Mar 20, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014 Kevin Christian

Theme: It's Not What You Think…

17-Across. It's not a swine : GUINEA PIG. It's actually a rodent, as is 43-Across.

21-Across. It's not an equine : SEAHORSE. It's actually a marine fish.

35-Across. It's not an amphibian : HORNED TOAD. It's actually a lizard.

43-Across. It's not a canine : PRAIRIE DOG. It's actually a rodent, like 17-Across.

53-Across. It's not a rodent : TITMOUSE. It's actually a bird.

62-Across. It's not an ursine : KOALA BEAR. It's actually a marsupial.

Six theme entries, with four of them overlapping, could make some compromises in the fill. But I found this to be quite smooth. I also thought the theme was very fresh, and enjoyed filling in each entry with the "pseudo-name."

At first I thought we had another puzzle by Rich Norris, until I remembered that the "pseudo-name" he uses is GIA Christian, not Kevin. ("Again, it's Rich.")


1. At attention, say : ERECT.

6. Whale group : GAM. Hands up for "pod"????

9. Caught at a rodeo : ROPED.

14. Grammy-winning Jones : NORAH. I really love this one - it has special meaning for me.

15. CXVIII x V : DXC. 118 x 5 = 590

16. Officer on the Enterprise bridge : UHURA.

19. Alert to drivers : SIREN.

20. Vinyl item : RECORD.

23. Zilch : NADA.

25. Hot times in Lyon : ETES. As Splynter says, "Frawnch" for "summers."

26. MST part: Abbr. : STD. Mountain StandarTime. Hey, it's MDT already!

29. Endow : VEST.

31. __ projection : ASTRAL.

38. Million finish : AIRE. Millionaire.

39. Mayflower Compact signer : ALDEN.

40. Patriots' Day mo. : APR. I think this holiday is officially celebrated only in Massachusetts, the day of the Boston Marathon.

41. Former U.S. Army post near Monterey : FT. ORD.

42. Big name in game shows : MERV. Griffin.

45. "Remington __" : STEELE. 1980's romance-comedy-detective show, starring Pierce Brosnan.

47. Enthusiasm : ZEAL.

48. Common rebus pronoun : EWE.  I had a really cool rebus puzzle to post here, with a picture of an EYE, a tin CAN, an image of the SEA and a picture of a EWE. Oh well, technology got the better of me.

49. Avis adjective : RARA.

51. "Stay" singer Lisa : LOEB. Sorry, I used up my one link on Norah Jones...

57. Lacking the wherewithal : UNABLE.

61. Confess : ADMIT.

64. Seven-year phase : TEENS. 13-19 year olds. Funny, I always thought of teens as being a ten-year stretch. But I counted on my fingers, and YEP!  It's only seven years. It just seems longer, when you are a parent of one, I guess...

65. SASE, e.g. : ENC. Self addressed stamped envelope - enclosure.

66. Ben Stiller's mother : MEARA.

67. Biography Channel owner : A AND E. Seems weird to see A&E spelled out.

68. Most of AZ doesn't observe it : DST. Daylight Savings Time.

69. Freddy Krueger's haunts: Abbr. : ELM ST.


1. Tech sch. grad : ENGR.

2. Rake : ROUE.

3. Idle in comedy : ERIC. Of Monty Python fame.

4. Leica competitor : CANON.

5. Title "ungainly fowl" of poetry : THE RAVEN. Funny how it overlapped 36-Down, NEVER MIND…(so close to "nevermore"!!!)

6. Natl. economic indicator : GDP. Like EST or EDT, I always struggle with GDP or GNP. Fill in two letters, wait for perps to confirm the third.

7. x, y or z : AXIS.

8. Blues singer Bobby of song : MCGEE. "But feeling good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues…"

9. Fraternity events : RUSHES.

10. Columbus school : OHIO STATE.

11. Sign of feline felicity : PURR.

12. "__ Tu": 1974 hit : ERES. Mocedades, "It's You."

13. Hamlet, for one : DANE.

18. Contributed : ADDED.

22. Slightly : A TAD.

24. Sirius or Vega : A STAR. Not just a star, but an "A" star.

26. Counterfeits : SHAMS.

27. Available, on a real estate sign : TO LET. Sounds more European to me. I'm used to seeing "For Rent."

28. Rapper who co-founded Beats Electronics : DR. DRE.

30. November birthstone : TOPAZ.

32. __ Janeiro : RIO DE. meh.

33. Bow go-with : ARROW.

34. Dove's perch : LEDGE.

36. "Don't bother" : NEVER MIND.

37. Disney mermaid : ARIEL.

41. Identifier in a folder : FILE NAME.

43. Machu Picchu locale : PERU.

44. Lover of Christine, in "The Phantom of the Opera" : RAOUL.

46. "Tao Te Ching" author : LAO TSE. Attributed to him, but I believe its true authorship is uncertain. Loosely translated as "The Classic Path to Virtue."

50. Tried to date, with "out" : ASKED.

52. Tower city : BABEL.

53. "See ya" : TA-TA.

54. What a light bulb may signify : IDEA. TA-DA!!

55. The Untouchables, e.g. : T-MEN.

56. Eras upon eras : EONS.

58. Smile broadly : BEAM.

59. Metallica drummer Ulrich : LARS. The first Dane to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

60. Q.E.D. word : ERAT. Quod erat demonstrandum. "Which had to be demonstrated."

63. Pretend to be : ACT.

That's all for this week, folks!


Note from C.C.:

1) Happy Birthday to dear Spitzboov (Al), who has been faithfully contributing to this blog for a few years. Al served in the Navy Reserve for over 20 years and retired as Commander. This morning I had a bonding moment with Al. I made my breakfast Al Style 5 minutes only. I had been using the wrong water to oats ration previously. (Ratio! Thanks, Owen). Too much water. By the way, D-Otto, I tried the Test Kitchen steel-cut oats with dates & toasted walnuts & soy milk on Tuesday. Great result. I'll experience with coconut milk tomorrow. (Experiment. Thanks again, Owen)

Spitzboov & his lovely wife Betty, US Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT,
August 2012
2) Happy Birthday to John28man as well. The lady in his avatar picture is his wife. They were in a restaurant in Vienna, Austria. Do you spend every winter in Arizona, John?

3) To regular commenters: Please email me ( if you want to be included in our blog birthday list. I'd love to see a picture of you too.


OwenKL said...

A Menagerie Of Misnomers

The SEA HORSE roams the oceans and sea,
The PRAIRIE DOG digs the lone prairie,
Each forehead node
Sports a bony horn. (I checked it on Wiki!)


The GUINEA PIG doesn't come from Guinea,
The TIT MOUSE doesn't have tits, not any.
Though you squeeze it with care,
Squirts out tastes more like eucalyptus than Pepsi!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all (and Happy Birthday, Spitzboov)!

Enjoyed the theme on this one and managed to figure out most of the theme answers with little to no help from the perps. Ended with an error that took a few minutes to track down, though (I had EYE instead of EWE at 48A).

It seemed odd that the clue for 66A had Ben Stiller's first and last name and the answer only had his mother's last name.

And yes, POD is much more common by far. I think the only places I have ever seen GAM used to refer to a group of whales is in the book "Moby Dick" and in crossword puzzles. In fact, it's so uncommon that I used to wonder if I had imagined seeing it in "Moby Dick" until I started seeing it in crossword puzzles...

C.C. Burnikel said...

Thanks for pointing out my typo. In crossword lingo, the IG/SE, SE/KO stacking is called overlapping.

Al Cyone said...

A smoother fill than I expect for Thursdays though the north-central was a bit sticky (thanks to GAM, my unwillingness to do the Roman numeral math, and thinking that "Bobby" was the singer, not the subject of the song).

Today is the birthday of crosswords' favorite hockey player, Bobby ORR.


OwenKL said...

Hand up for POD.
9a had DOGIE before ROPED.
40a Dubya tried to turn 9/11 into Patriots' Day. I support the movement to make 9/11 First Responders' Day, honoring police, fire fighters, EMTs, and ER doctors.
48a Here.
65a ENV(elope) before ENC, 63d APE before ACT, and was stubborn about keeping both of them.
67a AANDE -- my websites are hosted at 1&1, but looks like something different to me, too.
26a&68a MST & DST make this a very timely puzzle.
24d Marti, thanks for pointing out the A-STAR I hadn't noticed!

Lemonade714 said...

Owen you clearly do not understand why some comments get deleted. This forum encourages discussion and one of the contributors are so thin skinned that we do not accept correction. It is the irrelevant personal attacks and the political, religious or other diatribes.

Meanwhile, nice job Kevin and Marti, I did regret it was not all -ine clues, like It's not a feline: BEARCAT. Anyway, dry clever.Spring is springing, the birdies singing

Lemonade714 said...

Rats, happy happy birthday to Spitzboov one of the most dependable and entertaining of the Corner denizens.

desper-otto said...

Good morning, springsters!

Got the theme, for a change, and zoomed right through this one. I had no problem with POD/GAM -- the G was already there. Did have a minor problem multiplying 118 by 5. Also a hiccup with FAKES before SHAMS. And "MST part" wasn't SCI (Mystery Science Theater).

The way Kris wrote it, Marti, Bobby McGee was female. Janis changed that.

Happy Birthday, Spitz and John28man!

desper-otto said...

Lemonade, I just gotta ask. Which one is thin-skinned? :)

Lemonade714 said...

Typos are not uncommon for me as if I do not get a red line I do not see I typed ONE when I obviously meant NONE. Thanks for the catch.

Speaking of catches, our very own Marti was nominated for best clue of the year. READ

John Brydels said...

Did you know that, as the song was originally written, "Bobby", or "Bobbie", was a girl?
And, it makes more sense.
"Bobbie thumbed a diesel down."
Easier for the ladies to hitch hike a ride.

John Brydels said...

And, for my nephew, a graduate of that fine school in Columbus, it's "The Ohio State", not "Ohio State". They seem very particular about that. :)

Mari said...

Good morning everybody - welcome to Spring! A cruel joke here in Chicago, where we had large snow flakes falling thismorning.

I finished this cute puzzle with a few write overs - hands up for POD vs GAM!

I thought Patriots Day was in September to coincide with September 11. This caused me a few write overs in the center.

Otherwise all filled in well.

Happy Birthday to Spitzbov and John!

Avg Joe said...

Fun puzzle, and an interesting theme. The only hesitation I had on theme answers was dormouse instead of titmouse. Didn't take long to straighten that out.

Early in his career, Kris Kristofferson was heavily covered, but not many had heard of him. So a good number of his songs were androgynous, or at least readily adaptable where gender specific. One example (and to tie it into a nice little package for todays entries) Help Me Make It Through the Night. In this cover, Norah Jones uses Kris's original lyric in the opener instead of Sammi Smith's change up where the ribbon is in "her" hair.

LaLaLinda said...

Hi All ~~

Well, I stumbled right out of the gate today. I had 'Alert' before ERECT and 'Ricoh' before CANON. NORAH Jones soon set things straight. I really liked the theme ~ it was fun anticipating each one. Thanks for your always enjoyable write-up, Marti.

~ Last to fill was 5A - and 5D . I thought I vaguely remembered GAM used this way so it was a lucky guess.

~ Favorite was 11D - Sign of feline felicity - PURR. =^..^=

~ I think Patriots' Day is in April and Patriot Day is in September.

~ Happy Birthday, Spitzboov / Al! I always learn from you with your helpful explanations.

~ Happy Birthday, John28man - hope you have a great day!

thehondohurricane said...

Good day to all.

Before I forget.... Happy birthday Spitz.

Took me a while to get going today, but once I figured out the theme, I began to make some progress. Hand up for wanting pod for 6A. GDP dispelled that thought. The G was a wag, just looked more appropriate then the other 25 choices.

I struggled a lot today and ended up with plenty of wags. LOEB/BABEL. ROUE, UHURA. & MCGEE were some. There were some fills that I figured were OK because the perps looked solid.

Thought I'd escaped my normal winter cold/influenza episode, but it arrived yesterday. One dang day before spring! Oh well, nothing on the agenda for few days, so I'll just hang around the house and make Lucy's day much brighter!

buckeye bob said...

Thank you for the puzzle, Kevin. Thank you for the excellent review, Marti. And congratulations on your nomination for Most Outstanding Clue of 2013! I had no idea there were constructor awards. Thanks, Lemonade!

I thought this was an easy puzzle, like a Tuesday or Wednesday puzzle. Or maybe I just got lucky!

I liked the theme. It was a clever idea, and fun to solve.

Hand up for POD before GAM. I had UHURU before UHURA, but I know Hamlet was not a dune, so that set me straight!

My unknowns, such as LOEB, LARS, and RAOUL, were helped by the perps.

I like Norah Jones’ music. It seems her time with us was very short. But if she’s happy, at least we have a few of her albums.

Happy birthday Spitzboov and john28man. Enjoy your special day!

Yellowrocks said...

Happy first day of spring.

Very Early Spring
by Katherine Mansfield
The fields are snowbound no longer;
There are little blue lakes and flags of tenderest green.
The snow has been caught up into the sky--
So many white clouds--and the blue of the sky is cold.
Now the sun walks in the forest,
He touches the bows and stems with his golden fingers;
They shiver, and wake from slumber.
Over the barren branches he shakes his yellow curls.
Yet is the forest full of the sound of tears....
A wind dances over the fields.
Shrill and clear the sound of her waking laughter,
Yet the little blue lakes tremble
And the flags of tenderest green bend and quiver.

HeartRx said...

Good morning all!

Happy, Birthday, Spitzboov – I know I can always rely on you to clarify all things nautical!

And Happy Birthday to John28man. I’m trying to figure out which restaurant in Vienna your avatar was taken in, but I don’t recognize it. It must be the one I haven’t been to yet!! (^0^)

Lemony and Buckeye, thanks for the congrats. I didn’t even know there were such awards, LOL!!

d-otto @ 7:02, good catch. But the version sung by JJ is etched in my brain.

LaLaLinda @ 8:19, you are correct. Patriot’s Day in MA goes back to 1894. Patriot Day, in honor of those killed on 9-11, was established in 2001 in spite of opposition (to the name) from MA.

Speaking of typos, I’m glad no one has mentioned that I originally had today’s date as March 20, 2013…

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Happy Birthday to John28man. Guess we share the same cusp date.

Thanks, C.C. for the birthday greetings and to the denizens for their good wishes.

Liked the theme which helped knowing a well known animal was in the answer.
Had 'pod' before GAM. CSO @ 1d, ENGR.
Thought TEENS and RARA were real clever.
DST - Guess I'm wondering what part of AZ does observe DST . Is there a local option?
Enjoyed the puzzle.

Spring springs in at 1657 UT today.

Off to play some bridge.

Irish Miss said...

Good morning:

A just-right Thursday from Mr. Christian. Hand up for pod but the rest was smooth sailing. Nice expo, Marti, and congrats on your award.

Happy Birthday to Spitz and John. Hope you both have a great day.

UAlbany won their first NCAA tournament game the other night but tonight they face elimination against #1 seed, Florida. The still have a lot to be proud of. Perhaps the women's team will fare better.

Have a terrific Thursday.

Montana said...

Happy Birthday to Spitzboov and John!

This was a fun Thursday puzzle. I got all the theme answers as soon as I answered GUINEA PIG which helped with perps.

Desper-otto from yesterday-yes, I keep a log of medical trips.
Argyle, from Tuesday-the caps on markers come off and make great things for kids to toss around. Then markers dry up and teacher is in trouble for requesting too many.
Husker, each math teacher got a spray bottle of some stuff that made erasing easier. Guess we tended to use boards more than others.

Dudley, when one lives in a state where there are endless roads, we learn to drive for hours. (Must admit that driving across Texas a couple times, tired even us Montanans!)
I once drove 110 miles on paved highway on a Sunday morning before seeing another vehicle.
We think nothing of an 8-12 hour drive somewhere. But, usually there is minimal traffic. I am in awe of my son driving me to/from LGA to New Canaan. I am always thankful I am a passenger.

Another blast of winter headed my way from Washington state, then a day later, one is moving in from Canada. Highs will only be 20°. It is supposed to be SPRING!!!!!

Have a good day, everybody,


C6D6 Peg said...

This was a fun, pretty easy puzzle. Didn't go anywhere fast until I got to the downs. Then it all came together.

Thanks, Kevin!

Marti - wonderful write-up, as usual.

Montana said...

You might get a chuckle out of a statement made by young-sounding radio announcer yesterday.
He said, "Current temperature is 44 degrees Celsius, 7 degrees Farenheit."
Since we live so close to the border, many of the listeners are Canadians so weather is always given for both. I was following a pickup from Alberta. I wondered if they were listening to the same local radio station and laughed as I did.

I was surprised to get a Captcha word that is one I would never allow to be spoken in my home or my classroom. I toggled on to the next one.


Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Kevin Christian, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Marti, for the fine review.

Got the NW corner easily. Good start.

I thought the whales were a POD. After a while I corrected that to GAM.

Liked the theme. It helped a lot with the puzzle.

Confused on EWE being pronoun. I would have thought that word a noun. Any thoughts?

Tower of BABEL was easy.

One of my favorites ERAT. Q.E.D.

Happy birthdays, Spitzboov and John28. Many happy returns.

Lots to do today. See you tomorrow.


(8566382 1765)

Abejo said...

Marti: Congratulations on your nomination. I scanned through that link but could not find your item, even though it was probably there.


Misty said...

Well, I was going to say that it was great to have a Thursday speed run after that Wednesday toughie yesterday. But then I realized I forgot to straighten out that POD I put in, so not a perfect solve for me today. Still, as an animal lover, I just loved this puzzle--many thanks, Kevin! You even included THE RAVEN!

Another dumb moment: I got AANDE and thought 'What a strange name? Wonder what nationality that is?' without catching that it was A AND E.

Happy birthday, Spitzboov--I always enjoy your German explanations.

And you too, John28man--have a great Birthday today. Ah, Vienna. I'm so thankful for all the lovely visits we had there before my husband's stroke. My cousins used to take us to wineries that were offering new wines. Always had a branch or two of a shrub hanging over the door to signal that a new wine was available for tasting. Lovely.

Have a great Thursday, everybody!

Bill G. said...

Hello everybody. I enjoyed the puzzle except for GAM instead of pod. I think that borders on being unfair on a Thursday puzzle; especially since GAM can be clued several other ways.

Happy birthday to Spitz.

Happy birthday to John28man.

Tinbeni said...

Happy birthdays, Spitzboov and John28.

Marti: Excellent write-up & links.
Kevin: Thank you for a FUN Thursday puzzle.

Irish Miss: I'll be rooting for your Great DANE's ... though I think the Gator's will win.

Hand-up for pod before GAM.
Also had Horned-Frog before HORNED TOAD.
And thought the "Untouchables" were G-Men before T-MEN.
(Boy am I glad that Prohibition ended before I was born).

As for our grid today ... Nothin' to drink ...
But I'm sure I'll find something for my Sunset toast!

Yellowrocks said...

Abejo, in a rebus puzzle, pictures stand for sounds. Marti suggested a puzzle consisting of four pictures:
EYE-( tin)CAN- (SEA (ocean) - EWE.
Say the picture names and you will have the answer to the puzzle. I CAN SEE YOU.
A very happy birthday to Spitz and John28man.
Congrats on your best clue award, Marti.
I enjoyed this puzzle. I accidentally deleted two post about it. I am not in the mood to rehash it again. Maybe later.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Great puzzle, Kevin! Great expo, Marti, congrats on the clue nomination. I thought that one was good too.

This seemed easier than yesterday's puzzle. I got the theme early which helped with the others.

Didn't know UHURA or LOEB or LARS. Wasn't in the mood for Roman numeral multiplication. WAGd & Perped.

Another puzzle I did yesterday had GAM for whales, so I got this. Never heard of it before.

I had trouble with VEST for "endow". Took a while to decide it was justified.

Happy birthday, Spitz & John.

vidwan827 said...


you were perhaps speaking metaphorically, or winging it -

7oF = minus 13.89 oC

44oC = 111.2 oF (Proabably H-ll, ) ;-)

how could they be equivalent ?

meant gently, as a joke ... don't mean to hurt your feelings ....

BTW, nice puzzle Mr. Christian, and a very nice bubbly blog, Madam Marti. Congratulations on your best clue Orca award.

HBD Spitboov and John28man ... enjoy your day and to life.

Bumppo said...

As desper-otto said, the "Blues singer Bobby [MCGEE] of song" was originally a she, not a he. Not only did Kris Kristofferson write and record the song, but the Grateful Dead and Charley Pride also recorded it before Janis Joplin did; and both Roger Miller and Gordon Lightfoot had hits with it before Joplin did.

The spelling of the name for a woman is usually "Bobbie," but my mother was another woman who spelled it "Bobby."

HeartRx said...

Bumppo @ 12:16, I have a friend who spells her name "Bobbye." Whenever we get a call from her, my phone speaker announces, "Call from Bob BYE…"

Misty @ 11:36, I agree with you that there is nothing quite like the experience of visiting a heuriger (pl: heurigen.) They can only be licensed as a heuriger if they sell only their own wines from the current vintage, and offer simple (usually cold) foods for the meals.

They are ubiquitous in the Wachau wine region along the Danube river in the fall. There are also several on the outskirts of Vienna, but most of those are not authentic heurigen, because they usually have a regular restaurant license that allows them to sell wine from other vineyards, and to offer a variety of buffet foods, both hot and cold. Some even offer beer or - horrors! - coffee.

Anonymous said...

Fred Phelps has died...

john28man said...

Happy Birthday Spitzboov. I now two friends with the same birthday. The other fellow lives in Brussels.

Thank you HeartRX, Missy, & Tinberi.

To the two that asked; The Restaurant in Vienna is the Zum Weissen Rauchfangkehrer which in English is the White Chimneysweep.

The story is that the Chimneysweep fell in love with the Baker's Daughter.

I had a lot of trouble with the NW and POD/GAM. <y own fault because I tried to be cute with PORKIEPIG.

Irish Miss said...

Tin @ 11:37 - Thanks for your support, but I agree that Florida will win. It would take a miracle for the Danes to beat them; I hope it's not a blow-out, though. Two of the Danes best players are from Kazie's Oz.

I wonder if yesterday's Dudley impersonator is also PK's taunter. I can't fathom why someone would pretend to be someone else.

Anonymous said...

Patriot's Day is 9/11!

Steve said...

Happy Birthday Spitz!

Never heard of GAM referring to whales, so a nice learning moment.

Thanks for the expo, Marti and congrats on the clue nomination!

Fun theme - found it tougher than the usual Thursday

Tinbeni said...

THE OHIO STATE (a #6 seed) just lost to Dayton (a #11 seed) 60 to 59.

My "Billion Dollar Bracket" is busted!

HeartRx said...

Anon @ 1:19, Patriot Day is 9/11. PATRIOTS' Day (with an S-apostrophe) is April 19th, celebrated in Massachusetts and a couple other states. I mistakenly spelled it Patriot's Day in my earlier post, but it is only called by that name in Maine.

john28man, amazingly, I have been to that restaurant!! It is a very old, traditional restaurant. My friends in Vienna brought me there a few years ago, and delighted in telling me the story behind its name.

PK said...

Hey! My first censored post!

Kevin Christian said...

Hi, this is Kevin Christian, I constructed today's puzzle. Glad you all liked it!

Here are a few of my rejected theme answers:

HEDGEHOG, GROUNDHOG - I used GUINEA PIG instead and I only wanted one "rodent."

SEA LION - I didn't have another length 7 to pair with it. I could have used it across the middle if I'd dropped two of the others and went with 5 theme answers instead of 6. I would have dropped the two length 8's which includes SEAHORSE so I wouldn't have had two that started with SEA.

STARFISH - There's no way to clue this as "It's not a fish" without using the word "fish" which you can't do because it's part of the answer.

Today's puzzle is dedicated to Craig Zetterberg, 2/7/65 - 3/15/14.

Steve said...

Oh, and Happy Birthday John!

CrossEyedDave said...

I was surprised when I found out I completed this puzzle correctly, Gam/GDP just looked wrong!

I thought 2D rake = roue needed clarification, until I looked it up.

HeartRx,,, your write up,,, @ 51A,,, used your ONE link!
(What are you trying to do, give me a heart attack!)

HBD Spitzboov

HBD John28man, I thought you might like a little mystery with your cake....

After much agonizing, I decided not to link this "it aint what you think it is" picture I found, as it might get me kicked off the Blog...

Yellowrocks said...

I found it interesting that most of the theme animals are native to the Americas.
The Guinea Pig is a domesticated species related to the cavies in Peru. They are now popular all over the world and in most languages their name contains the word for pig, probably because they somewhat resemble very small pigs, although they are not related at all. They have an oink-like squeal,
Lewis and Clark encountered prairie dogs for the first time in Nebraska, Clark said they resembled squirrels and later on scientists confirmed that they were related to squirrels. At that time the French trappers called them petits chiens, little dogs. So they are called prairie dogs in English, most likely because of their alarm call is a kind of bark.
Titmice, plural for titmouse, are found in many parts of the world. In England they are called tits. We in the U.S. have our own native species. We have the very cute tufted titmouse here in NJ. I was surprised to learn that chickadees are titmice, too. We have many black capped chickadees. The name titmouse is recorded from the 14th century, composed of the Old English name for the bird, mase (Proto-Germanic *maison, German Meise) and tit, denoting something small. From this, the name has been corrupted to titmouse and the plural to titmice. The original name had nothing to do with mouse.

HeartRx said...

Kevin, thanks for stopping by! I did the write up on this fine puzzle, and am glad you went with the entries you did. It was especially elegant to see four of them overlapping - great execution!

I was sorry to read about the passing of Craig Zetterberg at such a young age. He sounds like he was an inspiration to many. Was he a personal friend of yours?


Yellowrocks said...

The horned toad is native to our southwest and is the state reptile of Texas. It short squat body and flat face somewhat resemble a toad. A group of lizards is called a lounge.

In whaler literature, a visit or friendly conversation at sea or ashore especially between whalers is called a gam, as is a school of whales. I am okay with GAM as a Thursday word on a day when we can use multiple meanings and mis-directions. I have seen GAM used for POD quite often in books and crosswords.
Here is a list of animal groups. It contains pod, gam, and other names for groups of whales.
Link animal groups

Misty said...

Kevin, how nice of you to stop in and give us some insight into constructor's choices and dilemmas.

Marti, thank you, thank you for reminding me that the wine places are known as the "Heurigen" (I'm guessing an allusion to "this year's" wine). And for the specifics on their restrictions. Makes me homesick for a trip to Austria!

Ol' Man Keith said...

Happy Spring Equinox, everybody, and Happy B'day, Spitzboov!

A pleasing pzl and 100% success for yrs truly. No lookups, no cheatings. I learned GAM today (after a brief go at POD).

I know it is silly-- really juvenile-- but I can't let TITMOUSE go by without a smile. Some folk just say TIT for short, and that stirs my memory of an awkward afternoon tea, hosted once by the wife of our eminent Dean Allardyce Nicoll at England's Shakespeare Institute. The occasion was a reception for American students, and Mrs. Nicoll regaled us with stories of their country home and their regular avian visitors. She invited us with the warmest smile: "Such adorable tits! Oh, you must stop by," she said, "to see my lovely blue tits!"
We American lads caught each others' eyes, but did yeoman service stifling our response.

Lemonade714 said...

John28man, sorry, HBDTY also and many more

desper-otto said...

Ol' Man Keith, that reminds me of this novelty song from the 70's: She's Got the Biggest Parakeets in Town.

Anonymous said...

Blue tits: I had one once for several weeks from the seatbelt strap when our car got T-boned. The bruise looked like a badly dyed Easter egg.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Thanks for the musical treat! I hadn't heard that before.
I'm pretty sure Mrs. Nicoll hadn't heard it either. By way of contrast, she was especially delighted to let us know, "My tits are quite miniscule!"

Prairie Woman said...

@vidwan - I think Montana meant that the young man had exchanged the Celsius and Fahrenheit. If my formulas were correct, the numbers are equivalent if one realizes that the C and F are exchanged.

@ Yellowrocks - your reference to a group of lizards being called a lounge brought to mind an older principal I once had. In a teacher's lounge there always seems to be at least a couple people who have nothing better to do than to sit and second guess all the administrative decisions. This principal referred to the group in our school as lounge lizards. Personally, I always wondered when those people graded papers and did their planning work.

I truly enjoyed this puzzle and Marti's write up today. The puzzle was just another joyous thing to be added to this great first day of spring.

Johnr said...

Good Thursday puzzle from Kevin and witty, cogent explanations from Marti. Kudos to you both. Only 2 whiteouts.

Marti my favorite Norah Jones song is "Don't Know Why". I have a special reason for liking it.

I too wrote down POD for a whale group but down clues made me change it to GAM very early. On 11 down, My first thought was MEOW.
But it did not work with across clues so I rethought it.

OwenKL good poem. As I have said you are our Rod McEwan!
With regard to the Mayflower Compact signer - as Longfellow said "Speak for youself John".

Avg Joe said...

Earlier I forgot to wish Spitz and John a happy birthday. HAPPY B-Day to you both. And many happy returns.

Also forgot to congratulate Marti on the nomination!

As for the lounge of lizards, anyone who lived through the disco era is familiar with the term "lounge lizard". I figured YR was speaking tongue in cheek. Guess not. Per Gooogle, it's true. (But we still don't know if polyester is de rigueur. If so, it better be green:-)

CanadianEh! said...

I enjoyed this puzzle and got the theme early. Thanks Kevin. Interesting to hear your info on the puzzle.
Hand up for POD!

Like AZ, most of Saskatchewan does not do DST also.

We had ATAD, NADA, and TATA today.

Montana, I might consider taking that 44 Celsius. LOL! It tried to snow here today on the 1st day of spring!

Congrats to all the honourary Canadians on the blog who knew double/double and Timbits. I didn't realize Tim Hortons was such a presence outside of Canada.
Speaking of hockey players, HBD to Bobby Orr and Spitzboov and John who share his day.

Mary Keller, hope you and your Canadian friend had a great time together!

Anonymous said...

There is even a Tim Hortons in AZ.

They run a kiosk at the arena where the Phoenix Coyotes play hockey.

pje said...

I worked on this while I waited at the dealership to have the strange noise in my vehicle diagnosed. Sigh. I need a new water pump. Ouch!

I got the theme early and it helped some. I got caught on non-theme answers. I started to put in pod, then thought that whales were referred to as gams. Perp agreed. Came home, checked the answer grid to correct my errors and was able to finish. Thanks, Kevin, for the excellent puzzle. Thanks, Marti, for the expo.

Happy Birthday to two fine young men: Spitz and John28man. May you have many more.

Happy first day of Spring.


Bill G. said...

Lunch: We went out for lunch to a new place today. It had taken over the spot of another local restaurant that we used to enjoy so we were anxious to try the new place. We thought it was terrific!

We split four things; a bowl of clam chowder, a hearts of romaine Caesar salad and a grilled pork chop (and dessert). The chowder was excellent with some other stuff tossed in, such as little bits of bacon. Dunno about the other ingredients but it was very tasty. The salad was a top-notch Caesar salad with some extra anchovies (that I asked for) on the side. I am embarrassed to tell you how much the pork chop cost but it was the best one I have had in years, again with little extra stuff added such as pistachios and bits of pork belly plus the sauce reduction. Really good. Rather than finish everything, we opted to take some home for dinner and left room for dessert. I talked Barbara out of the creme brulee that we often get for dessert in favor of a chocolate mousse and peanut butter tart. Geez...

Oh, and much better than usual background music. Dessert was accompanied by "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash.

The waitress was pleasant and helpful. We told her how much we liked everything. She passed it on to the owner who was just leaving and he comped our dessert. A very upscale and enjoyable lunch to be sure.

~ Bill

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Fun puzzle today. Hand up for entering POD, of course. Happy birthday greetings to you, Spitzboov and John28man. Sounds like a nice lunch, Bill G. Best wishes to you all.

OwenKL said...

Kevin C., thanks so much for stopping by! We enjoyed you puzzle, and also your construction comments. I think you probably used the best choices you had, as they were excellent. But, nitpick I must. You complained about not having a good clue for starfish, but "not a piscine" would have fit. Just for fun, I googled "canine piscine ursine ovine" (curiously, Google insisted on changing ovine to bovine) and found lists of scores of so-called "collateral adjectives", as well as rules for coining more. Oddly, the zodiacal piscine and crabby cancrine were the only ones listed for any marine creatures, while all sorts of obscure birds and animals were represented. However, using the rules, starfish would be astreine. Donkeys were usually misspelled with a double-s instead of the correct asinine.

The Born Loser, Mar.11

Manac said...

Good evening Cornerites.
I've been a little remiss in doing Xwords and commenting of late and can only say "Its been one hell of a winter!"
Looks like Dave may be suffering from a little burnout so lets see if I remember how to link to give him a hand.

Guionea Pig


Horned Toad ( that was tough to keep clean )

Prairie Dog

Titmouse... Nah, that's probably the one Dave wouldn't post.
Hey Dave!! You show me yours and I'll show you mine.

Koala Bear

River Doc said...

Happy Thursday everybody!

Just checking in from Arizona to say HBD to Spitz and John28...!

Doc out....

Spitzboov said...

Thanks to all of you who wished me birthday felicitations. You are a good group.

On NBC News tonight they showed footage of the multitude of snow geese and Sand Hill cranes stopping over at Kearney, NE, astride rte. Interstate 80. Avg Joe and HG probably see them all the time.

Where we play bridge at a local golf Club, they serve fine lunches. Today I had Potato and Leek Soup which included very fresh peasant bread slices smeared with delicious hummus dressed with a soupçon of olive oil.

For supper BH made my standing birthday request of Mehlbüddel. (Records go back to at least 1683.) Think of it as a flour pudding with fruit. Cover with a fruit sauce or melted butter with a little sugar. My favorite since I was a wee lad.

Argyle said...

English translation, Mehlbüddel.

Spitzboov said...

Argyle - The translation is funny in parts but is better than I could do. Thanks for helping.

Argyle said...

I thought the part about pork cheek meat was a mistake until I looked it up. Now I want some!

Avg Joe said...

Spitz, the central flyway I actually quite narrow. I live within 15 miles of Lincoln and have seen exactly 2 Sandhills cranes from our property....and most locals have never seen one here. The annual migration is generally restricted between Grand Island and
North Platte, NE. It's about a half million birds. I've seen the large flocks numerous times, and am going out to Kearney next week to do it again, but it's not this far east.

The snow geese are another matter. That's a couple million birds, and while a majority flock in the areas west of us, we do see beau coup Snows...also a lot of Canadas. But the peak area for those species is just west of York, NE, and they can blacken the sky during the busiest times. It's pretty amazing to see.

Irish Miss said...

Manac @ 7:19 - Welcome back-we've missed you. Dave has meow-ed us to death, so it's nice, once again, to put on the dog, so to speak!

Blue Iris said...

Caught up with crossword puzzles today,but missed a few days of comments. No trouble getting theme today.

Happy Birthday,Spitz. I imagine you've had a few cakes that resemble Dave's "cake offering" today.
Many years ago, I had an abundance of blackberries and made a german dessert that I took to a potluck. A German fellow told his wife it was just like his mother use to make and I gave her the recipe. I think it had a custard base. Any ideas on what I made?? I can't remember, seriously!

Happy Birthday, John! I don't post much so you may have never seen me till now.

Happy belated St.Patrick's Day to Irish Miss!

Please forgive me if I missed anyones special day. I know I must have missed HeartRX birthday on Valentine's Day.

My daughter got me a crossword puzzle book for days I'm not on the computer. I don't get the theme of this one...any help would be appreciated.
Oscar winner(ans- MARTIN SCORSESE)And key to 16A (ans-MT ST HELENS), 28A(ans-SHERWOOD FOREST)and59A(ans-GUATEMALAN). What??? I don't get it! Does anyone get the connection??

fermatprime said...


Swell puzzle, Kevin! Great expo, Marti!

Belated HBTY Spitz and John!

Great poem, YR!

Hand up for pod vs. GAM. Eventually got it.

Had very sore throat last night. Took 3000 mg vitamin C and Zicam. Gone now.

Am finally working on ugly taxes. Would you believe $1900 in prescriptions?

Congrats, Marti! What was clue?


Spitzboov said...

Blue Iris - It's possible you made something called Grütze. You could google it and invoke Argyles's translater. My mother made Grütze regularly using rhubarb and sometimes strawberries or raspberries. I think it included tapioca.

PK said...

When I was on the farm and hanging clothes on the line I loved to hear the sandhill cranes fly over as the harbinger of spring. Always gave me a feeling of gladness. One year a group of friends went to Kearney to see the cranes. It is spectacular for a bird lover. My farm was in the flyway.

We had a lot of snow geese and Canadas on the lake near my farm. Every evening they flew out to nearby wheat fields where they fed on the green wheat and fertilized the fields in turn. I took some great pictures for my annual hunting edition for the newspaper. A good time in my life.

Bill G. said...

From whence?
"Kicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer."

Anonymous T said...

I know - late to the dance. I really enjoyed this puzzle and found it much easier than yesterday's (I read all the comments, just nothing to add).

D-O: MST-3K was my 1st thought too. Love it!

I was INABLE to dodge a DNF (I had to look up 66a (MEARA) - we get it about every few months, but I sometimes sleep and end up forgetting...)

Fav. EWE - after it was explained! Thanks!

HBD Spitz - your posts are always enlightening.

J28 - HBD too!

Cheers, -T

Argyle said...

Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July.

Mary Keller said...

I think everyone had POD first.
Went to Pasadena with my friend Anne and we did the puzzle over coffee at Peet's. Worked a lot faster with two! Loved the theme, loved the Roman numerals. Probably would have had a DNF if it weren't for Anne. When we were done, she took the paper home to feed to her compost worms.

Robert Mezey said...

As usual, too many questionable clues. "Zest" might do okay for "Enthusiasm", but "Zeal"?? And "Ledge" for where doves perch? Not branches, or fences, etc? And as usual, way too much pop culture trivia.

OwenKL said...

fermatprime: I've labored over your set, but don't see a theme. Could it be themeless, or be using shorter words in the puzzle as a theme? Maybe having the full clues as well as answers might help.

BillG.: A B. N. S.

Anonymous said...

Fairly easy for Thursday. I grew up watching "The Untouchables" and knew that they were "GMEN" but had to change it as there is no such thing as a TIGMOUSE.