Feb 7, 2016

Sunday Feb 7, 2016 Alan Olschwang


INITIALLY, I had no idea about the gimmick and wondered what presidential firsts would have to do with TRAINS, AUDIBLES, et al and then JUST FOR KICKS hit me like a ton of feathers (which weigh the same as a ton of bricks)!

Mark's lovely Super Bowl Sunday puzzle required no reveal as he reasoned that the first letters of seven three-word-phrases will stand out like a brick in a punchbowl and, coupled with the title, would  allow solvers unravel his ploy of using the INITIALS of seven U.S. presidents to start each word in those phrases.  

Tain't easy McGee. Try it with your initials and let us know what you get.

Husker Gary back on the bandstand to serve as emcee on Alan's clever exercise. Using my initials, I'll just say it's a Gosh Darn Shame if you were expecting C.C.'s Sunday blogging. WAIT,  this just in, C.C. will make a triumphant return on Valentine's Day Sunday! Cheers rise from the assembled masses!

Let's first see the themeage:

23. Austria's Railjet, for one (#33) : HIGH SPEED TRAIN - Our 33rd president Harry (stands for nothing) Truman or this train capable of 143 mph

45. Changes the play at the line of scrimmage (#21) : CALLS AAUDIBLE - Our 21st president Chester Alan Arthur or what Peyton will be doing today in the Super Bowl to change the play by yelling

74. Words from a returning traveler (#43) : GUESS WHOS BACK - Our 43rd president George Walker Bush or what Yankee fans might have said about our crossword pal A-ROD this year

102. D.C. trip highlight (#27) : WHITE HOUSE TOUR - Our 350 lb. 27th president William Howard Taft or the purpose for which these are used. 

130. Drinking song popularized by the Glenn Miller Orchestra (#36) : LITTLE BROWN JUG - Our 36th president Lyndon Baines Johnson or the traveling trophy for the winner of the annual Minnesota/Michigan game. Michigan leads the series 74 - 25 - 3

17. On a lark (#35) : JUST FOR KICKS - Our 35th president John Fitzgerald Kennedy or why the Carolina Panthers hired Graham Gano

67. Could be more productive (#34) : DON'T DENOUGH - Our 34th president Dwight David Eisenhower or my biking output


1. Got a four, probably : MADE PAR - Jusitn Spieth's 8-under scorecard for the first round of the 2015 Master's shows most golf holes are PAR Fours

8. Undermines : ERODES

14. With one's back against the wall : IN A JAM

20. Unsettle : AGITATE

21. Ridicule : DERIDE - What some do to the men in our theme

22. Retiring : DEMURE

25. Has a life : EXISTS

26. Fatuous : INANE

27. "The Lion King" baddie : SCAR

28. French connections? : TETE A TETES - Some 
Tête-à-Têtes are très discret

30. Derisive shout : HOOT

32. Source of twigs called withies : OSIER - Our Red OSIER Dogwood were 
beautiful in all seasons

34. __ nouveau : ART

35. Take the high way? : FLY - Cute

36. Vietnam's __ Dinh Diem : NGO - He was assassinated 3 wks before JFK by... 

38. MLB scorecard entry : SAC - SACrificing your turn at bat to perhaps score the GO AHEAD RUN from yesterday's Silkie or at least move a baserunner up

40. Most massive known dwarf planet : ERIS - Pluto's new family

42. Word on mail from Madrid : AEREO 

50. NutraSweet developer : SEARLE - Their Enovid was the first FDA-approved birth control pill and was very lucrative for the company

53. Fatty acid type : OLEIC

54. Sea-Tac abbr. : ARR - Our ARR(ival) at the SEA(ttle)-TAC(oma) airport in 2014 was delayed in Minneapolis by what Delta called a "sick airplane"

55. Some oscilloscope users: Abbr. : EE'S - We physics teachers use 'em too like Electric Engineers

56. Invited : ASKED

57. Actor with a mohawk : MR T - I pity the fool with a haircut like his

59. "Football Night in America" network : NBC

62. "Avatar" extras : ET'S 

64. Telling tales : LYING - Maybe the current FX Series People vs OJ Simpson will tell us the truth (actors in top row, real life people in bottom)

65. Like many an infielder's throw : SIDE ARM - Much quicker

69. Missoula home : MONTANA - Also our good friend Darlene

72. Spotty affliction? : ACNE

73. Latin trio word : AMO - AMO, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant. That's a whole lot of lovin' 

78. White wine aperitif : KIR - I had this in last Sunday's OFF CENTER puzzle

79. "M" director Fritz : LANG

81. 1988 NFL MVP : ESIASON - Boomer ESIASON's foundation was on the 101st floor of the WTC North Tower on 9/11/01. All employees were survived as they were to report to work late that day

82. Sentence sections : PHRASES

84. Bits in a byte, e.g. : OCTET - 8 bits in a byte in Computerland 

86. Vague number : ANY

87. One who might be given the business : SON 

89. Ages and ages : EON

90. Acknowledge tacitly : NOD TO

91. Prophet's claim : ESP - "Hey, prophet, shall I bet the Panthers and lay the points?"

93. Yet, to Yeats : THO

96. Put a handle on : NAMED - C'mon, you know the song with - "Who could put a NAME on you?"

100. Cuddles : SPOONS

106. Author Madeleine L'__ : ENGLE - Best known for A Wrinkle In Time

108. Holly genus : ILEX

109. Sports __ : BRA - The most famous picture of one

110. Valuable deposit : ORE

111. Former Saturn model : ION

113. Max. : ULT

115. Drained of color : ASHEN

117. Alibi problems : GAPS

120. Critical point : CROSSROADS Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...

124. Lotion additive : ALOE

126. Agricultural pioneer : DEERE 

129. Call on the carpet : HAUL UP

133. '90s veep : AL GORE

134. Bumpy : UNEVEN

135. Andalusian city : GRANADA

136. Snickered : TE HEED - or TEE HEED

137. Roma road : STRADA - Artisti di STRADA a Roma (Street artists in Rome)

138. Tossed about : STREWED - Less common past participle of STREW

1. When doubled, a common dolphinfish : MAHI

2. Back-country "contrary to" : AGIN

3. Do spadework : DIG A HOLE - or quit... (3 words but no prez initials)

4. Centric start : ETHNO

5. '90s Toyota : PASEO

6. Netmen's gp. : ATP Association of Tennis Professionals

7. "Cheers" actor Roger : REES

8. Icelandic literary works : EDDAS - Do you see EDDA in there?

9. Gave it another go : RETRIED - I Retired from teaching and after 6 months I RETRIED it for another six years

10. Skating legend : ORR

11. Venomous venting : DIATRIBE - A lot of us know what famous comedian was unleashing a DIATRIBE on actress Edie McClurg in this hilarious scene

12. Nicollette's "Desperate Housewives" role : EDIE - Or an actual EDIE above

13. Words with letter or fax : SENT A

14. Conceptualizes : IDEATES

15. To follow : NEXT

16. Sweetie along the Seine : AMIE

18. Soviet cooperative : ARTEL - An ARTEL of Russian (pre-Soviet) artists in 1863

19. Unkempt : MESSY

24. Green wheels : ECO CAR

29. One may be named for a president : ERA

31. Screening org. : TSA - Some women claim TSA agents ask them to go through the scanner more than once

33. NW Penn. airport : ERI - ERI(E) Airport. In NY a lake, county and canal 

36. Base fig. : NCO - Remember the NCO who was in charge of the motor pool at Ft. Baxter?

37. __ pal : GAL

39. Santa __ winds : ANA

41. Rains hard? : SLEETS

43. Like Pinocchio, eventually : REAL

44. Cinch course : EASY A

46. Bar fruit : LIME

47. Beanpole : SCRAG

48. Immortalized vessel of rhyme : URN - Keats' last two lines from his Ode On A Grecian URN

49. Abbr. before a year : ESTAB

51. "Law & Order" detective Briscoe : LENNIE - Jerry Orbach also did movies and trod the boards of Broadway 

52. Trimming tools : EDGERS

58. "No argument" : TRUE - See Keats above

60. Mercedes rivals : BMW'S - I only learned it was Bavarian not British Motor Works when we toured around Munich 

61. Pacific salmon : COHOS

63. Walk in the park : SNAP

65. Drawing rooms : SALONS

66. End of the '50s TV intro that began "This is the city" : I'M A COP - Later changed to "I carry a badge" following police officer complaints

68. Badlands formation : MESA

70. Verboten thing : NO NO

71. Aleve can alleviate one : ACHE

75. Toughness : SINEW

76. Greets, with "to" : SAYS HI

77. Danish capital : KRONE - You'd receive 34 KRONER (pl.) in change for this bill when getting a McDonald's Combo meal in Copenhagen 

80. Board : GET ON

83. Structural subj. : ANAT - ANATOMY abbr.

85. Half a patio pair : TONG - TONGS

88. High degree : NTH

92. Columnlike architectural piece : PILASTER - Some rather famous ones

94. Hang out : HOBNOB - Archaic - From Hob and Nob - give and take - drinking to each other's health

95. "__ Gang" : OUR - Last Sunday we saw Alfalfa and Buckwheat

97. Saskatchewan city : MOOSE JAW - The Peacock Collegiate High School teams in MOOSE JAW are called the Toilers

98. Asian lead-in : EUR

99. "The Chronic" Dr. : DRE

101. Downed noisily : SLURPED

103. French possessive : TES - e.g. TES livres (your books)

104. Blew out : EXHALED

105. Give a little : SAG

107. Gp. that hired an orchestra for its "Eldorado" album : ELO

111. Phased-out Apple messaging tool : iCHAT

112. Papal garment : ORALE - Today called the FANON - the white/gold striped cape - yet to be worn by Francis 

114. Anklebone : TALUS

116. Barack's 2010 High Court appointee : ELENA

118. Exchange of nasty spots : AD WAR - Finally, with Iowa Caucuses gone, some of you others can have these

119. Shells alternative : PENNE

121. Astringent fruit : SLOE

122. Foolproof : SURE - "Is that right Mr. Madoff?"

123. By __ of: due to : DINT

125. Joule components : ERGS - An ERG = An ant doing a pushup and a Joule = 10,000,000 ants doing a pushup

127. Snippy, say : RUDE

128. "Great Scott!" : EGAD

131. Power agcy. created in 1933 : TVA - The Danville, KY elevator that was left when the TVA dammed the Tennessee River. The bottom five floors were flooded as Kentucky Lake was formed

132. Fido's find : ORT

Using my initials again, I'd call Alan's puzzle Genuinely Delightful Solving! Now let's go see your INTIAL responses -

The Grid:


fermatprime said...


Thanks, Alan, Gary!

Having had a terrible week, I was thrilled to be able to get this one w/o any cheating!

Fortunately, I know the order of the presidents by heart, mostly. This was a very cute theme. However, the puzzle took ages!

ERI was perped. So was SCAR. (I've never seen The Lion King. Does it ever come on TV?

Hope all of you have a great Sunday!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Kinda, sorta got the theme from the title, except that I was looking for presidential first names in the theme answers at first. As with Gary, JUST FOR KICKS set me on the correct path looking for initials. After that, it was pretty easy, especially since all the theme answers were straightforward, common phrases.

Perps were needed for some stuff, like MONTANA and SEARLE, but not too bad. Sadly, I finished with an error at the crossing of ILEX and TES. My French is not so good and I went with ILUX/TUS. Oops.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Once again I was successful in my quest to completely miss the theme. Did get the whole puzzle, but only because the perps for ESIASON were solid. Who?

Chester A Arthur should've been a gimme. I watched a two-hour "American Experience" about James Garfield yesterday. Arthur was Garfield's Veep. In retrospect, two hours about a guy who was president for only 200 days seems a tad excessive.

"I'M A COP" came easily. In the movie remake, Dan Aykroyd had Jack Webb's corn-cob walk down perfectly.

George Barany said...

What a great theme by @Alan Olschwang, and an absolutely delightful writeup by @Husker Gary.

Several of the regular readers of this blog have already submitted entries, but with the ending date looming (Monday, midnight PST), I thought this would be as good a chance as any to remind everyone else of: Eliminating the Competition. Winners are eligible for numerous fun prizes!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Finished the puzzle first, then went back to figure out the theme. Pretty darn clever, if you ask me!

Morning, Husker, good to have you with us today. Your TVA-flooded elevator photo reminds me of a similar thing here in Western MA: the Quabbin Reservoir. Four towns were flooded so that Boston could have a water supply. In that project, nearly every building was removed, along with graveyards and so forth. It's still a touchy subject in some places, after nearly a century.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

What a fun and fresh theme. The title helped in sussing things out and Just For Kicks cemented it quickly. I enjoyed the solve but I find Sunday-sized puzzles test my patience and attention span. Nice CSO to our dear Montana.

Thanks, Alan, for a pleasant journey and thanks, HG, for your gracious guidance. (Could have done without the picture of ARod, though! 👿)

Good luck to Peyton and the Broncos!

Have a great day and enjoy the Super Bowl. (And the Puppy Bowl, too! 🐶)

maripro said...

What a smart innovative theme! Thanks Alan.
And thanks to Husker Gary. You are a Genuinely Delightful Scrivener. Your observations are right on.
I, too, sussed the theme with JFK.
Have a lovely day, everyone.

billocohoes said...

otto - Norman "Boomer" ESIASON, quarterback for U of Maryland, then the NFL Bengals, Jets and Cardinals. Now at CBS for its football studio show.

desper-otto said...

Billocohoes, that explains why I didn't recognize the name.

TTP said...

Hi all. Good morning.

Thank you Alan and thank you Husker Gary.

Followed the easy fill at first, and that led me to to the southeast. There, LITTLE BROWN JUG gave me the gimmick.

Needed perps in a few places, along with a few reasonable wags, but ended with a DNF at the intersection of ERI and ERIS, as well as NGO and NCO...

Husker Gary, the clue for my initials would be "Porky Pig short ending". BTW, who is Mark ? :>)

Bill G. said...

I enjoyed that though like Irish Miss, it almost exceeded my attention span. Another clever theme, just when I was sure all the clever ones had been used up.

I had trouble with 129A, "Call on the carpet" >> HAUL UP. It filled itself in with crossing letters but I didn't get it. Still don't...

We had a yard full of dogwood trees in Virginia. They were beautiful in the spring. I never heard the word OSIER though until I started doing crosswords. How come?

I hope it's a good football game today. It's just a championship game though, surrounded by tons of overkill and hype. Hmmm..., sounds a little like primary season for the next eight months.

Husker Gary said...

-Thanks for the lovely compliments or at least tolerance of my pinch-hitting.
-Oops, I did slip a Mark in there instead of an Alan. Obviously it was a holdover from MARK Bickham’s puzzle last Sunday. Thanks TTP for the kind correction.
-On the days I blog I wake up wondering what mistakes I may have made, especially after undertaking a Sunday blog.
-BTW, here’s the girl of whom it was sung, (3:14) “Who could hang a NAME on you?”
-…and here’s that NCO in charge of the Ft. Baxter motor pool
-I AVER/AVOW to uphold my past practice of not watching one minute of the Super Bowl until they kick the darn ball!

Big Easy said...

HG- I wasn't looking for the initials, which in retrospect was easy, but I was trying to finish the puzzle. Finishing the SW took longer than the rest of the puzzle. I CHAT, ENGLE, and ORALE were total unknowns, I wanted LIME for SLOE, only knew VUE for Saturns (RIP), I think TEHEED should be spelled 'TEE HEED. But what do I know.

I don't mind Spanish-AEREO, Russian-ARTEL, French-TES, Latin-TALUS, Viking-EDDAS, Italian-PENNE & STRADA, but putting an obscure VIETNAMESE president's first name- NGO Dinh Diem- who was killed over 50 years ago is pushing it. Not to mention the dwarf planet-ERIS. Other unknowns were . That's the end of my DIATRIBE.

Dr. DRE, Fritz LANG and LENNIE Briscoe.

But I did like the cross of Sports BRA and SAG. Was that a NO NO on my part?

Anonymous said...

I agree Husker re watching the Super Bowl pregame hype buy I always make sure I don't miss the singing of The National Anthem. Don't want to miss a Whitney Houston type moment.

Desper-Otto: if you have the time and desire, you should try to read up on Boomer Esiason's off-the-field accomplishments. The way he raised and cared for his son Gunnar and what his foundation has done for Cystic Fibrosis is very commendable. It's a shame how the media reports on every detail of a Johnny Manziel or Arod but ignores people like Esiason and Matt Light (who? Every one mutters). I can name hundreds of local high schools and organizations that have benefited from past athletes "giving back".

Steve said...

Big Easy - I'm not sure you can really call Diem an "obscure" president - he and his corrupt and poisonous family were pretty much responsible for kick-starting the entire Vietnam war.

HG - I'll go with a Food! theme and prepare "Steamed Red Mullet".

I'll make one prediction for Superbowl - I highly doubt that Peyton will call an audible on the first play :)

miss beckley said...

Okay, I'd be Red Robin's Breast

SwampCat said...

The CW was out of my league today, but I enjoyed what I was able to get, not that it was much! Thanks for the explanation, HG, and all the witty comments.

The King and Queen of Carnival here in New Orleans were announced yesterday, and the queen speaks fluent Chinese, the first one to do so. I might not have been impressed except for our gracious hostess on this Corner. Interesting bit of coincidental trivia.

Gorgeous weather here for all the parades. I hope everyone is having the same.

Jayce said...

Cool puzzle, neat-o theme. I kept looking for presidential "firsts" thinking in terms of the first president to give a white house tour or to promote high speed rail transport. And GUESS WHO'S BACK made me think of Nixon. Didn't see the initials until reading Gary's terrific write-up.
I still can't think of an in-the-language phrase using my initials. An out-of-the-language phrase, too. "Joyous Coffee Drinker" sounds a bit weird.

Bill said...

Sorry but the flooded elevator is not Danville, KY. Danville is on the Dix River and not on Kentucky Lake, which is a couple hundred miles to the west.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Didn't get the theme until Gary explained it. My hero for today! I spent an awful lot of time making red-letter runs to get a toe hold in places. ECOCAR gave me fits until the last. I had ECO right away then waited. I thought this puzzle was hard and wanted to quit in frustration several times when I couldn't make sense of the presidential thing. I was thinking more along the lines of some great first achievement buried in the words, like "freed the slaves".

ESIASON: Wanted an "L" instead of the first "S" and couldn't believe it turned red all the half dozen times I tried it.

ARTEL (never heard that one) not Stalag -- oops, that's a prison-type encampment, isn't it?

Very windy here. My daughter has a migraine so my SIL is supposed to do my grocery shopping after he gets done with his long-distance bike ride. I suspect the wind may tire him so he will have to shop tomorrow. I probably won't starve, but I hate being low-priority.

Husker Gary said...

-Bill, you’re right. Here’s the info on the Danville Elevator which appears to be named The Old Danville Elevator as well as the Danville Wharf and Danville Transfer Station and is now IN Kentucky Lake that the TVA formed but far from Danville, KY. I erroneously assumed... The next thing you’ll tell me is that ole St. Nick doesn’t live in Santa Claus, Indiana!

Abejo said...

Good evening, folks. Thank you, Alan, Olschwang, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Husker Gary, for a fine review.

Got this done earlier, but the Superbowl stopped mr from logging in. It is now half time. Go Denver! 13-7 right now.

Related to ERI very easily. I worked at that airport as a teen ager. Also flew there in a Piper. By the way, Husker Gary, there is also an ERIE County, and City of ERIE, and also LAKE ERIE in Pennsylvania. However, we have no canal. Also an ERIE County in Ohio, right across the line.

Theme was elusive for quite a while. I was thinking of First Names of Presidents. I finally figured it out.

Tried PAY PAL for 37D. That did not work. Eventually GAL PAL became obvious.

ARTEL was unknown, but perps fixed that.

ESIASON was easy after a couple letters. Just saw him on TV as a part of the Superbowl commentators.

I think the game will be on shortly. Just had a couple chili dogs. That is our Superbowl staple. Nachos for the second half. A few Shiner Bocks to wash it down.

See you tomorrow.


( )

Anonymous said...

I think Danville in this case refers to an area in Tennessee. You see in these parts the rivers tend to flow north so downstream means the river was dammed north of the then danville. Check the Google maps and you'll see where danville TN used to be

Anonymous said...

Really poor puzzle; really poor theme (RPP, RPT, NOT No. 44, NOT Ross Perot).

Unknown said...

Good thing I could solve it without knowing the clue as our paper had the clue as "bringing your "A" game". I wondered what all the numbers after the long clues were for . . . Glad I looked it up, makes a lot more sense now.

Wilbur Charles said...

I never get these themes. Is ELO the Bobby ORR of music. I wanted tibia and ecovan - yes I guess an urn is a vessel. Ergs and ort next to each other as old xword chestnuts sb. Doug Flutie works with Esiason on autism. My point? Doug's from Natick of all places