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.


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.


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.



Dennis said...

Good morning, Al, C.C. and gang - this was really a fun puzzle for me -- loved the theme, the cluing and the misdirection.

The theme revealed itself with the first one, 'Pole taxes', which helped the rest of the way. Some very clever cluing, including 'Vacation for the vain', 'It can facilitate drawing'. Pretty easy overall for a Thursday, but I did need perping for Simone Weil and Rob Estes. (Clever how the constructor got his name in the puzzle.)

Al, great job, especially considering you were working with an erratic PC. And I like your philosophy re 58A.

Today is National Tortilla Chip Day.

Lemonade714 said...

Plain old Thursday here:

Like Al, I thought the theme was balanced and entertaining. The puzzle was also with some challenges, such as the somewhat bitter SIMONE WEIL who eventually starved herself to death at 34. Also the reference to REX THE WONDER DOG was not easy even for this comic book collecting solver. I also did not know TENT was what they called the caterpillar attack on a tree, though I have seen it. My favorite clue, DRAWING SUPPORT: EASEL.

I love the way Harvey snuck his last name in the puzzle with actor ROB ESTES who I remember from the soft-core cop show SILK STALKINGS but who has been a regular on many tv series ranging from Suddenly Susan to CSI: Miami .

Al, an informative and amusing write up as always; my favorite comment being “like calling Woody Allen an actor.” Also, WM, it is always a pleasure to hear from you and see your work.

Hahtoolah said...

I really liked this Thursday puzzle. Just the right challenge for this part of the week. I got the theme after SOLE MUSIC. That was also my favorite theme clue/answer.

Some fun word in the puzzle, too: PELL MELL and EGO TRIP.

Letter Alternative = LEGAL took some thought. D'uh the size of paper. In my practice, I rarely have to use Legal-sized paper. We required all pleadings to be in letter-sized paper.

Like Lemonade, I remembered Rob ESTES from Silk Stockings.

JD and Lucina: The Poisonwood Bible is one of my favorite books. I tried reading Kingsolver's latest, The Lucina, but couldn't really get into it. Let me know what you think.

Happy Thursday, everyone. I hope you are not still experiencing snow. It's in the mid-70s already here.

QOD: Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months. ~ Oscar Wilde

John Lampkin said...

Morning all,

This is one of those puzzles where I guarantee that constructors around the planet are slapping their foreheads saying, "Duh, why didn't I think of that?" Wanna hear me say it? Lean real close to your speakers and I say it very loudly. It might carry.

Simple, clean, elegant, and fun. Hats off to Harvey!

I think we all noticed the self-referencing ESTES in there. Lest we take that too seriously, Harvey winks at us with EGO TRIP.

And not only that, he's a nice guy and a decent guitar player. I played bass guitar with him on stage a couple of years ago at the American Crosswords Puzzle Tournament. Vic Fleming played percussion on a coffee cup with a pencil. Seriously. We accompanied Amanda Yesnowitz as she sang her "Ken-Ken," which is a parody of Cole Porter's "Can-Can." Coincidence that, since he's in the puzzle too!

HeartRx said...

Good Morning Al, C.C. et al.

Great write-up and links, Al. I had a real V8 moment when I read your explanation of 19A LEGAL. That one just went right over my head when it appeared on my grid.
LOL at 20A, too! And I don’t think I have ever smoked BOLOGNA, haha!

What a great puzzle by Harvey Estes. I love punny theme entries, and this one was really solid, without any stretches. It’s particularly elegant (to me) that he has all five theme entries at exactly 9 letters each.

I had ARTs for 5A (did anyone fill ARTE right away?). Couldn’t remember the spelling of Gorme’s first name, but 10D RYE nailed it.

I had trouble with PELL MELL for “Willy-nilly”. To me, pell mell indicates speed (albeit, without regard to caution). But “willy-nilly” means “any which way” or “haphazardly”.

The rest was picked out little by little without too many problems. But in the end, the crossing of the Rice U mascot and a French mystic wouldn’t give me the W I needed, so I finally gg’d the mascot and “finished”.

Have a great day, everyone!

Hahtoolah said...

I was not familiar with REX, the Wonder Dog. The only Wonder Dog I as familiar was the dog of Tom Terrific ~ Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Lovely, fun puzzle today. My favorite theme answer, by far, was HOLE WHEAT. I've been eating a lot of bagels lately, and I got that one without a single perp.

The only real sticky spot for me today was right in the center, due to the fact that I did not know who (or what) the Rice University mascot was, had never heard of Simone WEIL, couldn't think of the song with "picture paints" as a lyric, and have never heard of a "coal field" before. I finally guessed COLEFIELD just based on the theme and the clue, and then the song finally popped into my brain. A few more semi-educated guesses, and voila!

The only other minor sticking point was in the SE corner where I initially had WENT APE instead of GONE APE, but that got cleared up pretty quickly when none of the perps worked.

Abejo said...

Good Morning, folks! I enjoyed this puzzle very much. Thank you Harvey Estes. Nice write-up, Al. Very clever comments. Thank you, C.C.!

My first answer was SAL. The Clue kind of caught my eye. So, that is where I started. Next came ALOE. I never enter a word without a corresponding crossword. That is why I am a little slow in time. From there I filled in the bottom and worked my way up.

I had SILK for TENT initially, but changed with perps. I could not remember the spelling of Eydie Gorme. RYE helped. I do remember Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme singing on TV, a long time ago. Nice couple.

Enjoyed the theme. I liked POLETAXES. Reminded me of my favorite food, Golabke. I make it myself and it sure is good. My wife gave me the recipe. She is Polish (4th generation Polish American) and has all the recipes in her head.

Got most of the puzzle done at home and then finished on the bus. Nice start for the day. See you all tomorrow.


Dennis said...

John, thanks for checking in.

It's my impression that most of our constructors have musical talents or play an instrument; if that's correct, any thoughts on the correlation?

HeartRx, good point about 'pell mell' vs. 'willy-nilly'.

Abejo said...

I believe I spelled golabki wrong in my first post. Sorry about that. I am a spelling freak.


thehondohurricane said...

Good day folks,

I may have mentioned this previously, but crosswords with only a North & South section always give me trouble. Today was no different, but I managed to finish w/o outside assistance. The trouble started right away because I never can remember how to spell Eydie Gorme's name.

Even though I struggled, this was a fun puzzle. I caught onto the theme early and that made the ride a bit smoother. I'd forgotten Winston Smith and Weil was new to me. Everything else came together once I got the grey matter in gear.

Favorite clues were stones (yes, they are precious), ego trip, & gone ape which I initially had as went ape.

Al, nice write up & thanks for all the links. Lots of golden oldies.

Heavy rain coming so shoveling snow in order today so downspouts will be cleared.

thehondohurricane said...

I forgot to mention 3D, Smoked deli meat. I began with brisket and have never heard of smoked bologna. Does such a meat exist?

Nice Cuppa said...

Thanks Al, CC and Mr. Estes

Super theme as Lampers also generously points out.

I LOVED Suzanne's Vega's version of SAL. The perfect WISTFUL voice for a wistful song.

But Al, Rachmaninoff WAS also a FINE pianist, so your analogy with Allen is not quite perfect.

"Pell-Mell" was a riotous street game for training knights in the Middle Age (might even have been the inspiration for Quidditch - need to check with JKR) , which gave its name to the famous street in London, Pall Mall, where it was played (same pronunciation originally), a tree-lined area of which gave us the modern word 'MALL' as in shopping. And talking of Bolognas, the Pall Mall cigarette brand was originally pronounced "Pell-Mell".

Instigating a POLL-TAX was the final STRAW leading to the resignation of MARGARET THATCHER (now that pun WAS unintentional).

TROTSKY should be a reminder to us all not to lead revolutions, especially if you end up on the winning side. He was originally a 'Menshevik', meaning minority, before becoming a Bolshevik (majority) with Lenin; and then being purged by Stalin. So, a 3-word biography:

Menshevik, Bolshevik, Ice-Pick.


Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning Dennis, et al. Thanks for the writ up. Now I have enough music links to keep me occupied for awhile.

Smoked BOLOGNA? Fortunately, the perps filled it. I'll take mine fried, with mustard, on HOLE WHEAT, not RYE, thank you. Everything else in that corner was pretty obvious.

I saw the Italian connection and remembered that the same misdirection was applied using the Spanish Prado museum recently so ARTE was my first choice. I needed some perps to spell EYDIE correctly.

Email before LEGAL emerged via perps. Yup! Paper size. Nice clue.

Liked the 'Drawing aid'. All in all, a very fun solve. We've had some great puzzles this week.

Husker Gary said...

Good Morning Al, et al, I played 13 holes of golf yesterday but Ole Man Winter is making a triumphal return today and so I am on hiatus! Sorry to hear about your space bar Al, but nice job! Puzzle was a great 3* exercise!

-ARTE in the Uffizi was mostly wasted on me except the David!
-WINSTON, ESTES and WEIL needed perps
-Spanish meat had to be CARNE
-Super dog? RIN (for Rin Tin Tin) or REN (of …and Stimpy) nope. REX! Even in my comic book infested youth, Rex never visited
-Double homage to Dudley Do-Right with Snidley (Whiplash) and Ripsaw (Falls)
-ONESTOP shopping line from Niles on Frasier, “I can get French fries in one aisle and French doors in the next!”
-Erie Canal was on the order of the construction of the Hoover Dam in its day!
-Quaker pronoun, sit this one out. Lame clue for $1,000, suit up! A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and $1,000 besides me!
-Nice Cuppa – Great Info!
-Lindsay Lohan? ALAS, what’s the use?

Hahtoolah said...

Very witty, NC, about the ICE PICK! Not the usual weapon of choice for assassinations.

Tinbeni said...

Al, Wonderful write-up!!!

Well I was watching CNBC Pre-market, as oil hit $103 per-barrel.
SOOOO ... I guess my mind was off on a different wave-lenght.

Never got the theme.
Never watched 90210 so the Rob ESTES was a total wag.

Oh well, a DNF and I now have to suffer a 79 degree, blue sky, walk on the beach.

Also, yesterday, the 23rd, the bloodmobile wasn't where its website said it would be ... so donation day is today.

John Lampkin said...

Excellent question, Dennis about the correlation of puzzle construction and musicianship. Certainly many names come to mind. Liz Gorski plays viola professionally, Jon Delfin plays keyboards, Don Gagliardo is a piano tuner and rebuilder, Rich Norris is an accomplished amateur... Not sure if I would say "most" though.

What I will say from personal experience is that it takes both sides of the brain to construct crosswords, and to compose or perform music. The intuitive right side "feels" it's way through theme development and the initial stages of cluing. Then, hopefully, the logical and cut and dried left brain does some editing and tightening to make sure that it all makes sense.

With music, the genre determines which side is dominant, IMHO. With rock and jazz, the right brain dominates because there is tremendous freedom regarding note choice. To play with a symphony orchestra, one must get the notes and rhythms exactly right as a first priority, then "feel" the conductor and the interpretation.

Speaking VERY generally, left-brained puzzles are generally less colorful and more straightforward. Right-brained puzzles are generally more colorful and emotionally evocative. What one prefers is a matter of taste.

However, just think about the warm and fuzzy we got yesterday when Jerome was able to quite appropriately bring his love for his mom into the discussion. And we admire Dan Naddor not just for his brilliant constructions, but for the fact that his body of work represents his struggle against killer cancer.

For me then, it's all more than just letters in little boxes. It's art, an art that is a joyful sharing of one's life vision.

[John descends from the soap box]

mtnest995 said...

Thanks, Al, C.C., and Mr. Estes. What a delightful puzzle and what a great week this is becoming. I'm anxious to see what tomorrow brings.

Favorite clues - "letter alternative" and "it can faciitate drawing".

For some reason, Eydie just popped out of my brain. Didn't know Weil, but once Winston and Cole field were filled in, Owl was the only logical mascot for a university. It wasn't a speed run, but an appropriate and entirely entertaining challenge for a Thursday.

I'll be looking for tortilla chips later.

Have a wonderful day, everyone.

sherry said...

Not too difficult for a Th.
Spelled Leia incorrectly as Leah, threw the upper middle out of whack. Also, didn't get Holster & clueless about Estes.

kazie said...

Good morning all, and Al, thanks for the music links and a great blogging job despite your PC hindrance.

I did get ARTE first up--it's the linguist in me. I also got the theme quickly, but had trouble with MUSIC and all of the east side because I was expecting 13D to end with EST, so MUSIC came slowly. My other stumble was not knowing OWL and wanting NEIL for the unknown WEIL--a German, not French sounding name. The S-E was also slow to fall, but I did conquer it eventually. No look-ups but much perp and WAG help.

I wanted PREPS right from the get-go, but hesitated, thinking it needed an abbrev. indication.

Thanks for explaining LEGAL--I had no idea why that was right.

Thanks for pell-mell/Pall Mall. I always wondered why it was pronounced pal-mal in London.

John Lampkin,
Thanks for the back story on Harvey. It makes him more real.

Husker Gary said...

John, what a lovely insight into the psyche of constructors! I am a physics teacher and guitarist and appreciate the dichotomy of the two disciplines but see full well how they can complement each other as well. I adhered to the rigor of science in my teachings but brought in toys, art, music, crazy demonstrations, web sites, pictures, smells, explosions and every other right-brained tool I could generate from my starboard hemisphere!

In church, I stylized the sometimes tedious music of the mass and people told me how much they loved that and I suspect just as many avoided my 11 am mass. Oh well, we had 7 services and they could always “turn the dial”.

A distinctively and uniquely decorated home still needs a firm structure in which the construction occurs!

Nice Cuppa said...

I've been scouring my brain for a clue that follows Mr. Estes's strict theme. I can only come up with one (and even then the theme word is at the end).:

Q: Where the Reds take on the Giants?



Grumpy 1 said...

I read the sports section of the paper before doing the crossword this morning. One of the articles was captioned "Duke beats Owls". It wasn't the Rice Owls, but it gave me the answer with the 'O' in place.

A couple had triplets and named them Teeny, Meany and Rachmaninoff. Why? Well, Teeny was the teeniest, Meany was the meaniest, and Rachmoninoff? He was the pianist.

Denny said...

What a perfect puzzle! Not a groaner among any of the clues or answers. Where I was completely stumped, the perps gave just enough to let me confidently hazard a guess.

Went awry (great crossword word!) for a while at 29A, CUT IT OUT, by too confidently answering DELETE, but soon got talked out of it by the perps. So that was the only scribbled over part for this pen solver.

About the only clue I didn't have a clue about until I came here was TYROS, which I filled in correctly, so there's my new vocabulary word for the day.

All in all, a perfect Thursday puzzle. Just difficult enough to make me feel smart, not so hard that I felt stupid (or thought the constructor was)!

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, I'm usually good at names, but WEIL and ESTES got me.

I've never watched "Labor Pains" If LOHAN's clue had referred to her continuing problems, I would have had it. It always saddens me when young, attractive, talented and successful people seem determined to ruin themselves.

Gee Lemonade, after reading Simone WEIL'S quotes, I'm not surprised she decided that this world was not for her.

Ah yes, the puzzle....I thought the theme was great. Once I got POLE TAXES, I zipped around filling out OLE in the other theme spaces. That helped a lot. My favorite was COLE FIELD. Cole Porter is a favorite composer.

Mr favorite non-theme fill were WINSTON and TROTSKY. Those names I did know. My parents always had interesting books around the house.

AL, thanks for the musical links. I liked them all.

Anonymous said...

Please!! The South shall rise again???? Tongue in cheek, no doubt, but extremely inappropriate sentiment to be putting on the blog

Al said...

Sorry anon, forgot to add the music link.

HeartRx said...

Grumpy and Kazie, you guys are just too smart for me...I think I depended on perps for the last ARTE entry as well. But "third times a charm", so let's see how I do next time it appears. And Grumpy, LOL at Teeny Meany and Rachmaninov...

Husker, I liked your take on "thou"...but if I had a thou, I wouldn't be eating bread, that's for sure!

Thank you for the insights, John L. !

Anonymous said...

Very nice puzzle - enjoyed it - even if I did not finish - (sigh).

Al - your blog is wonderful, charming, delightful and sparkling - and many other nice things - with sugar and spice.... And I don't care what opinions you espouse or spout off ... didn't bother me at all - I throughly enjoyed your blog - much, much more than the puzzle itself. So there.

Anonymous said...

Very nice puzzle - enjoyed it - even if I did not finish - (sigh).

Al - your blog is wonderful, charming, delightful and sparkling - and many other nice things - with sugar and spice.... And I don't care what opinions you espouse or spout off ... didn't bother me at all - I throughly enjoyed your blog - much, much more than the puzzle itself. So there.


Good morning, All! Thanks, Al, for the great write up.

Great puzzle today. Just difficult enough to make you think but perps and wags made it possible to fill in the entire puzzle without any trouble or need of assistance.

VT is coming out of the deep freeze for a few days which, of course, means more snow. Predicting 10 inches for tomorrow.

Alas, spring will come; but not soon enough. More sewing and quilting time in the next two months.

Husker Gary said...

Marti, Twere I able to obtain the aforementioned trio of enticements, the fruits of wheat and grape would pale in the visage of thou!

Anonymous said...


Bill G. said...

This was a clever puzzle. Challenging for me but not super difficult. Just right I'd say. Loved the theme and clever cluing. Thanks for the writeup, Al. Very enjoyable.

Lots of musical references today. I don't watch American Idol but my wife does. She showed me this week's show where the contestants sang Beatles' songs. I had a hard time believing that many of them didn't know anything about the Beatles. I'm sure most of them haven't even heard of Glenn Miller. I'm guessing that most of their musical knowledge and appreciation is pretty shallow; probably not much beyond hip hop and rap.

Sportswise, did you see where the Caltech mens' basketball team won a game (by one point) after 310 consecutive defeats?

Anonymous said...

What with all the romance in the air - and spring hasn't even ( officially) arrived yet , am I reminded of the soap 'As the cross-wor(l)d turns' -

Lemonade714 said...

Kazie, Ms. Weil was born in Alsace-Lorraine which has been back and forth between France and Germany and clearly influenced by both cultures.

John, your dissertation on construction is not only appreciated for its insight and candor, but it also emphasizes why you and other favorites of this corner are so appreciated. In the day and age of computers, anyone can create a 15 X 15 puzzle, but only the best give us puzzles with soul, humor and joy.

I have always believed music to be close to mathematics, where anyone can learn to add or to play a note, but few master the big picture.

My son named his band Winston, btw.


@Husker Gary - Very spring-like of you!! Changed my picture in an effort to entice spring to come along sooner.

Lucina said...

Good day, cyber friends!

Al, brilliant blogging as always and I can return to enjoy all the links.

Harvey, what a lovely puzzle you gave us with so much wit and humor. I especially liked:

drawing support, EASEL

and all the theme answers but POLETA_ES escaped me completely as I did not know REX and my mind wouldn't glom onto it. Otherwise I was on the wavelength with EYDIE as I have niece by that name and OWL was a WAG. ARTE came easily
because Spanish and Italian are cousins.

LEGAL size, hah! Saw it but puzzled over the meaning. Thanks again, Al.

John L., thank you for that elegant essay on right/left brain function.

Have a super Thursday, everyone!

Lucina said...

I saw and perused The Lakota at the bookstore, but it did not appeal to me as Kingsolvers other books have done so I left it.

After reading The Poisonwood Bible I took out the audio version from the library and listened to it. It was just wonderful with Barbara herself reading it.

eddyB said...


Thank you for a nice and easy Thurs

Thank you JD.

Special thanks to Tampa Bay for taking care of Phoenix.

It may actually snow in San Jose
with the mass of Artic air over us.

take care

erieruth said...

Dennis - Yes...musicians and *xworders*. I've played the piano almost daily for many years. (only as a hobby). I think also math and *xworders* correlate. Perhaps because I was a math major (which led to a career as a computer programmer). I'd love to hear how many music/math *xworders* there are on this blog!!!

fermatprime said...

Hello fellow solvers!

Have been visiting various MDs so haven't been able to blog. No urge to stay up past 4AM. When I get home, usually have long nap.

New mattress with gel still hasn't arrived.

Fun puzzle. Thanks to Al and Harvey. Interesting comments, John L.

Got ARTE right away. This is old fill. Grokked theme early on. No googling, etc., but some obscure fill to me, such as WEIL, WINSTON.

The other night I opened some errant mail that had lurked at the foot of the bed. The Franchise Tax Board (CA) says they never received my 2009 return. Well, according to bank, they cashed my check! Have to wait more to get copy of check and copy of return. Water and Electric said that I had given them incorrect bank numbers. (As it turned out, they fired their providers for automatic withdrawl and needed another source of payment!!)

Moral: Do not touch mail before attempting to go to sleep!

fermatprime said...

PS--I am one of those music/math solvers. (Would not have been a successful musician, though.)

HeartRx said...

HuskerG, Anon @ 11:03 said it all, LOL !!

JD said...

Good morning Al, C.C. and all,

Al, I enjoyed all of your music links and your explanations for many of the words. Oddly, I had no problems filling in this one, but mostly from WAGS and perps. Just a little bit of my knowledge went a long way today.

Thanks Harvey!Enjoyed pell mell and posies......and...
bologna..smoked..who knew..gave me a giggle!

Rob Estes was in those soaps, 90210 and Melrose Place, when my girls were in HS, so I got to know him well. He married his on screen wife, Josie Bissett, a cutie.

John Lampkin, I so enjoyed your right/left brain explanation, which gave me more understanding of my non functioning math brain.

Eddy B, seeing is believing on the snow prediction.

Anonymous said...

Al. The link didn't make me any more happy, I gotta say. Reading through the comments on the video, I discovered the amount of bigotry, violence and hatred quite disturbing. I'm not saying you espouse those views but I would suggest that this stuff, wouldn't pass any breakfast test outside the KKK.

Jerome said...

I couldn't carry a tune if my life depended on it and I have no ability at all to play any kind of musical instrument. My dream of playing piano in a marching band was dashed a long time ago. I certainly ain't got the brains to understand all this hifalutin right/left brain stuff. But I do know exactly where my puzzles come from.

If I need a theme I'll hang out in a theme park for a few hours. Block placement? That's easy. I'll spend an afternoon walking around the town square. Fill? No prob. I just head on down to the filling station. The last step is simply plugging in my gridiron to smooth out all the wrinkles. Crosswords as art? Surely you jest.

Husker Gary said...

Heart Rx, et al, I'm glad you took my poetic effort in the spirit it was offered! I just wanted to show that we left-brainers can sling it around a little bit!

Anonymous said...

Don't wanna keep going on, but a last thought. Indiana fired its deputy attorney general for telling Wisconsin law enforcement to "use live ammunition" on the protestors in that state. There were so many allusions to guns, killing, etc. by the commenters on the "South Shall Rise Again" video, it made me so sad. Point is, it was a poorly chosen song.

eddyB said...


Btw. Ring balogna or fleiswurst hangs in many smoke sheds in SE PA.
Old PA tradition and available from most German Delis.

take care. Waiting for snow.

Jeannie said...

This was a fun Thursday puzzle. Nice write up Al. I can’t wait until I get home to open all the music links. I haven’t heard “If” by Bread in ages. Come to think of it, I think I have one of their LP’s in my collection. I loved the theme and caught onto it right away with pole taxes and then sole music (don’t think of soul music as foot tapping though). So I did what Clearayes did and filled in the “ole” in the other theme spots which did actually help. Weil and tyros emerged from the perps but other than that it was smooth sailing. My favorites today were “g-note”-thou and “vacation for the vain”-ego trip. For the record I fall into the math/music/puzzle group. I played the saxophone and piano in my youth. I still have my sax, perhaps it’s time to dig it out.

Lucina, do you have a good recipe for Carne-asada? Settle down anon, I am not being bigoted asking her this question. She shared her wonderful tamale recipe with us around the holidays.

It’s chilly here 20 degrees but at least the sun is shining.
Everyone enjoy what’s left of your day!

creature said...

Good Day C.C.,Al and all,

Al, thanks for an unusually fine write-up. Still haven't completed all the links.{The link line is very long, considering all the posts}.

As far as the puzzle is concerned, I bumped around for a lot longer than I usually do. My initial responses weren't perped {or fully}
Such as : haphazard, eases in, rippers. Could never get LEIA, which left out TIE TO- thought there was a bigger problem than an
'i'. Oh well I need to go to Star Wars school.Ergo: DNF

The puzzle was great;The theme had a certain je ne sais quoi about it.Thanks, Harvey, and all of the above praises.

Abejo, Do you want to share the recipe for GOLABKI?

HRTX,ditto EYDIE[sp]

JL,ditto HRTX

NC, Always love your info.

CA, Well put, re Weil

Have a nice rest of the day everyone.

Dennis said...

anon, you made your point the first time, and obviously no one here agrees with you. Give it a rest.

WM said...

Hi everyone...what a terrifically enjoyable and doable puzzle. Caught the theme the same way Dennis did and loved the Vacation for the vain clue. The only name I didn't know was ESPO but it filled itself in, so no problem.

A thank you to John L on the music info. Music is supposed to enhance the ability to learn and I find that, personally, I stay much more focused if I have music on while I paint. Unfortunately, we in the South Bay, have lost our Classical music station until they find a local station to broadcast from and I can't use the computer because it is too far away from where I paint. I have settled for a local classic rock station which has turned out to be very interesting. I can't exactly remember ever dancing to the Classical

Dennis...I think I have some Tortilla Chips and Salsa on hand so I'm good to go. :o)

Hi Lemonade! *waves*

Jeannie, from last night...I sent you some images.

It is definitely getting darker and colder here and they really think that by Friday night we might see a few flakes of snow as low as sea level. I am hoping so, because the last time it snowed, in 1976, I was having our oldest daughter and missed it entirely...

Gunghy said...

Morning all,

I had a lot of over-writes for what seemed to be a really easy puzzle. LEHA, ESPI, REVS not RAMP and ANE all went in. And how do you fit EDYE into 5 squares?? Besides that though, it went fast.

I prefer Shout-Outs to C.C., DODO , Santa, ET AL; but I guess our local troll needs his due.

Gee, I thought you smoked Banana peels. Never in my years at Berkeley did I ever try bologna. As Al said, sounds difficult.

HeartRx, I write in ART and let the perp take care of the S, E, Y...

Dennis, if musical ability is a prerequisite, I'll never get written. Concerning John's comments on the 2 sides of a brain; did you know you can watch the really bright students tilt their head to either side as they work, depending on which side of the brain dominates the activity? Lesser students are stuck in their dominant side, which explains their struggles on some topics.

The Arctic FRONT and the Hawaiian FRONT are supposed to combine and hit Calif. tonight. Predictions of snow in SF and the Central Valley floor. Guaranteed at above 1000 feet. If it occurs, first in SF since 1976. It would be the first in Feb. in Fresno since '76, also.

I bet I'm over 20 lines, sorry.

kazie said...

Thanks for the Weil geography. The town of Metz in that area also seems missnamed for the same reason.

It is a recognized fact that there is a correlation between ability in music, math and foreign language. I was reasonably good at math, but never followed up on it past high school. OTH, I always feel music was a language i never got the chance to learn. In fact, due to a shortage of funds for classes, in my early years, I was given a choice as to which I would rather learn: music or ballet. I chose the latter, and took lessons for seven years. I guess one has to have a sense of rhythm and music to do well at dancing too.

Jeannie said...

WM, yes I got your e-mail and I fell in love with “The Ice Cream Shop”. I find it ironic that you, who don’t normally get snow “don’t want to miss it”. I laughed right out loud. I am looking forward to jumping on the little Snapper and mowing the grass for the first time!

Dennis said...

did you know you can watch the really bright students tilt their head to either side as they work, depending on which side of the brain dominates the activity? Lesser students are stuck in their dominant side, which explains their struggles on some topics.

I used to put my head in my hands whenever there was a test; what's that mean?

I am looking forward to jumping on the little Snapper

Well jeez, who isn't??

Jeannie said...

You're welcome Dennis...I kind of lobbed that one out there to you. I meant this Little Snapper.

Lemonade714 said...


I am sure Dennis meant his lawn mower as well.

WM said...

Sorry...forgot to thank Al for the great write up...I always try to at least read the blog part because it helps me to remember a lot of these later...I have never forgotten Argyle's OAST photos :o)

Jeannie :o)Out here snow is definitely a big deal...we get dustings on the hills pretty often in Feb and Mar but the idea of bits actually falling at our level is exciting!!! Just crazy I guess.

CA I also forgot to tell you that I love your new paintings with the barns! You have so much talent and I am always happy when I know you are creating.

Lucina said...

I have zero musical talent and limited mathematical ability, but I believe my high linguistic and literary skills enable me and draw me to xwd puzzles. I 've always been sorry I didn't learn more languages.

Sadly, no I don't have a good recipe for carne asada but my brother who is an excellent cook and has written a recipe book does and I shall obtain it from him for you.

The art on your website is remarkable. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing it. Thank you.

HeartRx said...

Dennis @ 2:25...I think that means an "F"

I have read that constructors have their "favorite" pieces when it comes to making puzzles. Some have said that they enjoy thinking up themes, others say they really enjoy doing the fill, while still others like to make up the clues. I would love to see a scientific comparison of how those preferences line up to their backgrounds ...not that I'm "left-brained" or anything. Just curious.

Hahtoolah said...

Husker: David is in the Galleria dell'Accademia, not the Uffizi. Both museums, however, are in Florence, Italy.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Fun puzzle today, and high quality stuff, too.

Good blogging Al.

Thanks to Rich for a really great week of terrific puzzles.

Very cool and laid back I Got Rhythm by Lena. That is an iconic jazz tune. The chord progression has been used in hundreds - maybe thousands of songs, and is commonly called "Rhythm Changes." Here is an example that might surprise you.
We have this song up for performance in Jazz Band, too.

JzB amateur trombonist, math hobbyist, and poor speller

Grumpy 1 said...

The second meeting of the Naples chapter of the Crossword Corner was held today at the Riverwalk Restaurant. Sallie and DH Gerry, The Spitsboov and LW Betty, Grumpy1and LW Wilda enjoyed a great lunch at a great open air waterside location. We had hoped that Lemonade would be able to join us, but alas, he hasn't figured out that Florida is for retirement and meeting with friends, not working.

Of course, all members not present were fair game for gossip... not that we did...

If any other members of the corner happen to find themselves in our area, be sur to let Sallie or Grumpy1 know and we'll try to get together. It's always fun to meet the person behind the posts.

John Lampkin said...


You inadvertently left out your explanation about how you clue your puzzles. I'm sure others out there are waiting anxiously for you to reveal your final secret.

Themes -- Theme park
Blocks -- Town Square
Fill -- Filling Station
Clues -- ?

Maybe Colonel Mustard does it for you in the kitchen with a lead pipe?

dodo said...

Greetings, friends,

Not too big a hump to get over on 'hump' day! I liked it, Harvey;thanks. Will we ever get away from Lindsay Lohan? There seems to be a daily message re: her, now even in xwords!

I grokked the theme, for once and I thought the theme fill fresh and interesting. This was another one where I had to go back to read all the clues. My favorite: Vacation for the vain = egotrip!

dodo said...

Oops! It's Thursday! What happened to Wednesday this week?

Jerome said...

I call Clu Gulager, of course!

HeartRx said...

JazzBumpa @ 4:00, awesome lesson on chord progressions.
I didn’t have a clue
That “yabba dabba doo”
Was educational too!!

Jerome, good answer!

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone,
At first glance I thought this was going to be a bear of a puzzle. But I kept plugging away and had most of it finished before I left for my class this noon.

I had to look up Espo, Weil, and Estes so those areas could then be filled in. I had Jewels at first for Stones but that soon was corrected. Pole tax revealed the ole endings which helped with the rest of the theme answers.

My favorites today were Dictators' aides/Stenos and It can facilitate drawing/Holster. As it turned out A fun and much easier puzzle than I had expected.

I hadn't realized that the constructor had slipped his name into the puzzle. Pretty sneaky.

WM said...

Lucina...thank you :o)

Jeannie said...

MFCounselor, I hope you got my e-mailed recipe for my tomato bisque. You will have to let me know how it turned out. Lucina, my e-mail address isn't posted on my profile so I will send you one so that you can send me the carne-asada recipe. Unless of course you want to share it with everyone else here.

Did you fine folks in CA get the snow as promised. If you did, I want to see snow angel pics. In case you are rusty, you lay down on your back and move your arms and legs back and forth and then carefully get back up, hence leaving an angel in the snow.! Health troubles, IRS F-up and bank troubles too. Sleep dear and let the rest all work itself out. Where the heck is your new bed?? It's been a couple of weeks hasn't it? I hope that brings you comfort.

Windhover, good to hear that new things are happenin' in your neck of the woods.

Bill G. said...

Rain and cold weather are due this weekend. They say it's possible that the Hollywood sign might get some snow on it. I laid in some extra fireplace wood.

Another rite of passage. Barbara and I just got back from grandson Jordan's Little League practice game. I really like the way they do it these days. They have a consistent little spring-loaded pitching machine. If the kids can't hit the ball after a reasonable number of swings, the coach lobs a few bloopers in from half the distance. If the kids still can't hit the ball, they bring out a batting tee. Jordan needed the tee but seemed very pleased with himself when he got to first, advanced to second and third and eventually scored. I nearly froze but fulfilled my grandfatherly duties. It was fun.

Jeannie, tomato bisque soup sounds good. I had an interesting soup in a Greek restaurant for lunch today. Chicken, rice, olive oil, lemon and egg. Really good. A little cafe in Hermosa Beach sometimes has cream of carrot soup. Excellent. I've never had it anywhere else. You?

Annette said...

Dennis, I drove by the beach this afternoon. It looked beautiful and I think I saw a table at Oasis Cafe with your name on it... :)

I tried to fit the puzzle in while talking on the phone during a short break I had this afternoon. I maybe had it half full on my first pass! I came back after a massage and breezed through the rest with some WAGS and perps. All except the crossing of Simone WEIL and the OWL...

David Gates from Bread has always been one of my favorite singers!

Great puzzle, Harvey!

dodo said...

Hahtool, thank you for refreshing my memory. The wonder dog I also was thinking of belonged to Tom Terrific, but the name just wouldn't come up! Manfred! I loved the whole Captain Kangeroo series and was very sad when Bob whatsisname died! Oh, Oh, another senior moment!

Hand up for filling in 'arte'.

I doubt if my left brain is still working!

Lucina said...

I'll be happy to share that recipe with everyone as soon as I can. My brother works at the airport and this week there is a big Nascar race here so I'm sure they will be extremely busy. His days off are Monday and Tuesday so I hope to hear from him then.

Lemonade714 said...

Bob KEESHAN was Clarabelle anf the Captain