Feb 8, 2012

Wednesday Feb 8, 2012 Jack McInturff

theme: back seat driver

17A. *Vaudeville headliner : TOP BANANA. from wikipedia: Originally, the phrase "Top Banana" was coined by comedian and Vaudeville Performer Harry Steppe" banana seat.

24A. *Count Basie's theme song : ONE O'CLOCK JUMP. basie used it as his closing song for over fifty years. a jump seat is a seat in a vehicle or aircraft that can fold up out of the way.

39A. *Too-small quantity : DROP IN THE BUCKET. an idiom meaning a small, insufficient amount. a bucket seat is contoured to hold one person.

50A. *1959 Monroe classic : SOME LIKE IT HOT. classic billy wilder film. the only seat here that is not an actual seat - an expression meaning a high-pressure situation.

63A. What many sports cars lack, and, in a way, what the ends of the starred answers are: REAR SEATS

melissa here.

pretty straightforward theme, but i needed the unifier to figure it out, as i was trying to connect the first words instead of the last. i thought this puzzle had a pretty broad range of obscure and gimme clues - but maybe it's just me, i'm a little rusty.

let's see how this goes, i've been suffering the animosity of inanimate objects, and the internet connection at the new digs is a tad unstable. i'm just gonna type reeeeeeeeeeeelllly fast and see what happens. fortunately, i can type faster than i can think.


1. Organic fuel : PEAT. decomposed plant material, also used as fertilizer. environmentally controversial. interesting wiki page.

5. Beggar's returns : ALMS. money or charity given to the poor.

9. Out-and-out : TOTAL. "that movie was an out-and-out flop."

14. Soprano Gluck : ALMA. okay well that is out-and-out obscure. my first thought was it must be some character from the soprano's ... except gluck doesn't sound very italian, does it? turns out alma gluck was a soprano recording artist, who died in 1938. oh, that alma gluck. her second husband was violin virtuoso efrem zimbalist, father of actor efrem zimalist, jr. (77 sunset strip), who was the father of stephanie zimbalist.

15. Tree nursery? : NEST. cute.

16. Winnebagos' kin : IOWAS. again, a little obscure. indian tribes.

19. Actress Kelly : MOIRA

20. Anaheim team, to fans : HALOS. baseball. see the halo?

21. Splotch : BLOB. "it creeps, it crawls, it eats you alive! the splotch! somehow just doesn't sound as frightening.

23. Fishing gear : NET

28. Garment border : HEM

29. Michael of "Caddyshack" : O'KEEFE. he played caddy danny noonan.

32. Marbles competition : MIBS. i think you might have to own a hobby shop to know this. what i found online was that a mib is the target in a marble game, and a mibster is a person who plays marbles.

36. Get out in the open : AIR. air that dirty laundry.

38. Singsong syllables : TRA LA

43. Open mic performer, often : COMIC. my favorite comic.

44. Bruins legend : ORR. bobby. hockey.

45. "My love __ a fever, longing still": Shakespeare : IS AS.

46. Deeply rooted : INBRED

48. Gandalf portrayer McKellen : IAN. lord of the rings.

57. "Go team!" : RAH

59. Well out of range : AFAR

60. It may be captioned : PHOTO

61. Hoover rival : ORECK

66. Bench clearer : MELEE. visually evocative clue.

67. Pitcher Pettitte with a record 19 post-season wins : ANDY. yankees / astros.

68. Out of the cage : FREE

69. Less hardy-looking : PALER

70. Early Iranian : MEDE. finally remembered this.

71. "America's Next Top Model" host Banks : TYRA


1. Logical start? : PATHO. pathological.

2. Online mortgage broker : E-LOAN

3. More than enough : AMPLE.

4. It's not done : TABOO. it's done, it's just not supposed to be done.

5. "State of Wonder" novelist Patchett : ANN. author of bel canto.

6. Country expanse : LEA

7. "A Fuller Spectrum of News" network : MSNBC. never heard of it.

8. Bit of rhubarb : STALK

9. Middle of nowhere, metaphorically : TIMBUKTU. great album.

10. Hugs, symbolically : OOO

11. Cult classic of 1990s TV : TWIN PEAKS

12. It passes between Swiss banks : AARE. it's a river, love this clue.

13. Would-be One L's hurdle : LSAT. one l is a first year law student, lsat is the law school admission test.

18. Author Sholem : ASCH. controversial, polish-born, jewish-american writer, 1880-1957.

22. Eye of el tigre : OJO. spanish for eye.

25. Tilt : LEAN

26. Fail to mention : OMIT.

27. Overseas thanks : MERCI. french.

30. Lab coat speck? : FLEA. labrador, another great clue.

31. Chow : EATS

32. Year Elizabeth I delivered her "Golden Speech" : MDCI. 1601. sure, i knew that, didn't have to look it up or anything. "The Golden Speech has been taken to mark a symbolic end of Elizabeth's reign, one which is widely considered one of the Golden Eras of England's history."

33. Caddie's suggestion : IRON. i work with a lot of caddies. that's all i'm going to say about that.

34. Jaw-dropping news : BOMBSHELL

35. Veep before Gerald : SPIRO. agnew.

37. Letter after pi : RHO

40. Motel convenience : ICE MAKER

41. "Gymnopédies" composer Satie : ERIK

42. Scot's bluff : BRAE

47. Dict. offering : DEF

49. Small bites : NIPS

51. NFLer until 1994 : LA RAM. los angeles rams.

52. Castle with many steps? : IRENE. dance steps. early 20th century ballroom dancer.

53. Museum concern : THEFT

54. White with age : HOARY. hoarfrost = white ice or snow crystals.

55. Weasel-like swimmer : OTTER

56. Where captains go : TO SEA

57. Frolic : ROMP

58. Field of expertise : AREA

62. GPA reducer, usually : CEE. grade point average.

64. Put in : ADD

65. Deli choice : RYE

Answer grid.



Dennis said...

Good morning, Melissa Bee, C.C. and gang - very much a fun puzzle this morning, with some clever clues and a theme I definitely needed the unifier to see.

Thought I was doing pretty good, knowing 'halos' was the nickname for the Angels, but then I spent too long trying to figure out what other Winnebago RV rival had four letters. The perps helped me see the light. Then 'Lab coat speck' got me, even after the perps filled that one in too -- a very, very clever clue. Finally made it to the bottom and stared at 'Laram' (51D) for quite a while trying to figure out who retired in 1994. Sometimes I'm just dumber than a bag of socks.

Melissa Bee, absolutely wonderful to see you back; you've been missed. Great blog, especially considering the technological limitations. Loved the Louis C.K. clip. Are you back on a regular basis now?
Hope it's an outstanding day for everyone; snow's on the way here. Off to the gym.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Not quite a train wreck this morning, but definitely not a speed run. Yes, the clue for FLEA was fantastic, although I didn't understand it until well after I filled in all the letters via the perps...

I've never heard of ONE O'CLOCK JUMP and couldn't remember MIB despite having just seen it recently (it's just one of those words my brain refuses to acknowledge as real). Didn't know/remember MEDE or ASCH, either.

Not sure why ALMS are considered a beggar's "returns."

Never heard the Angels called the HALOS before.

Did you know that SEVEN YEAR ITCH has exactly the same number of letters as SOME LIKE IT HOT?

HeartRx said...

Good morning Melissa, C.C. et al.

Great to have you back, MB! This was a fun puzzle, some nice sparkly fill and clever clues—hands up for “Speck on a lab coat”!! We just had MIB on Sunday, so it was a nice surprise to be able to fill in 32A MIBS right away! Did not know 18D ASCH, but perps filled that one in. BOMBSHELL and TIMBUKTU were my favorites today.

Unlike yesterday, this theme snuck up on me at the unifier. But even then I had to think about it for a second – I tried putting the last words of the theme entries in the REAR (“What’s a ‘seat banana’??”) D’uh…

Dennis, I also sat staring at 51D after it filled in, and just figured there was some obscure guy named LARAM who used to play football. Finally parsed the old LA RAM football team, and gave myself a good smack on the head with the V8 can.

Happy hump day, everyone!

fermatprime said...

Good morning to all! Nice puzzle Jack and write-up Melissa.

Thought that was going to be a natick with LARAM and ANDY! Just guessed at ANDY.

I finally forced my friend Harvey to take me to Costco. (He usually grabs things alone.) Could not believe the number of things there that I have been paying much more for on line! Spent a small fortune. Made him let me roll their electric cart down ALL of the isles! I'm good for another year, knowing what is there now.

This day had been planned for awhile. Thus, even though I was aching all over, I went! Forgot about the pain while I was tooling around the place!

Have a good day, all. Time for the sandman!

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, MelissaBee and friends. Good to see you again, Melissa. Hope you get settled in soon and we see you more often.

I thought today's puzzle was easier than Monday's puzzle. I liked the theme. I didn't need the unifier to fill in those clues.

Lots of fun and misleading clues. I wasn't fooled by the AARE, which Passes Between Swill Banks.

My favorite clues were Tree Nursery = NEST

I also liked Castle with Lots of Steps = IRENE.

I knew that the Hoover Rival was ORECK because that company used to HQ'ed in New Orleans.

CK Louis is one of my favorite comics, too, Melissa.

I also liked ANN Pratchet's Bel Canto. Haven't read State of Wonder yet.

QOD: Character is much easier kept than recovered. ~ Thomas Paine

Middletown Bomber said...

Nice write up Melissa, Good puzzle for a Wednesday. Did not really like the theme. As I always thought the Banana seat was on the bicycle, and Bucket seats were in the front. the extreme north and sout took time the Middle third was very easy for me. where the clues were dificult I found the down answers were easy so I was able to fill in the across answers. Back pain is slowly receding I expect quicker solves to return shortly. Enjoy hump day all.

Grumpy 1 said...

Happy Hump Day, all. MB, it's really nice to see you back in the driver's seat again. You're blogging doesn't take a REAR SEAT to anyone.

It took a while to get my brain in gear on this one, but that devious FLEA jumped on me immediately. Like most, it took a looooong time to parse LA RAMS.

Lots of jumping around on this one, and switching between across and down, but it all came together in the end. Since I ended up solving mostly from the bottom up, I had the unifier before most of the theme entries and knew i was looking for SEATS of some sort, but it didn't help much.

I figured the 'Winnebago's kin' was an Indian tribe, but needed perps to figure out which one. Once I changed BLOt to BLOB, I found my way to TIMBUKTU and the rest of that corner fell.

All in all, a very nice offering from Mr. McInturff.

Grumpy 1 said...

@fermatprime, glad you were able to get out and enjoy your Costco trip. What's the old adage? "When the going get's tough, the tough go shopping!

I had to think about why the types of seats would be REAR SEATS, but then realized that each seat was on the rear end of the theme entry.

Avg Joe said...

Welcome back Melissa. Fun write up and great Timbuktu tuneagement!

Very challenging puzzle. Like Grumpy, I jumped around then ended up solving from the bottom up. Filled in that flea with perps, but still didn't get it until I got here. Lot's of great clues, most mentioned, but as a NE native, I found Scot's bluff among the best. (Scottsbluff is a mid-sized city in W NE).

kazie said...

Fun blog Melissa. Great pic of Bern for the AARE.

I fumbled through much of this. I didn't know any of the names except TYRA and SPIRO, and had to perp the rest. Couldn't come up with PATHO to save my soul. WAGged ORR,--any 3 letter sport name has to be that or OTT.

Didn't like E-LOAN since that's what you get from the mortgage broker. I wouldn't equate the two.

I love the cat in your avatar.

Yesterday I was shopping all day in Madison with a friend. My scanner had given up the ghost on Monday, so I was looking for a new one. I don't need another printer and didn't want anything complicated, but the local guy here had assured me there was no such thing as a simple separate flatbed any more. So much for local shopping. Best Buy ordered me one that I can pick up in a week. I could have done it online too, but hadn't had time to look, so combined it with our outing.

Jacel said...

Good morning to everybody. It is going to be another beautiful day in Spring, Tx (Houston suburb) because we are having "spring" weather.

I had difficulty with this puzzle because it had so many names. Also, even after I solved FLEA, I could not make the connection to Labrador (still think of a "research or science lab"). MB, your Blog helped me to understand. I love this Blog as it has helped me be a better crossword solver. I though Winnebago was a clever clue. I am keeping a log of all Indian tribes by area and state. That log is helping me a lot.

Have a beautiful day even if you don't have my weather.

Tinbeni said...

Melissa: Nice write-up & links!

Worked from the bottom-up.
So I knew the themes were "some-kinda" SEAT.
That got me the Vaudeville" TOP BANANA.


LA RAM was a gimmie, along with ANDY (my first name) and a favorite former NY Yankee.

Wanted my 'Overseas thanks' to be Havla (pronounced 'fa-la') the Croatian word for

ICE-MAKER not a convenience I would use.

A 'toast' to all at Sunset. Cheers!!!

ant said...

This puzzle made up for the last two in difficulty. Fun and challenging...made you have to think.

eMBee, welcome back! Here's a song that sort of goes along with Louis CK's theme: The Future's So Bright (3:23) by TIMBUK3.

With heated seats becoming a less luxurious option (including REARSEATS, according to a recent Grand Cherokee commercial), HOT SEAT in a car works for me. Toastingly.

SOME LIKE IT HOT (4:23) - Power Station. Not really live, alas. RIP, Robert & Tony.

Can't wait for my jaw to drop on the (presuming) BOMBSHELL links to come.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning Melissa and all.

Finally finished it without help. Only thought of RV's for Winnebago, and thought IOWAS was a brand I hadn't heard of. But the perps nailed it. Thanks Melissa for clearing up the 'kin' thing. Some other great clues: for NEST, AARE, and FLEA. The theme fills were fun to suss out, too. I didn't know the year of the 'Golden Speech" but figured it was after 1500 so had to start with MD__. Jack, I like your puzzles.

Have a great day.

Yellowrocks said...

What Grumpy said @ 7:05 and 7:13, except I was looking for an RV for a while at Winnebago. The FLEA bit me immediately, too. Funny that so many of us, me too, did not recognize LARAM becuase we were looking for a name.

All the marble game words I know came from my Mom who talked about mibs, taws, steelies, aggies, etc. I never saw anyone actually playing MIBS

Although Gymnopedies is probably more famous, I lke this one played by Satie better. I am in the mood for upbeat.
Link Satie

Lemonade714 said...

Welcome back MB, best wishes for you in your new home.

H. if you thought this was easier than Monday, you know stuff I do not know. It was a workout for me, piecing it together as I went.

Mr. McInturff always delivers fine work, but this had some obscurities in my world. Enjoy the day all

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

What Lemon Said.

Working with foggy brain today anyhow, due to a cold.

Happ Hump Day

CrossEyedDave said...

Jumping the gun again, (hey i can't do a puzzle in 3 minutes) besides the longer a puzzle takes, the better i like it. (this is just foreplay)

Several days ago i posted a link to Ray William Johnson (=3). I cannot post a link for today's =3 because it contains politics... But apparently the Wall Street Journal got wind of it, and printed an article that Ray was not to happy with.

So pizzlers, be very careful what you say in the Blog, apparently is has more influence than you might realize.

(also, the ad from Stone Brewing yesterday makes me want to try Arrogant Bastard Ale!)

Mari said...

WEES. This took me a bit longer today. I had to be introduced to ASCH, ALMA, ANDY, MOIRA, MIBS, and MEDE.

I too was thinking of scientists for lab coat. Now that I see it's about dogs I love it. I also loved the NEST for Tree Nursery/

I never watched Twin Peaks when it was on TV. I later picked up the DVDs and was instantly hooked. Sherilyn Fenn is going to be at a comic convention in my area. I hope to meet her.

Husker Gary said...

Great Wed. level puzzle, Jack and informative write-up MB. MERCI!

-Cutting a billion from the federal budget is a DROP IN THE BUCKET
-Joann loves watching movies with men in drag (SOME LIKE IT HOT) but the only one I liked was Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie
-Great ALMA info & Louis CK clip (wit trumps profanity)
-I grew up playing baseball against WINNEBAGOS
-I thought Kelly actress was Derek Jeter’s girlfriend MINKA
-The Blob had a schlocky early role for Steve McQueen (every role ain’t Hamlet)
-O’KEEFE as a villain in an episode of Law and Order did not ring true
-Is anything TABOO today?
-Loved Swiss Bank clue – NOT Euro!
-ONEL and ELHI not favs of mine
-LA is on the verge of getting another NFL team and play in a stadium named for Farmer’s Insurance

Husker Gary said...

Garrison Keillor does a great commercial for Bebop-a-Rebop Rhubarb Pie (here sung with Meryl Streep) but more telling is his story about rhubarb pie that is made in The Chatterbox Café. He tells of how that pie is a metaphor for life in Lake Wobegon - such a sweet flavor but every bite containing that unmistakable taste of bitterness.

Anony-Mouse said...

Thank you Mr. McInturff for a very nice but challenging puzzle - I thought I wouldn't, but 'miracles of miracles', I did indeed complete it. MBee - Very nice commentary, thank you. I kept looking for the jumpseat, in your link, but all I could notice was your face ....

Bill G., thank you for the kind words yesterday.

Originally, I had 'Amana' for Hoover rival ... note to self, must do more house keeping, more often.....

ALT QOD:- Nobody's ever offered me money to have sex. Sure, a Bud Light and a basket of curly fries, but not cash. ~ Maria Bamford.

(ed.note - whoo's Maria, and why would we want to have s-x with her ?? )

Anonymous said...


Irish Miss said...

Good morning everyone.

Nice write-up, Melissa, and neat puzzle, Jack. I went astray early on with euro instead of Aare and never heard of Iowa's rv's. I don't get "banana" seat? Loved the clue for flea after coming here for explanation. All in all, a good Wednesday challenge.

My laptop is dying a slow death and I want to replace it. I don't use the laptop a lot since I got my iPad so I don't need anything loaded with bells and whistles. Is anyone familiar with Acer products? There is one advertised at a very good price but I don't know anything about the quality, etc. Any input would be appreciated.

Happy Wednesday all.

Virginia said...

Good Morning. Enjoyed the write-up and links. I never did get moving on the puzzle. But I did love FLEA and NEST and found it interesting that two L.A. area (once upon a time) sports teams were there. Didn't I read somewhere recently that the Rams are thinking about returning to L.A.? I wonder if they'd go back to that old, decrepit Coliseum in that lovely part of town.

Played a lot of marbles as a kid, don't think I was ever called a mibster. Kind of looks like a thin mobster. Sorry :)

What movie had the phrase "ALMS for the poor?" as part of the dialog from a beggar?

Virginia said...

Kazie - late yesterday - yes, sorry, I meant Jayce in my Dixie Beer post, sorry. But that Cajun Martini is still worth trying! Ice ir none ;)

Zcarguy said...

Morning all,

I was in Lala land at 9D and most of this puzzle
Lots of names and never heard of's trivia.

Hate to say I didn't enjoy it, since it was a clever
offering ,
Maybe I'll have a better luck at the golf course
68 and sunny!


Virginia said...

Irish Miss - I have an Acer PC thet has worked well for over a year. According to a recent puzzle they are Taiwanese. I bought mine because they bought Gateway and I've always had Gateway products. It's very satisfactory.

Ron Worden said...

Good morning to all,and happy hump day. Glad you are back MBee,thanks for your insights. I enjoyed the puzzle and great fare for a Wed. I had a stingray bike that had a banana seat.Almost put gearshift in but didn't fit perps.Then the rest fell easily. To Irish Miss I have an Acer aspire one it has all the perks of the big laptops.but is smaller and easy to handle,love it. A great day to all RJW.

Tuttle said...

A bit too much trivia for my taste, but a nice challenging puzzle overall.

In my book all sports-cars lack REAR SEATS. If a sporty car has them then it's either a GT car (like a Porsche 911) or a pony-car (like a Mustang). I may be willing to make an exception for JUMP SEATS (like in old Mazda RX-7 2+2s).

Lucina said...

Great to have you back, Melissa! And greetings fellow puzzlers.

Yowza! Jack McInturff, thank you for this entertaining challenge with just enough crosswordese that I could suss some obscurities.

The center was easiest and gave me the toehold needed. I knew Elizabeth I had to be 1500 or 1600 and slowly grokked MDCI.

Thank you all for LA RAM, I thought it was a guy named LARAM crossed with ANDY.

Loved the cluing for NEST, BRAE, AARE and IRENE. Very fresh.

One error; I had IOWAN and never noticed LNAT which should have been LSAT.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!

carol said...

Hi all....I really had a hard time with this puzzle and didn't finish it. Too many vague clues (for me). This seemed much more like a Saturday offering.

Melissa B: so good to have you back and I loved your write up. Thanks for the explanation of 30D - I even had to look at that a long time before it dawned on me Lab was referring to a dog. Used up a V-8 can on that one :)

The Blob was a fun movie back in the day. Odd how actors/actresses portraying teenagers were usually in their mid 20's. Steve McQueen was 28 when he did that film. Picnic is another of those. William Holden was 37 but playing the part of a guy just past college really didn't go over too well...he actually looked older than 37.

More later.

Scotty said...

Irish Miss- as an Iowan, may I point out that the Iowas were an Indian tribe as were the Winnebagos. Ron Worden's comments will tell you that a banana seat is a bike accessory (or necessity, as the case might be).

Tough puzzle for me today - spoiled by the easy Mon. & Tue. ones I guess.

A bit of snow on the grass this a.m. Time to shove off for Florida!

Bill G. said...

That was a challenging and very enjoyable puzzle. Good writeup too. Thanks.

Irish Miss, if it were me in that situation, I'd opt for a desktop iMac. I know they're more expensive but I just enjoy using them more.

I didn't know The Fuller Spectrum either but I sure enjoy MSNBC, both on TV and as a homepage. Lots of good features.

Hands up for enjoying the lab coat clue and the between Swiss banks clue. Clever stuff.

Gary, I enjoyed your Garrison Keillor clip. Very enjoyable movie all the way through. I'm a big fan of Prairie Home Companion.

Nap time. Then a short bike ride and a bit of tutoring. Beautiful weather outside.

Yellowrocks said...

Irish Mist, Winnebagos refered to an Indian tribe, so the answer was Iowas, another Indian tribe. Many of us searched for RVs first before we realized it meant Indians.

A banana seat is a bicycle seat shaped kinda like a banana. See Melissa's link which illustrated this. The seat does not have to be yellow. But the yellow in that illustration helps to convey the idea of banana.

Yellowrocks said...

I just returned from getting surgery clearance from my GP. I am having arthroscopic surgery next Wed. to repair a torn meniscus. There is a floating piece of tissue which could play hob if not removed. The calf and ankle are swollen with fluid. The other knee is just as painful and will probably need surgery soon, too.

Last night I planned to preside at the dance and just sit out the dancing part. We dance in squares of eight. My participation would make our attendance an exact multiple of eight. If I sat down, seven others would have to sit down, so I danced most of the time. Today I can barely walk. I am eager to get this surgery done and get back to having fun.

Blue Iris said...

@HuskerGary- Thanks for the clip from "Prairie Home Companion" movie. I really enjoyed the movie and wished I could have heard the radio programs before they ended. The rest of my family did not enjoy the homespun quaint humor.

My favorite "comic" is Brian Regan.I especially like his bit on text-messaging. He is going to be in our area in April and tickets went on sale today.

Vairnut said...

I went thru all the across clues, didnt get one word until 71A- TYRA. Once I had that in place, I worked up and to the NW, and actually finished this in what I call a speed run. I got IOWAS right away, but I too didnt understand FLEA until I read the blog. Overall, nice puzzle, just right for a Wednesday.

Vairnut said...

Wasnt "The Blob" Steve McQueens first movie? He will always be "Bullitt" to me.

Blue Iris said...

It might be a stretch...thought I saw a secondary financial theme.

Drop in the bucket(Salvation Army?)

Maybe concentrating too much on filing income tax.

Anonymous said...

Although the stated concern about an erratic Internet connection was unfounded, it is too bad that the keyboard's shift key was broken--surely that is why so many capital letters were missing!

former teacher

Irish Miss said...

Yellowrocks & Scotty: Thanks for explaining the Indian tribes & banana seat topics. I didn't read Melissa's comments as carefully as I should have. Fuzzy brain this a.m.

Ron Worden & Virginia: Thanks for your helpful comments on the Acer. I'll let you know how things work.

Bill G: I would consider the iMac but I use the laptop so infrequently I couldn't justify the cost. I use my iPad 99 % of the time.

Grumpy 1 said...

Blue Iris, i like your secondary theme... except DROP IN THE BUCKET is what I have left after paying my taxes.

Spitzboov said...

Irish Miss: What Bill G said about IMac. And you don't have the issue about viruses.

Blue Iris: Prairie Home Companion is on in our market at 6pm Saturdays on PBS. @ Philadelphia: the same plus rerun at 2pm Sundays.

Dennis said...

anon/former teacher, were you still able to read the blog?

Husker Gary said...

Blue Iris, I too love his monologues and they are a FREE download from iTunes and I have listened to them many time while working out at the Y. They evoke many memories of the provincialism of my small town upbringing. One of my favorite lines - "Being ostracized in school for 'out of the box' thinking can sharpen your interest in geography."

One comment on Downton Abbey - I love the faithfulness to the period in dress, manners, language, settings, class, etc and how the show never seemed to be "soap operaish" but now we have Patrick reappearing and suffering from the old "soap" device of amnesia. Oh well, I can't wait to see where it goes anyway. Gotta love Carson!

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, A puzzle to puzzle my brain today. The whole NE corner was an "utter" disaster. I wouldn't give up Danka for Merci, Grace for Moira, Otoes for Iowan, Rod for Net and Utter for Total. No wonder I had a mess of eraser crumbs, and torn newspaper!

When I finally decided to start over and erased everything, I looked up another Kelly actress and everything began to fall into place. I spent way too much time on this today. Especially since I have to get myself going for an appointment later today.

Melissa B., It was wonderful seeing your signature on the comments today. You've been missed.

I loved Lab Speck/Flea, and It passes between Swiss banks/Aare. Both were very misleading clues.

Have a great day everyone.

Yellowrocks said...

Now when I go to this blog I receive this message:
"To help protect your security Internet Explorer has blocked this website from displaying content with security certificate errors."
What does this mean? Does the blog have problems or do I?

Chickie said...

Kazie, Our scanner didn't go out, but with a switch to a newer computer and newer software our old flat bed wouldn't work with all the new stuff! So much for trying to save a little. We're looking for a new scanner, also.

The old flat bed is now sitting in the garage awaiting the recycling company that takes all sorts of old computer equipment. It is a shame that we have to discard something that is perfectly good because it is "old".

eddyB said...


We bought Brian an Acer instead of
a IIe. He learned to program in Basic on it. Price!
Apples do get colds. It is just not worth a hackers' time and trouble since they only have a small market share. Ask ferm what
she thinks about the Apple Pro.
I love my Toshiba that I carry from room to room.

CGY/SJ tonight. Owen Nolan retired
as a Shark yesterday.


Misty said...

WEES once again. A real toughie, this one, but thanks for the challenge, Jack. And for the great write-up Melissa, which I needed more today than on other days.

I thought I finally had this but goofed on MIBS (had MABS) and on IRON (had ARON). Can you tell that sports is not my strong suit? Hands up for getting LARAM and not getting it at the same time. Also got all the themes but didn't know what a Banana Seat or a Jump Seat are. So, what's the lesson from all this? I should play more: marbles, golf, bicycling, football games. Sure . . . . .

Have a good hump day, everybody!

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Welcome back, MB!

A 19 minute slog for me. Definitely having a bad brain day; and what's worse, I can't come up with an excuse.

I can come up with a BOMBSHELL.

Basie: Lil' Darlin'. April in Paris? (sigh!)

Guessing DEE for GPA reducer made ORECK hard to suss. Due to FLEA, I, RON was scratching my head.

Oh well, here are the TWIN PEAKS BOMBSHELLS.

Something by ERIK.

Cool Regards!

Mari said...

Yellowrocks @ 12:15: I too had a similar error message. Alas, there is nothing wrong with you....other than your injury, that is. I am recovering from a foolish incident whereby I injured both of my heels while jogging. I can't wait to heal up (no pun intended) and get back to the gym.

Best wishes on your surgery.

Chickie said...

Anonymous/Former Teacher. The non-capitals are one of MBee's signatures. We like it just as it is.

C.C. Burnikel said...

Do you use Internet Explorer also?

C.C. Burnikel said...

Does anyone else get the same blocking message Yellowrocks described @12:15pm?

C.C. Burnikel said...

Former teacher,
Always remember, what you read here everyday is hours of hard work from a volunteer blogger.

Bill G. said...

Blue Iris and others, you can listen to the new Prairie Home Companion shows on your computer. Older ones are archived too. Just Google Prairie Home Companion and click on archive. I always enjoy it when I remember to do it.

Gary, the Bebop-a-Rebop Rhubarb Pie song is stuck in my head now. I'm going to listen to the Powdermilk Biscuits theme song to try to cancel it out. Do you think it will work?

Dudley said...

Husker 12:09 -

The amnesia plot line sure seems soap opera-ish, but then, I'm convinced it's a hoax. That fellow is an impostor.

Carson is certainly dignified. What an awkward spot, having to decide which person to work for!

JazzB - Basie was our favorite in my HS jazz band. It was great fun to get immersed in that world of hand written charts, and those booth-shaped folding music stands favored by the big bands. Li'l Darlin' was one of our first slow tunes, and the first one that let young Johnny reach into the bottom end of his new baritone sax. I can still hear it!

Mari said...

CC: Yes I use Explorer. I only had the message come up once today. The rest of the time its been fine.

Husker Gary said...

Bill G, you are stuck with The Rhubarb Song and its silly send-up of advertising. Maybe Guy Noir could investigate the mystery of why it won’t go away.

C.C., I get no warning when I log on

Dudley, Patrick sure did disappear quickly when challenged. The Titanic's sinking causing amnesia and a WWI explosion overcoming it? Really? And now Matthew’s loins are feeling stirrings. Oh my!

Off to the Y where they have “everything for you men to enjoy!”

Lucina said...

I'm sorry to hear of your knee and leg issues. I hope the surgery goes well.

Misty said...

Re: Downton Abbey (if we may): is Bates going to be accused of having murdered Mrs. Bates? He didn't do it, surely? Also, "soap-operish" doesn't have to be a put down. This is fiction, folks, not realism, and a little contrivance can really perk up a plot. Having said that, I'm more interested in Matthew's reproductive woes than in Patrick's authenticity.

Anonymous said...

Virginia @ 9:48. Mary Poppins.

CrossEyedDave said...


What a grind! It took me 3 hours, (2 of which was spent peering over my reading glasses at the Quantum Leap pilot episode, try doing that online!) probably because i am not that old, & thought it was 2 o'clock rock. Anyway, after my 8:55am comment
i was afraid to post a DNF knowing what a DF Group you all are. But now realizing that i have to post a FIW (finished it wrong) it is probably going to be worse.

Oh well, let me have it guys, (it is hump day...)

JzB, Tx 4 the Erik link, i have been looking for that. Now i know the name i can buy the piano music.

(Hmm, i wonder if i can improve my CW completion times if i do them to Ravel's Bolero?)

Razz said...

Hi Gang, Great job MB.

@ Virginia

I found two instances of "Alms for the poor"

1 - Around the World in Eighty Days

2 - Disney's Robin Hood


CrossEyedDave said...

i forgot the TFT
(thought for today)

"discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument is an exchange of ignorance." Robert Quillen, American Journalist (1887-1948)

Razz said...

Oh, Virgina - If your are a Popeye the Sailorman cartoon fan... You heard it there too!

Grumpy 1 said...

CEDave, thanks for the TFT. Now I'll have to figure out whether exchanges here are arguments or discussions before wading into the fray.

You're not the only one that wanted 'rock' instead of 'jump' but then realized that Count Basie long preceded Rock & Roll.

Mari said...

CrossEyedDave: Perfect Avatar! So cute!

Seldom Seen said...

I sgree that comfortable REAR SEATS are a RARE ASSET in sports cars.

CrossEyedDave said...

The rear(end)seat theme allows me to use some links i have been saving.

i learned a new word from the COMICS recently.

It seems BADONKADONK is on its way to becoming part of the dictionary.

(video=4:09 after 15 second commercial, song starts at 0:35)

Bloody Do-Gooder said...

ALMS for an ex-leper

Jazzbumpa said...

Dudley -

I played in a big band when I was in college, back in the 60's. Lil' Darlin' was out theme song.

I love that song. Playing at that slow tempo with precision and intensity is not easy.


MR ED said...

Melissa, good job!
Can't believe you did't know of Alma Gluck or hear of MSNBC. I wonder if Dennis (hobby shop proprietor) knew 'mib'.
Again, job well done!

Lemonade714 said...

Too Late, BADONKADONK is opart of the new language

Bill G. said...

Inappropriate DF thought for the day:

Three cheers for nipples! Without them, boobs would be pointless!

Seldom Seen said...

Alt. theme answers:

Location of a Discovery Channel reality show: ORANGE COUNTY

It is split on a 1963 Corvette: REAR WINDOW

Performers in the Joie Chitwood's Thrill Show: STUNT DRIVERS

Where my humor often resides: IN THE TOILET

Ron Worden said...

To Virginia and Razz I was in a local theater production of "KISMET" as Omar walks into the temple beggars ask him for alms for the poor. Thanks BloodyDo Gooder for the Monty Python clip.

melissa bee said...

thanks all for the 'welcome back's. yours too, anon. i really appreciate you volunteering your tech support services, as i've had a helluva time getting dropped every ten minutes. but you forgot to leave your contact info. if you can resolve the issue I promise to throw in a few caps :).

mr ed, if I ever heard of gluck, i forgot. i know msnbc just not that program. don't have tv.

fun to see everyone again, hopefully regularly.

slayton said...

Thought for a Wednesday puzzle some of these answers were pretty obscure!

kazie said...

Mine just quit working on my old computer to which it has always been attached. the new one from Best Buy is costing around $80, so much less than all the new-fangled ones I didn't want.

From one former teacher to another,
I believe Melissa just doesn't always bother with capitals, like certain poets I have read.

I think Bolero might be too much distraction to improve your speed.

I do hope your knee surgery does the trick. You'll be out of action for a while though.

teresa said...

Love finding the answers here when I get stuck. Thanks everyone. What is a unifier and what is a perp?

Rita Writer said...

Too obscure and annoying for just a Wednesday.

JD said...

Good evening Melissa, C.C. et al,

Thanks Jack for a great Wed puzzle. Had no trouble finishing it with so many obtainable clues.

Melissa, loved your write up and the 6 pack of V-8's you sent my way.. La Ram, iowaS, and why Ms Castle had steps. Did not catch the seating theme..need to focus.

Husker, men in drag make me very uncomfortable..didn't like Tootsie

Bill, loved your DFness @3:52

Spring is in the air...hard to stay!

Off to see the Sharks...

ooooooo to all

Bill G. said...

Teresa, a unifier is the answer to a clue that gives you the answer (or a hint) as to the theme. A perp is a letter from a crossing word (perpendicular).

Yea Ellen
Yea J C Penney
Yea Bill O'Reilly (I never thought I'd be writing that!)

I'm in hillbilly heaven listening to bluegrass music on an iTunes radio station with the Visualizer amusing my eyeballs.

Apple stock is at an all-time high.

Yellowrocks said...

Cross Eyed Dave @2:39. TFT Saturday my ultra conservative son and I had a real "discussion." Very enjoyable and enlightening. He is a bright and interesting man. Usually his political passion leads to all heat and no light. What a welcome change.

Seen @3:22 I have been waiting all day for this DF crowd to acknoweldge the "assets" of the rear seat.

After 4 courses of Ibufrofin, 2 Merlots, and a day of enforced idleness I am moving well tonight. Thanks for the kind thoughts.

Mt avatar is my all time favorite shot of Kyoto. It does not show up well here. How can I link it?

Misty said...

@Razz 2:37 I saw the movie "Ben Hur" with Charlton Heston on a date when I was in high school (okay, over forty years ago) and I could swear I still remember the line "Alms for the blind" in that movie. Doesn't work perfectly with your collection, but close.

tawnya said...

good evening everyone!

really enjoyed today's puzzle and loved the capital-less write up. my husband (DH?) despises it when i don't use them, but i refuse to bend to peer pressure. letters seem friendlier when they are little.

thanx to melissa for the fun write up and links. i love louis c.k. - he is one of my favorites! they call him "the comedian's comedian." his latest dvd is available for $5 . really.

@fermatprime - on the next visit to costco be sure to have a hot dog, they are yummy!! (adorable kitty, too!)

didn't know the fuller spectrum was MSNBC but WAG'd it right (left?)...their latest motto is "lean forward."

i had a bike with a banana seat along with a lot of skinned knees...good times!

so glad i am not the only one who couldn't figure out who LARAM is. my first thought was "oh no, another sports clue i have to learn!"

favorite clue: lab coat speck. very smart! i think we just had another lab reference? something about chocolate? i'm partial to golden retrievers myself...

good night all!


Spitzboov said...

Sea Dog tale.

(Ask him about sea ice)

IRISH JIM said...

Good evening all

Nice challange today with some tricky cluse. E G lab coat speck.

Irish Miss, have had an acer for approx 3 months and am very happy with same.

For you Downton Abbey fans part 3 is already in production. Yea.


Unknown said...

tawnya, sorry i wasn't here to welcome you when you joined - welcome!. 'letters seem friendlier when they are little.' right?

irish jim, so nice to see you!

kazie and chickie, thx.

night, all.