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Apr 23, 2016

Saturday, Apr 23rd, 2016, Doug Peterson & Patti Varol

Theme: DP & PV

Words: 70 (missing J,Q,V,X,Z)

Blocks: 32

  It's like déjà vu all over again~!  This duo had a Saturday offering just three weeks ago.  When it came up today, I thought I signed in to the wrong date.  Unlike that last grid, this has only one spanner, plus a 13-letter climber, four 10-, and two 9-letter fills as well.  I also smoked through this one in near record time, and without any look-ups or red-letter cheats.  The long answers;

35a. Side with waves : CRINKLE-CUT FRIES - I like my fries close to burned


15d. Bug on the road : CLASSIC BEETLE


sha-na-nOn-WARD~!

ACROSS:

1. Loves to solve, say? : ANAGRAM - excellent way to start off a crossword puzzle - we all loves to solve, don't we~?  I got the misdirection immediately

8. Mavens : SHARKS

14. Sudden and swift : METEORIC - like a rise to fame

16.* Company that annually honors "Women of Worth" : L'OREAL


17. Batter's dream : MEAT BALL - never heard the term; I am sure C.C. knows all about this

18.* 2015 World Golf Hall of Fame inductee : O'MEARA

19. Action figures? : ODDS - har-har

20. 1954 film based on the short story "It Had to Be Murder" : REAR WINDOW

22. Four-time Australian Open winner : AGASSI

24.* LBJ theater : 'NAM - a few apostrophe answers this week *

25. Key of Mozart's Symphony No. 39 : E FLAT - ha-HA~!  I put in " _ FLAT" and waited on perps~!

27. Fix, as a toy : SPAY - oh, clever.  I went with MEND, but this refers to the 'toy' dog

29. Kisser : YAP - not GOB

32. Weapon with a nock : ARROW

33. Subatomic particle : PION - I WAGed MUon, and that was 100% 50% correct

34. Former Italian statesman Moro : ALDO - perps and WAGs

38. Rapper Nate : DOGG - According to Wiki, he's a cousin of "Snoop"

39. Obligation : DEBT

40. Copious : AMPLE

41. Second-century date : CLI - well, I threw in "C", and waited

42. Sister of Dakota : ELLE - filled in via perps; I know Dakota was the little girl in the remake of "War of the Worlds", but forgot she was the little girl in "Man on Fire", too.  She's grown up....


43. Got up : AROSE

44. Dig for hard-to-get clams? : DUN - I gotta tell ya, I just don't get this.  I thought "ATM" was a clever answer, but no

46. Harder to hold : EELIER - and then I nailed this one

48. "Ocean's 11" co-star : DEAN MARTIN - ah, the original.  I am a big fan of the remake, personally

51. Dog with a typically blue-black tongue : CHOW - I knew this because my room-mate in Cincinnati Ohio had one - the dog, that is....

55. They often drive people home : RBI MEN - more baseball

56. Leave alone : LET SLIDE - I parsed this as Lets Lide, and it didn't jive

58. Check : ARREST

59. Tangled up : ENSNARED - clecho with; 42. Tangle up : ENMESH - having the answers both be "EN" words seems a bit borderline

60. Sturm und Drang novelist : GOETHE - I was curious; the Wiki

61. Fusible alloys : SOLDERS - I am constructing a bathroom in the house, complete with Jacuzzi.  Nice.  I am going to build a copper manifold - using solder.  After I install that in the crawlspace, I'm running PEX to the fixtures.  So far, so good.

Not me

DOWN:

1. Shell collection : AMMO - well, I had the "A", so I went with this, tho I do not see an abbrvtn in the clue

2. Grant factor : NEED

3. Ever so slightly : A TAD

4. Plays nice : GETS ALONG


5. Deprive : ROB

6. Dormant Turkish volcano : ARARAT - I knew it was the landing site of Noah's Ark, but not that it was a volcano

7. Quite a distance : MILES - great name for your chauffeur, too

8. Yawn-inducing : SLOW

9. Corny stuff : HOMINY

10. Staples Center, e.g. : ARENA - home of the LA Kings from the NHL

11. Statement before taxes are dealt with? : READ MY LIPS - and a direct quote in this song from Megadeth;


George Bush @ 2:42

12. Pecan pie syrup : KARO - I got this - and I don't bake

13. Popular side : SLAW

21. Remove roughly : RIP OUT - like, say, splynters~!!!

23. Rubberneck : GAWK - viz. 15d.

25. Tasmanian-born Flynn : ERROL - first Flynn I thought of

26. Appliance brand owned by Electrolux : FRIGIDAIRE - didn't know this fact, but the word fit....

28. Pangolin snack : ANT - whoa~!  I have never heard of or seen this animal before - now I want one - and we have an ant problem in the house, too


30. Oscar winner for "Skyfall" : ADELE - gratuitous image for C.C.


31. Ask : POSE

32. "Rock or Bust" band : AC/DC - perps got me A - - C; pretty much a gimme for me

33. Kitchen tool : PEELER

34. Like jousters : ARMOR-CLAD

36. Cholesterol letters : LDL

37. What's on the menu : FARE

43.* "You're lyin'!" : AIN'T SO

45. Yet to be fulfilled : UNMET

47. Legal claims : LIENS

48. Main __ : DRAG - Squeeze and Street didn't fit

49. The Aragón feeds it : EBRO - see map, below

50. It may precede a deal : ANTE

52. Bring on : HIRE

53. River to the Baltic : ODER - see map, below















 and nearly another anagram, too

54. Forms a union : WEDS

57. Show with Kenan Thompson, briefly : SNL

Splynter

43 comments:

George Barany said...

What a great puzzle, starting with the clue for 1-Across, and continuing on ... Thanks, @Doug Peterson and @Patti Varol, for your puzzle, and @Splynter, for your review.

Yesterday, those of us living in Minneapolis--and throughout the nation--had a purple mourning, but the day also marked an important centennial in music history that coincided with the first night of Passover. So, to all my friends here, regardless of race, religion, or politics, let me wish you L'Chaim!

OwenKL said...

I managed the S first, and finally struggled the NE into submission. But NW corner needed a lot of red letter help. 1a was the last fill, which had to evolve from eNiGmAs.

Who loves to solve an ANAGRAM?
An enigmatologist, you think, ma'am?
Or one like Jerome,
Who would jeer "Om"
(He hates meditating. I get it, Damn!)

Spaghetti and MEATBALLS and CRINKLE-CUT FRIES,
Eat that and your weight will surely arise!
Just look at ERROL,
Narrow as an ARROW,
From the table he AROSE 'fore he gained in size!

The show's popularity AROSE past the mark,
A METEORIC rise right out of the park!
But then a SLOW down,
Ratings fell to the ground --
It happens when a program jumps over the SHARK!

{B-, B, B+} including a bonus for the 2 anagrams.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Doug and Patty, thanks for another tricky puzzle. After losing the puzzle for the third time, I almost gave up since I wasn't doing well. Perseverance pays off, however. I filled it. Very few answers seemed to be what I expected

Loves to solve completely stumped me even after ANAGRAM was perped in. V8 can please!

The first pass I had only MILES, ARENA, & KARO in the top tier.

I googled "Maven" after losing the puzzle the first time. Not being Jewish, I had no idea. Plugged in "expert" which was all red. Shocked when SHARK appeared. Guess this is like TV's SHARK Tank?

Lucky WAG, ACDC gave me a toehold and the middle was easier, so I worked back up.

Splynter, a DUN is a statement of money owed, a bill. A business will DUN a customer who is slow to pay. I sent out a gazillion of these when I was bookkeeping. Thanks for a great expo!
'
Had READ but MY LIPS/YAP/"M" in NAM were last fills. Finally remember George Bush Sr's famous "no new taxes" statement.

Staples ARENA also house the LA Clippers & LA Lakers.

Tried every 4-letter European river before EBRO & ODER stayed black. I think I have them memorized and know where they run, then the clue is adjusted so I don't.

PION & OMEARA are new to me. O'Meara had two major wins and was player of the year in 1998 before I started watching golf.

Always forget ARARAT is in Turkey. WAG when enough letters showed up.

Tried oiLIER before EELIER. Sounded good to me. I've never seen or eaten an EEL.

fermatprime said...

Greetings!

Thanks, Patty, Doug and Splynter!

No cheats but took plenty if time. Several things perped.

Have a great Sunday.

Late for buddy again. Just had to finish this!

OwenKL said...

After reading Splyner's expo.

All's ready for the decrying chat.
Oil's ready in the deep-frying vat.
Swedish MEATBALLS, see the plate?
Fried in BATTER, s'il vous plaît
Battered balls, then play ball and bat!

A bill collector's job is never done.
Chasing the deadbeats, one by one.
They dig up moolah with regret,
Clams to pay the burgeoning DEBT.
Or facing repos as collectors DUN.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

This was a challenge for me, especially the NW corner. Took a long time to figure out ANAGRAM, and wasn't at all familiar with that usage of MEATBALL. The rest of the puzzle came slowly, but surely, except that I really hated the clue (and answer) for RBI MEN. Never heard the term before, and didn't realize people "drove" anything (or anyone) in baseball. Needless to say, I'm not really into baseball. See MEATBALL, above.

Ah well, finally got it done unassisted, so that was nice.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Wite-Out -- What an invention! Thought I was smart slamming down OARS as the "Shell collection." And so it went. Got the whole thing in normal time, but my grid is a mess.

Turkish mountain -- gotta be ARARAT.
Spanish river -- gotta be EBRO.
DUN -- PK nailed it.
But RBI MEN??? C'mon, does anybody actually call 'em that? I think that's a stretch, and not the seventh inning variety.

Splynter, my entire house is plumbed with PEX, and every faucet is a home-run back to the manifold in the garage. Makes it easy for maintenance, but I don't seem to have a lot of water pressure. Is that a characteristic of PEX? Smaller diameter? Higher friction coefficient, maybe?

TTP said...

Good morning all,

Getting CRINKLE CUT FRIES and FRIGIDAIRE early helped make for a quicker solve.

Splynter, some places here will "twice fry" your fries upon request.

Didn't know the short story, but 1950s time frame film involving murder probably meant Hitchcock.

Had BEETLE, and CLASSIC then came easily enough, but that clue / answer feels clunky to me. Same with RBI MEN and MEAT BALL.

ALDO Moro was a gimme. KARO was a gimme.

At Ocean's 11, I thought, "Well, a person would have to know the casts of both the original and the remake..." And then thought, the first one was the "Rat Pack." DEAN MARTIN was plugged in within seconds.

D-O, just a couple of quick thoughts... Pressure or flow rate? You can buy a pressure gauge that will screw onto a faucet to check pressure. If you have a pressure problem, you can have a plumber add a tank. If you have a flow reduction problem, best case is your aerators may be clogged, worst case is that your pipes are clogged... If there has always been a gpm issue it probably is a function of the pipe size...

PK, yup. SHARKs, mavens, moguls. SHARK seems to have done a 180. I think I know how you feel about that. Used to mean someone that took advantage of others, and now the connotation seems to be someone zeros in on and then maximizes returns (exploits ?) on business opportunities.

desper-otto said...

TTP, yes, it's actually flow rate. Turn on two faucets at the same time and both act wimpy. I think it may always have been that way. Wasn't a problem until DW ran the bath water while the outside sprinkler was on. Instead of cycling, the outside sprinkler would sit in one spot and drool.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

WBS. Exactly.

Meatball? That's a thing in baseball? Huh.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I guess I was on D and P's wavelength as I breezed through this in my fastest Saturday time ever. The long fill came fairly quickly, so that helped a lot with the solve. Wasn't keen on RBImen but one small nit does not a puzzle break, IMO.

Thanks, Doug and Patti, for a fun ending to the week and thanks, Splynter, for the expo.

It's nice to see the trees budding and blooming after the starkness of the winter. Our temps go from 70's to 50's to 70's; one of these days we'll get on the right track. 🌺🌸🌷

Have a great day.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Finally finished after 2 cups of coffee. Finally 'got' 1a after the 3rd reviewer said how great the clue was. Then the penney dropped. NE was last to fall with NAM and HOMINY. Great clues. 11d seemed political to me.

MEATBALL - def: This is a baseball term defined as an easy pitch to hit, thrown right down the middle of the plate. It does not matter what type of pitch, or necessarily how fast it is thrown, only that it is an easy pitch to hit. These types of pitches are never thrown on purpose in a major league game. A good example of a meatball pitch is the pitches thrown to players during the Home Run Derby which takes place during the All-Star break. (fm Sporting Charts)

Anonymous said...

Solve is an anagram of loves.

Husker Gary said...

Everything fell out post-toehold. LETSRIDE gave way to LETSLIDE after ARMORCLAD came to rest. GETSALONG also had to replace GOESALONG. Excellent puzzle where getting the fill from the clever cluing was a delight!

Musings
-FRIES and SLAW evoked my memory of this C.C. puzzle on 4.13.16
-This man’s fame had a METEROTIC rise and fall
-ODDS on Bama to be 2016 FB champs - 6:1. Huskers – 100:1
-TV’s Mike and Molly had a REAR WNDOW episode
-There was little joy for LBJ while he was in that “theater”
-A line from Ocean’s Eleven - I knew this color would come in handy one day
-6-letter Turkish mountain and German author? Had to be.
-…and MILES to go before I sleep.
-Even with MEATBALLS and RBIMEN, baseball can be glacially SLOW
-Violation of READ MY LIPS helped sink Bush 41
-Asian GAWKERS in NYC
-The Showtime series The Tudors features AMPLE amounts of jousting
-Say It AIN’T SO JOE!

Northwest Runner said...

I'll pile on about the Staples Center. It's also the home of the LA Sparks of the WNBA. That means there 3 basketball floors for the crews to lay out and a lot of locker rooms to take of all those teams and their opponents. When the Clippers play the Lakers one of the team is technically the visitors, but I guess they both have something of a home court advantage (not that it helped the Lakers much this year).

oc4beach said...


Tough puzzle Doug and Patti. A true Saturday puzzle. As always a great write-up by SPLYNTER. Officially a DNF because of the need for Red Letters today.

Only a couple of Nits today. My usual dislike of 4 letter European rivers. I also had trouble with MAVENS = SHARKS. I've seen POOL SHARKS, but never POOL MAVENS. Too much of a stretch for me today.

After looking at the completed puzzle, it didn't look as hard as it was. A lot of V-8 can head slaps today.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Northwest Runner said...

RBI men was fine with me. Perps at the end came in early, so I could see the answer was going to end in "men" and not "s." I just had to figure out how the drive was going to go. In baseball runs are driven in (to home plate), and batters who have a knack for doing so are RBI men. As for meatball, not so much. That's not a term even avid baseball fans hear or use much. I wouldn't expect others to familiar with it, but I'll pin the cluing decision on the editor and not the constructor. A nice fill word, but they could have come up with a better Saturday clue for it.

My real quibble is with cluing sharks and mavens. My sense of the meaning of maven doesn't suggest any underhandedness, just thorough knowledge.

Mikey said...

desper-otto: Generally, when using PEX, use one size larger (than copper), so my pro buddies tell me. Lots of discussions and flow charts on the Web. PEX does have a slight advantage in that fewer fittings are required, lowering friction and reducing the chances of a leak. I would size the home run to the requirement of the fixture -- e.g., 1/2" to a toilet, 3/4" to a shower.

Argyle said...

" sit in one spot and drool" ... who told on me?

desper-otto said...

Mikey, I suspect the decision on piping diameter was based on $$ rather than flow rate. I wasn't involved in the construction phases; I bought the house from the original owner. It's a little late to change things now.

Santa, are you suggesting we should start calling you PEX?

TTP said...

Desper-Otto, why is your wife running the sprinkler with all that rain your area is getting ?:>) Bathtubs don't have the flow restrictors that other fixtures do, such as the shower head, so if it only happens when the tub is filling... I'd buy a gauge at the local HW store and check that outdoor spigot while she's filling the tub to see if it still has the same pressure. It should. You might also check the pressure release valve where the city water comes into your house. Sometimes you can tweak it up a little to increase your flow. If all else fails, call a plumber and ask him if he can inject some flomax into your system. :>)

My 50" Samsung plasma TV has had a beautiful picture for the last 6 or 7 years. Since Thursday evening there's an annoying solid black horizontal line about 1/4th down from the top. There's a "picture test" on the diagnostic menu. Tells me I have Samsung problem and call them to arrange for service. The internet has some suggestions. Mostly don't buy Samsung TVs. Their LCD TVs apparently can have these same problems.

My really old RCA and Samsung picture tube TV's run year after year without any signs of ever breaking down...

Anonymous said...

Sharks are not necessarily underhanded. In the SHARK Tank TV show, the shark stars are business mavens.

Lucina said...

Whew! Can't believe I'm so late since this took under an hour to finish! That's rare for a Saturday and so many learning moments.

MEATBALLS in baseball??
SHARKS are mavens? Ok
AGASSI is Australian. Who knew? Not I
ARARAT is a volcano
DOGG is Snoop's cousin
ERROL Flynn was Tasmanian? I may have known that at one time, but no more.
PANGOLIN. Not your run of the mill ant eater

So thank you, Doug and Patti for this grand array of new knowledge. The puzzle itself was easy to crack once a few letters were in place and the fun was in filling in the blanks. One puzzling word, SOLDERS, used as a noun, fusible alloys. Isn't SOLDERS the action of fusing them. Someone please 'splain.

And thank you, Splynter, for a spot on review.

Have a great Saturday, everyone!

Jayce said...

I liked this puzzle a lot. Clever cluing that was just misleading enough but not so misleading as to be impossible to figure out. I learned some interesting facts, such as those listed by Lucina. As oc4beach said, "After looking at the completed puzzle, it didn't look as hard as it was." Good stuff.

Lucina, solder is a metal alloy material used in electronics and in plumbing. It usually comes in rolls, like a spool of string. You heat it up and melt it with a blowtorch or soldering iron. Solder is also a verb. In my profession I have used solder to solder countless times.

Best wishes to you all.

Northwest Runner said...

Lucini, Andre Agassi is American. The event he won was Australian.

Jayce said...

George Barany, cool puzzle. Some nice cluing.

Lucina said...

Jayce and NWRunner, thank you! As for Agassi, I should have read the clue more closely.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Once again the Sat pzl shows me how dumb I is. Even tho' this was a MEATBALL over the plate for y'all, I whiffed it for a strike-out. They shoulda had an RBI guy up.

Thanks D&P for another fun romp and thanks Splynter for fixing the SW. I'm in DEBT to you. [See, Main__: Dish sounded good for 48d (and yummy - EEL for dinner tonight!) so strike 3!]

Oh well, I had fun in-between Ballet and AP History Study-group runs. Oh, and the Alfa started! TTP: It's still an idling ODO 'cuz that doesn't work :-)

The nut on my (didn't-)solve:
I got diddly-squat until KARO. Next to fall was REAR WINDOW. That filled out the NE; though I was SLOW in the uptake on SLAW and Corny had nothing to do w/ puns today :-(

MIL's "Cola" was a blue-tong'd CHOW (see, I remember). That broke the SE for me. I still wanted LET it ride (BTO) but, being a 15x15 grid, it wouldn't fit.

I knew AC/DC and ERROL Flynn (learning moment: he's from Tasmania); that got me EFLAT and boot'd leer @23 for GAWK.

Re: Mavens == SHARKS. I thought y'all watched TV. Think SHARK Tank.

OKL - Nice.

D-O: I like that you have all the shut-offs in one spot. I can't figure out how they plumb'd this place and I need a faucet replaced (but WTF is the cutoff?).

Y'all have a great Saturday!

Cheers, -T

Misty said...

Well, this Saturday toughie took a lot of cheating for me to get it. But I enjoyed the answers once they started to fill in. REAR WINDOW is one of my favorite movies of all time. So, thanks Doug and Patti, and you too, Splynter.

Lucina, I appreciated your list.

Anon 9:34--many thanks for explaining. I was too embarrassed to ask.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Ol' Man Keith said...

I wish I could claim Splynter's ease in solving this 'un. But I needed three look-ups just to start cracking it, and even then I wasn't sure of certain answers. PEELER looked too easy, and its head-perp, PION, was unfamiliar to me. And even though AMMO was an easy guess, I would have thought "shell" refers to the "brass" that needs to be policed after a firing session, whereas AMMO would be "bullets" or "rounds" or, well, you get the picture...
On the positive side, my fave clue was 1A!

john28man said...

Thank you Doug, Patti & Splynter,

A comment on your copper piping. Copper and lead piping particularly embedded in walls of a house are the problem is Flint etc. because leached metals in water is not healthy particularly for kids. The practice at that time probably 50 -60 years or more was based on the city mains were iron or steel which is ok, we need iron. The mains then could circulate water at up to 150 psi. House water after the pressure regulator is 40 psi so copper and lead were probably considered an acceptable usage. I also don't suppose they knew much about these metal's affect on child health.

Since your is visible as shown so I don't see a problem now and whoever owns your house decades later will see the problem.

These comments are based on my experience in designing food processing plants and not on specific googling of historical facts.

BobL said...

Neat puzzle.

Avg Joe said...

I shuddered when I saw the byline because of the experience 3 weeks ago. It took a while to get beyond that, but this solve was a much more pleasant time than that one was. I'd rate this one at about the 40th percentile on Jayce's puzzle Mohs scale. Comparatively easy, but it still had plenty of misdirects and multi-choice answers. Good job.

Mowing season has begun here in the heartland. Both John Deeres have gotten a workout today. Bracing for rain tonight, but it shouldn't bee too bad. Still thinking of our Houston contingent, and hope things improve soon.

Jerome said...

Lucina- If you take a look at your water heater you'll probably see solder. It's that silvery, melted looking material used to fuse together joints in your copper piping. It is a bit odd, isn't it, that you solder (melt) solder, as Jayce said.

Anyone remember Bani Solder, the plumber who was the former president of Iran?

Anonymous said...

Does the army shell the enemy with just the brass casings?
A shell is an artillery projectile containing an explosive charge.

Nice Cuppa said...

Owen

I DUNno –  surprised you had trouble with 1A, you being a published cryptocruciverbalist 'n' all.

Well, I GOETHE go.

NC

Lucina said...

Jerome:
Thank you. I did look and saw the silvery melted material which I now recall having seen before but didn't realize it was called SOLDER. My late DH used it often, too.

Misty:
Thank you and I hope you saw the correction about AGASSI.

Big Easy said...

First of all Splynter, I appreciate the 'legs', and secondly I never heard of MEAT BALL either. I started the puzzle this morning at 6:40 and set my timer on 20 minutes because I had to be at the golf course before 7:30. Had everything done but the NE and had to leave. Got back and started it again tonight and it''s amazing what a 12 hour break will do. It took about one minute to fill in the blanks and finish.

Plenty of unknowns filled by perps that I will let LET SLIDE but I'll keep my YAP shut and GET ALONG(S)- REAR WINDOW, ELLE, L'OREAL, PION, DOGG, SHARKS (I'm clueless on this one), Pangolin's ANT snack (heard of it either).

TTP- I always thought of a MAVEN as a 'matronly woman'. Never heard of it any other way; maybe I'm too far down south.

SPAY- my wife had some drink special this afternoon that had a lot of various liquors with a couple of blackberries and blueberries in it. After we each ate one of the blueberries, it was 'like whoa'; they soaked them in Jack Daniels and called the their 'Blue Ball Special'. I told the waitress that even mentioning blue ball was painful to the male species.

Geor & Patti- nice work but a little too easy for a Saturday puzzle.

Argent said...

I'm right there with you, Misty. My thanks to Anon 9:34 for making me feel better. I lived in England for many years and never could get the knack of British crossword puzzles - and the ANAGRAM clue would have fit right in those!
Re: maven/shark - I agree that shark includes danger while maven doesn't. For trivia buffs, that implication is in the name of the show in different countries. It started in Japan as Money Tigers (based on a Japanese saying), then went to the UK and Canada as Dragons' Den. It's Lions' Den in a few countries.
I needed the red squares today - too many sports clues for me!

Jerome said...

Anything for you, Lucina.

Lucina said...

Thank you, Jerome. You're a sweetheart.

Ergo said...

Tough Saturday. Glad this site is here to rescue me.

RetFizz said...

Busy Sat., so didn't start until late bedtime, and this post will be too late for anyone to read. Looked impossible, but having 1-2 hr sleep breaks between bathroom breaks allowed previously unseen answers to jump out at me after the br breaks, and finally finished with a completed grid, very messy with erasures (thanks to Pilot for erasable pens) no lookups or red letters, and a few questions to be answered here.
I feel like an idiot for not understanding what 1a had to do with loves. Thanks, Anonymous.
I've never seen or heard of meatballs in baseball. The term I've always heard for a pitch right over the center of the plate is "gopher ball."
Pions and muons are short for pi and mu mesons. Mesons are particles with intermediate mass, as contrasted with electrons and positrons - leptons - small mass, and baryons like protons and neutrons, larger mass. Now that we know neutrinos have mass, I'm not sure if they're considered leptons or not. Wikipedia will tell us.
Thanks to all for a tough, interesting puzzle and discussion. I don't mind European rivers at all. One learns something.
The Queen is not going to catch me, as long as we're both alive. She'll always be a month younger.