May 22, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 Andrea Carla Michaels

Theme: You can be a comic book artist - If you can draw these simple shapes found at the end of the four longest answers, you may have a future as a comic book artist!

17A. Ships' drop-off location? : BERMUDA TRIANGLE. Not only ships but planes also have disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle.

26A. TV witch series based on L.J. Smith novels : THE SECRET CIRCLE. It premiered on September 15, 2011, on the CW Television Network. On May 11, 2012, the CW cancelled the series so you are forgiven if you missed it. It wasn't on my radar, or television, for that matter.

45A. 1989 Beijing protest site : TIANANMEN SQUARE. While most just remember the picture below, it was much more violent than that. A square is a special case of a equilateral rhombus with right angles.

59A. "Field of Dreams" field : BASEBALL DIAMOND. "Field of Dreams" is a film(1989) about Kevin Costner building a field(baseball) in a field(corn). A diamond is a square with its diagonals vertical and horizontal.

Argyle here. Four grid spanners; how neat is that?


1. "Star Trek" milieu : SPACE

6. Kermit, for one : FROG. (Muppet)

10. Droop : WILT

14. "Dear me!" : "OH, GOD!"

15. Pinocchio, at times : LIAR

16. "__ out?": choice offered a pet : IN OR. A dog always wants to be on the other side of a door; a cat just wants to sit in the middle of the open door.

20. Quid pro quo : SWAP

21. "If __ told you once ..." : I'VE

22. In silence : MUTELY

23. "I see," facetiously : "AH, SO!"

25. Marquis de __ : SADE

33. Like Dylan Thomas, by birth : WELSH. Or Richard Burton.

34. Caustic drain unclogger : LYE

35. Fly in the clouds : SOAR. Sure beats clouds of flies.

36. Fury : IRE

37. Helped with the dishes : DRIED

39. Calypso cousin : SKA

40. TV warrior princess : XENA

42. Cyclades island : IOS. If you go to this site, click on "View Ios on Greece map" to see where exactly where this little island is. The Cyclades are so called because they encircle the sacred island of Delos.

43. Can't stomach : HATES

49. Roller coaster feature : DROP

50. Brewer's kiln : OAST. It's hard to believe now that there was a time we didn't know what an oast was.

51. "Gone With the Wind" family : O'HARAs

54. Just fine, at NASA : A-OK

55. One of Chekhov's "Three Sisters" : OLGA. (Olga, Masha and Irina)

62. Ingrid's "Casablanca" role : ILSA

63. Unsuccessful '80s gridiron org. : USFL. (United States Football League)

64. Caesar or Waldorf follower : SALAD

65. Small fry : TOTS

66. Flimflam : RUSE

67. Box score numbers : STATS


1. Blubbers : SOBS

2. "That was a close one!" : [PHEW!]

3. Home of the Taj Mahal : AGRA

4. It can point you in the right direction : COMPASS. Certainly.

5. Student's Web address ending : .EDU

6. One of Baskin-Robbins' 31 : FLAVOR. (ice cream)

7. Bat mitzvah, e.g. : RITE

8. Blade on a boat : OAR

9. Made a pained face : GRIMACED

10. Bundle-up times : WINTERS

11. "Picnic" Pulitzer winner : INGE. William but there is a baseball player named Brandon Inge. C.C.? (From C.C.: Yep! He was with Jazzbumpa's Tigers for a long time. We had hoped Twins would pick him up.)

12. Recline lazily : LOLL

13. There's only one card it can beat : TREY. Beats the deuce.

18. Tiddlywink, e.g. : DISC. It seems to be interchangeable with DISK these days.

19. Autobahn car : AUDI

24. Devious laugh : HEH. Huh? It meant "Clever" on Sunday.

25. Eyelid irritation : STYE

26. Between, in poetry : TWIXT

27. "Ready or not, __ come!" : HERE I

28. Justice Kagan : ELENA

29. Beethoven's "Für __" : ELISE. For a different take on it. Link

30. Land by the sea, in Saragossa : COSTA. (Spanish) Zaragoza is on the Ebro River, many miles from the coast, however.

31. Staples Center player : LAKER. (Los Angeles)

32. Prepare to change, as a wrong answer : ERASE

37. Jurassic beast : DINOSAUR

38. Easy win : ROMP

41. San __ Fault : ANDREAS

43. Mil. command bases : HQ's. (headquarters)

44. Coin-operated cafeteria : AUTOMAT. Are there any left? Interesting answers. Link.

46. Bedouin, e.g. : ARAB

47. Pasta piece : NOODLE

48. Notable pen name in storywriting : SAKI. With an "I". (H. H. Munro)

51. Passing remarks? : OBIT. (obituary)

52. Saintly symbol : HALO

53. D.A.'s underling : ASST.

54. Politico Landon and an extraterrestrial : ALF's. Alfred and Alien Life Form

56. "Damn Yankees" seductress : LOLA

57. Pesky flier : GNAT

58. Extends, with "to" : ADDS

60. The NCAA's Fighting Tigers : LSU. Louisiana State University

61. Beast of burden : ASS



Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

"ACME" is truly the master of the smooth early week puzzle, and this one is no exception. I struggled a bit with THE SECRET CIRCLE (a complete unknown), especially since I had DISK instead of DISC at 18D and couldn't decide whether 24D should be HAH or HEH. AS a result, I stared at THE SAKRET CIRCLE for a few beats before the light bulb went off. Everything else was like butter, though...

On the cluing side, I felt that "Dear Me!" was a little weak for OH GOD. Also, ASST seems a bit incomplete as the answer to "D.A.'s underling" -- that would be an ADA or an ASST. D.A., not just an ASST., no? I blame Rich for both of those, so Andrea gets a pass from me on them... ^_^

Middletown Bomber said...

A good eye opener for me today. Easier than yesterdays. Could have been a speed run for me if I was not flat on my back (in pain) after having suffered a back spasm yesterday afternoon.

thehondohurricane said...

Good day folks,

A nice Tuesday offering and certainly a lot easier then yesterday's. Still I had a couple of misdirections; started with WIPED before DRIED at 37A and ABHOR before HATES at 43A.

Liked 32D ERASE, because I seemed to need to do it more today than normal.

I thought the theme was Geometric figures rather than comic strips. Oh well, I hardly ever pay attention to themes anyways.

Enjoy your day.

Argyle said...

The point I was trying to make was about those ads that tell you, "If you can draw these simple geometric figures, you can become a comic artist." With their help, of course. Just send in your sketch and you will quailify for further training. Only $19.95.

Husker Gary said...

The lovely theme (with grid spanners, no less) blew by me because of how fast the puzzle went and my frustration with the LA Times online procedure (we’re in a Holiday Inn Express) which makes it hard for us who like to work out a corner rather than go from clue to clue.

-Spirits did SOAR here in corn country with a wonderful inch and a half rain over the weekend.
-The ending of Field of Dreams chokes this cynic up every time
-Pinocchio could never run for office. His lies would be even physically obvious
-IN OR OUT reminds me of a crude adage that ends “…or get off the pot”
-You mean people actually used to pick up a wet dish and dry it with a cloth. How quaint!
-The first DROP of a roller coaster is always the highest because friction and wind resistance dictate that each succeeding hill must be shorter
-The LOB (Men Left On Base) stat for the Royals has been very high (bad) this season
-Joann makes the best spinach SALAD!
-An AUDI is daughter’s dream car. Hey, they’re only tin and rubber!
-Who had the 50’s hit TWIXT Twelve and Twenty?
-We are in Lincoln today for the Kindergarten program Für ELISE, our granddaughter
-Whatever LOLA wants…
-Bomber, I feel your pain! Why did our ancestors insist on walking upright?

HeartRx said...

Good morning Argyle, C.C. et al.

Argyle, I roared mightily at your comment on 16A – IN OR out? When I open the door to let them out, my cats have a habit of plopping down in the middle of the doorway and surveying the scene. And thanks for the Beethoven link – great guitar solo!

I wonder who else had to dig deep to spell TIANANMEN (tiennamen, tienanman, tianenman…)? The crossings of ELENA and ELISE (which could have been ELENe and ELISa) didn’t help. So that proved to be my one hiccup.

I never heard of the THE SECRET CIRCLE, and wonder if anyone has? I wonder why she didn’t choose something more “in the lingo” – ANTARCTIC CIRCLE would have fit nicely.

Only a couple clunky partials like I’VE and HERE I, but otherwise a nice smooth grid. Thanks for a fun Tuesday, ACM!

Seldom Seen said...

IN OR OUT made me think about my mother yelling at us kids as the screen door slammed behind us.

Then Arglye's $19.95 scam reminded me of this infomercial. I imagine the product works once or twice before falling apart.

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Carla, for a very good puzzle this morning. Enjoyed it. Thank you, as well, Argyle, for the review.

I finally got to do the puzzle the old fashion way for the first time in two weeks, with pen and paper. Enjoyed that.

Skipped the NW and started with FROG for 6A. For 16A I had WANT at first, then fixed that later to IN OR.

Most of the puzzle was straight across and straight down. Spelling of TIENANMEN slowed me down.

Had WHEW in stead of PHEW for 2D for a short spell. I always do that.

Great start for my Tuesday. I have to cut the grass today and have a meeting this morning for a while. Then hope to work in my vegetable garden. Band practice tonight.

So, I got into Union Station yesterday about 11:30 AM from Pennsylvania. There were Armed Security all over the place, K-9 dogs and all. I was getting ready to board the Metra train to take me home, about 35 miles, and the Security Guys told me I could not get on the train with my four suitcases and bags. NATO Security. After a lengthy discussion I decided to catch a cab to the Western Ave station, the next stop, and when I got there, no problem. Hopped on the train, bags and all. I am not sure how much of a risk I was leaving Chicago with my bags. Coming in may have been a bigger concern to them, but I had no problem coming in. Oh well.

See you tomorrow.


Grumpy 1 said...

Good morning, all.

Marti, I too had a bit of difficulty coming up with the right spelling for that SQUARE. After I was able to 'figure' that out, it all bagan to 'shape' up and I found a lot to like in this 'plane' puzzle.

I've learned to leave the last letter open in DISC or DISk, as both are very common.

Mari said...

I'm back in action after "working from home" for the last several days due to the NATO lockdown. I hope you've all been well.

I wanted CHIP for 18D: Tiddlywink.
My favorite answer was GRIMACED.
I never watched THE SECRET CIRCLE. I was thinking of Sabrina: The Teenage Witch - which I also believe was a TV show.

My mother used to always yell "IN OR out!" to us as kids.

That's enough from me. Over and out.

Yellowrocks said...

Argyle, great write up, especially the guitar solo link. Ms. Michaels, I enjoyed your puzzle.

Middletown Bomber, I hope you feel better soon.

HG, I wish I could send you some of our rain. It seems to have rained here 4 or 5 days every week during all of May. The sewer work is done and I could plant my tomatoes, except for all the rain.

I was fascinated with the Horn and Hardart Automat in Phila. when I was a kid. The food was so-so, but the experience was really fun for a kid.
Link Autiomat

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone. Good links Argyle.

I'm with Grumpy on DISC - leave the last letter open. Basically got the solve without thinking much about the theme. Liked Argyle's touch in describing it. Wondered if there was anything to the fact that 3 'shapes' had straight line segment edges and one was curved. Several old standbys like AGRA, ILSA, and TOTS. But I thought GRIMACED was new and robust. SKA was a new learning. Knew TIANAMEN but stumbled on the spelling like others. ELENA and ARAB helped.

Have a great day.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Bomber, I feel your pain. I used to suffer back spasms every month or so. Now that I walk at least 3 miles daily my back has gotten stronger. I haven't thrown it out in a couple of years.

Oh, the puzzle: Quick and breezy with no over-writes. I let the perps take care of spelling TIANANMEN as well as which team plays in Staples Center. I think the AUTOMAT warrants an OBIT.

ALF was also a TV alien for a few seasons, the name probably chosen for the reason Argyle mentioned.

Argyle, it's obvious that you've been acquainted with one or more cats over the years. I'm pretty sure there's some sort of feline hobo jungle marking on our house, because they just keep showing up. And not leaving. Last year our vet bills were higher than our medical bills.

Sfingi said...

Like @Grumpy, learned how to spell TIANANMEN. It's that 2nd A.

Does Andrea Michaels say, "It's not my fault!"

Thank God for Mon. puzzles.

However, I had the usual sports problem. Had to come here to get the S where LSU crosses USFL. Worse, when I saw Staples Center Player, I thought she met a CD player of some sort sold at Staples, and put in LAsER.

Andrea - do you really know all this sports junk? Do you keep a list over your computer? How does one do that?

joho said...

Had to come see what Andrea was up to today and, as usual, was not disappointed! Fun, fun puzzle with lots of scrabbly words and just a JZ short of a pangram.

I also really appreciated the interview with Ms. Michaels that preceded the puzzle. And speaking from personal experience, Andrea is a great one to collaborate with!

LOL at "INOR out?" as I must say that a hundred times a day to my avatar! OK, I'm exaggerating!

OHMYGOD there's FROG in my NOODLE soup!

Thanks, ANDREA(S)!

Ron Worden said...

Good morning to all and happy Tues. Thanks Argyle for your write-up,and Ms.Michaels for your puzzle. Nice and smooth today no smudges for me,really liked helped with the dishes and calypso cousin. Wasn't Tom Jones also from Wales? Have a great day to all. RJW

Lemonade714 said...

Wow, a truly fun puzzle and I love how Ms. M gets her name in her puzzles (San ANDREAS Fault.

I wanted TATER____________, just below salad, but I guess I need to go eat breakfast.

Joho, nice to see you, any puzzles in our pipeline.

A. you remain the best

Anonymous said...

Good morning everyone.

Fun puzzle today. Hand up for not being able to spell TIANANMEN. It took many perps to get THE SECRET CIRCLE. And spelling it disk held up the solve for a while. DNF in that one square was left undone – U-FL and L-U.

Hope you feel better soon, Midtown Bomber. Walking only 1 mile a day helps my back enormously.

I'm surprised to see GOD as such in a puzzle.


fermatprime said...


Thanks for the fun puzzle and solution, Andrea and Argyle!

Argyle: Can't find Mama Cass in your write-up, though her picture is there!

Bomber: Know how you feel! I have an expensive heating pad for such problems. Feel better soon!

They are using jackhammer next door. Began at 6:30. I had 3 hour's sleep. Goody.

Could not go to dentist to get teeth cleaned yesterday due to use of Pradaxa. I have to go get clearance from internist this morn. Broken tooth has to be extracted by surgeon. No fun eating.

Abejo: More info from Harvey. Meeting is York Rites.

Need a form from the state regarding future retirement wages to finalize loan necessitated by $48K termite repairs. Their website is obscene. Have been locked out for weekend. Couldn't call them yesterday due to 2 hour wait.

That's my life.

A good week to you all!

fermatprime said...

Sallie: Ditto. Had a bit of a stall filling it in. Can't walk but swimming helps back!

Irish Miss said...

Good morning everyone:

Fun, breezy puzzle. Thanks, Andrea, and thanks Argyle for your usual great expo.

Welcome back, Mari, we missed you. Hope you survived the NATO chaos!

Happy Tuesday to all.

placematfan said...

Fun puzzle. Very expressive NW: PHEW, AHSO, HEH, OHGOD. About says it all.

I too was wondering about Andrea’s choice of CIRCLE entry. Maybe she’s a fan of “The Secret Circle” and wanted the homage. Like she attested to doing in her interview, I think most constructors put a little personal touch, a thing, a something, in their puzzles.

Wikipedia said “The Secret Circle” was canceled after its first season. I might grab the pilot episode and check it out. I wonder sometimes about all the series that can never get off the ground. There’s so many. Just because they didn’t last doesn’t mean they weren’t great. I found “Firefly” and “Eli Stone” after they were canceled.

The guy playing “Fur Elise” on guitar is pretty cool. He’s got a lot of stuff on YouTube. Very watchable.

Desper-otto, can I borrow “feline hobo jungle marking”? It’s a great title. Of what, I don’t know. But it must be used.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -


Nicely shaped puzzle.

SPACE and DINOSAUR- two things I was fascinated with as a kid.

I thought this was a TWIXT. Almost.

Never heard of THE SECRET CIRCLE. Like many, I stumbled over the spelling of T-SQUARE. Going to the BASEBALL DIAMOND this evening to see Nate's game.

Abejo - What do you play?

If I could have played guitar like Igor (in the Für ELISE link) I would never have gone back to trombone. Of course, I don't sound like Andy Martin, either, alas.

Musicians might find this interesting.

The only symmetry I can come up with is NOODLE FLAVOR, which is a bit bland. Oh, well.

Cool regards!
JzB long ago heard "IN OR OUT" a lot

Misty said...

Fun speed run, and I loved reading the interview before getting on to the puzzle solutions this morning. Constructing is clearly much more of an art than most people realize! Thanks, Ms. Michaels (Andrea? Carla?)

I got the theme pretty early even though I have never heard of the CIRCLE and had trouble with the spelling of the SQUARE, like some of my fellow bloggers.

Bomber, my back goes out too and I found a really helpful book called "Backache: What Exercises Work." The authors also recommend walking as a must for strengthening the back.

Have a great Tuesday, everybody!

Bill G. said...

That was the easiest puzzle I've done in a while. Fun and easy.

No more Laker games this year. I am glad that a small market team did so well. I kinda hope OKC goes all the way.

I posted this late last night so I'm guessing some folks didn't see it. It's a video collection of some very LUCKY people. I should try to get some of them to buy some lottery tickets for me.

Jerome said...

ANTARCTIC CIRCLE gets 187,000 Google hits... THE SECRET CIRCLE 13,600,000. Not that that answers the question, but it might.

It could also be that Andrea doesn't like ANTARCTIC CIRCLE.

And it could also be that she tried ANTARCTIC CIRCLE in the grid and that combination of letters caused problems with the fill.

Virginia said...

What fun! Enjoyable puzzle, nice write-up AND an interview! Happy Tuesday! Then our newspaper (a perfect exercise in what a paper should not be) lops off most of the bottom two clues, across the page. Oh well, still a lot of fun.

INOR made me think of my hubby telling the fur kids to get a move on, do you want to A/C all of Arizona?

Had problem spelling T... Square and never heard of The Secret Circle but, like all of you, conquered them with perps.

Argyle said...

How many sides does a circle have?

fermatprime, Mama Cass was there for the song she sung about earthquakes. You might relate to the lyrics. ;-)

"They tell me the faultline
runs right through here.

So that may be, that may be;
What's gonna happen,
gonna happen to me.

That's the way it appears."

desper-otto said...

Placematfan@10:27 -- If you can find a use for it, it's yours. I only wrote that because I remember that hobos had a secret sign language and they'd leave their "coded" messages at rail-side hangouts. They'd mark which house will provide a handout, which house has a mean dog, at which house you're likely to get shot, etc.

Lucina said...

Greetings, all. Thank you, Argyle, for a snappy commentary and good links.

WEES. My experiences ran similar to all of yours, blank left at bottom of DISC, producing the middle of TIANANMEN letter by letter and almost a Natick at LSU, USFL. I vaguely recall the short lived U.S. Football League.

Loved the four grid spanning theme answers and seeing ANDREA'S name in the puzzle.

OLGA is the only one of the sisters I know. Thanks for the info on the rest, Argyle.

My thought, too, Tom Jones is also WELSH. He can sing and gyrate!

Last night I had a Waldorf SALAD when we went out to eat as my SIL's mother is here visiting from SD.

A nice ROMP today.

Enjoy your Tuesday, everyone!

desper-otto said...

Oh, that Tom Jones. D'oh! I was thinking of the character Albert Finney played in the movie version of Fielding's book.

CrossEyedDave said...

I got involved in all this because the Blog is so much fun, but that interview made me realize i need to look deeeper into my 1st love, crossword puzzles. (rules, there are rules? We don't need no stinking rules!)

1&6A made me want to link "Pigs in Space", but like yesterday, i decided to spare you fellow bloggers from the shocking video of the woodpecker on the power line.

In or out? my cat PK goes out like a bolt of lightning, and in like molasses.

Bill G@11:09 that lucky link was missing from yest. The bank robbers were hilarious!

What do rich people say when they get a boo boo? (Audi!)
What did the prostitute say to the reluctant customer? (same thing i say to my cat!)


I'm off to see if i can ,play Fur Elise on guitar

Lemonade714 said...

Mark, we look forward to the book. You think a reference to a tv series is more personal than her go to fill, SAN ANDREAS FAULT? Maybe ACME is also an hereditary witch like the character in the series. You wonder where she gets her ideas? Hmmm.

Argyle said...

What's New, Pussycat?

Mainiac said...

Good Afternoon (still morning for some)!!

Didn't get to finish this one until lunch. I caught onto the theme but Erased a lot before perps gave me Tiananmen. Had the picture in my head but couldn't spell it. Had a snag in the SE since I guessed Inga for 55A. Still a fun puzzle.

Thanks for the interview CC. Great questions.

Have a good one.

Anonymous said...

the inside and outside

Argyle said...

Right you are, anon.

If you love farce, you will love Abert Finney as Tom Jones.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Wow, what a delightful puzzle today, and a delightful interview with a delightful person. Thank you, Argyle; you're a rock. And thank you, C.C.

Had the same near-natick with the crossing of USFL and LSU; somehow the letter S seemed better than the letter A at that spot, but it was a pure WAG.

After TRIANGLE, CIRCLE, and SQUARE, it was easy to fill in DIAMOND from the clue. Filling in that many letters really gives one a leg up on filling the rest.

Isn't Catherine Zeta-Jones also Welsh? I seem to recall reading somewhere that Jones is an extremely common surname there.

Argyle, thanks ever so much for the Für Elise link; I loved seeing it played on the guitar, in the Spanish style. It struck me that the chords and harmonies of that piece are particularly difficult on to play that instrument. I've now been exploring more Youtube contributions by him. Thanks for revealing the first step on this journey of exploration.

Best wishes to you all.

Avg Joe said...

WEES for me. Right down the spelling of T-Square. But hey. At least I filled in square immediately:-). Fun puzzle, great interview and a thoroughly enjoyable constructor.

Thanks from me on the Fur Elise clip as well, Argyle. I also had the thought about Tom Jones being Welsh. I remember watching a Ken Burns documentary (Jazz??) a few years back where he was featured prominently. Not at all the same guy that was so popular back in the 60's, but so much better in many ways. From that same general grab bag, Hard Times as done by Tom Jones.

Lucina said...

Yes, i also read that about Catherine Zeta-Jones so to distinguish her name she added her grandmother's last name, Zeta to Catherine Jones.

Argyle said...

If you're up for it, the metal version of Für Elise.(3:00) Reminds me of Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Marge said...

Hi all,
A fun puzzle,easier than yesterdays. "The Secret Circle' was my last to get of the long answers. NE came first but mutely took awhile to finish.

I hesitated at " Oh God" because I really didn't care for it. It is used so much these days and people don't really know what they are saying. I suppose it depends how people mean it- do they want a capital D or a lower case d?

I did enjoy the puzzle and thanks Andrea, Argyle and CC for the blog.

Have a good evening!

GarlicGal said...

How about that! Andrea Carla Michaels gave a workshop at the Silicon Valley Puzzle Fest last January in Morgan Hill!

Oh and for you folks who made comments on the downtown Wine Stroll last Saturday - yes there were 15 wineries pouring, but they are only allowed to pour 1 ounce servings. Most followed the rule!
At the end of the day 700 tickets were sold and no reported police incidents!

WEES - good Tuesday puzzle.

Jayce said...

Lucina, exactly. That is my understanding of her hyphenated (Zeta-Jones) surname. (Is she technically Catherine Zeta-Jones-Douglas now? LOL)

Argyle, thanks again! That reheated my mug of coffee. PHEW!

Marge, I agree about the overuse of that expression, so commonly abbreviated as OMG nowadays. I've even heard people say "Oh Em Gee!" I won't bring up memories of "Janice" on the TV show Friends. Oops, I just did.

Jayce said...

Oh, speaking of the San Andreas fault, it runs very close to my boss's house. Quite the sight; you can actually see the sort of "seam" in the ground, like a clearly demarcated line.

Another far less famous fault line, yet far more dangerous, is the Hayward fault that runs north-south along the east side of the San Francisco Bay. Historically is has ripped a big one about every 140 years; it has now been 142 years since the last one, and all the pundits are saying we're due. Unfortunately, it is a heavily populated urban area.

Jayce said...

Garlic Gal, very cool!

Jayce said...

Lucina, I guess I'm extremely slow on the uptake, because I'm just now remembering that you said something a couple of weeks ago about a big fire to the west of you. Was it as bad as the Avondale fire that happened a couple of years ago? We were in the Phoenix area visiting our son and his family at that time, and could see from their back yard the "red skies" and smoke. I think even I-10 was closed for a while.

ARBAON said...

A question, a comment and a request:
Why is the clue for 65A singular but the answer is plural?

About CA earthquakes: "Day after day, more people come to LA. Don`t they know that the whole place is slipping away? Where can we go when there`s no San Francisco? Better get ready to tie up your boat in Idaho." I would have linked the calypso song but don`t know the name of it.

CC: I once "interviewed" you but it either got caught by your spam filter or you didn`t want to be "interviewed." I`m hoping it was the how about answering your own interview questions? I think we would all be interested.

If anyone else would like to see CC "interviewed" please let her know.

desper-otto said...

ARBAON@2:49 -- In my opinion, small fry is both singular and plural. He is a small fry. They are small fry. I wouldn't say small fries. So I'm good with small fry = tots.

And, yes, I'd love to see a C.C. interview.

Anonymous said...

I spent 18 years at NASA and witnessed close to 100 launches. I have never heard the term A-OK used during a countdown.

Lemonade714 said...

AOK was a common expression at NASA in the 60's and 70's. I heard it many times while watching broadcasts of various launches; it is where AOK came from.

Bill G. said...

I wrote this and then discovered desper-otto typed faster than I did.

Arbaon: I think 'Small fry' can be both singular and plural. The on-line dictionary says 'Small fry': Young children; People or things regarded as unimportant.

HeartRx said...

Jerome @ 11:29, I wasn't complaining at all, and hope it didn't sound that way! I really enjoyed this puzzle, but was just wondering why such an obscure program would be theme fill. Your possibilities all make perfect sense, though!

Anonymous said...

I was very surprizsed to hear that the hospital reccommended IB for renal pain. Nasty stuff if you take too much. It attacks the small intestines. Be safe out there.

Anonymous said...

Totally tuesday. Easier than that idiotic Monday puzzle. Can't wait for Friday.

Lucina said...

At this moment several fires are burning north of the Phoenix metropolitan area. They are located in Crown King, Turkey Creek and Sunflower. Sadly they have thousands of acres of forest to burn through. If you have ever driven on I-17 north to Flagstaff you may recall that lovely scenic drive which is now being consumed.

It is not visible from where I live in Scottsdale but likely can be seen from northern communities such as Deer Valley and Moon Valley. So far six structures have burned but no human lives lost.

Spitzboov said...

A-OK flap:

From Wiki: US Air Force Lt. Col. John "Shorty" Powers popularized the expression "A-ok" while NASA's public affairs officer for Project Mercury, attributing it to astronaut Alan Shepard during his Freedom 7 flight.[1][2] In his book The Right Stuff, however, author Tom Wolfe wrote that Powers had borrowed it from NASA engineers who used it during radio transmission tests because the sharper sound of A cut through the static better than O.[3] Apparently, the first documented use "A-ok" is contained within a memo from Tecwyn Roberts, Flight Dynamics Officer, to Flight Director (entitled "Report on Test 3805", dated Feb 2, 1961) in penciled notes on the countdown of MR-2, dated Jan 31, 1961.[4]

lois said...

Good evening Argyle, CC, et al., Great fun puzzle! Loved the write up and all the fabulous links. Thank you, Santa baby. Tom Jones was my first thought for the WELSH example. Loved that Pussycat link and the FurElise metal version. I loved the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. What a show!

Had to laugh: The subtle message of the puzzle reminds me of how dating a LIAR can COSTA lot mOAR than mere WILTed flowers. Besides being caught in a …..TRIANGLE, a girl might find herself in a RUSE expecting a MARQUIS …DIAMOND but ending up with the MARQUIS DE SADE and a BASEBALL DIAMOND ticket. I may still sometimes kiss FROGs that turn out to be SOBS or ASSes instead of princes but before I WILT, DROP and my OBIT is tOASTed by the hOARds of sots – I mean TOTS- I’m going to save my ROMPs for the WINTERS when darling Santa baby arrives and calls out “OH GOD, HERE I come!” in my chimney. At the very least, IN OR out would never be a question there. The SPACE of THE SECRET CIRCLE isn’t that big but I’VE got a COMPASS just in case. My HALO may be tilted but it’s not made of wIRE nor is it WILTED. It’s all AOK. Enjoy your night.

LA CW Addict said...

Argyle: Haven't you got the pet thing backwards? I have always found that the dog always sits in the doorway, and the cat just can't stand it if a door is closed!

7D) Always thought it was Bar Mitzvah - did not expect to see Bat.

8D) Did not like this clue at all. I do not consider an oar a blade.

Overall though, this was a fun puzzle. I liked the fill very much. Theme did not help until I had solved... then I figured out it was about shapes. Favorite answer was Bermuda Triangle - very clever!

Anonymous said...

@La cw addict
Bar mitzvah is the rite for boys
Bat mitzvah is the rite for girls

LA CW Addict said...

Argyle: Thanks for that "What's New Pussycat" link! I just loved it. Laughed out loud when I saw the red tabby kitten in the toilet. I've got one that wants to do that, but I won't let him.

Adopted two red tabby kittens from SPCA a few months back. Named them Hennessey and Ramsay. Ramsay is literally my kitchen nightmare! He gets into everything. Last night, he was moving framed pictures on the wall. My bedroom is a loft, so that's how he can reach them. Also, they are constantly shutting my dog in the bathroom when I'm at work!

ARBAON said...

Here is the song I mentioned earlier

Lemonade714 said...


Thanks for reassuring me my brain still works sometimes as I recalled NASA starting aok.

sleep well all

Bill G. said...

I went to my new favorite coffee emporium today and had my usual macchiato. Nick, the young fellow who's the barista sometimes, rang up my order on a iPad mounted on a stand. He had told me he liked to play guitar but said he wasn't familiar with Chet Atkins. Turns out he could use the iPad to connect to the Internet. So we went to YouTube and hunted up some Chet Atkins videos. We pumped the music into the store's audio system. He seemed to really like it.

Spitzboov said...

Lemonade - I remembered it much the way you did.

Bill G - Good story. Lots of good music on You Tube.

Anonymous said...

The shaft of the oar ends with one flat end about 50 cm long and 25 cm wide, called the blade. The part of the oar the oarsman holds while rowing is called the handle.

Andrea Carla Michaels said...

Wow, thanks for the swell write up, Argyle (so thorough, much appreciated!)

Hand up for cat sitting in mid door...or shooting out, debating and needing to be bribed back in!

To clear up THESECRETCIRCLE mystery...
I saw the show, noticed it was 15 letters, and the CIRCLE seemed ripe for a fresh "shape" puzzle...

Many had been done but with only three shapes, or TRAFALGAR SQUARE, etc.
TIANANMEN had never been used, was 15 letters as well...

Here's the thing, i knew i was taking a chance with THESECRETCIRCLE, bummed that it's ben canceled!!!
BUT it was a nod to younger women who are egregiously underrepresented in the crossword world, as constructors, solvers, speed solvers, and puzzle that are rife with sports clues.

I am trying to redress thos, both with subject matter ( I've had puzzles rejected, told that HELLOKITTY and BRITNEYSPEARS were too obscure!)
And by mentoring and by complaining when things are too "male"...
I'm not anti-sport, per se ( sorry about that LSU/USFL cross!) I'm a feminist who is antiboys club assumption that "c'mon everyone knows (insert 1957 third baseman, MVP also ran for the Yankees)"

That said, I don't mind LAKER ( I'm originally from Minnesota, and moved to California, as did they!)
And i like to play with the boys, and be an active part of things, but I do want to do what I can, when crosswords (which should not necessarily have to do with speed and competition that are primarily male venues) become inaccessible and discouraging to women, young and old.

And yes, I slip in private things whenever I sister is named Elyse and she played "Fur ELISE" often when I was growing up...
And i live near the San ANDREAS fault, which I thought was funny, tho some chastise me for vanity, so be it!

Anyway, "i" learned how to spell TIANANMEN from this puzzle, I use the mnemonic now of two girls, TIA and NAN before MEN! ( Ladies first!) ;)

I wish THESECRETCIRCLE would have had a longer shelf life ( i also preferred it to ANTARCTICCIRCLE because this way I had a geographical spot, a TV show, a political, historical reference and...a sports theme (albeit clued with a literary reference!)

I applaud Rich for letting me have THESECRETCIRCLE before it slipped into total oblivion! When I wrote it, I had high hopes it would be the next "True Blood"!

Anyway, all, thanks for the thoughtful responses and helping constructors with constructive criticism and not letting us feel we are creating in a vacuum!

Argyle said...

If everybody starts writing letters to The CW, perhaps we can bring back The Secret Circle.

Bill G. said...

Dear Andrea Carla Michaels -

It is super that you stopped by and gave us your viewpoint. I really enjoyed reading about your thought processes. I got THESECRETCIRCLE from crossing letters so it seemed OK to me. (I would have gotten HELLOKITTY too and the LAKERS are best not mentioned for a while longer.)

I enjoyed your puzzle and your stopping in to chat. Thanks.

Lucina said...

Dear Ms. Micheals:
Thank you for stopping by and for explaining your strategy. Good for you, trying to make crossword puzzles more appealing to girls! I applaud that notion.

Tita said...

Immigrant fromn RexParkerVille here. Andrea's puzzle was so good, I had to hear what EVERYONE was saying about I'm glad to have found this site!

This was fun from beginning to end. I have my clue-by-clue commentary written up here: Crucimetrics

ACME and Lucina - one of the guiding principles of the Crucimetrics app is that measuring puzzles is SO much more than speed... We take the intangibles and make them tangible...
Time is only one of the measurements, and it is even played down, with things like the amount of pop culture, sports, opera, xwordese, et alia contributing to defining your own personal solve experience.

Reflects my own joy of solving, which has never been about time. It's nice to know there are other folks out there too!