Nov 9, 2011

Wednesday, Nov 9 2011, Mark Bickham

theme: YIN AND YANG- all the theme entries are in the pattern of A B AND C, both "A B" & "B AND C" are common phrases.

16A. Recommendations at the salon : HAIR-DOS AND DON'TS. anyone remember the episode of mary tyler moore with mary's 'hair bump?'

21A. Intricacies of cells : PHONE-INS AND OUTS

34A. Attributes at the links : GOLF-PROS AND CONS

51A. Vicissitudes of cargo space : HOLD-UPS AND DOWNS. a vicissitude is an alternation between opposite or contrasting things.

57A. Miscellany of benevolence? : GOOD-ODDS AND ENDS

melissa here. in buddhism, the four vicissitudes, or 'worldly winds' are praise & blame, gain & loss, pleasure & pain, and fame & disrepute. self-explanatory theme, but the clues were quite tricky. on the other hand (get it?), the non-theme clues seemed a bit on the easy side.

lots of artsy references today (theater, literature, and music), which i've highlighted in blue, just for fun.


1. It may be shown to an usher : STUB

5. Flying Disney critter : DUMBO

10. Semi compartment : CAB. truck.

13. Like a firelit room on a cold night : COZY.

14. 1992-'93 NBA Rookie of the Year : O'NEAL. shaquille.

15. Apollo's org. : NASA

19. Greatly smacked of : OOZED

20. At the right time : ON CUE

26. Gloss target : LIP

27. Collector's goal : SET. c.c. collects baseball memorabilia, any other collectors out there?

28. Roleo roller : LOG. we had this word recently - log rolling competition.

29. Word with weight or worth : NET. many people wish their net weight decreased as much as their net worth.

30. __ Bator : ULAN. capitol and largest city in mongolia.

32. Feverish fits : AGUES. ague - a fever (as malaria) marked by paroxysms of chills, fever, and sweating that recur at regular intervals.

41. Exams for future attys. : LSATS

42. "As __ saying ..." : I WAS

43. Airport safety org. : TSA. transportation security administration.

46. Brit. record label : EMI. electric and musical industries, ltd. one of the 'big four' record companies, along with universal music group, sony music entertainment, and warner music group.

47. Hugs, symbolically : OOO. x's and o's.

50. Crew tool : OAR

55. 11th-century Spanish hero : EL CID. in case you're curious.

56. Jacket material : TWEED

63. Not for : ANTI

64. Levels : TIERS

65. Talk show host Banks : TYRA.

66. LAPD rank : SGT

67. One in a black suit : SPADE. playing cards.

68. Site of Charon's ferry : STYX. river in greek mythology. the band styx was named after this river - vocalist dennis deyoung says it was the only name "that none of us hated."


1. PTA meeting place : SCH. school.

2. __ fault: excessively : TO A

3. Action film weapon : UZI

4. "She Walks in Beauty" poet : BYRON. there's your CUE, clear ayes.

5. Lollapalooza : DOOZIE. also an annual music festival.

6. Like some angry email, wisely : UNSENT

7. Honey beverages : MEADS

8. Shut out : BAN

9. __ Spice aftershave : OLD. the smell makes me think of my dad.

10. Yucat√°n resort : CANCUN

11. Sharp as a tack : ASTUTE

12. Most abject : BASEST

15. It's verboten : NO-NO

17. Mates for bucks : DOES

18. Didn't exactly answer, as a question : DODGED. most politicians make an art of it.

21. Advertisement : PLUG

22. Hawaii's __ Bay : HILO. who's been there?

23. Birthstone after sapphire : OPAL. september is sapphire, opal is october. any opals here?

24. Pond plant : ALGA. this makes jeannie and me think of sam gribley in 'my side of the mountain,' and his alga experiments.

25. It may be proper : NOUN

31. Org. for Bucs and Jags : NFL

32. Biblical mount : ASS

33. Biol., e.g. : SCI

35. False start? : PSEUDO. nice.

36. Wheelchair access : RAMP

37. Bluesman Redding : OTIS. sittin' at the doc of the bay.

38. "Man, that hurts!" : OW OW

39. Asian bread : NAAN

40. Old red states?: Abbr. : SSR'S. soviet socialist republic.

43. Something to step on while driving : THE GAS

44. "Bye" : SO LONG

45. "Little Women" author : ALCOTT

47. Leader's exhortation : ONWARD

48. Danish seaport : ODENSE

49. Had too much, briefly : OD'ED

52. Gogo's pal, in "Waiting for Godot" : DIDI. samuel beckett play.

53. Sailing, say : AT SEA. yesterday it was clued as 'bewildered.'

54. "Awake and Sing!" playwright : ODETS

58. Souse's syndrome : DT'S. delirium tremens, latin for shaking frenzy.

59. Party bowlful : DIP

60. "All the news that's fit to print" initials : NYT. new york times motto.

61. Prohibitionist : DRY. among other things.

62. Jazz combo horn : SAX. ha, last wednesday we had sacks, sachs, saks and sax.

to finish off, today's perfect 'theme' song: opposites attract.

answer grid.



Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

This one smacked me around but good until I finally sussed out the theme. I couldn't even figure out what half the theme clues meant, to be honest. The "Intricacies of cells" misdirection completely fooled me right until the very end, in fact. Of course, it didn't help that I only wanted DOOZY for 5D for some reason.

Most of the rest of the puzzle was fine, although I was less than thrilled with OWOW. Wait -- is that OW! OW! or O WOW!? I'm so confused...

Also, it's bad enough that we constantly have to see references to the singular SSR in these puzzles, when we finally do have more than one I can't believe we have to put up with SSRS instead of, you know, USSR. Seriously, did anybody ever refer to individual republics in the USSR as SSRS outside of crossword puzzles?

Tinbeni said...

Melissa: Excellent write-up!

O-WOW, what a FUN Wednesday.
Yup, it's a DOOZIE!!!

After I had the GOOD-ODDS-AND-ENDS the other themes fell into place as fast as I could write them.

Hmmm, we have some who OD'ED, others with the DT'S and those who think that is a No-NO who are DRY.

As for that SSR-v-SSRS-v-USSR question ...
geez, I guess that would be like referring to a 'State' then (more than one) 'States' or the whole thing, the United States.

And YES, I've referred to those individual republics as SSRS (in business, after the break-up).

Cheers to all when the Sun is SET.

thehondohurricane said...

Good day folks,

I bounced around quite a bit today before figuring out the theme clues. Stumbled onto them probably more appropriate. HAIRDOSANDDON'TS came first, and just as I was getting ready to throw in the towel.

Earlier, I kept trying to make GOLFERSHANDICAP work, but GOLFPROSANDCONS was sussed out once I had an idea about the theme.

A couple of mis-steps slowed me down too. Began with FAA for 43A and BAR for 8D. Eventually got them corrected to TSA and BAN.

I'd never heard of Mead until I read Sharon Kay Penman's Welsh Trilogy. Wales has since been added to my Bucket List, not only for the spirits, but a desire to see the castles.

Once I had my act together, I enjoyed Mark's challenge and I'm happy I stuck with it.

HeartRx said...

Good morning melissa, C.C. et al.

Thanks for the wonderful write-up, melissa! Very interesting comments on the four vicissitudes in Buddhism - I never knew! But very appropriate to today's theme.

I got HAIR DOS AND DONTS right away, which helped make this more like a Tuesday speed run for me. One minor misstep, like thehondohurricane, with "ban" instead of BAR. Other than that, the entire grid filled in easily.

I agree with Tinbeni about SSRs, but for an entirely selfish reason: those initials get constructors out of many crossword emergencies !

Have a happy hump day, everyone!

desper-otto said...

Got the theme early on, but like HondoHurricane, my hand's up for FAA and BAR.

Favorite clue: Biblical mount.
Worst answer: OWOW
Learning moment: NAAN -- is that a currency, or is it literally bread?

Enjoyed the puzzle and the writeup.

Anony-Mouse said...

Wow ! I almost Number 3 !!! Must be a slow day at the blogosphere.

Thank you Mark Bickham for a wonderful puzzle - managed to complete it all, thank you, very much .... and thank you melissa b for massaging the answers so that they were understandable.

I am temporarily nonplussed by the handsome young lad and his falcon, but I guess that's from some fantasy genre ( I know my crosswords ! ) , that I am not familiar with.

I was a little worried, at the start, but I 'got' the theme, and it was all good. I have collected coins, currency notes, stamps, 'hard' ( paper, wood, metal, leather, plastic ) puzzles, but everything is on hiatus now.

The election results are a 'mixed' bag, but that is the meaning of democracy.

Alt QOD:- Some French guy, just trying to prove America was a nation of idiots, made a bet he could even sell us water. ~ Jim Gaffigan.

Tinbeni said...

NAAN is a type of bread baked in India.
(Learned from crosswords).

Yeah, that adding an "S" can be helpful.
This week we've had "SETS" on Monday and Tuesday ... and today we took away that "S" so we only had SET.

We've seen that same thing with our beloved crosswordese fill for SSN and SSNS.

Either way, I just fill in the letters and don't let it get "something" in a wad.

Cheers !!!

Anony-Mouse said...


Naan is a flat bread ( not quite as flat as a 'roti', for instance - ). It is made, and eaten in Iran, Afghan., Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. It is generally made of white wheat ( what I meant, not 'whole' wheat) and it is a 'true' bread, in that it is highly fermented, thru yeast.

If you were to roll, fairly thin ( 5 mm.) ,( store purchased ) , pizza dough, and three- quarters- bake it in an oven, that's pretty much Naan. ( Just barely browned - ).

BTW, I had .... Taka ( Bangladesh curr, ) Baht ( Thail.) , Roti & Yuan (China) before Naan was obtained from the perps.

Argyle said...

Naan or nan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread.

I was sidetracked for a bit because I parsed 16-Across as a single entry, as in "I will give you a list of hair dos and don'ts". The others can't fit that pattern, although 51-Across works separately as "hold ups" and "hold downs".

Yellowrocks said...

What Tinbeni and HeartRx said. At 8D I wrote BA- and waited for the cross to get N or D. Then AND came easily. Lots of fun!

Anony-Mouse said...

Todays 'Real Life Adventures', a single panel cartoon, by Gary Wise and Lance Aldrich, had me thinking of Tinbeni !

A wife serving breakfast, on a tray, to her husband , who is still lying in bed, says

"Which would you like, apple or orange juice ?"

and the hubby answers,

'Are either of them single malt ?'.

Have a nice toast at sunset, Tinbeni.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzers -

Got kinda stuck in the deep south, because I didn't know ODENSE, DIP hadn't dawned on me, and the cleverly clued SPADE evaded me. Eventually got the ta-da.

Thanks for another informative post M.B.!

SouthernBelle said...


Can't think of a thing to say that hasn't been said by one and all.

Enjoyed the puzzle and thought it was an easy run; with a few twists.

A black opal would be a nice birthday present!

Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning, mb and the humpday gang. Thanks for the fun explanations.

The top two rows filled easily. Of all the critters that Walt made to fly, Dumbo was the first one that popped into mind. After that I switched to downs, got the first theme entry and was off and running.

My only slow spot was the PH in PHONE INS AND OUTS and the UL in ULAN. I was thinking biology cells and, in spite of having been involved in the cell phone industry from its infancy, just refused to shift my thinking. Finally remembering the beautiful site of being surrounded by whales as we cruised into HILO Bay after five days at sea broke open that area of the puzzle. We did a night sailing around the southern tip of the island and had a magnificent view of the active volcano and the lava flowing into the sea. We had flown over the volcano in a helicopter earlier in the day. O WOW!

OPAL is my LW's birthstone .

Fun puzzle. Thanks Mark

Anonymous said...

Slow start today but finally got all the major clues. I got goofed up on 28 across! So frustrating when the puzzle is almost all complete except for one three letter answer!

Mikey said...

Sped along nicely today, with the ODETS/TYRA cross the only blank remaining when I called it quits and consulted Dr Google. I'd never heard of either of them.

ULAN BATOR was a gimme since I'm a long-time admirer of the late Richard Feynman. He had a lifelong fascination with Tuva, and tried to visit there for years, but SSR politics delayed his visa. It finally came through, 3 days after his death.

Mari said...

Wee! That was fun. But why do all the answers contain the word "sand"? (just kidding)

Not sure how I feel about 38D: "Man, that hurts!" OWOW.

But I am sensing a theme with 49D (ODED), 58D (DTS), and 61D (DRY). I'll drink to that!

Husker Gary said...

I was a FILLIN yesterday and missed blogging but really liked Mark’s offering and MB’s effort today. Do you suppose our constructors go OOH and AAH when they hit a 15 letter jackpot?

-Rushed into HOLD UPS AND tieDOWNS.
-Dumbo, Bambi, Old Yeller, et al. Disney definitely had some sad moments.
-Shaq is trashing everybody in his new book. All the good parts have been dissected on sports radio.
-If you can do ROLEO while eating a ROLO…
-Is there a McDonalds in ULAN BATOR?
-I thought the hugs were XXX. Oops!
-Is Mark Fuhrman the most famous LAPD officer?
-Pluto, before its demotion, was named for the god of the underworld and its moon is Charon
-I would guess Cancun is hurting with all the violence south of the Rio Grande
-Ain’t it amazin’ how politicians can get a tough question, DODGE it and be back in their talking points in a nanosecond?

Spitzboov said...

Good morning Melissa and everyone.

I goofed up on 28a, too, the only miss. Wasn't sure about roleo, but should have had DOD_ED. I also had Ouch before changing to OW OW. Ulan, sometimes spelled Ulaan was a gimme. Liked the clue for ASS. The theme was fun and helped get some of the perps; ODED. Had FAA before TSA. I view it as a Security organization; not a safety org. except in perhaps the broadest sense. 'Security' is in the title. Overall, Good job, Mark.

Off to play some bridge including the black card suits of SPADES and clubs. Expecting a heat record for the date, today.

the Macster said...

I collect those little colorful stickers that are affixed (job from Hell)to fresh produce. Then I paste them in different evolving designs on the inside of my kitchen cabinets. Makes for a kind of interesting hidden art.
I have been to Hilo Bay, many years ago. There were some fun swimming holes along the southern rim of the bay. I hope they're still there.

Avg Joe said...

Fun puzzle. The theme helped a lot, but it was still difficult getting the starters.

Like anony-mouse, I also immediately thought of Tinbeni when I read Real Life Adventures.

Argyle said...

Greetings, Macster. That's an interesting dementia, I mean collection, you have there.

Do you know our Buckeye?

kazie said...

I got the theme with DOS AND DON'TS practically before anything else. Many unknowns and like Grumpy, was hung up on biological cells until right at the end. I couldn't come up with PLUG and wasn't sure of HILO for the bay--the only Hawaiian 'bays' I remember are Hanauma and Waimea. I wasn't on the big island, only Oahu and Maui.

Nice blog, Melissa!

My only other difficulty was misspelling TIRA and not knowing the NYT source for that quote. Don't all these abbreviations get confusing? I saw Cain being interviewed yesterday, and when he referred to the NRA, the interviewer had to clarify for the audience that it meant National Restaurant Association. Likewise, the newsletter I edit is the Sigma State News, and I like to abbreviate it as SSN which always throws some people.

Have a nice day everyone!

Spitzboov said...

Kazie: re NRA. Yeah, I was in the NRA, too. Naval Reserve Association. They recently changed their name to AUSN, (Assoc. of the US Navy).

Husker Gary said...

-Melissa, your Opposites Attract is an anthem for my 45 year marriage. What a hoot!
-I also can’t get enough of Dock of the Bay. I wonder if Tinman toasts the sunset from there?
-What hapless TV character kept misplacing his ticket stub for readmittance and so the usher made him use his friends’ ticket and then had to buy another ticket?
-Off to the Y!

Grumpy 1 said...

And I'm a life member of the NRA that was the best known until the National Restaurant Association broke into the news.

Qli said...

Thought this puzzle was a DOOZIE.

"Roleo" stumped me until I checked out the blog; more fun than just googling it!

My favorite clue of the day was "one in a black suit".

Really wanted " hairdos and tints" until I got the theme, and was hung up on biological cells, too.

We in the North are covering up our tweed jackets with something a bit heavier these days. Thank goodness the snow we got is gone, but more is promised by the end of the week. Nothing like a White Thanksgiving!

carol said...

Hi all....quite a few comments at this early hour (of course I am on the 'left' coast).

Fun puzzle!! I was stumped right away by 1D, and that is not a good way to start. However, I got the perps easily and it was fairly smooth sailing from there.

I put in OUCH for 38D and soon realized something was not right.

32D Biblical mount/Ass had me laughing!! (I'm easily amused)

Tinbeni: 59D is all yours...Don't forget to 'dip it in that party bowl'...maybe after sunset, LOL.

The SE corner was the toughest part. I got 62D SAX but that was it. Never heard of TYRA, NYT and even though I got STYX, it didn't help much.

Lucina said...

Hello, Melissa, C.C. and gang.

Yowza! A Monday on Wednesday! What a DOOZIE. Thank you, Mark Bickham, for all the fun.

I mostly traveled downward on this one then filled in the blanks. After seeing HAIRDOSANDONTS I knew what to look for in the theme answers.

I loved seeing the combination of consonants in the SE, NYT, TYRA, STYX, DRY. Not often seen together like that.

Except for ULAN Bator, I have visited the other sites mentioned, HILO Bay, ODENSE, and CANCUN. Wonderful places all. If memory serves me, the largest banyan tree in the world is located in Hilo. And tall pillars on the shore mark the height of the 1968 (?) tsunami which devastated the city.

Enjoy your Wednesday, everyone!

Anony-Mouse said...

Thanks, Average Joe, for linking up the cartoon, 'Real Life Adventures'. A cartoon is worth a thousand words.

Macster, .... OH MY GOD !!! .... I do exactly the same thing ! - except that I stick the fruit stickers on the lower, outer hidden, under - edge of my top cabinets ! ( Drives my wife and kids, batty !#!# )

I'm glad I'm not the only crazy guy around on this blog. Ya think it just could be, might be, an indication of a high IQ factor ?? ( some consolation - ).

BTW, Richard Feynman, mentioned earlier, above, discoverer of charmed quarks and Nobel ,Physics - 1965, est. IQ 177 +

had a habit of tearing off thin strips of paper from his notebook paper, and randomly folding them into triangles. From this he developed the Hexa- Flexagram - and even the algorithm and diagram for the Feynman-Tuckerman traverse.

For anybody who like paper toys and puzzles, heres a fun project. Google - Hexa - Flexagrams / Martin Gardner - Mathematical Puzzles and learn how to fold a hexa-Flexagram - with a strip of preferably Tyvek paper, about 24 inches long and 6 inches wide. A Fedex large thin shipping envelope will do fine. This fun project may blow your mind !

Sorry, for the long blog post.

Anonymous said...

I hope we didn't scare Hahtool away yesterday.

kazie said...

On the topic of putting stickers in strange places, I used to do it inside the lid of my trunk. I always thought bumper stickers were cute, but didn't want them on the outside of my car, so I started collecting them inside the trunk, only visible when it was open. First got the idea from a friend in oz who did the same thing in her Volvo. Now I can't be bothered any more.

Grumpy 1 said...

Lucina, there are a few claimants to the "Largest Banyan" title, but one in Calcutta, India is usually recognised. The one in Lahina, on Maui, is among the largest. It certainly is impressive.

The botanical gardens near Hilo are worth the visit.

Anonymous said...

No, she's just pouting. She's done it before. She'll be back.

ant said...

So, ladies, are PLUGs a HAIR-DO or a HAIR-DON'T?

eMBee, thanks for the Jonny Lang! Great chops! I remember back when he was just a kid, but in looking him up, he still is! In fact, he was only 8 years old when this came out.

"Life is like an elevator - they both have their UPSANDDOWNS."
-Elisha Otis

kerrys said...

We were in Hilo just last week. Got back on Thursday. We visited some dear friends that live there.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Theme eluded me for quite a while. It's a good one, though.

Melissa - Top notch!

For some reason I had an L where the B should be in DUMBO(?!?), which shut out BAN.

The paroxysms of chills and fever make a vicissitude.

In ODENSE, OLD DUMBO ODETS OD'ED on MEAD and had the DT'S. OOO, He OOZED AGUES, OW-OW, then decided drink is a NO-NO. Now he's a DRY.


Nice Cuppa said...

Great work, M.B. and M.B.

Once I got GOLFPROSANDCONS, the other theme words were write-ins-and-outs.

Only unknown was TYRA. Only error was NONO - had TABU initially. Favorite clue was "False start?".

In re SSRS, we also have SSTS, which no-one seems to object to (except for their loss).

I'm surprised how many people have not heard of NAAN bread. Authentic (i.e., delicious) naan must be cooked by slapping it against the side of a TANDOOR - a very hot oven originally dug into the ground. One of those things you cannot replicate at home.

Interestingly, pappadom/poppadoms/pappads - those staple Indian snacks - CAN be cooked really well at home ..... in the MICROWAVE - just give 'em about 20 seconds on one side, turn and cook for another 10 seconds. I like the plain or garlic ones best, with a good glass of beer, wine or scotch - take your pick.


Nice Cuppa said...


This joke/pun only works in the Brit vernacular, but listening to Ms. Redding always gives me a lift.....


Nice Cuppa said...

....and I wonder why so many posters claimed not to know the motto of the New York Times. Is this like Frenchmen pretending not to know English?


desper-otto said...

I believe the motto of the Houston Barnacle is "All the news that fits."

melissa bee said...

as barry mentioned, 38d 'man, that hurts!' should be ow ow, not o wow. thanks for correcting it c.c.

ARBAON said...

Mary`s "hair bump" is/was (what time is it?) in style to the point that you could/can buy a device to create it! Wasn`t it called a "bump it?"

ant said...

I seem to be using this phrase a lot, but here's another one of my all-time faves:


Misty said...

This may be my first puzzle ever that I got straight through, going from top to bottom, with the theme in place right away--a dazzling experience. Will never happen again, I'm sure--so thanks Mr. Bickham, for making my day.

Loved the pic of Mary Tyler Moore, Melissa.

Just in case Clear Ayes doesn't check in until later, thought I'd offer the poem. They don't call Byron a Romantic for nothing!

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

She Walks in Beauty 1
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

eddyB said...


Just entered contest to win a bottle of 40yo Dalmore single malt.
Never win these things but what the heck.

Come on Tin, break the bubble about


Lucina said...

Grumpy 1:
Thank you. I was not aware of the banyan tree in India but I suppose if they have sufficient quantities of water they all grow enormously large.

I'll try to post a pic later and yes, I agree the botanical gardens are wonderful there as is the vast orchid farm.

Steve said...

It's all been said, enjoyed the puzzle and @melissa - nice write up, but one nit to pick - Ulan Bator is the capital, not the capitol.

@Barry G, echoing @Tinbeni, yes, SSRs and SSR are common in business. I'm waiting for the howls of protest when a constructor starts to mine the rich vein of business geographical region abbreviations (EMEA, JAPAC, LATAM, NAM, etc.)

A NAAN is teardrop-shaped, because the ball of dough is stuck against the wall of the tandoor - a clay oven that looks like a big grecian urn - and slowly stretches while it cooks.

Abejo said...

Good Afternoon, folks. Thank you, Mark B., for a swell puzzle. Thank you, as well, Melissa B., for the great write-up.

I missed yesterday's because I was traveling and could not get a paper or print one. Today, when I got into Chicago, I bought a Trib and worked it while going from Union Station to home. Got done easily.

The theme came easily and I was able to fill all those in with a few perps to get me going.

I had LILY for 24D until ALGA seemed obvious.

I wanted a German word for 15D because the clue was German. NO NO became obvious after a while.

Tried USSR then changed it to SSRS.

Liked biblical mount/ASS.

I ate NAAN for three years. Loved it with cheese. The locals called it NOON.

Tomorrow off the Long Beach, CA. I am sure I can find an LA Times out there.

See you tomorrow.


Steve said...

@Abejo - where were you that "naan" was pronounced "noon"?

dodo1925 said...

Morning group,
I liked this puzzle a lot, Mark Bickham. I caught the theme on 23A which made the other theme answers easy. The rest of the fill was pretty smoot. Melissa Bee, thanks for a great recap.

My hang ups often seem to be losing my place among the clues and spaces. Many times the word is correct but won't fit because I'm looking at the wrong number. An eyesight problem, I guess. I don't need new specs so I guess it's just one of those things!

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon everyone.

Nice to hear from you, ABRAON. I don't think you've been on for a while. (Of course I was away most of October.)

Wonderful write up, Melissa B. Cleared up quite a few of my misses. I could not suss OW OW. And as usual, did not get the theme.

I loved BIBLICAL MOUNT. And the whole NW corner. The nit: since the clue was German: VERBOTEN, I assumed the answer would be nein. And that held me up for sure.


TinoTechie said...

Nice puzzle and write up. I actually finished, but with one error. Spelled Oneal as Oneil, so Ban was Bin and didn't see that. Oh well, it was fun.

Got Hair Dos and Donts first. Then the other B and C lines, but had trouble with the lead ins, ie Phone, Hold and Good.

My friend who grew up in NYC used to say for the NYT, "All the news that fits, we print."

Bill G. said...

Fun puzzle and writeup. I felt good getting the theme early on because it sure helped in the solving. I could usually figure out the long theme answers after reading the clue and getting a few of the crossing letters. I love when that happens.

I just came across this video of a huge flock of starlings. I've never seen anything quite like it.

LaLaLinda said...

Hi Everyone ~~

A fun and easy puzzle for a Wednesday ... very enjoyable. Thanks for a wonderful write-up, Melissa!

It's all pretty much been said ...

~~ I liked all the Os in DOOZIE, OWOW, NONO. OOZED and of course OOO!

~~ Also liked 'False front' -- PSEUDO and 'One in a black suit -- SPADE.

Enjoy the day & evening !

Avg Joe said...

That was neat Bill. I've never seen European Starlings appear quite that kaleidoscopic, but I have seen flocks that had to have millions of members in the late fall. Here in the central flyway it's not at all uncommon to see a flight that is 1/4 to 1/2 mile wide that will stretch for 3 or 4 miles. I've even seen a few that went on for over 20 miles.

At times smaller flocks will swarm in around our house and do a quick graze of the lawn and fields looking for seeds. These groups are large enough that there will be 2 or 3 birds per every square foot and they'll spread out over an area of 1/2 acre to a couple of acres. They are very fast, so that'll only last for a couple of minutes. Feels like a scene out of "The Birds". Drives the cat completely bonkers!!

Steve said...

Hey y'all

@Nice Cuppa prompted me to go and look at one of the UK newspapers today and see if I've still got the chops to do the puzzles that kept me busy before I moved to the US.

If you want to see what kind of mental gymnastics you have to go through across the pond, you might like to visit This Link and see what you think.

Fair warning - the major differences are:

1) every other letter in a word does not have a cross

2) If there is more than one word in an answer this is indicated in the clue by the number of letters in each word (e.g. 21A in the linked puzzle)

3) Unless you've done cryptic puzzles before, you probably won't get one answer correct with the possible exception of 14A which works on a literal and a cryptic level.

I just wanted you guys to see that when Cuppa and I have a crack at "your" puzzles we're floundering with cultural references too (DING DONG SCHOOL yesterday a prime example).

Take a look at let us know what you think.

Full disclosure - I solved this but it took me an hour.

ant said...

Hello, again. Same ant as always, but now I'm blue!

One more song today:

Everyone remembers that 70s disco classic Funky Town by Lipps, Inc - but does anyone remember the 80s new wave version by PSEUDO Echo?

kazie said...

Welcome to our blue world!

Spitzboov said...

Re: SSRS. Barry's comment got me thinking. I have an old (1970) "Area Handbook of the Soviet Union" available from the Supt. of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office. Checking it over, SSRS is used throughout the book, and on maps, as is the singular SSR. I suspect Russian Studies classes, diplomats, think tanks, and others having business with that area use the acronym routinely as part of their vocabulary. I don't consider it a crossword (only) expression.

Wanda Woman said...

Almost had an AGUE while struggling to suss out ALGA.

A fun puzzle that put up a nice fight until I figured out the theme.

TWEED made me think of Doctor Who.

The JVN said...

For those with access to the San Jose (CA) Mercury-News, and prefer an easier puzzle, look for "The Daily Commuter" puzzle.

I was able to solve today's puzzle with just one reference to my books, to get the spelling of 20A "Theodore or Franklin": Roosevelt.

It remains to be seen whether it will be more difficult through the week. I expect that it will, given that Sudoku does.

Anonymous said...

They always seem to come in threes, don't they?

Joe Frazier
Heavy D
Bil Keane

RIP, guys. Each of you made this world a better place in your own way.

JD said...

Hi Melissa and all,

interesting puzzle for a Wed., lots of little words, and a theme that clicked before coming here. After filling the top row and seeing the long answers I went down which worked for me.

Bill, amazing video. I've never seen such a site..but similar to the ribbon of bats that emerge from under a bridge in Austin,TX

Anony-Mouse, you crack me up, although then I started thinking about that IQ idea. I only saved the banana stickers, which would indicate a somewhat partial IQ score in my case. I actually made a chart for my refrigerator..a teacher thing.

ARBAON said...

Thanks, Slalie! Nice to be missed. :)

Lemonade714 said...

MB and mb what a dynamite pairing for our midweek fare. We have not had a Bickham since January. Late to the dance, so it is all said and done, but I did want to Welcome Wanda Woman, really cute name she picked, and ask if she ever read the Avengers comic books. I just Wanda ask.Andrea and Rose, good to see you; JVN also a rarity.

A blue ant with a perfect avatar; cool. I like NAAN and all the Zs.

Two weeks from today is the pre-thanksgiving check in day, Buckeye, you too.

Lemonade714 said...

Rose, BTW, my ex- does not do puzzles.

fermatprime said...

Hi all!

Am still here, sorta! Do not seem to get to the blog on most days until ridiculously late. So this is an exception of sorts.

Nice puzzle and write-up, Mark and mb.

Favorite answers: PSEUDO and SPADE. Not fast for me, like Monday and Tuesday.

Electric company says three more weeks to connect. They said this before they lost all of the paperwork. Guy from construction company came with another bundle of papers to sign. (The solar panels were put up in early May.)

Read on the internet that Warfarin (blood thinner) is also a rat poison. Would prefer to have a homeopathic remedy. Big Pharma seems to run this country!

Finally got refund on charge card for $7200 the last construction company mistakenly put on it. Getting this charge reversed took 4 weeks. I am growing older by leaps and bounds due to STRESS!

Happy hump evening!

Tinbeni said...

re: All the themes having SAND.
I think you were on to something and the rest of us missed that.

Soooo, the title s/h/b "A Day At The Beach ....

Also want to say hello to our new "Blue's"
... Ant and Qli.
Trust me, you'll have FUN here.

Wanda Woman said...

Thanks for the welcome, Lemonade! Though Wonder Woman is my favorite, I do loves me some Scarlet Witch. Thanks for the video link; I loved it!