Feb 20, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014 Paul Hunsberger

Theme: "I'm Drawing a Blank"



43. Blank : LINE ON A SURVEY.


This is a "definition puzzle."  Usually in this type of puzzle, all of the theme entries have the same clue. In this case, not only do the four long entries have the same clue, but every clue in the puzzle has a "fill in the BLANK."  So that's an impressive 179 squares with theme entries. Has that ever been topped in a weekday puzzle?  Kudos to Rich for seeing the brilliance of this one!

OK, since I can't review all the "theme" entries, let's play a little psychology game with this one.  Say the first thing that pops into your mind when you read each clue (whether the # of letters fits or not!!)  Let's have some fun!! My first thoughts are in caps, in parentheses. But bear in mind, most of my answers are tongue-in-cheek.

1. __ Club : SAMS. (BOOK)

5. Eat __ : CROW. (SHIT)

9. Film __ : NOIR. (STAR)

13. Sleep __ : APNEA. (IN)

14. Mata __ : HARI. (HARI)

15. "I'm __ you!" : ON TO. (BEGGING)

16. "__ to please!" : WE AIM. (Sign in the men's restroom: YOU AIM TOO, PLEASE!)

17. __-steven : EVEN. (CAT)

18. SWAT __ : TEAM. (FLIES)

22. __ of bounds : OUT. (OUT)

23. Electric __ : EEL. (GUITAR)

31. "It __ to reason" : STANDS. (STANDS)

33. "You're taking a big __" : RISK. (BITE)

34. __-TURN : NO U.  (U)

35. Good for what __ you : AILS. (AILS)

36. Costa del __ : SOL. (MAR)

37. __ Elevator Company : OTIS. (OTIS)

38. "I Like __" : IKE. (IT LIKE THAT)

39. __ the scales : TIPS. (TIPPED)


46. Hopping __ : MAD. (TOAD)

47. Jacqueline Kennedy __ Bouvier : NEE. (She had another name???)

56. Quod __ demonstrandum : ERAT. (ERAT)

57. __ to one's senses : CAME. (COME)

58. Shed __ : A TEAR. (BLOOD)

59. __-Honey : BIT-O. (God, i loved those things when I was a kid. But I haven't had one in ___ ...)

60. "Rock of __" : AGES. (...AGES)

61. From beyond the __ : GRAVE. (UNKNOWN)

62. __ nuts : BEER. (CHOCK FULL O')

63. "__-a-Cop": 1988 film : RENT. (RENT)

64. "Jane __" : EYRE. (DOE)


1. X-Ray __: U.K. punk band : SPEX. (VISION)

2. Take __: doze : A NAP. (A NAP)

3. Golda __ : MEIR. (MEIR)

4. "It's the __ story" : SAME OLD. (SAME OLD)

5. __ of drawers : CHESTS. (CHEST)

6. __ Shankar : RAVI. (RAVI)

7. __ Cakesters : OREO. (OREO)

8. __ circle : WINNERS. (ARCTIC)

9. __ motel : NO TELL. (ROACH)

10. "A Room of __ Own" : ONE'S. (ONE'S)

11. "Take __ a compliment" : IT AS. (IT AS)

12. CD-__ : ROM. (PLAYER)

13. "I'm in __": "Wow!" : AWE. (FRONT)

20. Soap __ : SUDS. (OPERA)

21. __ and potato soup : LEEK. (LEEK)

24. Van __ : HALEN. (GOGH)

25. Carry-__: luggage : ONS. (FORWARD) (Hey, it's tax season!!)

26. Victoria __ : CROSS. ('s SECRET)

27. Olive __ : OIL. (OYL)

28. __-level : ENTRY. (SPLIT)

29. Peau de __: satin-weave cloth : SOIE. (SOIE)

30. __ 22-Across: solve : SUSS. (huhhh??)

31. Set __ : SAIL. (THE TABLE)

32. __ torch : TIKI. (CARRY A)


37. "__ to Joy" : ODE. (ODE)

39. Suit __ : TO A T. (CASE)

40. __ Series: auto races : INDY CAR. (No clue…wait a minute while I check the perps.)

41. __-à-porter: ready-to-wear : PRET. (PRET)

42. __ Joe : AVERAGE. (AVERAGE!  On the Crossword Corner!!)

44. Caveat __ : EMPTOR. (EMPTOR)

45. Civil __: protest : UNREST. (RIGHTS)

48. __ Canal : ERIE. (ROOT) 

49. __ for life : MATE. (FIGHT)

50. Rib __ : CAGE. (EYE STEAK)

51. "__ to that!" : AMEN. (AMEN)

52. "Lord knows __!" : I TRY. (I'VE TRIED)

53. __ Abby : DEAR. (DOWNTON) (I know, I know - it's "abbey")

54. __ birth to : GAVE. (GIVE)

55. "... __ I saw Elba" : ERE. (ERE)

56. __ and flow : EBB. (EBB)

So, how did you do?  I think I matched about a third of them immediately, which helped fill in the others big time.

Happy Thursday!

Note from C.C.

Happy Birthday to dear Santa Argyle, my trusted adviser & friend, who's always, always there for me when I'm in trouble.


HeartRx said...

Happy happy happy birthday Argyle! Thank you for all you do here at the Corner, and for being there always when we need you. I hope your day is special!!


For those of you who do the NYT puzzle, you are in for a treat today from C.C. and Don (Hard) G. Congratulations, you two!

TTP said...

Good ____ all. A real shout out to _____ JOE !

Thank ____ Paul Hunsberger. I ___ say that I've never ____ a ____ like that. I remember someone _____ within the last month or so saying they didn't like fill-in-the ____ clues. That person probably won't be _____ .

I thought this was fun. And a bit easy. At 19:15, it was 6 minutes faster than yesterday's solve. Never would have got 29D SOIE and 41D PRET except for the perps.

I drew a _____ at 24A. Finally SUSSed HOLDS CORELESS. What does that mean ? Oh. D'OH ! Hope everyone has as much fun with this one as I did. Bart Simpson Chalkboard Quote


Barry G. said...

Morning, all (and a Very Happy Birthday to Argyle)!

This puzzle got really old, really fast. I guess if there's anything I dislike more than cross-referential clues its fill in the blank clues with no indication of context. Fortunately, at least some of the clues indicated the context (I never would have gotten AWE without the context, for example).

Having said that, this was actually a very quick solve for me. I actually guessed most of the blanks correctly and the theme answers were obvious with the help of a perp here and there.

Oh -- and the puzzles are back up on the Mensa site if anybody cares.

TTP said...

Ha ! Barry, maybe it was you that I remembered ?

Marti, thanks. "We aim to please. We hope you aim too, please."

thehondohurricane said...

Good day folks,

I'll start with a positive note .....Happy Birthday Argyle, wish you many more.

Some of my initial thoughts to today's cluing:
1A Mens 33A Chance 36A Rio 40D Nascar 13A On it 36A Rio 9D Days of yore (this came to me after the fill) 32d Carry a 42D GI and 50D Roast.

I was not all that enamored with this puzzle, but I'll credit Paul with successfully putting together what must have been a mammoth effort.

Wife installs a show in NYC today, her debut in the Big Apple. Our sons are driving her down and back and helping with the installation.

I'm clearing ice from our driveway (I hope) and working on tax return, Who says retirement isn't exciting!

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Marti and friends. I just LOVED this Fill In the Blank puzzle! The perps gave me 24-across, so like TTP, I looked at that answer for the longest time and read it as HOLDS CORELESS. Sure, why not!

Happy Birthday, Santa! Enjoy your day and I hope you don't have to shovel out snow.

QOD: It is horrifying that we have to fight out own government to save the environment. ~ Ansel Adams (Feb. 20, 1902 ~ Apr. 22, 1984)

OwenKL said...

The robot was ______________
No frown nor smile his face did bless.
He played his tuba perfectly,
The notes he held in memory,
So when he marched he could be ________!


The property border was a ____ __ _ ______,
But the feud between neighbors was still a wild fray.
Their wives, in alarm,
To protect them from harm,
Filled their arms with _____ _________s for gunplay!


desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I noticed all the blanks immediately, and wasn't sure that type of puzzle was "legal." Apparently, it is. It turned into a dive for the bottom, and was finished in normal Monday time. I missed several clues as a result, but not the shoutout to Avg Joe.

Yesterday, I worked on all the BLANK lines in the American Community Survey from the Census Bureau. I had ignored their first notice, and received a stern reminder full of legalese that I'd better shape up and submit the sucker or face criminal penalties. Yazsuh, boss.

Happy birthday, Santa. Looks like you ODed on your warm milk.

Today's another taxing day. Later...

OwenKL said...

How many of you drew a blank on this puzzle? Actually pretty easy and enjoyable for a Thursday, though not bumpless. I started out with 1d as X-ray EYES instead of SPEX for a band I'd never heard of, electric ARC before EEL, ON THE level before ENTRY, PIED before PRET. 26d was a problem: Victoria Principal, Secret, Island? Parsing was a problem. -- HOLDS ?OR EL o?S --&-- LINE?? AS ?iVEe -- were what? Perps finally straightened them out, but the biggest problem was 39d. Suit T?AT. Finally figured out suit COAT, but that changes TIPS to CIPS, which didn't make sense, or TORT, which changed MAD to MR.D, which also made no sense. Finally gave in to the perps, and then just stared at TOAT for a while -- a suit case might be a TOTE -- before I saw it.

Sorry to be so late. Had my poems and the comments above done by midnight, so decided to take a little nap until I could post them. Oops.

Argyle said...

Thank you for the BD wishes.

Did you notice SOL in the center of this little universe?

Middletown Bomber said...

First time in a long time that I have seen a fill in the blank puzzle. Happy to see that the mensa site is back and up to date. Happy birthday Argyle.

buckeye bob said...

Thank you for the puzzle, Paul. Thank you for the entertaining review, Marti. I enjoyed your take on the fill-in-the-blanks!

Pretty much WBS. I had a hard time with the blanks that had no definite reference or context, and could be several words, but working the perps at the same time gave me many of the blanks.

In the end, what initially looked like a daunting puzzle was about Wednesday level for me, definitely easier than a typical Thursday puzzle.

Happy birthday, Argyle! Thank you for all you do for the Corner!

Avg Joe said...

Good morning all. And a very happy birthday, Scott. (also a belated HBD to Lois and Awol).

Noticed all the blanks immediately and really didn't want to like this puzzle at first. But as it began to fill in, I warmed up to it pretty quickly. Still, had to work it as a mural rather than group of thumbnails since there were multiple options in so many cases. By the time I got to the SE, I had ....age filled in and just stared at ____Joe. Took a good half minute for that light to go on. Doh!! A serious CSO.

A couple complete unknowns that filled with perps, such as Soie and Pret, but had no major problems with them. Final fill was the second to last S in Hold Scoreless, due to the parsing issue many had (which completed Soie). About a Wednesday level for me, but a lot of fun once completed.

Taxing day for me too, as I meet with my CPA late this afternoon. But I think I have sufficient quarterlies paid to come out OK.

Mari said...

Good morning everybody. Happy Birthday Argyle!

Interesting puzzle today. I took one look at it and thought, "Ugh!" But it was much easier than I initially thought. I flew through this one almost too quickly. My only hang ups were SOIE and PRET.

Marti, I liked some of your fill-ins better than Paul's. I especially liked your 5A.

Have a great day!

Al Cyone said...

Once I got over the initial shock . . . and once I got a foothold . . . this was fun.

And I'm to see that the Mensa site is back on track.


kazie said...

This was fun, and I had many of the same initial reactions as Marti. My only slip up was never having heard of BITO honey, and guessed MADE for life, ending up with BIDO (slang for bidet?) Oh well...

Where I first lived after college, my flatmates used to have a lot of parties, and there was a sign under the toilet lid: "Our aim is to keep this place clean--your aim will help!"

Happy birthday Santa Argyle, and many more!!

Yellowrocks said...

Monday easy, but not my cup of Earl Gray. I liked seeing PRET, which I learned from novels and SOIE, which I learned when I was buying silk for a little black dress I sewed in college. That dress was one of my all time favorites and quite elegant. There were no unknowns except SPEX, which was all PERPS.
I love context. This was like a Rorschach Inkblot Test. What comes to mind? I'll have anther cup of coffee, instead of that tea.

LaLaLinda said...

Hi Everyone ~~

Well. This was different ~ very different from any puzzle I've worked before. I ended up liking it after I was finished, but kept getting frustrated (for lack of a better word) as I worked. So many possibilities for almost every answer. Marti pointed out some excellent ones ~ a wonderful write-up, today!

I was held up at times by answers I didn't expect in plural form, but needed here: CHESTS of drawers, Carry ONS and TIPS the scales. In each case I wanted the singular.

Unknowns: SOIE, PRET and Victoria CROSS.

Nice SO/COS to Average Joe.

Happy Birthday, Argyle ~ what would the Corner do with you! I hope you have a wonderful day and a happy, healthy year!

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Happy Birthday, Argyle. Hoch Sollst Du Leben!

Nice shout out to Avg Joe today. CSO? I think not.

Interesting theme today. Fill in the blank. I liked doing this one but I prefer the traditional way for everyday. Interestingly, the S in SAM'S was the last letter filled; SPEX was unknown to me. So I ran the alphabet and Sam's sounded good.
Only 2 wite-outs; couldn't spell ERE, (eer) at first, and had 'none' before LINE ON A SURVEY. SAIL and TIKI took care of that.
EBB and flow - Grew up hearing about Ebbe und Flut.

Have a great day.

Husker Gary said...

This was a ___ puzzle with a ___ theme and Marti’s alternatives were really ___!

-Mata, if I tell you when D-day is coming, will you promise not to tell.
-In 47 years of marriage, I’ve learned certain topics are OUT OF BOUNDS
- Good for what AILS you.
-BIT O HONEY is dicey with store bought teeth
-Houdini swore he’d contact his wife from BEYOND THE GRAVE. So far, no answer.
-Disney properties have a squad of very nonthreatening RENT-A-COPS.
-X-ray specs in comic books of my ute never did this
-I could take A NAP subbing today. The kids are taking a quiz and then getting a computer and headphones
-The Seinfeld crew named Golda MEIR, Lyndon Johnson and Charles de Gaulle as ugliest world leaders
-Ravi greatly influenced the Beatles (5:00) during their transcendental phase
-Take IT AS a compliment – “I love how you don’t care what your wear”
-The current UNREST in Kiev is simply people wanting to be free, Vladimir.
-I shot over par yesterday, but Lord knows I TRIED
-Happy birthday, Santa! I was pretty good, so where is my Porsche? ;-)

JD said...

Good morning all and HAPPY BIRTHDAY Argyle,

Strange, fun, and a pretty easy run today. Loved your fill ins Marti.It's funny how our minds work. Did have several that I had not heard of, but they were easily perpable.The crossing of erat and emptor was a challenge.Just looked up peau de soie and Victoria cross as I drew a blank as to their meaning.Are cakesters something new? And, what is a notell motel?

I first became aware of elections when people were wearing those little "I Like Ike" buttons.

Thanks Paul for a fun morning.

Montana said...

As someone said, “It’s tough getting older, but it sure beats the alternative!”
Perhaps I will get to meet you this spring. That would be fun.

I have missed a couple days. I will try to read the posts from them, later.

I always turn on red letter help from Thursday to the end of each week.
I looked at this puzzle and wondered if I even wanted to try to solve it. I didn’t know the first 3 across answers, so I started on the downs. I got 9 of the 12, perps filled in the acrosses and I was off to the races. Every letter fell into place. I NEVER SAW A RED SQUARE! Hooray!
I solved a Thursday puzzle with no help. When I looked back after I finished, I thought the puzzle ended up nearly a Monday level for me. (Nice, since I had DNFs for Tuesday & Wednesday.)

Sun is shining today but I see it snowed overnight.
I am ready for spring. We have had enough snow to fill our reservoirs for the summer.
A slow melt would be good, so as to avoid floods.

Take care, everyone,


Yellowrocks said...

HBD Argyle. Thank you for all you do for the Corner. I always look forward to your informative and clever Monday and Tuesday blogs. They ramp up the interest for very basic puzzles.
Owen, another great set of poems like so many that you post.

Argyle said...

Thank you all for the well wishes.

HG, if there is a Porsche in my bag, the reindeer are gone and you're out of luck.

C6D6 Peg said...

When I first saw the puzzle, I thought "What the ____???" It turned out to be a very enjoyable puzzle. Thank you, Paul!

Loved the write-up Marti. Thanks for sharing your "first-thoughts"

Happy Birthday, Argyle! Many more!

Vidwan827 said...

Thank you Paul for a very innovative and puzzle! which was a lot of fun .... And more importantly, something even I could solve. I really enjoyed it.

Happy birthday, Argyle .... Best wishes, and hopes for many more to come. I hope that cup of kindness, that you're holding has no milk ... But a dram of something more invigorating. Thanks for all your volunteer efforts on the blog.

If I may opine, the photo shows you somewhat lonely .... Please make sure that your next photos have all your friends, who are presumably surrounding you, are also in the picture.

I hope the weather breaks in honor of your birthday, and you have warm and sunny days and nights.

I wanted to also thank JD for that lovely clip on the penguins yesterday. .... And I am so glad that the penguins have neither fur nor feathers that the humans desire to clothe themselves in ....

Have a nice day, all

Vidwan827 said...

Marti, I forgot,

Thank you very much for your lovely blog .... And your tongue in cheek answers.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning;

I have never seen this type of puzzle before and while it wasn't my cup of tea (Earl Grey or otherwise), I compliment Mr. Hunsberger on his cleverness and craftsmanship. And thanks to Miss Marti for her entertaining interpretation.

Happy Birthday, Argyle; hope you have a fun day.

Nice shout-out to Avg Joe, CSO or not.

Bright, sunshiny day, with lots of melting going on. Cold temps returning tomorrow night.

Tax day for me, too, if I can get the brain in gear.

Have a great day.

Argyle said...

I'm not sure if you can make it out but I've changed my avatar for you.

Lucina said...

Hello, _________ Solvers!

A very happy birthday, Argyle! You are still a youngster so enjoy it while you can. And thank you for your yoeman work here on the Corner.

I believe this is the first fill in the blank puzzle I've ever done and initially thought I might not like it but WEES. Once started it filled in easily proving that we converse in short cliches.

Marti, your first answers made me chuckle especially a certain one _____. I enjoyed your commentary.

And I smiled at the CSO for AVERAGE Joe.

Like Sptizboov I spelled ERE, EER for some reason and had to wait for perps on PRET though to a former seamstress SOIE is familiar to me. YR, I would like to have seen your black dress.

Though I ended up liking this puzzle I still prefer clever clues.
But I admire the construction. Thank you, Paul Hunsberger.

Have a terrific day, everyone!

Zcarguy said...

Happy birthday Argyle !

CrossEyedDave said...

Took a quick look at the puzzle this morning, looks interesting, but I have not had a chance to do it yet. Busy day, I just got back from the eye doctor & whatever drops he put in my eyes make it difficult to see anything... (The puzzle will have to wait.)

Just posting because all of a sudden everyone is wishing HG a belated Happy Anniversary. Two days ago when just one person mentioned it, I thought I could get away with not posting a cake.

But now I don't want to be left out...

So belated Happy Anniversary HG!

Misty said...

My heart just sank at my first glance at this puzzle. Oh no! But after MATA HARI I became hopeful, and before long I was having a blast speeding through one blank after another. Marti, it was really fun to match my first reactions to yours--thanks for offering them! And thank you, Paul, for a brilliant and unusual puzzle. It's nice to have us shaken out of our comfy routines every now and then.

I almost posted a question yesterday: "Okay, so who's this SANTA BABY everybody keeps talking about?" Got my answer this morning. Happy, happy birthday, Argyle. The photo of course makes perfect sense of the nickname, and since you must have planned this, with the red outfit and cup, I'm guessing it's okay to call you SANTA BABY! Hope you have a wonderful day!

And you, too, everybody!

GarlicGal said...

Happy B-day, Argyle. Hope you have a relaxing day.

I thought the puzzle was a hoot. Yes, something different, but a speed run just the same.

JD - No-Tell know like a place for a tryst or clandestine meeting.

So, it's 9:45 pacific time, I'm on the couch waiting for the 15 y.o. girl from San Jose to hit the ice. Lots of talk around here since she goes to my daughters old high school. Go POLINA!!!

John V said...

Had a couple of mistakes but thought this was a bunch of fun, a pretty neat wild-card, a poke-in-the eye of CAP haters; a nice wise-guy feel!!

Steve said...

Happy Birthday Argyle!

Loved the puzzle today - fun stuff.

CanadianEh! said...

This puzzle was not ENTRY LEVEL or SAME OLD and I enjoyed it when I was able to SUSS out the answers. It actually didn't seem too difficult for a Thursday.

Thanks Marti for the fun write-up. Some of my first answers matched yours.

Back to the usual ERIE canal today not SOO. BEER for Tin.

HBD Argyle.

Wonderful Canadian gold medal for Jennifer Jones and team in Ladies Curling! Now back to the women's hockey game. Go Canada!!

Anonymous said...

I like your hilarious answers better....

Lemonade714 said...

Well with the innovative FITB puzzle, and equally creative write up by marti, this turned out to be a fun day. I would hate to see another one, but this was great.

Nice to C.C. and Don G. back in the NYT, also theme all over the place.

Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, First and foremost, Happy Birthday Argyle, and many, many more.

When I first saw all those blank lines for clues, I drew a blank! But I thought that I would just try some of the answers and before I knew it I had almost everything filled in. It hit me that the Blank clues had something to do with blanks. My first blank was Empty Cartridge. I then went back and filled in the others and voila a puzzle with no blanks left!

Some of my first thoughts were Film (star), Victoria (falls), I like (you), San Diego (zoo), and (Suez) canal. Most of those first thoughts were the right length, so had to use my eraser a few times before I had things completed correctly.

Thanks, Marti for a great writeup and to Paul H. for a different take on our crossword today.

Have a great day, everyone. I'm going to go shopping today. I don't like to do that much anymore as it entails finding a parking place in a very busy mall and a lot of walking from the parking area to the shopping area. However, the gift cards from my Christmas stocking have burned a hole through the toe.

Have a great day everyone.

PK said...

Hi ____! Fun puzzle, Paul! Fun write-up, Marti!

Happy birthday, Argyle! Glad to see your friends joined you. Have fun!

This puzzle disappeared when I was 2/3 done and I cared enough to re-fill it and finish which only took another 7:47 minutes.

My wedding dress was made of peau de soie so I had no trouble with that fill. When I was making it, we had fun trying to pronounce it. Much ribald laughter in doing so.

Yesterday a fill-in-the-blank survey came in the mail from a certain aggressive political party which wanted to know who I would choose from a long list as a candidate for president. All of the choices were either "who dat" or "hell no" in my opinion. I'm not much help.

Husker Gary said...

Musings 2
-Thanks for the cakes Dave. That nest looks somewhat like what we lived in 47 years ago when, in the words of The Big Bopper, “I ain’t got nooooo money, honey”
-I love these kinds of puzzles that stray off the reservation. It reveals the brilliance of the constructors and Rich’s choices to put into the lineup.
-Because I’m subbing I had to do the puzzle online and continue to not enjoy that nearly as much
-Note to George Barnay, et al after finishing their “All You Need is Love” crossword. The answer to the heart-shaped question in the puzzle is YES! If you’re not doing Geroge’s free puzzles, you’re missing a lot of fun.

CrossEyedDave said...

Eye drops are wearing off...

Wait! What's this?? It's blanks?!?!
(Oh thank goodness, I thought I was going blind...)

Very funny write up Marti!
My 1st 36A was Costa Del Rey
30D took a lot of sussing. My 1st thought was if ---22-across solve = out, then 30D must be cuss?

DNF due to the 47A Natick, I put "Noe." (prot/pret. what's the difference???) It did make me look up "pret-a-porter," (archaic?) but Wiki just made it worse because now I don't know how to pronounce it...

& the final nail in the coffin was 15A. I put I'm into you, which made me come to the Blog to find out what a Nitell Motel was. (Brand name???) I never heard of a no tell motel. (I wonder now if I have missed something in life...)

HBD Argyle! (Sorry that the cake doesn't look very appetizing...)

annieb816 said...

Hello. I'm new to this sie and want you to know how much I enjoy it. Would somebody please tell me what a "perp" is? I'll be returning daily to enjoy the comments and commeraderie!

Bill G. said...

Happy birthday Argyle! I appreciate all you do around here.

I solved this last night when Mensa got their act together. It seemed like a fresh concept to me. Even without a clue, many of the blanks filled themselves in easily with an expression I was familiar with. I had trouble in spots but otherwise, WEES.

Annieb816, a perp is a word that intersects perpendicularly to the word you are working on. They are often called crosses or crossing words. Welcome!

Husker Gary said...

Musings 3
-Dave - NO TELL Motel rooms are like some companions one would take there - you rent them by the hour. Also one’s companion’s clothing is likely prêt à retirer.
-Here comes my last class. I have had nothing to do all day and the kids are on computers with headphones. Life is good. Maybe I should give the $135 back. Nah. The local paper just published the fact that the superintendent of this Class C School with only 360 kids makes $112,000 per year and the principal makes $93,000.

Argyle said...

Dave, it's a work of art!

Ol' Man Keith said...

Happy B'DAY, Argyle!

Yes - at first this looked intimidating, but it was easy in the end, easier than most Thursday pzls.

I did about the same as Marti on the first-guess test. That's why HARI was my first confident fill.

Never heard of NO TELL motel before, but it makes sense. I guess those are the ones where you don't care if the TV is out.

Lemonade714 said...

Drat, my early morning HBDTY, HBDTY to Argyle from my kindle did not post. So better late than never happy day and happy year Scott and many more

Ol' Man Keith said...

All hail, Argyle!
Birthdays seem to be crowding us now. I am glad to see those for friends and relatives, but my own don't feel quite so welcome. Still, I haven't noticed them so much in recent years--these later ones that fly by faster and faster.
This weekend, however, I officially pass from being "elderly" to being just plain OLD-- and can't say I like it.
I guess the year that marks the Great Divide varies from person to person. What is YOUR magic number? 65? 75? 80?

Blankety Blank said...

This puzzle played like a bad USAToday grid! I was cringing at the poor clues, and couldn't believe it was in the LATimes, much less on a Thursday.

Luckily, it redeemed itself by being somewhat clever.

Still not a Thursday grid, though.

Merry Birthday, Santa!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Late again. I had to spend the bulk of the day on the roof (of the old house) clearing up an ice damn. At least we have above-freezing temps today.

First off, belated birthday greetings to Lois and AWOL, I think I missed you earlier. And a more timely Happy Birthday to Argyle, thanks for being a solid pillar of the Corner!

As for the puzzle, I have to fess up. While the theme was obvious enough, I flat out didn't notice that every last clue was Phil in the Blank. Just kept filling stuff in and never caught on. D'oh! If it weren't for Marti's witty write-up, I'd still be in the dark.

Al Cyone said...

Dudley@3:33: "clearing up an ice damn"

I think I prefer your spelling!

Yellowrocks said...

I appreciate the idea and the great effort it took to construct this puzzle.
Since I started doing crosswords more than 50 years ago, I always do across and down together. I can’t break that habit. I usually don’t form any answers on clues that have several possibilities until I read the perps. When each answer is the first word that pops into my mind and when the downs are filled by gimmes before I get to read the clue, I am disappointed. Today doing across and down together and working in solid blocks, the first word that satisfied the perps was totally obvious. Each answer was half formed before I read the clue, so I can’t relate to the Rorschach test of what was my first thought.
Making the puzzle more difficult without any context would have made it impossible. An alternative would have been to make it quite a bit more difficult and offer context clues as well as blanks. I suppose I am just a contrarian.
I keep thinking about the poor UPS delivery workers. Splynter, are you out there in this ice? The gutters above all our front doors form icicles which drip. When the temperature drops in the evening that drip forms mounds of ice in front of our front doors, in spite of vigorous salting and chopping. Stalagmites trying to reach stalactites? I am so afraid that visitors or delivery people will slip and fall.
Dudley,you say ice damn? LOL Right on! Me, too.

Lucina said...

First, I hope you have told C.C. when your birthday is so that we can all offer our wishes/condolences.

As for me, at this age any number I reach is a magic one. Never did I dream of being this old!

Kath said...

I liked today's puzzle a lot!!

darlene said...

thank You for being there!!! Don't usually need you but its a great help when crossers get toooo cute!

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Exactly what buckeye bob and Mari said, including best birthday wishes to Argyle.

HeartRx said...

JSD @ 9:42, a “No-Tell” Motel is one of those out-of-the-way places where the manager never knows the names of his guests and will never tell anyone, which couples have stayed there for an hour or so…so, it’s “No tell…”

Argyle @ 10:47, bravo!! Fun to see you surrounded by friends…maybe that was the prelude to the picture that C.C. posted??

Dudley @ 3:33 , damn those ice dams – been clearing them off both houses all day!! (^0^)

Jayce said...

Keith Fowler, I keep meaning to ask, is that you playing the role of Che Guevara?

Argyle, who took that photo of you?

Lemonade714 said...

Intellectually, I think from the bible, we are all programmed to consider 70 a great divide, with 21, 30, 50 and 65 being 'milestones' 80 , 90 and 100 seeming unfathomable until you are 75, 85 or 95

buckeye bob said...

Keith @ 3:01 PM,

I agree with Lucina at 4:00 PM. I actually never thought I would live to be this old. But here I am. How did I get to be this old? How did we get children that old? It seems like all of life has just flown by, not just the later years.

I recognize every day is a gift. I don’t think about how old I am, but I am grateful that I am still on the green side of the grass for another day. So if there is a “magic number”, it is my age each and every day.

Argyle said...

The Great and dead.

Jayce, the one in the chair was a timer on a tripod selfie. The group was probably the waitress.

Ol' Man Keith said...

buckeye bob @5:40
Most of my family, especially the men, have died young. At this point I have already outlived the eldest on record by almost two years. So, while I am sure several good folk here must be older, I doubt anyone FEELS older than I do. I get a bit dizzy when I think how far above my relatives I am now flying...
Will I fly even higher? Or glide from now on?

Jayce @5:00:
Che, eh?
If you mean my profile pic, that was taken in 1970 or 71. Nope, not playing a role, just bein' me on a happy day.
You, I take it, are the true dad of one Indiana Jones!

Ol' Man Keith said...

Lemonade714 @5:30:
I guess the biblical "three score and ten" is a good place to begin. It is probably why the standard retirement age became 65; nobody wanted workers to feel cheated out of at least five years of their pension or social security.
Now that I have long passed 65 and am by choice not retired I do feel some concern about ever quitting work. Should I? And, if so, when?
I love my work and happily do not face a mandatory retirement - but I hate the thought that I may be keeping someone younger from getting a decent job.
I tell myself that as long as I can do these Xwords with a minimum of cheats, I should keep working.
Hands up, everybody here for the same reason!

fermatprime said...


Thanks for interesting puzzle, Paul! Loved your write-up, Marti!

Have worked several definition puzzles. Not usually a problem. Only unknown here was SPEX. Spelled SOIE incorrectly at first. Got the TADA in pretty good time for a Thursday. Could never match Al Cyone's time on anything! Why not tell us something about yourself, Al?

Happy, happy rest of birthday, Argyle! Did you have chocolate cake? Really appreciate all that you do for us!

Swim friend's leg finally well enough for her to participate today. Am exhausted, not having swum in about a week.


Argyle said...

Yup, some chocolate cake, thank you very much. Yum.

Anonymous T said...

Happy Birthday Argyle! Thanks for all you do on this blog nearly 24/7...

WEES re: fill in the ___ today! I looked at it and though "Oh, ____." I started in NW and went 1,5,9, nada. 12d gave me the foot-hold and NE was done. 13d cleared NW. Slowly but surely... Thursday Solve!

Thanks Marti - I had some same 1st thoughts as you. Owen too w/ onThe at 28d.

At the end of the day this was MAD fun. Thanks Paul.

Fav was finally SUSSing out 30d. The Aha! was worth it.

On age - I can't say anything yet. Based on family history, I should have another 30 years or so left... I don't feel old most days, but on others I realize I can't do what I could 20 years ago.

DInner's ready - I'll check in later. Cheers, -T

Jeannie said...

Ooohhh I got my number!!

Happy Birthday my favorite little Argyle.

Bill G. said...

Hey Keith, well said. If you enjoy what you are doing, why retire? Well, maybe working full-time is keeping you from other things you might enjoy even more?

I felt like old age was a myth when I was in my early 50s. The number sounded old but I felt great. The 60s and 70s haven't been as kind to me.

Speaking of that, I just got an e-mail from a tennis buddy of mine. We used to have a quartet that played doubles every week. Various injuries and back issues encouraged my tennis retirement. I've kept in touch with the group. I had lunch with my buddy, Pete, about a year ago. I knew he was dealing with prostate cancer. He put off another lunch recently because he wasn't feeling well. I just got an e-mail telling me he passed away yesterday. I'm feeling very sad and fragile all of a sudden. Geez...

CrossEyedDave said...

Well, I was trying to find some funny "blank" stuff, but pickings are a bit slim...


This was listed under blank for some reason, & for some reason I wanted to show it to Bill G. (but pls don't take it personally...)

Another ditty found under "blank" that I thought you teachers might like...

Wait... Wait... almost there...

and finally...

River Doc said...

Happy Thursday everybody!

I for one really enjoyed this puzzle, mostly because it was different. I don't think I've ever seen a grid clued like this one (every clue being fill in the blank). And yes, it was finished in typical Monday time....

Favorite clue / answer was NO TELL MOTEL.... Not from personal experience, mind you....

Second favorite answer = BEER....

Third favorite answer = PADRES - baseball...!

Marti, I also thought Olive's name was spelled OYL... And I had GLEE instead of SAM'S.... Also agree with you re: why was 22-Across used as the clue for SUSS...?

SOL = Shinola Outta Luck...?

Finally H, H, HBD to Argyle...!

aka thelma said...

Thank you Paul - thank you Marti - Happy Birthday Argyle and thank you for all you do for the smooth running of this little corner of the world. Hope you have had a grand day.....

I was glad to see the Mensa site back up.... had no trouble with the puzzle which for a Thursday is amazing....

As far as being "old" goes.... IMHO :) you can be "old" whenever you decide to be.... chronologically you might be a certain age but you don't have to be "old"...... I will be 75 next month and I am not anywhere near "old".... :) :) it is all in your mind.... :) and yes.... health issues slow you down from time to time.... but that doesn't mean you are "old".... :) just sayin'... :) :)

Sorry to hear about your friend BIll.... seems there are no words when you feel you need them the most....

Do enjoy everyday........

CrossEyedDave said...

Dudleys mention of ice damns hit a sore spot, (& don't tell Tinbeni!) & HeartRx,,, how do you clear an ice dam when there is 6' of snow on the roof!? (You might as well try to ski jump off the roof while your at it...)

But I digress,,,

IS THERE AN ELECTRICAL ENGINEER OUT THERE (or home inspector) that could tell me if my home passes code?

To explain:

In winters with heavy snowfall, it would start raining in my house. Just the 1st foor living room, by the windows. The upstairs & basement remained dry. I traced the problem to ice dams & a little research led me to believe a cold attic would solve the problem.

My 1st attempt was to seal off (with tape) the attic pull down staircase. (still leaked) Then I put garbage bags over the filter in the Air Conditioner return in case heat was escaping from the duct work. (didn't work.) So I went up to the attic, & crawled to the very edge of the roof & discovered whoever put in the insulation stuffed it into the eaves blocking the vent holes in the eaves. No wonder the attic was hot! I fixed that, & still had a problem...

This year with all the snow, I was desperate. I went up to the attic to search for anything that I had missed. The attic fan was clear, the roof vents were clear, the eave vents were clear, the insulation was perfect. Then someone went into the bathroom & turned on the light. I could see it up in the attic!

The problem was our 2 upstairs bathrooms had floodlight fixtures that protrude into the attic. The insulation does not cover them to avoid a fire hazard. In addition, these fixtures have holes in them to allow heat to escape. adding up all the lights & their heat vent holes made me realize that there was an opening to my attic the size of a window! No wonder the snow was melting, & then freezing at the gutters!

I removed the bulbs & covered the fixtures with saran wrap as a quick fix. The house is now dry as a bone...

Question: If this is the cause of this disaster, why would anyone allow floodlights to be installed in a home in a freezing climate zone? Isn't this why we have building codes?

Sorry if I went over 20 lines... I'll shut up now...

Anonymous T said...


I am an EE, so take this with a grain of salt :-)

The light-bulbs in vented space will not heat the area. I am assuming the contention is the house-heat is also being transferred through the light vents. Here's my carpentry solution...

Build ___" x ___" x ___" boxes (and insulate the outside of 'em) to put over the vented lights in the attic. Also, find CFL flood-lights to ensure the box doesn't over-warm (a 100W bulb can heat a 10'x10'x8' enclosed room by 10 F/hr).

Cheers, -T

Spitzboov said...

CED - re: "had floodlight fixtures that protrude into the attic. The insulation does not cover them to avoid a fire hazard"

If fixtures are rated for insulation, fire hazard should not be an issue. See Recessed Light.

PK said...

HG, I've tried to work the George Barnay puzzles on line and can't make it happen. Is it possible? My printer doesn't work so I can't print them out.

Bill G. said...

The Oldest Trick in the Book
Look-est thou over there.
Ha ha!
Mad-est thou look!

Another great talking dog video, almost as good as the first one.
A dog who wants a kitty to play with

Lucina said...

Would someone tell me please, what is an ice dam? Damn if I know. Thank you.

Anonymous T said...

Bill G:

Cute Dog want's Cat video...

Lucina... A damn ice dam is where the bottom snow melts first and then re-freezes later down the roof and blocks other snow from melting. A bad damn ice dam can end up pulling shingles backwards and up. This is what I remember about them from my ute when dad would worry about it. I'm sure someone can enlighten us both much more. Like you, I live where these things are SEPs (Someone Else's Problem).

Cheers, -T

Anonymous said...

ice dams?

The damn things form when the warmth from beneath the roof is of a temperature higher than the ambient. The snow melts and refreezes before exiting the system.

Ice dams indicate poor insulation.

Abejo said...

Good Friday morning. Thank you, Paul Hunsberger, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Marti, for a fine review.

Just finished this morning. I thought this puzzle was great. Something different. Turned out to be easier than it first appeared.

Liked all the theme answers. They came easily after a bunch of perps.

Nice to see ERAT. One of my favorite terms: Q.E.D.

No idea what SOIE for 29D was. Perped it.

Remember Golda MEIR well. I believe she was assassinated.

Now for Friday's puzzle.

See you later today, I hope.


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