, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: 2017


Dec 31, 2017

Sunday, Dec 31, 2017 Robert E. Lee Morris

Theme: "Alien Nation" - Last word in each theme entry is an anagram of a country.

23A. *Menace to society : PUBLIC ENEMY. Yemen.

25A. *Old-school letters : SNAIL MAIL. Mali.
49A. *Tropical cocktail : MANGO TANGO. Tonga.

68A. *Neckwear for which Mr. T was once famous (but no longer wears) : GOLD CHAIN. China.

89A. *Hobby shop purchase : MODEL PLANE. Nepal.

109A. *Deluge : HEAVY RAIN. Iran.

33D. *Soap, often : DAYTIME SERIAL. Israel.

39D. *Flu symptoms : ACHES AND PAINS. Spain.

113A. Remote region ... and what literally ends each answer to a starred clue : WILD COUNTRY

C.C. here. Down with a flu. A repeat of that awful episode in 2015. Relentless coughing.

Skeletal write-up today. If you have any question, please ask in the Comments section.

1. Turn in the box : AT BAT

6. Pour out forcefully : SPEW

10. Sailing : ASEA

14. Dip providing potassium, for short : GUAC. Guacamole.

18. Drink with an umbrella : MAI TAI

20. Scat legend, familiarly : ELLA

21. Diamond slip-up : BALK

22. Austen classic : EMMA

27. A or Angel : ALER. American Leaguer.

28. "Immediately, if not sooner!" : ASAP

30. Jeweler's assortment : RINGS

31. Doc's orders : MEDs. Do you guys all get the flu shot? I never had one.

34. Ryan in a 1998 film, e.g.: Abbr. : PVT. Saving Private Ryan.

36. Macho guys : HE-MEN

38. Party animals? : STAGS

42. BWI posting : ETA

43. Word on a wanted poster : ALIAS

45. Canine protection : ENAMEL

47. Prefix with polis : ACRO

48. Kind of milk or sauce : SOY.  I only want cold water and hot jasmine tea.

51. Pledged, in a way : TITHED

53. Common FM radio fare : HIT SONG

55. Hands over : CEDES

56. Sign off on : AGREE TO

57. Bring out : ELICIT

58. "Can I have a __ of your drink?" : SIP

59. "That was close!" : PHEW

60. Coll. term : SEM (Semester)

61. Trial version : DEMO

62. Look forward to : AWAIT

64. Coolly dispassionate : CLINICAL

66. MLB stat : ERA

70. Issue opener? : NON. Non-issue.

71. They're sold as is : USED CARS

73. Choral composition : MOTET

74. Former Laker star Lamar : ODOM. Probably more famous for his marriage to Khloe Kardashian once.

77. Manhattan suffix : ITE

78. Partner : MATE

79. Pine __ : TAR

80. Spot on a horse : DAPPLE

82. Not insist on payment of, as a debt : FORGIVE

84. Weasel-like animal also called a honey badger : RATEL

87. Pirate's ship : CORSAIR

88. Hydrocodone, e.g. : OPIATE

91. "__ Got a Secret": old game show : I'VE

92. Hemsworth of "The Hunger Games" : LIAM. Boyfriend of Miley Cyrus.

93. Justice replaced by Gorsuch : SCALIA

95. Major artery : AORTA

96. Zilch : NIL

97. Broad valleys : DALES

99. Divvy up : ALLOT

100. Part of Q and A: Abbr. : ANS (Answers)

101. "By Jove!" : I SAY

102. "Gone With the Wind" family name : O'HARA

104. Nothing to write home about : SO SO

107. Loads : A TON

118. Wheel connector : AXLE. Also 37. Fancy wheels : MAGS

119. "In that case ... " : IF SO

120. Leg up : EDGE

121. Body shop application : PRIMER

122. Close by : NEAR

123. Legal document : DEED

124. What Jack Sprat's wife couldn't eat : LEAN
125. Factions : SECTS
1. Power-increasing gadget : AMP

2. 19th Greek letter : TAU

3. Lobster eater's accessory : BIB

4. Aid in planning a trip : ATLAS

5. Follow : TAIL

6. One percent of a D.C. group--or the group itself : SEN. Senator or Senate.

7. Earnest request : PLEA

8. O'Neill's "Desire Under the __" : ELMS

9. Winning by a mile : WAY AHEAD

10. Six-pack set : ABs

11. Italian Riviera resort : SAN REMO

12. Friend of Jerry, George and Cosmo : ELAINE. "Seinfeld".

13. Comparable : AKIN

14. Idaho nickname : GEM STATE

15. Actress Thurman : UMA

16. Brest friend : AMI

17. Silent __: White House nickname : CAL
19. Factory with frozen assets : ICE PLANT

24. "Dr." with MVP awards : ERVING. Dr. J.

26. Some smartphones : LGs

29. Rigatoni alternative : PENNE

31. Fit together : MESHED
32. French star : ETOILE
35. Playground game : TAG
40. Storybook sister : GRETEL

41. Doomed biblical city : SODOM

43. Mine, in Metz : A MOI

44. Church gatherings : SOCIALS
46. Three-star mil. officer : LT GEN

50. Hardly gung-ho : TEPID

52. "Crocodile Hunter" Steve __ : IRWIN
54. Brahms creation : SCORE

56. "Ooh! I know this! Gimme __" : A HINT

58. Promised : SWORE

59. Tradesperson : PLIER

 62. Type type : AGATE

63. Channel for film buffs : TCM

64. Tree with long beanlike pods : CATALPA

65. Houses with layers : COOPS. Lay-ers. Hens.
67. Fess up : ADMIT

69. Monopoly piece : HOTEL

71. Word from the Greek for "not a place" : UTOPIA

72. Succumbs to pressure : CAVES

75. Singer Newton-John : OLIVIA

76. Just : MERELY

77. Music to a bluffer's ears : I FOLD

80. "Keep going!" : DON'T STOP

81. Square measurement : AREA

83. Words a pinball wizard hates to see : GAME OVER
84. Hot streak : ROLL

85. "So long, José" : ADIOS

 86. Kitchen cloth : TEA TOWEL

87. "The Tonight Show" character with a turban : CARNAC

89. Vague unease : MALAISE

90. Mauna __ : LOA

94. Wine choice : CARAFE
98. Short : SHY

101. Navel type : INNIE

103. Extremely dry : ARID

105. Debate team, for example : SIDE

 106. Gymnast Korbut : OLGA

108. Yours and mine : OURS
109. Solo in "Star Wars" : HAN

110. PC file suffix : EXE

111. SEC powerhouse : ALA

 112. Drop off : NOD

114. Man cave setting : DEN

115. HBO competitor : TMC

116. Collecting Soc. Sec. : RET

117. What birthday candles represent: Abbr. : YRS


Dec 30, 2017

Saturday, December 30, 2017, C.C. Burnikel


Husker Gary here to review a puzzle submitted by our "Swiss Army Knife" leader C.C. She runs this blog, blogs Sunday puzzles, mediates contentious issues, partners with many of us on constructing and produces puzzles for every day of the week at all levels of difficulty! Wow!

Let's see what our mistress has for us on this day before the last day of 2017 and our final Saturday of the year:


1. On-the-go frozen breakfast : EGGO BITES - Just another good reason to enjoy syrup!

10. "Love, all alike, no season knows, nor __": Donne : CLIME - DONNE did "Git 'er done" would have two homophones

15. Sinatra's wife after Ava Gardner : MIA FARROW - Ava on Mia - "I always knew Frank would wind up in bed with a boy"

16. "Breaking Bad" toxin : RICIN - Chemistry teacher Walt cooked meth but used this deadly product of the castor bean to kill a rival

17. Exercise for the lower leg : CALF RAISE - This is called a Donkey CALF RAISE

18. In the presence of : AMONG

19. Creator of the album "Reflection," which consists of one 54-minute track : ENO

20. Tijuana pronoun : ESA - Me gusta ESA música ENO (I like that ENO music)

21. Gulf of Finland republic : ESTONIA

23. 2001 bankruptcy headliner : ENRON - Their bankruptcy cost my uncle his retirement and dignity and here is their CEO Ken Lay doing one of his 34. Controversial police procedure practices : PERP WALKS

25. Shaper in a shop : LATHE and 64. "My bad" : OOPS SORRY

27. Minor player : COG - That describes me here

28. Tuscany city : SIENA - We walked in SIENA where bareback horse races around the town square have been run twice a year for hundreds of years

29. Kind of butter used in skin care : SHEA - Is that why the Mets are "butter fingered"? Yeah, I'll keep my day job!

30. Pop, in Paris : PERE

31. __ jump : SKI -  Remember the show where the tagline for this mishap was, "The agony of defeat"?

33. To a large degree : IN SPADES - Highest Rank suit in Contract Bridge

35. Most likely : APTEST

38. Car system : STEREO

39. Homemade crystal products : AM RADIOS - I first listened to Husker football on an AM CRYSTAL RADIO over 60 years ago

41. "Entourage" agent Gold : ARI - Played by Jeremy Pivens who I really like

42. Driving force? : UBER - Worked well for us. The app shows you the nearest UBER driver and displays her progress as she drives toward you

43. Twin Cities daily, familiarly : TRIB - Our constructors hometown paper

45. Historic times : PASTS

49. Address-ending word : NET 

50. Overplay : EMOTE

51. Tabbouleh grain : WHEAT - A Levantine (from the Levant) grain and herb salad

52. Walked-over : TRODDEN

54. Energy Star co-mgr. : EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

56. Modern art? : ARE - How Great Thou ART! vs. How Great You ARE!

57. Decluttering maven Kondo : MARIE - MARIE, thy name ART a mystery to me!

58. Branch : AFFILIATE

61. Strange : ALIEN

62. Wasted call? : DRUNK DIAL - The call isn't wasted, the caller is!

63. Literature Nobelist who served in the Irish Senate : YEATS - and now a  tourist attraction


1. Runs the show : EMCEES - Remember Bert Parks and his famous song?

2. Designer Versace : GIANNI - His murder in his Miami mansion will lead off FX's America's Crime Story next month

 3. See 33-Across : GALORE - Did anyone else think of a Bond Girl?

4. Inaccurate : OFF 

5. Completely uncovered : BARE NAKED - I only know of the group called BARE NAKED LADIES because they wrote and recorded the theme song to this fabulously successful TV show

6. Nest egg accts. : IRAS

7. Court affairs : TRIALS

8. Sister of Helios : EOS - We usually see her and her friendly letters as the goddess of dawn

9. Improves, as an offer : SWEETENS

10. Box : CRATE

11. Long ride? : LIMO

12. "You win" : I CONCEDE - Rhoda says "I give up!"

13. Cookie in Snak Saks : MINI OREO - There's no where to hide from OREOS of any size in crossword puzzles

14. Keeps occupied : ENGAGES - A teacher who ENGAGES an angry student in an argument can't win

22. View from Yreka : SHASTA - A Cascade Range Mountain as seen from Yreka, CA

24. GM security system : ONSTAR - We have it at no cost for 3 years with our car but have never used it

26. Often-grilled tuna : AHI

30. Outcast : PARIAH - Can you say Harvey Weinstein?

32. "Am I off-base here?" : IS IT ME - "Yeah, it's you Harvey! You're a creep!"

35. Light-brown brew : AMBER ALE

36. Seat of South Africa's executive branch : PRETORIA

37. Olds luxury car : TORONADO - Also the name of Zorro's horse

39. Peter Parker's adoptive mother : AUNT MAY - Some Spiderman purists thought Marisa Tomei was "too hot" to play this role compared to her predecessors Rosemary Harris and Sally Field.

40. Parking order? : SIT - "Park It!"

44. Strengthen : BEEF UP

46. Oceanside home asset : SEA AIR

47. Fried shrimp sauce : TARTAR

48. Unwavering : STEELY - Calling someone this is very high praise in NASA parlance

50. Wonderlands : EDENS

53. Losing effort : DIET - What is the world's record for getting off of these after New Year's Day?

55. Flagsticks, to many golfers : PINS

59. To and __ : FRO

60. Veiled reply, perhaps : I DO

Rail away about this Saturday puzzle:


Dec 29, 2017

Friday, December 29, 2017, David Alfred Bywaters

Title: Theater 101

I am back serving as DAB's caddie for the third time. He had his debut on a Friday at the end of last year and now he has another December offering. Today he has terms from theater (theatre to some) hiding them in words and phrases. There is no reveal but each clue refers to "theater" letting you know which fill are art of the theme. You then have a hint to what the fill will be. I enjoyed CAST IN STONE and FLOOD STAGE the most. My youngest directed and appeared in a play that took place in a pool they constructed onstage. Anyway, back to my last review of the year, David has some sparkle in the fill THIRDLY, SPIDERWEB and  STORMS OFF, but again with 5 themers there was not much room for more. With the cluing giving you the theme, I thought this was a late gift to you all. Let's get detailed.

18A. Text for a mailroom theater production? : POSTSCRIPT(10). This is outlier, as it is but one word, but imagined as POST SCRIPT. If you look at it that way we have 1/5 with the theater word at the end and 2/3/4 with the first word the theater word.

23A. Statue of a theater troupe? : CAST IN STONE (11). I love this as the mental picture of an entire cast sculpted in stone is cool.

38A. World leader in the theater? : ACTING PRESIDENT (15). Ronald Reagan anyone? Or perhaps you like KIRKMAN.

48A. Squawker in a theater performance? : PLAY CHICKEN (11). It conjures up non-theater images. LINK.

56A. Theater backdrop for a biography of Noah? : FLOOD STAGE (10). Cute.


1. Ovation fraction: CLAP. I was pleased that I filled this and the perps confirmed I was right.

5. Overstress, with "on": HARP.

9. "Hungarian Rhapsodies" composer: LISZT. How about number No. 2.

14. Shout: YELL.

15. Notion: IDEA.

16. Let down, as hair: UNPIN. My thought: LINK.
Walk right in, sit right down
Baby, let your hair hang down
Walk right in, sit right down
Baby, let your hair hang down

17. Silents star Naldi: NITA. I do not know why I remembered this name, but it must be related to doing crossword puzzles.

20. Much Byzantine art: ICONS. You ready to BUY?

22. Put on: HIRED. My mind went to the other meanings.

27. CPR provider: EMT.

30. Upside-down forest hangers: SLOTHS.

31. Scottish landscape feature: BRAE. Luckily I read Hamish Macbeth novels. LINK.

32. Dorm VIPs: RASResident Advisors,

35. "... __ saw Elba": ERE I. We are seeing a lot of ELBA these days.

36. Shellfish order: PRAWNS. Time we all understood this CRUSTACEAN.

41. Literary family name: BRONTE. Three sisters. Very Chekov.

42. Ottoman officials: DEYS. I knew of the beys, but not these OFFICIALS.

43. Large inlet: BAY. A different bey.

44. Shipping hazard: BERG. ICEBERG?

45. Shepherds' charges: FLOCKS.

47. Brief belief: ISM.

53. Taters: SPUDS. Very common in the hills and mountains.

55. Consolation beginning and ending: THERE. There, there dear it will be all right.

61. Auto club recommendations: INNS. I need advice on the outs.

62. Clear of mist: DEFOG. Not as necessary as deicing.

63. Measure of skills: EXAM.

64. Part of CBS: Abbr. : SYST.

65. Prepare beans, Mexican-style: REFRY. Refried beans are really just beans with some seasoning, mushed up. It’s like hummus, actually. And the word “refried”? Well, that’s not even what you think. It doesn’t mean fried twice (horrors!) – It’s just an English translation of “refrito” which is Spanish means “well fried” or “cooked well.” See LINK.

66. Nonpayment consequence: REPO.

67. Yoga needs: MATS. Last week we had poses.


1. Pessimist: CYNIC.
- A cynic is someone who refuses to believe;
- A pessimist is someone who has given up on believing;
- A skeptic is someone who is reluctant to believe. Psychology Today.

2. German camera: LEICA.                       LINK.
3. Choir parts: ALTOS.

4. Photosynthesis users: PLANTS.

5. Trendy: HIP.

6. Stir: ADO.

7. Hi-__ image: RES, I initially wanted DEF.

8. Compassion-evoking quality: PATHOS. I minored in English and we were taught all about Pathos, Bathos and other criticism from a wonderful TEACHER.

9. It may be filthy: LUCRE. Money; originally, money obtained dishonestly. For example, She didn't like the job but loved the filthy lucre in the form of her weekly paycheck. This term comes from the Bible (Titus 1:11), where it refers to those who teach wrongly for the sake of money. In time it came to be used loosely, and usually jokingly, for money in general, and in the mid-1900s gave rise to the jocular slang term the filthy for “money.”

10. As to: IN RE.

11. Catcher of small prey: SPIDERWEB. Very fun clue/fill, though I have seen some big spiderwebs. Like many big things, the picture is from Texas.

12. Close, as a parka: ZIP.

13. Explosive letters: TNT.

19. Reason for regret: SIN.

21. Like the last letter in a column? : SILENT. I love this kind of simple misdirection.

24. Norway, in Norway: NORGE. Norge is Norwegian, Danish and Swedish for Norway.

25. Dance part: STEP. Step by step; slowly I turned....

26. Adverb after a second contract item: THIRDLY. Not really. the word is not in fashion in contract drafting.

28. Food for the wandering Israelites: MANNA.

29. Irritable: TESTY.

31. Serious, as an injury: BAD.

32. Jewish teacher: RABBI. Master, teacher —used by Jews as a term of address (Webster's). Not a religious figure historically.

33. Farm parts: ACRES.

34. Departs in anger: STORMS OFF.

36. "Fooled you!" : PSYCH. Did anyone see the MOVIE?

37. Take a chance: RISK IT.

39. Having one sharp: IN G.

40. Anti-discrimination agcy. : EEOC.

45. Like the tortoise in the fable, ultimately: FASTER. Does winning the race make him faster? I think not.

46. Religious division: SCHISM.

48. Rotund: PUDGY. Pugsley? He is GONE.

49. Mormons, initially: LDSLatter Day Saints.

50. African nation on the Indian Ocean: KENYA.

51. Surrealist Max: ERNST. I love elephants.

52. Forest homes: NESTS. All you needed to know and MORE.

54. Needy: POOR. These days needy is more associated with emotional issues.

56. HST predecessor: FDRHarry STruman. Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

57. "Fever" singer Peggy: LEE.

58. Hatchet: AXE. 40 years after I met the people who would become the band AXE, they are putting out a new album. Listen to a rock and roll ballad.
59. Space: GAP.

60. Punk rock offshoot: EMO. Did you KNOW?

2017 was quite a year for me, as Charles Dickens wrote "It was the best of times. it was the worst of times." I end the year very grateful for my life, my friends here at the Corner, my wonderful family and all the excitement of the roller coaster ride that is my life. I also am grateful for Mr. Bywaters and the 27 other constructors who provided the puzzles which I (and my pinch hitters) have brought you every Friday. Special thanks to C.C.and Rich Norris and wishing you all a great 2018. For all of you being beset by the cold and snow, be careful. Hope to see you back here next year. Lemonade out.

Dec 28, 2017

Thursday December 28th 2017 Jeff Stillman

Theme: Top 'O The Morning - Homophones. Vaguely. With an Irish twist?

17A. Author Gertrude's Irish friend? : PAL O' STEIN. Palestine. My dad was stationed in Palestine in the 1930's. He had nothing but good things to say about the county and the people.

59A. Irish physician? : MAN O' CURES. Manicures. Guinness and Jameson's whisky. Those are the Irish cures. My mom was given Guinness in hospital after I was born; she was anemic. You've got to love those kinds of diagnoses.

11D. Irish hotel that offers perfumed pillows? : INN O' SCENTS. Innocents. Here's Dublin's finest - The Clarence:

31D. Change tossed into an Irish busker's hat? : PAIR O' DIMES. Paradigms.

I'm not totally enthused by this theme. Homophones depend on how you speak, and some work for me, and some don't. Your mileage may vary. Let's leave it at that.

The North-west was a challenge, the rest was a regular Thursday experience. Let's see what jumps out:


1. Sugar amt. : TBSP. Tablespoon. Three of them in my sushi vinegar. 4-3-1 is the magic combination - 4 tbsps rice wine vinegar, 3 tbsp of sugar and the one is a teaspoon of salt.

5. Swimmer's regimen : LAPS. I once swam 334 laps of an Olympic pool for a charity event. It was a 10-mile marathon swim. I was dizzy when I got out of the pool.

9. Margaret Atwood's "__ Grace" : ALIAS. Thank you, crosses.

14. Cosmetic additive : ALOE

15. Alternatively : ELSE

16. Small drum or large antelope : BONGO. I knew the drum, not the antelope. Now I do. They're stripey:


19. Prepared to tackle : RAN AT

20. Foul odor : STENCH

21. Liquid-Plumr rival : DRANO. Probably to fix the above from a blocked drain.

23. Brewer's kiln : OAST

26. Black Sea port : ODESSA

29. Like some time-release pills : CAPSULAR. New word for me.I got there eventually, but it took some time.

33. Old Toyota subcompact : TERCEL

34. "Don't interrupt!" studio sign : ON AIR

35. Inflexibility : RIGOR

37. Head lines, for short? : E.E.G. Electroencephalography, but we all knew that.

38. Fail to attend : SKIP

39. Checkout choice : PAPER. Or Plastic. The latter is not available in LA anymore, the former you pay for. BYOB - bring your own bag. I like it.

40. Latin word on a cornerstone : ANNO. Domini. There's a new PC term for it now, but it's hard to replace all those foundation stones.

41. Road goo : TAR. Macadam. I love the smell of freshly-laid tar.

42. Church law : CANON

43. Buzzing : ASTIR

44. Pleasant emanations : AROMAS. See TAR above.

46. Antipathy : DISTASTE

48. Air traffic control devices : RADARS

49. Assist, as a theater patron : SEAT

50. Puts a dent in one's gas mileage : IDLES

52. Herbal cough drop brand : RICOLA. The commercials are annoying.

57. Carved piece of jewelry : CAMEO

62. Alaskan native : ALEUT

63. Straddling : UPON

64. "Let me know if you're coming" letters : RSVP. "Répondez s'il vous plaît". It annoys me when I see "Please RSVP". But I get annoyed with "ATM machine" and "PIN number". I guess I'm easily annoyed.

65. Mud nest builders : WASPS

66. Dinner summons at the manor house : GONG. I tried "RING" first. Was wrong.

67. Young fellows : BOYS


1. Melody from a bugler : TAPS

2. Sour note from a bugler : BLAT. Completely unknown, thank you, crosses. Any musicians amongst us care to explain?

3. Dover flatfish : SOLE

4. Menial employee : PEON

5. Quite destructive : LETHAL. Quite? Something of an understatement.

6. Bass, e.g. : ALE. Loved this clue/answer. The world's first trademark was the red triangle on the label.

7. Pressure meas. : PSI. Pounds per Square Inch. I rate cheesecake on how many pounds I gain per square inch of cheesecake eaten.

8. Dispatch : SEND

9. Carpenter's rasp, for one : ABRADER. More thank you, crosses. I'm sure an abrader is a thing, but I'm sure I'd never walk into a hardware store and ask for one.

10. Dealership vehicle : LOANER

12. Turkish title : AGA

13. Tosspot : SOT. Yet another learning moment. A tosspot in England is a loser.

18. Search far and wide : SCOUR. Great word.

22. Common pump part : ROTOR

24. Wrap for leftovers : SARAN. Plenty of these after Christmas.

25. Photography gear : TRIPODS.

27. "Already caught that movie" : SEEN IT!

28. 1990s veep : AL GORE I'm drinking some Tom Gore wine right now. Any relation?

29. Share the marquee : CO-STAR

30. Capital ESE of Istanbul : ANKARA

32. Sample some soup : SIP

36. "Arabian Nights" spirit : GENIE

39. Behind the times : PASSÉ

40. Actor Butterfield of "Ender's Game" : ASA. Hello crosses! Thank you!

42. Where lemons may be sold : CAR LOTS

43. Cobwebby place : ATTIC

45. Fictionalized : MADE UP

47. Polynesian garment : SARONG. I looked for a link, this was the first one that came up. I thought I'd keep it.

51. Self-righteous : SMUG

53. HBO's "__ Your Enthusiasm" : CURB

54. Guesstimate phrase : OR SO.

55. Tax : LEVY

56. Nile serpents : ASPS

57. Cornfield sound : CAW. Why do crows like corn so much?

58. Menu phrase : A LA. Carte. Mode. King. What was the last one?

60. Mil. mail drop : A.P.O.

61. Haitian negative : NON. You need to know French is spoken in Haiti.Crosswords teach you a lot of things.

With that, I'm done. Merry Thursday, falling between Christmas and New Year! I couldn't find any music links - have at it!


Dec 27, 2017

Wednesday Dec 27, 2017 Jason Mueller

 Theme: BRANDED (40A. Labeled ... or, divided into three parts, what surrounds the answers to starred clues)- Read it as BR and ED.

 17A. *More than just indoctrinated : BRAINWASHED.

62A. *Brunette : BROWN-HAIRED.

11D. *Hit at an intersection, maybe : BROADSIDED.

28D. *Alert and peppy : BRIGHT-EYED.

Boomer here.

Good morning or afternoon as the case may be.  I am excited to notice that daylight hours are getting longer again, but not too enthused about double digit below zero temperatures.  You would think after 70 years in Minnesota I would be used to winter, but I am already looking forward to Springtime.

1. Bottomless gulf : ABYSS
6. See 8-Down : MAJOR 8D. With 6-Across, prime minister before Tony Blair : JOHN - I don't pay much attention to British politics.  I remember Tony Blair and Winston Churchill.

11. Murphy __ : BED - tough clue.  Not many homes have a Murphy bed anymore.

14. Lerner collaborator : LOEWE

15. "That's my wish" : I HOPE

16. "Fahrenheit 451" novelist Bradbury : RAY - 'Twas also a good movie.

19. Ducks' home: Abbr. : ORE - Strange name for a college football team, almost as odd as Gophers or Badgers.

20. Hindu retreat : ASHRAM

21. Available to watch anytime : ON DEMAND

23. Classic Fords : LTDs I owned one years ago.  An affordable but upscale model.  I believe it competed with the Chevy Impala.

25. Pomegranate bit : SEED - There are about 100 seeds in one fruit.  Said to be very healthy.

26. Three-time Pulitzer-winning playwright : ALBEE - most famous for "Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf" (About a middle aged couple named Martha and George).  I'm not sure if George chopped down the pomegranate tree.

29. Big letters in home security : ADT - American District Telegraph - Their security packages are pretty expensive though.

32. Costume items for horror movie villains : MASKS

35. __ of paradise : BIRD - HOF Indiana Pacer.  Larry is on a 1981 rookie card with Magic

36. Top : BLOUSE - Blouse is a good word.  Top is a lousy clue.

38. CD yield : INT - Yes, and not very much these days.

39. "Rope-a-dope" boxer : ALI - The Greatest ?

41. Actress Ruby : DEE - I remember her in "A Raisin in the Sun" with Sidney Poitier.

42. Pester : NAG

43. Irritated reply to "Aren't you ready yet?" : I AM NOW

44. Toolbar button with a question mark : HELP

45. Messenger service replaced by Google Hangouts : GCHAT - Is this one of those social media things ?

47. Suffix with front : IER - I get it but I am not sure about suffixes in Crossword Puzzles.

48. Area component : WIDTH - times length and you got it.

49. Lipstick holder : TUBE

51. High-five sound : SLAP - We do high and lower fives in bowling, but no slaps.

53. Homers, in baseball lingo : GOES YARD - Dinger, four bagger, outta here, Sportscasters must have thousands of names for a home run. 

57. Have high hopes : ASPIRE - Frank Sinatra - "Once there was a silly old ram, thought he'd bust a hole in a dam."  He had high hopes.

61. At all : ANY - Again, I did not like the clue.  It's like people saying "As Well" instead of "Too".   

64. Frozen water : ICE - Plenty up here in MN.  People drive their vehicles on the lakes.  (We have 10,000 of them.  Not me though.  Every year we have stories of cars breaking through to the bottom of a lake.

65. Cry after a golfer's ace : IT'S IN - I don't think so, but I have never witnessed a hole in one in person and I have never made one either.

66. Human __ : BEING

67. Journalist Koppel : TED

68. The ones here : THESE

69. Newspaper copy : ISSUE
1. "Sin City" actress Jessica : ALBA - A couple of "Sin City" s and a "Good Luck Chuck".

2. Knight of the Round Table : BORS - Never heard of him. OK, he was a buddy of Lancelot.

3. "You said it!" : YEAH

4. Blew in circles, as the wind : SWIRLED - Or how Dairy Queen makes a Blizzard.

5. 100-lawmaker group : SENATE - You probably heard that one of our senators resigned.  As of January 2, 2018, Minnesota will be one of only four states represented by two female senators.

6. Actress Farrow : MIA - Gossip tabloids exploded with stories about Mia and Frank Sinatra.  She got her career started on "Peyton Place" which I never watched.  I remember her in "Rosemary's Baby" - Although I hated the movie.

7. "Got it" : AH SO  - I have never been to Japan, but I doubt if they say this.

9. Newspaper essays : OP-EDs - Opinion / Editorials.  Not my favorite section.

10. Used, as credit card rewards : REDEEMED - Could be, however - Has anyone ever redeemed Gold Bond Stamps?  How about S & H Green stamps?

12. Merit : EARN

13. Made blue, in a way : DYED - Tricky clue

18. Iraq War concern: Abbr. : WMD

22. "Do __ favor ... " : ME A

24. Sandwich meat : SALAMI - Baloney had too many letters

26. Go out with __ : A BANG

27. Flowery candle scent : LILAC  -  Green grow the lilacs all sparkling with dew.

30. "No man is an island" poet : DONNE

31. Henry VIII et al. : TUDORS - The Tudor Monarchy lasted from 1485 - 1603.  I did not know that, I Googled it.  I thought Tudor was a body style of a car.

33. Prepared to pray : KNELT

34. Two-time NBA MVP Curry : STEPH - Turned down a trip to the White House. 

36. Bikini half : BRA

37. Wrap (up) : SEW - Once again, I feel the clue does not fit

40. Gradually : BIT BY BIT - Nothing gradual about these coins.

44. Many Woodstock attendees : HIPPIES - Could be an opinion.  Woodstock was in New York State.  Hippies were flower children of northern California.  I am not sure how many could travel 3000 miles when they made their living begging for quarters. 

46. Ger. neighbor : AUS (Austria) - A relatively small country near Munich.

48. Sushi condiment : WASABI - really bad tasting mustard.  I think you need granite taste buds to put this in your mouth. 

50. Third of eight : EARTH - Used to be nine, then Pluto ran away.

52. "Well, __-di-dah!" : LAH

53. Walking pace : GAIT

54. Previously : ONCE

55. Wine choice : ROSE - To be a true Rose wine, you need one of those little hash marks above the "E".  Otherwise, it's just a flower.

56. Sobriety checkpoint concerns, for short : DWIs - We have DWIs in Minnesota, (Not Me), but I have never seen a sobriety checkpoint. Other states?

58. Spring flower : IRIS

59. Bausch + Lomb product : RENU - A must for contact lens users.

60. Brink : EDGE - Or could be a Ford SUV.

63. Peoria-to-Green Bay dir. : NNE - If you really want to go to Green Bay.  Some guys were shirtless Saturday at Lambeau's 4 degree Packers/Vikings game.  What a way to get on TV!


Notes from C.C.:

Happy Birthday to dear Dudley, who's been with our blog since April 2010. Dudley started the "Rabbit, Rabbit" tradition, WBS (What Barry Said) and a few other popular blog Abbrs. This picture was taken during Montana's visit to Northeast in September, 2013.
Left to right: Marti, Dudley, Hondo & Montana
Look at this special pizza Christmas gift Dear Gary and his wife Joann made for their granddaughter Elise!

Dec 26, 2017

Tuesday, December 26, 2017 ~ Parikshit S. Bhat

Theme: Turning Circles - Take a word, rearrange the letters one at a time, moving the first one to the last one

18. Jamaican term for hot chocolate: COCOA TEA

22. Greek salad ingredient: GOAT CHEESE

34. Car accessory that may be faux leather: SEAT COVER

50. Glowing barbecue lump: RED HOT COAL

55. Traitor, and a literal hint to this puzzle's circles: TURNCOAT

Argyle here with Pari's third offering in LATland. Tinbeni will be happy.


1. Champagne cocktail: MIMOSA

7. Wrist-to-elbow bone: ULNA

11. Young newt: EFT

14. Prepared (oneself), as for a shock: BRACED

15. Be unsuccessful: FAIL

16. The "A" in 59-Across: ALE. 59A. Hoppy beer, for short: IPA. (India pale ale)

17. Dogs from Japan: AKITAs

20. Suffix with hip or tip: STER

21. Stormy weather sound: THUNDER

26. Board game cubes: DICE

27. French friend: AMI

28. "__-ho!": "Everybody lift together!": HEAVE

29. Scrutinized, with "over": PORED

30. __ majesty: high treason: LESE. Lèse-majesté: from Latin laesa majestas ‘injured sovereignty.’

32. Letter before omega: PSI

33. Leftover food bits: ORTS

38. Actor Brad: PITT

40. __ kwon do: TAE

41. Start of a magical chant: ABRA. ABRAcadabra.

45. Longed (for): PINED

46. Minor fight: SET-TO

48. Tyrannosaurus __: REX

49. Norwegian patron saint: OLAF

52. Records again: RETAPES

54. Wolf's cry: HOWL

57. Ex-Soviet leader Brezhnev: LEONID

60. Use a stopwatch for: TIME

61. Painter or sculptor: ARTIST

62. Cleopatra killer: ASP

63. Winter coaster: SLED

64. Balance sheet items: ASSETS


1. Management deg.: MBA. (Master of Business Administration)

2. Annoying: IRKSOME

3. Rum cocktails: MAI TAIs

4. Two foursomes: OCTET

5. Look online: SEARCH

6. App interruptions: ADs

7. Mixed martial arts org.: UFC. (Ultimate Fighting Championship)

8. "Tao Te Ching" philosopher: LAO TSE

9. Specialized market segment: NICHE

10. Baseball's Felipe or Moises: ALOU

11. Humbly accept blame: EAT DIRT

12. Swindles: FLEECES

13. Got emotional, with "up": TEARED

19. Republic between Spain and France: ANDORRA. Their web site.

22. __ pal: GAL

23. Air filter acronym: HEPA. (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.

24. Sunrise direction: EAST

25. Kicked out: EVICTED

29. Poet for whom the Edgar Awards are named: POE

31. Miami Sound Machine singer Gloria: ESTEFAN

35. Scheduled leaving hr.: ETD

36. Pledge: OATH

37. White House no: VETO

38. Multi-car collisions: PILE-UPs

39. Ensnared: IN A TRAP

42. Chocolate treat: BROWNIE

43. Practical thinker: REALIST

44. Rock singer Rose: AXL

45. "The Merchant of Venice" heiress: PORTIA

46. Opening word for Ali Baba: SESAME. Not the first word spoken but the word that got the
cave to open.

47. Unlisted stuff: OTHERS

50. Lubricate again: REOIL

51. Codgers: COOTS

53. Cuts for agts.: PCTs. %

56. Danson of "The Good Place": TED. Cheers!

57. Anaheim MLB team, in crawl lines: LAA. (Los Angeles Angels)

58. Souse's woe: DTs. (Delirium Tremens) When the pink elephants come to dance with you.


Note from C.C.:

Many regulars are aware that D-Otto and his wife make potato dumplings every Christmas. You can see his recipe here. Quite a challenging project.

Here is a great picture of D-Otto working on the dumplings yesterday. He said below. I was amazed that he still has the original box.

"The grinding is finished and the roast is in the oven.  We're in a brief window before the mixing/boiling stage has to begin.  Here's me with at the controls of the Shred-O-Mat (in glorious Harvest Gold), attired in the official dumpling uniform of the day -- blue jeans, sacrificial tee and no watch."

D-Otto (Tom)