Sep 30, 2015

Wednesday, September 30th 2015 C.C. Burnikel

Theme: A Five-Card Trick - CARD is scrambled five ways and concealed in five theme entries as indicated by the circles.

17A. Blanket containers : CEDAR CHESTS. Are they all cedar?

 29A. Burrowing beach denizens : SAND CRABS. Not much bigger than your thumb according to the Monterey Aquarium website. Not really Food! material then .. darn.

43A. Lollipops, e.g. : HARD CANDY. Here's the spokesman for the Hard Candy Association if there is such a thing:

57A. Where much classical music is heard : PUBLIC RADIO. Here's a little something from the Berlin Philharmonic.

 4D. Rolex 24 at Daytona, e.g. : ROAD RACE. Cousin of the more well-known (to me at least) Le Mans 24 in France, or "24 Heures du Mans" as it is officially known.

and the reveal:

39D. One of two baseball playoff teams determined next week by a "play-in" game in each major league, and a hint to this puzzle's circles : WILD CARD. Wikipedia can do the job of 'splaining the machinations of these MLB games.

Gooooood Morning Crossword Corner! Steve here with a very poor Adrian Cronauer impersonation. The circle puzzles seem to be popping up a lot on Wednesdays, I've blogged a few recently. The constructor shouldn't be tough to guess - it's a baseball-inspired theme, so it's not a stretch to posit that it might be C.C!

Neat theme - I thought at first that the 4D entry was something of an odd man out until I realized that it's balanced by the reveal at 39D. Cool stuff.


1. Wild hogs : BOARS

6. Wild animal : BEAST

11. Bird in a cage, often : PET. A menagerie trifecta to kick things off.

14. Pinhead : IDIOT. How many angels can dance on the head of an idiot? Discuss.

15. Off-the-cuff : AD LIB

16. Hot feeling : IRE

19. Sign word often seen before "next exit" : GAS

20. Matzo meal : SEDER. Great clue. Matzo ball soup is a traditional menu item for Passover.

21. Some RSVPs : NOS. I think you should reply "Oui, Merci" or "Non, Merci".

22. Punch source : FIST

23. "Born to Die" singer Lana Del __ : REY. Crosses. I'm more familiar with her Los Angeles-based sister, Marina Del Rey.

Photo Credit: Mark Kitching
24. Caspian Sea land : IRAN

26. Diamond figure : CARAT

34. Smart guys? : ALECS

35. Spanish tourist city : AVILA

36. Knock on Yelp : PAN. I used Yelp a lot when I'm traveling in unfamiliar territory to find restaurants. You need to take the one-star rants and the five-star gushes with a pinch of salt. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

37. Mall bag : TOTE

38. Given (to) : PRONE

39. Responded to reveille : WOKE. I was a little slow to respond to my reveille this morning - I was at a six-course wine dinner last night. Three hiking miles later and a mug of coffee and I was better.

40. Former Energy secretary Steven : CHU. Thank you, crosses.

41. No-frills : PLAIN

42. Hog lover : BIKER. Fun clue. Here's a couple of famous examples:

45. On the ball : ALERT

46. Like reporters, by trade : NOSY. Are reporters nosy? It has a slightly different connotation in my mind than professional investigation.

47. Brief letters? : BVD. Does Warren Buffett wear tighty-whities of this brand? Berkshire Hathaway owns the company.

48. Artist's pad : LOFT

50. Arranged locks : DO'S. I get a haircut when it reaches the point I can arrange my locks, I don't even own a comb.

53. Strips on a sandwich : BACON. Food! A pub close to where I live has a veggieburger on the menu, and proceeds to state "Bacon can be added for $1.00" which seems to rather miss the point.

56. Frazier foe : ALI

60. Spoil : MAR

61. "Too rich for me" : I'M OUT. A poker player's exit line when the stakes get too high.

62. Castle in the 1914 musical "Watch Your Step" : IRENE. I learned this from a crossword I blogged a while ago - she must have been one heck of dancer to still be clued more than 100 years later!

63. "Ciao!" : BYE

64. 1975 Pulitzer winner for criticism : EBERT. The great movie critic Roger Ebert who sadly passed in 2013. He spent his entire career with the Chicago Sun-Times.

65. Put two and two together : ADDED


1. Media Clic Ice maker : BIC. These things - never heard of 'em!

2. Often emotional works : ODES

3. Help on the Hill : AIDE

5. Parade venues : STREETS

6. "That's hogwash!" : BAH

7. Big name in organic foods : EDEN. Caused a bit of a stir in 2013 with a controversial stance on certain healthcare provisions for their employees.

8. Furthermore : ALSO

9. Isn't active, as equipment : SITS IDLE

10. "King of the Nerds" airer : TBS

11. Sight-unseen buy : PIG IN A POKE. Great expression. Researching this, it transpires that the poke is a bag, and the piglet you think that you're buying turns out to be a dog or a cat when you open the sack. French "poque" gives us "poquette", a little bag, or our "pocket". Here endeth the lesson.

12. Stretches of history : ERAS

13. Lab work : TEST

18. React to a kitchen bulb, maybe : CRY. Not because the lights went out, but onion-peeling woes.

22. Word after go or so : FAR

25. Miley Cyrus label : RCA. Wouldn't have had a clue without crosses. Just missing a "D" for another wild card.

26. Hidden problem : CATCH

27. Hawaiian Airlines greeting : ALOHA

28. Shoot back : RETURN FIRE

29. Leftovers preserver : SARAN. Not if you forget to put 'em in the fridge, which I frequently do.

30. Dodge : AVOID

31. Doofus : NINNY. Pinheads, idiots, doofuses and ninnies today. A quartet of oafs.

32. One creating enticing aromas : BAKER

33. Hägar's dog : SNERT. Food! Oh wait, not the split pea soup. Darn.

38. Feign ignorance : PLAY DUMB

41. Lenovo products : PC'S. My new laptop is a Lenovo. It weights about half as much as the old Dell, which makes my travel a little easier!

42. Munich's state : BAVARIA. Here's a question for you - the soccer team is F.C. Bayern München, but is anglicized as Bayern Munich. Why not Bavarians Munich? We English-speakers do weird things to proper names.

44. Small point : DOT

47. English channel, briefly : BBC. The public broadcaster came in for a lot of criticism during the last British elections for being overtly biased, to the point that there is a weight of opinion that the corporation should lose its charter.

48. Moussaka meat : LAMB. Layered ground lamb, sliced eggplant, zucchini and bechamel sauce. Greek loveliness.

49. Facial cosmetics brand : OLAY

51. Clarinet cousin : OBOE

52. Disparaging comment : SLUR

54. Pigged out (on), briefly : O.D.'ED. I probably made a mess of the punctuation there.

55. Ted Williams' number : NINE. This Hall-of-Famer played only for the Red Sox during his 19-year outfielding career.

57. Chart shape : PIE

58. Addams family cousin : ITT

59. Heavy ref. : O.E.D. 20 volumes in total. You need a strong shelf for all those!

That's it from me - here's the grid.


Note from C.C.: 

Happy Birthday to Pje (Pat) and her husband! I don't know any couple in real life who were born in the same day and same year. Pat was born in the morning, her husband in the afternoon. Hope it's a day full of surprises, Pat.

Sep 29, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 Mark Bickham

Theme: So and So - Four three-word phrases ... oh, never mind.

17A. Like stickers that smell when rubbed : SCRATCH AND SNIFF

27A. Little girl's makeup, so they say : SUGAR AND SPICE



71. Metaphor for time ... and, when divided into three words, puzzle theme found in the four longest across answers : SANDS. S and S

Argyle here. A reveal, really? Hardly necessary. Do you suppose he looked at SANDS and decided it could be parsed S and S? It is interesting that there are nine different length entries. Four long columns; the two longer ones cross three of the themes and the two shorter ones cross two theme entries. Overly easy but not USA mindless by any means.


1. Diagram with axes and coordinates : GRAPH

6. Very top : ACME

10. Shift neighbor, on PC keyboards : CTRL

14. St. __ Girl beer : PAULI

15. Guard site : SHIN. Cute.

16. Nabisco cookie : OREO

20. Buckwheat dish : KASHA. Not Little Rascals Buckwheat.

21. Court order to all : RISE

22. Fruit seed : PIT

23. Drop-down __ : MENU

25. Like some microbrews : MALTY

33. Crisp covering : CRUST

34. Welfare : SAKE

35. Firebird roof option : T-TOP

38. What cake candles may indicate : AGE

39. On the rocks : OVER ICE

42. Bart Simpson's grandpa : ABE

43. See 44-Down : BEST

45. City near Colombia's coastline : CALI

46. Leica competitor : NIKON

51. Sounded sheepish? : BAAed

53. Pop singer Vannelli : GINO. Clip

54. "Life of Pi" director Lee : ANG

55. Flood preventer : DIKE

59. Louisiana cuisine : CAJUN

66. Words starting many a guess : "IS IT ... ?"

67. Kind of dancer or boots : GO-GO

68. Atlanta campus : EMORY

69. "Auld Lang __" : SYNE

70. Follow the leader : OBEY


1. Navig. tool : GPS. (Global Positioning System)

2. Pool hall triangle : RACK

3. Saintly glow : AURA

4. Some flat-screen TVs : PLASMAs

5. Until now : HITHERTO

6. Remnant of an old flame : ASH. Good one.

7. Blacken : CHAR

8. Prefix with series : MINI

9. Remnants : ENDS. 49D. Partner of 9-Down : ODDS

10. Grifter's specialty : CON

11. Exaggerated response of disbelief : TRIPLE TAKE

12. Equip anew : REFIT

13. Towering : LOFTY

18. "How many times __ man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see?": Dylan : CAN A. Lot of clue for a short answer.

19. Freeway hauler : SEMI

24. Boot from office : UNSEAT

26. Work with a cast : ACT

27. Natural cut protection : SCAB

28. Strong desire : URGE

29. "Still wrong, take another stab" : "GUESS AGAIN

30. Alfalfa's girl : DARLA. Now we're talking Little Rascals.

31. Coming down the mountain, perhaps : SKIING

32. Push-up target, briefly : PEC. Build them up by doing push-ups. (Not my first thought)

36. Reed instrument : OBOE. A Püchner Oboe, model 30.

37. Cooped (up) : PENT

40. DVD predecessor : VCR. You remember videocassette recorder, right?

41. Catches, as in a net : ENSNARES

44. With 43-Across, outstanding : THE

47. Historic Japanese island battle site : IWO JIMA. Still a little rock in a big ocean.

50. Merriam-Webster ref. : DICT. (dictionary)

51. Underlying principle : BASIS

52. Restless : ANTSY

56. "Othello" villain : IAGO. Perennial bad guy.

57. Door opener : KNOB

58. Periphery : EDGE

60. Well-versed in : UP ON or maybe DOWN ON?

61. Uncool type : NERD

63. AAA suggestion : RTE. American Automobile Association/Route

64. Dim sum sauce : SOY

65. Part of PBS: Abbr. : SYS. I'm shocked! Public Broadcasting Service, not System.


Sep 28, 2015

Monday, September 28, 2015 Lila Cherry

Theme: Give My Regards To Broadway - Things you see in a theater.

17A. *Last leg of a journey : FINAL STAGE

57A. *Matching breakfast nook furniture : DINETTE SET

11D. *Thanksgiving night snacks : TURKEY WINGS

25D. *Cold War barrier : IRON CURTAIN

43D. Broadway building, and where to find the ends of the answers to starred clues : THEATER

Bonus entry: 39A. Broadway productions : SHOWS

Argyle here with an anagrammed constructor. Some new stuff, some old, and some to see if you've been paying attention the last few weeks. Enjoy!


1. Borscht veggies : BEETS

6. Garden neighbors of glads, perhaps : MUMS

10. "Looking at it differently," in texts : OTOH. (On The Other Hand)

14. Play the coquette : FLIRT

15. Part of MIT: Abbr. : INST. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

16. Make all better : CURE

19. Cleveland's lake : ERIE

20. Protruding-lip expression : POUT

21. Made minor adjustments to : TWEAKED. Like using botox to get that pout.

23. Enjoy snowy trails : SKI

26. Constellation bear : URSA

28. Discussion groups : PANELS

29. Stephen King's harassed high schooler : CARRIE. "Carrie: The Musical" was both on Broadway(1988) and Off-Broadway(2012)(Revival).

31. Shiny photo : GLOSSY. "27 8×10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us" ~ Arlo

33. Great Plains natives : OTOEs

34. Largest Greek island : CRETE

35. Roll of cash : WAD

38. Comes out on top : WINS

40. Actress Sorvino : MIRA. Screen and TV but no stage work that I could find.

41. "Just a __!" : SEC

42. How not to talk in libraries : ALOUD as distinguished from whisperingly

43. Piquant : TANGY

44. Stereotypically wealthy city area : UPTOWN. Sans shades.

46. Clavell novel of feudal Japan : SHOGUN. On Broadway in 1990, "Shogun: The Musical".

47. Take out a loan : BORROW

49. Ice hockey feint : DEKE

51. Observe : SEE

52. Intermittently : AT TIMES

54. Perfume container : VIAL

56. Fava or soya : BEAN

62. Spy novelist Ambler : ERIC. NYTimes Obit

63. Japanese noodle : UDON

64. Midterms, e.g. : EXAMS

65. "The __ Ranger" : LONE. The Green Hornet's great-uncle.

66. Chapel seating : PEWS

67. Assemble, as equipment : RIG UP


1. Texter's soul mate : BFF. (Best Friends Forever)

2. Yalie : ELI

3. A, in Austria : EIN

4. Mouse catcher : TRAP. Board game with cheese-shaped tokens, "Mouse Trap". "The Mousetrap" is a murder mystery play by Agatha Christie. It opened in the West End of London in 1952, and has been running continuously since then. Will it come to Broadway?

5. Arch city : ST. LOUIS

6. Catchers' gloves : MITTS

7. __ vez: Spanish "once" : UNA "At once" or 58D. Without delay : NOW

8. High-ranking NCO : MSGT. (Master Sergeant)

9. Gumbo cookers : STEW POTS

10. Pacific and Atlantic : OCEANS

12. Bay window : ORIEL

13. Pays attention to : HEEDS

18. "Be glad to" : "SURE"

22. Effortlessness : EASE

23. Garbage haulers : SCOWS

24. News anchor Couric : KATIE

27. Bad way to run a yacht? : AGROUND

30. Legal thing : RES

32. Indecent : LEWD

34. Vittles : CHOW

36. Take issue (with) : ARGUE

37. "Tell It to My Heart" singer Taylor __ : DAYNE

39. Decelerated : SLOWED UP

40. Chinese chairman : MAO

42. Molecule part : ATOM

45. Royal son : PRINCE

46. "SNL" segment : SKIT

47. Biblical tower site : BABEL

48. Alamogordo's county : OTERO, New Mexico. Update: Otero County was created January 30, 1899 from the eastern end of Doña Ana County, the southern portion of Lincoln, and southeast corner of Socorro County. Otero County was named after Miguel Antonio Otero, New Mexico's governor at the time (the first Hispanic surnamed governor of New Mexico Territory, served 1897-1906). His father, by the same name, had served as Territorial Representative to Congress from 1856 to 1861.

50. Odds alternative : EVENS

53. Either team on the field : SIDE

55. LPGA golfer Thompson : LEXI. Hmm, golfer or model, Images.

59. Droop in the middle : SAG

60. Down Under bird : EMU

61. Baker's meas. : TSP


Sep 27, 2015

Sunday September 27, 2015 Jake Braun

Theme:  "Aluminum Siding" - AL (symbol of Aluminum) is inserted into each theme answer.

23A. Easy summer listening? : BEACH ALBUM. Beach bum.

25A. Important exam for shady lenders? : SHARK FINAL. Shark fin. We used to have the expensive shark fin soup at our annual company New Year's dinner. It's supposed to be aphrodisiac and good for your skin.

41A. Thoroughbreds' annual dance? : RACING FORMAL. Racing form.

49A. Diet for conspirators? : CABAL FARE. Cab fare. Fare changes its meaning also. Same as the SHARK in 25A. Nice.

61A. Really bad bubbly? : BRUTAL CHAMPAGNE. Brut champagne.

78A. Lager shipping route? : BEER CANAL. Beer can.

85A. Prayer book for kids? : JUNIOR MISSAL. Junior/Miss.

104A. Last-minute jilters? : ALTAR HEELS. Tar Heels.

106A. Flower hater's bugbear? : PETAL PEEVE. Pet peeve.

Our second encounter withwho added AH sound to his LAT debut.

Another well-designed grid, with all 9 themers are placed Across, exactly how I'd handled the gridding. I love grids with four or more pairs of splashy long non-theme fill. 


1. Seriously deteriorates : ROTS

5. Item sold in sheets : STAMP

10. "Social contract" philosopher : LOCKE (John)

15. Pit-__ : A-PAT.  Fill-in-the-blank is often a partial. So slim chance for BULL.

19. To be, to Bizet : ETRE

20. Pelican State sub : PO BOY. Food! Never had one.

21. Behavioral guide : ETHIC

22. Moneyed, in Málaga : RICO

27. "I have to go out!" : ARF.  Or GRR.

28. Van Gogh setting : ARLES
29. Kadetts, e.g. : OPELS. My last-filled area. I did not know what Kadetts are.

30. "Let me repeat ... " : I SAID

31. Mixes, as cards : RIFFLES

33. Set out : EMBARK

35. Novelist Waugh : ALEC

36. Wrath : IRE

37. Record player : STYLUS. Would have nailed it with a "needle" hint.

38. Ciudad Bolívar's river : ORINOCO. Know it because Enya's "Orinonco Flow".

45. De Matteo of "The Sopranos" : DREA

46. Black dog : LAB. And 47. King dog : CUJO

48. Calm : ALLAY.  And 52. Substitute for a bad word : BLEEP. Both clues are verbs. I like this kind of misleads.

51. Celestial altar : ARA
53. Reheats : WARMS

55. Nutritional figs. : RDAs. Not any more.

56. "Cheers" role : SAM. And  57. "Cheers" order : ALE

58. Island setting for the 10th season of "Survivor" : PALAU. Nailed it. Had to put it in one of my grids once.

59. Words to a captain : AYE AYE
65. Inept shepherd : BO PEEP

68. Biker's invite : HOP ON

69. Gettysburg Campaign VIP : LEE

70. Dairy sight : COW. Not EWE.

73. Adidas competitor : AVIA

74. Horse of the Year, 1960-'64 : KELSO. All crosses.

75. City SSW of Seville : CADIZ. Had C???Z earlier on. So, easy fill.

77. Old studio letters : RKO

81. Ones wrapping around a pole? : ELVES. Oh, wrapping gifts in North Pole.

82. Casual top : POLO. Thought of TANK first.

83. Crescent piece : ARC

84. Prayer starter : O GOD

88. Leave for a bit : STEP OUT

90. Memorable 1893 defendant : BORDEN. Stumped me. I sure need "Lizzie" in the clue.

91. "__ a pity" : 'TIS

92. Ready to eat : RIPE. We only harvested one cucumber this year. So weird. Next year we'll only grow tomatoes & green beans.

93. Follower : MINION

94. Boxster maker : PORSCHE

98. Rustle (up) : SCARE

100. 2000s NCAA president __ Brand : MYLES. No idea. 

101. Shinto temple entrance : TORII. Literally "Bird perch". Tori = Bird.

103. General Arnold of WWII : HAP

108. Old Nair rival : NEET

109. Draft recipient : PAYEE

110. Fail to say : ELIDE

111. Spread measure : ACRE

112. Two caplets, say : DOSE

113. They may follow teams : SLEDS. Dog teams. Great clue.

114. Do a lawn repair job : RESOD

115. Luau music makers : UKES


1. Concrete-reinforcing rod : REBAR

2. '90s "SNL" regular Cheri : OTERI

3. Accident consequence, perhaps : TRAFFIC JAM. Lovely Down.

4. Triple __ : SEC

5. Just-in-case item : SPARE

6. Part of a traveler's budget, perhaps : TOLLS

7. Chartres cleric : ABBE

8. Board game with cheese-shaped tokens : MOUSE TRAP. Both of the Down 9's are great as well.

9. British novelist Barbara : PYM

10. Electric guitar innovator : LES PAUL. And 64. Electric guitar wood : ALDER

11. End of a list : OTHERS

12. Attribute, with "up" : CHALK

13. White wine apéritifs : KIRs

14. Theologian who opposed Luther : ECK (Johann). Total stranger to me.

15. Gotten up : ARISEN

16. Cocktail invented in Puerto Rico : PINA COLADA. Lovely as well.

17. Trendy berry : ACAI

18. Related : TOLD. Verb again.

24. Rockers Van __ : HALEN

26. Like sons and daughters : FILIAL. Filial piety (Xiao) is an extremely important virtue in Chinese culture.  Respecting and taking care of your parents and elders are instilled in us from an early age.

29. Beatles nonsense syllables : OB-LA. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da".

32. Cold, to Carlos : FRIO

34. "Oh dear!" : MY MY

35. Specialty : AREA

37. Only : SOLE

38. Jupiter and Saturn : ORBs. Thought of GODS first.

39. Chip, Skip or Harry of broadcasting : CARAY. Holy cow! I did not know this: Chip is Skip's son. Skip is Harry's son.

40. Quite big : OBESE

41. Some TVs : RCAs

42. Surrounding glow : AURA

43. Poll man : GALLUP

44. Company cars, as a group : FLEET

45. Block, beaver-style : DAM UP

49. Stuff : CRAM

50. For nothing : FREE. And 52. Wearing nothing : BARE

53. Large mackerel : WAHOO. Huge! I tried a can of broiled mackerel from our Asian grocery store yesterday. So so. The only canned fish I really like is roasted eel. Do you know that brand, Jayce?

54. Actor Ladd : ALAN

58. Patients' main MDs, to insurers : PCPS (Primary Care Physicians)

59. AARP concern : AGEISM

60. Santa __ Valley: California wine region : YNEZ

61. Endure : BEAR

62. Leading : AHEAD

63. Take it easy : LOLL

65. Spiked cakes : BABAs. Baba au rhum. Never had it.

66. Hardly secret : OVERT

67. Per-unit pay scales : PIECE RATES

70. Verify with several sources : CROSS-CHECK. Some of Seymour Hersh's articles are really thinly sourced.

71. Norman's home: Abbr. : OKLA. I was thinking of the 1066 invaders.

72. Winter fabric : WOOL

74. Stomach discomfort : KNOT

75. Customers : CLIENTELE

76. Romance novel publisher : AVON. New to me. I read lots of romance novels in my college years.

79. Barrel maker : COOPER

80. Hot-and-cold fits : AGUE

81. Prefix with morph : ENDO

82. Three-pronged letters : PSIs

85. Generic trendsetters : JONESES. Oh, Keep up with the Joneses.

86. "Redemption" author : URIS (Leon)

87. "Let __!": "Get going!" : IT RIP

89. PNC Park player : PIRATE. Hi there, TTP!  Thanks for the Spaetzle idea. So what happened at the golf awards dinner two weeks ago? Were you voted the league secretary again?

90. Charged : BILLED
93. "Not a chance!" : MY EYE

94. Where to see many El Greco works : PRADO

95. No longer squeaky : OILED

96. Le __, France : HAVRE

97. Pentathlon blades : EPEES

98. Painting medium : SAND

99. "Pinocchio" goldfish : CLEO. I forgot.

100. One of a daily trio : MEAL. Felt stupid blanking on the answer.

102. Publisher Chandler : OTIS. L. A. Times.

105. ENVY and OMEN laptops : HPS. Don't own their laptop. But our printer is HP ENVY.

106. Distribution word : PER

107. Water under le pont : EAU. Water under the bridge.

Merl Reagle's memorial service will be held today (Sept 27, 2015) from 5pm-8pm. The gathering will be at the University of Tampa’s Vaughn Center, 9th floor, and all are invited.

(Added later: Here is a short clip of Merl at the movie "Wordplay". Thanks, Tony!)

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to those who celebrate! This is my favorite Chinese holiday after Spring Festival. It always takes place on August 15th (full moon) in Chinese lunar calendar. The sweet mooncakes are available only for a short period of time.


Sep 26, 2015

Saturday, Sep 26th, 2015, Don Gagliardo

Theme: None

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

Blocks: 28

Don G returns for the last Saturday puzzle of the month for the second time in a row for the LATimes.  No theme this time, although we have three of four long answers that are food related.  One Natick, which I had to use red-letters to solve, but what can you do~? Likewise, there were a few 'meh' answers that made me grit my teeth, but it's Saturday, so I've come to expect them.  Threw caution to the wind on a few clues, and glad to see they were solid WAGs.  Two 12-letter spanners, and two 11-letter climbers;

19a. Telltale facial mark : MILK MUSTACHE

54a. Picnic piece : CORN ON THE COB

3d. It's often chosen from a map : AIRLINE SEAT

24d. Arbitrary experimentation variable : FUDGE FACTOR

"one of these things is not like the other...."



1. Go gaga over : STARE AT - you know what I go gaga over....

8. Put into motion : ACTUATE

15. Bride of Dionysus : ARIADNE - Once the "-NE" appeared, this dawned on me

16. "This can't wait!" : "DO IT NOW~!" - Reminds me of Ahhhnold in Predator

17. "Gilligan's Island" ingénue : MARY ANN - much more appealing to me than Ginger

18. How some things are written : IN STONE

21. The clink : STIR - meh.  Never heard this, but if you consider stir-crazy, then it fits

22. Field : LEA

23. Scolding : EARFUL

27. Japanese food item sold in sheets : NORI - oops, went with noKi first

29. Dept. head, e.g. : LDR - leader.  meh.

31. Selene's Roman counterpart : LUNA - I am pretty good with my mythology

32. El __ : GRECO

34. Barely make waves? : SKINNY-DIP - hand up for NOT having done this - yet

36. Some RPI grads : EEs - I attended one semester - Spitzboov stayed longer

37. Medium-dry sherry : OLOROSO - we've seen this in puzzles before - the Wiki

39. Political initials since 1884 : GOP

40. Wonder Girl or Kid Flash : TEEN TITAN - new to me; SIDEKICKS fit, too

42. Quiet spots : GLENS - I had NOOKS to start

44. Twin seen in a thesaurus? : ESAU - clever; th-esau-rus

45. Abs, pecs, delts, etc. : BOD - meh.  I get it, but....meh.

46. Place for a shoe : HOOF - horseshoe

47. Grit : METTLE

49. First bk. of the Latter Prophets : ISA

51. 1988 N.L. Rookie of the Year Chris : SABO - the "B" was my only blank; and with the next clue, DonG is making up for the lack of baseball from C.C. last week

57. Situation after the first out, in baseball lingo : ONE AWAY

60. John or Paul : APOSTLE - solid WAG

61. Astronomical measures : PARSECS - parallax second; the Wiki

62. Knee-slapping : RIOTOUS

63. Original McDonald's mascot : SPEEDEE

64. Stand behind : ENDORSE


1. "Dynasty" actress Emma : SAMMS - it took a moment to remember her

2. Character-building unit? : TRAIT

4. '70s-'80s San Diego Padres owner : RAY KROC - more McDonald's - his Wiki

5. Red-coated wheel : EDAM - cheese

6. Trees' age indicators : ANNULI - because RIINGS didn't work; today is my brother's B-day; he has 42 rings now

7. Strained : TENSE

8. Sarah McLachlan hit : ADIA

9. Companies : CONCERNS - think late 1800's

10. "My Wife & Kids" co-star __ Campbell-Martin : TISHA - mostly perps

11. Completely : UTTERLY

12. Year abroad : ANO

13. Lot : TON

14. Common rebus pronoun : EWE

20. You won't hear any hits on it : TALK RADIO

25. Dues collector : UNION - UPS is trying to collect back dues from me - not my fault

26. People now known as Sami : LAPPS - WAG

28. Square __ : ROOT - I had KNOT first

30. "Falling Into You" Grammy winner : DION - Celine - not my thing

32. "Chase those guys!" : GET 'EM

33. Piece maker? : REESE - Reese's Pieces

34. __ speak : SO TO

35. Canceled : NO-GO - think NASA and the Apollo missions

38. Ring-wearing pianist : LIBERACE

41. Colorful helmet brand : NUTCASE - clever name; their web page

43. Is blitzed by : LOSES TO

46. Millinery accessory : HAT PIN

48. Called from a field : LOWED

50. Drum kit item : SNARE

52. Big pill : BOLUS - never heard of it; the definition is "a round mass of medicinal material, larger than an ordinary pill"

53. Like one contemplating bariatric surgery : OBESE

55. Where KO means Coca-Cola : NYSE - nailed it

56. Place for an ornament : HOOD - reminds me of a vulgar joke - email me if you care to hear it

57. Short missions? : OPs

58. Power __ : NAP - I take a power nap from about 11am - 1pm everyday between UPS and the restaurant work

59. "Take heed, __ summer comes ... ": Shak. : ERE


Note from C.C.:

Happy Birthday to Dennis, who was often the first to post on the blog before he moved to Florida.  I have fond memories of talking to him frequently about baseball cards (He has a Bowman Mickey Mantle 51), American slang and various blog comments. Rich's acceptance of the puzzle I made with Dennis is one of the highlights of my puzzle career. How's everything, Dennis?

Sep 25, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015, Amy Johnson

Theme: That joke went over like a lead balloon.

Amy J. comes to Friday after many Sunday and Monday LAT appearances. A conventional Friday with humorous clue/fill combinations based on the nature of certain professions. All are witty, but not laugh out loud for me. The puzzle also had some unknowns, and some very difficult cluing in places as well lots of longish fill like HOFFMAN, KODIAKS, RETORTS,  UP TO PAR, PRISTINE, STEAMERS, FULLY GROWN, IN THE STARS. I will be interested to see what you all thought of this puzzle with no gimmicks, just challenges; so let's go.

20A. The joke at the audiologists' convention __ : FELL ON DEAF EARS (14). Is this insensitive?

26A. The joke at the chemists' convention __ : GOT NO REACTION (13). My favorite.

44A. The joke at the firefighters' convention __ : WENT UP IN SMOKE (13). This burned me up.

52A. The joke at the cashiers' convention __ : DID NOT REGISTER (14). Cash registers really do not exist in most stores.

Across :

1. Better protected : SAFER.

6. "Poppycock!" : PISH. I was surprised to learn this term came from the 1500s, with so many modern versions (pish posh, pish tosh, pish and tish etc.)

10. Badlands Natl. Park site : SDAK. Be careful of all the outlaws in South Dakota.

14. Coarse : CRUDE.

15. Suspicious of : ON TO. I think of suspicious as not knowing for sure, and onto as being sure.

16. Pup follower? : TENT.  The HISTORY. Apparently the Civil War soldiers who used them thought when set up they looked like a kennel.

17. Up for grabs, in a way : UNLET. Really tenuous tenant connection, very hard for short fill.

18. Lit. intro : PREFace.

19. "Willard" antagonists : RATS. I thought they were the stars?

23. Solo, say : FLY. All pilots look for their first solo flight.

24. Indian author Santha Rama __ : RAU. I have never been aware of this WRITER.

25. Century-starting year : MMCI. In her NYT debut, Amy commented she did not like using Roman numerals; random answers like this are the problem.

32. Not treat lightly : STRESS.

34. Normandy river : ORNE. Just one the many four letter European rivers you need to know to do puzzles.

35. "Defending Our Nation. Securing The Future" org. : NSA. They not only protect but they create puzzles for BILL G and others. LINK.

36. __ swings : MOOD.

37. "POV" airer : PBS. My TV watching is way down but THIS has promise.

38. Extreme degrees : NTHS.

39. "The Trumpet of the Swan" monogram : EBW.
Not as famous as Stuart Little perhaps but an E.B. White children's book which is also a movie.

40. Boxed dozen : JURY. Really nice Friday misdirection as no doughnuts or bagels here and juror do sit in the box.

42. Vail topper : SKI HAT. One of the many Colorado resorts. CSO our missing miss m.

47. Part of a friskiness metaphor : OATS. All you wanted to know about sowing WILD ones.

48. Jersey's chew : CUD. Very cute cow clue, not an old Soprano's reference

49. "The Simpsons" leisure suit wearer : STU.

56. Not even close : COLD. From the old, am I getting closer game.

57. Lightest meson : PION. Someone please explain to me as my knowledge is just from wiki.  In particle physics, a pion (or a pi meson, denoted with the Greek letter pi: π) is any of three subatomic particles: π0, π+, and π−. Each pion consists of a quark and an antiquark and is therefore a meson

58. Ex-TV host Stewart : ALANA. Married to Rod and George Hamilton

59. Kick back : LOLL.

60. Required bet : ANTE.

61. "R.U.R." writer Capek : KAREL. With JzB's write up Wednesday, everyone should know this author and his famous play which introduced the word ROBOT.

62. Language that gave us "bard" : ERSE. If you want the 'simple' answer, wiki says Erse can be: an alternative name for any Goidelic language, especially Irish, from Erische. a 16th-19th Century Scots name for Scottish Gaelic.

63. Old Royale 8's : REOS. An impressive looking car.

64. Gambling aids: Abbr. : SYSTSems. I know many a poor man who designed a 'perfect' blackjack system.


1. Shining target : SCUFF. My mind went to the movies, not my shoes.

2. Journey frontman Pineda : ARNEL. How do you replace Steve Perry? Apparently with a 5'4" Filipino singer. LINK.

3. Mature : FULLY GROWN. I like this fill even if Arnel and I never got very tall.

4. Henry James biographer : EDEL. This multi-volume work was Leon's career. LINK. Having this name and Arnel crossing made getting the first theme fill very tricky.

5. Backtalk : RETORTS.

6. The Carpenters, e.g. : POP DUO. Her life was so tragic.

7. Regarding : IN RE. Latin.

8. Mississippi travelers : STEAMERS. The river, not the state. Not sure I have heard the term used this way.

9. "Meet the Fockers" co-star : HOFFMAN. Dustin and Barbra were pretty entertaining.
10. Channel relative : STRAIT.

11. Word John doesn't want to see? : DEAR. The kiss off letter.

12. They're seen in columns : ANTS. This old trick did not fool me this time.

13. Lapidary's meas. : KTS. A lapidary is a person who cuts, polishes, or engraves gemstones and KT is the abbreviation for the purity of gold (karat) not the weight of gems (carat). Hmmm.

21. Some flatbreads : NANS.

22. Nero's "Behold!" : ECCE. Latin.

27. Ref. shelf filler : OEDOxford English Dictionary.

28. Singer Rihanna's first name : ROBYN. No idea. This Barbados born GIRL has been awesomely successful.

29. Where a love story may be written : IN THE STARS. Star-crossed lovers, the Fault in Our Stars...all too sad.

30. Workers' rights org. : OSHA,  Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

31. Tweed lampooner : NAST. The political cartoonist. READ.

32. Drake, maybe : SMEW. We have had this duck before, though many might of thought about Serena Williams' boyfriend who started on Degrassi.

33. Start of a dramatic question : TO BE or not to be. A small does of WS.

37. Like new snow : PRISTINE. Such clean perfect fill.

38. End to peace? : NIK. Beat...Neat...This suffix comes from the Eastern European word meaning "one who" but some credit its popularity to the launch of the Sputnik.

40. Evita's man : JUAN. Peron...they liked poodles.

41. As expected : UP TO PAR. As opposed to over par, par value and other reasons why English is so hard to learn.

42. Complacent : SMUG. I like this word.

43. Grizzly Alaskans? : KODIAKS. Can you bear these clues?

45. Walk wearing Luvs : TODDLE.

46. Dramatic units : SCENES.

50. Principle : TENET.

51. Dividing range : URALS. They divide Europe and Asia, but my mind went to Australia first.

52. When one __ closes ... : DOOR. Another hits you in the....on your way out.

53. Hardly blessed events : ILLS. meh.

54. Till opener : ROTO. A motorized way to turn your soil.

55. Crack up : SLAY. The reactions when the jokes are funny.

56. NFL team with a home field bleachers section called the Dawg Pound : CLEveland Browns. The second generation, they often wear dog masks.

Welcome to Friday Amy, look forward to more. Thanks everyone and I hope you are enjoying fall.

Sep 24, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015 Timothy L. Meaker

Theme: How about a LIFT?

The only question on this fine puzzle was whether Timothy was going to group the first or second words of the starred clues below for the theme.

Across starred clues

1. *Subject of a San Francisco museum : CABLE CAR - A mobile National Landmark

37. *Unpretentious : OLD SHOE - The billionaire "Oracle of Omaha" fits this description

Down starred clues

12. *Torque-providing component : DRIVE SHAFT - Gets the RPM's from the engine to the wheels

28. *Big band genre : SWING MUSIC - Miller, Kaye, Goodman, et al

It turns out he was going for the second words using this reveal:

66. Office building feature, which can precede the ends of the answers to starred clues: ELEVATOR - (LIFT to our resident Brits)

ELEVATOR CAR - Here's one for your, uh, car

ELEVATOR SHAFT - Bruce Willis in just such a place in Die Hard

ELEVATOR MUSIC - Upscale version

ELEVATOR SHOE - Vive la différence


9. Speculate : WONDER - "I WONDER, WONDER who, be-do-do who, Who wrote the book of love"

15. Intimate meeting : ONE-ON-ONE - Kobe in an intimate ONE-ON-ONE

16. Reluctant : AVERSE

17. Five-pointed, say : STARLIKE

18. Coordinated health program : REGIME - I prefer the word REGIMEN here. Harvard comma redux, anyone?

19. Ticked-off state : IRE

20. Honorary law deg. : LLD - Doctor of Laws (Canon and Civil), hence the two L's. Can also be honorary

21. Debussy contemporary : RAVEL - Most of all remember what happened in this scene with RAVEL's Bolero in the background

22. December purchase for many : TREE - It's been artificial TREES for us our entire marriage

24. Singer Lenya married to Kurt Weill : LOTTE - Kurt's wife LOTTE LENYA is immortalized in his most famous song Mack The Knife

26. Stood the test of time : LASTED

29. Damage : MAR

30. "¿Cómo __?" : ESTA - My Hispanic friend always answers "Muy Bien". She's aware I probably wouldn't understand any other response.

33. Egyptian city on the Nile : ASWAN - Its dam as seen from space 

34. Clever : CUTE

35. Laugh syllable : HAR - End of a Ralph Kramden line

36. Deflategate letters : PSI - Per Sq. In. As it turned out, much NFL ado about nothing this off season

40. 1970 Jackson 5 chart topper : ABC - "Simple as ABC, 1, 2, 3, Do Re Mi, Baby You and Me"

41. __ Andreas Fault : SAN - The plate on the ocean side is carrying LA north @ 1.3 "/yr. It could  be a suburb of San Francisco in a few million years!

42. Works in un museo : ARTE - Art in a Spanish Museum

43. M16, for one : RIFLE 

45. Sharpen : EDGE - At the nursery, we used honing stones to put an EDGE on our knives

47. Half a Western couple : ROY - Roy and Trigger?

48. Less than broadcast : HINTED - Literal me prefers not to have something HINTED at

49. Polite title : MADAM - Dolly played a MADAM named Miss Mona in this film

51. Fermented beverage usually served warm : SAKE

52. Take five : PAUSE 

54. N.L. East team : ATL - BOS Braves, MIL Braves and now ATL Braves

55. Nutritional stat : RDA

58. Steal, Western-style : RUSTLE - Even today in Iowa

60. Random way to decide : COIN TOSS

63. Bay windows : ORIELS - Not a stranger here

64. Arrived at, Western-style : RODE INTO - Silly riddle - "A cowboy RODE INTO town on Friday, stayed three days and rode out on Friday" How? Answer below.

65. Rite-related : SACRAL


1. Right triangle ratio: Abbr. : COS - COSINE = Adjacent side/Hypotenuse ratio

2. Naysayer : ANTI - The word that drives our partisan Congress

3. Really hard test : BEAR

4. Lynn with the album "I Remember Patsy" : LORETTA -  Before she played Mrs. Clark Griswold, Beverly d'Angelo was Patsy Cline in Coal Miners Daughter

5. Phot. lab request : ENL - Enlarge

6. Ready to strike : COILED

7. Bracelet site : ANKLE - Yeah, I put WRIST first too

8. Sax, e.g. : REED 

9. Simple card game : WAR - High card wins

10. Out in the open : OVERT - As opposed to HINTED

11. Prove false : NEGATE 

13. Salinger title 13-year-old : ESME - For ESME - With Love And Squalor

14. Rod attachment : REEL

23. Clinton's attorney general : RENO - Janet got the high profile Elian Gonzalez and Waco Compound cases

24. Shop class fixture : LATHE - C.C.'s favorite use of a LATHE

25. Longtime Hydrox competitor : OREO

26. Run out : LAPSE 

27. Syrian leader : ASSAD - He seems unable to stop the horrors going on in his country

29. Dank : MUSTY - Crank up that dehumidifier

31. Set aside : TABLE - Where legislation goes to die

32. Moved like a pendulum : ARCED

34. Data storage medium : CD ROM - The more likely modern choice below

38. "Good Morning America" co-anchor Spencer : LARA - I don't do morning TV "news shows"

39. Composer Satie : ERIK - French composer and pianist unknown to me

44. Sluggishness : INERTIA - Newton's first law of motion - Objects at rest want to stay at rest

46. Parade time : EASTER

48. Silver __, compound used in film : HALIDE

50. Perry's secretary : DELLA - Was his relationship with Miss Street strictly platonic?

51. Bar patron's option : STOOL

52. J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson, e.g. : PROS - Pro golfers. Bubba has made over $6,000,000 so far this year

53. Atmosphere : AURA

54. Part of a plot : ACRE

56. "Stop it!" : DON'T 

57. About : AS TO

59. Immigrant's subj. : ESL - English as a Second Language is a big deal here with our influx of Hispanic workers

61. Ariz. neighbor : NEV - That's how they share the Hoover Dam

62. Campus org. : SOR - My daughters were in the same 
∏ßØ Sorority

Riddle Answer - His horse was named Friday. Note to self - "Keep day job!" 

I'm sure your comments on the next page will give us all a LIFT!

Husker Gary

Notes from C.C.:

Crosswords LA Tournaments will be held on Oct 24, 2015 (Saturday) at the Fowler Museum at UCLA. You don't need to be a wizard solver to participate. As you can see, they have four brackets for different skill levels. Or you can just be a spectator, solving at the same time with other competitors but your grids won't be scored.

It's an annual charity event Elissa Grossman started in 2009 to raise money for Reading to Kids.  I'm honored to be one of the constructors this year. The editor (Puzzle Wrangler) is the amazing Todd McClary, a regular contributor to the CrosSynergy puzzles.

I hope our readers in LA area will attend the event and mingle with your favorite constructors, bloggers & fellow solvers. Will you be there, Steve?