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Aug 31, 2017

Thursday August 31 2017 David Poole

Theme: Nationality Pun Fun - Five examples of mirth and merriment:

20A. Volleyball players in Dublin? : IRISH SETTERS. The setter in volleyball is the player who decides who gets the ball for the next shot

28A. Euros in Rome? : ITALIAN BREAD. Used to be Lira back in the good old days when you had to exchange currency about every five minutes when you were travelling in Europe. Imagine the chaos in the north-east if you had to go the currency exchange every time you crossed a state line.

37A. Airport inspectors in Beijing? : CHINESE CHECKERS. Do airport inspectors inspect the airport, or the passengers? I've been to Beijing airport, it is beautiful. (Well it was in 2008 ready for the Olympic Games!)

45A. Dance lessons in Madrid? : SPANISH STEPS. Piazza di Spagna  at the bottom, Piazza Trinità dei Monti at the top.



56A. Number cruncher in New Delhi? : INDIAN SUMMER. I laughed at the "SUMMER" part of the clue.  We're having an LA summer right now, we're into triple digits.

Neat theme from David, I'm actually surprised it's not been done before. I had a fun five minutes trying to think of others, SWISS WATCH, RUSSIAN DOLL, AUSTRALIAN BIGHT, SWISS CHEESE seemed to have some mileage.

Typical Thursday cluing with misdirection and some of the less-obvious clues. 63 theme squares sometimes doesn't leave a lot of room for much fill, but the sixes and fives had some nice entries including HAIRDO and REBEC. Good job all round by Mr. Poole.

What else have we got? Let's see:

Across:

1. Draft day announcements : PICKS. "With the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL draft, the New England Patriots select Tom Brady, Quarterback, Michigan." Who would have thought how that 's turned out?

6. In-tents experience? : CAMP. Nice wordplay in the clue.

10. Like some dental floss : WAXY. I use those little Christmas Tree brushes for the most part. Floss is fussy stuff to deal with.

14. End of __ : AN ERA

15. Jai __ : ALAI. Helluva dangerous game. The ball is hard as a rock and goes a bizillion miles an hour.

16. Wrapped up : OVER

17. Artifact : RELIC

18. Board member? : KING. Chessboard.

19. Unites : WEDS

23. New York's __ Island : STATEN. My first thought was Riker's Island for no good reason. Well two good reasons I suppose - it's an island, and it's in New York.

24. Sturgeon delicacy : ROE

25. Engineering sch. on the Hudson River : R.P.I. I know I'll never remember this. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Also known for schools of design and business management.

32. Deadly snake : ASP

35. White House signing ceremony memento : PEN

36. __ Trinket, "The Hunger Games" chaperone played by Elizabeth Banks : EFFIE. Thank you, crosses. Never seen the movies.

42. Cosmonaut Vladimir : TITOV. Four missions, and one where the Soyuz capsule was pulled clear of the rocket a few seconds before it exploded on the launch pad. They landed a couple of miles away. That's not messing around with the "pulling clear".

43. Partner of abet : AID

44. Most of Ariz. doesn't observe it : D.S.T. Hawaii doesn't either. Very sensible.

50. CIA predecessor : OSS

51. Drivers' org. : AAA

52. Phillies' div. : NL EAST

59. SALT subject : ICBM

62. Crab Key villain : DR NO. Bond, James Bond.

63. Mazda MX-5, familiarly : MIATA. Little sporty number.

64. Witty tweet, e.g. : QUIP

65. Novelist O'Brien : EDNA

66. Bunsen burner kin : ETNAS. Kin can be singular or plural. Can cause uncertainties.

67. Small ticks? : SECS

68. Travel aimlessly : ROAM

69. One of Franklin's two certainties : DEATH. I'm not sure which causes the most dread. Taxes, probably, they come around every year. At least you've only got to meet the Grim Reaper once.

Down:

1. Musée d'Orsay city : PARIS. I love this museum. A converted railway terminus, the glass roof is perfect for lighting the galleries.

2. Still : INERT

3. Salsa singer Cruz : CELIA. Thank you, crosses.

4. Spring 2008 "Dancing with the Stars" champion Yamaguchi : KRISTI. I've had a crush on her for years.


5. Potpourri pouch : SACHET

6. Wedding reception sight : CAKE

7. Hit the ground : ALIT. Hopefully gently. Alit - present or past tense. Can be tricky.

8. Hindu incantation : MANTRA

9. Word with carrier or passenger : PIGEON. The former is alive and kicking, the latter is now sadly extinct. I'm not pointing fingers or anything, but a species tends not to go from three billion or so to zero without humans having something to do with it (asteroid impacts excepted).

10. Floors : WOWS

11. Abbr. in many addresses : AVE.

12. Crossed (out) : X'ED

13. Jr. and sr. : YRS. High school and college.

21. Loses it : SNAPS

22. Lute-like instrument : REBEC. Here's one in action. I knew the sound, I certainly didn't know what made it.

25. Served seconds, say : RE-FED

26. Figure skating event : PAIRS

27. In other words, in other words : ID EST. Hello, Latin, my old friend. Great clue.

29. Novelist Harper : LEE. There was a BritPop band in the 90's called The Boo Radleys. I didn't know about the fictional character, I'd not read To Kill a Mockingbird at that point.

30. Quechua speakers : INCAS

31. He served as A.G. under his brother : R.F.K. I looked down the list of prior Attorneys General and couldn't see another brother A.G./POTUS combo. There were some candidates, from just looking at their names - Levi Lincoln, Augustus Hill Garland and Alonso Taft among them. There are a couple or more who belong in the "Great Names Hall of Fame", including Caesar Augustus Rodney and Philander Chase Knox.

32. "Don't __ innocent" : ACT SO

33. Port arrivals : SHIPS

34. Pockets for falafel : PITAS

38. Start to skid? : NON-

39. French spa : EVIAN

40. Strike : HIT

41. Utopias : EDENS

46. More melancholy : SADDER

47. Bob, for one : HAIRDO. Not "Builder" then?

48. Like peacocks : PLUMED. Because "Noisier than a jet fighter on a carrier deck" doesn't fit.

49. Many a Mideast native : SEMITE

53. Appliance maker since 1934 : AMANA. Began life as The Electrical Equipment Co. Amana is the Iowa town where they were founded.

54. Attack : SET AT

55. Vandalize : TRASH

56. Rascals : IMPS

57. Kendrick of "Pitch Perfect" : ANNA

58. "Syntactic Structures" author Chomsky : NOAM. He announced on Tuesday he's leaving MIT after 62 years for ASU; this should prompt Travelocity to feature him in their new ad campaign: "The Roaming Noam".

59. Nos. averaging 100 : IQ'S

60. What a shark strikes with : CUE. Nice clue. Shark in the pool hall hustler sense.

61. Wite-Out maker : BIC. I'd like to see today's production quantities vs. 20 years ago. I'm guessing around 10%.

That should do it for the day. Here's the grid:

Steve

Note from C.C.:

Garlic Gal, JD and Chickie had a get-together yesterday. Here is a selfie JD took. Or is it USIE? They used to meet every month.

Garlic Gal, JD and Chickie (Leah)

Aug 30, 2017

Wednesday, August 30, 2017, Jacob Stulberg

THEME: VOWEL MOVEMENT REDUX

A Wednesday puzzle with a vowel progression? Put up the Husker Gary Signal, Commissioner! This is my third recent puzzle with this gimmick. I thought we'd take a new look at the VOWELS in ASL. How many did you know?




 Jacob's progressive vowel insertions were on three two-word phrases and one single word adjective and were placed to complete the sequence CR _ M.... 

Perhaps it's not necessary but here is his grid and since only very smart people read this blog, I only indicated the vowels employed in Jacob's exercise.




Let's check out Jacob's exhibition of VOWEL PLAY by looking at his sequential theme entries:
17. Student's all-nighter : CRAM SESSION - They pulled a big CRAM SESSION to try to pass Professor Kingston's class in 1973's The Paper Chase


25. Dessert with a caramelized top : CREME BRULEE - Breaking through that wonderful caramelized crust 


39. Course of study that may include forensics : CRIMINAL JUSTICE - Abby of NCIS is my favorite forensic scientist and part of my latest Netflix binge


48. Like a mid-17th century English government : CROMWELLIAN - I'll bet Puritan and Roundhead Oliver was the life of any party! (Picture corrected from earlier Thomas)


61. Car's impact-absorbing structural feature : CRUMPLE ZONE - The CRUMPLE ZONE of both cars gives way first as designed



Now let's see what else Jacob has CRAMMED into this Wednesday exercise:


Across

1. Brigantine's pair : MASTS - How'd they get that ship in there?



6. Necklace globule : BEAD

10. Touch gently : PAT

13. Sneezing sound : ACHOO - Response - Gesund (healthy) heit (hood) to wish good health

14. Grade for exceptional work : A-PLUS 

16. "Gross!" : UGH

19. Links figure : PAR - PAR for pros is usually one less than for me

20. Trek on a trail : HIKE - Wanna hike up Half Dome in Yosemite? Here's the trail:


21. Lots : A TON

22. Martini garnish : OLIVE

24. Keats' "__ on Indolence" : ODE - For this ODE to his own laziness, Keats used as an epigraph this passage from Matthew 26: "They toil not, neither do they spin" and we also had 56. Like noble gases : INERT

27. Verbal : ORAL

29. Former "Inside the NFL" host Dawson : LEN

30. Correctional : PENAL - Nebraska's PENAL system is at 150% of capacity

32. Issuer of bulls : POPE - Named for the leaden seal (bulla) affixed to the bottom of a Papal edict, uh, not the content


35. Bridge support : ARCH - For some reason the ARCHES shown here gave this bridge in Memphis the nickname "The Dolly Parton Bridge." Hmmm... It's a mystery to me


42. Trail : PATH

43. Sports figures : ODDS

44. __ fit: tantrum : HISSY

45. Tie-ending qtrs. : OTS - James White scoring the TD that decided the 2017 Super Bowl which was the first one to go into OverTime


47. Boot : KICK - The Falcons were KICKING themselves for letting the the Super Bowl above get away from them

54. Letter after upsilon : PHI

57. "Spider-Man: Homecoming" actress Marisa : TOMEI - She is a fine actress but she'll always be Mona Lisa Vito, the car expert in My Cousin Vinny to me


58. Je t'__: French "I love you" : AIME 

59. Cookware material : IRON 

60. Bygone U.K. record label : EMI

64. Suitable : APT

65. Comic/writer/activist Izzard : EDDIE - A British comedian known for dressing as a woman in his act


66. Solitary sort : LONER - I am an involuntary  LONER when eating lunch in faculty lounges

67. Ed.'s acquisitions : MSS - Manuscripts 

68. Italian wine region : ASTI

69. Latin clarifier : ID EST  - i.e. This might, uh, clarify the issue, i.e. explain the difference  




Down

1. Virile : MACHO - Many in this sport have their MACHO image enhanced pharmacologically 


2. Bitterly pungent : ACRID

3. Seal the deal : SHAKE ON IT - It can be complicated


4. Heavy reading? : TOME

5. Signal of distress : SOS - This became standard after the sinking of the Titanic and replaced CQD (Come Quickly Danger) (-.-.  --.-  -..)  which the doomed ship was sending as she sank

6. Moisten while roasting : BASTE

7. __ salts : EPSOM

8. Dress named for a letter : A-LINE

9. Electronic music's Daft Punk, e.g. : DUO and 47. Film critic Pauline : KAEL- I guess...

10. Dilation target : PUPIL - My good friend had this situation with his eyes


11. Tequila source : AGAVE

12. Red billiard ball : THREE - Its correct placement in the rack for 8-Ball


15. [Bo-ring!] : SNORE

18. Rank between marquis and viscount : EARL

23. __ fringe: fanatical extremists : LUNATIC

25. Colombian city : CALI

26. __ cheese : BLEU - Not a fan

28. Make emphatically, as a point : RAM HOME - I think this RAM made his point emphatically 


30. Angel dust, for short : PCP

31. Significant stretch : ERA

32. Sketchbook, e.g. : PAD

33. __ Navy: discount retailer : OLD

34. Comfy lounging wear : PJS - After one of my blogs i got an anonymous note from someone who said I put commas where they are not required. So, would PJ'S be out of place here or here 37. IV units : CCS - CC'S

36. Like aggressive investments : RISK PRONE - "Hello, Mr. Madoff, I'd like my money back"

38. "Listen up!" : HEY

40. Body part with a bridge : NOSE - You can alter that bridge


41. It's just over a foot : SHIN

46. __-baked potatoes : TWICE

48. Third-stringers : C-TEAM - Most would now say "Third on the depth chart"

49. Escapades : ROMPS

50. Passes over : OMITS - Why did Jacob omit CRY ME A RIVER? 😉

51. Praises highly : LAUDS

52. Maximum : LIMIT

53. Macao Science Center designer : I.M. PEI - Wow!


55. Sharpens : HONES

59. Polo maker that's a Polo rival : IZOD

62. Nutritional abbr. : RDA

63. Philanthropist Broad : ELI - A little obscure for a Wednesday?


It's no CRIME to have an opinion here:

Aug 29, 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 ~ Lonnie Burton & Nadine Anderton

Theme: Word Jumble - In the circles, various formations of the word, SPARE.

17A. Microsoft Excel tool: SPREADSHEET

24A. Like lutes and mandolins: PEAR-SHAPED

36A. Gentle hose setting: FINE SPRAY

49A. Stain remover for wrinkle-resistant fabric: PERMA-PRESS  

58A. Pocket coins, or what can literally be seen in each set of puzzle circles: SPARE CHANGE

Argyle here. So one jumble forms a word, (pears), and one is a prefix, (après-); three span two words while one is wholly contained in one word. It has some strong columns in the corners; all-in-all, a satisfactory third LAT puzzle from this duo.

Across:

1. Ruin: SPOIL

6. Pesto herb: BASIL

11. NYC financial newspaper: WSJ. (Wall Street Journal)

14. Dodgers and Giants: TEAMS. Both former NYC teams.

15. Spanish girl: CHICA

16. Boo follower: HOO

19. It's found in lodes: ORE

20. Disc in the dishwasher: PLATE

21. Parish residence: RECTORY

23. Mount sacred to Judaism: ZION. Mount Zion is a hill in Jerusalem just outside the walls of the Old City.

                                      rare snow















27. Splinter groups: SECTS

29. Beer drinker's option, briefly: IPA. (India pale ale)

30. River from Lake Victoria: NILE


31. First animal rescue vessel?: ARK

32. Ex-Yankee Martinez: TINO. Both a third baseman and first baseman, Wiki.

34. John of Monty Python: CLEESE



38. Shoot for, with "to": ASPIRE

41. New Mexico art hub: TAOS


42. Chicken __: itchy malady: POX

45. Paper mishap: TEAR

46. Building wing: ELL

47. Yankee manager Joe with four World Series wins: TORRE. He serves as Major League Baseball's chief baseball officer since 2011.

53. Close by: NEAR

54. Gets away: ESCAPES

55. When many take coffee breaks: AT TEN

57. "__ you listening?": ARE

62. Animation frame: CEL

63. Prohibit, legally: ESTOP

64. Fencing swords: EPEEs

65. Masthead VIPs: EDs. (Editors)

66. Small and large: SIZES

67. Actress Streep: MERYL

Down:

1. 42nd and Wall: Abbr.: STs. NYC, 42nd is mid-town and Wall Street is down at the tip.

2. More lively: PEPPIER

3. Dinghy attachment: OARLOCK


4. "That is to say ... ": "I MEANT ... "

5. J.D.-to-be's exam: LSAT. (Law School Admission Test)


6. Former NCAA football ranking sys.: BCS. Bowl Championship Series, a system that selected matchups for major college football bowl games between 1998 and 2013.

7. Spa sigh: [AHH!]

8. Mountain chain: SIERRA

9. Fruity frozen drinks: ICEEs

10. Fastening device: LATCH

11. __ pie: cream-filled chocolate cake: WHOOPIE. My sugar spiked just looking at them.


12. Reddish-brown horses: SORRELS

13. "Peppermint Twist" lead singer: JOEY DEE and the Starliters.



18. ATM transaction: Abbr.: DEP. (deposit)

22. Dred Scott decision Chief Justice: TANEYBio.

23. When doubled, a Gabor: ZSA

25. German article: EINE

26. Biblical disciple: APOSTLE

28. Verb in a recipe: STIR

33. Suffix with chlor-: INE

34. Zagreb's country, to the IOC: CRO. (International Olympic Committee/Croatia)

35. Bringing up the rear: LAST

36. Terra __: solid land: FIRMA

37. Friends: PALS

38. Content (with): AT PEACE

39. Becomes incensed: SEES RED. I guess peace didn't last.

40. FedEx deliveries: PARCELS

42. Feather-fixing bird, e.g.: PREENER

43. Like a bad fake tan: ORANGEY

44. Gen-__: millennial preceder: Xer

46. Fake: ERSATZ. Thank you whoever used it in the comments the other day.

48. Already recorded: ON TAPE

50. Church recesses: APSEs

51. Cola choice: PEPSI

52. Anatomical pouch: SAC

56. Those folks: THEM

59. Fish eggs: ROE

60. Mini-albums, for short: EPs. (extended play)

61. Subj. for immigrants: ESL. (English as a Second Language)

Argyle


Notes from C.C.:

1) Let's continue keeping our Texas regulars in our thoughts and prayers. D-Otto has not replied my email either. Hope he just lost his internet. Thanks for the updates, Anon-T, Peg and TX Ms.

2) Here are two pictures from JD.


This one was taken on Sunday night when her grandson Truman celebrated his 10th birthday. How time flies! JD joined our blog shortly after Truman was born.
 
JD and her husband Bob

The picture is from her recent vacation with Dick (an old blog regular) and his wife Irene in Switzerland. They take vacations together every year. JD said "We couldn’t go up in the gondola (today’s CW entry) to the Matterhorn because of high winds, so we took a tram up to the 2nd highest peak: Gornergrat... it was very windy with snow, dust and gravel blowing."

Aug 28, 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017 ~ Gail Grabowski

Theme: Puff Piece - Items of light weight.

17A. Exploit a situation for personal wealth: FEATHER ONE'S NEST

27A. Textured overhead interior feature in some homes: POPCORN CEILINGGoogle pictures.

48A. Large final loan remittance: BALLOON PAYMENT

64A. Has little significance ... and to all intents and purposes, what the first word of 17-, 27- and 48-Across does: CARRIES NO WEIGHT

Argyle here with Gail's solo effort. Some entries will test your crossword knowledge.

Across:

1. Plastering strip: LATH. Not many plaster walls left.

5. Go here and there: ROAM

9. Performs a full-body scan on?: OGLEs. New clue for an old favorite.

14. "Wonderfilled" cookie: OREO

15. Arizona county or its seat: YUMA

Gateway Park

16. Decoratively patterned fabric: TOILE

1950's nautical toile cocktail dress

20. Decorator's asset: TASTE

21. Black & Decker rival: SKIL. Power tools.

22. Membership fees: DUES

23. Embarrassing shirt-pocket stain: INK

25. Range above tenor: ALTO

34. Soup aisle container: CAN

35. Director Kazan: ELIA

36. Walk-on role: CAMEO

37. Feels remorse over: RUEs

39. Sock away: AMASS

42. Works on a seam: SEWS

43. Identity-concealing name: ALIAS

45. Yr.-end consultants: CPAs. (Certified Public Accountant)

47. "The fresh air is delightful!": "AAH!"

52. iPod download: TUNE

53. Tofu source: SOY

54. Dating from: AS OF

57. Give the band a hand: CLAP

60. Brings in from the field: REAPS

67. German steel town: ESSEN. Actually, a quite 'green' town.


68. "I've got the tab": "ON ME"

69. Like some art class models: NUDE

70. Places for laces: SHOES

71. Call for: NEED

72. Shocked reaction: GASP

Down:

1. Artist's digs: LOFT. They get the best light.

2. Flooring calculation: AREA

3. Drinks with crumpets: TEAs



4. Inside racetrack info: HOT TIP

5. Loaf in a deli: RYE

6. For you and me: OURS

7. Wild way to run: AMOK

8. Hit song from "Flashdance": MANIAC


               'Firewind' is a Greek power metal band.

9. Extra NFL periods: OTs. (overtime)

10. Ski resort transports: GONDOLAs. Will take you where a t-bar could only dream.

11. "In __ of gifts ... ": LIEU

12. Otherwise: ELSE

13. Sinks out of sight, as the sun: SETS

18. Therefore: HENCE

19. Couture monthly: ELLE

24. Beverage nut: KOLA

26. Personal quirk: TIC

27. Former "American Idol" judge Abdul: PAULA

28. Roger of NBC News: O'NEIL. Roger O'Neil has been a reporter for NBC News for over 30 years.

29. Volcano edge: RIM

30. Anti-discrimination org.: NAACP. (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)

31. "In other words ... ": "I MEAN ... "

32. Not experienced in: NEW AT

33. "Golly!": "GOSH!"

34. Clawed crawler: CRAB. I miss Sally.

38. Like foods for a low-sodium diet: SALT FREE

40. Body wrap offerer: SPA

41. Comes out with: SAYS

44. Not worth a __: SOU. A former French coin of low denomination.

46. Camper's dessert: S'MORE

49. On a single occasion: ONCE

50. Willie of country: NELSON

Willie Nelson and his guitar, 'Trigger'.

51. Watching closely: EYEING

54. Golf rarities: ACES. A hole in one.

55. Beauty pageant band: SASH

56. Roughly: ORSO

58. Celebrity chef Burrell: ANNE



59. Fleshy fruit: POME. A fruit consisting of a fleshy enlarged receptacle and a tough central core containing the seeds, e.g., an apple or pear.

61. Isla surrounder: AGUA. Spanish for island and water.

62. Advanced degrees: Abbr.: PHDs. (Doctor of Philosophy)

63. Staircase unit: STEP

65. State Farm's bus.: INS. (Insurance)

66. Exchange rings: WED
Argyle




Note from C.C.:

Dear Peg sent me these two pictures on Sunday morning (before they were pounded with more rain). She said this:

"Here’s a pic or two from all the rain we’ve gotten….. over 24” in the last 12 hours!

No water in the house but it came within half inch. Receding slowly.  First pic is of our front yard.  Second is neighbor’s house across the street!"



Aug 27, 2017

Sunday August 27, 2017 Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: "Special Ops" - OP is added to each theme entries.

27A. Like soup cans to Andy Warhol? : PERFECT FOR THE POP ART. Perfect for the part. Jeffrey started his first themer at Row 4.

45A. The musical "1776" reworked with arias? : COLONIAL OPERA. Colonial era.

55A. Astaire/Rogers 1935 boast? : I MADE TOP HAT. I made that.


67A. Pace of a runaway horse? : UNMITIGATED GALLOP. Unmitigated gall.

83A. Why the kennel closed? : NO PET PROFIT. Net profit.

92A. Vespa newbies? : MOPED STUDENTS. Med students.

112A. #1 rodeo competitor? : THE LORD OF THE ROPINGS. The Lord of the Rings.

I hope you guys have the chance to meet with the legend Jeffrey someday. His creativity & passion are unparalleled. Look at what he did with 27A, 55A and 83A, changing one word into two. So imaginative.

Jeffrey's grid design is also very imaginative. He's never daunted by a first 14-letter first themer in a 15*15 grid, or a 13-letter middle row themer, regardless how many theme entries he has. Of course, you have to have an imaginative brain to dream of and execute THE X-FILES. We're so lucky to enjoy his creations regularly.

Across:      

1. Crisscross pattern : GRID

5. Whole alternative : SKIM

9. Religion that may involve a moon goddess : WICCA. Learning moment. Hinduism also has a moon goddess, correct?

14. Tolerate : ABIDE

19. Sticks figure : RUBE. Read as "Stick figure".


20. Common conifer : PINE

21. Many a South Pacific isle : ATOLL

22. Kosher : LEGIT

23. __ in the Pod: maternity brand : A PEA. Unfamiliar with the brand.


24. It won't fly on the Sabbath : EL AL. Hahtoola never uses her computer/tablet on Saturdays. We also have 32. Traditional meal : SEDER

25. Get rid of : SCRAP

26. Freetown currency : LEONE. I've never seen a $500 bill in person.


31. New York natives : ERIES

33. Join : ATTACH

36. Position : STANCE

38. More extensive : WIDER

40. Mid sixth-century date : DLI. 551.

42. For two, in music : A DUE

43. "The rules __ the rules" : ARE

48. Courtesy to parents of a child flying alone : GATE PASS. Debut entry! Also 54. Carrier renamed in 1997 : US AIR. Eventually merged with American Airlines.

53. Refuses : WON'T. This type of clue always gets me. I thought the answer would end in *S.
   
59. Their areas are arias : DIVAS. Nice clue.

61. Auction unit : LOT

62. Taunt : GIBE

63. Ballerinas' supply : ROSIN. Not TUTUs.

65. Saltpeter : NITER

73. Traffic stopper, perhaps : SIREN

74. Capital SW of Brussels : PARIS. Plenty of daily trains between the two cities. Also 18. 74-Across season : ETE
 
75. Sculptors' degs. : BFAs

78. "Lou Grant" production co. : MTM

81. Like some strays : MANGY
 
87. Flew into __ : A RAGE. You won't see our Gary flies into one. He's always so understanding and gracious.

89. Mexican dirección : ESTE. East.


91. Engine regulator : THROTTLE. Consonants-heavy.

97. Verizon subsidiary : AOL

98. Two-balled weapon : BOLA

99. Dangerous African biter : ASP

100. News story sources : LEAKS

102. Absorb, as with toweling : BLOT UP. Never used this phrase.

107. Brief outline : APERCU. Not SKETCH.

109. Produce chapter and verse? : WRITE. Another great clue.

111. Development areas : UTERI

118. 1995 Cecil B. DeMille Award-winning actress : LOREN (Sophia)



120. Marilyn's birth name : NORMA. Norma Jeane. One of the flea market guys loves Marilyn to death. He collects everything about her.

121. Swear : AVOW

122. Gp. that includes Venezuela : OPEC

123. Golf shoe feature : CLEAT

124. Like some construction sight markers : CONIC.  He meant "site".

125. Current : TIDE

126. Geometry function : SINE

127. Accomplishments : DEEDS. Not FEATS.

128. Act with passion : EMOTE

129. Acorn, essentially : SEED

130. Laryngitis docs : ENTs
  
Down:
 
1. Ones pressed for drinks : GRAPES. I never juice grapes or Honeycrisp apples. Too precious to juice.

2. Grint who plays Ron in Harry Potter films : RUPERT. Here he is.

3. Portugal's region : IBERIA

4. Overwhelm with noise : DEAFEN

5. What manuscripts may be submitted on : SPEC. Crossword puzzles too, unless it's Sunday. Then you can send a theme query to Rich first.

6. Caber toss garb : KILTS

7. Shortly, casually : IN A FEW
 
8. Songlike : MELODIC

9. Scrooge's opposite : WASTREL. This is a new word for me.

10. Craving : ITCH
 
11. Crux : CORE

12. Show appreciation, in a way : CLAP

13. Boxer's brand? : ALPO. Dog food.

14. With 113-Down, precipitously : ALL AT. And 113. See 14-Down : ONCE

 15. Draft providers : BEER TAPS. I've been hoping that TTP and Abejo would meet again soon.


16. Savvy shopper's cry : I GOT A DEAL. This reminds me of Jeffrey's I WAS MAD. He debuted lots of entries.

17. Ruckus : DIN

28. Fire __ : ESCAPE. Not ENGINE.

29. Makeover : RE-DO

30. Swabby's need : PAIL
 
34. Collector's item : CURIO

35. Compassion : HEART.  Stole this lovely picture from dear Misty's Facebook.

Dusty & Misty

37. Part of Q.E.D. : ERAT

39. Ticket word : ROW

40. Home furnishing purchase : DINING SET. I use "Dining room set".

41. Estonia neighbor : LATVIA

44. Paul Anka's "__ Beso" : ESO

46. Silent affirmation : NOD
 
47. Montana's __ Falls : OUSEL. Never heard of it. Looks like a nice hiking spot.


48. Band performance : GIG

49. "__ dreaming?" : AM I

50. "Forbidden" perfume : TABU

51. Ideal places : EDENS

52. Appears suddenly : SPRINGS UP. Also 86. Prepare to store, as a blueprint : ROLL UP

56. Harley, e.g. : HOG

57. "Make it quick!" : ASAP

58. Industry VIP : TITAN

60. Bermuda's ocean: Abbr. : ATL

64. Successor to Claudius : NERO

66. High-tech worker : ROBOT. Look at the receptionist in this Japanese hotel.

68. Emulated a street performer : MIMED
 
69. Investment acronym : IRA

70. Guiding principles : TENETS

71. Decline : DIP

72. [It disappeared!] : PFFT

76. Require meds, maybe : AIL. As TTP predicted, my doctor asked me to take salt liberally. I've made progress. Reached 103/63 at the doctor's office. I normally hover around 90/60.

77. Sault __ Marie : STE

78. Dangerous African biter : MAMBA

 79. Military unit : TROOP

80. It might be tapped : MAPLE TREE

82. Since Jan. 1, in P&L reports : YTD

84. Article in rap titles : THA

85. "No __!": "Easy-peasy!" : PROB

88. Under-the-hood type : GEARHEAD. Dear Santa is one.

90. Slim swimmer : EEL

93. Novelist Bellow : SAUL

94. Church greeter's target : NEW FACE

95. Like small star fruit : TART. Any of you drinking tart cherry concentrate/juice?

96. Slope apparel : SKI HATS

101. Wonder on stage : STEVIE

103. Lazy : OTIOSE. OK, then, I've been otiose the past few months.

104. Half of bowling's worst split : TEN PIN. Or SEVEN PIN. By the way, PK, Boomer does wear sneakers when we walk inside the mall. He thinks you're right about the sucking effect of the rubber soles. Thanks for the analysis.

105. Of immediate concern : URGENT

106. Compassionate, creative, submissive sort, it's said : PISCES. True?

108. Small change : CENTS

110. Undercut : ERODE

114. Den, for one : ROOM

115. Bond adventure with Honey Ryder : DR. NO

116. Drop : OMIT

117. Was in the red : OWED

118. Clock readout abbr. : LCD. I wonder why they don't make silent wall clocks.


119. "Good one, matador!" : OLE





Anon T(Tony) sent me below map with a note. Peg lives in League City. Stay safe, everyone. 

"This is the traffic map. All the little "water droplets" are flooded freeways. For some reason, people are still on the road (see yellow & blue). Reports of abandoned cars abound.

TxMs is inside the inner loop near where 59/I69, Westpark & 610 meet (in the SW). DO is way up north-east @ 59/I69 (past IAH airport), and I’m down where 99/529 crosses 59/I69 in the extreme SW quadrant (just a bit NOT on the bottom of the map). I don’t know where Peg is. So far, we’re all OK and hunker’d down."


Happy birthday to dear Lemonade (Jason), our Friday Sherpa since March 2010. He's been through quite an ordeal this past year, but he's always cheerful and positive. Thank you for being here for us, Lemonade. Thanks for taking good care of Lemonade, Oo!