top of the UK singles chart for two weeks in 1975, the shortest song title to ever do so.

33. Walks with a cane, perhaps: LIMPS.

35. Road marker: CONE.

36. Shunned ones: OUTCASTS.

37. Clean air org.: EPA. Environmental Protection Agency

38. October Revolution leader: TROTSKY. This was a bunch of Bolsheviks.

41. With the most open windows: AIRIEST.

42. Flipped: GONE APE. This will be me if this*%$& spacebar doesn't start working correctly pretty soon.

43. Convenient, shoppingwise: ONE STOP. Plus a fitness workout to boot, from all the walking around in some of these "big box" retailers.

44. Least constrained: FREEST.

45. Erie Canal mule: SAL. Susanne Vega cover.

47. Flat-bottomed boat: SCOW. From Du. schouw "a ferry boat, punt," related to Old English. scaldan, "to push (a boat) from shore."

48. Ornamental bands: SASHES. No OBI clue?

50. Lindsay of "Labor Pains": LOHAN. The latest self-destructing Disney dropout. Lilo. More to follow by the look of it.

51. Sierra __: LEONE. Today's geography lesson.

55. Cooped (up): PENT. Variant of "penned" up.

57. Fair-hiring abbr.: EEO. Equal Employment Opportunity.  Also seen as EOE.

59. Bagel topping: LOX. Smoked salmon.

Answer Grid.

Al

Feb 23, 2011

Wednesday February 23, 2011 Jerome Gunderson

Theme: DUPES (38A. 1- and 64-Across, and the first words of the four longest puzzle answers) - The green-highlighted words are all synonyms for "sucker".

1A. Court jester : FOOL. & 64A. Hammer or sickle : TOOL. Bookended the grid. It's important that both are clued in non-dupe sense.

17A. Country singer with the 1961 hit "Crazy" : PATSY CLINE. Please read Jerome's note at the end of my write-up for his theme inspiration.

56A. Shameful emblem in Genesis : MARK OF CAIN. And another Biblical reference PRODIGAL (30A. Like the son in a parable of Jesus). The Prodigal Son.

10D. Hockshop receipt : PAWN TICKET. Sad.

29D. Remora : SUCKER FISH. Attached to sharks/whales, etc.

C.C. here, filling in for a blogging schedule gap and feeling very happy to blog a Jerome puzzle. I learned the "sucker" meaning of TOOL last time it appeared in our puzzle. TOOL is certainly a dynamic word, isn't it?

Sometimes we see the first & last Across entries together serving as one theme entry, for example, TOOL in 1A and SHED in 64D, TOOL SHED as one unit, with TOOL the only "Sucker" element. So, my questions for Jerome:

1) Did you already have in mind where you wanted  FOOL & TOOL to be before you started the gridding? Or did the placement of the rhyming pair occur to you during the gridding?

2) Was your original unifier DUPES?

Across:

5. Zoo barriers : MOATS. Those who have been to Xi'An will remember the city wall and the deep moats.

10. Sourdough's ground breaker : PICK. I don't get this clue. (Added late: The question has been addressed in the Comments section. Thanks, everyone.)

14. Quint's boat in "Jaws" : ORCA. Have never seen "Jaws".

15. Polite : CIVIL

16. Yemen seaport : ADEN. Hot spot right now.

19. Trickery : WILE

20. __-mo replay : SLO

21. Vicinity : AREA

22. Submerge while sitting poolside, as one's feet : DANGLE. Vivid imagery.

24. Australian folk hero Kelly : NED. Just for Kazie.

25. Mine entrance : ADIT. Learned from doing Xword.

26. 49th state : ALASKA. So, what does Alaska mean?

34. Bills of fare : MENUS

35. Sudden ache : PANG

36. Heal : CURE. I like this consecutive ache & CURE.

37. Old Norse mariner : ERIC. Eric the Red. Jerome's grandpa is named Olaf.

39. Retain : KEEP

40. Cranny relative : NOOK

41. Russia's __ Mountains : URAL

42. "Beau __ " : GESTE

43. Kitchen areas, perhaps : DINETTES

45. Fastening pin : COTTER. Cotter pin.

46. Cereal grain : RICE. Gluten free, thank God!

47. Also : TOO

48. Sponge for grunge : LOOFAH. Oh no, I use loofah just to exfoliate.

51. Play a round : GOLF. Better to start with 9 holes when spring comes.

52. Timing lead-in : TWO. Two-timing.

55. "The Time Machine" race : ELOI

59. Puppy bites : NIPS

60. Mindy, to Mork? : ALIEN. Mork lives in Ork.

61. Teen bane : ACNE

62. Reggae musician Peter : TOSH. Of The Wailers.

63. Doofus : NINNY. Fun fill for today's theme.

Down:

1. Dandies : FOPS

2. Shouted, say : ORAL

3. Septi- plus one : OCTO. Prefix for "eight", as in Octomom.

4. Vegas opener : LAS

5. Joel who was the first actor to portray Dr. Kildare : McCREA. Unknown trivia to me.

6. No longer squeaky : OILED

7. Adidas rival : AVIA. Latin for "fly" (Bob is not here)!

8. Badge material : TIN

9. Snow pack? : SLED DOGS. Great clue/answer.

11. Beatnik's "Got it" : I DIG

12. Calaboose compartment : CELL. Jail cell.

13. Pants part : KNEE

18. 2009 Series winners : YANKS. Boo! Money gets them everything!

23. Lend a hand : AID

25. Synthetic fiber : ARNEL. Trademark.

26. Congressionally change : AMEND. Hence amendment then.

27. The king of France? : LE ROI. Literally. "Vive le Roi!"

28. Atom with a negative charge : ANION

30. Mamas' mates : PAPAs

31. Hotel client : GUEST

32. Sharp ridge : ARETE. Clear Ayes should nail this one.

33. With 45-Down, Middle Ages quarantine area : LEPER. And COLONY (45. See 33-Down). Nice cross-reference.

35. Put through a sieve : PUREE

38. "The Flying __": Wagner opera : DUTCHMAN. To us baseball fans, the name is only for the great Honus Wagner. That card (T206, near mint) was sold over $2 million a few years ago.

42. Explode : GO OFF

44. Padre's hermana : TIA. Father's sister.

47. Memento : TOKEN

48. Pre-Easter period : LENT

49. Hodgepodge : OLIO

50. "Uh-oh, I dropped it!" : OOPS

51. Big smile : GRIN

52. Crisp, filled tortilla : TACO

53. Sot : WINO

54. First-year law student : ONE-L. Scott Turow's book is a good read.

57. Ring icon : ALI. Boxing ring.

58. Sylvester, e.g. : CAT. Sylvester the Cat.


C.C.:

Notes from Jerome:

My mother, Amber, was a Gospel singer and an accomplished pianist. She never made it big-time, but she was often a featured soloist in Baptist churches and on local radio in Oakland, California where I grew up. However, she enjoyed singing all kinds of music, and beyond Gospel, her favorite was Country. Especially Patsy Cline. So, much of the music of my youth came from Mahalia Jackson, Ethel Waters, The Blackwood Brothers and a lot of Patsy Cline. Though I'm pretty much a Rock and Roller I still enjoy the music Amber loved so much.

A few months back I was listening to a Patsy Cline album, having a beer, relaxing, just simply enjoying a little music... and... well, there you go, the theme for today's puzzle. Simple idea, but it was fifty plus years in the making.

Not being a shy guy, I'll gladly take a pat on the back from anyone who likes this puzzle. I must request, however, a smile for Amber too. :)

Feb 22, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 John Lampkin

Theme: Action Food - The four theme entries begin with an adjective form of a verb(action word), a verb that is also a noun and in this case, that noun is a food. The first two are fruits and the second two are considered seeds.

20A. Arborist's handiwork: PRUNED TREE

26A. Windshield nuisance: SQUASHED BUGS

44A. Result of an errant brushback pitch: BEANED BATTER

55A. Deli sandwich filler: CORNED BEEF

Argyle here. The puzzle was a lot easier than trying to articulate what I think the theme is. At first, I looked on them as past tense verbs but then realized they are adjectives. John, did I get it right?

Scrabbley, too, just a V short of a pangram. I bet Dennis finished as fast as yesterday.

Across:

1. Raise, as produce : GROW

5. Go badly together : CLASH

10. Stylish : CHIC

14. Instant, in product names : REDI

15. Madre's milk : LECHE. Spanish

16. Bride's ride : LIMO. I know, GROOM wouldn't fit. Nice rhyme.

17. Busy, busy, busy : AT IT

18. Time __ time: repeatedly : AFTER. Oh, what will Lois do with these five entries?

19. "The Wizard __": comic strip : OF ID

22. All there : SANE

23. Development developments : HOMES. What should we call this type of clue?

24. Jazz guitarist Montgomery : WES. Here is his version of
Eleanor Rigby(3:05). There is a good write-up about him that goes with the song, worth a read if you're interested.

25. Shocking swimmer : EEL

31. Average guys : JOES

34. H.S. elite : SRs. High school seniors.

35. Older woman's young lover, facetiously : BOY TOY

36. Place to make deposits, briefly : ATM

37. Bouquet delivery letters : FTD

38. Dream letters : REM

39. Novelist Fleming : IAN. Bond creator.

40. Alabama's only seaport : MOBILE

42. Monopoly token : CAR

43. Chip in a pot, maybe : ANTE

47. HDTV brand : RCA

48. Out of use, as words: Abbr. : OBS. Obsolete(same as obscure?)

49. Chip in a bowl : NACHO

53. World dodo population : ZERO

57. Blue book filler : EXAM

58. Dust Bowl refugees : OKIES

59. Pier gp. : ILWU. International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

60. Religious recess : APSE

61. Center : MIDST

62. Amber brews : ALES

63. Dieter's goal : LOSS

64. Care for : SEE TO

65. Branching point : NODE

Down:

1. Boardroom diagram : GRAPH

2. Fashionably dated : RETRO

3. Intense dislike : ODIUM. From Greek by way of Latin

4. One sitting on the stand : WITNESS

5. Attired : CLAD

6. How liberals lean : LEFTWARD. OBS., IMHO.

7. Helen Hunt or Holly Hunter, e.g. : ACTRESS. Both have honey hair.
Helen and Holly.

8. "Jeez Louise!" : "SHEESH!"

9. Not there : HERE

10. Quite near : CLOSE BY

11. Pretentious, informally : HIFALUTIN'. Variant spelling of highfaluting, origin unknown.

12. Chip-tossing declaration : "I'M IN"

13. Programmers' writing : CODE

21. ABA member's title : ESQ. Esquire, HIFALUTIN' name for a lawyer.

25. Ancient kingdom near the Dead Sea : EDOM

27. You, in Yucatán : USTED. Spanish again.

28. Longtime "At the Movies" co-host Roger : EBERT

29. Capricorn's animal : GOAT

30. Holiday song closer : SYNE

31. Doorway side : JAMB

32. Siouan tribe : OTOE. A not so common clue for a common tribe of late.

33. Humiliate : EMBARRASS

37. Pet pest : FLEA

38. Disorderly place : RAT'S NEST

41. Salaries, wages, etc. : INCOMES

42. Hack's service : CAB RIDE

43. Graceful steed : ARABIAN

45. One taking bets : BOOKIE

46. Conclusion : END

50. Yo-Yo Ma's instrument : CELLO

51. Hacked : HEWED

52. Worth having : OF USE

53. Zest : ZEAL

54. Trade show : EXPO. Shout out to Jeannie

55. Dot-__: e-businesses : COMs

56. This, to Pablo : ESTO. More Spanish

Answer grid.

Argyle

Feb 21, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011 Angela Olson Halsted and Doug Peterson

Theme: For Petes' Sake The first word of the three longest entries is the last name of three persons having the same first name which is revealed in the last Across word.

17A. Legendary spring that creates spring chickens?: FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH. Pete Fountain is a famous clarinetist. He was once fired by Lawrence Welk for "jazzing up" a Christmas number on the show.

38A. Grammy revoked from Milli Vanilli: BEST NEW ARTIST. Pete Best is best known as the original drummer in The Beatles.

60A. Portland Trail Blazers' home: ROSE GARDEN ARENA. Pete Rose, nicknamed "Charlie Hustle", is a former Major League Baseball player and manager.

71A. Name that can precede the first word of 17-, 38- or 60-Across: PETE

Argyle here, older but no wiser. And what's with hitting me with 1A. Grew older: AGED first thing? Seriously though, thank you for all the birthday greetings.

Across:

5. American __: Pacific territory : SAMOA

10. Employee protection org. : OSHA. Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

14. Chore list heading : TO DO

15. Old Geo model : PRIZM. The Geo/Chevrolet Prizm (Chevrolet Prizm starting 1998) was a US market entry-level compact car from 1989 through 2002. All were made at New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI), an automobile manufacturing plant in Fremont, CA, a joint venture plant between Toyota and General Motors. The plant is now owned by Tesla Motors, the electric vehicle people.

16. Carrot or turnip : ROOT. Vegetable.

20. Garment border : HEM

21. "I'll treat!" : "ON ME!"

22. Three, in Turin : TRE. Italian(Remember, it could have been clued, in Torino, Italian for Turin.)

23. College concentration : MAJOR. Less concentration, 7D. 23-Across opposite : MINOR.

26. Pungent salad green : CRESS

27. Mighty long time : EON

28. Stat for Mariano Rivera : ERA. Yankee pitcher, career ERA 2.23(Earned Run Average).

29. CEO's degree : MBA

31. Ford classics : T-BIRDS. Thunderbirds are called T-birds so much, I guess indicating a shortened version of the name isn't necessary.

33. Carvey of "Wayne's World" : DANA. Originally a SNL sketch, it became a movie.

35. Karaoke singer, usually : AMATEUR

42. Polite "Ready to go?" : "SHALL WE?"

43. Linger in the tub : SOAK

45. Start to melt : SOFTEN. That is REALLY staying in the tub too long.

48. Bordeaux brush-off : NON. In France.

50. Paranormal showman Geller : URI

51. "Fresh Air" airer : NPR. National Public Radio.

52. Rear end : FANNY

55. Political aficionado's station : C-SPAN

57. Absorbed, as a cost : ATE

58. Circular cookie : OREO

59. Stable tidbit : OAT

66. Good fortune : LUCK

67. Cursor controller : MOUSE

68. Diabolical : EVIL

69. Fawn's father : STAG

70. Campfire remains : ASHES

Down:

1. DOJ division : ATF. Department of Justice / Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (and Explosives).

2. Bit of baby babble : GOO

3. Academic URL ender : EDU

4. Hawaiian who sang "Pearly Shells" : DON HO. But more famous for "Tiny Bubbles".

5. Inbox junk : SPAM

6. Magnate Onassis : ARI

8. Atmospheric layer : OZONE

9. Car sound system : AM/FM STEREO

10. El Dorado gold : ORO. Now some Spanish.

11. Justice replaced by Sotomayor : SOUTER. David H. Souter, replaced by Sonia Sotomayor on the Supreme Court.

12. Souped-up ride : HOT ROD

13. Aegean capital : ATHENS. A capital city on the Aegean Sea.

18. Time in office : TERM

19. "I agree, however ..." : "YES, BUT..."

23. __ school : MED. Another case of accepted use of the shortened form(of medical) as a word on its own.

24. Part of U.A.E. : ARAB. United Arab Emirates, usually abbreviated just UAE.

25. Dick's storybook partner : JANE

26. Caravan creature : CAMEL

30. Girl group with the 1986 #1 hit "Venus" : BANANARAMA.
Live(3:04) You are welcome to skip this but it is great kitsch.

32. Spring blossom : IRIS

34. Admin. aide : ASST.

36. Pointy tool : AWL

37. Like a lion's coat : TAWNY. Wait for it.

39. It "comes on little cat feet," in a Sandburg poem : THE FOG.

FOG

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Carl Sandburg

I always wonder if this had been written by a first year English major, what grade would it have received?

40. Campbell's product : SOUP

41. Fictional plantation : TARA. From "Gone With the Wind".

44. Reunion group : KIN. Family, not class.

45. Entangles : SNARLS

46. Decline to participate : OPT OUT

47. Grapefruit-flavored diet drink : FRESCA

49. Academic sports org. : NCAA. National Collegiate Athletic Association.

53. Detective Wolfe and an emperor : NEROs

54. "Obviously!" : "NO DUH!"

56. Throat bacteria : STREP

59. Tip jar bills : ONES

61. Heart test letters : EKG. Electrocardiogram.

62. Suffix with Canton : ESE

63. Anticipatory time : EVE

64. Trivial point : NIT

65. Drink by a dartboard : ALE

Answer grid.

Argyle

Feb 20, 2011

Sunday February 20, 2011 Peter Wentz

Theme: Find Out - Parse it as "F in/D out" - D is replaced by F in each of the 8 common phrases.

23A. Flight attendant's reminder when serving alcohol? : THIS IS NOT A FRILL. This is not a drill.

32A. Equine exhibition with poor visibility? : FOG AND PONY SHOW. Dog and pony show.

45A. Stick around for sautéing? : HANG OUT TO FRY. Hang out to dry.

64A. Energizing bluegrass instruments? : FUELING BANJOS. Dueling banjos. From "Deliverance". What a scary movie!

75A. Craze for some moms? : STAY-AT-HOME FAD. Stay-at-home Dad.

95A. Pixie dust? : FAIRY PRODUCT. Dairy product.

104A. Written warning about gangster Gotti? : FEAR JOHN LETTER. Dear John Letter. John Gotti. The Teflon Don.

119A. Imposing monetary penalties with a nice Chianti? : WINING AND FINING. Wining and dining.

Clever title, isn't it? I wonder what came to Peter Wentz first, theme or theme title? I suspect the latter. Sometimes a phrase can  inspire a theme. Sunday puzzle is a different animal. Very often constructors have a set of theme answers ready, then work on a fitting title, which has to be pertinent to the theme but can't be too revealing lest it spoil the solve.

Interesting for me to see THE WAY clued as "100D. Tao, literally". Tao actually just means "way", sans "the", since Chinese language has no articles. I often omit "the" when it should be present.

Across:

1. Come again? : REVISIT. Can't fool me.

8. Sampled, with "of" : HAD A BIT. Don't feel "of" is necessary. You?

15. Bright bunch : MENSA. Dennis is one, and he knows how much trouble I have with "the".

20. Anthem with the line "The True North strong and free!" : O CANADA

21. Muscle ache cause : OVERUSE

22. Prestigious octet : IVIES. Ivy League had 8 schools.

25. Mideast peninsula : SINAI

26. Fixed, as a pump : SOLED. Thinking of gas pump, not shoe.

27. Org. with a Double Down sandwich : KFC. No bread. Not real sandwich.

28. Hip-hopper's adjective : LIL. You'd think they want something big, so ego-driven.

29. Crashed, so to speak : SLEPT

30. Up to, in invites : TIL

37. "Conan" airer : TBS

40. __ Equis: Mexican beer : DOS. Two Xs.

42. Dice, e.g. : CUBES

43. Prefix with natal : NEO. Neonatal.

44. Be beholden : OWE

48. Well-mannered manor man : BUTLER. Liked the M alliteration.

50. Fridge problem : ODOR

51. It probably won't keep you up : DECAF. Clever clue.

52. Collectible frame : CEL. Disney cartoon cel.

55. "All yours!" : HERE

56. Sobriety checkpoint target, for short : DWI

57. "Tasty!" : MMM

58. '70s-'80s NHLer known as "Lucky Pierre" : LAROUCHE. First encounter with this guy.

62. Didn't deviate from : KEPT TO

69. U.K. medal : OBE. Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

70. Conservatory subj. : MUS. OK, Music.

72. Decrease : ABATE

73. Subj. for refugees : ESL (English as a Second Language)

74. "Annabel Lee" monogram : EAP (Edgar Allan Poe)

78. Fig. in many churches : ST MARY

80. Bronchitis sufferers' aids : INHALERS

81. Spinning toy : TOP

83. Orthogonal joint : ELL

84. Spill preceder : TRIP. Ah, spill here refers to "fall" then.

87. Conclusion letters : QED

88. "Yippee!" : WAHOO

90. Heads of England? : LOOS. Toilets. JOHN if the clue is singular.

92. Baseball's Matsui : HIDEKI. With the Yankees for a long time. Fun guy, unlike the somewhat aloof Ichiro.

98. Dutch city : EDE. Learned from doing Xword.

99. Iowa hrs. : CST

101. Gathers opinions from : POLLS

102. BART stop : STN

103. Chicken Little's concern : SKY. The sky is falling.

108. Auburn's conf. : SEC (Southeastern Conference)

110. Many a 19th-cen. map : LITHO

111. Fair-hiring abbr. : EOE

112. TV's "Science Guy" : NYE (Bill)

114. Shot with extreme spin : MASSE. Billiards shot.

118. Negative particle : ANION. We see ION so often.

124. Old tablet material : STONE

125. "No surprise" : AS USUAL

126. Holiday burner : YULE LOG. Sweet entry for Argyle.

127. Makes better : HONES

128. Mocha residents : YEMENIS. Mocha the port in Yemen.

129. Tiptoe past : SNEAK BY

Down:

1. Spoils : ROTS

2. Comeback : ECHO

3. Resort WSW of Boulder : VAIL. The Colorado ski resort.

4. Blown-up detail : INSET

5. Took the plunge : SAID "I DO". MARRIED has the same amount of letters.

6. Makes, as a perp : IDs

7. Word with car or top : TANK

8. Ski lodge drink : HOT COCOA

9. Charlton's "Earthquake" co-star : AVA (Gardner)

10. Excellent, in slang : DEF (Definitely)

11. SFO posting : ARR

12. Physiques : BUILDS

13. Long Island town : ISLIP. Not familiar with the town. What's it famous for, Splynter?

14. Rat out : TELL ON

15. Love letter sentiment : MISS YOU. Aww.

16. Pandora's boxful : EVILS. Thought of BANES.

17. Like a quick links round : NINE HOLE. Golf links.

18. 16th-century Spain, for one : SEA POWER

19. So to speak : AS IT WERE. In a way.

24. Wrong : OFF. He's off.

31. Indiscreet type : LOUDMOUTH. Nice answer.

33. Nonsense : GUFF

34. Like some bks. for kids : ABR (Abridged)

35. Napoleon cohort : NEY (Michel). Napoleon called him "bravest of the brave".

36. Big 12 rival of Kan. : NEB. Will become a Big 10 this July. For more info, ask Husker Gary.

37. E'en if : THO

38. Creditor's loss : BAD DEBT

39. Chinese food veggie : SNOW PEA. I like sugar peas more.

41. Flower feature : STEM

46. Sandpaper coarseness measure : GRIT

47. Airer of many old MGM films : TCM

49. After that : THEN

52. Shouted : CRIED

53. Years and years : EON

54. Winter Olympics event : LUGE

58. Thumbs (through) : LEAFS

59. Mont. neighbor : ALTA. Here it's again. Alberta.

60. Masters TV venue since 1956 : CBS SPORTS. Golf again. Masters & US Open are my favorite majors.

61. Word before "Who goes there?" : HALT

62. Fighter's stat : KOs (Knockouts). Boxing.

63. Fed after Capone : T MAN

64. Well-known : FAMED

65. Slangy prefix meaning "super" : UBER

66. Green-eyed : JEALOUS

67. Rowboat device : OARLOCK

68. Mole, perhaps : SPY

71. Oldest active NBAer : SHAQ. Oh, nice to know this trivia. Shaq is now 38 Years old.

76. "Goodness me!" : YIPE

77. Bulls' fans' chant? : OLE. Bullfighting. I was thinking of Chicago Bulls.

79. Pinochle declaration : MELD

81. Quaker possessive : THY

82. "Clumsy me!" : OOPS

84. Speedy superhero : THE FLASH. Was ignorant of this superhero.

85. Arrive at, cowboy-style : RIDE INTO

86. Thought process : IDEATION. We've seen IDEATE before. Weird word.

88. Sag : WILT

89. Clip joints? : ARSENALS. Cartridge clip.

91. Messy room, to mom : STY

93. Former Celtics guard and coach : K C JONES. Hall-of-Famer.

94. Metric lead-in : ISO. Isometric.

95. Hatfield, to a McCoy : FOE

96. PC space bar neighbor : ALT. Keyboard.

97. Four laps, often : ONE MILE. Four laps = 800 meters to me. We had 200 meter track.

101. Full legislative assembly : PLENUM

105. Lake Geneva feeder : RHONE

106. White __ : NOISE

107. Rembrandt van __ : RYN

109. Former capital of Crete : CANEA. No idea. Checked Wiki, then found out its current capital is Heraklion. Let's go back to Canea then.

113. "Grand" brand of ice cream : EDY'S

115. Epitome of smoothness : SILK

116. Stuffed shirt : SNOB

117. Like challah bread : EGGY

120. Sussex verb suffix : ISE. Ours is IZE.

121. Sister : NUN

122. Moo goo __ pan : GAI. Literally "chicken".

123. Good times : FUN

Answer grid.

Happy Birthday to Argyle, our witty and sharp Santa. I'd like to share with you a story. Sometime last year I mentioned to Argyle that it's bothering me that I still had not figured out the theme of a few earliest TMS Daily puzzles I blogged. I was not even sure I got the theme answers correct, as in those days I only wrote a few sparse clue/answer comments and attached no answer grid. Argyle went to his local library and found the exact puzzles for me. Like Dennis, he's done lots of small things for me, on and off the blog. Thanks, Santa, may your birthday be filled with sunshine, love and smiles.

C.C.