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


Tinbeni said...

Happy Birthday Yellowrocks & Fermatprime

D N F ... self imposed ... I'm in Tarpon Springs ... nothing here is Cold AS"_ _ _."

Fave today was getting to Wish You a Merry Christmas while having coffee with some TIA MARIA added.


OwenKL said...

The puzzle was a challenge, with more changed letters than I care to enumerate, but I got it done and got my ta-da with no more help than what I got from the perps! The theme, on the other hand -- I typed the theme entries on a sticky and stared at them for the longest time! No reveal, and today I could have used it. I thought maybe those cIcE words were a word ladder, but that didn't work out. I tried to ignore the lead words, since I|WALK|THE didn't fit any pattern, and that was a mistake. I left it alone to go get a snack, and when I got back, the answer jumped out at me!

What Can Happen?
A beginner's SCRABBLE TILE may be LITE;
ONE can TIME one's STANDARD little MITE;
WALK a LINE the length of the NILE;

'Twas a girl named ELAINE who loved eating RICE.
She'd eat it hot, or as cold AS ICE.
She'd make it with a DICER,
She'd have it at a DINER,
She'd drench it in NECTAR to give it some spice!

Hungry Mother said...

Nice Christmas present this morning. I got the theme right away (somehow).

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Wishing a Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and an especially merry birthday to our dear Fermatprime and Yellowrocks!

I wasn't sure what was going on with the theme for this one until I got to SACRIFICIAL TIRE and I had my light bulb moment. After that, I was able to throw down CIRCULAR LIFE and I WALK THE NILE with no perp help at all, so that was nice.

Everything else was smooth sailing today except for IMMANENT, which took all the perps to confirm. NITA was a complete unknown, but the perps took care of her so quickly I didn't even notice.

Have a great day, all! Today it's time to get together with all my Jewish relatives and have our traditional junky Chinese food feast. Egg rolls, crab rangoons, egg foo yung, boneless spare ribs... not a "real" Chinese dish to be had. But hey -- traditions are traditions! Besides, even my wife and in-laws (who are Chinese) enjoy the stuff as long as we don't it "Chinese" food...

Londoner said...

Technically the Big Ben trio of III is incorrect. Big Ben refers to the Bell within the Tower. The Tower is actually named the Elizabeth Tower, upon which is a clock face, where the III would be seen.

desper-otto said...

Feliz NaviDads and NaviMoms! And before I forget, happy birthday YR and Fermat!

Thought I was going to crash and burn in New England. I remembered seeing sand dunes near the lake in MICHIGAN, and that bollixed up that area, but good. I finally saw the LITE. Phew.

Exactly what is a DICER? If I want to dice something, I just use a knife. The cw kitchen gadget is usually a RICER. You need something similar to make potato dumplings, which is what we're making today. The preparation takes several hours and involves a SACRIFICIAL pillowcase. I getting hungry already.

Big Easy said...

Well It's Christmas already. I was expecting a tough one today and I got it with a DNF because the SW just wouldn't fall. After figuring out the I-E switch earlier, I wrote THE NILE and thought it would be either ON or OF THE NILE. FERGie I knew of but not KATE. Filter was either DIRT, LINT, or ODOR. WANG I knew. WAGGGED TIM but IMMANENT- never could have filled it and I thought a TIA MARIA ( Aunt Mary) was the equivalent of a Shirley Temple or Roy Rogers drink for kids so when I saw rum that never crossed my mind. Misspelling CAIMAN with a 'Y" didn't help either. So much for my shortcomings.

Happy birthday Lorraine and Kathy. The clue for MUD was very original, and I haven't heard that saying in years.

ET AL, LALA, ECON- three abbrs. stacked in unusual. Other unknowns were WIIG, PALIN, ENYA, and NITA. Too tough for me this am.

Anonymous said...

Londoner is absolutely correct. I was rushing here to cry "foul" for the same reason. Per Wiki:

"The clock and dials were designed by Augustus Pugin. The clock dials are set in an iron frame 23 feet (7.0 m) in diameter, supporting 312 pieces of opal glass, rather like a stained-glass window. Some of the glass pieces may be removed for inspection of the hands. The surround of the dials is gilded. At the base of each clock dial in gilt letters is the Latin inscription:


Which means O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First.

Unlike most other Roman numeral clock dials, which show the '4' position as 'IIII', the Great Clock faces depict '4' as 'IV'."

Notice how, in the final line, the entry refers to the dials as "The Great Clock" in capital form. Big Ben is the bell, as we Jeopardy fans are well aware.

Sorry rich, Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to reference my claim.

Here is Big Ben. Prolly not a III to be found.

Its ok though. I knew what you intended.

Lemonade714 said...

Two Christmas babies in our midst, Cool. Happy birthday and many more!!!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

The Big Ben clue had me baffled, as I was thinking of the bell. I see others spotted the problem already. Otherwise, reasonably smooth sailing. Had Kramer before Elaine, which slowed the NW a tad. The female guitarist was a complete unknown - I didn't care for hard rock anyway.

Happy Birthday Fermat and YR! And Merry Christmas to those that celebrate it.

thehondohurricane said...

A Friday success for Hondo is as rare as winning Powerball. Well today I accomplished it and without a lot of trouble. I figured out Jeff's gimmick (theme) early on and that helped quite a bit. The SE & SW were my stumbling areas. Took a while to suss them out and Damn near blew it. Spelled IMMANENT Imminent first time through. Just felt Caimin s/b CAIMAN so I changed the I to an A.

62 & 63 down use the same three letters. 61D uses two of them. And the they up show in 46D. Wonder if that was part of Jeff's plan or was it only happenstance?

I hope todays solve becomes a habit because I recently resolved (in writing) to have no DNF's in 2016. Have a feeling this resolution could go down the tubes pretty fast!

Happy Birthday to YR & Ferm. Have a lot of fun today.

Unknown said...

My laptop will not show me the finished puzzle?

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I didn't see the theme until I filled in I Walk The Nile and then the lightbulb came on! Fun puzzle with some clever cluing (except for the you-know-what 3 letter word!). I can never remember caiman; also, had Dell before Wang but perps corrected that.

Thanks, Jeffrey, for an enjoyable Friday outing and thanks, Lemony, for the grand tour.

Very Happy Birthday wishes to Kathy and Lorraine; hope your day is special.

Merry Christmas to all.

Anonymous said...

SW corner is tough when you spell "cayman", and I always do.
Merry Christmas

Husker Gary said...

TIAMARIA, IMA, and IMMANET?? finally showed up and then all I had to do was change SERA to CURE and I was gold. A Christmas present that needed this disclaimer. Five fun fills – Wow!

-I filled in STANDARD MITE before the Duhbug hit!
-Henry’s actual court at Hampton Court with a lovely likeness on wall!
-We visited sand dunes at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation AREA
-Hawkeye gave a colonel a penicillin shot because he had caught the, uh, “love bug”
-A crossword without ETNA is like politics without MUD
-I never check hotel LINENS for small livestock. Do you?
-Even Disney security agents at MAIN GATES were friendly
-Somehow I knew NACRE but not Dirty RICE
-You can’t be a Boy Scout if you can’t tie a square KNOT. Left over right, right over left!
-Tis better to have LED
-Slick AS ICE would have worked better in Omaha yesterday when they got 7” of snow instead of predicted 1” on top of rain
-People with SLINGS should hand out cards with the details
-KATE may be an anachronism but she’s a cute one and seems very nice
-I first had “…for WONT of woman” harming Macbeth
-Happy Birthday to YR and Ferm who share their day with that carpenter from Nazareth (howzat for non-religious?)

Anonymous said...

I can't believe our paper published this rubbish

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.. Merry Christmas.

Happy Birthday to Yellowrocks and Fermatprime. Hope you have a great day in spite of the competition from that "other" holiday.

Enjoyed Jeffrey's puzzle today. Slow going at first but when I sussed the anagram schtick, the rest filled in quickly. No lookups were needed.
INCH - Metric units are not acceptable for edging along.
STREAM - For continuous flow. That's what my Urologist calls it.

Have a great day.

Avg Joe said...

Challenging outing today. Elect, nectar and ete filled quickly, but having in a sec kept that corner from coming together until the end. Got the theme with the sacrificial tire, and it helped a lot, but didn't make things easy. Wanted Cayman as well, but a little voice in my head said nope. Not knowing immanent in that usage didn't help in that area either. I'm familiar with the "widespread" context, but not "inborn". But it all came out in the wash in what seemed like a Saturday time.

A very happy birthday to YR and Fermat! Tough day to have a birthday, but you had no choice in the matter.

And I'm happy that you were adequately garlicked yesterday Barry. :-)

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

This one beat me up pretty bad.

We had a wonderful day with the fam yesterday. of to T-Town today to see my sis and Gloria's bro.

Here are a couple more songs for the day. Song 1. Song 2.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.


Lucina said...

Merry Christmas, Blog Buddies!

Triumph today as I finished a tough Jeffrey Wechsler unassisted! I remembered TENNIS from having visited that very court many years ago so that got me off to a pleasant start. It took until the end to see the theme but it hit me hard once I did. The bottom was quite challenging and WANG seemed wrong but it all worked out well. Didn't know TIAMARIA was made with rum. I'm not a big fan of rum.

Had to change TOWELS to LINENS and then that corner fell.

Thank you, Jeffrey, for this doable puzzle and Lemonade. I always learn something from you.

Happy birthday, Kathy and Lorraine! I hope it's special for you in spite of the holiday.

Have a joyful, Christmas Day, everyone!

Manac said...

Merry Christmas everybody!
Managed some of the puzzle in what
time I had.
No DF joke about Wang.
I still drive by those towers occasionally.
Don't know who owns them now. Maybe I should read the sign next time.

Off to the in-laws.
Have a great day!

C6D6 Peg said...

Thanks, JW, for another fun puzzle, although A FIW. Took a bit to get the theme, but once SACRIFICEDTIRE filled it, the rest was history.

Thanks, Lemonade, for another year of Friday's explanations!

Merry Christmas to all!

Chairman Moe said...

"Puzzling Thoughts":

Made another walk to the 7/11 this am to pick up a paper; once you get hooked on having a morning "fix" (doing a Xword puzzle) it's a hard habit to break!

Typical Friday for me; my print edition done in pen looks like a Rorschach image in the NW and SE, as I put GEORGE before ELAINE and TOWELS before LINENS

My other hiccups were: IN A SEC before IN A BIT; SERA before CURE; FED before FUL (Spoon extension); OUR before ONE; and CAYMAN before CAIMAN. I "got" the theme after solving the last of them (CIRCULAR LIFE). Oddly I filled in the others without "knowing" what they (anagrams) were

Regarding TIA MARIA, that was always my favorite of the two coffee liqueurs; but I had no idea it was rum-based

Enjoy the rest of the day! Happy birthday to YR and FMP

Montana said...

No time to attempt puzzle today, but want to wish Happy a Birthday to 2 ladies my son says share Isaac Newton's birthday. (Wikipedia agrees)

Have a great weekend, everybody

Montana (in CO)

Chickie said...

Hello Everyone and a Happy Birthday to the Christmas girls, Yellowrocks, and Fermatprime. May your day be one of celebration.

A DNF for me today. Jeffrey Wechsler's puzzles always give me a run for my money and he usually wins.

Have a great rest of the day everyone.

Misty said...

Sadly a DNF this morning, especially sad since the theme is really cute. But I won't let it spoil a sunny California Christmas Day.

Happy birthday, Christmas babies, Yellowrocks and Fermatprime. Have a wonderful, wonderful day today!

And I wish the same for all our wonderful blog friends! Merry Christmas, and thank you for your lovely friendships.

Anonymous T said...

Merry Christmas & HBDs to YR & FP! Both of you add so much to the blog; Thank you and enjoy your day... Apparently all the stores look forward to it too :-)

No time to play today's pzl (OK I tried real-quick-like and only got PALIN & drop'd in a dirty bird (mine's brined & roasting now), so "bet's it al"... @7a Ooops).

I'll catch up after the festivities. I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

Cheers, -T

Bill G. said...

Happy birthday to Yellowrocks and Fermatprime. Happy Christmas to them and everybody else too!

It's been said several times how much I enjoy Love Actually. I came across the end of another favorite feel-good movie last night; Rudy. What a great story.

I really enjoyed the last two day's puzzles, hard and with clever themes. There are those of us who also enjoy the hard Saturday puzzles without a theme. Explain to me why, given the choice of two difficult puzzles with equally clever cluing but one without a theme, why would a person prefer the themeless one over the one with the clever theme? I'm not whinging; I just don't understand the appeal.

A large prime rib roast is sizzling in the oven. I'm sure it will be great with two kids, grandson, two dogs and family add-ons. We had crepes this morning.

Lucina said...

Solving themeless puzzles is challenging and the harder the better. I've done entire books of themeless puzzles and love them. Of course, a theme adds elegance and enjoyment on a different level and I naturally prefer those but I like to give myself that extra challenge.

Yellowrocks said...

No access to the puzzle today. Best wishes for a wonderful birthday, Lorraine. I love having a Christmas birthday. We will celebrate it this evening after all the Christmas hoopla has died down. This morning I received another butterfly, a lovely necklace for my collection.
Thanks for all your kind thoughts and greetings.
Merry Christmas.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Thanks, Lemonade, for getting me to look closer and find the anagram theme. After reading your opening words, I went back to unscramble the four letter endings, and so got my own "Aha!" moments. Much appreciated!

A challenging but fulfilling pzl...

A MERRY CHRISTMAS to all! And to all, a "Glæd Geol!"

Pat said...

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate the day! I hope everyone had a great day, even if you don't celebrate this holiday.

Happiest of birthdays to Fermatprime and Yellowrocks. I have twin nephews who also celebrate their birthdays today.

Jeffrey W. proved once again he's my superior! DNF. There's always Monday and Tuesday. Thanks for the 'splanations, Lemonade!


Big Easy said...

Bill G & Lucina- personally I prefer the themeless puzzles because on a themed puzzle, if you solve the gimmick early the rest of the puzzle is not that challenging. When I pick up the Sunday paper, it has a published name and I get a marks-a-lot and write through it to try solve without additional help other than the clue. There are no names listed on the daily puzzles.

That being said, I admire the ingenuity of the constructors who can come up with the 4,5,& 6 themed puzzles in a 15X15 grid. They must be harder to build but I find them much easier to solve.

Lucina said...

Big Easy@7:29
I agree with that; themed puzzles are much easier to solve. I guess that's why I enjoy the challenge of themeless ones.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! I shouldn't have even tried to do the puzzle this morning. I was getting ready to go to my son's house and decided I had a little extra time. Forgot it was a Friday puzzle that takes longer. I got the theme okay, but the fill was so hard, I was impatiently doing many more red-letter alphabet runs to get a place to start. So I wasted a good puzzle that I might have enjoyed more tomorrow. Oh well, once I start, I don't like to quit.

Lemonade: Enjoyed your links tonight when I got home.

We stopped at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado for a picnic with our two sons. The visit had two memorable things: The toilets were stopped up (with sand? All that sand made me wish I was a cat.) The chipmunks were unusually friendly. We have a picture of one perched on my husband's boot eating bread out of his hand.

Penicillin wasn't "hive" which is what I got last time I took it -- lots of big itchy red ones. Didn't CURE a thing.

Kamon, Caymon, Caiman.

Knew ASA Gray. Don't know how.

Happy birthday to Kathy & Lorraine and wish you many more.

Chilly day, but my son grilled delicious prime t-bone & rib-eye steaks that they get fresh off the farm from a friend.
Hadn't had a steak for a while. Great treat! Got to see my son's basement renovation which is a lot nicer than expected altho
far from finished. Made me wish I were still able to go help by slapping on some polyurethane where needed. I did most of the finish on their upstairs woodwork 12 years ago.

Beach Bum said...

Well, I just learned something. I wasn't aware St. Stephen's tower had been renamed. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Before being named the Elizabeth Tower in 2012, it was the Clock Tower. Don't know St. Stephens Tower

Blue Iris said...

I hope you all had Merry Christmas! And a very HBTY to Fermat and YR !

The Jewish community here serves Christmas dinner to Sheltered Living and the mentally disabled today. Very nice article in today's paper.

We always have a candlelight dinner of Spinach Lasagna on Christmas Eve and then open our stocking and presents. Both the twins came home, so just the four of us. We had Pecan Coffee Ring for breakfast this morning and spent a large part of the day watching Christmas movies and the hockey game. I, of course, slept the greater part of the day but still enjoyed having everyone here except our oldest daughter in Florida.

I visited the Colorado Sand Dunes as a teenager. Remember we had to be careful where to park the camper because the river would appear during the night on what was dry land during the day.

Nice to hear from LaLaLInda!

Hope everyone is enjoying the unseasonably warm weather.