Aug 20, 2017

Sunday August 20, 2017 Adam T. Cobb

Theme: "Music Exchange" - One word in each common phrase is replaced by a musical instrument.

30A. Janus-inspired stringed instrument? : TWO-FACED LYRE. Two-faced liar.

43A. Task for roadies? : LOAD THE BASSES. Load the bases.

65A. Bit of criticism from Ravi Shankar? : CLOSE BUT NO SITAR. Close but no cigar.

93A. Percussionist's answer to "When do you practice?"? : IN MY SNARE TIME. In my spare time.

110A. Hi-hat for high society? : STATUS CYMBAL. Status symbol.

5D. Instrument carved from the Tree of Knowledge? : FORBIDDEN FLUTE. Forbidden fruit.

51D. What Tubby brushes with? : TUBA TOOTHPASTE. Tube toothpaste.

No label for Adam in our blog, so this must be his LAT debut. Congratulations!

As I mentioned in our "Something's Fishy" pun theme two weeks ago, I just don't have grasp of this theme type. Some are homophones, some have added vowel sound, some have consonant change.

I love the grid design. Two of the Down themers intersect two other Across themers. Amazing.


1. Spiced rice : PILAF.  I need to eat more spicy and salty food to increase my low blood pressure. Scary to feel dizzy.

6. Idle in sketches : ERIC. Eric Idle.

10. Popular tablet : iPAD

14. Potential replacement sites : HIPs. Hip replacement.

18. Mexican marinade : ADOBO

19. Former Cubs slugger : SOSA. Such drastic change, TTP!

20. "__ cloud in the sky, Got the sun in my eyes ... ": Carpenters lyric : NOT A

21. '50s pol Stevenson : ADLAI

23. Starting blocks user : RACER

24. Rejects : TURNS DOWN

26. Wikipedia policy : NO ADS

27. Chinese tea : CHA, Literally "tea". Does the Chinese character look soothing to you?

28. Author Harte : BRET

32. Tiny colony defender : SOLDIER. Ant colony.

34. Safari sight : LION

35. School interlude : RECESS

36. Pkg. payment methods : CODs

37. Used a dugout : CANOED. Dugout canoe.

39. Top note in a common triad : SOL. Stumped me.

40. Airer of old MGM films : TCM . Also 110. "I'm Dying Up Here" airer, for short : SHO

46. Cross : SORE

47. Text ender? : UAL. Textual.  We also have 22. Expert's conclusion? : ISE. Expertise. Also 96. Bar opening? : ISO. Isobar.

48. SEC Network owner : ESPN

49. Employs : HIRES

51. The Willis in Chicago, for one : TOWER

52. Contempt : SCORN

54. Discontinue : STOP

57. Spirit of Saint-Louis? : ANGE. I did not know the this French king was a saint. 

58. Join : UNITE

59. Deprived (of) : BEREFT

61. One of the U.S.'s 435 : REP. Eight are from Minnesota.

63. Radii, e.g. : ARM BONES

70. Have faith in : RELY UPON

73. Require treatment, perhaps : AIL

74. Britain's Penny Black and Two Penny Blue : STAMPS. Wiki says "The Two Penny Blue or The Two Pence Blue was the world's second official postage stamp, produced in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and issued after the Penny Black."

78. Legislate : ENACT

79. Voting coalition : BLOC

82. Quarter of a bushel : PECK

85. Red, yellow or white veggie : ONION. Also 34. Black or yellow pet : LAB

86. Like certain gases : NOBLE

87. Envisioned being : SAW AS. Yeah, Jayce, new contact lenses for this astigmatism.

89. Transient with a bindle : HOBO

91. PC dial-up upgrade : DSL

92. Skin product enhancement : ALOE

97. __ gibbon: zoo animal : LAR. Learning moment for me.

98. A.L. East squad : TOR (Toronto)

101. Delivery on deliverance : SERMON

102. "Now I get it!" : AH SO

103. Cold-weather wear : PARKAS. Ah, winter! Somehow the smooth ground of malls often trips Boomer, who can't get himself up without help. Asphalt ground is hard on his left hip. Thankfully we have many trails to choose in the summer. Boomer loves cushion-y soft trails.

106. Appearance : MIEN

107. Tariffed goods : IMPORTS

113. She, in Capri : ESSA. How is it different from ELLA?

114. "Science Guy" Bill : NYE

115. "The King and I" group : HAREM.

116. They have ideas : INVENTORS

118. "Cheese!" consequence : SMILE. Here is Boomer in front of the Mary Tyler Moore house, close to Lake of the Isle.

120. Not bottled : ON TAP

121. Dark genre : NOIR Also 33. Classic O'Brien 121-Across film : D.O.A.

122. Biblical brother : ESAU

123. In shape : TONED. Followed by 124. Places to get in shape : GYMS
125. Polish, in a way : EDIT

126. Gambit : RUSE

127. Some MIT grads : ENGRS
  1. __ nationaux: French tourist attractions : PARCS. Never heard of it. Looks pretty.

2. Pocatello locale : IDAHO

3. Regional asset : LOCAL COLOR. Lots of great long fill in this puzzle.

4. Face on a fiver : ABE

6. Glyceride, for one : ESTER

7. Force into ignominious retreat : ROUT

8. Mideast nation: Abbr. : ISR

9. Baja bar : CANTINA

10. World's largest island country : INDONESIA. Plenty of coconuts there. Aroy-D (Thailand) is the tastiest canned coconut brand I've found. So incredibly rich. But the cream does not rise to top as other canned coconuts do, even if I put them in fridge for a day or two. So odd. Must have some hidden emulsifier.

11. [It's gone!] : POOF

12. Clashing : AT WAR

13. End zone celebrations : DANCES

14. "Water Music" composer : HANDEL

15. Hollywood faves : IDOLS

16. Goes for the gold : PLAYS TO WIN. Another fantastic fill.

17. __ City, Iraq : SADR

25. "Just Do It" logo : SWOOSH

29. Breaks : RESTS

31. Novelist Umberto : ECO

37. Red coin? : CENT
38. Laura of "Jurassic Park" : DERN

41. Labyrinth site of myth : CRETE

42. Parisian parents : MERES. Mothers. Ma mere. Mon pere.

43. Tatting fabric : LACE

44. PC options : HPs

45. Genesis and Dreamcast : SEGAs

46. Arizona desert : SONORAN

47. Thumb drive port : USB

50. Pak of the LPGA : SE RI. Retired now. She opened the door for all the Korean golfers.

53. Get more out of : RECYCLE

55. Ball : ORB

56. Little, in Lille : PEU. "Un peu".

60. Finest : TOP

62. Harper Valley org. : PTA

64. Cascade components: Abbr. : MTs

66. Blubbers : SOBS

67. Zhou __ : ENLAI. Very faithful to Mao, even during Cultural Revolution. But his reputation was untarnished. He just quietly saved many lives from prosecution.

68. Bit from a bottle : NIP

69. Flamenco shout : OLE

70. Concerning kidneys : RENAL

71. __ Gay: WWII bomber : ENOLA

72. Group once led by Meir and Rabin : LABOR PARTY

75. When some late risers get started : MID-MORNING. Reveal of a puzzle Agnes and I made.

76. Model act : POSE

77. NBC skit show : SNL

80. Admits, with "up" : OWNS

81. Creamy French cheese : CAMEMBERT. Another great fill.

83. Actor/stuntman Jackie : CHAN. It's spelled CHEN in Taiwan and Mainland China. Same character.

84. "MASH" milieu: Abbr. : KOR (Korea). The life expectancy is so high there. The magic of fermented food.  

88. Damascus denizen : SYRIAN

90. Rays : BEAMS

94. Ore refinery : SMELTER

95. __ compos mentis : NON

98. Outdoes : TRUMPS

99. Approves : OKs

100. Wisconsin city on Lake Michigan : RACINE. See it? Were you born in Stevens Point, D-Otto?

104. Mr. T's troop : A-TEAM

105. Layer in ecclesiastical governance : SYNOD

107. Give out : ISSUE

108. Tenth American president : TYLER

109. Planted pips : SEEDS

111. Sharpness : TANG

112. XIX x LIII : MVII. Got via crosses. Too complicated to calculate.

113. Ballpark figs. : ERAS

117. The Beavers of the Pac-12 : OSU

119. Calendar abbr. : MON. Santa's Day.


Aug 19, 2017

Saturday, Aug 19th, 2017, Matthew Sewell

Theme: None

Words: 68 (Pangram~!)

Blocks: 39

There is one other LA Times puzzle from Matthew, from Thursday March 23rd of this year.  Today's offering was a really pleasant solve, with very few proper names or abbreviations and plenty of clever clues to make it tough, but do-able.  I admit to not getting my "ta-DA~!" because of one cel, and I just switched to red-letter to find it; more below, and it's quite funny in retrospect.  Big block count today, a friendly grid, and just a pair of 11-letter spanners in the across and few 8-letter answers throughout;

33. Look for business? : WORK CLOTHES

Or how 'bout her~?

She definitely does not work at my terminal....

38. Peruse, as a catalog : LOOK THROUGH - I filled in "THROUGH" and waited on either LOOK or SCAN



1. Bass-baritone role in an 1885 Savoy Theatre premiere : MIKADO - never a good start when you have no clue - or is that answer~?

7. King Features Syndicate parent : HEARST

13. Brown world? : ACADEME - Funny, I wonder if Mr. Sewell knew I would be doing the blog, because half my world IS Brown - UPS brown, that is.  Since UPS did not fit, I wondered if it was a reference to Charlie [Brown], but no, it's about an ivy league school

15. "I have a bad feeling about this" : "OH DEAR...." - and a line from Han Solo - four times

16. Strike a chord : RESONATE - my first thought was guitar related

18. There's one right in front of you : PUZZLE - ah.  Yes.  I had Muzzle, which is technically correct, and hoMe before 'against' made sense, but not after as well

19. MSN, for one : ISP - Internet Service Provider

20. Wore with jaunty confidence : ROCKED - I like rocking my plus-fours on the golf course.  Not.
and Argyle socks~!

22. Scuttle : NIX

23. Most of a pool cue : SHAFT - like 99.5%

26. 11, at times: Abbr. : NOVember - I always get duped by this, especially since "11" to me is usually a guitar amplifier reference

27. Cooked : DONE

28. Vital vessels : AORTAS

30. W-9 filers : NEW HIRES

35. Panasonic flat-screen : VIERA

36. Welsh herder : CORGI

41. Majesty : SPLENDOR

44. Four-time WWE World Champion Brock __ : LESNAR - all perps

46. Wharf : QUAY - dah~! not DOCK

47. Dressy accessory : TIE - I went with BOA - 100% wrong

49. Curling piece : STONE

50. Audible pauses : UMs  - I had UHs to start

51. How cherries jubilee is served : FLAMBÉ

54. Dungeons & Dragons bird : ROC - I'm such a nerd.  I got this.  But hey~! I think I might have a cool name for my board game~!

55. Shout on arrival : I'M HERE

57. 1984 Winter Olympics city : SARAJEVO - didn't come to me right away - I got it after I had the "S" and "O"

60. Strongly suggest : REEK OF - the word 'reek' always reminds me of a band that played the night club I managed; they called themselves REEKING HAVOC - not WREAKING

61. Alito and Thomas : YALE MEN - I thought we were looking for two guys named the same, so I threw an "S" in at the end.  Bzzzt.

62. Danny, vis-à-vis the "Bloodline" siblings : ELDEST - no clue, via perps

63. Sharp weapons : SABERS - Dah~!  not SPEARS - that's 83.3% at 50% correct


1. Best Supporting Actress two years after Whoopi : MARISA - Ms. Tomei, for My Cousin Vinny, and Ms. Goldberg for Ghost

2. Exhibition with blades : ICE SHOW - Good clue.  Hockey games, too

3. '90s loser to Deep Blue : KASPAROV - I didn't know this.  More chess, too~! The Wiki

4. Flap : ADO - so what's a MIK   ADO~?  (nyuk nyuk nyuk)

5. Forest digs : DEN

6. "Rubáiyát" poet : OMAR

7. Word before and after against : HOPE - hope against hope - ah, that makes sense

8. Israel's Olmert : EHUD - perps and a WAG

9. Sharp-edged tool : ADZ

10. Nine Inch Nails founder Trent : REZNOR - the one proper name I did know - I'd link a song, but most of the popular stuff is a bit raunchy - if you must, check out "Closer".  On the flip side, Hurt was covered by Johnny Cash

11. Briny : SALINE - ah.  SALTY was too short

12. Natural history museum attractions, briefly : T-REXES

14. School with trimesters called halves : ETON

17. Cheap opening : ECONO-

21. Bellyache : KVETCH

24. Kan. Army installation : Ft. RILEY - I was pretty confident of my ACROSS answers, so the FTR--- to start helped a lot

25. Go up against : TAKE ON

27. Turn off and then some : DISGUST

29. Cape Cod catch : SCROD

31. Forensics ridge : WHORL - fingerprints

32. Stallone roles, e.g. : HEROES

34. Sitting Bull's people : LAKOTA

37. "Forget I said anything" : "IGNORE ME."

39. Downsizes : TRIMS

40. German royal house, 1714-1901 : HANOVER

41. Knight aide : SQUIRE

42. Buffet : PUMMEL - I didn't know if it was BUH-fet, or buh-FAY

43. Tied up : LASHED

45. Scouting ops : RECONS

48. Weird Al song that wonders, "Tell me why I bid on Shatner's old toupee" : eBAY - man that's funny; I DID buy a golf cart on eBay - and I found a rare Tom Jones CD, Rescue Me, sold by a guy in Russia....

The Wiki on the song

51. Picked dos : 'FROS

52. Took off : LEFT

53. Noteworthy times : ERAS

56. Stretch (out) : EKE

58. Like : Á LA 

59. Politico with a father, brother and son named George : JEB - the Bushes


P.S.> I was shocked to see that my name now appears in the "labels" settings~!

Aug 18, 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017, Jeffrey Wechsler

Title: X marks the spot.

JW is back with another of his intricate visual puzzles, this time presenting 5 different iterations of the word FILES set out in an X pattern indicated by circles. The only strictly theme fill is the reveal:
39A. '90s-'00s sci-fi hit ... or what this puzzle's circles graphically depict : THE X-FILES (9).
The genius comes in when you place the five Xs in the grid so that together they create super X. This is the result of connecting the Xs from NW to SE and SW to NE. But wait - there's more! If the circles in each set are seen as a series, going from left-to-right and top-to-bottom as follows:

                     1        2
                     4        5

you will notice that the letters in FILES rotate in strict sequence from one set to the next.  That is, in the NW set, F is at position number 1, with the other letters following.  In the NE set, the F has shifted to position 2, and the other letters follow.  In the central set, the F is at position 3, and so on. Thus, the positioning of the letters in FILES is not a random scrambling, but a precise progression. The Z pattern he employed to present his pattern eluded me for a very long time.
Another technical marvel of construction.

We also have some fun fill, like ACCOSTS,  ACETONE,  AT A RACE,  BAD SPOT, DOLEFUL, EATS OUT, PROPMAN, PUFFERS,  UPLIFTS, GRAIN SILO, LEXINGTON but it pales in comparison to the architectural masterpiece.  Another YMMV, I guess, but let's see.


1. Sound check item : AMP. Amplifiers have been known as amps for some time!

4. Went down : SANK.  Simple, but so many SYNONYMS.

8. Euripides tragedy : MEDEA. Wife of Jason.

13. __ cross : TAU.  LINK.

14. Skewer relative : PRONG. A skewer is single. The better QUESTION.

16. Hipbone-related : ILIAC.  No more please.
17. Woofer's output? : ARF. Not the tweeter.

18. Even less given to emotion : ICIER.

19. Quantum of solace? : SOFT C. This had me almost as confused as the title of the BOND movie. Here it just means the "C" in the word solace.

20. Leave in disarray, probably : RIFLE.

22. Copier room quantity : REAM. 500 sheets.

24. "Taking that as a given ... " : IF SO. Logic terminology.

25. Comfortable (with) : AT EASE.

27. Indisposed : ILL.

29. Dawn goddess : EOS. I had her many times a few years ago - in my puzzles anyway.

30. Bread component : CARB.

31. Toy used on flights : SLINKY. Not airplanes, stairs.

34. Rural road track : RUT.

35. Disney character who sings, "The cold never bothered me anyway" : ELSA.

36. Go Fish request : TENS. Random, could be ace, two, six or ten.

37. Turns red, maybe : RUSTS. Reddish, actually I believe we call it rust color.

42. 2006 demotion : PLUTO. Yes Mickey was mad at him. Oh, the planet!

45. Heracles' beloved : IOLE. The STORY is more complicated. I do like seeing the Greek name for Hercules in keeping with Friday. .

46. Very little : A DAB. A little one will do you.

50. Agent : REP. Another word that is now acceptable as a word not just an abbreviation.

51. 1962 "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" singer : MONROE. There is a longer version on You Tube.

53. Fla. resort : BOCA. This is a bit misleading as Boca is now a city of almost 100,000 permanent residents. LINK.

54. Natural resource : OIL.

55. Physics unit : ERG.

56. Shut off completely, as lights : KILLED.

58. Trident-shaped letters : PSIS. More Greek.

60. Order to Spot : STAY.

63. Sugar source : BEETS.

64. Civilian garb : MUFTI.

66. Pair in the score for Beethoven's Fifth : OBOES. This is not an additional reference to Marilyn.

68. Dandy : FOP. Similar to last week's TOFF.

69. Partner of ciencias : ARTES. Arts and Sciences...pretty inferrable.

70. Forward attitude : NERVE.

71. Pizzeria chain : UNO. They opened three franchises of this Chicago Pizzeria here in late 70s; they are all gone.

72. Stick dwellings : NESTS. I like this simple clue/fill.

73. Holden Caulfield, for one : TEEN. Catcher in the Rye.

74. Court call : LET. Tennis


1. Visiting Pimlico : AT A RACE. The Preakness.

2. __ counseling : MARITAL.

3. Blowfish : PUFFERS.

4. Furtive sorts : SPIES.

5. Golf chip path : ARC.

6. "The Big Sleep" genre : NOIR.

7. Walk-in joint? : KNEE. I am left with my creaky knees and sore hips.

8. Inaccurate introduction? : MIS. Do?

9. Wells race : ELOI. I thought Yvette Mimieux was beautiful, but enough is enough.

10. Suggests an alternative : DIFFERS.

11. Enjoys a buffet, usually : EATS OUT.

12. Engages with boldness : ACCOSTS.

15. Farm structure : GRAIN SILO.

21. Company that survived Canada's Prohibition : LABATT. Labatt survives Canadian Prohibition by producing full-strength beer for export south of the border and by introducing two "temperance ales" (brews with less than two percent alcohol) for sale in Ontario. When Prohibition was finally repealed in 1927, Labatt was one of the 15 remaining breweries — giving them a strong, fresh start. (Labatt material)

23. Jan. honoree : MLK.

26. Tequila sunrise direction : ESTE. Two days in a row.

28. Old plucked strings : LYRE.

32. Minuteman Statue city : LEXINGTON. There is this ONE. Or this OTHER. You can tell JW is not from New England.

33. About to receive : IN FOR.

38. Not to be wasted : USABLE.

40. Diamond plate : HOME.

41. Garlic relative : LEEK. All you need to know; marry a cook. LINK.

42. Stage employee : PROPMAN.

43. Down time : LEISURE.

44. Makes joyous : UPLIFTS.

47. Joyless : DOLEFUL.

48. Paint thinner solvent : ACETONE.

49. Dicey situation : BAD SPOT.

52. Hosp. areas : ORS.

57. "An Enemy of the People" playwright : IBSEN. If you want to study. LINK.

59. Editor's afterthought : STET.

61. Act as lookout, say : ABET.

62. Time long past : YORE.

65. Orbiting research facility: Abbr. : ISS. International Space Station.

67. "Fairest of creation," in a Milton classic : EVE. Paradise Lost  No Will, either play or poem, but one of my favorites, John Milton.

“O fairest of all creation, last and best
Of all God's works, creature in whom excelled
Whatever can to sight or thought be formed, an enemy of the people
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost,
Defaced, deflow'red, and now to death devote?”

Another interesting Friday with most of the cluing fair, but the layers used to create the visual difficult to recognize. I struggled with the pattern. For those who do not like complicated themes, this was intricate but the grid could be filled without circles and without understanding or appreciating the skill needed to build this one. Thank you JW, and thank you all for stopping by. Lemonade out.

Aug 17, 2017

Thursday, August 17th 2017 Mark McClain

Theme: Insert Coin - the coin-shaped letter "O" is inserted into a phrase, changing the meaning in a thigh-slapping manner.

20. Computer accessory honored in verse? : MOUSE OF POETRY. Muse of Poetry. There are three poetry muses - one for epic poetry, one for lyric poetry and one for love poetry.

28. Olympic dominance by Team USA? : AMERICA'S COUP. America's Cup. Team NZ won this year in Bermuda by a runaway score of 7-1

45. How some medieval knights described their relationships? : JOUST FRIENDS. Just friends.

55. Grammarian's treatise? : THE NOUN'S STORY. The Nun's Story. 1959 movie starring the lovely Audrey Hepburn.

Morning! Apparently I came across as not quite as chipper as usual last week, so I'll try to keep things bright today. This was a real toughie for me, I was staring down a huge quantity of white space after my first pass across and down. I'm not sure the last time I spent 30 minutes on a Thursday-level crossword, but I did on this one.

The theme was nicely done; I'm not generally a fan of pun-type puzzles because of the groan-factor, but these were fun. It took me ages to figure out the theme but once AMERICA'S COUP fell into place that helped with the others. Some obtuse cluing and misdirection added up to a good challenge.

Let's see what else we've got:


1. Bowl over : STUN

5. Hardly prudent : RASH

9. Chophouse order : FILET. Food! If I went to a chophouse, I'd order the chops. This is Simpson's in London, it's been around since 1757. I'd lunch there occasionally when I worked in the City. Back in those days you'd have a bottle or two of a nice red wine and finish up with a glass of port. Then go back to work.

14. Young Clark's love : LANA. I was way off base with this one; at first I thought it was referring to Clark Gable's affair with Lana Turner, but not a bit of it - Clark Kent's high school sweetheart Lana Lang.

15. 90 degrees from norte : ESTE

16. Century plant, e.g. : AGAVE. Agave Americana, more properly. There are several types of agave plants.

17. Hindustani tongue : URDU

18. Boardwalk extension : PIER. These had a habit of "mysteriously" catching fire in the UK, usually when they were falling into a state of disrepair due to the expense of upkeep.

19. Trick : COZEN. A new word for me. "To deceive, win over, or induce to do something by artful coaxing and wheedling or shrewd trickery." I discovered that there is a law firm here in LA called Cozen O'Conner which I find thoroughly amusing.

23. Construction alloy : STEEL. You can add a whole slew of stuff to steel depending on the characteristics you're looking for.

24. RSVP part : S'IL "répondez s'il vous plaît". Don't say "please RSVP", it's annoying as heck.

25. Bud : BRO

33. Virgin __ Records: British label : EMI. A lot of people don't realize that Richard Branson sold Virgin Records to EMI way back in the 90's to keep the airline afloat (or aloft, more correctly).

36. Male delivery : SON

37. Canadian coin since 1996 : TOONIE. Tried LOONIE against all logic as I knew it had been around for longer than that.

38. Landslide victory claim : MANDATE. "Now I have a mandate to do what the heck I like". Usually ends badly.

41. Stretch out : DISTEND

42. Recorded : ON TAPE

43. Mine in Milan : MIO. Tried MIA. Was wrong.

44. Conscription agcy. : SSS. Crosses filled this in for me, I just noticed it now. Selective Service System.

49. "__ Fell": Beatles : IF I. I didn't actually know this was the title of the song. John sounds every bit of his Liverpool background on the track.

50. Chicago's __ Center : AON

51. Post-lecture activity, briefly : Q AND A

60. Strange : ALIEN

62. Watch part : STEM. You can guarantee this one ain't going to be cheap:

63. Potpourri quality : ODOR. I tend to associate odors with bad smells.

64. Did a gainer, say : DIVED

65. Yokohama product : TIRE. They are the shirt sponsor of my soccer team, Chelsea, they're paying $300M for the privilege over five years. I think it's a curse: of the four players from left to right below - the first is no longer a starter, the second is no longer with the club, the third broke his ankle and hasn't yet returned to the team and the fourth did not return for preseason training and is suing the club for illegal restraint of trade.

66. Eric who founded an eclectic reader : UTNE

67. Autobahn autos : OPELS. The other four-letter German car brand.

68. Strongbox alternative : SAFE

69. The ten in "hang ten" : TOES. You hang'em over the edge of your surfboard.


1. Frequents dive bars, say : SLUMS. As in "he's slumming it".

2. Deck with a Hanged Man : TAROT. There's a bunch of weird-looking cards in a Tarot deck.

3. Inordinate : UNDUE

4. Queasiness : NAUSEA. Not a good feeling.

5. Certain auction offering : REPO

6. "Fat chance!" :  AS IF!

7. Intervenes : STEPS IN

8. Stout-hearted : HEROIC

9. It's not debatable : FACT

10. "Young Frankenstein" helper : IGOR. "Eye-gor." I've posted the link to the scene before. Here it is again if you missed it.

11. Slugabed : LAZYBONES. Nice clue/answer.

12. Christmas lead-in : EVE

13. Coffee break time : TEN

21. "Slippery" tree : ELM. First I've heard of it. Learning moment. Apparently you can make tea from the leaves.

22. Joy : ELATION

26. Place for digs : RUINS

27. Essays appearing daily : OP.ED'S

29. "Get on Your Feet" singer : ESTEFAN. Gloria. Thank you crosses, I didn't know the song.

30. Anonymous '70s litigant : ROE vs Wade.

31. Song on the album "ABBA" : SOS. Why I didn't fill this in right away is beyond me. How many Abba songs are there with three letters? I needed the S to get me going with this one.

32. Bed at a base : COT

33. The Oxford Dictionaries 2015 "Word" of the Year is one : EMOJI. A stab in the dark and nailed it! Note the quotes around "Word". This is the emoji which was used:

The 2012 Word of the Year was "omnishambles" which I love.

34. "__ Constant Sorrow": folk classic : MAN OF. Thank you crosses, never heard of it.

35. Easy to figure out : INTUITIVE. Unlike this crossword, for me anyway.

39. Wagner's "__ Rheingold" : DAS

40. Fitting : APT

41. Gambling cube : DIE

43. Trivial matter : MINUTIA

46. Perches : ROOSTS

47. Kicks off the field, briefly : DQ'S. Disqualifies.

48. Skipped : SAT OUT

52. Greet quietly : NOD TO

53. Airborne intruder : DRONE. Annoying as heck, these things. Can ruin a perfectly peaceful hike. The creepy dude who lives on my street likes to fly his over other people's back yards.

54. Lew in old movies : AYRES. Best known for "All Quiet on the Western Front".

56. Dog trainer's word : HEEL. Could be STAY, so wait for a cross.

57. Good things to make meet : ENDS

58. Soft ball : NERF

59. "Hook" pirate : SMEE

60. Commotion : ADO

61. Impertinence : LIP. Great little word.

Stick a fork in me, I'm done!


Aug 16, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017, Kurt Mengel & Jan-Michele Gianette

TITLE: Time To Move Your Vowels!

Kurt and Jan-Michele have given us a fun variation of a Bruce Venzke/Gail Grabowski puzzle I blogged July 19 of this year. Bruce and Gail progressed through the vowels nesting them between N & T at the start of two-word phrases.  Similarly, Kurt and Jan-Michele placed their vowel progression betwixt M _ SS at the end of multiple word phrases as you can see below:

Throw in a generous dash of proper nouns, mythological creatures, Spanish and some muppets and you have the ingredients for a lovely Wednesday exercise. I caught on early and wondered what the fill for MUSS would be. Not to worry!

Let's first look at the theme fills from Kurt and Jan-Michele:

20. Sustained nuclear chain reaction requirement : CRITICAL MASS - This is an illustration of the reaching of critical mass in 1942 in an underground squash court at the University of Chicago as part of The Manhattan Project

27. Really botch things : MAKE A MESS - After spending $20B for 2,000 new trains, the French found out they are too wide for 1,300 platforms which will cost millions more to retrofit

35. Haphazard : HIT OR MISS - Ask Ford Motor Company

45. Edible seaweed : IRISH MOSS - Got any catsup?

51. A breeze to use, in adspeak : NO FUSS NO MUSS - Looks easy to me and more palatable than Irish Moss.

Kurt and Jan-Michele definitely did not aMASS a MESS and gathered no MOSS or MISS a trick in this MUSSless puzzle:


1. Feathered Nile wader : IBIS 

5. Tropical hardwoods : TEAKS

10. Title of respect : MAAM

14. Have a flat? : RENT

15. Barbera's partner in cartoons : HANNA - They had quite a stable

16. Sea eagle : ERNE

17. Designer Schiaparelli : ELSA crossing 2. __ Paese: Italian cheese : BEL (Beautiful country) got my Natick right up front and I got it, uh, right 

18. Moving : ASTIR

19. Journalist Jacob : RIIS - His muckraking was very discomforting for Tammany Hall

23. Room where you may have to stoop : ATTIC - Anne Frank's hiding place

26. One working with dough : KNEADER - or with a puppy

31. Port and claret : WINES

32. __-Magnon : CRO

33. The Cowboys of the NCAA's Big 12 : OSU - Their sugar daddy Boone Pickens is an "awl man"

34. __ one's time: waited : BIDED

38. Tires (out) : POOPS  

40. Give in to the munchies : EAT

41. __ green : PEA

44. Emmy nominee Fischer of "The Office" : JENNA - She played sensible Pam against Steve Carrell's eccentric Michael

48. 1992 Disney film featuring a magic lamp : ALADDIN

50. Wild West brothers : EARPS - Most famous residents of Pella, IA in their boyhood

55. Moscow news acronym : ITAR - Informatsionnye Telegrafnoye Agentstvto of Rossi (Information Telegraph Agency of Russia)

56. Retired racehorses, often : SIRES - Studs works too

57. Thames museum : TATE

61. 35-Down house : CASA and 35. Tegucigalpa's country : HONDURAS - Aquí están algunas CASAS en Tegucigalpa (Here are some homes in Tegucigalpa) 

29. That, in Tegucigalpa : ESO - Es por ESO que podría ser agradable vivir allí (That is why it might be nice to live there)

62. "I give!" : UNCLE

63. Ticklish Muppet : ELMO - Oh, that's how it works!

64. Inexact figs. : ESTS

65. "My heavens!" : EGADS - Your EST was $400 and the bill is $1,200! EGADS!

66. Prince's "Purple __" : RAIN


1. Intense anger : IRE

3. GEICO product: Abbr. : INS

4. One of Barbie's siblings : STACIE - I totally, for sure didn't know if it was spelled STACEY

5. Pad __ : THAI

6. Right direction? : EAST - A country boy is just as likely to say "Turn EAST" at the stop sign rather than "Turn Right".

7. Opposed : ANTI

8. Madison Square Garden hoopsters : KNICKS - Hopeless hoopsters recently 

9. Clear wrap : SARAN

10. Mythological swimmers : MERMAIDS - How long do you have to be at sea to mistake one for the other?

11. Daughter of King Minos : ARIADNE - Associated with mazes and labyrinths

12. Liqueur flavoring : ANISEED - Also called ANISE. It's flavor is in many things but I love it in my black jellybeans!

13. Mr. and Mr. : MESSRS

21. HDTV maker : RCA

22. Explorer with Clark : LEWIS - They had it much tougher than Armstrong and Aldrin and were darn lucky to have Sacajawea!

23. "Preacher" network : AMC

24. Black goo : TAR

25. Ref's ruling : TKO - One of these quieted Rhonda Rousey 

28. Zingers : MOTS - One of the kings:

30. More definite : SURER

34. Information units : BITS 

36. Tablets that can't be swallowed : IPADS - What's a crayon?

37. __ tai : MAI

38. Jai alai balls : PELOTAS - Number 40 catches the PELOTA in his cesta and returns it. I wonder if one sips a Man Tai while watching Jai Alai?

39. Observing Ramadan, say : ON A FAST - My colleague in a multinational school in Brooklyn said Muslim kids didn't have much energy during Ramadan

41. __ favor : POR

42. Sixth sense letters : ESP - If you've seen Ghostbusters, you know he never had a chance

43. Stubborn beast : ASS

44. Muppet who plays lead guitar in The Electric Mayhem : JANICE

45. Baseball division : INNING - 33 of 'em!

46. Blokes : HE'S

47. Become an expert in : MASTER 

49. Point of contention : ISSUE

52. Killer whale : ORCA

53. Blend : MELD 

54. Doesn't allow to rust : USES - What moms might be saying this time of year

58. Mobile's st. : ALA

59. "Enough gory details, thanks" : TMI - ...and then the doctor had to...

60. Ages and ages : EON - Either a generic term for a long time or scientifically, a billion years

What say you?