Mar 19, 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015 Ed Sessa

Theme: "Day at the Spa"


32. SONIC's Quarter Pound Coneys, e.g. : FOOT LONG HOT DOGS.

39. 1985 sci-fi classic : BACK TO THE FUTURE.

And the reveal:
56. Hamlet's satisfied comment about the starts of 20-, 32- and 39-Across? : AY, THERES THE RUB. I stumbled with this entry by putting "Ah" at first, instead of AY. The first editions of the play actually say "I, there's the rub."

So we have three types of massage on the table:
NECK RUB, FOOT RUB or BACK RUB.  I'll take one of each, than you!


1. Dancing shoe item : TAP.

4. Initially : AT FIRST.

11. Doo-wop syllable : na.

14. Modern address : URL.

15. Seedless raisin : SULTANA.

16. Oakley forte : AIM.  Annie, get your gun!

17. Cape Town's nation: Abbr. : RSARepublic of South Africa.

18. Farm hauler : TRACTOR.

19. Jurist in 1995 news : ITO. "People of the State of California vs. Orenthal James Simpson."

23. "Come __!" : ON IN.

24. Govt. stipend provider : SSISupplemental Security Income.

25. __ Addict: fragrance brand : DIOR.

27. Spot relative : FIDO. Immediately followed by:
28. Hound : NAG. Naturally, I was on the "cur" wavelength.

31. Fictional Melbourne Dame : EDNA. Such a character!

37. "Sweet as apple cider" girl of song : IDA. Eddie Cantor made it a standard.

38. Extinct emu relative : MOA.

48. "Argo" setting : IRAN.

49. Flying Cloud, for one : REO. They are also known for their "Speed Wagon."

50. "... __ is given": Isaiah : A SON.

51. Sub builder : DELI.

52. It may be pitched : WOO. Hmm, the AV crossword yesterday had a theme entry of "Pitch WOO." I had never head the phrase before, and now it's hit me two days in a row.

55. High-level predator : PUMA. They are also known as "Mountain Lions."

61. Dadaism founder : ARP. Jean or Hans.

62. Virgin America's frequent-flyer program : ELEVATE. Easily inferable.

63. Pipe turn : ELL.

64. Commuter's choice : BUS.

65. Backs out : RENEGES.

66. "The Murders in the __ Morgue" : RUE. Gimme.

67. Star quality : EGO.

68. Ballpark officials : SCORERS.

69. Old atlas abbr. : SSRSoviet Socialist Republic.


1. Alienate : TURN OFF.

2. Hall of fame : ARSENIO. Nice misdirection!

3. Tenor Domingo : PLACIDO. Drat - I already used my music link!

4. Concerning : AS TO.

5. Gang lands : TURFS.

6. Reasons for breakdowns : FLATS.

7. Result of many a bite : ITCHING.

8. Deserve : RATE.

9. Storm output : SNOWEnough already!!

10. Hawaiian root : TARO.

11. Took marriage vows : SAID I DO.

12. Top-ten tune : HIT SONG.

13. Latin trio word : AMO. amas, amat.

21. Unit of speed : KNOT.

22. Had too much : ODedOver Dosed.

26. Dorm figs. : RAsResident Assistants (or Advisors.)

29. Words of woe : AH ME.

30. Idle, with "off" : GOOF.

33. Fired : LIT.  I just fired my fireplace?

34. Potpourri quality : ODOR.

35. "The Great" boy detective : NATE. WAG.

36. Greek consonant : TAU.

39. Bridge column datum : BID.

40. Decorator's recommendation : AREA RUG.

41. Nymph in Homer's "Odyssey" : CALYPSO. Ack - I filled in CAListO without thinking. But that nymph is spelled with two L's.

42. Baby bootee, often : KNIT.

43. "Wait, there's more" : HOWEVER.

44. Ticker __ : TAPE.

45. Loan sharks : USURERS.

46. Eponymous city founder : ROMULUS. Founder of Rome.

47. Co-dependency figure : ENABLER.

53. Oklahoma tribe : OSAGE.

54. Playful fish-eater : OTTER.

57. "His," per Ambrose Bierce : HERS. From The Devil's Dictionary.

58. Juice you can't drink: Abbr. : ELEC.tricity.  Cute.

59. Attorney general after Barr : RENO.

60. Gas company with a green-bordered logo : HESS.

61. Profiled penny prez : ABE. Not sure it needed the word "profiled," but it makes for some nice alliteration.

That's it for me - your turn!


George Barany said...

Ed Sessa: That has to be the "feel good" puzzle of the year, so far. Thanks also to Marti for the lively writeup. Kudos to both of you!

Meanwhile, Todd Gross has today's puzzle at the other major newspaper. Quite a nifty theme! As a bonus, my website is hosting Todd's Limited Engagement, which I hope that some of you will try and get a chuckle from.

I'm looking forward to my East coast trip a week for now, where I'll get to meet Todd and many others (maybe even Ed?) from the crossword community ... please send me a private e-mail ( if you plan to be at the ACPT at Stanford.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Fun puzzle. Didn't get the theme until I hit the reveal, and even then I did an initial double-take before I realized the theme answer was deliberately misinterpreting the line from Hamlet ("satisfied comment?" Whaaaa???) Of course, I soon noticed the question mark at the end of the clue and it all made sense.

Unlike Marti, I wasn't foolish enough to try CALISTO. No, I went with CALIOPE instead (which was an even worse guess, of course). Didn't take too long to realize that it supposed to be CALYPSO, thanks to the perps.

I also thought that "Wait, there's more" at 43D was going to start with HOLD or HANG, so that took a little help from the perps to sort out.

The only real sticking point, however, was the unknown/barely remembered SULTANA. I do think I've heard of it before, but I needed every single perp to get it today.

OwenKL said...

Re 18A.

Took a few passes, but on the whole not too difficult. I had trouble spelling USURERS, and couldn't tell a santana from a SULTANA until perps came to the rescue, but the puzzle had trouble spelling AYe, and couldn't tell the difference between a scorekeeper and a SCORER, so we're even.

At noon, The Kid and Pat Garrett
Had a gunfight, and each took a bullet.
So which one had to die?
With RUBber bullets, 'twas a show for the tourist!

For you Easterners, re-enactors in several New Mexico towns stage daily gunfights in the Old Town areas, and Sheriff Garrett meets Billy The Kid for a re-match.

Chef says his forte and oeuvre
Is his spice RUB for steak au poivre.
Mix peppercorn, pepperonies,
With fighting bull's cojones,
Then his diners stand shouting, "Olé!"

Lemonade714 said...

This week has flown by, and speaking of flying, George Barany please head to Stamford Connecticut not Stanford in Palo Alto.

I thought this was a very simple Thursday with nice stacks of 7 in the corners. Thought RSA and RAS in the puzzle was cute and did not infer ELEVATE.

Thanks E an marti

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Marti and friends. Interesting puzzle. BACK TO THE FUTURE helped me get the unifier, which then helped with the other theme clues.

I immediately got BACK TO THE FUTURE because I recently heard a radio story about the movie that is celebrating its 30 year anniversary. Thirty years! I remember that movie like it was yesterday.

Dame EDNA is on her Farewell Tour. The actor who portrays "her" is 81 years old.

I learned a lot in this puzzle. I learned that a storm output is not Rain, but SNOW.

I learned that a dance shoe part is not a Toe (as in the ballerina shoe), but TAP.

I have no memory of William BARR, but certainly remembered Janet RENO.

Does anyone know who NATE the Great boy detective is?

QOD: f it is a mistake of the head and not the heart don’t worry about it ~ that’s the way we learn. ~ Earl Warren (Mar. 18, 1891 ~ July 9, 1974)

Big Easy said...

Tough Thursday by Mr. Sessa. NECK OF THE WOODS, FOOT LONG HOT DOGS, and BACK TO THE FUTURE were easy fills. It was just the misdirecting clues and complete unknowns that confused me. SULTANA- I remember it as one of the brands that A&P had, along with ANN PAGE and JANE PARKER. Did not know it was a grape.

Others solved by perps were EDNA, IRAN, ELEVATE, RUE, NATE, CALYPSO, HERS. The dog clues- hound and spot stalled me and there are no SNOW storms in S. LA.

I had THERES THE RUB but the AY just looked wrong.
ENABLERS- don't give your adult kids money. Be an USURER to them to make them suceed.

I wonder, how does NYC have an electronic ticker TAPE parade? The only ticker tape I know of is the readout of and EKG.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Thursday level, for sure! I was certain that "Result of many a bite" was going to be OBESITY, and that "Storm output" was RAIN. Finally got things straightened out, but Minnesota has turned into the "Land of 10,000 Inkblots."

"Spot relative" was not PUFF. Further down that "High level predator" just had to be an ERNE. Bzzzzzt! ROMULUS fixed it. I did go for CALYPSO right out of the chute.

Marti, I'm certain your grandmother knew how to pitch some WOO.

Another taxing day ahead.....

Jerome said...

ITCHING- Mystical ancient Chinese text that might cause a rash.

Censors made Shakespeare delete the original line before "ay, there's the rub"... "ay, here's her butt"

FOOT LONG HOT DOG- Chihuahua on a sunny, humid day

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny that our "king of all typos" points out a minor typo by George?

kazie said...

I found this frustrating in the center south, but got it in the end. I wanted AYE THAT'S THE RUB at first, so that slowed me down. I also have never heard of the gas company HESS, and not knowing of Ambrose Bierce meant that HERS was a pure WAG.

I did realize the need to be looking for body parts early, so the theme helped me before the RUB appeared.

In Oz SULTANAs are what we call golden raisins.

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Ed Sessa, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Marti, for a fine review.

This is the first puzzle have done in about a week. Just too busy. Enjoyed it this morning.

Zipped through this in a bout an hour. That is tremendous for me on a Thursday. The long theme answers helped a lot with quick fill. I picked up on all of them easily.

SULTANA was unknown, but perps fixed that.

TRACTOR was good. I can't wait to get back to Pennsylvania and drive mine. I have a small Farmall Cub. Probably is older than I am. Runs good, probably better than I do.

FLATS reminded me of the flat tire I had a few weeks ago in our driveway. Slow leak and real cold weather. Jacked it up and changed it. It was cold.

ITCHING reminds me of mosquito bites. I hate to get them. That is one thing I liked about living in California. No mosquitos.

Lots to do today. See you tomorrow (I Hope).


( )

Northwest Runner said...

Can a solver get a link? Here's someone who knew about pitching woo.

CanadianEh! said...

Lovely Thursday at the spa!

I had Trailer before TRACTOR, olio before ODOR, and hand up for puff before FIDO.

But CALYPSO filled in nicely and like kazie, I knew SULTANA raisins.

Not familiar with HESS gas and wanted our old CW favourite, Esso at first. I didn't fill in ITO immediately because I was confused by jurist (thinking juror not judge!).

Our storms have been all SNOW. Spring can't come soon enough.

Argyle said...


HeartRx said...

Argyle, thanks for the link - I just finished listening to it. I never realized she sang the line "..pitch some WOO tonight..." in that song.

Argyle said...

Demonstrated some of that shoe tap, too.

Argyle said...

Thank Northwest Runner for the link.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Fun, fairly easy Thursday. I, too tried aye before ay but it didn't work. Thought the Spot relative (Fido) followed by Hound (nag) was cute.

Thanks Ed and Marti for an enjoyable trip to the "Spa."

Today is the day (Feast of St. Joseph) when the swallows return to Capistrano. That is, if they still follow that tradition.

Hope we hear from Gary soon.

Have a great day.

Barry G. said...

Isn't it funny that our "king of all typos" points out a minor typo by George?

I know we're not supposed to respond to anonymous Internet trolls, but I really have to object to this. I have worked long and hard to establish myself as the "King of All Typos" on this blog, mostly due to the early hour I tend to post prior to ingestion of caffeine of any type. Lemonade can be the Prince or Earl of typos if he likes, but there's only one King, baby!

Ergo said...

Thank you Ed and Heart.

What a turn of events. Yesterday it took me multiple sessions from daybreak to dusk in order to finish that goofy grid. Today, I rip through the puzzle before my first cup of coffee goes cold.

The Ink Spots said...

When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano

Ergo said...

uhmmm, I don't see any typos in your 9:56 post Barry.

Is the door perhaps open just a tad for a successor?

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Liked Ed's puzzle today. Nice mix of mainly gettable fill and helpful perp fill. No searches were needed.

Spring arrives tomorrow at 1845 EDT. Yeh!

Is anyone noticing very slow downloading from sites that seem to be Google related including this Corner?

My bank site in Texas and Amazon appear normal.

Have a great day.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

I love this theme.

Sadly, though, a DNF. Missed the target with AIM / AMO. HOT SONG threw me.

HOWEVER, having no idea that WOO could be pitched [I thought of monkeys and - never mind] I got doubly DNFed.

Here's NATE the Great.


C6D6 Peg said...

Nice puzzle that brings an "Ahhh" after all the rubs. Thanks, Ed, for a fun outing.

Marti - loved your write-up as always.

coneyro said...

Typical Thursday level puzzle. Felt good to know that while others found the word SULTANA difficult, the cook in me put it in without a second thought. See, everyone has their own areas of expertise.

Parts of the body..figured that out. Knew the end of the quote, but did not know the letter after A. CALYPSO filled in the Y.

Got ROMULUS, DIOR, OSAGE from perps. Liked the answer ELEC from juice clue.Cute misdirection. Who is NATE? I'll have to google it. Enough with the bad weather clues....think WARM. Flying cloud/REO? Need to look that up, as well.

Guess that's all for my Hump Day imput. Spring is in two days. Everyone smile. Bye now.

coneyro said...

Sorry, made a boo boo Spring is TOMORROW.....Yay!

Misty said...

Fun Thursday puzzle, Ed--many thanks--and thanks to Marti for the always delightful write-up. Nice pic of Annie Oakley.

Slow start on this one, but it all soon fell into place. Needed perps to get SULTANA, and never heard of NATE the great, but learning new things is part of the fun of doing this every morning.

Irish Miss, thanks for reminding us about the feast of St. Joseph (name of both father and son in my family). If we hadn't had such a busy day, we might drive down to San Juan Capistrano and check out the swallows!

Have a good one, everybody!

Bill G. said...

That was fun. It was no walk in the park but very enjoyable. Thanks Ed and Marti.

Abejo, I know what you mean about mosquitoes. It is one of the many blessings of living near the coast in southern California. However, you are mistaken about NO mosquitoes in California. It depends on the location and the availability of standing water. If you or your neighbors have junk lurking around outside the house. It will collect rainwater and provide a place for mosquitoes to breed. There was a low, boggy area on some unused school property close by. If we left some windows open, I would invariably be awakened by a high-pitched buzzing sound around my head. There went the rest of a restful night's sleep. Also, several times I was working in my plot in the local Community Garden near sunset. I looked down at my leg and could count between five and 10 mosquitoes sucking on my precious bodily fluids. No more though since the school district filled in the low-lying bog.

Lucina said...

Hello, puzzle people!

Ah, spa day! I love it. The southern hemisphere yielded its secrets quickly once I had BACK TO THE FUTURE. Did have a slight pause at AY, with AH at first but CALYPSO forced the change.

Heading up north, once I erased MACH and replaced it with KNOT (CSO to spitz) it all fell into place. I've seen SULTANA before so it slipped in as did TRACTOR.

Thank you, Ed Sessa. Your puzzles are usually fun and Marti for the sparkling commentary.

Mani pedi day for me so I'll have a delightful FOOT RUB.

Have a happy day, everyone!

Argyle said...

I found this interesting; AY is pronounced as a long A. The second definition is the appropriate one I believe.


Husker Gary said...

Back in the saddle again after a week of medical captivity! Thanks for the encouraging words on and off the blog.

-Ed’s fun puzzle and Marti’s write-up was a great way to get back in the swing
-The first Back To The Future is a fav of mine
-Sorry, Annie, ‘ya cain’t get a man with a gun
-You can buy a heck of a house for what this TRACTOR costs
-This guilty weirdo conjures up images of OJ trying buying a not guilty verdict
-Ever ridden a school BUS for over an hour with 40 Jr. High girls?
-Potpourri – ODOR and aroma just don’t seem synonymous
-My first Bridge column was supporting a, um, bridge
-Fair or foul, RENO will be most remember fro Elián González and The Waco Compound
-God it’s great to be home

CrossEyedDave said...

I really had trouble with this one on the 1st pass in ink. But when i went red letter 1A = TAP just jumped out at me, same with at first/tractor etc... Before I knew it I had the entire top half of the puzzle filled out with ever hitting a red letter.

So note: If your not doing the puzzle in ink, your missing out on 1/2 the frustration...

Seedless raisins slowed me down, Sunkist was my immediate response, now I find that SunMaid would also have fit.

High level predator = Puma would have been tough if it hadn't killed me on Sunday... (perped with micr opposite Otis still is giving me indigestion.)

Rue Morgue Ah, the only French I know...

It's not Umpires???

NW Runner @ 9:18 Wow! great stuff!

Spitz@10:36 Sometimes the Blog loads in Nanosec, at other times it takes so long that I open another window & check the TV Guide listings while I wait.... (I think its my Antivirus Software...)

In the middle of this video is an excellent description of how knots were read. (1:25 to about 3:00)

The only "AAYYY" I am familiar with...

Only one thing left to do

(HG, Pls check in, your making me worry...)

CrossEyedDave said...

Ack! Timing is everything...

Irish Miss said...

Welcome back, Gary; you were missed and had us a little worried. No more setbacks allowed!

Coneyro, the calendar may say tomorrow is the beginning of Spring, but my trip to the mailbox earlier says that Old Man Winter is alive and kicking! It is freezing cold here and the March winds only add to the misery. But Hope "Springs" Eternal!

Husker Gary said...

Medical Musings
-First and foremost – having someone to go through this with you as a comforter and advocate is pretty wonderful
-NEVER get sick on a weekend
-All 10 of my nurses were under 30. When did that happen?
-All modesty is left in your car. I have no secrets from those nurses!
-Being liberated this morning from this device was a landmark achievement!!
-Sometimes an iPhone visit is just fine. They don’t have to travel and you don’t have to be charming as long
-NEVER tell a patient what hell you or someone you know went through with your procedure. Why do you feel that is helpful or comforting?
-I definitely got a new perspective on people in nursing homes that never get to leave
-Reciting your name and date of birth has become de rigueur before getting meds or treatments. I probably didn’t need an estrogen pill. ;-)
-Have you heard of a hospitalist?. I had a great one who also looked like a movie star
-Good health is never to be taken for granted. I waited 68 yrs to really appreciate that

SwampCat said...

Can't believe I finished a Thursday so fast! I even got the theme, not always a given for me. Thanks, Ed and Marti for a great day!

Welcome back, Gary.

Argyle said...

I know where you were, Gary.


Bill G. said...

Gary, I'm so happy to see that you are back. All of my good thoughts found their mark.

I enjoyed your video about knots. I thought the speaker sounded confused about knots vs nautical miles.

Anonymous said...

BarryG, sorry but comparing your typos to lemony's typos is like comparing ARSENIO to PLACIDO. Lemon's just in a whole 'nother class!

Did ya notice his typo in his final line. Also, his syntax and use of punctuation is unparallelled.

He's playing chess and we're all just playing checkers.

Jerome said...

California has 48 species of mosquitoes. There are ten different species in Southern Cal, and 1 in 10 homes have mosquito infestation. In Orange County alone 80 percent of mosquitoes tested carried the West Nile virus and 9 people have died this year from the disease statewide.

From the Los Angeles Department of Health

Anonymous said...

Yep, Cali is full of bloodsuckers.

Pat said...

Thanks, Ed S., for the fun puzzle. Always enjoy your write-up, Marti.

This went quickly for a Thursday. Needed a few perps and a couple WAGS, but not many problems.

HG, very happy to see that you're home again and in good spirits!

Daffodils, Day Lilies, Crocuses are leading the way of spring plants! There's an end in sight for the winter weather!

Happy Thursday!


Avg Joe said...

Very happy to see that they sprung you, Gary. I hope you continue to improve daily.

Busy day again. Enjoyed the puzzle, had a few erasures, but it all worked out. Bout right for a Thursday.

CrossEyedDave said...

Welcome back Gary!

Speaking of neck rubs, have you ever had days like this?

Some days are EASY, other days, not so much...

I could really go for a back rub, but wait a sec, the phones ringing... It's another *&%^%$ Telemarketer...

I leave you with a cute GIF...

Steve said...

Marked up a DNF for this one due to my idiotic entry of "TRAILER" for 18A and then failing to see that the downs didn't make any sense.

Here's my local puma/mountain lion. There's a couple of them in the canyons between Griffith Park and the 134/5 freeways. This chap is 160lbs and is the reason I take a can of mace with me when I do my Hollywood sign hike pre-dawn. The coyotes don't bother me as long as I don't mess with them, but "Mr. Mountain Lion, Sir" is a different story.

fermatprime said...


Welcome back, Gary!

Great puzzle and expo, Ed and Marti!

No problems. Scratched head at ELEVATE (mostly perps).

Very warm here today! Fibromyalgia loves it.


Rainman said...

I enjoyed Ed's puzzle on this busy Thursday. Very good.
-Argyle and others, FWIW, my Merriam-Webster Unabridged Talking Dictionary says "ay" is pronounced only as "eye." My preference.
-And would you say Henry Winkler was the best actor on Happy Days? Not a character actor, he. But I do wish he'd stop misleading the elderly into opting for a reverse mortgage. AY, yi yi.
-Marti, as you no doubt are aware, a puma is also a cougar... and I'm just going from memory. (I've met one or two. :O) Nice succinct write-up today, thank you.
-SULTANA is a small town near Fresno and I think most folk familiar with it know the derivation.
-I once built a post office in Raisin City.
-If anybody cares, I finally was successful in installing CrossFire for Mac. Now I just need some time to get familiar. I'd welcome any help.
-Friday looms.

Lemonade714 said...

HG welcome back and keep healing

GBerryhill said...

Not too bad of a puzzLe. Had a couple of stalls, but I blame the noisy Starbucks environment. I was sure 55A was going to be "apex" and it threw me off for a bit. I wasn't familiar with 15A "sultana", but the perps came easily for me. Oh, I also originally had "nag" for 28A but I thought 29D was "(O)h me". Fun puzzle though. I'm looking forward to what tomorrow's puzzle will bring.

Argyle said...

Also Merriam-Webster:

Avg Joe said...

Argyle, if I didn't know better, I'd be inclined to think you were trying to start another ale train.

(FWIW, I'm no Shakespeare scholar, but I've only heard that Ay pronounced as "I". Keith?)

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Welcome back HG!

AT FIRST the clues NAG'd me. I couldn't get a FOOT hold until I got 20a w/ only ODS in place. That confirmed TARO, SNOW, and the north fell. 32a, and 39a (one of my fav movies (the TRACTOR? trailer were solved with only one perp inked.

56a broke up the bottom and WOOt! I was done. (hand up for Ah before AY).

Rainman - I'm w/ you; reverse mortgages seem quite evil.

Texas was the last to fall. I kept thinking Virgin's freq. flyer program would be Experienced or something along those lines. Any one read The Virgin Way by Branson?

I'm ITCHING for Spring. Garden goes in this weekend!

JzB like these monkeys? (G Rated).

Cheers, -T

Rainman said...

Argyle at 6:42, your link supports your preference but it doesn't say Merriam Webster. What are you saying? If you doubt what I said earlier and you have an iPhone, you can download the Merriam-Webster talking dictionary app and see for yourself. The price is right: free. It seems important to you, although it's hard to tell from your paucity of words.

Argyle said...

It's right there in the address.

No iPhone here but to support your view, I did see a note that Shakespeare wrote "I" originally.