Nov 30, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012, Kurt Krauss

THEME: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I want to be just like you.

All five theme answers are two word phrases with the first word a synonym of the common clue word MIMIC, though not necessarily a synonym of each other. There are slight variations in the meaning of mimic. The resultant two word phrase has nothing to do with the meaning of mimic. As added bonus to the symmetrical 10, 11, 11, 11, 10 pattern of the theme, the 2nd and 4th clues are identical words, with varied meanings.

17A. Mimic mackerel? : PARROT FISH (10). This multicolored denizen of the deep is as colorful as its feathered namesake. When you Parrot what someone else says, you repeat without really knowing what it means.

24A. Mimic masquerades? : MIRROR BALLS (11). This fill sounds very dangerous, and potentially very painful. The Masquerade ball is a staple of society, though they seldom dance to the disco balls.

33A. Mimic magazine managers? : COPY EDITORS (11).  The  one who edits copy,

48A. Mimic masquerades? : APE COSTUMES.(11). A different version of masquerade, where it is what you are wearing. not where you are wearing.

57A. Mimic miseries? : MOCK TRIALS.(10). Trials and tribulations certainly are miseries (another Stephen King book/movie I like) but a mock trial is a make believe one. Like a mock turtleneck sweater.

It is always hard to keep five theme answers responsive to a single word, but Mr. Krauss has done so skillfully. The remaining fill was sparkly in places, but had too many appearances of the plural "S" for my complete happiness, though very few initalisms this week. I have marked each fill that has a gratuitous S on the end.


1. John and Paul : POPES. Not the Beatles, but the papacy (which has nothing to do with papaya) which also has Popes dubbed John-Paul.

6. Capital on its own gulf : RIGA. The capital of Latvia. A clecho with 16A. Country on its own gulf : OMAN, a country and gulf we see often in puzzles.

10. Bar or bel intro : DECI. I am sure we are familiar with DECIBEL, the measure of sound; but I did not recall DECIBAR, "a centimeter-gram-second unit of pressure, equal to 1 /10 bar or 100,000 dynes per square centimeter." per the dictionary. DECI means one tenth, from the Latin, used for example where an army was 'decimated. meaning one in ten were killed.

14. Imminent, old-style : ANEAR. Not only an "A" word but an archaic one, though if you think AFAR, ANEAR will pop to mind, but not AN EAR.

15. Shots served neatly? : ACES. Tennis serves.

19. Tolled : RANG. "For whom the bell rings, it rings for you"  just does not have the same pizzazz.

20. Seed cover : ARIL. Not an "A" word but a common bit of crosswordese.

21. Tony winner Roger : REES. The British actor who I first saw as the boss/boy friend of Rebecca (Kirstie Alley) on Cheers. He won his Tony back in the 80s for the play based on Dickens'  Nicholas Nickleby, and I think he is back on broadway now, but I have not been to the city this year.

22. Many an Everly Brothers hit : B-SIDE. Is this true? Who was picking the A-Sides that the B-sides became hits?

23. "___-hoo!" : YOO.

26. Early Pilgrim family : ALDENS. Speak for yourself, John.

28. Ready : ALL SET.

29. County bordering Mayo : SLIGO. Not nnaise,  but in Ireland on the coast.

30. Fairy tale threat : WOLF. Like, the Boy Who Cried Wolf, not the briar patch. Took a second to understand the clue.

38. The gamut : A TO Z.

39. Obtain despite resistance : WREST. I wrestled with this one for a bit also.

42. Key of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 24 : F-SHARP. All perps, though I am sure JzB knew.

47. European tourists' rentals : VESPAS. You have to be careful to not be run over by one.

52. "___ we having fun yet?" : ARE. We are you?

53. Like much mouthwash : MINTY. Like this home made AD? (1:04)

54. Pearl Buck heroine : O-LAN. The wife in The Good Earth. C.C., what did the native Chinese people think of this book? (From C.C.: Personally I think it's the best book ever written about China by a foreigner. The portrait of Chinese country life (pre-1949) & psychology is so vivid and true.)

55. "Dang!" : DRAT. This is my favorite non-swear word.

56. ___ uncertain terms : IN NO. No relation to INNIE. Do you recognize this star who is back innie trouble.

59. Bread brushed with ghee : NAAN. But do not brush your bread with 8D. Painter's undercoat : GESSO.

60. Stationary surgical patient : TREE. I love this clue.

61. Rival of Helena : ESTEE. Rubinstein and Lauder, and I did not make that up.

62. In addition : ELSE.

63. "The War of the Worlds" foe : MARS. I had trouble thinking of anything but Martians.

64. Slurpee cousins : ICEES.  Not to be confused with kissing cousins who might be slurpy. One of my favorite CLIPS. (2:08). But not, 7D. Less receptive : ICIER.


1. Tropical fruits : PAPAYAS. I warned you there would be fruit. But served in a bowl, not...

2. Hot : ON A ROLL.

3. Regular : PERIODIC. Table?

4. Rank below marquis : EARL.

5. Capacity-exceeding letters : SRO.Standing Room Only.

6. Gold-medalist decathlete Johnson : RAFER. My first memories of the OLYMPICS.(2:23).

9. ___ Wednesday : ASH.

10. Back fin : DORSAL. Anyone want to go swimming with me in the OCEAN? (1:48). Not like 25D. Finn floater : RAFT. Huckleberry, not the Irish terrorists, nor people from Finland.

11. Sends, in a way : EMAILS.

12. Taper, e.g. : CANDLE. I could not hold a taper to Kurt's work.

13. Gulp down : INGEST.

18. Speaker of Cooperstown : TRIS. Really old time baseball, and a very valuable trading card.

22. Crude meas. : BBL. Nice play on CRUDE meaning unpolished and the petroleum.

24. Letter run : M N O P. When in doubt...spell it out.

27. I problem? : EGO. A fun clue.

30. Wrong, with "all" : WET. Like the last ten seconds of this R-rated VIDEO? (1:20). Wrong, very wrong; right boys?

31. Meter opening : ODOmeter. How far you have gone in your car.

32. Dick Cheney's eldest : LIZ.  Eldest daughter ELIZABETH. My dil dislikes being called Liz.

34. Blabs : YAPS.

35. Has a mortgage, say : OWES.

36. Tourist's options: Abbr. : RRS. Rail Roads.

37. Break up : SEPARATE. The referee stepped in and separated the fighters.

40. End of the slogan that starts "Everybody doesn't like something" : SARA LEE. Think COMMERCIALS (1:01) are better now?

41. African dangers : TSETSES. We get an entire fly.

42. Big food problem : FAMINE. Yes , no food is a big problem.

43. ___ column : SPINAL. So many columns.

44. Salon dyes : HENNAS. What you are DYEING to know.

45. It starts with thunder and lightning in "Macbeth" : ACT ONE.

46. Mr. Rogers : ROY. Happy TRAILS, (2:03), still singing at 83;  not tobe confused with Mister Rogers.

47. Blow off steam : VENT.

49. Irish lullaby start : TOORA. More learning  LISTEN.(2:36).

50. Eating may relieve its symptoms : ULCER. Do you BELIEVE?

51. Compels : MAKES. I am not sure what compels me to be so silly.

55. Frisbee, for one : DISC.

57. "Lou Grant" production co. : MTM. Mary Tyler Moore's company.

58. Portugal's Manuel II, e.g. : REI. Portuguese for King.

Well I am back from visiting and I am still recovering, need to get some rest as I got worn out rocking Charlotte to sleep, and now miss that very much.  See you all next time. 


Note from C.C.:

Here are two photos of Lemonade's adorable granddaughter Charlotte & her beautiful parents.

Nov 29, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012 James Sajdak

Theme: "Deafening Silence"

Four adjectives ending in "ing" are combined with nouns to provide an auditory sense of camping in the wilderness. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but all the adjectives are formed from verbs that end in "L-E," adding another layer of tightness to the theme entries:

16-A. Campground sound #1 : SIZZLING STEAKS.

23-A. Campground sound #2 : BABBLING BROOK.

51-A. Campground sound #3 : CRACKLING FIRE.

60-A. Campground sound #4 : RUSTLING LEAVES.

I had the first two, and thought we were looking for alliterative phrases. So, CRACKLING FIRE took a while. Two 14s and two 13s are a difficult letter count to grid, but Mr. Sajdak does a fine job on this one.

Marti here, occasional constructor, regular poster, and today in my role as chief cook and blogger.


1. Early sunscreen ingredient : PABA. I don't think he means "Pan-Asian Boxing Association," so my guess is he's talking about the ingredient Para-Aminobenzoic acid.

5. "Let's get goin'!" : C'MON. The shortened "goin'" in the clue hints at a slangy answer.

9. Put ___ act : ON AN.

13. Tater : SPUD.

14. Hard to believe : LAME. "That's a lame excuse for a puzzle!"

15. Wine quality : NOSE. The aroma you get just as you bring the glass to your lips.

19. Devisish toon : TAZ.manian Devil.

20. Maine-et-Loire mate : AMI. French for "friend" (male) and a clecho with 29-Across. Hot time in Maine-et-Loire : AOUT. (French for "August".) Maine-et-Loire must be the Thursday substitute for Paris, when you are sent searching for a French word.

21. In-crowds : A-LISTS.

27. Curt refusal : I WON'T. (How rude!)

30. Renaissance painter ___ Angelico : FRA. In Florence, he came under the patronage of the Medici family.

31. Like a spot in "Macbeth" : DAMNED. "Out, DAMNED spot! out, I say!" (Often misquoted as "Out, out damned spot...")

33. Pac-12 team : UTES. Utah, in the NCAA football Division 1.

35. "Pretty Woman" co-songwriter : ORBISON. Anyone try Bill Dees, the other co-songwriter? Did anyone even know there was a co-songwriter? Here's the song. 3:00

37. Some comedy sketches : SATIRES. I had "stand-up," but realized it wasn't plural as indicated in the clue. (Drat, first ink-blot.)

42. Nov. voting time :  This year it was Nov. 6, and marked C.C.'s first time voting as a citizen in a U.S. Presidential election.

44. Streaker in a shower : METEOR. HaHa, loved this clue!

45. Remote power sources : AAs. Small batteries in a remote control.

48. City near Yorba Linda : BREA. Spanish for "tar." So why are they called "La Brea Tar Pits?" ("The tar-tar pits?")  (Wouldn't that be like certain Russian underarms?) (Moving on...)

50. Track contests : RACES. Not "meets." Drat! another ink blot. ("Out, DAMNED spot!")

55. "Honor Thy Father" author : TALESE. Non-fiction work about the Bonnano mafia family in New York.

56. Sargasso Sea spawner : EEL.

57. Forest's 2006 Oscar-winning role : IDI. Forest Whitaker in "The Last King of Scotland."

64. "___ baby!" : ATTA.

65. Swimmer with pups : SEAL. So, you tell me: "Which one is the pup?"

66. POTUS backup : VEEPPresident othe United States' #2 guy is the "V-P," or VEEP.

67. Hightail it : TEAR. I went TEARing through the mall this weekend, because I hate crowds.

68. Pays (for) : POPS. "I'll POP for this one..."

69. West Point team : ARMY.


1. Subtle "Over here..." : PSST.

2. Polynesian capital : APIA. Here is the astronaut's view.

3. WWII German missile nickname : BUZZ BOMB. The V-1 Flying Bomb inspired terror in the British people when the sound stopped, because the explosion followed shortly afterwards.

4. Log shaper : ADZ. A favorite word for Scrabble players.

5. Mount Everest? : CLIMB. Loved this clue!  "Mount" is a synonym for "climb."

6. Capital on the island of Luzon : MANILA. And site of the famous Ali-Frazier fight called "The Thrilla in Manila."

7. Texter's "Holy cow!" : (Great safety poster here.)

8. Mario Brothers console : NES. Knew only from crossword puzzles.

9. 16 oz. : ONE LB. Anyone else put "pound"? I totally ignored the "oz." abbr. in the clue. (Another ink blot...)

10. Jordin Sparks/Chris Brown song covered on "Glee" : NO AIR. Finn and Rachel sing it here. 4:23.

11. Desires from : ASKS OF. Has everyone told Santa what they desire from him this year?

12. "Iliad" wise man : NESTOR.

17. Blood typing, e.g. : LAB TEST.

18. Wrestling pair : TAG TEAM.

22. Calypso offshoot : SKA. Calypso originated in Trinidad, and was picked up by Jamaican youths who blended it with the rhythm & blues sounds they heard out of New Orleans, as well as steel-pan music and their own unique beat to form SKA in the mid-50's.

24. Years in old Rome : ANNI. Nominative plural form of "annus" in Latin.

25. Chit : IOU.

26. Crunch source : NUTS.

27. Promise before a parson : I DO.

28. Hawk's cause : WAR. We're talking political "hawks," but we don't talk politics here on the blog!

32. British travel feature, in the past? : DOUBLE L. The British double the "l" in travel, when speaking in the past tense: "We travelled to Europe last year to visit our favourite friends."

34. Clean and then some : STERILE.

36. Philip ___: 16th century Italian saint : NERI. Needed perps...not up on my 16th century Italian saints.

38. ___-Tass : ITARInformatsionnye Telegrafnoye Agentstvto Rossii–Telegrafnoe Agentstvo Sovetskovo Soyuza  (Russian for: “Information Telegraph Agency of Russia–Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union”)

39. Pass target : RECEIVER. Wes Welker is off the injured list and caught 7 passes for 71 yds. and a TD against the Jets on Thanksgiving.  Go Pats!

40. Fair-hiring abbr. : EOEEqual Opportunity Employer - to describe the company itself.  Sometimes seen as EEO ("Equal Employment Opportunity") in want ads, to describe a job opening.

41. Many AARP mems. : SRSSeniors.

43. Rep. counterpart : SEN. Anyone else think of "dem" for Democrat? We're talking about Representatives and Senators here.

45. Play a part, or play part : ACT.

46. Genesis mountain : ARARAT.

47. Heel-click follower : SALUTE. "Yes, sir!"

49. Dating stumbling block, perhaps : AGE GAP. Not for cougars, it isn't...

52. Jai alai basket : CESTA. Know it from crosswords.

53. Pollux or Arcturus, to an astronomer : K STAR.

54. Brings down : FELLS. As in "felling" a tree.

58. Judge : DEEM.

59. Cosby/Culp TV series : I SPY. Short-lived show, from '65-'68.

61. www access : ISPInternet Service Provider.

62. Revivalist's prefix : NEO. As in NEOclassical. The recently completed Schermerhorn Symphony in Nashville TN is a good example of the "revival" of the classical style in architecture.

63. Actress Gardner : AVA

Ta-ta 'til next week!

Nov 28, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 Doug Peterson

Theme: RESIDENT EVIL.  Today, Doug gives us a hidden word theme, with EVIL tucked into 4 starred entries, and plainly identified in the unifier.  I try to avoid solving the unifier too soon, so as to not spoil the gimmick, so for this kind of give-away unifier, it's good to place it close to the end.  Let's see where EVIL lurks (other than in the minds and hearts of men.)  With 4 answers, one of them grid-spanning, there is lots of opportunity.

20. *Darth Vader, e.g. : MOVIE VILLAIN.   Well, this is just about perfect.  A major nasty from a block-buster epic series.

Not a good drinking partner, no matter what the drink

28. *City near Sacramento : ROSEVILLE.   I don't know anything abut the placethough we also have one here in MI.  Maybe the CA coven can fill us in. 

Something EVIL might be happening there - if you're a crustacean.

38. *Weekly newspaper with three Pulitzers : THE VILLAGE VOICE.  The definitive source of information for news, music, movies, restaurants, reviews, and events in New Yorksuch is their claim.

Beware of EVIL content

46. *Bottom-feeding fish : DEVIL RAYS.  Also an American League baseball team since 1998.

 They only look EVIL

And the unifier -- 53. Horror video game/film franchise, and a literal feature of the answers to the starred clues : RESIDENT EVIL.  This is a series of video games and movies in the horror genre about which I know next to nothing.  But I was able to find this picture.

Alice has some big guns, but is not that EVIL looking

Hi gang.  JazzBumpa here.  This is a strong theme, and a good one if you don't give in to it.  Let's see what else is lurking in this puzzle - if you dare join me.  I'm taking amulets, a light saber, and a lobster cracker, just in case.


1. Blue toon : SMURF.  Not evil, just annoying, and not worth a link, IMHO.

6. Stats at Anaheim's "Big A" : RBI'SRuns Batted In.  It's only been a few weeks since my beloved Tigers went down to ignominious [not to mention EVIL] defeat, and already I miss baseball. Only about 3 1/2 months until Spring Training.

10. Thyme rackmate : SAGE.  Companions on the spice rack, or perhaps they might both be used to flavor a rack of lamb. I won't take the thyme to make any SAGE DF rack comments.

14. Garbage can insert : LINER.  This is referring to a plastic bag.  I just spent several futile minutes trying to find an image of an ocean LINER in a trash can.

15. Vane point : EAST.  Weather vane and direction, respectively

16. Supermodel Heidi who inspired a 2009 Barbie doll : KLUM.  I did not know that.

Those are EVIL looking heels

17. Wonderland wanderer : ALICE.   What's your opinion of the Queen of Hearts?

18. Arctic obstacle : FLOE. Serious navigation hazard. What's the difference  between a FLOE and an iceberg?

19. Words before a conclusion : IF SO.  Then again, maybe not  .  .  .

23. Educ. support org. : PTAParent Teacher's Association. 

24. Place to see long lines, briefly : DMV.   The much maligned Department of Motor Vehicles - still better than trying to deal with an Insurance Company.

25. Copier tray abbr. : LTR  "Letter" size paper - remember, it might not be EVIL, but nor is it legal.

33. Luciano's love : AMORE  Italian for Love in general, not Pavarotti's paramour in specific.

35. Common bill : ONE.  AKA "The single" -  the smallest denomination of U.S. folding money.

36. Never, in Munich : NIE.  If I were in Munich, I certainly wouldn't. 

37. Workplace in many crime shows : DNA LAB  The place where skilled technicians derive evidence from bodily residues to help track down EVIL doers.

42. It's ground in a Southern side dish : HOMINY  I've heard it's a bit gritty.

43. Desperate letters : SOS.  The universal cry of distress in Morse code for those who are asea. It was in effect internationally from 1906 until 1999. It is now illegal for a ship to signal that she is in distress in Morse code. I am not making this up.

44. __ Aviv : TEL  The second most populous city in Israel.

45. Calvin of couture : KLEIN  Maker of the world's finest designer underwear for men and women. I'm not making this up, either.

49. Weird : ODD. Like certain trombonists' senses of humor.

50. Developer of the one-named "Jeopardy!" contestant Watson : IBM  Formerly International Business Machines, now just IBM.

52. "You don't say!" : GEE  Actually, I don't say, "Gee."

59. Composer Bartók : BELA  One of the most important composers of the 20th century - and a Hungarian.

62. Privy to : IN ON.  Like the Privy Council I once discussed.

63. Pizzeria order : SLICE.  We had a mountain of pizza Thanksgiving Eve

64. Folk singer associated with Dylan : BAEZ  I don't remember the association, but it's been a looong time.

65. As is proper : DULY.  Such as giving the devil his due.

66. Chromosome components : GENES.  The genetic bits that add up to make you what you are.

67. Student's surprise : QUIZ  An EVIL sort of surprise.

68. This, in Havana : ESTA  Spanish

69. Bouquets : ODORS  Technically, this is correct. But we don't typically speak of appetizing odors and EVIL bouquets.


1. Sound of an angry exit : SLAM  Don't let the door hit you .  .  . OK - too late.

3. Deg. issuer : UNIV  Degree and University, respectively

4. Rachael Ray offering : RECIPE  Does anybody ever use recipes they find on TV?

5. Motel come-on : FREE TV  This is quite retro.  Now free TV is a given and the come-on is free WIFI - though that's pretty much a given too, these days.

6. Mtge. payment-lowering option : REFI  ReFinance - take out a new loan, with more favorable terms, to pay off the old one.

7. Musket projectile : BALL 

8. Lover of Tristan : ISOLDE  A legend dating back to the 5th century, made into a 3 act opera by Wagner, and a 2006 movie by Ridley Scott.  It is full of violence, death, weird turns of fate, and illicit love.  The early pilot for all soap operas.

9. Mirror obscurer : STEAM  The bathroom mirror.

10. Shallot covering : SKIN  OK - but why not onion, or apple, or any person?

11. TV E.T. : ALF  Extra-terrestrial and Alien Life Form - yet another TV show I never watched.

12. Mercury Seven astronaut Grissom : GUS  He was the 2nd American in space, and the first to go there twice.  Along with Ed White and Roger Chaffee, he died in a fire during a pre-launch test of Apollo 1 in January, 1967.  The module contained a wide range of lethal hazards, and this sort of tragedy was, alas, probably inevitable.

13. Mopey music genre : EMO  Derived from mid 80's hard core punk, originally called "emotional hardcore" or "emocore."  The rest is history

21. For naught : VAINLY

22. Joint tsar with Peter I : IVAN V  IVAN was the nominal Czar from 1682 to 1696.  He was a chronic invalid with sever physical and mental deficiencies.

25. Nabokov nymphet : LOLITA  Humbert Humbert's favorite ingenue. Will our Lolita show up today?

26. Actress Gold of "Growing Pains" : TRACEY  She played Carol Seaver on this 80's sitcom that I never watched.

27. Rejects authority : REBELS  Here, REBELS is a verb.  I can relate.

28. "Orange, Red, Yellow" painter Mark : ROTHKO  You tell me.

29. In phone limbo : ON HOLD  Where you end up after climbing the infernal automated telephone tree - a truly EVIL invention. 

30. Came off as : SEEMED

31. Hip-hop's __ Kim : L'IL  Image.   Doesn't look so L'IL.  Maybe she's short.

32. Car shopper's option : LEASE  Mine is up in March. Maybe I'll buy this time.

34. 1972 host to Nixon : MAO  I'll bet C.C. knows more about him than I do. (From C.C.: Trivia: Chairman Mao loved hot & spicy food. He was born and grew up in Hunan Province, where they put loads of hot peppers in their dish.)

37. Decorator's study : DESIGN

39. Final article of the Constitution : VII.  The full text:  The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.  I think it was a success.

40. Navel variety : INNIE  We all know what this means.  This turned out to be another time waster, since I couldn't find an attractive picture that I thought met the high standards of this blog.

41. URL ending for many agencies : GOV  For Government agencies.

46. It's usually barely passing : D-MINUS  Try harder, please.

47. "Time to split!" : LET'S GO

48. Aroused the patrolman's suspicion : REELED  This one confused me, until I figured out he suspected you were drunk.

51. Hit back? : B-SIDE  The flip side of a hit record.  Tricky.

53. Make fun of : RAZZ    Derived from "raspberry."  I wanted JAPE.  I just like that word.

54. Blockhead : DOLT

55. Gaelic music star : ENYA. Eithne Ní Bhraonáin and I must have some sort of mystical connection. I get her every time.

56. Ristorante beverage : VINO   Italian wine for an Italian eatery.

57. Éclair finisher : ICER  One who applies icing.

58. Reduced by : LESS  According to the free dictionary, in this usage, LESS is a preposition.  Five less three is two.

59. Jul. 4th party, often : BBQ  Burger, dog or brat?

60. __ Claire : EAU  A city in WI.  "Clear Water" in French

61. Ring of blooms : LEI   A new clue for a crossword stalwart.

There you have it.  A pretty solid puzzle with no blatant clunkers, but with 20 3-letter words and an abundance of abbreviations and a smattering of foreign words. Not sure how I feel about that. What about you?

Cool Regards!

Nov 27, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 Peter A. Collins

 Theme: HOMES - Testing to see if you remember the acronym mnemonic for a collection of U.S. freshwater lakes. - All the lakes are clued as non-lakes, all theme entries are symmetrically placed.

1A. Pennsylvania city of about 100,000 : ERIE

9A. Tribe also called the Wyandot : HURON. More info at Wikipedia.

20A. Motor City's state : MICHIGAN. The one lake not on the Canadian border.

37A. London's province : ONTARIO

54A. A cut above, with "to" : SUPERIOR. It is generally considered the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area.

64A. With 66-Across, one of five found in this puzzle : GREAT 66A. See 64-Across : LAKE
 Argyle come back to earth here. If you had started with the reveal at the bottom of the puzzle this should have been a snap. Stacks in the corners and one theme entry in the middle produces a fine visual look. Some strong downs tie it together.


5. Fabled blue ox : BABE. Paul Bunyan, owner.

14. TV warrior princess : XENA

15. LAX postings : ARR's (arrivals)

16. Prefix with meter : ANEMO

17. Señorita's love : AMOR

18. Modernists, for short : NEOs. Opposite of paleo(from last Tuesday)

19. News anchor Connie : CHUNG

22. Striped zoo creatures : OKAPIs

23. Man, in Milan : UOMO. This one tripped me up.

24. Chili spice : CUMIN

26. Star footballer : ALL PRO

28. Emergency levee component : SANDBAG

32. Scottish hillside : BRAE

33. To the point : BLUNT

35. Where Mandela was pres. : RSA (Republic of South Africa)

36. Tonsillitis-treating MD : ENT. Ear,, Nose and Throat, Otolaryngologist didn't fit.

39. Medit. land : ISR. (Israel)

40. "C'est la __" : VIE

41. iPod button : PAUSE

42. Down Under greeting : G'DAY

43. Insistent words of affirmation : "YES, IT IS!"

45. Deal with a bare spot, perhaps : RESEED. Rogaine almost fit.

48. Selfless sort : GIVER

50. French cathedral city : METZ. A city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.

51. Job listing of a sort : RESUME

58. Two-time loser to Ike : ADLAI

59. Caesar's 107 : CVII and 65A. Caesar's being : ESSE

60. K thru 12 : ELHI. It's not going away.

61. Glowing signs : NEONS

62. Letters on a phone button : OPER (operator)

63. Scads : A LOT


1. Midterm, e.g. : EXAM

2. Do followers, scalewise : RE MI

3. Protects from disease : INOCULATES

4. Batting helmet opening : EAR HOLE

5. Orono, Maine, is a suburb of it : BANGOR

6. Surveyor's measure : AREA. Yes, I tried ACRE first.

7. Bucking horse : BRONC. Oh.

8. Start of summer? : ESS

9. Access illegally, as computer files : HACK INTO

10. "__ me, you villain!" : UNHAND

11. Agree to another tour : RE-UP

12. Former Atlanta arena : OMNI

13. Christmas quaffs : NOGS. Great with some Jack Daniels.

21. Holy terror : IMP

22. Gulf State resident : OMANI. The Gulf of Oman off of the Arabian Sea.

25. Loan shark : USURER

26. Immortal PGA nickname : ARNIE Palmer.

27. Thick : OBTUSE. Can be confused with OBESE but they are not mutually exclusive.

29. Control freak in a white dress : BRIDEZILLA. Great entry. The portmanteau wedding consultants bestow on brides who are particularly difficult and obnoxious.

30. Syrian leader : ASSAD. Bashar Hafez al-Assad.

31. "CSI: NY" actor Sinise : GARY. Lt. Dan to Forrest.

32. Bunch of beauties : BEVY

34. Andalusian article : LAS. Andalusia is former name of southern Spain.

37. Rose-colored glasses wearer : OPTIMIST

38. Wet behind the ears : NAIVE. Phrase Finder.

42. "Who are you kidding?!" : "GET REAL!". "As if!"

44. Tropical lizard : IGUANA

46. Ewing Oil, e.g. : EMPIRE. There is a real Ewing Oil but this refers to fictional oil company from the television series Dallas.

47. Notice : SEE

49. Sends regrets, perhaps : RSVP's

51. Pealed : RANG

52. River of central Germany : EDER. Map.

53. Gin flavoring : SLOE

55. Direction reversals, in slang : UIEs

56. "Yeah, what the heck!" : "OH, OK"

57. Communion, for one : RITE

59. Miler Sebastian : COE. And now he's the Rt. Hon. The Lord Coe so he's done alright for himself.


Nov 26, 2012

Monday, Nov 26th 2012 C .C. Burnikel and D. Scott Nichols

(Note from C.C.: D. Scott Nichols is Argyle, who guides us through all Monday & Tuesday puzzles.)

Theme: There U go again! The letter "U" is repeated in the second word of each of the theme entries:

17A. Mischievous girl in classic comics : LITTLE LULU. Lulu Moppet's nickname. Of course I knew that.

31A. Jack LaLanne, for one : FITNESS GURU. The predecessor to such luminaries as Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda in legwarmers. I'm not at all sure that's a good thing!

47A. 1984 South African Peace Nobelist : DESMOND TUTU. I had to think for a while about Desmond - I'd always thought of this activist as Archbishop Tutu.

64A. "Star Trek" role for George Takei : HIKARU SULU. I needed all the crosses here - I'd only heard "Mr. Sulu" from Captain Kirk.

Steve here, Happy Monday everyone, and I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break. I'm just back from a week in the UK and happy to be home in sunny California after a week of typically British November weather.

I'm not sure if it's because I just got off the plane, or if C.C. and her new (?) collaborator D. Scott Nichols have served up a tougher than usual Monday. It certainly wasn't a speed run for me, I needed a lot of crosses and a couple of laps around the track before I completed this one. I enjoyed the theme and some nice long downs in the fill. Let's check out the highlights:


1. Ed of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" : ASNER

6. "Mystery solved!" : AHA! Usually followed by "Mr. Clancy! It was you all along!" and "Grrr - I'd have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you pesky kids".

9. Spear : STAB

13. Picked : CHOSE

14. Artist's studio site : LOFT

16. "Arsenic and Old __" : LACE. A wonderful old Cary Grant movie - check it out if you've never seen it. "Madness doesn't just run in my family, it practically gallops".

19. Fairy tale menace : OGRE

20. Display for the first time, as a product : UNVEIL

21. Rajah's spouse : RANI

23. Until this time : YET

24. Grilled fish in Japanese unadon : EELS Food! I like that if you have more than one eel you have eels, but if you describe two kinds of eel, they're eel. Yet another example of why English is such a tough language to learn.

26. "Exodus" actor Sal : MINEO. I always associate him with his role in "Rebel Without a Cause", but he also received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Dov Landau in Exodus.

28. Florida NBA team, on scoreboards : ORL. The Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association.

35. Tries to make it alone : GOES SOLO A risky move when playing the card game Euchre, and when I declare that I'm going alone, it usually causes my partner to leave the table in disgust and come back when I've lost the four points.

37. Funereal stacks : PYRES

38. Unaccompanied : LONE

39. Baggage handler, e.g. : TOTER

42. Actress Amanda : PEET I always wait for crosses here, as I have a mental block over PEET, PETE or PEAT

43. Put the kibosh on : ENDED

45. Idle : INACTIVE

50. Williams with a .344 lifetime batting average : TED

51. High-altitude nest : AERIE

52. Lavish bash : FETE

54. Slap-on-the-forehead cry : D'OH Did this word exist before Homer Simpson?

56. The "height" part of a height phobia : ACRO

58. Dress to the nines : DOLL UP

62. __ hygiene : ORAL

66. Late-night Jay : LENO

67. Genesis garden site : EDEN

68. Scrabble pieces : TILES

69. Bustle : TO DO

70. Big name in ice cream: EDY'S - Quibble alert: Edy's is the name that pops into my mind, as borne out by the packaging.
71. Monica of tennis : SELES. Victim of a bizarre spectator-stabbing assault that put her career into a tailspin.

1. Rights protection gp. : A.C.L.U. and a nice logo to boot:

2. Knee-to-ankle bone : SHIN in English, or the Latin "Tibia" which is more commonly found in crosswords, if not in conversation.

3. Misbehaving child's punishment : NO TV. More likely to be No iPhone or No xBox today?
4. Makeup maven Lauder : ESTEE

5. Raised sculptures : RELIEFS

6. Musketeer motto word : ALL ".. for one, and one for all!"

7. Time of day : HOUR

8. On fire : AFLAME

9. __-mo replay : SLO. The slow-motion replay was captivating when it was first introduced in the 1950's with the advent of videotape rather than film.

10. Cry that starts a kid's game : TAG! YOU'RE IT!

11. Ranch division : ACRE

12. Borscht ingredient : BEET

15. North African capital for which its country is named : TUNIS, capital of Tunisia.

18. Mama Cass's surname : ELLIOT. She lived a short distance from me on Laurel Canyon where this was written.

22. Clouseau's title: Abbr. : INSP. I love Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies.

25. D-Day city : ST LÔ As 34D shows the correct diacriticals I thought I'd better follow suit with the official spelling of this French cité.

27. Nile Valley country : EGYPT

28. Eyed lewdly : OGLED

29. TV sports pioneer Arledge : ROONE. Ground-breaking luminary in the development of both news and sports coverage for ABC.

30. Pitches in : LENDS A HAND

32. Cry that conflicts with 10-Down : NOT IT

33. Christopher of "Superman" : REEVE

34. "¿Cómo está __?" : USTED

36. Boss's "We need to talk" : SEE ME

40. Sufficient, in slang : ENUF. I like this! I want to campaign for the replacement of "enough" with all it's supernumerary vowels and consonants.

41. Too violent for a PG-13 : RATED "R"

44. Nickelodeon explorer : DORA

46. Figures made with scissors : CUTOUTS

48. Ornamental wall recess : NICHE

49. Put down : DERIDE

53. Cow on a carton : ELSIE Borden's trademark mascot. It's a little morbid that her "husband" Elmer was the mascot for Elmer's glue.

54. Birdbrain : DOLT

55. After-school cookie : OREO

57. Gave the green light : OK'ED

59. Quiet spell : LULL

60. Beekeeper played by Peter Fonda : ULEE. From the 1997 movie "Ulee's Gold".

61. Kisser : PUSS This was new to me and I needed the crosses. Some Googling reveals that "puss" is a Swedish word for "kiss".

63. Lav of London : LOO I saw one of these this very morning!

65. "__ questions?" : ANY

That's about it from me. See you next time!


Notes from C.C. & Argyle (Scott):

This theme came to me while reading one of Argyle's emails. He commented "Bad juju" to a question I had asked him earlier. It's not a familiar slang to me, but I thought a simple ?U?U will make a nice Monday puzzle. Argyle & I tried both key words in front and in the back approaches. We finally settled down on the current set both of us were happy with.

Nov 25, 2012

Sunday Nov 25, 2012 John Lampkin

Theme: "East Enders" - E (For East) is added to the end of each well-known phrase.

23A. Quit sugar cold turkey? : KICK THE CANE. Kick the can. "Do you ever feel like a plastic bag..." I'm amused by Katy Perry's "Fireworks".

25A. Small hawk that delivers papers? : PRESS KITE. Press kit.

47A. Water cooler gossip? : BUSINESS TRIPE. Business trip.

91A. Canadian hockey player's tantrum? : MAPLE LEAF RAGE. Maple Leaf Rag.

113A. Tree for Scotland Yard? : BOBBY PINE. Bobby pin. Kids nowadays are so lucky. So many cute bobby pins.

118A. Midlife issue for a big cat? : THE THIN MANE. The Thin Man. Won't happen to the cute Maru. The part when he jumps into and out of the big box was very familiar. Maybe Spitzboov or Bill G linked that one directly from Maru's own channel before.

37D. Luxury lodgings at the zoo? : GORILLA SUITE. Gorilla suit.

42D. Terse Dear John? : FORGET-ME NOTE. Forget-me-not.

Like Steve last Sunday, you can be sure John has more funny theme candidates. For Sunday puzzles, constructors always have a few extras, just in case one or two of their submitted entries fail to amuse Rich.

Unlike most of John's puzzles, today's grid is not a pangram. Gridding can be challenging at times, so constructors shift their focus to get the cleanest fill possible rather than put scrambly letters in.

Still, only 68 black squares, that's 10 fewer than our norms.


1. Portrait subject, maybe : SELF

5. Skewered servings : KABOBS. Plump shrimp & fresh pineapple. My favorite.

11. "Aida" segments : ACTS

15. Cell signal strength indicators : BARS

19. "Aida" segment : ARIA

20. Men or women, e.g. : PLURAL. Great clue.

21. Draped garment : SARI

22. Hardly happy : BLUE. Lemonade & Marti are always happy & cheerful. I wish I could be like them.

27. Best way to sing : IN KEY

28. "Stop right there!" : HOLD IT. Nice entries do not have to be long. This is a good example.

30. Fuzzy fruit : KIWI

31. __ facto : IPSO

33. Past things : BYGONES

36. Gold brick : INGOT

40. Ply with praise, possibly : SOFTEN UP
44. Salon sweepings : HAIR

45. Sweater wool : ANGORA

46. Hoopla : ADO

51. Flew the coop : RAN

52. Earthen embankment : BERM

54. One with convictions : FELON. Oh, that convictions.

55. Dweeb : TWERP

56. Rural, as a town : HICK

57. Stop a banking session, say : LOG OFF. Boomer handles all our money. I've never banked.

59. Balt. Sea country : LITH (Lithuania)

61. Giant star : IDOL

62. "Winnie __ Pu": Latin version of a Milne work : ILLE. Who wants to read a Latin version?

63. Año beginner : ENERO

64. Sheriff who killed Billy the Kid : GARRETT (Pat). New to me also.

66. Irritated : NETTLED

68. Man of the cloth? : TAILOR. Not PRIEST.

70. Shucker's unit : EAR

71. "You fell for it!" : GOTCHA

72. Some 101-Downs : SIMILES. And 101. Language learner's challenge : IDIOM. So true. I've been here for over 11 years, still struggling with idioms.

74. Big-billed bird : PELICAN. Here are two great photos John took.

He said:

"This is a Brown Pelican fishing in Key West. A Laughing Gull is perched on top waiting to steal any fish the pelican catches. Such behavior is called kleptoparisitism and is quite common throughout the animal kingdom. Even humans do it, as when you swipe a french fry when your friend isn't looking.

76. Fundamental : BASAL

79. Mideast's Gulf of __ : ADEN

80. Spanish 101 word : ESTA

82. Improvise vocally : SCAT

83. Cloyingly sweet : SYRUPY

84. __-deaf : TONE

85. Ranch rope : RIATA

87. Irving Berlin's "__ a Piano" : I LOVE. I mentioned before, both John & Rich are pianists.

89. Fred and Wilma's pet : DINO

90. __-Aztecan languages : UTO

94. Half a score : TEN. I learned the meaning of "score" from President Lincoln.

95. Bad moonshine : ROTGUT

97. Turow book set at Harvard : ONE L

98. Pod vegetables : SNAP PEAS. I like sugar peas more.

100. They're in the air at yuletide : NOELS. I went to Kohl's last Wednesday to buy a beanie hat, they were playing "Call Me Maybe".

101. As a substitute : INSTEAD

104. Rick's flame : ILSA.  This is so good.

105. Signed off on : OK'ED

107. You might get it with a key card : ACCESS

109. Like days of yore : OLDEN

120. Lot measure : AREA

121. Like some excuses : POOR

122. Changed to yet another shade : RE-DYED

123. Parmenides' home : ELEA. Zeno's home also. Zeno of Elea.

124. Loaf or loafer part : HEEL. Fantastic clue.

125. Cocksure : SMUG

126. Do taxing work? : ASSESS. Works without ? also.

127. Topsoil : DIRT

1. "The Square Egg" author : SAKI. H.H. Munro.

2. Emerald Isle : ERIN
3. Canine kiss : LICK

4. Put on an act : FAKE IT

5. Alberta speed meas. : KPH. Kilometers per Hour.

6. Drafty establishment? : ALE HOUSE

7. Osso __ : BUCO

8. Reach rival : ORAL B

9. Toss about, as ideas : BANDY

10. Rides on runners : SLEIGHS

11. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" killer : ASP

12. Volt, for one : CAR

13. Safaris, e.g. : TREKS

14. Pedro's "Positively!" : SI, SI. In Chinese, it's "Shi, Shi".  Cantonese is "Hai, Hai", same as Japanese.

15. "The Thrill Is Gone" singer : B B KING. Hello, Splynter, "The Thrill Is Gone!"

16. Model/actress Landry : ALI. The Doritos girl.

17. Boring routine : RUT

18. Date : SEE

24. Easygoing : TYPE B. I'm certainly not. You?

26. Mud wallowers : SWINE

29. "Here's mud in your eye!" is one : TOAST. New "toast" line to me. How strange. Mud.

32. Tobacco in a pinch : SNUFF

34. Dim bulb, so to speak : NITWIT

35. Bobbled the ball : ERRED

38. Delphic seer : ORACLE

39. Went belly up : TANKED

40. Fancy fur : SABLE. I scored a leopard make-up bag yesterday.

41. Classical theater : ODEON

43. Building support : PILLAR

45. Short program : APPLET

48. "The Maltese Falcon" film genre : NOIR

 49. Jambalaya, e.g. : ENTREE. Never had Jambalaya.

50. Heat-sensitive patch : IRON ON

53. Glacial deposit : MORAINE. I bet Spitzboo filled it in without any hesitation.

56. Really have an impact : HIT HARD

58. Fencing weapon : FOIL. I'm so used to EPEE now.

60. Recovers : HEALS

64. Contents of some columns : GOSSIP. Like Bill G, MSNBC is my go-to page for news. I like their Entertainment section.

65. Nixon's older daughter : TRICIA

67. Beriyo smoothie maker : TCBY

69. Eye lasciviously : LEER AT

71. Everglades denizens : GATORS. We used to have a regular with a handle Gator Mom.

72. Second-largest planet : SATURN

73. "Same here" : I DO TOO

74. Communion plates : PATENS. I'm stealing Dave's picture.

75. Baby hippo : CALF

77. Sleep clinic concern : APNEA

78. Interpol headquarters : LYONS. Gimme.
81. Prey grabber : TALON

83. "Just Shoot Me" co-star : SEGAL (George)
86. Prince Arn's mom : ALETA. Her husband is Prince Valiant.

88. Disappears : VANISHES

91. Like some perfume : MUSKY

 92. Euripides heroine : ELECTRA. Sister of Orestes, who was pursued by the Three Furies after he killed his mother Clytemnestra in this picture.

93. Maker of Stylus Pro printers : EPSON

96. Word with economy or warming : GLOBAL

99. Concealed, in a way : PALMED

102. Postgame assortment, maybe : ACHES
103. Owners' documents : DEEDS

106. "The Mod Squad" actor : EPPS (Omar). Only knew the TV. Not the movie.

108. Lid irritation : STYE

110. Painter of limp watches : DALI

111. Power dept. : ENER. Headed by Steve Chu. Spelled as Zhu in Chinese. Kind of like Chou/Zhou En-Lai.

112. Peachy-keen : NEAT

113. "Pshaw!" : BAH

114. Get a lode of this : ORE

115. Buzzer : BEE

116. __-turn : NO-U

117. Not much work? : ERG.  Work unit. 0.0000001 joules.

119. Some card nos. : IDs