May 24, 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015 Mark Bickham

Theme: "Hatch Job" - Nine birds are hidden in the theme answers.

25A. *Dreamt of : ALWAYS WANTED. Swan, a hard bird to hide, unlike OWL. The *S WAN* pattern phrases are limited.

27A. *Type of surplus store : ARMY NAVY. Myna. The one I visited is run by a private guy.

 32A. *Forgot the past : STARTED OVER. Dove.

64A. *Yellow Monopoly property : VENTNOR AVENUE. Raven.

94A. *School in-crowd : POPULAR KIDS. Lark.
101A. *Tape width, perhaps : HALF-INCH. Finch.

33D. *"Be My Baby" singers : THE RONETTES. Heron.

38D. *Alpine feline : SNOW LEOPARD. Owl, probably the easiest theme entry for Mark.

49D. *Like some flats : LOW RENT. Wren. Crossing the central Across theme answer. Expert gridding work.

 104. Signs of spring that are literally hidden in the answers to starred clues : NESTING BIRDS
I had no idea what the theme was until I came to the reveal. I love puzzles with reveal entries, provided that the gimmick was not obvious from the get-go.

Also loved the title, "Hatch job", very clever. Mark managed a low 138-worder despite a heavy 10 themers. I'm convinced that you've got to have themeless construction experience to pull off a 138 or lower.
Quite a few clue echos in this grid also.


1. Mound site : INFIELD. Pitcher's mound.

8. 1996 Olympic tennis gold medalist : AGASSI

14. Track fastener : SPIKE

19. Jim Brickman fan, perhaps : NEW AGER. Not familiar with the musician.

20. Gathered in a mass : LUMPED

21. Darlings' creator : BARRIE. Peter Pan.

22. Stay with doggedly : CLING TO

23. Dishes set in gelatin : ASPICS. My grandma always had fried tofu inside her aspics.

24. Canine coat? : ENAMEL. Nice clue.

29. Couple maker : AND

30. Equal : ARE

31. Question of concern : YOU OK?
37. Dope (out) : SUSS

38. Eponymous Belgian town : SPA. Good to know this trivia. And 75. Belgium-based imaging company : AGFA. Have not seen this brand for quite some time.

41. Nincompoop : SCHMO. Joe Schmo.

42. German article : DER

43. Word with dive or drops : NOSE. And 59. Words before dare or ever : DO I

44. War of the Ring force : ENTs. The Lord of the Rings.

45. Pact : TREATY

47. Fix, as a model airplane : RE-GLUE

51. Bleep : EDIT OUT

53. Discernible range : EARSHOT

55. Hinduism's Chandra, e.g. : MOON GOD. Never heard of Chandra. We have a moon goddess called Chang'e in Chinese fairy tales. Same name as China's lunar exploration program.

57. 2005 horror sequel : SAW II

58. Singer Tori : AMOS

61. Scottish export : TWEED

62. Where texts are often read : CELL. Cell phone.

63. ISP option : MSN

67. "Speak up" requests : EHs

70. Base path? : EVIL. Base ="Despicable"  here.

72. Cutting beam : LASER

73. Bouncer's handful : SOT

74. In short order : SOON

75. Some saxes : ALTOS

77. Law office visitors : CLIENTS

79. Part-time player : SEMI-PRO. Not AMATEUR.

81. "I'm outta here" : GOTTA GO. Tiny dupe with 48. Ship out : GO TO SEA

83. Potters' wheels, e.g. : LATHES

85. Home of Mandrake the Magician : XANADU.  Another unknown to me.

86. Part of BOGOF : FREE. "Buy one, get one free"

87. Annoyances : RUBS. "Ay, there's the rub" .

89. They're often found in mice : AAs. Computer mouse.

91. Sign of an omission : CARET. ^.

92. Spots : ADS

93. Deere rival : TORO. Based here in MN.

98. Look forward to : AWAIT

99. Game with an Angry Birds version : UNO

100. Cal. column : TUE

111. Tennyson's "lily maid of Astolat" : ELAINE

112. Cuthbert of "24" : ELISHA

114. Steak __ : TARTARE

115. Thought quite a lot of : ADORED

116. More promising : ROSIER

117. In : ELECTEE

118. Downed with a jolt : TASED

119. Wheelhouse : SPHERE

120. Elizabeth I or Prince Harry : REDHEAD. Prince Harry alone is enough for me. I hope he gets back to that pretty girl he used to date. They were a great couple.

1. Sapa __: ancient South American ruler : INCA. Guessable.

2. Jodie Foster title role : NELL. Nailed this one, though I never saw the movie.

3. Relative of IMO : FWIW

4. Collector's suffix : IANA. ANA is more common, right? Americana.

5. Like rich batter : EGGY

6. Sics on : LETS AT

7. Overwhelmed, with "out" : DROWNED

8. Jackson with a 2015 "Keepin' It Country" tour : ALAN. We also have 102. "The Aviator" actor : ALDA.

9. Austrian painter Klimt : GUSTAV. Marti saw his works in person.

10. Word in current news? : AMPERE. Not current news I had in mind.

11. Scorpion cousin : SPIDER

12. Texas A&M joined it in 2012 : SEC

13. "You're probably right" : I'D SAY SO

14. Some HDTVs : SANYOS

15. Trick : PRANK

16. "Joy of Cooking" author Rombauer : IRMA

17. Capital ESE of Warsaw : KIEV

18. Hard to control : EELY

21. In a fog : BEMUSED

26. Puff __ : ADDER

28. Woke up : ROUSED. Read this, guys.  So many LOL moments. Which is your favorite? Mine is #23.

32. Gets out : SCRAMS
34. Pile up : AMASS

35. "American Pastoral" Pulitzer-winning writer : ROTH (Philip)

36. City near Provo : OREM

39. Spitting sound : PTUI

40. Wine commonly served chilled : ASTI

41. Momentum : STEAM. Lose momentum/steam.

43. Beersheba's region : NEGEV. Hebrew for "dry".

44. Series ender : ET AL

46. Feature of some Roy Rogers numbers : YODEL
50. Expose : UNEARTH

52. "Understood" : I SEE

54. Weigh station unit : TON And 105. Weigh station concern : TARE

56. The __: Horace works : ODES

60. "__ be fun!" : IT'LL

62. Polish brand : CUTEX. And 65. Does masterfully : NAILS. Also 76. Master : LORD

64. Credit giant : VISA
66. Crunched things, for short : NOs (Numbers).

68. Large groups : HORDES

69. Weevil feature : SNOUT

71. Poll position? : VOTE. Great clue. Pole/Poll.

74. Egyptian peninsula : SINAI
77. Journalist who has been a host on all "Big Three" networks : COURIC. So sweet and cheerful.

78. 12-time NFL Pro Bowler Junior : SEAU

80. Connie __, winningest MLB manager : MACK. See this list.  He also lost more games than any other manager.

82. Responded to a bad joke : GROANED

84. U.S./Soviet pact : SALT I

88. Gets to : BOTHERS

90. Walk easily : SAUNTER

93. Twisted together : TWINED

94. Ground, say : PUNISH

95. Garment easy to get in and out of : ONESIE. For babies!

96. More swank : POSHER

97. Throw a big party for : REGALE

98. Burning : AFIRE

101. Cops, or pressure from them : HEAT
103. Landlocked land : LAOS. More sticky rice is eaten there than any other country.  I love mochi balls.

106. Brought up : BRED

107. Hard-to-ignore feeling : ITCH

108. Fixed __ : RATE

109. De Matteo of "Sons of Anarchy" : DREA. She's also in "The Sopranos".

110. Apple product : SEED. Real apple.

113. Cut off : LOP


Argyle said...

Although I still had to google a few things, this went a long way towards washing the taste of Saturday's puzzle out of my mouth. Favorite? Drop with a jolt.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! This puzzle was more than I should have tried to tackle after only one hour of sleep. It rained hard all night and the neighbors went off and left their half-grown pup outside with no shelter. He was whining & howling until he finally made it over the fence. Then he was on my porch barking. So I was ROUSED. You betcha.

The Sunday puzzle was not posted on Mensa and the LA TIMES site wouldn't let me have it. Said I need to update my browser, which I thought I had done when I was off-line for five months. Aaagh! So at 4 a.m. I ventured out and got my Sunday paper and tried to pencil it in.

NW a total blank. NE 2/3 was filled with two look ups: IRMA & ODES. Theme entries filled: ARMY NAVY, SNOW LEOPARD, POPULAR KIDS & LOW RENT.

BIRDS? I didn't see no stinkin' birds! They weren't NESTING anywhere in my grid. In the strip of blocks across the bottom, I had ELAINE, POSHER, SAUNTER & TARTARE (which I thought was wrong). I also thought Elizabeth and Harry were "royalty" and did CLING TO that.

Finally came to our dear C.C. for guidance. Thank you very much! With some sure bases to build on, I managed to fill more of the puzzle before checking with C.C. again. I did "persist" (the word I had for 22a "stay with doggedly") until the puzzle was filled, but ye purists would frown on my total performance. Come to think of it, I wasn't exactly smiling -- just a little proud of not giving up.

The dog is quiet now, so maybe I can sleep.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Mostly straightforward solve today. I had no idea what was going on with the theme until I got to the reveal, and even then I didn't bother going back and looking for wall the hidden birds. After the solve, however, I did go back and had fun looking for them.

Almost died in the NW, but finally managed to pull things together. Had a moment of terror when I thought that 5D might turn out to be CAKY... ^_^

[I was also unable to get the puzzle at the Mensa site, but did find it over at the alternate Merriam-Webster site (]

HowardW said...

Barely avoided a DNF, and it took much longer than usual to solve. NW was the last to fall, it was completely blank with all the rest (save only a couple of squares) were done.

Lot of unknown names -- Jim Brickman, DREA De Matteo, ELISHA Cuthbert, Chandra, Sapa INCA, CUTEX. Did not know Mandrake was from Xanadu.

Thanks for the excellent summary, C.C.

HowardW said...

Funny you should mention CAKY, Barry...I put that in also, having filled in 22A as STICK TO. Seemed very dubious, and didn't lead to anything, so it was erased fairly quickly.

desper-otto said...

Whew! This one was tough, but easy when compared to yesterday. I did shoot myself in the foot with DSL. What? STEAD means "Momentum?" That group was THE ROLETTES? STEAM and THE RONETTES would make more sense, but that would turn DSL into MSN! D'oh!

I only remember Chandra as the scientist who taught the HAL-9000. And I only remember XANADU as the castle in Citizen Kane.

"Alpine" led me astray. There are no SNOW LEOPARDs in the Alps.

ELISHA was a gimme. I'm currently watching the 5-day-a-week reruns of 24 on the Audience channel. She plays Jack Bauer's daughter.

C.C., I thought the funniest were "Meaty Oaker" and "Marc, spelled with a 'C'" -- CARK. That 3-d printout of a "save" icon was also pretty good.

Jerome said...

Glad to see EELY in the grid. It sleekens the fill a little bit.

Lemonade714 said...

Mark does a wonderful job building grids, and for some reason I saw the theme with SWAN and MYNA. Catchers resonated for me.

DREA was also Joey' s neighbor in between the roles you mention.

I have learned about sticky rice and Mochi from my wife. Yummy.

Relax and enjoy the holiday.

Lemonade714 said...


desper-otto said...

Jerome, you're just tryin' to start a fight.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Really had to work at this. That NW corner was the last to fall - hand up for Caky before Eggy. Got there eventually, but it took time.

Jerome, too true!

Morning CC! Hand up for Marc with a C. Of course, there were some stunning examples of stupid in there...

PK - keep the dog, euthanize the neighbor. Done.

Unknown said...

The Week in Review: M 5:44 T 5:10 W 6:08 T 7:39 F 16:59 S 55:18 S 46:23

Saturday: Not a fan. I was gonna throw in the towel right off the bat. Then I got the top half filled. Then the SE. But the SW was unyielding. SLEEKENS was, of course, hideous and TENK made no sense. Eventually I saw "10k" but still didn't like SLEEKENS (it made me think of "embiggens"). I wasn't crazy about SORORAL either.

Among the unknowns were GOTYE, ORY, Beegle Beagle, and Poo-Chi.

I had CUS before CUZ and RAZED before RASED.

So I got 'er done under my self-imposed time limit (barely) but with little sense of satisfaction. The only bright spot was somehow pulling HUYGENS out of the dim recesses.

Sunday: It took longer than it should have to figure out that some mice (not mine) contain AA batteries.

See y'all next weekend.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

This was a FIW due to DSL/MSN and Ames/Amos. Also had elected instead of electee and wondered what a sedd (seed) was.

Needed the reveal to suss the theme, which was clever. Fav was canine coat=enamel.

Heading off to a family cook-out later. It's a picture-perfect day.

Enjoy the holiday weekend. Thank you to all those who served and sacrificed for our country.

Husker Gary said...

All that work and I had two bad cells! I agree with C.C.’s summation of the theme and generally had a good time.

-The NW corner bedeviled me, esp. DIAMOND not INFIELD plus EGGY and Jim Brickman?? but got ‘er done.
-Mourning DOVES are ubiquitous in our town
-THE CRYSTALS had to be supplanted by THE RONNETTES
- AGASSI gave us his good, bad and ugly in this autobiography
-Too many good people get LUMPED in with idiots of their group
-A linking verb like ARE reminds me of this favorite exercise of mine
-This comedian’s monologues has more bleeps than words
-Can you slice bread with a LASER?
-BOGOF – yeah right! With a 500% markup…
-I eagerly AWAIT my reconnection next month
-I’ve seen this NELL much more often
-This GUSTAV Klimt painting was the foundation for The Woman In Gold movie
-Can my clothes count as TARE when the nurse weighs me?
-Connie Mack dressed differently in the dugout than today’s managers

Anonymous said...

How do you get "electee" from "in", exactly?

desper-otto said...

Anon@10:46 -- If you have been voted "in" (as opposed to "out"), then you are the ELECTEE.

Lucina said...

Hello, friends!

A nice romp today, thank you, Mark Bickham. I sashayed all over the middle and downward and even recalled Junior SEAU and Connie MACK. Rah for me!

Had LOWHEEL before LOW RENT when VENTNOR AVENUE slapped me silly and CUTEX is a brand I know well from my youth.

The NW gave me fits and finally had to look for Jim Brickman fan of which I had no idea. NEW AGER? Ok.

That opened things up and away I went. Three bad CELLs, though, ADS not IDS, IRMA not ERMA and a blank one.

Yet, it was a picnic compared to yesterday!

Thank you, C.C. You always UNEARTH the meaning for us though I did find a few BIRDS.

Have a great day, everyone!

Avg Joe said...

This one put up a much bigger fight than a typical Sunday. Took forever to get the first two block on the central west filled, then just sorta spread out from there. Didn't get the theme until the reveal, but was able to spot them once that was solved. One major clog was I was sure Ventnor was a Place, not an Avenue.

Lots of unknowns like Iana, Drea, Gustav and Xanadu (as clued), but plenty of good stuff too. Gotta love "Ptui!" and "Earshot".

Much more enjoyable than yesterday despite being tough. Thanks Mark (or is that Cark) and C.C.

maripro said...

Nice challenging start to the day.
Hand up for difficulty with the NW corner. Started with "anthill" and went downhill from there, but eventually managed to get on the right track.
Thanks C.C. and Mark.
Have a lovely day, everyone.

C6D6 Peg said...

This was kind of a slog.... too many unknowns. Theme was very timely and cute.

Nice write-up, C.C. Mochi balls sound very yummy!

coneyro said...

Since the Tampa Bay Times erroneously had last week's theme header, I started off blind. However, I began the puzzle at the SE to try and suss the theme there, and succeeded. From there on I knew what was what.

Today's offering was a breath of fresh air compared to yesterday. I give kudos to the constructor. A brilliant puzzle. The work that had to go into getting those bird's names and clue ideas was, no doubt, a master effort. You nailed

DREA DE MATTEO..Ever since I saw her in the Soprano's. I've been a fan. She always plays a strong character with a big mouth. Cannot see her any other way. Wonder if her "real life " personality is similar.

SAW II...Saw all of them! Not for the fainthearted.

To those who observe..A joyous Shavout....Have a piece of cheesecake or some blintzes as is tradition.

This weekend, as you barbecue, celebrate Memorial Day with family, or just relax, take a moment to reflect and say "thanks" to those who gave their lives so that we could be free to do these things.


Irish Miss said...

I just realized that I neglected to acknowledge Mark and CC. Thank you both for your fine efforts.

I saw Still Alice last night and have mixed emotions about it. I loved the book but I read it so long ago that I'm not sure how true the movie was to the novel. Julianne Moore was wonderful but the rest of the cast left me cold. I thought Alec Baldwin was lifeless and I am not a fan of Kristen Stewart.

Rainman said...

Very clever, Mark, thanks. (Made me wish I had thought of it.)

Thanks, C.C.

Fun solve.

Thanks, BarryG, for the alternate site. Was not aware.

Boo LuQuette AKA Boudreaux in Eunice, La. said...

NW corner gave me fits. I was thinking mound site as in Indian mounds like the famous one here in Louisiana. Hands up for tartar I always spell it without an E. Deere had me cause I was thinking of big tractors and not lawnmowers. I don't get Enamel is that Animal or something ? I thought if you were IN you were Elected !! I did the puzzle on LA Times on the PC my score was 3690 Is that good medium poor ? Yall have a good dry day way to much rain for us and our gardens down here in Louisiana !!

inanehiker said...

This was slow and steady for me which was a romp after yesterday's bogdown.
Great to have so many theme answers.

The joint NASA/Smithsonian telescope is named after CHANDRA and there are some wonderful images it has captured.
We visited the offices in Cambridge and my son had posters of the pics up in his room for many of his teen years.
Thanks CC, and Mark!

HeartRx said...

This was a fun romp, so thanks Kark (with a “k”) and C.C.!! BTW, Hand up for liking #8 on Buzzfeed!

The answer to 1A in yesterday’s NYT puzzle was HATCHET JOB. So I really did a double take when I read the title! I also did a double take when I saw the clue at 99-Across, “Game with an Angry Birds version.” Quite a dupe for the theme reveal, don’t you think?

Hand up for wondering about sedd, Irish Miss!

HG, we went to see “The Woman in Gold, and there were a total of four people in the theater. But it was still enjoyable (to me) to see the back story of a painting I have always admired.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Big Easy said...

This one took a lot longer than a Sunday should. I got most of it early but the NW and SE took forever. INCA, IANA, FWIW (I don't use abbreviations on text and if anybody sends me on with one, I reply that I have know clue what they're saying even if I do), and wanted SETS AT instead of LETS AT.

ELECTEE just doesn't sound correct of 'In'. DREA was an unknown but the hardest problem was that the clue 'Fixed____' didn't print the line (___) after fixed, which caused me to look a long time at my answer.

As for the theme, I got it with SWAN and HERON.
Using the verb Equal for ARE is technically correct but I don't think I have ever heard anybody say " six plus three EQUAL nine", just equals. 9 IS 6+3 but 6+3 ARE 9.

I never knew Roy Rogers was a YODELer. Or Chandra was a MOON GOD. BOGOF's answer FREE was all perps and I was clueless about it until C.C.'s writeup.

ARMYNAVY- where C.C. got her hat.

SAW II- Chainsaw??? Never heard of it.
Mandrake the Magician in XANADU. I remember that comic strip from over 50 years ago. And when did Texas A&M join the Securities Exchange Commission? I know they are in the Southeastern Conference cause LSU beats them every year.

Well as our featured performer from 46D once sang (yodeled??), " Happy Trails to You, Until We Meet Again", later this week hopfulle.

PK said...

Gary, maybe the nurse will tare your clothes off. Good luck with the reconnection. The Woman in Gold painting was new to me. Thanks.

Dudley, Good idea! LOL! But they'd probably arrest me for a "hate crime". Neighbor's black. I'm not. They'd be right about hate crime, because I HATE to hear an abused animal.

Barry, thanks for the alternate puzzle site.

Bucky Beaver said...

Boo luquette @1:42:

The canine that's coated in enamel is the tooth of the same name.

C.C.'s write-ups could sometimes stand to be a tad more explanatory. What's obvious to some isn't obvious to all.

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. Agreed that the puzzle today was nicely difficult and a relief from yesterday's. Some fun cluing, my favorite being "Canine coat". I sure wanted BOY for 73A! Not happy about ELECTEE, though.

Irish Miss, I agree with you 100% bout Still Alice, which LW and I watched last night.

Since the LA Times site has started doing weird and unpleasant things, such as playing advertising videos with the sound on and no way to pause or stop it, I am now accessing the puzzle via Yahoo Games. Works very well so far.

Best wishes to you all.

Bill G. said...

Hi everybody. Hand up for liking this a lot more than yesterday's challenge. I had trouble getting started in the upper-left. I figured out the bird theme before the reveal so I patted myself on the back for that small achievement. Thanks Mark and CC.

PK, I would be seriously annoyed too.

CC, funny stuff. If I thought that was typical, I would find it sad rather than amusing. In my many years of teaching, almost all of my students seemed well above that level of thinking.

Lucina, have you watched Sunday Morning yet? I'm about halfway through. There have been a nice assortment of enjoyable segments so far.

Boo LuQuette AKA Boudreaux in Eunice, La. said...

Bucky DOH I should have had a V8 !!

Jayce I agree with the website it is very slow at times but the yahoo site no trouble at all but it doesn't give a score. I dont know what a good score is anyway !

fermatprime said...


Interesting, but extremely chewy, puzzle from Mark. Nice review, CC.

Was tired and googled up INCA. Otherwise, managed to slog through. (Yes, yesterday was a disaster.)

Yes, DREA is a good actress. I missed her after she was killed off on The Sopranos.

My squash plants are fruiting like mad. Anyone near Northridge should come and get some beautiful, organic specimens!


Mike Sherline said...

I don't remember how I found this, but I do the puzzle on
web They're up by 2pm the previous day (it's 3 hrs. earlier here than PDT), and you choose regular (red letters) or master skill level, can change while working it, and also have a solve button for letter, word, or all. Then when the paper comes the next morning I usually remember some of the answers, and also get to do the Universal one. The only thing is there's a short commercial before the puzzle comes up, and you have to manually move the cursor past any already-filled squares (or just type over them).

CrossEyedDave said...

Bucky Beaver @ 2:27,

You must understand that CC has been in the crossword business for some time now, & you can't explain the same stuff 500 times in a row...

Besides, crossword solvers come in all levels... (Stoa, you shall not defeat me again...) If CC explained everything, what would we discuss on the Blog?...

Lucina said...

Thanks, BillG. No I haven't had a chance to watch Sunday Morning yet. My family had a cook out so I was visiting all afternoon until now.

I'll watch it sometime this coming week.

I forgot to say earlier how much I enjoyed canine coat, ENAMEL for which I had ERMINE for some reason but that was quickly disabused.