Nov 9, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015 Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke

Theme: Emergency Belts - Four ways to hold your pants up.

21A. Close to defeat : ON THE ROPES

32A. "Cool duds!" : "NICE THREADS!"

41A. Use one's influence : PULL STRINGS

53A. Membranes that vibrate : VOCAL CORDS

Argyle here. I'll post today's song at the bottom; don't miss it. No unifier needed.


1. Not at all flexible : STIFF. RIGID fits the bill, too.

6. Long and lean : LANK

10. Declare openly : AVOW

14. Easily tipped boat : CANOE

15. "__ further reflection ..." : UPON

16. Building toy with theme parks : LEGO

17. Western crooner Gene : AUTRY

18. Sanctuary recess : APSE

19. Overly compliant : MEEK

20. Compressed video file format : MPEG. (Moving Picture Experts Group)

23. The brown one is Louisiana's state bird : PELICAN

25. Mae West's "I used to be Snow White, but I drifted" is one : PUN

26. Sonoma Valley vessel : VAT. Wine.

27. Start of an envelope address : MR. AND MRS.

36. Covert org. in "Argo" : CIA. (covert rescue operation)

37. Dashing style : ELAN

38. Granola grain : OAT

39. Citrus drink used by NASA : TANG. In powder form till you mix it.

40. Obstinate critter : ASS

45. Where soldiers go? : LATRINES. So true.

47. Swat : HIT. Don't swat the little things ... well, maybe in the latrine.

48. Manning of the Giants : ELI

49. "Storage Wars" sales event : AUCTION. on A&E.

58. Napoleon's exile isle : ELBA

59. Biz bigwig : EXEC

60. Mishmash : OLIO

61. French-__ potatoes : FRIED

62. No-frills shelter : TENT. unless you're a wizard.

63. Speak abrasively : RASP

64. Apartment rental agreement : LEASE

65. Former trans-Atl. fliers : SSTs. (trans-Atlantic)

66. Kremlin rejection : "NYET!"

67. Milk dispenser : UDDER. It doesn't get any fresher.


1. Mischief-maker : SCAMP

2. Brownish gray : TAUPE. Natural mole fur hue. Last month we decided they must be French moles.

3. Info from a spy drone : INTEL

4. Pardoned : FORGIVEN

5. "Saturday Night Live" alumna Tina : FEY

6. Blonde comic strip teenager : LUANN

7. Date bk. entry : APPT. (Appointment)
8. Quick bite : NOSH

9. Skateboarder's protective gear : KNEE PAD

10. Energy bar nut : ALMOND

11. Show for which Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won four consecutive acting Emmys : VEEP. I don't have HBO.

12. S-shaped molding : OGEE

13. Bowl-shaped pans : WOKS

21. Sworn statement : OATH

22. Makes tracks : RUNS

24. Jazz aficionado : CAT. Can you dig it?

27. Breakfast and dinner : MEALS

28. "Darn it!" : "RATS!"

29. Shoe brand Thom __ : McAN

30. Line around a tub : RING

31. Droops : SAGS

32. "Hud" Oscar winner Patricia : NEAL 33. "Casablanca" heroine : ILSA A couple of classy dames.

34. Play list : CAST

35. Play part : ROLE

39. Giggled nervously : TITTERED. 1610-20; perhaps Scandinavian; compare Old Norse tittra to quiver, Swedish (dial.) tittra to giggle (Huh, nothing to do about where milk comes from.)

41. Medicinal dose : PILL

42. Mythical horse with a horn : UNICORN

43. In the manner indicated : THUS

44. Rocker Ocasek : RIC. The lead singer of The Cars.

46. Punches back, say : REACTS

49. Bring home from the shelter : ADOPT

50. Homeric epic : ILIAD

51. Like Santa Claus : OBESE. Say WHAT?!

52. "Unsafe at Any Speed" author Ralph : NADER

53. November parade participants : VETS. Honor them on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

54. Clumsy oafs : OXes

55. Lincoln's coin : CENT. I like his bill better.

56. Big name in skin care : OLAY

57. Get to one's feet : RISE

61. Winter illness : FLU



Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Took me a bit longer than usual to get through this one, although I'm not sure whether it's because the puzzle was harder than your typical Monday or because my brain is a bit foggy this morning...

I wanted OXEN at 54D, but I guess that only applies if you're talking about the actual animals and not people. I've heard people called "clumsy as an ox" before, but I don't think I've ever heard a clumsy person just called an Ox.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Nice start to the week. Thanx, Gail and Bruce. Don't recall anybody referring to Santa as OBESE before.

Argyle, I'm there with you; I've never seen VEEP. Not sure I've even heard of it. Thought your closing link was going to be the "Walk the Line" parody --"I keep my pants up with a piece of twine......because you're mine, please pull the twine."

inanehiker said...

Quick Monday romp - WBS about oxes - learning moment for me.
Agree with Argyle about 32 & 33 - classy dames - in the same vein - enjoyed the Google Doodle today with Hedy Lamarr - didn't know she was a tech inventor as well as an actress.

Thanks Argyle, and Gail & Bruce!

Lemonade714 said...

I think our own Santa (Argyle) was less than pleased by the adjective chosen for 51D. A CSO with a bad attitude.

VEEP appears to be a show created to showcase Julia's acting strengths while parodying politics. This is obviously a winning combination with Emmy voters. To me she is just an older no wiser Elaine thrust into power.

The rest was a Monday solve, thanks GG and BV and Argyle.

TTP said...

Good morning all. Thank you Gail, Bruce, and Argyle.


My easily tipped boat was somehow a CONOE.

SwampCat said...

WBS about OXES. Never heard that tern. I had OXEN until SSTS made that impossible.

I liked FrenchFRIED and ELBA close together. Not sure why, but that made me smile.

Fun Monday puzzle and witty write-up. Thanks to all.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Speed run today, nary a speed bump. Never heard of Veep, so that was all perps.

Morning, Argyle, I'd forgotten how corny the Tom Jones show was!

Tinbeni said...

Argyle: Nice write-up ... and I enjoyed the "tunes."

Gail & Bruce: Thank You for a FUN Monday puzzle with a great theme.

Avg.Joe & Husker: Congratulations on the last-minute Nebraska Win on Saturday night.
(Kinda makes up for those 4 last-second losses earlier in the year ...).

Fave clue/answer was 67-a, Milk dispenser, UDDER ... though I would never touch the stuff.

Well it is a beautiful rainy day here in the Tampa Bay Area.
Sunset will be suspect ... but "toasts-to-ALL" will be made ...

Yellowrocks said...

Thanks, Bruce and Gail for a more interesting Monday, needing some perps. Thanks Argyle for your always fine expo.
I immediately thought of Clement Moore"s Night Before Christmas. He noted that Santa was plump.
"He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself."

I have heard,"You big ox" and "You big OXES" for two oafs. I never heard OXEN for several oafs.
From the dictioanry:
OX noun, plural oxen for 1, 2, oxes for 3.
1. the adult castrated male of the genus Bos, used chiefly as a draft animal.
2. any member of the bovine family. (I see it can even be a female. YR)
3. Informal. a clumsy, stupid fellow. (OXES for definition #3, although some dictionaries say it can be oxen or oxes.)

Montana said...

I am out of practice solving crosswords. I did complete this puzzle and got the theme, but I had to work at it. It wasn't easy.

I'm off to a NE MT Retired Educator's luncheon. I'm the driver. 140 mile round trip, but people coming from near ND border, drive more miles than me.

Have a nice day,


Bluehen said...

My start could have been disastrous since I entered "rigid" for 1a and "tall" for 6a. When I got to the down clues, the perps straightened out those errors. Questioned LANK. As like "lanky"? OXES was new to me, thanks for the learning moment YR. WBS about the usage.

Very disappointing UD homecoming Saturday. They lost big-time to Albany, and guaranteed themselves a losing season. Oh well, I guess you have to be patient with a team that has more starting true freshmen than seniors, but it hurts, especially when we have had so many great years. Tailgating crew is starting to splinter apart into different factions. More empty seats at a homecoming than I have ever seen before. Don't know how much longer I want to continue.


PK said...

Hi Y'all! Bruce & Gail were just STRINGing us along today. Not an UDDER joy but fun!

Very good, Argyle! Somehow, corny as it may be, the Tom Jones sorta charged my battery this morning.

LANK? That's a word? I wanted a "Y" at the end. I guess I've seen the term "lean and lank." Okay.

I failed to even read the Mae West clue. How the heck did that happen?

Unknowns: MPEG, RIC, & VEEP. But they perped in okay. Only red I saw today was when I tried "rigid" before STIFF. Great word, if you ask me. Or great condition...

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Gail & Bruce, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Argyle, for the fine review.

Well, I went in to Schaumburg today and donated a pint of blood. Did the puzzle on their newspaper after I had finished oozing.
They told me it was my 58th pint of blood with them. I have donor cards with three other blood banks, as well. I have not given as much to them, however.

Puzzle was pretty easy to me. Got it all in about 20 minutes while eating snacks at the blood bank.

Theme was nice. Never really noticed it until I came here.

CIA reminds me of the book I a,m reading now. "Bridge of Spies" by Giles Whittell. CIA is all through the book. Story of Francis Gary Powers and the U-2. Plus a Russian spy.

FLU reminds me of the shot I recently got at church. Hopefully it will protect me.

Was not familiar with LUANN. I only read 3 comics.

Lots to do. See you tomorrow.


( )

Husker Gary said...

“I’ve got the world on a string, sittin’ on a rainbow…” – Frank Sinatra standard and another take on today’s fun theme.

-Ali’s strategy to wear out opponents while ON THE ROPES
-We all know peeps who have gotten or lost a job because someone PULLED SOME STRINGS
-Not a good strategy
-FB referees say, “UPON further review”…
-Wanna find a LEGO? Go barefoot.
-MR AND MRS? What if it’s to the great female married couple we know?
-This movie we just saw shows how you can work for the CIA but they’ll deny it
-Rugged ELI is third on this list
-Remember when French Fries were renamed by some to American Fries
-I first saw BlondIe teenage but couldn’t fit in Cookie
-The most powerful CAST ever in a movie?
-My 3-organ transplant friend takes 39 PILLS per day
-Tin – Many Husker jobs are safer for now. Karma, baby!
-Who sang, “She was a SCAMP a camp and bit of tramp, she was a V. A. M. P. VAMP”

Avg Joe said...

Fun speed run this morning. Only erasure was putting Elba in the wrong place where Exec belonged. Hand up for wanting rigid for 1A, but waited on perps. Good puzzle, and fun write up, Santa. Even with the indignation :-)

Great game Saturday night. Fantastic finish. But the most unusual part was afterwards. A few thousand people had left early. But of those that remained, almost no one left after time expired. They all hung around for 10 minutes or more to just absorb the sensation. I had a good view of nearly all the exits as well as several aisles, and they were all empty. Everybody just stood in place and grinned. Amazing night!

Misty said...

Perfect Monday speed run, Gail and Bruce. I just zoomed right through this one even though I'd never heard of LUANN. And there were some fun clues ("Where soldiers go?"). Great way to start the week. Nice to see a picture of ELBA, Argyle.

Have a great week, everybody!

thehondohurricane said...

Went thru without any major issues today. Darn near started with rigid for 1A, but looking over the down clues killed that idea.

Finally, our house is almost back in order. All the furniture is (approximately) where it belongs. Will be nice sleeping on the second floor again instead of in the dining room. I'm counting the days until someone begins to think the first floor needs attention.

HG $ Ave Joe what I nice win by the Huskers. They couldn't have picked a better team for an upset then MSU.

Tin, sorry the Giants kicked the Bucs ASS yesterday, but they were the better team yesterday.

Lucina said...

Hello, friends!

Thank you, Gail and Bruce, for another entertaining Monday morning. It was a fun romp and a quick sashay. Agree about LANK and thinking it should be LANKy.

Love the Mae West PUN.

When my daughter was an infant I gave her TANG and she developed terrible hives. What an ordeal!

I didn't even notice OXES as it filled in automatically.

Tamales are done for this year! Hip, hip, hooray! 50 dozen for all the Christmas parties.

I'm still not finished with yesterday's puzzle; still having fun with it.

Have gorgeous Monday, everyone! It's a perfect day here.

Lucina said...

Argyle, thank you for your always excellent expo and sorry about the bad CSO.

Yellowrocks said...

I have no problem with LANK. It seems common enough to me. I have found literally dozens of references using LANK to mean long and lean, some in recent newspapers or magazines. There are many dozens more referring to lank hair, meaning long and limp. I read that LANKY, as opposed to LANK, adds the condition of awkwardness.

• I asked a lank, blond youth manning the table.
Scientific American Apr 19, 2014
• Even in shoulder pads he is lank and relatively unmuscled next to younger specimens, and with his shirt off, well, he’s no Gatorade commercial.
Washington Post Oct 21, 2013
• Cardinal Plouernel was a man of sixty-five years of age, lean, lank and leathery of skin.
Sue, Eugene

Nice Cuppa said...

This definitely had a little more ALMOND that your average Monday.

• I too wrote RIGID for 1A, so had to do the other corners and return for the finish line.

• Argyle, TITTER(ED) is surely just imitative/onomatopoeic.

• I liked the clue "SWORN STATEMENT", since OATH can be either a solemn statement or a profane expression - take your pick.

• SANTA CLAUS is a fictional character (I hope there are no young kids reading this), so I guess he is as fat as you want him to be. In the British tradition, FATHER CHRISTMAS was a LANK, dark figure who stayed in the shadows. Didn't make for good marketing though, so sometime in late 50s/early 60s he was usurped by the jolly red-and-white OBESE central European OX.

• We just had OGEE, TAUPE, and ILSA (the latter many times, but that's OK, and this time she nearly met RIC(K)). THUS was clued identically the other day. Time to PULL STRINGS for some new software, Rich?

• 53D - November parade participants????? NO!! HONOREES!!!

Jayce said...

Whoosh zoom and it was done. Easy but fun. Laughed my ASS off at the clue for LATRINE.
At first I was having French FREES until I realized I had spelled ILeAD wrong.
Husker Gary, you are absolutely right about the way to find a lost LEGO piece.
Hooray on getting all those tamales made, Lucina.
I was surprised that there are so many buildings on ELBA. For some reason I envisioned it as being more pastoral. Perhaps all those buildings were, um, built after Mr. Bonaparte's time.
Best wishes to you all.

AnonymousPVX said...

Nice easy Monday.. I do believe the Veterans are both honorees of the parade and participants in it.

Anonymous said...

What's with NADER and EXEC two days in a row? Did I miss any?

Barry G. said...

OX noun, plural oxen for 1, 2, oxes for 3.

I was very, very tired this morning. I saw this very same definition when I looked up OX prior to making my comment, and my original post pointed out my surprise in discovering that OXEN was the correct plural when referring to one or two of the beasts, but OXES was the correct plural when referring to three or more of them. Who knew, eh?

Fortunately, just before submitting my post I had a brief moment of clarity when I started wondering how you could have a plural that just referred to one of something. D'OH...

VirginiaSycamore said...

Thanks Bruce and Gail for a nice Monday puzzle. I finished it so quickly I went to the USA Today one and it seemed much more crunchy. Or maybe I am used to Rich's cluing.

Nice write up Argyle. How did you get the Santa moniker? And hey, anyone who brings me (almost) anything I want as a little kid I will NEVER call OBESE! And it's cold at the North Pole, I don't think many Eskimos are Vogue thin.

Husker Gary, you can also vacuum clean and find Legos. Best thing we ever got the kids was a denim drawstring bag that lay flat as a big circle. You built on top of it, then when done, just PULLed the STRINGS and the Legos were all picked up! Jacks are probably the worst toys to step on!

Happy Monday to all!


Madame Defarge said...

Hi Everybody.

Betweeen traveling and getting everything back together upon our return, I have missed everyone at the Corner. I hope everyone is well and enjoying beautiful Fall days.

Great start for me. I almost tried Saturday with no oiled synapses, but I thought better of it. Thanks Gail and Bruce. Nice links, Argyle. Thank you.

CrossEyedDave said...

I have been on the road, had to watch daughter #3 sing in the All State Youth Choir down in Atlantic City. But I have been lurking.
Fridays puzzle was awesome!
Welcome back Manac!

There is one thing that bothered me about todays puzzle...

Calling Santa obese is not P.C., & will get you coal in your stocking....

Besides, he is working very hard on his image...

Learning the ropes?

What happened to strings?

Well, time to pull the cord, I'm outta here...

Anonymous T said...

Hi all!

A NICE Monday puzzle w/ the exception (for me) of the central-west. I didn't know 32 & 33d and 37a? Dashing? Not me - I put an I in 32d xing 37a. FIW.

On the plus side I knew LUANN, VEEP (never seen it, just promos), MPEG, and RIC.

Thanks Gail & Bruce for another fun Monday run, even if the string had a snag in the west-central.

Thanks Argyle for kickin' off another week's party. What you & C.C. do around here is much appreciated by this poster...

Wo - FOReGave (?) @4d.

I liked 23a - You know you're in LA when the road signs have a PELICAN on 'em; 45a was cute too. But my...

Fav - 39a because The Coneheads sprang to mind.

Fermat P. - from yesterday: get better eFriend.

HG - LOL at LEGO finders.

Lucina - 600 tamales?!? Oh, my. I'm on my way over...

Cheers, -T

Irish Miss said...

Hi Everyone:

Very late to the dance due to doctor's appointment, lunch with Sis, and stops at the grocery store, bank, and pharmacy. Not much to add to WEES, but I, for one never thought of Santa as obese. Chubby, yes. Rotund, yes. Plump, yes. Obese, Never!

Thanks, G and B, for your always delightful solving experience and thanks to Argyle for giving us the "skinny"!

Welcome back, Madame Defarge.

Today was a beautiful fall day, crisp and cool but blinding sunlight and an azure sky. Perfect.

Enjoy the rest of the day.

billocohoes said...

I thought the Mae West quote was "I used to be as pure as the driven snow, but I drifted"

CanadianEh! said...

Some crunch for a Monday but fun. Thanks Bruce, Gail and Argyle.

Started out on the wrong foot with Rigid like others but soon got straightened around.

OGEE clarified the AVOW/Aver decision. WEES re OXES.

Canadians have loonies and too ied but no CENTS. And we know what to do with tippy CANOEs (per Pierre Berton quote).

Tablets is the preferred medical term for PILLs in my experience.

Enjoy the beautiful day.

CanadianEh! said...

Apparently spellcheck doesn't like Toonies!

BarryG @2:04- You are starting to sound like a Canadian eh!

Tinbeni said...

I am glad to see that Husker & CED out-did themselves today with the links!

Hondo ... The BUCS out-gained the Giants ... but caught (pun intended!) a bit of the "drop-sies!"
(Hey, they already have 50% more WINS than last year ... with a Rookie QB).

Lucina @11:14
600 Tamales is enough for your Christmas parties???

... What a coincidence ...
Just got back from my Favorite Store (lol ...)
and I think that CASE (of something?) might NOT be enough through Christmas.

Oh well, If I run low ... I can make the 100 yard walk back to that store.


Anonymous T said...

PSA - If you are a Comcast customer go change your password ASAP. I just got word that >1/2 MM uids & pwds were comprimised. I just changed mine...

// sigh, when will companies get this s*** right? Plaintext pwds, really? -T

Big Easy said...

A typical Monday speed run for me. The only initial hiccups were misreading the 'Blonde" clue as 'Blondie' and I couldn't think of a Dagwood character; VEEP- never heard of it.

With LATRINE & UDDER we are getting down low. But I did like the LATRINE clue.

I've never quite figured the 'brown' PELICAN being the state bird while our state flag has a huge picture of a WHITE pelican on it. The whites only come down from somewhere up north but the browns are here year round.

TTP said...

Anon - T,

Thanks for the heads up. Wasn't aware of that one.

Argyle said...

I can't access my Hotmail through my IE browser. Anyone else having issues?

Lucina said...

Just finished Sunday's puzzly by Jim Holland (I know a family by that name) and really enjoyed it! A play on words is always fun.

RE: 600 tamales. We need them for our small, intimate parties!!!! If you're in town at that time, you're welcome to join us.

Anonymous T said...


I wouldn't think of imposing. However, the thought of 600 tamales makes my tummy rumble w/ hunger. There's a place around the bend that has the 2nd-best tamales I've had (they have a kitchen / counter at a gas station .. believe it or don't). The best I've had were at a patio-pub in Houston where the "tamale lady" came about and sold them out of her car - you could taste the roasted husks all the way through the peppers... Excuse me, I'm drooling...

Here's a little joke pop told me when I was 10-ish. We still laugh today if it's referenced.

Two coroners are checking out their latest "patient." As they go through the dead man's pockets one coroner finds a lottery ticket. Sure enough, it matches yesterday's winning numbers.

He turns to the other coroner and says, "Look at this, it's the winning lottery ticket."

Response: "Lucky STIFF."

For those w/ SiriusXM who love RUSH - R40 from Toronto is playing now on Ch25.

Cheers, -T