, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: March 2016


Mar 31, 2016

Thursday, March 31st, 2016 Matt Skoczen

Theme: Add-oons. Take a noun, add an "oon" and clue the resulting object in a witty fashion.

17A. Parody involving molten rock? : LAVA LAMPOON. Anyone own up to having a lava lamp?

28A. Wind god's whaling weapon? : AEOLIAN HARPOON. Loved this one. The aeolian harp is played by the wind.

48A. Blubbering Belgian? : WAILING WALLOON. Very nice! The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem is more "properly" known as the Western Wall.

61A. Hollywood harlequin? : FILM BUFFOON. I'm definitely not a film buff, most of the movies each year pass me by. I don't particularly equate "harlequin" with "buffoon" though, the character is usually portrayed more as a trickster than a fool.

Morning! I enjoyed Matt's word play in this one and some solid construction with the four themers; two nice long downs and some good fill with ALCOVE, ESPRIT, CORTEX et al. Two clunkers though - I'm looking at you, IREFUL and the clue for ELEM (tchr). Let's see what else we've got.


1. Library recess : ALCOVE. Also a posh-looking hotel in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

7. Brief amt. of time : NSEC. Nanosecond. One billionth of a second. That's really brief.

11. Karaoke need, briefly : MIC. I was pretty much forced to sing Karaoke at a bar in Kowloon where my colleague and I were the only westerners. The only song on the menu that I recognized was Barry Manilow's "Copacabana". The result was not pretty.

14. Slanted : LEANED

15. With 34-Across, concert band instrument : ALTO.

16. Big fuss : ADO

19. Sneaky job : CON

20. APA member?: Abbr. : ASSN. American Psychological Association.

21. Med. test : EKG. Fill in E_G and wait for the cross.

22. Eight-time co-star of Joan Crawford : GABLE. Ooops. Joan Crawford in the clue should result in Clark Gable in the answer.

24. Teeth: Pref. : DENTI

27. Note : MEMO

33. Crybaby : MOANER

34. See 15-Across : SAX

35. Arctic flier : SKUA

36. Stalling-for-time syllables : ERS

37. Honor earned by 27 Super Bowl QBs : MVP. Refreshingly, the Denver Bronco's pass rusher Von Miller won the award this year, only the sixth player from the defensive side of the ball to be named MVP.

39. Light lead-in : TWI-

41. Scoreboard fig. : PTS.

42. Director Preminger : OTTO

44. It borders It. : AUS. Italy's neighbor Austria. I've skiied between the two.

46. Sparkling wit : ESPRIT

51. 8th-century Japanese capital : NARA. 奈良市 Capital of the Nara Prefecture in southern Japan. Who knew?

52. Runs while standing : IDLES

53. Try a new color on : RE-DYE

55. June portrayer in "Henry & June" : UMA. Ms. Thurman played the role of Henry Millers' wife in a loose adaptation of the Anaïs Nin book.

56. Repeat, but more softly each time : ECHO

60. First name in shipping : ARI. I wonder how many news stories in the 60's led with "Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis ...."

65. Java : JOE. Coffee. Two Javas today. Just needed the programming language for the trifecta.

66. Eclectic quarterly digest : UTNE

67. Hard to read, maybe : SLOPPY. My handwriting has definitely got sloppier over the years.

68. Animal in some fables : ASS

69. He says to Cordelia, "Thy truth, then, be thy dower" : LEAR. The king speaks to one of his daughters. It's worth remembering his other two daughters too - Regan and Goneril - they crop up in crosswords quite frequently.

70. Cerebral __ : CORTEX


1. __ breve : ALLA. Waited for crosses to tell me whether this was DEMI or SEMI. In hindsight, I was going to be waiting a long time. Apparently, in music time-signature terms, it is "a simple-duple meter with a half-note pulse". I didn't understand a word of that. It has its own symbol though, so it must be important:

2. Pastures : LEAS

3. Home team at Cleveland's "The Q" : CAVS. NBA's Cavaliers play at the Quicken Loans Arena.

4. Uninterrupted : ON AND ON

5. Mph : VEL. ocity.

6. Former PBS host LeShan : EDA

7. Place setting items : NAPKINS

8. Tough march : SLOG

9. 1940s stage for Ike : E.T.O. WW2's European Theater of Operations. I wonder if Churchill and Ike argued whether it should be spelled (or spelt) Theater or Theatre.

10. __ eel : CONGER. They love to hang out in wrecks and can grow to quite a fearsome size.

11. Apple with a Force Touch trackpad : MACBOOK PRO

12. Fan club focus : IDOL

13. Lane-closing sight : CONE. Usually accompanied by a sinking feeling and another delay. In the UK at one time there were so many lane closures on the freeways and no sign of any work being done that you could actually call "The Cones Hotline". No-one really knew what the hotline was meant to achieve and it became a butt of many jokes.
"Hello? Cones Hotline? I've spotted some cones."
"How many?"
"About four and a half million on the M6, doing absolutely nothing."
"Thank you for telling us."
18. Physical leader? : META

23. Gear on stage : AMPS. Jackson Browne was a great songwriter, but the final rhyme in this snippet from "The Load-Out" is a bit of a clunker! Great song and segue though.

"Now roll them cases out and lift them amps
Haul them trusses down and get'em up them ramps
'Cause when it comes to moving me
You know you guys are the champs ..."

25. Kind of tchr. : ELEM. That's a pretty horrible abbreviation for "teacher".

26. Buddhist state : NIRVANA

27. Klinger's first name on "M*A*S*H" : MAXWELL. I wonder how often this actually came up in the series? Solid crosses.

28. Vital supply line : AORTA

29. Where to find Java : EAST INDIES. I tried to make "Indonesia" fit for a while.

30. Magic show prop : HAT. Where all the Easter bunnies go back to sleep when they've finished their egg-rounds.

31. __ the cold : OUT IN

32. Democratic donkey drawer : NAST. He was responsible for the Republican elephant too.

33. Litter cry : MEOW

38. Wrinkly little dog : PUG

40. __ Royale, Michigan : ISLE. A new one on me. I find it is in Lake Superior, and the US-Canada border does a little jig around it. It looks a lot closer to Minnesota than the UP though, I think the folks of Grand Portage, MN have every right to be peeved.

43. Skin care brand : OLAY

45. Pool party? : SWIMMER. Nice clue; party in the sense of "party of one".

47. Be the subject of, as a painting : POSE FOR.

49. Furious : IREFUL. Ugh! What a horrible word. It's a bad sign when you Google a word and the first results page shows dictionary definitions and two video game references.

50. Not much at all : A DAB. Hesitated at "A TAD" and waited for a helpful cross.

53. Indian noble : RAJA

54. Love deity : EROS. He and his Roman counterpart Cupid were always shooting off arrows and making people miserable.

55. Forearm bone : ULNA

57. Egyptian Christian : COPT

58. "The thing with feathers / That perches in the soul": Dickinson : HOPE

59. Cameo stone : ONYX. Most often carved with a head in profile, but there are other more intricate examples.

62. Suburban trailer? : -ITE

63. The Trojans of the Pac-12 : U.S.C. The University of Southern California, or as often dubbed by Bruins from cross-town rivals UCLA "The University of Spoiled Children" (or after the Reggie Bush affair, U$C).

64. "Alice" spinoff : FLO. Never heard of the original series, let alone the spinoff. Thank you, crosses. Here's actress Polly Holliday as Flo:

Fun Thursday ride. Here's the grid ......


Mar 30, 2016

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 Bruce Haight

Theme:  Being in Agreement.  Common expressions indicating agreement are reimagined as being delivered by their most amusingly appropriate sources.  And, impressively, they are all grid spanners. Rather an unusual approach.  Let's have a look.

17 A. Yes, to a cowboy? : YOU BET YOUR BOOTS.  Evidently, this expression goes back to the old west, where a good pair of boots was as important as a reliable horse.   These days, they also make a fashion statement.

27 A. Yes, to an architect? : SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN.  Bit of wordplay here, equating a plan of action with a design drawing of a proposed structure.

43 A. Yes, to a traffic court judge? : SUITS ME JUST FINE.  The traffic court judge is likely to issue a FINE, but there are other possibilities with this one.   Law SUITS are also settled in court, or one might obtain a SUIT of clothes from a haberdasher, and thus become SUITED in a FINE way.

Judges' suits are rather drab

54. Yes, to the Magic 8 Ball : IT IS DECIDEDLY SO.   The Magic 8 Ball has been available since the 1950's and is manufactured by Mattel.  It provides one of 20 possible answers to yes/no type questions. IT IS DECIDEDLY SO is one of the 10 positive answers that the Ball might provide.  The other 10 responses are evenly divided between negative and non-committal. 

Hi, Gang - JazzBumpa here, and in an agreeable frame of mind.  My last Blog outing at the Corner was a hair raising experience, coincidentally, also with Bruce.  Our stars also aligned back in January, so this is getting to be a bit of a habit.  Let's see if we can have positive responses to all of today's crossword questions.


1. Vanna's cohort : PAT.  Sajak, not my sister PAT.    Cohort, originally a Roman military unit of 6 centuries, a 10th of a legion; hence, any group of people banded together; even more hence a supporter or companion.

4. Smidgens : IOTAS.  Tiny quantities.

9. Thicket : COPSE.  Originally a stand of small trees intended for cutting, presumably coming into English from the Latin colpaticum, via Old French copeiz, a cut over forest.  

14. Boston Marathon mo. : APR.  In APRil, always on Patriot's Day, this year falling on the 18th.

15. Meat and greet patio party? : BAR-B-Q.  Another pun.  Say hello to your animal part entree, cooked out of doors.  Not especially vegan friendly.

16. Skylit courtyards : ATRIA.  Generally having a glass roof.

20. Sunday service providers : CLERGY.  Another nice word play.  I'm starting to like this.

21. Switz. neighbor : AUStria.  European geography.

22. Pollen carrier : BEE.  Threatened by commercial pesticides.  If the BEEs go, they'll take us with them.

23. "M*A*S*H" Emmy winner for acting, writing and directing : ALDA.  Alan.

24. German autos : BMWs.  Vehicles provided by Bayerische Motoren Werke AG.

26. Women's undergarment, briefly : CAMI.  Shortened form of CAMISOLE, a sleeveless top, usually with thin straps and extending to about the waist.  Not all are undergarments these days.

31. __ joint : HIP.   Where the leg attaches to the torso; or possibly a very cool, up to date and popular club.

32. Cracker with a scalloped edge : RITZ.  

33. [uh-oh] : GULP.  Cartoonish display of dismay or fear.

34. Provides with a soundtrack : DUBS.  Meshes the audio with the video.

35. Components of many tips : ONES.  Dollar bills.  It's been recommended to round up to the nearest five.

37. Give in to wanderlust : ROAM.  It's the journey, not the destination.

39. Shakespeare's river : AVON.   In the English midlands.  Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of some guy named Will.

40. Stockholm carrier : SAS.   Formerly Scandinavian Airline System.

47. Author Rice : ANNE.  Vampire stories.  Who knew they'd be so popular?

48. Final, e.g. : EXAM.  Test of learned knowledge at the end of the school term.

49. Medicine Hat's prov. : ALTA.  Alberta.  Somewhere up north and west.

50. Shoot the breeze : YAK.  Gab.

51. Org. for docs : AMA. American Medical Association.

 52. Exited quickly, in slang : BAILED.   This is an old word with some alternate meanings.  I associate this sense of it with making a parachute jump.

58. "Divine Comedy" poet : DANTE Alighieri.

59. "Fun, Fun, Fun" car in 1960s hit : T-BIRD.

60. Make faces for the camera : MUG.

61. Labor day doc : OBGYN.  Obstetrician - gynecologist - a medical specialist in the care of specifically female body parts, also charged with the delivery of new born infants.  Another pun, if you like that sort of thing.  [I do!]

62. Church chorus : AMENS.  The response from the crowd, not the choir in the loft.  Bruce is a man after my own heart.

63. Mini-albums, briefly : EPs.   Extended Play recordings, either CD or vinyl, having more than one song, but fewer than a regular album.


1. Choose paper over plastic? : PAY CASH.  Use folding currency instead of a credit card.  Who does that any more?  Though we always leave a paper tip, rather than charge it.

2. Ill-fated 1967 moon mission : APOLLO I.  The mission never occurred.  A fire in a launch rehearsal destroyed the Command Module and took the lives of the three crew members.

3. Made even, to a carpenter : TRUED UP.  On the level, as it were.   Also see 28 D for a partial clecho.

4. "__ your pardon" : I BEG.   Words spoken by somebody who elbows you.  I always respond with, "I pardon your beggin'."

5. Cheerios descriptor : OATY.  Whole grain goodness.

6. "Give it a go" : TRY.  Make the effort.

7. Blood-typing letters : A-B-O.   Based on the presence or absence of certain antibodies in the plasma and antigens in the red blood cells.

8. Kick up a fuss : SQUAWK.   Sound like an ungreased wheel.

9. Uber competitors : CABS.  Urban vehicular transportation.

10. Platte River tribe : OTO.  The Platte is in Nebraska, a tributary of the Missouri River.  The OTO [or OTOE] were a semi-nomadic people living in the Missouri basin, in what are now the states of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

11. The majors : PRO BALL.   For baseball players -- and here we are with opening day coming up on Monday - finally.  For men's professional golf, The Majors are a series of 4 tournaments: The Masters, in April at the Augusta National Golf Club; The U. S. Open,played at various U. S. locations in June; the Open Championship, played at one of 10 locations in the U. K. in July, and the PGA Championship, played at various U. S. locations in August.

12. Online guide : SITE MAP.  Key to navigating a web site.

13. Enter gradually : EASE IN.  As opposed to barging or crashing.

18. Muffin mix additive : BRAN.   Might be OATY.

19. Con job : RUSE.  A deceptive trick, usually to separate someone from their money.

24. Orders with mayo : BLTS.  Tasty, crunchy sandwiches of Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato.  Yum!  I like mine on whole wheat toast, and prefer Miracle Whip to Mayo.

25. "Les __": musical nickname : MIZ.  Les Miserables, based on the novel by Victor Hugo.

26. PCs' "brains" : CPUs.   Central Processing Units

28. Karen Carpenter's instrument : DRUMS.  She was actually quite good.  It's TRUE.

29. Member of the fam : SIB.  SIBling = brother or sister, as Richard to Karen.   I only have the one.

30. One who helps you find a part? : AGENT.  For an actor, in this case.

34. Prom partner : DATE.  Oh, my, that was a long time ago.

35. Fallopian tube traveler : OVUM.   Part of the reproductive process.  It's complicated.

36. Rejections : NOs.   Words from those who were not your prom partners.

37. Drink on credit : RUN A TAB.

38. Noise from a 55-Down : OINKING.   Porcine pronouncements.

39. Multi-platinum Steely Dan album : AJA.  Pronounced "Asia."  Don't ask me why.  Here's the title track.  [8:00 minutes]

40. "I was so foolish!" : SILLY ME.   But have you ever known me to be silly?  Seriously?

41. Pays for cards : ANTES UP.    Puts in the initial bet for a poker hand.

42. Old salts : SEA DOGS.  Grizzled old sea-faring veterans.

43. Get hitched : SAY I DO.  Make a marriage vow.

44. Viral Internet phenomenon : MEME.   An idea, behavior, or style that spreads through a culture.  The internet makes it happen more quickly and frequently.

45. Two-horse wager : EXACTA.   To win, the better must predict the first and second place finishers, in the correct order.  

46. Go up in smoke : FAIL.   Or down in flames.  I love the English language.

51. Yemeni port : ADEN.   Located near the south-west tip of the Arabian peninsula, on the Gulf of Aden.

52. Capital near Zurich : BERN.  Back to the AUS neighbor, Switz.

53. Supplements, with "to" : ADDS.

55. Type of pen : STY.   Home to hogs and sows.

56. Tech giant : IBM.

57. Cube that rolls : DIE.  In Las Vegas, for example.   There is a dodecahedral icosahedral [thanks, Howard] one inside the Magic 8 Ball.

Which takes us full circle.  Or some polyhedral solid approximation thereof.   I've never taken an inventory of multiple-word answers.  There certainly were a lot of them here. And no nits.  This was great fun, as I hope you'll all agree.

Cool regards!

Notes from C.C.:

1) I've been enjoying Peter Gordon's Newsflash Crosswords the past few years. His entries and clues are super current and full of fun trivia. MERRICK GARLAND appeared in Peter's grid two days after he was nominated for the Justice post. Please click here and back his project if you love crosswords and news. You'll love each handcrafted gem from him.

2) Husker Gary is updating our Crossword Corner map. Regulars who want to add their name to the map, please email Gary ( Please also let him know if you want to drop your name from the map. Gary will publish an update map next Wednesday.


Mar 29, 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016 C.C. Burnikel

Theme: Something to bite, chew, and champ on - Good thing I got m'teeth yesterdy.

62. Dine together, and a hint to this puzzle's circles : BREAK BREAD

17. Hard-to-please diva : PRIMA DONNA and 19. Money for the pot : ANTE. NAAN.

23. Holder of odds and ends : CATCHALL and 25. "Bless you!" trigger : AHCHOO. CHALLAH.

36. Pueblo-dwelling tribe : HOPI and 39. Tart taste : TANG. PITA.

53. Spot to enjoy oysters and clams : RAWBAR and 55. Way back when : YEARS AGO. RYE.

Argyle here with another C.C. creation. She delivered a change up today. Instead of breaking a word into a single two-word phrase entry, she has broken it across two separate entries. Those of you without circles may have had a harder time seeing it but probably didn't impede the solve.


1. Gobbled down : ATE UP. Appropriate lead off.

6. IRS enforcer : T-MAN. (treasury agent)

10. Galaxy Tab rival : iPAD

14. Memory slip : LAPSE

15. Lifeboat movers : OARS

16. Indian bridal dress : SARI

20. Beast of burden : ASS

21. TriCLEAN gasoline brand : CITGO

22. Skin ink, casually : TAT

28. Penne __ vodka: pasta dish : ALLA. Wiki.

29. Hider in a haystack : NEEDLE

31. Former "Tonight Show" announcer Hall : EDD

32. Religious offshoot : SECT

34. Like pages worth bookmarking : DOGEARED
40. Pesto thickeners : PINE NUTS

44. Short race : DASH

47. Hubbub : ADO

48. Full of pluck : GRITTY

51. Bring up : REAR

57. Have : OWN

58. Origami bird : CRANE

59. Windy City superstation : WGN. Originally referred to the Trib, "World's Greatest Newspaper".

60. Bear whose bed was too hard : PAPA. We had MAMA and now PAPA; all that's left is BABY.

64. Deadlocked : EVEN

65. In __: with all judges present : BANC

66. Diciembre follower : ENERO. (December/January)

67. Granny : NANA

68. Help, as a fugitive : ABET

69. Cheryl and Diane : LADDS


1. Llama cousin : ALPACA

2. Ankle bones : TARSALS

3. New Testament letter : EPISTLE

4. Branch of the mil. : USM. (United States Marines)

5. Cobbler fruit : PEACH

6. Play the flute : TOOTLE. "And Hennessey Tennessee tootles the flute"

7. Botched up : MANGLED

8. River under the Ponte Vecchio : ARNO. Florence, Italy

9. Federal hush-hush org. : NSA. (no such agency)

10. Sci-fi writer Asimov : ISAAC

11. Cat with black fur : PANTHER. The lion may sleep tonight but the panther's on the prowl.

12. Statues and sculptures : ART. ^Black Velvet art^

13. Conk out : DIE

18. Gorilla expert Fossey : DIAN

22. Famous last words? : THE END. Cute.

24. Hidden store : CACHE

25. Pond plant : ALGA

26. Poem of tribute : ODE

27. Like 2015 : ODD

30. Point : DOT

33. Polynesian archipelago native : TONGAN

35. Lab gelatins : AGARS

37. Contented kitty sound : PURR

38. "Lord, is __?" : IT I

40. Target score in "Mario Golf" : PAR

41. Mrs. McKinley : IDA

42. Sign on a new store : [NOW OPEN]

43. Synthetic rubber compound : STYRENE

45. Kelp, e.g. : SEAWEED

46. Gaunt from exertion : HAGGARD

49. Law that incited a 1773 Boston revolt : TEA ACT

50. Pull hard : YANK

52. Sonata movements : RONDOs

54. Master, in Swahili : BWANA

56. One resisting authority : REBEL

58. Chesapeake Bay crustacean : CRAB

60. Cattle holder : PEN

61. "Selma" director DuVernay : AVA. Wiki

62. Marketing major's deg. : BBA. (Bachelor of Business Administration)

63. "Messenger" molecule : RNA


Mar 28, 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016 Nancy Salomon

Theme: Maw, git me m'teeth! - Gonna need'em fer this here puzzl'.

20A. Accepts a grim reality : BITES THE BULLET

39A. Hams it up : CHEWS THE SCENERY

56A. Is raring to go : CHAMPS AT THE BIT

Argyle here. If you're raring to nit pick on the above usage, please go here first. Grammarist There are a few crunchy spots that might slow you down and that's a good thing. I don't think it should be rushed even if you can.

Good to see Nancy Salomon back. She's the mentor to many many constructors.


1. 5th Dimension vocalist Marilyn : McCOO. Sensational voice.

6. Degrees for mgrs. : MBAs. (Master of Business Administration)

10. On a trip : AWAY. Destination 15A. Honolulu's island : OAHU

14. Like cheering stadiums : AROAR

16. Give (out) sparingly : DOLE

17. Not glossy, as a finish : MATTE

18. Sourpuss : CRAB. What! No Trader Joe's Crab Gyoza!

19. Short comic sketch : SKIT

23. Thickening agent used in ice cream : AGAR

24. "Way cool!" : "RAD!". So retro.

25. Rock's __ Speedwagon : REO

26. Slalom need : SKI

28. Cavs-vs.-Mavs event : NBA GAME

32. Tax deadline mo. : APR.

35. In need of calamine lotion : ITCHY

38. Cobb or Waldorf dish : SALAD

42. Enjoys an elegant meal : DINES. A nice pairing.

43. Bothered big-time : ATE AT

44. Ballot markings in boxes : X'es

45. Train amenity with drinks and food : CLUB CAR. from Amtrak : "On most medium and long-distance trains, food service is available in the Lounge Car, featuring table and casual seating."

47. Eeyore's pal : ROO. In the 100 Acre Wood.

49. Nonstick spray brand : PAM

50. Troop gp. : BSA. (Boy Scouts of America)

52. Small notebooks : PADS

60. Layered hairdo : SHAG

61. Japanese rice drink : SAKE

62. Irritate : ANNOY

63. Stretch out, say : LAZE

64. Pigmented eye layer : UVEA

65. Not at all lenient : STERN

66. Verses of praise : ODEs

67. Exec's benefit : PERK

68. American Pharoah, e.g. : HORSE. I admired his coming to Saratoga. A valiant effort.


1. Deadly African snake : MAMBA

2. Newmark with an online list : CRAIG. Needed the perps for this one. Wiki link

3. Terra __: earthenware : COTTA

4. Many John Wayne flicks : OATERs

5. Valuable rocks : OREs

6. Coffee-and-chocolate flavor : MOCHA

7. Uncovered : BARED

8. Captain in Ishmael's tale : AHAB. Moby-Dick; or, The Whale.

9. Many a commuter's home : SUBURB

10. Lay's "Betcha can't eat just one" is one : AD SLOGAN

11. Responded to the alarm : WOKE

12. Touched down : ALIT

13. "Still and all ... " : "YET ... "

21. "Foolish Pride" singer Travis : TRITT

22. Charge for using, as an apartment : LEASE TO. No need for the "to", is there?

27. Smooch shower on a Jumbotron : KISS CAM

28. Wall St.'s "Big Board" : NYSE. (New York Stock Exchange)

29. "Jeopardy!" host Trebek : ALEX

30. Fully grown filly : MARE

31. Nestlé ice cream brand : EDY'S

32. Electrical adapter letters : AC/DC

33. Golfer Mickelson : PHIL. Lefty

34. Brand in contact lens care : ReNu

36. Scorch : CHAR

37. In a lather, with "up" : HET

40. Google search successes : WEB PAGES

41. Gemstone weight : CARAT

46. Intensifies : AMPS UP

48. Not against trying : OPEN TO

50. Cake maker : BAKER

51. T-bone or porterhouse : STEAK

53. Mammy Yokum's lad : ABNER. His'n jest a li'l fella.

54. Christian's dresses? : DIOR'S

55. "Gypsy" composer Jule : STYNE. Jule Styne, Hugh Downs, 1979 Interview and Song from "Gypsy" Clip(12:31)

56. Libya neighbor : CHAD

57. Thin fog : HAZE

58. Squirrel away : SAVE

59. Slinger's dish : HASH. Hash slinger is diner-speak for waiter or waitress or the cook or even a kitchen worker.

60. __-mo replay : SLO


Mar 27, 2016

Sunday March 27, 2016 Mark MacLachlan

Theme:  "C Battery" - C is added to each theme answer, changing spellings as needed.

23A. Film monster at a construction site? : CRANE OF TERROR. Reign of terror.We also have DESPOT (28. Unrestricted ruler).

39A. Peat moss heist? : NURSERY CRIME. Nursery rhyme.

44A. Double without a seatbelt? : UNSECURED CLONE. Unsecured loan. Notice all the C's are added to the start of one word in each themer? Consistency!

69A. Exclusive editing websites? : WIKI CLIQUES. WikiLeaks.

92A. Marx feature? : CRAZED EYEBROWS. Raised eyebrows. Groucho Marx.

96A. Garden center bulk purchase? : CASE OF SPADES. Ace of spades.

114A. Be tearfully grateful about comfy shoes? : CRY ON THE CROCS. Rye on the rocks. Double-action entry, like last Friday's PRISM.  Double-action entry often placed as the last themer for maximum effect.

I think this might be our Mark MacLachlan, a chemistry professor at the University of British Columbia. This is his debut puzzle. Huge congratulations!

I had a sense of what the theme might be after I glanced at the puzzle title. Spelling change gimmick is much more challenging than the simple adding/deleting letter approach. You need to be very imaginative.

There are four nice sets of triple-stacked 7's, two of the sets cross another 7  & 8.  The grid does also have lots of 3-letter entries (38).


1. Fads : MANIAS

7. They were introduced to Western pop music during the British Invasion : SITARS. Instruments, not singers as I first thought.

13. Quantities like mass and volume : SCALARS. New word to me.

20. Earth pigment : SIENNA

21. Slow movement : ADAGIO. Ad-agio, Italian for  "at ease".

22. Hamlet's friend : HORATIO

25. Subject for Dumbledore : ALCHEMY. Dumbledore is the headmaster of the Hogwarts.

26. Plane staff : CREW

27. Kitchen top : LID

30. Govt. intel org. : NSA

31. Co-star of "Suspect" (1987) : CHER. Never saw the movie. 

32. Author Rand : AYN

33. Spanish eye : OJO

35. Confine, as on a farm : PEN IN

37. __ Fáil: Irish coronation stone : LIA. Hello, old friend!

38. Civil War prez : ABE

48. Sticks often with curved tops : CANES

49. Ones having a bite : EATERS. Thought of Da Fan Tong Jayce.

50. Former "Daily Show" correspondent Samantha : BEE. Now she has her own show.

51. Recipe words : A DASH. Partial.

54. Vietnam's last emperor Bao __ : DAI. No idea. Dai is the same as Chinese Da, meaning "big".

55. Update the machinery : RETOOL

57. Bagel topper : LOX. Barry G's breakfast staple. Hope you're getting better, Barry.

59. Apprehensive of : FEARING

61. Art opening? : POP. Pop art.

64. Reason to call the landlord : NO HEAT. Arbitrary phrase.

66. Something in the air : NITROGEN. Nice clue.

67. "Return of the Jedi" dancer : OOLA. This has become a gimme.

71. Adored speaker : BOSE. "Adored" because it's a popular brand?

72. Gerard Trenité poem about eccentricities of English pronunciation : THE CHAOS. Complete stranger. Read here.

74. Not dressy : CASUAL

75. Part of PST: Abbr. : STD

76. Historic metropolitan district : OLD TOWN. I lived in the old town part of Guangzhou & loved very much the neighborhood.

77. Miss piggy? : SOW.  Great clue. I did read it as "Miss Piggy".

78. Astronomer Celsius : ANDERS. Did not know Celsius' given name.

82. Time, e.g., briefly : MAG

83. Iraqi port : BASRA

85. French pen name : BIC. French for "pen"? I wanted NOM. (Updated: BIC is French. Thanks, D-Otto. Never knew that.)

86. Research : GO INTO

90. "... __, mean, fightin' machine!": John Candy in "Stripes" : A LEAN

99. Carbohydrate ending : OSE

100. "Dinosaur Train" watcher : TOT. Easy guess.

101. WWII German minesweeper : R BOAT. No idea, Spitzboov. I only know U-boat and E-boat.

102. 6, on a phone : MNO

103. __ instinct : GUT

104. Riot squad spray : MACE

105. Munich lament : ACH

108. Tree in a tray : BONSAI. Well, nobody outdoes Dave for birthday cake links. But look at these two bonsai trees I found, Dave!

110. Breakfast morsel : OAT

111. Prying : NOSY

112. Go before : PRECEDE

119. Ursa Minor star : POLARIS

120. Interfere : MEDDLE

121. "Real love __ me through": Steve Winwood lyric : TO PULL. A rare 6-letter partial.

122. Matching tops worn together : TWIN-SET

123. Franklin writings : ESSAYS

124. Large furniture chain : ASHLEY. Drew a blank. I don't think we have one in our neighborhood.

1. Advanced math deg., in Canada : M.SC. OK, Master of Science.

2. Carrier with a Shanghai hub : AIR CHINA. Nailed it. The flag carrier in Taiwan is called China Airlines. There was no direct flight from Taiwan to mainland China until 2003. You had to fly to Hong Kong first.

3. Qatar locale : NEAR EAST

4. __ peace : INNER

5. Yet again : ANEW

6. Brazil map word : SAO

7. Observed, maybe : SATIN

8. Fingered : ID'ED

9. Sailor : TAR

10. Cabinet dept. : AGR. We see ENER more often.

11. Aldi supermarket juice brand that translates to "river of gold" : RIO D'ORO. No idea either. Helpful "river of gold" hint.  I go to Aldi weekly. Never saw this brand though.

12. Ticked : SORE

13. Machine shop tool : SHAPER

14. Groups of bats or beavers : COLONY. Oh, I only associate ants with colony.

15. Northernmost freshwater fish : ARCTIC CHAR. Steve might have had it. Not me.

16. "Well, __-di-dah!" : LAH

17. UMass's conference : A-TEN. Alright, Atlantic 10 Conference. 
18. Edges : RIMS

19. Tofu source : SOYA. Trader Joe's has the best extra-firm Tofu. They also have the best veggie Jiaozi (Gyoza). I recall TTP mentioned that his wife likes their shrimp Gyoza.

24. Handbill : FLYER

29. 1994 film set on a bus : SPEED. Loved the film. I watched the Cantonese version.
31. Game with a rope : CLUE

32. "Perched upon __ of Pallas": "The Raven" : A BUST. Partial.

33. Fairy tale opener : ONCE

34. Summer mo. : JUL

36. Org. for marksmen : NRA

38. 43,560 square feet : ACRE

40. Junk food, in ads : SNAX

41. Dyes used for blue jeans : INDIGOS

42. Most Grinch-like : MEANEST

43. Digitally endorsed : E-SIGNED. Also 46. Nook downloads : E-BOOKS. Do any of you use

45. Bard's "always" : E'ER

47. Home of Humayun's Tomb : DELHI. Unfamiliar with the tomb.

52. Off the beaten path : AFIELD

53. Puts in rollers : SETS

56. Dip ingredients : ONIONS

57. Award-winning courtroom drama : LA LAW

58. Elevator innovator : OTIS

60. Hold up : ROB
61. Chesapeake Bay feeder : POTOMAC

62. "C'est magnifique!" : OOH LA LA

63. Telethon commitments : PLEDGES

65. Maker of Cage golf shoes : ECCO. Boomer just got a much-lighter Big Bertha from 2nd Swing. He thinks he's going to hit straighter and 20-30 yards farther.

66. Subtlety : NUANCE

68. Be on a role? : ACT

69. Trumpet sound : WA WA

70. "Brokeback Mountain" actor : QUAID (Randy). Never saw the movie. The plot is so moving.

73. Schmoozers : HOBNOBBERS

77. 1986 Starship chart-topper : SARA. This got me last time.

79. Spew out : EGEST

80. Obi-Wan's attire : ROBE

81. Title of honor : SIR

84. Tax audit needs: Abbr. : RCPTS

85. Smooch from Sofía : BESO. For Bill G.

87. Absolutely no one : NOT A SOUL. Can you think of a clue without using "no"?

88. Type of engine or oil : TWO-CYCLE. New concept to me as well.

89. Bone: Pref. : OSTE

91. Fizzy prefix : AER

93. Looks up to : ADMIRES

94. __ garden : ZEN

95. What "comes but once in a lifetime": Longfellow : YOUTH

97. "Jamie" reader : FOODIE. What is "Jamie"? Anything to do with Jamie Oliver?

98. Most stable : SANEST

103. Defense secretary before Panetta : GATES (Robert)

104. Transform, in sci-fi : MORPH

105. iCal entry : APPT. Gary must use his iCal app often.

106. Bad avian omen in much mythology : CROW

107. Prefix with port : HELI

109. Peak : ACME

110. Just : ONLY

111. Sgts. and cpls. : NCOS

113. Discharge : CAN

115. NFL stat : YDS

116. "Ghost" psychic __ Mae Brown : ODA. Ditto.

117. Greek vowel : ETA

118. Cagey : SLY

I've been enjoying Peter Gordon's Newsflash Crosswords the past few years. His entries and clues are super current and full of fun trivia. MERRICK GARLAND appeared in Peter's grid two days after he was nominated for the Justice post. Please click here and back his project if you love crosswords and news. You'll love each handcrafted gem from him.


Mar 26, 2016

Saturday, March 26th, 2016, Mark Bickham

Theme: MB

Words: 72 (missing J,X,Z)

Blocks: 34

   I typically cringe when I see Mr. Bickham's name in the title, though upon reviewing his last two Saturday offerings, I see that I fared well on the last one, and claimed to have breezed through the one prior to that.  This week, I have to say, I threw in a few WAGs and they worked out for the best; they helped my long answers tremendously, and led to a fast solution.  I might have discovered the wavelength that Mark operates on.  I will admit I had one letter wrong, which I discovered when there was no "Ta-DA~!" at the end.  I'll take it.  One climber, and one spanner, with a pair of 12-letter fills stacked either side;

7d. Loan document : PAYMENT SCHEDULE

35a. Response acknowledging familiarity : I GET THAT A LOT

38a. Couple getting away together? : PARTNERS IN CRIME

41a. Beyond reproach : SQUEAKY CLEAN

вперед~! (62a.) 

1. She played Madeleine in "Bel Ami" (2012) : UMA - did not see this movie

4. Get really excited : FLIP

8. Mug shot result? : FAT LIP - not sure which "mug" and "shot" we might be looking at; the one involving arrest, or the one involving 'arrested development' ( that is, consuming alcohol excessively ).  Turns out neither - instead it's a shot to the mug

14. __ data : RAW

15. "The Diana Chronicles" author Brown : TINA - filled via perps

16. Rooks, e.g. : AVIANS - I was on a chess wavelength; here it's the bird

17. Social follower? : ITE - socialite

18. Levitate : DEFY GRAVITY - that's what it means

20. Fashionable : CHIC - I did technically post a pic of legs last week, but just to be clear, this is still what I call "chic"

22. "Enough, José!" : "NO MAS~!"

23. Shout after a muleta manipulation : OLÉ - Spanish uno mas - a muleta ( having had to look it up ) is a red cape fixed to a stick.  I pretty much figured out what the answer was without knowing, though the actual definition of the word is "crutch"

24. Hard-to-hit pitch : HIGH C - ah, not baseball

26. __ fail : EPIC - this was my first thought, but I hesitated

28. Carrier of many old couples : ARK

30. Historic Buddhist temple : SHAOLIN

33. You can count on them : ABACI - got it

42. Lemony spice used in Middle Eastern cuisine : SUMAC - I'm guessing it's not the poisonous kind....

43. Question of time : "HOW LONG~?" - I tried "HOW SOON", and two "O"s were good to go

46. Half a drink : TAI - and of course, I tried MAI

47. Not out : SAFE - ah, here's the baseball

50. 2000s Showtime series, with "The" : L WORD - heard of it, have not seen it

52. "Star Trek" initialism : TNG - "The Next Generation", which truly was MY generation's Star Trek; I could not get into the original, tho the movies with the original cast were to my liking.  Now we're being shown Star WARS, the next generation

54. In a big way : BADLY

57. Party where lomi salmon may be served : LUAU - I tried BRIS to start; bzzzt.  The internet claims it's actually lomi-lomi

58. Runway highlight : BEAUTY QUEEN - I have been communicating with a girl who was the beauty queen of a dance at her college - and she is a cutie; 29, with beautiful green eyes - maybe more next week....

61. Treasury Dept. variable : GNP

62. Fitting game : TETRIS - one of my all-time favorite video games

I also found this, this and this

63. 1970 Kinks hit : LOLA

64. Stand in a barrel : AGE - think the verb

65. Outsmarts : ONE-UPS

66. Good place to see plays : ESPN - more likely to see RE-plays, actually

67. Rocker Nugent : TED


1. "Spenser: For Hire" actor : URICH - It took a moment to recall his last name; I knew his first name was Robert; I knew him from "The Ice Pirates" from way back in 1984

2. He's no Johnny One Note : MATHIS - I have one of his Christmas albums

3. Barely clear of the bottom : AWEIGH

4. Co. with a bouquet in its logo : FTD - Florists' Transworld Delivery - the Wiki

5. Bank security : LIEN

6. Scoop : INFO

8. Iranian language : FARSI

9. Clark's "Mogambo" co-star : AVA

10. It helps you avoid seeing spots : TiVO - the "spots" being TV ads; I DVR all my stuff so I can skip the commercials, too

11. Boxer who retired undefeated : LAILA ALI

12. Building security device : INTERCOM

13. Humanities dept. : PSYchology; I see that it might be considered a science instead

19. Clothing giant : GAP - different "gap" from yesterday

21. Starbucks latte order : CHAI TEA

25. Courvoisier and Hennessy : COGNACS

27. Taunt : CATCALL

29. Surfer's option : KITE - my one wrong letter was the "K"; I had SITE, which makes internet surfing sense; I did not check my crossings

31. Garlic relative : LEEK

32. "Just doing my job" : "I TRY." - this week I had a new truck in my UPS line-up, and it was a disaster the first day of the week; I did not feel very good about the job I did.  I recovered pretty quickly, however, as the driver told me I did an outstanding job two days later.  I try.

34. Nocturnal bird : BARN OWL

36. City name that looks like an oxymoron : HILO - High, or Low~?

37. Over : ANEW

38. "Hey!" : PSST - oops; with my MAI, I tried AHEM

39. "__ Hunger Force": Adult Swim cartoon : AQUA-TEEN - I have seen a few episodes of this show, but I was more a fan of "Robot Chicken"

40. Ponder : RUMINATE

44. Milky Way component : NOUGAT

45. Farm : GRANGE - my first AA home group was in a community center we called "The Grange"; I am guessing it was once a part of a local farm, as it is now an historic landmark

48. Profundity metaphor : ABYSS - this one goes "deep"

49. Provider of answers, briefly : FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

51. Had : DUPED - "I've been duped~!"

53. Provider of answers : GURU

55. Some summer births : LEOS

56. Kennel noise : YELP

58. "Takin' Care of Business" rock gp. : BTO - Bachman-Turner Overdrive; classic rock of the 70's

59. Bills left behind, perhaps : TIP

60. Indian bread : NAN