Sep 1, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014 Amy Johnson

Theme: Huff & Puff - Follow-up on three little sty upgrades.

18A. Unlucky thing to draw : SHORT STRAW

26A. Tabletop game requiring steady hands : PICK-UP STICKS

47A. Go on strike, in slang : HIT THE BRICKS

60A. Menace who destroyed houses made of the ends of 18-, 26- and 47-Across : BIG BAD WOLF

Argyle here with a rabbit, rabbit and three little pigs. A simple premise with some testing entries but not beyond doing. There are some cute plums in there too. I never heard the house made of bricks was destroyed.


1. Junk email : SPAM

5. "A Streetcar __ Desire" : NAMED

10. Talks and talks and talks : GABS. yadda, yadda, yadda.

14. Strauss of denim : LEVI

15. Double-reed instruments : OBOEs

16. Author __ Stanley Gardner : ERLE. Perry Mason creator.

17. Fateful date for Caesar : IDES of March.

20. Poverty-stricken : DIRT POOR

22. Share and share __ : ALIKE

23. Banned apple spray : ALAR

24. Solved, as a cryptogram : DECODED

30. Witch trials town : SALEM

31. Like a prof. emeritus : RET.

32. Narrate : TELL

36. Supermarket chain initials : IGA. (Independent Grocers Alliance)

37. McCain's title : SENATOR

41. Pizzeria order : PIE

42. Male offspring : SONS

44. Univ. proctors, often : TAs. (Teaching Assistant)

45. Seat of New York's Oneida County : UTICA. Hi, Spitzboov.

51. Vehement speeches : TIRADES

54. Have in mind : MEAN

55. "I'll do whatever you need" : "USE ME"

56. "Language" that gave us "amscray" : PIG LATIN. 10D. "Amscray!" : "GET LOST!"

63. Common quitting time : FIVE

64. List-shortening abbr. : ET AL.

65. "... had a farm, __" : EIEIO

66. Bullpen stats : ERAS. In baseball statistics, earned run average (ERA) is the mean of earned runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings pitched

67. Really annoy : RILE

68. Rose essence : ATTAR

69. Hankerings : YENS


1. Got one's uniform dirty, as a base runner : SLID

2. Feet pampering, briefly : PEDIcure

3. State confidently : AVER

4. Error : MISTAKE

5. "Never gonna happen" : "NO SOAP". I haven't heard that phrase in quite a while.

6. Finds repugnant : ABHORS

7. Tie up in the harbor : MOOR

8. At any time, to Frost : E'ER

9. Summer hrs. : DST. (daylight saving time)

11. Extra Dry deodorant : ARRID

12. Eubie of jazz : BLAKE

13. Embroidered, e.g. : SEWED

19. Potato bag : SACK. A day at the races.

21. Future prunes, perhaps : PLUMS

24. Weight loss plan : DIET

25. Opposite of endo- : ECTO

26. Trident-shaped Greek letters : PSIs

27. "Othello" villain : IAGO. 49D. Wife of 27-Down : EMILIA. Common knowledge?

28. Scottish family : CLAN

29. Garbage : TRASH

33. Larger-than-life : EPIC

34. Kiss from a dog : LICK

35. Grazing grounds : LEAs

38. Suffix with major or Smurf : ETTE

39. D.C. baseball team : NATS. Short for the Washington Nationals.

40. Beyond the burbs : RURAL

43. Shuffling gait : SHAMBLE

46. "30 Rock" creator : TINA FEY

48. Brainstorm : IDEA

50. Request earnestly, as mercy : BEG FOR

51. Potato or yam : TUBER

52. "Lord, __?": Matthew : "IS IT I?"

53. Fit for a king : REGAL

56. Couplet creator : POET

57. Michelin product : TIRE

58. Tennis great Lendl : IVAN

59. Mythical monster's loch : NESS

61. Org. with narcs : DEA. (Drug Enforcement Administration)

62. Oscar Wilde's forte : WIT

I found this fitting ditty while looking for something by Eubie Blake and couldn't pass it up.



Dudley said...

Rabbit Rabbit

fermatprime said...


Nice puzzle and write-up, Amy and Argyle!

Brick house was not destroyed in the versions that I have heard.

EMILIA was perped.

Beddy bye time.


Lemonade714 said...

White rabbit, white rabbit. September has arrived.

I guess the wolf found some dynamite and blasted the bricks. I always thought of 'hitting the bricks' meaning going out on the street to accomplish something.

Nice Monday and Emilia SanTiago were such a cute couple.

Happy holiday all, thanks for the double A charge, Amy and Argyle

Lemonade714 said...

Emilia and Iago

Autocorrect strikes again

Lemonade714 said...

I just saw the report of tornadoes in the Worcester area, I hope all are safe.

OwenKL said...

Rabbit, rabbit, is the mantra monthly
To ward off bad juju and keep us lucky.
An old superstition
Become a tradition
In this blog for the trivia and crossword junkie!

Here we're at home, although we're not umpires;
Here where we fear no zombies or vampires.
Zombies want brains
But ours are o'erstrained,
And vamps fear our cross(word)s will turn them to pyres!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Mostly smooth solve for a Monday, with a couple of unexpected bumps in the road. It was a weird feeling (especially on a Monday) to be looking at NOSOA_, be absolutely sure that all the crosses were correct, and have no idea whatsoever what the answer was. Fortunately, the theme answer that crossed the last letter was easy to PICK UP, as it were.

The other bump was, of course EMILIA. I suppose it's fair to use something so obscure on a Monday as long as the perps are easy to get (which they were in this case), but it was still jarring.

In other news, I haven't heard yet from my brother who lives just outside Worcester, so hopefully he and his family are OK. And my avatar bit my mother-in-law the other day and she (my mother-in-law, not the cat) is now in the hospital with a nasty infection in her hand...

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

This was definitely a speed run -- several unknowns, but not a Natick in sight. SHAMBLE is a word you don't hear often. On the other hand, IS IT I and USE ME have been showing up with great regularity lately.

Argyle, I understand the average, but what the heck is an "earned run." Are there unearned ones, too?

NO SOAP always reminds me of this nonsense thingee that was written as a memory test for an actor who claimed he could learn any lines after reading them just once: "So she went into the garden to cut a cabbage leaf, to make an apple pie; and at the same time a great she-bear coming up the street, pops its head into the shop. 'What! No soap?' So he died, and she very imprudently married the barber; and there were present the Picninnies, and the Joblillies, and the Garyulies, and the grand Panjandrum himself, with the little round button atop ; and they all fell to playing the game of catch as catch can, till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots."

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Nice shoutouts to my neck-of-the-woods by Amy and Argyle.

Easy solve today. No searches or write-overs needed.
I agree with Lemon on HIT THE BRICKS, but I suppose it could be.

D-O at 0723. If a batter reaches base on an error and subsequently scores, it would be an example of an unearned run. It is not charged to the pitcher.

Yellowrocks said...

Rabbit Rabbit.
I liked seeing PIG in 56A above WOLF in 60A. No unknowns, although there were a few cases where perps were needed to choose among several answers. EMILIA needed perps to jog my memory.
I thought HIT THE BRICKS means start walking, which is confirmed by the dictionary. You literally hit the bricks with your feet or shoes. You don't necessarily have to accomplish anything, just walk (away). By extension, it means to walk the picket line. The urban dictionary uses it to mean SCRAM (amscray). BTW, how long has it been since you have heard PIG LATIN?
NO SOAP was among my mom's many colorful phrases. She was a great crossword fan. I wonder whether that's where she leaned them.
Although I am very busy today, I will try to take advantage of the Labor Day sales to buy a replacement TV for the one that fried a part last week.

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Amy Johnson, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Argyle, for a fine review.

Barry G.: Hope your MIL overcomes the cat bite.

This was an easy puzzle for the most part. The theme appeared after I got 60A.

Wanted YAKS for 10A, GABS won out.

Been through UTICA this summer.

Took a bunch of perps for SHAMBLE. As EMILIA.

NO SOAP was easy after a couple letters. Have used that term quite a bit in my life.

Have never had a PEDI.

Have had lots of LEVIs.

Happy Labor Day, everyone. I am off to the Septemberfest at Schaumburg, IL. Working a Schaumburg Community Garden Club table.

See you tomorrow.


(possibly towered)

HeartRx said...

Rabbit, rabbit.

What YR said - even to the use of the phrase NO SOAP by mom. Mine was also an avid crossword puzzle fan.

The only thing I would say differently is that I definitely will stay far away from malls today. ;-)

Husker Gary said...

-An eryvay icenay uzzlepay
-Repost - Wolves, tornadoes and hurricanes can’t blow these down
-When LEVI was sewing miner’s pants in San Francisco, did he think he would have this named after him?
-Wanna watch a dated Perry Mason TV show? They’re like opening a time capsule!
-Visiting UTICA and the rest of upstate NY is on my bucket list
-I’ve worked with many people who try to RILE others up
-Having SLID poorly can cause injuries
-Nature ABHORS a vacuum
-Rumors persist about which Brady Bunch members were in another SACK together
-DIETS really work. I’ve been on dozens of them
-Allegiances to CLANS and tribes and not a country can be a big cause of unrest
-Whose absence would you notice first– your TRASH collectors or your mayor?
-Remember when a TIRE was good for only 1/3 the miles they are now?
-What “SONS” group had Leonard Slye as its lead singer?

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

A very nice, easy-breezy start to a new week and month. A few hiccups but perps solved them: Emilia, for one. Liked seeing Pig (Latin) in a puzzle focusing on 3 of them. EIEIO reminds me of some of my Words With Friends letters rack. Nice CSO to Spitz.

Thanks, Amy, for a fun solve and thanks, Argyle, for a fun expo.

Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day.

Nice Cuppa said...

Appyhay Aborlay Ayday

SHAMBLES has an interesting etymology and variety of modern meanings. Its origin seems to be ultimately from Latin scamellum meaning a “small bench”. It re-appears in Anglo-Saxon in the word Fleshammels meaning butchers’ shelves or stalls for displaying (and presumably slaughtering/dismembering) their wares in situ.

The word shambles, without the “flesh” later became a general term for a slaughterhouse; and the scene of carnage associated with the latter transferred to the modern phrase “in a shambles”, meaning a state of total disorder. We also have the adjective shambolic, meaning chaotic or disorganized, which was probably a neologism based on the pattern of symbol--symbolic.

Shambles later developed a dialectic meaning of “ungainly”, and was made into a verb shamble meaning “to walk in a slow, shuffling, awkward gait”. Whether this is linked to the idea that to navigate a street full of butchers’ blood and offal one would might need to adopt such a gait, is unclear.

The oldest extant example of a shambles is in York, England, where NC became NC, Ph.D. Called “The Shambles” it is a narrow lane originally flanked by butchers shops on either end. See The Shambles . The earliest houses date to the 14th century, and display the characteristic architecture with the upper stories extending ever closer to their neighbors across the street.

Not a lot of people know that (attributed to Michael Caine).


Anonymous said...

A prune is a prune--not an old plum.
Ask Trader Joe!

Argyle said...

Trader Joe said his prunes were pitted California dried plums.

So are you full of prunes?
(Another saying from dear old mothers everywhere.)

Bluehen said...

That group would be "The Sons of the Pioneers", with the lead singer using the stage name Roy Rogers. I still like to hear "Tumblin' Tumbleweeds"

JD said...

Ha! Ha! Full of prunes was one of my Dad's favorite sayings.Thanks Argyle, for the fun extras in your write up. Enjoyed both Eubie Blake and "Big Bad Wolf..."

Amy, nice and easy with a cute theme. I never heard that the wolf destroyed the brick house. Somehow, that would ruin the reason for the story."Remember kids, you are NEVER safe."

Emilia was my last fill...never heard of her.

Barry, my neighbor got seriously ill from a cat scratch; guess a bite could do the same thing. Hope she is OK soon.

Mind boggling...September already.

Misty said...

Delightful Monday speed run, Amy--many thanks! It's always sweet when clues are in my wheelhouse, and I had no trouble with the "Othello" clues or the academic ones (RET and TAS). Actually, "prof.emeritus" could also have been "prof.emeritA, like yours truly. Never heard the expression "NO SOAP" so a great relief to see I got it anyway. My only question: if the BIG BAD WOLF didn't blow down the house of BRICKS, what happened to him? Did he just walk away and pick on some less architecturally adept critters?

Argyle, thanks for posting the POTATO SACK race pic. I'd forgotten about those!

Barry, how sad that your poor mother-in-law landed in the hospital. Tell your kitty it had better start brushing its teeth.

Have a great week, everybody!

Lucina said...

Happy Labor Day! And welcome September although the temperatures continue to climb and roast. And finally, home, sweet home!

It's good to be home after a lovely two weeks with my sisters in Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver as well as Highland, CA.

I hope all on the Blog have been well. It's so good to "read" you all again and to see the LAT puzzle, even an easy one such as today's.

Thank you, Amy and Argyle. Hand way up for YAKS before GABS and not really sure about NATS. Thanks for 'splainin it, Argyle.

Time now to HIT THE BRICKS and do some laundry, two suitcases full! And do I ever need a mani, PEDI, too.

Later! Have a beautiful Monday, Labor Day, everyone!

john28man said...

The wolf could NOT blow the brick house down. I guess the moral of the Three Little Pigs is don't cheat on doing the right thing i.e. consider the risks before acting.

Husker Gary said...

Son of musings
-My take on the porcine building methods is that shoddy, slapdash work will not pay off in the end and your project will wind up in SHAMBLES
-Misty, I think that frustrated wolf saw a little girl wearing a red hood walking into the woods with a basket of food and so…
-Beautiful version of Tumbling Tumbleweeds with Leonard/Roy singing lead
-Off to Lincoln to see, well you know who

Yellowrocks said...

NC @10:31, very interesting about shambles. This sort of discussion is my cuppa tea.
Wiki: "A prune is any of various plum cultivars, mostly Prunus domestica or European Plum, sold as fresh or dried fruit. The dried fruit is also referred to as a dried plum."
Three Little Pigs Plot
Link Plot

Ol' Man Keith said...

Amy Johnson's pzl is a cool Labor Day breeze. I always enjoyed the Big Bad Wolf, all hungry and homeless. I figured he got a rotten deal from those capitalist piggies.

I see well-meant wishes for a Happy Labor Day-- and wonder if that is really the optimum adjective for today's salutations. Maybe "Honest Labor Day"? Or "Easy Labor Day"?

Pat said...

A very nice puzzle, Amy. I liked your write-up Argyle. I had a couple hang-ups, but perps to the rescue.

The PIG LATIN was fun. Haven't used it for years.

Of course I like the 34D Kiss from a dog/LICK.

Today is a bit of a downer day. Dad would have been 92 years old today. Yesterday my daughter had to euthanize her 9 year old German Shepherd. Sam(Samantha) went from healthy to full of cancer in 2 months, even with chemo treatments. Nasty disease.

Enjoy the day and new month!


Bill G. said...

Pleasant puzzle. Cute theme. Thanks Amy and Argyle.

I've always heard SHAMBLES to mean a careless mess like 'the dorm room was in shambles.' For walking, I would expect to hear 'ambles' or 'shuffle.'

Gary, I loved your vacuum cartoon!

If you go to visit upstate New York, try to go in the fall when the leaves are beautiful. Cornell is in Ithaca and there are two pretty gorges running through the campus. If I hadn't had the pressure of learning stuff and taking exams, I would have enjoyed my college experience even more.

CrossEyedDave said...

it's not just for building houses:

Sculptures made from straw.

Sculptures made from sticks.

Sculptures made from bricks.

Anonymous T said...

Hi all!

Amy's puzzle was nice and easy, but Argyle had to point out my error... Stupid apple spray is not ALuR so NO SOuP for me. Otherwise breezy fun! Thanks A & A!

PIG & WOLF stacked was icing.

Owen #2 put a smile on my face. Thanks.

HG - Funny Far Side.

Thanks for the etymology lesson NC. And just for you, Steve, & maybe C Eh! - Happy Labour Day!

All the talk of Faulk yesterday (just lurking - I didn't do Sunday's pzl); I introduced eldest to Columbo with '68's Murder by the Book. She liked it. Netflix queue is full.

Back to Simpson's marathon - I still have a gray cell firing... I MEAN, er, time to GET LOST.

Cheers, -T

Anonymous T said...

CED - You posted while I was finding Soup Nazi... BRICK work was amazing. Did you ever see the Houston STICK house celebrating the Hermann Park's centennial? Cheers, -T

Bill G. said...

How many times, while perusing my wife's Facebook account looking for videos I think you guys might enjoy, do I come across the words, "... and then my head literally exploded!" or, "...and you won't believe what happened next!"

While on my bike ride last week, I noticed an attractive young woman walking along looking at the ocean; not looking down at her hands. I felt so bad for her 'cause I was pretty sure her phone battery must have just died.

Yellowrocks said...

Mart, I went to PC Richards in the outer ring of a small mall and purchased my TV. The store was not all that busy. I am looking forward to being able to watch TV in bed again.
After cleaning the whole house in one day I am bushed. Too tired to set up the TV today. Time to read. "The old gray mare ain't what she used to be."

Misty said...


Pat, so sorry to hear about your sad day. Losses are hard, aren't they?

CrossEyedDave said...

A couple of links I could not pass up:





Unknown said...

Hi all, I have to agree with the same thing about the brick house it never went down,but the wolf went down the chimney and came back up fast with a fire behind his behind lol. Across and downs clinched it except for talk for tell but the downs took care of that quick. Pas travail aujourd'hui pour moi from Cajun Country!!!

Yellowrocks said...

Barry, how is your mil?
Pat, in some ways our parents are always with us. The memory of them is both comforting and sad.
So sorry about Sam.
Lucina, welcome back.

Barry G. said...

Well, my mother-in-law is still in the hospital. Good spirits, but they want to keep her at least one more night.

I had a cut on my foot a few years that got infected and led to a nasty case of cellulitis that put me in the hospital for a week, so I can relate. The problem now is that my wife has never liked the cat to begin with and this didn't exactly endear him to her...

Pat said...

Misty and Yellowrocks: thanks for the kind words. Dad passed 11 years ago so that loss isn't so sharp. Sam was OK on Saturday and so much worse yesterday that it's a shock. I picture her playing with my Dad and our previous 2 dogs in heaven.

HG: love the vacuum joke!

CED: you always find such great links!


Lucina said...

Thank you for the welcome. I really missed all my fellow cornerites. How is Alan?

I missed the information of what happened to your MIL but I hope she is improving.

You really do find the most appropriate links!

Yellowrocks said...

Lucina, thanks for your concern. Alan has had a fairly bad summer missing about 5 weeks of work. Thankfully he has has been well during our vacation weeks. His well being is up and down in an unpredictable pattern. We have seen and continue to see many doctors and have scheduled many tests. An MRI showed demyelination in the brain. More tests to come.
There are a few days when holing up in bed is indicated. On most so-so days I have started teaching Alan to accept this as the "new normal" for now as we seek answers, and to soldier on with as much of normal living as possible. Giving in to it means not having a life.

My remarks about the buying of the TV were to Marti, not Mari. Auto correct does not understand.

Bill G. said...

AnonT, I enjoyed your thinking and writing results. You sound like a lucky guy.

I seem to be having nerve irritation (pinched nerve?) in my neck causing fairly severe pain in my left shoulder (trapezius muscle). No fun...

Anonymous said...

Very late to the party but want to note that the clue 60A indicated that the menace successfully destroyed 2 homes, not 3.

Argyle said...

60A. Menace who destroyed houses made of the ends of 18-, 26- and 47-Across :

Would you care to point out where it said, "destroyed 2 homes, not 3"?

Anonymous said...


My paper had for 60 across--"Menace who tried (and succeeded twice) to destroy houses made of the ends of 18-, 26- and 47- Across

Argyle said...

I posed the question to the others to see if anybody else had that. It might be a help if we knew what paper you have.

Anonymous said...

I get the puzzle at

Anonymous G

Argyle said...

One good thing came out of this; I got my Flash Player to work...finally. I usually do the puzzle with Cruciverb but they get the puzzles early. I guess someone caught the mistake and changed it in the later versions.

Anonymous said...

Mystery solved! Thanks, Argyle.

Anonymous G

Argyle said...

I'm happy to know that a huge mistake didn't reach the public at large.

Would you consider becoming blue and joining us on a regular basis?