Dec 16, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013 Gareth Bain

Theme: ", one..two, one..three". The words at the end of the starred entries will be put to use after the holidays.

18A. *Naval cereal icon sporting a Napoleon-style hat : CAP'N CRUNCH

28A. *Nearly none, in slang : DIDDLY-SQUAT

48A. *Venue for self-publishing : VANITY PRESS

58A. *Arc-shaped, finger-staining snack food : CHEESE CURL

39D. Beneficial activity that ends the answers to starred clues : EXERCISE

Couch Potato(aka Argyle) here. I found this Monday morning work-out to be satisfying and amusing. Can't ask for much more than that. If you want to know more about DIDDLY-SQUAT, you're on your own.


1. Capital of Qatar : DOHA. On the Persian Gulf.

5. Invertebrate's lack : SPINE

10. Former Cubs slugger Sammy : SOSA

14. Stale smell : ODOR

15. Controversial topic : ISSUE

16. Greek boy with a bow : EROS

17. Allot, with "out" : METE

20. Nuclear __: social unit : FAMILY

22. City in Honshu's Kansai region : OSAKA

23. Academic URL ending : .EDU

25. Stately tree : ELM

26. Like most pies : CRUSTED

31. Summer, in Paris : ÉTÉ

32. Nosed (out) : EDGED

33. Eggs on : URGES

35. Christmas carol : NOEL

36. Forest clearing : GLADE

38. Feet pampering, briefly : PEDIcure

42. Bridal party rides : LIMOs

44. Anglo-__ : SAXON

45. Giant slugger Mel : OTT

51. Shingles or slate, e.g. : ROOFING

53. "Isn't __ bit like you and me?": "Nowhere Man" lyric : HE A


54. 39-Down unit : REP. (repetition)

55. Brown Betty fruit : APPLE. Not as bad for you as 3-Down.

56. Beantown basketball player : CELTIC. (Boston)

61. 5,280 feet : MILE

64. Erie or Huron : LAKE. Great.

65. Myanmar, once : BURMA

66. Yard sale sign phrase : [AS IS]

67. Expected landing times, briefly : ETAs

68. Ply with drink : BESOT. Besot me with 1-Down, thank you.

69. Formally turn over : CEDE


1. __ Pérignon : DOM. Champagne produced by Moët & Chandon. History and how widows transformed the Champange business. Here

2. Poem of celebration : ODE

3. Sundae topping : HOT FUDGE. Hah! The reason for needing 39-Down.

4. Region : AREA

5. Mount Etna's island : SICILY

6. Biblical songs : PSALMS

7. '60s espionage show : "I SPY"

8. Religious sister : NUN

9. Continental trade org. : EEC. (European Economic Community)

10. Grinch creator : SEUSS

11. Elaborately decorated : ORNATE


12. Light bulb's place : SOCKET

13. Slightly : A SHADE

19. Google Maps offering : ROUTE

21. Pinochle declaration : MELD. Examples

23. Genesis garden : EDEN

24. Prank : DIDO. I remembered it. (Monday, October 28, 2013 )

26. Bean __: tofu : CURD

27. Fierce anger : RAGE

29. "The Farmer in the __" : DELL

30. Resembling : QUASI

34. Practice in the ring : SPAR

36. Fed. agent : G-MAN

37. Like the "o" in "no" : LONG

40. Two teaspoons, say : DOSE

41. Gadget's rank: Abbr. : INSPector

43. Wall-climbing vines : IVIES. Check out the human Muppet piano player.

44. Lovers' clash : SPAT

45. Ancient soothsayer : ORACLE

46. Astaire headwear : TOP HAT


47. Capital of Kansas : TOPEKA

49. Heat: Pref. : THERMO

50. Chew out : YELL AT

52. Makes tracks : FLEES

56. Mangy mutts : CURS

57. 1998 Apple debut : iMAC

59. Go out, like the tide : EBB

60. Pool shark's stick : CUE

62. Jar topper : LID

63. Opposite of WNW : ESE




OwenKL said...

If your goal is to impress a girl,
But for all of the prep,
For each repeated REP,
She's smiling at the guy with the pearl.

For some girls, the pearl's in a necklace,
For a few, pearls of wisdom they bless.
For most, if you'd woo her
Then EXERCISE humor --
She'll adore him who laughs with her jests!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Still sore from shoveling yesterday, but at least I'm still alive. That slushy stuff is the worst!

Interesting Monday puzzle from Gareth today. The theme was cute, but I didn't notice it until afterwards. Overall a typical easy Monday, except that DIDO was most definitely NOT a Monday level word. Also, some of the clues seemed strangely over-specific to me. Why is ODOR a "stale smell" instead of just a "smell"? And why does ISSUE need to be "controversial"? No big deal, just seemed a bit odd to me...


desper-otto said...

Good morning!

This puzzle wasn't difficult (it is Monday after all), but I still needed perps in several areas when the answer didn't immediately come to me.

Argyle, you piqued my curiosity. Here's the "historic" origin of Diddly Squat.

I also found this interesting: Burma or Myanmar?

Montana said...

It’s nice to be back and working crosswords again. Good thing for me, it is a Monday puzzle. I got the theme, too! Thanks, Argyle and Gareth for a breakfast treat.

When Cruciverb is down, I click on CC’s link. When the error message pops up, I click on the link word, ‘home,’ in the message. The puzzle is workable there, although not as friendly as my usual puzzle. also gives a workable puzzle on my iPad.

DOHA was an easy start. A couple years ago my 3 young grandchildren moved to live with me while their AF single father was deployed to Qatar his 4th time. They did well in their dad’s old school.

New avatar is from yesterday in Vail, CO. #3 son, John, is holding niece, Gabbie, me, #2 son, Bart, is holding his newest daughter, Diana.
I have never been to a ski resort in the winter so I saw lots of new things. We were atop the mountain across from major ski runs, so I watched skiers, snow groomers, snow makers, decorated trees and holiday lights from high above. There were surprisingly relatively few skiers my sons said. I was the babysitter.
Thanks for the holiday letter, Husker. It opened right up on my iPad.

Have a good week, everyone,


Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Gareth Bain, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Argyle, for the fine review.

Got a slow start with this puzzle. Kind of bounced around and wrote in the easiest words. That fixed me up and I filled it all in easily with a few perps to clue me on a few.

DOHA came slowly. As did A SHADE.

Never heard of VANITY PRESS before. Makes sense, though.

My wife likes CHEESE CURLS.

I am surprised that DIDDLY SQUAT was allowed in the puzzle. Oh well.

Started to write in IPOD, but IMAC soon took over.

Liked QUASI. Good word, or part of a word.

DIDO. I know we have had that before. Not a word I have used.

Montana: Nice Avatar. And who is that between your two sons?

Thanks for the emails HG and Lemon.

Off to the eye doctor again. Hopefully my last laser for a while.

11 degrees F. here today.

See you tomorrow.



TTP said...

Good morning all. Thank you Gareth and thank you Argyle.

Well, I was going to post the WIKI Answers link to the history of diddly squat, but Desper-otto beat me to it. The early bird gets the worm.

I've heard it or read it as, "You don't know diddly squat" and "You don't know diddly" and "You don't know squat." I've also heard "You don't know Jack" which is a shortened version of a vulgar phrase with a similar meaning.

Mari said...

Good morning everybody! This puzzle reminds me of something that I should be doing. Especially with holiday parties and Christmas cookies everywhere I go.

I was unfamiliar with MELD and DIDO, but I enjoyed seeing some unusual words/phrases: QUASY and DIDLY SQUAT.

Desper-Otto @ 7:19 am: I enjoyed your origin of Diddly Squat. I often enjoy your posts. It would be a real treat to see you blog the puzzle someday.

Let's all have a great week!

Lucina said...

Good day, puzzlers! Cheers to you, Argyle, if only in virtual form.

This puzzle was so fast I hardly knew what hit me. My late DH would say DIDDLY SQUAT or any of the synonyms TTP mentioned and I though he made them all up.

DOHA of course has been immortalized by our own Doc here so that was easy.

I believe it was just last month that we saw DIDO but I thought Barry had a good point.

Thanks for the fun, Gareth. Apparently it lacked Z for a pangram.

Have a great Monday, everyone!

desper-otto said...

Forgot to mention that I initially misspelled SEUSS -- got the E and U reversed. CRENCH didn't look right.

Lucina, I didn't notice any J's or W's either.

It's only 35 degrees here in the southland. Brrrrrr. Husker might call it golfing weather, but I call it cold.

Husker Gary said...

-We have quit the Y and do all the theme answers at home with this simple equipment
-Doc, when the oil runs out, what happens to all this in DOHA?
-When SOSA got caught doping, he all of sudden couldn’t speak English in a congressional hearing
-Every controversial ISSUE has a 24/7 news outlet on both sides
-Did Beaver’s nuclear FAMILY ever really exist?
-We got new ROOFING from hail after 5 years but MIL across town has needed a new roof for 30 years
-The best NBA rivalry ever? CELTICS/Lakers – Larry/Magic
-3 countries still using lbs and feet: USA, Liberia and Myanmar (BURMA)
-Don’t get between Joann and HOT FUDGE and no one gets hurt
-Groundbreaking I SPY was first weekly show co-starring a white and black actor
-A two teaspoon DOSE followed by a “spoonful of sugar” perhaps
-Fascinating Walking VINES (:19)
-Hey Otto, if there’s no snow and it’s above 40, FORE!
-“What’s that ODOR” seems very different from “What’s that aroma?”
-Name the tune with the lyric “We had a quarrel, a lover’s SPAT. All right, I’m sorry, but my letter keeps coming back”

Steven J. St. John said...

Another great puzzle from Gareth Bain. Really smooth Monday.

thehondohurricane said...

Hi folks,

As already mentioned often by others. a fun Monday romp.

DIDDLY SQUAT brought me back to the many days spent in the locker room ( before and after practice/game, whatever) when anything went. A lot of lifetime friendships were forged in those confines. The term itself has many connotations, most of which are inappropriate in mixed company.

Winter has beset Ct in an ugly manner, lots of ice. My driveway is a skating rink. Tomorrow more snow, but without the sleet and icing mixture.

Montana, love your new avatar.

Have a good day.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Easy enough today. When I got to the reveal I began to wonder how the theme worked. Confirmed my long entries and it actually assisted with ……CURL Perps helped with VANITY PRESS. Did not understand INSP before reading Argyle's write-up. No strikethroughs or searches were needed.
EBB - Frequent puzzle visitor but am always glad to see it. When I was a kid, my mother would often wax poetic and sprinkle "Ebb und Floot" (ebb and flood) into her conversation.

Have a great day.

Lucina said...

You're right!

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

An easy, breezy Monday offering from Mr. Bain. Clever theme and, I suppose, quite apropos for the food and drink-laden holidays. Thanks, Mr. B and thanks, Mr. A for your cheery expo.

Nice shout out to our resident Doc, now of Riverside, prior of Doha!

Have a great day.

buckeye bob said...

@ Husker Gary

Monday easy: Return to Sender, Elvis Presley

Husker Gary said...

We went to see the movie Nebraska yesterday and it was fabulous. It was about a man trying to reconnect with his alcoholic father by returning with him to his small hometown in Nebraska. I am a man who had an alcoholic father who grew up in small town Nebraska and so the connection was automatic although it could be any state (the director is Omahan Alexander Payne who made these other great movies) and any father/son relationship. To call it great is to damn with faint praise. You couldn’t spend a much better time at the movies this year.

CrossEyedDave said...






thehondohurricane said...


After LMAO at your exercise link, I'm adopting it as my new philosophy. It fits my situation to a T.

Tinbeni said...

DIDDLY-SQUAT ... my favorite crossword answer of the year.

Misty said...

Delightful Monday speed run, many thanks, Gareth. Did the puzzle just before I did my EXERCISES, although I'm not sure I do any of the theme specifics. Argyle, loved your Gingerbread House example of ORNATE.

I must be losing it, but I don't remember DIDO, even though I'm sure I did that October puzzle. Can anybody explain it to me again?

We hosted our 21st annual Christmas party last night. The weather was so warm in Laguna that our guests were able to sit on the patio with their champagne glasses. Made it the best party ever!

Have a great week, everybody!

Montana said...

Hondo, my #3 son lives in CT. He was happy to be in Vail instead of home.
Forecast says temps into the 60s here in Denver this week.
Love it,


Sallie said...

Good afternoon everyone.

Haven't had time to try the suggestions to get my avatar up.

Good Monday puzzle, but I DNF. I couldn't suss 5 bits of the mid South.
And I don't see that BESOT means to ply with drink. I've heard it only as "He was besotted." Meaning he did it himself.

We're having a cold snap. Down to 68° this morning, going up to 72°.



Jared said...


After reading Owen's wonderful poems, I was hoping you were going to regale us with pics of pearl necklaces.

Vidwan827 said...

Thank you. Gareth Bain for a nice and easy puzzle ..... No, no, I really, really enjoyed it. Very good for a Monday. Thank you Argyle for a comprehensive review .... Loved all the info on the champagne .... One of these days I'm gonna find out what it tastes like. Something invented by a bunch of women has simply got to be great.

Thank you desperOtto for the entertaining history of Diddly Squat, why can't all history be so much fun ? I think we should invent a banknote, so we can put his portrait on it.

Thank you CED, so early in the day, so I get my RDA of requisite humor. You should compile an online DVD of all your meticulous research.

Did anyone also think of our friend, DoDo when d-do was a possible answer.?

Have a nice day, and a good week, all.

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, A delightful exercise in the crossword puzzle realm today, thanks to Gareth Bain. Thanks, too to Argyle for a great writeup.

I didn't even notice Dido as it filled in with the perps and had to go back to see where it occurred in the puzzle after Barry mentioned it in his write up.

My only mishap today was to put in Cheese Puff instead of Cheese Curl. That was erased and fixed pretty fast.

It has warmed up this morning. It was 38 in our backyard at 7:00 A.M. It has been in the 20's. We are in a virtual heat wave!

Montana, love your new Avatar.

Lucina, how did the Tamale making go this year?

Have a great day and week, everyone.

By the way, I like the comment section back up at the top of the posting area.

Vidwan827 said...

Last weekend, I came across an ad for Google, .... Made by Ogilvy & Mather, an international ad agency, ( Indian division - ), which is on Youtube. It tugged at my heart strings, twanged my conscience, and touched the yearnings of my soul. It's touches on the "Partition" , a sad part of Indian and Pakistani independence history, and the chaos and catastrophe that followed the migration in 1948.

But the ad itself is about friendship, memories and brotherly love, despite the 65 years, from 1948 till 2013, (now).

... And of course, the use of Google search engines to locate old forgotten things and jiggle the memory...

It is the story of how a Hindu immigrant refugee, in Delhi could think of linking up with a Muslim childhood friend, from Lahore, (his original hometown ). ... Through their grandchildren .... And ( of course -) Google.

Maybe you might enjoy it .... It only 3.32. Minutes.

It is in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi .... But it has subtitles , or they can be enabled, through the ad.

Link. Indo Pak childhood friends


Vidwan827 said...

OR, ....

Again, on the Google India ad, on Youtube, ....

Better still , the above ad, with complete subtitle translation .... Including the complete English translation of the song ...

Here is Reunion indopak google ad

Hope you like it.

Bill G. said...

Happy Monday! I enjoyed the puzzle and finished it late last night. I don't think I've ever seen DIDDLY-SQUAT in a puzzle before, or even in print for that matter. Thanks Gareth and Argyle.

I enjoy my Safari homepage ( very much. On my other browser, Firefox, I use the LA Times for a homepage. I started having problems yesterday. I have spent a while on the LA Times help phone line this morning. First, on hold with the most dreadful 'Hold music' I've ever had to sit through. A while ago, the LAT started allowing me to read about five articles a month (?) for free. So, I thought it would be worth it to sign up and pay so I could read as much as I wanted to. It all worked fine until yesterday when they asked me for my password again, made me change my password and I still kept getting error messages. So I called them this morning to try to straighten everything out. After the terrible music was over, a woman with an unusual accent (Thai?) tried to help me. Thirty minutes later I finally gave up. I told them to cancel the whole thing. The woman didn't seem too upset and was probably happy to get rid of me. So now I'm using for my Firefox homepage.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. I laughed out loud at DIDDLY SQUAT, then laughed doubly loud at reading the story of the "historic" origin of the phrase that desper-otto posted. A fun puzzle today, indeed. Best wishes to you all.

Lucina said...

I am still teary from that link. It is beautifully rendered and rips at my heartstrings. Thank you.

As usual, making the tamales was hard work but with many hands it moves along quickly. Since it was a weekday, Friday, we were a little shorthanded, but everyone pitched in to take up the slack. We made only 25 dozen

Today, my friend Kathy, whom you met on our trip, came and we had eggs and tamales for breakfast. Oh, my, they are good! Very light and fluffy.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! I always like Gareth's puzzles. I laughed out loud when I got DIDDLY SQUAT. Though it must be wrong, but no red letters appeared.

Thanks, Argyle! Always loved "Gentle on MY MIND."

I knew DOHA only because of Doc. Thanks!

Is it just me or does CRUSTED sound less appetizing than plain old CRUST on a pie?

Lemonade714 said...

The ultimate shout out to our DOHA DOC, but alas he has abandoned that outpost...

DIDO may stick after seeing it twice.

DIDDLY SQUAT was in the MARCH 15, 2011 LA Times. It is interesting to see the turnover here in 33 months.

Always love Gareth's puzzles, they are so clean and fit this Monday perfectly. Thanks, and thank you COACH Potato

Pat said...

Even for me this was almost too easy. A good Monday puzzle. It was fun. Thanks, Gareth and Argyle.

Another 2" of snow this morning. We've had highs in the mid 30's but by the end of the week we should be in the low 50's so we aren't going to have a white Christmas.

Loved the history of DIDDLY SQUAT. I've used and heard all forms of it.

DOHA I know from our Doc, now of Riverside.

I need to get back to the gym and the theme answers. Been slacking off.

Have a nice week, everyone.


OwenKL said...

58A. *Arc-shaped, finger-staining snack food : my first thought was BBQ ribs, and when that didn't fit, I kept trying to think of something similar like baby-back ribs until perps revealed I was thinking of the wrong type of foods entirely.

I seem to have picked the wrong words to lim this morning. I should have gone for something like

He diddled one girlfriend's G-spot,
He diddled another one's slot.
Until him wife caught him
Tied his diddler with a knot in,
Now all he can do's diddly-squat!

Interesting -- RhymeZone doesn't have any rhyming words for squat starting with "tw". 3:}

Cautiously curious said...

Owen KL. ... You've done outdid yourself.

Toeing the line. But hilarious ... Your are a poetical (?) genius.

Compared to your poetry, the puzzles must be a letdown.

Good luck, and more power to you. Best wishes.

Qli said...

This puzzle was a lot of fun! Thanks for the treat on a Monday, GB.

Our son and his fiancee left yesterday after a wonderful nine-day visit. CT is much too far from ND, IMHO. Time to get back into the Y routine again, now that my vacation time is over. Christmas will be pretty quiet around here.

Like Barry, I wondered why ODOR was clued as a sour smell. But as HG said, ODOR has a nastier connotaion than smell.

For some reason, "crispy" sounds cuter than "out of shape", CED..

PK said...

I don't know. Crispy sounds on the verge of crumble. We don't need further deterioration. LOL!

Owen: Oh, naughty, naughty! TSK TSK!

Bill G. said...

Vidwan, I agree with Lucina. Really nice reunion video.

I would love to try a couple of Lucina's tamales. A local woman (from Guatemala) usually gives us a couple for Christmas. Very tasty.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Fun offering from Gareth and expo from Argyle. Thanks!

Out of the gate DOHA (hey Doc!) and sparklies in the middle. I liked BURMA, SEUSS (perps for vowel placement), and SPINE (when will politicians get one?)

I don't walk a MILE for this anymore.

Last Friday my almost ex-boss (and now good friend) BESOT me with beer. I had to take the cab-of-shame the next morning to get my car.*

I alsmost didn't get DIDLYSQUAT without the theme because I read 28a as Nearly done at least 10 times. Theme gave me SQUAT and then I re-read it. Doh!

Lucina - I think it was you that told me about what to mix with APPLEs to make Brown Betty 2 months ago. Thanks - the knowledge stuck!

I'll second Marti - D-O up for an expo?

Owen - Close to the edge, but FUNNY. I won't link ZZTop for cautious curious.

Bill G. - I'll meet you at Lucina's so we can give the Tamales a try - I love them this time of year.

Vid - the $1 is just fine for DIDDLYSQUAT, since that's about what it's worth today :-) ($1.27 for 16oz pop, sheesh).

Cheers, -T
*The cab-of-shame is better than calling your new employer on Monday to say you're still in jail :-) Yes, I started my new job today and love it.

Lucina said...

BillG, AnonT, et al:
I'd love to share my tamales with you. They really are uncommonly good.

The secret is all in thoroughly kneading the masa. A small lump of it has to float in water before it's ready to use.

PK said...

AnonT, congratulations on your new job. May you love it as much in a year!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Still no Cruciverb. Just did both Monday's and Tuesday's puzzles on that clunky LAT site. Really cuts down on the enjoyment factor. Montana, you must be tougher than me!

Anonymous T said...

Lucina - I will have to read up on tamale making after I get my sea-legs at the new job (and get through Christmas - I haven't even started shopping and I have gifts to get to IL!)

PK - Thanks. It _is_ big change but I think I will like it. I felt so re-invigorated on the commute home. So far so good. And, two (shared) assistants that take care of minutia can't be all bad :-)

I was out over the weekend - where'd YR go?

OK, gotta get to bed. 6a comes early :-(

Cheers, -T

Bill G. said...

I'm going to miss Ray Price. I would think anybody who appreciates a ballad would enjoy his songs.

AnonT, maybe we should drive to Arizona, huh?

Dudley, I don't like the LAT site either. Mensa is much better. It's at:

Montana said...

Bill G., the Mensa site doesnt work on an iPad.


Anonymous said...

Same theme as GARY STEINMEHL 3/15/2011 puzzle.