, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: February 2014


Feb 28, 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014, Daniel Landman

Theme: Pat, give me a G, no better make that a double! (an homage to our own Garlic Gal).

The letters "GG" are inserted into descriptions or expressions to create a new phrase clued wackily. My second offering from this rabbinical student living in Jerusalem, the first being a January Friday with PE removed from phrases. So we take away, we add, I wonder what is next. I like most of the theme, but not crazy about the middle grid-spanner for reasons listed below. The rest did not seem like a Friday at all with the plethora of 3,4 and 5 letter fill. with the longest non-theme fill 6 letters. Well into the fray, let's see where we come out.

18A. Non-magical "Harry Potter" animal? : MUGGLE DEER. (11). If you somehow missed the entire Harry Potter craze, Muggles are what the magical ones call humans. Mule Deer have big ears and live out west in the US.

23A. Camembert left out in the sun too long? : SAGGY CHEESE. (11). Supposedly the baring of the teeth which comes from enunciating 'Cheese' is where the expression started. Camembert like brie, often sags.

37A. Woman's enticing movements? : FEMININE WIGGLES.(15) A grid spanner, and the odd man out in two ways, as it is the only one with GG added to the second word, and the meaning of the phrase does not change much as wiggling is certainly one of the womanly ways of the world.

52A. Miracle in the mire? : BOGGY WONDER.(11). Boy wonder is used to describe any prodigy, from Mozart to David Steinberg; growing up in New England we all know BOGGS. I like the alliterative clue.

58A. Periodical dedicated to stylish boots? : UGGS WEEKLY. Are UGGS considered stylish, I always thought they were so named because they were ugly but comfortable? They advertise in US Weekly? Weakly?
and a bonus hint...

63A. Best Picture of 1958, and a hint to this puzzle's theme : GIGI. Love Maurice Chevalier, and I have always taken this advice to heart. LISTEN.(1:04).


1. "Poetic" or "Prose" mythological work : EDDA. No Icelandic hint on Friday.

5. Movie-rating org. : MPAA. Motion Picture Association of America

9. R&B singer known for popularizing Auto-Tune : T PAIN. Not only had I not heard of this artist, I had no clue there was such a device infecting modern music. I certainly was interested by the effects on Cher's Believe but I had no clue, even though I have heard the sound again. Jzb, your thought?  I really enjoy when a constructor teaches me something I never knew, and I feel rather foolish for missing the whole controversy. LINK.

14. Device for Marner : LOOM. Well George Eliot's Silas Marner will always stick in my mind if only because as a youngster  I was fascinated by George being a woman. The literary device of the LOOM can be discussed, but her contribution to Victorian literature in this and others like Middlemarch is only a question only of degree.

15. Orderer's reference : MENU. Orderer, what an awkward sounding word.

16. "In what way?" : HOW SO.

17. Not to mention : ALSO.

20. Shill : PLANT. The audience member placed there to fool the others into thinking they are having a good time, or need to spend money.

22. Serengeti predators : LIONS. Semi clecho, 25D. Serengeti scavenger : HYENA. Finally, 60D. Serengeti prey : GNU. Sums up the region and life.

26. Whammy : HEX. marks the spot? In Liverpool?

29. Cockney location word : ERE. We are not there, we are 'ere.

30. Bean opening? : SOY.

31. Constant flow : STREAM. Are we too early for prostate humor?

33. Annoy : MOLEST. I had a very hard time sussing this, as lots of people have annoyed me....

36. Inventing middle name : ALVA. Mr. Edison to you.

42. Gulf of __ : ADEN.

43. Stands : ARISES.

44. The Aztecs' Tonatiuh, for one : SUN GOD. Not up on my Aztec deities, but this filled easily.

47. Bert Bobbsey's twin : NAN.

48. Old sports org. with a red, white and blue ball : ABA. American Basketball Association. Home of the incomparable Dr. J., Julius Erving who played at UMass when I was in undergrad and graduate school in UConn. What a player, and the NBA owes the three point shot, slam dunk contest and other changes to the ABA. WATCH. (5:07).

 51. Germaphobia may be a symptom of it, for short : OCD. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

56. British bishop's headdress : MITRE. A word every crossword solver should know.

57. Target : AIM AT.

64. Japanese comics : MANGA. My kids were very into MANGA and ANIME, I will ask YR to explain more about how they fit in Japanese culture.

65. Kitchenware brand : EKCO. I heard that before.

66. First name in case fiction : ERLE. Stanley Gardner, creator of Perry Mason.

67. Rebuff : SPURN.

68. Lunkhead : DODO. A shout-out to our own who derives her nickname from her name not a reminder of the extinct bird which was believed to be not very intelligent.

69. One may make you uncomfortable : LEER. Or it might make you pretty excited...


1. Go by : ELAPSE. Where does the time go, we are on the downs already.

2. Almighty __ : DOLLAR. Ah yes, the American Dream.

3. How much to take : DOSAGE. Well after last Sunday, it is nice to see AGE make a comeback.

4. First __ equals : AMONG. An odd sounding phrase from the LATIN to describe the senior member of a group of peers.

5. "Dee-lish!" : MMM. Good.

6. Little, in Lille : PEU. Straight French, an accessible one for those who parle un peu.

7. Position, as a pool cue : ANGLE.

8. Bellow title hero March : AUGIE. This was the first of his three National Book Awards; I have read his work and enjoyed them, not equally, but certainly Herzog and Mr. Sammler's Planet have stuck with me. He also won a Pulitzer Prize and a Nobel Prize. However my favorite AUGIE (0:20) who would fit because of the 2 G's.

9. Place to browse : THE NET.

10. Sci-fi vehicles : PODS. The ships or the home of the body snatchers?

11. Reverence : AWE.

12. Expert finish? : ISE. If we complain about ADE as a puzzle answer, how Expertise?

13. Here-there link : NOR.

19. Fan's disappointment : LOSS.

21. 1980s-'90s heavyweight champ : TYSON. Now a media star. UNDISPUTED TRUTH. (3:26).

 24. E. follower : COLI.

26. Word after raise or catch : HELL.

27. Place for a nest, perhaps : EAVE.

28. Short holiday? : XMAS. I thinks this is cute; certainly once I saw the answer I thought it was cute.

32. Joplin works : RAGS. I know Scott Joplin wrote Ragtime music, but I was ready to nitpick, but... Merriam Webster says it is a composition in ragtime, short for ragtime. First Known Use: 1897

33. Artistic dynasty : MING. C.C. any thoughts? (C.C.: My first reaction is Tang, as it's the  peak of various arts, esp poetry and painting. I only associate MING with vases.)

34. Sun. message : SERmon. Sunday.

35. Strong like string : TWINY. String is not strong, twine is strong string which is doubled up.

37. Burkina __ : FASO. I have never heard of this COUNTRY, let alone know where it is located. Damn you American geography.

38. Cabinet dept. : EDUCation.

39. Heal : MEND.  A HEART? (3:00).

40. Part of Caesar's boast : I SAW. VIDI.

41. Italy's largest port : GENOA. No, I did nota noa that.

45. Sci-fi character nicknamed Ben : OBIWAN. Kenobi. Ken, ben?

46. Heap affection (on) : DOTE. Followed by....

48. Regard highly : ADMIRE. Which leads to....

49. Hunting dog : BEAGLE. Snoopy?

50. More pretentious : ARTIER.

53. "__ is good" : GREED. Saw the promo a million times.

54. "Wall Street" antagonist who said 53-Down : GEKKO.. Michael Douglas.

55. Spinal Tap guitarist Tufnel : NIGEL. One of many CREATIONS (0:50) of Christopher Guest.

56. Roman Cath. title : MSGR. Monseigneur.

58. Verbal stumbles : UMS. Er, I hope you all got this one.

59. Disparity : GAP. Like this?

 61. PC screen type : LCD. Liquid Crystal Display.

62. "__-hoo!" : YOO.  Boo-hoo, we are done for another week.

Before we go, I wanted to express my condolences to the family and friends of Harold Ramis, who died this week. He brought us ANIMAL HOUSE, GHOSTBUTERS, CADDYSHACK, and GROUNDHOG DAY among many others. Don't cross the streams!

Can you believe we are two months into the year already, the Olympics are over, and spring is on the way for all you who choose to live in the frozen north. I am off to my day job, so I will see you all at the beach next time. Lemonade out.

Feb 27, 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014 Gareth Bain

Theme: "Breaking BARED"

Consistent country/money theme, with the money appearing as an anagram and clued appropriately.

17. *Place for a soak in Bangkok? : THAI BATH. "Bhat" is the currency of Thailand.

23. *Mumbai baby food? : INDIAN PUREE. "Rupee" is what the "Slumdog Millionaire" won a ton of.

36. *Low point in Oran? : ALGERIAN NADIR. "Dinar" is only 0.013 US Dollar.

47. *Stance in a Monterrey studio? : MEXICAN POSE. "Peso" is used in Monterrey, Mexico, but also Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, the Philippines and Uruguay.

And the revealer:

60. Emergency fund ... or what the second part of each answer to a starred clue ends with? : MAD MONEY. I was totally mystified while solving, because each theme entry seemed so straight-forward.  But when I got to the unifier, I became even more mystified. I finally realized that MAD was the hint - it referred to various currencies, all deranged. Aha!

The theme entries were noted with an asterisk, because of longer fill going across like HUMILIATE and SUPERHERO; and POMERANIAN and HALF-EXPECT going down - all great entries, BTW.

And here are the rest:


1. Sunshine State resort : BOCA. Raton. Late-week puzzles don't always indicate "for short."

5. Country in which Quechua is an official lang. : BOL.ivia. They replaced the PESO with the boliviano in 1864.

8. Transforms, as for a different medium : ADAPTS.

14. "Downton Abbey" title : EARL. Bill G., did you finally get to see the season ender?

15. Tablet maker : RCA.

16. Osaka-born violinist : MIDORIGotō.  At her 1986 Tanglewood performance, she broke three violin strings but didn't miss a beat, and Leonard Bernstein (the conductor) knelt before her in awe when she finished. Worth a listen, here.

19. Alligator cousin : CAIMAN. Cute little feller…

20. Abase : HUMILIATE.

22. Holy territory : SEE. From the Latin "sedes" meaning "seat." All sees are holy, but "THE Holy See" refers to the Vatican.

27. Musical ability, in slang : CHOPS. It originally came from a jazz player's ability to hit high notes with their mouth ("chops"), and later referred to any musical ability.

30. As well : TOO.

31. Mimic : APE.

32. Edward Jones Dome NFL player : RAM. The RAMs now play in St. Louis, after leaving Los Angeles.

33. Rank below abbot : PRIOR.

35. Oilers' org. : NHLNational Hockey League.

40. Sharable PC file : PDFPortable Document File.

41. Mah-__ : JONGG.

42. 2011 NBA retiree : YAO. Ming, the 7' 6" player for the Houston Rockets.

43. Porter, for one : ALE.

44. Effusive musical genre : EMO.

45. Knoxville sch. : U TENN.

51. Poker haul : POT.

52. Green Lantern or Green Arrow : SUPERHERO.

57. __ license : POETIC.

61. Mysterious : ARCANE.

62. Teacher, at times : PRO. Think golf.

63. Dig for 58-Down : MINE. And 58-Down. See 63-Across : ORE.

64. "We're outta here!" : LET'S GO.

65. Stop: Abbr. : STN. I usually think of the abbr. for "station" as "sta." That is what the US Postal service uses.

66. What the nose knows : ODOR. Fun clue!


1. Behrs of "2 Broke Girls" : BETH. She's the rich blonde. Funny interview on Conan. 1:41

2. Vans Triple Crown of Surfing locale : OAHU. No idea, but got it on a WAG.

3. Stuff : CRAM.

4. Et __ : ALII. Masculine form.  Female = aliae. Neuter = alia.

5. Mastermind : BRAINS. "He's the BRAINS behind the scheme."

6. Pie slices, often : OCTAD. I can't eat that many slices, so cut mine into sextets.

7. "Swing Shift" Oscar nominee : LAHTI. Christine.  The film also starred Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.

8. Film buff's channel : AMC. Originally, abbr. of "American Movie Classics," but now just AMC because of the shift in emphasis away from classic movies.  But you can still get your old movie fix over at TCM (Turner Classic Movies.) I bet HG watches that one.

9. Scattering of an ethnic population : DIASPORA. The most well-known is the Jewish DIASPORA, but there are many others.

10. Continental farewell : ADIEU.

11. Toy dog breed : POMERANIAN. Like a big fluffy pom-pom!

12. Melodic syllable : TRA…la.

13. Preacher's topic : SIN.

18. Brief upturn : BLIP.

21. Getting down : EATING.

24. It may come before one : NOON.  Unless your are talking about 1 AM.

25. "I Feel Bad About My Neck" writer Nora : EPHRON. The title is a reference to her aging, wrinkled neck - the one part of the body that cannot be "re-surfaced" with plastic surgery.

26. Long swimmer : EEL.

27. Carry protectively : CRADLE. I wondered about coddle, then cuddle before CRADLE appeared with perps.

28. Anticipate uncertainly : HALF EXPECT.

29. Bit of shocked text : OMG. "Oh, mgod!"

33. Evergreens with edible nuts : PINONS.

34. Lurid paper : RAG.

37. Escaping à la James Bond, perhaps : EJECTING.

38. Ovoid tomato : ROMA.

39. Microscope slide additive : DYE. This clue was right in my wheelhouse, but I still entered "oil" at first!

40. Nonstick brand : PAM.

45. Applied to : USED ON.

46. Time between inaugurations : TERM.

48. Little bits : IOTAS.

49. Inflation causes : PUMPS. Gas prices are creeping up again, but this refers to the pumps that actually inflate things like tires, beach balls or air mattresses.

50. Bridget Riley genre : OP ART. Move your head back and forth, sweeping your eyes across the picture, and you'll see why it is called...

53. __ erectus : HOMO. "Upright man" in Latin, he lived about 143,000 years ago.

54. Oklahoma city : ENID. 4 letter Oklahoma city? ENID. 5 letter Oklahoma city? Tulsa!

55. Attorney general after Barr : RENO. William and Janet.

56. __ and terminer: criminal court : OYER. "To hear and determine" in law. Gimme for Lemonade.

57. Sidekick : PAL.

59. Business VIP : CEOChief Executive Officer.

That's all for this week!

Feb 26, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014, Bryan W. Young and Jeff Chen

Theme: TO GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE WE GO. Not necessarily over the river, but definitely through the woods, where we encounter THE BIG BAD WOLF in hot pursuit of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.  Don't be alarmed if you had trouble finding them.  The forest provides lots of hiding places. [Full disclosure: I had to get help from C. C. to spot them.]  

Rich themage, and tight construction, as all of the WOLF's entries are the first words of two word answers (or first part of a compound word), hugging the left margin, and our heroine's entries are the second words of two word answers, hugging the right margin. Note also that from top to bottom, our antagonist's and protagonist's answers alternate. Unusual placement for some theme entries, along with a short letter-count for some of them makes this a bit hard to suss; but high marks for creativity in executing this difficult and original theme. Add in perfect alternating symmetry between the two answer types, and we have a very elegant execution.

16. "Blackadder" network : THE BBC.  British Broadcasting Company

26. Head honcho : BIG CHEESE.   Slang for top dog.

42. Unsavory sort : BAD EGG.  Can one spoil the whole crate?

 53. Borzois, e.g. : WOLFHOUNDS.  Top dog?

20. Impressionist whom Mel Blanc labeled "The Man of a Thousand Voices" : RICH LITTLE.  I found an example that's not political.

 35. Show shame, perhaps : GET RED.  Blushing, when you can't suss the theme.

48. Driving with abandon : JOYRIDING. An automotive pleasure cruise.  Couldn't find an appropriate clip.

63. Prominent Ore. peak : MT. HOOD.  A stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc of northern Oregon, formed by a subduction zone on the Pacific coast.  It's last major eruptive period was about 200 years ago. Note abrv. in cl. & ans.

Hi Gang, JzB here. Let's grab our borzoi and see if we can make our way through this forest without getting lost or consumed.  But first, today's theme song.


1. McCarthy's dummy friend : SNERD.  Edgar Bergen's pals Charlie and Mortimer.  Here they are with a LITTLE-free impersonation.

6. Baltic, e.g. : SEA.  Water you talkin' about?

9. Cougar : PUMA.  Mountain lion, not that other kind.

13. Canadian dollar coin nickname : LOONIE.  Named for the loon on the reverse of its dohller coin.


14. "I threw away my golf shoes when I got a hole in one," e.g. : PUN.  Double meaning word play

15. Computer operating system : UNIX.  Apple's OS X  is a variant.

17. Hosp. heart exam : ECG Electro- Cardio Gram

18. Medicinal dose : PILL.  Alternative to a spoonfull.

19. Cutie pie : DOLL.  Like Nancy Wilson.

23. Baltic feeder : ODER.   Does this river smell funny?

25. "... a __ / By any other name ..." : ROSE.  Would still be surrounded by thorns.

30. Tolkien's talking trees : ENTS.  They aren't actually trees. They just look like them.  But not in this forest.

33. Equal: Pref. : ISO.  -bar, -metric, -tonic, -mer, etc.

34. "The Mod Squad" cop : LINC.   He's the man in the middle.

37. Smudge : BLUR.

39. '60s jacket style : NEHRU.

41. UFO-tracking org. : SETISearch for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence

44. Respectful address : MA'AM.

46. From, in some European names : VON.  Like the von Trapp family.

47. Star witnesses? : MAGI.  Clever.  They followed yonder star.

50. Hispaniola, por ejemplo : ISLA.  Spanish island, for example.

52. Poet __ St. Vincent Millay : EDNA.  Famous for her poetry and many love affairs.

57. Gratify : SATE.  Like a basket of goodies, perhaps.

61. Put out : EMIT

62. Low numero : UNO. Also a card game, which could have been cited to avoid the Spanish

 65. Wither in the sun : BAKE.

66. Porter's "__ De-Lovely" : IT'S.  Like this DOLL.

67. B beater : A-MINUS.  Making the grade

68. Raised : BRED.  Like a Borzoi.

69. Look at : EYE.   Ogle the DOLLS.

70. Super Bowl XLVII player : NINER. San Francisco Forty-Niner. They lost to the Baltimore Ravens, 34-31.


1. Area below Greenwich Village : SOHO.  Lower Manhattan area South of Houston St.

2. Sleigh ride song : NOEL. Here we go a-caroling.

3. As a whole : EN BLOC.  I'll bet you have never said this in casual conversation.

4. Kid : RIB. Like an elbow poke there.

5. Making pronouncements : DECREEING.

6. A writer may work on it : SPECSpeculation - writing a piece without a contract, in the hope of selling it.

7. Trick-taking card game : EUCHRE.  Pronounced Yooker.  Popular game in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin.  People from other parts of the country might never have heard of it.

8. Prefix meaning "English" : ANGLO.

9. Portable shelters : PUP TENTS.  For your young borzoi.

10. Curriculum part : UNIT.

11. Grain grinder : MILL.

12. Rod in a hot rod : AXLE.  Keeps the wheels from falling off.

13. Letters on some Brit. letterheads : LTD. For Private Limited Liability Corporation.  Its shares may not be sold to the public.

21. Dancer Castle : IRENE.  She and her husband Vernon were the best known ballroom dancers of the early 20th century, and appeared in films and musicals.

22. Oracle's opening : I SEE.  Did you see this coming?

24. UPS competitor : DHL.  Shipping, transport, and import-export services company.

26. Lettuce variety : BIBB. A type of head lettuce with a loose arrangement of leaves, known for its sweet flavor and tender texture.

27. Imam's faith : ISLAM.

28. Fondue choice : GOUDA. A Big Cheese!

29. Knucklehead : SCHMO. Typical Yiddish insult beginning with SCH-.  Originally an idiot or cuckold.

31. "Three Coins ..." fountain : TREVI.  In Rome.

32. Resolute about : SET ON.  RED was SET ON getting to Granny's

35. Reserve soldier : GUARDSMAN.  This took a lot of perp help.

36. Minor dent : DING. As in your fender

38. Put a bad present to good use : RE-GIFTED.  If "put to good use" means "got rid of."

40. Like daisies : RAYED.

43. Lillian of the silver screen : GISH.  Her movie career spanned 1912 to 1987.

45. Musical key abbr. : MIN.  Minor.  Here's an example from a major composer. Note the shift into major from 1:43 to 1:57 in this 3 minute clip.

48. Smart-looking : JAUNTY. Sometimes, I'm dumb looking, like when I can't suss the theme.

49. Enter quickly : DASH IN.

51. Character in "Donald's Nephews" (1938 cartoon) : LOUIE.  Along with Huey and Dewey

53. 5'7" Spud who won the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk contest : WEBB.  At 5'7", he's one of the shortest players in NBA history.  His career lasted from 1985 to '98.

54. "Rubáiyát" poet : OMAR. Per Wikipedia, Ghiyāth ad-Dīn Abu'l-Fatḥ ʿUmar ibn Ibrāhīm al-Khayyām Nīshāpūrī was a Persian polymath, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, and Islamic theology.  Busy guy.

55. Enjoy : LIKE

56. Bouquet : NOSE. Aroma.

58. Top-of-the-line : A-ONE.  Better than A-minus.

59. Visit with a guide : TOUR.  Like this guided tour through the forest.

60. Money mgrs.? : EDSMoney Magazine Editors.  Sneaky.

64. Texter's "I didn't need to know that!" : TMI.  Too Much Information.

The theme was a tough nut to crack, and the long down fill further complicated the matter.  But still, a well-constructed, fun solve.  Hope you enjoyed it. Jeff Chen, of course, is a wily veteran who showed up in a collaboration when I last blogged two weeks ago. Looks like this might be Bryan Young's first L.A.T. entry.

Cool Regards

Feb 25, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 C.C. Burnikel

Theme: R&DXTOO - Not Research and Development but 2(too) R's in the first word and 2(too) D's in the second word.

17A. Dangerously sharp : RAZOR-EDGED

22A. "Curb Your Enthusiasm" creator : LARRY DAVID. This guy.


35A. Common pump choice : REGULAR UNLEADED

47A. Gnarly one on the waves : SURFER DUDE

56A. "Star Wars" droid, and a hint to letters shared by 17-, 22-, 35- and 47-Across : ARTOO-DETOO. (phonetically spelling of R2-D2)

Argyle here. Anchored by a grid spanner and some interesting fill; a decent Tuesday.


1. Lunchbox staple, initially : PBJ. Travels better than BLT.

4. Handy, say : ABLE

8. Hatcher of "Lois & Clark" : TERI


12. Pakistani language : URDU

14. Pakistan neighbor : IRAN

15. Tablecloth fabric : LINEN. Who had to get up because "We need the sheets for the table"?

16. Striped fish : BASS

19. Ranch nightmare : STAMPEDE

21. "Wake Up Little Susie" singer Don or Phil : EVERLY. Phil passed away in January.

24. Next-to-last Greek letter : PSI

26. Difficult turn on the slopes : ESS

27. Fellows : MEN

28. Cape Town's land: Abbr. : RSA. (Republic of South Africa)

31. 1983 Streisand film : "YENTL"

33. "From __ to shining ..." : SEA

34. Has-__ : BEEN

39. Early garden : EDEN

40. La-Z-Boy room : DEN

41. Very unpleasant, weather-wise : NASTY

42. Country south of Turk. : SYR. Turkey/Syria

43. Costly cracker-topper : ROE

44. 35-Across, e.g. : GAS. (35A Common pump choice)

46. Boxer's stat : KOs. (knock out)

50. "Beat it, kid!" : "GO HOME!"

53. "I'm serious!" : "NO, REALLY!". Cute string.


58. Eyelid trouble : STYE

59. Taxi fixture : METER

60. Clothier Strauss : LEVI

61. Traffic sound : HORN

62. Glimpse : ESPY

63. Lose sleep (over) : FRET

64. Mario Brothers console : NES. (Nintendo Entertainment System)


1. Stout servers : PUBS

2. Unruly kid : BRAT

3. Holden Caulfield creator : J.D. SALINGER. The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

4. Cable stations, e.g. : AIRERs

5. Vintage sitcom stepfamily : BRADYs. The Brady Bunch (TV Series 1969–1974)

6. Vegged out : LAZED

7. Ambient music pioneer Brian : ENO

8. Assisted through a tough time, with "over" : TIDED. Verb phrase: 15. tide over, to assist in getting over a period of difficulty or distress.

9. Caltech grad, often: Abbr. : ENGR.

10. Hose holder : REEL

11. Race nickname : INDY. (Indianapoli) Big racing news: Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins Daytona 500!

13. West Point letters : USMA. (United States Military Academy)

15. "Deathtrap" playwright Ira : LEVIN

18. Disclose : REVEAL

20. Suave shelfmate : PRELL. Hair care.

23. "So true!" : "AMEN!"

24. Funereal piles : PYREs

25. Like some rye bread : SEEDY

28. Comedian who ended his show with "... and may God bless" : RED SKELTON

29. Make arrangements for : SEE TO

30. Raggedy dolls : ANDYs. (brother to Raggedy Ann)

32. Winery cask : TUN

33. Baltimore daily : SUN

34. Cry from a flock : [BAA!]. A bit down on the farm today. 47D. "Here, piggies!" : "SOOEY!"

36. Loved to pieces : ADORED

37. Scuba spot : REEF

38. Come after : ENSUE

43. Gossip fodder : RUMOR

44. Vinyl record feature : GROOVE

45. Cleverly skillful : ADROIT

48. "It's open!" : "ENTER!"

49. Imprecise cooking measure : DASH

50. Pool or polo : GAME

51. Raw rocks : OREs

52. Web address opening : HTTP

54. Harp kin : LYRE

55. Strong urges : YENS

57. Pixie : ELF


Feb 24, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014 Melanie Miller

Theme: "Are You Ready to Par-tay?" - Party, party, me hearties. A different party can be found aft of both words in the starred entries.

20A. *Powerful stratum of society : RULING CLASS. Ruling party; Class party, mostly for the younger grades.

11D. *Picturesque spot for a warm drink : TEA GARDEN. Tea party; Garden party, cue Ricky: (3:56)

58A. *When brandy may be served : AFTER DINNER. After party, think Oscars, Emmys; Dinner party.

35D. *Place for changing out of a wet suit : POOL HOUSE. Pool party; House party, at Dudley's.

40A. Continue with the fun, and a hint to each part of the answers to starred clues : PARTY ON

Argyle here. A pin wheel grid around a central unifier. Strong blocks around the outside and some interesting fill for a Monday. Ms. Miller has come through again although something is lacking.


1. To-do list item : TASK. Not any particular task.

5. Short-lived crazes : FADs

9. Destroy beyond repair : TOTAL

14. Yodeler's feedback : ECHO

15. Landed : ALIT

16. "Laughing" critter : HYENA

17. Teensy bit : A TAD

18. A hop, skip and jump away : NEAR

19. Savanna antelope : ELAND

23. In high spirits : GAY

24. Spread out, as one's fingers : SPLAY

25. __ New Guinea : PAPUA

27. Large seaweed : KELP

30. Mixed in a glass : STIRRED

33. Travel book inserts : MAPS

36. Bard's nightfall : E'EN

38. Take care of : HANDLE

39. Game with Wild Draw Four cards : UNO. Most kids love it.

42. Keebler cookie character : ELF

43. Stone-faced : STOLID

45. Side with green eggs : HAM

46. Part of MIT: Abbr. : INST. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

47. Unit of explosive force : KILOTON

49. Anjou, e.g. : PEAR. A firm-fleshed green-skinned variety of pear. Also, red-skinned.

51. Memorable labor leader Jimmy : HOFFA

52. Rinsed the soap from, as a car : HOSED. Or, rinsed the salt from.

56. GI R&R provider : USO. (United Service Organizations)

62. __ and crossbones : SKULL. We hear about Eli's and Bulldogs but the Skull and Bones Society at Yale...not so much.

64. Innovator's spark : IDEA

65. Additional : MORE

66. Studio stand : EASEL

67. Line in blue cheese : VEIN

68. Diva's solo : ARIA

69. Rose parts : STEMS

70. Comes to a close : ENDS

71. Require : NEED


1. Glum drops : TEARS. An original clue? I like it.

2. Behave poorly : ACT UP

3. "I __ return": MacArthur : SHALL

4. Large Alaskan bears : KODIAKs. Out for a family stroll. See JD's from yesterday.


5. Vampire tooth : FANG

6. Baldwin in Capital One ads : ALEC

7. Call on a retro phone : DIAL

8. Bra parts : STRAPS

9. Many an Actors Studio member : THESPIAN

10. Popeye's Olive : OYL

12. Actress Paquin of "True Blood" : ANNA

13. British noblewoman : LADY

21. TV educator Bill in a lab coat : NYE

22. Didn't go out : SAT HOME

26. Vessel on a mantel : URN

28. Bat first : LEAD OFF

29. Each : PER

31. Angled pipes : ELLs

32. Adept : DEFT

33. Cologne scent : MUSK

34. Not pro : ANTI

37. To the __ degree : NTH

40. Traps for the unwary : PITFALLS
41. Big mouth, informally : YAP

44. John of London? : LOO

46. Armored superhero : IRONMAN

48. One who was born there : NATIVE

50. Yellowfin tuna : AHI

53. Noise from a sleeper : SNORE

54. Otherworldly : EERIE

55. Deep anxiety : DREAD

56. Capitalizes on : USES

57. Three-handed card game : SKAT

59. Blissful place : EDEN

60. Senator Harry of Nevada : REID

61. Aykroyd and Quayle : DANs

63. Moon lander, for short : LEM. (Lunar Excursion Module)

Did you notice what's missing? Foreign words!



Feb 23, 2014

Sunday Feb 23, 2014 Gail Grabowski

Theme:  "Age Isn't Everything" - AGE is removed from each familiar phrase.

25A. Plight when the caterer cancels? : HOST CRISIS. Hostage crisis.

27A. Kit with a parachute? : BAILOUT PACK. Bailout package.

45A. River project evaluation? : DAM ASSESSMENT. Damage assessment.

82A. Psychiatrist who falls asleep during sessions? : SHRINK PROBLEM. Shrinkage problem.

97A. Pedicured tootsy on a video-sharing website? : YOUTUBE FOOT. YouTube footage.

103A. Course for new cattle farmers? : STEER CLASS. Steerage class.

35D. Scenes of Oscar Madison's room? : RECORDED MESS. Recorded message.

40D. Cleaning out a clothes closet? : GARB DISPOSAL. Garbage disposal.

I normally don't touch letter addition/deletion/altercation theme type as I'm awful making sense of those wacky phrases. I do know, however, it's harder to delete than to add.

Have you all read this article about our 100-year-old constructor Bernice Gordon? Very nicely written. 

Scroll down a bit: "...Bernice's themes and puzzles are almost always straightforward, not at all gimmicky or tricky," said Rich Norris, puzzle editor at the Los Angeles Times. "Yet there's an elegance in her simplicity. She finds relationships among words that are so obvious when you first see them that you wonder why you've never seen this before."

I thought of Gail when I read Rich's comment. She's not going to shock and awe you, but there's an elegance & beauty in Gail's simplicity, often the result of hard work.

1. Reach across : SPAN

5. Scraps : SPATS

10. Resort city along the Roaring Fork River : ASPEN

15. Harbor vessel : SCOW

19. Hokkaido native : AINU. Here they're in their traditional Ainu dress.

20. Words to a hopeful traveler : HOP IN

21. Make a point : SCORE. Nice clue.

22. Asian beef center : KOBE

23. Current designation : AC/DC

24. Down East university town : ORONO. University of Maine.

30. One who shouldn't be looking : PEEKER

31. Fangorn Forest denizens : ENTs

32. Publicized : AIRED

34. Words on jackets : BLURBS. So I read "What Falls Away". I guess we all have a cross to bear.

38. Strays on the range : DOGIES

41. Western formation : BUTTE

43. Most conceited : VAINEST

44. Spat end : ULA. Spatula. And 75A. Front end? : IER. Frontier. 63D. Super finish? : IOR. Superior. Necessary evils. 

49. Round fig. : CIR. OK, circle.

50. Multipurpose : VERSATILE

52. Boss of Tammany Hall : TWEED. Was he as important as this book suggests?

53. Programmer's output : CODE

54. Held in check : AT BAY

55. Rare indication?: RED. Meat.

56. Appears to be : SEEMS

57. Crowd, supposedly : THREE

58. Woman's title : LADY

59. "Doctor Who" creatures : ETs

60. Rickman role in Harry Potter films : SNAPE. He was in "Love Actually" also.
61. Surrounded by : AMIDST

62. "If only!" : I WISH

64. "Ocean's Eleven" job : HEIST

65. Recurring sequence : CYCLE

66. Tapered-top piece : BISHOP. I don't get this clue. What is "Tapered-top"?

68. Exhilarating : HEADY

69. Contemporary of Bela and Boris : LON (Chaney)

70. Gathering dust : IDLE

73. Stock phrase : AT PAR

74. Shooting Starr : BELLE. I only know Annie Oakley.

76. Tutorial features : DEMOS

77. Soak up : BLOT

78. Folksy accounts : TALES

79. Broadway designer's jobs : STAGE SETS. Nice fill.

81. They, in Calais : ILS

85. Sault-Marie link : STE

86. Santa portrayer in "Elf" : ED ASNER. Super crossword-friendly name.

88. Woman "in my dreams," in song : IRENE. Oh, "Goodnight, Irene".

89. Commonly sculpted figures : TORSOS

91. Went wild on the drums, maybe : SOLOED

92. Diminishes : WANES

94. Nora was his mistress : ASTA

95. Get the factory going again : RE-OPEN

107. Spin-off starring Valerie Harper : RHODA

108. Arctic sight : FLOE

109. Stroked tools : OARS

110. Arena for MacArthur : KOREA. Korea War is heavily covered in Chinese history books.

111. Doughnut-shaped : TORIC

112. Do nothing : LAZE

113. Kindergarten handful : BRAT

114. Manner : STYLE

115. Tried to wake, in a way : SHOOK

116. Seeing things : EYES. Indeed, eyes see things. Great clue.


1. 9-3 automaker : SAAB

2. Type type : PICA

3. "__ quote:" : AND I

4. Cell centers : NUCLEI

5. Gives an earful : SHOUTS AT

6. New York and Los Angeles : PORTS. Where the Saturday Stud & Monarch Steve I of Studio City live. 

7. Per : A POP

8. Turner on stage : TINA

9. Treaded transports : SNO-CATS

10. Grate refuse : ASH

11. Sharpshooter's tool : SCOPE

12. Sat : POSED

13. "Symphony in Black" artist : ERTE

14. Strip around a collar : NECKBAND. Never wore one.

15. Downhill course : SKI RUN

16. NYSE listings : COs

17. It's a cinch in Sapporo : OBI

18. Jazz guitarist Montgomery : WES

26. Kindled anew : RE-LIT

28. Eventually : ONE DAY

29. Popular beach toy : KITE

33. Quit worrying : REST EASY.  Sometimes you just can't.

36. They're rarely hits : B SIDES

37. Bourbon __ : STREET

38. 2001 British Open winner David : DUVAL. His only major. He always seems so distant. Probably the sunglasses.

39. Jazz singer Adams who collaborated with Tears for Fears : OLETA. Nope. No memory of her.

41. Barn dance seating : BALES

42. Like many auction items : USED. Argyle likes to visit those auction events.

43. Winning signs : VEEs

46. Gaiety : MIRTH

47. Won every game : SWEPT

48. Internet __: fast-spreading item : MEME. I don't find those Ryan Gosling "Hey Girl" meme funny. You?

51. "Come again?" : SAY WHAT

53. Spicy pods : CHILIES. I imagine Lucina puts chiles in everything she cooks. How about you, spicy or mild?

56. Cutting : SNIDE

57. HBO competitor : TMC

59. Mentalist's claim : ESP

60. Mukluk material : SEALSKIN. See here.

61. Author Rand : AYN

64. Hunt of "Cast Away" : HELEN

65. Pinkish shade : CORAL

66. Treats carefully : BABIES

67. "I suppose that's okay" : IT'LL DO. Very good.

68. Prefix with pad : HELI

69. Leave alone : LET BE

71. Game rarely won : LOTTO

72. Fussy twosome? : ESSES. Two letter S in "Fussy".

74. Mystery writer Nevada : BARR. Needed crossing help.

75. "Help __ the way" : IS ON

76. Reduce in rank : DEMOTE
78. Waterfront area : THE DOCKS. Pricey area.

80. Recoups : GETS BACK

82. Villainous look : SNEER

83. Victimize, with "on" : PREY

84. Honeymoon destinations : RESORTS

87. Most angry : SOREST

90. Fund-raising event : RAFFLE

92. Worn down : WEARY

93. First name in nature photography : ANSEL (Adams). Or John (Lampkin).

94. Speaker's output : AUDIO

96. Conspiracy : PLOT

98. "Could be a problem" : UH OH

99. Mower maker : TORO

100. Big name in skin care : OLAY. Discovered Simple last year. Love their toner.

101. Trickle : OOZE

102. Driving aids : TEES

103. Blubber : SOB

104. Car wash challenge : TAR

105. Notable time : ERA

106. MS. enclosure : SAE (Self-Addressed Envelope)

Happy 75th Birthday to dear Keith Fowler! You can read more about Keith here. He even lived in Stratford-upon-Avon for sometime. Keith said:

"My branch of the family is not known for longevity, so it will be an enormous leap for me to reach 75 this coming Sunday--Feb 23 at 7:19 pm PST!  At that day/time I will be two years older than any recorded Fowler (of the Shryvenham to London to NY to CT to TN to CA tribe of Fowlers) ever got to be.

My mom (actually a Hocking) reached 73, and my dad's grandfather hit that number too.  while a great many folk live much longer, it just feels mighty strange to me, like teetering on a very high pole, or maybe soloing for the first time, and very slowly."

Keith Fowler
Also, if you are going to New York for the ACPT (American Crossword Puzzle Tournament), say hello to George Barany, who will be there competing. Maybe Rich Norris and Patti Varol will be there too, both are fast solvers. (Added later: George will be judging!)

Also, don't miss the Friday night Cru Dinner. Marti can tell you how friendly Mike Alpern is.