Jan 6, 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016, Matt Skoczen

Theme: I Hear Ya Knocking (But You Can't Come In) - (1955 R & B hit covered by Fats)

Unless you're selling Girl Scout Cookies or you've got a huge check from Publisher's Clearing House, I ain't interested! Matt's tricky puzzle serves up a strategy to avoid anyone peddling politics, religion or other unwanted commodities at your door.

17. Visitor's first attempt : DING DONG 

30. Visitor's second attempt : KNOCK KNOCK - I ain't answerin' that door!

50. Visitor's third attempt : ANYONE HOME?

64. Visitor's last words : FORGET IT - Or if you speak a foreign language...

Maybe they're there or maybe they're not. Matt's puzzle was a big Wednesday challenge for me. His clever gimmick and cluing made me labor longer than usual for a humpday. The very last cell was a natick for me but E seemed to complete colettE and alE satisfactorily and so all was well on the southeastern front. 

1. Big initials in tobacco : RJR 

4. Devices with scroll wheels : MICE

8. Many an old-movie criminal mastermind : MAD MAN - He was a master at that role

14. Perrier, par exemple : EAU - In France (French) EAU (water) costs more than huile (oil)

15. Sick as __ : A DOG

16. Jittery : UNEASY - What losing coaches are this time of year

19. Emphatic type : ITALIC

20. Training group : CADRE

21. Like milligrams and kilograms : METRIC  - USA, Liberia and Burma (Myanmar) are the only countries that 
aren't using this system

23. Baseball family name : ALOU - They live on in Crosswordland 

24. Actress Thompson of "Family" : SADA - A favorite show of ours

25. "My bad!" : OOPS

29. Queen-to-be, maybe : PAWN - Black PAWN advances to last row (rank), becomes a Queen and delivers a Checkmate (give it a few seconds).

33. Hum a lullaby for : SING TO - A parental joy

35. Common starting time : NINE

36. Justice Dept. division : FBI

37. Sean's mom : YOKO - Guess what happened when my Beatle fanatic friend and his family  walked by NYC's Dakota in November. Her daughter Kyoko took the picture and Jim said YOKO was very gracious

39. Unlikely Monopoly outcomes : TIES - We quit playing with my too-competitive friend

41. Student carrier : BUS 

44. Peeled-off item : RIND

46. "Big crunch" pickle brand : VLASIC

53. Asti export : VINO - Gosh I miss Marti! 

54. Kids' __: restaurant offering : MENU - From Shanghai. C.C., what looks good?

55. "The Dukes of Hazzard" deputy : ENOS 

56. Indigo source : ANIL

57. Ottoman shelter : IMARET - Hostels or hotels originally built for the poor and needy. Yeah, I knew that! :-) 

60. Playing marble : AGATE

61. Nixes : VETOES

66. How megastores buy goods : IN BULK - Our Super Walmart had hundreds of TV's for Black Friday. How many must they have purchased nationwide?

67. Boo-boo : OWIE

68. Snitch : RAT - Sammy "The Bull" Gravano got a pass on 19 murders for RATTING out his boss John Gotti 

69. Assumes to be true : POSITS

70. Ring units: Abbr. : RNDS - Mike Tyson's early fights did not go many RNDS

71. Porter kin : ALE - Not a clue, but it seemed plausible with AL_

1. Baggage handlers : RED CAPS - In the 1860's George  Pullman hired 
former slaves as Porters on his train cars. Later black men were also hired to handle baggage in train stations and were called RED CAPS

2. Game with cestas and pelotas : JAI ALAI - Here we see the pelota (ball) leaving the cesta, at a speed that can reach 188 mph.

3. Seedy : RUNDOWN

4. Good way to have it? : MADE

5. Knot-tying words : I DO

6. One with a racket : CON MAN - In a Downton Episode, cash-strapped Robert toyed with the idea of investing with "a chap in America" named Charles Ponzi

7. Stirred up : EGGED ON

8. Conservationist John : MUIR

9. Against : ANTI

10. Church official : DEACON - Rector didn't cut it

11. Start to practice? : MAL - This doctor left our town quickly and fled back to Pakistan to escape MALpractice suits due a hepatitis outbreak at his unsanitary clinic 

12. "__ live and breathe!" : AS I

13. B'way setting : NYC

18. Seedy : GRUNGY

22. Unspoken : TACIT - No answer is sometimes an answer

24. Chicago suburb : SKOKIE

26. Stomach-punch response : OOF

27. Banned chem. contaminant : PCB - Possible cancer source

28. Snow glider : SKI - 
Gosh I miss Marti! 

31. Sushi chef's array : KNIVES - $569.99 but free shipping!

32. Ship's spine : KEEL

34. Unable to choose : TORN

38. "Rings __ Fingers": 1942 Fonda/Tierney film : ON HER - Starring one of Omaha's favorite sons

40. Wild and fierce : SAVAGE - What my uncle used to call all us kids when we were growing up

41. Emeril exclamation : BAM

42. Le Mans article : UNE

43. Peek, for peep: Abbr. : SYN - How 'bout SIN for SYN?

45. Toast, so to speak : DONE FOR

47. Ol' Blue Eyes : SINATRA

48. Monogram component : INITIAL

49. "Gigi" author : COLETTE - Pen name for 
Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

51. "Right away, madame!" : OUI OUI - Don't you think this phrase was in Madame Colette's Gigi

52. Four Tops' record label : MOTOWN

58. Get all mushy : MELT

59. Invites : ASKS

60. Long stretches : AGES

61. Bigwig : VIP - View from a VIP Suite at AT&T Stadium, home of Dallas Cowboys

62. Brian of Roxy Music : ENO

63. Airer of some MLB postseason games : TBS - Turner's Braves haven't won a post season series since 2001

65. Clear (of) : RID

"Knock, knock. Who's There? Ima? Ima who? I'm about done!" Now lets go see who answers the bell for today's comment page. I know you're out there!

Answer Grid


Yellowrocks said...

Easiest puzzle of the week so far. Done almost as fast as I could write. No unknowns. I did need a down or two in some places to jog my memory or confirm my first idea. Gary, I enjoyed your take on the theme and the attendant images.
We had a great attendance of our own members despite the cold at last night's dance, but very few visitors. After two weeks off it felt good to be dancing again. So pleasant without old Potty Mouth.
It's also good to be back at the Y 5 or 6 days a week. Exercise is a great way to drop pounds, as well as A1C.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Not as easy a solve as Yellowrocks's experience, but not as hard as Gary's. The first theme answer I encountered was KNOCK KNOCK, and I couldn't figure out why that would be somebody's "second" attempt. But then I got DING DONG and the theme became crystal clear to me.

Had the same issue as Gary with ALE/COLLETE, but what else could the crossing letter be? Porter is some sort of alcohol, I'm guessing, but port would have been easier to get.

I had know idea PAWNs could become queens. Obviously, I'm not a chess player.

Did not like RNDS at all. It ranks right up there (down there?) with TPKS.

Hungry Mother said...

Very smooth solve. Had to backtrack on "EMMA" and "anyone HERE".

OwenKL said...

Not one of my best days. I think it was Oklahoma that did me in. ENOS and IMARET were unknowns, but when I finally gave up and hit the check button, I was surprised to see ANYONE HerE flagged, Once I corrected that, everything else fell into place.

The doorbell rings, DING DONG, DING DONG,
The knocker knocks the KNOCK KNOCK song,
Have the occupants flown?
"FORGET IT," Opportunity says, "so long!"

Lemonade714 said...

After all the discussions of craft beers we have had I was surprised to that the Porter/ ALE relationship was unknown. Here is a LINK explaining all the types of Ales and Lagers.

Good to see Matt Skoczen back again with a very inventive theme. HG fun to watch where your mind goes.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

No big problems this morning. Only write-over was EONS to AGES, quickly sussed the error. Finished in normal Monday time.

Husker, so Kyoko shot Yoko, photo-wise? Weird.
IN BULK reminds me that Wally-World has a huge distribution warehouse near here. I drive by it once a week.
RINGS on her fingers, and bells on her toes, and a bone in her nose, ho-ho.
With REDCAPS and ALE in the puzzle, the link seems appropriate Johnnyt Cash (2:12).
YR, so visitors are common at square dance parties? Who knew?
Hand up for missing Marti.

Off to my quarterly root scraping. Catch y'all later...

desper-otto said...

No where'd that T come from?

desper-otto said...

Now where'd that W go?

Yellowrocks said...

DO, I sympathize with your quarterly root scraping. I need that, too, because my omitting it could lead to implants or worse, bone loss.

There are devotees of Modern Square Dance all over the USA and, indeed, all over the world. There are different levels of difficulty with a standardized set of steps at each level which you go to a class to learn. Anyone from anywhere who has learned the steps for the level being called is welcome. Square dancers are some of the friendliest, most welcoming people I know. We frequently visit one another's local clubs. And, we have had visitors from CA, SC, and many other states and some foreign countries.
Dances are always called in English. At national conventions in the USA we met dancers from other countries who understood only the calls and could not converse in English.

I square danced in Japan and was warmly welcomed. The calls were in English, but explanations, not necessary if you are experienced, were in Japanese. I did know a little Japanese. A Japanese business man who had lived in Canada for a while arranged to picked me up at my hotel and take me to the dance. Wonderful experience!

JD said...

A nice start to a rainy day.YAY! I had problems filling Anil, Imaret, posits,Skokie, tacit, AND RNDS! Shame on me for not knowing all of them, except RNDS...I hated that, but must admit it was a clever clue.
I awoke at 3 and am just lying here in bed listening to the wonderful's like manna from heaven.enjoy your day.
Thanks Gary for all the extras in the write up.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

What a clever and fun mid-week treat! My only misstep was spelling Vlasic with a k but that was corrected quickly enough.

Thanks, Matt, and thanks, HG, for warming us up on a very cold January day.

Family was one of our favorite shows, also, but my husband drove me crazy with constant negative remarks about Sada Thompson because she reminded him of his ex-wife. I liked Buddy and Willie the best.

Have a great day.

Bluehen said...

A fairly quick, smooth Monday or Tuesday level solve. After the first sashay through to pick the low-hanging fruit (Gosh I miss Marti), the puzzle was 90-95% completed. I just had to go back to fill in a few blanks and "Tada". Thanks Matt and Gary, it was fun. Didn't care for RNDS, but I don't know how you would fix it. I think the clue/answer for 71a is incorrect. Porter is not kin to an ale, it IS an ale.

Speaking of which, dinner tonight is a Brewer's Dinner at our local brewpub, featuring hand-crafted beers from Stewart's Brewing Company, and/or cocktails from local Painted Stave Distillery, with what has always before been a scrumptious meal. Can't wait.


TTP said...

Ah, let's see. 1A needs help for tobacco initials clue. Let's try 1D. Baggage handlers ? That's probably going to be porters or skycaps. Nope. REDCAPS.

That start woke the cells, and the puzzle was solved in due course, except that I hit the D instead of the E for MICE / EGGED ON, and COsETTE sounded just as good as COLETTE. IMARET was another total unknown, but it perped in.

SKOKIE is nearby to Madame DeFarge. The word Skokie is Potawatomi for marsh. Baby Face Nelson (hi Mari Abba !) was found dead in a ditch in SKOKIE when it was named Niles Center. DW was raised in neighboring Niles. Do you all recall when the Nazis wanted to march in SKOKIE ?

Thank you Matt and Gary.

Nice Cuppa said...

Thanks HG for your write-up.

QUEEN to underling: "Don't worry, dear, one day you may become a PAWN-STAR". Just ask COLETTE."

Cute, original theme came early. ALE and COLETTE presented no problems. In fact, the latter corrected WINE to VINO for me - should there not have been an indicator that the native language was required? "ASTI" doesn't really do it.

Good to see JAI ALAI written in full.

Complete unknowns were BAM=EMERIL (WHO/WHAT?). VLASIC (?) = sounds like the latest EYE SURGERY (?). "FAMILY" - is that on PBS - Oh no, that's the Crawley Family. Others have commented on IMARET - not a WEDNESDAY word, not even in my MacDict.

Mehs were MY BAD = OOPS, crossing OOF.

kazie said...

Too many complete unknowns to enumerate, but I did get it all done, unlike yesterday. I took so long doing it, I panicked when finishing and looking at my analog watch which said 9:40. I couldn't imagine where the time had gone, but then checked a digital and realized my watch had stopped last night! New battery needed again. Seems to happen all too often.

Nice Cuppa said...

LIFE OF BRIAN: Two BRIANS/BRYANS were just one too many, I guess. BRIAN ENO left Roxy Music early on, in 1973, over rivalry with BRYAN (did he use a Y to distinguish himself from ENO?) FERRY.

Thematic thoughts:

DING DONG merrily on high, in heaven the bells are ringing…. (Traditional Christmas Carol)

KNOCK KNOCK knockin' on heaven's door…. (Bob Dylan)

Is ANYONE HOME? Hello, hello, hello. (Alice Cooper)

FORGET IT - Forget about it – I cannot outdo HG's "Thank you for visiting Brooklyn; please come again" road-sign.

Tinbeni said...

Husker: Outstanding write-up. Good Job !!!

Well this was a fight that went 15 RNDS. Thought I was DONE-FOR a DNF many times.

Jeez, only needed ESP (Every-Single-Perp) to get MUIR, SADA, IMARET and COLETTE.

OTOH, the theme answers were all easy after getting DING DONG.

Fave today wasn't ALE ... but the OOPS crossing OOF.

Well it is Epiphany and I'm off to enjoy the Tarpon Springs Celebration.
Ouzo, in great quantities, will be consumed.


Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Solve was mostly uneventful. Got bolluxed up in SW, although I had IN BULK early. Stared at ……OES for a AGES and then tried VETOES which yielded VIP and POSITS and voilĂ , it was done. Also had 'anyone here before ANYONE HOME. Favorite fill was for the theme phrases. After realizing emphatic type was not someone like Donald Trump, ITALIC came easily.

unclefred said...

Fun CW, nice write-up, Thanks, all!! IMARET never heard of, all perps. A few WAGs which worked
and the puzzle flowed well enough.

Desper-otto, I'm in my seventies and have all 32 teeth and never any gum problems. Every few days I use a water-pik filled with hydrogen peroxide, which very effectively kills anaerobic bacteria. I never floss, just rely on the water-pik and H2O2. My dentist always says, "Wow, whatever you're doing keep doing it, your teeth and gums are in great shape!" A few years ago, on a trip to Brazil, I had my teeth cleaned, and the dentist teaches at a dental school in Fortaleza. He took pictures of my mouth to show at his lectures.

Anyway, just a suggestion. Seems to work great for me.

Big Easy said...

Started slowly by gained speed until the SW with IMARET staring back at me, compete unknown. And I would love to hear somebody use POSIT or POSITS in a spoken sentence; ain't gonna happen. I filled KNOCK KNOCK before DING DONG and that made the rest child's play.

My only writeovers were GRUBBY to GRUNGY, WINE to VINO, CELESTE to COLETTE (unk) and ANYONE HERE to HOME.

35A 'common starting time'- for what? maybe for a banker but not everybody else.

"Wearing rings ON HER Fingers, bells on her toes, and a bone in her nose ho,ho"- Ray Stevens

Antoine Fats Domino and Emeril-BAM- a couple of local guy here. YOKO- always thought she was loco but she inherited ALL of John Lennon's money and everything else.

YR- I have a genius friend ( graduated from college at 17) who used to program computers for us who took up square dance calling at age 40. He was so good that clubs in Europe, all over the USA and Saudi Arabia ( oil company people) would pay him $500 plus expenses to call their dances. He quit doing it a couple of years ago.

Lucina said...

Hello, friends!

Lately I have been drinking large quantities of EAU and OUI, OUI it helps in so many ways. That's about the extent of my French and having read so many books about the Ottoman Empire, IMARET was familiar. COLETTE was a prolific writer and Gigi is only one of the best known. Hand up for WINE before VINO.

Thank you, Matt Skoczen, this was fun and Gary, too.

Rain and more rain! Yay!

Have an absolutely wonderful day, everyone!

Yellowrocks said...

Thanks, unclefred. Some of us are not so lucky. My dentist says that some of us build up tartar much more quickly than others and need to take extreme measures. In the much same way, some can just glance at a list of German vocabulary words, understand, remember them, and know how to spell them. Others must study them for hours. I healed unusually quickly from my knee replacements, whereas others heal much more slowly. I have the genes for healing quickly from surgery but not for having easy to handle teeth.

Big Easy, it seems to me that geniuses and engineers are drawn to square dancing because it is very logical and at the upper levels can require much mental agility.

C6D6 Peg said...

Puzzle completed without a hitch, but didn't really get the theme until Gary explained it..... still, a meh?

Yes, all, we all miss Marti. Would be good to hear from her some time.

Thanks, HG, for your nice write-up!

desper-otto said...

YR, my problem with dancing, any kind of dancing, occurs at the lower levels. My feet have no idea what they're doing, or at what speed they should be doing it.

Unclefred, consider yourself extremely fortunate. I agree with YR. I think it's probably a genetic thing. I know folks who never floss, seldom brush, and have great teeth. Doesn't work for me, though. The problem isn't the teeth so much as it is the underlying bone. Contrary to popular belief, I apparently don't have enough bone in my head.

Bill G. said...

I really appreciated this puzzle, especially the clever theme. I am sure that was the last clever theme that existed in the universe and they are all used up now. Nothing but Saturday puzzles from now on. :>)

It's raining here too. The doppler radar map is all green.

I've played chess from time to time but I'm not very good. When I used to play against the computer, you could set the 'intelligence' of your computer opponent. The only way I could win was to set the computer at its dumbest level. Nevertheless, I don't get the chess illustration. I guess the white king has to move away, the white pawn gets taken and the black queen will chase the white king over to the lower right corner where the black queen and king will eventually checkmate the white king. Yes?

Misty said...

Well, this Wednesday puzzle started out as a bear for me--got almost nothing on the first glance except EAU. But, as often happens, it filled in, ever so slowly, and in the end I got it all! Many thanks, Matt, for a puzzle with a very fun theme. I couldn't believe that all those Ks and other consonants could possibly form a real word, but slowly KNOCK KNOCK emerged, and that helped me get DING DONG and the theme. And I'm always amazed when a word like VLASIC is buried in the memory. I'm sure I never ate one of those pickles, but here's a pickle brand still there in the brain. Interesting.

Great pics, Gary, and great expo.

Fascinating discussion of square dancing, Yellowrocks. I've never heard of any groups in our area or I might be tempted to visit, and maybe even join.

Have a great Wednesday, everybody!

Jayce said...

Husker Gary, what a terrific write-up. Thank you. I agree with what Lemonade said: "HG fun to watch where your mind goes." By the way, I read A Never Event, the book about the horrible hepatitis outbreak caused by Dr. Javed and his staff. It made me angry.

Cool puzzle, fun theme. I second what Bill G said, both about the theme and about that chess situation.

Best wishes to you all.

Anonymous T said...

Quick break w/ no real time to kevetch re: the NW... TTP This SKOKIE scene?. Later. C, -T

Bill G. said...

Watch out Lucina, there's a big green Doppler glob on my computer screen moving toward Scottsdale.

Ooh! Even better! Now I'm hearing thunder. Very unusual in this area. Growing up in Virginia, it was commonplace in the summer months. Here, back when I was teaching, if there was lightning and a loud thunderclap, I would take a five-minute break from teaching because the kids were freaked out and unable to pay attention to anything else.

AnonT and others, we've seen Jerry Reed's name pop up a couple of times in the last few days. He was a really good guitar player too, one of the few people who could almost hold his own with Chet Atkins. They even put out an album together.

Autocorrect has become my worst enema.

thehondohurricane said...

Late to the party, very convoluted day. HG, always look forward to your write ups. Today's was exceptional.

I started today like a "house on fire until I came to a screeching halt in the SW. It was a stand still and other the filling in IN BULK I was completely stumped. Decided to try VETOES for nixes and that got me back on track.

Couple of write overs ..... 8A bad/ MAD & wine/VINO. Never knew a PAWN could become a Queen.

Back to business here....hopefully tomorrow will be a sane day.

TTP said...

Anon - T,

I had this inkling that when I posted my comment that you would link the Blues Brothers Skokie scene. Is that what you intended....

Tinbeni said...

TTP @3:04
The Blues Brothers SKOKIE scene was rolling around my brain ... and the only reason I got it.

I thought 34-d, Unable to choose, for TORN and 45-d, Toast, so to speak, for DONE-FOR were clever cluing.

30,000 people around Spring Bayou for the Epiphany Cross-Toss.
(It was over in less than 10 seconds).

The light rain rolling in an hour later sent me home to Villa Incognito for some OUZO ...


Lucina said...

That's interesting about square dancing. When I was in 8th grade our PE teacher taught us square dancing every Friday and I recall that it was fun.

What exactly is the Cross-Toss? and how does it relate to Epiphany? Inquiring minds want to know . . . .

TTP said...


I went to link Blues Brothers "Nazi" Scene and my avatar went nuts. Must be something in the audio that he does not like.

Inre to my my earlier post.... Mari Abba is another Chicago denizen who was active on the Corner from Mondays to Fridays. She was an avid study of the gangsters of Chicago and the '30s. She did the puzzle on the commuter train to work each day on her work computer until her employer put the kibosh on using company resources for personal reasons.

I'm still trying to figure out why/where/how Hungry Mother had EMMA. Perhaps he was thinking about fill from a different puzzle ?

Argyle said...

British actress Emma Thompson instead of Sada.

Anonymous said...

Hungry mother, a 'he' ? Only if he is Hungry (for) mother, as in cannibal.

Anonymous said...

' ... genius' and engineers are drawn to square dancing because ... '. Hello, that's why its called 'square' dancing. ( sorry, but I couldn't help it.)

TTP said...

Thanks Argyle. You're the best. I see now that I missed SADA in the puzzle and must have skimmed by it in H-G's write up as well.

Anon @ 5:36, Pretty sure that Hungry Mother is male, just as Al Cyone is female...

Ken said...

What a fun Final Jeopardy this evening! Took me a while to come up with the answer, but I did, just in the nick of time too, right before the deadline. I wonder if I could've written it down in time before the clock would have cut me off? Will find out soon...

J said...


Anonymous T said...

Boy am I a DING DONG; not only a DNF but then the wrong link (OOPS) to Blues Brothers (0:30). In my defense, I was working like A DOG today.

Thanks for the distraction while my queries ran Matt. Thanks for the fantastic writeup HG. Loved the NYC sign.

Trouble in every corner today (not to mention WEES re: IMARET). CBS b/f TBS@63d, Wine b/f VINO in the SE, Pupa b/f PAWN and guessing a T at xing of 2d & 14a in the NW (bzzt). I was so exited to be done, I ran to read HG. When I got to 16a I thought whaaa?. Oh, bugger, I had oN Edge (33%!) and forgot to fix/finish the NE!

Fav - Thought I didn't get it, ITALIC c/a. Cute.

Bill G. If I watched HG's Chess clip properly, w/ Q beating P, it's a stalemate. Anyone see Black winning after that? (I don't think the Black K could get close enough to take the PAWN.)

Re: METRIC map, it's-a SAD-A we don't use it. :-)

Cheers, -T

JD said...

I also thought of Emma before Sada, but then I remembered that show . That was kind of the beginning of Christie Mc Nichol, and Meredith Baxter...although she had done a season of" ? loves Bernie", and later on to Family Ties. <<< Bridget!

Growing up in LA we had square dancing once a week for all 8 years at BHCS. Somehow we tied it in to our May Day Festival. I believe we had streamers tied to our tether ball poles for decoration. Fun memory. I'm not sure we really appreciated it at the time,Hand holding was awkward at that age.

Anonymous T said...

Bill G - Nevermind. I just re-watched the video (and then played it out) Wt. will loose the pawn in 9 moves if Wt.K goes right. Sooner if it goes left. Eventually it's Q & K gangin' up on Wt. King. C, -T

Bill G. said...

BTW, there's a state park in Virginia called Hungry Mother State Park. My father took us camping in a nearby state park. Good memories...

AnonT, yes, that was my idea too.

Rain on the sky lights again... I love it.

fermatprime said...


Thanks, Matt and Gary!

Cool theme! East puzzle!

Raining like mad here!


Anonymous said...

Stormy Weather

Anonymous said...

Love L.A. to the moon and back!!

Anonymous said...

Love A Rainy Night

Anonymous T said...

Thanks for the music Anon - Love the Doors.

Here it is, your moment of Zen. MADMAN Winters was my giggle for the night. Cheers, -T