Dec 26, 2014

Friday December 26, 2014 David Poole

Theme: Signed On - The animal in each theme entry is replaced by its corresponding Zodiac sign.

17A. Certain pickup, to an astrologer? : ARIES TRUCK. Ram truck.

27A. Gorton's product, to an astrologer? : PISCES STICKS. Fish sticks. We got some freshly caught crappie yesterday.

44A. Stubborn, to an astrologer? : TAURUS-HEADED. Bullheaded.

58A. Courageous, to an astrologer? : LEO-HEARTED. Lion-hearted.

Bonus entry: HOROSCOPE (11D. Daily reading for many). Its grid counterpart SET UP SHOP (33D. Hang out one's shingle, say) is not related to the theme, so HOROSCOPE must come up at the filling process.

C.C. here, giving Lemonade a well-deserved honeymoon break. I like the theme. Don't remember seeing this approach before. I just told D-Otto the other day how I value originality in themes.


 1. 45-Down component : BEAD. And 45D. You can count on it : ROSARY. Nice clue for ROSARY.

5. Sunday service component : CHOIR

10. RWR successor : GHWB. Bush Sr. Neither are known for their initials. Price to pay for HOROSCOPE & GLUTEI,

14. Humdinger : LULU

15. Hamlin of NASCAR : DENNY. Not familiar with the guy.

16. "Firecracker" singer Lisa : LOEB

19. Eurasian border river : URAL

20. Peer : NOBLE

21. Some are smooth : OPERATORS. Love Sade's "Smooth Operator".

23. CBS franchise since 2000 : CSI

24. Canadian loc. of the fictional Green Gables : PEI (Prince Edward Island)

26. Chicago suburb : NILES. Known for what, TTP/Abejo? We also have CDT (5D. Summer hours in Chi.)

31. Where to find MSFT : NASDAQ. OK, Microsoft.

34. Delinquency result, perhaps : REPO

35. Galeón cargo : ORO. Spanish ship.

36. Not kosher : TREF. Dictionary says it's literally "torn" in Hebrew.

37. Dawn goddess : EOS

38. Tea serving? : SPOT

39. Word with paint or blanket : WET

40. Risks : BETS

42. People with a maize god : AZTECS. First encounter with this maize god. We don't have rice god in China.

47. Entrance to la maison : PORTE. French for "door".

48. San Francisco's __ Hill : NOB

49. Guitar wood : ASH

52. Richard Crenna played him in the TV miniseries "On Wings of Eagles" : ROSS PEROT. Unaware of this series. True story?

55. Unstable : ROCKY

57. Dept. of Labor arm : OSHA

60. Othello, for one : MOOR

61. Vegged out : LAZED

62. Transvaal settler : BOER

63. Make out : ESPY. Clue works for SPOT as well.

64. O's, for one : ALERS. Baltimore Orioles. American Leaguers.

65. Mex. title : SRTA


1. Vin choice : BLANC

2. Greek capital : EUROS. Easy elimination of ATHENS due to letter count.

3. Cover for a crime : ALIBI

4. Two-person contest : DUEL
6. Intrepid : HEROIC

7. "Movin' __": "The Jeffersons" theme : ON UP

8. Tees off : INCENSES

9. Cracker brand since 1904 : RY KRISP. Based here in MN.

10. Squat targets : GLUTEI

12. Grow tiresome : WEAR

13. Energy-related units: Abbr. : BBLS (Barrels)

18. Antique tone : SEPIA

22. __ flute : ALTO

25. Legal title: Abbr. : ESQ

27. Email attachment : PDF

28. Jagged, as a leaf's edge : EROSE

29. "Grinding It Out" autobiographer : KROC. I sure need "Ray" or "McDonald" in the clue.

30. Barflies : SOTS

31. Food package amt. : NT WT

32. Flooring calculation : AREA

37. Heavenly : ETHEREAL. Nailed this entry with one letter in place.

38. Benchmark: Abbr. : STD

40. Do a new parent's job : BURP

41. Pip's romantic interest in "Great Expectations" : ESTELLA. Never read "Great Expectations". You?

42. Stir : ADO

43. Donkey relative : ZEBRA
46. Pollen bearer : ANTHER

49. Woods or Irons : ACTOR. James Woods. Jeremy Irons. Not CLUB.

50. Shooting sport : SKEET

51. Monster slain by Hercules : HYDRA

52. Spanish Steps site : ROME

53. Spanish bears : OSOS

54. Exude : OOZE

56. Mars and Saturn : ORBS

59. Money mgrs.? : EDs. Money magazine.


Note to Barry G:

Irish Miss asked if you could share your seafood linguine recipe.


OwenKL said...

Another fail for me today. LOEb was unknown, and BbLS didn't come to mind when BTUS washed out; and down south didn't know ESTELLa, couldn't remember ANTHEr, and as I'm writing this Thursday night, I still have no idea what aLErS is.

I was also slowed down by entries that started out wrong. ABACUS>ROSARY (but BEAD fit either one!), ARIES TOUGH>TRUCK, and I think I misspelled every star-critter except LEO the first run-through!

When considering creatures zodiacal,
Your destined future path to tackle,
Don't confuse a cusp
For astral lust;
The result could be aphrodasiacal!

Bluehen said...

Not all that sticky a puzzle for a Friday. Like Owen, I sure wanted ABACUS but the perps wouldn't allow it. Interesting and fresh theme. 5 across and 61 across were the last to fall because the cluing was pretty obscure to me. Oh well, Happy Boxing Day, everyone.

George Barany said...

This was definitely a cute theme by David Poole. Interesting to see the oldest living ex-President, GHWB, in the puzzle ... he has been in the headlines recently with some symptoms requiring hospitalization. Thanks C.C. for pinch-hitting for Lemonade, despite fighting some symptoms of your own (feel better soon!!)

If you don't mind trying another puzzle, some us have constructed Strong Convictions in honor of a well-known constructor who has a day-after-Xmas birthday. You don't need to have any inside info on him, but may nevertheless enjoy this interview that C.C. ran with him a bit over four years ago.

Best wishes for the remainder of the holiday season, and a Happy New Year in 2015!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Got off to a weird start on this one when I confidently (but incorrectly) stuck in ABACUS instead of ROSARY at 45D, but still got BEAD at 1A as a result. I got the theme early on, which helped a lot, and most of the rest of the puzzle was smooth sailing.

My biggest hangup was in the DENNY/RY KRISP/NILES area. I've vaguely heard of the first one and never heard of the latter two. Once I got DENN_, however, I was able to remember DENNY and that was enough to let me guess at RY KRISP as a plausible name for a cracker. I've never heard of an ALTO flute, but it was pretty obvious and NILES seemed like a plausible name.

As for my seafood linguini, I kind of make it up as I go along each year. This year it involved:

1. Cook 1 1/2 packages of linguini and set aside.

2. Microwave a small package of frozen peas and set aside.

3. Thaw out a two-pound bag of cooked extra large shrimp, remove the tails, and set aside.

4. Sauté a minced clove of garlic with a 1/4 stick of butter in a very large pan.

5. Add a handful or two of sliced "baby bella" mushrooms, two chopped up bunches of green onions, the equivalent of two chopped up large tomatoes (this year I went with a bunch of smaller Campari tomatoes instead of my usual large beefsteak tomatoes) and 1-2 pounds of raw scallops (I usually get the jumbo-sized, but this year went with the smaller ones due to the cost).

6. Once the scallops are cooked, add the linguini to the pan, along with the rest of the stick of butter and a ramekin full (maybe 1/4 cup?) of VSOP cognac.

7. Add salt, ground pepper and garlic powder to taste and stir until the butter is fully melted.

8. Add shrimp and peas and stir until everything is coated and hot.

9. Serve ASAP before it all gets soggy!

The "official" name (which I totally made up) is "Seafood Linguini Scampi a la Primavera."

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

C.C., it seems weird to "see" you on a Friday. BTW, ROSS PEROT was involved in a failed attempt to get the hostages out of Iran. Like most miniseries, there's a grain of truth in it -- probably only a grain.

I confidently inked in NABISCO for the 110-year-old cracker, and almost fell flat on my GLUTEI. Only after I reluctantly Wite-Outed (is that a word?) it, did things start to come together in the upper midwest.

I didn't get the McDonald's connection. I thought K-ROC might have been the long lost cousin of A-ROD.

Bill G (from last night), the F is definitely not silent. (Bet that'll make some of you go back to last night's blog comments just to see what Bill was talking about.)

Jerome said...

"So, how do you reward her labs after they fetch the PISCES STICKS?"


Big Easy said...

Maybe I am slipping but this is the third puzzle in the last week that was a DNF. The cross of RYKRISP & DENNY kept me from movin' ON UP- really down to the bottom side where I didn't understand the 64A clue 'O's' and couldn't remember the spelling of ANTHER.

The cluing was good and my first maybe was DUAL or DUEL. Once I got the DODGE-RAM-ARIES, the theme was easy to do. GHWB & URAL were gimmes but LOEB was unknown and GLUTEI was a good guess since they are usually just called GLUTES ( instead of your fat a**)

PORTE was a WAG that crossed and unknown-ESTELLA and two other long fills and ROSARY wasn't clicking in my head, even though I had ESP_ for 63A.

I got off to a 20A-NOBLE start but had a 55A-ROCKY finish. Maybe my HOROSCOPE ( which I have never considered) predicts better things for this weekend.

Madame Defarge said...

Fun puzzle once I got to the fish sticks. Used to eat them EVERY Friday!

Barry G: Thanks for the recipe. I get the lack of a didactic plan. Each year it begins anew. At some point try to preserve the recipe for your children. ;)

Ready for a little Niles, Illinois?
No, I'm not kidding:

HeartRx said...

Happy Boxing Day, everyone!

Hand up for wanting "abacus" before checking the perps. This puzzle seemed easier than many Fridays. RY KRISP was a gimme- my father used to eat them with pickled herring or sardines - his favorite snack. I could never see the attraction, though.

BLANC was also a gimme, of course! Loved the clue for ACTOR, but I wasn't misled, since the "I" in Irons was capitalized.

Click here to see the link from Madame Defarge, above. Who knew?

Barry G., the linguini sounds yummy. I may give it a shot this week sometime.

Have a great day - we are off on a "Connecticut Wine Tour." It ain't Napa, but you take what you can get.

Avg Joe said...

This was no worse than Wednesday level for me. The theme came quickly despite entering Dual instead of Duel, but with that ironed out the others were quick to fall. Had slight difficulty with the Gorton's clue since I'm most familiar with their chopped clams.

A bit more true crosswordese than typical, with entries such as Tref and PEI, but that's not a complaint. And I liked seeing the RWR / HGWB clue / answer...1: because I got it immediately and 2: because of the uniqueness of 4 initials in a presidential monogram.

Good puzzle!

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

What a clever theme! Being an Aries, I caught on quickly. Filled in bead right away thinking 45D was abacus but then when I got there, the fill was actually rosary. All of the theme answers were cute.

Thanks, David, for a fun Friday, and thanks, CC, for pinch-hitting for the new groom and for asking for Barry's recipe. And thanks, Barry, for sharing it with us; sounds yummy!

I hope everyone had a wonderful day yesterday. I certainly enjoyed this Christmas much more that last

Have a great day.

Anonymous said...


Tinbeni said...

C.C. Great job Pinch Hitting for Lemon ... and you reminded me I need to take a walk on the Dog Beach at Honeymoon Island.

David Poole: Thank you for a FUN Friday puzzle.
Alas ... a DNF ... though I learned Chicago has a suburb called NILES.
HeartRx, thanks for the Niles "Leaning Tower" link.

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.


Husker Gary said...

My staying with RAM TOUGH instead of TRUCK cost me two bad cells on David’s delightful puzzle where the theme was fun and helpful.

-Yay! No more Jingle Bell Rock, et al to WEAR on me until next Halloween
-There’s no astrological pig so it had to be bullheaded
-Scroll down one screen to get Your HOROSCOPE for today.
-Neither NASCAR or HOROSCOPEs interest me but I don’t care if you’re into ‘em
-Cary Grant climbed a pole in Germany in I Was A Male War Bride that Ann Sheridan later told him had NASSLICK (WET PAINT) on it
-A MAIZE ANTHER shedding pollen
-Woods in a Les Paul Gibson Guitar
-OSHA saved him.
-T-shirt for fathers, Manac?
-What’s the NT WT of KROC’s quarter pounder after frying?
-I prefer SKEET with Asiago Polenta and Truffled Mushrooms
-I subbed once where kids were reading Great Expectations and not diggin’ it.
-I can’t remember a puzzle where wrong fill (ABACUS) gave me correct fill (BEAD)
-Anyone here remember LSMFT?

Magilla Go-Rilla said...

41D: had to read that in HS freshman English. I couldn't take it so I only skimmed through it if I looked at it at all. Didn't do my grade any good.

Same problem with Silas Marner.

Magilla Go-Rilla said...

Alers = American leaguers (baseball)

AZ Granny said...

Had problems with the northwest corner, otherwise she sailed as one after another block fell to my pencil strokes. Fun Friday!

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, David Poole, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, C.C., for a fine review.

This one took me about three hours. Some tough spots.

NILES, IL. For me its most important feature is the White Eagle Restaurant and Banquet Facility. Best Polish food you ever ate. On Milwaukee Ave. Owned by the Przybylo's. Pronounced Shibylo.

Well, I made the same mistake many of you did. I confidently wrote in ABACUS for 45D, especially since I already had BEAD for 1A. No cigar. Big inkblot there after I re-wrote ROSARY.

I also misspelled DUEL as DUAL. Another inkblot.

Tried REDO at 34A. REPO won that battle.

Got KROC but did not relate to Ray Kroc.

Theme was neat. I am not into astrology, but I happen to be an Aries.

Wanted GODS for 56D, but held off until ORBS worked. No inkblot.

I even got ETHEREAL with no perps. Amazing!

Lots of paperwork to do today. I am giving up the Treasurer's job at my lodge. Have to get all the files in order. Of course, I am getting a tougher job in place of Treasurer, Secretary. Oh well.

See you tomorrow.


( 3751 )

Ergo said...

Thank you David and C.C.

Absolutely tickled to finish this one in its entirety. I too fell into the ABACUS/ROSARY quandary, but it was a fun and rewarding fix. Good learning moments throughout as well.

Lucina said...

Good day, puzzlers! Nice to see you, C.C. and NOBLE of you to give Lemonade a honeymoon vacation.

I hate to rain on your parade, but On the Wings of Eagles is the true story of the rescue of ROSS PEROT's employees who were stranded in Iran. Ken Follett wrote the book which was then made into a movie. Nothing to do with the 400 hostages.

Thanks to David Poole who slammed me with this puzzle. I left the F blank in TREF and forgot to return to finish it. Otherwise I enjoyed looking for the astrological figures though misspelled ANTHER, looked at ANTLER and moved on. Goes to show the deterioration of my brain!

Today is baking day as I'm in charge of desserts (tough job) for our family fun fiesta and white elephant exchange tomorrow.

Have a happy Friday, everyone!

desper-otto said...

Husker, I do remember LSMFT (plus the alternate DF meaning!). How 'bout, "Not a cough in a carload!" Or Kent, with the microphone filter, but be careful, the NSA is listening. Or the Limeliters singing, "Chesterfield!" Or "Winston -- tastes good [clap,clap], like a cigarette should." "Call for Phillip Morris!" "More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette." "This is the L&M Moment." And all of you under the age of 40 are asking, WTF?

Paul in Montebello said...

Easy one for Friday...but that just probably means Saturday's will be tougher.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

I really thought I had this theme figured out early. Pisces got filled in first, and I guessed at Pieces to finish it off. Bzzzt! Oh well, got there eventually.

I was probably the last truck buyer in America to realize that the Dodge name was stripped off, leaving us with only Ram Trucks. I have become thoroughly disgusted with the American pickup truck market, which has saturated itself in macho imagery to sell underbuilt, overpriced vehicles.

Never had to read Great Expectations as a youngster, therefore I loved reading it as an adult.

Morning C.C., good to see your style on a Friday again!

desper-otto said...

Lucina, here's what the Chicago Tribune had to say about the rescue back in '92. It's slightly different from the story Ken Follett wrote.

Misty said...

I got the NW corner right off the start and so sailed into this puzzle confidently only to have to give up when it was about 3/4 done. So I'm feeling your pain, Big Easy, on this being a tough week. But no way I'm going to let this dampen my Christmas spirit. We had a lovely dinner at a neighbor's last night and the sun is shining today, and C.C. is pinch-hitting for the groom. So what's a little problem with a Friday puzzle? Well, okay, there's probably even tougher Saturday on the horizon, but hey, we'll survive.

Irish Miss, so glad you had a safe dinner last night.

Have a great day, everybody!

Chairman Moe said...

"Puzzling thoughts":

HG@10:21 - Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco? I never smoked Lucky's; my cancer stick of choice back in the '70's was either Marlboro or Kool - I moved to Marlboro Light and Kool Lite, but found i was smoking more per day to get the nicotine! I finally quit "cold turkey" in 1980

Cute puzzle theme today; I "Ariesed" through the far Western 1/4 of the puzzle, with a momentary lapse of ABACUS before ROSARY. Then I "Piscesed" for a clue to 52d by Googling Spanish Steps (ROME); I called "Taurus-$hit" to GLUTEI, when GLUTES is how I usually refer to that part of our anatomy; so I'm not "Leo" that this was a pretty tough challenge for the Chairman today; it really got my Capricorn!

Happy Boxing Day!

Pat said...

I started this puzzle thinking it's going to be easy because today is Monday. Wrong! Good Friday toughness. I got a good 2/3 of it. Thanks, David. Good expo, C.C.

I was a swimmer in high school and worked as a lifeguard and taught swimming. I learned that LSMFT= Life Saving Means Fast Thinking.

The day after Christmas and it's 50*. Nice!


Yellowrocks said...

Thanks to all for my birthday greetings yesterday and thanks to CED for the array of lovely cakes. Dave,you are so clever and dedicated to find all those appropriate cakes.It is wonderful to share my birthday with these illustrious people. Happy birthday to Fermatprime and Zcarguy.
My loving, thoughtful family always celebrates my birthday late in the evening on Christmas night with candles and song and all the gifts I would have gotten if my birthday were in a different month. I am the sole star at that time. I love my Christmas birthday.
About today's puzzle: I enjoyed substituting zodiac animal names into common phrases.
Hand up for not being into Great Expectations. It certainly did not fulfill my expectations.
About the Christmas puzzle: I didn't notice the "shelf" upon which the ELF sat. How clever!

C.C. Burnikel said...

Bob Niles,
You made a comment on Dec 24 saying your newspaper has no cirles for the "Silent Night" puzzle. Can you let me know the name of your newspaper? You can email me


fermatprime said...


Thanks to all of you who wished me a happy birthday. It was relatively nice!

Thanks, David and C.C. To me, a challenging puzzle. Took a while, but no cheats.

Also got ETHEREAL from just the E, C.C.!

Hand up for abacus first.


Husker Gary said...

Musings 2
-Yup, LSMFT. I also know the DF version about a malfunctioning women’s undergarment.
-We ate in a sports bar today at noon that not many years ago would have been rife with cigarette smoke. In 2014 we had 18 people there where I was the oldest and the youngest two had not reached one year old. Big improvement.
-My HOROSCOPE suggested I try to restore peace and harmony and so I was on my best behavior ;-)
-One interesting opinion piece saying how required High School Readings can kill interest in reading
-Gibson guitar has been accused of importing very rare woods from the rain forest illegally

Rainman said...

This is the third time I've tried to leave a comment. The first two, my MacBook's Safari lost the web connection. (Was staying at a resort near the CA coast for a three-day gastronomic tour!!!) First I thought the resort's WI-FI was the problem, but no, it was still connected... Server Error, it said. Anyway, the puzzle.

Had gotten it earlier, no disconnections. But this one took me a long time to do, even in the quiet of the middle of the night. Was too stubborn to cheat, so I slogged through. Afterwards, it didn't look that hard. Maybe I just needed some caffeine or something.

But I liked this theme. The fill was often a learning experience. My favorite clue: RWR successor: GHWB. Don't tell me it's an old clue...

The ROSSPEROT answer made me think of the Ken Follett book decades ago, On Wings of Eagles, the story of the billionaire organizing a rescue operation. It was gripping stuff back then, before the Navy Seals came along or became well known.

Yes, Happy Boxing Day in Canada and maybe the UK as well. I once was an honorary Canadian. Or was that ornery? My hearing loss started long ago... too much flying without a headset.

Have already started Saturday's puzzle but no hints from me, sorry.

Manac said...

Gary, LMAO
I actually own one Like This.

Joe, Small world, I met a former associate of your friend today. Took him a couple of minutes to recognize me but at least he got
my name right.

Avg Joe said...

Cool! Thanks for remembering.

Lucina said...

Well, I see I got played on the Ross Perot antic as did all who read the book and/or saw the movie. It was riveting stuff nevertheless. Choosing Ken Follett was a smart move on his part as few other writers could have done it better.

I have been baking up a storm for our family & friends party tomorrow. Brownies with booze, brownies without, cookies, & cupcakes. I hope everyone gets his/her fill.

Blue Iris said...

My daughter had to read Great Expectations in high school. She was having a tough time reading it, I read the first few chapters to her explaining parts at times. She got the hang of it and read the rest on her own. I got hooked and had to finish reading the book later. I'm glad I did because I see so many cultural, media,etc references to the characters.