Jan 3, 2014

Friday, January 3, 2014, Ed Sessa

Theme: Before and After Bridge

Well it is Friday and time to present another way to hide the theme, this time with 4 sets of answers paired together where the answer to the the first fill needs BRIDGE added to the end to make sense of the clue/fill and the second part of the pair needs BRIDGE to precede the answer to complete the fill. The puzzle certainly made me aware of how many different meanings BRIDGE has. Without asterisks or other hints, locating and sussing the theme was quite difficult, even with the reveal. This is my third write up of Mr. Sessa, who has been one of the steadiest and most prolific constructors with about 30 LAT and 21 NYT in the past few years. The puzzle did not have much long fill, but the 7s and 8s were good. ARTISTE, CANTEEN,  CORRODE,  COURSES,  IN TOTAL,  MACABRE,  NOODGES, STERNUM, COIN CASE,  INTEGRAL. The cluing was hard, so I'd best get to work unraveling....

14A. Stream crosser : FOOT. (4) (Footbridge).  and 16A. Sets of 13 cards : HANDS. (5). (Bridge hands).

24A. 1990 Newman/Woodward drama : MR AND MRS. (8) (Mr and Mrs Bridge). Never heard of this MOVIE (2:46), despite the cast, it only grossed $7 million; but knowing I was looking for BRIDGE from footbridge, this made sense, then I later saw the reveal, then 26A. Overcome a significant difference : THE GAP (6) had to be (Bridge the Gap).

54A. Oral prosthesis : DENTAL. (6) (Dental bridge). With implants, they may disappear. 56A. Spock and Uhura, e.g. : OFFICERS. (8) (Bridge officers). Notice how the length of the fill flip flops to maintain symmetry.

66A. Place for spectacles : NASAL. (5) (Nasal bridge) The bridge of your nose. 67A. Military fortification : HEAD. (bridgehead). I am not sure if it is intentional or not, but footbridge and bridge head which are the symmetrical 'hidden' theme answers, are the only ones which are a single word. Securing the end of a bridge in war has always been Military STRATEGY.
The reveal:

52D. Apt word to substitute for each of four black squares to make sense of the across answers on either side of them : BRIDGE. That made everything as clear as mud.


1. Creepy thing : MOSS. What a tough way to start, after giving up on bugs, and ghouls, I thought of IVY then VINE; 1 down not being easy made this a challenging beginning.

5. Oft-used PC key : ESC. How do you guess between ESC, ALT and DEL? Really hard with SOLAR and LUNAR both fitting.

8. Karel Capek genre : SCI FI. We have had various references to this AUTHOR before, usually because he coined the word ROBOT. This was a gimme for Owen, but for the rest of us,  I knew this was not going to be a speed run.

13. "O.G. Original Gangster" rapper : ICE T. I do not know rap, and it is getting harder to find links without long ads, so we travel to Poland for this VERSION. (2:58). Along with ICE CUBE, he has made the transition to mainstream TV.

17. Residential plot : ACRE. Even this was tricky as so few houses are built on this large a lot.

18. Sweeping target : FLUE. Chimney sweeps...we have to work for every letter today.

19. Prologue : INTRO. Finally, and some may nit about it not suggesting an abbreviation.

20. Hindu collection : SUTRA. I know we have all heard of the Kama Sutra, but there is MORE.

22. Performer : ARTISTE.

29. Promise : ASSURE.

30. Doc who treats snorers : ENT. Ear Nose and Throat.

32. Lake __ College, near Cleveland : ERIE.

33. Wrong treatment : MISUSE. I had trouble seeing this definition.

35. Tree knot : GNARL.

36. 1957 Treaty of Rome org. : EEC. European Economic Community. This TREATY was a step on the way to the current European Union.

39. Consume : EAT. Placed nicely next to...

40. Consumer's guide, briefly : RDA. Recommended Daily Allowance. I never had an allowance.

42. Caustic chemical : LYE.

43. It may be pulled at a gym : GROIN. As opposed to your leg in conversation.

45. Bring up to speed : INFORM.

48. V __ Victor : AS IN.

49. Road warning : SLO. I do not like this sign, but the fill is legitimate.

50. Lit at the table, perhaps : FLAMBE. People and flames....

58. Become rusty : CORRODE.

60. "Shaddap!" : CAN IT! My New England upbringing always taught me, "You eat what you can, and what you can't, you can."

61. Muse of poetry : ERATO. More popular than lady gaga and miley combined.

63. Mythical maneater : OGRE. Musical interlude. ONE. (4:25).

65. Sit tight : BIDE.

68. Fly off the handle : RAGE. Many of us have had to deal with rageaholics in life.

69. Inscribed pillar : STELE. This has become a CW staple, we saw it at the end of November here..

70. Sneaky : SLY.

71. Sch. level : ELEM.


1. Noxious gas : MIASMA. I am more familiar with its use as to noxious atmosphere; a Friday word.

2. Comes to pass : OCCURS.

3. SmartSurface mattresses : SERTAS. Interesting that SEALY has the same number of letters as SERTA.

4. Rib cage part : STERNUM.  From the Greek Sternos. This finally got me started.

5. Valedictorian's nightmare : EFF. Man, is this where I get to link the EFF  word pics?

6. __ eclipse : SOLAR. Lunar/solar...

7. Soup-to-nuts listing : COURSES. Four courses is about the most I can handle.

8. Turkish for "skewer" : SHISH. Sheesh, we should know this from all the Kebab (kabob?) we eat.

9. Hiker's container : CANTEEN. Hydrate.

10. Vital : INTEGRAL.

11. New Deal initials : FDR. Do I need to spell this one out?

12. Prefix meaning "equal" : ISO.

15. Asian festival : TET. To most my age inextricably associated with the Vietnam War.

21. Brody of "The Pianist" : ADRIEN. Wonderful, sad, moving movie.

23. TV cousin : ITT. The Addams family.

25. Phoenix suburb : MESA.

27. Light : AIRY.

28. Soccer superstar : PELE. His legend lives on in the CW world.

31. Maker of the Super Soaker : NERF. Unrelated by I recently heard this SONG.(3:57).

34. Monthly exp. : UTILities.

35. Enticing kitchen aroma : GARLIC. A shout out to our Gilroy girl.

36. "Gosh!" : EGAD.

37. Scots Gaelic : ERSE.

38. Place for petty cash? : COIN CASE. Like alliteration, but struggled a bit here.

41. Tip : DOFF. My cap at this one.

44. Taken together : IN TOTAL.

46. Nags : NOODGES. From Yiddish nudyen (to pester, bore), from Polish nudzic. The word developed a variant spelling 'nudge' under the influence of the English word 'nudge'. A cousin of this word is nudnik (a boring pest). First recorded use: 1960. Per wordsmith.

47. Saint-Saëns' "Danse __" : MACABRE. A Halloween staple, seen HERE (7:18) from a visual perspective.

49. Camera letters : SLR. Single Lens Reflex.

51. Lowly : MENIAL.  Followed by...

53. Value : ESTEEM.

55. Play __ in : A ROLE.

57. Born in the wild : FERAL. I guess this is accurate but I think of feral as a domesticated animal living in the wild.

59. "How lovely!" : OOH. AHH, we are almost done and these three letter ones helped.

61. Annapolis grad. : ENSign.

62. Squealer with a tale or a tail : RAT. Lovely use of language.

64. Market freezer name : EDY. Because Breyer's never fits.

Well, here is another year upon us, and almost time for the Corner's anniversary, as C.C. pointed out, and so many responded on the 1st. I hope this one did not keep you late night solvers up too late, and I look forward to opinions hearing from all the readers, the lurkers, the regulars, the now and agains, and the long lost. Peace out and may 2014 be the best yet.


Note from C.C.:

Husker Gary just updated his brilliant Crossword Corner map. Click on it for a clearer view. Please contact Gary ( if you want to be added or removed from the map. Thanks for the hard work, Gary!


OwenKL said...

I sing a song of bridges, you see them everywhere.
Not all bridges span great rivers, with cantilevered flair.
A FOOT BRIDGE spans a smaller stream, to help a hiker's walk,
It is railing o'er a babbling brook, if we could hear them talk.
To serve as our amusement, we could play a few BRIDGE HANDS,
Although, alas, I am not one who this game understands.

There's MR. AND MRS. BRIDGE, a movie with a story
Whose plot is thin as real life's is. Not a favorite -- sorry.
A chasm wide, a great abyss, our span will BRIDGE THE GAP
So roads may flow from town to town, and all across the map.

On smaller scale, a DENTAL BRIDGE resides among the teeth
To fill in for the missing pearls, and give the jaw relief.
Naval ship or starship, there's need for good BRIDGE OFFICERS
To fill the mission and bring home the crew of voyagers.

The NASAL BRIDGE shields sinuses, perched above the nares,
Give glasses place to rest and look like there are smarts upstairs.
In war-torn territory, an army general needs a BRIDGE HEAD.
And now our poem's finished, so let us close and go to bed!

OwenKL said...

A difficult puzzle, but in hindsight the greatest difficulty was caused by the gimmick, and that the clues applied to the results after the gimmick was applied, and not to the entry that was actually entered in the grid. Even with the reveal, it wasn't given where the theme entries were hidden, so I wasn't able to locate them until after the puzzle was completed. Then I misunderstood the reveal to mean the words on either side together (like maybe WINNING BRIDGE HAND) would make a phrase, so it took me a while to realize there were 8 individual theme entries, rather than 4 compound ones. The theme entries were symmetrically placed, but I didn't notice that until I'd found them all. It's curious that 5 out of the 8 used body parts.

OwenKL said...

Anyway, I finished it with just red letter help, not looking anything up until after completion. I don't recall MR & MRS BRIDGE, but from the synopsis at IMDb it looks like a chick flick I'd avoid.

33a Heteronym, MISUSE, the clue is clunky for the noun, but fits well for the verb (or is it the other way around?)
49a SLO probably never appears on a traffic sign, but sometimes painted on a roadway, which is just what the clue says. I still don't like it.
46d Thank you Lemonade for explaining NOODGE, I only got it by perps
47d those of you who read my poems should recognize from my verse Monday of this week.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Struggled with this one, especially in the NW corner, until I finally got to the theme reveal and figured out what was going on. And then I still struggled in the NW corner...

I had to make a bunch of guesses up there, some semi-educated and some wild, to get the job done. Never heard of MR AND MRS BRIDGE, but it sounded like a plausible name of a movie. ACRE seems more like a farm unit of measure than a residential one, but it fit. ICET is the only four letter rapper I know, so I went with that.

Had the hardest time choosing between ALT/LUNAR and ESC/SOLAR. Once I got the theme reveal, however, I was able to guess at FOOT Bridge, which gave me SOLAR. I still resisted putting in EFF at 5D. A valedictorian is somebody who is graduating at the top of his or her class, so the clue didn't make any sense to me. Maybe a potential valedictorian's nightmare...

Time to go shovel out, I guess. :(

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I usually solve across and down, so BRIDGE was almost the last word to appear today. I did finally get the theme, probably for the first and last time this year.

Lemon, thanks for 'splainin' ITT. I was wondering what IT&T had to do with TV. I thought the "mythical maneater" was going to be a female. Nope.

Texas was almost my downfall. OOH and FERAL looked solid, but I wasn't familiar with NOODGES. You don't see EDY in the freezers around here, so that was also slow to show up.

Well done, Mr. Sessa. It was fun, and I survived to DNF some other day.

Al Cyone said...

Four black squares? Well, a lot more than four on the online puzzle. And I have issues with many of the clues but, since I finished, I won't complain. Still, the very last letter (D) was a complete WAG (i.e. I hit every letter on the keyboard until I heard "TaDa!"). HEAD made no sense without realizing it was part of the BRIDGE theme and good ol' EDY never occurred to me.

The temperature is just about to drop into negative numbers here in the beautiful mid-Hudson Valley. Much too cold to venture outside to shovel what looks to be about 6"-8" of light, fluffy snow. The NYS Thruway was closed between Albany and NYC last night. I can't remember the last time that happened.


Yellowrocks said...

Tough one, but no red letter help or Google needed, just extra time. Thanks for a good one, Ed Sessa.
I was initially more successful in the bottom, so I had DENTAL and OFFICERS early on, but with reservations. Then I read the reveal clue and realized BRIDGE fit the black squares and 52 D.
MISUSE pronounced with an S sound is a very common noun. Pronounced with a Z sound, it is an equally common verb.
NOODGES These puzzles always remind me how strong an influence Yiddish has in North Jersey. I am usually surprised that these words are not common elsewhere.
Barry, I agree about EFF. It's the potential valedictorian who has to worry. The actual one would not be there with an EFF. But, it could have been a nightmare along the way to success.
Do you frequently use the ESC key? I almost never do.
Enjoyed your write up, Lemon, especially Danse Macabre.
Owen, you were really outstanding today.

Mari said...

Good morning everybody. This was definately a Friday level puzzle. It was tough, but with a couple of write overs I was able to finish it.

I tried I SWEAR instead of ASSURE for Promise. I tried CANDLE and then FONDUE in place of FLAMBE for Lit at the table, perhaps.

I understood the unifier but was thrown off because I hadn't heard of MR AND MRS BRIDGE.

23D TV cousin was good because I was thinking VCR or DVR instead of ITT. Very clever.

I hope everybody has a great weekend. Stay warm, and for those in the NE especially be safe in the snow.

June said...

Loved seeing the map today. Thanks so much for that Gary.

HeartRx said...

Good morning all,

Nice write-up, Lemony! I also enjoyed the Danse MACABRE video.

Like others, I was only vaguely familiar with MR AND MRS Bridge, but it made sense after the puzzle was done. I had the same slip-ups as others, with lunar/SOLAR or alt/ESC being my main nail biters.

Also agree about "potential" valedictorian. I never had an F in HS, but always had nightmares about getting one.

I'm all shoveled out, so now I can sit down with a nice hot coffee and relax. Oh no, wait - I can't. DH has a horrible case of bronchitis. So, it's off to the drug store...

Lucina said...

Good day, all! I'm always happy to see you at your post, Lemonade. Thank you for explaining this circuitous theme.

I saw the theme and managed to BRIDGE THE GAP which then made sense of this brilliant grid. At first I was put off by the partial answers until BRIDGE appeared. It was a long slog to finish and I started very slowly, one word here and there until finally an entire quadrant filled.

I had to ASSURE myself that NOODGES was correct so researched it and learned that it is indeed a real word. Thanks for the further explanation, L.

When the movie, MR AND MRS BRIDGE came out, the reviews were terrible and I felt so bad for Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward because they rarely appeared together in a movie and to have their only one fail seemed unreal as both were brilliant ARTISTEs.

Thank you, Ed Sessa, I really enjoyed solving this puzzle and am vastly impressed with its complexity.

Great job on the map, HG. Thank you!

Have a fabulous Friday, everyone!

Al Cyone said...

I forgot to thank Husker Gary for his impressive map. It's fun to see where everyone is.

Anonymous said...

Where's that confounded BRIDGE?

Bill said...

I generally don't like strange theme gimmicks, and this one was really obtuse. I finished it but didn't "get" the them until I read the blog.

buckeye bob said...

Thank you Ed Sessa for a challenging puzzle. Thank you Lemonade for an excellent review.

This was a good Friday-level puzzle for me. After the first pass, I had very few answers filled in. Went back and slowly filled in. I finally completed it at 35 minutes, but no ta-da! What? Re-read all the Acrosses, and no typos. Re-read all the Downs and no typos. What the heck? Read all the Down clues and answers and all seemed reasonable. Finally turned on red letter help, and had 1 letter wrong. Changed NAVAL to NASAL and ta-da! at 40 minutes. Whew! Good mental exercise!

What Owen said about the theme. It made it difficult, but that is part of the Friday-level.

What everyone else said about EFF. Glad to see ELEM instead of ELHI. Never heard of NOODGES. Like dialects, I suspect your knowledge of Yiddish depends on where you have lived.

Gary, thank you for the map. It is interesting to be able to visualize our locations.

David R said...

The LAT came printed with 34D as Monthly exp. aroma and no 35D. I love a little additional challenge to get my juices flowing. Figured out the bridge before I got the revealer as THE GAP made no sense.

Qli said...

Well, my second DNF of the year. Devilishly clever, Mr. Sessa; I DOFF my hat to you! (or I would if I was wearing one, but I am stil in my jammies...)

Favorite clue: sweeping target. NASAL and DENTAL seemed like bad grammar until Lemonade revealed the theme. I goofed up the NE corner by filling in "kabob" instead of SHISH.

Now to get out of my jammies and get some work done. Stay safe in this weather, you Northeasterners, as seen on HG's map.

Lemonade714 said...

You guys miss the point about about the poor sleeping Valedictorian. He/She gets all As and has no chance of getting an F, but in his/her sleep he/she dreams of this catastrophic event. A true nightmare.

It is like dreaming that your pants fall down while addressing a jury; a nightmare.

Happy New year to all in the north who being ravaged by winter, be safe. Hahtoolah, did you go watch Nick Satan lose another game, this one in your backyard?

Owen, I especially love the first stanza of today's OKL special.

Gary, you da man. Where are Mr and Mrs Warren? Happy New Year

PK said...

Hi Y'all! This was a real slog for me. WEES! I puzzled over the reveal and couldn't make sense of that because terms like BRIDGEHEAD and NASAL BRIDGE didn't sound right to me. Lemonade unsnarled this for me. Thanks! I usually like Ed's puzzles. This was too far-fetched for me. I filled all the squares eventually thanks to red-letter runs, but was glad when it was over.

As valedictorian of my high school class of 12, EFF did not occur to me as an answer. I tried cee then dee then bee to no avail then gave up and waited for perps. When in HS there was no way I was ever going to get an EFF. I didn't even dream of such a thing. A cee would have put me in shock.

MISUSE? I was thinking more along the line of malpractice which didn't fit.

My thoughts are with you blizzard-bound folks.
14* Cold here, but the sun shines on our inch of snow. I'll stay in with my head cold.

CanadianEh! said...

Wow! this one required work (and some red letter help) to finish. Thanks Lemon for explaining - I didn't see all the Bridges. Thanks for the poem OwenKL.

WEES about EFF and SLO. Hand up for LUNAR and CANDLE. I'm not familiar with NOODGES at all.
Nice shout-out to GARLIC gal.

Thanks HG for the map. I can't believe I am the only Canadian. We must have some lurkers from this side of the border!

Lemonade714 said...

On a convoluted related note, back when Dennis would post first he would provide us with interesting facts of the day. For example, 55 years ago on this date Alaska became a state. An since marti linked the SEGWAY for the fill SEGUE yesterday, today is also the anniversary of this ironic sad EVENT.

Lemonade714 said...

Scratch that, not the internet sources are limited by my reading skills.

C6D6 Peg said...

This started to look like a DNF at the beginning, but after diligence and help from my sweet hubbie, we got through it.

Great job by Ed & Lemonade!


Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I finished w/o help but didn't have much fun along the journey. To me, the theme felt forced and so did some of the clues, e.g., place for petty cash and wrong treatment. The only write-over was actress before artiste. That said, kudos to Mr. Sessa for a challenging effort. And thanks to Lemony for a cogent expo.

Nice shout out to Garlic Gal and to our own 13A, Mr. Tin, known in some circles as "The Iceman No-eth!"

I saw Mr. And Mrs. Bridge a long time ago. I remember very little, if anything, about it, so I guess it wasn't very good. We all know that even great actors can't save a bad story/script.

Nice job on the map, Gary. It's a lot more crowded than the first one.

I think our area got anywhere from 10-15 inches of snow. It's very pretty to look out on but with the high temp today of 2 to 6, and tonight's low of -5 to - 15, I'll be content to look only from my warm and cozy den!

Stay safe and warm.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone. Good PROLOGUE, Lemon.

Very hard today, but I did enjoy the solve. Got traction in bits and pieces, helter-skelter, and finally began to see how the gimmick actually worked. This helped near the end with fill like (BRIDGE) HEAD and (BRIDGE) HANDS. Favorite fill was MIASMA. Also had to consider 'lunar, before selecting SOLAR.
Another good Ed Sessa puzzle.

-11º here this am.

Have a good day.

Husker Gary said...

Lemon’s summary was sufficient for this big boy puzzle. Tough, smart and fair. FOOT v BOAT, ESC v ALT, EFF v ANF, SOLAR v LUNAR made 12 o’clock high a challenge. Needing BRIDGE to make the answer correct only came afterwards. Wow!

-O.G.’s flee the hood as soon as they have exploited it for cash
-Harold Hill’s reasoning for Marian to meet him at the FOOTBRIDGE in 15 minutes.
-ACREages are very common around here and sometimes have FERAL cats on the property
-I remember the COURSES INTRO to Art and Music as an undergrad
-Some members of the EEC are upset about subsidizing economically irresponsible members
-Sec. teaching skills have only some use in lower ELEM.
-Spock and Uhura were TREKKIES first
-It’s easy to understand why SOLAR eclipses could have had this effect
-Saint-Saëns' MACABRE music is fine, but this is my Halloween Music
-What movie valedictorian about teen angst had thoughts of killing himself because he was getting an EFF in shop?

thehondohurricane said...

Howdy all,

A toughie today and one in which I never expected to finish, but managed to eventually figure it out. A real piece of luck to get this solve w/o assistance.

BRIDGE fit, but made no sense to me, still doesn't. Had no idea which four black squares were applicable.

I don't think of GARLIC as an enticing kitchen aroma.

Badly wanted Dork for 41D. Dork reminded me of someone, I know, DOFF didn't. However, Rlambe & Ofkicers didn't look right.

Enjoyed watching Bama get their butts kicked last night. Hoping the same fate awaits Auburn.

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Ed Sessa, for an Artistic puzzle. Thank you, lemonade, for the fine review.

When I got up this morning it was 9 below zero. Now it is in the teens. Going in the right direction.

Got started slowly today. Had to bounce around quite a bit. Took me almost to the end of the puzzle to get BRIDGE. Not knowing FLAMBE did not help.

The theme eluded me. I was trying to figure which 4 black squares, until the end. Had I figured that out I would probably have completed without help. However, I did not.

Had to cheat a little bit, and also some letter runs.

Finally finished and came to the blog for explanations. Then it made sense.

I only spent 2 1/2 hours today.

I waffled between SOLAR and LUNAR for a while. Once I got FLUE, SOLAR won.

I was trying to fit some form of BURL into 35A, could not. GARLIC helped me with GNARL. I do like GARLIC.

NOODGES ???????????????

Liked DOFF for Tip. Good one.

Tomorrow is another day. See you then.


(5 8235843)

Abejo said...

Liked the map, Husker Gary. Thank you.


Husker Gary said...

Thoughts on the map
-I am glad that many of you enjoy the map
-I truly believe this only covers a small part of our population of our readers
-I know the crowding is somewhat hard to read and I may have to redo the map with numbers and a key. #1 would be in Minneapolis!
-It looks like there are some real areas of concentration where you guys could get together but I live an hour from Avg. Joe, am in Lincoln weekly and have not “covened” with him
-It would be great to hear from the ten or so states (and provinces, CanadianEh!) where we have no people yet. I know you’re out there.
-Hmmm… I wonder where that ONO woman lives that seems to be here every day?
-Now, I need one of my southern state friends to offer me some help to play golf this winter ;-)

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

I thought this was going to be a huge DNF, but with perseverance eked out a completion - can't say I enjoyed it very much though.

There is no gainsaying the cleverness of the theme, nor the brilliance of the execution - but no.

Just NO!

What would you call this MISUSE - some sort of weird inverted rebus?

Save these misbegotten gimmicks for the NYT, where they belong.

Beautiful map, Gary.

Cool regards!

Tinbeni said...

Lemon: Thank you for an informative write-up explaining my Ink Blot.

I thought the Valedictorian's nightmare would be "getting a BEE".

DNF ... I do have my scruples (they're low, but WTF!) and at 13-A, I had _ _ _ T!

Never heard of the Newman/Woodward movie ... hard to believe THEY made a clunker.

Thought HEAD was 2 other things. Always nice to have a learning moment.

A "toast" to all at Sunset.

Bill G. said...

I enjoyed the puzzle and had much the same difficulty as everybody else. WEES

I too couldn't make much sense out of MISUSE. EFF seems wrong as a nightmare for a valedictorian. I think a valedictorian might lose sleep or have bad dreams about an A minus or a B, but an F seems so unreasonable as not to be even considered. (I see that I agree with PK.)

It will be a REALLY COLD football game in Green Bay!

Gary, I have enjoyed your map since you first created it. My vote (if I get one) is for you not to switch to numbers and a key. I like the immediate feedback of seeing a name in a location.

john28man said...

I did about 2/3 without help. Given that the theme was too obscure for me, I'm happy. Actually, I'm happy whenever I'm doing cc puzzles.

I'm also happy that we now get readable "prove you're human" test with bumbers.

River Doc said...

Happy Friday everybody!

Although it seemed a lot more like a Saturday, that's how badly I muffed today's puzzle....

Wrong-overs included BOAT for FOOT, ADRIaN for ADRIeN, ACTRESS for ARTISTE, SUITS for HANDS, CLUE for DOFF, TOTEM for STELE, and RANT for RAGE....

Hands up for LUNAR and TREKKERS also....

My main nit with the puzzle was being misled into thinking that the word BRIDGE went between words where there were only two entries on the row. So I was left scratching my HEAD at trying to suss what in the hell a SUTRA BRIDGE was, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera....

All ranting aside, still a good mental exercise....

Glad to see that Tin is keeping his resolution...!

Finally, A big DOFF of the hat to Husker Gary for his map of the Corner's Cruciverbalists...! One request for the next edition would be to replace Doha and Vegas with River....

Anonymous said...

I got a headache just reading apt word to substitute for each of four black squares to make sense of the across answers on either side of thrm. I didn't like some of the cluing either. Not fun for me today

JJM said...

A DNF for me as I never got the first letter of the puzzle"M".
Here in Chicago we set tied a record for most consecutive hrs of snowfall held since 1983. I woke up and it was -2 with a wind chill of -13. So, after looking at Husker Gary's map, FLA. is looking better all the time.

Montana said...

I have been struggling with wi-fi issues, unreadable Captchas and yesterday, after I had typed my post, I needed to.put in my gmail password. Ugh! It is near impossible on my iPad as I need to switch among all three screens of keyboards. Obviously didn't accomplish it.
I'll try again in a few minutes. I refreshed Captcha many times and have a readable one.

I finished W &Th puzzles, but this one was a DNF.

Lemon: your nightmare comment reminded me of a real event. I had just finished passing out tests to a class of 25 8th graders and was walking back to my desk when the elastic on my half-slip broke and it fell to the floor! The students were so engrossed in starting their test, none noticed. I leaned over, picked it up and dropped it in the garbage can about 2 feet away. Found out at a 10-year class reunion that one boy in the front had noticed, but never said anything.

Time to walk granddaughter in her stoller. It's 61°in my area of Denver. My sympathies to you in the blizzards.
Our forecast is for -30° this weekend when a new Arctic blast moves south.


tiptoethru said...

I, too, struggled to find a way to figure this puzzle out after I found "the gap." But, slowly and surely, I fought my way out of the "miasma," didn't listen to any "noodges" and got this solved. Thanks for my brain workout, Mr. Sessa. This South Dakotan is going to button up and hide out for a while to avoid the cold. I "lurk" in the Black Hills!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

WEES. I was baffled by the incompleteness of The Gap and others until the reveal.

Husker 10:31 - That would be The Breakfast Club. Also, thanks for the Corner Map - it's interesting to see the geographic spread.

Misty said...

Wow! A real Friday challenge, but clever, clever, clever. And I got the WHOLE THING! Many thanks, Ed. I did have a problem though with my paper L.A. Times version of the puzzle. The clue for 34 D was "Monthly.exp. aroma." What the ___!" It turns out that a line was missing that would have given us the start of 35 D. Luckily GARLIC fell into place, making sense of AROMA, and UTIL made sense of an abbreviated MONTHLY EXPENSE. But it still took a bit of work to get over that error hurdle.

I put KABOB before SHISH--that also slowed me down. And of course I wanted DENTURE instead of DENTAL, and NOSE instead of NASAL. A real work-out, now that I think back on it.

Spent 4 hours in the ER yesterday to have my sweetie checked out for another possible stroke. His left (remaining good) hand had started hurting, reminding us of his first early stroke warning. Thank goodness, no alarms in that department and they think he's most likely got osteoarthritis, probably because that poor hand has to work overtime, putting all his weight on his side-walker handle when he walks. Disability is for sure not for sissies!

Have a great Friday, everybody!

Lemonade714 said...

Montana, our 5th grade English teacher was a very prim and proper lady named Mrs. Quirk, who liked to roam around the classroom. One unfortunate day (for her) as she circled, her skirt caught on a nail and before she realized it, the skirt was gone. Of course in those days she wore a slip, but she reacted like she was naked, hiding in the closet until we could get a teacher from the next classroom to come and help her. Not a nightmare, but pretty funny for a class of mostly boys.

Lemonade714 said...

Tiptoe, nice to see you briefly coming in from the cold, but it think it is too early for tulips....

Ol' Man Keith said...

What a great map from Husker Gary! I feel privileged to be included among such distinguished puzzlers!

A clever puzzle from Mr. Sessa and fine explaining from Lemonade! This was a good, tough Friday workout. It would have been easier if the LA Times had bothered to print a clue for 35D! Lacking that, I (naturally) thought the omission was a purposeful hint that the missing word was one of those that might have been a response to the theme clue, and because 35D falls only one black square below SHISH I spent a lot of time trying to fit KEBOB (or KEBAAB) into 35D, where, of course, it could not go. Grrr.
Anyway, I solved it all with just one "had to" double check, to be sure of the title MR AND MRS - before I had any sense of the missing theme word. Happily, it all made sense in the end.

harben said...

Hate to be picky but: wouldn't it be more accurate to say BOTH sides rather than EITHER; and furthermore, a "square" is a square but a rectangular figure is not necessarily a square.

Yellowrocks said...

Misty, My thoughts are with you and your sweetie. Disability really is no picnic.
The MISUSE of your appliances voids the warranty. Please remember not to stick your hand into the mower blades while they are whirling and don't drink the furniture polish. Leona earned the nickname "Queen of Mean" for her MISUSE of the "little people" as she termed her MENIALS, i.e. her staff, contractors and vendors.
Although I won the highest GPA certificate I was not the valedictorian. She was the winner of a speech contest.
The orthopedist is sure I have damaged my rotator cuff. An MRI next week will determine whether I will need an operation or only therapy. In any case, there is a three to four months recovery time. Getting my decorations down and stored will be a real hassle.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. In trying to compose my comments on this puzzle today I was reminded of a similar struggle in trying to review a book I had recently read. Although I could and did appreciate the skill and talent of the author, the beauty of the language and imagery, the subtleties of symbolism, and development of the plot, I was personally not fond of the book and was left with a sort of half-empty feeling of "what the heck was that all about, anyway?" My feelings about the puzzle today, and the one yesterday too, for that mater, are that it left me rather unsatisfied in spite of the fact that I recognize the skill and talent Mr. Sessa obviously has, and the cleverness of the puzzle's construction. It's that old dichotomy of subjective vs objective, and they quite often don't agree: I don't always like what I objectively know is skillfully constructed piece of work.
Gary, thanks ever so much for the map. I like it.
Best wishes to you all.

Bill G. said...

We just experienced an earthquake. I thought I felt a little shaking but nothing more. Then a quick BOOM that rattled the windows and scared me. That was it.

It was magnitude 3.1 and centered about 5 miles NNW of here.

Atlas shrugged said...

Verrry interrrresting .....

Jayce who's in the earthquake business and earthquake prediction, and all that sort of sh, stuff, does not feel a thing ... And Bill g. Who has probably never felt an earthquake has the tremors .

Bill, are you sure it was not your wife ?

Well, get out of the house man, Already !

Point of order said...

Bill G did you get mixed up?
Or is this your facebook page?

Husker Gary said...

-Well, I have happily amended the map at the request of non-bloggers Connie in Michigan and “Bcubed” near Toronto. How ‘bout dat CanadianEh!, you’re not alone! Non-blue “tiptoe” has also been placed in the Black Hills area which adds SD to our roll call. WELCOME ALL!!
-Here is a list of newspapers that carry the LA Times Crossword that C.C. compiled a year ago. Some of the unrepresented states on our map do not appear to have a major city or any city that carries the LA Times puzzle. For example, Mississippi shows no newspaper and Nebraska’s lovely neighbor Iowa only has the puzzle in the Iowa State University paper in Ames (a familiar name for us solvers) and nowhere else.
-A blog regular wrote to tell me to tell me that he cannot find the name of four blog stalwarts on the map and I will tell him and you that those are not omissions (although assuming my incompetence is reasonable) by me but rather ones that are dictated by their asking me to not post their location or having never revealed their location. I would be delighted to add them but only at their request.
-I await further requests for additions or deletions and will have C.C. post the amended map when I think we have reached another plateau.

Jayce said...

As for the earthquake Bill G felt, I don't know if any of our instruments picked it up or not. Generally our instruments cannot detect a quake that is less than magnitude 5 and/or more than 20 kilometers away. I don't have a map handy but I think the nearest detector we have to Bill's area is in Corona, California.

Bill G. said...

When I feel an earthquake, there are several websites with access to earthquake maps. Here's one that I used today. Earthquake map

Atlas shrugged said...

Jayce, I wouldn't worry much about the quake .

If it was bad enough, none of you folks would be posting anyhow.

Quaking Aspen said...

A minor earthquake has shaken western areas of Los Angeles and neighboring communities.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-3.1 tremor occurred at 11:48 a.m. Friday.

The quake was centered 1 mile northwest of Marina del Rey at a depth of 6 miles.

Residents reporting on the USGS community response Internet page characterize the intensity as weak to light.

Lemonade714 said...

3.1 is more than I want. Be safe you California crew.

Al Cyone said...

HG@2:32: "Some of the unrepresented states on our map do not appear to have a major city or any city that carries the LA Times puzzle."

I thought that's what the Internet is for.

TTP said...

Good afternoon all !

Unusually late for me. My boy woke me up and kept me up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. Found out he doesn't like the chirping of the combination smoke / CO2 detector. We couldn't hear it. It was the one in the basement. It was letting us know "Low Battery" followed by a chirp. Why do these things always happen in the middle of the night ? Anyhow, I can't really find fault with the boy, but I sure am tired, and it didn't help with my solving experience.

Speaking of which... it was a fail. Like john28man, I got about 2/3rds done w/o help. Changing the game to Regular did not help. So, a lot of WEES, including not knowing which 4 black squares were important, and not understanding some of the grammatical disconnects. Lemonade, thanks for explaining how and where BRIDGES fit in.

So now I get it, but I'm in JzB's corner on this one. Not my cup of Earl Grey, if I were to paraphrase Abejo. Jayce's opinion captured my sentiments at 1:56.

Abejo, Mari and JJM, how about this weather ?

HG, I liked the map as well.

Husker Gary said...

I agree Al but I assume that most of us encountered the puzzle and consequently this site from the media that is “black and white and read all over”. Maybe newspapers are going the way of kerosene lanterns but that was my thinking.
Well, we’re off to Lincoln, where'd I put that dern buggy whip ;-)

TTP said...

Oops, my post from yesterday that never got posted. It has the secrets to my sauerkraut, so I thought I'd better post it.

Hand up for pork, sauerkraut and kielbasa every Jan 1st.

Abejo, I can't wait until supper. I couldn't even wait until lunch. I started cooking before 7 AM yesterday morning. After roasting the pork shoulder at 325 for a couple of hours, I put the granite ware roaster on the stove top, added the sauerkraut and a quarter cup of brown sugar to take off a little of the bite, and stirred in a can of beer. Then added the kielbasa on top, covered, and let it all simmer. By 11:00 AM, I already had two sandwiches and a plateful. Yesterday was all about alternating from keeping up with the snow and to eating pork roast, sauerkraut and kielbasa while watching college football.

CC may have come from carbon copy, but in the online world, I've always thought of it as Courtesy Copy. I must have read that somewhere. Courtesy has replaced carbon in my CC and BCC.

Avg Joe said...

Hand up for roast pork and sauerkraut on New Years Day, but what?? No black eyed peas??? Gotta have black-eyes to do it right.

Largely enjoyed the challenge of today's puzzle. Not quite Jayce's or Jazz's mouth full of feathers, but not as much fun as others we've done. Interesting gimmick and a tough solve.

TTP, I agree. CC has become Courtesy Copy in lieu of Carbon Copy in the modern era. Not sure if that's just a desire for continuity, but that's the most Occam-esque explanation.

61Rampy said...

Puzzle today seemed more like a NYT, rather than an LAT theme. DNF because of EFF, FOOT and FLUE.
Husker Gary, thanks for the map! I thought it was fun to see where people are.
Anon @ 8:52- You're a Led Zeppelin fan, I assume?
Lots of snarky anons today? Must be Friday!
I do not envy you guys in the Midwest or Northeast!

Bumppo said...

14A, 26A, 54A, 66A and 67A are fouls because the answers make no sense without 52D, which is not indicated as part of the clue or part of the answer in any of them (except in 52D, but without indication of 14A, 26A, 54A, 66A or 67A in the clue to 52D). Thus 52D also is a foul, and the whole puzzle is a foul. This is not a crossword puzzle; it is an ESPuzzle (16A, 24A and 56A pass as crossword puzzle clues without 52D – but 24A just barely, with a little grace).

Which brings us to another foul, 5D "Valedictorian's nightmare" = "EFF" (F). Valedictorians don't get F's. If they did, they would not be valedictorians. An F might be a nightmare for a valedictorian "wannabe," but not for a valedictorian. And no true valedictorian would ever even dream of getting an F. Thus no nightmare (as suggested by BarryG and Yellowrocks and, inversely, by others, none of whose posts I had read before composing the above).

There is yet another foul: 46D "Nags" = "NOODGES." The accepted English spelling of the Yiddish word is "nuj," not "noodge." Check it out in any respectable dictionary. If you are going to spell it "noodge," you might as well spell it "nudge," a real English word which is not far from the meaning.

So, count 'em: 14A + 26A + 54A + 66A + 67A + 52D + 5D + 46D plus the puzzle as a whole = nine fouls. This puzzle is not only a foul in itself; it is ignorant. Crossword puzzles, please. You want to play sudoku, play sudoku. You want to play Harper's, subscribe to Harper's. You want a crossword puzzle, search elsewhere than the Los Angeles Times.

Argyle said...

My, what a foul mood.

I could find no respectable dictionaries online. An internet fail, I guess.

Bill G. said...

Goodness; snarky anons and Mr. Bumppo to boot...

Bill Maher notes that American children score lower than average on standardized tests on math, science, etc. but off the charts on self-esteem. Here's an article from on a related topic. The downside of puffed-up praise.

PK said...

AvgJoe: I forgot to thank you for the Patsy Cline link the other day. I enjoyed it very much, thank you!

Anonymous said...

I love Bumppo!

You can never accuse him of sugarcoating his opinion, however inane it is. I like people like him because you always know where you stand with them. Unlike some posters here who never have a negative thought about a puzzle, ever. Those are the ones I doubt.

That being said, Bumppo, your wrong.

Congrats to Rampy for getting the nod to Led Zeppelin's The Crunge. Musicians should check the wiki's explanation of the song's time signatures.

Tinbeni said...

Whoa !!!
My Google Search of the word NOODGE yielded (in .14 seconds) ...

Merriam-Webster Online:
"Noodge" verb
Full definition: Pester, nag

Lemon's write-up gave the "A Word A Day" Nov.23, 2010 "Noodge" definition from info.

windhover said...

With this puzzle I'm officially caught up from my holiday hiatus. And I did finish it, though to be honest I didn't understand several of the answers till I came here and saw the reveal. Dental, head, the gap and several others were clearly right but made no sense. Oh well, on days I finish a Friday puzzle unaided I don't complain. If you can't say something good........
Two catch up items:
My first post was 2/3/09, I lurked for few days before. Prior to buying the iPhone on 12/3/08 I had no Internet connection. At that time the Lexington Herald-Liar carried the WRW puzzle this blog covered then. Once I had access to Google, I found the Corner the same way most have.
Gary, re: the map
Not sure if I'm there, because the map is about 2" x 3" on the iPhone, and when I enlarge the names aren't legible. Feel free to add me when you can.
No Sat/Sun/Mon puzzles for me till Monday night; see you then.
And Hondo, I agree about Bama and Nick Satan, but why Auburn? They're a solid team that has turned around dramatically. And their win over Bama was no fluke, they called timeout to set up the run back and it worked. They may not beat Florida St. but they deserve to be in the game.

Tinbeni said...

re: Gary's Map
You are there "smack dab in the middle" of Kentucky (with Bumppo and Creature).

As for the game Monday night ...
This Floridian will be rooting for Auburn.

Crispy816 said...

This one was a toughie, but thanks to my printed puzzle & handy eraser, & once I figured the theme out, it all made sense. Not without a lot of staring though. Didn't love it, but do appreciate the constructor's work. And what great words. MIASMA especially.

Thanks Husker for the map! And thank you to Lemon for the link to the Kings of Leon song. Wonderful!

Kath said...

You all are awesome--Kath

Lemonade714 said...

Kath, thank you. Bummpo good to hear from you. Larry do you do the solving on your IPhone?

Fermat you ok?

Anonymous said...

lemony, do you read wind's posts?

everyone knows the irish prints the puzzle at her place of work and brings the hardcopy home with her. Wind solves the puzzle that night or sometime shortly thereafter.

Bill G. said...

A really big power plant (down Lemony and Dennis's way) being demolished in a very cool manner. Implosion

I'm really impressed by this dog and his trainer.Jumpy the dog

Manac said...

Not one of my favorite puzzles of the year. I got the theme but doesn't mean I liked it. Wasn't this a rebus which isn't allowed in the LAT. Marti explained it to me once but now I am so confused ( and yes, it doesn't take much lately ).

Going to be the coldest night of the season so far tonight. Stoves going full blast and just relaxing after digging out from yesterday.

Lets see what Saturday brings :)

Lucina said...

Like Tinbeni, I easily found the definition for NOODGES on the on-line dictionary.

LaurieRo said...

I picked up this puzzle 3 or 4 times today and finally figured it out this evening-- my favorite kind of puzzle.

Lucina said...

That's a very nice photo of your family. It looks like a happy reunion.

Bill G. said...

Lucina, thank you. I agree, a better-than-usual photo of most of us. Son Tim and girlfriend, Bonnie (her boyfriend was taking the picture), grandson Jordan and possible step-grandson Lucas. I think Barbara and I are lurking somewhere as well.

Barbara stuck a couple of rolls of Necco wafers in my stocking. I used to always get them at the movies.

Atlas Shrugged said...

Bill G. - you have a lovely, lovely family , and I'm real sorry I made those jokes about the earthquake earlier.

I'm so glad you and family are fine.

May it be so for. Forever.


P.s. Hey I'm into the next day, already.

iNsomnia, I got a nap for that.

Now, to figure out how much is 6 - 9 + €¥.

Martin said...

I gratuated from university over 16 years ago. I still get nightmares about getting an F. (I never got one.) Seriously I have this recurring nightmare that I'm in high school and on the evryb last day of school I look at my schedule and there'sn a class I never attended. An F! Maybe it is guilt as a teacher having given out so many Fs to students over the years.

Martin said...