Jul 18, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016 Joel Mackerry

Theme: No C's - You only need learn your A,B's.

70A. Hitter's statistic, and, when abbreviated, a hint to the six longest puzzle answers : AT BAT. A B

17A. Fancy burger meat : ANGUS BEEF

35A. Powerful northern cold front : ARCTIC BLAST

44A. "30 Rock" co-star : ALEC BALDWIN

63A. Color of a clear sky : AZURE BLUE

11D. "Good Eats" series creator : ALTON BROWN

29D. Injury treatment brand : ACE BANDAGE

Argyle here. Joel's first two puzzles left me expecting more but they can't all be jewels. Interesting open slash from SW corner to NE corner. The theme entries certainly are a diverse group and some of the fill have a small bite to them.


1. Chicken piece : THIGH

6. "Amazing!" : "WOW!"

9. Vineyard picking : GRAPE. Labor intensive, picking one at a time.

14. Reddish-orange salon dye : HENNA

15. Cleanup hitter's stat : RBI

16. More sick-looking : PALER

19. Athlete on a Houston diamond : ASTRO. Not STROs today.

20. When repeated, an African fly : TSE

21. Gretel's brother : HANSEL

23. Jumps on one foot : HOPS

24. Opposite of NNW : SSE

25. Begin serving customers : OPEN

27. Ristorante shrimp dish : SCAMPI

32. Spoils, as food : GOES BAD

38. "Messenger" molecule : RNA

39. Musical inadequacy : "NO EAR"

40. Underinflated tire's need : AIR

41. Sch. east of Hartford : U.CONN. (University of Connecticut) The Huskies.

43. Bit of gel : DAB

47. One throwing the first pitch : STARTER. Not the ceremonial first pitcher.

49. Art of "The Honeymooners" : CARNEY. Ed Norton.

50. Must have : NEED

51. Juvenile newt : EFT

53. Melville sailor Billy : BUDD. Wiki LINK.

55. Flowering : ABLOOM

58. Happy hour place : BAR

61. Remove from the whiteboard : ERASE

65. Raring to go : EAGER

66. "__ Abner" : LI'L

67. Blackens, as tuna : SEARS

68. Earnest requests : PLEAS

69. "__ Miz" : LES. Popular name for the musical, Les Miserables.


1. "How about __!" : THAT

2. Farm layers : HENS

3. "Picnic" playwright : INGE

4. Bearded antelope : GNU

5. Dish of chopped-up leftovers : HASH

6. Small songbirds : WRENS

7. More than pudgy : OBESE

8. Michelle, to Barack : WIFE

9. Valedictorian's 4.0, e.g.: Abbr. : GPA. (grade point average)

10. Itchy skin conditions : RASHES

12. One sought by cops : PERP. (perpetrator)

13. Love deity : EROS

18. Army private's training, familiarly : BASIC

22. Johns, to Elton : LOOs. (bathrooms)

26. "Downtown" singer Clark : PETULA. A slightly different version. I believe it's 1984 with a new piano and trumpet intro that leads into the song's original opening.

27. Smooths in wood shop : SANDS. Or in Gibbs' basement, on NCIS.

28. Certain Balkan : CROAT

30. NYC subway org. : MTA. (Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

31. Stereotypical "Arrr!" shouter : PIRATE. Talk Like A Pirate Day - 19th Sep, 2016, mark it on your calendar.

32. Attire : GARB

33. Broadway title orphan : ANNIE

34. Boy in a classic Irish ballad : DANNY

36. Boxer Max : BAER. His son played Jethro Bodine on The Beverly Hillbillies.

37. State-issued driver ID : LICense

42. USN officer : CDR. (Commander)

45. Mother of Castor and Pollux : LEDA. Castor and Pollux Wikipedia LINK.

46. Stage performer : ACTOR

48. Watery obstacle for Moses : RED SEA

51. Popeye creator Segar : ELZIE

Elzie Name Meaning: Altered spelling of English Elsey. Americanized spelling of German Eltze, probably a habitational name for someone from either of two places named Eltz, on the Mosel and the Neckar.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

52. Tips caught by a catcher, e.g. : FOULS

53. Honk cousin : BEEP

54. Eurasian border river : URAL

56. Strike's opposite : BALL

57. Flat-topped hill : MESA

58. Spill secrets : BLAB

59. Vague emanation : AURA

60. Part of R and R : REST. The second R? recuperation or relaxation or recreation (or, the truth, revelry).

62. Ambulance destinations, for short : ERs. (Emergency Room)

64. Gambling action : BET



fermatprime said...


Thanks to Joel, Santa!

Perps used for ELZEY, UCONN. Went very fast!


TTP said...

What Fermat Prime said. I didn't know ELZIE either, but was sure of AZURE.

Cable problems. Comcastng late this afternoon.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Bet C.C. loved the puzzle today, what with the baseball references. I knew what an "AT BAT" was, but didn't know it was ever abbreviated. Hand up for not knowing ELZIE, a bizarre-looking name and certainly not something I'd expect to see in a Monday puzzle. Fortunatley, the perps were absolutely rock solid.

Lemonade714 said...

All the years I watched Popeye cartoons and read comics I never knew the creator, but as BG says the perps made it easy. The AB R H RBI box score was also something I grew up reading in the newspaper. UCONN was pretty easy as it was my undergraduate home. The success of the basketball programs has put the little village of Stores on the map.

I guess it makes sense to have lots of baseball references in a puzzle themed AB.

Thanks Joel and Argyle

Anonymous said...

Storrs? Damn spell checker

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

ELZIE surprised me, as well. Do you suppose maybe it's L. Z.? Had to demote my ADM to CDR, but otherwise this was a smooth race to the bottom. Thanks, Joel and Argyle.

In my early days in radio we'd receive box-scores on the teletype every inning throughout the major league games. A listener was quick to inform me that SD was not from South Dakota. Who knew?

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -


The UConn campus at Storrs is a sprawling affair, and it happens to lie on the route from here to Block Island. One of the campus buildings has a big, shiny domed roof you can see for miles once reaching altitude. It's a handy landmark.

OwenKL said...

[Sorry to get a bit glurgy here...]
{C, C-,C.}

HANSEL and Gretel cooked a wicked witch
They used a Pillsbury witch-cake mix.
Someone BLABBED their tale
So they went to jail.
LI'L Orphan ANNIE was the tattle-tale snitch!

The SANDS of time may well ERASE
The residue of purple GRAPES
Trade HENNA signs
For PALER lines,
But never age a memory's face!

A rose ABLOOM, EAGER to please
May beck with aromatic PLEAS
For EROS sake
A whiff to take --
And hope it does not cause a sneeze!

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Argyle and friends. I sped through this puzzle and immediately caught the A-B theme.

Like everyone else, ELZIE looked odd, but I knew that AZURE BLUE was correct, so just went with it.

My favorite clue was Johns, to Elton = LOOS. I know we get variations on English bathrooms, but this one hit my funny bone.

Still reeling over the the shooting in Baton Rouge yesterday.

QOD: Politics is the art of controlling your environment. ~ Hunter S. Thompson (July 18, 1837 ~ Feb. 20, 2005)

desper-otto said...

Boy, Hunter was really old!

unclefred said...

Great Monday CW, thanx, Joel! Pretty much a speed run, though I had to wait for some perps for ALECBALDWIN. Hand up for ELZIE, perps to the rescue! Owen, A, C, B-.

unclefred said...

Oh, and thanx for the terrific write-up, Argyle!!

Tinbeni said...

Nice write-up Argyle. FUN puzzle Joel.

OK, I needed Every-Single-PERP to get ELIZE, Popeye's creator Segar.
Other than that, this was a Monday speed-run.

Fave today, of course, was that "Happy hour place" ... BAR. Go figure, LOL ...

A "toast-to-ALL" at Sunset.

Yellowrocks said...

What Hahtoolah said. Fine puzzle for a Monday. Thanks, Joel and Argyle.
I would have known Segar, but I have never seen ELZIE. Perps saved the day.
We still enjoy The Honeymooners reruns.
TIN EAR is more common than NO EAR. That's me. (I, for purists.)

Tinbeni said...

I have two of those ...

Husker Gary said...

-I saw A_B_ but missed the baseball reveal in a very quick puzzle. BTW, Pete Rose is the all time leader with 14,053 AB’s
-ALTON BROWN was the only unknown
-This event used to be known as the HOP, skip and jump
-Some in out town are excited we are OPENING three new fast food restaurants
-Art Carney was the king of the second bananas
-We got this bird feeder so the small birds like WRENS get a chance
-ARRRR will only be funny a couple of times on “Talk Like A Pirate Day”
-How catchers try to protect their bare hand against foul TIPS
-I’m off for that medical test that required a horrible daylong prep yesterday. Yup, THAT ONE!

oc4beach said...

Speed run today and what everyone else said.

It looks like Hunter S. Thompson was born in 1937 not 1837 and was a self-described Gonzo journalist.

Have a great day.

Northwest Runner said...

A great Monday puzzle. Easy enough to get the week off to a good start, but engaging enough for solvers at all levels. Like you know who I love baseball, so the abundance of diamond references was an enjoyable addition.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

ABLOOM could serve as a theme hint, too. Easy solve today, No erasures. Liked the eclectic A B fill.
Favorite was NO EAR.
CDR - Is used in official correspondence. CMDR is also seen and has appeared in crosswords.

xtulmkr said...

@ Husker Gary: I have a similar feeder but quickly found that it is not squirrel proof. They just hang on until they get their fill, which is never. I have given up on the quest to out smart the tree rats.

oc4beach said...

HG & xtulmkr: My sister and her husband set out humane traps for squirrels and relocates them about a mile away. I tell them that they will be back, but they don't believe me.

A friend uses a paintball gun to discourage the squirrels. He's got multi-colored squirrels that are go crazy when they hear a paint ball gun go off.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Easy, peasy Monday romp with an obvious theme and a fun reveal. Elzie is new to me but I wouldn't have known Seger, either. Thought of Lemony and Hatoolah at UConn. (I took some courses at UConn-Stamford many moons ago.).

Thanks, Joel and Argyle, for a pleasant start to the week.

There was quite a kerfluffle at the "other" newspaper's puzzle blog yesterday, which shed some light on the behind-the-scenes decisions.

Have a great day.

Nice Cuppa said...


• The meter and phrasing of your second and third verses reminded me of Betjeman's "SEASIDE GOLF", esp. after yesterday's epic British Open.

• I often think of it as I travel hopefully down the fairway, esp. the somewhat orgasmic couplet (in bold). I still enjoy the perfect meter of "unprecedented". He disliked the countryside but loved golf, apparently.

• When interviewed later in life the Poet Laureate was asked "What is your greatest regret", to which he replied "NOT ENOUGH SEX". QED.


"How straight it flew, how long it flew,
It clear'd the rutty track
And soaring, disappeared from view
Beyond the bunker's back -
A glorious, sailing, bounding drive
That made me glad I was alive.

And down the fairway, far along
It glowed a lonely white;
I played an iron sure and strong
And clipp'd it out of sight,
And spite of grassy banks between
I knew I'd find it on the green.

And so I did. It lay content
Two paces from the pin;
A steady putt and then it went
Oh, most surely in.
The very turf rejoiced to see
That quite unprecedented three.

Ah! Seaweed smells from sandy caves
And thyme and mist in whiffs,
In-coming tide, Atlantic waves
Slapping the sunny cliffs,
Lark song and sea sounds in the air
And splendour, splendour everywhere.

desper-otto said...

xtulmkr and oc4beach, about a year ago I added a squirrel guard to the shepherd's crook in my back yard. I did it to keep the coons away from the hummingbird feeder, but it has also stymied the squirrels who'd love to get to the other feeder. The "secret" to the guard is that it is hung on, but isn't firmly attached, to the upright. If any animal attempts to jump on it, it swings toward the post, dumping them back off. Problem solved.

Squirrel Guard

Abejo, notice the "woods" in my back yard. You once commented that you didn't think there were any forests in Texas.

TX Ms said...

xtulmkr: I splurged on a Droll Yankees Tipper birdfeeder after battling the tree rats for years. They're pricey but have a lifetime guarantee against squirrel damage. It took the squirrels only a week of kamikaze dives to the ground, headfirst, that they gave up. Fun to watch. Here's the site. You might check Amazon also.

Anonymous T said...

Hello from IL!

Thanks Joel for a speedy puzzle w/ just enough crunch for a Monday. Thanks Argyle for the review and informing me who PETULA Clark is.

No WOs. 3d, 26d, and ELZIE were ESPs.

Fav: c/a for LOO!

I'm two days into R&R, but so far no REST. It's been Run, Run, Run...

Today, for example, started at 7:30 w/ a 12 mile ride, breakfast, puzzle, change light bulbs, pick tomatoes, kill wasps... Pop's at the hardware store now so I have time to catch up at the corner :-)

{B, C+, B}

oc4 - multi-colored squirrels; gives my brother & me an idea.

I'll leave you w/ Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by ALTON BROWN. Notice the lack of Velveeta :-)

Cheers, -T

Chairman Moe said...

"Puzzling Thoughts":

Today's puzzle posed few problems, as I saw the "AB" theme forming as I solved this from the NW to the SE. Actually, I got almost the entire "western" part of the grid solved before venturing east. Not too many ink blots today; good level of difficulty for the first puzzle of a new week, with a few "un-Monday" words thrown in (AZURE and ABLOOM, e.g.). I almost tripped up when I saw "GOES BAD" in 32a, as it went against the rest of the "A/B" theme.

As others said, the mini-baseball theme (AT BAT, BALL, FOULS and RBI) was noted; for those who follow the "National Pastime", there are but 70 or so games remaining before we get into the "second season", also known as "the month of October". Used to be that baseball was finished before the NBA and NHL started. Now I think that all four major sports are in some part of their regular season when the World Series is concluding. Concerning AB's and RBI's, a really top flight RBI man will produce at about 20% RBI's per AB. So if a player sees 500 AB's and gets 100 RBI's, he's a hot commodity. Probably makes over 8 figures per year . . .

Here's an old Golf Limerick from the archives; perhaps a day late, now that the Open Championship is complete, but Nice Cuppa's poem reminded me a bit of it; enjoy!

While playing golf at a Scottish Links course,
The young laddie had to pee like a horse;
You cannot drain your putts,
When you must drain your "putz";
Nearest "relief" was behind some thick gorse!

pje said...

This was an easy Monday puzzle. The unknowns (ELZIE, that would be you) were filled in with perps so no problems. Thanks, Joel and Argyle.

After a nice rain this morning we're headed back to upper 80*s and 50%+ humidity. Where's the ARCTIC BLAST?

Off to the chiropractor for routine maintenance. Have a great day!


AnonymousPVX said...

Nice and easy, well-constructed and clued Monday puzzle. No surprises which is fine for today.

Argent said...

Since we all seem to collect random information ...
Re ELZIE SEGAR: He never signed his full name, so it's no wonder Elzie didn't spring to anyone's mind. Usually he just signed SEGAR, maybe with an initial or two, and often with a little sketch of a cigar.

Re BILLY BUDD: The movie was excellent, too, with Terrence Stamp in the title role. Here's the trailer.

Thank you, Argyle and Joel.

Ol' Man Keith said...

It was perps to the rescue, as many have already noted. And while it was an easy solve, it was still tougher than usual for Monday.

I liked the bonus teensy-weensy mini theme at 66A and 69A, two short "L" words connected to abbreviated titles.

Spitzboov said...

TX Ms - We have the Yankee flipper. Squirrels give up after a few rounds. Once one went around 75 times, but eventually it 'flipped'. I'd say they're the best of the anti-squirrel designs, and the only one we've found that is truly squirrel proof.

Bluehen said...

Very quick solve with only GOESBAD and AZUREBLUE to slow me down (other than my primitive typing). Well done Joel, thank you. Interesting expo as always, Argyle, and a big thanks for linking "Danny Boy". A hauntingly pensive and beautiful song that is very difficult to sing. The drop from "here" to "shadow" is one of the worst in music, less some arias. IMHO, the best version I've heard is by, of all people, Elvis Presley. I hope a cornerite with better computer skills than mine (that shouldn't take much) can link it for the rest of us.

Under the heading of my $.02 worth:
17a. Fancy burger meat = Angus Beef. Baloney. Angus beef is no fancier or in any way better than any other breed of cattle. In my youth I lived around farmers who raised Angus , or Hereford, or Charolaise, or mixtures like White-faced Angus. My uncle Elza, pronounced ELZIE, raised champion Polled Shorthorns. I've had all of them and they are all equally good. I believe the only two breeds separate themselves from the flock and are noticeably better than other breeds are Scottish Beef and Wagyu. Yes, I have read the fluff pieces on the internet about how the Certified Angus Council holds breeders, growers and processers to a higher standard. Nonsense, it's a marketing ploy to get you to pay a premium for a mediocre product, just like renaming Chum salmon "Silverbrite" or calling crimini mushrooms that didn't get picked in time "Portobellos". All I care about in beef is the grade, as determined by independent inspectors, period.

Enough for now. Cya!

Misty said...

A most welcome Monday speed run for me this morning--many thanks, Joel! I got everything easily, including the theme, even though I didn't know ALTON BROWN or ELZIE. The only silly problem I had was wanting COMEDY for the "art" of "The Honeymooners." Took some perps before I realized ART was a name that referred to Art CARNEY.

Great way to start the week. Have a good one, everybody!

Wilbur Charles said...

I think a previous xword might have asked for SEGAR. I used to run home at lunch to watch Big Brother Bob Emery The catch?

The Bugs Bunny cartoon ended at 1255 leaving me 15 minutes to cover the mile and a half back to junior high.

The short cut took me within inches of a ferocious bulldog, Smokey, growling at the end of his chain.

LES Miz(erables) today and of course JAVERT from 7/8. Had to read some of that in FRENCH II. Funny what they'll make a musical from.

Did I mention that my theory on the American born" clause was directly aimed at Hamilton. Anybody corroboratethat?

Well that's my AT BAT for the day.

Oh. Owen, C's? Where does that leave my SNOOPY and Potter ? From Fri and Sat😂

CanadianEh! said...

Good Monday puzzle with a little crunch (ELZIE). Thanks Joel and Argyle.
I saw the baseball theme and double-checked that this was not a C.C. puzzle.

Polar Vortex had the right number of letters but ARCTIC BLAST was correct. How many had to remember the first C? We should not complain about our current heat when we remember last February.

Garden is producing bountifully. Beans (yellow and green) and cucumbers for all the neighbours!

Jayce said...

Fun puzzle. What you all said.

Yellowrocks said...

In my recent reading I have found many references to two tops in restaurants, i.e.tables for two diners; four tops, i.e. tables for four etc. This is said about even out of the way, hole-in-the wall country places. I have been a waitress in many restaurants, not bad, but none considered especially high class. I have never met these terms in real life. My first reading of two tops was about high class restaurants. Now I find it referring in novels to the sleaziest ones, too. Any comment?
Last week's Cryptogram was about "a manly heifer playing about with a very pleasant cow." LOL. Transgendered heifer or clueless author?
Zinburger, a wine and high class burger restaurant, has a logo picturing a dairy cow sipping from a glass of red wine.
I am appalled that Pence, the GOP veep candidate, although not my choice, is being panned for eating at Chili's while waiting for a plane. Kasich was mocked by his own party for how he eats at tasting ops. How can Americans be so trivial? There are so many substantial issues to be debated. And then we ask the candidates to be "authentic" when we script and second guess every inconsequential minor move.

Anonymous said...

As a busboy in high school, I have heard two-top and the like for years. Ex. Get that two-top cleaned first, then work on the six-top. Also,in the casual/sports bar world, you have high-top and low-top tables. The high-top utilizes bar stools and is usually located in high traffic areas like the bar as they provide a better social perpesctive.

Table for 4 please.
Is a high top ok?
No its too loud over there.

Lemonade714 said...

Oh my, Wilbur, I think I know where you grew up. We loved Bob Emery and his 'grass is always greener', with the picture of Ike in the background (he did switch to JFK) anyway; listen and watch at the 57 second mark %)'s TV .

Storrs was a sprawling campus all right and in the winter I damn near froze my ass off in between classes with the winds howling. Almost got killed by an electric car, but that is another story.

Jerome said...


PK said...

Bluehen: Well said about the cattle business. We raised and fed polled Herefords. My husband's cousin raised Angus. He was so sure his meat was better than ours. I couldn't tell much difference but I thought ours was more tender. That doesn't have much to do with the breed, but more to do with cutting and cooking. My BIL brought in various breed bulls and for a while we had some Angus bulls which were just a little smaller than the Hereford so we had some black white faced calves. I can't remember why they went back to Hereford bulls. Think it had to do with smaller calves or less milk in the breed.

Did the puzzle early and enjoyed it and the expo. Thanks. Busy day with people here.

Wilbur Charles said...

I swear I remember Truman in the picture. Emery, allegedly made a profane comment about the little B&$#@rds that was caught on the air.

And of course, the Bozo saga.