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.


Sep 29, 2012

Saturday, Sep 29th, 2012, Barry C. Silk

Theme: None

Words: 70

Blocks: 33

Saturday Silk~!  This one was 'overdue' according to my schedule, but always a pleasure to see.  Deceptively "easy" looking grid without that "whitewash" look to it, with what I would call manageable 6- and 8-letter corners, and two 14-letter near spanners,  sort of related:

27A. Rocket scientist's calculation: ESCAPE VELOCITY - Husker Gary probably nailed this one; the thrust needed to overcome gravity; since the passing of Neil Armstrong, AMC  has been showing Apollo 13 frequently, and I love that movie

44A. 1979 Einstein Medal recipient: STEPHEN HAWKING - we just had a "PH" Steve on Thursday.  This one became  obvious after I got the "K" from the Star Trek clue

 Lots of proper names had me worried, but in the end, they filled via perps~!

 On-WORD ~!


1) Heavy D, e.g.: RAPPER - I am familiar with the name, but my crossings weren't cooperating at  first

7) Herb related to oregano: MARJORAM - Did not know this, but then the "J" appeared, and strangely, the last tenant in my apartment put up 'herb' wallpaper in the kitchen, and marjoram is on there - so I am glad I still haven't gotten around to painting over it~!

15) 1960s-'70s San Fransisco mayor: ALIOTO - filled with perps; this guy

16) Natural soother: ALOE VERA - good to see the whole thing; got it right away

17) Suit portmanteau: HAZMAT - I keep forgetting what portmanteau means; once I had ---MAT, I figured it out.  Short for "HAZardous MATerials" - we have a department at UPS dedicated to coming around to collect damaged packages; so far, all I have ever seen are  leakers, and it's usually Mop N' Glo - the containers are a bit flimsy....

18) Scraps: REMNANTS - the noun, not the verb

19) French naturalism pioneer: ZOLA - this guy; once I read this I said "yeah, OK....I'll get back to it"

20) Fury: IRE

21) Without hope: LOST - FUTILE didn't fit

22) Withdraw: WEAN

24) Philosophy that influenced Buddhism: TANTRA

32) Acre's land; Abbr.: ISRael

33) Burst of bad temper: HISSY - usually seen with "FIT", and usually seen at bedtime with 5-yr olds....

34) 2012 Angels rookie standout Mike: TROUT - See here.

36) Purple Label designer: LAUREN - Ralph

38) React when the brass walks in: SNAP TO - not  SALUTE; we have some military here at the blog; probably did both with a "snap to and salute"

39) Janitor's supply: LYSOL - brand name, was not looking for that

40) Invention credited to Bartolomeo Cristofori circa 1700 - PIANO - a lot of clue for a little answer, I had --ANO, and the light came on....

43) Block: BAN

47) Infected: SEPTIC

48) 10th-century Russian Orthodox saint: OLGA - I WAGed OLAF, just because....

49) Modern code letters: HTML - once I had HT--, I confidently put in HTTP, and BZZZZT~!!

53) Make fun of: APE - not RIB

54) Big name in music compilations: K-TEL - oh yeah, I remember them ; - Wow~!!! that's a bargain~!

56) Principal McGee portrayer in the "Grease" films: EVE ARDEN - never watched it all the way through; just not my thing

58) Five-time all-star catcher Santiago: BENITO - C.C., anything to add? (From C.C.: I was surprised to find out that he's National League's Rookie of the Year in 1987.  Mark McGwire for American League the same year. Jose Conseco AL 1986? Wow. * & *.)

61) Suppresses: SMOTHERS - and I had FIRE HOSE at 63A to start, too....

62) Put in a row: ALINED - it's a word, and I wanted the "G" in there, too

63) Crowd-control device: SAW HORSE - oh, uh, yeah, that, too - not what I use them for

64) Ska kin: REGGAE - nailed it


1) Stadium backing: RAH - oh, not the company that owns the place....

2) As per: Á LA

3) Place for toppings: PIZZA CRUST - was thinking Ice Cream parlor

4) City mentioned in the 1964 hit "G.T.O.": POMONA - OK, so I cheated and went to the lyrics on Google to verify that PEORIA was wrong

5) Citation ender, perhaps: ET AL. - Latin, et alia (alii) for "and other(s)" 

6) Gradually substitute: ROTATE IN - used to rotate stock at the hardware stores I worked at, too.

7) "Battle Cry" squad members: MARINES

8) With awareness: ALERTLY

9) Guitarist Ángel or Pepe: ROMERO - I know Cesar....

10) Actress famous for "The Rachel" hairstyle, familiarly: JENnifer Aniston - one of my personal favorites

11) Cricket infield shape: OVAL

12) Western city with an annual balloon race: RENO - just missed it; next September

13) NEA part: ARTS - we've had this discussion before; it's either the National Endowment for the Arts, or the National Education Association

14) Spar: MAST - meh, I know this was intended to be a misdirection, but I always thought of a 'spar' as a cross-member TO a mast....image

22) 1947 Tony-winning composer for "Street Scene": WEILL (Kurt) - I had "-EILL", and I put in "N" which made sense, but then I had "NEAN", and that couldn't be right....

23) Lamb treats: ESSAYS - HA~!!! Did not fool me - looking for this guy, not the meat

25) Colorado skaters, in sports reports: AVs - who? what? come again?...not familiar with this organization....oh, those people

26) Ad directive: ACT NOW ~!!! - see 54A

28) Impossible Missions Force leader Jim: PHELPS - earworm~!!! dun dun dun da da

29) After-work plan, for short: IRA - I missed the "-" in the clue, so I was thinking about "a toast to all at sunset"

30) What starts get: TOP BILLING

31) Chinese author Lin ___: YUTANG - this guy

35) Kingdom called the Friendly Islands: TONGA - travel guide

37) Sturgeon yield: ROE - hey~! I got one~!

38) Theater feature: SNACK BAR

40) 3-Down topping: PEPPERS - I prefer meat toppings, but not lamb....

41) Strong: INTENSE

42) Hawaiian tuna: AHI

45) Shot from the top?: HEADER - as in soccer, knocking it home with one's noggin

46) Chekov portrayer in "Star Trek": KOENIG - Walter, the Russian character who, along with Uhura and Spock, were part of Gene Roddenberry's vision of a 'unified' future - although the "bad guys" in the original series, the Klingons, were clearly a variation on the 1960's "Commie" threat

49) Name on a collectible toy truck: HESS - I pretty much got one every Christmas, until they started getting silly with jet fighters and such; I still have the '30s tanker truck that was also a coin bank - I'll have to go look and see where I put it

50) "Rescue Me" rating: TV MA - Mature Audiences, along with L, S, D & V - can you name them without looking them up?  ( the "D" is the odd one ).  I know ferm was a big fan of this show

51) "Got milk?": MEOW - cute

52)  Wood strip: LATH - messed up my FIRE HOSE

55) Marketing leader?: TELE-marketing

57) Density symbol, in physics: RHO - I had -HH from my HOSE, so I was thinking lead pencil hardness, which could be HHH - although it is referred to as 3H

59) Party serving: TEA - not KEG

60) Dedicated work: ODE

Answer grid.

 Did not have the website to download the puzzle, and subsequently had no way to "properly" analyze it - sorry for any screw ups ~!