Sep 28, 2011

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 Bruce Venzke and Gail Grabowski


20A. *Test that sounds easier than it often is : OPEN BOOK EXAM

26A. *"End of discussion" : AND THAT'S THAT

36A. *Z's : SHUT EYE

43A. *Thing to do before a heist : CASE THE JOINT

51A. What the first words of the answers to starred clues describe : LAWYER'S DREAM. (OPEN AND SHUT CASE)

meliss here.

wasn't sure about the theme until the unifier, and then it was clear. nice shout-out to lemon and hahtool. the grid is visually interesting, looking a little like stair steps. i like the way SHUTEYE looks right in the center.


1. Olds compact : ALERO. a bit obscure for me, needed perps.

6. State secrets? : BLAB. love this clue.

10. "Casablanca" character : ILSA

14. Logger's competition : ROLEO. clever word, like a rodeo with logs. an america's funniest videos grand prize winner waiting to happen.

15. Get to : RILE

16. Like Switz. in WWII : NEUTral.

17. Bottomless pit : ABYSM. did this remind anyone else of their kids?

18. Strike callers : UMPS

19. Major-__ : DOMO

23. Fill with bubbles : AERATE

25. Major stories : EPICS

30. Weather map figures : LOWS

31. Symbol of strict control : IRON HAND

35. Cycle opener : UNI. unicycle.

39. Compete : VIE

40. She has a memorable smile : MONA LISA.

42. Hamlet, for one : DANE. brilliantly portrayed by kenneth branaugh.

47. Scrub, at NASA : ABORT

50. Either "Cathy's Clown" singer : EVERLY. i'll spare us all the ear worm. don't think about it!!!

55. Genesis victim : ABEL

56. Swedish furniture giant : IKEA

57. Egg holders : NESTS

61. Hindu royal : RANI

62. Tumbled : FELL

63. Corkers? : IRISH. cork is the second-largest city in ireland.

64. Howard's wife, to the Fonz : MRS. C. from 'happy days' sitcom. the original cougar.

65. Offended, with "off" : TEED

66. Homework assignment : ESSAY


1. Notre Dame's Parseghian : ARA. football coach.

2. Tennis tactic : LOB. a ball hit high and deep into the opponent's court.

3. Bridge guru Culbertson : ELY. i had no idea there was a bridge guru.

4. Vacation destinations : RESORTS

5. Brass band sound : OOMPAH. ♪♫•*¨*•. i've got a perfect puzzle for you ¸¸.•♫♪♬ ♫

6. Brown-haired boy : BRUNET. wikipedia defines brunet as 'a person, male or female, with brown hair.'

7. Trunk attachment : LIMB

8. Chow chow : ALPO. clever.

9. Affectionate gesture con los labios : BESO. spanish. con los labios - with the lips. beso = kiss. muy bueno.

10. Thorough : IN DEPTH. see above.

11. April 1605 pope : LEO XI.

12. "Poison" shrub : SUMAC

13. Elemental bits : ATOMS

21. Greek vowel : ETA

22. "The Family Circus" cartoonist : KEANE.

23. "Bullying is __!": school rule : A NO-NO

24. Dickens's Drood : EDWIN. the mystery of edwin drood, charles dickens's last, and unfinished, mystery.

26. Homecoming guest : ALUM

27. Occupy, in a way : SIT AT

28. Roman numeral : TRE. very sneaky. italian for three.

29. Today, in Toledo : HOY. toledo, spain. hoy is spanish for today.

32. Help : AVAIL

33. Dolt : NINNY

34. Bug bugger : DEET.

36. November ticket : SLATE. list of candidates.

37. Embroidered word : HIS

38. Put to the test : USE

41. Painter's medium : ACRYLIC

42. Half-story windows : DORMERS. a dormer pops up from the main roofline, like a small house with its own walls, roof and window. a gable is a triangular portion of a wall between the edges of a sloping roof, often used as an opening for a window. a

44. Cape May County weekly : HERALD

45. Time for celebration : EVE

46. Foster's dream girl : JEANIE. stephen foster's 'i dream of jeanie with the light brown (brunet) hair." covered by sam cooke. hi jeannie!

47. Security device : ALARM

48. Kid-lit elephant : BABAR

49. "Hee Haw" host : OWENS. buck owens.

52. Break : RIFT

53. __-Ball : SKEE

54. Manuscript marking : DELE
58. Family nickname : SIS

59. Org. with body scanners : TSA. "you know, if i wanted somebody half-heartedly patting my groin without eye contact, i'd get married." - seth meyers

60. Retiring : SHY

Answer grid.



HeartRx said...

Good morning Melissa, C.C. et al.

This was a fun theme, and I immediately thought of Lemonade and Hahtool when I finished! The phrases AND THAT’S THAT, and CASE THE JOINT got chuckles as I filled them in.

I loved the misdirection for BLAB, “State secrets?” I don’t know Spanish (that’s on my to-do list, BTW), so I was a little puzzled trying to think of a four letter word for what one might do with “labia”, that might be acceptable for an LA Times crossword. (BESO wasn’t at the top of the list…)

But that NW corner – ugh. ALERO / ROLEO / ABYSM does not make a fun start. There has to be better fill than that out there!

Bill G., fascinating video of the living bridges yesterday – thanks for posting. And yes, full screen was really impressive!

Dodo – gorgeous avatar!

Have a happy hump day everyone, and go BESO someone you love!

Lemonade714 said...

mb what a fun write up and where did you find such a perfect cartoon for this puzzle? awesome!

I enjoyed the puzzle, but open and shut cases are not as much fun as the ones you have to use creativity and skill. I did not prosecute, but sometimes it is harder to close the door on an open shut case, when the other side needs only reasonable doubt.

ROLEO was new for me, but logical, and we have seen ALERO so often (usually as last OLDS) I am surprised it was not an instant fill.

Will always love BABAR.

L'shana tova to you all.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

This one rates a solid midweek "meh" from me, I'm afraid. The theme was cute, but didn't really affect the solve since I didn't get it until the very end. Like HeartRx, I found the NW corner to be a bit of a mess. I'm sure I've seen ROLEO before, but it sure looked strange in the grid...

Definitely a good day to know Spanish, what with BESO and HOY.

"Cape May County weekly" seems like an awfully obscure way to clue the otherwise common HERALD.

My dad drives an ALERO, and it always seemed more of a mid-sized sedan to me than a compact.

I always thought that a DORMER was the entire addition, not just the window.

I had no idea that BRUNET was the masculine form of BRUNETTE. It makes sense, though.

I also had no idea that the Swiss were NEUTered during WWII...

thehondohurricane said...

Good day folks,

I enjoyed today's puzzle, but there were a few roadblocks I had to overcome. The NW corner was the main clog. Loggers competition was a total blank, had roles, and for bottomless pit I guessed. abyss. Finally, I said the heck with it and entered oompah for 5D. I decided Roleo and absym were just a good a wag as what was there already.

For 31A I began with even hand, but iron hand became apparent with the perps.

Favorite clues were State secrets/blab and corkers/Irish. Not an Irish term that has been directed towards me. Assume it is someone working in the bottling plant of a spirits producer. Can anyone confirm or deny my assumption?

Happy hump day to all.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Melissa Bee and friends. The NW corner gave me a bit of trouble, too, but I breezed through the bottom half. I had to go back and read some of the clues, since I had already filled in the answers.

I got LAWYER'S DREAM early on, which helped with the starred clues. Sometimes those OPEN AND SHUT CASES are like those OPEN BOOK EXAMS and Tests that Sound Easier Than they are. It all depends on what the judge had for breakfast!

State Secrets? = BLAB is probably the favorite clue of the puzzle. The answer, when I finally got it, made me smile.

A nice Shout-Out to Windhover and his wife, IRISH!

L'Shanah Tova!

Argyle said...

Here's the proof Mrs. C was a cougar: clip.

Mikey said...

Well, I got it, but didn't think much of the NW corner. ABYSM? I started with ABYSS, then switched to CHASM, but the perps objected. Finally decided WTH, maybe ABYSM (I knew ABYSMAL), and came here.

Ready for Thursday.

Anony-Mouse said...

The puzzle was slightly difficult, and I did not finish. I thought 'los labios' meant lips, but I don't know the Sp. word for 'kiss'. ( never had a spanish girlfriend - ). But a nice puzzle - a tad too many proper nouns and unusual words. - ABYSM, ROLEO, ... BRUNET (??) ....

Thank you Melissa for some very cute pictures and linkups. I feel much better now. Thank you for all your efforts. The Mona Lisa action doodle is Really, Really cute - I have been staring at it for the last 5 minutes.

ALT QOD: He was a great patriot, benefactor and friend ... provided, of course, that he really is dead. ~ Voltaire.

Have a good week, you all.

P.S. I am just holding a 'Kiddush', silver cup, that I bought at a garage sale, last weekend. I wonder - how can people sell a thing like this - at a time like this. The world is a-changing.....

Yellowrocks said...

Fun theme. Also a fun write up by Melissa. Thanks for the funny cartoon, "Office Supplies" and the great out-takes from "Happy Days."

ABYSM was fine by me. It is just another synonym for abyss. That is where the M in ABYSMAL comes from.

According to the dictionary a dormer can refer to either the structure or the window.

I love when you have to suss and/or wag the answers the way HondoHurricane did in the NW. Rather than being a downer or a MEH it feels like a triumph to me.

Isn't it wonderful to learn something new every day!

eddyB said...


Nice to see my name in the grid. Thanks.

Busy day ahead while Jill is off

take care. eddy

Tinbeni said...

Melissa: Excellent write-up !!!

Enjoyed the themes, they FELL easily.

Liked the "more challenging" cluing/answers.
"Cape May County weekly" got a WTF? and needed to be sussed out via the perps to get HERALD.
But that earns a huge "Thumbs-UP" from me.
"State secrets?" = BLAB = clever!
ABYSM, instead of our abyss, damn! this is fun.
It's Wednesday and I have to be on my toes.

Good job Bruce & Gail: FUN Wednesday.

Liked the "Shout-out" to JEANIE.
Switz being NEUT isn't just a WWII thing.
We're always neutral, right Husker?

Gal-Pal & I are heading to "The Trop" tonight.
Full "Evil-Empire" attire.
(Will be "secretly" rooting for the Rays).
Sunset toast will be Octoberfest Beer.
Cheers !!!

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone. Good comments and graphics, Melissa.

An OPEN AND SHUT puzzle, almost. Couldn't get the ROLEO corner spelled right, but otherwise, no problems. The cadence of the theming helped get AND THAT'S THAT and SHUTEYE. Favorite clues were for ALPO, BLAB, and LIMB.

AND THAT'S THAT - reminded me of when I was learning some Dutch: "en dat is dat zegt de kat" (and that is that said the cat)

Have a great day.

Spitzboov said...

Speaking of ALPO, Take a look at these three shepards in an English pub. It gets good at time 1:20.

Marge said...

Hi all,
We were gone this past weekend so I couldn't do the puzzle or blog. I haven't done todays puzzle yet but hope to do it later.

Spitz-I enjoyed your link to Tennesee Ernie and his song yesterday.

Avg Joe and Husker- I was wondering whether you might be coming to Wisconsin this weekend. I see Husker isn't but Joe is. At least 20,000+ Nebraska fans will be here and Hotels are full of Huskers for 60 miles around Madison. We hope you have a great day and can find some tickets, the most likely place being outside the stadium.

There was an article in yesterday's Madison paper about Nebraska fans that live in the area watching the Huskers in sports bars or homes.

Have a good day,all!

Grumpy 1 said...

Good afternoon, gang. Great blog, melissa.

I thought BESO would have been obvious to almost everyone, considering the many discussions of and links to Paul Anka's "Eso Beso" that have appeared here.

AND THAT'S THAT and CASE THE JOINT popped into mind immediately. The other theme entries needed perps before they emerged.

I figured the Olds was either an ALERO or a Ciera. Perps settled it. I did not know ROLERA or ELY. With everything else filled I stuck a 'D' in the crossing without even looking at the clues again. D'OH! Dumb move! So technically a DNF for me today.

Fun puzzle, Gail and Bruce.

Anonymous said...

there is days when this program is not "responding" for me and I miss it dearly--- thank you all for the wonderful write-ups and explanations you privide/
'' a would like to be '' daily fan

Grumpy 1 said...

*ROLEO not Rolero. I guess it's going to take a few times before that one sticks in the old grey matter.

Nice to see our old friend ALPO back again. That was a puzzle staple almost every week for a while and then disappeared.

Marti, if you were thinking what I think you were thinking... BESO still works.

Anonymous said...

Barry, I'm with you. They couldn't find many more obscure clues. What about Blab? And I always thought "Teed off" meant "Angry" or "Upset", but "Offended"? Gimme a break!

Lucina said...

Hello, puzzlers. Wonderful blogging, Melissa, with great graphics. Thank you.

Too late! Cathy's Clown was in my ear the minute I saw it.

Almost a speed run but stopped in my tracks at the NW since ROLEO is completely off my radar and just left RODEO.

Very nice shout out to JEANNIE and the IRISH!

Even unknowns like HERALD simply emerged as the rest FELL around them.

State secrets, BLAB was definitely clever as was chow chow, ALPO though not new.

Here is un beso for everyone today! Enjoy your Wednesday.

melissa bee said...

thanks argyle, that's exactly what i wanted to link but couldn't find it.

Bill G. said...

Spitzboov, I loved your video! Nice Wednesday puzzle and a fun writeup. I enjoyed BLAB too. Thanks.

Funny weather here this summer. It's been overcast much of the summer and pleasantly cool. Yesterday, the sun was shining all day. It made for a pretty bike ride. Today it's overcast again.

Clear Ayes said...

Good Morning All, I enjoyed this one a lot. YAY!...I finally have ALERO pasted somewhere in my brain.

Cathy's Clown is an automatic earworm, just from seeing it mentioned. The EVERLY Brothers were favorites when I was in my teens.

Wednesday seems to be the day when clue misdirections seem to start taking over. That makes sense with advancing difficulty as the week goes on.

I understand Lemonade and Hahtool's mistrust of an OPEN AND SHUT CASE. A lot of people thought the OJ case should have been a slam dunk for the prosecution. Instead it was the defense LAWYER'S DREAM. I wonder what Judge Ito had for breakfast?

I didn't get to this puzzle until just a while ago. We need a smallish repair to our sprinkler system and in spite of spending most of yesterday in Modesto, I didn't know I would need cash today, since the repair guy won't take checks. (He's probably had bad experiences) So off to the nearest working 20 miles away ATM.

Anonymous said...

A shout out to eddyB at 24D.

Yellowrocks said...

ESSAY “An Embarrassing Day”
I ran a red light in my ALERO while driving with my SIS, JEANIE. The blinking sirens and flashing lights were an ALARM which HERALDED a traffic stop. I flirted with the BRUNET hunk, showed a little LIMB, and begged for mercy, to no AVAIL. The trooper ruled with an IRON HAND. He said it was an OPEN AND SHUT CASE. Of course, if I looked like ILSA in Cassablanca-- SIS, who is not SHY, STATEd (announced) my SECRET run-in with the law, BLABbing it to my parents. I was TEED off. Her lack of loyalty, a sibling NO NO,RILEd me.. I imagined revenge. Should I squirt her with whipped cream ala the Fonze and MRS.C.? Wish her a dunking by falling off a log in a ROLEO? Maybe wish she FELL into an ABYSM in payment for an ABYSMal betrayl? No. I hid behind a MONA LISA smile, thinking of pulling on my ears and sticking out my tongue. There is now a RIFT between us sisters. So THAT’S THAT.Time to get some SHUT EYE.
(Apocryphal story)

Bill G. said...

CA, 20 miles to an ATM. I can see where that would be a hassle.

When I started tutoring, I would get paid by checks. Depositing them got to be a minor hassle. So I asked everybody to pay me in cash. There was some grumbling but they did. Now I used cash for everything. I pay for the weekly groceries with cash, my macchiatos and fast food lunches too. Even plumbing bills, etc. sometimes. It works well for me and I like the feel of handling real money instead of plastic.

Yellowrocks, fun essay!

Len said...

Their is no such word as Absym and it's unfair to use such

scubalen said...

The corkers refer to those from County Cork in Ireland

Yellowrocks said...

Len, Most of us here Google and/or consult other authorities for our opinions.
Link abysm in dictionary">

Lucina said...

Very funny ESSAY!

From Webster's Dictionary:

ABYSM, abyss (" . . .the dark backward and abysm of time." Shak.

Argyle said...

Perhaps one of the 21 definitions here might help.

Clear Ayes said...

I've wished that some words were made up, but I've never found one yet that was. Once in a while I'll double check, but I accepted today's ABYSM without a blink. The constructors make sure they are on the right track...and Rich Norris is following up to make sure they haven't made any mistakes.

I needed a V-8 can today with 28D. I tried III, VII, XVI, etc. The perps finally...finally gave me TRE. I still didn't grok it until Melissa explained.

Bill G, we do have a non-working ATM about 5 miles away. It is at our local overpriced gas station. The ATM works once in a while, but it was out of commission a few days ago when GAH picked up some gas for the tractor. I didn't want to take the chance of going 12 miles RT in the opposite direction and still have to turn around and go to Snelling's ATM. I had no problem with the Snelling ATM and I even got an ice cream cone at the local Frosty Freeze....Pralines n' Cream, so it wasn't all bad!

Husker Gary said...

I started today’s round in sweat pants, drinking hot coffee and could see my breath in the shade. Two hours later I was in shorts and gulped my ice water! This puzzle was also a lot of fun with clever cluing and was a nice part of my day.

-I gave open note exams for 40 years and truly believe in them. Many a good memorizer did not do well when they had to decide which of Newton’s Laws explained an event rather than memorizing and writing out the laws.
-I never thought ILSA was THAT good looking.
-My Swiss ancestors held everyone’s jackets during the wars – for a price
-Always AERATE my lawn, never power rake
-Phil and Don Everly from Shenandoah, IA had a LOT of hits
-Wouldn’t a real cougar at least make a pass at the Fonz?
-I read the Omaha World HERALD
-I wonder if Buck Owens all the way to the bank with his corny humor? Yeah, right!
-Now to read comments!

Husker Gary said...

Musings 2
BTW, Tinman, I shot 78 today on my little 6000 yd course but I remain neutral about it.
-Tinman’s family is from the opposite side of Switzerland than mine.
-Nice job and cartoon, MB
-I felt a triumph too, Yellowrocks!
-OJ was an open and shut case but dollars and jury nullification won the day. He got his eventually though.
-OMG, Mrs. C, say it ain’t so! Fun link Argyle.
-Grumpy, I too remember Paul Anka singing Eso Beso.
-Marge, Bowl games love the Huskers because they travel as well as any college in the country!
-Hmmm… Marti, last week MUFF (which caused a 100 blog day) and this week LABIA Eso Beso!
-The ATM card beats writing a check you hope someone will accept!!
-Insert “laughs” between Owens and all in previous post!

Anonymous said...

Post(s) size! Again!

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Despite the excellent theme and some other good qualities, I do not love this puzzle. Sure ABYSM is a real word. But I ground my teeth when I over-wrote the final S with an M. Stacking it with ROLEO made me ROLEO my eyes.

Isn't it IRON FIST?!?

TRE is cleverly clued, but still A NO NO.

The LW (whom I call JEANNIE, 'cuz that's her middle name) spoke to her madre HOY por el teléfono, and confirmed that "today in Toledo" is indeed Wednesday.

I could picture Buck OWENS' NINNY-grin, but couldn't dredge his name up from the ABYSS of my memory.

OTOH, I clearly remember Dean Martin saying, "I gonna go to the couch," then singing, "MONA LISA, MONA LISA - stole my pizza.""MONA LISA, MONA LISA - stole my pizza."


Jazzbumpa said...

Melissa -

I should mention your fine write up.

There - just did.

Rehearsal tonight. IMBO.


eddyB said...


Most of the chores have been done. Got
my 9 week fill-up for the truck.

102 in the back yard shade and still rising.

Very funny segment with Dana Delany and Jimmy Kimmel. Dana talks about her NYT Puzzle debut and bad review from Rex. Link is at Confidental.


HeartRx said...

I got up really early today because I knew it was going to be a back-breaker. One of my dear friends is moving this week and needed help packing up the old house. Plus, I have company coming in from Germany tomorrow and had to get their rooms ready and shop for the dinner I am planning (Scallops Bonne Femme). And then those darn hedges needed trimming....

Anyway, I wrote my comments before you had even done your post, Melissa. And hit "publish" as soon as it came up. I just now had time to go back and read your humorous comments - loved the Mona Lisa! Thanks for all the fun.

HG and Grumpy, sorry, but DH is off on a trip this week, so my mind naturally flows in one direction...either way, I now think BESO is firmly planted in the grey matter!

thehondohurricane said...


Thanks, nice to know I'm not a corker.... so far. Who knows where the continuing family search will lead.

Anonymous said...

ANON Line Counting Police,
A few blogs are 2 to 4 lines over 20, preferable to the obcure one liners which I can't decipher. If a post seems too long, scroll on by.

windhover said...

Hey BillG,
Here's a song link for yours the other night. Hope it works.

Grumpy 1 said...

I've managed to convert almost everything to electronic banking but still end uo writing and receiving a few checks each month. No charge ATMs are available within a couple of miles in any direction, though.

My bank has an iPhone app that allows me to take a picture of the front and back of a check and deposit it electronically. Now if I could just get it to give me money, I'd never need to go to a bank again.

Argyle said...

Link for the Delany/Kimmel interview. Part 1 and the first half of part 2 is about her puzzle in NYT.

Bill G. said...

I found this on MSNBC. I thought you would like it. It's about a mama lion rescuing her cub.

Mama lion

Anonymous said...

Great puzzle and post for me!

Two of my maternal lines were represented. One came from around Bern Switzerland in 1710 and were strict amish types. An Irish-Catholic great grandmother came from county Cork ca 1845, birthed nine boys and one poor little girl and pioneered on the Kansas plains. They say she was definitely a Corker.


Abejo said...

Good evening, folks. Enjoyed the puzzle, Bruce and Gail. Thank you. Great write-up Melissa. Thank you, as well. Enjoyed your links, Argyle.

This seemed about right for a Wednesday.

ROLEO was not obvious. Perps helped.

Enjoyed OOMPAH. That is what I play.

Thought trunk attachment, LIMB, was a good clue/answer.

DEET came easily. I used seemingly gallons of that while hiking the Appalachian Trail (75 miles). I hope it doesn't affect me down the road (chemicals, etc).

I finally have BABAR in my head. That has been a frequently used word of late.

Buck OWENS was one of my favorites. He died quite a wealthy man, from all his radio stations.

Got back from PA, via NY, this morning. Had a good trip. See you tomorrow.


dodo said...

Hellooooo! Is any one awake?

I'm really late for the party tonight! I didn't know I'd be gone most of the day. The brain was a little tired when I finally got to this, so I got it done, but not an A+. I'm just glad to be here.

It wasn't really as Wednesday hard as sometimes, but I still goofed. Couldn't remember today in Spanish so that held things up a bit I did like the theme answers and some of the fill. Had 'ride' for 'rile' and that made 'Alpo' "Adpo' equals another lump from the V-8 can. Favorite clue/answer, 'symbol of strict discipline'/'iron hand'. Dormer, acrlyic, oompah, all good ones.

Now for the comments:

Fine commentary, Meliissa Bee.

dodo said...

Marti, thank you. I thought the hairdo a bit odd, but I guess I didn't in those days!

Hondo, How about s person from Cork?

Barry G, Great line, but I don't believe it, unless all the Swiss are now 85 and up!