Dec 21, 2017

Thursday 21st December 2017 Morton J. Mendelson


17A. Whirligig : SPINNING TOY. I'd call it a "spinning top", but that would rather defeat the purpose of the theme.

25A. Mont Blanc, e.g. : ALPINE PEAK. It's probably the least peak-y of the well-known Alps. It's big though. The ski resort of Chamonix sits in the valley below.

37A. Fine woolen wear : CASHMERE SWEATER.

46A. Westminster award : BEST IN SHOW. The Westminster Dog Show. This commercial for Audi never fails to make me laugh.

55A. Motown group ... and what 17-, 25-, 37- and 46-Across comprise? : THE FOUR TOPS. 

It's the same old song.  No, not the theme, the music. The theme entries came pretty easily, just one very minor nit with the toy/top issue I mentioned above.

This is a rare puzzle that I didn't finish. I thought that Charlotteville was in South Carolina, but USC didn't tie with EUREKA and I flat-out could not see VW BUGS, so that V was my blank spot.

Hindsight being 20/20, it couldn't really have been any other letter, but even multiple alphabet runs brought me up short. I'll blame jet-lag, even though I never really get affected by it!

Let's see what else Mr. Mendelson challenged us with:


1. It can generate a lot of interest : CREDIT. The interest can escalate pretty quickly unless you behave. The credit card companies love that.

7. Become less aloof : THAW

11. Texting format, briefly : SMS. Short Message Service. Pictures and what-have-you use MMS, Multimedia Messaging Service.

14. Saint of Ávila : TERESA

15. Opera set in Egypt : AIDA

16. Fell with an ax : HEW

19. Toothpaste-approving org. : A.D.A.

20. Northernmost capital on the Mississippi : ST. PAUL I'm sure C.C. knew this right off the bat. I had to wait for a couple of crosses.

21. Key of Grieg's only piano concerto: Abbr. : A MIN. Nice change from the African Dictator clue.

22. Careful way to play it : SAFE

28. Class-conscious gp.? : P.T.A.

29. Actress de Armas of "Blade Runner 2049" : ANA. Thank you, crosses. I've not seen the new Blade Runner, the original was great.

30. Swivel around : SLUE. Great word.

31. Fielding mishap : ERROR

33. Attacking fiercely : STORMING. Usually the castle. With pitchforks and torches.

40. Increased steadily : SPIRALED

41. Rogue : KNAVE

42. Lively, in mus. : ANIM. Animato, in a lively manner.

43. Charlottesville sch. : U.V.A. As I mentioned in the intro, jut could not see this.

45. Majors in acting : LEE

50. Admiral who explored the Antarctic : BYRD

51. x, y and z, in math : AXES

52. 11th Greek letter : LAMBDA. These chaps. Upper and lower case. Λ λ

54. "Hey, ewe!" : BAA!

60. Large shade tree : ELM

61. Run into : MEET

62. Garden figures in red hats : GNOMES. I'm going to launch a line of sundials with a gnome as the gnomon, if somebody hasn't already thought of it.

63. Muddy pen : STY

64. Scalawags : IMPS

65. Grieg wrote only one for piano : SONATA. In E Minor, unlike his one piano concerto. I wonder why he only wrote one of each?


1. Euro parts: Abbr. : CTS. Eurolets are cents. I'm not sure I knew that.

2. Street cred : REP. Urban slang, I'm guessing from "reputation."

3. "__ tu": Verdi aria : ERI

4. Not getting it : DENSE

5. Ain't right? : ISN'T

6. Clavell's "Shogun" sequel : TAIPAN. I boomeranged between SAIPAN, TAIPEI and finally settled on the correct answer.

7. Prepare to advance after a fly ball : TAG UP. Baseball. It's like cricket, except with round bats. And four bases. And a mound. And nine on each side. And a pitcher, not a bowler. And you only have one batter up at a time. And he's not called a batsman. And he has to run if he hits the ball fair. OK, it's nothing like cricket.

8. Schedules of items to deal with : HIT LISTS. I call mine to-do lists.

9. Hubbub : ADO

10. Path : WAY. Pathway!

11. "Tut-tut!" : SHAME!

12. __ blitz : MEDIA. Nice fill-in-the-blank. Took me a while to see this one.

13. Two-time Best Actress winner Hilary : SWANK

18. Simba's mate : NALA. The Lion King. Still on my to-do list (!) to see it on Broadway.

21. Hypothetical evolutionary link : APEMAN

22. Short glasses? : SPECS

23. Set __ for: lure : A TRAP

24. Language that gave us "bazaar" : FARSI. Also khaki, caravan and julep, among others.

26. Sweet'__: coffee additive : N LOW

27. California's motto : EUREKA! I've lived here for 25 years and didn't know this. Made official in 1963, apparently comes from the Gold Rush days.

29. Stylish suit : ARMANI. Depends who's wearing it. I know people who could make an Armani suit look like a bunch of old rags.

32. "Darn it!" : OH RATS!

33. But, to Brutus : SED. Thank you, Latin lessons.

34. See 43-Down : ITALY

35. When the sun rises in the west : NEVER. Took me a while to figure this out. I toyed with SIX AM for absolutely no sensible reason until the penny dropped.

36. Avarice : GREED

38. Mother of Sam and Charlie Woods : ELIN. Tiger's offspring. I recognized the names, but couldn't place them at first.

39. Dreaming phase : R.E.M. SLEEP. Rapid Eye Movement.

43. Man, in 34-Down : UOMO

44. Beetles : VW BUGS. Stymied by the V. It's odd, I would call a VW Beetle a Bug, but not the converse.

46. Innocent ones : BABES

47. Sing the praises of : EXALT

48. Hardly wholesome : SEAMY

49. Sword handles : HAFTS. I associate hilts with swords and hafts with hand axes or hatchets.

50. Relay stick : BATON

53. Spy-fi villain on Crab Key : DR. NO. Nailed it! Thank you, ghosts of crosswords past.

55. "I don't need the deets!" : TMI! Texter's Too Much Information!

56. Fence (in) : HEM

57. Medical suffix : -OMA Haematoma, glaucoma, Sonoma - no, scrub that last one.

58. Odie, to Jon Arbuckle : PET. Garfield's apparently dim-witted co-pet.

59. Org. funded by FICA : S.S.A. Payroll taxes raised by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act fund the Social Security Administration.

I think that does it for me. Hasta luego!



fermatprime said...


Thanks to Morton and Steve!

The "V" took me a while, but I got everything!

A bit of a drizzle today. Then the wind came back. Rats.

Six people on the planet attained the high score! Unbelievable event!

Hope to see you all tomorrow!

OwenKL said...

The IMPS on the GNOMES declared a war
They'd MEET those KNAVES, and show them what for!
But with no castles for STORMING
The Gnome gardens got boring --
The Imps vowed to war, no NEVER Gnome more!

There once was a Pekingese, a good little boy,
Who in chasing his tail found his greatest joy!
He would run till he'd drop
So his folks named him TOP --
He was, after all, a SPINNING TOY!

{A-, A.}

TTP said...

Thank you Morton J Mendelsen and thank you Steve.

OH NUTS was not correct. It was an ERROR. No TADA. OH RATS never occurred to me.

I was stuck in that area. Did correctly guess that Sam and Charlie Woods were Tiger's children, so the mother was ELIN, but didn't know ANIM and SED.

Also didn't know ANA de Armas or Grieg's key, but perps to the rescue.

HIT LISTS, to-do lists, checklists, task lists, punch lists. Too many lists, so little time.

Loved how EUREKA crossed SLUE. It's a gold rush ! Go west young man, and start panning !

"American Avarice", Saturday nights on CNBC. Narrated by Stacy Keach.

Anon-T (FLN), Boomer "started it" in his write up, but "Installing stained-glass can be a PANE in the apse" is perfect !

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Yay, I got the theme. Thanks, MJM! Thanks, Steve!

Last to fill was the SLUE/NLOW/APE crosses. UOMO & ITALY was an unknown. With HITLISTS thrown in there, sounds like a mafia thing to me. Speaking of which, we had Gay Talese the other day and I was intrigued by the book mentioned. I'd never read the author but always heard of him. So I'm now reading the book. It's pretty interesting--lot of history and genealogy. See how crosswords broaden the scope of knowledge.

ST.PAUL was an unknown but WAG with STP (knew it wasn't the gas additive) which I knew was on the Mississippi.

TAIPAN took a while to remember, but the cover of the book flashed into my mind. Never read it.

Gimmee: ELIN. Was looking at pictures of her & kids on the internet a few nights ago.

My daughter was in a private room, sedated and spending the night after surgery according to her sister. The doctor said the surgery was successful. Waiting for further word later today.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Yay, D-O got the theme! Miracles do occur. Hand up for TAIPEI, Steve. But I could see it wasn't going to pan out. Steve, I wouldn't have known it was in Virginia either, but who can forget the big todo there this past August. Needed Wite-Out to turn my LAMBS into BABES. Didn't trust UOMO. But it all worked out in the end. Thank you, MJM, for a fine Thursday outing.

Near SO to CC with ST PAUL. It's easy to forget that one among the many "S" capital cities: Sacramento, Salem, Salt Lake City, Santa Fe, Springfield.

PK, that book sounds interesting. What's the title? I was surprised to read yesterday that several cornerites weren't interested in where their ancestors came from. I "found" my great-grandmother a few years ago. She died in 1905. The generations were wide-spread in my family and very little lore got passed down. I find it interesting to make discoveries.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

No real stumbling blocks but needed perps in several places. Ana was an unknown as was Sed. Uomo looks odd but we've had it before. Like PK said, hit lists sounds mob-related, I guess because of the widely used "hit men" in movies and on TV. I needed the reveal to catch the theme. My favorite themer was Best in Show.

Thanks, Morton, for a "top notch" offering and thanks, Steve, for the fun review, and for the Audi commercial. I usually tune-out commercials but I love the ones that have dogs in them.

PK, I'm glad your daughter's surgery went well and hope her recovery is speedy.

Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

Mont Blanc is the whole mountain, not just the peak. And the clue (with an "e.g.") calls for an abbreviation in the answer where there is none.

There is no call for abbreviation in the clue for REM SLEEP or VW BUG.

The University of South Carolina is in Columbia, not Charlotte, Charlottesville or Charleston. There is no major university in Charlotte, NORTH Carolina; and it is not famous for a university but for stock car racing and professional football (the Carolina Panthers). It does have universities, however, including Gardner-Webb, Pfeiffer, Queens, and a branch of the University of North Carolina, the headquarters of which is in Chapel Hill.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

Thanks Mort for the Thursday-level puzzle, and to Steve for another fine review. I correctly EWAGged the Natick of TAIPAN x ANA. Perps rescued me at ANIM (I had brio), SED, and UOMO. Erased TOp for TOY, brio, HilTS, and pEn for HEM.

PK, its great to hear that your daughter is on the mend. WC, glad your foot is mending. Lucina, coughs can be dangerous for us seniors. I'm glad yours is gone.

FLN: JD, when I lived in SoCal I didn't trust any air I couldn't see. Seriously, I did like the Santa Cruz / Los Gatos / San Jose area and Napa Valley, but it just wasn't home. And the Bay Area cities seemed more like New York City than the California I knew.

Yellowrocks said...

MJM fun puzzle with just a bit of crunch to make it interesting. FIR w/o help.
A whirligig is not necessarily a top. It could be many other things, including a pinwheel.
Last to fill was the V in VWBUGS. I knew UOMO from other puzzles.
I didn't think of Tiger for the Woods offspring, ELIN was all perps, as were ANA and SMS.
Pagliacci and Aida are my favorite operas.
I enjoyed Clavell's Asian Saga series which includes Taipan. The books are long and have quite a bit of description which I found interesting. The plot was gripping.
PK, my thoughts are with you and your daughter.
Alan is home from work today, sick in bed for the first time in six and a half weeks. He said this morning that it was so nice while it lasted.
David is still consulting about a second operation on his leg. He lost his job two months ago and thus his health insurance. His wife works part time now in commercial real estate. She has to reach a certain sales goal or else pay for their health insurance herself. Kinda scary. I wish he would hurry up and get it done, just in case there is an insurance problem.

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Needed perps to get Sed, a word I don’t recall seeing before. Uomo was another sticking point.

Morning, Steve, I wish that Cricket weren’t such a complete mystery to me. It was central to a Midsomer Murders plot on the episode we watched last night.

TTP from yesterday - when I dismantled my 1911 house, I saved every last worthwhile bit of material and then some. All the knobs & tubes were salvaged, though demand for those things is a bit my surprise, I discovered there is a nearby company that specializes in providing vintage wiring supplies to the filmmaking companies; I donated boxes of stuff to them.

cajun rox said...

huh? anon at 8:07, e.g. means for example.

Husker Gary said...

-Oh, the first or last words alone are not the theme. Forest/trees!
-Any THAWING here is over - 9˚F on Christmas night!
-When baseball fans see ERROR, many think of this one (:30)
-TAIPA_/A_A and AN_M/EL_N required good guesses
-My HIT LIST thought would be of “people to do” not items
-Path alone is not enough for TAO (_A_)
-Ursula Andress is a bigger memory of that movie than DR NO
-When asked about my operation, I give as few DEETS (really?) as possible. Nobody really wants to know that much

Lemonade714 said...

Deets, Peeps... not for me.

R.E.M. is not an abbreviation but an accepted term in psychology and medicine. VW is a trademark and as mentioned e,g, in no way implies an abbreviation.

My brother dated a woman who was on the faculty at U.V.A. so that was not a stumbling block.

I enjoyed that episode of Midsomer Murders but I agree cricket is beyond me.

desper-otto said...

In today's Morning Briefing there's a primer on crossword solving. It's a treasure trove for any cw noobs in the peanut gallery. Veteran solvers are sure to like some of the more difficult examples toward the end of the (admittedly long) article.

Note: Deb Amlen is writing about the NYT crossword. The section on rebus elements doesn't apply to LAT puzzles. Rich doesn't allow rebus elements.

Rick Papazian said...

Never saw that Audi commercial. funniest and most horrifying thing I've seen.
I can't believe I finished (Tada-ed) this puzzle. Didn't know ELIN, or ANIM and guessed at the "I" between them. Didn't know TERESA, SWANK, ANA, SLUE, UVA, AXES (I would have thought it would be associated with HAFTS, like Steve said), actually I only vaguely, in a misty sort of way remembered HAFTS. Didn't know SED, UOMO, NALA, TAIPAN, didn't know TMI until it was on the paper; CTS was a guess. Changed Sai Pan to Tai Pan.
Can't believe I finished it.

I have to give CREDIT to Mr. Mendelson - really nice word play. Steven's write-up was PHENOMENAL (Not perfunctory at all).

Bill G said...

Hi everybody. I'm enjoying my electricity and not taking it for granted.

Thanks Morton and Steve.

I've seen TMI often. I've never seen or heard "I don't need the deets!" Never ever. You?

I'm enjoying "Death in paradise." I like the characters and actors as much as the storyline.

CanadianEh! said...

This CW was TOPS. Thanks for the fun, Morton and Steve.

I found this a little crunchy but it is Thursday. Several areas filled in with perps and I resorted to red letters to get VW. Hand up for thinking of S. Carolina with Charlottesville (but I can blame my Canadian disadvantage for that). FICA again, which I learned the other day, and led to SSA.

D'o, put me down as a Cornerite who is interested in genealogy. It is like detective work but you find some interesting things. (Also thanks for that link @10am re Crossword solving. Should help our Noobs.)

PK, hope your daughter's recovery goes well.
YR, sorry to hear that Alan is not feeling well today. Also sorry to hear about David's situation. We may have wait times in Canada but we do not have to worry about payment. I can't imagine the anxiety!

Wishing you all a great day.

Chairman Moe said...

"Puzzling Thoughts":

My work week marathon continues but I'm not scheduled until 4:30 today, so a brief moment to work the puzzle and stop by at The Corner.

Great puzzle/theme and recap. Thanks, MJM and Steve

Pretty good poems today OKL.

-T (FLN) the Pane in the Apse was [cute]!

My only ERROR today was doing a write-over in 40a, as I thought it might be SPEED or SPED something ... but I knew FARSI, so after a few perps appeared, all fit in properly.

Loved the clue/solve for 4d. I admit to being DENSE for quite awhile until I finally "got" the NW corner. I think it filled in last

UOMO is a word such as FARSI. You forget about it until it reappears.

No Moe-ku today; just a random limerick that has absolutely nothing to do with the puzzle or theme. Hope it will provide a smirk or groan or laugh.

My corny limerick du jour:

Voters felt that the statute's cessation
Of all sex, (short of doing castration)
Might reduce population.
But naysayers frustration
Was what led them, to that condom-nation.

Maverick said...

The sun rises in the west LATER than it does in the east. Of course the V in KNAVE scotched that, and I figgered out it's NEVER. Cute. But here in the west it certainly did rise. The clue deserved a "?" at the end.

K-Dub said...

I've read all James Clavell's novels and do not understand how Taipan is a 'sequel' to Shogun. Taipan was written first and is set in Hong Kong in the 1840s. Shogun was written later and is set in Japan in the 1600s. There are no characters in common and the plot does not continue from one to another.

It's been a while, am I forgetting something?

Taipan to Noble House, maybe, as they're both set in Hong Kong albeit 120 years apart.

All great, epic stories and highly recommended.

Lucina said...

Thank you, Mr. Mendelson! THE FOUR TOPS would be proud but we have no music from them here unless I missed something.

I finished this about three hours ago then returned to my warm bed and slept some more.

ANA, as clued, was unknown to me and I had forgotten UOMO from long ago. But I'm in good company with a blank at V, Steve. Did remember LAMDA after a nudge from L and A. DR. NO perped itself. Thanks to Latin I & II for SED. Laughed at NEVER. SPIRALED was clever.

This week I've seen HILT, HEFT and today, HAFTS for those swords.

Hand up for not being interested in researching my DNA. One of my cousins is a self-taught genealogist and has traced our family's roots to the early 1600s. Not surprisingly, they are mostly Hispanic. However, it is reasonable to assume that we all have traces of other bloodlines because humans have indulged in wanderlust from the beginning of time, apparently, and have left their seed where ever they went.

Thank you for the observation. Since both my parents died from pneumonia, I'm well aware of the dangers.

Steve, thank you for an excellent exposition!

Have a stupendous day, everyone!

Rick Papazian said...

I was on some unnamed Alpine peak in Italy listening to Grieg’s one and only sonata when some impish swanky baton wielding knave came storming in wearing an embroidered Lambda Phi Epsilon Cashmere sweater. He spoke Farsi without error and his baton was actually the haft of an axe and it spiraled in a way that invoked REM sleep in me like a spinning toy. Fortunately I was originally from St. Paul and wasn’t a babe in the woods about their ways and had a eureka moment, using my specs and the sun to blind him.
Yes, I thought I was safe, but should have known I was on their hit list and didn’t realize they set a trap for me here. Never underestimate the apeman mentality of gnomes and imps. Shame on me? Maybe, but without ado I put on my Armani suit, got in my VW bug, put in my CD and listened to the exalting melody of The Four Tops. After all, I had my rep at stake and the media would love to show me up with a seamy story.
Oh Rats! That greedy Dr. No is in my rearview mirror! I’ll tag up with him next time in the adventures of…

Misty said...

Glad to hear that you too had some tough moments in this puzzle, Steve--it felt more like a Friday than a Thursday to me. And I know I'm a little DENSE this morning, but I still don't get the theme--oh, wait, just looked at it again and now I see all those TOPS--very clever, Morton. Anyway, thank you, both, for a challenging and interesting morning.

Hope your daughter has a good recovery, PK.

Desper-otto, I too had to erase LAMBS to get BABES.

Liked your second poem, Owen.

Have a great day, everybody!

Chairman Moe said...


Tossing in a holiday-themed Moe-ku:

Will Santa have to
Send 1099's this year?
His staff's elf-employed.

Unknown said...

It's U.VA.

Anonymous said...

Just a short ping to let everyone know how much I enjoy coming to this blog every day. Thanks guys.


Anonymous said...

Agree wth KayUUJay.
Cultures and time frames totally different. Sequel has to continue a storyline.
SHOGUN shows how little research Clavell did for his books. The Japanese is gibberish; Mariko is a modern name; and if the Japanese committed "harakiri" (Again modern slang for actual term "seppuku") every time they were embarrassed, there would be no Nihonjin around today.
A fun read. Just don't take it too seriously.

Yellowrocks said...

It's been years since I read the Asian Saga. Four of the novels feature the Struan Trading Company.They are Taipan, Gai Jin, Noble House and Whirlwind.The novels were written in non-chronological order.
I believe that the central theme of all six is the impact on both cultures of the meeting of East and West. This is a theme I have followed with great interest through the tales of many different cultures, for example the European and Inuit peoples. Each culture thinks of its way as normal and the other culture's way as weird, and often, barbaric. Each culture thinks itself more civilized than the other.
I used this theme in my bid to win a three week teacher's scholarship to study education in Japan and help form a bridge between our countries. It was fascinating to see the different perceptions we have. As teachers, we were surprised to learn that the Japanese admired the USA's emphasis on critical thinking, innovation and flexibility, and our emphasis on writing skills, while we admired their high test scores. We decided a mix of both is best.
I was also surprised to learn that in Japan the extreme academic pressure to get into a great college slackens off and is not so severe once they are admitted to college.
My Japanese DIL was amazed at how rigorous my MA degree program at a middling college was. The Japanese were shocked that almost all of us made career changes. They are locked in at a very early age.

OKL, I vote for the second poem. Moe, I loved the elf-employed one.
IM, I thought of you at BEST IN SHOW.

D4E4H said...

Afternoon Folks,

Usually I post right after Fermatprime or OwenKL, but yesterday I posted not.
I worked the 12-20 CW FIR early before the Corner woke. Then something came over me where I had to force myself to perform even the easiest, routine tasks.
Reading the review, comments, and posting was just a dream.

This morning I read those reviews and comments. I say WEES.
I will acknowledge the skills of Irish Mist and C.C.. When I saw your names I knew I would have fun.

Today I thank Morton and Steve for their excellent addition to my pleasure.

I too wanted 43A UVA to be in the Carolinas, North or South, I didn't care.

I knew 43A FARSI from my days at the airport.

Yesterday I received a notice from 59D SSA advising me that I have a raise of $11.00/mo in 18. Woo Hoo!

I do not text so 11A "Texting format briefly" meant nothing to me. I had S_S and finished the CW with a WAG for SMS. The CW was FIR, and so am I

Dave 2

Yellowrocks said...

Yes, the series is fictionalized, though based on real events. Some of the scenes are not historically accurate, but there is still much to be learned. I usually read historical fiction with Google nearby. A fun way to learn history. I have found much that is authentic.
The books are not billed as sequels, but have some overlapping characters and descendants. I read them in chronological order.

Misty said...

Thank you for checking in with us, Anon Don.

PK said...

D-O, the book is "Unto the Sons" by Gay Talese and is about Italian heritage.

I've been doing genealogy since I was 13 and have studied history in relationship to what my family was doing at the time. Diseases were also noted. Have been able to trace my brother's & mother's Parkinson's disease back 5 generations. My daughters hyperthyroidism is also found in her paternal grandmother & a first cousin of her own generation. I warned my brothers about a prevalence for prostate cancer in our father and 5 of his older nephews. Bros have checked diligently & one was successfully treated in an early stage.

The careful noting of births, marriages, deaths, and known addresses as well as detective work in research served me well in both my careers of bookkeeping and journalism. Talking to the older generations about family situations was also rewarding and enjoyable and my interest built some close relationships. Just getting your DNA done may tell something, but it isn't the same. I also read a lot of old documents & censuses. 64 years as a genealogist I've also learned a lot about human nature and family traits.

CrossEyedDave said...


Busy day, finally slowing down.

I am afraid 43 & 44d did me in...

(& 43A is a Natick for me...)

43d man, in Italy, I put Homo...
Yea, I know, it's got to be wrong, but where did Latin originate anyway?

44d, Beetles, I put Ew Bugs! (made sense to me...)

Crosscheck: 43a Charlottesville school = H.E.A. (Sure, why not?)

And,, trying to find silly links for this is even harder...

I have nothing!

However, here are a few honorable mentions:

I kinda liked this T-Shirt...

& just to put future crossword constructors on notice...

& my favorite, which has nothing to do with tops of any kind...

Tinbeni said...

Got'er done ... but it was a 3 times, put-down/pick-up solve.

Needed ESP (Every-Single-Perp) to get ANA, ANIM, ELIN & UOMO ... all unknowns though ELIN did get a V-8 head smack when I finally realized Sam & Charlie Woods were Tiger's kids.

Fave today, was that VW BUGS for the clue Beetles.

OTOH ... here at Villa Incognito the Sun Rises in the West on occasion ...


Jayce said...

KayUUJay beat me to it, and I agree with it. Noble House is clearly a sequel to Taipan, but neither one could be considered a sequel to Shogun. I wonder if the original entry was GAIJIN, which could conceivably be considered a sequel to Shogun, and was later changed, preserving the -AI--N letters and original, now incorrect, clue.

Wilbur Charles said...

Along with the kudos for Owen and C-Moe, I have to add one for Rick's"perfunctory" tale. In the sense that he's apt to add one.

My Greek was a little slow having attended a Catholic no-frat college. Having owned two beetle/bugs I quickly entered VWCARS.

I agree the start in the NW was crunchy but I actually knew TERESA of Avila. Now..

Do I want to read that XW xpo? PVX will recall the rebus-shell game over in NYT a few weeks ago. Can I safely say that a Rebus is when a square represents a word.

Unlike my friend, Anon-PVX(Great reply to that cretin btw) I love the themes. I just can't grok them. I did grok the four "Tops".

Btw, Lucina, Steve did link a 4T standard. Soul was my music in the 60s.

Now to go back and pop that Audi link. Steve, I cracked up at your "SIXAM"; I was a little slow there too.


Wilbur Charles said...

I forgot. Gary, I knew exactly what was coming on your ERROR link. I deserved it after doing some gloating* after the Patriots big win Sunday.


* Misty, where did you see this word recently?

Ol' Man Keith said...

Today's Mendelson opus comes with a mirror diagonal possibility. I say "possibility" because I am not used to seeking out a mirror (or "opposite") version when the straightforward (NW to SE) diagonal isn't available.
To be clear, I normally see the mirror as an addition, or bonus, to a regular diagonal.
But lately Argyle and D4E4H have been spotting the mirror version, so it may behoove me to keep on the lookout.

That said, on to today's offering. This was a toughie, wasn't it? I thought sure I'd throw in the towel and cheat. But good ol' P+P came through and gave me a clean Ta- DA!
The only gimme on my first scan was TERESA, I have been to Avila, her city, one of the most beautiful of Spain's walled fortress abodes. Like many of the country's central towns it rises out of a bleak landscape, offering shelter - like an oasis - after a long drive.
The rest of the pzl was chewie indeed. I got HAFT early on, maybe because I used to be a competition fencer. (No cracks, please, connecting me with 56D.) But most of it fell my way as I slowly remembered things I didn't know I knew. The only one I wasn't sure of in the end was SMS, but I thank Steve for clearing that up.
I did need one confirmation. After entering LAMBDA, I checked a Greek alphabet to see if the "B" was correct. But then it was just a matter of erosion: PDF turned to SMS, and SWARMING turned to STORMING, etc. etc.
That's what made this a great pzl!

Ol' Man Keith said...

ATTN: Madame Defarge and others,
Because some cruciverbal friends were showing interest in the diagonal solve that I favor (when possible), I am posting a recent example of a fine Xwd, one that gave us three side-by-side fills from the NW corner to the SE. This one is unusual in cutting such a wide swath.
Check it out: You'll see the Diagonal highlighted!

Most diagonals are single lines, consisting only of the first (topmost) square and the line of squares that leads down to the last (final) square. In this example, it contains the letters EEIISUOEEVCIZAS.

desper-otto said...

WC, I think I'd stick with "multiple characters" rather than "word" to describe the rebus. Plus, I recall a puzzle where the rebus squares contained different characters across than down, but they were consistent -- all rebus squares complied. I'm actually happy that the LAT doesn't permit rebus squares. They're interesting, but can be infuriating.

Lucina said...

That is my cousin's reaction, too. He has traveled often to New Mexico where many of our family roots are located and has met many family members from several generations. He researches church records for births, deaths, baptisms, etc. and meets the locals.

I am very pleased that Rich doesn't allow rebus puzzles. They make me insane!

D4E4H said...

Rick Papazian 1146A
Thank you for your "Wordy" tale. You got a lot of them in it.

Anon Don 1213P
I suspect that you chose "Anon" 'cause you don't know better. True Anons do not sign their work. Just above the block you used today is one marked "Name/URL." Elect some name that you want to see when you post, and put it in said box. I look forward to your posts.

PK, and YR,
Jinx and CanadianEh! expressed concern for you and your family better than I can so I second their emotion.

OMK 441P
Beautiful example of a diagonal fill. One can really find anything on the internet.

Dave 2

Anonymous said...

Minor nit: The ADA has a Seal of Acceptance but I don't think they approve toothpaste. The FDA maybe but not the ADA.

Anonymous said...

One minor nit: The ADA has Seal of Acceptance, not Approval.

Anonymous said...

Ack! Browser stutter :-(

PK said...

My daughter came home from the hospital today and was sleeping most of the day. Her daughter is home from college to take care of her. Thank you all for your good wishes.

YR, so sad to hear that David's injury caused him to loose his job. Hope he can get the surgery and some relief soon. Hope Alan's relapse is short-lived.

Stay safe and warm all ye who are in the path of the winter storm.

Hope the fires are dying down on the left coast where someone evidently thought the sun rises.

inanehiker said...

Final day at the office until the new year! Huzzah! and just as the wave of influenza is hitting our city - maybe it will peak and ebb before I get back :)

Enjoyed the puzzle and fun blog from Steve! Thanks Morton!

Misty said...

What word, Wilbur Charles?

Bill G said...

PK and YR, best wishes for your family members' health concerns. That stuff is no fun at all.

D-O, I enjoyed the Morning Briefing article and especially the hand-chosen sample puzzles from Will. Thank you! (I too am glad not to have to cope with rebus puzzles.)

~ Bill G

PK said...

I think that I shall never see
A rebus that looks fun to me!

RetFizz said...

Recently, someone remarked that all entries were read, no matter how late. Therefore, I forge ahead.

I remember, before the Partition, reading about the beauty of the Vale of Kashmir. How sad.

Leonard Pennario and I both attended LAHS at the same time, so I knew the Grieg concerto very well from more than one Assembly.

Hilary Swank beat out Annette Benning in the two years that Annette had the best shot had an Oscar.

Most people think of Farsi as the “correct” name of the language spoken in Iran, but that's only in Iran (e.g., the Germans call German Deutsch). In English, the “correct” name of the language is Persian. The version of Persian spoken in Afghanistan is called Dari; in Tajikistan, Tajik. But they are all Persian. Even in Iran today, the official name in English is Persian. But Farsi is much easier to use in constructing a puzzle; therefore, I am just nitpicking.

My unknowns are too numerous to list, many of which EES, let alone explain.

Crab Key or whatever clue they try, they’ll never fool me about Dr No and URSULA. Nice try, Morton, but thanks to you and Steve for your good work.

PS: Oh, Dudley. I’ve had cricket explained to me by Canadians twice, while watching, once in Vancouver and once in India. Understood it perfectly, until the game was over, then gone forever. After three weeks visiting a variety of places in India, I decided that the three worst habits left by the British were:
3. Putting milk in their tea.
2. Driving on the wrong side of the road.

Wilbur Charles said...

Misty. I was referring to the Jumble that I skim over before the xword.

They had the word GLOAT jumbled. I have trouble with the six word jumbles and sussing the clues but I usually can quickly decipher the five letter jumbles.


RetFizz said...

Oops! Two errors in one sentence! By MOI, the great RetFizz! At 3:52, I said: "Hilary Swank beat out Annette Benning in the two years that Annette had the best shot had an Oscar."

I misspelled Bening and my Mac dictation feature thought I had said "had" when I said "at," and I missed it in proofreading. So I meant "Hilary Swank beat out Annette Bening in the two years that Annette had the best shot at an Oscar."

Big deal.

Anon Don said...

Thanks for the tutorial.

Picard said...

Back from holiday travels. It will be a few days of catching up!

Got stuck with SPINNING TOP. Got the theme quickly, but I had to change it to TOY to FIR.

EUREKA was a gimme. It is on our state seal which is on our driver licenses and other official documents.

Here is EUREKA on our California State Seal

The other thing that did hold me up was HIT LIST. I have only ever heard of this as a list of people to be killed. Has anyone else ever used it another way?

ERROR is a baseball term that is incorrect usage in many other fields. In any other field I know of, it is called a MISTAKE.

No idea who are SAM and CHARLIE WOODS, let alone ELIN. Thanks for explaining!