Dec 5, 2012

Wednesday, Dec 5 2012, Robin Stears

theme: I'M DOWN

this seemed more like a thursday level to me, a bit of a workout. an unusual looking grid, too, fitting the COLUMNS theme. i like puzzles that have down theme answers, i guess just because it's unusual.

5d. *"Break Like the Wind" band : SPINAL (COLUMN) TAP. 

10d. *TV drama narrated by a teen blogger : GOSSIP (COLUMN) GIRL. does anyone watch gossip girl?

26d. *Double-date extra : FIFTH (COLUMN) WHEEL. "third wheel" is the more common phrase. fifth column definition.

34d. *Chemical connection that involves a transfer of electrons : IONIC (COLUMN) BOND. an ionic column is a greek architectural feature.

22. The answers to starred clues start with kinds of them, and are arranged in them : COLUMNS


1. Unapproachable : OFFISH. a stretch-ish.

7. Heavy shoe : BROGAN. wikipedia: "a term generally applied to any heavy, ankle-high shoe or boot …". 

13. Like Steven Wright's delivery : DEADPAN. "I went for a walk last night and she asked me how long I was going to be gone. I said, "The whole time."

15. Fragrant hybrid bloom : TEA ROSE. created by cross-breeding two types of roses. so pretty.

16. Unusually large : OUTSIZE

17. They enjoy being cruel : SADISTS

18. GPS display : RDS. global positioning system / roads.

19. Scottish refusal : NAE

20. Melodic passages : ARIOSOS. new to me.

21. Cabbage head? : HARD C. can't fool me with that any more.

23. E. __ bacteria : COLI

24. Hug : ENFOLD. enfolds and kisses.

27. Buckeyes' sch. : OSU. ohio state university.

29. Blunt blade : EPEE

32. Main idea : POINT

33. Defensive story : ALIBI

35. "I hate when you do that!" : GRR

36. Balkan Peninsula capital : SOFIA

37. Profit share : CUT

38. Heavenly hunter : ORION. constellation.

40. Prov. on Lake Superior : ONT. ontario, canada.

41. Tottenham tot toters : PRAMS. tottenham is an area in london, and pram is a british word for a baby carriage.

43. Squares : NERDS

44. Grape soda brand : NEHI

46. A in German class : EIN

47. Light spectrum extreme : VIOLET

48. L.A. Sparks' org. : WNBA

50. Contractor's details : SPECS

52. Ones with a common heritage : ETHNICS

55. Eyeball : ORB

56. "Grimm" network : NBC. no idea. looks interesting.

59. Put away, as a hunting knife : SHEATHE

60. More apt to pout : MOODIER

62. Many a Nickelodeon watcher : PRETEEN

63. Exalt : ENNOBLE

64. Astonishingly enough : NO LESS

65. Carol opener : ADESTE. christmas carol, adeste fideles, aka o come all ye faithful. it's that time again already. here's BNL's version of a different classic carol:


1. Air Wick target : ODOR

2. It can go on for years : FEUD

3. Dieter's count : FATS

4. Picks from a lineup : ID'S. identifies - no indication of abbreviation, i suppose ID is common enough.

6. Thin ice, say : HAZARD

7. Berenstain youngster, e.g. : BEAR CUB. children's book series, the berenstain bears.

8. Active beginning? : RADIO. radioactive.

9. Maryland state bird, for one : ORIOLE. why 'for one'?

11. Apropos of : AS TO

12. Storied loch : NESS

14. Can't be without : NEED

15. Bag-checking agcy. : TSA. the butt of so many jokes.

21. H├Ągar's daughter : HONI. never remember this.

24. Canon rival : EPSON. printer makers.

25. Worst possible turnout : NO ONE. aw.

28. Tries to please a master, perhaps : SITS. "if you can sit quietly after difficult news, if in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm, if you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy, if you can happily eat whatever is on your plate, if you can love those around you unconditionally and fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill, if you can always find contentment just where you are … you're probably a dog."

30. Diminish by degrees : ERODE

31. Arp contemporary : ERNST. jean arp (1886-1966) and max ernst (1891-1976) - both german painters, sculptors and poets.

33. Trendy healthful berry : ACAI

39. Classic autos : REO'S

42. Is guilty of a dinner table no-no : REACHES

45. Congenital : INNATE

47. Shakespearean setting : VERONA. romeo and juliet, and the two gentleman of verona.

49. Falls for a joke : BITES

51. Fleshy fruit : POME

52. "Mike and Mike in the Morning" broadcaster : ESPN

53. Via, briefly : THRO

54. China's Sun Yat-__ : SEN. did not know this.

56. Calligrapher's points : NIBS

57. Seat restraint : BELT

58. Hudson Bay native : CREE

61. Forest female : DOE




Dennis said...

Good morning, Melissa Bee, C.C. and gang - I agree with you, Ms. Bee, that this was a little tougher than the normal Wednesday offering. I got 1D right away, but then couldn't come up with an 'O' word for 'Unapproachable'. Confidently put 'Dry----' into 13A, then couldn't come up with a four letter word to go with it. Then I thought that 'unusually large' was gonna involve some form of 'obesity' and of course that didn't work. And so it went; not a smooth run at all for me, although it got better as I moved around the grid, until.......the intersection of 53D and 64A. THRO?? Somebody's gonna have to explain that one to me, and why it isn't 'Thru'. Although, isn't 'nuless' when you don't have any bearded antelopes?
Bought a set of golf clubs yesterday since the course runs along our back property line, and so I can become a full-fledged member of that sedentary sport. Must find some yellow plaid pants.

Wonder how my neighbors are gonna like having balls in their living room...

Melissa, great write-up; it was a fun read as always.

Have a great day; do something fun.

Anony-Mouse said...

Hi melissa b , Hi Dennis .... my, my, my, ..... we're up early.

Bon jour - Good morning, and have a nice day.

(now, to do this complicated puzzle ....).

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Have to agree with Dennis on this one. Challenging for a Wednesday and full of sub-optimal fill. I really didn't want to accept OFFISH, but the perps were solid. And I had the same reaction as Dennis to THRO.

I slogged through it, but almost gave up in the Western Front. Tried THEME and MOTIF before POINT, didn't know SPINAL TAP from the clue, tried HONY before HONI, and went with RICOH and then NIKON before EPSON. I finally pulled SOFIA out of the ether and that let me get a foothold.

Lemonade714 said...

Thanks mb and Robin. I was amused by POINT following EPEE and the triple tot alliteration which balanced OFFISH and THRO.
Dennis good to see you and to know the magic of SoFla is working; just do not start having dinner at 5:00.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, MelissaBee and friends. I had to check my calendar to make sure that today was only Wednesday. I, too, thought this was a tough puzzle for the middle of the week.

Like Barry G, I initially tried Theme instead of POINT and Nikon instead of EPSON. I also tried Retroactive instead of RADIOactive.

I liked the COLUMN theme, though. That was very clever.

REOs, TAS and NAE appeared in puzzles earlier this week.

I have a terrible soar throat today so will be crawling back under the covers instead of heading off to work.

Al Cyone said...

Ended up with a completely blank SW corner but plugged away and figured it out. Maybe not quite Thursday-level but maybe late Wednesday instead of early Wednesday? [11:31]

thehondohurricane said...

Good morning everyone,

Same issues brought up by Dennis. NE corner was a mess. Had OFFSIZE for 16A & RTE for 18A. !A was O--ISH. 2D & 3D wouldn't register. Same issue with 53D as Dennis too. THRO makes little sense, but admittedly, NULESS was suspect to.

Otherwise, it was a good day! Nothing came easily, but I managed to keep it down to one eraser.

Tried Nikon first for 24D, EPSON came via perps.

No argument from Hondo today, this was a tough Wed puzzle.

Dennis, first lesson of golf..... practice yelling FORE, not FOUR or FOR, but FORE! You will enjoy the game, once you find your level of mediocrity (its called a handicap). If not for arthritis, I'd still be on the links flailing away.

Happy hump day .

grams said...

What a bear! No apology Berenstein. Of fish? correct is a bear too!

Happy hump day

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

What Dennis said. Except the part about buying golf clubs. There's no way I'm gonna take up that particular pastime.

Morning, MB - I had forgotten about "The Point!" and its fun style of animation. Thanks for remembering!

Fifth Column is a new phrase to me. It makes sense after reading MB's link. Ionic columns are nice I suppose, but I prefer Doric columns. I really must Netflix Spinal Tap one day - the other mockumentaries in that group, such as A Mighty Wind and Best in Show, were funny.

Cheers All!

Hahtoolah said...


HeartRx said...

Good morning melissa, C.C. et al.

Great write-up, melissa! I love that you started off right away with "I'm Down." And thanks for the link to FIFTH COLUMN; I never heard that expression before. And the only FIFTH WHEEL that I know about are these .

I had the same "huhs?" as you, with OFFISH and the clue for ORIOLE ("Why 'for one'?") But I also wondered about "GPS display", and wanted "rte" because it did not indicate a plural...RDS was my last fill when I finally had FEU- at 2D.

Elsewhere, I wanted "inborn" then "inbred" before INNATE finally reared its head! It took about 5 extra minutes over my typical Wednesday time, so I'd have to agree that it was a tad difficult. I loved the theme and the placement of the theme entries - really neat idea.

THRO didn't throw me. I thought of this classic by Burns.

Happy hump day, everyone!

Avg Joe said...

Tough Friday puzzle. Well, it felt like it to me. WEES. Especially THRO.

Enjoyed the Point link MB. Harry always had little treats for his true audience, even in a children's album. This was one of the better from The Point: Think About Your Troubles.

desper-otto said...

Good Morning, group!

Boy are we a like-minded ensemble! Hand up for RTE, RETRO, NIKON, INBORN and THEME. I was even going to mention Robbie Burns for THRO, but Marti beat me to it. And I agree, this one took about 5 minutes longer than the average Berenstein.

I was asked to golf at a company function once -- and I emphasize the "once." Never again. I was promoted to driving the beer cart.

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Robin Stears, for an outstanding puzzle. Thank you, Melissa Bee, for a great write-up.

Could not get a good start in the NW. Got ODOR easily, but that was it for a while.

The NE was much easier. Got it all except GOSSIP GIRL. That came later.

HARD C was easy (finally).

EPSON was easy once I stopped thinking about cameras.

I could not see the starred clues at first. Then I looked in the Down section. Aha!

I had them all before I had the COLUMNS. I had a little problem in the SW center. I confidently put in BELCHES for 42D. Finally I stood up and got a bird's eye view of the puzzle and realized the REACHES worked. That gave me PRAMS, etc.

The FIFTH COLUMN was no problem. I have heard of that term all my life. Read in some books. A network of spies.

Never saw GOSSIP GIRL. My favorite TV show is Person of Interest. I do not see it all the time due to meetings and such, but I really enjoy it. I believe others have said that in days past, as well. Good show!

Never heard of SPINAL TAP. Once I had a few letters I wagged it.

Yes, this puzzle was a little tougher than most Wednesdays, but outstanding!

Really liked Husker Gary's map from yesterday. Good job!

See you tomorrow.


Mari said...

Good puzzle today. I didn't get the theme until I came here. (I've been a third wheel before, but never a fifth wheel.)

I fell for all the same tricks as everybody else: THRU, NIKON, etc. I liked the clue for HARD C, but it seems most of you had seen that one before.

Didn't know ARIOSOS and never watched GOSSIP GIRL.

Off to work...GRR!

kazie said...

I thought this was more like a Friday. I had to suss and WAG my way THRU/THRO the whole thing, but got it in the end.

Thoughts along the way:
I read Dieter's as the German name
Didn't catch onto HARD C
Thought about cameras for NIKON/EPSON-- that took a while to change.
EIN is actually almost a double entendre because in Germany, the equivalent of an A grade is a 'one, or EINS, with Drei (3) about average.

Off to the vet's with the dog. Back later to read comments.

Anonymous said...

Good puzzle, except for:

"Via, briefly : THRO"

willow said...

Good morning, all! I like the map idea. So, I send my email to Husker Gary, is that right?

Dennis said...


Yellowrocks said...

This puzzle was a little crunchy for a Wed. until I found COLUMN. That made it much easier, though still not a romp
-retro before RADIO.
-belch before REACH.
-My grandson loved for me to read Berenstain Bears
-GPS display = RDS is okay with me. The display show several RDS at a time.
-I learned GOSSIP GIRL from xwords.
-As Marti showed us, THRO is poetic. I enjoyed the poem.THRU is more common.-
-Mellissa, I liked your quote about dogs which accompanied the word SIT. Great blogging.
-As Abejo said, FIFTH COLUMN is common in books about war and espionage.
-OFFISH sounds weird, but is OK informally. Standoffish is more common.
-I got POINT right away. So often students do not get the POINT or main idea. In fact, they don't even look for the POINT. A reader has to be a "meaning maker," or reading is POINTless.

Qli said...

Hi everyone! I got through this puzzle with no Google or blog help, but it took me a while. NIce challenge, Robin Stears. Thanks for the Nilsson link, MelissaBee; he and his music still fascinate me after all these years.

Lots of school subjects covered today.
-Science: IONIC BOND helped me get the theme; all
that chemistry that I stuffed into my brain in
college came in handy yet again. and who could
forget ROY G. BIV?
-History: I've always liked Corinthian COLUMNS most, but wouldn't want to have to clean them.
-English: WEES about THRO and retro before RADIO.
-Literature: had to use perps for VERONA.
Our son loved the Berenstain BEARs
when he was little.
-Music: didn't know about ARIOSOS.

I have a couple of TEA ROSES that are still going strong, despite our cold winters and the rabbits that keep chewing off the leaves as far up as they can reach. The Twice Spice rose smells like Koolaid powder to me. Yum! The Chicago Peace rose has survived a move, and is around 12 years old.

Husker Gary said...

Wow, what a lovely workout for a Wednesday! Groping, blind alleys, an unknown (ARIOSOS) but an objective that always seemed obtainable. Sounds like a date. Thanks Robin!

-Third Wheel loosened up the north end of my pencil
-I’ve never seen GOSSIP GIRL or heard SPINAL TAP
-All footwear today seems to be a forest of tennis shoe/sneaker variations
-Steven Wright is one of the few comedians that can make me laugh until it hurts! “I worked at a fire hydrant factory. I couldn’t park anywhere near the place.”
-Can’t a SADIST be one who enjoys receiving cruelty too? Like watching Husker football this year.
-Not much ENFOLDing went on around here with my cold.
-OSU was the real Big 10 Champ this year but hiding misdeeds of fb players (not the misdeeds) made them ineligible.
-ALIBI? Tell the truth, and then you don’t have to remember what you said! Whose lame SNL alibis always contained the tag line, “Yeah, that’s the ticket”?
-Even bad fb schools get a CUT of the TV money. Gotta keep sacrificial lambs around.
-My fav constellation ORION is beginning to dominate the winter sky!
-The toted tots weren’t potatoes!
-Is ROYGBIV the most famous physics mnemonic in physics? V is for VIOLET.
-I ended a FEUD a few years ago by apologizing and it was SO worth it.
-Mom always called it a boarding house REACH

Al Cyone said...

I really liked the "you're probably a dog" quote but think it deserves attribution which, as best I can determine, belongs to Jack Kornfield.

Tinbeni said...

Melissa: Wonderful write-up & links, esp. The POINT.

Well my first theme to fall was FIFTH-WHEEL, so at the reveal I put in NUMBERS (at first) ....
geez-louise, what a messy Ink Blot on my way to a DNF (GRR!)

Since Rich seems to like to repeat answers in our CW's lately, and I had the 'N' from NEHI, EPSON was my first thought for copier.
Also, I already had SOFIA. A gimmie from my days in the Balkans. Nice city, great people!

Dennis: my first thought was also DRY---- (----,='s a WTF?) before DEADPAN popped to mind. GMTA
Remember, GOLF got its name ... because FLOG was already taken.

Glad to see "the Map" hasn't led to any home-invasions (so far).

Cheers to all at Sunset.
(That's when I'll have a BELT!)

Husker Gary said...

Map musings

-We left-brained people enjoy organized information and so this was a labor of love. My inbox was full of wonderful comments and generated some fun conversations, especially with MANAC!
-I have added four people and rearranged four people AS OF early last evening and still await any other additions or ERRATA (had to get that word in there) and will resend the map tomorrow in a little cleaner format than my “work around” of yesterday.
-As I watched the national weather last night, I thought of some of our web-friends and especially Carol and our other left coasters getting pounded by seemingly incessant rain.
-If you wanna copy of the map, Call Me, Maybe. NO, email me!

Husker Gary said...


-Examples of FIFTH WHEELS, one of which sits in my neighbor’s drive for a few weeks each year.

melissa bee said...

al cyone: jack kornfield is indeed who i heard the quote from, but it sounded like he was reading it and he didn't give a source, so i wasn't sure.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Gary - as a Lions watcher, I can assure you the word you're looking for is masochist.

Good theme, and well executed. Kudos for that.

Otherwise, I did not like this puzzle one bit. Too many pop culture references, two self-referential clues, which I loath, and a few ans. that feel if not actually wrong, then a reach way too far.

The result is much too OFFISH. GRR!

After days of gloom we have bright sunshine today. Temp is in the 30's - about 20 deg cooler, but a fine day to put up the outdoor decorations.

Cool Regards!

Pointless or Arrowless said...

What happened one day after school?

Anonymous said...

Hated this friday puzzle allthough i did get 1d!!!!! Other answers had to work at. Liked a...a....a well sheathe threw me off cause they spelled it with an E! Many answers never f(swear word)g heard of. Oh prams was cool. Like 48a answer, maybe nobody gives a hoot about todays puzzle (from what I have read). Ah maybe i just was not ready for this puzzle today. BRING on day after tomorrows puzzle!!!! WHOOO HOOOOOO

Misty said...

Yep, this was a Wednesday toughie, all right, although a very enjoyable one. I got everything except the HARD C and SPINAL TAP cross. I just assumed I wouldn't know any "band" and so didn't even try to suss that one. And I've got to learn that when a clue makes no sense whatsoever it probably refers to a letter in the word. But I don't mind being fooled when the puzzle is fun, overall, so many thanks, Robin. And I too loved your dog description, Melissa Bee, whoever said it.

Hope you feel better soon, Hahtoolah.

Thanks for all the advice on going blue, yesterday. But it's finally a little too complicated and I'm afraid I'll just stay drab. But I'm an avid member of this blog just the same.

Have a great day, everybody!

kazie said...

In addition to my other erasures already mentioned, I also had RETRO, INBRED, VENICE, and did not make the IONIC connection to my acronymic D.I.C. (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian--in increasing order of ornateness) until I got the unifier.

After one little combination shot and a very brief physical for Trudi, I parted with $91 at the vet's and was home 15 minutes later. It's taken me this extra time to unravel some more of the address mysteries for the newsletter I'm still working on. In my next life I'll have to be something other than a teacher, I think!

Yellowrocks said...

Qli, I enjoyed your clever post @ 9:14.

Adding and e to a noun ending in -th frequently changes the noun to a verb.
You sheathe(Verb) a knife when you place it in a sheath(Noun).
Other examples are bath(N), bathe (V), and breath (N), breathe (V).

Irish Miss said...

Good afternoon:

Got the unifier right after gossip girl so the rest fell into place fairly easily. Hand up for retro before radio and danger before hazard re thin ice clue.

Great theme and cluing (mostly), Robin, and super expo, Melissa, with fun links.

Has anyone seen the movie Carnage with Jody Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly (sp?) and Christoph Weitz (sp?)? I'd be interested in your opinion ot it.

Happy Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon everyone.

For those of you with sore throats, a tsp. of salt in a glass of water works very well. My late husband who was a geologist worked in a salt mine for a few days in Austria and it cured his sore throat. Plus I've read fairly frequently that salt is a good gargling mix.

Thanks for the map, Husker. I'm thanking you here because comcast won't recognize me to send email after years of being with comcast.

The puzzle today truly was more like a Friday, and I DNF.


CrossEyedDave said...

Well this puzzle put me offish,,,


Ionic Bond came 1st, then gossip appeared which gave me column. The entire right side went well, the entire left side,,, not so much!

WEES: Offish, Ariosos, Nikon, Inbred, Thro (altho i never got to n"u"less.) However, for 16A i had ODDSIZE because i thought 3D, Dieters Count might be FADS.

Never heard of Gossipgirl, & Brogan had me thinking Galoshes.

Oh, so that's <a href=" Wright!</a>

CrossEyedDave said...


Steven Wright!

Hahtoolah said...

RIP Dave Brubeck. One of my favorite jazz pieces.

carol said...

Hi all,

Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one with a migraine over this puzzle. I really was taking a beating, barely got any words for the longest time.
You know it's bad when you have 3 letters of a 4 letter word and still are sitting there....V-8 can in hand and nothing.

24D CANON RIVAL had me thinking of the weapon...I never gave camera a thought. sigh

I thought dieters counted calories, hmmmm.

I confidently put in RETRO for 14D and wondered why nothing around it made sense. sigh again.

Is it really Wednesday???? :0
I had absolutely no idea about Ber

carol said...

ooops, what happened to my last line? It wasn't there when I typed it. I meant Berenstain...I had never heard the name.

Jerome said...

"Why 'for one'?" Because had it been written "for two" the answer would have to be the plural ORIOLES.

NEHI- Start of the ode "To a Grasshopper"

Argyle said...


Argyle said...

Another Oriole, for one. Mascot.

CrossEyedDave said...

Interesting idea for a puzzle theme, Columns!

Funny columns

Happy columns

Naturally forming ice columns

Cavernous columns

Basalt columns

Magnificent columns

PK said...

Hi Y'all, WEES. Thanks, Melissa! Cute thing about the dog. I actually have a sister-in-law that this description fits. Lovely woman and great companion to my complicated brother. I love her immensely.

I was so far off base I thought Canon was a brand of linen sheets. Never mind my friend/fellow reporter had a Canon camera and I had an Epson printer which I would like to forget.

My creative entry at 16 across was OveragE. Never heard of Spinal Tap or Steven Wright. Tried 1a OFFput. I got only ODOR, NAE, & NEED in that corner. Tripped over the HARDC because I couldn't remember HONI. I knew it had an "O" and "I". Wanted Loki.

My only thought about THRO (which I didn't get): We had NAE & PRAM which might have clued us to a British Isles connection. But didn't.

Dennis, I'd welcome balls in my living room with some reservations.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Well, I enjoyed your writeup, melissa, much more than the puzzle, which I really didn't like much. I don't mind difficulty, as long as there are those "aha" moments when you get an answer. There were no such moments for me today. More like lots of WTH moments.

I ENFOLD my wife many times a day.

Robbie Burns or no Robbie Burns, I oh-so dislike THRO for through.

kazie, I also read Dieter as a German name. Couldn't imagine what he would count. Then after I realized it was Dye-etter I *still* couldn't imagine counting FATS. "Let's see, how many fats does that make so far today?"


PK said...

My daughter went on a diet plan where she was supposed to count FAT grams. She was very successful but I haven't a clue how you do it.

Avg Joe said...

One way a dieter could count "Fats" is to take a vote.

"OK, Show of hands. Do these jeans make my butt look fat?"

Or not.

Jayce said...

Fats Domino, Minnesota Fats, and the almost onomatopoetic Fats Waller. Are the more "fats" to count?

Bill G. said...

Good list Jayce. You asked if there were any more 'fats' to count. Fat chance!

Yo momma's so fat, when she wore a yellow jacket downtown, everyone yelled, "Hey, Taxi!"

Yo momma's so fat she left the house in high heels and when she came back, she had on flip flops.

HeartRx said...

Hahtoolah, to add to Sallie’s comment @ 11:57, my mother used to have us gargle with a mixture of warm salt water with an aspirin dissolved in it. Worked like a charm! The salt would kill the germs, and the aspirin would relieve the pain. I hope you’re feeling better for the special weekend coming up!

Jerome @ 1:47, you just crack me up!!

Would IONIC BOND be how 007 attracts females?

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, A DNF for me today. I agree with others today that this was a tad harder than most Wed. puzzles.

Of course, I made my own mess by putting in Est for Eyeball instead of Orb, Rts instead of Rds for GPS display and Retro instead of Radio for Active beginning. That completely fouled up three areas of the puzzle with those three incorrect entries.

And Hard C--foiled again. I shouldn't be fooled once again by this entry. We've had it enough times but it just hasn't stuck.

Thanks for a great writeup, MB.

I agree with Dennis Thro shouldn't have been the answer for Via briefly as Thru made a lot more sense. However, "Nuless" made even less sense!!

My favorite clue, though, was The Triple T illerative for Pram.

Have a great day, everyone.

Chickie said...

Hatoolah, Sorry to hear you are under the weather, but under the covers is the best place to be.

Try tea with honey and hot salt water gargles.

Hope you are feeling better soon.

Interesting about Spinal Tap, though. I've never seen nor heard of them I'm afraid. I am really too old for all of this!!!

fermatprime said...


Thanks for really crunchy Wed. puzzle, Robin; nice expo, mb. Is the rose shown a "Brandy?" Love the "dog" quote!

Got RADIO first (due to physics degree?). However, several other first guesses were incorrect. Did not put in anything for the Canon rival until I had some perps. Kept bashing away until I had the ta-da. No cheats.

Swimming friend not around for 3 days. Feel awful.


Blue Iris said...

Many fills were unknown to me including BROGAN, ARIOSOS, SOFIA, SPINAL TAP, GOSSIP GIRL, EPSON and HONI.

THRO didn't fit well for me because I can't find anything poetic about clue "via".

I must be thick headed but I can't wrap my mind around "Astonishingly enough" leading to NO LESS.

OFFISH seemed off the mark until YR used "Standoffish" then it made sense to me.

"Square" to me means traditional, not up-to-date. I don't hear it used anymore?!?
NERD means socially unfit and very academic. Closer to a "dweeb."
BTW, my kids tell me a "geek"is an expert in a specific area.

Robin, I know I'll never construct a puzzle, so some of my problems may come from a pain killer addled brain. Melissa Bee, thanks for helping me understand some clues that had me baffled. I liked the dog description.

CED, the naturally forming columns were beautiful. Are the funny columns real and who do they represent?

I refuse to comment on "Dieter's count...."

FYI..My husband just called and said Webster picked "the word of the year" but this year it is two words. Capitalism and Socialism

Manac said...

Evening all,
WEES, I thought offish, outsize and enfold were a stretch. Speaking offish, for Dave. No way am I getting into fat jokes! First time my wife asked me if her jeans made her butt look big. I quickly replied, no, its you fat a$$ that makes it look big! WHAM!!! I don't remember anything after that.
HG, Was that you I saw lurking around my driveway this AM?

kazie said...

As to the value of salt as a decongestant, I remember finding that swimming in the surf always cleared my head when I had a cold. Salt is also a preservative, since it resists or destroys bacteria.

Last winter when we were in Chemnitz, we were treated to a "salt cave" visit. I wasn't sure about it when we got inside--it wasn't a true cave, but a manufactured one, where the atmosphere filtered salt air from rock crystals everywhere. It was supposed to be good for the respiration, and we did feel better afterwards, though maybe it was just wishful thinking, and the restful time spent relaxing with soft music.

Avg Joe said...

I just noticed your avatar Manac. Don't know if it had been up earlier. Bill the Cat! I love it!! Any fan of Bloom County has to have a sick sense of humor. That's a major plus in my book :-)

Husker Gary said...

MANAC, after our exchange last night, I know better than to walk up your driveway unannounced ;-) and recommend the same for any squirrel. What a hoot! Tell your daughter I’m still 1,500 miles away out here on the prairie. Honest!

Sallie, et al, you’re welcome.

I have been in the salt mines in Salzburg, Austria and 600’ down in the one in Hutchison, KS.

Bill G. said...

I just got back from a nice lunch near the Hermosa pier. Two young women (old girls?) were sitting nearby busy with a vacant stare thumbing away on their smart phones. I have no idea what they were doing but it must have been hot stuff because they kept it up even after their food arrived.

Bill G. said...

My son found a website that answers your physics questions. This is what I sent them. I am curious about your opinions: What causes a siphon to work? Is it because of gravity or air pressure?

I thought this was obvious -- air pressure. But I got in an online argument with a stubborn guy who's an engineer and he claimed it was due to gravity and had a few authorities who agreed.

So how to tell? If you set up a siphon in a sealed enclosure and ran a vacuum pump reducing the air pressure to almost zero, would the siphon still work? I say no. I think the only thing gravity has to do with it is to create the normal air pressure in the first place.

A chain hanging across a pulley will act like a siphon due to gravity but that's because the links are connected. However, the attraction between water molecules is very small.

So what do you say? How about actually setting up an experiment with a siphon in a sealed room and reducing the air pressure? I think that would be very convincing.

I look forward to your response.

Argyle said...

Get the engineer in the room to check on the experiment.

Manac said...

Joe, Thanks.
Bloom County and Calvin & Hobbes were my all time favorites. I finally figured out that my gmail and blogger accounts were separate accounts. Was always trying to add the avatar to the gmail one.
HG, will tell Nicole she can put the safety on.

GarlicGal said...

ACK!!!!!!! Says it all.

windhover said...

PK @ 2:07,
I'm surprised Dennis didn't ask, but I will. How does one make a reservation?

Jayce said...

Speaking of physics and physics problems, how fast does gravity travel? The speed of light? If, say, the sun were to suddenly cease to exist, we here on earth would continue to see its light for 9 more minutes before all went dark. Would the earth continue in its orbit for 9 minutes too, before veering off into space?

Bill G. said...

Interesting question. Yes, at least as far as I can find out. The propagation of gravity is proposed to be exactly the same as the speed of light.

PK said...

Jayce at 6:47: Ack! I don't really want to know. LOL

Windy: Thanks for asking. Sorry, you're a bit slow. I'm now booked for quite some time.

Manac said...

What if you reversed the experiment and tried a siphon on a space shuttle
with air pressure and no gravity. Would it still work?

JD said...

Good evening all,

Whew! Got more a-ha's from Melissa's write up than from ye ol' CW today.Tottenham tot toters was a real head scratcher, and might sound somewhat like rubber baby buggy bumpers if repeated repeatedly. My faithful Magic Rub got a good work out..same mistakes that have been said, but I bet no one else put jasmine in lieu of teas rose. It seemed to fit in nicely with my other assortment of errors.

offish = awful? thro is worse

loved "worst possible turn out" (no one) Would be sad.
Pretty snazzy column in the middle. Have to say this must have been a hard one to put together.

Thanks for Harry Nilsson; love his voice singing anything.

I know I mentioned that our Italian travel guide told us that Shakespeare never went to Verona. I find it odd that he used that town for 2 plays.

Hahtoolah said...

Thanks for the gargling advice. I knew about the hot water and salt, but had not heard of the dissolved aspirin. A day in bed with a book between naps was just the medicine I needed.

Is no one else here a Dave Brubeck fan? I heard him in concert when I was in college. I really loved his music. He would have been 92 tomorrow.

JD said...

Glad you are feeling better, Hahtoolah. I had not heard about using an aspirin either.

Have to add ennoble, brogan ( I bet it's already there), and ariosos (like that sound) to my word book. Just writing things down help my memory.

Never thought of Epson. Yesterday updated my Nikon D40 to a Nikon 5100- my C'mas present from DH.

Tinbeni said...

I still recommend Scotch.

There is a reason it is called Aqua Vitae.

Cheers !

windhover said...

I'm a big Dave Brubeck fan.
Of that I have no doubt. I was merely curious about the process. :-)

Lucina said...

Hello. Missed the party today because I had a relapse. I'll spare the gory details because some of you have delicate constitutions.

So I worked on the puzzle off and on between naps. It was one tough cookie! Though it helps to leave it for a while and come back to see it in a different way.

Finally stopped at the SE corner because I had PEAR and that really wasn't working. Looked at Melissa's blog and saw the error of my ways. Once POME was filled, the rest just fell into place.

I hope you've all had a better Wednesday than I had! Wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Jayce said...

Hahtoolah, yes I am also a Dave Brubeck fan.

Lucina, thanks for not wishing it upon any of us. Sorry you were feeling yucky today.

Yellowrocks said...

Lucina, Salut! Zum wohl! To your health! Get well quickly. Maybe Scotch would help.
Hahtoolah, I'm glad to hear you are recovering.

I am currently in a Catch 22 situation. The handwriting is on the wall to say that as soon as the inefficient agencies catch up with their paperwork my son will be dropped from Medicaid. It could be any day now or years from now. He doesn't technically qualify for Medicaid now due to his Social Security income, but he has unusually tremendous medical and medication expenses. His medicine alone is thousands of dollars a year.

As his representative payee I am trying to save much of his Social Security income for Medigap insurance and medical expenses after he is dropped.

The catch is that if he has a significant bank account he cannot get any more government services. If he spends the money frivolously he can. If I save the money in my own account I have to lie that I actually spent all the money in his behalf instead of putting it in his name.. I have recently increased his allowance to keep the bank account low. This seems wrong, but we need to be eligible for services. Sometimes people who try to help themselves get caught behind the eight ball, actually we get scr—ed..

CrossEyedDave said...

Manac@5:12 I am not sure she completely understands fishing. ( that looks like a "lite" beer to me!)

Blue Iris @5:03 The funny columns are real, but i have no idea what they represent. It was taken by a tourist on vacation in Osaka, Japan. He has more photos here, but i really do not want to go thru/thro? all 2,796 of them to track this one location down!

Bill G @ 5:51 I have always believed that syphons work by gravity, & no one could convince me otherwise. However, i also thought that an atmosphere was needed to replace missing volume, otherwise it would be like liquid in a straw that would not fall out until you removed your finger from the top end.

A little research provided a surprising answer!

Hahtoolah, i am a fan of that piece of music called Take Five, i just never knew it was by Dave Brubeck. Thanks!

Manac said...

Well, yes, you got a point, but I'll take her for a fishing partner any day!

JD said...

Tree is up, decorated and lovely.Every ornament has a memory attached.Put all the unbreakable bears at the bottom for the boys.

Cheers to all.

windhover said...

All the Western democracies save ours have some form of universal health care. We are taking baby steps toward that, although against stiff opposition from some quarters. I'm hopeful that by the time your son's other coverage is dropped, the civilized perspective will be ascendant. In the interim, my advice would be - do what you have to do and let the niceties, legal and otherwise, be damned.

CrossEyedDave said...

Jayce & Bill G. Re: Propagation of Gravity

There seems to be a lot of discussion on both sides regarding the speed of gravity. I hope to join your conversation as soon as i finish reading this paper on the subject.

If i do comprehend it in its entirety, i hope to be able to answer Bill Gs math problems with ease...

Bill G. said...

Fermatprime, I hope you get your swimming buddy back and start feeling better.

Lucina, feel better soon!

Manac, Ooh, good question!

CED, great siphon video! So I'm beginning to think both air pressure and gravity are at work. In the video, they used a special liquid where there is a strong attraction between molecules. Gravity makes one side heavier than the other and like a chain, as the heavier side falls, the connection between molecules pulls the other side up and over the top. Water isn't like that. The attraction between water molecules is very small. So I still think that a water siphon works because of air pressure. But I'm less sure than I was. Excellent video find!

Are any of you still watching Leverage? I've always thought it was a little bit past being halfway believable but the last episode was really round the bend.

There is the speed of light and the speed of gravity, but more research is needed on the speed of dark.

Montana said...


I sent you an email with some information for research.


PK said...

Hahtoolah & Lucina, hope your illnesses are short lived. Some pretty nasty germs out there. I thought six weeks and two antibiotics should be enough until I ran a fever instead of going to my grandson's birthday party Saturday. Just thought I was tired. Gonna be a long winter!?

There is a super staph infection going around the high school part of my grandsons' school. HI & EL are in different wings of the building but they share the gym.Three HI athletes are out of school until Drs. say they can return. One is hospitalized with his whole leg involved and was on TV to spread the word. I called my son who hadn't heard. He'll probably dip the kids in Lysol nightly.

Windhover: Actually, only the plumber and my Farmer have been in my living room other than relatives. At my age, the femme fatale stage is pretty much just memories. Sounds fun though! LOL

PK said...

RIP Dave Brubeck! Good music!

Marge said...

I sent you my E-mail yesterday and wondered if you got it. I also put it on my profile again.


Lucina said...

I hope your sore throat is feeling better.

Thanks, everyone, for your good wishes. I think they got me through the evening as it was final exams time tonight and I drove without incident.

chefwen said...

Lucina - My dietitian MIL swears by the BRAT diet for your condition. Bananas, Rice, Apples and Tea. Can't hurt to try.

Dudley said...

Bill G - I haven't read any other material about it, but shooting from the hip I'd say the siphon works because the higher pool of liquid is at a higher potential energy than the lower, in a uniform gravitational field.

Compost said...

A late comment -- I'm finally catching up on my December crossword puzzles.

9D is "for one" because the state bird of Maryland is the BALTIMORE ORIOLE. There are other kinds of orioles...

Argyle said...

Boy, you are late to the party ... but better late than never.