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Apr 13, 2011

Wednesday, April 13 2011, Michael Blake

Theme: Pay the Piper. each theme answer is a phrase beginning with a synonym for bill.

20A. Unable to reach a human, no matter which buttons one presses : IN VOICE MAIL JAIL.  anymore, that describes pretty much every call to any business. when i have to call my son's school it takes several minutes just to get to the part where i can push a button. if i need to actually talk to someone at the bank ... i need to take the afternoon off.

25A. Word processor setting : TAB ALIGNMENTremember physically setting the sliding tabs on ibm typewriters?

42A. 1791 legislation : BILL OF RIGHTS. first ten amendments of the us constitution.

48A. Verify ahead of time, and a hint to what 20-, 25- and 42-Across have in common : CHECK BEFOREHANDbeforehand = in advance. i wonder why no one says afterhand? 

fun, just-right wednesday level puzzle, with two grid-spanning theme answers, and some fresh and fun clueing. we've seen michael blake twice before here at the corner. he had a perfect score at the 2008 silicon valley puzzle day.  i found this article, and this image.

melissa blogging.

Across:

1. Explorer Vasco da __ : GAMA. Had no clue (yuk yuk). Portuguese navigator who led an expedition at the end of the 15th century that opened the sea route to India by way of the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa.

5. Political channel : C-SPAN

10. Blabbers : GABS. too short to be a plural noun, had to be a verb.

14. Actor Sharif : OMAR. holds a degree in mathematics and physics from cairo university. best known for playing sherif ali in lawrence of arabia (1962) and the title role in doctor zhivago. 

15. Broom rider of comics : HILDA. coincidentally, blake used this same clue/answer in one of his two previous puzzles blogged here (by c.c.). in the comic, broom hilda is atilla the hun's ex-wife.  kazie commented before: an obvious play on the name Brunhilde from the legend on which Wagner based his "Der Ring des Nibelungen" opera, and provided this link.

16. Brother of Daniel, William and Stephen : ALEC

17. Titanic bane : BERG. images of the actual iceberg that sunk the titanic. roughly only 8%-11% of an iceberg is visible above the surface of the ocean - thus the phrase 'tip of the iceberg.'

18. Alaskan native : INUIT

19. "Battle for __": Peter Yates WWII book : ST. LO

23. Highest ordinal number? : NTH

24. Changed course : VEERED

31. Ryder rival : U-HAUL.  i just drove a 14-foot one in february. 350 miles. in the snow. little scary.

32. Screech owls don't make them : HOOTS. cute.

33. 'Hood pal : BRO

36. It may be put in a washer : BOLT

37. Bingo relative : LOTTO

38. Pet plaint : MEOW

39. Observe : EYE

40. First of 12 popes : PIUS I. don't know my popes.

41. Bed that can be stored during the day : FUTON. 

44. Prison in 1971 headlines : ATTICA. new york. riot based in part upon prisoners' demands for better living conditions.

47. Some pop-ups : ADS. some are not ad-related ...

55. Skye of film : IONE

56. Mythical weeper : NIOBE. queen of thebes, one of the more tragic figures of greek mythology. after her husband and 14 children were slain she turned to stone, and a stream (the Achelous) formed from her ceaseless tears. She became the symbol of eternal mourning.

57. Baking soda target : ODOR

58. Let go : DROP

59. Swashbuckling Flynn : ERROL

60. Mosaic piece : TILE

61. Without : SANS

62. Type in again : RE-KEY

63. White man's makeup? : SNOW. snowman.

Down:

1. Mongolian desert : GOBI

2. Congregational yes : AMEN

3. Wonderful, in slang : MARV. marvelous.

4. Mythical sailor : ARGONAUT

5. Affectedly elegant : CHI-CHI. hm. i'm guessing this is pronounced "shee-shee," perhaps based on chic. i work at a chi-chi-foo-foo spa. pronounced a different way, it means something entirely different.

6. Trig function : SINE

7. Fellow suspect of Mustard : PLUM. from the board game clue.

8. 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit : ADIA

9. Hailing from : NATIVE TO

10. Stove nozzle : GAS JET

11. Hitching post? : ALTAR. great clue.

12. Prove false : BELIE

13. Bawl out : SCOLD

21. "__ have to do" : IT'LL. what'll i do?

22. Camera eye : LENS

25. Poster mailer : TUBE

26. Greeting from a deck : AHOY

27. Hayride seat : BALE. who's been on a hayride?

28. Grave robber : GHOUL

29. False : NOT SO

30. Theme : MOTIF

33. Sister of Meg, Jo and Amy : BETH. little women.

34. Carrot or cassava : ROOT

35. Has title to : OWNS

37. Tiny Yokum's big brother : LI'L ABNER

38. Pictures of perps : MUG SHOTS. 

40. Elect : PICK

41. Bona __ : FIDE. latin. "in good faith."

42. Curl beneficiary : BICEPS. cute.

43. Hardly ever : RARELY

44. Etching supplies : ACIDS

45. Birch of "American Beauty" : THORA

46. Mortise's mate : TENON

49. Galway's land : EIRE. in my high-tech days we had a site in galway - always liked working with them just to hear the accent.

50. Driver's decision point : FORK. pssst - take the one less traveled by.

51. Bassoon kin : OBOE

52. Server's edge, in tennis : AD IN

53. Court plea, for short : NOLO. nolo contendere. lemonade and/or hahtool can expain better than i.

54. Depicted : DREW

Answer grid. 

melissa

47 comments:

Dennis said...

Good morning, Melissa Bee, C.C. and gang - I thought today's offering was actually easier than yesterday's, although I had a couple screw-ups that messed up the middle. This was a fun theme, and I agree with MelB about voice mail jail, although saying 'representative' or hitting '0' will get you out of it maybe 70-80% of the time.

As I was chugging along, when I got the 'g' in 28D, I figured it must be 'ghost' and put that in. Then when I got the 'm' in 30D, figured it had to be 'motto'. Neither worked too well, and it left me 'pisst' about the 'First of 12 popes'.

I thought there were some great clues today, but my favorites were 'Hitching post' and 'Curl beneficiary'.

Melissa, great job on the blog; amen on 47A. Regarding 50D, I've always liked Yogi Berra's advice -- when you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Today is Scrabble Day, and Blame Someone Else Day. Who can I blame for all this damn rain?

Did You Know?:

- The toothpick is the item on which people most often choke. Wouldn't have been my first guess.

Off to the gym.

Hahtool said...

Good Morning, Melissa Bee and friends. Great puzzle, Great Write-up. This seemed a tad easier that the usual Wednesday, but I really liked the fun clues. Never heard of VOICE MAIL JAIL. An apt description, however, when making a call to any supposed customer-service company.

My favorite clue was Screech Owls Don't Make Them = CLUE.

Vasco de GAMA is depicted on the Monument to the Discoveries, which is in Lisbon, Portugal.

I remember OMAR Sharif mostly from Funny Girl as well as Dr. Zhivago.

QOD: The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries. ~ Rene Descartes.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

I agree with Dennis that this was a relatively easy solve today. It took a while to remember CHICHI, but it was stored in my brain somewhere and eventually popped loose. I've never heard the phrase VOICEMAIL JAIL before, but it makes sense and I like it. I usually say VOICEMAIL HELL, but I think I prefer the rhyming version.

I thought "bawl out" was a bit imprecise for SCOLD (screaming at vs. saying "tsk tsk"), but other than that all the clues were solid.

A lot of fun clues today, including "it may be put in a washer" for BOLT and "hitching post" for ALTAR (although I think we've seen that one before).

fermatprime said...

Hi All,

Thanks to MB for write-up! Puzzle not very interesting though. Short work. Loved the JAIL answer!

Speaking of which: has anyone tried calling the CA State Franchise tax board? (It seems that they separated my 2009 return (which they lost) from my check and did not know what to do with the check! (The date of the check did not clue them in. So they returned it to bank. I had it listed with other deposits somehow and I stupidly did not figure the deal out. Last month they bothered to notify me! I sent in copy of check and another return. Did not fly, of course, so I just received another letter, with threats.)

Jerome--yesterday's offerring was great! How long did it take to come up with the theme answers?

Have been in too much pain to do much. Yesterday I went to rheumatologist and had three syringes of blood removed.

End of Part 1.

fermatprime said...

Part 2.


The day before I was able to get my 2004 Ricoh color laser printer working with Snow Leopard. Lots of effort rolling the wheelchair back and forth to extremely crowded "computer" room. The manual I downloaded (733 pages) contained an incorrect IP address. Called Ricoh up. (The guys were really not familiar with Macs, and not particularly nice to females, it would seem.) Had many more problems after their hours.

Clear Ayes--Always enjoy reading your contributions. Love your pictures, poems and witticisms.

People that I know really are averse to hearing aids. In one case it is pure vanity. Also, my dad and an aunt died virtually deaf. If I get to that point that I need them, will get best possible accoutrements! (It is bad enough being partially blind, eh Lemonade.)

Any of you people watch "The Good Wife?" I find it rather exciting. Acting is superb. Do not know about renewal. OK. Cheated a little on length. Sorry, C. C.

Cheers!

Abejo said...

Good Morning, folks. Thank you Michael for a nice puzzle. It was easier than I expected, but that is OK. Thank you Melissa Bee, for the write-up and to C.C. for all your hard work.

I got started right away in the NW corner, where I like. Worked my way east and south easily. Only problem there was CHICHI, but the perps got it.

For 57A I entered ACID instead of ODOR. In my prior life baking soda was used to neutralize battery acid when we spilled some. Perps straightened me out.

For 50D I initially put PARK instead of FORK. I had the --RK and PARK seemed logical. Perps fixed that as well.

Had to think about White Man's Makeup for a while, but then it hit me, like a snowball.

ST LO came easily. That is a common crossword Clue/Answer.

Fun puzzle. Finished even before I got on the bus. See you tomorrow.

Abejo

Grumpy 1 said...

Happy hump day, everyone. Great blog, Melissa.

This one flowed smoothly until the SW corner. IONA and THORA just weren't ringing bells, but the 'O' looked the most likely. NIOBE was another unknown, but the five perps were pretty obvious.

When I've found myself IN VOICEMAIL JAIL and punching zero won't get me out, I hang up, call back and immediately punch zero. That usually bypasses the automated system, but I'm starting to run into systems that are totally automated. You will never get to a live person unless they decide to return your call. Customer service? I think not!

Spitzboov said...

Good morning all. Good commentary, Melissa.

Fun theme but had trouble grokking ...MAIL JAIL. Had to guess at the perps: pluM and adiA. No searches needed.

IN VOICE MAIL JAIL - One of my BANEs. There is a site Get a human that will steer you on how to quickly get you to a live person at many well known companies and organizations. There may be other sites, as well.

BELIE - Interesting that 'belay' (naut.) means to stop (an order). Also a climbing term: 'to hold fast'.

Enjoy the day.

Argyle said...

The hay rides of my youth did not have bales. You would have a mound of fresh mown hay that you could snuggle down into with your sweetie to gain some measure of privacy. It had to be pulled by horses, too. Much more romantic...and if for some reason you fell off, it was much easier to catch up.

Argyle said...

Hayride

C. C. said...

Abejo,
I appreciate your kindness, but the weekday write-up has no contribution from me. It's the hard work of my dedicated blogging team.

Splynter & Bill G,
Bánh mì often has grilled pork inside a baguette, plus lots of tasty stuff like pickled carrots/daikon/cucumber, etc. I wonder if Dennis tried it in Vietnam.

C. C. said...

Jerome,
You Awesome Blossom! Brilliant theme yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Take that, Barry!

Anonymous said...

Niobe, has an ( metallic ) element named after her, Niobium, Chem. Symbol Nb, At. No. 41.

In the US, it is also called Columbium, after Columbia, a poetical name for the US.

Niobium is very closely related to, in chemical and physical properties, ( and in ores, exists/found -- ) with another element, Tantalum.

( Niobe was the daughter of Tantalus -)

Niobium is used in special gas pipeline steels, superconducting alloys and magnets ( especially MRI scanners - ) and in anodized form as hypoallergenic jewelry ( eye-catching iridescent colors !! ).

Splynter said...

Hi There ~!

Well, I, uh, solved this one, in relative time, but the theme just didn't come to me - I have never heard of VOICEMAIL JAIL, so IN voicemail jail just didn't make any sense to me.

Plus, I was looking for a "Check" before "hand", and that sort of happened - like BILL before RIGHT (as I am left-handed), but it just didn't make any sense -

Guess I am trying too hard for a Wednesday.

I did really like ALTAR for "hitching post", and BOLT for going in a washer; - no comment from melissa bee~?, huh....maybe lois has something to say....

HOCKEY HOCKEY HOCKEY ~!

Splynter

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, The NE corner gave me some problems. I had ALEC (I really like him in "30 Rock") Baldwin, but both GABS and ST LO eluded me. For some weird reason, the only "Battle For..." I could think of was STALINGRAD. Obviously not right. I'm embarrassed because we have ST LO so often. Clever "Hitching post/ALTAR" was also a sticking point.

The remaining areas of the puzzle came fairly easily. I didn't know 40A/PIUS I, but I knew 40D was L'IL ABNER. As in several other crosses, the perps helped to jog my "little grey cells".

For me, the theme was just right for a Wednesday, clever but "do-able". Favorite fill?..ARGONAUT

Thanks for the blog links, Melissa. I clicked on "What'll I Do?" and was surprised to hear Janet Jackson. Very nice, but new for me, I was expecting Irving Berlin's song. This is Harry Nilssson's version.

Nice Cuppa said...

Thanks Melissa and Michael

I always like to see FORK as a driving clue. My wife, when navigating, loves to say "Don't worry dear, you know I will always tell you when to fork off...".

Otherwise, fair Wednesday fare. "Check" used in the sense of a "bill" in a restaurant is not used in Brit. English. It is only used in the sense of the written demand to a bank for money; it still sounds ambiguous. You will pay whom?

I did like the "INVOICE" as a 2-word answer used as a 1-word theme word (even though I have only heard "check" = "bill" used in a restaurant). Some of my restaurant bills have begun to look like invoices, though...

And finally, the juxtaposition in 1791 and 1971 in consecutive clues was very cute.

Niobium was called "Columbium" (as in the poetic name for America) until a transatlantic 1950s deal gave Niobium to the Euros and Tungsten (instead of the German "Wolfram") to the Yanks.

NC

Jerome said...

CHICHI, GASJET, MUGSHOTS, LILABNER, ARGONAUT- Nice.

C.C.- Thanks!

fermatprime- Couple of hours (?). Often the hard part isn't finding theme phrases, it's finding theme phrases that have the right letter lengths. Todays theme pattern- 15, 12, 12, 15. Many a theme has been left undone because the letter lenghts of the theme don't jibe. Few things are more agitating to a constructor than a good theme idea that can't be done.

creature said...

Good Morning C.C., Melissa Bee and all,

MelB loved your write-up. What did you mean by the pronunciation of your spa and the meaning? Sorry, I am dense this AM. Thanks.

Michael, really liked your puzzle. Extremely fresh fill and creative theme. Loved IN VOICE MAIL JAIL. I’ll be saying it all the time- already told two people, who also loved it.

The ‘o’ cross of THORA-IONE was also a wag for me. I guessed it but looked them up before coming here. Also, perped, but checked, ADIA.

Hope I retain at least one of them. THORA Birch was named for Norse god, Thor and added ‘A’.

‘…washer…BOLT’ was fav clue.

Sun’s out and I’m getting out.

Have a nice day everyone.

Lucina said...

Good day, solvers!

Great blogging, MB, thank you.

I sashayed through this one with only a few pauses, had INVOICEHELL before changing to JAIL because I knew SCOLD and ALTAR were correct. Then slowly saw GASJET and BELIE where I had SOLVE first.

Since hundreds of Popes have existed, it's difficult to narrow them but as soon as PICK emerged I knew it was PIUSI

Also had NATIVEOF before HOOTS changed that to NATIVETO.

I still love hitching post, ALTAR and it may be put in a washer, BOLT. Laundry didn't fit.

Mythological figures, like popes, are also difficult to recall but NIOBE just emerged.

I have never made a SNOWman but have gone on a hayride.

Have a MARV Wednesday,everyone!

Lucina said...

Whoo-ee! I love Scrabble but may not be able to play today, Possibly on the weekend and definitely on Easter when the family is together.

For holiday meals we always go to the home of one of my nieces. It is large enough to accommodate all of us; could be from 20 to 35 with MANY toddlers. But there's a playroom upstairs where they go after the egg hunt.

The older ones usually swim and the adults play Scrabble and other games.

lois said...

Good morning Melissa, CC, et al., Excellent job, Melissa. LOL at your taking a day off comment.

Interesting puzzle. Chi chi was a new one for me. Tried so hard to put in chique. Didn’t know Thora Birch and didn’t know Lil Abner even had a brother. I wanted
‘murphy’ or ‘murph’ for 41A, bed that can be stored. A Futon is still there and useful during the day as a couch, which doesn’t translate to ‘stored’ to me. Other than that? I'm staying away from toothpicks. I'll choke on something less painful.

It’s Weds. Hump Day. Enjoy it!

Clear Ayes said...

fermatprime, I sympathize with your Tax Board dealings. It's been quite a while since we've heard from them, but I know it can be a hassle.

I too get several syringes of blood taken every month. It's quite easy with a port, but I wouldn't recommend it :0).

Hahtool, I smiled at your QOD. I absolutely agree with Decartes, but what constitutes a good book (or movie, song or TV show) can be very subjective. A great many people think Danielle Steele's romance novels are the best ever. She has sold over 800 million books. That's just an example, not a criticism.

Melissa, thanks also for 8D 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit/ADIA link. GAH loves her plaintive voice. He gets all choked up when he sees the ASPCA "Angel" PSA. That is just as much because of the dogs as the singing. Once he has his hearing aids, he'll be able to get even more choked up. I'd better stock up on Kleenex.

eddyB said...

Hello.

Comments just disappeared when I pressed Preview.

Abejo. Am RE-reading Atlas Shrugged
to check the movie dialog against the book. So far so good. Think the timing of the limited release is funny.

Today's puzzle was a speed run.

BTW. Ayn Rand's name was Alisa Rosenbaum.

fermatprime. Had to deal with Fresno last year when we were audited because of an IRA transfer.

Take care.

Clear Ayes said...

For me, another fabulous singer Alison Krauss is the perfect accompaniment for this poem.

I Am in Need of Music

I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

- Elizabeth Bishop

Jeannie said...

This was a fun way to spend my lunch hour. It was just right for a Wednesday with a nice theme and some fresh clueing. I must admit I did have to hit the G-spot for Gama even though I did have the Ga…other than that perp help included Niobe and Thora. If Melissa hadn’t linked the picture of the snow man, I would still be scratching my head wondering how snow was “white man’s make-up. Cute. I wanted keno for bingo relative but of course that wouldn’t fit. Favorites today were: “it may be put in a washer” – bolt; and “curl beneficiary” – biceps. I am a little disappointed there wasn’t a link though:(

It’s a nice sunny day in the mid-fifties here today. I’ll take it!

dodo said...

Morning, all,
Just saying 'hi' as I have errands to do. Finished the puzzle, got the theme(for once) and all the theme entries. Avery nice semi-easy Wednesday workout.

Seeya later.

Clear Ayes said...

Lois, I think the FUTON Michael Blake was referring to is the the Japanese bedding rather than the western style couch.

BTW, when Melissa added a link for 32A HOOTS, there was another video of a spectacular great horned owl named Lois doing her thing...mistress of all she surveys...just like another Lois we know.

Tooth PICK accident: I now look before I leap. Quite a few years ago, I sneaked up behind GAH, and leaned around to give him a big surprise kiss. I was surprised!! He had a toothpick in his mouth and inadvertently stabbed me in the chin. Luckily it didn't go in too far, but it was definitely stuck in my chin and bled when I pulled it out. OUCH!!

Frenchie said...

Hi Group,
Good job Melissa Bee!
@Dennis, LOL about piist.
I love Scrabble and play it every day!
@Grumpy 1, I like the option of being called back. At first, I didn't trust it, but then found it pretty efficient.
@Argyle, sexy visual! Achu!!!
@Splynter, agreed, bolt going into washer was irksome.
I don't know about other places, but it is a beautiful day here! A relief to the Tornados we weathered in Florida...I was there for 2 weeks.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers - For the NTH time, I forgot that PIUS isn't spelled pious when it's a pope's name. Bollixed up the equatorial region with that. Didn't know what ADIA was, but at the time I was surrounded by younger people who (a) knew right away, and (b) were shocked that I didn't.

Thanks for clarifying everything, M. Bee. I gather that you had some sort of high-tech job before going to work at a chi-chi, foo-foo spa; the latter sounds more wholesome!

MichaelBlake said...

Thanks, everyone, for solving my puzzle and taking time to comment! All of us would like to avoid VOICE MAIL JAIL (or HELL, as some have insisted), so let me offer this gift to those who don't already know about it: a website called gethuman.com has helped me reach actual people in record time, allowing me to spend more time on productive activities like solving (and occasionally making) crosswords. As John Hodgman would say, "You're welcome!"

Melissa, thank you for a lovely writeup. I'm amazed at what you unearthed about me. I usually say I'm safe from Google searches, because a different Michael Blake wrote "Dances With Wolves" and any references to me end up on about the fifth screen of results. But you did better!

Michael

melissa bee said...

michael, great to see you drop in, always so nice to see constructors. i did see the other michael blake, along with a few others - but if you add 'crossword' to the search it weeds those all out.

creature, chi-chi pronounced with a hard ch (like cheek) is mexican slang for breasts.

splynter, i thought the same thing, but maybe it's just us.

lois, i questioned the futon/store thing too ... clear ayes's link makes more sense.

dudley, yep - a decidedly different atmosphere. it's hard to get too stressed when oil is involved ...

Marge said...

Hi all,
Haven't been able to post last two days. I have enjoyed the puzzles (Mon,Tues, Wed.) this week but my brain had a harder time with them than you all seem to. Yesterday I was most amused by the hearing aid discussion. My DH may need one and today was the day he (We) went to get the info.

Husker-I am looking forward to the rivalry with Nebraska in the big ten.I think our Wisconsin Badgers first home game this year is with your team.

I didn't care for the amusing answer that had jail in it. If you have ever had someone in that place, with an ex wife continuing to bring false charges and they believe her because she's a woman. Sorry, enough of that.

Spitzboov and Michael Blake,thanks for the 'Get a human'site- I had a round with that kind of call yesterday about a medication.

Melissa B, great writeup.
Marge

Mom speaks out said...

TGreat puzzle, thanks, Mr. Blake.
My Latin is rusty but I think that nolo means no contest.
I _never_ get the theme! It all looks like words to me until I get finished. Sometimes the theme emerges, but often it doesn't until I read this blog.
The Brazilian tornado has gone home. We miss her, but will welcome a good night's sleep.
The weather is beautiful today. I even planted a few flowers. For me, that is a miracle, since I don't really enjoy yard work. We have a great landscaper who loves doing it all. That is a bonus for me!

Lucina said...

Thank you, Michael Blake, for joining us. That is such a treat when a constructor posts!

sherry said...

Do you'll realize how many proper names were in today's puzzle? 15 counting U-Haul which I didn't get. Knew: Omar,Gama,Alec,Beth,Errol,Gobi,(ProF)Plum,& Lil Abner.
Didn't know:
Ione,Niobe,St.Lo,Adia,Thora,
Hilda, & U-Haul.
Obviously presented some problems.

eddyB said...

Hi.

Busy day tomorrow - Bank,store,PO and pharm. Jill is flying back from PA on a SW 737. Fingers are crossed.

Watched last night's NCIS this afternoon. Getting interesting.

7D reminded me to preorder Evanovich's latest Stephanie Plum novel.

Think that the rain is over for today.

A new ARI for Tin. Ayn Rand Institute.

Going out to look for a wheel chair.

Take care

Chickie said...

HOla Everyone, Like Jeannie, I did the puzzle while eating my lunch. It went together pretty quickly, except for having to look up Skye/Ione, and Birch/Thora.

I had Rats, as in ratting on someone for Gabs, and that caused a problem for a while in the NE corner. I did like the new clueing for St.LO. We see that answer quite a bit.

I had all of the theme answers, but the meaning of the theme eluded me. Thanks Melissa B. for a great writeup.

My favorite clues today were Hitching post/Altar, and Curl Beneficiary/Biceps.

So nice of you to stop by Michael Blake. We always like hearing from the contructors. It makes our next puzzle from you a bit more personal.

Seen said...

I've enjoyed all of the voice mail comments. Among other services, I install and program vmail systems.

I've never heard of JAIL, it's always been HELL for me. Sorry MichaelBlake. (Thanks for commenting!)

MB: I feel your pain. Schools are always the hardest to program. No one wants to be "0". And no one can make them be "0". Sometimes I just pick the logical person and do it.

Husker Gary said...

MB, et al, nice day at the puzzle! I am blogging late because I played 36 holes today before a cold front came through which will turn our weather upside down for a few days.

Musings-
-I thought the MAIL/JAIL ending was the theme. Fat lotta good that did me!
-I was baling hay on July 20, 1969 when Neil greeted us from 246,000 miles away.
-My first date was a hayrack ride where I dropped our hot dogs into the bonfire. She dumped me and I spent time talking to the horse. Smooooooth!
-Marge, Huskerville is looking forward to engaging the classier Big 10 as well! Husker fans are the tops when it comes to good manners. They applaud all opposing teams when they walk off the field, win or lose.
-INVOICEMAILJAIL we refer to as, “I’m on ignore!” while waiting!
-Hockey does not resonate here in the flatlands. It is so cool to watch in person!

Grumpy 1 said...

"Please hold, your call is important to us, blah blah blah".

After the umpteenth time of hearing that I'm ready to climb the walls. Patience is not one of my virtues... if I have any of those. But what really irks me is waiting and waiting and THEN getting a "leave a voicemail" message.

fermatprime said...

Hello again!

Frenchie--you are so lucky to be able to play Scrabble. No one will play with me any more. (I am pretty good at it. Serious dearth of friends too now.)

Eddy--I really like Evanovitch's Plum too! (Not so much the other books.) NCIS has much humor and outstanding actors. I save this show for a day when there is nothing interesting available.

Spitzboov--thanks for GetHuman link. There was once a similar site, which disappeared too soon. One must therefore save contents of this one soon, I imagine.

Frenchie said...

@Fermat, I have to play with random players as I, too, take no prisoners. Many players just resign after a certain point. Frustrating!
There is one person I soft pedal with so we can keep playing and it's a relative!!! Ha! Ha!

Where are you, Lemonade714?????

I'm out.

Anonymous said...

Good night everyone.

I enjoyed most of the puzzle today - all that I got, that is.

Same comments as have already been made and same errors.

I shall be gone most likely until Easter
in that we are going to Northern Alabama to DH's son who is an ENT and sells me hearing aids at cost. I am almost deaf without them. Maybe a new set this trip. I surely do appreciate them.
Also wanted to say that a hearing loss means that it takes longer for one's brain to process what you hear. Often a second after a,"Pardon me?" I will understand what was just said.

Abejo said...

To EddyB: Appreciate your come-back on "Atlas Shrugged" and Ayn Rand aka Alisa Rosenbaum. I probably knew that at one time, but that's a while ago. I only remembered the Russian background and the ten years to write the book. Anyhow, it was interesting and a good lesson in political and economic philosophies.

Abejo

Annette said...

fermatprime, I'm so glad you mentioned how much you're enjoying "The Good Wife". I'd been watching it and enjoyed it, but it's fallen to the bottom of my "must see" list. So right now, I have 20 episodes on my DVR and was considering deleting them all! I guess I'll hold out a while longer and hope to find the time to get into it again.

Mom speaks out, I had to check your profile to see if you lived anywhere near me. I'm in desperate need of a good landscaper...

eddyB, thanks for the notice about a new Janet Evanovich book coming out!

One of my favorites today was 'Curl beneficiary' BICEPS was a little disappointing. I was hoping for a miracle cure for annoyingly straight hair, other than moving away from the Humidity Capital...

Sallie, that was interesting about the time delay when there's hearing loss. I never heard that stated before, although I've seen it happen often.

Anonymous said...

Nolo Contendere is a legal term that comes from the Latin for "I do not wish to contend." It is also referred to as a plea of no contest.