Jul 16, 2016

Saturday, Jul 16th, 2016, Steven J. St, John

Theme: SJSJ

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

Blocks: 26

 SJSJ returns 7 weeks later with another Saturday puzzle, and with an identical grid, no less.  Again a crossing spanner and climber, with the triple 10- and triple 8-letter corners.  Did not try the first batch of 10-letter across answers, two of them having "?" clues, but some of the smaller fill that followed I correctly guessed, and that opened up the top quickly.  The last to fall was the lower triple stack, and that was due to a proper name that could have gone any which way.  The 15-letter center;

35a. Appeal for backup? : "CAN I GET A WITNESS~?" - witness my landlord/housemate as he sailed his solar-powered boat from Florida to LI, NY

The article is here

8d. Nearly weightless : LIGHT AS A FEATHER - nailed it with maybe 4 or 5 crossings

ON past 90° WARD~ :7P


1. Highly charged individual? : SHOP-A-HOLIC

11. Castmate of Alda and Swit : FARR - M*A*S*H

15. Mass transportation? : POPEMOBILE

This one is even funnier - but just my opinion

16. Problem solver, at times : IDEA

17. One dealing in signs : ASTROLOGER - I was an Aquarius all my life, but now it seems that there is a 13th astological sign, Ophiuchus, which shifts me to Capricorn - guess I'll have to go back and check to see where it all went wrong

18. Not opt. : REQ'D - really good WAG on my part; optional or standard~?  But - "STD" didn't fit, so then I thought about college courses, and the 'a-ha' moment was upon me

19. Complicated : STICKY

20. " ... __ no fury ... " : HATH

22. Qu├ębec journalist's question : QUI - Frawnche for "who?"

23. Speed unit : MACH

24. Intersected : MET - like 35a and 8d.

26. Conversational skills : SEGUES

28. Leaking sound : SSSsss - like the sound from my front tire when the control arm broke free from the ball joint and busted the bead

29. Traditions seen in some circles : HORAS - another healthy guess after getting the consonants

31. Sudden and brief : FLASH - the clue/answer doesn't quite mesh for me....

32. Waters near the South Pole : ROSS SEA - more SSSss's

34. Towel ending : ETTE - Towelette

39. Natural salve : ALOE - gimme

40. Savanna outings : SAFARIs

41. Like snakes but not worms : SCALY

43. Skin product prefix : DERMA - I threw in DERM- and waited

44. Put down roots? : SOD - tried POT - that's 100% 33.3% correct

47. Old London ride : HANSOM

49. Nabokov novel : ADA - I tried ANA, and that's 100% 66.7% correct

50. "Crucifixion of St. Peter" painter Guido : RENI - the "R" was a WAG; the rest was perps - his Wiki, and the painting

51. Four-song discs, briefly : EPs

52. With 46-Down, world creator? : WALT - circumreferential to; 46. See 52-Across : DISNEY - Walt Disney World - never been there

54. Open-flame treat : S'MOREs - standard fare at our fire nights

56. One in a football quartet : DOWN - strangely, I tried "BACK", but there's only three of those, either defense or offense, according to this diagram

58. Pacific swimmer : COHO SALMON - the salmon part I got, and it took a moment for the rest to rise up from the depths of my brain

60. California's Mission Santa __ : INES - I would have gone with "Z" at the end, but it wouldn't jibe with the down answer "NZF"

61. Furtive question : "ARE WE ALONE~?"

62. Football that won't deflate : NERF - too bad the Patriots can't play with them....

63. Pays, old-style : WIRES MONEY


1. Twinges : SPASMS

2. Shade-loving landscape plants : HOSTAs - I am familiar with this plant

3. Public perceptions, as of politics or sports : OPTICS - meh clue for me

4. Lake catch : PERCH - another good WAG

5. Uninhibitedly : AMOK - did not see this until I started writing the blog

6. "Wow!" : HOLY MOSES - we have holEy Moses Cheesecake right here on Long Island - and not that far from my place

7. "... and that price is negotiable," in classifieds : OBO - 'or best offer' - and I am thinking about selling my Dodge on Craigslist for parts; $500 OBO

9. Intestinal parts : ILEA - nailed it, but spelled it with a second "I" initially

10. Altoids competitor : CERTS

11. Fragrant tree : FIR - similar to cedar, same family

12. Acceptable : ADEQUATE - the "Q"s in this corner made for a smooth solve

13. Numbers from the audience : REQUESTS - since I selected her for the last SJSJ puzzle  "by request" for a big-legged girl....


14. Salad roots : RADISHES

21. Lover of Bunnies, familiarly : HEFner, the Playboy Bunnies

25. '90s-'00s Angels outfielder Darin with three Gold Gloves : ERSTAD - C.C. may have more

27. Lowlands : GLENS

29. Monopolize : HOG

30. Town with the motto "Alaska Starts Here!" : SEWARD - looks to me like Alaska starts somewhere around Ketchikan, or at least Unalaska

32. Cambodian currency : RIELs - Just finished reading DeMille's 'Up Country', which I think mentions this form of currency

33. Fronts separate them : AIR MASSES

35. Got dough for : CASHED IN

36. 1959 Rod Steiger title role : AL CAPONE - mostly perps

37. Rarity in the voicemail age : NO ANSWER

38. Spanish aunt : TIA

42. "I just stubbed my toe!" : "YOW~!!!" - not the expletive that I usually use....

44. Fatherly advice? : SERMON

45. Score often requiring overtime : ONE-ONE - often in hockey, not soccer

48. Colorful flier : MACAW - had it, took it out, put it back in

50. Rich kid in "Nancy" comics : ROLLO - again, mostly perps

53. Actress Loughlin : LORI - oh, yes, now I remember - "Full House"; I threw in LARA first, and got no "ta-DA~!"

55. Respectful address : MA'AM

57. "Where Discoveries Begin" govt. agency : NSF - the website

59. Come up short : OWE 



George Barany said...

Colorful puzzle by Steven J. St. John, and amusing writeup by Splynter, with a timely joke about NERF and timeless graphics about POPEMOBILE. I enjoyed seeing Darin ERSTAD in the puzzle, since he was a highlight reel regular during his major league career for various spectacular fielding plays; click here and here for just two examples.

john in michigan said...

came up one letter short...would have guessed ineZ, but honestly didn't know...great saturday puzzle...hope everybody has a nice weekend

Big Easy said...

This had to be the fastest Saturday puzzle completion that I ever completed. I skipped the NW and FIR and FARR was ADEQUATE and allowed it to be filled in a FLASH. As I backed up to HATH and CERTS and read 8D, I guessed LIGHT AS A FEATHER. The rest filled rapidly with my only changes being SOW to SOD and RENE to RENI. 'WESNEY' and whatever 52A just didn't make sense, as LORI was an unknown. But I had a V8 moment, changed SOW to SOD, Filled WALT and that opened the SW.

NSF- iNSufficient Funds- never liked those on the back of a check coming back. Oh, National Science Foundation. HOSTAS and ERSTAD were unknowns solved by perps.

John in Michigan & Splynter- I wanted Z for INES knew that was NO ANSWER that would allow completion.

Splynt- your 'big-legged girl' is big in other places also.

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

Fun, fun puzzle with tons of great clues and answers that I almost managed to get through unscathed. Had everything filled in except for that crossing of INES/NSF. Like Splynter, I really wanted INEZ, but NZF didn't seem like it could be a thing. But NSF was completely unfamiliar as well and I didn't get the *TADA* after trying it, so I was left scratching my head.

I finally had to turn on the red letter help to discover that IDA should have been ADA. Oops. For some reason, I just don't tend to notice misspellings with vertical clues, so LIGHTASAFEITHER snuck right past me without setting off any alarms.

Ah well, still a fun puzzle!

OwenKL said...


LIGHT AS A FEATHER in near zero-G,
The gargoyle looked out o'er land and sea.
No friend was beside
His SCALY-stone hide,
Only mute gargoyles as frozen as he.

But a child in her nightgown ventures near,
Innocence embodied that HATH no fear!
Her OPTICS search
The orb, his PERCH,
She speaks to him, as she does with her bear.

She asks in a whisper, "ARE WE ALONE?"
He gives NO ANSWER, silent as stone.
So the young miss
Blows him a kiss,
Which floated lighter than foam!

Magic of innocence, kiss of a child,
Greater than granite, carved and piled!
A SPASM, a thrash,
A leap in a FLASH!
A cornice shattered, an orb defiled!

Yet on the morrow, no adult will see
Any sign of stone AMOK; no debris!
In child-dream royal
Frolicked a gargoyle,
LIGHT AS A FEATHER in near zero-G!

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

My very first entry was LIGHT AS A FEATHER, just because it fit. Throughout, I managed to get at least a couple of perps which made the longer answers obvious. Only needed Wite-Out to change TROUT to PERCH. Thanks, SJSJ for one of my quickest Saturday solves ever.

Splynter, think of a FLASH flood -- sudden and brief. Hey, I wanted IneZ too. Then with NS_ I wanted NSA until NERF showed up.

Time to give the mangy stray his Phisohex shampoo treatment....

OwenKL said...

Frustrating. FWH. I had all but the NW when I gave in and pressed the check all letters option, and found which half of what I did have in that corner was wrong. My only other error at that point was INEz.

Had HULAS > HORAS (hoops are circles!), ASTROLOGERS was one of my first entries, but I took it out because it didn't agree with any of my perps. OPTICS? Can anyone use it in a sentence with that sense?

Saw that painting by Michael Parkes a few days ago and was very impressed by it. Erato gave me the 3 verse of today's poem first, and then I built the rest around it.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Really enjoyed today's themeless SJSJ. A bunch of good guesses made quick work of it, except for that SW corner. I just couldn't remember the Cambodian currency, didn't know NSF had a slogan, and struggled with the Ines/Inez/Ynez possibilities. Got there eventually.

Morning Splynter, thanks for elucidating today.

unclefred said...

Another Saturday DNF for me; I just ran out of patience. Nice write-up, Splynter, thanx. Owen, you really outdid yourself, I'll agree with your A+! I've always wondered why a football formation has the fullback in front of the halfback. Seems like it would be quarterback, halfback, fullback as you go further from the line.

Yellowrocks said...

Wow! A Saturday puzzle done in a flash! I see I am not alone in this. Fun puzzle, interesting review. Great clues. I liked the Pope-mobile cartoons. Only ERSTAD was all perps. TROUT before PERCH. The only 4 letter type of SALMON I know of is COHO.
Owen KL, here ya go:
“After all, this is a time when social media has meant that the optics of a message — or how it is delivered — are increasingly important.”
New York Times, May 11, 2016
I am a political junkie. Pundits speak of the optics, or perception all the time. Sometimes the optics sink a good idea.

Madame Defarge said...

Good Morning!

Thanks, Steven, for a great Saturday offering. My patience prevailed. Loved LIGHT AS A FEATHER, POPEMOBILE, ARE WE ALONE, and WIRES MONEY. We used to fish for PERCH in Lake Michigan. Still my favorite freshwater fish, but they have become very costly to order in a restaurant.

I thought Brady was using a NERF ball! ;>) Oops, no politics!

Thanks Splynter for another fine tour. Your buddy's trip sounds dangerous to me! I loved the black bear at the picnic table! LOL

Have a fine weekend, everyone!

Lucina said...

This was easier than most Saturdays and like most of you needed just one or two fill to complete the long answers. Holding on to TROUT and OPEN held up the NW for too long but after erasing all and spelling SHOPAHOLIC correctly, POPEMOBILE appeared and the rest fell in place. Whew! STICKY!

Of course I went with INEZ since 57D meant nothing to me. FIW! Drat.

Thank you SJSJ and Splynter. Now I can return to bed.

Have a beautiful Saturday, everyone!

billocohoes said...

unclefred, in the original T-formation the fullback WAS slightly further back than the two halfbacks. When offenses changed to the I-formation the FB stayed where he was as a blocking back, one halfback moved further back as a tailback, and the other HB went out to a slot or wing as a receiver.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

This was a fun solve thanks to the somewhat obvious long fill, i.e., Light as a feather, Shopaholic, Pope Mobile, etc. The last entry was nerf in that sticky wicket SW corner. I knew Ines was correct but never heard of NFS. I enjoy a Saturday challenge (Where are you Barry Silk?) that tests your gray matter but doesn't make you want to pull your hair out. This offering fit the bill quite nicely.

Thanks, SJSJ, for a satisfying Saturday stickler and thanks, Splynter, for the scintillating summary. Thanks, also, for sharing the article about your housemate. Sounds like an exciting adventure.

Have a great day.

Husker Gary said...

Saturday puzzles that start out easy rarely finish that way. Steven’s offering violated that maxim as I only paused twice to erase and was done in early week time.

-A Marvin Gaye song (2:41) whose title is a long fill? Priceless!
-REQ’D – In math we sometimes invoked “necessary but not sufficient”
-Attempts to reach MACH I and beyond killed men though they had “the right stuff”
-FLASH – A SUDDEN exposure sans BRIEFS
-I’m tired of our lilacs getting SCALY (getting scales) and so out they go and in goes SOD. BTW, our HOSTAS are beautiful!
-A bad ILEUM/large intestine connection cost me 2 weeks in the hospital
-Re: Women of a certain size - A Lincoln, Nebraska girl has broken through for plus-sized women on this iconic cover
-ERSTAD was a first-team All American baseball player and starting punter for the ’94 Huskers and now coaches baseball
-My daughter’s new husband is a great guy but it irked me to no end when I first met him that he would pull out a full tin of Altoids and not even offer me one when I was seated right next to him at several concerts!
-The NSF paid for post-grad college hours that really helped me on the pay scale!

PK said...

Hi Y'all! This puzzle took me just under two minutes longer than Fridays. Tough but moved fast. Thanks SJSJ!

Thanks, Splynter! Interesting about your housemate's boat. I suppose sails were new and innovative many eons ago.

LIGHT AS A FEATHER was a first pass WAG without any perps. Loved that.

I had trouble with most of the three-letter entries, abbrev., whatever: NSF, OBO (don't read classifieds), EPS are 4-song discs. Do tell.

Saw St. INES somewhere recently and got it right the first time.

Saw ROSS SEA somewhere recently and couldn't remember it. SEA came first then perped all but the R. I liked how the polar opposite cold places ROSS SEA & SEWARD crossed. My kids just returned from an Alaskan cruise. They rode a rail car over the mountain pass from Skagway to the "gold fields". I told my son that my Irish grandfather's brother had made the trek back in Gold Rush days. Son & grandsons were very impressed by the magnitude of the journey and that an ancestor had done it.

Jerome said...

Mission Santa Ines is sometimes spelled Inez. It's located in the Saint Inez valley, but as far as I know the valley is never spelled with a Z. The Spanish named the mission after Saint Agnes, which ends with an S. And even more odd and a bit confusing is the fact that the mission is now in the center of Solvang, a town founded by Danes who became sick and tired of the bitter Midwest winters. But of course the bullheaded Swedes and Norwegians stayed because what kind of a person would swap freezing, barren plains for the warm coastal mountains of Southern California.

Misty said...

Well, this was a Saturday FWLOH for me (finished with lots of help--especially with those long across items). But it was still fun to get it done--so, many thanks, SJSJ, and Splynter, I also loved that sweet bear waiting for his salmon.

Owen, I too would give you an A+ this morning.

John in Michigan, I wish you too, and everyone on the blog, a great weekend!

Sailor said...

Marvin Gaye, 1963: Can I Get a Witness

CrossEyedDave said...

OwenKL, Wow!
That was awesome, and the visual blew me away...

Lets' see, I did this puzzle early this AM with red letters on thinking
it was going to be a slog, but was pleasantly surprised to find I was on this
Saturday constructors wavelength. Except for a few names, I might have been
able to do this one in ink!

HG! Thank you for the Marvin Gaye link!
I have been trying to track down the source of that musical phrasing for years.
(& Sailor, thank you for the improved version.)
(Go Go Girls improve anything...)
I 1st heard it in Petula Clark's I know a place, &when I heard it years later in the intro the The Sesame Street Theme, & thought
Hey! they ripped that off!

Now it looks like they both ripped it off from Marvin Gaye!

But this musical phrasing must be older than that,
does anyone out there know of an older song that uses this same melody?

C6D6 Peg said...

Thanks, SJSJ for a quick and easy Saturday solve, but with lots of thinking. Nicely done!

Nice write-up, Splynter, as usual. Liked your 2nd Popemobile example, too!

Bluehen said...

This was certainly an easier offering than SJSJ's last one. Gotter dun in an hour with no cheats. Tada! Great expo as always Splynter, but I must correct one of your comments. That girl does not have big legs. As a matter of fact, she's stunning. Trust me. I know what I'm talking about. I've been around more women than a girdle.

Jayce said...

I had a harder time with this puzzle than you all did. Maybe it's a wavelength discrepancy, or maybe my powers of imagination are at an ebb today. Good puzzle, though, and I liked it when I finally got it done.
Best wishes to you all.

Splynter said...

Hi again~!

D-Otto, thanks for 'splainin'. I was stuck in lightning/camera/superhero mode for FLASH.

Bluehen, loved the girdle comment - and don't misunderstand me - I think Charlotte is stunning, too~!

Thanks for the comments on Gary's solar trip - I will pass them along to him. His next project is a combo sail/solar boat, which is in pieces in the backyard right now - oh to be retired and have projects that are fun~!


AnonymousPVX said...

Nothing like a Saturday puzzle that goes smoothly, especially after Friday. A bit of a natick at 29A and 25D, and another at 60A and 57D as others have noted. But especially unusual for a puzzle with so many white blocks to fall so quickly. Not a complaint, no harm in feeling more of a solver than I probably am.

Ol' Man Keith said...

We spent a half-- no!-- maybe a quarter of a day in Seward getting ready to board our ship for the inward passage. My guess is that most of the people who know Seward are like us, non-native tourists, who don't spend an entire day. A sad fate for a locale that may once have been the last touch of civilization for men heading to meet their Yukon dreams.
I loved our Alaska venture. Flew into Fairbanks, then worked our way both north and south by train and plane and occasional watercraft. Even spent one day in a town called Coldfoot up in the arctic circle.

OKAY! Hands up, all who entered IKEA before ILEA. For a while it made sense to me that IKEA should be dealing in "Intestinal parts." Maybe out the back door. In select locations.

Northwest Runner said...

I'd quibble that wiring money is a quite contemporary method of payment. I just did it as part of a home purchase, and others do it all the time to send money abroad.

Lemonade714 said...

It is always a pleasure to solve an SJSJ puzzle and Splynter really helps.

Thanks guys

Jerome said...

WIRING MONEY- Part of an electricians estimate.

Anonymous said...

Unnecessarily difficult and STUPID.

Anonymous said...

WIRING MONEY: not an answer in todays puzzle

fermatprime said...


Thank you so much SJSJ for such a nice Saturday offering! Really a pleasure fill. Plunked in POPEMOBILE and ASTROLOGER right away. 25 minutes. Thanks also Splynter for the scintillating overview!

Great work, Owen!

ERSTAD was total perps, of course. NSF paid for three years at Caltech, so no problem there. (The Z in my INES had to go.)

Scratched head at OPTICS.


Wilbur Charles said...

Well, I started about 6am today and finished about 730. Miraculous time for a Saturday puzzle for this guy. To begin, I searched for 3 little squares to fill.

Then, of course, there was the baseball question, Darrin ??? Huh? But I got the E and Walt Disney looked good and SMORES of course

QUI helped a lot as noted because of the Q's. Lots of white left but progress. I'm so proud of myself, a Saturday at one sitting.

Owen you're the laureate of Dese here hills. I thought you were going to reference Poe or someone as the author .

Speaking of Poe. No one pointed out that the Artful Dodger was Dickens. But the novel(not to speak of the famous Musical) escapes this old, worn-out brain.

Somebody, one of you school MAAMs maybe, help me out

That's if anyone ever reads

The Great Unread.

Wilbur Charles said...

Speaking of Owen...

The colonel and the corporal were having quite a row.
Klinger played by Jamie FARR liked PERCH,
Potter preferred COHO.

The snit SEGUEd to cities. Where would they like to be.
There's no place like Alaska, come to SEWARD with me.

All in all sir, with due respect,
I'd rather be in Toledo.

Argyle said...

Oliver! is the English musical based upon the novel Oliver Twist.

Picard said...

Mission Santa INES fooled me at first, too, and I live just 45 minutes away and have been there many times! I was fooled because the city and the river nearby are indeed Santa Ynez.

The rest of the puzzle seemed challenging at first just because of the many long answers. But then it all came together quite smoothly and enjoyably!