Oct 22, 2011

Saturday, Oct 22nd, Bruce Venzke & Stella Daily

Theme: None

Words: 72

Blocks: 34

WOW~! Two Triple-stacks of Grid Spanners top and bottom makes for one intimidating puzzle when you're starting out, but the resulting seven 4's, four 5's and two 6's made for a solvable, rather unique-looking grid. Bruce and Stella have combined for several Saturday bears, including one from Apr. 2009, with EIGHT spanners, and a resulting 115 comments - but before my time.

Onward ~!


1. Unexpected delivery : SURPRISE PACKAGE - I get 1100 packages every day, and "NOT A WHIT" of them is a surprise - oh wait, I work at UPS....

16. War novel that became a Gary Cooper film : A FAREWELL TO ARMS

17. Cypress and others : CONIFEROUS TREES - if it has leaves, it's deciduous, and a hard wood; if it has needles, it's a softwood, and coniferous - a good rule of thumb that I just learned in Inspection class.

18. '03 retirees : SSTs - Super-Sonic Transports, like the Concorde, which I never had the chance to fly on - but living East of JFK airport, we could see one race overhead on its way to Europe on a morning or two....

19. Get ready to dry : RINSE - as in hair

20. Window shopper's buy? : PANE - good misdirection - we're not talking shoes here, just the piece of glass FOR a window

21. Nabisco trademark : OREO - this made me smile - it gave me my only Saturday "theme" puzzle a few weeks ago

23. Ring up? : HALO - ah, cute, I do like these 'punny' type clue/answers

25. Gem : STONE

28. The Oscars, e.g. : EVENT - I knew "AWARD" was the wrong word, but it made my first pass look LESS like a glass of milk in a snowstorm....see 3D

32. Start of a cheer : HIP - "Hip-hip, Hooray~!!!"

33. Numismatist's prize : MINT SET - coin collector, and their rare find

39. It has collars and stays : LAW - I had "TEE", as in shirt, even though dress shirt was a better fit; Collars as in arrests, and Stays as in executions....

40. Hoop spot : EAR - Went with "RIM", but a quick switch to EAR

41. Source of many tiny animals : ORIGAMI - because MENAGERIE didn't fit

42. Some bling : ICE - like 25A, diamonds are referred to in slang as "ice"; - combined with 40A, you get ( just "window shopping" )

43. Jazz __ : ERA

44. Fix the boundaries of : DELIMIT - Huh - I thought had "RE limit" to start, but reading my OWN blog I see that the proper word is DE limit

45. Cinnabar, vis-à-vis mercury : ORE - funny, a good friend of mine just used "vis-à-vis" on the phone yesterday, and I was mentally looking for a synonym while we were talking....

46. Western resort at 6,200 feet : TAHOE - I tried ASPEN to start

48. Suspensefully held in : BATED, like one's breath

50. Phil, for one : NLER - I was not on a baseball wavelength here, until I had NL_ _ for sure - then I realized we were talking the Phillies, and I am sure C.C. has more....

53. Annual employee review contributor : PEER - I so wanted to put BOSS in for this, but knew it was not right

55. AMA and ADA : ORGs - because ASSN was not plural

58. Chemist for whom a flask is named : DEWAR - this "W" was the last to fall, as I have never heard of 59D

60. Uses up one's minutes, and then some : GABS

64. Dissident's request : POLITICAL ASYLUM

67. Tons to do : A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE

68. Military priority : HOMELAND DEFENSE - SECURITY was one letter too many


1. Pollen is produced in them : SACS

2. Sci-fi vehicles : UFOs

3. Many a Lewis Black bit : RANT - here you go - (3:08) LANGUAGE

4. Break site : PRISON - another song for you~!

5. Whistling zebra? : REF - Got it, and loved it~! Works for hockey officials, too, tho they come with orange arm bands - watched eddyB's Sharks take one from the Devils here in the shoot-out - some nice goals there, and always a learning experience for this amateur goalie.

6. "If Only __ a Butterfly": Imogen Heap song : "I WERE" - WAG, but a sensible one

7. Comic intro? : SERIO - Did not know; so here we go

8. Carolina university : ELON

9. Luxurious : PLUSH

10. In a fog : AT SEA - tried "DAZED" at first

11. Simple place to rest : COT - BED, too, not as simple as COT - maybe MAT?

12. Chess champ after Fischer : KARPOV - This guy

13. __ 51 : AREA - This group, and I have linked this one before

14. Original name of the radio show "Gang Busters" : G-MEN - I am going to guess a radio show from some of our regular's childhoods, but certainly not from mine

15. Brutus's being : ESSE - Latin, "To Be"

22. Increase one's home's value, in a way : REMODEL - God, I could use more people doing this right now....

24. McCartney song inspired by a dream : LET IT BE - I love to read about the inspiration and development of individual songs, and artists like the Beatles get a lot of ink regarding their craft; for example, Paul had Scrambled Eggs for a working title to his song "Yesterday"

25. Baking aid : SHEET

26. Bride's accessory : TIARA

27. Star known by her first name : OPRAH

29. Al's nemesis : ELIOT - Ah, Al Capone, and Eliot Ness, prohibition ERA

30. Shiny shell lining : NACRE

31. Rough cloth : TWEED - ooh~! a good WAG here

34. Rage : IRE

35. Not a whit : NIL

36. __ Friday's : TGI - as in the restaurant chain with the red and white stripes

37. Filmmaker Peckinpah : SAM

38. Recording giant : EMI

47. Like some inspections : ON-SITE - and hopefully in just a few months, I will be preforming these inspections

49. Knitter's pattern : ARGYLE - and a shout-out to Santa, our Monday/Tuesday man~!

51. Minneapolis suburb : EDINA

52. Behind-the-lines job : RECON-naissance, as in enemy lines....

53. Reacted to bad news, maybe : PALED

54. Remove : ERASE

55. Shimmering swimmer : OPAH - OPRAH and OPAH in the same grid

56. Caramel-in-chocolate brand : ROLO

57. Latch (onto) : GLOM - this was my mom's word for eating too fast

59. "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" prop : WAND - I am a Harry Potter fan; did not know this was from Cinderella

61. Film composer Menken with eight Oscars : ALAN

62. Protests : BUTS

63. Hook's right hand : SMEE - nice misdirection here, with a reference to one's first mate or gal Friday - one's assistant

65. "My mama done __ me ..." : TOL' - I recall Bugs Bunny singing this in the bathtub, in my childhood - no, it was this clip @ :52

66. Letters on the beach : SPF - I had SOS to start, and then S_F, which had me baffled for a long time - I require Sun Protection Factor 100 for my pale English skin....

Answer grid.


Note from C.C.:

eddyB sent me this picture. He said he took it about 1975 along San Mateo Coast. He thought it was just a nice rock formation. But there's "Indian Head" on the left side. Can you see it? I just can't. I turned the photo upside down here. Still can't see it.


eddyB said...


Only copied the ans sheet this AM.
May do puzzle later.

Jill in Santa Rosa this week-end
so she volunteered my truck for a
recycle effort at school.

What do you know? SJ came from behind twice to Beat NJ in a SO.

Funeral for Dan in St Pete this morning.

MTL hockey jersey came. Now to get ticket(s) for Dec 1st. Will be at Paddy's before and after the game
if someone wants to hook up.

Funny headline yesterday. Schweddy
Balls to hot to handle for some stores.

Busy, busy. eddy

Splynter said...

Hi There~!

Take me eddyB, take me~!

Oh, and can you fly me out there, too? I promise to root for SJ - Montreal is probably my second worst team after the Penguins - and I am a Ranger fan on Long Island, if those in the know get my drift....


Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning, Splynter and the Saturday gang. Twas a fine puzzle Bruce and Stella cooked up for us, and a fine job of carving it, Splynter.

When I saw the layout, I didn't even read the clues for the grid spanners. I dove right into the down fill and found several places to get a toe hold. Then the rest of it wasn't quite so daunting. No total unknowns (except for SERIOcomic) helped and the attempts at misdirection seemed to point me the right way instead of the wrong way. The gridspanners were pretty obvious once I had five or six of the perps in place.

It's a masterful job of construction, but the actual solve was easier than most saturdays.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

As other have said, a fine Saturday puzzle that looked very intimidating to begin with but which turned out to be quite solvable in the end. The grid spanners yielded fairly quickly to the perps, and I struggled the most in the center section of the grid.

The clue for ORIGAMI was fiendish but brilliant. DELIMIT did not spring immediately to mind. And MINT SET, well, let me just say that mint sets aren't really much of a "prize" unless they are vintage, so that took awhile to get as well.

Fun puzzle!

C.C. Burnikel said...

Boomer has a set of 1999 Silver Proof in mint condition. Not vintage. Quite hot on ebay for some time.

Splynter et al,
Can anyone see the "Indian Head" in eddy's picture? Drives me nuts. I see nothing.

Splynter said...


I tried to outline what I see as the Indian head -


Anyone else?


desper-otto said...

Today's puzzle turned out to be easier than yesterday's. Like Grumpy, I went for the down fill and was able to finish quickly. The mideast gave me the most trouble. I wanted DOG for has collars and stays, but NACRE blew that away. I've heard of TWEED but didn't know it was a rough cloth.

Yes, I can see the Indian. Look only at the shadow on the LH side. His mouth is slightly open.

Yellowrocks said...

Fun puzzle and write up. I had the same experience as most of you. It looked daunting, but turned out to be easier than most Saturday puzzles. DEWAR, my only unknown, was the last to fall. I know of a Dewars flask, but not a DEWAR flask in the lab. At 51D I had E-INA. After trying all the letters, only the D rang a tiny bell. AT 59 D, I had -AND. Only BAND and WAND made any sense. Then I thought of the fairy's WAND.

Barry G. said...


Yes, silver proof sets are certainly valuable and collectible right now, but primarily due to the currently high value of silver. Standard mint sets made after 1970, however, don't really have much value these days. They're neat to look at, but that's about it.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

I seldom notice much about the empty grid when starting a puzzle, but this one was impressive! Those twin stacks of grid-spanners jumped out, and looked intimidating.

The north was nearly all white early on, but with just four letters I somehow knew CONIFEROUS TREES. The next long fill was HOMELAND SECURITY, only I must have dropped off a letter 'cause it seemed to fit. SPF cured that problem.

Speaking of SPF, I'm with you, Splynter: I used to say I could walk past a picture of a burning candle and get a sunburn.

Dudley said...

C.C. - I couldn't make heads or tails out of that rock formation until Splynter outlined it.

HeartRx said...

Good morning Splynter, C.C. et al.

Thanks for a fun and interesting write-up today, Splynter! I had the same thought for 55A ORGS...and HOMELAND security sounds so much more common that DEFENSE.

I agree with everyone about the triple stacks of 15s looking daunting. But it was those little 3-letter ones that really made me work. LAW was deviously clued, and I wasn't sure whether they were looking for jazz age or jazz ERA.

All in all, an enjoyable themeless Saturday, but much easier than usual.

Husker Gary said...

What a great puzzle! The grid design and grid spanners were intimidating but after I put in the E for EAR hoops, I looked around and I was done. This was backwards for me in that the long across fills were seeds for the shorter downs. Bruce and Stella, ya done good!!

-Had to trade CONIFEROUS for DECIDUOUS. Not many cypresses on the prairie.
-AT first, I RINSEd plates, hoop was in a GYM, a LAB has collars and stays, a VEEP might review you (I got out my GOOD eraser!)
-I first thought OVAL for Nabisco
-RAH? Nope. SIS? Nope. HIP!
-I play 60’s music as I do these and I had trouble singing Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo from my youth
-I got PRISON but thought of them breaking rocks instead of escaping
- I think of Oprah more as a businesswoman.
-Gorilla in Zookeeper loved TGIFriday’s
-Great job Splynter! If I am going to say, “Take me, take me”, it would be to Uma or some of our other cwd hotties. Sorry Eddy!
-I used a DEWAR’s flask for liquid Nitrogen demos!

Yellowrocks said...

I was rushing off to the gym an hour ago. I wabnted to attach this.

This is what you put in the Dewars flask:
Link Dewars

Splynter said...


I like UMA, but gotta say, I like hockey more - and I thought of OVAL for Nabisco, too, with its little antenna....

Dudley - LOL, I have to walk the long way around candles, too ~!


Tinbeni said...

Splynter: Excellent write-up & links.

Thanks for the "outline" ... I thought I saw a face across from your "bridge-ot-the-nose."
(Hey, if I looked after Sunset, I'd probably see a whole tribe).

Finally a Saturday win.
Used Grumpy 1's method.
Also went with "first instinct" instead of over-thinking.
Yup, it was REMODEL, ELIOT, ORIGAMI etc.

KARPOV, all perps, then a V-8 can head slap.
I remember when he got past Fisher.
Couldn't tell you a chess-champ since.

Didn't realize TAHOE was so high above sea-level.

DEWAR(s) flask got a HIP-hip-hooray!

Though the Sunset toast will be Pinch.

Avg Joe said...

What everyone else has said. Tough, very tough. But ultimately doable.

I hadn't tried deciduous for Coniferous, but that's a dastardly misdirect. The Bald Cyprus is one of only two deciduous conifers. The other is the Dawn Redwood.

Go Big Red

Tinbeni said...

Avg.Joe (from yesterday)
I hope your BIL enjoyed the Old Pulteney.
It's a smoooooth single malt.

Now I'm stuck in Lewis Black RANTland ...

Argyle said...

Au contraire, AJ; "Although a conifer, the larch is a deciduous tree and loses its leaves in the autumn." Wiki

eddyB said...

Sorry Splynter. After I buy the iPad 2 that Jill talked me into,
I won't have any money left. Spot on with the outline. Have to confess that I focused on the skull like face right of center.
Didn't see the profile untill it emerged in the tray. The full 8x10
photo has another face on the right looking back at the one on the left.

Off to recycle old electronic gear.

Just love b/w photos and film noir.

Take care. eddy

Misty said...

Fun puzzle, great write-up--thanks, Splynter!

Began daunted, like everyone else, with lots of false starts: 'call' before 'halo' for 'ring up'; 'rah' before 'hip' for the cheer; and 'orca' before 'opah' for the fish. I clearly don't know my marine life even though we live less than 2 miles from the Pacific. But then again, 'nacre' saved me, as did 'tweed'--which brings back memories of a long ago trip to Ireland where we bought a tweed jacket for my dad.

Had to ask my husband about that flask; he used to run a biochemistry lab. And I did remember that the song 'Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo' came from a Disney movie and had something to do with magic.

Great way to start a weekend! Have a good one, everybody!

Annette said...

Tinbeni, my eyes had immediately narrowed in on the same little Indian head you did. I was shocked when I saw Splynter had seen the larger one.

Splynter, you've got good taste. That ICE you presented is beautiful!

Lucina said...

Good day, puzzlers. Thank you, Splynter, for your amusing and insightful blog.

As you all have said, it seemed daunting at first but I GLOMmed on to the central west, filled it then confidently slid to the bottom.

We've seen OPAH and EDINA a few times so the P started me on POLITICAL then I sashayed through it.

Had to ERASE quite ALOT but it all fell together. Loved the deceptive clues for LAW, HALO, and PANE.

Great shout out to ARGYLE and JAZZbumpa! I believe our blog is in its jazz ERA with his witty analyses such as yesterday's "IRON chef and NORI." That fixed NORI in my mind forever.

Have a superb Saturday, everyone!

Avg Joe said...

Thanks Argyle. I did not know that about the Larch. I don't think I've ever seen one, but am certainly familiar with the name. From the Wiki writeup, it sounds like it has very similar properties to the Cyprus. Even has a slightly similar appearance, but the cones sure don't look the same.

Tinbeni, yes he did like it. And I can safely say it's the best scotch I've ever tried.

Spitzboov said...

Good Afternoon Splynter and all.

Daunting 'hello' to today's puzzle with the 6 grid spanners. Kind of did what Grumpy did by starting with the downs. HOMELAND DEFENSE was my first long fill. Many WAGs today to move it along; EDINA, DEWAR,ARGYLE, GMEN, and KARPOV. Had 'Aspen' before TAHOE. Finished up in the W Central with EAR. Really liked the LAW clue. Never heard of the SERIO thing before.

Enjoy your weekend.

Anonymous said...

Mediterranean Isle seemed good for 17A until I looked up Cypress and found out it was a tree while Cyprus was the island. Then I wanted evergreen, but I thought it had little berries like a cedar so never once thought of coniferous. Well, I think of weekend puzzles as learning experiences and mental gymnastics so this was a success. Thanks Splynter for getting me going.

"Sergeant York" would have been my first choice for 16A. Guess again! thought Greg Peck was in FTA.

I could remember every word to Bibbidi-Boppidi-boo but not what movie it was in for a while. Probably because I played the record over and over, but only saw the movie once. Finally, WAND did dawn.


Jayce said...

Erlenmeyer (flask) wouldn't fit.

Wanted DOG for collars and stays.

Wanted GYM for hoop spot.

Had to start with the downs; went through all the acrosses first but was only able to semi-confidently pencil in ORE. Looking at the downs, I was able to fill TGI, SAM, and EMI in the center, and WAND and SMEE at the bottom, which finally gave me the needed toehold.

Feels good to have been able to solve the whole thing without help. An excellent construction job. Stacks of long entries like that are always impressive as well as intimidating.

Jayce said...

Like Tinbeni, I thought I saw the face somewhat more towards the center of the picture, a face with lips closed, looking up towards the northwest corner of the picture. Come to think of it, that face looks more like George Washington's than it does like an Indian's.

Jayce said...

Wasn't there also a chess champion named Gary Kasparov? That's the only one I could think of, but his name wouldn't fit.

dodo said...

Hello partners in puzzles,

Great synopsis, Splynter! Thanks.

I wagged 'Surprise Package' and Surprise! it was right.

After that things went smoothly ntil I got really hung up with the Dewar/peer/erased cluster and never got it straightened out, so I DNF! Everything else worked out, though, and it's Saturday, so I can't complain!

I couldn't find the Indian until your diagram, Splynter. I guess with a good imagination and patience you can see lots of surprixing things in pictures like that one. Thanks, Eddie

Yellowrocks said...

Thanks for outlining the Indian, Splynter. It is now very clear. It is always easy when you know how. HA HA. I cannot see the picture of the ICE. This often happens to me.
That was an intersting discussion about cypress trees. Since the cypress is a conifer, but also deciduous, I checked to see whether it was a softwood like most conifers. It is.
Splynter, who is ready to remodel? I am. I have a bathroom to remodel and add a ceiling fan and vent. The contractor with whom I had a lovely 10 year history, both as a home owner and as property manager at church is going out of business. I hate to break in with someone new. Too bad you are not local. Good luck to you in finding clients.

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, There isn't much to add about the puzzle. It was intimidating at first, but with some help from my handy dandy CW Dictionary, I managed to get the top 1/3 done and then just plugged away at the rest.

The far West middle section was the last to fall. I wanted some kind of gem, not just stone--too easy! Also, a bride carries a hanky, or a bible, or has a train. Tiara was the last to come to mind.

I don't usually do Sat. puzzles, but had some free time today, so started in and couldn't put it down until it was done. I did do C.C.'s and don G's puzzle yesterday and had two empty squares. It was a DNF and I had a much harder time with it than the one today. Both were fun, challenging, and satisfying puzzles when finished.

Chickie said...

Cinnabar and Ore came readily as I taught at Cinnabar school, named after the Ore at the New Almaden Mine just 5 miles from our home. I'm going to a docent tour at the Mine museum on this coming Tuesday. Nice to see a shout out to our area.

Thanks Splynter for a great writeup today. Some super links, especially on the Cypress.

The Indians in the area painted their faces with the ground up red Cinnabar Ore and then died from Mercury poisoning.

Have a great weekend everyone. We have the most perfect fall weather one could imagine, so we will have to take advantage of the warmth as it will disappear soon enough.

Splynter said...


What do you mean I am "not local"? Long Island is on the East coast, too ~! (LOL) If the project needs to be done, I am not that far from NJ - well, depends on where in NJ, I guess....

Call me, we can do lunch...

Now everyone's got me looking for other faces in the picture - we should play this game more often ~! We could try clouds, too.


Lemonade714 said...


fun puzzle, easy for a Saturday; nice work Splynter.

Jayce, you were right that Kasparov is a chess champion, he beat Karpov in 1985 for the title which he still holds.

Argyle said...

There is a problem though, there are two titles now. Karpov held the other one.

Chess moves One Night in Bangkok(4:19)

Bill G. said...

Are you Andy Kaufman fans? Whether or not, you may enjoy his first appearance on the Johnny Carson show and his spot-on impersonation of Elvis. Andy Kaufman

Abejo said...

Good Sunday morning, folks. Thank you, Bruce and Stella, for a swell puzzle. Thank you, Splynter, for the write-up.

I was at a meeting all day Saturday and never got to get into the puzzle until about 10:00 Sat night. I finished Sunday morning.

Fun puzzle and challenging with the six long answers.

My last place to complete was dead center. I had two wrong answers for a while and it totally confused me. So, I used white-out so the wrong letters would not keep jumping up at me. That was the fix. I then got MINT SET, ORIGAMI, DELIMIT, REMODEL, and LET IT BE.

Congrats, ARGYLE, for being in the puzzle.

See you tomorrow (Monday).