May 17, 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 Alex Eaton-Salners

Theme - LET"S ALL TAKE A BOUGH.  Vertical theme entries all start with, and are therefore TOPPED by letters that spell the name of a TREE.  Let's start with the unifier.

55 A. Canopy creators ... or what can literally be found in 6-, 10-, 24- and 34-Down : TREE TOPS.

Coming back down to earth we have the theme entries.

6 D. Brain part that produces melatonin : PINEAL GLAND.  It is tucked into the groove between the two halves of the thalmus, near the center of the brain.  It is so-named because its shape resembles that of a pine cone.  Topped by a PINE, an evergreen, and the first of our TREEs.

10 D. Cartographer's table : MAP LEGEND.  An inset that explains the meanings of symbols and other features used on the map.  The maple tree is prized for its lumber, used for furniture and decorative purposes.

24. Reason for a parking restriction : FIRE HYDRANT.  FIR trees are can be distinguished from other members of the pine family by their needle attachments and cone shapes.

34 D. "Wascally wabbit" hunter : ELMER FUDD.  Something we all knew.  But it gives me an excuse to post this --.

ELM TREES were used along streets all over America as decoration and to provide shade.  Most of these were lost to Dutch elm disease, caused by a microfungus carried by bark beetles.  Disease resistant varieties have since been developed.

Look for a clue gimmick when the theme arrangement is vertical.  This one is clever, with the tree names topping the theme fill entries.  Two of the four trees are hard woods, and two are conifers.   The conifers are adjacent to the vertical center line, and the hard woods farther toward the edges.

Hi, Gang, Jazzbumpa on duty, lumbering through this puzzle.  Let's see what we can saw.


1. Produced, biblically speaking : BEGAT.  Was the father of.

6. Racetrack stops : PITS.  For fuel and quick tire changes.

10. Finance majors' degs. : MBAS.  Master of Business Administration.  I have one.

14. Kagan associate : ALITO.  Supreme Court Justices.

15. Not yet out of the running : IN IT.  To win it, no doubt.

16. Strong lobby for seniors : AARP.  America Association of Retired Persons.  I belong.

17. One who wants to come home? : BASE RUNNER.  Baseball reference.  Most do not make it, though.

19. Insanity, in court : PLEA.  A formal statement in response to a charge, not [necessarily] a description of behavior.

20. Makes eligible for, with "to" : ENTITLES.  Supplies a legal or just right to something.

21. Sign up : ENLIST.  Or enroll, which sadly has the same number of letters.

23. Albacore, e.g. : TUNA.  Something fishy here.

24. Price of a crosstown ride : FARE.  In a bus or cab.  

25. 19th Greek letter : TAU.  

28. Eight pts. : GAL.  Pints and gallons, guys and gals.

29. "Just think!" : IMAGINE.

33. In unfamiliar territory : AT SEA.  Without a paddle.

35. "An Officer and a Gentleman" star : GERE.

37. Black, in poetry : EBON.

38. Castro of Cuba : RAUL.  Fidel's brother.

39. Adjust to fit : ALTER.  As clothing.

40. Statistician Silver of ESPN's FiveThirtyEight : NATE.  

41. British baby buggy : PRAM.  Short for perambulator.

42. "The cow is of the bovine ilk / One end is moo, the other, milk" poet : NASH.  Ogden.

To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.

-  Ogden Nash

43. Floppy disk successor : CD-ROM.  Data storage media.

44. Solemn ending? : SILENT N.  Holy N, Batmen.

46. Vote in favor : YEA.  parliamentary procedure.

48. What's up to you? : SKY.  Sometimes hidden by clouds.

49. Cheese coat : RIND.  More than you want to know.  

50. TiVo products : DVRS.  Digital Video Reordings.  Nobody tapes any more.

52. Confuse : BAFFLE.  Wait . . . what?!?

59. Free speech org. : ACLU.  American Civil Liberties Union.  We won't talk about it here.

60. Three, to nine : SQUARE ROOT.  A number that when multiplied by itself yields another specified number.  Round roots are things like carrots.

62. Get rid of : SHED. Discard, as leaves, skin, hair or clothing.

63. Change directions : TURN.  Don't get steered the wrong way

64. Box cutter insert : RAZOR.  Actually a blade.

65. Top dog : HEAD.  Of an organization.

66. Not hard : SOFT.  Pretty straight forward.

67. Prefix with foam : STYRO-.  Expanded polystyrene.  I worked with it on my first job.


1. Innocent one : BABE.  One who is at a severe disadvantage in the woods.

2. Panache : ELAN.  Confidence, flair, style, enthusiasm.

3. Heart of the matter : GIST.  Get the point?

4. Absorbed the loss : ATE IT.  Financial indigestion.

5. Haitian island whose name is Spanish for "turtle" : TORTUGA.  Located north of the north-west arm of the main island.

7. Overnight stops : INNS.

8. 50-50, e.g. : TIE.  Even score in a sport or game, usually settled by some sort of overtime play.

9. Party decoration : STREAMER.  Colorful ribbons used for ornamentation.

10. Cartographer's table : MAP LEGEND.  An inset that explains the meanings of symbols and other features used on the map.

11. Indonesian island : BALI.  Immediately to the east of Java, it is home to most of Indonesia's Hindu minority.

12. "Iliad" war god : ARES.  Greek.  Mars to the Romans.

13. Petty argument : SPAT. It caused a SPAT what he spat on my spats.

18. Forearm part : ULNA.  The longer of two forearm bones, extending from the elbow to the little finger.  The radius extends from the elbow to the thumb side of the hand.

22. New Deal prog. : NRA.  The National Recovery Administration was created in 1933, under the National Industrial Recovery Act.  It had a two year charter and expired in 1935.  At that time the Supreme Court also determined that it infringed on separation of powers and was therefore unconstitutional.  Many of its provisions reappeared under the National Labor Relations Act that same year.

25. Camping cover-ups : TARPS.  Baseball diamonds, too.

26. Centipede creator : ATARI.  Electronic game company.

27. Garden-variety : USUAL.  Typical

30. Bridge beams : I-BARS.  Structural elements named for their cross-sectional profile, which resemble the letter I.

31. Against the rules : NOT OK.  Let the OK - Okay battle begin.

32. Redcoat, to a Minuteman : ENEMY.  American revolutionary war.

36. Sci-fi visitors : ETS. Extra-Terrestrials - off world entities, who sometimes claim to be friendly.

39. Colonies crawling with critters : ANT NESTS.

43. Board game with an "Unemployment Office" corner : CAREERS.

45. Zip : NIL.  Zilch.  Nada

47. Penultimate word of many fairy tales : EVER.  Penultimate -- hmmmm.  I wonder what comes after?

51. Classic guitar, briefly : STRAT.  Fender Stratocaster.  Costing $600, and up.  Buddy Holly's were stolen twice in April, 1958.

52. Shindig : BASH.  Spree, blow out.  Have fun, but make good choices.

53. Bruise symptom : ACHE.  Owie!

54. One in the doghouse? : FLEA.  One hopes not

55. Gang land : TURF.  Claimed territory.

56. Like slime : OOZY.  Moving like this?

57. Substandard : POOR.  Like certain movies from 1958.

58. Houston athlete, for short : 'STRO.  ASTRO evidently has too many syllable to be spoken conveniently.  The STROs are currently atop the A. L. Western division.  Let's give them a bough.

61. Status __ : QUO.  The current state of things.

That wraps up another Woden's Tag.  Hope you got through it without feeling board.  But now I have a strange desire branch out - maybe even join a splinter group.  Perhaps I should just go with the phloem.  Now it's time to leaf.

Cool regards!


OwenKL said...


Five Senses In Blank Verse
==== ====== == ===== =====
The wind in the branches of a fragrant PINE,
Texture of the leaves on a branch of MAPLE.
Birds twittering on the strong branch of a FIR,
The spreading branches of a majestic ELM.
Five lines of blank verse, it must be a LIMB-rick!

[ Fragrance = sense of smell, texture = sense of touch, twittering = sense of hearing, majestic = sense of sight, punchline = sense of humor! Anyone who likes my l'icks should probably check their sense of taste! ]

Ambling through a park under a SKY so bright,
You're BAFFLED by what you see IN IT, in flight!
A man in armor and with sword
Gliding at the end of a cord!
Says string-holder, SOLEMN, "He's a SILENT 'N' knight!"

On a pirate ship off TORTUGA, AT SEA,
The plank was beckoning as he made his PLEA!
"I'll swear off any pun,
As of now, I am done!
I'm like a bug with no dog, I have nowhere to FLEA!"


Hungry Mother said...

Very easy fof a Wednesday. No complaints here, enjoyable.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

Thanks, JzB. Not only an informative reveal, but an entire daily quota of groans at the end. And thanks to Alex. Just enough crunch for Wednesday, but easily solvable via perps.

Didn't know NATE Silver, PINEAL GLAND, or that ATARI created Centipede. Erased aye for YEA, lEAD for HEAD (dog), easy for SOFT and blade for RAZOR. I have a scraper that uses a razor, but my box cutters don't use them. My only nit today is ACHE for bruise symptom. Maybe because I take a blood thinner, I get plenty of bruises that I wouldn't even know I had if DW didn't point them out. No ache, not even tenderness.

Favorites today include "eight pts.", "solemn ending" and "cartographer's table". I took the bait and thought of pts.=points and table=piece of furniture. And I always chuckle at the "silent (letter)" fills.

Off to get the fridge fixed at the Amish shop.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Verrry Punnnny today, JzB! Nicely done, Alex.

Misread Haitian as Hawaiian, so I was somewhat amazed by the answer. The Dry Tortugas are located in the Gulf, west of Key West. Sounds like something you might suffer after a night of carousing.

Jinx, I also was thinking of a furniture table. Contacted an Amish shop yesterday to see about replacement cushion covers for my cubic slat sofa. They recommended replacing all of the cushions to ensure a good fit. The price? Slightly more than $1,000 -- more than half the cost of a new sofa. Hmmmmmm.....

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I hit a few bumps along the way but nothing serious. I, too, was thinking points instead of pints. Not familiar with Pineal gland and also put aye before yea. No idea about the theme until the reveal which is fine with me.

Thanks, Alex, for a mid-week challenge and thanks, JAzB, for the witty and informative expo; it was very "punny!"

BTWm Jinx, Zoe looks quite regal!

Have a great day.

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Alex Eaton-Salners, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Jazzbumpa, for a fine review.

Did this last night after getting home from Waukegan. Puzzle went fairly easily for a Wednesday.


Great theme. Nice job!

Is a STRAT a guitar? Thought that was a violin.

Have to run. Have to walk the dog for a few minutes and then guard the crossing. See you tomorrow.


( )

inanehiker said...

Enjoyed the theme- and the variation of having the vertical theme answers which was very apropos.

Thanks for the write-up JzB - I'm a big fan of Pentatonix. IMAGINE will be my morning earworm today! Very punny ending to the blog!
and thanks Alex!

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Fun challenge, Alex. Fun expo, Pun King JzB!

Abejo: a violin is a StraDivarius.

Noticed the TREE TOPS, but tried TREE name before getting it right. Like how ROOT was under the TREETOPS reveal where it belongs.

Last to fill was the "K" in NOT OK/SKY. Tried NOnOs first and nothing else came to me.

Knew cartographers did MAPs abut LEGEND was all perps because I couldn't equate it to "table".

Cheese coat: wanted "waxy" before RIND. All perps.

Couldn't remember GERE. Tried to put a FInE for parking. HYDRANT was a surprise when it emerged so went back and got the "R" in FIRE. What kind of tree is a FIRE? Oooh, FIR! Duh!

There are three MAPLES in my yard. They are part of the reason I bought the house. Now I'm allergic to them.

inanehiker said...

@Abejo - Strad is a violin- short for Stradivarius and STRAT is the guitar.

Lemonade714 said...


CrossEyedDave said...

Filled in all the blanks, but still could not make sense of 10d maple gend???

Speaking of not making sense...

Anyway, I will try to keep it short today...

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Solved w/o mishap.
TORTUGA - I believe there are a small Dry Tortugas island group just west of Key West,
19a - PLEA - Shouldn't the clue have included an 'ie.'?

Husker Gary said...

-I love gimmicks where the key word does not stand alone
-A clever and instructive write-up Jazz!
-This strategy failed to save our ELM trees
-Many seniors I see subbing will soon see they are ENTITLED to nothing
-Gas costs round the world in $/GAL
-My daughter wanted to watch a VHS tape a few months ago. I had to find a player and then try to remember how to get the image up to the TV
-Did anyone else learn the process to figure a SQUARE ROOT with paper and pencil?
-Babe – Nickname for George Ruth and Oliver Hardy
-“We had a quarrel, A lover’s SPAT, All right I’m sorry but my letters keep coming back” Singer and song title?
-3” of rain with hail and high winds last night was not a USUAL storm
-Before he was creepy - Redcoats vs Minuteman coin toss (starts at :50)
-Last day of class for the seniors, so I only get to watch underclassmen stare at computer screens all day

Argyle said...

I remember " All right I’m sorry" as "I write I'm sorry" but I make a habit of mishearing things. Sure can make for some interesting lyrics.

desper-otto said...

Me, too, Argyle.

Anonymous said...

Dry Tortugas National Park, which requires about a 2 hour boat ride West from Key West, FL, is a fascinating place. The historic Fort Jefferson is huge, and appears seemingly out of nowhere as you approach it in the Gulf. Plus, you can snorkel in clear water and even camp overnight.

MJ said...

Good day to all!

Fun puzzle from Alex. For once, I caught onto the theme before the reveal. Yea! Needed most of the perps for PINEAL GLAND. The game CAREERS is new to me. Favorite clue/answer was "What's up to you? for SKY. Did anyone else have TentS before TARPS or ANT farmS before ANT NESTS? Thanks for the punny write-up and chuckles to start the day, Jazzbumpa.


TTP said...

Good morning all. Thank you Alex. Thank you JzB.

Like Abejo, I also solved the puzzle in the early morning. After 3 AM while waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in. Stupid night time leg pain. Finally got back to sleep. Almost didn't get the garbage bins out to the street in time.

Loved the puzzle and theme, and the write up as well. Like PK, my last few letters were in that NATE, NOT OK area.

In that same area, for "What's up to you" I first entered ITS. Seemed logical to me at the time.

Spent more time reading the write-up and exploring all the links. Really enjoyed reading all of the comments in the "Reason enough" link and a few subsequent links from there.

Nice feature on you JzB. But I have to ask. Why did you and the other trombone player keep reaching down to the floor ?

If you haven't seen it, this is one of the funnier clips from the baseball season this year. It will undoubtedly be on ESPN's "Top Ten" list.
Pujols' walk off "hit"

Lots to do. See all y'all later n'at.

Argyle said...

I had ANT HILLS. Our local ants are making little volcanoes in the cracks of the sidewalks.

desper-otto said...

Argyle, that's not an ant hill. This is an anthill here in the southland.

CanadianEh! said...

Lots of smiles today. Thanks for the fun Alex and JzB. I enjoyed your Take a Bough theme and all the puns, JzB. OwenKL also gave me smiles today.

Clever of PK to notice the ROOT under the TREETOPS!

I got the theme (although I too was thinking of a physical table) but had a DNF because of the crossing of ALITO (should have known from previous CWs) and TORTUGA (unknown to me) plus I was thinking of points not pints and GAL did not make sense. End result was that the O and G were not filled in.
ACLU was all perps , and I had to change Carp to AARP when I remembered the American base of the CW.

Hand up for Aye, then Yes before YEA, and Easy before SOFT. I thought the SKY clue was a little obscure.

I bet AnonT knows that STRAT guitar. CSO to our poets with the NASH clue. I'll take a CSO with MAPLE.

Off to do some work outside. We have sun and warmth today.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi gang -

Fun puzzle, no nits.

TTP - we had passages that require mutes, so we reached dow to get them, and then put them back.

It took me months to wrap my head around the chord changes for that solo section. That's a Gordon Goodwin tune. He's an L.A. cat, and one of the most clever and original composer/band leaders working today. Check out his Big Phat Band recording's He has composed actual cartoon music in his career.

Here's the studio recording of Hunting Wabbits. Trombone solo by Andy Martin.

Cool regards.

Jazzbumpa said...


Here's the studio recording of Hunting Wabbits


Big Easy said...

I never saw (or looked) for the tree tops but the puzzle was an easy Wednesday. I didn't know what produced melatonin, knew it was a gland, but the perps too care of it..

TORTUGA was an easy guessable unknown, as GALAPAGO wouldn't fit. Know of the Dry TOUTUGAS, west of Key West- no water.
CAREERS is a game that I've never heard of.

FIR trees have soft needles. Spruce have hard needles, according to the ranger who told us that was the way to tell the difference.

RAZOR- I agree JzB. I filled BLADE first as the RAZOR is the contraption that holds the blade unless it is a straight razor.

tawnya said...

Good morning all!

Interesting puzzle this morning! Lot's of strange references but I was on the right wavelength so didn't have any problems. Very punny write-up, JB, and thank you for posting your video. I always enjoy seeing cornerites in their "real" life whether it's pictures or videos.

As stated by several before me, STRAT is the guitar. A quick search of "Best Strat Players" brings up many lists and all of them contain our crossword favorite, Eric Clapton. Shortly after George Harrison passed away, the family and friends hosted "A Concert for George" with just about every famous musician you could think of attending. The whole movie is 2.5 hours, but here's While My Guitar Gently Weeps including George's son, Dhani, and many other familiar faces. (Fun fact: Clapton played guitar on the original Beatles "While My Guitar Gently Weeps.")

With that bit of otherwise useless trivia, I'm going to make like a tree and leaf...

Happy Wednesday!


Husker Gary said...

-My word, it is “I write” and not “All right”. Thanks for birddogging me again Argyle!
-Otto, I loved your ant hill comment as a variation on this fabulous line
-I thought our crossword friend ATRA might have been used as cluing for RAZOR

PK said...

For our prolific readers, there is a novel called "Flashback" by Nevada Barr that is set in Dry Tortugas National Park. It's been a long time since I read it, but I think it was very different and a good read.

Lucina said...

WEES. Not much to say after all your pithy comments. My experience was close to all of yours and I found the puzzle fairly easy. Thank you, Alex!

Two of the most memorable trips I've ever taken are to the northeast. One in the fall when the leaves were ablaze with color and the other last summer when we drove through the dense forests of New England. What fabulous beauty!

Your puns are so funny, JazzB. Thank you for your witty commentary.

Have a great day, everyone!

Anonymous said...

Anthills before antfarms (the thing I had as a kid) before finally antnests. Otherwise fun but not very crunchy. Liked the puns JazzB! JB2

Bill G said...

Gary, I remember being taught how to extract square roots with paper and pencil. I'll bet I can still do it. It's tedious though; even more so than long division.

I tend to fall into spells of wool gathering, often while getting dressed in the morning. I wondered if I was using the expression correctly. Also, what is the origin of that particular expression. Mr. Google to the rescue.

~ Indulgence in idle fancies and in daydreaming; absentmindedness. [From the practice of wandering areas where sheep graze to gather tufts of wool caught on vegetation.]

Argyle said...

Fascinating! Google street view of the Dry Tortugas National Park. It is a little hard to navigate. They must have had a hand-held unit to get these shots.

AnonymousPVX said...

Cross-eyed Dave - Map Legend.

Kind of an easy one today, did not see or care about the gimmick/theme, didn't need it for the solve.

Misty said...

Great Wednesday puzzle, Alex--many thanks! I moved through it pretty quickly, but had a little trouble in mid-east--with the SKY clue giving me the most trouble. But in the end I got the whole thing--Yay! And, JazzB, I loved your write-up this morning--made me laugh!

I did get the theme, but not all the complexities Jazz pointed out--that the items were vertical with the trees on top. And I have to confess to a silly moment. After getting PINE tree, MAPLE tree, and ELM tree, I though "Hm, I don't think I've ever heard of a FIRE tree--wonder what that looks like?" Doh!

Anyway, fun way to start the day. Have a good one, everybody!

WikWak said...

It took me the longest time to correctly parse MAPLE GEND... Maple seemed to semi-fit, but gend?!
And the SW corner was a real problem for me today. Finished all the rest in under 10 minutes but that corner cost me another 5.

Went for a walk in a natural science center in NH and watched them feed the river otters. Way cute! Also picked up a few geocaches on the way back. Tonight we go out looking for moose. Good times.

Anonymous said...

TINBENI at the Library ...

Jazz: I didn't notice the theme until I read your informative write-up.

Alex: Thank you for a FUN Wednesday puzzle.

Fave today was seeing that "Wascally wabbit" hunter's complete name ELMER FUDD.

A "toast-to-ALL" at Sunset.

Pat said...

Good Wednesday to all! An easy Wednesday puzzle. Thanks, Alex E-S! Very entertaining write-up, JzB!

My racetrack was for horses so had no idea why there were stops. D'oh!

NOnOs/NOTOK, ANThills/ANTNESTS, tvA/NRA, easy/SOFT. Otherwise, no problems.

Now I'll go read the comments. Have a good evening.

Anonymous T said...

Hi all!

Silly me, I didn't notice the theme until the reveal - I was thinking themers where pin-wheeled in; I could see a (tenuous) connection between SQUARE and BASE [math], but MAP and ELMER?... Thanks Alex! I had fun whilst sitting in a class on NIST's CyberSec Framework (Google at your own risk [tee-hee])

JzB - I read your expo at lunch and LOL'd at the punny-finsh you polished the hewed wood with. And for ELMER's song, though my fav is Wagner's 'Kill da' Wabbit'.

WO: I put in MfAS @10a; Hey, I was 2/3rds paying attn. to the class. Yae @46a [ibid excuse]
ESP: ACHE - I was thinking it but didn't want to believe it

Moan - c/a for SKY; cute but, moan.

Hand-up going w/ furniture @10d. I could picture a draftman's table w/ a map...

Fav: BEGAT; it's a fun word and, as any DIY'er knows, trying to fix one problem BEGATs 4 more (and 5 more trips to the hardware store!)... Right, TTP?


If you've not read NATE Silver's Signal / Noise, it's a good non-fiction read.

C, Eh! - yep, STRAT went in w/o a neuron firing... Made my serotonin go up and the PINEAL GLAND quiet.

TTP - every 'STROs fan know's the heartbreak of Pujols.

Though, as JzB pointed out, @28-12 we're sitting pretty at .700 in H-Town; best record (so far) both the AL and in BASEball.

Cheers, -T

Jayce said...

Fun puzzle. Terrific write-up.

Wilbur Charles said...

Elvis Presley, Return to Sender.

I glanced at this at 800 am and finally knocked it off at 800 pm. I was thinking about the innocent LAMB.

I didn't have any problems with the xword but I liked the originality. JzB on an entertaining write-up.

Owen, you were really inspired today. As were other commenters. I got nothing. I mean nutt'n.


JD said...

a good evening to all..very funny write up JazzB.
To quote Jinx, "just enough crunch for a Wed, easily solvable..." I seemed to have had the same write overs as many others.

Learned about the pineal gland and that the classical guitar is a strat. Have never heard/seen the game called Careers.
Enjoyed the clues for base runner and flea.

Grand Cayman has a most delicious sipping rum,Tortuga Coconut Rum ,that we have not been able to find anywhere on the internet or markets. Wonder why...sooo good.

Gary, did anyone answer your ? Return to Sender.

Bill G said...

A 'classic' electric guitar might be a Gibson Les Paul or a Fender Stratocaster or maybe a Gretsch or ...

However a classical guitar is an acoustic guitar with nylon strings such as played by Segovia. A famous luthier of those guitar would be José Rameriz. They would run around $12,000 these days. I have a really good classical guitar made in Japan. It's similar in quality and sound to any other I've tried. I got it about 30 years ago for around $1500.

Anonymous T said...

Correction - Astros are now 29-12. Go 'STROs!

PK - I forgot to thank your good-eye re: ROOT under TREETOPS. Nice catch. -T

Picard said...

Hand up for thinking pts was points. Thanks Jazzbumpa for explaining! Learning moment about STRAT.

AARP is mostly an insurance company. Which is a huge conflict of interest for their claim to be a "Strong lobby for seniors".