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Sep 2, 2015

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 Ed Sessa

Theme: Four of a kind ... Four Jacks in this case, as explained by the reveal entries:

39A. With 40-Across, toy with a crank ... and what each set of four circled puzzle squares graphically represents : JACK IN

40A. See 39-Across : THE BOX


Welcome to Wednesday, everyone. Steve here with an Ed Sessa "circles" theme. If you're one of the circle-less solvers amongst us you weren't at any disadvantage today, you just didn't get the post-solve "oh look, there's some names of people there" moment. 

We've got two actors - WEBB and LORD (Dragnet and Hawaii 5-0 respectively), one talk show host PAAR and one football player/politician KEMP.

I'm treating this more as a "Wednesday themeless", unless I'm missing something deep and mysterious about the names or the placement in the grid. 

Moving on ...

Across:

1. Flier among hangers : MOTH

5. Hurt : ACHE

9. Exams for future attys. : LSATS

14. Alpine feedback : ECHO. Yodeling probably wouldn't be as much fun without the sound rebound.

15. Something to chew on : FOOD

16. Open courtyards : ATRIA. "Open" in the sense of "uncluttered", not necessarily "open to the air".

17. Some Broadway theater handouts : SHOWBILLS. Hand up for HANDBILLS first. Interestingly, the only Broadway theater that gives you a showbill is the New Amsterdam, for reasons explained here. Who knew?

19. Green shampoo : PRELL. Crosses for me. I thought it might be eco-friendly, but no, it's just green.

20. Raised on one's own ranch, as a horse : HOMEBRED

21. Pilot-licensing org. : F.A.A. Our friends at the Federal Aviation Authority. The UK equivalent is the Civil Aviation Authority, which sounds to me like they must be jolly polite.

22. Like many senior part-timers : SEMI-RETIRED

27. Hemingway nickname : PAPA

31. Yours, in Toulouse : A TOI

32. Stadium level : TIER. You need one cross to decide between TIER and the also-popular LOGE.

33. __ husky : ALASKAN

36. PC exit key : ESC

38. Tournament advantage : BYE

42. D-backs, on scoreboards : ARI. Officially, the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball, but that would need to be one heck of a wide scoreboard to fit that lot in.

43. "Little Red Book" author : MAO


45. It's not pretty to look at : EYESORE

46. Certain bond, briefly : MUNI

48. Tae __ do : KWON

50. "The __ lama, he's a priest ... ": Nash : ONE L

51. Sherry in a Poe title : AMONTILLADO. A jaunty, cheerful and uplifting tale of burial alive.

55. When doubled, a number puzzle : KEN. From the Japanese word for cleverness, ken, so I'm told.

56. "Beatles '65" song : I'M A LOSER. Not one of their best-known, that's for sure. The album the song was on was released as "Beatles for Sale" in the UK, not the album title in the clue, so I thought '65 referred to the release year, but that was actually 1964. Confused yet?

61. Common news hr. : TEN P.M.

64. Intensely active state : OVERDRIVE

65. Greek storyteller : AESOP

66. Reject suddenly : JILT, as a lover.

67. Field : AREA

68. Land maps : PLATS. Learning moment for me. I had PLANS at first until INKPON showed up at 47D.

69. Ornamental band : SASH

70. Socially awkward type : NERD

Down:

1. Interlock : MESH

2. Nueve menos uno : OCHO. Spanish math.

3. McAn of footwear : THOM. Crosses for me. Never heard of the brand.

4. NHL great Gordie : HOWE

5. In flames : AFIRE

6. Camping gear company with a lantern in its logo : COLEMAN

7. "Wait a minute!" : HOLD IT!

8. People working for People, briefly : EDS. Magazine editors.

9. Wash gently against : LAP AT. This one seems to have been cropping up a lot recently, or perhaps I'm just noticing it more. Funny how that happens.

10. Narrow waterway : STRAIT. "Narrow" would appear to be a relative term. The Bass Strait, which separates Tasmania from mainland Australia, is approximately 220 miles wide.

11. "__ you coming?" : ARE

12. Up to, casually : 'TIL "Open 8 'til Late".

13. Mineo of "Exodus" : SAL

18. Air rifle ammo : BB'S

21. Full of gumption : FEISTY

23. Caviar, e.g. : ROE

24. Award often blue : RIBBON. The alternately-spelled BLUE RIBAND trophy is held by the liner United States for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by a passenger ship.


25. Pooh pal : EEYORE. With Piglet, my favorite character from the books (don't get me started on the Disney abominations). Is his rundown house EEYORE'S EYESORE?

26. Philadelphia university : DREXEL. Oh, so that's where it is. I wondered.

27. __ party : PAJAMA. PYJAMA in British English, so I waited for ALASKAN to resolve matters for me.

28. Shakespearean call to arms : ALARUM. Great word.

29. "Scarface" (1983) star : PACINO

30. "Try me" : ASK

34. "Bette Davis Eyes" singer Carnes : KIM. Gravelly-throated songstress. Good stuff.

35. Luke and Leia's father : ANAKIN. Get your Star Wars nerd on today.

37. Friend of Fidel : CHE. Cue iconic image:


41. Spanish "that" : ESO

44. Woodland mouser : OWL

45. Glossy coats : ENAMELS

47. Place to dip a quill : INKPOT. Corrected my erroneous PLANS at 68A

49. Piglet of children's books : OLIVIA. Cute looking pig!

52. Holiday hires : TEMPS

53. 35-Down, as a Sith lord : DARTH. I can't remember if I linked this before, but it tickles me to death every time I watch it. Adult language warning for a couple of F-bombs.

54. Rusted, perhaps : OLD

57. Setting of Camus' "The Plague" : ORAN. Algerian city which suffered a repeat outbreak in 2003.

58. Many a retired racehorse : SIRE

59. At any time : EVER

60. Spent time with Time : READ. You could clue either "Spend" or "Spent" and just change the pronunciation of the answer, which is neat, no?

61. Gentle touch : TAP. I had PAT first, which amused me when I noticed that I simply had it backwards.

62. Oft-smoked fish : EEL

63. DOD intel arm : N.S.A. The National Security Agency, brought to prominence (unhappily for them!) in recent times by Edward Snowden.

64. Drinks at IHOP : OJ'S 

That's about it from me. Here's the grid while I get my coat.


Steve

64 comments:

OwenKL said...

JACK the Snitch thought himself a sly fox,
But the Mob gets displeased when he talks.
So they took him aside
And gave him a ride --
In a hearse, with poor JACK IN THE BOX!

There once was a donkey named EEYORE
Who had little Piglet as neighbor.
They were both pals of Pooh
Not OLIVIA, who
Came from books by a different creator!

Poe wrote of a casque of SHERRY
And Fortunato, who wasn't wary.
Inside the grotto
No AMONTILLADO,
Instead Montresor being scary!

An ALARUMing Poem!

The ONE-L lama, he's a priest,
(For L's in lamas, that's the least)
The two-L llama, he's a beast,
(For adding L's, we haven't ceased)
But I will bet a silk PAJAMA
(This is said to add some drama,
And to use an Oxford comma)
There's things AFIRE at a three-L lllama!

John Lampkin said...

Congrats to Ed on a terrific idea, executed brilliantly.
The elegant touch is that the four jacks are laid out symmetrically, making a square with the + in the center making a box within the box of the grid.

unclefred said...

Such a beautiful grid I hated to write on it!! And a really fun puzzle within it, too, Thank You Ed Sessa, great job!! Nice write up, Steve, I especially enjoyed the clip you linked, VERY funny!! Thanks, too, to Owen for his limericky lines. I wish I had that talent. I looked at today's grid and thought "A grid as symmetric as this, fills me with emotional bliss,....." then, with my total lack of talent, was stuck. Dang!! Anyway, fun puzzle and write-up, great way to start the day. Let's hope Mr. Market is nicer today, he has not been at all kind to me this year.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Found this one to be on the challenging side, especially for a Wednesday. A lack of circles made the theme totally impenetrable, unfortunately, so I had no idea what was going on until I got here.

Never heard of OLIVIA, so that required all the perps. Unfortunately, I initially went with KWAN instead of KWON, which gave me ALIVIA. That didn't look particularly likely, however, so I switched it to KWON/OLIVIA. Also tried PLAY BILLS before SHOW BILLS, since I've heard of the former but not the latter. Is there really such a thing as an ALASKAN husky? I wanted SIBERIAN, but it wouldn't fit. Oh -- and the last thing to fall was SIRE, since I went with STUD at first and then, when that didn't work with the perps, tried MARE instead. I then tried I"M A LOVER for the Beatles song, which gave me VIRE. Oy. Took a bit of head scratching until I got it all sorted.

Lemonade714 said...

The symmetrically placed boxes with the consistent four old time four letter celebrities creating a wonderful visual, but what makes the design brilliant is the two boxes in the North are read counterclockwise and the two in the South clockwise, mirroring the CORIALIS effect.

Awesome.

Lemonade714 said...

CORIOLIS

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Dang, I did it again! I totally missed the reveal and never did figure out what was in those circles. Then I read another clue as "Spend time with" and wondered how READ would fit in with that? D'oh! I should be sentenced to death by tray, I say.

Steve, to my mind it's not an Atrium unless it's sunlit. I agree it was cute to see EEYORE crossing EYESORE.

UncleFred, I hope you realize that the money the market is taking away isn't real. When the market goes back up, that money won't be real, either. It's all a pipe dream until you sell. Then it's real. People who are losing sleep over the current market turmoil should probably revisit their asset allocation and tone things down a tad.

In view of the recent deputy murder in nearby Houston, our mayor has decreed that we'll have two officers per patrol car -- at least through October. And that's in a "city" (it's so small that it probably shouldn't be a city) designated the second-safest Houston suburb by the Barnacle.

Anonymous said...

"Land maps : PLATS."

Grrrrrrr...

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Steve and friends. Fun puzzle. I spend through the top portion, but slowed down a bit on the lower quarter. The surnames run counter-clockwise at the top and clockwise at the bottom.

My favorite clue was truly 1-Across: Flier among hangers. What a nice misdirection!

Certain bonds = MUNI was another good clue.

Winnie-the-Pooh's friend EEYORE (which i found amusing crossed with EYE SORE) was a part of my childhood, but OLIVIA came too late for my young reading

QOD: Letters are something from you. It’s a different kind of intention than writing an e-mail. ~ Keanu Reeves (b. Sept. 2, 1964)

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

What John Lampkin said. Today's grid was beyond elegant, with its über-symmetry. While I noticed the clockwise and counterclockwise theme answers, I didn't spot that they were consistent above and below the "equator" as Lemon did. If Ed did that on purpose, then I hafta conclude the guy's a genius.

Morning, Steve! That YouTube segment always makes me laugh. I tried to get tickets to an Eddy Izzard performance at Tanglewood last week, but it was sold out.

Lemonade714 said...

Eddie Izzard and Tanglewood, two of my favorites.

Anon:

What is wrong with Land Maps: PLATS
That is what they are; we are working with a client on their platting a parcel to construct 78
homes. Many Deeds reference the Plat Book and Page of the development where the property is located.

Avg Joe said...

Strange problem today. I woke up before the paper arrived, so I printed it from this site. The "black" squares were dark grey, and the circled squares were black. That made it really challenging to get the right visual. So, I quit about 3/4 through and did it again on news print. Much better.

Nothing at all wrong with plat. Of course I use them every day now, but I've heard the term all my life.

Big Easy said...

"I'M A LOSER, and not what I appear to be" as the song goes and I was one this morning. The intersection of ALARUM and AMONTILLADO was a 1 in 26 shot that I missed with "N" instead of "M". Both words were complete unknowns. DNF.

McGarret, Sgt. Friday, the Buffalo Bills Quarterback, and Carson's predecessor were only noticed after I filled JACK IN THE BOX. I remember the tune to 'POP GOES THE WEASEL' playing on my sister's toy.

Write-overs today were HOLD ON to HOLD IT, BAD to OLD, KWAN to KWON and VADER TO DARTH. I was unfamiliar with OLIVIA and originally spelled ANAKIN as ANAKAN. Not that any of us are using one any longer, but I had always heard the term INK WELL not INK POT.

Tinbeni said...

Steve: Good Job!
Ed: Thank You for a FUN Wednesday puzzle with a great theme & grid.

OK, in the Tampa Bay AREA we like the 62-d, Oft-smoked fish, to be Grouper (but it wouldn't fit) so I went with EEL.

Fave today was SEMI-RETIRED since I thinking about getting a part-time job ... geez, I don't really need 168 hours of "free-time" every week. lol

Those OJ'S at IHOP would be better with some Vodka in them.
A "Toast-to-ALL" at Sunset.
Cheers!!!

Big Easy said...

D-O It only matters when you sell and what you paid for it. The rest is just a long roller coaster ride. Before the capital gains rate went up, I sold my Vanguard Index 500 ( and reinvested it the same day in the Total Market Index) that I had been holding since 1994. But I figured that taxes would never go down; only up. Paid at the lower rate then rather than worry about a higher rate on a hopefully higher capital gain later.

SwampCat said...


I really enjoyed this lovely puzzle. It seemed so elegant. I struggled a bit but it was worth the effort.

I had no idea how to spell Amontillado but perps did most of the heavy lifting. I also wanted Siberian for Husky, and even got frustrated when I had the final AN. Surely I could squeeze it in !

Are there really no more Showbills? I remember them from long ago theatre nights.

Thanks, Ed. Steve, your write ups are such fun. And Owen, I loved today's offering!

Anonymous said...

WIKI: "The Alaskan Husky does have a unique genetic signature of microsatellite-based markers that are more consistent than those found in Malamutes or Siberians.
The Alaskan is the sled dog of choice for world-class dog sled racing sprint competition. None of the purebred northern breeds can match it for sheer racing speed."

Northwest Runner said...

Nice alternative to "Grisham Title" for One L today. Not sure how many others ran into display issue with the online version. For me on Firefox the circle entries were greyed out.

TTP said...


Good morning all. No circles here.

Flier among hangers. HA ! Fun start. Turned into 0-3 this week, with a DNF. Not a FIW. I didn't have any fill in two spots, each at the intersection of names.

OK, I get {grasp, see, understand} that I didn't know the intersection of ALARUM and AMONTILLADO, but I cannot fathom how I could have JACKI- and THEBOX and not see the N.

Probably because the crossing proper noun (ANAKIN) is completely foreign to me. And, I had originally locked in on JACKIE.

Also had no idea on OLIVIA, but I only need to wag the L.

Had no dilemma with SHOW / PLAY, as my first 4 answers were 1 to 4 down. Then I laughed at MOTH. HA !

In other errata, I had Temple before DREXEL, and with M-N-, was going to enter MANO for "Certain bond, briefly." As in mano y mano which would certainly be a bond. But INKPOT was easy for the perp. I have one - unfilled, like those two aforementioned spots in today's puzzle - on my desk.

Thank you Ed Sessa and Steve ! Good stuff.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

This was a delightful Wednesday offering that had just enough bite. I shared Barry's miscues with stud>mare>sire, Kwan/Kwon, and Playbills/Showbills. The southeast was the last to fall and, for such a simple answer, OJ's took forever.

Northwest Runner, One L was written by Scott Turow, not John Grisham. 😉 I agree on seeing a fresh clue for it, especially an Ogden Nash entry.

Kudos, Mr. Sessa, for a challenging and fun mid-week treat and thanks, Steve, for a jolly good expo.

My stomach is still churning from last night's episode of Public Morals. Edward Burns' character is the personification of the "good" bad guy, much like Michael Corelone in The Godfather. I wish Timothy Hutton's character was around longer, but Brian Dennehy's presence makes up for it.

Have a great day.

Lucina said...

Greetings, friends!

What a lovely puzzle from Ed Sessa and an easy one to solve. I loved the MOTH cluing and I'm more familiar with PLAYBILL. AMONTILLADO slipped right out and onto the grid.

The circles were evident but the names didn't mean much to me except WEBB and LORD but had no idea how they were linked to the theme. Thank you Steve, Lemonade and John Lampkin for your explanations. The symmetry is indeed beautiful.

Olivia is a ballet dancer and much beloved by my granddaughter when she was taking ballet.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!

C6D6 Peg said...

Very nicely done, Ed! Got "JACKIN" "THEBOX" off the bag, but had to wait for the four Jacks to appear. Thank you!

Great write-up, Steve. Thanks!

Lucina said...

The more I study this grid, the more I appreciate it especially the Jacks in the boxes! Really well done, Ed Sessa.

mesewprettyoneday said...

First time poster here --

I have a bit of a problem with the answer to 53-down, "Darth" -- only as it refers back to 35-down, "Anakin," a name.
"Darth" is a title, not a name. I think the 'correct' answer in this case would be "Vader," a name.

Enjoy this column very much!

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Got most of it without a hassle. The SE took longer . But once I got the Sherry spelt right with a 'D' to get DARTH, the rest came together. Sussing the 4 Jacks helped get LORD, and then I'M A LOSER, and it was done.

ORAN was important to N. Africa logistics for the Allies during WWII.

Smoked EEL (Rökeraal) was a delicacy in our house while growing up. Highly appreciated when guests would bring it upstate from the Big Apple.

Nice Cuppa said...

1a. Talking of eyesores, the "circled" squares were blacked out for me too, not that any of the 4-letter Jacks meant anything to me.

1b. [For the benefit of the LAT, this was using the LAT on-lines site with Safari 6.2.8 (Mac Book Pro Retina Early 2013) OS 10.8.5 [I've tried and rejected Mavericks and Yosemite, since they are incompatible with a lot of academic software; even some games I bought at the MacStore...)].

2. MegaNerd note: "DARTH" in Star Wars mythology is simply the "Sith" word for "Lord", so the clue is misleading. The answer should have been "VADER", or the clue should simply have read "Sith Lord".

3. And Steve, didn’t OLIVIA look more than a tad like PIGLET in drag?

desper-otto said...

Spitz, I think it'll be Ragnarok before anybody catches me eating Rökeraal.

Mesewprettyoneday, welcome to our little corner of the world. I don't consider myself to be a Star Wars nerd, though I did see the first three movies when they were released oh so many years ago. As a purist, I'm sure you're correct, but I had no problem slamming down DARTH, since the D from amontillado was already there.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

I am not fond of circled themes, but this one rises above the type. Elegant in every way.

Lots of great fill and great cluing, right off the bat with MOTH, and especially with ONE L.

Owen - you outdid yourself today. Had to think about the three l lllama - most excellent!

Steve - love the Izzard clip.

Two things I avoid - semi-retirement and the Oxford comma.

August here was unusually cool - temps rarely reached 80, and some nights got below 60. Sept is off to a blazing start. Had to use the A/C yesterday for the first time in weeks. Today might be even hotter.

Tigers eked out a 6-5 win against the Royals last night. JV was not at his sharpest, and the bull pen almost threw it away. But all's well that ends well.

Hoping for a Jays - Mets world series. Looks like a long shot.

Symphony rehearsal cycle starts tonight, he said, blowing his own horn.

Cool regards!
JzB

Misty said...

A perfect Wednesday puzzle, Ed--challenging, clever, varied, visual--everything a puzzle should be. Many thanks! And great write-up, Steve. Loved your description of AMONTILLADO, and liked your posting MAO's red book and a picture of OLIVIA, who was new to me as well. And John L., thanks for pointing out the intriguing structure of the grid.

A great way to start the day--have a good one, everybody!

Bill G. said...

That was fun! Thanks Ed and Steve.

Re. circles: I much prefer the Mensa format but they never show circles. When I discover the puzzle is supposed to contain them, I go to the Cruciverb site and open the LA Times puzzle with Across Lite. That tells me where the circles are. Then I go back to finish solving with the Mensa format. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

It's finally gotten cooler here, high around 75 today.

Jayce said...

Excellent puzzle!

coneyro said...

Very well conceived Wednesday puzzle.

The only JACK I do not know is KEMP. Trying to get the JACK IN THE BOX tune out of my head.

ALARUM, AMONTILLADO, OLIVIA, ORAN, MAO were unknowns. Not in my literary wheelhouse.

On the other hand, I'M A LOSER is well known to me, and it went right in after only one filled in letter.

Favorite clue was 1A MOTH.

I didn't know PRELL shampoo was still around. The green tube was very prominent in my bathroom in the '60's, as was Breck.

We've come a long way from quills and INKPOTS. Many people rarely use pens or pencils, either. Do you think a lot of trees are being saved since there is a lesser need for paper, as most correspondence is done electronically?

Going to see a Broadway show was a wonderful NY experience growing up. Putting on your best clothes, eating at a classy restaurant afterwards, saving the SHOW BILL(or play bill, as we called it) as a souvenir. Nowadays, the cost of this entertainment is over the top for the average family. Thankfully local theater groups provide good, non-professional, but well acted alternatives with reasonable ticket prices.

To close, a fun midweek entry challenging but doable (with perp help) of course.

Nice Cuppa said...

CAVEAT LECTOR The following polemic on spelling and punctuation was inspired by comments made by Steve and Owen. Those not interested in such pedantry should jump the next 2 posts before continuing.

1a. Apropos Steve's comment on "READ", and its past tense being spelt (or spelled) the same but pronounced differently, has anyone else noticed an explosion in the (mis)use of LEAD, rather than LED, as the past tense of LEAD, under the mistaken assumption that the English Language is logical or rational? I do quite a bit of editing, and this is by far my most common correction of a short, common word. (Let's leave it's/its and one's/ones for another day).

1b. And talking of RATIONAL, there seems to be a group of educated people out there who do not realize that the related noun, "RATIONALE", has an E at the end, and is pronounced differently.

2a. And to Owen, poeta nobis, I had one question: by "Oxford comma" I am guessing you mean the use of a comma to demarcate 2 clauses linked by the conjunction, "and". In fact, the use of this comma is strongly suggested by the Chicago Manual of Style and other prestigious US sources, and is generally employed in U.S. writing by high quality newspapers, such as the LAT and NYT…... It is much more than a nicety - it avoids misunderstanding and re-reading the sentence to discern the meaning. Oddly enough, I have found that British manuscripts I receive to edit are rife with sentences lacking such commas (which I find very irritating). I generally mark them with a "bad style" sticker, but the trend seems to be increasing.

Contd. in next post.

Nice Cuppa said...

Polemic Part II

2b. And talking of "Oxford Style", the OED has long advocated the use of "z" rather than "s" - in words like "organize", "patronize" , etc. - as is standard in the U.S. - on the grounds of both pronunciation and etymology (regarding the latter, most "ize" words can be traced to their Greek origin "izein"; only those words that were introduced into the English language much later from France can justify the "ise" ending). However, this seems to be lost cause, now that The Economist has chosen to go with "ise" - doubly strange I think for a prestigious international journal. But perhaps the final nail in the coffin (Mr. Poe), is that the Spell-Checker in the British version of MicroSoft Word "auto-corrects" the spelling to "ise". So, perhaps we should ultimately blame Gates et al., and declare that "The ISE have it…..".

2c. However, I do think the U.S. has gone too far in using a "z" in words such as "analyze", in which the word is a back formation of the base word "Analysis", where the "s" sound and etymology is clear. Indeed, I did not have long to wait for a non-native speaker to re-spell the word as ANALIZE. Need I say more?

End of Polemic

Mr. Google said...

SwampCat said..."Are there really no more Showbills? I remember them from long ago theatre nights."

There still are Showbills and what you probably remember are Playbills (if you're talking about Broadway)

coneyro said..."saving the SHOW BILL(or play bill, as we called it) as a souvenir."

You didn't just call them Playbills, they were Playbills.

The link provided in Steve's write-up explains all.

JD said...

Good morning all,

Thanks Ed and Steve for a fun wake up.And I agree, it was a BEAUTIFUL grid, Ed. I was thrilled that Barry had some very minor problems, because I ALWAYS have several areas that take some time to figure out. Luckily, Ed's perps were great and easily filled the entire word: amontillado, ken as well... an odd one. I had a few letters that were wrong: plOts, kwAn, and kit (not kim).

"Flier among hangers" was the best!

Owen, all your verses made me smile today...so clever! Olivia is also a children's cartoon. It was Truman's favorite, but now it is Ninja Warriors.

Hope it is a lovely day in your area.

Big Easy said...

CONEYRO- Nobody ever remembers Vice-Presidents' names and they absolutely never remember the losing vice-presidential candidate. He was Bob Dole's vice Presidential running mate in 1996.

If it weren't for the Kemp-Roth Tax act of 1981 everybody would be in the 50% tax bracket.

desper-otto said...

NC, you must have been absent from the slaughterhouse the day we beat that Oxford-Comma horse to death.

CrossEyedDave said...

Started this one with only a smattering of single letter WAGs, which turned out to be correct. It didn't get easier until "Jack in the box" jumped out at me. (No pun intended...)

FIW in the end, as I have never heard of Plats, & went with Plots
(never heard of BYE either...)

I'm a Loser is a is ho hum sort of song, made great by the chorus harmonies and fantastic bass run opposite George's guitar.

Chris said...

53 Down is incorrect - Darth is a Sith title and not a name. Correct answer would be Vader

Anonymous said...

Chris said..."53 Down is incorrect - Darth is a Sith title and not a name. Correct answer would be Vader"

Pet peeve: People who post a comment without taking the time to read the previous comments. It's not like there are hundreds. Take a minute before you join the conversation.

SwampCat said...


Mr Google and Coneyro, you are abso-bloomin'-lutely right!! They were PLAYBILLS, not Showbills. It has been longer than I thought without a trip to NY. Why did I enter SHOWBILLS so confidently into the puzzle? Crosses had already given me Show. Ah well.

And I noticed the Darth/Lord problem, but it fit with the crosses so I put it in. Hmmmmm? Rereading the clue, it does say "35-Down as a Sith Lord." I guess that gives the fill a pass. However, I, too, put in Vader first.

Interesting puzzle in so many ways!

Spitzboov said...

Re: 53d - The clue does not ask for a 'name'. To me it seems to ask for an entity. In this context, I'm OK with DARTH. FWIW.

VirginiaSycamore said...

CrossEyed Dave,

Beatles song “I’m a Loser”, not to be confused with this later song[video not for kiddies. Graveyard and skeletons, etc.]
Beck

Steve, your link months ago of the "Darth Vader in the Death Star Canteen" got me hooked on Lego videos of Eddie Izzard.

I have seen PLATS in many crosswords.

Hot in Cleveland. Really, not the show!

Jazzbumpa said...

I still say no to the Oxford comma, and yes to to the comma of Pythagorus.

Cheers!
JzB

Jayce said...

I still like and use the Oxford comma, even though I didn't know it was called that until quite recently.

Anonymous said...

JzB said..."I still say no to the Oxford comma, and yes to to the comma of Pythagorus."

And yet you inserted an unnecessary comma and misspelled Pythagoras.

Cheers!

Yellowrocks said...

Elegant grid, lovely puzzle, Ed.
As I see it, Anakin Skywalker was the birth name of a human. Later he became a human/cyborg and a Sith Lord. "As a Sith Lord," meaning when he was a Sith Lord, his name was Darth Vader. Anakin and Darth are both first names to my knowledge. So no harm, no foul.

Avg Joe said...

This blog really needs a recommend button. Some of this stuff is so comical you simply couldn't make it up. :-)

Husker Gary said...

Very clever with learning about AMONTILLADO and a tough go in Florida (STUD no help). Golf and lawn mowing preempted my effort here.

Musings
-LOGE boxes are new at Dodger Stadium this year
-FERLIN Husky was in my brain box first, but not capital H
-NFL wins after a BYE week
-TEN PM works here but not when I’m on the east coast
-OVERDRIVE on or off on my Dakota
-Bullwinkle used to have AESOP and Son episodes
-“Para español presione por favor el número OCHO” (if you want Spanish on the phone at my bank)
-It was only a BB gun, but John Candy didn’t know
-4Her’s know BLUE Ribbons ain’t the best
-Many of us grew up with openings for INKPOTS in our desks, didn’t we?

Anonymous said...

So now Yellowrocks is an expert in Star Wars?

I remember her telling us that if you make a claim to some bit of controversy, to back it up with some sort of link or other reference. What say you Miss know-it-all?

My reference that DARTH is most definitely a title, analogous to the mob using Don. Don Corleone's first name was Vito not Don. Incidentally Corleone was not his given last name but that is for Part II.

p.s. Don't dispute a Star Wars NERD unless you want the wrath of Kahn or Sheldon!

aka thelma said...

What Ave Joe said exactly.... :) I have enjoyed the write up and the comments today much more than the puzzle.... still chuckling....

You all have a great day....

thelma :)

Avg Joe said...

All of you that golf, be forewarned that tomorrow there will be a disruption in the force. I'll be on one of the prettiest courses in the great state of Nebraska. A shotgun start scramble at 1:00 PM. I've stated, and I maintain, that I do not golf. I simply own a set of clubs. But I am confident that a very good time will be had. DUCK!

Yellowrocks said...

Anon @ 3:58. The site below says you are correct about Darth being a title. But why the venom? Why the ongoing personal attacks? Why the cowardly strike hiding behind "Anonymous" yet calling me by name? Others here have been mistaken and have been corrected without venom.
Link

Anonymous said...

Miss know-it-all, sorry.

Its just that you weighed in on a subject you clearly are not an expert in yet spoke like you were.

Btw, thanks for ignoring my link and re-linking it.

Steve said...

@VirginiaSycamore - my second and third favorite Izzard/Lego animations are "Have you got a flag?" and "Cake or Death". Laugh out loud funny :)

Anonymous T said...

Totally got my NERD fix today w/ ANAKIN and DARTH the OLD Vader. Getting out my Star Wars PAJAMAs tonight!

Hi all!

Wow 56 comments already? It's not that late. Oh, I see...

Thank yous Ed for a square (as in BOX) puzzle and Steve for the entertaining writeup. Feel free to link Eddie Izzard every few weeks - he's F'in' funny.

WBS re: SE corner; a POT of INK spilled down there. I also had LOvER, LIvER (for iRAN (that's Apple's new nuclear app)) b/f LOSER (and thought of Beck - thanks CED!)

W/os: afore mentioned, ATReA 'til 'TIL, and haLT b/f JILT. Final mess was xing 28d and 41a; N or M... M won out. Victory!

Fav - If, b/f the writeup, I understood, then 1a. So I gotta go with the SEMI RETIRED stud still getting to SIRE. If I could be so lucky :-)

Welcome MeSewPrettyOneDay (I ain't typing that every time, MSPOD (Microsoft's answer to iPod?)). Pipe in more oft.

Great effort Owen! Thanks.

D-O, et.al., sorry -- this is for Cuppa: Word Crimes by Weird Al. Here's another fun 40ish seconds.

Ack! Anon@3:58 don't mix genres! :-)

Cheers, -T

Gay Google said...


Could somebody please explain me the Darth vs. Vader controversy ..... again ?

If we have run it to death, ( oxford comma, alert ) , maybe we could look hard enough for another controverzy. ( american spelling - ).

I'm here just trying to raize this blog's blog response number ... Google is paying us $ 0.005 per blogger response.

SwampCat said...


Ah, yes. The dreaded Oxford comma. I, indeed, do support the Oxford comma, and, also, any other commas that care to lurk hereabouts, and will battle all those who, in their ignorance, abhor the comma. If, therefore, a truce is needed, and though I do not require one, but will entertain the suggestion of one, let it be brought forthwith. Hehehehehheeeee

Anonymous T said...

Funny Swamp...

Re: punctuation. If it's formal writing then of course, yes, be careful and follow all the rules you can recall (and in my case, 2x check w/ Prof. DW).

Informal writing, however, calls for punctuation to be used freely as pauses, (asides), and/or(,(?)) any other way of communicating a conversational, um, tone. If you don't overly abuse 'em, the idea and tone gets across. Oh, and for related stuff chunk in a - or ;.

That's why I love our language - it shifts, evolves, and you can have fun with it (!)

Unless I'm reading legal documents, a resume, something I'm putting forward at the office, or writing a love letter to DW ( "Deer -K," is how one started; she laughed at me for fawn-ing over her), well, I couldn't care less...

C, -T
//sorry for deeply offending pedantics :-)

Anonymous T said...

G. Google - there's another $0.005 for you...

Darth said...

Party on, Dwayne!

Dwayne said...

Party on, Darth!

Avg Joe said...

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Oh look. It's a flock of baby Oxford commas.