Jan 9, 2015

Friday January 9, 2015, Frank Virzi

Theme: If you go to Chicago you must add the ELL to your plans.

Frank is back to Friday in 2015, and his first since his coincidental LEM ON ADE puzzle two days after my birthday. This is a sound rather than a visual challenge, with the last word in a common phrase altered by adding an ELL sound to create a new last word. The difficulty in constructing was enhanced by the themers all being grid spanners. Some nice 6 letter fill like DC AREA, GETS UP, I DO I DO, LYRICS and SITS ON as well as some sparkly longer ones: SHINERS, UPLIFTS, EINSTEIN, HIDEAWAY, DIET PEPSI, TRIES HARD.  As with all punny themes, you need to find humor, and I did. Let's take a look.

17A. "Pardon my sword fight"? : DON'T MIND IF I DUEL  (15). 'Don't mind if I do' is the phrase that transforms. I sussed the theme here, always good on a Friday to get the theme early.

26A. "The good news: mostly A-OK. The bad news: __"? : TEN PERCENT AWFUL (15). 'Ten percent off...'

47A. Tool for putting a Ping-Pong ball in orbit? : LAUNCHING PADDLE (15). 'Launching pad.' My favorite of the theme, as the image in my brain is cool.

62A. Big affair for E.T.? : ALIEN LIFE FORMAL (15). 'Alien life form.'  Another fun visual, and my way of always remembering the spelling of Allen's name.


1. Like some restrictive dinners : STAG. Men only, dearie. Very un-pc.

5. Andrew of "Melrose Place" : SHUE. He played Billy Campbell I am told by wiki, but I knew he has a famous older sister.

9. First, for now : AHEAD. Yes, the 5 horse was there at the top of the stretch, but...

14. Strives : TRIES HARD. Also an un-pc term when parents use this phrase to describe their disappointing child.

16. Brewery prefix : MICRO. Not to be confused with CRAFT brewery. Who would ever guess I would end up knowing about beer?

19. Refuses to release : SITS ON. I assume this clue is in the context of information, though this pic came to mind.
20. "Lifts the spirits" gp. : USO.

21. Eau Claire-to-Green Bay direction : EAST. They will all be going in that direction for the big game against Dallas, Sunday at 1:05PM, EST. The Dallas/Green Bay match-ups of the 60's were awesome. Back at the 'frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.'

22. All-purpose rides : UTES. I have never heard a person in real life use this term.

24. Ocean predator : ORCA.

33. Singer Carly __ Jepsen : RAE. She has apparently supplanted Norma and Charlotte in puzzledom. I was introduced to this Canadian by Gareth in 2013.

34. Start of some Texas city names : SAN. And some California cities as well.

35. Mrs. Robinson's daughter : ELAINE. A Friday clue for this name, though the actress should be remembered, quite the face. Coo coo ca choo.

36. Milo of "The Verdict" : O' SHEA. He died this past year.

39. Play about Capote : TRU.

41. With an __: mindful of : EYE TO

42. Words : LYRICS. Nice new fill.

44. Okla. campus with a Prayer Tower : ORU. For newer solvers, the fact that OKLA. is an abbreviation is a clue that the answer is also an abbreviation.  Oral Roberts University.

46. Author Yutang : LIN. A very interesting MAN; I wonder what he was thought of in the China of C.C.'s childhood? A Friday name. (From C.C.: Probably because Lin spent most of his time in the US, his essays were not featured in our school books then. Actually most people with relatives in the US suffered during Cultural Revolution.)

51. Boer village : STAD. From their Dutch German heritage. I am sure Gareth Bain could give a more complete perspective on these people.

52. Monthly pmt. : ELECtricity.

53. Boom holder : MAST. Not a microphone.

56. Court : WOO. Not where judges hang out.

58. "Magic Hour" author Susan : ISAACS. I did not know that book, but I love the book and movie Compromising Positions. LINK. Susan Sarandon and Raul Julia were great.

65. McGwire broke his record : MARIS. Roger whose 61 home run record went the way of Mark McGuire's bat during the dawning of the steroid age. Roger ended as a beer distributor living in Gainesville.

66. "Love every sip" sloganeer : DIET PEPSI.

67. Concert venue : ARENA.

68. Poems of praise : ODES.

69. Memo demand : ASAP. As Soon As Possible.


1. Stylebook entries: Abbr. : STDS. Standards. Like this  GUIDE.

2. Picard's counselor : TROI. She's back.

3. "__ No Sunshine": Bill Withers hit : AIN'T.

4. Averts a knockout : GETS UP. Such a simple answer. Paired with 5D. Fight souvenirs : SHINERS. Not what you buy at the concession stand.

6. Solo in space : HAN. Episode VII is on its way.

7. Source of khaki? : URDU. The word, not the cloth.

8. New Jersey township with the motto "Let There Be Light" : EDISON. Thomas Alva will live on always, especially in puzzles.

9. "Moi?" : AM I? Which is often the clue in French.

10. Retreat : HIDEAWAY. My recollection was THIS. My parents loved Broadway musicals which helped with 48D. "My Cup Runneth Over" musical : I DO, I DO. Mary Martin and Robert Preston, 1967.(6:53).

11. S.A. country at 0 degrees latitude : ECUAdor. Odd, once again. Last time we learned that the name came because it is at the Equator.

12. Father of Phobos : ARES. The Greek who who gave us our word PHOBIA.

13. Fool : DOLT.

15. Whacked, biblically : SMOTE.

18. Strong suit : FORTE. Fort or fortay?

23. "Beat it!" : SCAT. For all the non-lovers of cats.

25. NASCAR's Yarborough : CALE.

26. Chat room persona non grata : TROLL. Don't feed the trolls.

27. GPA booster : EASY A.

28. Big name in Indian politics : NEHRU. And jackets.

29. With 30-Down, a former name of Minute Maid Park : ENRON. We just had this referenced last week.

30. See 29-Down : FIELD.

31. No later than : UNTIL.

32. Freetown currency : LEONE. Freetown, the capital is used to clue the Leone, the capital of Sierra Leone.

37. Matthau's "I.Q." role : EINSTEIN. This odd movie with Meg Ryan.

38. Passbook abbr. : ACCT.

40. Drive : URGE.

43. Loosely worn garment : SHAWL. My youngest son's girlfriend knitted one for Oo for the holidays.

45. Buoys : UPLIFTS. Girls ? Up____?

49. "The Fox and the Grapes" writer : AESOP. Fabulous fox fable.

50. Beltway environs : DC AREA.

53. Household nickname : MAMA. No Papa today.

54. Apple application no longer in use : ALAR.

55. Filly's father : SIRE. DAM this was easy.

57. "The Wizard __" : OF ID. The same number of letters as OZ. Coincidence? I think not. LINK.

59. Cranks (up) : AMPS. From amplifier, or the original ampere?

60. Julio's home : CASA. Some Spanish for Lucina et al.

61. Faux pas : SLIP. And of course, French for Splynter.

63. Org. whose seal includes an eagle perched on a key : NSA. So much controversy in 2014.

64. Really big shoe : EEE. I must end with this.

Frank V. thanks for the ride. Enjoy all. Lemonade out.

Notes from C.C.:

1) Let's meet the real Big Easy, whose witty and funny comments often make me smile. Big Easy is a volunteer at a New Orleans PGA event and he gets to meet Ernie Els every year. He's one of the lucky few to have the locker room access. Now we know his beautiful wife Diane "can't eat any beans or black-eyed peas without rice."

Big Easy and his wife Diane

2) Marti sent me this incredible picture. She said:

"I made a Raw Veggie Christmas Tree for my party last week (left side of my sideboard).  The styrofoam "tree" was covered with kale, and then the veggies were anchored with toothpicks. It really was cute, but I had bought way too much kale from the local farm stand that is famous for it.  I have only had kale in salads or as a garnish, but the owner told me that you can cook it, just like any other "green."  I know you like veggies, so thought you might like the recipe I found from Bobby Flay. It was absolutely delicious, and I am going to insist on kale instead of spinach as my "go-to" side dish from now on!! (See recipe here)


Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Challenging, but fair. I couldn't even parse the clue for 26A, but once I figured out the theme at 62A I was able to go back and get it pretty quickly (along with the other theme answers).

Needed perp help and some trips through a very dim memory lane to get a lot of the names today, including SHUE, LIN, ELAINE, ISAACS, MARIS, CALE, etc., but they all came to me one way or another eventually.

Still hate ECUA as an abbreviation for ECUADOR...

TTP said...

Good morning all !

Thank you Frank Virzi. "And here's to you..." Lemonade. Hey hey hey, hey hey hey. Great job.

A fairly quick solve for a Friday. Had a SSE-ward run starting with SMOTE, UTES and SCAT all the way down to the bottom. ISAACS was unknown, but proved both DC AREA and UPLIFTS. At that point, LAUNCHING PADDLE and ALIEN LIFE FORMAL almost came simultaneously. The middle and bottom then filled quickly. TROI, SHUE and EDISON were the holdups in the top, but after parsing "Don't Mind If I Duel", it was all downhill from there.

Favorite misdirection was "Apple application no longer in use."

The MARIS family seemed to take the high road as McGuire and Sosa raced to break the record. PED user McGuire got around 10 % of the BBWA HOF votes on the recent ballot. I think I heard the Big Unit got 97 %.

Could you imagine a placename SAN STAD ?

Nearby Al Capone's HIDEAWAY recently sold and will be remodeled and reopened as a bar and video gaming establishment. It was most recently a fairly decent restaurant.

That gal in the Diet Pepsi commercial looks familiar. I wonder if Bill G might have told us he thought she was attractive...

Big Easy, nice picture of you and your wife.

Time to make coffee. See all y'all later.

HeartRx said...

Good morning.

Fun write-up as always, Lemony. Definitely for-tay.

I also got the theme at 17-A, after filling in several of the perps. So it was pretty much a speed run for a Friday. I got held up at MARIS, naturally, so had to skirt around that entry for a while. Once I had filled in M-A-R-I-S from the perps, I nailed it!

Great pic, Big Easy! thanks for sharing.

C.C., do you eat cooked kale?


HeartRx said...

I just checked my emails (yes, I have my priorities straight: First, the puzzle, then work) and found out that C.C. stir-fries her kale with garlic and apple cider vinegar. That sounds yummy, too!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Must've been on the constructor's wavelength today, just zoomed right through. Impressive grid, what with those wall to wall theme entries!

Beautiful decorations, Marti. Kale has been a big part of our farm share veggies, but by golly that stuff is tricky. We've tried all forms of cooking with widely varying degrees of success. My clever sister recommended whirring the stuff into a smoothie but I've yet to try that.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Got the theme right off, and it helped a bunch! I take it Frank Virzi is a SciFi fan with Counselor TROI and HAN Solo. In fact, I had a slow start, and those were my first two entries up north.

Funny, the way the mind works. I was pretty sure that My Cup Runneth Over. was an Ed Ames song. What musical would that be? Oh, The Fantasticks! Except that was another Ed Ames song, Try To Remember. D'oh, missfiled in my file of useless information.

Nice photo, Big Easy. And that's one nice house you've got, Marti. No wonder you like to work at home.

Lime Rickey said...

Put me down for "fort".

thehondohurricane said...

Good day,

My Thursday prediction of Friday doom surprisingly did not come to pass. Although it certainly was not a speed run, I made it thru with minimal use of the eraser.

Thanks for the write up Lemon. Never saw the theme UNTIL you explained it. SHUE, EDISON, LIN, & ISAACS were unknowns, but perps put me in position to make guesses that seemed sensible.

I seem to remember the MARIS family being in attendance when McGwire was close to breaking the HR record. I've always wondered what made the biggest difference..the juiced up player or the juiced up ball.

Big Easy, must be fun being around the PGA folks (or some of them). My fav is Rory, but I always have a low profile player I like to follow too. Lately it's been Mark Wilson. He's won 5 times on tour, but has struggled the last couple of years. If you ever get to meet him, tell him Hondo says hello.

Snow's started....supposed to be up to 3" and finished by noon. Everyone have a pleasant and safe weekend

John Lampkin said...

Nice Friday offering, Frank.
Lemon, I'm scarred for life with that SITS ON pic!
From my point of view as a constructor, four spanner 15's is much easier than say four 14's or a pair of 14's with a pair of spanners. The reason is that with four 15's a constructor has more freedom with the placement of the "fingers"--the blocks that stick in from the sides. Also, with a theme like this the constructor can experiment to find the best order to place his theme entries to allow the liveliest possible fill.
Still, in spite of the relative freedom for the constructor, four spanners is a challenge! It shows how high the standards have been raised. Ten or fifteen years ago three spanners would have been plenty enough.

Rainman said...

Like Dudley, I thought this was fairly quick and a bit easier than an average Friday. Didn't take long to get the theme but I never really got it. An L sound? Hmm. Spelled four different ways? Hard for me to suss. I'll just accept it and go on.

Like always, I learn something, whether I want to or not... I learned TROI was Picard's counselor, URDU was the source for the word khaki, and LEONE is a currency in Freetown, and I guess that's in Sierra Leone.

John Lampkin, yes, I see what you mean by the fingers adding a level of difficulty or skill. And constructing/clueing helps me be a better solver.

Happy Friday. Thanks Lemony, great write-up. Thanks, Frank Virzi.

TGIF, and thank goodness for this warmer weather.

Big Easy said...

This CW started as a complete blank across the top. I knew HAN Solo, SMOTE, and __ST for 21A. Couldn't get much from that. As I scrolled down the clues, the answers came easier. My last fill was the cross of AHEAD and HIDEAWAY. My brain was in the verb mode for retreat with RIDE AWAY and 'A READ' made no sense; resorted to doing the ABCs to finish.

ORCA- isn't every fish in the ocean a predator?
UTES- a tribe, a football team, no, they are Yamahas, John Deeres, & Toros.
NSA- isn't that the organization that refused to acknowledge its existence for many years. How am I to know its seal?

ECUA- we will all be in trouble if the constructors start using Congo, Kenya, Indonesia,...etc for countries at the equator.


DIET PEPSI- my wife refuses to drink one after spending a week in NYC at the US Open, which only served Pepsi products. When I picked her up at the airport, she said pull into that gas station to get a Coke. She said she never wanted to see Pepsi again.

Rainman said...

Oh, meant to say... I really liked the clue, Matthau's "I.Q." role = EINSTEIN, mostly because I wish more light-hearted movies or love stories were coming out of filmdom. I thought Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins were great. They've each been in a lot of good movies, but wait, maybe that was too long ago. Thanks, Lemony, for the clip.

kazie said...

I failed miserably because of my ignorance and forgetting of many of the names. I won't bore you with too many details, but I had more trouble in the north, missing AWFUL, and most of the first theme answer. DUEL would not have occurred to me because I pronounce it dyuel, so DO-- was not on my wave length as the first part of it.

Really nice photos, Big Easy and Marti. Thanks to C.C. for posting them!

Montana said...

It's -36° windchill. Good morning to stay in and work puzzles. This was easier than a normal Friday crossword but still a DNF.

When I met first my son's in-law family, it was Christmas season. Several songs, like Aussie Jingle Bells, have UTE in them. I did have to ask what that was, at first, but hear it often around Aussies, now.

Keep warm everyone,


Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Pretty much a typical Friday: just the right amount of bite, with sufficient solid perps to aid and abet the solver. Isaacs was a gimmee as I have read most of her novels. (Magic Hour was not one of her best, IMO.)

Thanks, Mr. Virzi, for a challenging, but highly doable Friday offering and thanks, Lemony, for the cogent expo.

Strong suit forte is pronounced fort while the musical forte is pronounced for-tay.

Big Easy, lovely picture of you and your wife. Think it's time to go "Blue?"

Marti, your "Christmas Tree" is so cute and clever; was it your own creation? (After seeing Barbara's beautiful quilts and creative veggie Christmas trees, I must admit my artistic abilities extend to knowing how to spell the word!)

Stay warm and have a great day.

Husker Gary said...

-I concur with Lemon’s summative paragraph!
-America’s most famous LAUNCHING PAD is now in the hands of a commercial company
-Will papers have to think harder about what material they SIT ON with AN EYE TO Paris?
-Carly RAE – I know this lady in Minneapolis who is a fan…
-Second thoughts, ELAINE?
-I watched an old movie last night about George and LYRICIST Ira
-Many think steroid-free MARIS still holds that record. McGwire, Rose and Bonds in the HOF? Not soon.
-How can you not love the little girl in my Avatar? ;-)
-My EASY A was an Electricity 101 course in the IA College after I had my physics degree
-$1 = 4,225 SLL’s (Sierra Leone LEONES) Would Churchill Downs take this for a $2 bet?
-Can’t get enough of our bloggers (and lovely spouses) and their activities
-My nurseryman told me our beautiful ornamental kale is inedible
-What was Butch and Sundance’s HIDEAWAY (and gang) called?

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

WBS - quite challenging but also fair. Of the spanners, took awhile to parse 26a. Not that familiar with the 10% expression anyway. Perps were mostly helpful. Knew that Freetown was in Sierra Leone, so the LEONE currency made sense.
(During the Falklands War, the Brits used the QEII as a troopship. They refueled it at Freetown in utmost secrecy so as to be able to complete her voyage unbeknownst to their opponents.)
URDU was very clever and evil at the same time.
Thanks John Lampkin for your sharing your insight to puzzle construction.
Thanks Lemon and Frank for today's entertainment.

Have a good day.

Husker Gary said...

Musings 2
-John, thanks for the fabulous “inside baseball” on puzzle construction (Hmmm… mixed metaphor?)
-YR, I hope all your medical procedures come out well
-Bill, your wife has produced some lovely items
-Ergo, I hope your interview went well. I know a lot of peeps in Lincoln, so…
-I’m off on a 30-minute drive to Omaha to get my own medical issue evaluated. Hopefully it will just be a change in meds and diet.

Lucina said...

Hello, puzzlers!

WEES. After a few TRIES I was on Frank's wave length and even caught the theme. SHINER, URDU and ALAR had fun clues.

Your CASA looks beautiful and what a clever way to create a tree!

What a nice photo of you and your wife.

Thank you Lemonade and Frank Virzi for today's fun and games.

Have yourselves a delightful Friday, everyone!

Magilla Go-Rilla said...

9A: "My horse was so fast it took 7 other horses to beat him!"

22A: "UTES" is a common word today used in reference to utility vehicles,
e. g., SUV, ATV, etc.

I wish more people would qualify their comments by prefacing them with the clue ID as I have done here. I often read a comment and gave to search for what they might be referencing. Just a humble suggestion. Thank you.

Magilla Go-Rilla said...

The old spell check daemon does it again. "have", not "gave",

HeartRx said...

Irish Miss, I believe it can be pronounced I-thr / EE-thr way. ;-)

I got the idea for the tree from the internet while I was looking for new ideas for veggie trays. I'm not clever enough to come up with something like that on my own. My mistake was showing the pic to DH, who then instisted that "we" just had to make it for the party. Guess who ended up making it?

Thanks for the compliments on the house. I'll have to take pics of our decorations next year and share. DH likes to "do it up big", not so much. But it does always look pretty.

CrossEyedDave said...

Montana, I am embarrassed to say I had never heard of Aussie Jingle Bells, (& now that I have, I am even more embarrassed...)

Misty said...

Thank you, Frank--for giving us a rare Friday puzzle I was actually able to finish and even get the theme! Woohoo! What a great way to finish the week! And, I always enjoy your expo, Lemonade.

Great looking couple, Big Easy!

And lovely kale tree, Marti.

Have a great Friday, everybody!

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

This puzzle looked impossible, but i finally made it through with some aha moments, lucky guesses, and perp help.

But it was more with a sense of relief than satisfaction.

I love puns, but most of these left me rather cool.

Had SHIFT and SHELL before SHAWL.

Got fixated on retreat as a verb so HIDE AWAY was slow to come.

Some day I'll remember TROI.

Cool regards!

Lucina said...

Was that Hole in the Wall?

Sallie said...

Good afternoon, all.

Forte: from Free Miriam Webster Dictionary: In forte we have a word derived from French that in its “strong point” sense has no entirely satisfactory pronunciation. Usage writers have denigrated \ˈfȯr-ˌtā\ and \ˈfȯr-tē\ because they reflect the influence of the Italian-derived 2forte. Their recommended pronunciation \ˈfȯrt\ So you can take your choice, knowing that someone somewhere will dislike whichever variant you choose. All are standard, however. In British English \ˈfȯ-ˌtā\ and \ˈfȯt\ predominate; \ˈfȯr-ˌtā\ and \fȯr-ˈtā\ are probably the most frequent pronunciations in American English.

C6D6 Peg said...

Not a difficult Friday. Loved the theme, Frank, and witty write-up, Lemonade.

DH picked up the theme quickly with Launching Paddle, and off we went!

Jazzbumpa said...

I just discovered our symphony concert from October can be viewed on line.

If you're interested you can see it here. [58 minute video.]


Tinbeni said...

Lemon: Great job with the write-up & links.

Well I wasn't on the constructor's wave-length at first ...
Probably because I had read the front page article about the creep that threw the little 5 year old girl to her death off a bridge here in the Tampa Bay area.
I'm hoping they put him in with the "general population" in prison.

Soooooooo, when I came back to the puzzle after a couple of hours it was a FUN solve.

Hmmmm, I guess "My FORTE" would have to be Scotch.


Bluehen said...

A fun and fairly fast fill for a Friday. Thank you Mr. Virzi. And thank you Lemoney for an entertaining expo and that link to the comics. Just what I need, another time-wasting distraction reading comics. Of all things, I had the most trouble with MARIS. I knew his name started with M, I could picture his face, but I couldn't get the name without perp help. Lord, I hate getting old.
Abejo, I haven't ignored your query, I've been trying to find a way to answer it without putting Masonic discourse in a public forum. The answer just occurred to me as I was cooking dinner, I'll answer in cypher form. Also, it seems to me that there could be two legitimate answers; 1) F.t.E. followed by T. t. W. and I. S. o. L. or 2) F. t. L. o.t. H. Ss. J. OK?
Marti, It has been a long time since I have used a recipe for sawmill gravy, or any gravy for that matter. I hardly consult recipes anymore. I read cookbooks like other people read novels, but more for inspiration than recipes. I firmly believe that once a person has mastered basic cooking techniques, has a flavor profile in his memory banks, and memorizes a few handy ratios, you don't need recipes. Rant over. I'm going to that part of the blog to provide the recipe (although I wish you had asked me for something a little more challenging. . . like my deconstructed Chicken Cordon Bleu. I call it Chicken Cordon Stew!)

Paul in Montebello said...

Puzzle was a steady complete but not a pushover.

OwenKL said...

Bluehen, I don't think Abejo was asking for a handshake, just your mother's name and age. Mine is Cerrillos, and she's 19.

Bluehen said...

Ah, then in that case, her maiden name was Jackson and she is also 19.

Ergo said...

Thank you Frank and Lemon. Big Easy, nice to meet you and the Mrs.

The puzzle was surprisingly straight forward for a Friday with grid spanners. Completed it in its entirety without having to warm up my coffee.

HeartRx said...

Bluehen, I agree with you about recipes. I also will pore over cookbooks or online sites just to read how other people cook familiar dishes. And I'd love to see your "Chicken Cordon Stew," too!

Ol' Man Keith said...

A tough one, requiring two cheats. Even after I understood the theme (at LAUNCHING PADDLE) I couldn't crack the NW or NE corners or any other long ones for a while.

Avg Joe said...

An enjoyable, but challenging solve. Got the theme with the first, and it proved helpful with the others. Took a while to come up with paddle, but it arrived.

Bluehen, I too agree on recipes. Other than baking, where variances in ratios are critical, I see nearly all recipes merely as suggestions. And when asked for a recipe by someone I know to be an adequate cook, I usually only provide an ingredients list. YMMV.

Rainman said...

So you're in the symphony?

Which one are you in the video? I can't recall which instrument you play.

I always dreamed of being in the symphony... I played trombone and other instruments, but I was not as blessed as you are, obviously.


Jerome said...

John- I'm waiting for the day when editors demand more theme than fill in a puzzle.


Hate my contribution to the theme-

Cook's nightmare? PREPARATION HELL

Lemonade714 said...


Trombone--- really?

Did you look at JzB's avatar?

CrossEyedDave said...

Really tough puzzle today, & it's always harder when I do not have time to pick at it...

LOL Rainman! (Don't worry, I see things differently too...)

Finally the work is done & I can relax & try to find some funny pics to go with the puzzle. Let's see, Ell, isn't that a pipe bend?

(Hmm, this isn't going to be so easy)

Maybe a building wing? (Oh Crap! this is awful...)

I'll be back when I can figure out a different approach...

HeartRx said...

Jerome, I looked at your suggestion with puzzlement at first. But when it finally dawned on me, I roared!

CrossEyedDave said...

Hmm, maybe if I look at the Theme backwards. Big affair for E.T.? Alien Life Formal? Alien PArty???

Oh Nuts! I''m getting nothing...

Paddle into orbit? No I don't see it...

Hey, I'm giving 90% here, why can't I find funny stuff? Oh wait, I think that beer is kicking in...

I've got it! Every crossworders favorite duel!

Rainman said...

Thanks, no, guess I should pay closer attention to the avatars. (Please, do not pay close attention to mine.)

He looks very professional.

How many of us have ourselves on our avatars?

Thanks, I appreciate it.

TTP said...


I do.

Rainman said...

Good boy.

Is that your pup? Beautiful.

Avg Joe said...

Me too.

Montana said...

CED, thanks for linking the song about the UTE. I was given that CD for Christmas and several other songs also mention the vehicle.

In my avatar are my grandsons on Santa's lap in Brisbane where it was very hot for their holiday visit.


Chickie said...

Hola Everyone, Thank you for pictures today. Marti, you are a very talented lady in more ways than one. That "kale" Christmas tree is beautiful.

We cook kale all the time as I have it in the garden all year round. The frost doesn't seem to bother it and I love the fresh leaves in salads.

Thank you for the picture, too, of Big Easy and his wife. It is always nice to put a face to a name.

I wasn't able to complete the puzzle today without too many lookups. The names of most of the people eluded me. Friday puzzles are some that I try, but usually don't finish.

I always come to read the blog, however.

Have a great evening, everyone.

Lemonade714 said...

Rainman, now you can view the concert again and watch JzB perform.

It is a treat

TTP said...


Yes, that's my boy. He is a good boy, but unruly from time to time. On the other hand, he sometimes thinks he's a lapdog when my wife relaxes on the couch. Quite comical at times. He also loves kids, and is uber fascinated with horses for some reason. We rescued him, so he has history we are not aware of.

I knew I had heard of Bakersfield but wasn't sure why. I just read the wikipedia on it and looked on Google maps to see where it is located. Seems like it would be a pleasant climate most of the year. Then I remembered Streets of Bakersfield . I wonder why it's not mentioned in the wiki. Is it viewed negatively there ?

Avg Joe, I was waiting for that !

Rainman said...

Very good, Joe.

Which reminds me to ask you, why are there more horses' asses than horses?

Your profile says you're an appraiser? I have my appraisal credentials, too. Worked for the fed and Sacramento Savings Bank, which sold to Bank of the West. Retired now.

You work for a bank? Free lancer?
Take care and stay warm there in the Middle.

Jazzbumpa said...

Rainman -


I want to emphasize I play in an amateur symphony.

And a couple jazz bands.


Rainman said...

TTP, thanks for posting the nice tune, Streets of Bakersfield. I had never heard it before, totally unaware, but I'm sure plenty around here have. We do have a Buck Owens Blvd., and a Merle Haggard Drive, plus maybe a few others, too. Most country music fans view the Bakersfield "sound" as being a bit marginal, in terms of music.

I've only lived here for two years, moving down here from Fresno, East Washington and the Bay Area.

I'm going to try and practice, as C.C. recommended doing late in the day, posting a link. If I can pull this off, it's hilarious. Enjoy. (There are people in Bakersfield who know/knew all these places mentioned.)

Hitler Rants on Bakersfield

Rainman said...


That link is so good and enjoyable I intend to watch the entire thing. Grieg's Peer Gynt, well, you can't do better than that, in my opinion.

Your position is next to the bass trombone? I think I spotted you.

Waytogo! You're a star!!!!

Avg Joe said...

Rainman, I started in brokerage in the early 80's when the market was worse than awful, then transitioned to the in-agency fee shop at that company. From there went to an independent fee shop for a couple years. later did a couple years as a staff guy at a mortgage bank, then opened my own shop 22 years ago when USPAP issues forced a reconsideration of value :-) It's a living. Can't say I love it, but I'm too old to learn new tricks. On a glide path now.

As for your equine question, I'd suggest it's a matter of supply and demand. Some systemic market imbalances can last for centuries under unfavorable circumstances. I'm hoping that might change, but so far there's no sign of it.

Not Lucina's Hermano said...

Not sure if this is the same where you all are, but Arizona offers several specialty license plates for vehicles, one of which benefits the Masonic Fraternity. Not a bad looking token, if you ask me.

You can check out all of the available AZ plates here:
AZ Plates
(click on "View available plate styles." and Continue)

Pat said...

I had about 5 minutes for this one. Took my puppy to the canine chiropractor, then had to pack and get on the road to Michigan. I got 6 answers and only 3 of them were wrong. Or, only 3 of them were right.

I'm very thankful for the way things worked for me. There was a 40+ vehicle accident on southbound US23 near Milan, MI. I was driving north. Four hours after the accident happened the expressway was still shut down and there were a half-dozen vehicles yet to be removed. I was able to travel through to my destination with minimal back-up. There was one fatality, and everyone had to deal with temps in the low teens.

I hope everyone has a safe, warm evening.


OwenKL said...

Not Lucina's Hermano: Arizona is one state over from me. My grandmother is in New Mexico. We have bunches of vanity plate designs, but so far the Fraternity isn't one of them. That AZ one is nice, though, with not just one but three Skull&Crossbones!

Rainman: The coin for my avatar does indeed sport my own glorious mug in bas relief, and birth year as the mintage date. It's a relic of one of the web comic strips I used to do, "Money Talks". (The other one was "Square&Compasses".)

Lucina said...

I just went back and spotted your remark about SAN STAD. I seriously doubt that name would happen. SAN means Saint (San Jose, St. Joseph, San Diego, St. Diego, etc.) Stad would not fulfill that requirement.

Bill G. said...

I got out my pair of good image-stabilized binoculars and went looking for comet Lovejoy. No luck. I knew about where to look but it is too dim for it to stand out in the gray sky of this area. I did got a nice view of my old pal, the Great Nebula in Orion.

Years ago we went camping up in the local mountains to get a view of comet Hale-Bopp. I got up in the middle of the night and immediately caught sight of the bright comet against a coal-black sky. It was well worth the effort.

I'm guessing it will be too cloudy tomorrow night to see the conjunction of Venus and Mercury. Rats...

TTP said...


I know, right ? San Angelo, San Antonio, San Saba, San Jacinto...

It was more so the joining of prefix San and suffix stad that struck me as incompatible. Wouldn't find it as a place name. Well, maybe in Missouri.

Bill G. said...

I just came across this extraordinary video of the Bird of Paradise. Be sure to view it in full screen. Remarkable! The Bird of Paradise

Bill G. said...

I'm not always a fan of modern dancing and would usually prefer Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth. But this dance to a Bob Marley song caught my fancy and made me smile. Dance video

Lucina said...

Whew! I'm glad you were joking! That combination would drive me wild; here in Arizona some residential communities are given pseudo names that make me want to scream.

Those two videos are extraordinary, especially the birds of paradise. Thank you.

Abejo said...

Good Saturday morning, folks. Thank you, Frank Virzi, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Lemonade, for a fine review.

I worked on this until almost 11:00 last night. Could not get the NW corner until this morning. Once I had it it looked quite simple.

I did miss one, I had SHAE for 5A and ARDU for 7D instead of SHUE and URDU. The rest I got.

Really liked the theme. Clever. Those four grid spanners were something.

Had SLAIN for a long time instead of SMOTE. That was one of my hangups in the NW.

Anyhow, since I am a day late, I will sign off so I can start Saturday's.

See you later today.


( )

Lemonade714 said...

Comments are always welcome ABEJO no matter when they come in

Old corpsman said...

Jan. 8, 2015, 24 Across: "Film in which Garbo said,'I want to be alone.'" To the best of my memory, she never said that in this or in any movie. Her line was, "Leave me alone."

Argyle said...

Don't trust your memory. Watch the clip at 24-Across.