Dec 23, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke

Theme: Blue Christmas - My wish is that none of you are affected by these conditions for Christmas.

21A. Hitchhiked : BUMMED A RIDE

39A. Aid in driving uphill : LOW GEAR

57A. At some future date : DOWN THE LINE

3D. Deplorably bad effort : SAD ATTEMPT

30D. Sharp-billed game fish : BLUE MARLIN

Santa here but I feel a bit like Scrooge; there's no reveal for you today. Gail and Bruce didn't even provide stars...but it is a fine present anyway. A tight theme, very little dross and several CSO's (and no ice). Several entries were definitely déjà vu.


1. Hushed "Hey!" : "PSST!"

5. PC image file format : JPEG. (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

9. Quaint word of dismissal : PSHAW

14. Obsessed whale hunter : AHAB

15. Guthrie of "Alice's Restaurant" fame : ARLO. A Thanksgiving song.

16. Mozart's "Don Giovanni," e.g. : OPERA

17. Cribs and cradles : BEDS

18. Navy mascot : GOAT

19. Prey grabber : TALON

20. Place for a flock : LEA and around the corner, 24D. Meadow mom : EWE
23. Big name in taco sauce : ORTEGA

25. Remote button : MUTE

26. Handles deftly, as a baton : TWIRLS

29. __ Sapphire: gin brand : BOMBAY. Acceptable, Tinbeni?
33. Joyful shout : CHEER

35. Like wines aged in certain barrels : OAKY

37. "On the Waterfront" director Kazan : ELIA

38. Sing without words : HUM

42. Address in an online favorites list, e.g. : URL. (uniform resource locator)

43. Chalet backdrop : ALPS. One for Marti.

45. Tiny chirp : PEEP

46. Past pudgy : OBESE

48. Sound of little feet : PATTER. For all those grandkids out there.

50. "2 Broke Girls," for one : SITCOM. (situation comedy)

52. Pre-med subj. : ANAT.

54. "Shoot!" : "OH DARN!"

62. Fish delicacy : ROE

63. Fill with wonder : AMAZE

64. Silent approvals : NODS. "...And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!"

65. Singer Fitzgerald : ELLA

66. Control tower device : RADAR

67. Eins und zwei : DREI. Something in German.

68. Harbor structure : PIER

69. Bit of salon litter : TRESS

70. Freezer bag feature : SEAL

71. "What You Need" band : INXS. What you need is more Blue Christmas/Buon Natale.


1. Painter Picasso : PABLO

2. Like some cliffs and stockings : SHEER. We know who this is for.

4. "Cougar Town" network : TBS. (Turner Broadcasting System)

5. Rain forest cat : JAGUAR

6. Senior moment? : PROM

7. Jack of old oaters : ELAM. Just one of the many screen deaths of Jack Elam.

8. Informal response to "Did you buy those items I asked for?" : "GOT 'EM"

9. Picnic salad ingredient : POTATO

10. "Skip the sordid details" : "SPARE ME". TMI

11. Prefix with port or pad : HELI

12. 14-time A.L. All-Star : A-ROD

13. Diminish slowly : WANE

21. Old nightclub employee : B GIRL

22. 2000s White House nickname : DUBYA. George "Dubya" Bush

27. Rob of "Parks and Recreation" : LOWE. He has some strange DirecTV ads on the air now.

28. Learned ones : SAGES. Three sages from the East doesn't sound right.

31. Broadcasts : AIRS

32. Prestigious New England law school : YALE. It was hard to believe Splynter missed Yale Men's Ice Hockey, 2013 NCAA Champions, last Saturday's puzzle.

33. Fellow : CHAP

34. Hippy dance : HULA. Even a shout out to our Islanders.

36. Foreign Legion cap : KEPI

40. Talk show tycoon : OPRAH

41. Valium maker : ROCHE

44. Poem divisions : STANZAS

47. Gym specimen : BOD

49. Types into the database : ENTERS

51. Throat tissue : TONSIL

53. Looks after : TENDS

55. High-end watch : ROLEX

56. Gets within a stone's throw of : NEARS

57. Sticker in a tavern target : DART

58. Actor Sharif : OMAR

59. Cross a creek, say : WADE

60. Anecdotal wisdom : LORE

61. Brainstorming contribution : IDEA

65. Prefix with center : EPI


Note from C.C.:

I'm excited to share with you three gorgeous pictures from Lemonade's wedding. They're such a beautiful couple.


George Barany said...

Thanks, Argyle for this report. Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke are a veteran construction team, but now I can't seem to shake this Elvis tune out of my mind.

For a bit more cheer, can I recommend this custom comic by the gifted Hayley Gold. The comic has a seasonal tone, and is best appreciated if you try to solve A Lot of Birthday Cake on One's Plate first.

May your XMAS be merry, not blue!

OwenKL said...

Seasonal Affective Disorder
May be part of the natural order.
When it strikes you
It makes things hard to do,
Even though you know that you orter!

Possibly my most popular meme.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

I wanted to call this a SAD ATTEMPT at a puzzle, but that would've been a lie since it was actually quite enjoyable. I absolutely did not get the theme, though, and was hoping everybody else got circles so I wouldn't feel so dumb. Ah well...

Odd clue for BOMBAY, which I've never heard of (the clue, not the answer). Not a gin drinker, personally. Seemed kind of unnecessary, but I guess they wanted to ramp up the difficulty a bit for a Wednesday.

Cute clue for PROM, although I suspect most last for more than a mere moment.

ROCHE needed all the perps, and I almost turfed it after entering DOWN THE ROAD instead of DOWN THE LINE at first.

A TONSIL is a throat issue? Tonsillitis, perhaps, but a TONSIL is just a thing...

Anonymous said...

Can we even get a name? Where did she come from? The internet?

Argyle said...

51. Throat tissue

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

No special problems today, although since the Barnacle's site was s--l--o--w, I decided to attempt it on my tablet. It's just not the same as pen on paper. Theme? Never noticed.

Interesting that EPIcenter was also the featured Word of the Day on AWAD today.

OPRAH's dyslexic mom thought she was naming her daughter Orpah.

Lucina said...

Greetings, friends!

What a beautiful bride!! Great pictures. Thank you, C.C.

I zoomed through this puzzle and didn't even think about a theme. One write over, though, DOWN THE ROAD but LINE became evident at LORE/IDEA.

It's a good thing it was fast because I'm ready to go back to bed.

Barry must have his calendar days mixed. If it were Wednesday I'd be completely frazzled.

Have a lovely, calm WEDNESDAY, everyone!

HeartRx said...

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!

I didn't notice the theme while solving, but when I didn't see any "reveal" clue, I went looking. "Blue Christmas" was a great song to link to this puzzle, Argyle!!

I had a little hitch in the east when I wanted to enter BLUEfin tuna. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't squeeze it into the assigned number of squares. (^0^)

Barry G., I thought it was pretty easy for a Wednesday. Maybe because it's Tuesday? LOL!!

Great pics, Lemony. Thanks for sharing!

Have a great day, everyone!

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Gail and Bruce, for a fine puzzle. Thank you Argyle, for a fine review.

Barry: It is only Tuesday.

This puzzle zipped right along. My only real hang up was the NE corner where I wrote in TOMATO instead of POTATO. That took a little while to fix. Only inkblot.

Liked DUBYA.

KEPI was easy. Old crossword word.

Theme was fine. Great job!

As I was typing at 7:35 AM, I heard this chain saw and looked outside. They are taking down my last ash tree. Down she came. Then they feed the whole tree into a chipper, large trunks at a time, with a front loader. They took another tree yesterday and a 30 year old tree was totally gone in a half hour.

Enjoyed the wedding photos, Lemonade. Beautiful day!

See you tomorrow.


( )

Avg Joe said...

I also didn't notice the theme until after the grid was filled. It wasn't too hard to spot, but thought it rather depressing, given the publication date. Maybe that's pure coincidence, but still it's odd. And I guess CHEER does a little to offset the gloom.

Had some of the issues already mentioned. Wanted down the road, but waited. Read the tonsil clue as issue. Tried Rogen for Roche, but perps corrected. Same with Kepi, which started as Kapo, then Kepo. I guess that one still isn't beaten into my head.

Snowing here today, but the temp is just above freezing. Hope we don't get icy roads out of the deal. Stay safe all.

Ergo said...

Thanks Argyle Gail and Bruce. Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Lemonade.

Probably the quickest solve regardless of day. There really weren't any pizazz moments or clever clues, and that left the puzzle a bit flat.

But a solve is a solve and now I have an hour to kill until a phone interview for a position that I'm not nearly qualified for, but apparently they saw something that they liked so I'm not complaining.

Yellowrocks said...

Lovely pics. Lovely bride. Please introduce us, Lemony.
Easier than Monday's puzzle. I didn't see the theme but only spent a few seconds looking for it.
Only unknown was INXS, but I have seen it before.
I waited for perps to decide ROAD or LINE.
TGIT Thank G-d it's TUESDAY. I'll be done by tonight when I'll be ready for Wednesday.
For about 80 years ROCHE had a pharmaceutical plant in Nutley, NJ which they closed in 2013, costing the area about 1000 jobs. The huge property will be sold in 2015 with ongoing ground and water remediation.

Ergo said...

You're getting snow Avg Joe? I stepped out for a cigar and we're not seeing anything on this side of town.

Years ago I moonlighted as the weatherman for 10/11 in Lincoln and NTV in Kearney. Still to this day I can't go to the grocery store without somebody blaming me for the wx.

Vidwan827 said...

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Lemonade and best wishes for a long and happy married life.

Thank you for keeping the blog in mind, and despite all, sharing your photographs of your most precious moments. Your trust is appreciated.

Mazel Tov and Chokh di.

JD said...


Lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Gail and Bruce always have lots of fun fill and today was no exception. My big faux pas was making up the word MGMer as soon as I filled Ortega. it took me awhile to unravel the other words.Fav was hippy dance.

I am amazed that each day we are gifted with a brand new puzzle with fresh clues and themes( that I rarely get). My thanks to all of you who create these.

Avg Joe said...

It's not snowing now, Ergo. It started very light at around 5 and was snowing at a good rate around 7:45. But I doubt we've gotten 1/2". I'm about 17 miles SW of you, so it might not have snowed a flake in town.

Good luck on the interview. And drop me a private email if you're interested. Addy in my profile.

Tinbeni said...

Argyle: Wonderful Theme naming, alas I will NOT be having a Blue Christmas since everything couldn't be better a Villa Incognito.
And a "Hell Yes!" on Bombay Sapphire Gin being totally acceptable!

Gail & Bruce: Thank you for a FUN Tuesday puzzle. Good Job!

Other than having "Down-the-Road" before "Down-the-Line" this was a speed-run.

And it is always preferred when booze is in the grid.
(I like my Scotch a bit OAKY also).

Lemon: Congrats on your marriage!

Finally ... HAPPY FESTIVUS DAY!!! (for the rest of us).

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I enjoyed the puzzle and wasn't affected by the theme because I didn't see it until Argyle explained it. So, Ho, Ho, Ho! Fav clue was senior moment=prom. Better than, "Now, where are my keys?"

CSO to Marti (Alps) and Tin, even though gin is not his drink of choice but, hey, anything in a "Pinch!"

Lemony, thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures. Your bride is stunning and you both radiate tremendous joy and happiness. Mazel Tov. Charlotte is precious, as always.

Thanks, Gail, Bruce, and Argyle for brightening a gloomy Tuesday.

Have a great day.

Husker Gary said...

It’s dark and dreary on the plains and now Gail and Bruce pile on with this theme. How did CHEER get past them? ;-)

-What LINE is his baby moving DOWN in this great song by the Ben E. King Drifters
-A 1923 meeting of the Navy and Army Mascots
-Time/Warner Bill Cowher ads are wearing out my MUTE button
-Marathi speakers in BOMBAY have always called in Mumbai and the Indian Parliament made the change in 1997
-On The Waterfront exposed union corruption (3:51)
-We have four little furry feet that PATTER around here
-This RADAR unit saw the Zeroes 55 minutes before the attack on Pearl Harbor but…
-Did you get the OJ I asked you to get? Yes, I got the 100% juice, non-pulp with Vitamin D and Calcium, in a glass half-gallon container. Whew!
-The Yankees have to pay over $20M to WANING A-ROD this year but will also pay for this
-The hippy dance (:59) doesn’t come until :35 but ya gotta love this intro
-I not only don’t have a ROLEX, I don’t know anyone who would spend thousands on a watch
-Hmmm… ROE and WADE in the same puzzle

Chairman Moe said...

"Puzzling thoughts":

No airing of grievances at the Chairman's (on this, the celebration day of Festivus), although the Holidays can definitely cause some stress

WEES, congrats to Mr and Mrs Lemonade; maseltov!

I too did not get the "theme" until I read Argyle's recap, but it's right there! Duh; no V8 can today

Speaking of being "down", here's a theme-based limerick which might describe how Santa feels:

Twas two nights before Christmas when Santa, it's said,
Was mapping out his route, before going to bed;
When an elf gave him news
That gave Santa the BLUEs:
The whole world's bought their gifts from Amazon, instead!

Qli said...

Good job, Gail, Bruce and Argyle!

Hand up for DOWNTHEline, but perps fixed that in a hurry.
I wanted thumbedARIDE, but that didn't fit.

Owen, enjoyed your limerick and meme today!

Going to the store today for ingredients for Christmas Eve lasagna. Then I'll be ready for the holiday, if the last gift from the kids comes when the tracking info says it's supposed to. Poor UPS people; I saw one delivering after 9 pm the other night.

I'll be working at the lab on Christmas day, so no time to be BLUE.

Qli said...

Oh, and lovely pictures, Mr. and Mrs. Lemonade!

Barry G. said...

All right, I was obviously a bit more tired than usual this morning. I'm on vacation this week and can't even remember what day it is, apparently.

And yes, throat Tissue does make a lot more sense...

Vince Marino said...

Tonsils are collections of lymphoid tissue[1] facing into the aerodigestive tract

Razz said...

Just dropped by to shout out a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone.

Fun Tuesday effort by Gail & Bruce.

I will try to become more frequent in my posts in the coming year.

CrossEyedDave said...


(I had the same issue with tissue...)

Well,, let's see if I can turn this puzzle around...

This puzzle my have got me down, but I keep trying...

Down the line, bittersweet...

Blue fish?

This guy is definitely in Low Gear, While painfully long & depressing at 3:11, it provides the moral that:

If you share that bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin, the other guy might try walking up that hill with you instead videotaping you...

HeartRx said...

I just came across this amusing clip. Now,
that's what I call chutzpah!

And this one is a selfie.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Good puzzle. Totally missed the theme, but I'm a bit distracted today.

Theme entries all seem fresh.

No Blue Christmas here. The clan comes tomorrow. A couple of elves [granddaughters] stopped by to help with the preps today.

Here's today's song from Chris.

And one from us.

Cool regards!

Hello, Kitty! said...

That looks like a dog face on the side of that drunk kitten.

Misty said...

Fun puzzle for a sad, blue, down bummer, there we go, with the contradictions! Didn't get the theme until Argyle's expo, but it didn't dampen my spirits. I knew Tinbeni would be happy with the liquids. And fun limericks, Owen and Moe!

Ergo, best of luck with your interview!

Lemonade, what lovely wedding pictures. I wish you and your wife a lovely and happy marriage.

Have a great day, everybody!

desper-otto said...

I love that "selfie", Marti. That's exactly the way our three-pound terror looks at the world. We're torn as to his name -- either Foozle or Bleipsl are ahead at the moment. I think L'il Bleip may win out.

Bill G. said...

Congratulations Lemon and bride! Great photos. I wish you two all the happiness...

Speaking of Barry's little flub, since I retired from teaching, I have a hard time remembering the date or day too. Sometimes I have to think about the month and the year...

CrossEyedDave said...

HeartRx, I don't mean to bring you down, it's just that the chutzpah clip was stolen from a video about feline cerebellar hypoplasia.

Pls note that Ralphie & Max are best of friends

Here is the complete write up:

Published on Apr 29, 2014
Ralphee the kitten and Max the cattle dog are an odd couple who seem besotted with each other's company after they were introduced following Ralphee's rescue from a barn at a horse stable.

Ralphee's condition is a neurological disorder known as feline cerebellar hypoplasia. A kitten is born with "CH" when their cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls fine motor skills and coordination, is underdeveloped at birth.

These cats are known for their "drunken sailor" walk, which is why they're known endearingly as "wobbly cats."

Unless a CH cat has other health issues, their life expectancy is the same as a cat's without CH. Since the condition is non-progressive, it will never get worse — and in some cases, owners say that their cats become more capable over time.

Ever since Ralphee was brought home, Max is never far away. He appears to be forever curious and watches over Ralphee wherever she goes. Ralphee is growing more mischievous by the day and loves to see what Max is doing as well. She will often get excited when he is nearby and leap in the air before playfully charging in his direction.

Regarding the missing tail, this is how Ralphee was found. The father is a Manx.

Despite her condition, Ralphee is a happy cat who, like most kittens loves affection and causing all sorts of trouble wherever she goes.

More info on feline cerebellar hypoplasia:

Tinbeni said...

CED @11:37
That Low Gear link was tooooooo funny.
Now you know why I live in Ultra-Flat Florida. lol

Irish Miss, you MUST get some of the Dewar's Highlander Honey scotch.

OK, last year at this time I swore that any puzzle with that certain "3-letter-word" ("_ _ _") would become a DNF since I prefer my Scotch NEAT!
Well, since they have raised the price of a certain scotch (by 33.33%) ... if a certain Scotch, that is a "5-letter-word" appears ... It too will become a DNF.

With some Highlander's Honey ... Cheers!

Irish Miss said...

Tin @ 2:02 - I promise to add the Highlander Honey to my next order. (I have to stay on your good side because, every now and then, Agnes is in a puzzle and I wouldn't want to meet the same fate as _ _ _ and _ _ _ _ _!) 😉

Avg Joe said...

Tin, don't forget about Old Pulteney 12 year old. They sorta went Hollywood 2 or 3 years ago when they got a favorable review on some blog. It was impossible to find for a long time, but it's back on the shelf, with no measurable price increase. Not sure it's oaky, but it is peaty.

Yellowrocks said...

Well, I am almost there. I'll be up at 6:00 to prepare the prelude, vichyssoise, and the postlude, chocolate mousse pie for my son and DIL's major production on Christmas, a delicious roast beef and Yorkshire pudding dinner with all the trimmings.
Then a final run of the vacuum and dust cloth through the living room before my sister and niece come for a spinach quiche lunch. We'll open gifts, go out to dinner and attend midnight mass together. They will leave after breakfast and Alan and I will get on the road to spend Christmas with my son, DIL and grandson.

In case I don't get back here tomorrow, I wish you all a very merry Christmas and happy holiday,

CrossEyedDave said...

I have been poking around one of Bill G's links from yesterday,, & found a lot of things of interest.

You can imagine that having your car towed might make you bummed, low, sad, down, or blue, but check out how this lady dealt with it...

Thanks Bill!

Tinbeni said...

Avg.Joe @4:37
I have enjoyed the "Old Pultney 12 yo a couple of times ... it is on my new top 10 list.
And it is available at my new liquor store that has a "scotch" aisle that brings tears to my eyes.
"So many Scotch's ... So little time ... "

Irish Miss/Agnes ... you could never do ANYTHING to get to the "_ _ _" classification ...

Cheers to one-and-all ... THIS WAS THE BEST FESTIVUS DAY ... ever!

Lucina said...

Desper-otto, AnonT & other foodies:

For my birthday I was given The Tucci Table, a recipe book by the actor Stanley Tucci. I've used three of the recipes already and they are to die for!! I highly recommend it.

Barry, I'm so glad you figured out what day this is.

Cute limericks.

Bill G. said...

CED, I'm glad you liked it. I enjoyed watching the lady who drove off with the tow truck in tow. I'm like you. If somebody posts a link, I watch it and then start exploring the many side trips. I can get lost for hours...

OwenKL said...

Moe, outstanding limerick today!

My eldest granddaughter has the octopus as her totem. On her facebook page she has a painting of an octopus as 'octo-Santa' (here, if you can't get on facebook). Thought a few of you might enjoy my comment on it.
'Twas the night before Crispness and all through the ocean
Every creature was stirring, but just with wave motion.
The small fry were snuggled asleep in the sea-bed,
They were fish, so who knows what went on in their head.
Then what should appear to my wondering eye,
But a submarine sleigh, pulled by four nautilii!
At the helm was a mollusc whose arms were so numerous
I knew in a moment it must be Santapus!
I heard him exclaim, as he dove out of sight,
"May deep-fried beer batter make your Crispness just right!"

Anonymous T said...

Hi all!

Really late to the party (thanks all for the extra diversional links - I'm been hammered but never "can't wall up a hill" hammered :-)).

I enjoyed Gail's & Bruce's latest effort and, as always, Argyle's write-up.

PSST, don't tell -- I almost tUMBED A RIDE - OH, DARN, what's a tGIRL? For that matter, what's a B-GIRL?

ARLO's movie (same title) opened with him thUMBing A RIDE.

Only other write-over was 58d. I put 59d's answer there at 1st.

Congrats LEM! Looks like we both married up :-)

Lucina - That cook book is now in my Amazon queue. After I pay off the Christmas bills (sometime in 2017), I'll hit order.

Well, Christmas NEARS. Merry Christmas or [insert Solstice Celebration here]. I don't care what they call it, I've got the next 13 days (mostly) off!

Cheers, -T

Bill G. said...

AnonT, I always enjoy reading what you write.

I've never had trouble thumbing a ride (hitchhiking); either when I was doing it or when I was helping other people. I hitchhiked a ride from Cornell to Philadelphia to see a girl friend. Well worth it. I gave a ride to a poor-looking fellow on the way out of Washington DC. He didn't have a coat and it had begun to snow. And other examples. Maybe just lucky I guess but I think most people are reasonable good. We mostly hear about the few that aren't.