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.



Lemonade714 said...

We end the year with a difficult, well crafted JW puzzle that takes us from top to bottom on the muscles that we work on at the gym.

I never heard of the movie GRANDMA but I do remember Mel Tillis who had many hits; this song was used in Clint Eastwood movie. He also was an inspiration for those who stutter.

Thanks you all and see you next year.

George Barany said...

Thanks, @Jeffrey Wechsler and @Steve, respectively, for the puzzle and description. Happy New Year to @C.C. and to all the constructors and bloggers and commentators and contributors and readers ... hope that covers everyone!

It's been a privilege to occasionally share with you the work of my friends. Today, please learn about Land of 10,000 Beers, constructed with @Phil Platt (his debut!) and @John Child. Be sure to stay for the "midrash"--and drink responsibly!

Again, Happy New Year!

fermatprime said...


Many thanks to Jeffrey and Steve!

No circles for me, so theme was not known. A rather chewy puzzle! However I managed to finish w/o cheats!

Perhaps answer was ILE because was referring to Martinique?

Have a happy new year, all!


desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Wow, not with a bang, but with a whimper. I'm the one you heard whimpering. Finally got it all, but it felt like a Saturday struggle. CHIP DIP and I GOT MAD kept the left coast shrouded in fog for too long. Yes, hand up for TWENTY, the Verne red herring. Another hand up for ACL. (Do you put liniment on that ligament?)

Steve, do you store your wine bottles upside down? In response to your request for isle/island differentiation, you'd find an isle in the ocean, an island in the kitchen, and an aisle in the supermarket or airliner.

M-m-m-Mel T-t-t-Tillis was the Coca Cola Cowboy. I spent a few years at a country music station, and I'll still label that one as obscure. Saturday-worthy, even. Mild hit from the late 60's. At the time, I was on an all-expense-paid tropical vacation.

Here's an early "Happy New Year!" Be safe, and don't live it up so far that you can't live it down.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Actually managed to sleep in a bit this morning. Maybe I'll actually make it to midnight this year before falling back asleep...

Very atypical solving experience for me today. No circles for me, as usual, so no idea on the theme. To make it worse, I couldn't even get the theme reveal due to having ACL instead of MCL at 58A. I got through the rest of the grid in slow-but-steady fashion, but the SW corner remained stubbornly white. I really wanted TWENTY (Leagues Under the Sea) for 48A and ROD for 37D, but the two wouldn't work together so I took them both out. Which is good, since neither was right. I thought 38D might be OIL and 39D might be EGOISTS, but I wasn't convinced enough to go with them. So, just a lot of white space.

And this is where things got atypical. Out of desperation I finally removed ACL and suddenly MUSCLEBOUND became clear. Still, no circles, so no idea on the theme, right? Except... I looked at the theme answer I had filled in already and saw that first and last letters of each one spelled out a common muscle! Which, for a change, let me actually guess that 51A started with GL, since I already knew it ended with UTE. And that was enough to get me GLOWING, which confirmed OIL and EGOISTS and also gave me PEG, which got me EIGHTY and then it was just a matter of guessing POET and THWACKS and suddenly I had IAL/TILLIS and *TADA*

Always nice to go from sheer frustration to completion in less than a minute...

unclefred said...

Long, hard struggle but I got 'er done. Favorite clue was "Black suit component". ACEOFCLUBS was a long time coming, with "PANTS" "JACKET" "VEST" or some combination not fitting. In the end, fun puzzle and write-up, thanks Jeffrey and Steve!!

Tinbeni said...


Having already "toasted" Samoa (at 5:00 am) and Sydney (at 8:00 am) the "Ball-Drop" tonight in New York at Midnight will be kinda anticlimatic ...
Though I am really looking forward to Red-Square at 4:00 pm (where I was last year).
And London at 7:00 pm.

As for the puzzle today ... a final D N F to close out 2015.
I was never on the constructor's wave-length ... too many SNAFU's to mention.

Fave today was the appropriate MAGNUMS.


PS Gotta run ... Brisbane is coming up at 9:00 am

inanehiker said...

Fun, Challenging puzzle and entertaining write-up- thanks Jeff and Steve!
I went for the EIGHTY once TWENTY THOUSAND wouldn't fit - if I had thought of TWENTY as an option I would have been marooned longer.
I had the circles so once I had LATS the other theme answers came very quickly and helped with the fill rather than the other way around for once.
Have a Happy New Year's Eve - we've gotten to the age (where you wear glasses to read the menu) that we celebrate when the ball drops in NY and call it a night even though we're in the Midwest!

thehondohurricane said...

I'm with Fred, "Long, hard struggle" I got it don too, but it took the better part of my eraser to succeed. As an example, knew 14A right off the bat, but spelled it Lou, instead of LEW. That really messed up the NW corner, but the correction got it right.
The SW corner was a similar issue. Had Lesser for 66A, but it finally hit me that 49D was TILLIS, not Tillie and 60D was ENO not enr. Those were my two main stumbling points, the rest was just a grind, one letter at a time.

LATE FLIGHTS brought back memories of red eyes from LA to Ct. Had to change p[lanes in Chicago. You could not find a cup of coffee in O'Hare at that time of the morning. I trust it's changed for the better over the past twenty/twenty five years.

Today was the JV game, tomorrow I try to defend my dopey resolution of no DNF's for 2016. I'd like to see it get into next week, but a Friday puzzle starting the year will be a challenge. However it comes out, I will seek NO assistance.

Have a happy & safe New Year everyone.

Magilla Go-Rilla said...

This puzzle was a 'gimmee' as in 'gimmee a puzzle I can do!'😫

Tinbeni said...

Steve: I forgot to Thank You for a "job-well-done" on your write-up.

My grid, at one point, looked like the first one you posted ... though I went down-hill from there.


PS The Tokyo "toast" is coming up at 10:00 am

Big Easy said...

I finished the puzzle similar to Steve. Bottom up and right to left on the theme fills. It was basically white until I filled BOUND by perps and read the 58A clue. I then filled the circles and went from there. It really didn't help starting, not knowing CRI and misspelling LEW as LOU, and CLAM DIP is something I've never heard of. And D-O, the CHIP is what you DIP with, not part of the DIP.

I finished with a WAG at the cross of the unknown CATKIN and MCL, figuring that 'C' was the middle like the ACL and plugging ENO instead ELO- Electric Light Orchestra . The start was hard for me as I wanted PIER or DOCK for SLIP and partNER for partIAL and downhill from there until the SE. Just a lot of unknowns- IVAN-II, Bide-A WEE, CATKIN, SAMOSA, SET, CRI, TOMLIN, FRIENDS, TILLIS. "Rhinestone Cowboy"-yes; "Coca-Cola Cowboy"- TILLIS- I remembering the stuttering MEL but not the song.

I have to say that without the MUSCLE BOUND ( there's no such thing as 'muscle bound' people are MORE flexible than the 'non-muscle bound' sedentary people) fill, I would have not completed the puzzle.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and please look up the lyrics to AULD LANG SYNE before you drunkenly try to fake it tonight.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Yes, this did have some crunch, but, in the end, filled in quite nicely. Hand up for twenty/eighty and also ship/slip. Fav was the clue for egotist. Caught the theme early because of the circles but the reveal was a nice surprise.

Thanks,JW and Steve, for a fun and amusing ending to 2015.

Happy New Year to everyone; may it be healthy and peaceful for all. 🎉 🎈 🍾

Have a great day.

Burrito34 said...

Great write-up as usual. In fact, I can't remember ever seeing a poorly done one, thanks to all you who do this task as it's a big reason I come to this blog whenever I do xwords, along with coming to learn about unfamiliar terms and words, and answers for my DNF's.


Like several others, I wanted TWENTY Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (48A), when the answer was Around the World in EIGHTY Days. I can't say I cared much for that movie because a three hour movie for me is way too long. I also thought of ACL first (58D) before MUSCLEBOUND became apparent and I thought, oh yeah, the OTHER ligament tear.

I wish you all a happy and blessed New Year.


Husker Gary said...

Ditto, Steve’s summative paragraph and empty cells. What a treat/challenge. Red-eye made me think this might be a New Year’s Eve theme at first.

-GLUTES and LATS in coordination
-A Houston Ramada Inn manager shows modified LEW bed
-IVAN the Handsome (II) the Great (III), the Terrible (IV)
-Coaches that DEMAND RESULTS won’t accept SO-SO
-Hey, Andy, how ‘bout a little trim job?
-Me too on IAL.
-Many college kids bide A WEE with mom and dad this time of year
-Daughter while biding A WEE, “DRAT, why can’t I stay out ‘til 3 am?”
-Ther were RELIEVED of duty soon afterwards
-Holding a SET when another player has Quads can lead to a betting disaster
-OIL should have told me EARLY to UNDO TWENTY (thousand leagues)
-Talk about FAR FLUNG

SwampCat said...

Wow! What a struggle! But I loved every minute of it. Such fun clues. Thanks, Jeffrey.

And thanks for explaining it, Steve. Some things like 55a, IAL, filled in with perps but made no sense to me.

What a great way to end the year. Stay safe if you're out there ringing in the new.

kazie said...

I was a complete failure today. After cheating here just looking at the theme entries, I still had several errors and don't understand LEW for Kareem at all. Nor have I ever sought an apartment here to know EIKs or known a word for Asian pasta.

BTW, TWO UP is a mostly illegal game in Oz and the word FLUNG brought to mind the old (and unfortunately ethnic) joke about an Asian novel called "Spot on the Wall" by Hu Flung Dung.

Judging by the few comments at this late stage, most people are having as much trouble with this as I was, or else they are busy preparing for a great New Year's Eve. So here's hoping you all have a great evening with no hangover tomorrow!

VirginiaSycamore said...

Happy New Year’s Eve to all!

A definite brain workout for the end of the year by Jeff W. I was able to finish it with just one look up. Yeah! But I did look up Dernier CRI. Pretty good because I looked like Steve after the first pass.

Thanks for the explanations, Steve.

WEES about having to change a lot of answers. Bide A WEE sounds like it should be a rustic motel.

The ODE dictionary on my Kindle only gives the plural PLAUDITs. Discuss.

Also re usage,Big Easy @8:56-- I have used the phrase CHIP DIP. Luckily I had ALA and MISS already so I didn’t use it.
It is also a good idea to have a bowl people put their keys in so anyone too drunk is stopped from driving themselves home.

One of my pastimes this holiday is watching Star Wars Musical parodies. A few:

Part 2

Do you want to kill some rebels? [Frozen take off]


Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Hard one from Jeffrey today. Bit of a meat grinder. Got most of the East in due course, but West was tougher. Had ship before SLIP; was thinking of a bunk in a ship's cabin, but PLAUDIT straightened that out. Also had acl before MCL; MUSCLEBOIUND was convincing. I also had twenty before EIGHTY. At least the theme fill was doable.

VirginiaSycamore said...

My first link crashed. Here it is again.


Steve said...

@Kazie - Lew Alcindor, UCLA and later Milwaukee/Los Angeles basketball player changed his name to Kareem Abdul Jabbar as a result of his conversion to the Muslim faith. He was known as Lew in his college days, Kareem in his pro days.

@D-Otto - yeah, the picture looks odd. I took it looking down on the wine racks from above. The butt end of the bottles are up against the wall.

C6D6 Peg said...

Thaks, JW, for a challenging puzzle. FIW in a few spots.... some toughie references that wouldn't come to mind.

Nice job, Steve, on the write-up!

A very Happy New Year to everyone. May 2016 bring you Happiness, Health, Love, and Peace!

Anonymous T said...

Sonnova.... I spent ~2hrs on this to still end w/ a bad square - TILLuS xing CATKuM. Argg! Another Thursday MISS. Thanks Jeffrey for the challenge.

Thanks Steve for the expo and for sharing your early grid - I'm glad I'm not the only one. I too had ACL, twentTY, ???Chip -> ChipDIP then finally CLAM. There's gotta be 1/2 of my new pen on this grid.

I actually got the theme early on as I was bouncing all over. With ACE OF CLUBS, having read the c for 58a, and with the circles, ABS was clear (though it could have been car SYSTEMS (e.g. breaks)). That got me PECS, DELTS, etc. and then I filled in the scanners. It still took another hour to finish after that.

Anyone else keep reading 4a's clue as Elks and trying to stuff 'lodge' in 4 squares?

Other w/os: ahead b/f TWO UP, mInUTES early on (at 51a), Tre at 12d

Fav - 39d's clue.

TIN if you toast all day, something will be coming up... Don't forget the areas that are on the 1/2-hour like North Korea. :-)

Happy New Years! -T

Misty said...

Have a wonderful New Year's Eve, everyone!

Bill G. said...

Hi everybody. It's clear and cool here. El Niño hasn't made its presence felt yet. Some rain is expected early next week. We'll see.

Barbara talked me into taking my car in for service today. Synthetic oil change, tire rotation and wiper fluid. I don't drive much.

EIKs looked odd to me. Elks? I've never heard of that abbreviation. I'll bet it was a gimme for all the realtors.

JD said...

Dear Steve,
THANK YOU so much for posting your 1st run thru on this morning's puzzle.For some reason, it always sounds like most of you know most of the answers right off the bat and only need perps in a few areas. This made me feel so much better. Thanks again, and Happy New Year to all.

tiptoethru said...

It's almost a new year and I still keep coming back to this blog. What a great way to end the year! I'm so proud of myself that I immediately thought of eighty, but knew nothing of ElKs, but bugle. Still glad I almost had a finish. Hope all here have a safe, happy New Year and keep these wonderful comments and explanations coming! Thank you!

Anonymous T said...

A month or three ago we had Trevor NOAH (Stewart's successor as clued IIRC) in the puzzle. I posted the link but took it down a bit later ('cuz my grammar was too sloppy). One Cornerite noticed and I promised I'd re-post Trevor's stand-up soon. So, tidying up for the New Year, here you go. Cheers, -T

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Had to walk away form this one for a couple hours. Finally caught on to the theme after lunch, which was a big help. Still, a DNF in the top center.

Stuttering Mel Tillis reminds me of the only ethnic joke I know about Hungarians, which also features Mel.

Horvath, Molnar and Duda went out fishing one day. There was beer involved, and whiskey. Sadly, Duda tipped out of the boat and went to the bottom of the river. The other two drew straws to see who would go tell his widow what happened, and Molnar lost. Unfortunately, he also stuttered. At Duda's house, he was stammering pitifully trying to relate the message, until finally Mrs Duda says - be like Mel Tillis and sing it to me.

So he shrugged and sang --

[All clap in rhythm now]

Guess who fell in the river and drowned - Duda, Duda.

I'll just show myself out . . .


Bill G. said...

I must say that the local Toyota dealer makes the regular service visits very easy. After dropping off the car, they gave me a ride home. An hour later, it's all finished. They're coming now to pick me up. Normally I take my car to a local independent mechanic but the dealer is very convenient though a little more expensive. I might consider a different make of car the next go round but the local Toyota dealership is a strong selling point.

Anonymous said...

Semicolon? DOT? Wha'? WHAT?

Anonymous T said...

Anon@1:47 - 1/2 (semi) of a colon is a DOT (see : )... Took me a second or TWO too...

JzB - Ha! Everytime I hear (or read) Camp Town this scene comes to mind (MA - Mel Brooks).

Bill G. - My independent shop gives me a lift if I need it. Usually, I just pack my bike in the trunk; they are around the corner.

I recognize you
I don't know what you do
But if you have time
Stay, play, and
Go Blue

//sigh - OKL & C. Moe find your muse before this continues...

C, -T

Longbeachlee said...

And let us not forget Blood on the Hurdle by Wun Hung Low

Unknown said...

This one almost beat me up. When I got to 58 A. I went to the Chicago Tribune site where I saw the circles. Mensa didn't have them.

Hand up for TWENTY I had ACL for MCL. tore my acl once. That wasn't fun ~!~!

The circles helped me a lot. i had less white than Steve did before I jumped ship to the circles.

I had 1 lookup I googled Kareem and sussed LEW from his middle name. I wanted LA'R or something that pertained to a team name or basketball.

Bon Anne from Cajun Country ~!~!

Tinbeni said...

Anon-T @11:42
Well I just "toasted" Dubai (at 3:00 pm).
Great Fireworks and massive Hotel Fire.

I've been very good toasting people all around the world, but some of those that have their New Year on the 1/2 hour (and 1/4 quarter hour) ... I took a "pass" on.
{Plus, so far the toasts have been a single sip of Coffee spiked with some Tia Maria).

Now the next one Red Square at 4:00 pm ...
That was an amazing party last year ... and my Russian Vodka will be more than "just sipped!"


PS The CR-Z has already been "put-to-bed" ... I am not driving again until Next Year.

Lemonade714 said...

Tom (D-O) I love your characterization of your service as a paid vacation. Thank you

kazie said...

Thanks for the extra explanation. I never google anything I don't feel too interested in knowing, so it would have remained a mystery otherwise. I always enjoy your expos, and everyone else's too, but always seem in too much rush to say so.

tawnya said...

Wow!! That was a toughie! My days are thrown off so when I sat down I was thinking today was Saturday so when it popped up "Thursday, December 31" I was super excited! I have since decided that Rich thought today was Saturday too - it was hard! Got through with red letters (don't usually have to use them on Thursday) but there were too many words that were complete unknowns CATKIN, CLAMDIP, PLAUDIT, etc...

Thanks for the clarification Steve. It was much needed.

Happy New Year! Hope you have a fun and safe evening!



Chickie said...

Hello Everyone, I'm so glad that I wasn't the only one who had difficulty putting this puzzle together. My first pass was about like Steve's, and I finally had the NE corner filled, then the SW was totally finished, but that left the other two corners still lacking. I tried replace instead of Relieve, peanuts instead of clam Dip, Pier, then dock instead of Slip. I erased so much that the numbers were also erased and I couldn't finish without coming here for Steve's excellent write up.

I don't usually do Friday puzzles, and when I saw Jeffrey Wechsler's name as the constructor, I knew I was in for a difficult time.

My granddaughter gave me a CW puzzle book for Christmas and I have to look up about half the answers. It is difficult and there are words used that I have NEVER heard before. Breen being one last night with the clue of Brownish-green color. When I looked it up it is a color invented and now in the Urban Dictionary. That dictionary isn't in my book collection!

Have a safe and Happy New Year everyone.

Manac said...

Happy New Year everybody!

Similar problems as most.

All I know about Mel Tillis' Music genre

They may be muscle bound but...Wait for it

And now for something dysfunctional Elf on a Shelf...Not

Stay safe if your out and about tonight.

Chickie said...

Not only was this not a Friday puzzle, it is Thursday. Oh well, I've had several Sundays this week. With all the holidays and all the family here for several days, it's no wonder I'm mixed up!

Magilla Go-Rilla, You gave me a good laugh today. That's how I felt during most of this puzzle.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Jeffrey's puzzles have always DEMANDED RESULTS , but this one is getting no GLOWING TRIBUTES here today. When I started there were no entries on the two top rows, then I filled the next five answers and picked my way through the thing. With Jeff the clue is never the first thing you think of, or the 2nd or sometimes at all.

Couldn't tell if Dernier had a "RN" or "M" in the middle. Didn't matter since I never heard of it and wanted to CRy. Hand up for CHIP try. RED alert! Didn't know SAMOSA or TOMLIN.

"They may have E=L=K=s"? How APT are those animals? Haven't looked for an apartment in many years. Thanks, Steve, for 'splainin' every little thing.

Had forgotten all about Mel & his daughter Pam TILLIS and the song. The only part I remembered after hearing it was "You walked across my heart like it was Texas". I had an ex from Texas & identified with that part at the time.

No circles on Mensa so didn't think it had a theme. If Mensa is by/for smart people, why can't they put circles in their puzzles?

Always forget Kareem's birth name. When LEW perped in, I remembered Alcindor. Unique enough to stick.

THWACKS? Really? So SO-SO!

Didn't even read the clues for MCL - UAE - ENO. They were already filled.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:47: Half a colon (punctuation), or "semi-colon" ... Is a dot.

Bill G. said...

There's a very cute Google Doodle today.

AnonT, I've also found a very good local independent mechanic and I use and appreciate them. However, I am always surprised and pleased when the Toyota dealership comes through with really good service, quickly and at a fair price. They washed my car too. Very fast and convenient.

We just had a gourmet lunch; a foot-long Subway meatball sandwich. Very tasty. Plus I got a free cookie and a Senior price. Such a deal!

Mel Tillis stuttered badly in conversation but had no problems when he sang.

Jayce said...

WEES. Lots of false starts and subsequent erasures. Well, it's a Jeffrey Wechsler after all; not gonna be easy. No circles so I didn't see the muscles, but it was fun anyway.
Happy New Year!

Dr. Gray said...

Here's all you need to know about your body's muscles.

CrossEyedDave said...


I was going to say what a frustrating time I had trying to do the puzzle on an old iPad one.
Ended up using my iPhone , but was pleasantly surprised to see circles ,.

Enjoyed v. Sycamores star wars parodies.

Desperately want to say "what anonymous T said."
(but don't know how to abbreviate it...)

BuT most of all want to thank you all for the entertainment
Following Sichuan frustrating puzzle...

CrossEyedDave said...

Such an...

(no, I did not have Chinese for dinner)

FrustRation is trying to prove u r not a robot...

SwampCat said...

CED , you give us all such pleasure...I'm sooooo sorry you are frustrated! Hang in there! Maybe you should have had Chinese for dinner!

Tinbeni said...

Well it is time to celebrate New Year's in RIO ...

Jeez, I'm glad I got to Scotland at 7:00 pm so a NEAT Scotch would be appropriate.


SwampCat said...

Tin, I'm having neat Scotch down here in the Swamp, too. A toast to YOU!

Happy New Year to all!

Madame Defarge said...

Well. . . . I am very late to this game with a DNF.

Steve, I appreciate your very pertinent sentiments. I thank all of you for providing me with so much fun, insight, humor, slices of life, and generally grand times here at the Corner. I wish you all a New Year filled with good health, love and laughter.

My sincere best, Janice

Irish Miss said...

Swamp Cat @ 8:13 - I'm having a Scotch, also, but not neat; too much _ _ _ for Tin, but just right for me. Happy New Year!

Irish Miss said...

CED - We need a meow fix to end 2015. A woof-woof wouldn't hurt, either. Pretty please?

Anonymous T said...

IM I don't have dogs or cats for you but...

So..., let's not Break the Internet*. Here's a list of phrases to be banned in 2016.. I think may it be Problematic to ban all of Move-The-Needle Secret-Sauces used in Conversing. How will we know when a politician spoke out of turn if they didn't Walk it Back? It's, so, like, a totally awesome Price-Point on doublespeak. It is what it is... :-)

Has anyone seen Meet the Patels?. At DW's request, I paid $4 last night (I like Ravi's comedy, so what the heck) and we watched it - it's poignant and very, very funny.

I have a buddy who had an arranged marriage - I recall him telling me (after I asked Waaa?) "It is too big a decision to leave to yourself. My parents know." I donno, Pop told me not to marry so young but 27ys & two awesome kids ain't a bad run.

Speaking of kids, they're w/ friends... DW & I have the house to ourselves. Now if the neighbor kids would go to bed we could enjoy the hot tub.

I enjoy every day I can play @ the corner, read the great write ups, and visit w/ y'all. You're all smart & so much fun.

Cheers, -T
*I saw this first on pA2 and then heard it on NPR's Hear & Now. I hope you enjoy.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Er, a trifle late to the dance, but...managed to clear all the hurdles Jeff Wex set up for me. Sussed the theme late, but still in time to have it assist in filling the circles.

The ball will be dropping in less than half an hour, but I'm pretty sure I'll be asleep by then.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Lucina said...

Happy New Year Puzzlers!

Bill G. said...

I hope 2016 is a great year for all of us!

~ Bill G.

Tinbeni said...


I will admit ... after 19 New Year Toasts ... Sydney's & Moscow's were the best. JMHO

Hope I don't get a CWI (Crawling-While-Intoxicated) on my 20 foot trip to bed.


Beach Bum said...

Wow. Haven't seen clam dip since the '70s. Does anyone still make it anymore? Kraft used to make a great one and, yes, it was a cocktail party bowlful -- 40+ years ago. My mom used to make it with cream cheese, Snow's chopped clams, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Good stuff.

Chairman Moe said...

Happy New Year to all of you here at the Corner. May the year ahead be your best ever!


TTP said...

Happy New Year to all corner friends !

Blue Iris said...

Happy New Year to everyone here!

Abejo said...

Good Friday evening, folks. Thank you, Jeffrey Wechsler, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Steve, for a fine review.

I started this puzzle Thursday, but never finished until Friday. It was tough.

Got it all except the NW corner. My main problem was that I wrote in OBSTETRICS for 31A. It fit and I had the RICS. Thought it was a gimmie. After nothing worked in that corner, except the L at 14A, I knew something seas wrong. I finally wagged that LEW was the way to spell LEW, not LOU. Then I tried MISS, then CLAM DIP was tried. Eventually I filled it all in. Phew!

I did have the circles in the newspaper, so I got the theme.

I have more inkblots that Carter has liver pills, so I will not list them.

MCL was a total unknown for 58D. Got it with perps. Had no idea what it meant until I came here.

Since I am a day late, I am sure no one will read this so I will cut it short and sign off. Happy New Year everyone!


( )

surfersrule said...

I've played lots of poker but never heard three of a kind referred to as a "set".

Argyle said...

Amen to that, brother.