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.



fermatprime said...


Thanks, Mark and CC!

Nice theme!


Cheated and looked up QUAID.

It's really late. Roofers have been waking me up early every day. Surely I will get a break this morning. Time for bed!

Have a great week!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Fever seems to have broken, but still having a bit of trouble with breathing. Hopefully, that'll get better soon.

Challenging puzzle today! I figured out the theme early on, but still struggled with some of the theme answers due to erroneous perps. I had IDA instead of ODA which hid CRY ON THE CROCS from view for awhile. Similarly, I was sure that the dye used for jeans began with ANIL (is ANALINE a word?), so that kept me from seeing NURSERY CRIME for the longest time. I did manage to suss it all out at the end, though.

I managed to guess RIODORO from my knowledge of Spanish, but are we actually supposed to know that? I've never even heard of Aldi supermarkets before. I've never seen "Brokeback Mountain," but I know the two main stars who were in it. Neither of whom was QUAID. SCALARS? ARCTIC CHAR? DAI? ANDERS? Sure, if you say so. So, yeah -- tough, but ultimately doable.

desper-otto said...

Good Morning!

Well, sort of. I managed to work myself to a DNF with IDA rather than ODA; failed to fix it. Rats!

C.C., BIC refers to the BIC ballpoint pen; the company is French. Your first BONSAI photo looks like a Hobbit house from LOTR. And TWO CYCLE engines are commonly used in lawn mowers, string trimmers and chainsaws. The oil is mixed into the gasoline to provide lubrication. Four-cycle engines have a separate oil reservoir.

SPEED was Sandra Bullock's breakout movie.

Jerome said...

Bad avian omen in much mythology - CROW

This is true, but it's a bad rap and an insult to crows. Crows, in fact, are beautiful, wonderful animals. They are among the most intelligent of all species. More intelligent than even some of the most advanced primates. They even use tools. Most remarkable to me, they recognize the human jerks in their neighborhoods and send out calls to other crows that say " Hey guys, that creep is in the backyard gathering rocks. Watch out!" They are also known to mate for life, which is far more noble than the behavior of most humans.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Well, this was a FIW for me due to scalers/scalars. Not familiar with either word, as clued. Anyway, it was a clever theme and enough of a challenge to make it interesting and fun to solve. I saw Brokeback Mountain but did not remember Randy Quaid but I got Cher right off the bat because I did remember her from Suspect with Dennis Quaid, Randy's more stable brother.

Congrats, Mark, well done! Thanks, CC, for the detailed and enlightening summary.

Barry, glad to hear things are looking better and, CED, glad DW is doing so well.

Happy Easter.

Big Easy said...

Happy Easter everybody. I caught the theme early with CRANE OF TERROR but I just had to grind this one out; way too many unknown proper names in the clues and answers. 'Suspect', Bao, Samantha, Gerald Trenite, Aldi,...etc were clues that I was 'clueless' about, with the fills of CHER, BEE, DAI, THE CHAOS, R-BOAT, RIO D'ORO, DELHI, ECCO, QUAID, BESO, FOODIE being perps.

I finished with the Q cross of WIKI CLIQUES and QUAID. I had a big problem because 'down here' 'clique' is pronounced as 'click', not 'cleak'. I didn't know QUAID or BESO and was basically saved by a BIC-click pen ( remember those pens).

'Adored speaker' BOSE was a great clue that had me baffled for the longest. SCALARS vs. VECTORS; distance vs. distance AND direction. ASHLEY furniture has a blond spokeswoman while ROOMS TO GO and SOFIA Vergara & CINDY CRAWFORD. TWO-CYCLE vs FOUR CYCLE engines; the two-cycle engine burns the oil that must be mixed with the gasoline.

It's Easter and time for CRAWFISH. Adios

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

This one made me work for it right to the last letter. Took way too long to realize the last theme answer was a double. Hand up for not realizing Bic was French.

Did anyone else stumble at Colony? It's singular but the clue is plural, "Groups of ..." Did I miss something?

So sleepy this morning. Because of our lovely hilltop location, looking eastward over the churchyard, Easter Sunrise Service is held at the end of our driveway. We get up early to put on coffee for the setter-uppers, and stretch out an extension cord for the electric instruments.

Morning, C.C., beautiful Bonsai trees! What a magnificent art form.

Hungry Mother said...

Didn't see the title, but got the theme right away and slugged it out. Happy Easter!

Husker Gary said...

-Much to like in Mark’s Easter Puzzle Parade. Imaginative indeed!
-I have purchased a CASE OF SPADES to “rogue out” undesired corn stalks in seed field
-SCALARS are very familiar to us science peeps
-Too much of Newton’s life was wasted on ALCHEMY
-The NSA has to strike a balance between too NOSY or too lax
-Sea World will now not PEN IN any new orcas
-I’m watching Ken Burns’ The Civil War on Netflix and am amazed that ABE held it together
-A Ford RETOOLED to make these in WWII
-OOLA/OOHLALA crossing
-Maybe not a big deal but teacher dress is less than CASUAL these days
-ANDERS wisely chose 100 divisions instead of 212 on his thermometer
-LEAN, mean fighting machine John Candy (1:56)
-MNO on a 6 would go right over my grandkids heads
-I have never SAT IN SATIN
-Oops, gotta go hide Easter eggs. Later!

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Work-a-day Sunday puzzle. No issues. Liked the theme. Favorite was UNSECURED CLONE.
13a SCALAR - remembered from physics. A quantity like velocity would be a 'vector'.
76a - OLD TOWN - Enjoyed numerous visits to OLD TOWN, Alexandria, VA.
78a - ANDERS - A WAG knowing that Celsius was Swedish (I think)
101a - R BOAT - No idea. See Wiki. R from the German word for making room or sweeping (mines)
119a - Polaris' declination is ~89º 15'. So a star sight still has to be corrected for the time of day (earth's rotation) or a navigation fix could be off by up to 45 naut. miles.
15 - ARCTIC CHAR.- A very delicious fish with a delicate taste and texture. We always look for it in seafood restaurants. Occasionally the fishmonger at our local supermarket will have it. Always wonder how many shoppers don't know how good it is.

Lemonade714 said...

Coming with that many theme answers where adding the C changes the spelling but not the sound was impressive.

I also like LAH OOLA LA LAW OOH LA LA, all with WA WA is fun. Do you know anyone who says W when it is L like 'I am wate warry'?

Great start Mark, thanks for the write up C.C. Happy Easter

Anonymous said...

A SOW is a Mrs. piggy, not a "Miss" (unless, well, you know what animals they can be . . .).

Yes, Dudley; "Groups of bats or beavers" calls for a plural answer: COLONIES, not COLONY.

SARA was a 1979 Fleetwood Mac chart-topper.

NOT A SOUL? Yes: "Nary a one" – but that uses another A.

Where is the "film" in CRANE OF TERROR?

TTP said...

Thank you Mark and thank you CC !

This challenger took longer than normal, and not just due to the volume. I couldn't quite put my finger on the theme, and had a plethora of letter by letter fill.

I know my game was off this morning. I'm blaming it on the ignoramus that started blowing off fireworks after midnight last night. There are always the ones that start blowing off fireworks just after midnight on the Fourth of July and New Years Eve, but Easter ? Really ? Maybe I am wrong and it was for a birthday or anniversary.

How far off ? I couldn't think of a word for Bulgarian smooch.

Hi CC, yes, DW likes the Trader Joe's Shrimp Goyza. She first tried it after you recommended it. Also, a clue of "totally devoid of people" for "not a soul" might be one way to avoid the word no.

Dudley, it also gave me pause. Depending on context, COLONY can be a collective noun, like family. I would think it could be a matter of context and sentence structure (and perhaps style) that determines when one should use the singular or pluralized versions of colony / colonies or family / families.

In this context, I think "groups of" implies a set or a collection. Therefore, a collection of bats, OR a collection of beavers. Groups of deer ? Could be herd or herds I suppose.

Probably over thinking this...

Not sure how Rich reconciled it in this case, but since he did, I'm ok with it.

TTP said...


One more thought that occurred as I walked away...

"Groups of" would also be a collective noun (phrase), so there would be notional agreement with the collective noun colony.

I will defer to our esteemed English educators.

inanehiker said...

This one definitely took some time -but slowly pieced it together. Part of it was getting up at 6am for our 7 am sunrise service in a local park. So I worked part of the puzzle after brunch, got sleepy and then finished it after a nap! The weather graciously waited until 10 am to start raining!

My college son and a friend were home for the long weekend and they whipped up quite the feast for Easter brunch-- lemon/honey/ginger scones, omelets, bacon, and fruit crepes-- before they hit the road for the 10 hour drive back to college.

Hope everyone that celebrates it had a Happy Easter!

Jayce said...

Hello everybody. I feel good that I was able to solve this entire puzzle without having to look anything up. Not that I knew all the answers, not by a long shot, but it was the tried and true process of chipping away at it little by little, getting some letters wrong and realizing it later as I progressed, plus a few flashes of insight, that got it done. It was an enjoyable journey.

TTP, "Bulgarian smooch." Good one :)

Jerome, you're right about crows. We watched a nature show on PBS not too long ago and learned just how intelligent they are.

I think SOW refers to any female pig, whether "Miss" or "Mrs."

Now I just gotta try Arctic Char and shrimp gyoza, not at the same time of course. I like Trader Joe's chicken gyoza so I expect their shrimp gyoza are good too. I like to make a soup with them, a little bit like won ton soup. A box of miso broth, a box of chicken broth, plenty of gyoza, and "mung" beans. Quick, easy, and delicious.

The neighbors brought over a huge orchid plant as a gift to my wife this morning. She loves it and has been on cloud nine all day so far.

Best wishes to you all.

inanehiker said...

oh and @Barry G - if you aren't better by tomorrow I would see the doctor - we have had a fair number of the flu cases have a secondary pneumonia this year, and even if it is not - an inhaler can help you to breath easier as you recover....

Misty said...

Well, it took a bit of cheating to get me through this puzzle, even though I got a pretty good chunk on my own. But a nice combination of toughies and doable clues and so a fun experience on a bit of a quiet Easter morning for me. Thanks, Mark, and C.C. I always love your Sunday expo.

Jerome, what an interesting discussion of CROWS. Many thanks.

Have a good Easter Sunday, everybody, and a good week ahead.

VirginiaSycamore said...

Thanks Mark, for a challenging puzzle. I had to turn on the red letters to finish. And thanks CC for the write up and pictures.

WEES. Whew! I will add that using "SCALAR" as the answer for quantities like mass and volume is what I call an "overgeneralized" answer. Like using noun for an answer. Most things in life are scalars. [Although weight would be a VECTOR, since it is the mass times the pull of gravity in a direction towards the earth.]

The poem THE CHAOS lead me to find one of Gallagher's similar rants on the English language GALLAGHER .

George Carlin has a similar, but more phrase related rant GEORGE_CARLIN

To Barry G., I hope you get better soon. A friend was telling me she had the "Cleveland crud" and was told to use Mucinex type products to keep coughing up the phlem. Then later I heard that the flue was making another appearance so I wonder if she had a milder case of the flu?

Live Well and Prosper,

Anonymous T said...

Just lurkin' say...

Happy 1st Sunday after the 1st full Moon following the Spring Equinox!

The Girls know who the Easter bunny is, but they still wanted the whole egg hunt. I hid most in plain sight... Well not quite; I put one under a rug another under a pillow pile (with the top pillow precariously balanced on it). Remember, they're teens...

You'd think it was the most devious places I could think of (back in the egg-carton is pretty evil :->), but they passed 'em by 10 or so times. I finally said, "Look for things askew." Two min. later they finally found 'em. Columbo they ain't :-)

D-O: I know there's an HEB near you. I just tried the Louisiana frozen chicken stuffed w/ shrimp & sausage jambalaya sous-vide'd for 3.5 hours. Not bad. BYO-Hot-sauce.

Jerome - I recall an Aesop fable re: the crow that dropped rocks into an urn to bring the water up to where he could get it. Keen observers know crows are some pretty smart birds.

VS - In my own words, adakafki addledakle bargfly! In your's, thanks for the clips!

Cheers, -T

Lucina said...

Since it's so late I'll just say I hope everyone had a beautiful Easter or just plain Sunday. Ours was delightful with numerous family members and lots of wonderful food.

Early this morning I did most of the puzzle, down to the SE corner but with no time to finish until just a while ago. ANDERS stumped me so had to look that up and the rest fell around it. Slow but fun puzzle, thank you, Mark and thank you, C.C. SCALARS was unknown to me and SCALERS looked fine because ATEN is also unfamiliar. Sports, you know. And didn't recall ODA Mae so IDA ruined that theme entry. Still, I enjoyed it.

Lucina said...

That was interesting about crows. Thank you.

Bill G. said...

Lucina, in case you don't know, scalars are units with size but no direction, like weight or temperature. Vectors also have direction like velocity.

AnonT, hiding Easter eggs in the carton. Good one. When my kids were younger, I'd always hide the yellow eggs in the lemon tree. Now, my grandson has caught on to this trickery.

Lucina said...

Thanks, Bill. I can't recall ever having heard of SCALARS. Now if only I can remember that. Aha, it will go in my crossword dictionary.

VirginiaSycamore said...

Bill G.,

Sorry to be "smart alec" and correct you, but see my post at 5:48 pm above. Your mass is always scalar and the same, but your weight has a DIRECTION (down) and is a vector. On the moon, your mass is the same but your weight will be much less because gravity is less there.


Abejo said...

Good Monday afternoon, folks. Thank you, Mark MacLachlan, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, C.C., for a fine review.

This puzzle was not easy. Took me until Midnight last night to finish.

Got the theme after I was about 2/3 done with the puzzle. It did help me some.

RIO D ORO was tough to get. As was NITROGEN. A DASH and AFIELD ere tough as well. That whole area is an inkblot.

Never heard of an R BOAT, but the perps were solid.

See you tomorrow (Tuesday).


( )

Unknown said...

Someone with authority should change the date (27th not 26th) for this crossword puzzle.

Challenging puzzle for me - worked on it off and on Sunday - had ida mae instead of oda mae.
Wasn't prepared for the drop of 2 C's.

Argyle said...


Mark M. said...

Glad that most of you enjoyed the puzzle. This is indeed my debut puzzle (and you got the correct Mark, C.C.). For me, it was interesting to see how many of the clues were changed from my original submission - a lot! Even a little bit of the fill (e.g., Rio D'Ojo) was changed.

Picard said...

Q: What do you get if you cross a mountain climber with a mosquito?

A: Nothing: You can't cross a scalar with a vector!

This is a math joke that we math and science majors heard freshman year. Completely opaque to others!

Loved the puzzle. Just one complaint: I don't like regional store/brand clues like Aldi Supermarket.