Sep 30, 2012

Sunday September 30, 2012 Gail Grabowski

 Theme: "Group Practice" - The last word of each 2-word theme entry all consists of a group of people. And each theme entry is humorously clued, corresponding to the first word.

 25A. Group providing pro bono services? : FREE AGENCY. The original phrase refers to the status of the free agents, of course.

27A. Group overseeing porch furniture? : ROCKER PANEL. Not familiar with "rocker panel".

 45A. Group dealing with hard stuff? : LIQUOR CABINET. We have one above our refrigerator. 

 82A. Group supervising subs? : SANDWICH BOARD

97A. Group testing antipasto tidbits? : OLIVE BRANCH

103A. Group specializing in spinal complaints? : BACK OFFICE

 35D. Group assisting St. Peter? : HEAVENLY BODY

 39. Group handling hand-held phone sales? : CELL DIVISION

I just love Gail's puzzles. Her byline comforts me. I know I have a good chance to solve & enjoy the puzzle (with occasional cheats).

I have no idea how Gail can be so productive and continues to make smooth grids for LA Times, Newsday and CrosSynery on regular basis. She's a marvel. Also a very very modest person.

Constructors often give subtle shout-outs to their local teams. Gail lives in Illinois, hence:

42. Chicago Sky's org. : WNBA. But who are the reigning WNBA champs? Minnesota Lynx!


1. Find a space : PARK

5. Baking aid : SHEET. Chinese kitchens do not have ovens. We steam everything, including bun (bread). I'm a bun lover, TTP.

10. Surrounded by : AMONG
15. Project leader's selection : TEAM. "Group" too. Bonus entry.

19. Ingredient in some soaps : ALOE

20. Scandinavian wife of comics : HELGA.  In "Hagar the Horrible".

21. Redder inside : RARER

22. Joyful dance : HORA

23. That-say connection : IS TO. That is to say.

24. Under control across the board : ALL OK

30. Land chronicled by Lewis : NARNIA. "The Chronicles of Narnia".

31. Some Little League volunteers : UMPS

32. Punished, in a way : FINED

34. Mazatlán munchie : NACHO

37. Teammate of Pee Wee and Duke : JACKIE ( Robinson). Duke Snider. All Dodgers greats.  Our own Steve once sat beside Duke Snider in a ball game.

40. Hive member : DRONE

42. When many shovels may be seen : WINTERS

44. Meadow matriarch : EWE. Ha ha, matriarch!

49. Santa __ : ANA

50. Blunder : FALSE STEP. Nice entry.

52. Crypts, e.g. : TOMBS

53. ESPN pitch, say : TV AD. Awesome clue. Of course I was thinking of baseball.

54. Record holders : FILES

55. Océan sight : ILE

56. Eyelashes : CILIA. Forgot. Definitely saw this word before.

57. Garbo of "Grand Hotel" : GRETA

58. Jerry Rice's record 208, briefly : TDs. Is Jerry Rice football's Hank Aaron?

59. St.-finding aid : GPS

60. Scary noble gas : RADON

61. Online newsgroup system : USENET

62. "Here we are!" : IT'S US

64. Sensitive spots : SORES. What's your cold sore trigger? Mine is always deadline, PK.

65. CIA briefing info : INTEL (Intelligence)

66. Soldiers' org. formed during WWII : AMVETS (American Veterans)

68. Gaucho gear : RIATA

69. Alarming way to go? : APE. Oh, go ape.

70. One of four in Massachusetts: Abbr. : SYL. Syllables.

72. Prayer object : DEITY

73. Remains unsettled : PENDS

74. The Snake R. runs through it : IDA (Idaho)

75. Morocco's capital : RABAT. I bet they have the best Couscous.

77. Edinburgh girl : LASS

78. Bashes : FETES

79. Island republic near the Malay Peninsula : SINGAPORE. Clean country.

81. Ristorante suffix : INI

85. Pursue, as a deadbeat : DUN. This word always reminds me of a big American company and my first solo undercover work.

86. Risky stock category : BIO-TECH

88. Faculty officials : DEANS

89. "Despite that ..." : AND YET

91. Maternally related : ENATE. "Paternally related" is AGNATE.

92. On the ball : ALERT

94. Radio-active sort? : CB'ER. Great clue.

95. Comedian's sidekick : STOOGE

107. Pension law acronym : ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Unfamiliar to me. 

108. Major function : GALA

109. Bailiff's request : RISE "All rise!"

110. Disastrous : FATAL

111. __ system : SOLAR

112. Birthstone before topaz : OPAL

113. Settled down : ALIT

114. Growl relative : SNARL

115. They may be emotional: SCARS. We all have a few.

116. It may get hot under your collar : NAPE. Really?


1. Two of a kind : PAIR

2. Besides : ALSO

3. Univ. recruiter : ROTC

4. Iowa city named for a Sauk chief : KEOKUK. New to me. What's the city famous for?

5. Wrinkly dogs : SHAR PEIs. Literally "Sand skin" in Cantonese. Shar = Sand. Pei = Skin.

6. Goes to bat for : HELPS

7. "The First Lady of Song" : ELLA

8. Austrian painter Schiele : EGON. Was this guy a gimme for you?

9. Assume to be : TAKE FOR

10. Lab greeting : ARF. Labrador.

11. Seine tributary : MARNE. Man, lots of 5-letter rivers.

12. Mountain nymph : OREAD

13. "Oh, thou did'st then __ love so heartily": Shak. : NE'ER

14. Moms' moms, familiarly : GRANNIES

15. Bad thing to be caught in : THE ACT

16. Quite a stretch : EON

17. Detour, perhaps : ARC. "Perhaps".

18. Kentucky Derby time : MAY

26. Humongous : GIANT

28. Pugilist Griffith et al. : EMILES. + Zola.

29. R.I. governor Chafee : LINC. Lincoln Chafee. Used to be a Senator (R).

33. "Very creative!" : NEAT IDEA!

36. Highly decorative : ORNATE

37. Mutt's mate : JEFF. "Mutt and Jeff".

38. Look forward to : AWAIT

40. Dramatic one-on-ones : DUELS

41. It might be skipped : ROPE. The other day is STONE.

43. Egyptian Peace Nobelist : SADAT. I don't think I'll ever visit Egypt or Middle East.

46. Cotton-on-stick cleaners : Q-TIPS

47. Ties with clasps : BOLOS

48. "Call," in poker : I'M IN

51. Sonnet sections : SESTETS

53. Syrup source : TREE SAP.  I recall Marti's personal idol grew up in a maple tree farm. Bode Miller had a very unconventional childhood.

56. Course rentals : CARTS

57. Prime meridian std. : GST

59. NASA's Grissom : GUS

60. Shoulder location : ROADSIDE. Nice shoulder mislead.

61. A, in Arles : UNE

63. Squalid quarters : STY. Pigs disagree.

64. Tendon : SINEW

65. Old Colgate competitor : IPANA

66. Improvise : AD LIB

67. Nasty sort : MEANIE

68. No longer working: Abbr. : RET'D

69. "Later, amigo" : ADIOS

71. 1983 Golden Boot Award winner Lash : LaRUE. Learned from doing Xword.

73. Phnom __ : PENH. Very random H placements.

74. Library ID : ISBN

75. "It's Always Something" autobiographer : RADNER (Gilda)

76. Shelter near a fire : TENT

78. Open confrontations : FACE-OFFS. Another great fill.

80. Wall-mounted grips : GRAB BARS

82. Brief brawl : SETTO

83. Uno minus uno : CERO. 0 in Spanish.

84. Like ballplayers during the national anthem : HATLESS

87. "A-Tisket, A-__" : TASKET

90. Smaug in "The Hobbit," for one : DRAGON. No idea.

92. Tummy trouble : AGITA

93. Old Renault : LE CAR

94. Composer Franck : CESAR. Unfortunately Chavez is the only CESAR I know.

96. End-era link : OF AN. End of an era.

98. Camaro __-Z : IROC

99. '80s "This Old House" host Bob : VILA

100. Western wine region : NAPA

101. Give the band a hand : CLAP

102. Robust : HALE

103. Uplifting item : BRA. Victoria's Secret is going to open a store at Cowboys Stadium. So now fans have a beautiful place to go when the game gets boring.

104. Have a bug : AIL

105. Drama set in Vegas : CSI

106. Letter opener? : ELL. Clever clue.



Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Gail Grabowski, for a great Sunday puzzle. Thank you, C.C., for the swell write-up.

I really went down in flames yesterday. I still have not finished the Saturday puzzle.

However, today's made me feel much better. Really enjoyed it.

Got started up north with about half the answers, moved south.

My first theme answer was CELL DIVISION for 39D. Now I what to look for. That really helped with the entire puzzle.

Started with Tequilla for 45A. Eventually LIQUOR became the word. Then CABINET filled in.

UNE for 61D baffled me. Any help?

Tried GMT for 57D. Had to switch to GST.

Tried TREE TAP for 53D. TREE SAP prevailed.

Easily got KEOKUK, Iowa. For some reason I have heard of that town. Never been there.

Where would we be without our GPS today. Very handy. Some years ago my wife was driving back from Pennsylvania, and had to take a detour, and got lost somewhere in Ohio. She called me to pull out a map and find out where she was. Today, no problem with a GPS. Even our cell phones have them.

Well, I got up early this morning and Cruciverb worked today, so I got an early start to the puzzle. Yesterday it did not work and I had to print it.

See you tomorrow.


Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Really fun puzzle from the Ms Grabowski today. The theme was a delight to uncover and each theme answer had its own special "aha" moment for me.

Struggled mightily at the end with the crossing of KEOKUK and UMP. Never EVER heard of the former, and was thinking the later might be POP for awhile.

SYL also took me a long time to get. Being from Massachusetts, I was a little perturbed that I couldn't think of the answer right away. Clever misdirection!

EGON was another complete unknown, but the perps took care of him nicely. Ditto for LINC.

My knowledge of Spanish came to the rescue with CERO, and I was thrilled that I managed to pull ERISA out of the nether regions of my cerebellum with no effort. Maybe this CPAP machine is actually helping me after all...

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, C.C. and friends. I usually look forward to Gail Grabowski's puzzles, but I wasn't enamored by today's selection.

According to Webster's, a ROCKER PANEL is "The portion of the body paneling of a vehicle that is situated below the doorsills of the passenger compartment." I had never heard the term, either.

I liked seeing FETES and GALA in the same puzzle.

The GPS on my new iPhone works wonders. As Abejo said, how did we survive without the GPS. It has certainly saved a lot of driving arguments in my household!

I am Looking Forward To and AWAITing my upcoming trip to Israel.

In honor of Elie Wiesel, who celebrates his 84th birthday today, here is the QOD: There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. ~ Elie Wiesel

Hahtoolah said...

Here's the First Lady of Song singing A Tisket, A Tasket.

HeartRx said...

Good morning C.C. et al.

I love it when you give us the meaning of words in Chinese. I knew SHARPEIS, but did not know their name means “sand skin”! And when you talked about steamed dumplings, it reminded me of the delicious dampfnudeln stuffed with apricots that we always snack on when skiing in the Alps.

I love Gail’s puzzles, and this one was no exception. The theme entries were all solid, and had me thinking outside the box all the way.

I had never heard of KEOKUK. Crossing it with JACKIE, which crossed EMILES, made that section a recipe for disaster. But when I finally stopped thinking about a dog at 37D (“Mutt’s mate”) and realized it was the comic strip JEFF, everything tumbled into place.

OTOH, EGON Schiele was very familiar to me. He was a contemporary of Klimt, and has many paintings on exhibit at the Belvedere museum in Vienna – one of my favorite places to visit whenever I go over there.

The Ryder cup is almost painful to watch. Europe is trailing badly, and I am almost rooting for them to make some putts so it will turn back into a real contest. Have a great day, everyone!

desper-otto said...

Good morning, C.C. and Sunday Solvers!

Hahtoolah explained the ROCKER PANEL. That one came to me easily. It's the portion of the car body most likely to rust out from road salt accumulation, a northern problem.

Remember Bucky Beaver's "Brusha-Brusha-Brusha" for IPANA?

Hand up for GMT before GST, and my GRANNIES were first GRANDMAS and those HATLESS players were HATS OFF.

You've gotta be an oldster to remember Bob VILA on This Old House -- that was two hosts ago.


Fly_Navy said...

Well, I have to call a foul on a few of these. If GST is supposed to be Greenwich Standard Time, I'd like to see it used in any common context. It's GMT, Mean Time.

GRAB BARS? What's wrong with GRABBERS? Neither is in my dictionary in the sense defined. And you sure wouldn't resolve the A or E with the across clue. "Pension Law Acronym", spare me.

Otherwise, a couple of clever clues.

desper-otto said...

I found this in today's weekly AWAD Compendium: "Arguments over grammar and style are often as fierce as those over Windows versus Mac, and as fruitless as Coke versus Pepsi and boxers versus briefs." -Jack Lynch, English professor, author (b. 1967)

C.C. so far as I know, KEOKUK's only claim to fame is that it's the southernmost city (if you use that term loosely) in Iowa. The straight-as-an-arrow state line makes a dip at Keokuk, putting the city in Iowa rather than Missouri.

TTP said...

Hi All ! Happy Sunday. Thank You Gail and Thank You CC.

CC, a rocker panel is that pat of your car that normally rusts first rocker panel Had ROCKER before getting PANEL. KEOKUK was no problem here. Had KEOKUK filled in by perps, and I have heard of it. Liked UMPS and JACKIE close to each other. There was no FREE AGENCY in Jackie's days.

Thanks for the Marissa Miller picture. She's a beaut. I like her in the Buick Murano commercials. Just watched Juliana Paes and Dean Cain in Bed and Breakfast. Movie's not that good, but she's now my newest favorite Brazilian actress.

ERISA (my layman's summary def would be that it's) a law that protects workers earned benefits, related to age and retirement, public notice reqt's and other stuff. Didn't read the WIKI, and the ATTY's here could probably state it much more succinctly. I just see the ERISA statements when I get my benefits statements and plan descriptions.

Yesterday we had OLGA, and today we had HELGA and GRETA. Hand up for GMT, and GST irked me. Also had SUE rather than DUN, but HEAVENLY BODY AND TENT fixed that.

PK said...

Hi Y'all, Enjoyable puzzle although I had one-letter FALSE STEPS than I didn't correct. Not very ALERT! But some good chuckles along the way.

Thanks, C.C. for setting me straight. I appreciate the 91a clarification between ENATE and "agnate". New to me. Read this as materNITy related at first.

Having kept books at two car dealerships I was familiar with ROCKER PANEL although I first had PArty which gave me EGOr. Didn't know him or LINC. Also had 40a "queen" instead of DRONE. This section was the last to be straightened out. Had DUEtS instead of DUELS. Hands up for GMT.

I also had FREE AGENts that I didn't catch.

I knew Bob VILA from my favorite show when we only had 2, sometimes 3, channels on the farm.

Especially liked the clues for CBER & SANDWICH BOARD.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone. C.C. I like your droll comments. Always a pleasure.

Not too hard today. Just some misdirection; easily rectified from the perps. Only real unknown was AGITA, which STOOGE helped get. No lookups were needed. The theme was fun. Thanks Gail for a good Sunday sojourn.

Yellowrocks said...

Very clever puzzle, Gail. I enjoyed your theme and misdirections. Thanks for the witty, informative expo, CC. I knew JEFF, KEOKUK, RABAT, ROCKER PANEL and others off the top of my head. D-O 7:27, my thoughts exactly. Some of the answers I had to eke out. It didn't help that I confidently wrote CESAR in 93 D, instead of 94D. Even when nothing fit, it took long to realize the misplacement. I got GST, even though I thought it should be GMT. I finished with no help or red letters.

ELON and ERISA were all perps, the only answers I never heard of. I really had fun with this puzzle. It was no Monday type romp, but ultimately doable.

GRAB BARS are quite common.
Link Grab bars

TTP said...

CC, I forgot two items for you:
1) I like buns too. Not whole wheat or rye or anything other than white. Toasted ? Sometimes. But steamed for sure for hot dogs at the ball park.

2)Yes, absolutely. Jerry Rice is to touchdown receptions as Hank Aaron is to home runs. And in my world, Roger Maris still holds the single season home run record.

Also, Chris Carter was a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings and is now a color analyst on ESPN. Sometimes the other color commentators or sports casters will refer him as CC.

Husker Gary said...

Gail! ERI_A/CE_AR crossing cost me a 100% on a lovely puzzle! Oh well, the Huskers pulled one out after being down 17 last night so I’ll make it ;-). SANDWICH BOARD was my fav. I wonder what C.C. will do with BRA and HEAVENLY BODY.

-Everyone who lived through bad Detroit car years remember these Rusty Rocker Panels
-My chiropractor is my BACK OFFICE and he got me back on the links
-File under UNFAIR – Top WNBA and other female athlete’s salaries
-NASA, of course, shortened ALL OK to AOK and it was the big phrase of the 60’s
-The abuse heaped on youth league UMPS is horrible
-My snow “shovel” has an 8 hp motor on it
-Carbonite backs up our FILES
-I went OFF before I went APE. GMT before GST. KARTS before CARTS.
-I had to DUN my own brother and sister-in-law. Don’t lend relatives money!
-CB’ER Lingo
-Wilt Chamberlin and Rick Barry shot free throws GRANNY style
-The pyramids, etc were on my bucket list until Egypt looked like a dangerous destination
-Brusha, brusha, brusha…
-We were playing Password and the word was basket. My friend clued it with Tisket and I always that was a fabulous choice. What else’s it gonna be?
-Read y’all after church

Irish Miss said...

Good morning:

I found this a tad more difficult than a usual Sunday. I couldn't understand why I wasn't getting my TA-DA. Guess why. GMT instead of GST. Anyway, congrats to Gail for a very clever theme and some devilish misdirection. For the 4 in Massachusetts, I originally put "ess.". Great expo, CC, as usual, except I'm bursting with curiosity about your reference to your " first undercover solo".

Happy Sunday and bye-bye to September.

River Doc said...

One square away from a Ta Da today (didn't know either usenet or une). Hands up for queen (drone), grandmas (grannies), and GMT (GST). I agree with Fly_Navy - never heard of Greenwich Standard Time - also it's called GMT + 1 during Britain's equivalent of Daylight Savings Time.

Keokuk came easily to me since a cousin lived there in his formative years.

I believe he rocker panels are where "Popeye" Doyle found the hidden heroin in The French Connection.

The IROC in Camaro IROC-Z stands for International Race Of Champions.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Mob Moll said...

Interesting, is this the reason people relocate to Boca Raton?

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Hand up for GMT. I kept it even though UMENET didn't make sense. That one letter made the puzzle a FIW. I have to say, though, that I liked the puzzle a lot and thought it was very competently and wittily constructed. The first theme entry I filled was OLIVE BRANCH and that "unlocked" the theme for me. Neat-o theme indeed.

Abejo, "une" is simply the French word for "a", the indefinite article. It can also mean "one."

KEOKUK, ENATE, and EGON were unknowns for me. Knew SADAT, though. As for CESAR, didn't we see the actor Cesar Romero not long ago?

I love buns, too! The steamed kind as well. LW and I often order sheng jian bao (Shanghai style buns) at a favorite little restaurant nearby.

Best wishes to you all.

Anonymous said...

enjoyed the nice steady puzzle with enough challenges to make it fun.
I was surprised by the picture choice for heavenly body- something expected by one of the guy bloggers. So many amazing images out there like:

Yellowrocks said...

I got a message that said "Blogger is now running in compatability view." What does that mean?

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon everyone.

Thanks for the write up, C.C. Of course I DNF, it not being a Monday.

I totally agree with Fly Navy that it should be GMT. That's what it's called: Greenwich Mean Time, and is the standard, but not it's name.

Got a big kick out of your quote, desper–otto. My son (who has done all but the thesis for a PhD in English) and I argue all the time. Drives his wife nuts.


Anonymous said...

PS: Please enlighten me about the suffix for ristorante being INI. I just don't get it.

Walt M. said...


It appears to be an Internet Explorer message, according to Google Help. If you point your browser to the following URL, there's good info about Compatibility Mode:

(beware the split line)

Hope this helps,

Walt M.

Boyardee said...


and, of course zucchINI

Pookie said...

I liked the puzzle. Very cleaver use of "group" names. Always do Merl Reagle's first and then this one, if there's time. Just don't get ARC. for detour,perhaps. Had AGENts too and HATs off also. My newspaper was printed on pink paper today. Very strange to look at while solving. Sharpen my 6B art pencil and go at it. Never got the hang of online solving. Bought a moon cake for tonight C.C. What time can we taste it?

chin said...

My personal opinion is that "GST" exists solely because there are too many people out there wanting to change things for the sake of change. GMT has been good enough for millions of people so why change it? Grumble, grumble, grumble.

Anonymous said...

GST exists solely for crossword constructors who are in a bind.

Jayce said...

GMT is now called UTC. Grumble grumble grumble.

Sallie, what is your favorite "ini" at your local ristorante? My favorite is martini, ha ha. If fettucine were spelled with an ini it would be my favorite "ini."

TTP said...

Well, Marti, Husker Gary, golf fans everywhere. The Ryder Cup is now officially intense. USA, USA, USA

Anonymous said...

CC: Perhaps the liquor cabinet above the frige makes you "speak for pigs". :)

CrossEyedDave said...

Hands up for GMT, (or gst, or gps...) Reminds me of a Geocache puzzle that used videos. I am still trying to find it, but i keep winding up in the river!

Note: (this is a real Geocache, number GC1E9ZZ)

CC: 90D, you don't know "Smaug?" Maybe i can entice you to read the Hobbit (a childrens introduction to) & the lord of the rings with the wonderful artwork of the Brothers Hidebrandt.

Ipana's "brusha brusha brusha" is a little known song in "Grease."

Speaking of grab bars, i always thought those waitress station thingies on bars were for drunks... (i can't find a good pic of them installed.) (( & this is in no way a reference to you CC...))

The delightful, & irreplaceable Gilda Radner.

TTP said...


Tomorrow's headlines:

In Europe - Miracle at Medinah !

In USA - Colossal Collapse in Chicago !

Yellowrocks said...

Walt M. @ 2:39. Thanks for your reply and concern. I looked at the site you gave. Over time I realized that the only time I get that message is when I try to view ANON @1;15's link. so I think I will let it go for now.

We had a great time at our family party yesterday. My efforts were well appreciated. MY DIL loves my apple pie with its butter crust. A bonus for spending hours cooking up a storm for guests is that the next day I can relax and just heat up the left overs for myself and my son who lives here. Pas de Chat, I loved scalloped potatoes. we missed you. LOL

My DIL bought herself the top of the line I-pad, very expensive, so we all gave her cash, All of us together didn't cover the cost, but it helped. I felt bad about not having a tangible gift so I ran out before she came and bought her red roses.

CrossEyedDave said...

yellowrocks, do not worry about compatability view, it is just microsoft trying to allow you to view websites designed for older computer programs.

Here is a different view of what Anon @1:15 was trying to show you.

Heavenly body: cassiopia A supernova remnant.

aka Thelma said...


Too late last nite and couldn't get my computer to stay connected. When I finally did get connected I went cruising in google. Amazing the old friends you can find there. :) Some very interesting stuff I found.

I'm not sure I could pick a real favorite. As long as it had 4 wheels and went fast. :) Not too many bikes racing back then. Tho we did see one guy break the record for bikes. Have no idea where or who anymore.

Sooo... what did you race ? and where ?

Oh... to be your age again... :) thanx for the memories... :)

Bill G. said...

I enjoyed the puzzle but it was hard for me and took me all day, off and on. Hard Sunday puzzles take me a long time.

It's going to be the Dodgers or St. Louis.

Hot here today and tomorrow. Not quite Lucina hot but hotter than I like it for sure. (It's supposed to be 93 here tomorrow.)

I found replays of another old TV show I used to enjoy; Veronica Mars. Maybe I'm the only person who liked it and maybe that's why it got cancelled?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Whats the dif

lexi2 said...

Keokuk Iowa is a quaint town on the Mississippi River, with interesting antique shops in the downtown. In January there is a festival to watch eagles, that spend winter along the river. You can see a hundred eagles on a good day. As for another claim to fame, There used to be a huge ammunition factory there, which blew up one day several years ago.