Feb 27, 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 Mark Bickham

Theme: All-In Poker Hand

The six (!) theme entries all have four A's and no other vowels. If I was playing poker and I find four Aces in my hand, I'm shoving all my chips into the middle - it's unbeatable!

17A. *Largest port in NW Africa : CASABLANCA. Timely nod to the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1942

24A. *Warrior's cry : ATTACK! ATTACK! Enough to make me turn and run the other way.

32A. *Picnic side dish : PASTA SALAD Food! The best pasta salads never seem to have anything green in them beyond a few basil leaves for garnish and maybe some pesto.

42A. *Knocking sound : RAT-A-TAT-TAT. Nice pairing with 24A - the sound of automatic weaponry or spear on shield. Again, I'm hightailing it.

51A. *Delighted : HAPPY AS A CLAM. My friend Heidi always finishes off this phrase with "..sitting in the sand where no-one's digging". That's one happy clam.

60A. *Island nation in the Indian Ocean : MADAGASCAR. One of the more toe-curling moments in NBC's coverage of the opening ceremony in the 2012 Summer Olympics was Matt Lauer opining that "[Madagascar]" (is) "a location indelibly associated with a couple of recent animated movies", and that was ALL he had to say.

And the unifier:

69A. Incursions ... or, phonetically, what the answers to starred clues contain : FORAYS

Happy Wednesday everyone! Steve here with what I thought was a great offering from Mark Bickham. Six theme entries (plus a unifier) and four 10-letter downs seemed to me a really slick constructing job. I thought the theme was smart and I'll now always know how to spell "Madagascar" without wanting to sneak an "e" in there. Wonderful.

The fill had some good stuff, so let's go see what else is out there.


1. Not interesting : JEJUNE. I resolve to use this word in conversation tomorrow.

7. Real heel : CAD

10. German exports : BMWs. Because "Bayerische Motoren Werke" won't fit around that little blue and white badge.

14. Beaucoup : A LOT OF. Shouldn't the answer be French? "Un buquetload de" or something?

15. Eight-time Norris Trophy winner : ORR. Bobby, Hockey Hall-of-Famer. The James Norris Memorial Trophy is awarded to the best defensive player in the NHL.

16. Bit attachment : REIN

19. "Black Beauty" author Sewell : ANNA. Well known in the UK - not so well-known here?

20. Metric distances: Abbr. : KMs One kilometer is one ten-thousandth of the distance between the equator and the north pole.

21. Athos, to Porthos : AMI. French day today, mes amis - I mean - my friends.

22. Word with dark or gray : MATTER. Or my hair, which went from one to the other.

27. Hersey novel setting : ADANO. Crosses all the way for this one - totally unknown to me.

30. Rob Roy's refusal : NAE. Scottish horses say this a lot.

31. Four-time Grammy winner Lovett : LYLE

35. 23-Down's div. : N.L.E. This would be the National League East, home of the Atlanta Braves.

37. As found : IN SITU

38. Pupil surrounder : AREOLA. Stop the schoolboy snickering back there, will you?

41. Ft. Worth campus : TCU. Texas Christian University. I don't punctuate college abbreviations with periods, it seems superfluous.

46. Australian six-footers : EMUs. I had ROOs first. They're about 6ft tall too.

49. Punching tool : AWL

50. "SNL" alum Mike : MYERS

54. Animals who like to float on their back : OTTERS

55. Female hare : DOE

56. "Hardly!" : NOT!

59. Violin holder : CHIN. I tried to make "CASE" work at first. Not good.

64. A sweatshirt may have one : HOOD. In which case it's called a "hoodie" nowadays, I believe.

65. Rocker Rose : AXL. Oh Lordy. More schoolboy sniggering at the back. Presenting Axl Rose to a group of anagram-minded folk is not going to get us anywhere G-rated.

66. Sedative : OPIATE

67. Overnight lodging choices : INNS

68. Low grade : DEE


1. With 2-Down, "Rio Lobo" actor : JACK. Never knew ..

2. See 1-Down : ELAM .. his name

.. until now

3. __ stick: incense : JOSS

4. Hagen often mentioned on "Inside the Actors Studio" : UTA.

5. Head, slangily : NOB. I've never used this outside of a cribbage game.

6. Key of Beethoven's "Emperor" concerto : E FLAT. Major or Minor? I'm sure our erudite musical experts can enlighten me.

7. Funnel-shaped : CONICAL

8. Compass-aided curve : ARC. Ah, the joys of grade school geometry, where they allowed you to carry a sharp implement to stab the person next to you in the kneecap (that hurt the most) before going back to proscribing your arcs. Happy days.

9. Pulitzer category : DRAMA

10. Like a spoiled kid, often : BRATTY. Compass-wielding ones especially.

11. Unwritten reminder : MENTAL NOTE. I lose mental notes, that's why I write 'em down.

12. Cab storage site : WINE CELLAR. Hmmm - has "Cab" attained "not an abbreviation" status? I liked the misdirection here, notwithstanding.

13. Hunted Carroll creature : SNARK. This is a great, fun, nonsense poem that's worth checking out if it's new to you. Wonderful word-invention along the "Jabberwocky" lines.

18. Microwave maker : AMANA

23. Braves, on scoreboards : ATL. Those NL Easters from 35A.

24. Against : ANTI

25. Exactly :  TO A "T"

26. Mauna __ : KEA. I was in Hawaii last week. I climbed a part of Haleakala, but not this volcano.

27. "Whoso diggeth __ shall fall therein": Proverbs : A PIT

28. Fundraiser with steps? : DANCE-A-THON.

29. Thing taken for granted : ASSUMPTION

33. California's Big __ : SUR. I think it's more long than big, but it's a beautiful road trip whichever direction you look at it.

34. Not dis? : DAT. I loved this little gem.

36. Chow : EATS. I looked sideways at this for a little while, and then realized that "eats" is singular, as in "good eats".

39. Avatar of Vishnu : RAMA. I just read "Midnight's Children", so thankful for this as I couldn't get the Mike MYERS entry crossing it.

40. Wd. derivation : ETYM. Etymology, not to be confused with entomology.

43. Some Duracells : AAs

44. Silly talk : TWADDLE

45. Foil maker : ALCOA

47. Capsizes : UPENDS. My boss had his boat capsized by some Australians that borrowed it to race in the America's Cup. It didn't end well.

48. Neighbor of Isr. : SYR. Syria is a friendly old country, it is neighbors with Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan as well as Israel. Keep baking those "welcome to the neighborhood" apple falafels!

51. __ Minh : HO CHI.

52. Comparable to a March hare : AS MAD. Hatters and Hares - what's with those H's to make you crazy?

53. Words with lamb or mutton : LEG OF. Food! My favorite roast.

56. School sports org. : N.C.A.A. You'd think the National Collegiate Athletic Association would try to come up with something shorter by now. Or maybe that's the point - you get a workout just typing the name.

57. Like Cheerios : OATY

58. Half of seis : TRES

61. Fire truck item : AXE. Because "Dalmatian" doesn't fit.

62. G.I.'s mail drop : A.P.O. Army Post Office, not Acute Pulmonary Odema in this context.

63. Paul McCartney, for one : SIR. Macca was knighted for "services in making the Liverpool accent intelligible and cool."

I appear to have run out of space, so I'd better call this a wrap. Have a great day and see you all next time.


Notes from C.C.:

Do any of you attend ACPT (American Crossword Puzzle Tournament) this year? Rich Norris (editor for the LA Times Daily Crossword) and many constructors (including our own John Lampkin) will be there. If you do, I hope you won't miss the Cru Dinner organized by Mike Alpern. The dinner officially kicks off the tournament and is a great opportunity to meet with constructors and fellow solvers.

Kim (Rich's lovely wife), Mike & Rich, ACPT Cru Dinner 2011


Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Fun puzzle today. ATTACK ATTACK was the first theme answer I got, and I thought we were going for a repeated word theme for awhile. The theme reveal brought a smile to my face.

Got hung up a bit in the NW. Knew who JACK ELAM was, but had no idea he was in that particular movie. Perps to the rescue. Also wasn't familiar with NOB as a synonym for head. Thankfully, I knew JOSS...


HeartRx said...

Good morning Steve, C.C. et al.

Great write-up, Steve. I always enjoy your sarcastic wit. (Buquetload, indeed!) I had another bad start on the puzzle today by putting “boring” at 1A instead of JEJUNE. I just love that word – with two, (count ‘em Lemony), two, two Js in one (word)!! I had forgotten JACK ELAM from “Rio Lobo,” but CASABLANCA and KMS helped to fire up the grey matter sufficiently. So the J and E wiped out my boring intro, and started me down the right path.

Of course I loved seeing WINE CELLAR in the puzzle, and made a MENTAL NOTE to replenish mine. I noticed all the “A” sounds for the theme before I got to the end, but did appreciate the cute play on the word FORAYS.

Bill G. from last night @ 8:44, wonderful video of sportsmanship! If anyone missed it, they definitely should take the time to go back and watch. Oh, and the girl in the bad hair tutorial @ 8:26 was on the Ellen show yesterday afternoon.

Happy Hump Day, everyone!

Lemonade714 said...

Well a workout Wednesday that was clearly not jejune. An amazing array of A's, and a Steve special write up.

It.was odd to see AREOLA without our regular link.

Oddly I had the most trouble with Bit REIN,kept thinking of drills and drug.

Anonymous said...

A straight flush beats four of a kind.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Steve and friends. It is never a good sign for me when 1-Across is slow in coming.

Like HeartRx, I confidently wrote in Boring for Not Interesting. JEJUNE is more of a Friday word. Anyway, that set the tone for the rest of the puzzle.

I really needed the unifier to help me with the theme answers. I had the CA filled in for the Busy African Port, so filled in the rest of the squares to give me Cairo, Egypt (never mind that it is neither a port nor on the NW of the continent).

Cab Storage Site = WINE CELLAR was my favorite clue.

I thought of EddyB when I uncovered Bobby ORR and the Norris Trophy.

In continuing the literary reference found in today's puzzle, here is today's QOD: A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it. ~ John Steinbeck (Feb. 27, 1902 ~ Dec. 20, 1968)


desper-otto said...

Good morning!

(Insert HeartRx's first paragraph here.)

ADANO is usually clued as "Hersey's bell town." Steve, thanks for the reminder about cribbage -- fifteen two, fifteen four, fifteen six and eight is fourteen and nobs is fifteen. Haven't played in years and years.

Learning moment: The distance from the equator to the north pole is exactly 10,000,000 meters. The fact that a Frenchman made the calculation may be why the US and GB have been slow to adopt it. The metric system sure does make the math easier.

Second learning moment: You can make a DF anagram of Axl Rose.

From yesterday: What was scary about riding a motorcycle on the Coronado bridge wasn't the height, the curve, or the traffic. It was the couple of places where 10 feet of "pavement" was a metal mesh which was slippery as ice on a bike. I guess maybe it was there for drainage or expansion. Dunno.


Anonymous said...

Jack Elam does not belong in a Wednesday puzzle.


Middletown Bomber said...

Happy hump day all. Nice puzzle I have been seeing a lot of jack elam around the puzzleverse recently. of course i recall him from the support your local movies. Never knew his name but the photo brought the memories flooding back. thank you to mark for a great puzzle and to steve for the write up. gosh I hope I am not a robot today.

thehondohurricane said...

Good morning folks,

It's been long overdue for me, but a DNF. The NW corner was the culprit.. Being a fan of Western movies, I am embarrassed not getting JACK ELAM. He is/was one of the great character actors in the "oaters." But even if I remembered Jack, the corner would still been incomplete. 1A, 14A, 3D & 5D were all ?????.s.

I liked 28D Fundraiser with steps/DANCE
MARATHON. It was a great misdirection. 59A Violin holder/Chin was clever. Pupil surrounder/AREOLA is one I'm still trying to figure out. I got it via perps.

Even though today was a dud, I enjoyed the puzzle. Thought it was a nice Hump Day challenge from Mark.


HeartRx said...

Steve and D-O, what is so DF about SAX LORE? (^0^)

desper-otto said...

HeartRx, I'm sure JzB could tell you stories....

Mari said...

Wow - Any puzzle that starts out with JEJUNE is going to be a brain buster! Some of the long answers and the theme helped me through.

I liked seeing WINE CELLAR and ASSUMPTION. Nice long words.

My favorite clue was 34D: Not Dis? DAT.

I thought the Norris Trophy in 15A had to do with martial arts, AKA Chuck Norris. I see our old buddy Bobby ORR is back.

In the end this puzzle fit me TOAT.

Have a great day!

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Enjoyed the puzzle. Good theme. Liked Steve's analysis but I would call the 'y' in HAPPY AS A CLAM, a vowel. JEJUNE was a WAG. I think we had it quite a while ago.

DAT - I grew up with 'dat'. Low German; also Dutch. Means 'that'. " 'Dat is dat' seggt de kat" ('That's that' says the cat)

Have a good day.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Put me down for a Technical DNF. I had to turn on red letters when it became obvious that BORING wasn't a keeper at 1a, and for some reason I just couldn't extract Jack Elam from the cranial folds (even though we see him a lot).

Joss Stick? Wazzat?

Since I wasn't able to visit the Corner yesterday, belated congrats to Marti for yet another publication! Keep 'em coming, Neighbor.

LaLaLinda said...

Hi All ~~

This started out as a tough Wednesday puzzle for me - it seemed more of a Friday until things got rolling. I always start in the NW corner, and as others have said, it did not come easily.

I lightly wrote in 'Dick' for 1D since I had the K from KMS. I left the area to return to it later. JEJUNE just doesn't seem to stick in my memory although I know we've had it before.

~ I had 'Upsets' before UPENDS and I'm more familiar with 'Oaten' rather than OATY.

~ I finally remembered IN SITU from other puzzles we've had!

~ Needed perps for JOSS and E FLAT.

~ I thought of some anons with 13D - SNARK.

~ I really liked the misdirection of 12D - WINECELLAR, although I, too, wondered if it needed an abbreviation notation.

Thanks for a wonderful write-up Steve - great info and comments! Like desper-otto, I learned of the AXL Rose anagram. Hmm - how did I not know this? Along those lines, like Lemonade, I thought we might see the famous/infamous AREOLA link!

Have a great day, everyone!

61Rampy said...

Other than SNARK and ANNA, I sailed through this Wed puzzle with nary a writeover or look-up. After getting CASABLANCA (one of my fave movies) and KMS, JACK ELAM fell into place. That left JEJUNE as the only word that would fit. I really dont see me working that word into my daily conversations, however. When I see FORAYs, I think of Rocky the Squirrel!
Fun puzzle, just right for a Wednesday.


Anony Mouse said...

The puzzle was a difficult one - for a Wednesday (!). IMHO, sorry. I got all of it, but there was no sense of victory. If I have 12 choices for each answer, I might as well have played Sudoku. (lol).

Steve, your wit and humor made up for it. Thanks for the Lewis Carroll poem. I read the whole thing - the guy was a mathematician, to boot (!)- an expert on Determinants - he was certainly high on something - and it all rhymed.

'Beaucoup' confounded me - I know its a southern expression - probably (1) a southern belle lands her first date ... or (2) a southern guy gets past the goal line, on his first date (!). Then I remembered, a little Fr.Cand. girl innocently said 'Merci, beaucoup', to me, 20 yrs. ago, at Niagara Falls - so that can't be right ....

Even the last answer, 69A, I had 'Oats' for Cheerios, so my initial answer, for 69A came out as 'ForAss' (huh ?).

The avatar of Vishnu, I have got ONLY from crosswords - 'Boar' or 'Fish' would not do.

Small nit, in the interests of science- A Kilometer was "supposed to be", one ten -thousandth of the distance between the equator and the North Pole (at sea level - ). However, because of the technology not available at the time, and the 'flattening' of the polar surfaces etc., they were 'off' somewhat, the actual distance is not 10,000 but little over 20,000 times.

Well, I'm done for the week.

Have a nice day, you guys, and best wishes.

CanadianEh! said...

Punny theme today - loved it!
Also loved TWADDLE -hadn't heard it for a while.
I was a huge fan of ANNA Sewell's Black Beauty book as a child. Probably still have it in a box somewhere.
ORR again - Parry Sound, Ontario native!
We use KMS here now so I have gotten used to watching the speed limit. We have an American vehicle with the speedometer in MPH so I have to be careful.
CAB in the WINE CELLAR - at least I knew this short version as opposed to CHARD a while ago.
Did not know JEJUNE
CASABLANCA to follow ILSA from the other day
Emperor concerto is in E flat MAJOR

CrossEyedDave said...


This puzzle beat me up & took my lunch money!

(now if only i could find a video of how to cheat at crosswords...)

P.S., i love the videos' comment "all the cards are the 5 of diamonds!"

RD said...

Steve, where do you get Syria is an old friendly country? There is a nasty civil war going on there. It was nice to seee Jack Elam as we used to dee him in the lounge at at golf course in Caloifornia.

RD said...

Oops can't spell meant "see" instead of seee and dee.

Husker Gary said...

Hey Gary, maybe it’s not BORING. OMG, it’s JEJUNE (I remembered it from this SNL bit). The NE was tough and the fresh fill and clever cluing made for a wonderful slog!

-MADAGASGAR is one of those movies you can take kids to and be entertained as well
-My friend constantly says Beaucoup for many. Mon dieu AMI, I am BEAUCOUP JEJUNE ;-)
-3 letter winner of a trophy I’ve never heard of? Hmm… Hello Bobby!
-Can the gov’t REIN in spending on such things as saving beetles and relocating rats?
-Give ‘em a cm and they’ll take a km.
-Shrimpy’s wife seems to say NAE a lot (fodder for DA aficionados)
-Joann often bemoans the fact that Gray hair looks distinguished on men but usually not on women
-Yeah, I don’t know how Lyle got Julia either
-AREOLA? In the words of Mike Myers (as Wayne) – Schwing!
-Does it curl your toes a little when someone says “NOT hardly”?
-Not being an oenophile, I don’t refer to wines by their first syllable, but I figure them out here
-Percy Spencer saw the Mr. Goodbar in his pocket start to melt while he was working on a magnetron and that inspired the microwave oven. Wow, what else in his pants could have sustained damage?
-Yes, this can happen on Mauna Kea!.
-A funny bit with Ho Chi Minh (:32). Yup!
-Rich seems a bit JEJUNE in that picture but it’s great to see what our tormentor looks like ;-)
-What Jane Fonda depression era movie featured a DANCE-A-THON?

Argyle said...

A nice follow-up on beaucoup usage can be found Link Here. We have many families with Québécois heritage so the term is quite common to me.

I assure you this is not a beaucoup de mensonges.

xyz said...

Beaten by 1A, I hate that! Fine puzzle, but I saw a Royal Flush come on a flop the other day on You Tube. Beat your four aces. Yowza!

xyz said...

Oh yeah. One more.

OATY? I thought of TORI. Why yes, Martha, I do consider myself a geek.

Lucina said...

Hello, mes AMI. Thank you, Steve, for making me laugh this morning.

This puzzle was anything but JEJUNE! I love that word and though it wasn't my first fill, it came along with JACK ELAM who is the poster boy for oaters.

I didn't know JOSS either but it emerged and of course CASABLANCA made my heart DANCE. I made a MENTAL NOTE to watch it again this week.

Yes, this was a fun sashay all the way and I learned the anagram of AXL Rose! This is such an educational place.

I'm never sure of RAMA but perps confirmed it.

Have a happy Wednesday, eveyone!

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Mark Bickham, for an excellent puzzle. Thank you, Steve, for the outstanding review.

As others, I looked at 1A, 14A, 1D, 2d, and 3D and headed South. My first answer was SUR for 33D. Have been there several times in years past. Beautiful place on the coast.

I bounced around the puzzle and wrote in words that seemed obvious.

My first attempt at a theme answer was ATTACK AT DAWN. When I finally got a few other theme answers and the FORAYS at the bottom, I thought I had 24A correct. ATTACK AT DAWN has four A's. However, nothing else worked in that NE corner. So, I wrote over my first entry and ATTACK ATTACK worked and I was able to fill in the NE.

However, I was trying to think of a place to park Taxi Cabs for 12D. Eventually got WINE CELLAR but was confused because of the clue. No abbreviation.

Other writeovers were CHIN at 59A. I had written CASE initially. ANNA at 19A. I had written ANNE initially. Had STEM for 40D. Fixed that to ETYM with perps. Had UPSETS for 47D. Fixed that to UPENDS.

A little inky for me today.

Finally went back to the NW corner. Wrote in a few that were obvious, got CASABLANCA, JACK ELAM appeared. Did not know JOSS or JEJUNE. Was missing the J. Ran through the alphabet in my head and settled for JOSS and JEJUNE.

Shoveled the driveway this morning. The snow was heavy. See you tomorrow.



Lucina said...

I failed to mention that ANNA Sewell is well known because Black Beauty is a favorite of fourth graders whom I once taught, along with The Secret Garden.

sjok said...

This is more appropriate for a saturday puzzle. "Jejune" ?? Way to latinish and never used in polite company. "cab" is hardly a synonym for wine cellar - at least I hope not. Areola - way to cute and way to general a clyue for part of an eye.

Misty said...

Great Wednesday puzzle, Mark, many thanks! Any grid with two Lewis Carroll items is going to be a hit with me. But this puzzle had it all, food, geography, movies, sports, drugs and booze, French words--it doesn't get any better than this. And Steve, you explained what BMW stands for--who knew?

I got ORR (crosswordese) for the Norris Trophy but personally thought it should have gone to C.C. and Marti.

Also got JEJUNE although I always thought the word meant juvenile or immature. Live and learn.

Tinbeni, did you have a MARTINI yesterday, and a CAB from your WINE CELLAR today?

Have a great day, everybody!

Irish Miss said...

Good morning:

I found this a little crunchier than usual for a Wednesday. I did finish w/o help but it was no speed run. Clever theme and cluing, Mark, and wittty expo, Steve, as usual.

Saw Argo last night and enjoyed it very much. What a harrowing time that was for those hostages.

Have a great day.

Tinbeni said...

Steve: Nice write-up. I'll play poker with you anytime.

Husker: Wonderful musings. You were on a roll today.

That 2nd 'J' in JEjUNE/jOSS stick did me in today.
NOT a technical DNF ... just a DNF!!!
You either get it 100% right or it's a DNF.
No saying "I got it with Red-letter help" ... if you needed the Red-letters ... then it's a DNF.
Just admit it, move on ... no biggie.
(Plus, my "red-ink" pen was no help at all).

Fell into that Violin "case" before CHIN trap. Very clever cluing.
Wanted "Pinch cases" before WINE CELLAR appeared. (Just a scotch dream!)


Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Whot a pozzle! I loved it. Some awesome fill, especially those long downs. When I saw the four A's in the answers to the starred clues I thought the unifier would be FORAYS. It was!

Okay, I'm really really bad at anagrams...

Steve, I liked your writeup beaucoup.

Favorite clue was not dis --> DAT.

There is a locally produced TV show here in which the host introduces us to places to get good "cheap eats." The food is usually served on a paper plate and you eat it while walking around. Enjoy it with a nice paper cup of cab, shard, zin, gevurtz, or pinot. Or unabbreviated merlot or riesling if you like.

Best wishes to you all.

Tinbeni said...

"They Shoot Horses, Don't They?"
Gig Young won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Steve said...

Anon 6:27 and Tinbeni - that's why I don't play poker, I can never keep the hand rankings straight.

HeartRX - I think I meant REAL SOX for genuine Boston baseball players :)

Misty - you can add AUDI - Auto Union Dortmund Industrie - to your list of German car manufacturer's names that take up space in your brain for no good reason.

Spitzboov said...

sjok @ 1108. Cab is short for cabernet. WINE CELLAR is the storage site for the cab.

Anonymous said...

Wow. For once i agree with todays puzzle author. IM always complaining about abbreviations not in clues and all you people shoot me down. I just started wine tasteing in northern CA three weeks ago. On fridays we have wine and enjoy a tiny concert. Last friday i asked my brother what kind of wine he wanted since it was my turn. He is more familiar with wine tastes than I. So he said he will have a ZIN.

Pookie said...

DNF. UTA did me in as well as ATTACKx2. (AT dawn for me as well.)
NOB unknown to me.
RAT_A_TAT_TAT seems more like a toy gun sound, IMO
Thought of logo for sweatshirt first.
Anyway, impressive construction.
Thanks Steve for a fab write-up.

SNARK reminds me to skip anon comments and never click on any of their comment links.

Pinto said...

This puzzle's theme seems very familiar. I tried searching the archives but was unsuccessful. I swear we have had a puzzle with phrases that have "a" as the only vowel.

Tinbeni: I think you can have a TDNF just as boxing has a TKO. Just sayin...

You wanna go on a rant? Then rant against typing one's captcha. Nobody cares what your captcha is! It is a necessary evil. Accept it and move on. Jeeesh.

Husker Gary said...

Movie Musings

-Yup, Tin, it was this somewhat brutal Jane Fonda movie (3:03) and thanks for the kind words!
-Here is the answer to yesterday’s question about what sex symbol was in the movie BUS STOP (2:24) and sang a bad version of That Old Black Magic.
-The most famous straight flush in movie history (6:49)

Argyle said...

Pinto@12:58; you are correct. The constructor himself metioned it on the other site. Oct. 24, '12. Triple "A"

Anonymous said...

Pinto @ 12:58 PM...jeeesh! I always thought seeing those crazy captchas was kind of fun. Guess I should get a life.

ngreamp, asvanc, etc.

Pinto said...

Thanks Argyle. I did not realize how recent it was. I guess that is why I remembered it. And here I was thinking I had this great memory! Hell, it was only a few months ago.

Anon@12:58p : If you like it, keep doing it. That's my motto. I just don't see the point.

Argyle said...

Pinto, what will it take to get you to turn blue?

PK said...

Hi Y'all, This puzzle was what you hope your kid (or your) report card will look like! Mark gets an "A" for effort. Steve, you rate an "A+" on my laugh meter!

JEJUNE? I thought that was a military camp. New one for me.

My husband used to say BEAUCOUP. Think he picked that up in the military. Very little French around home.

Desperotto: re Coronado Bridge. I thought those mesh areas were probably something to make them better able to withstand earthquakes.

Pinto said...

Silver nanoparticles.

Just kidding. I'll do it soon. right now I enjoy being the Bobcat of anonymous posters.

Tinbeni said...

OK, like boxing with the TKO, I guess TDNF is acceptable. lol

I guess saying "Technical DNF" is better than a certain commenter here who has NEVER admitted to a DNF ... but did get the "ta-da" with "red-letter" help.
Like he is a "solver" in Amy Reynaldo's (Diary of a Crossword Fiend) league.

As for going on a rant ...
If you remember, it was about 2 weeks ago I commented that typing the captcha was lame & passe (and NOT in the least original).

At least "It's Five O'clock Somewhere!"
Cheers !!!

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Technically strong puzzle, though I am less than delighted with the theme. Ten-letter fill is impressive. Didn't feel like a Wednesday. Technically or not, I did finish. Eventually.

Wonderful write-up, Steve.

Oh, no. I aint got no SAX LORE stories. Nope. But I will say that good brass and reed musicians will be proficient at double tonguing.

If not specified as Minor, always assume Major.

AREOLA, AREOLA, where for art thou AREOLA?

Tin Man - You forgot, "And stay of my lawn!"

Still winter here.

Cool regards!

willow said...

Fun! Mark gets an "A"! Next week at this time, I'll be in Canada on the trans-continental train. Any advice?

Bill G. said...

That was a pleasant Wednesday puzzle. I never saw the theme until 69A revealed it. For most everything, I would say WEES but maybe not. I did know Jack Elam since I'm a fan of old westerns. But I'm surprised nobody has mentioned 24A ATTACKATTACK. Repeating a word with two A's to get a theme word with four A's seems weak to me. I am surprised Rich thought it was OK but if he thought it was, then who am I to nitpick.


Sfingi said...

I had trouble in the NW with JACK ELAM and JEJUNE. Wanted Dean Martin.

Didn't know what the heck NLE or TCU was. And, is "cab" an abbrev. for cabernet?

Had Case before CHIN.

It happens that just before I came here I was looking at how to figure how many combinations there are in SUDOKU. It's in the billions, and more than the 16 billion I figured.

@Lucina - 25 years ago I had to take a course on Adolescent Lit. Almost all was written way after I was adolescent.

downtonabbey said...

Hello all,

It is just not the same when it isn't one of our bloggers who creates the puzzles. I prefer puzzle without all the proper nouns. I fell into the boring whole also... The south fell faster because of that error.

Bill, enjoyed that link. Nice to know there are such good sports out there.

thanks Steve for the write up.

Misty said...

Steve 12:34--Here I thought AUDI was an affectionate term for AUTO! Thanks for setting me straight.

LaLaLinda said...

Ah ~ the missing link! JzB!

Bea from Fargo said...

Hands up for boring & roos. A fun challenge for a Wed. puzzle. Enjoyed the fresh cluing for emus & otters, and how axl & axe crossed.
Willow, I rode the Canadian train from Vancouver to Winnipeg about 15 yrs. ago. Stopped in Banff, beautiful Rocky Mtn. scenery. Take about half of the luggage you think you'll need, it's no fun schlepping it around/up/down train steps. Check out the bar car for big windows. Most of all, have a great time.

HeartRx said...

Woo-hoo JazzB...if that link isn't SAX LORE, I don't know what is!!

Jazzbumpa said...

Saxy lore
From days of yore
Perhaps you've seen it all before
But guaranteed to never bore

[Sorry, I couldn't fit in JEJUNE]

My bad,

HeartRx said...

HAAAAHAaaahaa ha ha (snort, cough)...

TTP said...

Thank you Mark Bickham and than you Steve. Spent way too much time on this. Walked away and went to work.

Hand up for boring as 1A fill. Not the puzzle, by any means. NW corner was my Waterloo. Had CASABLANCA and gFLAT, and was fairly confident that it would be KMS and not cMS for metric distances. 1D B-CK made more sense than B-CC. But BUCK who ? Or somebody BECK ? Red letter verified it was a K and boring was wrong. Eventually JACK ELAM appeared. Never heard of JOSS and I thought JEJUNE was where Dennis did basic. :)

Speaking of Dennis... And Kazie... And Al Cyone... Hope all is well.

ATTACK ATTACK could have alternately been clued as "American metalcore band known for their use of electronica along with classic post-hardcore style of music." I would have to choose 'Of Mice and Men' in that genre. My nephew's son is in that band. Their music is for much younger people.

Oh, the fun we have on this blog. Jazz, Quip of the Year.

Jazzbumpa said...

Off to rehearsal in a little while.

I understand we'll have the banjo tonight.

That's right, folks, William Grant Stills' Afro-American Symphony [1930] includes a BANJO.

You can hear it playing the off-beats here at the beginning and again after the 2:20 mark of this 3 1/2 minute segment of the 3rd movement.

Great fun.

Cool regards!

Argyle said...

Psych - Season 7 Episode 1 on USA tonight, if there are any followers out there.

AnnieB8491 said...

Good Evening - Busy day today, so even though I did puzzle this morning, haven't had a chance to come on til now.
Thanks Mark - Even though a DNF, I enjoyed it.
Favorite clues were Cab Storage and Fundraiser with steps. Took me a while to figure out the Cab, and perps helped me start filling in DANCEMARATHON.
I started out with red letters off, but like Dudley, turned them on when my North West corner was blank above CASABLANCA.
Like Abejo I was trying to put cabs in a taxi garage until nothing worked, took out garage and CELLAR showed up - viola - oh - That kind of cab. :)
Wanted BEER before BMWS, but WINECELLAR fixed that.
Great write-up Steve. Always appreciate your insight.

Have a good evening all.


fermatprime said...

Hello all,

Swell puzzle, Mark; super expo, Steve! Caught onto the "cab" clue right away. Much more obvious than "chard."

Refrained from entering "boring." JEJUNE, when it made itself obvious, was rather a surprise. Will have to try to use that word in the future!

Bill G: that's some captcha!

Do not know what the anagram is. There are 7 letters and hence 5040 = 7! possibilities. Perhaps am being dense!

Happy hump day!

Ree said...

Definitely not a jejune puzzle, thanks to all involved!

downtonabbey said...

AnnieB: How did you take out your GARAGE so quickly?

Java Mama said...

Good evening, all! Had my doubts about completing this one, since the whole NW put up a fight to the bitter end. Finally pulled JEJUNE out of the ether to unlock the final few squares. Thanks for the challenge, Mark. Didn’t catch onto the theme until the reveal – clever pun! Thanks for the lively write-up, Steve. The Lewis Carroll poem was a delight.

Learning moment today was JOSS sticks (the Wiki if anyone’s interested). Won’t count on remembering this next time, since my MENTAL NOTES are usually written in disappearing ink. Wanted POTATO SALAD for the picnic side dish, but couldn’t make it fit. He might not be pretty but LYLE Lovett sure is talented.

Have a terrific evening, everyone.

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, Like Barry the NW corner was a bear. Jejune is a new word for me and I didn't know Jack Elam. Joss was also unknown, so with unknowns crossing unknowns I had to Google today to finish. Boring fit for not interesting, but nothing else would go with it!

I thought that Wine Cellar for cab storage site was an excellent misdirection. I had forgotten the Snark, but it came together with the other crossing words.

I had a morning meeting so had to leave the puzzle partly finished and come back to it late this afternoon. I always seem to find a few more words to fill in when I do this. I should try it more often.

I loved "Black Beauty" and read it several times while growing up. My copy went onto my girls' bookshelf and got worn out. It is a wonderful book for young people.

Spitzboov said...

Cross-eyed Dave and Hahtoolah - On Feb 11th you referenced the battleship USS Texas at Houston. Here is a link explaining the engineering plant with music of the period. 9:14

Kalendi said...

I'm so paper put today's answers for yesterday's puzzle and the puzzle today isn't anything like yours. I wonder if it's tomorrow's? Very confusing and no help for all my unfilled in boxes. Still I enjoyed reading the answers and posts.

Java Mama said...

Ferm @6:21 - Anagram hint: Rhymes with "choral wrecks" :)

Abejo said...

Kalendi: Go to the Chicago Tribune Site and print the crossword. I have done that more times than I have fingers and toes. Works well.



CrossEyedDave said...

Tx Spitzboov@ 7:32

But wait a sec,,, this ship was built
circa WWI, is steam powered, & the steam not only pushes the pistons down, it also pushes them up? & to top it off they use the same steam 4 separate times to push different pistons at different pressures until the incoming 240 psi steam is at 15psi (one lb per sq inch higher than atmospheric pressure at sea level) & then return the condensed steam to the boiler to be used again??? Why aren't we using this technology today?

CrossEyedDave said...

Oh, I forgot, I IMDB'd Jack Elam, & have been watching clips all day. What a career!

I did not know he did a Twilight Zone episode! Here he is in the episode titled "will the real Martian please stand up"

AnnieB8491 said...

downtonabbey - I had filled in the 10A BEER, but when I wanted TAXIGARAGE, I took beer out, but then nothing filled in around it, so I took garage out thinking it was TAXIsomething. Started to fill in across, had part of CELLAR, then knew TAXI was wrong, and it was WINE, then got BMWS, which gave me the M and rest of MENTALNOTE. I tend to jump around, not working all across or all down. I fill in what I know, then go back to get the rest - hopefully. :)

Anonymous said...

CED. did you hear him say "1,000 pounds of coal per minute" were needed to power it?

Anonymous said...

Just put a politician on that ship.
He'll blow enough hot air to allow it to circumvent the globe.

Hahtoolah said...

Thanks for the link, Spitzboov. Very interesting.

Spitzboov said...

CED said: Why aren't we using this technology today?

We are, except it's better. Steam turbines vice reciprocating engines. Much higher steam pressures. My DD built in WWII had 600 psi steam pressure and 850º superheat. Condensers also pulled a 29" vacuum into which our LP turbines exhausted. Modern steam plants put out 1200 psi or more.

fermatprime said...

Have changed from to This was necessary to avoid brain aneurysm. The captchas I encountered while changing the address on a multitude of sites were HORRIBLE. One site took 10 tries! Instead of muddy letters, these sites provided clear letters written on top of each other and strange squigleys intermixed!

Bill G. said...

Marti, I didn't respond to your first post. I got sidetracked.

I'm glad you liked the videos. Yes, I saw the bad hair tutorial on Ellen also. Do you watch her show regularly? As talk shows go, I think hers is more entertaining than most of the others. Plus I think she's got a good heart.