Feb 29, 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016 C.C. Burnikel

Theme: Today. Like the month, the entries end with a synonym for leap.

37A. February 29th ... and, based on the ends of 16-, 24-, 49- and 60-Across, this puzzle's title : LEAP DAY

16A. Mideast protest movement that began in 2010 : ARAB SPRING

24A. Cash cache : BANK VAULT

49A. Morally obliged : DUTY BOUND

60A. TV actor who played the Maytag repairman : GORDON JUMP. (The Big Guy, Mr. Carlson)

Argyle here on a very special day. Maybe you math types can figure it out. I started the month and now I am closing the month. When will this happen again? Oh yeah, the puzzle. I better hop to it.

Across:

1. Frequent-flier no., e.g. : ACCT. I'm no frequent-flier so no number here.

5. Rental agreement : LEASE

10. Many GRE takers : SRs. College seniors going to grad school take the Graduate Record Examination.

13. Big, fancy dinner : GALA

14. Finalize, as a comic strip : INK IN

15. Tiny pest : GNAT

18. Mount St. Helens outflow : LAVA

19. Cloud computing giant : IBM

20. Crotchety oldster : COOT. "Stay off of my lawn!"

21. Postpone : DEFER

22. "Little Broken Hearts" singer Jones : NORAH. She is the daughter of Ravi Shankar and the half-sister of Anoushka Shankar. You can hear the influence in this song but the meaning?...that's something else.



27. Win-win : NO LOSE

29. Tall tale : YARN or perhaps 61D. Flowery poem : ODE

30. Run fast : GALLOP

31. Bond or Bourne : SPY. Bad boys.

32. [Oh, well] : [SIGH]

36. E-tailer's address : URL. Internet address.

40. Cow sound : {MOO!}

41. Sailboat staff : MAST

43. Will Ferrell holiday movie : "ELF"

44. Really into : KEEN ON

46. Makeover : REDO

48. 14-legged crustacean : ISOPOD. They've been around a long time and come in many forms.

53. Dull finish : MATTE

55. Laura's classic "Dick Van Dyke Show" wail : "OH, ROB!"



56. Dubliner's land : EIRE

58. Golfer's double bogey, usually : SIX. The most common length hole is a par 4, ergo, double bogey(two over par) is 6.

59. Put on weight : GAIN

63. Sound-off button : MUTE

64. Headache relief brand : ADVIL

65. Part of town : AREA

66. Ginger __ : ALE

67. Take care of : SEE TO

68. Second to none : BEST. C.C., of course.

Down:

1. "Encore!" : "AGAIN!"

2. Rich pasta dish : CARBONARA. Based on eggs, cheese, bacon, and black pepper.

3. New England shellfish sandwiches : CLAM ROLLS

4. It's picked up in bars : TAB

5. Cosmetic surg. option : LIPO. (liposuction)

6. Dress like Judge Judy : ENROBE

7. Curly-tailed guard dog : AKITA

8. Envy or lust : SIN

9. An official lang. of Hong Kong : ENGlish

10. Big mess : SNAFU

11. "Bolero" composer : RAVEL

12. Set in motion : START

15. Collects bit by bit : GLEANS

17. Where subjects are taught : SCHOOL

21. TiVo, for one : DVR. (digital video recorder)

23. Every bit : ALL

25. "Cagney & Lacey" law-enforcing gp. : NYPD. (New York Police Department)

26. Paddled boats : KAYAKs

28. Swim team swimsuit : SPEEDO. Those crazy boys at Seton Hall.

30. Orbit, e.g. : GUM

31. Sunscreen letters : SPF. (Sun Protection Factor)

33. Uncertain words : I'M NOT SURE

34. Happy days : GOOD TIMES. Both were sitcoms.

35. Sweetie : HON

38. Baseball's Felipe or Moises : ALOU

39. Naval petty officers : YEOMEN

42. "Have a sample" : "TRY ONE"

45. Org. concerned with pesticides : EPA. (Environmental Protection Agency)

47. Tidal retreat : EBB

48. "Ta-da!" : "I DID IT!"

49. Religious doctrine : DOGMA

50. Ryder rival : U-HAUL. Truck rentals.

51. All too familiar : TRITE

52. Timid person's lack : NERVE

54. Yank in China, maybe : EXPAT. Shortened Yankee and expatriate.

57. Chewy caramel candy : ROLO

60. __ station : GAS

62. Quick punch : JAB

Argyle


Feb 28, 2016

Sunday, Feb 28, 2016 Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: "Putting in Overtime" - OT is added to each theme answer.

21A. Cold weather moisturizer? : THE LOTION IN WINTER. "The Lion in Winter". I discovered this two winters ago. Very moisturizing.


36A. Moor's money pool? : OTHELLO KITTY. Hello Kitty.

57A. Best Western fishing amenities? : MOTEL BROOKS. Mel Brooks.

66A. Business where lines are discouraged? : BOTOX OFFICE. Box office.

88A. Child-friendly? : SUITED TO A TOT. Suited to a T.

106A. Queen's body double? : OTHER ROYAL MAJESTY. Her Royal Majesty.
 
14D. Spoils at your neighbor's house? : THE BOOTY NEXT DOOR. The Boy Next Door.

35D. Did away with voting? : DROPPED THE BALLOT. Dropped the ball.

I think this is Jeffrey's first Sunday puzzle. Congrats, Jeffrey! 

Despite heavy themage, Jeffrey packed a bunch of long fill in this 138-word grid. Two 10's, two 9's and ten 8's, four of which are placed side by side, which is very hard to pull off cleanly.

I also liked lots of today's clues, esp 91. Periods in sentences : TERMS

Across:
     
1. __ Picchu : MACHU

6. Library fixture : LAMP. Not BOOK or DESK.

10. Early name in late TV : PAAR (Jack)

14. Bit : TAD

17. They help define a lot : ACRES

18. "Eraserhead" star Jack : NANCE. Unknown figure to me.

19. __ à manger: dining room : SALLE. "Room" in French.

20. Pink, for example : HUE

24. "More of the same" letters : ETC

25. Boards : STEPS ONTO

26. Trig function : SINE

27. Real Madrid's game : FUTBOL. Called Zu Qiu in Chinese. Literally "foot's ball".

29. Bar offerings : SHOTS

30. Campus challenges : FINALS

32. Judd of country music : NAOMI. We had her last Sunday.

33. Freed (of) : RID

39. Zen paradox : KOAN. Any of you familiar with the Japanese anime Ikkyu san? Very popular in my teens. Ikkyu is a little monk.


40. Features of some traffic signals : ARROWS

42. Charged atoms : IONS

43. Hi-__ image : RES

44. Mini- analog : ETTE

45. Sheltered spots : NOOKS

46. Lionel Hampton's instrument : VIBES. Vibraphones. Google shows that he was called "King of Vibes".


48. Fulfill the requirements : QUALIFY. Easy crossing QUO (48. Status __ ). Otherwise, I might not have got it.

50. Econ. statistics : GNPs. Of course I had GDPs first.

51. Target of icing : CAKE. 52. Target of icing : PUCK. Nice clue echo.

53. Linguistic source of "pajamas" : HINDI. Also "guru", "shampoo", "pundit" and a few more. We also have 110. Dish name from the Tamil for "sauce" : CURRY

56. Ability scorned by many : ESP
 
60. Unhidden : OVERT

61. Affixed, in a way : TIED ON

63. Voyage segment : LEG

64. Top spots : APEXES

65. Not as expected : ODDER. The answer is indeed "Not as expected".

72. Defunct carrier : TWA

73. Seller of chew toys : PETCO

74. From scratch : ANEW

75. Secretary of Education Duncan : ARNE. Not any more. Needs "former".

76. Shaft access : ADIT. Also 99. Needle holder : ETUI. Our old friends are back.

77. Flattering : HONEYED

79. Meir's successor : RABIN

81. Go on and on, with "on" : DRONE

82. Maker of Veriton computers : ACER. My monitor is an Acer. Great quality.

84. "How could I not see that?!" : DOH!

85. Assistant to millions : SIRI. Did you get this immediately, Gary?

86. Some factory workers : ROBOTS

87. Noodle variety : SOBA. Made of buckwheat flour. Often served cold.


92. Poppycock : ROT

93. Steaming : IRATE

95. European travel guide author Rick __ : STEVES. He's on NPR a few times. So glad we don't need to clue it as a plural given name any more.

96. Geek Squad pros : TECHS

98. First named Atlantic storm in 10 different years to date : ARLENE. I don't understand the clue.

100. Johann : "Sehr gut" :: Jacques : "__ bien" : TRES. Very good.

101. Compel to accept, as ideas : FORCE UPON

105. Up to, on invites : TIL

109. Words with a certain ring : I DO. Sweet clue also.

111. Stymies : FOILS

112. Danny __, Shel Silverstein's "dancin' bear" : O'DARE. Unknown to me.


113. Crookshanks, in Harry Potter fiction : CAT. Learning moment as well.

114. Moves it : HIES

115. Animal rights issue : FURS

116. Utterly enchant : BESOT
  
Down:

1. Pilates class array : MATS

2. Zwei quadrupled : ACHT. Luckiest number in Chinese/Japanese culture.

3. First Nations tribe : CREE

4. Makes it easier : HELPS

5. Hope venues for 50 yrs. : USO SHOWS. Bob Hope.

6. Ancient Chinese sage : LAO-TSE. Quite a few different spellings. Lao-tzu seems to be more common in the west. It's just Lao-zi in China.


7. Latin dating word : ANNO

8. It merged with WorldCom in 1998 : MCI. Drew a blank also.

9. Retirement plans : PENSIONS

10. Classic delivery vehicle : PANEL TRUCK

11. Space bar neighbor : ALT

12. Beth preceder : ALEF. First Hebrew letter

13. TV Land fare : RERUN

15. Defunct self-serve eatery : AUTOMAT

16. Just say no : DECLINE

18. Like Pluto, once : NINTH. Simple in respect.

19. Exodus high point : SINAI

22. Attention-getters on the road : TOOTS. And 23. Attention-getters at a bar : WINKS

28. Relax : TAKE FIVE

30. Antarctic sight : FLOE

31. Outback fare : STEAKS

33. Kitchen remodeling selection : RANGETOP

34. '60s-'70s TV detective : IRONSIDE. Never saw it.

37. Fact-checking can help avoid it : LIBEL. Got via crosses.

38. Haute couture initials : YSL. I really like Mulberry.

41. Gives a thumbs-up : OKs

46. Brewery container : VAT

47. Harry's successor : IKE

49. Wishful words : I HOPE

51. Flimflam : CON

52. Possum pal of Porky Pine : POGO

54. Gradually made a member of : DREW INTO

55. "Just checking the alarm, folks" : IT'S A TEST. Nice pair of 8's.

57. Nincompoop : MORON

58. Squander : BLOW

59. "Toy Story" dinosaur : REX. Gimme for me.

62. Work on a tree, maybe : DECORATE. Christmas tree.

64. Blackjack need : ACE

66. Gulf Coast environs : BAYOUS

67. Nearly flawless diamond highlights : ONE-HITTERS. Loved the clue & answer.

68. Red Sox legend Williams : TED. Frozen. He might come back to life someday. Who knows.

69. One-named Milanese model : FABIO

70. Calendar abbr. : FRI

71. Holiday __ : INN

76. Wall St. hedger : ARB

78. Script fixers, for short : EDs (Editors)

79. Gets out of Dodge : RIDES OFF

80. Applied __ : ARTS. Not familiar wit the term. You?

81. Get it finished : DO THE JOB. Great entry.

82. Like some lions : ASIATIC

83. Contest with picadors : CORRIDA

85. Cut : SEVER

86. "CBS Sunday Morning" correspondent Mo : ROCCA. He appears on "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" regularly. Who's your favorite "Wait Wait ..." panelist? Paula Poundstone is hilarious.



89. Absorbent cloth : TERRY

90. Micronesia components : ATOLLS

94. Father of Methuselah : ENOCH

97. Blue shoe material of song : SUEDE

101. Pretty, maidenwise : FAIR. OK, I get it. Fair maiden.

102. Antismoking TV spots, e.g. : PSAs

103. Alberto's alternative, with "el" : OTRO. The other.

104. Omsk objection : NYET

107. Charlemagne's realm: Abbr. : HRE

108. "As __ Like It" : YOU

C.C. 


Feb 27, 2016

Saturday, Feb 27th, 2016, Julian Lim

Theme: None

Words: 66 (missing F,Q)

Blocks: 35

I literally made a face ( to nobody in particular ) when I saw the constructor's name - I've never had much success with a Julian Lim puzzle, so why should today be any different~?  Have to admit to red-letter help, but no Google cheats - and that's an accomplishment, seeing the number of proper names * in the grid.  However, I am going to chalk this one up in the "win" column, as I somehow found the will to tough it out until I got my "ta-DA~!" and just over my personal allotted time.  Lowest word count I have seen on a Saturday, too.  Two spanners, two 13-letter spanners, and two 11-letter spanners;

20. Masters home : AUGUSTA NATIONAL - I was thinking golf to start, so I did not fall into some sort of "----MANSION" trap

48. Not as much : TO A LESSER EXTENT - very pleased I got this, tho I had to wait on perps and then allow it to coalesce in my brain
23. Chef's staples : SALT AND PEPPER - sort of echos the other 13-letter fill;

45*. Jet Tila and Mario Batali : RESTAURATEURS - I was pretty confident about the "-EURS" part at the end, so I tried "---AMATEURS", but no.  I do not recognize these names, but I am very familiar with the concept, seeing as I am regularly involved in the restaurant business - but I was looking for the "N", (restauraNteurs) which the dictionary says is an "Americanism" for the Frawche root word for 'providing food'

24. Shimmering South American denizens : NEON TETRAS - aquarium staple


40. Canterbury tales subject : ARCHBISHOP





 ~!





ACROSS:

1. Spot for a ride? : CAR AD - it took some time to parse this; now I think it's clever

6. Floored : AWED - an early WAG that worked

10. Pinking sound : SNIP - I happen to know that pinking shears are scissors, so another early WAG that stayed to the end


14. Meteorological prefix : ANEMO - meaning "wind"

15*. "United States of Tara" Emmy winner Collette : TONI - Perps

16. Corsair's syllables : YO HO - ho and a bottle of rum~!

17*. Colleague of Charms teacher Flitwick : SNAPE - good thing I am into Harry Potter - Filius & Severus; two guys with "tenure" at Hogwarts  :7))

18. Fly, commonly : LURE - or "A Lure", the first restaurant I started working at

19. "Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella," e.g. : NOEL - WAG

25. "Earth still holds __ her gate": Thomas Nashe : OPE - one of only four 3-letter fills

27. Juvenile : KID - the noun; I was in "adjective" mode at first

28. Man in black : NINJA - because (Johnny) CASH was too short, and "AGENT K" too long

32. Harvard's motto : VERITAS - needed a few perps to recall this

35. They'll put you down : ABASERS - pondered TEasers

37*. 2000s Vienna State Opera conductor : OZAWA - here's where the proper names started dragging me down

38*. Joelle Carter's "Justified" role : AVA

39. Geriatrics concerns: Abbr. : SRs

50*. Stop on the Turin-Genoa railway : ASTI

51. Pad __ : THAI - seems obvious now, but this just did not come to me


52. Place to find an argument, perhaps : ESSAY - COURT, ISSUE, nothing was working in the SE for me

53. Best selling point : PEAK - not PLUS, not PERK

54. Smokescreen : RUSE - not DUPE

55. Myrrh, e.g. : RESIN - I can never remember this

56. Get in on the deal : ANTE

57. Goes (for) : OPTS

58. Lifted : STOLE - theft synonyms

DOWN:

1. Condominio, por ejemplo : CASA

2. __ mirabilis: wonderful year : ANNUS - I went with annu-I

3. When Star Wars began : REAGAN ERA - because "A Long Time Ago..." would not fit


4. Shot container : AMPULE - ah, meds, not liquor

5. Inflicts on : DOES TO

6. Land down under? : ATLANTIS - I'm a big fan of "Ancient Aliens", and I am reading two books from authors featured on the show; this "lost" city is a popular topic

7. Hurt, as feelings : WOUNDED

8. All ears, say : ENRAPT

9. One cutting in the kitchen : DIETER

10. Abstract : SYNOPSIS - the noun, not the adjective, again

11. 2007 #1 hit for Alicia Keys : NO ONE

12. "It's been said ... " : "I HEAR..."

13. Exit __ : POLL - oops, not PLAN - that's 50% correct, but only 25% right

21. 31-syllable Japanese poem : TANKA - OK, who else went with HAIKU~!?  I was inspired to share with you my ventures into "limerickal" poetry; see below

22. "Dandy for your teeth" toothpaste : IPANA - really good WAG

25. Lacto-__ vegetarian : OVO

26. Candy created in Austria : PEZ

29. K-Cup competitor : NESPRESSO

sophisticated filter

30. Fantasy lit initials : J.R.R. - my first thought, but I figured the "T" for Tolkien needed to be in there

31. Sancho's "steed" : ASS

33. Sentence opener in many teens' stories : "I WAS LIKE..." - great clue/fill

34. Parisian fruit pie : TARTE - had it in, took it out....

35. Where to see some kites : AVIARIES - not AQUARIAS, which I know is completely wrong, but I mixed up my kites with skates

36. Scold vigorously : BASTE

38. Apprised (of) : ABREAST - always want to keep "a-breast" of the situation


41. 1961 Lenin Peace Prize recipient : CASTRO

42. Keep from spreading : HUSH UP

43. Spelling experts? : HEXERS - I knew we were looking for WITCH or WIZARD here

44. Get-go : OUTSET

45. 1953 A.L. MVP Al : ROSEN

46. Trouble greatly : EAT AT

47. Mail lead-in : SNAIL - snail mail~!  The good ol' Post Office

48. Spanish morsel : TAPA

49. Newcastle's river : TYNE - dah~! Not TYRE




I'm not TO A LESSER EXTENT

The KID with an AWED puzzle bent

The clues I do wrest

To keep you A-BREAST

My ESSAY on what J. Lim meant


I HEAR what PEZ DOES TO your teeth

So take one’s toothbrush from its sheath

Know you just wanna

Brush with IPANA

‘fore they EAT AT whats underneath



Splynter

Feb 26, 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016, James Sajdak

Theme: Your punishment is in the pun.

After seeing Todd Gross and SJSJ return after lengthy absences, we have today James Sajdak who did 24 puzzles by 2012 then one in 2013, one in 2014 and none last year. He was the subject of this INTERVIEW . His puzzles were all different and today he does sound a-like for humor. As with any puzzle crafted on humor, it is in the eyes of the beholder. I really liked the theme and all of the wonderful fill like SHADOW, MOHAIR, EQUITY, PALLID, RAW EGG, I'M GLAD, NED KELLY, TITICACA, IRONICALLY, INTAGLIOED some which had me buffaloed. The cluing also had some really stellar moments. Well on with the show.

20A. Québec quiche, e.g.? : CANADIAN BAKING (14). Canadian Bacon is our shout out to our Canadian readers. WHY is it called that? I like the double "QU."

26A. Saying "It wasn't me" when, in fact, it was? : COWARDLY LYING (13). The Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz, is replaced by a liar.

46A. "Wish we had built a bigger pyramid," e.g.? : EGYPTIAN RUING (13). The word RUIN is not related to the verb "to rue", but this still seems odd. I think it is because the other three phrases are words where an ending "ON" changed to ending in "ING" along with spelling changes.

56A. Greeting from a faithful friend? : WELCOME WAGGING (14). Welcome Wagon is a great service and they are all over Florida. Some hang out around Tinbeni. I was in Ybor City last weekend.
Across:

1. Publishing tasks : EDITS. I found Mark McClain's comment on Rich's changes very interesting.

6. Jack letters : MIC. The place you plug in your microphone.

9. "Hotel Imperial" (1927) star : NEGRI. Pola was a star.
14. Best New Artist Grammy winner after Alicia : NORAH.  Ravi Shankar's little girl. Which may have led to 61A. Sitar accompaniment : TABLA. I could not find one with Ravi, so here is a LINK.

15. Tesoro de la Sierra Madre : ORO. There's gold in them there Spanish hills.

16. Horse play : EQUUS. Another Friday clue/fill but I remember Richard Burton was in both the PLAY and the movie. Also Daniel Radcliffe-Harry Potter's first big role was in a revival of the play.

17. Kitchen drawer? : AROMA. Wonderful smells draw you into the kitchen. Awesome clue even if has been used before.

18. It can be cured : HAM. Again, what cluing.

19. "Beats me" : DUNNO.

23. Start of a weekly cry : TGI Friday.

24. "Either thou, __ ... must go with him": Romeo : OR I. I do love me our Friday dose of Shakespeare.

25. Ran into : MET.

33. Digitize, in a way : SCAN.

35. Squawk : YELL.

36. Greenwich Village sch. : NYUNew York University.

37. Set apart, as funds : ALLOT.

39. Layer : PLY. Mostly seen in TP ads these days.

40. Eastwood's "Rawhide" role : YATES. He was Rowdy.
42. Ref. book : VOLume.

43. Retail giant with stores in 23 U.S. states : IKEA. I get this often on Friday.

45. Bit of power : WATT.

51. Feel poorly : AIL.

52. Source of bills : ATM. Not the ones you pay, but the one you spend.

53. Stretcher, to Huck Finn : LIE. I do not recall the book that well.

62. Citrus cooler : ADE. Yay me.

63. Sarge's superior : LOOIE.

64. "Hamlet" courtier : OSRIC. He is the courtier sent by Claudius to invite Hamlet to participate in the duel with Laertes. A double dose.

65. Fix : RIG. Our crime corner.

66. Supports illegally : ABETS.

67. Mary's upstairs neighbor : RHODA. Valerie is hanging in there..
68. Cooper creation : KEG. That is where the name comes from, barrel or keg makers.

69. Performed, in the Bible : DIDS'T. Thou did too.

Down:

1. Pass : ENACT.

2. Modern kerchief cousin : DO RAG. Taken over by bikers and women.

3. How many O. Henry stories end : IRONICALLY. Which is more famous, Gift of the Magi or Ransom of Red Chief?

4. Writer Janowitz : TAMA. Luckily this was all filled because I never heard of HER or any of the brat pack of authors.

5. Sunny day phenomenon : SHADOW. Cute misdirection.

6. Angora fabric : MOHAIR.

7. Republic since 1979 : IRAN.

8. Search high and low : COMB. Fine tooth anyone?

9. Legendary Australian outlaw : NED KELLY. This man was truly ROWDY.  We will have to ask Kazie how his legend is now in Oz.

10. Fairness : EQUITY.

11. "Treasure Island" castaway Ben : GUNN. All from the mind of RLS.

12. Step up? : RUNG. Literal.

13. Prefix with bar : ISO.

21. George's lyrical brother : IRA. He wrote the words.

22. __ alcohol: fusel oil component : AMYL.

27. Bed-in for Peace participant : ONO.

28. "Blowin' in the Wind" songwriter : DYLAN. Still an anthem of my generation.
29. Early spaceflight proponent Willy __ : LEY. This was a very interesting MAN.

30. Like petroglyphs : INTAGLIOED. First you need to know petroglyphs, but the perps were fair.

31. Nikita's no : NYET. Did the shoe come off?


32. Sudden blow : GUST.

33. Word processing command : SAVE.

34. Blockage : CLOG. Did you have trouble sinking of the answer.

38. Bolivian border lake : TITICACA. Geography 1. READ.

39. Shade of green : PEA.

41. Botanical beard : AWN. Botany STUDY.

44. Smuggler's unit : KILO. Drugs....

47. Wan : PALLID.

48. Caesar salad dressing ingredient : RAW EGG. Very few do the CLASSIC with the egg yolks.

49. Acting guru Hagen : UTA.

50. "Good for you" : I'M GLAD.

54. OK components : INITS. Initials.

55. Throw out : EGEST. In goes in; E goes out.

56. Load in a basket : WASH.

57. River of Spain : EBROLESSON 2 time.

58. Con man's target : MARK.

59. Falco of "Nurse Jackie" : EDIE. Also Mrs. Soprano.

60. Silk Road desert : GOBI. Lesson 3. We need to study our GEOGRAPHY.

61. 2015 A.L. East champ : TORonto Blue Jays.

Well that was a fun work out; welcome back James and hope you all had fun. My Oscar prediction: Chris Rock will be funny. Lemonade out. Yo Adrian!

Feb 25, 2016

Thursday, February 25th, 2016 C.C.Burnikel

Theme: "And the Oscar goes to ..."

60A. Award to be announced February 28, previously won by the first words of 17-, 23-, 39- and 51-Across : BEST PICTURE

17A. Intensive study program : CRASH COURSE. Somewhat of a controversial winner for this 2004 release. The director, Paul Haggis, was quoted later as saying "Was this the best picture of the year? I don't think so".

23A. It's the opposite of a flying one : ROCKY START. Yo, Sylvester! This 1976 original in the franchise has been cropping up quite frequently in crosswords recently.

39A. Mighty clash : TITANIC STRUGGLE. Kate Winslet recently said of this 1997 tear-jerker "There was plenty of room for Jack".


51A. 2014 WNBA Finals runner-up : CHICAGO SKY. I got myself into a terrific mess down in this area when I decided that the movie title was GHOST. ON TOW seemed more natural than IN TOW, and AGAI berries sounded familiar. ETHOS got shoehorned in too. Never mind that "Ghost" never won Best Picture. The 2002 "Chicago" deservedly did. 

Closing in on Oscar weekend with a C.C. movie boxed set. As I mentioned above, I made a huge mess of the SE section, and, rarely for me, had to walk away and come back to it later, at which point things finally fell into place. A nice challenge.


Across:

1. Beach tube letters : SPF

4. Tube in Paris : METRO. Here's the Anvers station entrance in Montmartre which I snapped on my visit in January. I love the art deco signage on some of the older stations.


9. __ butter: cosmetic moisturizer : SHEA

13. Roofing sealant : TAR

14. Gem weight unit : CARAT. Carat is a unit of weight, karat is a unit of purity. Repeat until klear. I mean clear.

15. Home extension? : STEAD

16. __ standstill : AT A

19. Classic laundry soap : RINSO. Do they still make this stuff?

21. They're drunk at socials : TEAS. Not at my socials, they're not. But then again my socials are more commonly referred to as "happy hours".

22. Fish in hamo, a Japanese delicacy : EEL. Food! Hamo is the pike eel. If you want some zen-chill moments, check out the videos from three-star Michelin chef Seiji Yamamoto showing how to prep and serve the fish here.

26. Auto racer Busch : KYLE. If you just have the K you need to wait for the crosses - big brother Kurt is also in the same business.

27. "Uh-huh" : I SEE

28. Miscellany : OLIO. I always smile when I see this - C.C. was kind enough to explain the difference between OLIO and OLEO to me when I was a crossword puzzle rookie and confused on a daily basis.

30. Faux pas : SLIP

33. Certain king's pride : MANE. Nice wordplay on the lion's pride.

36. Nunavut people : INUIT

42. Simple type of question : YES/NO. Or a really difficult one - "The chicken came first. Yes or No?".

43. "Good one!" : HA HA

44. Dumped, perhaps : SOLD

45. Sister brand of the Sensor razor : ATRA. I joined Dollar Shave Club a couple of years ago and stopped spending crazy amounts of money on razor blades.

47. "You've found the right person" : I'M IT

49. D.C. bigwigs : POLS

57. Wood-scratching tool : AWL

58. Pakistani bread : NAAN. Food! It gets its traditional teardrop shape from hanging off the inside of the tandoor while it cooks.


59. Loosen, as laces : UNTIE

64. Cellular messenger : RNA

65. Take the helm : STEER. Aye, aye, Skipper.

66. Trees yielding caffeine-rich nuts : KOLAS

67. Staples of many websites : ADS

68. Giveaway bag : TOTE

69. One-for-one deals : SWAPS. Did people ever swap things at swap meets?

70. Touch gently : PAT. Could have been PET. Wasn't.

Down:

1. British Invasion drummer : STARR. RINGO went in. Then came out. Richard Starkey, MBE. Replaced the Fifth Beatle Pete Best as drummer. Wait, the Fifth Beatle was Stu Sutcliffe? See 9D.

2. Hibachi spot : PATIO. Somewhere to grill your hamo.

3. Mali money : FRANC

4. Real people? : McCOYS. Clue of the day for me. "The real McCoy".

5. Maestro's forte : EAR.

6. Refrain bit : TRA. La. La.

7. Many a reggae musician : RASTA. I'm reading Paul Theroux's book "Dark Star Safari" on my current trip, and discovered yesterday that Haile Selassie's birth name was Ras Tafari, hence the Rastafarians. Learning moment.

8. Additional : OTHER

9. "Fifth Beatle" Sutcliffe : STU. This might be a questionable clue for a Beatles purist. The original drummer, Pete Best, usually gets the "fifth Beatle" moniker. As far as recorded material was concerned, Billy Preston is commonly termed the "fifth Beatle" and played with the band at their final public appearance on the rooftop of Apple in 1969.

10. "Sure, take it!" : HERE YOU GO

11. Picasso supporter : EASEL

12. "Set Fire to the Rain" singer : ADELE

15. Call for help : .S.O.S.

18. "The Censor" of Rome : CATO. The Elder. Apparently a divisive character: "Cato was hated for his pedantic bigotry, but respected as an able politician and good orator." Difficult to reconcile those two.

20. Part of a winter suit : SKI PANTS

24. Penultimate contest, for its winner : SEMI. Ultimate contest for the loser.

25. Work with pupils : TEACH

26. Bob Marley Museum city : KINGSTON, Jamaica.

29. The Blackbirds of the NCAA's Northeast Conf. : LIU. Long Island University, Brooklyn as I'm sure we all knew :) Thank you, crosses.

30. Babe's pen : STY. Movie pig Babe.

31. Falsity : LIE. "I cannot tell one". Oh wait, I think I just did!

32. "Everything's ready to go!" : IT'S ALL SET

34. Surveillance org. : NSA

35. Moral principle : ETHIC. I forced ETHOS in here to work with my GHOST woes.

37. Not close to 100% : ILL

38. Texas senator Cruz : TED. Topical Ted.

40. Neither partner : NOR

41. Avatar of Vishnu : RAMA


46. Faddish berry in smoothies : ACAI. Not AGAI, Steve. Have a word with yourself.

48. Hesitant okay : I GUESS

49. Old Milwaukee maker : PABST

50. Have because of : OWE TO

52. Accesses illegally, in a way : HACKS

53. Hitched behind : IN TOW. I got fixated on the car-breakdown "ON TOW" usage and ignored the possibility of anything else for quite some time.


54. Camera holder : STRAP

55. In a way, slangily : KINDA

56. Old Milwaukee-making ingredient : YEAST. Both the maker and the means today.

58. "Morning Edition" airer : NPR

61. Links supporter : TEE

62. Suffix with form : ULA

63. Criticize : RAP. Tried RIP first, then couldn't make sense of KOLIS. Sanity prevailed. As I said, the SE corner was a whole slew of mess for me until I stepped away for a while (and a couple of glasses of wine, maybe that was the trick!)

Here's the grid, and have a good day!

Steve

Note from C.C.

JD is now vacationing in Hawaii. Here are two fantastic pictures she sent to me yesterday. I never heard of Mount Haleakalā before.


Feb 24, 2016

Wednesday Feb 24, 2016, Kenneth Berniker

Title: SYNERGY 

Husker Gary back at the helm and after shuffling some vowels around, I got 'er done. Even I got Kenneth's fun theme of five, count 'em five, different ways of prefacing a word or phrase with SIN or one of its homophones. What a hoot!


16. Form by combining elements : SYNTHESIZE - The shuttle's 3 main engines SYNTHESIZE 
H2 + O2  from the orange fuel tank into H2O in the exhaust 


22. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" singer : CYNDI LAUPER - Obviously in any language



33. Fictional voyager : SINBAD THE SAILOR - As I said, in any language



49. Sparkle : SCINTILLATE - Nothing SCINTILLATES like a girl's best friend



59. Host of the 2015 MLB All-Star Game : CINCINNATI - One of the biggest stars of that night was this ex-CINCINNATI player Pete Rose that MLB allowed to participate despite his lifetime ban from the game for betting 



And the reveal


44. Wicked ... and, homophonically, like five long puzzle answers : SINFUL - SINFUL desserts on a SIN City (Las Vegas) cart



Not one SCINTILLA of criticism or SINISTER comment from this corner. Let's examine the SINEW of Kenneth's fine puzzle! (Stop me before I SIN again!!)


Across  


1. Lobsters' sense organs : PALPI - Sensory organs on the mandible in the middle of the picture. What a 1 Across!


6. Celebs : VIPS

10. Flight from the law : LAM


13. Poker declaration : I'M OUT - Uh, I'M OUT!



14. "__ my guard down" : I LET 


15. Famille patriarch : PERE - Paris pop


18. One-piece garments, slangily : UNIS - UNIsuitS on 2012 Women's Olympic Rowing Team



19. Rome-based carrier : ALITALIA - Wake me when we land at da Vinci Airport


20. Toll road timesaver : E-Z PASS - It's faster but not this much!



24. Performer's supporters : FAN BASE

28. Guacamole, e.g. : DIP


29. Twisty letter : ESS


30. Diva delivery : ARIA - On Fridays, it's clued Nessun Dorma


31. Snoozed : SLEPT - Yes we did. 



40. Retired New York senator Al D'__ : AMATO


41. Rational : SANE


42. DDE rival : AES - Adlai Stevenson was the Democratic sacrificial lamb against Ike



45. Esteemed league member : IVY


46. N, in Morse code : DASH DOT .-- .... .- -  .-  ..-. ..- -.  .--. ..- --.. --.. .-.. . is "What a fun puzzle" in Morse code. Can you find the "N"?


52. Currencies : MONEYS


53. Irrationality : UNREASON -  "To be loyal to rags, to shout for rags, to worship rags, to die for rags -- that is a loyalty of UNREASON...invented by monarchy" Mark Twain - A Connecticut in King Arthur's Court


58. Bravo preceder : ALFA  - NATO alphabet


61. Not masc. or fem. : NEUT


62. Prod : URGE


63. Gold brick : INGOT - An INGOT of gold is 400 oz. and worth about $500,000 - give or take



64. Fashion monogram : YSL


65. Jury member : PEER


66. Fluff, as hair : TEASE


Down


1. Italian capital of its own province : PISA


2. Kind of nitrite : AMYL - An ingredient that can be found in these "poppers"  to give you a quick rush



3. Actress Anderson : LONI - My fav WKRP In CINCINNATI character!


4. Golf stroke that can be practiced in a hallway : PUTT


5. Cornell University city : ITHACA - A 45 Across member


6. Brand that "gets the red out" : VISINE


7. Epic with a very big horse : ILIAD 


8. Refillable candy : PEZ


9. Metal playing marbles : STEELIES - Is that a STEELY Dominic is using?



10. Delaware Valley tribe : LENAPE - Most were eventually were forced into Indian Territory/Oklahoma by the 1860's


11. Comes into view : ARISES


12. Salutation abbreviation : MESSRS - Dear MESSRS Spock, Kirk and McCoy, Please beam us up some residuals. Scotty, Sulu and the Gang


15. Bite-size Chinese appetizer : PU PU - Tastes better than the name



17. Tarzan portrayer Ron et al. : ELYS


21. Mothers of Invention musician : ZAPPA


23. Empty, as threats : IDLE - Must be an election year


24. Fourth notes : FAS - Long, long ways to run...


25. "Entourage" agent Gold : ARI


26. Diarist Anaïs : NIN


27. Rum-soaked cake : BABA - One way to add the rum!



31. "The Affair" airer, briefly : SHO


32. Morticia, to Gomez : TISH - Ah, great TV, The Addams Family


34. Peaceful relations : AMITY


35. Annual tennis team event : DAVIS CUP - This year's pairings if you're interested



36. Texting farewell : TTYL - Talk (probably Text) To You Later

37. Chap : LAD - It's time for Name That Tune with this lyric "When I was just a LAD of ten, my father said to me..."


38. Lennon partner : ONO


39. On Soc. Sec. : RET


42. The same number : AS MANY 


43. Places where élèves study : ECOLES - Even Splynter and I can translate this 



46. One of the reindeer : DANCER - Not DASHER I find out


47. "The Bell of __": Longfellow : ATRI


48. "Don't need to watch that movie again" : SEEN IT - What's the record for Caddyshack?


50. Spiffy : NEAT


51. Fencing attack : LUNGE


54. Celebrity chef Burrell : ANNE


55. Lengthy story : SAGA


56. Nebraska natives : OTOS - Let's play Find That County (alt. spelling)


57. Evening, in ads : NITE

60. Anger : IRE


Why do I keep hearing a McGuire Sisters song rolling around in my head?  Oh well, Let he that is without SIN cast the first snarky nit!


The Grid: