Dec 20, 2015

Sunday, Dec 20, 2015 Garry Morse

Theme: "La-la Land" - Each two-word theme entry has LA & LA in them.

22A. Cocktail made with Southern Comfort : ALABAMA SLAMMER. What's your favorite cocktail?

28A. Starbucks order : VANILLA LATTE. I remember the first time I visited Starbucks in Guangzhou. Holy smokes! I spent almost 100 Chinese Yuan for a cup of a coffee and a tiny piece of sweet something. The delicious lunch at the local diners cost about 10 Yuan.

57A. Windows material : PLATE GLASS
74A. With "The," 2002 Steven Pinker best-seller subtitled "The Modern Denial of Human Nature" : BLANK SLATE. Not familiar it the book or the author.

100A. Security measure : BURGLAR ALARM

108A. Modifying words : RELATIVE CLAUSE. New phrase to me.
31D. Steinbeck novel set in Monterey : TORTILLA FLAT

42D. Dog once shunned because it wasn't black : CHOCOLATE LAB. Did not know this.

Simple & elegant theme. Reminds me of my R2- D2 theme a while ago. Oh, Argyle, I just noticed two of the pictures in your write-up are now invalid. At least, no lawyer or law firm wrote to me to remove those two pictures. I get those requests from time to time.

Nice grid design. Another low-word 140. I like the themer overlaps at the top and bottom. The top is especially clean.


1. Dance with a queen : PROM. Great clue. Stumped me though. Skipped to the next entry immediately.

5. Facebook tally : LIKES

10. Bug : IRK

13. Conductor's setting : TEMPO. I was thinking of a place for "setting".

18. Texter's guffaw : ROFL. Rolling On Floor Laughing.  And 35. Texter's "Beats me" : IDK. I Don't Know.

19. The Little Mermaid : ARIEL

20. Catching-on cry : AHA

21. Survived the test : BORE UP. All crosses.

25. Rat, for one : RODENT

26. Plural French pronoun : ILS. They. Did you try CES also?

27. Mets' rival : NATs

30. Origins : ROOTS

32. Common Market inits. : EEC

34. From, in German names : VON. Did your wife grow up in Germany, D-Otto?

36. __ student : MED

37. How some flowers are planted : IN ROWS. I'm not fussy about flowers. Green beans, yes.

39. Kate, before being "tamed" : SHREW

41. Joined in a film lab : SPLICED

43. Eponymous band location : E STREET. Springsteen's E Street Band.

45. Geologic time unit : EON

46. 22-year-old golf phenom Jordan who won the Masters, U.S. Open and FedExCup in 
2015 : SPIETH. Great role model for kids. Tiger was too cold to fans.

47. Syrup source : TREE SAP

49. Disreputable : SHADY

50. 12-member oil gp. : OPEC
54. Eighth-century year : DCCI. Put in DCC, then waited.

59. Italy's La __ : SCALA

60. Like some hygiene : ORAL. White teeth do not equate to healthy teeth. Learned it the hard way.

61. Prince __ Khan : ALY. Mindlessly put in AGA.

62. Chicago mayor Emanuel : RAHM. In hot water right now. What's the matter with Illinois, TTP?

63. Reproductive units : SPORES

64. Like an ill-equipped rowboat : OARLESS. Waited for crosses.

66. Wranglers, e.g. : JEEPS. Not JEANS.

68. Sub compartment : AIRLOCK. Drew a blank.  

69. King who succeeds his father, say : DYNAST. Not a word I use. Dynasty, yes.

70. Of the highest quality : A-ONE

71. Old televangelist org. : PTL

72. Old, to Oskar : ALTE. Just German for "old". It's "Lao" in Chinese, hence Lao Tze, literally "Old master".

73. Takes it easy : LOAFS

77. School barometer : TEST

78. Ltr.-bottom letters : ENCL. Is the mail delivery is your area reliable?

79. __ cum laude : MAGNA

80. Cough drop : LOZENGE

82. "The Joy Luck Club" author : AMY TAN. Love the book.

84. Dog days mo. : AUG

85. Cut back on food intake : ATE LESS

89. How food may be salted : TO TASTE. I love pickled food and eat it every day. I should probably cut down on my salt intake.

91. Threaded hardware : SCREW

93. "... baked __" : IN A PIE. 6-letter partial.

94. Passel : TON

95. GPS offering : RTE

96. School attendance drop-off cause : FLU. Nice clue.

97. __ Miguel, largest of the Azores : SAO

99. Balearic island : IBIZA. I first heard of this place from my old colleague Adam, who was quite a party animal.

104. Machu Picchu dweller : INCA

106. Film lover's collectible : CEL

107. Web browser? : SPIDER. Another brilliant clue.

111. Nuts in some ice cream : PECANS. I've tried nearly every brand of walnuts. All smell a bit moldy, though the taste is totally fine. Do you have the same problem?

112. Fair-hiring initials : EEO

113. Gradually gather : GLEAN

114. Anesthetize : DRUG

115. "Later!" : SEE YA

116. One of 400,000-plus in the U.S. : ATM. Holy smokes! I had A?? earlier on, just did not think of ATMs.

117. Before the crowd : EARLY

118. Drive-thru transactions: Abbr. : DEPS. OK, deposits.


1. Grassland : PRAIRIE

2. Deodorant options : ROLL-ONS

3. In some respects : OF A SORT. Simple in retrospect. I just could not see the answer.

4. Diamond org. : MLB

5. Dalai __ : LAMA

6. Steamed : IRATE

7. X's in some letters : KISSES

8. Slender fish : EEL. Your local grocery store (Asian section) should carry this brand. So good.
9. Pole or Croat : SLAV

10. Irritated response to "Aren't you awake yet?" : I AM NOW

11. Bonn's river, in Bonn : RHEIN

12. Marx not seen in films : KARL. Nailed it.

13. Mechanic's set : TOOL KIT

14. "Ring Cycle" goddess : ERDA. German for "earth", right?

15. Tryster's request : MEET ME. Never sent or heard of this request.

16. Gave up the ball : PUNTED

17. Chose, with "for" : OPTED

21. Basketball Hall of Famer who was inducted while a U.S. senator : BRADLEY (Bill). No idea. I don't care basketball. Do care politics. But Wiki said he left the Senate before I came to the US.

23. Comeback : ANSWER

24. Expert : MAVEN

29. Fatty compounds : LIPIDS

33. Look the wrong way, maybe : CHEAT. Tricky clue.

38. Look beyond : SEE PAST

40. Leeway metaphor : ROPE. I wanted ROOM.

41. Muscle malady : SPASM

44. Blinking and sweating, in poker : TELLS. Thought of my brother. We used to play Chinese-style poker. He was not good. By the way, PK, my brother still lives in Xi'an, in the same apartment we grew up.

46. Persian sovereigns : SHAHS

48. For instance : SAY
49. Offended smack : SLAP

51. __ officer : PAROLE

52. Chooses : ELECTS

53. Vampire's bed? : CASKET. Indeed.

54. Idle drawing : DOODLE. And 55. Drawing stick : CRAYON

56. Envelope-to-the-forehead TV persona : CARNAC. Stumped me also. Johnny Carson character.

58. __ salad : GREEK

59. It starts in Mar. : SPR

63. Sailing component? : SILENT I. Cruel clue. This refers for the first i, correct? Sailing.

65. Superman's symbol : ESS

66. Big name in fabric stores : JO-ANN. Never been there. Maybe this Joann frequents that place.

67. Sicilian resort : ENNA

68. Attending an afternoon social : AT TEA

70. Pond plants : ALGAE

71. Guerra's opposite : PAZ. Peace. Guerra = War.

74. One swinging in a box : BATTER. Baseball.

75. Derogatory remark : SLUR

76. Theater sections : LOGES

79. "Goodness me!" : MY STARS!

81. Friendly : GENIAL

83. 1963 hit on the flip side of "Candy Girl" : MARLENA. Never heard of it.
84. Integra maker : ACURA
86. Gastronome : EPICURE. Our Steve. I don't know anyone who's more foodier than Steve. From Japanese to Indian to French, he knows them all.

87. Judges : SIZES UP

88. What landlubbers lack : SEA LEGS

89. Piece on top : TOUPEE. Oh, on top of your head.

90. How chop suey may be served : ON RICE. Chop suey is American Chinese food.

91. Race with gates : SLALOM. Another nice clue. Are you still reading us, Marti?

92. Relinquishing of rights : WAIVER
94. Cookbook amts. : TBSPS

96. Speedy : FLEET

98. Oscar winner at age 10 : O'NEAL (Tatum)

101. Down Under howdy : G'DAY

102. Vicinity : AREA

103. Monthly budget amt. : MTGE

105. Harlem sch. : CCNY. I had CUNY first.

109. Dockworker's org. : ILA

110. Stick in : ADD

So some of you know that Boomer has been in a slump this season. He bowled his 20th perfect game on Friday Dec 11. One of his friends got it on camera. Click here. Boomer was pretty excited about the breakthrough, but started a new slump in no time :-)



fermatprime said...


Wow! Cool puzzle, Garry, and expo, CC! (And I can go to bed early.)

Nice theme. Easy, too.

I, too, had ROom too, instead of ROPE.

Did not see PROM immediately. MARLENE mostly perped. Finally remembered SPIETH.

Had quite a lot of rain today. A miracle.


Argyle said...

OK, I update those pictures. :~)

And for those of us that couldn't remember: Marlena(2:36)

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

The first theme answer I got today was VANILLA LATTE and I was convinced the theme involved words or phrases with "LALA" in them. So I struggled a bit when none of the other theme answers seemed to have that pattern anywhere. I finally realized that VANILLA LATTE was just a fluke, but it was a bit disappointing...

A few unknowns today, such as SPIETH and ERDA, but the perps (eventually) came to the rescue. It helped in the NE that I knew BRADLEY, although it took awhile to remember his name.

The NW was the last to fall until I finally managed to dredge TORTILLA FLAT up from somewhere. I kept thinking CACTUS FLATS for some reason. Anyway, that gave me the foothold I needed, after which it went down pretty quickly. Before getting it, however, it was all white space up there.

George Barany said...

@C.C., thanks for the writeup of @Garry Morse's puzzle, which ironically, I am reading while sipping vaniLA LAtte in the Starbucks on the University of Minnesota campus.

Congratulations to @Boomer for his perfect game. We missed both of you at yesterday's get-together ... until new photos are available, you'll have to be satisfied with these older ones.

One of those at our event yesterday was @Christopher Adams, who worked with me on a 17x called Giving T.Hanks for the Holidays. I hope people will enjoy the puzzle, as well as its "midrash." And indeed, happy holidays to all!

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

D'oh! Forgot to look at the puzzle's title, so the theme completely blew past me. It filled quickly; whenever I ran into an unknown across answer the down was easy to get and verse vicea. Interesting to see SCREW and SHREW in the same puzzle. ONEAL fixed my SAN when she showed up. NNEAL looked weird. That clue for CARNAC went right under my head -- I was picturing somebody completely enveloped from floor to forehead.

Isn't that the official state slogan? "Illinois -- where our governors make our license plates."

C.C., Susan was an army brat -- American military father, Bavarian mother. After her parents split up, her mom moved back to Munich, and still lives there. Susan spent a lot of time in Germany growing up, and speaks Bavarian like a native. I've only managed to learn the cuss words.

One of those 400,000 ATMs is inside the "local" (5 miles away) Walgreens. It's in the Ally network, so I recently switched all my banking to Ally. I'd been with Chase for over 30 years, but they'd ticked me off for the last time.

Congrats to Boomer on another 300 game.

Anonymous said...

TBSPS? How 'bout just TBS? You'll find TBSPS in a total of two – count 'em, two – of the many dictionaries represented in the OneLook Dictionary Search on line: Wordnik, and the Cambridge Advanced Learner's.

Argyle said...

How about TBSP? eleven - count 'em eleven.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Seeing the title reminded me of La La Linda who I hope still reads our comments and will post whenever she can.

I liked a lot of the clues and the theme was fun. I would have sworn Tortilla Flat was Flats. And, Argyle, even with your reminder, I still don't remember Marlena. (Sometimes I think I slept through the 60's and 70's, music-wise!). Spieth and Bradley were both gimmes (unlike Marlena). Had jeans/Jeep and room/rope but, mostly, smooth sailing, with a silent I.

Thanks, Garry, for an enjoyable Sunday stroll and thanks, CC, for being our gracious guide.

Congrats to Boomer on his 20th 300 games. I'm sure it won't be the last! 🎳

Cold and windy yesterday and today, but warming up tomorrow with temps climbing to 60 by Christmas Day. Certainly no white Christmas for us! ❄️❄️ ☃

Have a great day.

Lucina said...


Thank you, Garry Morse, for this quick and easy grid. As d-o said, filling across/down really helps with the obscure (think sports figures) or unknown. And like C.C. if I don't know an answer immediately, I skip right over to the next one. In this case, the entire eastern seaboard flowed in like high tide.

I can relate to LIPIDS and ATE LESS as that is my new norm and the hardest thing I've ever done. I have, however lost three pounds in the past month.

Also I knew that Bruce's band was named for some street but had to wait for PRAIRIE.

Nice expo, C.C., thank you, and congratulations to Boomer on another triumph.

Have a delightful Sunday, everyone!

Husker Gary said...

Tra LA LA, a basic walk in a witty park! The required effort to GLEAN theme answers amazes me!

-Congrats Boomer! It looks like a feast or famine season.
-C.C. conversion $15 for Starbucks, $1.50 at local diner
-A lovely PROM Queen choice in many ways at Omaha North this year!
-A recent NATS blowup. Paplebon was released for choking star Bryce Harper
-Our old 35 mm school films were full of SPLICES
-My research showed absolutely nothing happened in DCCI
-AIRLOCKS are vital here for transitioning to and from a vacuum
-PTL’s Jim and Tammy meant to do good and wound up doing very well
-A few seconds after I was Anesthetized, it was “SEE YA!”
-I’m compulsively EARLY and usually beat the secretaries to school
-As of last night the 2015 Queens of the PRAIRIE and the rest of the country
-Some CHEAT on that TRYST
-Hey, I know that Venetian couple. Joann mostly just now sews with granddaughter
-A very famous movie SLAP as an ANSWER. Name the movie.

Irish Miss said...

HG @ 10:27 - In The Heat of The Night. Before I clicked the link, I thought for sure it was going to be Cher slapping Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck, yelling at him to "SNAP OUT OF IT!", after he tells her he loves her.

Anonymous said...

"Chop suey is American Chinese food."
So is ketchup. Yeah, long before the Chinese were doing knockoffs of Western goods, Brits and Americans were doing knockoffs of Chinese goods. What goes around comes around.

Spitzboov said...

Good afternoon everyone.

Good intro, C.C. Congrats to Boomer on his 20th 300. BZ.

Enjoyed the puzzle but paid no attention to the theme. Sigh. Avg. difficulty for a Sunday; no serious problems encountered.
116a - ATM - D-O, As a veteran you're eligible for USAA, aren't you? They participate in certain ATM networks, but more important, they will pay the fees on, I think, six transactions a month. I've found a local ATM that, although the screen says a fee will be charged, it isn't. I realize banking is a very personal thing with many people.
11d - RHEIN - In Casablanca, Die Wacht am RHEIN is sung near the end; just before the locals kick in with La Marseillaise.

"1. Es braust ein Ruf wie Donnerhall,
Wie Schwertgeklirr und Wogenprall:
Zum Rhein, zum Rhein, zum deutschen Rhein,
Wer will des Stromes Hüter sein?
|: Lieb' Vaterland, magst ruhig sein, :|
|: Fest steht und treu die Wacht am Rhein! :|"
1. The cry resounds like thunder's crash,
Like ringing swords and waves that clash:
The Rhine, the Rhine, go to our Rhine,
Who'll guard our River, hold the line?
|: Land of our fathers, have no fear, :|
|: Your watch is true, the line stands here.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Fun but challenging, Garry! Got the theme from the title and VANILLA LATTE which helped with others, especially ALABAMA (WAG).

PROMs here don't have queens. Queens preside at Homecomings.

RHine, RHone, RHEIN! ROom before ROPE. GREEn before GREEK salad. CARson before CARnac. I could see Johnny in the big turban holding a letter to his brow. Couldn't remember what they called him.

1963? That was the year I got married. I had better things to do than listen to records. Never heard of MARLENA.

Tried "TObacco Road" when TO showed up. I know, wrong author anyway. When I realized there was no LA LA, I tried TORTILLA FLAT and was amazed it was right.

I didn't understand SILENTI was two words until C.C.'s interesting expo. Thanks! Duh du jour. And didn't realize GUERRA meant "war". Thought it was a surname. Guerrilla must be a derivative meaning "warrior". Hmm! Learning moment.

Never heard of BRADLEY. He played before I became an NBA fan. SPIETH, I remember myself posting about here before he won one of the major tournaments, predicting his win.

Steve said...

Fun puzzle, very enjoyable. I had GREEN salad before GREEK, so that left me thrashing around in the middle for a couple of minutes - I'd never heard of the BLANK SLATE book, so that was my final fill when I saw the error of my ways.

C.C. - I've been playing with a new cooking technique over the last few weeks - I bought a sous-vide circulation cooker. You basically seal your food in a vacuum bag (a Ziplock will do the trick), set the temperature and the timer, stick everything in a pot of water and go do your thing. The premise is the heater warms the water to the exact temperature you set and circulates it around the vacuum-bagged food. The food will never overcook. If you're cooking meat, you finish it off in a smoking hot skillet (e.g. steak) or the oven (e.g. barbecue) as obviously there's no browning in the water bath.

I cooked a couple of New York strip steaks yesterday - I left them cooking for three hours at 132F while I went out running errands. When I got back, I took 'em out of the bags, seared them in the skillet (with a blowtorch for good measure) and got perfect, medium-rare steaks with that glorious steakhouse charred crust. Try leaving something on a grill for three hours and see what you end up with.

It's geek-ery meets gourmet!

Dusty said...

@husker re: Papelbon

per wiki:
On September 23, Papelbon intentionally threw a pitch at Manny Machado's head. MLB suspended him for three games on September 25, but he appealed it.[39] Papelbon and teammate Bryce Harper got into an argument during their September 27 game as Harper was returning to the dugout following his at bat. The exchange escalated and Papelbon grabbed Harper by the throat and then shoved him toward the bench with both hands, before the two were separated by teammates.[40] The Nationals suspended Papelbon for four games for his role in the altercation with Harper, and Papelbon dropped his appeal of the suspension for hitting Machado. With seven games remaining for the Nationals, the pair of suspensions ended his season.[41]On December 6, 2015, Papelbon filed a grievance complaint against the Nationals organization.

Papelbon is still on the Nationals 40-man roster and is being "shopped" around for a trade. Rumor? You guessed it! The Yankees(evil empire) want him. He'd be a perfect fit for them! Trade article from yesterday

Btw, after the game in the clubhouse, the future MVP expressed that the incident was already behind him and he was only focused on the next six games.

Anonymous T said...

Lurker asks Steve...

So you're keen on the water bath cook method? I've seen it on the food-porn channel, but had concerns (bacteria, odd-looking yum-yums, etc.) that kept me from asking Santa for it. Would it work better than a crock-pot if I started w/ a braised roast, bagged it, and turned it on for the day while at the office. The crock ends up w/ stringy meat; not really a good roast (Youngest thinks that's how it's supposed to be - poor kid).

On another note - one of our Nutcrackers is in surgery - DW dropped it. Pipe-clamp & wood-glue to the rescue :-)

Congrats on 300 Boomer!

Cheers, -T

Steve said...

@Anon T - I'd thoroughly recommend it. I'll email you off-blog with some details. Believe it or not, a crock pot gets too hot even on the lowest setting, and you don't get enough control over the temperature.

Anonymous T said...

Thanks Steve! I think I can get a postcard to the North Pole just in time. C, -T

Jerome said...

OARLESS is like being up the creek without a paddle... more or less.

Jayce said...

I liked this puzzle very much. Sure seemed to be a lot of German in it. The title gave away the theme and let me know what to look for, but like Barry G I was expecting LALA to be contiguous. Then BURGLAR ALARM clued me in. Hand up for CARSON before CARNAC and for thinking "conductor's setting" was a place. Put in SCALA, then took it out because I thought 51D was POLICE instead of PAROLE and 53D was COFFIN instead of CASKET. Finally I sorted that area out and SCALA went back in. Neither EAST OF EDEN nor CANNERY ROW fit for the Steinbeck novel, and it took me much too long to finally remember the correct title.

LW and I refuse to give Starbucks our business, not only because they are overpriced and their coffee is over-roasted (i.e. burned), but also because we feel their business ethics leave a lot to be desired.

I like how "lao" in Chinese, which C.C. has informed us is "old" in English, also has the connotation of fondness and familiarity, as in "lao pengyou" (old friend) and "old chum." Kinda interesting.

C.C. you are right about cutting down on your salt intake. And definitely don't eat a whole jar of pickles in one sitting again :)

Lucina, congratulations on your weight loss and sticking with your new eating practices.

I think the German word for earth is ERDE, but I guess we Anglicize it as ERDA. In the Ring operas, ERDE is the earth goddess.

My wife is out shopping at Joann's fabrics as we speak, er, type.

Best wishes to you all.

OwenKL said...

Finished it all without help today. Yipee, me!

ROPE was easy, since I used it in that sense in the last limerick I wrote
A sot, a tippler, a man given to tope,
May be a wretch unable to cope
Or a high spirited guy
Whom the spirits on high
Have decided to give some extra ROPE!

There's a restaurant here in Santa Fe named TORTILLA FLATS. Never knew there was also a novel by that name. It's a sister to another restaurant here, The Flying Tortilla, where our Lions Club meets.

Mail delivery here is fine, but our box in the delivery kiosk was on the bottom row. I gave up on reaching it long ago, and the LW isn't little enough, she has to sit down to open it, and was starting to have trouble doing that. So a couple weeks ago we sprang for a POBox, except it's at a FedEx-type store, so we're not allowed to call it a P.O. box. Nor Suite, nor anything else except just No. or #346. Still, it's larger than the one at our condo, so fewer bent pictures.

Madame Defarge said...

Relative Clause -- Santa's brother.

Subordinate Clause -- one of Santa's elves

Indeed: Illinois -- where our governor's make our license plates.

Thanks to all of you for making my day!

Lucina said...

I managed to make a large dent on my shopping and hope to finish tomorrow.

Our mail delivery here is quite reliable and I've never heard of anyone having problems with it.

Also, in my days of sewing, long, long ago, I frequented Joann's weekly for fabrics and notions.

Abejo said...

Good evening, folks. Thank you, Garry Morse, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, C.C., for a fine review.

Well, started this puzzle this morning. Then went to church. Came home. Worked on it off and on for the afternoon. Ate dinner with my family (daughter from Ohio visiting) (and local daughter). Opened Christmas presents. Then hit the puzzle again. Finished!

Theme came forth quickly and did help with the puzzle.

JEEPS was slow in coming. Was thinking of a cowboy.

I thought that CARNAK was spelled with a K. That slowed me down.

No idea who Steven Prinker is or was.

63D SILENT I was a tough one.

Boomer, congrats on your 300. I have never had one.

I am hitting the hay. See you tomorrow.


( )

Anonymous T said...

Oh for the love of... Here you go C.C. CARNAC

Politics? Really? Carter... too soon? :-)

C, -T