Jan 30, 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015 Paolo Pasco

Theme: "Back in the Game"

Phrases containing the word "back" are treated literally, with the target word "backed up."

16. Deep-sea creature, literally : PMUH WHALE. Humpback whale.

20. Alternative strategies, literally : LLAF PLANS. Fallback plans.

40. Infomercial offers, literally : YENOM GUARANTEES. Money-back guarantees.

55. Toddler's transport, literally : YGGIP RIDE. Piggyback ride

65. Preflight purchase, literally : REPAP BOOK. Paperback book.

Marti here on an unusual Friday. I do not think we have seen Paulo in the LA Times before, so congratulations on your debut.  Paolo did collaborate on one devilishly clever puzzle with Frank Longo in the Fireball crosswords earlier this month, and I understand that he is a high school freshman? Move over, David Steinberg!

I figured out the theme immediately with the first one, which helped me to zip through the rest of them. But I did get slowed down in several spots. Let's see what they were.


1. Ones calling the shots? : REFS. Waited for perps - could also have been "umps."

5. Rock blasters : AMPS. Waited for perps - could also have been "TNTs."

9. Californie, for one : ETAT. Solid.

13. Apple variety : iMAC. Yep, I'm typing on one right now.

14. Goal for a runner : SEAT.

15. Renaissance painter Veronese : PAOLO. Shoutout to himself? I have linked "The Wedding at Cana" before.

18. Mozart's "King of Instruments" : ORGAN. Gimme!

19. Seat of Dallas County, Alabama : SELMA. The small city that had a huge impact on the Civil Rights movement.

22. Churchill, for one : TORY.

24. "Who, me?" : MOI? and a clecho at 53-Across. "Who, me?" : NOT I !

25. 1,000 G's : MIL.lion. G's are short for "grand," or one thousand dollars.

27. Goes out for a bit? : NAPS.

30. Fusion, for one : ECOCAR. Ford Fusion.

35. Receptionist on "The Office" : ERIN. No clue - all perps.

37. It's frowned upon : NO NO.

39. Yellowish tone : OCHRE.

43. Time to say "¡Feliz año nuevo!" : ENERO.  "Happy New Year!" is said in January.

44. Pioneers' journey, say : TREK. Like the Mormon migration from Illinois to the Rocky mountains.

45. Unpopular spots : ACNE.

46. Buck : RESIST.

48. 1980s surgeon general : KOOP.

50. Dennings of "Thor" : KAT.

51. __ lane : HOV.

61. Alley wanderers : MUTTS.

64. Certain Middle Easterner : IRANI.

67. Pirouette, essentially : PIVOT.

68. Settled down : ALIT.

69. "Truth in Engineering" automaker : AUDI.

70. First place? : EDEN.

71. Bothersome parasites : LICE.

72. Block (up) : STOP.


1. Steals, with "off" : RIPS.

2. Former "Fashion Emergency" host : EMME. She broke the mold of the model world.

3. Surface fractures : FAULT LINES. Hey, it wasn't my fault!

4. Blockhead : SCHMO. Love that word.

5. Fire proof : ASH.

6. Courses taken consecutively? : MEAL.

7. Depressing atmosphere : PALL.

8. Energy : STEAM.

9. "Downton Abbey" title : EARL. Had to wait on perps before deciding between "lord," "lady" or EARL.

10. Draped garment : TOGA.

11. The first "A" in A.A. Milne : ALAN. Sheesh...misspelled again!  (^0^)

12. Piles : TONS.

15. Michael Jackson, e.g. : POP ICON. Had to wait on perps before deciding whether it would be ICON or Idol.

17. Tip off : WARN.

21. One on the other side : FOE.

23. Half a philosophical duality : YANG. The other half is, of course, "yin."

25. "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution" author Nicholas : MEYER. Crap. I wanted Doyle. It's Dr. Watson's "lost manuscript" about Sherlock Holmes. Followed immediately by:

26. Adler of Sherlock Holmes lore : IRENE. Remember "Scandal in Bohemia"? She is the only character who ever outwitted Sherlock.

28. Look down : POUT.

29. Snideness : SNARK. Ohhhh-kaaaaay...

31. Numerical prefix : OCTA.

32. "Look at this!" : CHECK IT OUT.

33. Battleground : ARENA. The big one is on Sunday in Glendale, AZ.  Our local supermarket is called "Big Bunny," and they outfitted the huge mascot on the roof with Gronk's # 87. Cute!

34. Start over, in a way : RESET.

36. Sushi seaweed : NORI.

38. Layered snack : OREO.

41. Venue involving a lot of body contact : MOSH PIT.

42. "Right Now (Na Na Na)" artist : AKON. All perps.

47. Rogers Centre team, on scoreboards : TOR.onto.

49. Majestic display : POMP.

52. Like some popular videos : VIRAL.

54. Big brass : TUBAS.

55. "Heavens to Betsy!" : YIPE.

56. Crossword component : GRID.

57. Collapsed : GAVE.

58. Aware of : IN ON.

59. Where many subs are assembled : DELI. Cute misdirection.

60. Really, really cool : EPIC. Really?

62. Stir : TO DO.

63. Pass over : SKIP.

66. Downed : ATE.

That's it for this week. Thanks for letting me walk in your shoes today, Lemony!


Note from C.C.:

Bernice Gordon, the oldest LA Times constructor, passed away yesterday. You can click here for the obit. Here is her most recent puzzle for us.


Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

It took awhile for me to get the theme on this one. In fact, I didn't get it until YGGIPRIDE, but after that I was able to go back and fill in the other theme answers very quickly.

Aside from the theme, I struggled with some unknowns today, such as ERIN and AKON, and was hobbled by putting in POP IDOL instead of POP ICON. Once I got the theme, however, the theme answers gave me the foothold I needed to get everything else. So the puzzle went very slowly until it suddenly sped up and finished in a hurry.

Sorry to here about Ms. Gordon! Not a huge shock, obviously, but still sad.

Anonymous said...

Several of the clues include the word "literally."

Excuse me for being dense, but how does "literally" help inform us as to the answers to such clues?

Lemonade714 said...

It is sad to hear of the passing of Bernice Gordon. She was an inspiration. It is all part of the cycle of life, but also a factor that makes getting older hard. So many die.

The puzzle was fun and it is exciting that so many young people are stepping up to make new puzzles. The CLUING showed creativity but it did not seem like a Friday. Of course what do I know

OwenKL said...

A Bostonian fellow who lived in yaB
Figured his boss owed him some .yap
So he straightened his ,enob
Like he did when ,emoh
To meet with The Man, and not !yawa

Big Easy said...

I had a hard time starting this one. Few things fell into place. So many unknowns and the backward spellings of the first words. I knew it would be MONEY GUARANTEES but until I got MOSH PIT, I couldn't solve HUMP, FALL, and PIGGY.

Blew it in the end due to guessing ERIC for ERIN and CORI for NORI. That area killed me due to four unknowns.

Other unknowns were MEYER, IRENE, PAOLO, EMME, ALAN, AKON.

Madame Defarge said...

Greetings from Texas where my daughter's daffodils are poking their noses out of the ground-- definitely a dream in the Chicago area and a full out fantasy in the Northeast!

This is certainly a DNF for me. Not enough time or focus with the grands up and at 'em early. I'll have to take another look at it another time.

Anon-T: Thanks for the Texas welcome!

Have a great weekend, y'all!

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I was scratching my head throughout (no not because of LICE), and didn't figure out the gimmick until REPAP BOOK -- then I went back up and filled in a lot of empty squares. I did notice the selfie at PAOLO.

Hand up for IDOL before GUARANTEES set me straight. I was not so fortunate in two other areas. I read Big Easy's mind and went with ERIC/CORI. On the other side of the grid I went with RESEE, giving me KAE rather than KAT. Bzzzzzt! DNF.

Oh, well...

desper-otto said...

Sorry to hear about Ms Gordon, but wow, she had a good run. R.I.P.

Madame Defarge, nice to see that you're enjoying some of our nice Texas winter weather. Unfortunately, things are about to head "south" for the weekend.

TTP said...

Ouch. Too much time. Thank you PAOLO and thank you Marti.

First theme answer was REPAP BOOK, and I got the theme, which helped with the other theme answers. For that I am glad, because I had no idea what was going on up north with a starting of LLA and a clue of Alternative strategies, literally...

HEY JAYCE ! What's shakin' ?

Author did a self-shoutout.

Favorite was First place = EDEN. Also liked fire proof = ASH, but since it was two words, it wasn't too difficult to get ASH.

Nice fresh clue for ENERO. ERIN on The Office wasn't my favorite. Pam was !

A lot (TONS ?, Piles ?) of perp help today.

Sad news about Bernice Gordon. Solving her puzzles were always a pleasure. She was an inspiration for others.

southernbelle said...

"I'm working the puzzle" usually means I am writing in, I WAS working the puzzle, and working, working, working!
Finally, turned on the red letters! Just too many four letters words for me.

HeartRx said...

RIP, Bernice Gordon. The crossword community has lost a legend.

TTP said...

Madame Defarge

It's already too late since you are there, but you might want to review this: 25 Reasons You Should Never Visit Texas

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Marti and friends. Interesting puzzle. It gave me quite a challenge and, although I knew the perps were correct, the first part of the "literally"theme answers never made sense to me. It didn't occur to me they were spelled backwards.

Lots of fun clues, though.

I immediately thought of EDEN for the First Place.

I loved A(LAN) (A)lexander Milne's stories as a kid.

We will miss Bernice Gordon's puzzle. She celebrated her 10th birthday just over 2 weeks ago on January 11.

QOD: When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt. (Jan. 30, 1882 ~ Apr. 12, 1945)

Ergo said...

Thank you Heart and Paolo.

While working this puzzle, I was frustrated. REALLY frustrated!

The crawlers came clean and early, and that helped. But starting an answer with YGG...? What the devil?

Eventually it came down to a leap of faith: inking in the obscure letter progression and hoping that it my lead to some early bone-headed mistake that needed fixing.

And then came the AHA moment with YGGIPRIDE. And as frustrated as I was earlier, my demeanor changed to 'well you clever little so and so.'

Also nice touch by Paolo working PAOLO into the grid.

Avg Joe said...

I'm sorry to hear of Ms Gordon's passing. She was definitely a class act. RIP.

This was a slog. I hunted and pecked around the grid, then with only the M missing from the backward hump I realized the trick. That helped enormously, but it was still a crawl to the finish. Final fills were the E, R and N in Erin. All were naticks, so it was just blind luck to get it right. Nori sounded vaguely familiar, and Eric hadn't even occurred to me, so I was able to avoid that trap.

Hahtoolah said...

Thanks for the "warning" about Texas, TTP. I am head there in about an hour.

Lemonade714 said...

Kat Dennings has worked often is now a co-star of the CBS sit-com TWO BROKE GIRLS . She also was the daughter in FORTY YEAR OLD VIRGIN .

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Pretty much WBS. I kept looking at letters that appeared not to belong together, then bam! the light came on. From there it was a sprint to the finish line.

RIP Bernice, you were an inspiration.

Morning, Marti! I've driven past that big bunny lots of times. I bet there's an interesting story there.

Husker Gary said...

Unlike our esteemed reviewer, I had to get down to _ _ _ AP BOOK (resisted SCRAPBOOK) before I got the gadget and then the puzzle went from “HUH?” to “WOW!” Trying to do the theme fills straight up was a hindrance.

-AMPS not tnt’s, TORY not Brit, ECOCAR not energy, TOGA not sari, YIPE not egad
-Other French ETAT names - Caroline du Nord, Dakota du Sud, Nouveau-Mexique
-Top Ten ORGAN rock songs? Where’s Happy Organ, and Runaway?
-That Mormon TREK passed through our town
-I did BUCK some policies that in retrospect did me no good
-A Moscow MUTT that became a world celebrity
-Are we failing to stop the IRANIS like we didn’t stop the Germans in the 1930’s?
-PIVOTS around here evoke this image
-Any successful TV idea will get RIPped off
-The EARL of Downton is desperately trying to hold back modernity
-Marti, did the weather service sufficiently WARN you?
-When it was an actual GRIDIRON
-EPIC limerick, Owen! A ten on the clever scale.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I'm going to let Thumper speak for me today.

Kudos to Paolo for cleverness and to Marti for a clear and concise commentary.

RIP, Ms. Gordon.

Have a great day.

RD said...

Did not get the theme as our paper did not title the puzzle. Made it look dumb/confusing. I figured out the backwards part but not the word back. Didn't make sense until reading the solution on this site.

kazie said...

I never would have got the theme alone--I cheated and came here to see what they all were. Then I went back to guessing on my own and got the rest out eventually.

Certainly very clever and you have to admire such innovation from a high school freshman! Sooo intimidating, I must say!

No paper titles these puzzles--our bloggers make up titles they think appropriate, but none are official.

Very sad to see Bernice Gordon gone. Her puzzles were always a pleasure to do. With today's offering we are presumably at the beginning of another puzzling career, just as another has regrettably ended.

RD said...

I did not realize that titles weren't official. I guess I didn't have a major need for them before. Some other crosswords that I do have titles. I did notice that the site where I do the LA Times crossword does not use a title. (American Mensa) Thanks for the info.

Bill said...

Well, it *might* have helped had my printed copy had the theme name, but maybe not. I eventually solved the puzzle but had no idea of how the backwardly spelled words tied in until I read the recap. Another example of why I am not a fan of goofy-themed puzzles.

Bill G. said...

Hello everybody. I was sorry to hear about Ms. Gordon. I always enjoyed her work. I struggled with this one late last night. Crossing letters gave me PMU near the top and I was sure I had gone wrong some place. I almost turned on red letters but I persevered until the theme hit me between the eyes and I chuckled out loud. Congrats Paolo. And thanks Marti.

Thanks for the Texas travelog, Madame Defarge. If you hadn't told me where those photos were from, I would have guessed right here in California.

Once again, I want to thank everybody for their kind words and thoughts. They have meant a lot to me.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Took a long time with this one, and still a big DNF.

Got LLAFPLANS, but could make no sense of it. The other theme answers eluded me.

Without in any way gainsaying the brilliance of this puzzle, I'll admit that I hated it.

ETAT for California is grating. This long ago Spanish colony never had anything to do with France that I know of.

Lots of misdirections that were tricky but fair.

I didn't know any of the names. Much googling, but still a DNF.

That's all I got.


OwenKL said...

In my personal log, I put the theme/title of today's puzzle as BACK-WORDS. I love goofy-themed puzzles because I consider figuring out the theme to be another puzzle within the puzzle, and a better one than the crossword itself oftentimes. I hate it when I read the reveal before I've figured it out for myself. But we're never sure where it might be, so that we could avoid that section of the puzzle until we were ready for it. 67a might have been intended as a reveal today, since all the theme answers had to pirouette.

RD, Bill, and any other nØØbs and virgins out there: Only the Sunday LAT (as we familiarly call the L.A. Times puzzle) has a posted title, but that title is listed on the Mensa site and the Across Lite .puz versions as well as the LAT and Arcadium sites. During the week, the puzzle "title" is either the "reveal", which appears as an entry in the puzzle, or like today considered too obvious to bother with.

Jazzbumpa said...

RIP, Bernice.

Wow. 101 is quite a gig.

She will be missed.

Anon @ 5:54

Not quite sure how to answer your question. The first word of each theme fill is literally spelt backwards, thus indicating the implied word "back" in how the theme fill should be pronounced.

Hope that helps.

Owen - Well played, sir!


fermatprime said...


Great puzzle, PAOLO (but took a looong time)! Swell review, Marti! (More like a NYT puzzle!)

RIP, Ms. Gordon. A legend dies.

Got the theme with _ _ _ APBOOK. Still took a while to get the corner with PIGGY. No cheats. Like Marti, waited for perps.


Many educated guesses, as mentioned above. Many funny clues.

coneyro said...

If you use the word "literally" as meaning "actual", then this word is stating that the answers are doing just that....going or written backwards. And it also means that in each answer the word "back" is significant as a place or direction... I.e. the hump is on the BACK of the whale, or a piggyback ride has the rider on one's BACK.
If one guarantees your money, you can get it BACK. Hope this clears it up for you.

JJM said...

I will miss Bernice and her puzzles. They were always fun to do.

I'm sure most will disagree… but I found this way too tricked up. Anagrams along with the word "back" missing. Really. I finished with one red letter but did not enjoy it at all.

coneyro said...

ANON @5:54 If you go back to your posting, I replied to your "BACK" question there. Today was a real workout. I first saw YGG at the start of 55A and went, "WHAT?“. But looking at the clue again, it hit me....piggy BACK! The type of ride and the direction of the answer. The others came easily after that.

At the end, though, it was a DNF. I didn't know PAOLO, KAT, or HOV. In fact, what does 51A mean?
For a Friday, it wasn't so hard. Tomorrow will be usual "FORGET IT".

Lime Rickey said...

JJM: There were anagrams?

coneyro said...

HOV lanes? I looked it up. High occupancy vehicles. No wonder I don't know it. I do not drive, and know nothing sbout cars.

Steve said...

A 35-minute toughie for me - it took me a long time to see the theme, then was personally NATICK'd with KOOP/AKON. "E" looked OK to me but - nope.

Sorry to hear about Bernice.

Rainman said...

Started late this morning, finishing on paper with an Erasermate. Surprised myself that I knew KAT, KOOP, TOR, and TORY, but was disappointed that I did not know EMME (who's that?)nor ERIN, the receptionist. POPICON started out out POPIDOL, but once I got REPAPBOOK, the other theme answers literally (hah!) filled themselves in. (Maybe not.) Checked my answers with my MacBook and, voila, got the fanfare. Despite that, I still have questions: like Courses taken consecutively? with the answer MEAL. Can that be right?

HOV lane: high occupancy vehicles only.

This was a good workout and I enjoyed it, happy that I got through it. Waytogo, Paolo, Thanks, Marti.

Sorry we lost such an amazingly prolific constructor. She had a good run.

desper-otto said...

Rainman, think of a 4-course meal: Soup, Salad, Entree, Dessert courses -- eaten one after the other.

Rainman said...

DO, thanx. Now I geddit.

Anonymous said...

If you have dinner at a fancy restaurant, you may have a five course meal. Each course is eaten after the other, i.e. consecutively.

I question whether many people would recommend "literally" be added to the featured clues.

Lucina said...

Greetings, puzzlers.

RIP Bernice Gordon. What a classy lady and great puzzle constructor. I'll miss her.

This was way too clever for me and even with dyslexia I didn't see the backward spelling. Not knowing most of the names, EMME, MEYER, IRENE, AKON didn't help either. I did get PAOLO early on and noticed the selfie.

Like Misty, I'll let Thumper speak for me.

I hope your Friday is fantastic, everyone! Rain here all day but too bad for the golf Open and the Super Bowl experience.

Misty said...

I can't believe it, I can't believe it, but I actually got the WHOLE thing, including the last HOV entry, which I guessed at and still don't understand. But yay! Thank you, Paolo, and enjoyed seeing your name in the puzzle. And thank you, Marti, as always.

On my first look, this felt like a tough Saturday puzzle, but after a small start with AMPS and ETAT and EARL, it began to slowly, slowly fill in, with the top first and the bottom much later. But somehow I figured out the theme when 16 across had P_UH, which I knew had to be right, and then it hit me, that the first word was spelled backwards. That helped with the rest of the solving as I went along.

Clever, clever puzzle, Paolo--I loved it!

So sorry to hear about Bernice.

Have a great Friday, everybody!

CartBoy said...

Finished in two sittings. About as hard (for me) a puzzle as I've seen in awhile. Can't wait for Saturday...

Yellowrocks said...

I have been thinking of you all week, intending to keep up with you via tablet. Unfortunately the WI-fi was very spotty. Often I could read but not send. I enjoyed your posts when I could get them.
I had my knee replaced on Monday and my sister brought me home on Thursday. Then we went to pick up Alan. Sis brought a casserole for dinner and shoveled the sidewalk before she left early this afternoon. A wonderful, sweet help.
There is some pain but not so terrible. I can go up and down the stairs and walk with a cane. I have plenty of stability and so far have recovered a considerably large range of motion.
I couldn't grok the theme today and had turned on red letter help. LLAFPLANS? I got the theme with YGGGIPRIDE. Too bad I had already red-lettered. Very clever puzzle from our young constructor.

Irish Miss said...

Welcome "back," Kathy. You sound like you are making tremendous progress in a short period of time. Keep up the good work!

Lucina, Misty loved the puzzle but Thumper and I did not!

Madame Defarge said...

D-Otto, thanks. I'm watching my grandsons play basketball outside! I am enjoying the sun; I know tomorrow will be an inside day, I also just learned our weather at home may be a little rough on the return Monday. Cheers.

Madame Defarge said...

TTP: terrific list! AND my daughter's family is here! Cheers.

kazie said...

Seeing your comment on HOV, it occurred to me that those of us who don't live, and have never lived in major American cities, are at a disadvantage with many concepts that are evident in such places. I don't even live within 60 miles of a freeway and twice that far from any major city that might even have HOV signs, so even though I drive practically every day, HOV is something I've never seen outside of crosswords.

Lucina said...

Thank you. I seem to be on an incorrigible trajectory when meeting with your and Misty's names. Old age? Very likely.

How right you are. Here we see HOV regularly if not daily when driving the freeways.

Ol' Man Keith said...

This was a doozy, but all the more satisfying to have licked it.
I didn't get the theme for a long time. The first theme answer that I filled in was YGGIPRIDE. I couldn't see what was afoot right away, so I punched "define YGGIPRIDE" into Google, and --son-of-a-Gun!-- if Google didn't try to convince me that it was actually something, something real, an acronym (!) for "Yahoo Geology and Geophysics Index"!
And it said this with a straight face. SO that really slowed me down. It wasn't until I looked hard at PMUHWHALE that I saw the light.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I did cheat, just a tad, by looking up EMME and MEYER. Had to get a leg up, y'know...

Another nice jingle --SO fine!
Your brain is much sharper than mine:
To play back the gag on each line,
And smart Paolo Pasco outshine.

desper-otto said...

YR, great to hear that the knee replacement went well. We'll be expecting to hear of your square-dancing escapades in the near future.

Kazie, in Houston most major freeways have a HOV lane -- free for two or more occupants, or you can pay a fee for just one person in the car. Then, of course, there are those folks who drive a mannequin to work to avoid paying the fee, and the scofflaws who just drive solo, but don't pay. There are even signs with numbers you can call to rat on your fellow driver. Fun stuff!

Avg Joe said...

This HOV conversation is interesting. There are likely many people that have never heard of the concept since there are large swaths of the country that have none.

The nearest HOV that I'm certain I've seen is in Minneapolis. Next closest would be Denver. If KC has any, I haven't seen them. Lincoln, Omaha and Des Moines don't. I'd be shocked if there are any in S Dak, N Dak, Wyoming or Kansas. There's got to be an obvious tipping point that warrants their use. But it would well over 1 million population. Maybe even close to 4 Mil.

Anonymous said...

PMUHWHALE (17A: Singer in the sea, literally)

YGGIPRIDE (57A: Little kid's lift, literally)

Tinbeni said...

Marti: WOW!!! What an excellent write-up and informative links.

Hmmm, should I "link" Thumper when THIS was my "new" favorite puzzle of 2015?
(Plus, with all the "Packing for the Move" ... and this new Dell Laptop ... I have forgotten how to link).

RIP Bernice Gordon. tears ...

There were many unknowns today ... but the "perp-fest" made it easy.

Yellowrocks: Can't wait until you tell us you were Square-Dancing again.

It is a beautiful day here, heading for a stunning Sunset.

Lemonade714 said...

Anon 3:33, the recent use of three of the theme answers in the NYT does seem very suspect and odd. We have had many read the word backwards puzzles, but to reuse a theme that soon, with exact clues, seems beyond coincidental, but then again, he is a freshman in high school

Lucina said...

How exciting to know your knee surgery went well and you are already walking! As others have noted, we expect news of square dancing in the near future.

It's good to see you again, my friend.

Madame Defarge said...

IMHO, as a former English teacher, young scholars need quite a bit of practice with citations in their research and how to handle ideas that are not originally theirs. Generally it does not come from peers but teachers, tutors, and other mentors, including crossword editors. I'm pretty impressed he's a HS freshman. He just needs to have some guidance along the way.

Lemonade714 said...

Yes Kathy, it iis always good to hear from someone after they go through surgery, heal well.

Bill G. hang in

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

TITT - Thumper's all around. So many missteps my pen needs a new ink cartridge. Let's see: I got the NE after Google helped with ALEN (the one L kind), I got the midwest. Everything else was lightly inked. The letter combinations like PM at 16a were so wrong for words. I too think "literally" should have read cryptically or some such. Sorry Thump.

To those that parsed this, I humbly bow.

Sad to hear about Ms. Gordon. I hope I'm as sharp as she at 3/4's her age.

YR - Welcome back. I'm glad to hear it went well and hope you post re etymology and grammar soon. I needs all the helps I get.

TTP - Why did you link that?!? We're going to be flooded with tourists! Please find a list that references humidity, heat, mosquitos, desert, tumbleweeds, traffic, etc. :-)

Driving solo Tuesday, I paid the $3.50 to hit the HOV lane (EZ Tag makes it easy!). Then there was an accident. The freeway moved faster then the "fast" Lane. I was stuck for 80 minutes. I did not get my money back. What a RIP!

Cheers, -T

Anonymous T said...

Coda - Yes, I was very late for the boss's meeting... Thank all that's good for "Martin Cooper.

CrossEyedDave said...

My 1st thought upon reaching YGG was "I don't have time for this ****!"

& now that it is after 5, I must admit this was perfect for a freaky Friday puzzle. I never did fully understand the theme, even after the backwards words. I could have really used a V8 can to the head with a REVEAL like "back-words" somewhere in the puzzle... (like OwenKL mentioned earlier.)

RIP Bernice, (I can't help but wonder if we are related in some way...)

Humpback at ya!

Fallback is a drag...



Yeah, but would it last as long?

TTP said...

I'm glad y'all liked the Texas pictures. I did. "It's like a whole other country!"

Madame Defarge, I've been to more than a few of those places, but I always love being with my family there. Enjoy your visit, and don't hurry back. We're supposed to get 7 to 10 inches starting Saturday night and through Sunday.

Yellowrocks, welcome back. Hopefully this will provide relief.

Anon-T, well, we know that some areas of Texas are just plain (get it ?) flat. Like Lubbock. You can stand on a dime in Lubbock and see Dallas. And I've lived through times in central Texas when we used a bottle cap as a rain gauge. It can get hot, that's for sure. And sticky down by the Houston town areas. But it's all good.

CrossEyedDave said...

9A Californie = Etat?

(A little help pls...)

(I don't get it...)

Anonymous T said...

TTP - yup I was in Midland last month. There were more pump-jacks than wildlife and you could see for MILEs (my first error on 14a). I love it down here - my bro's in CHI snow and I'm cycling in 75F weather. Even in August, I'd rather pour sweat than shovel Jan snow... 'course we all adapt. C, -T

HeartRx said...

CED @ 6:09, "ETAT" is the French word for "state." "Californie" is the French spelling of "California." Ergo, Californie is an ETAT. But as Jazzb mentioned @ 11:33, it is grating to use "Californie" as the clue, since that state never had anything to do with France. I would have preferred to see the clue as "Louisian, for one."

Anonymous T said...

Marti - thanks for confirming my assertion. I figured it had to be French after a while (I was thinking Beverly Hill Billies for a looong time). Your Louisiana clue would have been more fair - like all c/a in your puzzle yesterday (I was just too dense / impatient to finish - you got me good).

Well, the wily hackers have been kept at bay for another week, time for a nap before DW and I go out for a cocktail.

Cheers, -T

Rainman said...

Basic French word: etat = state in English

I'm guessing Californie is French for California. I've seen it a lot in crosswords.

And may I weigh in on Texas, also a state, since I lived there for 35 years? There were a lot of reasons to leave but I did not want MY kids raised in a culture where "dumbing down" is often endorsed. I recall taking my girls to the symphony and to the theatre, then listenng to their parents say things like "why do you want to take your kids to those thangs fer?" Each to his own. Wrong crowd. Just one example.

JD said...

Hurray for you, Yellowrocks! You must be doing your am/pm exercises, which I know is hard work. So happy for you.DH had his done last year.I was so surprised when he had no trouble go upstairs 1st day home.

HOV is new to me; they had been labeled carpool lanes in our area. The "freeway" I frequent when I sub, does not have a special lane yet... thank goodness.

I folded early on this puzzle... too frustrating. Very clever though. Impressive Paolo.

Nice to see you Bill G. BTW, the PMU is what did me in ,literally.

So sorry to hear about Ms Gordon. She will be remembered.

Madame Defarge said...

Love being I here in Texas. Thanks for all the welcomes.

My younger grandson is eager to tell anyone he is the only true Texan in our family because he was born here. My eldest grandson says he wasn't born here, but he got here as soon as he could ( 5 mos )! Although they are Bears fans via Mom, they are doing very well!

Misty said...

Clever and fun rhymes, Owen and Ol' Man Keith. I love a bit of poetry in the morning!