, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: Thursday, April 4, 2013 Jeff Chen


Apr 4, 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013 Jeff Chen

Theme: "PLAY BALL!"

7 Down. Diamond deception found in this grid nine times: eight in square four-letter clusters, the ninth formed by the clusters' outline : HIDDEN BALL TRICK. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a couple examples of the play...done to the same player!

BA sits atop
LL  in each cluster, and I have highlighted them in fuchsia below. My grid did not have circles, did yours?  If you connect all of the clusters, they resemble a ball sitting in the grid. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but the diagonal blocks sort of resemble the stitching on the baseball, don't they?
Other gratuitous baseball references at 37-Down. Two-bagger: Abbr. : DBL. Double. and 40-Down. Giant slugger : OTT. Mel Ott, who played his entire career for the NY Giants, and now is retired to his home in crosswords.

Marti here, getting more baseball savvy with each puzzle I blog.


1. Vicious with a bass : SID. Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols.

4. "That's gotta hurt" : OUCH. (...said the bass.)

8. It's close to 90 : B PLUS. Fun clue!

13. XL piece: Abbr. : LGE. Xtra Large.

14. Visitor-friendly Indonesian island : BALITravel + Leisure voted it "Best Island" in 2010.

15. ___ Mama: rum drink : BAHAMA. An adult Icee!

16. Voided : ANNULLED.

18. Woolly beasts : LLAMAS.

19. Kelly who voiced Nala in "The Lion King" : MOIRA. And 35 Down. Prideful place? : LIONS DEN.

20. "Ooky" family name : ADDAMS. They're creepy and they're kooky, mysterious and spooky, they're all together ooky...

22. Financial degs. : MBAsMaster of Business Administration (s)

23. Prayer supports? : KNEES.

24. Its four-color logo no longer has overlapping letters : EBAY.
28. First name in jazz : ELLA.

29. Spotty coverage? : ACNE.

30. Canvasses : POLLS.

31. In medias ___ : RES. "In the middle of things." A device found in movies and literature where the story starts in the middle or even end of the action, and then goes back to fill in from the beginning using flashbacks.

32. Re-entry request : STUB.

33. Spot for many a curio : MANTEL.

34. Solo : GO IT ALONE.

36. Hold fast : ADHERE.

39. Twist in a gimlet : LIME.

43. Ebb : ABATE.

44. Latch (onto) : GLOM. Love that word!

45. Letter-shaped brace : L-BAR.

46. "___ vostra salute!": Italian toast : ALLA. "To your health!"

47. Cigna rival : AETNA. Insurance rivals.

48. Fashion monthly : ELLE.

49. Takes the spread, e.g. : WAGERS.

51. Ethiopia's Selassie : HAILE. His family traditionally traces its origins back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Today, he is revered as the messiah by Rastafarians.

52. Winter melon : CASABA.

55. Items that can open doors : ID BADGES. Cute clue!

57. "___ never know what hit 'em!" : THEY'LL.

58. 1-Down unit : CELL. And 1-Down. Clink : SLAMMER.

59. That, in Tijuana : ESA.

60. Fresh : SASSY.

61. Boy Scout's handiwork : KNOT.

62. Additive sold at Autozone : STP. "Scientifically Treated Petroleum." The racer's edge.™


2. Not virtuous : IGNOBLE.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Thomas Gray
"Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard."

3. Some kneejerk responses : DENIALS.

4. Beatles song syllables : OB-LA.-Di, Ob-La-Da.

5. Delta rival: Abbr. : UALUnited Airlines. and 12-Across. Stockholm flier : SAS. Now Scandinavian Airlines, it was previously Scandinavian Airlines System.

6. Freshly groomed : CLEAN-CUT. I think of "clean-cut" as someone who is neat in appearance all the time, not just fresh from the barber's.

8. Burt's Bees product : BALM.

9. Startup segment : PHASE ONE.

10. Skedaddle : LAM.

11. Actress Thurman : UMA. "Kill Bill:Volume 2" is a good example of In Medias Res.

15. Hugo's "Ruy ___" : BLAS. The title character is an indentured commoner who is in love with the queen, and becomes the pawn in a cruel hoax by a suitor she had scorned.

17. Nocturnal bear : URSA. One of the dippers in the sky at night. Major or Minor.

21. Wallace of "E.T." : DEE. She played the mother. Did not remember her.

23. In an arranged swap, she guest-hosted "The Tonight Show" in 2003 on the same day Jay guest hosted "The Today Show" : KATIE. Couric and Leno. This clue was so long that when I first glanced at it, I thought it was the reveal for the theme!

25. Tripart sandwich : BLT. I stared at the clue and wondered what kind of drugs would be in a TRIP ART sandwich?

26. Newcastle specialty : ALE.

27. French designer's inits. : YSLYves St. Laurent.

30. French door part : PANE. I was looking for a french word, like "jambage" ou "seuil." But nope, just the pane of glass in a French door.  I'm sitting here looking at two of them. Duh!

32. Nursing a grudge : SORE.

33. Family nickname : MOMMA. I remember...

34. Vacation spots : GETAWAYS.

36. Org. with towers : AAA. Tow-trucks, that is. American Automobile Association.

38. Laurel & Hardy producer Roach : HAL. He also produced "Of Mice and Men."

40. Accommodates : OBLIGES.

41. Guinness superlative : TALLEST. Book of records, not the tallest beer!

42. Syrup source : TREE SAP. We just had this entry in Patti Varol's Monday April Fool puzzle, Strange to see it again so soon!

44. "Golly!" : GEE.

45. Pb is its symbol : LEAD.

47. "(I've Got ___ in) Kalamazoo" : A GAL. The inimitable Glen Miller. 3:20

50. With proficiency : ABLY.

51. "Red light!" : HALT.

52. Nos. not on some restaurant menus : CTS. Cents. Some restaurants don't even put the dollars on their menus.

53. "Got it!" : AHA.

54. His, in Honfleur : SES. "Son" also fits. Just sayin'...

56. Rain-___: bubble gum brand : BLO. And so we come full circle, ending with a bunch of balls.


fermatprime said...

Hello, all!

Always like your puzzles, Jeff! Thanks! Great expo, as usual, Marti!

Thought that "towers" was great in a clue!

Since write-up is early, I can go to sleep "early," I hope!


*Spoiler* The Americans very sad tonight.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

I almost gave up on this one when I read the clue to the theme reveal at 7D. Read the darn thing three times and still couldn't make any sense of it. Finally just decided to proceed with the puzzle and fortunately didn't need to understand the theme to get everything else.

Struggled the most in the NE corner. Didn't know BAHAMA Mama and was totally flummoxed by the clue for BPLUS. Great clue, just not on my wavelength this morning. Agree that "towers" was an awesome clue for the otherwise blah AAA.


fermatprime said...

I did not have circled letters, as usual. It made the theme really tough!

From last night:

I was taught the usages of THEE and THE for pronouncing "the." Everything else just sounds wrong to me!

Middletown Bomber said...

Liked org with Towers clue but I have seen it before i think it was used in the NYT puzzle a few years ago. On that clue I was thinking the other pronunciation of the word but when the 2nd A fell onto place I had the AHA moment and moved on. Did not particularly like its close to Ninety as I guess where I went to school 90 was firmly ensconced in the A range or was already in the B plus range not close to it. Otherwise it is thursday; the weekend is around the corner and it is beginning to warm up here.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Marti and friends. Not really keen on this puzzle. I like baseball, but ...

My favorite clue was Nocturnal Bear = URSA.

I wasn't fooled by the Towers and AAA.

I, too, initially tried "Son" instead of SES.

While I was working on this puzzle this morning, I heard a news report that DELTA airlines is considering adding additional seats to their planes by making their bathrooms smaller. Hard to imaging a smaller bathroom. Passengers will just be given a bottle and a wet-nap perhaps?

QOD: The reason husbands and wives do not understand each other is because they belong to different sexes. ~ Dorothea Dix (Apr. 4, 1802 ~ July 17, 1887)


desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I really thought this one was gonna get me. My MANTEL was a MUSEUM, and like Barry, New England was mostly white space until the very end. I finally wagged PHASE ONE and that area came together.

Today's another "taxing" day. Only three remaining for me. The last couple weeks are always the toughest. Those getting refunds are long gone. Now we see the complicated, high payment, penalty included returns.

Java Mama said...

Good morning, everyone! This was a delightful puzzle – thank you, Jeff. Lots of fun fill and a multi-dimensional theme. And Marti, thank you for your (literally) colorful write-up.

Favorites included Clink = SLAMMER; Solo = GO IT ALONE and Items That Can Open Doors = ID BADGES. Filled in CTS at 52D but didn’t “get” it until Marti ‘splained it. Was thinking control towers at 36D and confidently entered FAA, until ADHERE sent the V-8 can sailing toward my noggin.

Got a call last night from our daughter in Waco, TX announcing that her hubby just accepted a job in our hometown. We’re on Cloud Nine at the prospect of not having to travel 1,000 miles to visit them and our little granddaughter anymore. Happy days!

Have a wonderful Thursday, all!

Avg Joe said...

This offering bodes poorly for Friday and Saturday. Took forever to get a toehold, then it was a slog to the finish line. Got it done, and even went back and found all 9 elements without any circles, but it weren't easy.

Going back to yesterdays comments about Waterworld, I had the misfortune of seeing that movie. And while I never saw Ishtar, I did see A Boy and His Dog. That one belongs right up there with the worst movies of all time.

And for the English police, my daughter sent me this humorism:
'I' before 'E' except when there's a feisty heist on weird beige foreign neighbours reinventing protein at their leisure.

Mari said...

Good morning everybody,

Very nice puzzle today! Great clues and great words. I loved seeing IGNOBLE, ANNULED, OBLIGES, and most especially GLOM!

Some clues I enjoyed:
- 8A: It's close to 90: B PLUS
- 23A: Prayer Supports? KNEES
- 29A: Spotty Coverage? ACNE

If you forget to bring your ID BADGE to work you're in for a bad day! You need to borrow an ID from a co-worker everytime you need to step away from your desk. Even to use the bathroom.

Samoa Air has found a new way to charge its customers. What do you think?

Have a great day!

61Rampy said...

Well, I managed to get through this one with only one look-up. ( Blas). The rest was not a speed run, but still, picking away, got it done. WEES about Towers clue. Getting the reveal did not help me in any way, however.
No circles in my puzzle, either.

Diane said...

Bplus did me in--and I spelled mantel as mantle.
Beautiful sunny day here in Michigan with a promise of hitting 50 degrees! Could it really be spring?

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Like Fermat, I always enjoy Jeff's puzzles. Must have taken a fair amount of organization, but I think it came out nice. We didn't have circled squares either, but no matter. Liked 36d; AAA. I was reading 'towers' before 'toe-ers'. Very clever.

Congrats to Java Mama on family moving closer. Always nice. Our nearest son is "close to 90" miles away; the others: several hundred.

On my way to play bridge with some "close to 90" people.

Have a great day

Anonymous said...

Had a BALL with this, good timing on baseball's opening week.
"I remember mama" had both movie and TV shows-- Dick Van Patten played the son Nels before he grew up to be the dad on "Eight is enough"

HeartRx said...

Mari, that's really interesting about Samoa airlines charging by the passenger's wEIght. (Avg Joe - there's another exception for ya!) Everything that I ship is by weight, so why shouldn't the same hold true for commercial passengers?

Yellowrocks said...

I loved this theme. Marti, thanks for Gray's Elegy, one of my favorite poems, and for your witty write up.
I got a solid start in the bottom half and then grocked 7D and the theme. I circled all the BALL clusters in the bottom half and saw the pattern for the other clusters. Filling them in helped considerably, especially in the NE.
My newspaper always prints the circles. There were none today. You had to draw your own circles.
In all my school experience, 89 was a B plus. 90 edged you over the line to get an A.
Avg. Joe, great I before E post.
Java Mama, how wonderful that your family is moving so close to you.
Has anyone heard from Sallie? I hope she is recovering well.
In some work places you need to insert your ID card into a slot like you do at motels in order to unlock the doors.

Yellowrocks said...

We had sad news this week. My sister-in-law who has been ill and in a nursing home for years choked on her lunch and could not be revived. Her memorial service will be held on April 13.

Crispy816 said...

Hello All,

Been down & out with the stomach bug! Thankfully no one else in the family got it.

My first DNF in a bit, but most enjoyable otherwise. I too was staring at TRIP ART? No circles in my puzzle, but that didn't matter. I guess halfway paying attention to baseball paid off.

Mari, the news from Samoa Airlines sounds like an April Fool's Day trick a few days late!

Off to work!

Pilot said...

Samoa airlines will charge for weight and Delta will be shrinking the toilets. Air travel is so much fun now-adays.

Clark said...

Smaller bathrooms?!? Where are we to have all the sex?

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Thanks, and sorry again for the spam.

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Jeff Chen, for a great puzzle. Thank you, Marti, for the excellent review.

This puzzle was really great! Must have taken some discipline to construct it.

I do not think there were ever suppose to be any circled letters. Why would there be. Nothing said that.

I got started in the NW with S D. Could not remember if the second letter was an I or a Y. Got it later.

I bounced around and picked up a word here and there. Got the 7D HIDDEN BALL TRICK early on. That did help with the puzzle where I had a lot of white space.

Yes, that Org. with towers/AAA at 36D really stumped me. ADHERE at 36A fixed that. Very clever clue.

Also thought 29A Spotty coverage?/ACNE was a good one.

Mari: Read your Trib article on the Airline charging by weight. Makes sense to me. I will have to peruse my Trib and read it thoroughly.

See you tomorrow.



PK said...

Hi Y'all, Very clever, Jeff Chen! You certainly had a lot of balls to do this. Must have complicated the construction. I enjoyed it, although I had to go back and look for all the balls. Great expo, Marti.

Since we had ANNULLED and GOING SOLO, I thought we had a sub-theme going for awhile.

Didn't know Ruy BLAS, MOIRA, "In medias RES" or that EBay LOGO. I thought he spelled it SYD. I wanted to "run" for skedaddle.

From what I saw on TV, Samoan Air operates smaller commuter-type planes where weight would cause problems. I read a piece years ago that said a high percentage of small private plane crashes were caused by over-loading more than the engine could keep in the sky. Samoans are often big. Bet they won't like Delta's small bathrooms.

JavaMama: No better news than getting family closer. Congrats! We don't get to know grandkids very well, unless we can spend time with them when the parents aren't around (aka babysitting).

Argyle said...

8:57, the most polite spam I've ever seen. Really should leave your name.

kazie said...

This looked like a real slug when I started, but I finally got it all except for WASABA/CASABA. I thought of WeighTS instead of CenTS for what is missing on menus.
Mostly I had to WAG the brand names and things relating to sport. I could only think of coal for Newcastle, since there's one in Oz too, and as far as I knew, both it and the English one are only known for that. (it's like taking coals to Newcastle).

All in all a very clever puzzle. No circles in my paper but once I knew what to look for it was easy to see them all.

The word SES is an adjective in French, rather than a pronoun in the possessive case like English. SON, SA, SES are the three forms of the word for his, her or its, but those gender differences do not relate to the forms in French--only to the word owned. Thus 'son père' can mean his, her, or its father, 'sa mère' is either his, her, or its mother. Context tells you which it is.

Avg. Joe,
You've got to watch the German borrowings with that 'i' before 'e' rule!

Hoping Sallie is recovering well.

Mari said...

Yellow Rocks, I'm sorry to hear about your SIL. :(

Anonymous said...

no circles. hated b plus. sorry for your loss Yellowrocks. doral

Husker Gary said...

What fun! It took Marti’s lovely expose’ to show the incredible extra level for the theme. Wow, Jeff!

-I’ve only seen the HIDDEN BALL TRICK work once. It was in a AAA game in Omaha and the victim had to be pulled off the first baseman as he was so upset by such a bush league trick in pro ball.
-AAA Towers (Mater?) is of the same genus as Flowers (rivers) and Numbers (ethers) and it took me a while
-Doesn’t BALI remind you of this beautiful song (3:42)?
-I have never found a real bargain on EBAY. I just trundle on over to or craigslist.
-In media res? Seinfeld once did an episode that started at the end and wound up at the beginning
-Lindberg’s flight is probably the most celebrated example of GO IT ALONE
-All schools where I teach require ID BADGES to be worn but most everyone does not
-All I remember from Boy Scouts is the utilitarian square KNOT – left over right, right over left.
-Ubiquitous cameras make DENIALS harder these days. Ask the former BB coach at Rutgers (1:43)
-Do CLEAN CUT job candidates still have a leg up on tattooed/pierced applicants?
-Nebraska is in PHASE ONE of changing the old state fair grounds into a technology park in Lincoln
-If you ordered a Croque Monsieur – 14, you just paid a lot for a ham and cheese sandwich
-Hahtoolah, I’m seeing the opposite. Scheels now sells extra wide stadium seats for the more zaftig fans.
-Charge by the pound? Some companies want to base health care rates on condition and habits of employees. They do not want to subsidize cigarette smoking, etc
-Mari, your comments are simpatico with mine. Maybe you need counseling ;-)?

Irish Miss said...

Good morning:

Fun, fun puzzle, Jeff, not to mention timely. I agree with Abejo that no circles were intended; if they were there, solving would be child's play. Great expo, Marti.

Liked the clues for acne, ID badges, B plus, AAA. Was surprised at Ella, Alla, and Elle. Never heard of Rain-
Blo gum.

The sun is shining, the wind has stopped, temp 52, so maybe we are going to have a decent spring day. Finally!

YR-Sorry to hear about your sister-in-law.

Have a nice Thursday.

Anonymous said...

Didn't have circles in my grid either but enjoyed it nonetheless as I did the blog write-up. Nicely done Marti and Jeff!

Jeff Chen said...

Hi all!

This was a toughie to create what with all the constraints, but I had a ball.


Rich helped a lot on this one - my first draft had 28 three-letter words, way too many.


kazie said...

Sorry to hear of your sil's passing.

I just had an unbelievably CLEAN CUT plumber come to fix the shower in our guest bathroom.

Montana said...

A happy morning to all. If the puzzle is by Jeff Chen on a Thursday, I will give it a try. I jumped all over the puzzle, but finished it with perps and WAGs. Feels good.

I did the puzzle around midnight on my iPad using Cruciverb. Eight of the black squares had little triangle hooks(?) on them. I figured out the BA LLs and so thought I had the theme, sort of, but I looked this morning and a couple of the triangles are close but aren’t touching the BALLs like the rest. Then I refreshed for a new copy of the puzzle and the little hooks aren’t there. I didn’t get the WHOLE theme until reading the blog. Thanks, Marti, for a good expo.

My grandchildren had to get used to ID BADGES when they moved to Honolulu. It served as a pass onto the city bus and as a lunch ticket, so they didn’t lose them after the first couple weeks. Three of my children have earned MBAs. Best clue was the AAA one.

Have a good day,


HeartRx said...

Jeff, nice to hear from you. I was amazed at the clean fill you executed, in view of the constraints of having so many BALLS to juggle! I solved on my iPad, so I was just wondering if the print edition had circles. But according to our readers, it did not. I think that would have made it way to easy for a Thursday.

YR, sorry to hear about your loss. Even though she had been confined to a nursing home, it is still never easy for the family.

Anon @ 8:57, I went over to the Google Play site and checked out your app. Unfortunately, is is only for Android at the moment, correct? I think many here use iPads or iPhones. Do you plan on coming out with a version for those as well?

lois said...

Good morning Marti, CC, et al, an interesting puzzle, typical for Jeff and Thurs. Marti, the write up was excellent. Thank you for the links. Loved the 'trick' link. Hilarious!

How could I not love most this puzzle w/‘sassy’ ‘knotty’ ‘knee’s’ and ‘blo’ included. It certainly chased the post-op ‘blas’ away. Laughed at 2D…Ignoble…what a sugar coating word! Being ‘ignoble’ sounds so much better than being unvirtuous or more bluntly, a ‘sinner’. I can continue to live it up and work to live it down w/that attachment. It’s all good. Also laughed at 61A Boy scout’s handiwork…thought of Dennis right away with his love of brownies. He was a ‘knotty’ boy..or should we say ‘ignoble’…but will the ‘man-tel’? Only ‘denials’….’lge’ ones too, I’m sure...the 'tallest' Again it’s all good w/this ‘momma’ anyway…in the ‘lions den’, esp. if you’re the lion doin’the ‘lion’.

YR:I am so sorry about your loss.
thoughts and prayers to you.

Sallie: I hope you are doing well.

Ferma: sweet dreams.
Enjoy your day.

klilly said...

Enjoyed this puzzle. Such a satisfaction when finished. I enjoy baseball but being a Houston Astros is not fun these days. Our paper showed all,the k that they have had already this year.. Not pretty.

Hope spring is here for all of you in the north. My mom texted me on Monday when it was snowing and said that it was no April fools joke it was snowing.

Misty said...

Brilliant puzzle, Jeff--almost makes me want to go to a baseball game (I said 'almost'). I got the reveal pretty early but didn't see all those little BALLs in a circle until after I was done. I then drew a big circle around them and Voila! there it was--a baseball! Although I didn't see the grid stitches until Marti pointed them out. But what a great puzzle!

After encouraging people to read "People" yesterday, to keep up with celebs, I realized I should start reading the Sports page to keep up with sports. But I did get OTT, which I now consider crosswordese, along with ORR.

Fermatprime, thanks for pointing out the joke in those "towers." Never "got" that until I saw your comment.

Yellowrocks, so sorry to hear of your loss. And Java Mama, so happy to hear about your family reunion.

Have a great Thursday, everybody!

CrossEyedDave said...

Normally I read everything before posting, but today I just have too many chores to do.

Re: Puzzle,,, ouch! I got everything (eventually) except the dead center, where Katie, Acne, & Stub just refused to reveal themselves. & I found 8 balls, but the 9th eluded me until I saw Marti's Blog.

Anyway, I probably will not get back to the Blog till late tonite, so when Marti mentioned "trip art sandwich," I just had to post what I found...

Trip Art Sandwich ALA Google!

Bill G. said...

Good morning. I haven't read the rest of the comments yet but here is my initial impression. I think Jeff has come up with one of the most enjoyable puzzles in a while, both theme and fill. Really good stuff.

I'm not a fan of Jay Leno's monologues but here are some of the segments he's famous for. I am a huge fan of his Jaywalking segments, the second video in the link. Jay Leno

Misty said...

Yellowrocks, I'm really a bit haunted by your sister-in-law's fate--since it sounds as though it might have been avoidable. I suppose it might be risky to use a Heimlich maneuver on a frail or elderly person, but how sad that she couldn't be helped.

Lucina said...

Hello,my cyber friends! Thanks for the excellent expo, Marti and thank you, Jeff, for an excellent, if flawed,imho,theme. Baseball? No, thank you. Just kidding, Jeff. It is an outstanding puzzle and theme.

However, it was great fun solving it with such wonderful words as IGNOBLE, ANNULLED, OBLIGES, ADHERE, etc.

I did find the eight HIDDEN BALLS and have to admit to its cleverness but where is the ninth?

Mari, I concur with your assessment; those are great clues/fill.

Sadly I can't claim a triumph as I misspelled HAILE as HEILE and so failed at LEAD. Had T instead. Drat!

It hurts my ears, too, when I hear the pronounced solely as tha or only as thee.

I am sorry about your sister-in-law. Family is precious regardless of age or condition.

BLT/ALE gave me pause as I also thought of "coals to Newcastle" but finally POLLS emerged and EBAY, too.

I can understand Samoa airlines charging for weight as any Samoans I have met are quite hefty. Now, if they ever went by height . . . I might go for practically free!

Have a lovely Thursday, everyone! It's spring and it's glorious.

HeartRx said...

CED @ 11:13, those sandwiches sure are trip-py! All I ever got was a stupid looking sailboat, LOL!!

Bill G. @ 11:14 hilarious Jaywalking video. It just goes to show, that what some people consider common knowledge, others consider totally foreign!

Java Mama, I forgot to say how great it will be to have your family close to you. Hug those babies, and hug them often!

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

YR - my condolences.

Not thrilled with this gimmicky puzzle. Technically very strong and thoughtfully assembled, though, with lots of excellent verticals.

No circles in the Freep. But this doesn't really seem like the type of puzzle that would include them.

Back in high school band we played the Ruy Blas Overture by Mendelssohn. We hated it at the time, and called it Ruy Blecch! Concert band arrangements of orchestral music never sound quite right.

Java Mama - what great news!

Worst movies - "Plan 9 from Outer Space," and "Manos, hands of fate." Both were astoundingly horrible, and highly deserving MST3K fodder.

Twins won in the bottom of the 9th yesterday. Rubber game starts in a few minutes.

Cool Regards!

HeartRx said...

Lucina, if you connect all the clusters, it forms the ninth "ball."

Yellowrocks said...

Thanks for all the caring condolences. Misty, I feel the same way as you do, that Eleanor's demise should have been preventable. She had trouble with eating for a few days and was being served in a small room with an attendant and just a few others who had eating difficulties. Apparently she wasn't watched closely enough. One of my sisters who used to work in a nursing home said Eleanor should have been given a chopped diet to make it easier to swallow. We all were really shocked at this freakish end to her life. Even though she was sick for so long we enjoyed visiting her and she was comforted by having family nearby. She will be missed.

Lucina said...

Ooh. Thank you, Marti. I did just that and it's a giant BALL. That's ingenious, Jeff.

Abejo said...

YR: My deepest sympathies to you and your family in the loss of your sister-in-law. Should not have happened.



Bumppo said...

Since when are misspelled words allowed as answers to crossword puzzle clues? 33D "Family nickname" would be MOMMY, not MOMMA. The latter is properly spelled MAMA (first vowel an A, not an O, and only four letters, thank you). If the answer is to be "MOMMA," where is the "var." in the clue? This is a clear foul.

As is 8A "It's close to 90" = BPLUS. When I was in school, 90 was a B minus, but close to C plus, which would be 89. Or is 5 points now the index of "grade inflation"?

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon to all. The Reds are 1-1, Tigers are 1-1; tonight's the time to set the tone for the season and get another win each!

With the baseball theme I thought for sure this was a C.C. puzzle. My first mistake, but not the last. I got the theme, found all but one of the BALLS. The mid-southwest was a nice white square. On the upside, it was more of a Thursday finish than I usually get.

Java Mama--congrats on having family move back home. We're the ones that moved away. There are times it would be nice to be closer to family.

YR- I'm sorry for the loss of your SIL.



Husker Gary said...

-Roy Orbison ranks right up there with Elvis for my favorite balladeer and if I had not known him that way, this would may not have qualified as my worst movie ever!. Say it ain’t so Roy.
-My sympathy YR, there are getting to be so many of us “of a certain age” that finding competent help is getting hard.
-Scary thought? Those Jaywalkers vote and they do it on emotion and not knowledge.
--Jay has earned the right to tell the suits at NBC what he thinks of them because of his ratings and has done so. I find his monologues mostly unfunny and his interviews seem to be mostly him talking. Tomaytoe/Tomahtoe. He still comes across as a great guy.
-Letterman is now just a bitter old man with a one-note political agenda. Jimmy Kimmel works for me.
-Loved your sandwiches (sammies to my lovely bride), Dave.
-A 90% was a B+ when I was earning or giving grades
-I loved the i before e bit, Joe.
-I got the sprinklers and lawn mower going today and the high temps are in the mid 60’s. Hmmm… what to do on this beautiful day. Hey, I know – FORE!

windhover said...

Heard the one about the needle and the sledgehammer?

Tinbeni said...

Marti: Wonderful write-up & HIDDEN BALL TRICK link.

LL were easy to find and fill-in.
But, like Avg.Joe, my solving was a slog.

Yellowrocks: My sincere condolence for your loss.
tears ...

Well it's almost game-time ...
And IT IS definitely "Five O'clock Somewhere" ... Soooooooo ....

ALLA vostra salute!

Ovid said...

Bumppoo: When you were growing up, wasn't a B-minus a XC and a C-plus a LXXXIX?

thehondohurricane said...


so sorry about your loss.

Jeff Chen said...

@Spitzboov (and other bridge players):

I'm an avid (but mistake-prone) bridge player and just published "Bridge Crosswords" through Master Point Press. 52 crosswords, all about bridge. Even got a nice cover blurb from Will Shortz at the NY Times.

Available on, etc. I'd greatly appreciate it if you checked it out and helped me spread the word!


Bill G. said...

Having taught for years, the grades at our school consistently ran 100/94 = A, 93/90 = A minus, 89/87 = B plus, 86/84 = B, 83/80 = B minus, etc. Your mileage may differ.

Of course, even with that grading system, a student's grade depends on the difficulty of the test. On one of my algebra tests, I could made the questions trivial and easy where the average would be A-, or much harder with the average a low C. I always tried for a happy medium with some basic questions, lots of middle questions and a few questions that required a little more insight. The average for a typical test would usually be about a B minus.

Gary, as usual, we agree. I love Leno's Jaywalking, not his monologues. His droll personality shows through in those segments. If the Corner denizens happened to be interviewed by him, we'd never make it on air because we would know most of the answers and wouldn't be funny. It is scary that their votes count the same as ours. We all know that half the people in the world are below average in intelligence.

Tinbeni said...

I enjoy Jay Leno's monologues.
Also like the segments before his "guests" appear.
Jaywalking, Headlines, Stuff we found on EBAY, etc.

The "guest" interviews (for the most part) are boring.
Not only on his show ... but on all talk-shows.

Nielsen said...

Late night talk shows will slowly follow the nightly news and newspapers right out the door. All are becoming irrelevant with the rise of cable and the internet.

Most newspapers, nightly news shows and Letterman's obvious biases have chased conservatives to Fox News(just look at Fox News primetime ratings numbers) and the Drudge Report. Others would prefer to watch reruns of American Pickers, Deadliest Catch, Real Housewives and Big Bang Theory at 11pm than stale old 1970's type programming. As someone mentioned the other day, TNT, AMC and USA have quality dramas on at that time also. As on-demand technology grows, the nightly news and late night talk shows will disappear. And they have only temselves to blame for not seeing the writing on the wall.

desper-otto said...

I agree, JzB. I normally don't remember bad movies, but Manos, The Hands of Fate was so bad that it's etched indelibly in my memory.

YR, sorry about your loss.

Hondo, good to see ya.

Bill G, how many people do you suppose Jay has to question before he gets something "airable?" It'd be no fun if they got it right.

HeartRx said...

Here's the link to Jeff's new book for
bridge crosswords. Nice byline from Will Shortz, Jeff!

Hondo, great to hear from you! Come back often - I miss you.

Blue Iris said...

We hardly ever watch network TV any longer. I watch Shepard Smith on Fox News @ 2:00 CDT to catch up on the day's news. Learned that Robert Ebert passed away after a decade long ,painful and disfiguring battle with cancer.

We now use AAA when traveling. We dropped AARP membership.

I use Burt's Bee Nutmeg Lip BALM. Like it better than chap stick.

YR,I'm so sorry to hear about your SIL.

JD said...

Good afternoon all,

Had a slow start, but was impressed by all of the clever clues (that have been mentioned), and even more impressed with the looks of the finished grid! Mine did not look like yours, Marti..LOL! Never saw those balls coming. Kudos to you, Jeff! Took me a lot of wagging to get er filled.
Addams-2 D's. Had to ponder that one since Adams didn't fit.That was only 1 of my slower moments.Here's another: reup for stub.

On our last get-away, Bahama Mamas were everywhere, although I preferred a tasty lemon drop. No ale on this trip.

Lois, you are a hoot!I give you an A+

Java Mama, good news for you!

Mari, I agree with Marti about Samoan A.L. The heavier the plane, the more fuel it will need. We were appalled on our last trip to see so many HEAVY carry-ons.Could be dangerous.

YR, so sorry for your loss, and especially for your son.

Hahtoolah, love your avatar, and I always enjoy your QOTD.

Ree said...

Challenging puzzle today , the b-plus threw us for a long time ! Sorry to hear about your loss YRocks ! Nice to hear from the constructor , I really enjoy their comments as I learn from them ! Thanks to all!

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, No circles in my paper today, but I did find all the hidden balls. What fun. With baseball season starting out this week, this was a very timely cw.

Thanks, Marti for your writeup, and Jeff C. for the puzzle.

Yellowrocks, I'm so sorry to hear about your SIL. My condolences to you and your family.

Java Mama, I know how much you are going to enjoy seeing that granddaughter without having to travel for hours.

Off to the opthamologist's office for my husband's annual eye exam and picture taking. He has his eyes dialated so can't drive afterward. I'll take a good book, because this is a LONG appointment for him. He sees a retina specialist and has 3-D pictures taken, then has laser treatments if necessary.
Have a great evening, everyone.

HeartRx said...

Seiji Ozawa, move over and make room for the next best conductor, ever! 0:35

And for you dog lovers, here is a sweet clip of a petrified puppy getting a helping hand down the stairs. 1:41

Sfingi said...

"Balls," said the Queen. "If I had to, I'd be King."

Flowers, sewers, towers, putting - all cute homographs.

I wasn't getting anywhere til I Googled for BAHAMA and DEE. Then I went back and read the theme clue and looked for the blocks of 4 and saw several alike. After that I used the block to solve the rest.
Do not know if a "HIDDEN BALL TRICK" or a "diamond deception" is a thing or not. (Sports)

Burt's Bees has nice tins. I like Bag Balm.

Is it any worse to have the airplane's weight in the overheads or the hold?

@Desperotto - not just my mantel, but my whole house is a museum. My mantel hasn't seen any white space for decades.

I like both Leno and Fallon. Couldn't stand looking at O'Brien; so obvious he was in love with himself. The guest I like is comedienne Wanda Sykes.

Thumbs up for Roger Ebert.

Bill G. said...

I was sure sorry to learn of Roger Ebert's passing. He was a class act. Thumbs up from me.

D/O, good question. I'm guessing fewer than half of his potential Jaywalkers make the cut for being interesting enough, funny enough and sometimes dumb enough.

Anonymous said...

hey the write up for Friday is already posted!!

PK said...

Lois, there was something about "post-op" in your post. Are you recuperating from surgery? If so, cheers for a speedy recovery.

YR: condolences! Perhaps your SIL is sitting up somewhere rejoicing that she is free of a very painful and irksome body despite loving life.

Sandwich artists are people who didn't mind their MOMMAs when they said, "Don't play with your food!"

I usually love Jay Leno's monologues when I watch. My favorite thing is "headlines". I turn off the guest interviews. Usually celebrities are better when someone else writes their lines.

Poor Roger Ebert, he probably wouldn't have lasted so long if it hadn't been for his devoted wife. When a man gives up his jawbone, to stay around, it has to be for someone he can't stand to leave.

CrossEyedDave said...

Well, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get the phrase "We don't need no stinkin' circles" with a link. Maybe these will do better...

Like Barry says,,, Glom, somehow i dug it up from the depths...

Mari @7:59am:
Being on the hefty side,,, I think I can comment without bias as to airline fares based on weight. Yes I think it's fair. Case in point, have you ever seen an overweight pilot? (@2:36 of the above video you will see why...)

And just for extra emphasis, why I am comfortable with a skinny pilot!

Finally, hidden ball trick revealed!

Dear Sallie, & Yellowrocks, I hope the blog has brightened your day as it does for me...

Argyle said...


Thanks for the heads up.

Hahtoolah said...

Two thumbs up for Roger Ebert. He will be missed.

Hahtoolah said...

The actor and crossword staple Milo O'Sheaalso died this week (April 2).

Java Mama said...

Thanks for all the kind words on the "kids" moving back into town.

Yellow Rocks, so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law; my condolences to you and your family.

Sallie, here's wishing you a speedy recovery.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. I found today's puzzle to be easier than yesterday's, and more interesting, too. I haven't much to say about either of them. I enjoyed reading all your comments more than I enjoyed working the puzzles. Best wishes to you all.

Pookie said...

Really late today.
Enjoyed Jeff's puzzle and Marti's
Looking for Sallie's crab avatar, guess she's not up to blogging yet.
Noticed YOU, Hondo!
Nice to "see" you!!!!
Yellowrocks, I'm so sorry to hear of your SIL's death.
There are many things we agonize over after a loved one's death, especially one as a result of the right precautions not followed.
You all have a good night.

Lemonade714 said...

YR, so sad and unfortunate.

Java Mama, I look forward to the same on day. BTW do you like MOMMA as a a word? Wast there a tv show with MOMMA in the title, and a cartoon named MOMMA? I have not seen a var, clue very often anymore, I guess we are to keep trying.

Proud for you Jeff, love bridge but my family was always too emotional.

HeartRx said...

Lemony, yeah, "Momma" is quite well known, if not to some anons who post here..

HeartRx said...

And if there are any other doubters out there, I give you this...

Lucina said...

It's good to see you!! How are you?

R.I.P. Roger Ebert and Milo O'Shea. Two class acts.

Anonymous said...

Hated it. Horrible clues, even worse answers.

Jayce said...

Whew! Been busy helping our son start up a franchise business. Lots of work! Nice area, though: Fashion Square in Scottsdale, AZ. I think he's going to do well. Well, maybe that's wishful thinking, but if it is, I wish him well.

Anonymous said...

Then there's this.repntb

Argyle said...

How about that? Found a clip from "The Fastest Guitar", Rollin' On(2:13).

PK said...

Jayce, good luck to your son with his new business. I'm sure having your support to set up was a great blessing to him.

Spitzboov said...

@ Jeff Chen - Thanks for the heads up on your book on "Bridge Crosswords". I will try to check it out soon. and 'spread the word'.

@ Yellowrocks - Heartfelt sympathy on your SIL's sad loss.

CanadianEh! said...

Late posting today. Only got half of puzzle done before leaving for work this morning.
Appropriate baseball theme. Blue Jays won tonight!

CrossEyedDave said...

Hmm, I must be getting old...

I really loved that Dinosaurs show HeartRx, & when Lemony said find a show with "Momma" in the title, I went looking, but I think I got sidetracked with Argyles Rolling On clip...

(Roy Orbison W/O glasses? maybe I'm not so old!!!)

CrossEyedDave said...


Manac said...

Does a movie count?
Throw Momma from a train

Bill G. said...

Jayce, I wish him well too. What franchise?

YR, best wishes for you and the rest of her family.

I watched an episode of "Golden Boy." I think that will be enough for me. I didn't develop any connection with any of the characters. Modern Family was very entertaining as usual.

Did any of you watch Nova? Very interesting so far I think.

Lucina said...

How very exciting for your son! I believe he couldn't do better than Scottsdale Fashion Square. It's always busy and one of my favorite haunts. Might it be a shop I would be interested in?

fermatprime said...

YR: So sorry for your loss!

Yes, NOVA was good, Bill. I gave up on Golden Boy after one episode!