May 31, 2015

Sunday May 31, 2015 Jason Mueller

Theme: "Ms." - All theme entries are women with M* S* initials.

22A. "Silkwood" star : MERYL STREEP. She's a natural.

28A. "Frankenstein" author : MARY SHELLEY
37A. Counselor Troi portrayer on "Star Trek: T.N.G." : MARINA SIRTIS. Deanna TROI, who appears in our crossword often. I did not know her full name though.

52A. Tennis star with five Grand Slam titles : MARIA SHARAPOVA. Contending for French Open right now.

61A. Host of a spin-off of "The Apprentice" : MARTHA STEWART. She's aging so beautifully.

77A. Toon with a pacifier : MAGGIE SIMPSON

84A. Early advocate of birth control : MARGARET SANGER

98A. 1995-2001 "SNL" regular : MOLLY SHANNON

111A. "Mighty Aphrodite" Oscar winner : MIRA SORVINO. She speaks Chinese.
120A. Jean Brodie creator : MURIEL SPARK. Learning moment for me.

I don't see Jason Mueller's name in our blog record. Must be his debut. Congratulations! 

Simple but fresh theme. And Jason gave us 10 theme entries. A total 122 squares. The highest I blogged this year. It's an incredible achievement for a rookie constructor.
1. Straw __ : POLL. The Iowa Straw Poll has lost relevance.

5. Immunization letters : DPT. Wiki says it stands for "Diphtheria, Pertussis (whooping cough), and Tetanus."

8. Duped in a good way? : CC'ED. Indeed.

12. __ Zero : COKE

16. They have Red Velvet and Watermelon varieties : OREOS. I knew this! All constructors search hard for fresh clues.

18. Many a surfer : AOLER

20. Norse trickster : LOKI

21. Chennai's continent : ASIA. India, to be exact.

24. Zira and Cornelius, in a 1968 film : APES. Planet of the Apes.

25. Auction units : LOTS

26. ATM necessity : PIN

27. Women's World Golf Rankings sponsor : ROLEX. I love my Timex.
31. Polish-German border river : ODER

33. Hunters' outfits, briefly : CAMOS

35. Seaman : TAR

36. Different : ELSE

40. Conditional words : IF SO

42. Pin surface : MAT. Wresting.

45. Costa del __ : SOL

46. Film franchise with a mammoth named Manny : ICE AGE. This stumped me last time.

48. Place : SITE

49. Nonlethal weapon : TASER
56. Chemical ending : INE

57. Oregon __ : TRAIL. Our Montana was there a few years ago.

60. Flashing light : STROBE

66. Flashiest : LOUDEST

70. Arab VIP : EMIR. EMIR & OREO have such convenient letter combo.

71. Point to pick : NIT

72. __ mater : PIA. Brain membrane. New to me.

73. "To Kill a Mockingbird" sibling : JEM

74. West Point inits. : USMA

75. Bygone : DEFUNCT
80. Nod : DROWSE

82. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" author : KESEY (Ken). I did not like the movie. Too much.

83. Hosp. test : EKG

90. Pasadena parade posies : ROSES

92. "Permit Me Voyage" poet : AGEE. Did not know James Agee was a poet as well.

93. Hercules bicycle model : ROADEO. New to me also.

94. Billings-to-Helena dir. : WNW

95. Brown in Calif., e.g. : GOV. Jerry Brown. Our governor is Mark Dayton. His great-grandfather founded Dayton's (now Target).

96. Get ready : PREP

105. Engrave : ETCH

107. Asian sash : OBI

109. Colonial diplomat Silas : DEANE

110. McGwire rival : SOSA. Sad. All our boxes of Sosa/McGwire/Bonds cards. Worthless.

115. Discontinued P&G toothpaste : GLEEM

117. Back talk : LIP. And 128. Back talk : SASS

118. "Crossword Clues 'M,' __" : ALEX (Trebek). I just did not think of "Jeopardy!".

119. Plan for losing : DIET. This got me again.

123. Port, for one : WINE. And 127. 123-Across category : REDS

124. To be, in Paris : ETRE. I miss the food. And the lovely Etam shops.

125. Utter : SHEER

126. Bottled spirits : GENII

129. Moroccan city of one million : FES. Thought it's spelled as FEZ.

130. NCAA part: Abbr. : ASSN


1. Cheerleader's accessory : POMPOM

2. Frozen food brand : ORE-IDA. Boomer loves their tater tots.

3. Loewe's lyricist : LERNER

4. See 79-Down : LOY. And 79. With 4-Down, "The Thin Man" co-star : MYRNA
5. "The Sound of Music" song : DO-RE-MI

6. Hammer used to test reflexes : PLEXOR. New word to me.

7. Summer top : TEE

8. Santa __ : CLARA

9. Legal protection : COPYRIGHT. Clothing industry does not have much protection. You can't use others' labels, but OK to copy the design.

10. __ out a living : EKES

11. Menu listings : DISHES. Not computer menus.

12. Judgments : CALLS

13. Italian source of the melody for "It's Now or Never" : O SOLE MIO. "My Sunshine".

14. Toy with a tail : KITE

15. Like pie? : EASY. I never got into pies.

17. 35mm camera type : SLR

18. Map site : ATLAS

19. Turntable stat : RPM

23. Trojans' region, familiarly : SOCAL. USC Trojans.

29. Confused : AT SEA

30. "Strange Magic" gp. : ELO

32. Ascend : RISE

34. Agitate : STIR. I tried Marc Maron's WTF podcast because he had a longer version of  his interview with Terry Gross. I like him better now. Fresh Air also ran the interview, but it's heavily edited.
38. Irangate figure : NORTH (Oliver)

39. Here, to Henri : ICI

41. Bold : FEARLESS

43. Four-wheeler, for short : ATV

44. Leaves in a bag : TEA. My favorite. Loose leaf Jasmine Tea.

47. __ D.A. : ASST

48. Went faster : SPED UP

49. Like some tests : TIMED

50. "I Got __": Jim Croce hit : A NAME

51. Font flourish : SERIF

52. Diamond need : MITT. Paul Molitor makes me believing again!

53. Pale ___ : ALE

54. Certain sharer : ROOMIE

55. __ Dhabi : ABU

58. Acrimony : RANCOR

59. So to speak : AS IT WERE. Nice 8-letter fill.

62. Slog : TRUDGE

63. New Deal org. : WPA. Works Progress/Projects Administration

64. 2008 bailout beneficiary : AIG. They're big in Guangzhou, which is not my hometown, Gary. I grew up in Xi'an.

65. Cleaning aid : RAG

67. Massachusetts quartet : ESSES

68. Fire sign : SMOKE

69. Sharp tastes : TANGS

73. Taunt : JEER

76. Charlton Heston once led it: Abbr. : NRA. I knew this trivia also.

77. Phoenix suburb : MESA

78. He bested Adlai : IKE

81. Breaks on the road : STOP-OVERS

84. E-__ : MAG. Not fond of this clue.

85. Earlier : AGO

86. Spooner, for one : REVEREND

87. Mgmt. : ADMIN

88. Opposite of paleo- : NEO. I hope you're not into Paleo Diet. What's the lifespan for cavemen?!

89. Winner's prize : GOLD

91. Has title to : OWNS

94. Cheese shape : WHEEL

96. Mac alternatives : PCs

97. Scholarship founder : RHODES

99. Fictional symbol of brutality : LEGREE (Simon). "Uncle Tom's Cabin".

100. Elis : YALIES

101. Show of scorn : SNEER

102. Ryan and Bushnell : NOLANS. Nolan Bushnell founded Atari.  Nolan Ryan never had a perfect game.

103. God wed to his sister : OSIRIS

104. Place setting item : NAPKIN

106. Strains : TAXES. Verb.

108. Nibbles : BITES

111. Bryn __ College : MAWR

112. Netman Nastase : ILIE

113. Moreno with Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards : RITA

114. Meditation syllables : OMS. My landlord in Shanghai meditated every evening, with his incense and chants. Then he started to drink. He probably found more peace in these strong  drinks.

116. Flavor enhancer : MSG

121. TV dial letters : UHF

122. Princess' bane : PEA

The fourth Minnesota Crossword Tournament will be held on June 14th, 2015 Saturday. Please click here for more details.


May 30, 2015

Saturday, May 30th, 2015, Barry C. Silk

Theme: Saturday Silkie~!

Words: 72 (missing J)

Blocks: 30

   This was a great puzzle - I could have been done in 5 minutes if I had gone with my original thoughts, but there were so many places where I hesitated and did the 'in-and-out' routine that I ended up closer to 25mins.  In fact, I was cruising so well at the end that I got the "Ta-DA~!" and wasn't expecting it.  No intimidating corners, and just two 13-letter spanners with two 14-letter climbers.  The longer fill:

25a. Assigning responsibility by committee, in modern lingo : BLAMESTORMING - I had the BLAME part, then the ST---, and this just seemed "logical"

40a. Where Langley is : FAIRFAX COUNTY - I tried "--- VIRGINIA" to start; Bzzzt. 

9d. Zinc compound : CALAMINE LOTION - I had "---LOTION", but SUNSCREEN didn't fit

15d. Many wallets contain one : DRIVER'S LICENSE

Down Jar~! ( there's the "J" )


1. Org. whose website has a Track & Manage option : USPS - because neither UPS nor FedEx would fit

5. Ending sound : Pfft - usually associated with a 'lame' ending

9. Checked out : CASED - Think Private Eye

14. Copper mine? : SQUAD ROOM - Har-har.  Policemen cop-pers

16. Floral perfume : ATTAR - thought it, put it in, took it out

17. Predictable patterns : SYNDROMES - I always think of this word as medical related

18. Imprecise : LOOSE - like, say, an interpretation

19. Map lines: Abbr. : RDs

20. Clinches : ICES - The Rangers could not ice their run to the Stanley Cup

21. Some Buffalo wings : SABRES - DAH~!  I totally should have known this - NHL hockey clue about the 'other' NY team

Lindy Ruff, player and former coach

22. Subway device : OVEN - Subway, the sa'mich restaurant, that is

23. Like bodegas, to Span. speakers : FEMinine - I believe the term is 'declension'

24. Pitches : ADS

30. Facial cosmetics : LINERS - I like make-up on a girl, but it needs to be subtle

31. Like the Southeast, vis-à-vis other U.S. regions : RAINIEST - Odd; I would have thought the NW was the rainiest

34. Assume the role of : ACT AS

35. Put down : LAY

36. Camp sight : EMBER

37. Thing handed down : HEIRLOOM

39. Moby-Dick, e.g. : ALBINO - ah, not a drum solo reference; John Bonham was melodic and dynamic, which you don't hear in a lot of drum solos that followed - I tried to find a clip that was under 11+ minutes....

John Bonham - Led Zeppelin - Moby Dick

42. Jug part : EAR

44. Critter in a clowder : CAT

45. Small songbirds : TITS - Mr. Silk, did Mr. Norris change your original clue~?

46. Title heroine in a Humperdinck opera : GRETEL

48. Start to cure? : PEDI - had MANI, and that worked with "Avalon" at 41d. - but that's a Toyota model

49. Marker, e.g. : PEN - yup, first thought, but seemed too simple

52. Inexperienced : GREEN - not NAIVE

53. Two-time winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar : MARIO PUZO

55. Runs slowly : OOZES

56. Allied : PARTNERED

57. Angström, e.g. : SWEDE

58. Aptly named Civil War general Henry : GRAY - yes, that is convenient; would have taken a drubbing being on the blue North side

59. Fake : DEKE - DAH~!  My first thought, and I hesitated.  Another hockey reference, as in feint


1. BOAC flier's destination in a 1968 song : USSR - The Beatles - The Wiki

2. Carpeting unit: Abbr. : SQ. YD. - Square Yard

3. "Alice in Wonderland" features : PUNS

4. Blue : SAD

5. Work through : PROCESS

6. Incite : FOMENT

7. They aren't behind you : FOES

8. Corp. symbols : TMs - like this one

10. Narrow range : A TO B

11. Flier's convenience : STORAGE BIN

12. Let up : EASED

13. Adorn : DRESS

21. Rig : SEMI - the truck.  I was thinking "fix",  as in temporarily

22. 1998 Masters champion : O'MEARA - total WAG

23. Wear : FRAY

25. Lackluster : BLAH - ah, not DULL

26. Tiny parasites : LICE

27. Engine protector : ANTI-FREEZE

28. Slangy event suffix : O-RAMA - like, say, a "Sale-O-Rama"

29. Halo : NIMBUS - not "AREOLA", and crossing 45a.....

32. On the way : SENT

33. Home to Paris : TROY - the epic story character Paris

35. Tall story? : LOFT - not "TALE" - a story, as in a building

38. Like some history : ORAL

39. Bite : ACIDITY

41. Nissan whose last model year is 2015 : XTERRA - as far as SUVs go, this was probably my favorite style

42. "Some things are too delicious to share" food : EGGOs - I noticed they've moved away from "Leggo my Eggo"

43. Hood defense : ARROW - Robin Hood, that is

47. Started a hole : TEED - golf

48. Allen's successor : PAAR - TV's 'The Tonight Show' hosts

49. Sheer : PURE - aw, you know what I was thinking when I saw "sheer"

(God, she is stunning)

50. O.T. book : EZEKiel - well, I have to add my favorite reading of "25:17"

51. Networking connection point : NODE

53. Odometer stat. : MPG - meh.  My odometer tells me I have 267,200 "MIs" on the car; I suppose some newer cars have a odometer that features a Miles Per Gallon calculator

54. Crossing party, briefly : PED(estrian) - I am thinking Mr. Silk was not happy with PEDI and PED and PEN together in one grid


Notes from C.C.:
1) I got this from Renèe Harvey of Mensa: "I am sorry the games and puzzles are not working, we are having syndication issues. We are working to resolve this as quickly as possible."
I don't know when they'll solve this issue. It's been a week. I encourage those Mensa users to download free Across Lite from NY Time's website. Then you can have LA Times puzzle at Cruciverb, which has a one-month archive. Plus the puzzle is always available at 10:00pm the previous night.
2) Happy Birthday to Splynter's mom! Hope Splynter makes it special for you.

Baby Splynter and his parents

May 29, 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015, John Lampkin

Theme: It is T time, so let's have some dessert.

A Friday frolic with our musical bug man, photog, where a T is is added as the first letter of the second word of a common phrase, resulting in an amusingly clued dessert. With only three themers and a reveal there is plenty of room for creativity in the grid. First, I like the visual of this puzzle, JL's photographer's eye I am sure helped. (A hint is hidden in the grid: look closely at the middle). Instead of the regular look, we have mirror symmetry. We also have standard Friday low word count with longer average word length. The longer fill is loaded with sparkle: ANY TIME,  BIDS FOR,  BREWSKI,  DETENTE,  ETERNAL,  FLAT FEE,  INCUBUS, MUD PIES,  NOT IN IT,  YES DEAR, APIARIST,  BOB FOSSE,  EVIL TWIN,  RETRACTS with much of it word strings which are a challenge to suss. Any puzzle that ranges from ROO and MUD PIES to INCUBUS is a joy to me. Let us follow John's lead.

17A. Self-preparing dessert? : AUTOMATIC TRIFLE (15). A nice change from a weapon of destruction to an English yummy. RECIPE.

27A. Dry, powdery dessert? : DUST TRUFFLE (11). We just bought a new comforter with matching dust ruffle, but I should have gotten a chocolate treat. RECIPE.

34D. Surreal dessert? : DADA TART (8). We all should know this MOVEMENT from Jean Arp and others. The simple tart comes in many forms. RECIPE.

36D. Like the desserts in this puzzle, literally? : DONE TO A T (8). A Friday reveal.


1. Like some timers? : OLD. 20 mule team borax anyone?

4. Kids' rainy day projects : MUD PIES. The only time little boys are encouraged to 'cook.'

11. Watch kids : SIT. We get to baby sit Charlotte.

14. Piglet bud : ROO. From the world of Winnie.

15. Boring, facetiously : ETERNAL. This definition required perp inspiration, but it makes sense.

16. Kyrgyzstan city : OSH. B'gosh, I get this right away finally.

20. Supple : LITHE.

21. Red meat source : EMU. Too late for Memorial Day, but you can order these for the Fourth. LINK.

22. Red giant : S-STAR. This has been appearing regularly.

23. 37-Down's concerns : BEES. A tricky cross-reference but it is Friday. 37D. See 23-Across : APIARIST. A five dollar word for bee keeper. Where are Ulee and Sherlock? John any great Bee pictures? How about an original...

24. Year during Augustus' reign : ONE BC. For all the southern readers, "How many headache powders do you need to take?"

26. Val-d'__: French department : OISE. Oise is a river you need to know because of the great use of vowels. For Splynter, you can practice your FRENCH.

30. Human __ : RACE. I thought "kind" first.

31. Big bunch : SCAD. Not used to the term in the singular.

32. Moisten, as garden cobwebs : BEDEW. A nice Shakespearean word.

35. Shingle wood : CEDAR.

39. Biological duct travelers : OVA. Eggs.

40. Wagering letters : OTBOff track betting. I believe this has been replaced with online choices like TVG  etc.

43. You'd be amazed to stand in it : AWE. Really nicely crafted clue/fill for such a simple answer.

45. Unlock, to Byron : OPEn. Read some POETRY?

46. Tries to obtain : BIDS FOR. This works two ways, both literally and figuratively.

48. Dead last, say : NOT IN IT. Tough letter string, but accurate.

50. Hourly-rate alternative : FLAT FEE. A very large part of law practice, one of the three types of fee arrangements: hourly, contingency, and flat fee.

51. Marital concession : YES DEAR. My favorite fill of the entire puzzle; so well put.

52. Anne Frank's father : OTTO. I did not remember this

53. Belts : SWATS.

55. __ vez: Juan's "again" : OTRA.

56. Grassy surface : SWARD. This appears to be the LAT debut of this Friday word. It along with STORER almost did me in.

58. Bio, e.g. : SCIence.

59. Indifferent : STOIC.

60. Yes-Bob link : SIREE.

61. One of the Kardashians : KIM. If you want a link, go for it.

62. Sandwich request : TOAST.

63. Blog input : ENTRY. A CSO to us all.

64. Compound suffix : IDE. This old bromide...

65. Annie of "Designing Women" : POTTS. I enjoyed the series but I like Annie better in this ROLE  (0:29).


1. Colgate rival : ORAL B. I started with Crest.

2. Mascot of the NHL's Blues : LOUIE.

3. Like pointillist works : DOTTED. My father studied and practiced this type of painting

4. Cultural idea that may go viral : MEME. If you paid attention yesterday....

5. Acting legend Hagen : UTA.

6. Political thaw : DETENTE. Not in fashion any more. Now the Olympic arrests are a US scheme to take the World Cup from Russia, according to Vladimir Putin.

7. First coat : PRIMER.

8. Nocturnal demonic visitor : INCUBUS. My first thought was SUCCUBUS but it did not fit.

9. Corrode : EAT. The rust ate away my outdoor furniture.

10. Some pic takers : SLRSSingle Lens Reflexes.

11. Pushover : SOFTIE.

12. Lands in el mar : ISLAS. Spanish.

13. Pointing remark : THERE. Cute clue. An excuse for this CLIP. (0:26)

18. "And I'm Cleopatra" : OH SURE. I thought it was Queen of Sheba.

19. Wagnerian soprano : ISOLDE. Inspector Morse loved his Opera. They just announced a 9th season of Lewis in addition to the 3rd for Endeavor.

24. Needing no Rx : OTCOver The Counter.

25. Ozone-threatening compound : CFCChlorofluorocarbon. Better known as FREON.

28. Prune : SAW OFF. A branch on a tree, not a dried plum.

29. Aspects : FACETS.

32. Choreographer with nine Tonys : BOB FOSSE. We like to see full names in puzzles. hard to believe he has been dead almost 30 years.

33. Facetious scapegoat : EVIL TWIN. Also a TV favorite PLOT.

38. Pulls back : RETRACTS.

41. Digits displayed on beaches : TOES. Sing-a-long.

42. Suds : BREWSKI.

43. "Whenever" : ANYTIME.

44. Travails : WOES.

47. Acorn woodpecker, e.g. : STORER. JL like birds and bugs, but this clue bugs me.

49. "Ditto" : I DO TOO. Fun letter string.

54. Lithographer's material : ACID. This answer should be etched in your mind.

57. "L.A. Law" actress : DEY. A partridge that grew up. Interestingly, she was replaced by Annie Potts in the TV Series Love and War. I liked her in LINK.

59. Indy initials : STP. Scientifically Treated Petroleum. Andy Granatelli.

Well another fun effort from a dear friend to the Corner. See you in June. Lemonade out.

May 28, 2015

Thursday, May 28, 2015 David Poole

Theme: "Before and After"

Common fabric patterns are combined with common objects to form new items. Hilarity ensues.

17. Digging tool with an abstract pattern? : HOUNDSTOOTH PICK. Houndstooth / Toothpick. I can order my very own customized cake PICK from
24. Mathematical array with a spotted pattern? : POLKA DOT MATRIX. Polka dot / Dot matrix. "Spot" on description, since some mathematical arrays do look like POLKA DOTs!

45. Fish with a linear pattern? : PINSTRIPED BASS. Pinstriped / Striped bass. How about this pinstriped bass?

59. Volume with a plaid pattern? : MADRAS CHECK BOOK. I couldn't find a BOOK with a MADRAS CHECK cover. But  Coach makes a MADRAS CHECK CHECKBOOK for only $50.

This seemed awfully easy for a Thursday, with only one snag for me.   I guess the low word count and tricky theme pushes it to late week status. How did it treat you?


1. Help with a heist : ABET.

5. Senate __ : RACE. Hands up for wanting "seat"? (Which led to my boo-boo, erasure, and an extra 15 seconds at 8-Down.)

9. Rascal : SCAMP.

14. First name in fashion : COCO. Immediately followed by a clecho at 15-Across. First name in fashion : OLEG. Needed a couple perps to sort them out.

16. Transmission repair franchise : AAMCO.

20. Wrecks : TRASHES.

21. How a scolding may be given : IRATELY.

22. First and last words of "Green Eggs And Ham" : I AM. Sam...Sam I am.

23. Winter Palace resident : TSAR.

31. Champagne label word : SEC. SEC means "dry" in French. On non-sparkling wines, that indicates just what it implies: they are "dry" and not sweet. But champagne bottles labeled SEC are much sweeter than "Brut" champagnes. Go figure.

32. Olympic hawk : ARES.

33. Reunion attendee : NIECE.

34. 3-Down is in it : OPEC. And 3-Down. Besides Chile, the only S.A. country that doesn't border Brazil : ECUA.dor

36. Arafat of the PLO : YASIR.

39. Broadway feature : NEON.

40. Carne __ : ASADA. "Grilled meat" in Spanish.

42. Pupil's place : UVEA. Not desk, haha!

44. Letters from your parents? : DNA. Good one.

49. Snaps : PICS. Here's a couple PICS of our new deck.
This is the water feature in our moss garden:

We have to wait a few months before staining it, right, Splynter?

50. Much : FAR. "It is a far, far better thing that I do..."

51. College milieu : ACADEME. Pronounced AK-uh-deem.

55. Ghoulish : MACABRE. Nice fill.

61. Son of Abraham : ISAAC.

62. Top : ACME.

63. Run without moving : IDLE.

64. "Married to the Mob" director : DEMME. My one entry that relied totally on perps. He also directed "Silence of the Lambs."

65. Appealed : PLED.

66. Some votes : AYES.


1. Twice vier : ACHT. German "four" and "eight."

2. Lout : BOOR.

4. Neck tissue : TONSIL.

5. Italian cuisine herb : ROSEMARY. This year I expanded my herb garden to include sage and basil, along with rosemary, thyme, chives, dill, cilantro, parsley, tarragon and oregano.

6. Cockpit figs. : ALTS. ALTitudes.

7. Satya Nadella of Microsoft, e.g. : CEOThis guy.

8. Self-seeker : EGOIST. I thought "taoist" at first!

9. Like nearly one-third of Africa : SAHARAN.

10. Kirk or Picard: Abbr. : CAPT.ain

11. Brest friend : AMIE. HarHar. I guess clueing it as "Brest" indicates that we are looking for the feminine noun?

12. Year in which Frederick II died : MCCL. Sure, I knew that...

13. Snail-paced : POKY.

18. Bangladesh capital : DHAKA.

19. Streetcar relative : TRAM.

23. Hard-to-call contests : TOSSUPS.

24. It was originally named Brad's Drink : PEPSI.

25. Indian __ : OCEAN.

26. Bust gp. : DEA. Drug Enforcement Agency.

27. Bronze component : TIN.beni?

28. Orchestra section : REEDS.

29. Madonna and Lady Gaga : ICONS.

30. Gabrielle's friend : XENA. From the series "Xena: Warrier Princess." I always wanted to write a song about her: "I'll be XENA in all the old familiar places..."

31. Hotel freebie : SOAP. If they didn't have such strong fragrances, I might be tempted to take some home!

35. Collection to burn : CDs.

37. "Now __ seen everything!" : I'VE.

38. Embarrassed : REDFACED. (Oops! I saw too much!)

41. Tranquil : AT PEACE.

43. One way to be taken : ABACK.

46. What some eyeglasses lack : RIMS.

47. Polar concern : ICE CAP.

48. Oil-rich peninsula : ARABIA.

51. Within : AMID.

52. One taken to court : CASE.

53. Leading man? : ADAM.

54. Eighth of a fluid ounce : DRAM.

55. Fast-spreading Internet phenomenon : MEME. This has to be one of my favorites.

56. Murder mystery staple : BODY.

57. Something to cast : ROLE.

58. Laboriously earns, with "out" : EKES.

60. Stomach acid, to a chemist : HCL. Hydrochloric acid.

Marti, out!

May 27, 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 Robyn Weintraub

Theme: INSANE OCTETS.  The theme answers have circles - or at least they should - so that's usually a sign that the theme includes an anagram concept.   This is definitely not my forte, but I sussed it pretty easily.  Lets check it out

17 A. Oscar-nominated song from "The Little Mermaid" : KISS THE GIRL.  Just don't get slapped.

26. Tie the knot : GET HITCHED.  GET MARRIED also fits, but the slangy answer is more appropriate to the clue

33. Jewelry alloy : WHITE GOLD.  Per Wikipedia, "an alloy of gold and at least one white metal, usually nickel, manganese or palladium. In order to make the gold white, it is combined with metal alloys that are white in nature and plated with an extremely hard element called rhodium."

43. Alertly eager : BRIGHT EYED.    Evidently, this phrase goes back to the late 1500's, but that's all I was able to uncover.  However, FWIW, there is this --

There is no obvious common thread here, so if you didn't get the circles, you were probably pretty puzzled by the puzzle.  So, here is the unifier.  53 A. Card game that literally explains this puzzle's circles : CRAZY EIGHTS.  "CRAZY" is one of many possible indicators that the letters of the key word "EIGHT" have been mixed up, scrambled or confused, i.e anagrammed.  The letters, contained in circles if you're lucky, in each case are split across two words.  There are 120 permutations of the 5 letters in the word EIGHT, so the puzzle could only give us a small sampling of the possibilities. Very nicely done, I'd say.

CRAZY EIGHTS is a pretty simple game that I must have played at some time in my 'ute.  You can read about it here.  When I did, it occurred to me that UNO is an elaborated derivative of this game.

Hi gang, Crazy ZabaJzump here.  Nice puzzle, well executed theme.  Let's see if we can get through it without any further mix ups.


1. Passé movie rental need : VCR.  Video Cassette Recorder.

4. Defeat decisively : STOMP.

9. Fixtures that may have claw feet : TUBS.   

13. "__ you in or out?" : ARE.

14. On top of things : AWARE.

15. Blazing stars : NOVAE.  All stars are blazing.  These are the REALLY hot ones.

16. Word in four state names : NEW.   Hampshire, Jersey, Mexico, and York.

19. Rose __ : GARDEN.   White House feature

21. Steve Martin film based on "Cyrano de Bergerac" : ROXANNE.

22. Melville novel : OMOO.  Easily the most popular novel in X-words.  Has anyone read it in the last 100 years?

23. Circus prop : STILT.  

25. Friend of Wyatt : DOC.  Earp and Holliday, famous for participating in the gun fight down the street a piece from the OK Corral.

29. Fixed (on) : BENT.  Firm and determend in purpose or belief.

30. Charlemagne's domain: Abbr. : Holy Roman Empire.

31. Peaty land : MOOR.  Acidic soil where plants die faster than they can decompose.

32. __-Coburg, Bavaria : SAXE.   A Duchy from the 14th Century in what is now Bavaria.

36. "Toodles!" : CIAO.  B'bye.

38. City NNE of Austin : WACO.   Never a good thing when it's in the news.

39. Managed care gp. : Health Maintenance Organization.  Note abrv.

42. Half of a Billy Idol #1 song : MONY.   Better than half a fly, I suppose.  Anyway, it's a cover.  Here's the real thing, from 1968.

46. Gardner of film : AVA.  She had many roles from the 40's through the 70's and was married to Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw, and Frank Sinatra.

47. Debt securities : LIENS.  The way this is phrased makes me think of bonds.  A LIEN is a legal encumbrance on a property, which is a form of security interest.   Details differ from country to country.

48. Invasion time : D-DAY.  On June 6, 1944, the allied forces invaded Normandy, a very complicated operation.

49. Tries to reach again, old-style : REDIALS.   Old time phone calls.

51. Rejects : SPURNS.

56. Super Bowl highlights : ADS.   'Cuz the game itself is often lousy.

57. Anise-flavored liqueurs : OUZOS.   Greek fire water.

58. "Toodles!" : SEE YA.  A chlecho, but I don't believe I've ever heard anybody say "Toodles."

59. Originally named : NEE.   Generally used in the context of a bride's maiden name.

60. Flew : SPED.   Look at the time.   I must be having fun.

61. Article of faith : TENET.   Do those of lesser faith only have ninets?

62. Audition, with "out" : TRY.  Competition for roles.


1. "The Starry Night" painter : VAN GOGH.  Vincent.

2. Morning pitcher : CREAMER.  Presumably holding cream for that all-important cup of coffee.  I take mine solo.

3. Did over, as a manuscript : REWROTE.  Writing is rewriting.

4. Japanese libation : SAKE.  An alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice.  Sometimes thought of as either a wine or a beer, but is neither.

5. Mattress size : TWIN.  

6. Defense gp. since 1948 : Organization of American States, founded in 1948.

7. Dash of flavor? : MRS.    Cute

8. Van Dyke role : PETRIE.   Rob, with wife Laura

9. Forum garb : TOGA.

10. Measure discussed on the EPA's SunWise web page : UV INDEX. It predicts the level of solar UV radiation and  indicates the risk of overexposure on a scale from 0 (low) to 11 or more (extremely high).

11. Including everything : BAR NONE.

12. Choose : SELECT.

15. "Wait till __ year!" : NEXT.   Losing sports team's cry of anguish and hope.

18. Clutch : HOLD.

20. Word from Homer : D'OH.

23. Glasgow native : SCOT.  From a city in Scotland.

24. Included free : THREW IN.  Has anyone ever included a free towel for you?

27. Texter's "Here's what I think" : In My Humble Opinion.

28. Paris pronoun : TOI.  Sure.  Whatever.

29. Rancid : BAD.  Food going bad, not misbehaving.   I think.

32. Hotel keycard opening : SLOT.  Keyholes are passé.

33. Route : WAY.

34. Comedy material : GAGS.

35. 23-Down's "Golly!" : OCH.  Scottish vernacular.

36. Watergate subterfuge : COVERUP.  Sometimes worse than the actual crime.

37. Not lucid : IN A DAZE.

39. Curbside water source : HYDRANT.  For putting out house fires.

40. Wind, as a country road : MEANDER.   

41. Post-Trojan War epic : ODYSSEY.   The story of Odyssius taking the long way home.

42. Former Philippine president : MARCOS.  Ferdinand, a corrupt and brutal dictator.

43. Ill humor : BILE.

44. Fight temptation : RESIST.  I misread this a "flight temptation" and was mightily confused.  Anyway, always let your conscience be your guide.

45. University URL suffix : EDU. Representing EDUcation.

47. Sets down : LAYS.  Not lies - that would be untrue.

50. Name on a sport shirt label : IZOD.  Actually, they make all sorts of apparel.

This symbol magically magnifies the value price of whatever it's attached to

51. Eye trouble : STYE. An infected abscess near the edge of the eyelid.

52. H.S. exam : PSAT. Pre-SAT.  Preparation for the SAT, which is a college admission test with no record of predicting success in college.  IMHO, all standardized tests are scams.

54. "Golly!" : GEE.

55. Egg source : HEN. Yeah - but which one came first?

There it is folks, a nice puzzle from start to finish.  I'm not mixed up any more, but I am still crazy.

Cool regards!

May 26, 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 Gareth Bain

Theme: Redundancies - Redundancies.

17A. Cash source, redundantly : ATM MACHINE. (automatic teller machine)

28A. 17-Across access code, redundantly : PIN NUMBER. (personal identification number)

38A. College entrance exam, redundantly : SAT TEST. (Originally, Scholastic Aptitude Test)

47A. Adobe file spec, redundantly : PDF FORMAT. (portable document format)

63A. PC linking system, redundantly : LAN NETWORK. (local area network)

Argyle here. This should make some Cornerites happy. They have complained about some of these redundancies before. I felt the fill was the right step-up in crunchiness from yesterday.


1. "Shake a leg!" : C'MON

5. Deprive of one's nerve : UNMAN

10. __ noire: dreaded thing : BÊTE

14. Sharpen : HONE

15. Herman's Hermits frontman Peter : NOONE

16. Skip over : OMIT

19. Gull relative : TERN

20. Sweet-talk : WHEEDLE

21. Ethiopia neighbor : ERITREA

23. Refine, as ore : SMELT

25. Flirtatiously shy : COY Miss Piggy 7D. "Little ol' me?" : "MOI?"

26. Half of sechs : DREI. German 6/3

33. Speaks too well of oneself : BOASTS

35. Sign before Virgo : LEO

36. Spanish explorer Hernando de __ : SOTO

37. Compact submachine gun : UZI

41. "I thought so!" : "A-HA!"

42. Tennis great Lacoste : RENÉ. Jean René Lacoste was a French tennis player and businessman. He was nicknamed "the Crocodile" by fans because of his tenacity on the court; he is also known worldwide as the creator of the Lacoste tennis shirt, which he introduced in 1929.~ Wikipedia

44. Apt. coolers : ACs

45. Large __ Collider: particle accelerator : HADRON. Brief background from Wiki.

50. Empties (of) : RIDS

51. Frequently, in poems : OFT

52. Drivel : TRIPE

54. Dickens miser : SCROOGE

58. Gracious : AMIABLE

62. Berth place : PIER. For the berthing of boats.

65. Los Angeles-to-Phoenix direction : EAST

66. Novelist Jong : ERICA

67. Lip balm additive : ALOE

68. Things to connect : DOTS

69. First name in TV talk : ELLEN DeGeneres

70. Longings : YENS


1. Wad of tobacco : CHAW

2. Clothes closet pest : MOTH

3. "You can count __" : ON ME

4. Luthor and Zod, to Superman : NEMESES. Individually, each is a nemesis.

5. Ben or Sam : UNCLE

6. Like vague hints, usually : NO HELP

8. Author Rice : ANNE. No relation to Uncle Ben's Rice.

9. __-do-well : NE'ER

10. Bell-__: flared pants : BOTTOMS

11. Manicurist's buffer : EMERY BOARD

12. Run out of gas : TIRE

13. Sicilian volcano : ETNA

18. Opens the door to : ADMITS

22. Post-op setting : ICU

24. Attacks, knight-style : TILTS AT

26. Slept for a bit : DOZED

27. Amazonian ecosystem : RAIN FOREST

29. Alumna bio word : NÉE

30. Small snack : NOSH

31. Cultural values of a group : ETHOS

32. Colorful horse : ROAN. Did anybody ride a roan on the Ponderosa?

33. Tupperware sound : BURP

34. German coal region : SAAR

39. Film buff's sta. : TCM

40. Mammoth-preserving locale : TAR PIT. La Brea Tar Pits, bonus entry.

43. Serious attempts : EFFORTS

46. Wane : DIE AWAY

48. Oklahoma native : OTO or Otoe.

49. Hypnotic state : TRANCE

53. "In other words ..." : "I MEAN ..."

54. Risked a ticket : SPED

55. Florentine farewell : CIAO. Italian “hello, goodbye”.

56. TV musical comedy that ended in 2015 : "GLEE"

57. British peer : EARL

59. Tree trunk : BOLE

60. Dianetics creator __ Hubbard : L. RON. Dianetics is a set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body which was created by L. Ron Hubbard and is practiced by followers of Scientology and separate independent Dianeticist groups.~ Wikipedia

61. Endures hardship to make, with "out" : EKEs

64. Zero, in soccer : NIL

I'd like to thank Wikipedia for their help in writing this piece.