Aug 18, 2016

Thursday, Auguest 18th 2016 Don Gagliardo and C.C. Burnikel

Theme: North-South Defiled - the themers all run down the grid, and the last word can be prefixed by "dirty" as the reveal much more elegantly explains:

9D. Unvarnished ... or like the ends of the answers to starred clues? : DOWN AND DIRTY

4D. *Dramatic gridiron pass : LONG BOMB. Dirty bomb. Nasty concept, this device.

20D. *Put in long hours : WORK LIKE A DOG. Dirty dog. 
24D. *Shopping area loiterer : MALL RAT. Dirty rat. Cagney didn't actually say "You dirty rat", the line was "Come out and take it, you dirty yellow-bellied rat or I'll give it to you through the door" but that's something of a mouthful for a cliché.

39D. *"The Vampire Chronicles" novelist : ANNE RICE. Dirty rice. Food! Traditionally a cajun or creole dish, I had a chinese-fusion version in New York which prominently featured monkfish liver, on of those ingredients you either like ("Yum! Fishy livery stuff!") or don't ("Yeugh! Fishy livery stuff!")

Hail fellows, well met! A nice Thursday-level effort from the popular duo of Don & C.C. The reveal was my final piece of the jigsaw - I couldn't see any connection between the other four themers, and "Unvarnished" is quite an obtuse clue. Unscrupulous, nasty are the definitions that pop into my head. Eventually the crosses helped me unlock it. Let's see what else we've got:


1. Sound check item : AMP. Does anyone ever get up to "three" at the soundcheck? All I've ever heard is "one-two, one-two".

4. Barista offering : LATTE

9. Colon pair : DOTS. Nice. My mental visuals pre-penny-drop were not pretty.

13. Alicia Keys record label : RCA. Didn't even look at this, the crosses filled it in for me.

14. Silver and gold : COLORS. Took a while. The possibilities of MEDALS and SPECIE distracted me,

15. "Now I get it" : OH, OK. Tough one to parse. I had _OH_ and couldn't "unsee" HOHO

16. Large server : URN

17. Lacking energy : ANEMIC. We toss in an unnecessary extra "a" in the UK.

18. Lean and strong : WIRY. Meet Nigel Gruff, the kicker in "The Replacements".


21. Famous : OF NOTE

23. Take in : ABSORB

24. Gibbs of "The Jeffersons" : MARLA

26. Pooh pal : ROO

27. They catch a lot of waves : ANTENNAS. Nice.

31. Ailing : SICK

34. Canasta play : MELD. I've never played canasta, but with the M in place it went straight in. Not sure where I ABSORBED that word.

36. Deleted : X'D OUT. Difficult to do on a computer, not that you need to anyway. You can use strikethoughs though.

37. Do nothing : LOLL

38. Modeling material : BALSA

40. goal : DATE

41. "Live" sign : ON AIR

43. "__: Legacy": sci-fi sequel : TRON

44. Blue-roofed restaurant chain : IHOP

45. Cosmic payback : BAD KARMA

47. "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" airer : NPR. I had NBC originally which slowed me up (or should that be "down") seeing the reveal.

49. Long-plumed fisher : EGRET

50. One of the two : EITHER

54. Photobucket alternative : PICASA. Or as an app sharer in Tijuana might say "Mi Picasa es su Picasa".

57. Ice cream brand introduced in 1866 : BREYERS. It took until 1904 at the World's Fair in St. Louis for someone to come up with the ice cream cone though.

58. Slugger with the most career grand slam HRs : A-ROD. Didn't hesitate. C.C. would be proud.

59. "Let's hear the story!" : TELL IT! Tried TELL ME! Was wrong.

62. Big D pro : MAV. Dallas Mavericks. The owner, Mark Cuban, is something of a maverick himself. He's a very outspoken critic of what he sees as poor officiating.

63. Helpless? : SOLO. It also crosses my mind that Hope Solo would have felt pretty helpless in the penalty shoot-out against Sweden last week. There's not much you can do when you guess one way and the kicker goes the other.

64. 1805 Beethoven premiere : EROICA. The Third symphony.

65. Egyptian snake : ASP

66. Glitch : SNAG

67. Hang : DRAPE. You can hang drapes, but you can't drape hangs.

68. Early video game letters : NES. Nintendo Entertainment System.


1. Caribbean vacation spot : ARUBA

2. Fast-food pork sandwich : McRIB.

3. Twinges : PANGS

5. Bass output : ALES. Nice clue. Bass registered the world's first trademark, the red triangle, in 1875.

6. Hiddleston who plays Loki in "Thor" : TOM. Thank you, crosses.

7. Cycle starter : TRI-

8. Motorcycle cop, perhaps : ESCORT. Had to work for this one too. ESC didn't prompt me as quickly as it should have.

10. Largest Mississippi River feeder by volume : OHIO

11. Civil wrong : TORT

12. __ terrier : SKYE

14. Giza neighbor : CAIRO. Close neighbor.

22. Show off, in a way : FLEX.

25. "As a result ... " : AND SO

28. Flood survivor : NOAH

29. Pilot, or a prefix with pilot : AUTO. Pondered this and ... oh! The Honda Pilot. Nice!

30. Escalator part : STEP

31. One who is often disorderly : SLOB

32. New Rochelle college : IONA. Nailed it, finally!

33. Dressed : CLAD

35. Words on Alice's cake : EAT ME

42. Joplin pieces : RAGS. Scott, not Janice. Cue "The Entertainer".

46. Not for kids : R-RATED

48. Mary-in-mourning sculpture : PIETA. We had this a couple of weeks ago clued differently. Handy letter sequence.

51. Stud : HE-MAN

52. Prepare to start over, perhaps : ERASE

53. Answers briefly? : RSVP'S

54. Free ticket : PASS

55. Liver nutrient : IRON

56. Pop : COLA

57. Screen signal : BLIP. This foxed me for a second until - aha! Radar!

60. Make a misstep : ERR

61. Mauna __ : LOA "Long Mountain". Not to be confused with "Wakea's Mountain" - Mauna Kea.

That about wraps it up for me today. Enjoy your Thursdays!


And heeeeeere's the grid!


PK said...

Whew! Pretty gnarly! But fun. Thanks, Don & C.C. Thanks, Steve.

I pecked along with this and got it filled with red-letter re-direction. Top middle cross of CAIRO/COLORS was last to fill. Tried Egypt, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, then waited for some perps.

Never heard of Photobucket or PICASA. Didn't know TOM, MARLA, NES.

No stars on Mensa. No idea of theme or theme entries.

Knew EROICA but couldn't spell it. Tried a "T" instead of "C" and had the "I" in the wrong place.

Unvarnished to an old woodwork finisher like me doesn't mean DIRTY. It means sanded and ready to stain and brush on polyurathane. Well, there is the "Unvarnished truth" which can get pretty nasty.

Do nothing = wait before LOLL; clays before BALSA; TELL me/us/IT; mATE before DATE; TRek before TRON.

My BFF tells me the water has receded from her pregnant granddaughter's house in Ponchutula, LA. Friends and relatives gathered and gutted the house, sprayed it with microbe, and are planning to start rebuilding today. I'm wondering where and how they will get materials and truck them over saturated ground. Now BFF's new worry is her step-son's family lives in a canyon in California where wildfire was a few miles away they reported yesterday.

Hungry Mother said...

Didn't get the X, so DNF.

OwenKL said...

{A, R, C+.}

There was a young chap on ARUBA
Who wanted to master the tuba!
He played night and day,
Till dad took it away!
Recovering his tuba took scuba!

A dancer who shimmied in CAIRO
Swirled seven scarves in a spiral!
Grabbing for her last veil,
She got an ASP by its tail,
But still used it to hide parts vaginal!

A WIRY terrier from the Isle of SKYE
Would often get DIRTY in the blink of an eye!
Worse, this R-RATED DOG
Sang ditties in the fog
So filthy they made even sailors go shy!

That second one was supposed to end in denial, but I just couldn't get it worded right.
FIR, tho got off to a poor start with MIC > AMP, and erased LATTE in order to place HAIL MARY > LONG BOMB. Which would have still fit the scheme, since even a non-drinker like me knows a DIRTY MARY is a variation on bloody mary!

Barry G. said...

Morning, all!

I found this to be about average difficulty for a Thursday. Enough bite to be interesting, but not overwhelming, if you know what I mean.

The theme reveal was the last thing I entered in the grid, so I didn't grok the theme during the solve. But it was nice to go back and discover what it was all about afterwards. MARLA was all perps and it took awhile to remember PICASA (and how it was spelled), but that was about it for snags. I, too, wanted HAIL MARY at 4D, but I already had ABSORB at 23D by the time I even looked at 4D, so I knew that wasn't an option.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Steve and friends. I immediately got the MALL RAT and WORK LIKE A DOG, so at first thought the unifier has something to do with animals. Then can the New Orleans novelist ANNE RICE, so I knew we were looking at something DIRTY. Not being EITHER a football fan or knowing anything about Canasta, the M in MELD / LONG BOMB was the last letter to fall into place.

LATTE must be the drink of the week, as it appeared recently in a puzzle.

I often listen to Wait, Wait ... when I do the crossword puzzle on Sunday mornings. I know it is on NPR, but I listen to the podcast version.

Helpless = SOLO was my favorite clue.

NOAH is not the only Flood Survivor this week. We were able to get back into our house on Tuesday. We were very fortunate and got no flooding. Many friends and co-workers were not so fortunate. I spent all day yesterday helping a friend clean out her house which had been inundated with over 3 feet of water. She had recently done a major renovation in her den and gotten a lot of new furniture. In addition, she had many antique pieces. Everything is gone. Unfortunately, there are literally thousands of families in the same situation. Unlike a hurricane, there was virtually no warning. We knew that rain was in the forecast, but no one could have anticipated such a storm, and flooding of the nearby rivers and bayous. We had another very heavy rain storm last night. Aerial of flooding along Interstate 12. Ways to help.

QOD: A cult following is a nice way of saying very few people like you. ~ Martin Mull (b. Aug. 18, 1943)

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Let's hear it for Wite-Out! With HAIL MARY (figured it'd be full of grace) and UNI (cycle) inked into Minnesota, things weren't going well. Didn't recognize TOM Hiddleston, so missed my own SO. Naturally, the theme was well beyond me. Nicely done, D.G. and C.C.

Steve, thanks for 'splainin' AUTO. Honda never crossed my mind.

Hahtoolah, good to have you back and know that you suffered no damage. PK, sounds like your BFF is a disaster magnet!

Big Easy said...

I never noticed the connections on the theme answers either and also made a stupid mistake misspelling PIETA as PIATA, got stuck on 57D with _LIP and wrote B C D F G P T at the bottom of the page trying to figure which kind of MOVIE signal it related to. I knew of DREYERS ice cream but DLIP wouldn't cut it. A big DNF for me today.

PICASA was discontinued by Google and replaced by Google PHOTOS. I have used Picasa for years to back up all my pictures and Photos to back up my phone.

Hahtoolah- glad you made it unscathed. I remember driving on I-10 from New Orleans through Baton Rouge about 35-40 years ago before Siegen and water was flowing over the Interstate. That was BEFORE all those businesses were built. I looked at the map over the weekend and noticed that all the tributaries west of I-55 flow into the Amite River, which is shallow and not very wide.

Speaking of Pieta, we had the holy trinity working today- C.C., Don, & Steve.

billocohoes said...

MELD is also a play in pinochle.

PICASA is an unknown to me.

When the late Jimmy V coached there, he'd introduce himself with "Hi, I'm Jim Valvano, Iona College" and get a response "Wow, you must be pretty rich to own.."

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Marla was all perps, Sosa looked reasonable before Arod showed up, but overall smooth sailing. Like the clever theme!

Morning, Steve, hand up for getting Auto without sussing Honda.

Speaking of cars, I noticed the damp (OK, totally flooded) Toyota dealership in Hahtoolah's video. I wonder what happens to all those soggy, brand-new cars.

Tinbeni said...

Don & C.C. Thank you for a FUN Thursday level puzzle.

Thought the reveal DOWN-AND-DIRTY was very descriptive.

Steve: Good Job on the write-up & very informative links.

Needed ESP to get PICASA, a learning moment I will forget by noon.

Fave today wasn't the Bass ALES, but the Long-plumed fisher EGRET.
I see Egrets almost every day. A bonus for living by a river in Florida.

A "Toast-to-ALL" at Sunset.

Anonymous said...

"Deleted : XDOUT"

Thank you, but no.

Anonymous said...

It is the OHIO River that flows to the Gulf of Mexico, and the Mississippi is ITS largest feeder (you can see this on a map or in an aerial photo). Or why don't they just have the same name and call one upstream the Left Fork and the other the Right Fork? Too late to ask Sr. De Soto or M. La Salle.

KARMA is not payback; it's what brings the payback.

Yellowrocks said...

Fun puzzle, CC and Don. I got the reveal early on with just D-W----D---- which helped a lot with the theme answers. Merriam Webster gives "unvarnished" as the first synonym for "down and dirty." Both can mean direct, explicit, plain, as in the unvarnished truth or the down and dirty truth. Down and dirty sometimes has a more sinister, underhanded meaning. Actually I believe that meaning is likely more common.
Hahtoolah, what a relief. I am so sorry for your friends. PK, also so sorry for your BFF's family members. That CA fire is scary, also.
MARLA Gibbs was funny as the maid on The Jeffersons, seen in endless reruns.
Owen KL, A+ for the first one.
Interesting write-up, Steve.
Changing SODA to COLA suggested the C and PICASA.
Alan had a very uneasy night so I couldn't sleep and spent most if the night finishing my novel. I copied the puzzle from Mensa and did it early. I had the stars, but they are hard to see.

Down and Dirty said...


Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

X'cept for the MARLA FLEX cross, a Natick for me, everything else eventually was cobbled together. The Muse kept visiting briefly but then flit away, like a hummingbird at a feeder. Eventually we came to an accommodation and it was done.
Did not know BREYERS had that much history. Always learn something here.

Had 'Hail Mary' before LONG BOMB.

BZ to Don and C.C.

Husker Gary said...

-Like Steve, I had to ERASE in the NE, X’DOUT slowed getting the theme and that is where I finished on this great puzzle
-Being 25 min from huge Omaha MALLS makes for few RATS here
-To LOLL was de rigueur in yesterday’s heat and incredible humidity
-Daughter got a DATE and a MATE on
-BAD KARMA – The Huskers beat Northwestern on a a LONG BOMB (:30) and then lost to BYU the same way in the same end zone two years later
-AROD played his last game for the Yankees last week but will earn $20M for batting under .200 with 9 HR’s in front of fed-up fans
-This article shows SOLO has never been helpless!
-Oh, a Honda PILOT! Thanks, Steve.
-At my favorite sporting goods store, Scheel’s, employees are MUST use the stairs and not the escalator while on the job
-My friend is a caterer and told me planning for those who show up but did not RSVP is a nightmare in her trade

Lucina said...

It's been a while since we've seen a DG/CC puzzle. Thank you both and thank you, Steve. Holy Trinity. I like that.

For the most part it was a breeze until the SW where I had to ERASE my originals COMP & SODA and start over. PICASA has been my photo storage vehicle for years, too. Alas, though I didn't get the X in FLEX AND SO FIW.

Really liked "they catch a lot of waves" ANTENNA

It's IRONic to see COLORS over ANEMIC.

CSO to TOM, desper-otto.

Hahtoolah, I'm so glad to hear your home is intact but so sorry about all the losses.

Enjoy your day, everyone!

oc4beach said...

Got it done without too much trouble. There were enough hooks to allow perps and a few wags to fill in some unknown squares. Good one from CC and Don with the more than admirable write-up by Steve.

I did have a few stumbling blocks. SODA vs COLA, KEA vs LOA, CLAYS vs BALSA, and TIM vs TOM. There were enough hooks for perps to correct my errors.

First puzzle I've done in two weeks. I've been caring for my DW after her surgery to remove an overly enlarged Thyroid. The surgeon was upset with DW's general practitioner for letting it get so large. Every time my wife questioned her about it the doc just said we'll keep watching it. Finally we got fed up and went to another doctor (Endocrinologist) in the practice who was amazed that her colleague hadn't acted sooner. It's out and she is recovering. We are going to change physicians.

I haven't managed to poison her with my cooking yet. Also, take-out has helped keep her fed adequately. Plus I've kept a good supply of ice cream on hand to help soothe her sore throat.

The next part of this saga will be dealing with the hospital bills and insurance company. Medicare gets a pass because they classified this as outpatient surgery (I call it Drive-Thru Surgery) even though she was in the hospital for 2 days. You gotta love our health care system.

I hope everyone has a great day.

Anonymous said...

Some of these are a far far stretch...

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, C.C. and Don G, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Steve, for a fine review.

This puzzle was a little sticky, but got through it slowly.

Theme was good. I had them all done before I checked it out.

My last entry was XD OUT. I had ED OUT and then changed it. FLEX then made more sense than FLEE.

Tried RUTH for 58A. That whole corner would not work so I got rid of RUTH, got a few perps, and AROD worked fine.

Good story on BREYERS. I do eat their ice cream when it is on sale. I love ice cream. However, as a youth I never ate it. Our whole family would go to the Dairy Queen. The other 6 would get an ice cream cone. I would get a plain cone. When I grew up I got a lot smarter, in many ways.

Hahtoolah, watched your video on the LA flooding. Pretty bad. Our church group went down there a couple years ago to help rebuild after Katrina. Looks like we may have another opportunity.

See yountomorrow.


( )

SwampCat said...

Hahtoolah I'm so glad to hear from you and see that your house is okay. It was an unbelievable storm even though the national media seems to have generally ignored it . Guess they thought it was a ."regional" story.

Boo? How are you?

Good puzzle today. Thanks, DG and CC and Steve.

Owen, #1 is A+. and the others are good, too.

Lucina said...

We watch CBS and they have been showing the flooding and devastation all week.

CanadianEh! said...

Good Thursday level solve today. Thanks C.C., Don and Steve. (I smiled when I saw C.C.'s baseball clue). PK, my Mensa had the stars.

Hand up for Soda before COLA, wanting Medals before COLOR (no U) because of the Olympics, and thinking of Louisiana flood survivors.

Toss-up for favourite cluing between RSVPS and ANTENNAS.

I had WORK overtime before LIKE A DOG and Limpid before ANEMIC (no extra A here).
Unknowns were NPR, and since I did not know Big D meant Dallas, MAV did not make sense either.
And I still don't totally understand how Helpless?=SOLO???? Can somebody explain?

What! Steve, no 51D links???

Thoughts and prayers for those in flood (glad you are OK Hahtoolah) or fire danger, and health issues (Bill G's Barbara, oc4beach's DW, YR's Alan).

Nice Cuppa said...

OWEN@5:45. Best I could do. Hope you like the pun.

A dancer who shimmied in CAIRO
Swirled seven scarves in a spiral!
When she reached for her veil,
She caught an ASP by its tail,
And promptly shook her head in denial [de NILE]

Argent said...

Thank you, Steve, for explaining the AUTO/Honda thinking. I stared at that for ages without understanding it. And for the rest of your walkthrough too, of course, with primary thanks to Don and C.C. for their creation.

I'm a little chagrined to admit how many of the, um, less intellectual answers I knew right away: TOM, MARLA, NES, MCRIB, etc. Had Flickr before PICASA, and I had blanks once I realized HAIL MARY was wrong until the crosses helped me. Favorite clue was "they catch a lot of waves" for ANTENNA. I was thinking surfers and hair stylists ...

Yellowrocks said...

I think HELPLESS here is a kind of play on words instead of the literal meaning.
So, as homeless is being without a home, helpless is being without help.
When you are without help, you act alone, you do it SOLO. Flying a plane alone is flying solo.

desper-otto said...

CanadianEh!, if you perform something without help ("helpless"), you'd be doing it SOLO. Aria straight now?

Jayce said...

If I may use oc4beach's words, "Good one from CC and Don with the more than admirable write-up by Steve." Well said.

So tragic about the flooding in Louisiana. Hahtoolah, thank you for the link to how to help.

The fire north of San Bernardino is still raging. Fortunately not yet real close to densely populated areas, although the little town of Wrightwood, population 4500, has been evacuated. Lucina, I think your family in Redlands is probably fine.

Best wishes to you all.

SwampCat said...

Lucina, thanks for telling us about CBS! I don't watch much TV and I was thinking about print media. NY Times finally sent a reporter on Monday. Some of my friends in other places didn't know about the storm. We are all tied up with our local affairs!

CanadianEh, I also had OVERTIME before WORK. LIKE A DOG. Messed up that whole section. I had HAIL MARY instead of LONG BOMB, too. I was my own worst enemy.

Lucina said...

Thank you for the reassurance. My sister also told me that the fire is far removed from them.

C6D6 Peg said...

Thanks, Don & C.C. for a nice challenge today. Never would have gotten the theme from the reveal, as I think of "Unvarnished" as furniture, like PK. Got it done, though, although new to PICASA.

Thanks, Steve, for a great write-up. Glad there was some "Food!" for you, although you didn't add it to "MCRIB"! Glad you didn't!

SwampCat said...

For those of you who are interested, here is another story on the South Louisiana flood.

Irish Miss said...

Hi Everyone:

Late to the dance due to a busy morning including a grocery store run and a stop at the farm stand for my corn fix. 🌽

DG and CC never disappoint but usually surprise and delight and today continues that streak. Picasa was unknown and had metals before colors. Tom Hiddleston is Taylor Swift's latest SO. Had no idea of the theme until the reveal which is my preference, anyway.

Thanks CC and Don, for a Thursday treat and thanks, Steve, for the sparkling summary.

Hatoolah, glad to hear you're safe, sound and intact.

YR and oc4beach, sorry to hear of your problems.

Getting bits and pieces of the continuing saga of the US swimmers in Rio; doesn't sound too flattering, at this point.

Have a great day.

CrossEyedDave said...

Excellent, thought provoking Thursday puzzle.
Wees on the great cluing, too many favs to list.

Oh No!

I thought I finished it, but reading the write up came to the
realization that I was pondering Maria vs marla when Daughter#3
asked for help learning a new song on the guitar. When I got back
I totally forgot that I never completed the "X'dout...

(Rats! Involuntary DNF!)

Re: 1a sound check item. Does anyone else find it ironic that this sound check requires captions?

Re: Helpless= Solo. Here's a helpless that I am so grateful was not a solo...

Another name for the long bomb...

Work like a dog?

I don't know about the Mall, but this looks like a fun place to work!

Dirty rice?

Down & dirty? (caution, foul language.)

fermatprime said...


Thanks to Don, CC and Steve!

Fun puzzle. Had not heard of LONG BOMB. Scratched head at SOLO also.


Jerome said...

William Breyer created Breyers ice cream. It's sold throughout the U.S. William Dreyer, along with Joseph Edy, created Dreyer's ice cream, which is sold only in the west, but it's marketed as Edy's Grand Ice Cream in the east. Edy's was the original name of Dreyer's, which is now owned by Nestle. Nestle owns Haagen-Dazs, which means nothing. It's a made-up name.

And this is the kind of stuff you have to wade through when cluing a crossword, and why many constructors really dislike cluing. Which is all made worse because the editor is liable to change the clue anyway.

CanadianEh! said...

Thanks YR and desper-otto for explaining SOLO=helpless. OH OK, now I get it. Duh!
Between being misdirected to the musical SOLO or thinking of SOLO as unmarried, I was just not seeing it. (In fact, my women's lib blood was getting a little riled at the 2nd meaning!)

Big Olympic race tonight at 9:30 EDT as Usain Bolt and Canada's Andre DeGrasse run the 200m! I doubt Bolt will be smiling tonight as this is not a heat but the race for the gold medal and he will not want to lose. Should be interesting.

Yellowrocks said...

After the ER on Friday the 5th, Alan revived the day before we went to Worlds End. Good week. When the medicine was all used up the problem came back in spades on Monday this week.On Tuesday we got more meds. Last night he felt so bad he was too frightened to sleep.Just now he is more comfortable again. I hope it continues.
Oc4beach, I am glad your wife is doing better. Too bad the doc did not treat it sooner.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

perfect level of difficulty for a Thursday, IMO. Last fill was the X in XED. Had to erase METALS, NEC and SODA, but didn't look up anything despite the show biz stuff I can never get. Had to solve in three sessions due to chores, but well worth coming back to.

MJ said...

Fun puzzle today, seemed just right for a Thursday. Favorite clues were for ANTENNAS and RSVPS. Thanks, C.C. and Don. And thanks Steve for guiding us through today's offering.

Has anyone else seen the recently released movie "Florence Foster Jenkins"? IMHO Meryl Streep shines in the title role, and I found Simon Helberg's portrayal of Florence's pianist Cosme McMoon to be outstanding. I imagine it must have been a challenge for Ms. Streep to sing so poorly when in reality she has such a lovely singing voice.

Enjoy the day!

Misty said...

Fun puzzle, Don and C.C.--many thanks! I didn't get PICASA or FLEX (should have gotten that one), but got everything else. Helpful expo, Steve.

Have a great day, everybody!

Ol' Man Keith said...

Good solid puzzle this. I admit I didn't understand the theme even after completing all the fills. I sympathize with Steve. I misread 9D, the clue-clue, and tried to match "Unvarnished" to each of the answers, but phrases such as "unvarnished RICE" and "unvarnished DOG" just wouldn't click for me.
Isn't it strange how, after such a concentrated and extended exertion of mental sleuthing, one's brain can just shut down or clam up like that?

Doctor Whatever said...

Appropos to nothing. I am a medical doctor, and a specialist. I won't say in what or which organs. It doesn't matter. A few words to the wise.
1. Doctors, each of them, are human beings, and consequently have their own agendas. Otherwise, we wouldn't be human. A primary physician is more than likely going to be conservative, a specialist is generally tempted to give his special skills a try. Within limits, if you were a medical specialist, you would probably have the same attitude.
2. There is a very great temptation, however much you try to supress it, for certain specialists to mildly 'dis' the primary physicians, who are the gatekeepers. This is wrong, for patients and their families do not forget, and the word gets around. Primary physicians know a lot about the whole gamut of diseases and they have to be well acquainted with the whole patient and all other ailments the patient may be suffering from. Two doctors can have a very honest difference of opinion, even diametrically opposite, on exactly the same symptoms and how the disease presents itself.
3. Human body parts are not spare parts, like in cars. If you mess with them, it is only one way, and almost always, irreversible. What each MD (should ) thinks, is, is it going to help the patient, in the short run, and how is the morbidity going to be on the long range.
4. MDs ar generally tempted to use the latest advances and the latest ( and greatest ?) medicines. Don't ask me why, but that too, is human nature. Sometimes, it is important to realize that the old fashioned methods do have their validity as well.
5. Surgery, by its very nature has its own set of risks, and they are large, together with anesthesia, and the very nature of the invasion of a very sterile system. It introduces a whole new world of risk and dangers.
6. Finally, judging a doctor, is best done by another doctor. If you have a doctor in the family, or a close friend, good for you. But it is more difficult to evaluate a doctor, than say, an auto mechanic. And your parts cannot be evaluated posthoc. Unfortunately, most doctors not only do not ever give estimates or prices, or even what the complete diagnosis is, they unilaterally decide what they will do and how they will do it. While there are obvious controls on this process, through pathologists and the like, and a general overview, and operation grand rounds and post op conferences, most surgeons have as much latitude over their operations, as say, a pilot while flying and landing his plane.
7. And, finally, finally, doctors make tons of mistakes, and there are good ones and not so good ones. Statistically, it is impossible for a doctor to see a 100,000 patients, over a lifetime, and not make mistakes, or even 1 percent would be a very large number. If that mistake happened to you, as far as you are concerned, that doctor is a complete failure and a quack. That also, is a part of being human.

Wilbur Charles said...

I rolled through pretty quick after some SNAGs earlier in the week. Too quickly. I forgot to correct SODA. I'm not familiar with PICASA so COLA didn't click.

So lately we've had IHOP,EGRET,X'D,LATTE,PIETA etc. So, I'm getting pretty good at this stuff. Plus, CC/Don used X'd instead of the other variations we've seen.

I didn't even think of RUTH although I think AROD may have broken Gehrig's record. SOSA has some kind of hr record.

Boy, 2d was one inky mess. Being a nouveau Tampanian I inked in CUBAN, saw the R in URN and tried GYRO and was short a letter.

Poker players will ask for the final stud card to be DOWNANDDIRTY when they're looking for a spade or club flush

Now back to 8/7/16 blog for that Sunday I missed

Michael said...

Anent Doctor Whatever's thoughts:

It isn't called a medical PRACTICE by accident..... Doctors learn just like we do.

Diagnosis is a process of negation. Let's say I've got bumblebees in my elbows. This could be due to any one (or more) of 80 different causes, ranging from anthophilac elbow, to the (fortunately quite rare) Laphroaig's Twitch. Sometimes it takes a while to wade through the possibilities, which is just as frustrating for the doc as it is for us.

Chairman Moe said...

"Puzzling Thoughts":

WEES, this was a fun offering from Don G and CC; thanks too, Steve, for an informed recap

I had almost too many errors to count; but I use pen, so an ERASEr would not have mattered. MEDALS/METALS before COLORS; BORDENS before BREYERS; SODA before COLA; AH OK before OH OK; TELL US before TELL IT

No one clue/solve stands out; needed ESP to get PICASA. And like Timbeni, I forgetting that word even as I type this!

Anonymous said...

Hey Doctor Whatever,

Find another platform. You are not a doctor. Your wife is. Go away. Or back to India.

Steve said...

@Down and Dirty (8:47 am) - if you'd like to discuss what you said, (sadly you wrote anonymously) you're welcome to email me directly. Unlike you, I don't hide behind an alias. You can either click on my name and find my profile, or you can email me at

See what I did there?

Anonymous T said...

Hi all!

Not much to add at this late hour. Thanks C.C. and Don (hard) G. Excellent Expo Steve (and you caught the AUTO-joke for us @29d)

WOs - same as EES: sOdA b/f COLA, TELLus. I had one that no one was dumb enough to write: Scot for the terrier (isn't there a little yappy-type Scottie dog?)

Good, fresh, c/as: ESCORT for cops, 1a (mic or AMP - only a pork sandwich can distinguish), 50a, 57d, 29d, 53d, and of course SOLO.

Fav: ANTENNAS as clued; I even scribbled HA! In the margin.
After last-night's "no negative waves man" conversation I was lookin' for bitchin' waves, dude OR some good KARMA, man.

Hahtoola - good to hear for you. Hopefully the rain we're getting doesn't move your way (shouldn't be much left - been dumping ~1" here every day this week). BTW, I too listen to WWDTM but on NPRNow (sat radio).

Bill-o: LOL IONA College!

Feelin' like HG - quiz time: Anyone know the song that starts "Feeling DOWN AND DIRTY"?

I won't keep you in suspense (and everyone's asleep already...) it's from Foreigner.

Like what you did there Steve :-)

Cheers, -T

C.C. Burnikel said...

In case anyone wonders, Don and I sent this puzzle to Rich on Nov 11, 2015, three months before Ed's NYT puzzle was published.