Jan 10, 2016

Sunday, January 10, 2016 Matt Skoczen

 Theme: "Mixed Doubles" - Both words in each made-up phrase can follow "Double".

 24. Dinner and a movie? : DATE STANDARD. Double date. Double standard.

31. Rotten luck in Rotterdam? : DUTCH WHAMMY. Double Dutch. Double whammy. Great clue.

47. Ceremony for the Jetsons? : SPACE WEDDING. Double space. Double wedding.

70. Citations from an underwriter? : INDEMNITY QUOTES. Double indemnity. Double quotes.

94. Earthquake? : FAULT TROUBLE. Double fault. Double trouble.

110. Lenscrafters employee? : VISION AGENT. Double vision. Double agent.

120. Answering in the form of a question? : JEOPARDY DUTY. Double jeopardy. Double duty.

Very manageable grid. Seven entries with 85 theme squares. The minimum for a 21*21 grid is 84 squares (35 for a 15*15).

The more I construct, the more I realize how hard it is to come up with perfect clues for this type of theme. You need the phrases to have basic surface sense, and you need them to be funny.

1. Holiday dinner choices : BRISKETS. Meaty start. Stacked 8's at upper left/lower right corners.

9. Happen : BEFALL

15. Bond villain with a "great football of a head" : MR BIG. I only know Mr Big from  "Sex and the City".

20. "1984" superstate : EAST ASIA. All crosses. Never read "1984".

21. Bibliography catchall : ET ALIA

22. Pop singer __ Marie : TEENA

23. Georgia native : ATLANTAN. Not the country Georgia.

26. Equine shade : ROAN

27. World's first independent credit card company, initially : DCI.  Diners Club International. Normally it's clued as a Roman numeral. Avoided the angle today due to the crossing CML  (28. Roman 950).

29. Compound with a fruity aroma : ESTER

30. Shades : HUES

36. Cast out : EXILE
38. Cyclist's obstacle : STEEP HILL. I presume all's flat in your area, D-Otto?

39. Genesis setting : EDEN

42. Patty Hearst alias : TANIA

46. Abbr. under a dotted line : SIG (Signature)

50. Org. concerned with whistleblower laws : OSHA. I associate them with workplace safety only. 

54. SeaWorld splasher : SHAMU. And 87. 54-Across, e.g. : ORCA

57. 20 Mule Team brand : BORAX

58. Within: Pref. : ENTO

59. Couch potato's acquisition, perhaps : PAUNCH. It's perfectly fine to have some belly fat. The paunch protects our stomach and other organs.

61. Many hits : SONGS. Was thinking of Google hits.

63. Masters : HAS DOWN

65. In a way, casually : SORTA

66. Unisex designer fragrance : CK ONE. Tried it once. Did not like the smell.

67. Floor : SHOCK

69. Kind of milk : SOY. When I lived in Shanghai, my standard breakfast was a mug of hot soy milk and a big rice ball (Fantuan). Changed to two fried rice balls after I moved to Guangzhou.

74. CBS-owned cable sta. : SHO. All crosses.

77. Heraldic shield borders : ORLES. This used to stump me. 

78. Grammar topic : NOUNS. Wanted USAGE. Clues without a clear "plural" hint always get me.

79. Ultimately become : END UP

83. Harbor : CONCEAL. Can you give me an example on how these two equate?

85. Canadian author and environmentalist Farley __ : MOWAT. Total stranger.

86. Piece of poetry : STANZA
88. TV golf analyst Nick : FALDO. Sir Nick Faldo. Biting at times. Just like Johnny Miller.

91. "No big deal" : IT'S OK

93. Sandcastle maker's aid : PAIL
97. Street cred, say : REP. Reputation.

99. Tests, with "out" : FEELS

100. Mozart's "__ fan tutte" : COSI

101. Food coloring and such : ADDITIVES

107. Real stinker : SKUNK

112. Alaskan island closer to Russia than to the Alaskan mainland : ATTU
115. Doesn't let go of : KEEPS

118. Massage site : SPA

119. Chocolate craving, e.g. : URGE

123. Millard Fillmore's birthplace : LOG CABIN. I only know Lincoln was born in a cabin.

127. Cage or Penn : ACTOR

128. Honey : DEARIE

129. Mini follower : IPOD NANO. Gary and I exchanged our favorite podcasts two weeks ago. My top 5 is not in his top 5.

130. River through Lake Geneva : RHONE

131. Approval : ASSENT

132. Figure that includes returns : NET SALES


1. Features common to Yosemite Sam and Uncle Sam : BEARDS

2. Squeal on : RAT OUT

3. Runs behind : IS LATE. So, can I put IS EARLY in a grid also? How about IS RUDE?

4. Position : STANCE

5. National Teachers Hall of Fame state: Abbr. : KAN. 15. Any of Colorado's fourteeners: Abbr. : MTN. Both unknown trivia to me.

6. Educ. guess : EST

7. Spanish relative : TIA

8. Summer footwear : SANDAL. So cold here.

9. Make murky : BEDIM. Not a word I use.

10. Touchdown letters : ETA

11. The way it goes : FATE. Simple in retrospect. That's how it goes in crossword solving.

12. Pale orders : ALES

13. Talk radio fan : LISTENER

14. Swim cap material : LATEX

16. Like Anne of Green Gables : RED-HEADED

17. Suitor : BEAU

18. About, in memos : IN RE

19. Traipses : GADS

25. Former press secretary Fleischer : ARI. Tiger's adviser for a very short time.

32. Some printers : HPS. Ours is HP Envy.

33. Sibilant sound : WHISH. Not SWISH.

34. Word with seas and spirits : HIGH

35. "You betcha!" : YEP!

37. Inc. kin : LTD

40. Small applications : DABS

41. Friendly opening? : ECO. Eco-friendly.

43. Benito's boys : NINOS

44. Parted : IN TWO

45. Intense feeling : AGONY

47. Branch of Islam : SUNNI

48. Fast tropical swimmers : WAHOOS. Can you pluralize CARP also?

49. More than demand : EXACT

50. Special __ : OPS

51. Common word on Brazilian maps : SAO

52. "Ben-__" : HUR

53. Opponent : ANTI

55. Information desk sign : ASK ME

56. Titania and Oberon, e.g. : MOONS

60. Craft pointed in two directions? : CANOE. I liked the clue once I grokked the "point".

62. "I can't __ ...": Stones lyric : GET NO

64. Sport invented by hunters : SKEET. Oh, good to know. Slight dupe HUNTS (68. Searches).

66. Wine holder : CELLAR

67. Thickset : SQUAT

71. Breeze : DRAFT. And 73. Breeze : SNAP

72. "That hurts!" : YOWIE

74. Thumb one's nose (at) : SCOFF

75. Greek goddesses of the seasons : HORAE. This trio. Learning moment for me.

76. When to enter : ON CUE

80. Type of profiling : DNA

81. Arm of Israel : UZI

82. __ around with : PAL

84. Requires : CALLS UPON

85. Crowds around : MOBS

86. V-formation group : SKEIN. When they're not flying, it's a GAGGLE.

89. Connect across the room : LOCK EYES. Great entry.

90. Thelma and Louise, e.g. : DUO

92. Novus __ seclorum: dollar bill phrase : ORDO

95. "How disappointing!" : TSK

96. Two-time Oscar nominee Ullmann : LIV

98. School gp. : PTA

101. Curtains for Cleopatra? : ASP. Three -letter answer for Cleopatra has to be ASP.

102. Access via phone : DIAL IN

103. Tropical lizard : IGUANA

104. Spoken : VERBAL

105. It purrs when it's cared for : ENGINE. Loved this clue also.

106. Gregg users : STENOS

108. Largest country entirely in Eur. : UKR

109. Silvio's lover in "Pagliacci" : NEDDA. Complete stranger to me as well.

111. "The best __ to be": Browning : IS YET

112. Not quite shut : AJAR And 124. Not shut, poetically : OPE. Quite a few clue echoes today.

113. Apple worker : TECH

114. Baum canine : TOTO

116. Smartphone ancestors : PDAs

117. Unwavering : SURE

121. "__ we okay?" : ARE. Remind me of Marc Maron.

122. Altoids holder : TIN. Some of you were led astray by Tinbeni's comment yesterday. He turned 64 on August 23, 2016, so his "2,000,000,000 seconds old" mile-stone" is misleading but true.

125. Figured out : GOT

126. Fixed-term investments: Abbr. : CDs


Answer Grid by Owen


OwenKL said...

DNF today. 9d I had BED_ _, and 33d I kept changing between SHISH or CHISH, but couldn't come up with anything for cHAM_Y or sHAM_Y. Once I got that S/C cleared, I could see WHAMMY, which gave BEDIM, which gave the letter to follow Diners Club.

Politics and Powerball in the poem today.

Politicians and gamblers DOUBLE DOWN.
It's TWO times the risk for a larger crown.
They hope for a rainbow
But it's only a placebo;
Sorry, TOTO, but KANSAS ain't this town!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

This one was touch and go there for a bit, but I eventually did manage to get 'er done with no help. I got through most of the theme answers without actually getting the theme, but I did finally suss it out at VISION AGENT. That let me go back and pick up the one theme answer I hadn't been able to complete yet, which was DATE STANDARD.

MOWAT, NEDDA and DCI were complete unknowns that I needed to get entirely from the perps. MR BIG was easy enough to guess with a little perp help, but I don't remember him from any of the movies. Does anybody know which film he appeared in (or which book, if not in any of the films)?

Most of the rest of my struggle came from wrong guesses on my part, including EVICT for EXILE, INFORM for RATOUT, WHIRR for WHISH, TRIES for FEELS and SNOOT for SCOFF (don't ask).

Barry G. said...

Hmmmm... I guess you need to have read the novels to get the physical description of "Mr. Big" from "Live and Let Die":

Dr. Kananga is the primary villain of the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die and was portrayed by Yaphet Kotto.

Drug baron and dictator of a fictitious Caribbean island named San Monique, Dr. Kananga is loosely based on the main villain of Ian Fleming's second James Bond novel, Live and Let Die. Like his novel counterpart, Kananga adopts the alias "Mr. Big" to conduct his illicit activities, however the novel and film versions of the character are radically different to the point of being completely different people.

[From the James Bond Wiki]

Big Easy said...

BIG BROTHER must have placed a curse on me today. DOUBLES were easy but way too many unknowns to complete. I started with ATHENIAN instead of ATLANTAN and KENtucky instead of KANsas and it went downhill. Left EAST 'E'SIA and didn't check but it wouldn't matter because I missed MOWAT, HORAE, CK ONE, ORDO, NEDDA and MOONS. I was thinking baseball and wrote SINGS for 'many hits' and 'Titania and Oberon' sounded like operas to me.

PAUNCH and SQUAT in the same puzzle with the rivers RHONE and AaRE crossing. 'DOUBLES?"

Outta here

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

This was challenging but rewarding, IMO. I had w/o's galore: Augustan/Atlantan, Tanya/Tania, path/fate, red-haired/red-headed, whirr/whish, angst/agony, nudes/moons, and snort/scoff. But as the theme was easy to see, everything corrected itself, eventually. Thought of CED at "It purrs when it's cared for." 🐈 Meow!

CC, re conceal=harbor, think harboring a fugitive.

Thanks, Matt, for a Sunday smoothie and thanks, CC, for the guided tour.

It's supposed to be 56 here today, with heavy rains and strong winds, then turning colder and maybe some snow Monday or Tuesday.

YR, hope things remain positive with Alan.

Bill G, I'll send you the bank account number just as soon as I receive the funds from our Nigerian friends! 💰💰😉

Have a great day.

Yellowrocks said...

Toughie today, but by taking half an hour extra I finished without help. I sussed the theme with JEOPARDY DUTY early on, which helped. I worked bottom stripe, top stripe, middle stripe. MR BIG was an easy wag with just the M and the B. Only MOWAT and CK ONE were all perps.

PAGLIACCI is one of my favorite operas. I knew the lover was something like NEDDA, but needed perps to get it exactly. I prefer Italian operas to the German ones.

I gave my older son an IPOD NANO some time ago but I took a while to connect it with MINI.

I knew TANIA had an odd spelling. That section was the last to fall. To resolve my inkblot I typed that section on Mensa Master and it all became clear.

Part of Alan's problem is his PAUNCH and being a COUCH POTATO. The many medicines he takes make him feel hungry all the time. Mom always said you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Caring for an almost independent adult is sometimes harder than caring for a child. You who have cared for very elderly parents know this.
The good news is that the first medicine in the cervical epidural wore off quickly, but now the other medicine is kicking in and eliminating the pain.

Desper-otto said...

Good morning! (Well, maybe not good.)

Today started with the failure of my fruit-based machine. All it displays are purple vertical bars. I think internal hemorrhaging may have been involved.

In my infinite wisdom, I've been using One Password to manage all of my logins. Every password is a complex jumble of characters, numbers and special characters. Are any of those written down? Nope. Do I actually know any of 'em? Nope. Can I connect to my email accounts? Nope. My financial accounts? Nope. Am I S-O-L? Probably. I'm writing this on my ancient XP machine. I tried to install Windows 7, but received a warning message that my hardware is too primitive to handle that obsolete Windows version. Grrrrrr.

I did successfully complete today's puzzle, but it seemed to take forever. Might have helped if I'd read the puzzle title. I never did get the theme.

C.C., Irish Miss beat me to the punch with the Conceal/Harbor explanation. And, yes, it's mostly flat around here. There's a block-long, gentle hill down near the creek. Still, it's enough to get me panting when I try to pedal up it.

Anonymous said...

You can harbor (conceal) a criminal. Not a good clue but it works nevertheless.

Anonymous said...

"Spoken" has to be VERBAL, but VERBAL does not have to be spoken.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I posted about an hour ago, but it disappeared. I did complete the puzzle correctly, but it would have helped if I'd read the puzzle title. I never did get the theme.

My fruit-based computer decided to lay down on the job. All it does is sit there displaying some purple vertical lines. I'm writing this on my ancient XP machine. I know, you're not supposed to use that anymore. I tried to upgrade it to the also obsolete Windows 7, but my hardware is too primitive for that advanced software.

In my infinite wisdom I set up all my internet logins via One Password with complex passwords. Did I write those passwords down? Nope. Can I log into my email accounts? Nope. Can I log into my financial accounts? Nope. Am I S-O-L? Probably.

Bluehen said...

I got-er-dun, but it was a battle. Waay too many proper names that I never heard of. Many were ultimately perpable, and I am pleased to say that I sussed Tatiana and Oberon with only M-O-O-N-S in place. The clue for 10d was wickedly devious given the sporting season. Speaking of which, did anyone catch the late game last night? I don't think those two teams like each other.

desper-otto said...

Of course, now that I re-wrote, it the original one showed up. This just isn't going to be my day....

tawnya said...

Morning all!

Since I didn't win the lottery I'm going about my normal lazy Sunday routine. Thank you CC for the revealing write up and to Matt for the nice puzzle. I did get the theme (with the VisionAgent) so had fun trying to suss out the others. I immediately got TANIA of course. I asked my mom where she picked out my name and TANIA/Patty Hearst was the answer. She spelled it phonetically so people wouldn't call me TAN-YA (like Tanya Tucker). So now I have to spell out my name for everyone. But it's super exciting to meet someone with the same spelling.

Mr Big made me think of SATC and this song

It's 13 and sunny with small bits of snow falling that look like glitter in the light. They threatened 1-3" yesterday and although it snowed for hours, nothing stuck at all. Fine with me!

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!


Bill G. said...

Hi everybody. I enjoyed the puzzle though I found it difficult in places. Even though Sunday puzzles have a title and even though I had the puzzle finished, I couldn't make sense of the theme. Dunno why but themes like this where the first/last/both words are related to another word somehow almost always escape me. V-8 doesn't seem to help.

One day while sitting in our middle school's library, I noticed a paperback of Anne of Green Gables. All I knew is that it was a well-known kid-lit book that I had never read. So I checked it out and read it. I liked it very much.

My father and I used to go paddling and/or fishing in his Old Town canoe. Good memories.

I like to ride my bike on the almost completely level bike path which runs for about 20 miles along the Pacific from Malibu to points south. (I only ride much shorter distances on portions of the bike path these days.) If I can get a tailwind both ways, even better.

Argyle said...

Yeah, D-O, I found your first post in the spam box, (no idea why) and published it. Must have been while you were rewriting it.

Yup, one of those days. My bugaboo was misspelling words.

CrossEyedDave said...

BeDim: Hmm, not a new word, just has to be parsed correctly...

Gregg explained...

Thanks for thinking of me IrishMiss!

Love this sign...

Hmm, I see the Harbor Fugitive thing has already been explained...

Steve said...

What Bill G. said. I never picked up the theme even when it was staring me in the face. Not a big fan of this one. There, I said it.

Husker Gary said...

Usually I post late on Sunday because of church but not today. I was stuck SCOFF (Sneer, Snubs), HORAE (no idea), CALLS UPON (Draws…, Plans…) and ON CUE and CONCEAL hid. What a great puzzle!

-Gimmick was fun and helpful
-The only HILL in our very flat town is man made
-C.C.’s patience got me to HAVE DOWN the minimal blogging skills I use here
-Cincinnati Bengal fans are still in SHOCK today after idiot penalties cost a game last night
-CONCEALING/HARBORING her spoiled child in the news recently
-Filmore is almost always included in list of ten worst presidents
-Sean Penn’s new best friend was the most wanted man in the world
-My fav podcasts were politics and sports and lots of C.C. were much more worthwhile
-My HOF teachers would have spent more time with kids than bureaucrats and forms
-A Vince Gurauldi hit(3:01) about FATE and not Charlie Brown’s Christmas
-ARI, just like other press secretaries, just said what was written for him
-Home office of the Dave Letterman Show
-Does anyone know what famous song’s second STANZA starts with On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep

Alex said...


















Inexcusable for a thin theme boring as this one.

coneyro said...

That line is from the "Star Spangled Banner. Most people don't know that we only sing the first of four stanzas as our national anthem.

SwampCat said...

Kathleen has ... "tears BEDIM (your) loving eyes" ... In the ole Irish song, "I'll take you home again, Kathleen." Every be-sauced Irish tenor at the bar knows that!

The puzzle was over my head, but C.C.'s clever write up was fun.

Jayce said...

Whew, hard one today. Yesterday and Friday, too. Had to turn on red letters which revealed that MUSES and BUNTS were totally wrong. Had to do an internet search to find CK ONE, but knew Farley MOWAT immediately because I had read and enjoyed his book Never Cry Wolf. HORAE and FALDO were completely unknown to me. Got the theme at DUTCH WHAMMY. Loved the clues for ENGINE and CANOE. When in Taiwan I often had a bowl of Dou Jiang (hot soy milk) and a You Tiao (bread stick) for breakfast. That would not be enough for me now, but I was very slender then. Best wishes to you all.

OwenKL said...

Titania and Oberon -- Queen and king of faries in Midsummer Night's Dream -- Faery wouldn't fit, and I had SYNCS > SONGS, so MYTHS > MOONS. I was almost named Oberon instead of Owen, to give me the initials OK. I think I would have liked it. Irish Miss: NUDES? Really? :-)

A pointed poetic couplet:

I had KAYAK before CANOE,
Didn't you?

d-o: Passwords are a pet peeve of mine. I can understand complex passwords for banks and shopping sites, but for most websites and social media? No one's going to get my money or my identity from hacking those. Most, they won't even get my full address nor phone number. A lot of them, they won't even get my name! What's the worst any hacker could do? Spoof my name to call someone else a doody-head? Really, a 3-digit PIN is all most sites really need. I use the same password on all non-financial sites, varying it by site requirements. At its simplest it has 8+ characters, non-case-sensitive and numeric. Sites that insist on both upper and lower case annoy me! Ones that demand uppercase, lowercase, numeric, and special chacters enrage me!!!

SwenglishMom said...

Thanks for mentioning Never Cry Wolf, Jayce, that book sticks in my memory, for both the sad ending and the test of whether a large mammal could survive on a diet of mice (ick!).

Husker Gay, that block of clues stumped me as well, but otherwise I found the theme useful to solving.

We finally got snow here after Christmas and the kids have even been out sledding. Always thrilled to see them parted from their electronic devices.

Irish Miss said...

OwenKL @ 4:30 - What can I say? 👿

Lucina said...

Good evening, friends!

Almost missed the party today. A friend stayed with me overnight so of course we dawdled over coffee before she left. That started me late on the puzzle but I completed some of it, the NE corner before church. Didn't know MRBIG but easy to suss as someone already said. When I picked it up later, I pecked away at it, finished the south, east and west. For some reason I recalled Nick FALDO and pulled out ORLES from my BEDIMmed memory. That was once a common crossword fill. Fretted and stewed over 67A, floor then SHOCK hit me like a ton of bricks.

After my walk around the block, I resumed but by then I was tired so the NW just beat me and since I've never read 1984 had to look up EASTASIA/KAN then finally finished. It seemed like a long slog though clever, especially the theme which I didn't even look for.

I sincerely hope your Sunday has been superb, everyone!

Lucina said...

No, Owen, my first thought on reading the clue was CANOE.

Thank you, Matt and C.C. for today's lesson. I learned a few things, MOWAT, CK ONE, that a National Teachers' Hall of Fame exists and in KANsas. I did recall TANIA but spelled it with a Y, of course, until INTWO appeared.

billocohoes said...

Tomorrow's Wikipedia "On this day..." feature lets us know that William Herschel discovered Uranus's two largest moons (later named TITANIA and OBERON by his son) on January 11, 1787. All of Uranus's moons are named for characters by Shakespeare or Alexander Pope.

Ergo said...

I'm laughing now but for most of the day I ANGUISHED over this puzzle. Still have lots of fill to keep me busy, but at least I now understand the theme.

Still need to google a pic of Yosemite Sam. I could swear that he has a moustache but not a beard.

Bill G. said...

Ergo, I did Google Yosemite Sam and I think you might be right. The mustache is so prominent that it's hard to tell if it's part of a beard too.

Freond said...

Found this one really tough. Needed to turn on red letters when only 60% done. Even then it took way too long. Not particularly enjoyable. Never did get the theme. I kept wondering why it had these weird answers.

TTP said...

SW corner did me in, and I finally gave up after coming back to the puzzle multiple times through out the day.

I should have discarded DEPENDS ON at 84D "requires."

Thank you CC. I enjoyed your review.

Major Tom said...

RIP David Bowie.

Freond said...

Found this one really tough. Needed to turn on red letters when only 60% done. Even then it took way too long. Not particularly enjoyable. Never did get the theme. I kept wondering why it had these weird answers.

Anonymous said...

Wow ORWELLIA looked so good, went with Yosemite & Uncle Sam's GOATEE

Nothing like starting the week in a trench

JamesBMac said...

You are correct. Yosemite Sam has a moustache not a beard. Didn't like the cluing in this puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Some big errors in the clues:
69A: soy is not a type of milk; it is a bean. Milk comes from mammals.

104D: Verbal doesn't mean spoken, it means "expressed in words".