Feb 13, 2016

Saturday, Feb 13th, 2016, Mark Bickham

Theme: None

Words: 70 (missing J,Q)

Blocks: 30

Our first Saturday offering in 2016 from Mr. Bickham - his last one, back in September, was easy; I breezed through.  Not so much today.  I had to cheat one proper name, but for the most part, I prevailed, and within my personal allotted time.  Today was one of those days when I truly took advantage of the "Wild-A** Guess".  Had two entries that were featured in recent puzzles, too, which I thought was odd; one clued the same, the other, differently.   Triple 8/6 corners, two spanners, and two 9-letter answers today;

26. Philosophers in the news since 1985 : CALVIN AND HOBBES - One of my all-time favorite comic strips, and I know BarryG is a huge fan as well

46. Basics : BARE NECESSITIES - also a lingerie shopping site - one of their ads....


1. Candy in a strawlike container : PIXY STIX - I knew this, but all I could recall of the spelling was "-STIX".  The rest I had to WAG 

pure sugar

9. "The Great Santini" Oscar nominee Michael : O'KEEFE - caved in to Google on this one - before my time - IMDb

15. Do-it-yourself style : HOME PERM - ah.  The important thing to recognize here is that "style" refers to 'hair', not 'manner'

16. One often checking boxes : POLLER - I considered "TESTEE" at first

17. Partly : IN A SENSE - oops.  Had ONE SENSE

18. He broke Walter's NFL career rushing record : EMMITT - Once I had half the letters, I recalled this guy - but I am not such a fan of football that I know the players all that well; in fact, I was told that he won Dancing With The Stars, too

19. Was sharply critical, with "out" : LASHED - not CHEWED

20. Adopted great-nephew of Claudius : NERO

22. Everyday list ender : ZEE - dang~!  Not ETC

23. Common pledge : I DO

24. Composer/conductor Boulanger : NADIA - the "D" was my last fill - funny story; more at 10d.

33. Like many fliers : AVIAN - Dah~!  Had A-I-N, so I tried aLiEn first - as in unidentified fliers

34. Fictional place near Atlanta : TARA - Gone With The Wind

35. Internet __ : MEME - CAFE was wrong, but 25% correct 100%ly

36. Put one's foot down? : REV - and then see 5 Down

37. What smart alecks do : GET CUTE - WISE OFF was wrong

40. Swift of fiction : TOM - WAG

41. Binged (on) : ODed - total WAG

43. Fabrication : YARN - LIE was too short, but I was on that wavelength

44. "Running on Empty" (1988) actress : LAHTI - WAG

49. Ruin partner : WRACK - not an idiom I am familiar with

50. Metaphor words : IS A - ugh.  I had AS A, and nothing was working in the SE.  "Life IS A Journey" - I get it now

51. Dept. in a "Law & Order" spin-off : SVU - I put in MCS first, Major Case Squad

53. Piece of work : TASK - not OPUS

55. Like Miss Congeniality : NICEST

59. Compression-utilizing weapon : AIRGUN

61. Forbidden zone : NO-GO AREA - sounds made up

63. Beckett genre, with "the" : ABSURD - WAG.  I had to find out what makes up the genre - the Wiki

64. Whirlpool protection, perhaps : OVEN MITT - clever; Whirlpool, the manufacturer of fine ranges

65. Designer Johnson : BETSEY

66. 2003 film with the tagline "He doesn't care if you're naughty or nice" : BAD SANTA - never saw it, and have no desire to do so in the future, even at (clecho); 3d. 66-Across setting, briefly : XMAS


1. Dr. __ : PHIL - took just a little too long for this one to occur to me; J, No, Who, Spock, Pepper, Zhivago - letter by letter, I missed the four-letter one

2. New York school : IONA - true clecho to follow; this one is Catholic....

4. New York school : YESHIVA - this one is Jewish

5. Ticket generator : SPEEDING - eh.  I like speed TRAP better

6. Body stretcher? : TENDON

7. Agcy. with complicated schedules : IRS

8. Colossus and Cyclops, e.g. : X-MEN

9. Collapsible topper : OPERA HAT

10. Dragon habitat : KOMODO - OK, so I was thinking FOREST first, and then DUNGEON ( I was a huge D&D fan ).  Then I had --O-O, and filled in KIMONO.  Yeah, I know that's wrong

11. Tree that can form natural tunnels : ELM

12. Daughter of Anne Boleyn : ELIZABETH I - this one we had back on Jan 16

13. Blowout : FETE - not ROUT

14. Deco pseudonym : ERTE - I like Art Deco, and I like this bronze

21. Sweeps on a gridiron : END RUNS - 18a. was probably good for this

25. Watson's creator : IBM

26. Evergreen with edible pods : CAROB - and this one we had on Jan 30

27. Estée Lauder subsidiary : AVEDA

28. Spreadable sausage : LIVERWURST

29. Goes after : ATTACKS

30. Pearly coating : NACRE

31. Behave theatrically : EMOTE

32. They come before finals : SEMIs

38. Superficially attractive thing : EYE CANDY - I learned this term when I worked on the movie set back in '97

39. Colloquial language features : ELISIONS - wanna, gonna, etc.

42. __ Spiegel: German magazine : DER

45. South American desert : ATACAMA - WAG

47. Human __ : NATURE - I thought there might be a slight misdirection, so I went with BEINGS, being in the plural

48. Burned a little : SINGED

51. Scandinavian import : SAAB - SAADLY, they're no more

52. Vague feeling : VIBE

54. Turner of old TV? : KNOB - Mr. Bickham GOT CUTE on this one (37a.)

56. Land near Albion : ERIN - WAG

57. Paving stone : SETT - learning moment for me; I have heard of a Belgian block

58. Casual farewell : TA-TA

60. The Theatre Cat in "Cats" : GUS

62. Tiny tube travelers : OVA - another one that took too long to occur to me

Thank you for all the birthday comments this week - no time to do the puzzle that day, but I did get a chance to read the comments~!



Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Definitely a toughie today, but I persevered and eventually prevailed. I knew 1A, but thought it was spelled PIXIE, which didn't fit. I then went with PIXI, but that gave for a very odd New York school that started with IESH. I finally tried PIXY, which was enough to get me YESHIVA. Yeah, they have YESHIVAS in NY, but is that the only place they have them? Tough clue.

Yes, I love CALVIN AND HOBBES and was thrilled to see them in the grid today. "In the news" through me for a bit, however. "In the newspaper", sure. But "in the news"? All's fair when trying to come up with a tricky Saturday-level clue, I guess.

The NW corner is where things almost went completely off the rails for me. Never heard of EMMITT or NADIA. Had SALE instead of FETE. Couldn't think of ERTE or OKEEFE. Finally, after much thought, came up with KOMODO off the ___O_O, and that was enough to get things going up there. NADIA was at least a recognizably real name, which helped. Can't say the same about EMMITT. Gotta love it when people have to come up with creative spellings of otherwise common names. It always makes me wonder if the parents just didn't know the correct spelling and feel vaguely embarrassed on the kid's behalf, but I'm sure it's [usually?] done on purpose.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I can't believe I got the whole thing. This was a wagfest extraordinaire. And when finished, I figured I'd get my comeuppance for PIXYSTIX?, EMMITT? and AVEDA? (that one started out as PRADA). Cute photo of that "kimono" dragon, Splynter.

Along the way, ERTE went in, came out, went back in; CAROB and LIVER(wurst) also did the hokey-pokey. My Dr. of choice was RUTH before PHIL popped in. As I said up top, it's amazing that everything got straightened out. I'll just put this one in the win column and hope that tomorrow's is easier.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

After a shaky start, I managed to break through when some of the long fill became obvious. I don't read comics but knew of Calvin and Hobbes; did not know they were philosophers. Knew Emmitt Simth but not with the "I". Never heard of Pixy Stix and although I saw The Great Santini, Michael O'Keefe is unknown to me. Didn't we just have him in a recent puzzle? In any case, I finished in normal Saturday time which was less time than it took me yesterday.

Thanks, MB, for a challenging but satisfying offering and thanks, Splynter, for the guided tour.

For all the doggie devotees out there, the Westminster Kennel Club competition starts Monday night and continues through Tuesday. 🐩. 🐶
Stay safe and warm, everyone.

Have a great day.

Lemonade714 said...

Mark B. always makes us work for solutions. MICHAEL OKEEFE starred in CADDYSHACK as his next movie. Knowing sports helps Emmitt and Oven mitt was also cute. No idea of NADIA but it is a name we have heard for many years.

Love some clues.

Thanks Mark and Splynter

Anonymous said...

I always thought Michael O'Keefe starred in Caddyshack as Danny Noonan.

billocohoes said...

Confused the wives of Henry VIII, never noticed before that BLOODY MARY has the same number of letters as ELIZABETH I. Juuuust a few problems ensued.

oc4beach said...

Definitely a challenging puzzle today, but I was able to finish it without the help of GOOGLE. Perps, perps, perps and more perps with some (scientific) wild ass guesses were my saviors.

When I was a kid, my Mother and my aunts would get together and do HOME PERMS in our kitchen every month. The smell drove my Dad and me up the wall, so as soon as they started we left. To this day, I can't go near a beauty shop without almost getting sick. I don't understand how ladies can stand it.

I knew EMMITT Smith from his days as a Dallas Cowboy (I was a Washington fan) I didn't like the fact that he would run through the Redskins defense so easily, but from a purist view he was enjoyable to watch.

The total perps today were AVEDA, SETT, CAROB, ERIN, NADIA and OKEEFE. Perps gave me a number of V8 can head slaps also.

I really enjoyed CALVIN AND HOBBS back when it was running. It was in the comics for barely over 10 years from 1985 t0 1995. Many of the musings were insightful. It's too bad that it's no longer being published.

Well, I have to get ready to go to a funeral this morning for my Dad's last first cousin. Only one aunt and one uncle in their 90s left and that generation will be gone. It won't be fun with it snowing and blowing and a 7 degree high for the day.

Thanks Mark and Splynter for an enjoyable ride.

I hope everyone is warm and cozy today.

Big Easy said...

A normal Saturday stumper that took walking away for a while to finish the NW. After glancing over the puzzle at first I thought it would be easy as ELIZABETH I, ATACAMA, KOMODO, CALVIN AND HOBBES , LIVERWURST ( U or O ? I left blank), and BARE NECESSITIES quickly filled. Then Mr. Bickham decided to GET CUTE, not in the NICEST way, and he was up to the TASK of being a BAD SANTA with a few END RUNS to aggravate and tease us. But was good to see the NICEST, Miss Congeniality, included with the EYE CANDY.

PIXY STIX- I knew what they were, just not the name. For 15A, I wrote A LA CARTE before eventually filling the TONI HOME PERM, or was it OGILVY? YESHIVA, AVEDA, BETSEY Johnson, LAHTI, ELISIONS, SETT, GUS, ERIN- unknowns all and filled by perps.

D-O, I forgot about Dr. RUTH. I never watched the show but I read thatEMMITT Smith also won on 'Dancing with the Stars' a few years ago.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Hit a Natick at XMEN - had a K. Got everything else, tho. Was sure about YESHIVA and guessed at IONA; which gave me the NW. Other sectors were a little easier. Liked the long downs; especially LIVERWURST. One of my favorite cold cuts, but I only eat a few slices every 6 weeks or so. Moderation. Liked the KOMODO clue. Knew Albion had something to do with England. BTW, there's an Albion in Western New York. Waited on SAAB to make sure it wasn't IKEA.
A doable Saturday and fun to work on.

2º now and heading for -20º tonight. Brrrrr.

Steve said...

The Northwest did me in - never heard of PIXYSTIX, not up on my NYC schools and I've never seen nor read the X-MEN movies or comics. Too much white space to guess at the answers so - gong! DNF.

Chairman Moe said...

"Puzzling thoughts":

Could never get a toe-hold anywhere, so Google at least allowed me to fill in most of the blanks before coming here. I don't mind difficult puzzles on the weekend, but I think to be somewhat "fair", our Saturday constructors should at least "give" you one clue that can get you started. PIXYSTIX?? Really?? Smarties, maybe ... at least that's the answer I put in 1a and, well, thank God for Google

Other ones that were close, but no cigar were: ACT CUTE instead of GET CUTE; SEARED instead of SINGED; VOW instead of I DO; ROUT instead of FETE

Oddly, I got OVEN MITT, EMMITT, END RUNS and BAD SANTA pretty quickly, and CALVIN AND HOBBES came easily, too, though I questioned my answer, given the clue - wasn't expecting a comic strip duo ...

Today's puzzle was really ABSURD
As I struggled to fill in each word.
But thank God for the 'Net,
Using Google, I get
To finish, and not feel like a turd

Bill G. said...

Hi everybody. Well, this wasn't much fun for me. I needed red letters and Google to finish. It was really tough without the benefit of a clever theme. A real slog. I did enjoy "Turner of old TV" >> KNOB.

For you Calvin and Hobbes fans, there is a three-volume collection of all of the comic strips. We got it at Costco several years ago. Jordan and I used to practice his reading from one of the tomes. Lots of fun. That and Drabble are the two comic strips that regularly make me smile or chuckle out loud.

Husker Gary said...

I wonder if finding a start at the bottom is just my particular M.O. on Saturdays or others too. KOMODO dropped out of the ether to unlock the NE and “Voila, J'ai été fait” (Frawnch for Splynter meaning “There, I am done!”)

-O’KEEFE’ Ben Meechum was 19 years post Caddyshack’s Danny Noonan
-I can get a certain VIBE from a Push POLLER a mile away
-“Wrack and ruin” is a lyric in a song that I simply cannot conjure up! Help!
-I had lots of administrators that were a “PIECE OF WORK”
-AIR GUN - I’d still love to have this one!
-DR PHIL visited Britney Spears in the hospital at her mother’s request
-I got a SPEEDING ticket right outside my school in full view of 500 JH kids waiting to get in
-A good ELISION for anyone who wants to excel
-Some presidents who say I DO have made END RUNS around the constitution
-Do I want to know what is in LIVERWURST?
-Gee, who was the EYE CANDY here?
-Having to capitalize Turner for being first in the clue was a clever red herring
-Sir Francis Drake’s New Albion in America. Albion means “the white” an old name for Britain referring to White Cliffs of Dover
-GUS sounded so “non-theatrical”
-Do you know the Dragon whose habitat is Hanna Lee?

Lucina said...

Hello, friends!

What seemed like a daunting TASK started in the center for me. I'm not such a purist that I must start at 1A. Many puzzles would never be finished were that the case. So I knew NACRE/TARA and astonishingly recalled ATACAMA desert but put an I at the end. BADSANTA when it came along corrected that. Had to research OKEEFE and that gave enough of a start for that area to finish.

Guessed LAHTI and so ELIZABETHI fell in place. Once a few letters emerged so did BARENECESSITIES. And so it went all the way east, west and south. But the NW almost stumped me. Not in a million years would I know XMEN characters. So to Google I went for that and PIXYSTIX.

Thank you, Mark Bickham. This was a fair challenge and while not Silky smooth, very doable. And of course, Splynter, for your always upbeat commentary.

Have a splendid day, everyone!

GarlicGal said...

Just goes to show ya... Yesterday was a really hard one for me. I gave up, even after getting ROCKYBALBOA. I couldn't get the theme, had white spots everywhere. And most of you thought it was an easy Friday.

Now today, I guess I was on Mark's wave length because I sped right through it. No problems for once. I did have KEATON before O'KEEFE and CLOG before SAAB, but it all worked itself out.

I have been MIA from the blog for quite a while, just busy with life and not being able to check in until late PST. And by then ya'll have said all that is worth saying.

Love the blog and I'm still keeping up with all you puzzlers. Tata from a grey (gray?) NorCal morning.

Yellowrocks said...

Puff, the magic dragon, lived by the sea and frolicked in the morning mist in a land called Hanna Lee.
Good, but difficult puzzle, but I needed a few assists. Garlic Gal, good to hear from you. I had the opposite experience. I found Friday's much easier.
School in NYC was so nonspecific as to be absurd. Is there a stronger connection between Yeshiva and NYC than any other city that has a Yeshiva.
I'm stuck home waiting for a FedEx parcel to sign for. The driver usually comes much earlier. I'd like to go to the gym now.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Can't believe I filled this. Challenge met, Mark B. It looked impossible at the first pass when the top half had only IRS, ZEE, I Do, IBM & ELIZABETH I. Kept pecking away at it & like Lucina, filled the bottom and worked back up, WAGing all the way. Couple of red-letter runs.

Not Puff the magic in HannaLee, but KOMODO. Always hard to decide: fact or fiction.

I've never heard of a YESHIVA out here. Very few Jews. Mostly reformed.

Dr. PHIL should have been easy but came late. I even watch him about once a week when I'm really bored.

Whirlpool protection = OVEN MITT? In whose wild stretch of imagination? I didn't think Whirlpool made ranges.

Learning moment: ATACAMA. All perps. I that where they have the strange markings that some "experts" think look like UFO messages. I never picked up the name on that desert.

Got CALVIN AND HOBBES with only N ---BBES, but didn't really consider them philosophers before. Another fact or fiction dilemna.

Loved EMMITT on DWTS, but didn't expect him here.

AnonymousPVX said...

Wow, this was a tough one. I solved it but it's not pretty.

PixyStix, hard to believe people bought these, colored sugar in a straw. Maybe the least healthy and most honest candy at the same time. AKA "instant diabetes".

desper-otto said...

PK, our oven is a Whirlpool combo microwave/conventional oven. And those lines you're thinking of are the Nazca lines, located in the Nazca Desert of Peru. The Atacama is further south in Chile -- billed as the driest place in the world.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

While this wasn't a quick romp, I did manage a legitimate no-peeky. I remembered Pixy Stix from summer camp (they were the cheapest things at the camp canteen) and it was off to the races. Needed perp help at a few places - Emmitt, I'm looking at you - but no logjams. Hand up for thinking that Calvin and Hobbes was one of the best cartoons ever invented. I respect Bill Watterson for bringing to an end at the time he judged he'd taken it as far as he could.

What's a Lahti?

Stay warm out there, those in the freezer! That wind is fierce.

Ol' Man Keith said...

For me, this was tougher than usual, even for Saturday. I started cheating after completing only about a quarter of my fills. I first sought help in the SW corner. The extra "E" in BETSEY didn't help, but I imagine odd spellings like this are prized by crossword creators.
My favorite clue today was "Whirlpool protection, perhaps." It is a natural mislead; even while we know Whirlpool makes all sorts of appliances, we don't intuitively link them to Oven Ranges -- and are most likely not thinking beyond water spouts and eddies.
The only longish fills that came easily were ELIZABETH I & LIVERWURST. I knew nothing of the ALTACAMA, so appreciated the new knowledge.

Lucina said...

Count me among the CALVINANDHOBBES fans. I admire such genius and though I respect Mr. Watterson's decision to retire, I do miss it.

It's great to see you, Garlic Gal!

Avg Joe said...

Count me as a Calvin and Hobbes fan too. Can't say I was a fan of the clue as phrased, though. Took a lot of perps and a leap of faith, but it did prove Elizabeth and broke thing open. Quite a slog today, but it worked out.

Dudley said...

Holy Icicles, Batman! It's some kinda cold out there, 5°F and plummeting, with a gusty wind. I just came in from the great outdoors, having rescued an elderly neighbor from a disabled car problem. Methinks I've earned a toddy.

CrossEyedDave said...

You have to admire Bill Wattersons imagination...

& you can spend hours in it...

Bickman says it, I play it (sort of) said...

44a caused me to relive some old times listening to Jackson Browne and his all-time album, Running On Empty. Well, this song wasn't the title cut but brings back some very fond memories to me.

Boise Ed said...

I object to "Turner of old TV" >> KNOB because a knob doesn't turn itself; someone has to turn it. Aside from that, it's a clever misdirection to TED or LANA.

Jayce said...

Whew, hard hard hard. Needed a lot of googling and red letters to finally solve this one. It didn't help at all that I knew ELIZABETH I, LIVERWURST, and ATACAMA right away. Usually footholds like that are enough to get me going, but not this time. I can't figure out if I am satisfied or disgruntled with this puzzle; maybe a little bit of both. In any case, I'm plum worn out so I'm going to take a nap.

Good to see you, Garlic Gal, and best wishes to you all.

Yellowrocks said... says a turner is "person or thing that turns or is employed in turning."
A pancake turner does not turn itself either. I cite the dictionary because it gives accumulated cultural linguistic fact rather than opinion. I frequently bow to these facts when they indicate my opinion is not supportable. Although this time they supported my opinion.

Lucina said...

Boise Ed@4:31
Don't forget Tina; she was among my mental choices until KNOB appeared and which I thought was a clever clue.

Manac said...

I was feeling so smart when I started the puzzle
this morning. After all, I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Alas, a DNF. Had to look up too many names.
I was also left wondering who the heck Knob Turner was once it filled, until coming here. DOH! (headslap) Ouch!

PK said...

I posted around 4:00 today and that has disappeared. Oh well. I was thanking D-O for the desert info, Splynter for the expo and remarking how expensive the Whirlpool range/oven was.

My youngest son received a fat Calvin & Hobbs book for Xmas one year when he was still very much into toys. After gift unwrapping was done, I was in the kitchen and heard laughter. He was cuddled up on the couch between two sibbling while they all read C & H. He hadn't even taken his new toys out of their boxes yet.

CrossEyedDave said...

(Bickman says it, I play it (sort of) said...)

I hear ya!

but yr link made me relive trying to learn (as a guitar player)
Shape of a heart...

Except it is not just the guitar that makes the song,
It is the one thing that made me realize that even the pros cannot redo their best live.
(& yet, watching it live,was still freakin awesome!)


I don't know about Holiday Inn Express,
(Except for the time I found all this hair in the sheets,,,)
(I told the desk clerk, the last guy must have been a monkey...)
But I too, must claim a DNF for looking up too many names.

(& knob turner pissed me off, but for a completely different reason....)

Anonymous said...

Confidently I wrote RADARGUN for my ticket generator and then UMBRELLA for the collapsible topper.

Bo said...

Doctor, my eyes cannot see the sky.

Anonymous said...

Its a sad fact that Judge Anthony Scalia has not been acknowledged here on the corner for his service and more than deserving admiration. A great man has passed.

Anonymous said...

To me "lashed out" suggests violent attack not criticism. But then again, after the perps gave me 54d I thought Knob Turner must have been an actor I had never heard of - until I read the blog! So clearly I'm not at my sharpest.

Anonymous T said...

I'm a Sat lurker today...

I think I coulda' stood a chance w/ today's puzzle now that I've read the write-up & comments :-). I do know PIXYSTIX - I loved the sugar-buzz growing up. The 2' plastic ones were great for cutting into 2" segments, threading tied up model airplanes through, and then tacking them to the ceiling. I even had an NCC-1701a hangin' in my bedroom.

I may have told this CALVIN & HOBBES story before:

DW, during her PhD studies, would read Bill W.'s comics at bedtime. When out w/ her fellow candidates one night, they were all talking about 'guilty pleasure' readings. DW said her guilty pleasure was CALVIN & HOBBES. Everyone's jaw hit the floor thinking she read philosophy for 'fun.'

I didn't play today b/c I'm reading a book on CyberCrime/Espionage. I'm to have coffee w/ the authors later this week - I figure I should read 'em b/f I meet 'em. Too bad the book (what I've read so far) is dated ('11) and stuff I already know.

Anon @12:04a - Thanks for the 60m link on Justice Scalia. I didn't oft agree w/ him but he was a thinker, a gem, and fellow Italian.

Cheers, -T