, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: December 2015


Dec 31, 2015

Thursday, December 31st 2015 Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: Weight Room Workout. Pretty much a top-to-bottom progression with, in order, LATS, DELTS, PECS, ABS and GLUTES.

18A. Red-eyes, e.g. : LATE FLIGHTS. I pretty much unilaterally declared a few years ago that I won't take red-eyes anymore. I fly the day before and get a good night's sleep.

24A. Wouldn't accept excuses : DEMANDED RESULTS

31A. Hospital department : PEDIATRICS

41A. Black suit component : ACE OF CLUBS. I wanted "Ace of Spades" to mark the passing of Motörhead's Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister on Tuesday. I saw the band in LA about 15 years ago and I'm not sure my eardrums have recovered. RIP. Not to everyone's taste, so no link.

51A. Retirement party speeches, typically : GLOWING TRIBUTES

58A. Like some weightlifters, and a hint to this puzzle's circles : MUSCLE-BOUND. Lovely reveal - the muscles start and finish - so bind - the theme entries.

Well done, Jeffrey. I'm not sure if the head-to-tail order of the theme entries was intentional, but I hope it was. I loved this puzzle. It took me almost as long as the Sunday LAT and I enjoyed every minute of figuring out where I was going wrong. After my first pass, I had so much white space and a few "maybe" entries that I thought I'd post the grid I had at that point to show you the mess I was in:

Oh dear! Bottom-up and right-to-left corrections fixed everything eventually, but it certainly was a fun journey.


1. Dernier __ : CRI. The latest fashion. I'm not familiar with the term, but it's a crossword staple.

4. They may have EIKs : APTS. Eat-In Kitchens. I'm not familiar with the term. Do you sense a pattern here?

8. Savory Asian pastry : SAMOSA. Food! I'm familiar with the term. Yay! (Crafty cook tip - if you want to make quick and easy samosas, slice a flour tortilla across the equator and fold & fill from there).

14. Kareem, once : LEW. Alcindor/Abdul Jabbar. A UCLA basketball legend in my home town.

15. Berth place : SLIP. The yacht I've chartered lives in a slip in Marina Del Rey.

16. Took to the stump : ORATED

17. Reminiscent of : A LA

20. Fail to meet : MISS

22. Pinky-side arm bone : ULNA

23. Points for a free throw : ONE. Kareem made a few of these on his way to 38,387 career points.

29. 14th-century Russian prince : IVAN II

30. "Grandma" co-star : TOMLIN

35. "Nothing special" : SO-SO

36. One on the shelf, in Christmas decor : ELF

37. Epic creator : POET

48. Number in a Verne title : EIGHTY. Not TWENTY as I confidently entered at first. "Around the World in Eighty Days". I've done the round-the-world route twice (once in each direction) on business. Burbank - Denver - Frankfurt - Mumbai - Hong Kong - San Francisco - Burbank was the most fun. LAX - Hong Kong - London - LAX seemed more of a chore.

50. "60 Minutes" humorist : ROONEY

55. Suffix with part : IAL. Boo. A suffix isn't "three letters at the end of a random word".

56. Bide __: stay briefly, to Scots : A WEE

57. "Phooey!" : DRAT

62. Choler : IRE

63. Willow flower cluster : CATKIN

64. Erase : UNDO

65. Shade source : ELM

66. To a smaller degree : LESS SO

67. Annoyance : PEST. That "Part-ial" is a pest.

68. Bad start? : DYS. Whoa! Here's a pattern.


1. Cocktail party bowlful : CLAM DIP. OK, Chex Mix - you're toast

2. Substitute for : RELIEVE

3. "That really got my goat!" : I WAS MAD

4. Silent comm. method : ASL. American Sign Language. My friend has a Masters degree in deaf studies and has taught me some rudimentary signs, enough to make a polite exit from otherwise awkward social situations.

5. Enthusiastic praise : PLAUDIT

6. King or queen : TITLE

7. Drop at a shop : SPEND. Fun clue

8. Fifth in a familiar series : SOL

9. Melodic passage : ARIOSO. I think I remembered this. Took a couple of tries after the ARI--- though.

10. Wine buys : MAGNUMS. Two bottles, or 1.5 liters. Here's a couple I pulled out of the fridge in anticipation of the holidays. They don't fit in the rack. The one on the left is signed by the winemaker.

11. "... And when I love thee not / Chaos is come again" speaker : OTHELLO

12. Three of a kind, in poker lingo : SET

13. Much spam : ADS

19. Word with fetched or flung : FAR

21. __-Wipe: cleaning brand : SANI

25. Actress Peeples : NIA

26. "Star Trek" staples : ETS. Extra-Terrestrials. Pretty much all you're going to meet on a mission to explore unknown galaxies.

27. Quaint contraction : 'TIS. I mark my annual "oh really, is that all you've got" calendar by the first of the ADS I hear using this. This year was "Sleep Number" beds, who proclaimed in mid-November that "'Tis the season to save money on a mattress". Shame on you.

28. Nestlé's __-Caps : SNO

32. __ hall : REC

33. Martinique, par exemple : ILE. Isle, for example. What differentiates an isle and an island in English? I don't believe any other language makes the same distinction. Discuss.

34. Bus. bigwig : CFO

37. Dowel : PEG

38. Venezuela export : OIL

39. Ones who are me-deep in conversation? : EGOISTS

40. Sharp blows : THWACKS

41. Writer Rand : AYN. Gimme, thank you very much. I was struggling in the middle (and top, and bottom and left, and right).

42. '90s-'00s hit sitcom for 10 seasons : FRIENDS Cue the music. I challenge you not to clap. Pa Pa Pa PAH!

43. Ear piece? : COB. What? Oh! Sweetcorn (sound of coin dropping slowly).

44. Ear-piercing : LOUD

45. Not yet tested : UNTRIED

46. Arrive ahead of time : BE EARLY

47. __ analyst : SYSTEMS. I was one of these once. I'm not sure I really knew what I was doing. Thankfully I was working for a bank, not Boeing.

49. "Coca-Cola Cowboy" singer : TILLIS? Who?

52. Chew the fat : GAB

53. Leading 5-3, e.g. : TWO UP

54. See one's old college chums, say : REUNE. Here's my most recent "reune" in London last month with my chums. I'm the only one wearing glasses, but everyone else needed me to read the menu. What does that tell you?

58. Commonly injured knee ligament, briefly : MCL. The medial collateral ligament, not the anterior cruciate, which was my first attempt. A rugby-playing friend of mine once tore his ACL, but he insisted on describing is as his "crucial ligament" which drove me to distraction. It's on a par with someone saying "pacifically" or "supposably". You're off my Christmas Card list with any of those.

59. Federation in OPEC : UAE. The United Arab Emirates, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. It all sounds rather quaint. Are Venezuela in on the OPEC act?

60. "Small Craft on a Milk Sea" musician : ENO. Not ONO. Wake up, Steve.

61. Semicolon? : DOT. Lovely. Half a semi-colon is a single dot. Wonderful.

And with that, here's the grid, circles and all, for those of you who didn't have them in your publication. It's been a fun year, and on this New Year's Eve, please all of you be safe, love your friends and family (and tell them that you do), remember with joy all who have passed and lit up your life and be ready for a new adventure tomorrow.


Dec 30, 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 Michael Dewey

Theme: Having a go at it -  or - disappointing Yoda.  The last word of multi-word in-the-language phrases are all synonyms for striving to achieve something.

17 A. It may lead to an acquisition : TAKE OVER ATTEMPT.  One corporation ATTEMPTS to take over another.

28 A. Coalition : JOINT ENDEAVOR.  Working together for a common goal.  Rather a different shade of meaning, as compared to ATTEMPT.

48 A. With "the," one's best shot : OLD COLLEGE TRY.  This is a wild and desperate ATTEMPT to achieve something, perhaps with a bit of showboating along the way.

62. Sincere intention to be fair : GOOD FAITH EFFORT.  This is actually a legal term, relating to "what a reasonable person would determine is a diligent and honest EFFORT under the same set of facts or circumstances." Troutt v. City of Lawrence, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61641 (S.D. Ind. Aug. 8, 2008)

As I see it, all except JOINT ENDEAVOR carry some implication of failure, realized after the fact. Does that seem right?

Hi, gang, JazzBumpa here.  Nicely constructed theme, with a couple of grid-spanners.  The rest of the puzzle lies before us.  Shall we do or not do?


1. Coors "malternative" : ZIMA.  A kinda-sorta quasi-beer-like fluid from a company that makes other beer-like fluids.

5. NFL ball carriers : RBS.  Running Backs.   Who will be the first to take this DF?

8. Silently understood : TACIT.  That's one sense of it.  Another is simply remaining silent.  I have several segments of The Nutcracker marked TACIT.

13. National Air and Space Museum movie format : IMAX.    Large screen movie presentations.

14. Culturally affected : ARTY.   

16. Shrine to remember : ALAMO.   As the phrase "Remember the ALAMO" reminds us.

20. Bucket filler : ICE.   One of many possibilities.

21. Cooking oil brand : MAZOLA.   Corn oil.

22. Sport with masks : EPEE.   Fencing.

23. Nag's comment? : NEIGH.  Just horsing around - not emulating the Bickersons.

25. Binding words : I DO.   Marriage.

27. Stately tree : ELM.  Once upon a time.

32. SeaWorld swimmer : ORCA.  Shamu the killer whale.

33. Strauss' "__ Rosenkavalier" : DER.  The knight of the Roses.   DER is the nominative singular masculine definite article in German.

34. Source of ultraviolet rays : SUN.  And infra-red, and visible light, and even a small amount of X-Rays.  The solar spectrum actually peaks in the visible light region.  I'm not delighted with this clue.

35. Evidently is : SEEMS.  Appears to be.

37. Enthusiasm : VIM.   Usually travels with vigor.

39. The Masters or The Open : MAJOR.   Golf tournaments.

43. Aurora's Greek counterpart : EOS.   Goddess of the dawn.

45. Beat a hasty retreat : LAM.   Here a verb - not it's most common usage.

47. Yawner : BORE.   Uninteresting performance or presentation.

51. Dashboard meas. : MPH.  Miles Per Hour.

53. __ Jose : SAN.   California city.   Do you know the way?

54. Race paces : TROTS.   Well this interesting and brings out the pedant in me.  In harness racing, there are two varieties of races, for TROTTERS and PACERS.  They have distinctly different gaits, and breaking stride can lead to disqualification from a race.  In other races, where you sit down right on the horse, running is done at a full gallop.  So I'm not sure what this clue is getting at. 

55. Met showstopper : ARIA.  Opera song

57. "We can do it, team!" : LET’S GO.   Closely related to the theme, but not in an appropriate location.

59. Belittle : DIS.  Disrespect, in street talk.

65. Maneuver around : EVADE.   Or avoid.  I'm never sure.

66. Jordanian queen dowager : NOOR.  Lisa Najib Halaby [b. 1951, Washington D. C.] is an American woman who became the 4th and final wife of King Hussein [d. 1999] of Jordan.   She works on behalf of several international organizations.

67. Vacationing, perhaps : AWAY.   Perhaps on a business trip, the lam, or playing hooky.  Several possibilities.

68. Know without knowing why : SENSE.  Oh, what a feeling.

69. Second afterthought: Abbr. : PPS.  Post Post Script.  For when your thoughts are really untimely or disorganized.

70. Daughter of Elizabeth II : ANNE.  Born Aug 15, 1950.  She had two marriages and survived a kidnapping attempt.  She also has a criminal record, having violated both the speed limit and the Dangerous Dogs Act.  She is not to be confused with anther royal Anne who was the eponym for a common weed, a furniture design, and a neckline with a raised back and open front.   Oh, yeah - the earlier ANNE was also Queen of Great Britain from 1702 until her death from a stroke in 1714.


1. Pasta choice : ZITI.   Medium sized pasta tubes.

2. All-in-one Apple : i-MAC.    Desktop computer system.

3. Act in a conciliatory way : MAKE NICE.   Whether you want to or not.

4. Log splitter : AXE.   Log splitter's tool.

5. Plundered : RAVAGED.   Plunder is the violent and dishonest acquisition of property.  Ravage is damage severely.   Not at all the same thing.

6. Khrushchev's successor : BREZHNEV.  Leonid, born 1906, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1964 until his death in 1982.

7. Texas ALer : STRO.   Astros, an American League baseball team, inexplicably named after George Jetson's dog.

8. What Tweety tawt he taw : TAT.   Like this.

9. Out of the wind : ALEE.  Gimmee shelter.

10. Pitcher in the woods : CAMPER.   Tent pitcher.

11. Spur on : IMPEL.  Basically the same meaning as propel.   The use of "IMPEL" has been steadily declining for 200 years.

12. Tribal symbol : TOTEM.   A spirit being, sacred object or symbol that serves as emblm for a clan or tribe.

15. Connecticut Ivy Leaguer : YALIE.    Student or graduate of Yale University.  These people are also know as Elis.

18. Fail to say : OMIT.   Leave out.

19. "Voilà!" cries : TADAS.   "There you are," or "I did it."

24. Glossy coating : ENAMEL.   Paint or the natural covering layer on your teeth.

26. Egg cell : OVUM.  Female reproductive cell in humans and animals.

28. "__ Boys": Alcott sequel : JO'S.   A Sequal to "Little Men," occurring 10 years later.

29. Rock to refine : ORE.   Pay dirt.

30. Practice exercise : DRILL.   A method of training and discipline.

31. How money might be lost : ON A BET.  One of many ways.

36. Fixes the fairway, say : SODS.   Here, a verb, meaning to install sod.

38. Soda jerk's workplace : MALT SHOP.

40. Makes a note of : JOTS DOWN.

41. Boston Garden hockey immortal : ORR.  Bobby.   YouTube has several long video compilations of his highlight moments.  Here is just one, and perhaps the most famous.

42. Spanish king : REY.  

44. Milan's Teatro alla __ : SCALA.   Opera house since 1778, one of the world's leading venues for opera and ballet.

46. Business deals : MERGERS.   The joining of two companies to make a new, bigger entity.  The opposite of what I had the last time I blogged.

48. John Glenn, for one : OHIOAN.   Do you know any others?

49. Words often starting a long shot : ONE IN . . .  Often followed by . . .  a million.

50. Blunder : GOOF.  All GOOFs [in this sense] are mistakes.  A blunder is a stupid or careless one.

51. Dungeons & Dragons spellcasters : MAGES.   D & D has several categories of characters, each with its own unique powers, potentials and vulnerabilities.

52. Demonstrate as true : PROVE.  Provide convincing evidence.

56. Tacks on : ADDS.  Emends.

58. Sporty car roof : T-TOP.   Removable roof panels make a vehicle so equipped into an almost-but-not-quite convertible.  

60. Farsi-speaking land : IRAN.   Across the gulf from Saudi Arabia, and contiguous with several other countries.

61. Eye sore : STYE.   An inflammation of a sebaceous gland in the eyelid, generally caused by a staph infection. I opted not to show any pictures.

63. Membership cost : FEE.   AKA Dues.

64. LAX overseer : FAA.   Federal Aviation Administration.   Are they lax?   I haven't flown in years.  You can enlighten me in comments.

Did you get the TADA, or did you not do?  That is the question.

That's all, folks.

Cool regards!

Dec 29, 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015 Mary Lou Guizzo

Theme: Roast Beef

17A. Kansas City baseball color : ROYAL BLUE

36A. Tavern with a view : ROOFTOP BAR

43A. Dilapidated ship : RUST BUCKET

61A. Bucking ride : RODEO BULL

11D. Tour de France wheels : RACING BIKE

29D. 13th-century English friar/philosopher : ROGER BACON. Who is Roger Bacon? LINK

68A. "We Have The Meats" fast food chain, and a homophonic hint to the six longest puzzle answers : ARBY'S

Argyle here. Plenty of entries so a few tricky spots. Mine was the left coast, middle.


1. Glass edge : RIM

4. Personal histories : PASTS

9. Infielder Rod in Cooperstown : CAREW. Remember him from last Thursday? And someone new 65A. Hall of Fame second baseman Bobby : DOERR. Wiki for this Red Soxer.

14. "Caught you!" : "A-HA!"

15. Stag, at a party : ALONE

16. Egg-shaped : OVATE

19. Battery acronym : NICAD. (nickel–cadmium)

20. Olympics skating analyst Ohno : APOLO. He was a short track speed skater.

21. Laborious tasks : TRAVAILS

23. Post-shower powder : TALC

26. "Twin Peaks" actress Sherilyn : FENN

27. USN officer : CDR. (Commander)

30. Buying plan with a down payment : LAYAWAY. Odd clue.

33. Highway sign : GAS

38. "In memoriam" bio : OBIT

39. English: Pref. : ANGLO

40. Dashed : RAN

41. Job that doesn't pay? : CRIME

42. "__ 101": Jamie Lynn Spears sitcom : ZOEY. Britney's sister on Nickelodeon.

45. Go astray : ERR

46. Thicker, as a beard : BUSHIER

47. Some MIT grads : EEs. (electrical engineers)

48. Indonesian island : BALI

50. Well-kept : NEAT

52. "That's shocking!" : "I'M AMAZED!"

56. Triumphant cries : TADAs. A welcomed sound.

60. Potato press : RICER

64. Sun-dried brick : ADOBE

66. Vintage roadster : REO

67. Guadalajara girls : NINAs

69. Woodsman's chopper : AXE


1. __ avis : RARA. (rare bird) 10D. For the birds? : AVIAN

2. All-You-Can-Eat-Pancakes chain : IHOP. (International House of Pancakes)

3. Spread on a BLT : MAYO. Should Steve have blogged today or what?

4. City near Stanford University : PALO ALTO. Located in Santa Clara County and the State of California.

5. Greece neighbor: Abbr. : ALB. (Albania)

6. Note after fa : SOL

7. Letter-shaped fastener : T-NUT

8. Clairvoyant : SEER

9. Transport, as on a factory belt : CONVEY

12. List-ending abbr. : ET AL.

13. Unites in marriage : WEDS

18. Bottom-row PC key : ALT

22. Off in the distance : AFAR

24. Thai language : LAO

25. Mediterranean island republic : CYPRUS

27. Hottest fashion : CRAZE

28. Philanthropist : DONOR

31. Embarrass : ABASH

32. Hope to participate : WANT IN

34. 'Til Tuesday lead vocalist Mann : AIMEE. I didn't know she is a bassist.

35. Decides not to dele : STETS

37. Swatter target : FLY

38. Tolkien beast : ORC

41. Museum overseers : CURATORS

43. All-Star Phillies catcher Carlos : RUIZ. Another ball player. Wiki

44. Pollen eater : BEE

46. Loud, raucous sounds : BLAREs. Like a tie-up at rush hour.

49. Tiny life form : AMEBA

51. Bill at a bar : TAB

52. OPEC founding member : IRAN

53. Calf-length skirt : MIDI

54. Wagner's Earth goddess : ERDA. A week ago Sunday: ["Ring Cycle" goddess : ERDA. German for "earth", right?]

55. Way in or out : DOOR

57. Battery name prefix with "cell" : DURA

58. "Jeopardy!" host Trebek : ALEX

59. Gin flavoring : SLOE

62. Belle of the ball : DEB. (debutante)

63. Suffix with trick : ERY. Enough trickery for one day.


Dec 28, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015 Warren Stabler

Theme: By The Numbers - 40's, 50's, 60's.

20. 19th-century military service revolver : COLT FORTY-FIVE

37. Steak sauce brand : HEINZ FIFTY-SEVEN

53. Highway originally from Chicago to Santa Monica : ROUTE SIXTY-SIX

Argyle here. If there is more to this than ending in double-digit numbers, I don't see it. Not as complex as Warren's Ground Hog Day puzzle last Feb.


1. "__, poor Yorick!": Hamlet : ALAS. Hamlet: Act 5, Scene 1.

5. Fig. on a new car window : MSRP. (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price)

9. B equivalent, in music : C FLAT

14. Phnom __, Cambodia : PENH. Capital city

Psa Thmei Market
15. Prefix meaning "god" : THEO

16. Vivien of "Gone With the Wind" : LEIGH. Katie Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler.

17. Jason's ship : ARGO

18. Walt's friend, and enemy, in "Breaking Bad" : HANK. No idea.

19. "L.A. Law" lawyer : ARNIE. No idea.

23. Visine dose : EYE DROP

24. In the thick of : AMIDST

27. Brit. reference : OED. The Oxford English Dictionary originally published in 1884 and there is an interesting story behind it, too.

28. Barbie's guy : KEN

30. Piddling amount : DRIB. Often partnered with DRAB. LINK

31. Famous : KNOWN

34. "__ bet?": "Care to wager?" : WANNA

36. Altar promise : I DO

40. Piercing tool : AWL

41. See 13-Down : YANKS. And 13D. With 41-Across, Bronx ball club, familiarly : THE

42. Slammin' Sammy of the links : SNEAD

43. Catches in the act : NABS

45. Robert E. Lee's org. : CSA. (Confederate States of America)

46. Asian New Year : TET

47. Position in the batter's box : STANCE

49. Luxury apartment feature : TERRACE

56. Under way, to Sherlock : AFOOT

58. Weight loss plan : DIET

59. Karma : FATE

60. Eponymous swindler Charles : PONZI. Quite a schemer.

61. Former student : ALUM

62. Fed. power dept. : ENER.

63. Plagued : BESET

64. Sulk : MOPE

65. From Chicago to Boston : EAST. For those with no wish to head West.


1. Quickly : APACE

2. "Bad, Bad" Brown of song : LEROY. There is a nice bio about Jim Croce with the clip if you go to YouTube.

3. One of four in a square : ANGLE

4. Debunked : SHOT DOWN

5. Highest peak in Ore. : MT. HOOD

6. Like a honed knife : SHARP

7. Landlord's charge : RENT

8. Slammer : POKY. Jail.

9. Insurance case : CLAIM

10. Marked by intense feeling : FERVID

11. Solid baseball hit : LINE DRIVE. (frozen rope)

12. IRS Form 1040 calculation : AGI. (adjusted gross income)

21. Agitated state : FRENZY

22. Keister : FANNY

25. Album's first half : SIDE A

26. Govt. obligation : T-BOND

28. "The Trial" novelist Franz : KAFKA

29. Tolkien tree giants : ENTs

31. Ruling descendants of Genghis : KHANs

32. Unfamiliar with : NEW AT

33. Some Oklahoma billionaires : OIL BARONS

34. Comes out on top : WINS

35. State as fact : ASSERT

38. Diamond surface : FACET

39. Competitor's payment : ENTRY FEE

44. Clock radio "Shut up!" button : SNOOZE

46. iPhone user's "Keep in touch" : TEXT ME

48. Be effective : CUT IT. Can you cut it?

49. Traffic jam : TIE UP

50. Yoga posture : ASANA. I'm starting to learn it - the word, not the positions.

51. Quotes as a source : CITES

52. Apply, as pressure : EXERT

54. Netherlands cheese : EDAM

55. Farm storage cylinder : SILO. Nit free today, I hope.

56. LAPD alert : APB. (all-points bulletin)

57. Friend's opposite : FOE


Dec 27, 2015

Sunday, Dec 27, 2015 Amy Johnson

Theme:  "Extra! Extra!" - The first word spells out "What's black and white and red (read) all over?"

23. *Bugs line : WHAT'S UP, DOC?

28. *Classic novel with the chapter "My Breaking In" : BLACK BEAUTY

37. *"End of discussion!" : AND THAT'S FINAL

51. *John Adams' home after the Market Street mansion : WHITE HOUSE
68. *"That's how the cookie crumbles" : AND SO IT GOES

88. *Whodunit staple : RED HERRING

96. *Soap set in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania : ALL MY CHILDREN
105. *No spring chicken : OVER THE HILL

118. Answer to the spoken riddle hidden in the answers to starred clues : A NEWSPAPER

We also have GAZETTES (27A. Martha's Vineyard papers). Part of the clue dupes the answer a bit.

Simple theme. When I saw "hidden" in the reveal clue, I thought the key words might be hidden in the middle and span across each theme answer.  

1. Duchamp genre : DADA. Nailed it. Easy upper left corner.

5. Toot one's own horn : GLOAT. Had BOAST.

10. In the thick of : AMONG

15. Prepare for a birth, in a way : NEST. Got me. I did not think of birds.

19. Not supportin' : AGIN

20. Moose meeting place : LODGE

21. Check : DETER. Simple one-word clue is often a bit tricky.

22. Munch Museum city : OSLO
25. Seat of New York's Oneida County : UTICA

26. Common parade street : MAIN

30. Babs Bunny, e.g. : DOE

31. Website for techies : CNET

33. Single or double : BED. You had HIT also, right?

34. Title teacher in a 1967 film : SIR.  "To Sir, with Love". I thought of Mr. Tibbs, who's not a teacher.

43. Guinea pig, e.g. : PET

46. Part of a Latin trio : AMAS. Amo, amas, amat.

48. It may be close : SHAVE

49. Meter reading : USAGE

50. Eggs in a clinic : OVA
54. Air quality concern : SMOG

55. Sounds heard with a stethoscope : RALES. And 114D. Arid : SERE. Both are words we used to see a lot in the old Wayne R. Williams puzzles.

57. Hyundai sedan : SONATA

58. Glue base : GELATIN

60. Agcy. with facilities in Denver and West Point : US MINT. Did not know the West Point locale. Thought the answer might be military-related.

61. Ben Jonson epitaph words : ORARE. "Pray for Ben Jonson”.

63. Like pre-Easter diets : LENTEN

65. Comédie part : ACTE

66. To be, in Paris : ETRE

72. Hardy heroine : TESS

73. Capone nemesis : NESS

74. Everett of "Citizen Kane" : SLOANE. Drew a blank. Just could not get into "Citizen Kane".

75. Cryptic letters : RUNES

77. Drying-out sites : REHABS

79. Quake danger : TSUNAMI.  Scary image. 

83. Delivery van assignments : ROUTES

86. Baker with Grammys : ANITA. Nailed it.

87. BC and Cal, e.g. : SCHS. Thought of Canada.

90. Base VIP : GEN

91. Popular Girl Scout cookie : SAMOA

93. Indian wrap: Var. : SAREE. SARI is the correct wrap.

94. Grumpy mood : SNIT

95. Prior to, poetically : ERE

100. Mdse. : GDS (Goods)

101. Gentle treatment, briefly : TLC

102. Weighty refs. : OEDs. Oxford English Dictionary. Light when online.

103. Some dishwashers : GEs

111. Polytheistic creed : PAGANISM. I thought "Polytheistic" is some kind of plastic.

116. Rate of speed : PACE

117. Pope's muse : ERATO. Alexander Pope.

120. Like many a quote: Abbr. : ANON

121. Home to the Sforza Castle : MILAN. Well, Splynter might know this castle. Not me.

122. "Buckaroo Holiday" ballet : RODEO. Also unknown to me. See here.

123. Driver's warning : FORE. On the tee box. Not HORN.

124. Advance : LEND

125. Argues vehemently : YELLS

126. German steel hub : ESSEN

127. Secondhand : USED


1. University of Georgia athlete, familiarly : DAWG. Already had DAW? in place, so easy answer.

2. Ottoman general : AGHA

3. Actress Cameron : DIAZ

4. Paid for a hand : ANTED

5. Wheat protein : GLUTEN. If you like Shanghai cuisine, you probably know dried gluten. Very tasty when properly prepared.

6. Easy gait : LOPE

7. Bookie's numbers : ODDS

8. Back in the day : AGO

9. Sleuth, slangily : TEC. Detective.

10. Former minors : ADULTS

11. Prefix with ethics : META. New word to me: meta-ethics.

12. Of the ear : OTIC

13. Banjo part with frets : NECK

14. Bit of this, bit of that : GRAB BAG. Thought of our own grab bag cards. Kids like them.

15. Rootless one : NOMAD

16. Jacob's womb-mate : ESAU

17. Cut (open), as a letter : SLIT

18. Tiger with a red scarf : TONY. Tony the Tiger.

24. Ancient gathering place : STOA. Or AGORA.

28. __ noir : BETE

29. Sushi bar suppliers : EELERS. Love eel, never met an eeler.

31. Scene using stunt drivers : CHASE

32. Piercing site : NAVEL

34. Cutting tools : SAWS

35. Letters before two cents? : IMHO. Loved the clue. 

36. Whatever the weather : RAIN OR SHINE. And 43. Tricky force tactic : POLICE STING. Great fill.

38. Brit. medal : DSO. Distinguished Service Order

39. Tough guy : THUG. Those Isis guys are just thugs. I won't call them tough guys.

40. Going through the roof : FUMING. And 66. Infuriate : ENRAGE

41. Sees through : IS ONTO

42. Critic who won't quit : NAG
44. Some are blessed : EVENTS

45. Sweet and sour : TASTES.  Have you had Kabocha before, Jayce/Steve? Eager to see if D-Otto likes his.

47. Eyes persistently : STARES AT

52. Pilot's update, briefly : ETA

53. Heckle, say : HARASS

54. Editor's "Leave it" : STET

56. Many open mic night performers : AMATEURS

59. Sci-fi staple : ALIEN

60. On the fence : UNSURE

62. Blowup: Abbr. : ENL

64. "I do not see why I should __ turn back": Frost : EER
67. Many a concertgoer : TEENER. Most of us just say "teenager".

69. Many a startup : DOT COM

70. Move nonchalantly : SASHAY. Hi there, Lucina!

71. Burden : ONUS

76. "Neither snow __ rain ... " : NOR

78. Lava rock : BASALT

80. "It's __!": speakeasy warning : A RAID
81. Keyboardist Saunders and crossword immortal Reagle : MERLS. We'll never see a genius like Merl again.

82. Pegged : ID'ED

84. Oklahoma's "Wheat Capital" : ENID

85. LAPD ranks : SGTS

87. Tee sizes, initially : SML. Huh, "initially?"

89. Nautical pronoun : HER. Had SHE.

92. Speculative lead-to-gold practice : ALCHEMY

93. Author Silverstein : SHEL

97. Eyes in texts : COLONS :-0

98. Encourages : EGGS ON. Come back often LaLaLinda.

99. Minimum-range tide : NEAP

101. Graph revelation : TREND. Gary would have linked a terrific graph.

104. Major mix-up : SNAFU

105. Down Under gem : OPAL

106. Rooftop sight : VANE

107. Micro- or macro- subj. : ECON

108. Buffalo's lake : ERIE

109. Area where a pass may be needed : HALL. All crosses. Disadvantage of never attending any school here. No "hall passes" in our schools.

110. Angled print: Abbr. : ITAL

111. Xing people? : PEDS. Ah, I was thinking of stars. Xing (level tone) means "star" in Chinese.

112. __ bit: slightly : A WEE

113. Wall St. highlights : IPOs

115. '60s TV barn resident : MR ED

118. "__ You Experienced": Hendrix album : ARE

119. Negatives : NOS

Happy Birthday to our pilot Dudley, who's been with the blog for over five years. Any adventurous plans today, Dudley? This picture was taken during Montana's visit to Northeast in September, 2013.

Left to right: Marti, Dudley, Hondo & Montana


Dec 26, 2015

Saturday, Dec 26, 2015 Ed Sessa

Theme: None

Words: 70 (missing J,Q,X,Z)

Blocks: 34

  Mr. Sessa's name in the constructor's space usually means "fail" in my space, but today was a break from the norm.  It was a long December at UPS - I was in a new position, and we had a poorly managed peak season, but I got thru it, with just three more days to go before it becomes a ghost town thru April.  But I digress.  The grid did not seem intimidating, though I did think there were a tad too many proper names - all of which filled in with a few perps, so not that many WAGs.  Two spanners and a 13-letter central fill, all of them not in my wheelhouse, at least as clued;

17. Condition resulting from oversharing : FACEBOOK FATIGUE - I am not on Facebook; however, I did karaoke at the restaurant's annual party on Wednesday; got a lot of gaping stares - guess they didn't think the mechanic could sing~!  I know someone's phone camera was recording; might go viral on YouTube....not

32. Noodles and beans dish : PASTA e FAGIOLI - isn't this the classic 'slander' for Italians and the language~?

52. Little Johnny Jones, in a George M. Cohan song : YANKEE DOODLE BOY



1. Hero married to Jimena Díaz : EL CID - learning moment

6. Lip : SASS - seemed too easy for Saturday

10. Quarter moons, e.g. : ARCS

14. Sierra __ : LEONE

15. Coaster section : LOOP - guess on my part, but then again, what else in 4 letters~?

16. Gun barrel measure : BORE

20. Florida horse country city : OCALA

21. SEAL insignia : TRIDENT

22. Discipline : CHASTEN

24. Grouse or carp : KVETCH - pondered a single word for "fowl and fish"

25. Dull finishes : MATTES

26. Commercial prize : CLIO

28. Word for a lady : SHE

29. Space : AREA

30. Graceful : GAINLY - 'Tis the season~! - and in this season of sharing, I found one for the ladies - oh, and I found this, too

37. Cat, at times : YOWLER - I tried PURRER

38. Road warning : HONK - I was thinking "SIGN"

40. Dinner hrs. : PMs -

43. A&W rival : DAD'S - did not immediately come to mind

44. 44-Down model : FIESTA - pleased with myself for getting this and it's cross-reference from just the "S"; 44d. 44-Across maker : FORD

46. May 1 Hawaiian celebration : LEI DAY

48. Across the board : TOTALLY - I did consider this, but hesitated

49. First name in '60s beach party films : ANNETTE - Funicello,  and I got it, but the whole beach party thing was before before my time

51. Met approval : BRAVO - clever - the Met, as in the opera

56. Miracle Mets star Tommie : AGEE - I tried "JOHN", but he was TommY, and a Yankee - not a fan of that team, being from L.I.

57. City SSE of Sana'a : ADEN - I knew the city was in the Middle East....

58. "Fingers crossed" : I HOPE - and an IHOP clue at 36d.

59. Koppel and Knight : TEDs

60. Org. whose logo includes a cocktail and a car key : MADD

61. Spanish seashore : COSTA - my good friend Gerry just popped down there Dec 7th for a 3 month stay; last year he was going to "write his memoirs"; I wonder if he plans to work on them again


1. St. Nicholas, in the poem : ELF - "a right jolly old..." - there are verses I did not know about

2. Verdant stretch : LEA

3. Reggae singer whose name sounds like a beverage : COCOA TEA - according to my search, it IS a beverage

4. Blissful : IN ECSTASY - I can think of a few things that would get me there

5. It has its pros and cons : DEBATE - with the two "E"s in place, I went with SeNATe

6. "Wake of the Ferry" painter : SLOAN - all perps

7. Thumbs-up : A-OK

8. "Wait a moment," to Romeo : SOFT - I had the "S" and "O"; the rest was perps - took a moment to understand where the clue was coming from

9. Like some live wires : SPARKING - sorry, can't resist - one of my favorite songs to play on the drums, especially with the cymbal chokes at the end - and Nikki Sixx on fire....

Mötley Crüe - Live Wire

10. Put up with : ABIDE

11. Webster's cousin? : ROGET'S - and his Thesaurus

12. Nestlé chocolate bar : CRUNCH

13. Bristle : SEETHE

18. Fútbol cheers : OLÉs

19. Copenhagen's __ Gardens : TIVOLI

22. Awards co-hosted by Brad Paisley: Abbr. : CMA - country music awards - not my thing - see above

23. Instrument featured in the opening of "Waltz of the Flowers" : HARP - and strangely, when it comes to music, I always love to hear The Nutcracker Suite on my Christmas station

26. Some Wi-Fi providers : CAFÉS

27. Storyteller : LIAR

30. Neuter, as a horse : GELD

31. "Song of the Volga Boatmen" refrain : YO HEAVE HO - didn't know it, but it fit with some perps

33. Until now : TO DATE

34. One getting more boos than cheers : AWAY TEAM

35. "La Bamba" band : LOS LOBOS - about the only reference I knew

36. IHOP section?: Abbr. : INT'L - House Of Pancakes

39. Michael's wife in "The Godfather" films : KAY

40. Not be serious about : PLAY AT

41. Household : MENAGE - can't think of this as "stand alone", especially with the clue that follows:

42. Transgressed : SINNED

45. Stressed, in a way : ITALIC

47. Hockey maneuvers : DEKES - have not played hockey in weeks

48. Govt. debt instrument : T-BOND

50. Icelandic literary work : EDDA - knew from doing crosswords

53. Ref. section staple : OED - Oxford English Dictionary

54. Go (for) : OPT

55. Vote for : YEA


Dec 25, 2015

Friday, December 25, 2015, Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: I before E and then wait and C. Your Christmas present is a structured anagram wrapped inside a pun without any Christmas carols.

I am back for my final blog of 2015, and fittingly it is to write up a Jeffrey Wechsler creation. By my impromptu count, this will be the 15th one I have done in '15. This is a wide open grid with 63 theme letters and 93 white squares not near a black one (open). The center is a grid spanning fill with triple sevens in the NW and SW and triple sixes in the NE and SE. Each theme fill has has a very consistent four letter ending anagram with an I in the middle and a silent E at the end.

When I saw lite and mite I was thinking maybe a word ladder was coming our way, and tire seemed confirm that until rite popped into my head and then I 'saw' the earlier anagrams. I wish I could come up with a FIRE/ RIFE fill to make it a ladder as well, but I am sure JW already saw that path was closed. Lots of common crossword fill (e.g. AREA, ETNA, ETE. IRA, AMI unusual for Jeffrey) and a few of his trademark multi-word fill. Let's unwrap this baby.

19A. Word game for beginners? : SCRABBLE LITE (12). I like the clue and fill , but I did not see the gimmick here. TILE becomes LITE.

27A. Ordinary little insect? : STANDARD MITE (12). TIME becomes MITE. Very nice clue, I do hate those dust mite pics.
37A. Radial destroyed during testing? : SACRIFICIAL TIRE (15). Sacrificial RITE is what made me understand where JW was going. Funny fill.

45A. Fate of one constantly reliving the past? : CIRCULAR LIFE (12). The ever needed circular FILE  for all of those great interoffice memos that appear in a big firm.

55A. Memoirs of an African river explorer? : I WALK THE NILE (12). We will let Mr. Cash sing us into the rest of the puzzle.


1. Sport enjoyed by Henry VIII : TENNIS. This FACT I learned watching the TUDORS on Showtime.

7. Goes for broke : RISKS ALL.

15. Sitcom friend of Jerry : ELAINE.

16. "It eludes me ... " : I DON'T SEE. And generally I do not care.

17. Olympian drink : NECTAR. Depends on who you ASK.

18. Great Sand Dunes National Park location : COLORADO. You want to see? LINK.

21. It starts in juin : ETE. Juin is June in French, not too hard to guess.

22. Big Ben trio : III. On the clock...

23. Fund-raising target : ALUM. Friday so you get no hint that it is an abbreviation.

32. Chancel neighbor : APSE.

35. Edge : INCH. You can edge toward someone or inch like INCH BY INCH.

36. Metaphoric vilification : MUD.No politics, so no mudslinging.

42. Waterfront org. : ILA. Those fun longshoremen.
43. Penicillin, often : CURE. We will not ask what we are using it to cure.

44. Province of Catania attraction : ETNA. We just had this.

50. "A Day Without Rain" artist : ENYA. She is like a dandelion in the spring. LINK. (2:45)

51. Indefinite pronoun : ONE. Not male or female.

52. U.S. Army award since 1918 : DSMDistinguished Service Medal.

61. Liqueur made with Jamaican rum : TIA MARIA.. Some HISTORY. I never knew this brand was owned by the people who also owned Kahlua.

64. Ancient looker : ADONIS. Slightly censored I guess, here with Venus.

65. Inborn : IMMANENT. One of a confusing TRIO.

66. Hotel supply : LINENS.

67. Security booth site : MAINGATE. Disney?

68. Green Party concern : ENERGY.


1. Frazzled : TENSE. Relax the rest are easy....

2. Choose : ELECT.

3. Mother-of-pearl : NACRE. The inside of the shell or the outside of the pearl.

4. Female rock guitarist Strauss : NITA. Hmm, I WATCH and am reminded of a recent female bassist.

5. "Soon" : IN A BIT.

6. Landlocked European nation : SERBIA. There are 16 landlocked countries in Europe: Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland and Vatican City, only one has six letters.

7. Dirty __ : RICE. Interestingly, Barry Silk had the fill DIRTY RICE and 20D. Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer : LIN both in his November 14 offering.

8. One with loyal followers : IDOL. and 14D. Confident and loyal sort, so it's said : LEO.

9. Most piano sonatas : SOLI. One player.

10. Square or slip follower : KNOT.

11. Continuous flow : STREAM. Like videos these days.

12. Botanist Gray : ASA. I was ready for this thanks to Mark Bickham and the slew of obscure ASA clues.

13. Wasn't behind anyone : LED.

24. Boundary : LIMIT.

25. Rush hour improbability : U-TURN. Two days in a row. Much nicer than UIE or UEY.

26. Euripides tragedy : MEDEA. An oddly unsuccessful PLAY about the tragedy of Jason.

27. Sun. address : SERmon.

28. Kitchen gadget : DICER. The earlier rice made this easier.

29. Singer DiFranco : ANI.

30. Alabama label : RCA. Does anybody really care about record companies any more?

31. UPS competitor : DHL.

32. Cold __ : AS ICE. All I heard was THIS. (3:15).

33. "The Python Years" diarist Michael : PALIN. Everyone get the spelling correct now?

34. Like nightmares : SCARY.

38. Hosp. section : ICUIntensive Care Unit.

39. Spoon extension? : FUL. You want one MORE? (2:32).

40. Investment initials : IRA. Individual Retirement Account.

41. Apparel with a message, perhaps : TEE. A xmas present for CED?  LINK.

46. South American crocodilian : CAIMAN. I hope you all remembered these little guys.

47. Developer's offering : LOT. Real estate developer.

48. Checkup request : INHALE. Did you play doctor when you were little?

49. Supply with, as carrots to a food processor : FEED IN. Did we have this recently?

52. 24-hour eatery, often : DINER.

53. Medical support : SLING.

54. Complicated : MESSY. Speaking of which...

56. Big name in early computers : WANG. Does history REPEAT?

57. Expanse : AREA.

58. Home filter target : LINT.

59. The Duchess of Cambridge, familiarly : KATE.

60. "... for __ of woman born / Shall harm Macbeth" : NONE. Jeffrey's dose of Will.

Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.

61. Robbins of "The Shawshank Redemption" : TIM. One of my top ten favorite movies, from a Stephen King story. TRAILER. (2:11)

62. "__ Man": Spencer Davis Group hit : I'M A this SONG (2:52) followed immediately by its palindromic pal....

63. Côte d'Azur companion : AMI. We end with French, so I will say à bientôt, and hope you all are having a great Christmas.  Thanks for sharing your lives here at the Corner. And JW, thank you for a really great year. Lemonade out.

Notes from C.C.:
1) Happy Birthday to Kathy (Yellowrocks), who's now in New York celebrating this special day with her son and his family. She continues to inspire me with her positive attitude facing various difficulties in life. I'm so happy that she can now dance like she did before her knee surgeries. 

Kathy & Buddha, Japan, 2008

2) Happy Birthday also to Lorraine (Fermatprime), who's been with the blog for a long time. Lorraine is an accomplished math professor and swims daily in her own heated pool. She also does more puzzles every day than most of us.

Thanksgiving, 2015