Sep 21, 2018

Friday, September 21, 2018, Jerry Edelstein

Title: There are no bubbles in my champagne- we need some CO too!

We meet today to discuss our 20th puzzle from Mr. Edelstein published in the LAT. I blogged his second one back in 2015. We need to locate the five fill phrases where the letters CO are removed leaving a new phrase clued appropriately. This is an interesting puzzle with some new fill in addition to the theme fill. It also features 8 so called "cheater squares" to create a symmetrical puzzle. I have included the grid here to show both the original fill in red and the cheater squares marked with a + sign. He even manages a new three letter fill as well lots of longer fill like ADDRESS, CLEAVES, DISSENT, ELUDING, MASCARA, ROMANIA, ONE BELOW and SEQUENCE.

So let us see the theme:

16A. Result of too many people fishing?: COPIER JAM (7). Pier Jam sounds like THIS to me.

24. Religious music?: COPIOUS NOTES (10). I like this clue/fill combo. 

32A. Well-versed about sailing ships?: COUPON CLIPPERS (12). The fill is actually UP ON, menaing knowing about. 

40A. Dispute between polite fellows?: COGENT ARGUMENT (12). This was the biggest stretch IMO. Gent argument just clangs in my ears.

49A. Problems with cellphone signals?: COPING ISSUES (10). I guess we all know pinging as a word now.

62A. "Above my pay grade" ... and, read in four parts, a hint to 16-, 24-, 32-, 40- and 49-Across: NO CAN DO. In three parts rather than the three logical ones. NO C AND O (7). I do love a logical and complete reveal. On to the fill. 


1. Harmonious groups: CHOIRS. Do you all watch America's Got Talent?

7. Maybelline product: MASCARA. A cosmetic for coloring eyelashes, 1883, mascaro (modern form from 1922), from Spanish mascara "a stain, a mask," from same source as Italian maschera "mask" (see mask (v.)). Like the raccoon's mask. Cleopatra used kohl.

14. Role for Miley: HANNAH. Ms. Montana has changed.

15. Sticks: CLEAVES. Not the noun, but the verb. Very tricky.

18. Customer file prompt: ADDRESS. The clue confuses me, the fill became easy.

19. Lincoln and Grant had them in common: BEARDS. Not my first thought either.

21. Meet halfway: AGREE.

22. Show of support: AYE. And, 67A. No: DISSENT.

27. Buoyant wood: BALSA. Ochroma is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae, containing the sole species Ochroma pyramidale, commonly known as the balsa tree. It is a large, fast-growing tree that can grow up to 30 m tall. Balsa wood is a very lightweight material with many uses. I did not know there was a Mallo(w) family other than this one.

30. On point: APT.

31. '60s protest gp.: SDSStudents for a Democratic Society. Very big when I was at UConn.

37. Exhilarated shout: WAHOO. Especially when catch ONE.

38. Fencing gear: EPEES.

44. Term.: STA. I actually do not know, but the perps are strong.

47. Practical joke: GAG.

48. Stimulate: PIQUE. Curiosity.

54. __ corda: played using the piano's soft pedal: UNA. The soft pedal is one of the standard pedals on a piano, generally placed leftmost among the pedals. On a grand piano this pedal shifts the whole action slightly to the right. wiki.

55. Orly arrival: AVION. Airplane en Francaise.

56. Like little-known facts: ARCANE. "In his dissent, John Roberts, the chief justice, noted the country had over 10,000 tax localities, many of which have their own arcane laws on how different products should be taxed." The Economist, July, 2018.

59. Hungary neighbor: ROMANIA. Hungary in yellow.

65. Dodging: ELUDING.

66. Pushes back, say: RE-ACTS.

68. Antarctic explorer Shackleton: ERNEST. Sir  Ernest Henry Shackleton was an Irish-born British explorer who was a principal figure of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.


1. Golden State traffic org.: CHPCalifornia Highway Patrol.

2. "Bali __": HAI. The name refers to a mystical island, visible on the horizon but not reachable, and was originally inspired by the sight of Ambae island from neighboring Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu, where author James Michener was stationed in World War II. wiki.

3. Nearly zero: ONE BELOW. Inferrable new fill, but puzzle critics call this a "GREEN PAINT" fill. But would you have known THIS?

4. About: IN RE.

5. Indian noble: RAJA.

6. Cutting: SHARP. Like wit from our other bloggers.

7. George Strait label: MCA.  Music Corporation of America is now defunct, but it was their controlling company that I dealt with back in my music days, most people did not know that MCA owned the Universal Studios.

8. Munic. official: ALDerman.

9. Family ride: SEDAN.

10. Shipped stuff: CARGO.

11. Dodges: AVERTS.

12. Fix some bare spots, say: RE-SEED.

13. Take stock of: ASSESS.

17. Sixteenth-century year: MDI. 1501.

20. Ivory, for one: SOAP. Not from Elephants, thank you.

22. __ Dhabi: ABU.

23. Jabber: YAP.

25. Cut or crust opener: UPPER. Boxing or elitism.

26. Seventh in an instructional 39-Down, perhaps: STEP G. Literal, original and...

28. Obstacle: SNAG.

29. Back to back?: ACHE. Again, my brain must be fading cause this is all perps.

33. Pines: LONGS.

34. Very small amounts: IOTAS.

35. Volunteer for another tour: RE-UP.

36. Final Four game: SEMI.

39. Order: SEQUENCE.

41. Eau in Ecuador: AGUA. I wonder why Ecuador? Anyway, my one year old grandson asks for AGUA when he is thirsty.

42. Sister: NUN. That is how many sisters I have.

43. It may be iced: TEA. Not ice.

44. Showed leniency toward: SPARED. Spare the rod...

45. Villa d'Este city: TIVOLI. The MUSEUM.

46. Hostility: ANIMUS.

50. Cattle drivers: GOADS. I did not know this was a spiked stick used for driving cattle.
synonyms:prod, spike, staff, crook, rod.

51. Navel configuration: INNIE. If you said a 'navel' orange, give yourself a gold star (or a navel orange, if you're feeling peckish). Navel refers to the spot in the middle of your belly where the umbilical cord was once attached. Naval on the other hand, pertains to a navy, that branch of the military that operates at sea.

52. Shore bird: ERN.

53. Goal or basket: SCORE.

57. Lenovo competitor: ACER. Lenovo Group Ltd. or Lenovo PC International, often shortened to Lenovo, is a Chinese multinational technology company with headquarters in Beijing, China and Morrisville, North Carolina, United States. Acer Inc. is a Taiwanese multinational hardware and electronics corporation, specializing in advanced electronics technology, headquartered in Xizhi, New Taipei City, Taiwan

58. Bangalore bread: NAAN.

60. Lodging spot: INN.

61. Sports rep.: AGT. Agent.

63. Sot's affliction: DTSDelerium Tremens.

64. East, in Essen: OST. We have had this German word before.

Well that was a workout even after getting the theme. I look forward to all of your comments; thank you Jerry and all of you who read and a special thanks to those who comment. Lemonade out.

Sep 20, 2018

Thursday September 20th 2018 Paul Coulter

Theme: Jay Lend-o - Loan a letter to a phrase and come up with a "punny" new one.

17A. Norwegian coastal horse?: FJORD PINTO. Ford Pinto

Not only was this car a genuine menace to drive, but when Ford wondered why it wasn't selling in Latin America, they were informed, late in the marketing day, that "pinto" is a rather perjorative term for the size of a man's ..... equipment. I mean car.

24A. Excellent joke?: GREAT JAPE. Great ape.

39A. Where a sensei teaches how to slalom?: SKI DOJO. Ski-Doo. A Sensei in this context is a martial arts teacher; I know the term as a third-generation Japanese-American.

50A. "We sure fell for that one, Jack," e.g.?: JILL HUMOR. Ill humor. What? I mean I get it, but can we come up with a better clue? "You" rather than "we" makes a lot more sense; still terrible, but better than this effort.

The reveal?

62A. Was yanked offstage ... or what four puzzle answers did, in a way: GOT THE HOOK. The "J" is a hook-shape. Hence a j-hook in hardware, and probably fishing, although I didn't check the fishing bit. Wild stab in the dark with the fishhook.

Yep, nothing to argue about here. Find a phrase, add a "J" to it somewhere, clue it appropriately and move on.

And ..... the fill.


1. Have a sudden inspiration?: GASP

5. Embryonic membranes: CAULS

10. "Good going!": NICE!

14. Ancient Andean: INCA

15. Fully committed: ALL IN. Poker term originally, I believe. Bet all your chips on one hand of cards.

16. Cries at the Home Run Derby: OOHS. Baseball mini-theme today. Home Runs, pitchers and such.

19. Agitated state: SNIT. Agitated? Ticked-off, in my book.

20. Ring leader?: TORERO

21. Parenthesis, e.g.: ARC

22. Dún Laoghaire's land: EIRE. It used to be the primary ferry port between Great Britain and Ireland, but most, if not all, services have now been retured. Pronounced "Dun Leary" if you ever need to buy a ticket.

23. Largest division of Islam: SUNNI

26. Alpine transport: T-BAR

28. 2010 sci-fi sequel subtitled "Legacy": TRON

29. Grassy stretches: LEAS

32. Map line: ROAD

35. "A Doll's House" playwright: IBSEN

38. "The Martian" has none: E.T.S

41. Stat for Chris Sale: ERA. He's a pitcher, so Earned Run Average. Red Sox now, previously White Sox. I wonder what he did with the white ones from his uniform when he was traded? Or did he just leave them in his locker for the laundry guy? There are around 1,200 players each season in Major League Baseball. He's one of them. I just need to learn another 1,199 and I've got this year's crossword nailed.

42. Pronunciation symbol: SCHWA. This thing: ə. A mid-central vowel. A south-central vowel in Los Angeles is probably something else entirely.

44. PBS science series: NOVA

45. Small racer: KART

46. Barbershop part: BASS

48. McGregor who plays two roles on TV's "Fargo": EWAN. I've liked him since "Trainspotting" which I saw at an "arts theater" in Santa Monica and was hugely amused to see that it was subtitled English, in spite of being in English.

54. Jungle vine: LIANA

58. Big star: IDOL. Billy. Rebel Yell. Cue the music. 80's live pop excess.

59. Lincoln Ctr. site: N.Y.C. Also the site of my hd. off.

60. PBS science series: COSMOS. Chlecho trickery with 44A.

61. Brit's floor covering: LINO. We had lino in the bedrooms when I was a kid, and no heating. Getting up in winter was a bare-foot-meets-ice-rink experience.

64. Fuss: TO-DO

65. Dvorák's "Rusalka," for one: OPERA

66. Instead: ELSE

67. Scandinavian name meaning "cliff": STEN. What do you call a man with a seagull on his head? Cliff.

68. Block: DETER

69. Sunflower edible: SEED


1. They're kept under wraps: GIFTS

2. Pear variety: ANJOU

3. Contempt: SCORN

4. Raises: PARENTS

5. Guitarist's gadget: CAPO

6. "Aladdin" prince: ALI

7. __ nerve: ULNAR

8. Petrol unit: LITRE. Those British and their spelling. No reason to mess with the original French, but you know, what do those foreigners know?

9. Vehicle with caterpillar treads: SNO-CAT. Ski-doo, sno-cat. Winter today.

10. Often-cosmetic procedure: NOSE JOB.

11. View from Corfu: IONIAN SEA. Yep, nice spot for sure.

12. Sound from a tree: CHIRP. 

13. Competitor of Helena: ESTÉE. Lauder vs. Ruberstein. Gloves off!

18. Small amount: DRIB. Is a drab bigger or smaller than a drib? Surely it has to be one of the two, else you'd be doing something "in dribs and dribs" or "drabs and drabs".

24. Abdomen neighbor: GROIN. It's a toss-up which one you'd rather take a hit playing rugby. I've suffered both. I think I'd lean towards the abdomen given the choice.

25. Chamber music group: TRIO

27. Storied craft: ARK

29. "__ Miz": LES

30. "You get the idea" letters: ETC.

31. Light hair color: ASH BLONDE

33. Brouhaha: ADO

34. Matthew Arnold's "__ Beach": DOVER. A scary chap, he was a schools inspector, frightening in itself, but his work is referenced by Ray Bradbury and Ian McEwan - you know you're not in for an easy ride with his poetry or prose when you're in that company.

Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold

36. Be off: ERR. Surprised to to see a baseball reference ... oh wait ...

37. Bryce Harper, for now: NAT. Washington Nationals. There it is!

39. Ornamental band: SASH

40. Talk: JAW

43. Belgian language related to French: WALLOON

45. Deli snacks: KNISHES

47. Ra, in ancient Egypt: SUN GOD

49. Cosmetic additive: ALOE

50. Rejects suddenly: JILTS

51. Jerk: IDIOT.

52. Mr. Magoo, for one: MYOPE

53. Santa's reindeer, e.g.: OCTET

55. Whac-__: A-MOLE

56. Rope loop: NOOSE

57. FAQ part: ASKED. Frequently-Asked Questions link on a website.

60. Scorch: CHAR

63. Amount past due?: TRE. Uno, duo, tre. Any Green Day fans are wondering what happened to that triptych. Uno was delivered, I think duo and tre are still a twinkle in the band's eye.

Got Grid?


Sep 19, 2018

Wednesday, September 19 2018, Kurt Mengel and Jan-Michele Gianette

17. Ladled party drink: FRUIT PUNCH.

25. Cigarette brand featured on "Mad Men": LUCKY STRIKE.

37. Martial arts level: BLACK BELT.

51. Manhattan stage attraction: BROADWAY HIT.

62. Slimy pest in a flower bed: GARDEN SLUG.

Melissa here. No reveal in today's puzzle, but it wasn't needed with these five theme answers - such POW-erful second words made it obvious. A fair amount of sporting references, all gettable even for those of us who don't follow sports.


1. Most populous città in Italia: ROMA.

5. Vintage photo tone: SEPIA. a reddish-brown color associated particularly with monochrome photographs of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Interesting origin - via Latin from Greek sēpia ‘cuttlefish:’ a blackish fluid secreted by a cuttlefish as a defensive screen. It is bottled and sold both as an ink for fountain pens, and in gourmet food shops to flavor and color food. In Spain and Italy,  inky black dishes are marked as Nero or Seppia. Cuttlefish vs. cuttlefish.

10. Scheming: UP TO.

14. "Are you __ out?": IN OR.

15. Tidies text: EDITS.

16. Scattered, as seeds: SOWN.

19. Vast landmass: ASIA.

20. Island near Maui: LANAI.

21. "__ a Lady": Tom Jones hit: SHE'S.

23. It blows things up: TNT. The three letter answer should have made this obvious but I immediately thought along the lines of enlarging a photo.

24. CPR pro: EMT.

29. Ingredient in a Florentine dish: SPINACH.

31. Ancient Aegean region: IONIA.

32. Notice: SEE.

33. Crossword-solving Simpson: LISA.

36. WWI pistol: LUGER.

40. Happen next: ENSUE.

43. Korean imports: KIAS. Automobiles.

44. "Hostel" director Roth: ELI.

47. __ Bornes: card game: MILLE. Nostalgic for me, my family and I played this. According to Wikipedia: French for a thousand milestones, referring to the distance markers on many French roads) is a French card game. Mille Bornes is listed in the GAMES Magazine Hall of Fame.

48. Being disrespectful to: SASSING.

55. Cal. column: THU.

56. Oft-numbered rd.: AVE.

57. Saltimbocca herb: SAGE. Saltimbocca is a meat dish - traditionally veal, but also made with chicken or pork - cooked with prosciutto and sage.

58. Stationery brand: EATON. Letter writing with pen and paper is mostly a lost art.

60. Indian music: RAGA.

65. Heal, in a way: KNIT. Comfrey leaf and root is also known as boneset, or knitbone, because of it's ability to heal both soft tissue and broken bones. We have many plants growing in our yard.

66. Fire remnant: EMBER.

67. New Age composer John: TESH.

68. Not mad: SANE.

69. Fixes the leaks in: SEALS.

70. Two-toned cookie: OREO. Not to be confused with the black and white.


1. Rummages (through): RIFLES.

2. Parkway entrances: ON-RAMPS.

3. Canadian force member: MOUNTIE.

4. Met melody: ARIA. Opera. If this were a C.C. puzzle, I would think of this:

5. Fall mo.: SEP. Perfect timing.

6. Part of a college URL: EDU.

7. Belarus city: PINSK. Belarus is to the east of Poland. Minsk is the Capital. Pinsk is near the southern border, and looks like a beautiful place to visit.

8. In need of calamine lotion: ITCHY.

9. Fire pit residue: ASHES.

10. N. American land: USA.

11. Bulletin board item: POSTING.

12. Hostess sponge cake: TWINKIE. There are 40 ingredients in a TWINKIE. Michael Pollan on Twinkie vs. carrot, below.

13. Painting the town red: ON A TEAR.

18. Chef Jet __, frequent "Cutthroat Kitchen" judge: TILA. Speaking of lost arts and Michael Pollan, he declared that cooking has become a spectator sport.

22. "All the same ... ": STILL.

26. Western sch. with NCAA Division I team championships in 20 sports: UCLA.

27. Hen-to-be: CHICK.

28. Post office assignments: ROUTES.

30. Sci-fi/fantasy award: NEBULA.

34. Slalom slider: SKI.

35. Embarrass: ABASH.

38. West Yorkshire city: LEEDS.

39. Morales of "The Brink": ESAI.

40. Boards at the dock: EMBARKS. Verb not noun.

41. Kurt Cobain's group: NIRVANA.

42. Alabama Slammer ingredient: SLOE GIN.

45. More diminutive: LITTLER.

46. Not outsourced: IN-HOUSE.

49. WWII weapon: STEN.

50. Enthusiastic: GUNG HO.

52. Pay: WAGES. Answer could be singular or plural.

53. "Only __": NPR sports program: A GAME.

54. __ mate: tealike beverage: YERBA. South American hot infused drink, traditionally served in a gourd with a metal straw. Seems odd to drink hot liquid from a metal straw ...

59. About: AS TO.

61. Dined: ATE.

63. St. with a former "Small Wonder" slogan: DEL.

64. Stammering sounds: ERS.

Sep 18, 2018

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 Roland Huget

"Mirror Ends"

20. Horse sense: STREET SMARTS.

28. Main attraction: DRAWING CARD.

36. Test proctor's reminder: TIME LIMIT.

49. Hard-boiled genre: NOIR FICTION.

56. Its measurements include liters and grams: METRIC SYSTEM.


1. Publisher Alfred: KNOPFThe person and the company.

6. Spur to action: PROD.

10. Mus. key with three sharps: AMAJ.  A major.

14. Lost cause: GONER.

15. Overconfident racer of fable: HARE.

16. Hawaiian island: OAHU.

17. Hawaii or Alaska: STATE.

18. Oil gp. that includes 57-Down: OPEC. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries

19. Take a load off: REST.

23. Pool tool: CUE.

24. Try to win: WOO.

25. Colonel Sanders facial feature: GOATEE.

32. Lab maze navigator: RAT.

33. Letter flourish: SERIF.

34. "... good witch, __ bad witch?": OR A.

35. Angry or achy: SORE.

40. Soap units: BARS.

43. Gold in Granada: ORO.

44. Semiaquatic salamanders: NEWTS.

48. The "A" in "IPA": ALE.

52. Like Easter eggs before the hunt: HIDDEN.

54. Duct opening?: OVI.   "In vertebrates, other than mammals, the passageway from the ovaries to the outside of the body is known as the oviduct. In female mammals this passageway is known as the uterine tube or Fallopian tube."   Wikipedia.

55. Debate side: PRO.  The affirmative side.  An argument in favor of a course of action.

60. Squared up: EVEN

62. Tax-sheltered plans: Abbr.: IRAsIndividual Retirement Accounts

63. More than suggest: ORDER.  Last Tuesday's crossword by Bruce Haight and his daughter Natalie Murphy had many punny "Orders."

65. Partial view?: BIAS.  As in partiality.   Favoritism.

66. Scandinavian language: SAMI. "...the language has given way to the various official national languages."

67. Circular: ROUND.

68. Decrease: BATE.

69. Organic compound: ENOL.  Remember the clue.  Almost always, the crossword answer is enol.

70. Sch. district VIPs: SUPTS.   Superintendents.   The CEO of a school district.


1. 56-Across wts.: KGS.  Kilograms in the metric system.  About 2.2 pounds in the avoirdupois weight system.

2. On the fence: NOT SURE.

3. Winning like crazy: ON A TEAR.  Like the Boston Red Sox this year.  They have a shot at the all time record for wins in a season.   Having already clinched a playoff spot, the Red Sox have a 27 % chance to win the World Series.  The Houston Astros follow next at 24 %.   Then the Dodgers, the Cubs, and the Indians.   

4. Korda of '80s-'90s tennis: PETR.  His two daughters are golfers competing on the LPGA tour, and his son is the third-ranked junior tennis player in the world.

5. Library amenity: FREE WIFI.

6. Camera buff, for short: PHOTOG. Like this guy and gal getting ready for pictures of the eclipse.

7. Shoots the breeze: RAPS.

8. Utah city near Provo: OREM.

9. 10-point star polygon: DECAGRAM

"In geometry, a decagram is a 10-point star polygon. There is one regular decagram, containing the vertices of a regular decagon, but connected by every third point. Its Schläfli symbol is {10/3}. The name decagram combine a numeral prefix, deca-, with the Greek suffix -gram." Wikipedia

10. Main blood vessel: AORTA.

11. Orchestra leader: MAESTRO.   A Top Twenty List

12. Contented sighs: AHS.

13. Stick (out): JUT.

21. Years and years: EON.

22. Word after fuel or fly: ROD.  One may be used for fission; the other may be used for fishin'.

23. LP successors: CDs.

26. Cup handle: EAR.

27. Season after printemps: ETE. Printemps - Première saison de l'année.  Saison située entre l'hiver et l'été, caractérisée par des jours plus longs, une température plus douce, une végétation renaissante.  Ete - Saison de l'année commençant au solstice de juin pour finir à l'équinoxe de septembre. Gén., la période chaude au milieu de l'année.   Give Google Translate a try.

29. Erma Bombeck's "At __ End": WIT'S. “Childhood is a time for pretending and trying on maturity to see if it fits or hangs baggy, tastes good or bitter, smells nice or fills your lungs with smoke that makes you cough. It's sharing licks on the same sucker with your best friend before you discover germs. It's not knowing how much a house cost, and caring less. It's going to bed in the summer with dirty feet on clean sheets. It's thinking anyone over fifteen is 'ancient'. It's absorbing ideas, knowledge, and people like a giant sponge. Childhood is where 'competition' is a baseball game and 'responsibility' is a paper route.” - Erma Bombeck

30. Décor choice: COLOR.

31. MLB's D-backs: ARI. Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamonbacks.  As of this writing, owners of an 8% chance to make the playoffs.  

35. Editorial "let it stand": STET.

37. Event often visible in the evening sky: MOONRISE.

38. "__ tu": Verdi aria: ERI.

39. Cutting teeth: INCISORS.

40. Derisive interjection: BAH.  Humbug !  Ebenezer Scrooge.

41. "Rope-a-dope" boxer: ALI.  Muhammad Ali created and used this strategy to defeat the heavily favored George Foreman in the world championship bout known as The Rumble in the Jungle.

42. Paleo diet protein source: RED MEAT.

45. Took care of, as a spill: WIPED UP.

46. Annoy persistently: TORMENT.

47. __-cone: summer treat: SNO.

49. Safety feature at a trapeze school: NETLearning to Fall

50. La Brea discovery: FOSSIL.

51. Wall-climbing plant: IVY.

53. Slow on the uptake: DENSE.

57. Pakistan neighbor: IRAN.

58. "Duck Dynasty" attire, for short: CAMO.  Camouflage.  Duck Dynasty is a reality television program on A&E.

59. Pants, briefly: TROU.  Trousers

60. Flow back, as a tide: EBB.

61. By way of: VIA.

64. Ave. and st.: RDS.  Roads

Sep 17, 2018

Monday September 17, 2018 Craig Stowe

Theme: EMMY (72. TV award, and a homophonic hint to the four longest puzzle answers) - Each theme entry is in the pattern of M* E*:

 17. Large-scale departure: MASS EXODUS.

26. Cost of a car, in most family budgets: MAJOR EXPENSE.

49. Edmund Hillary's conquest: MOUNT EVEREST.

64. Region including Egypt, Israel, etc.: MIDDLE EAST.

Boomer here.  

I realize that the LA Times puzzle is more dominant in Western USA, however my sympathy goes to those on the East coast of the Carolinas and Virginia in the aftermath of hurricane/tropical storm Florence. C.C. and I took a vacation to Myrtle Beach about 15 years ago. We had a great time playing some golf and eating in buffets where they had shrimp piled two feet high.


1. Potato chips source: SPUD. Not Spuds, which is a Budweiser spokesman.

5. __ bean: LIMA. Sufferin' Succotash

9. Rick's "Casablanca" love: ILSA.

13. "Aww!": CUTE.

14. Spring bloom: IRIS.

15. Les __-Unis: ETATS. Interesting that the French spell "State" backwards

16. Neighbor of Yemen: OMAN.

19. Island setting for Melville's "Omoo": TAHITI. I think this is some kind of mecca in the middle of the Pacific.

21. Court order to testify: SUBPOENA. Robert Mueller's tool.

22. Mindless memorization: ROTE.  In grade school we learned songs by note or rote.

24. Farm sound: MOO.  I think this was a sorority in "Animal House".

25. Blue expanse, on a clear day: SKY.

31. 1860s White House nickname: ABE. Classic president. Got his face on a mountain in South Dakota, and his picture on a five dollar bill !

32. Thought: IDEA.

33. Traffic light color: YELLOW.  Are left turns allowed on yellow arrow where you live?

37. Gardener's bane: WEED.  We have a nice crop in our gardens this year.  I didn't plant any, must have been bad dirt.

39. Quick taste: SIP.

41. Produced: MADE.

42. American flag feature: STRIPE.  Add an "S" and you have the movie that made Bill Murray famous.

45. At hand: NEAR.

48. Buddhist school: ZEN.

52. Fermented quaff: ALE.  Not sure what the difference is between beer and ale.  I don't like the taste of either.

55. Slugger's stat: RBI.

56. Get up: RISE.

57. Removing from the text: DELETING.

60. 1971 New York prison riot site: ATTICA. I was not there but I remember it well. Lock criminals up and they tend to get ornery.

66. "__ be fine": "No prob": IT'LL.

67. Sad verse: ELEGY.

68. Spell-checker discovery: TYPO.  This is an odd word for a spell check.  However it's also an odd designation for my Type O blood type.

69. Not virtual: REAL.  This word reminds me of real estate.  Is there such a thing as "Fake Estate"?

70. __ a one: NARY.

71. The "Y" in "YTD": YEAR.  Sometimes Monday clues are pretty easy.

1. Loch Ness local: SCOT.

2. Adidas rival: PUMA.  Not Nike.  It drew a critique for their new commercial, but they claim sales went skyward.

3. Home of the NBA's Jazz: UTAH. Home of the Great Salt Lake

4. Robert of "Dirty Grandpa": DE NIRO.  Really liked him in "Casino".

5. Restricted in number, as an edition: LIMITED. Or a designation for a train.

6. Nest egg acronym: IRA.  Individual retirement account. "Don't leave work without it."

7. Hit's opposite: MISS.  East of LA - West of ALA.

8. Take for granted: ASSUME. As Felix Unger once said "If you Assume, you make an Ass of U and Me." Emmy Winning "Odd Couple".

9. "Was __ hard on you?": I TOO.

10. Stows cargo: LADES.

11. Caused some nose-pinching: STUNK. You may have entered "Skunk" on the grid.  I don't blame you.

12. Evaluate, as metal: ASSAY.

15. Bring to light: EXPOSE.

18. Traditional black piano key wood: EBONY.  I don't own any, but I have heard ebony wood does not float.

20. Singer Amos: TORI.  Mr. Torii Hunter was a center fielder for the Twins for a number of years.  Famous for bringing back a Barry Bonds potential home run in the 2002 All Star Game.

23. Old flames: EXES.

26. Big mouths: MAWS. Could be the casts mothers on "Hee Haw".

27. Help rob the bank: ABET. Or you may place one in Las Vegas.

28. Taunt from the bleachers: JEER.  Interesting that this word rhymes with cheer.

29. Emulate Degas: PAINT.

30. "Slippery" tree: ELM. Used by spitball pitchers before my time.  (Unless Gaylord Perry??  Nah.)

34. Do nothing: LAZE.

35. Wordsworth works: ODES.  I liked the "Ode to Billy Joe" (Bobbi Gentry)

36. Attended, with "to": WENT.

38. Reduce in brightness: DIM.

40. __ pressure: PEER.  Sometimes we see GYNT clued as "Peer ___".  I think the guy's name is Edvard.

43. Rotund: PORTLY.  Usually they get to play catcher, or Offensive Tackle.

44. Jazzman Blake: EUBIE.

46. Pilot: AVIATOR.  Most famous, Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart.

47. Take ten: REST.

50. Distance between bases, in feet: NINETY.  MLB only. Distance in softball is 60 feet.  Distance between Fort Campbell and Fort Polk, about 800 miles.

51. Go to bed: RETIRE.  Or leave your career, or buy a new set of Bridgestones.

52. Commercial writers: AD MEN. They must be very busy. It seems I get to watch about 20 minutes worth, every hour.  (Whoever writes the GEICO commercials belongs in rehab.)

53. Bizet opera priestess: LEILA. Leila is a smart girl.

54. Tribal leader: ELDER.

58. Avant-garde: EDGY.

59. Motown's Marvin: GAYE.  Tragic story.  He was shot to death by his father!! Marvin Gaye is now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

61. Receipt detail: ITEM.  Also a story in the Tabloids.

62. Linguine seafood sauce morsel: CLAM.  They call the soup "chowder"

63. One on your side: ALLY.

65. Daycation destination: SPA.


Sep 16, 2018

Sunday September 16, 2018 Mark McClain

Theme: "Marked Down" - C is changed into D in each theme entry.

 22. Silo in a rural valley?: DELL TOWER. Cell tower. Tiny dupe with 104. Biological unit: CELL.

27. A+ for a struggling student?: AMAZING GRADE. Amazing Grace.

41. Neat places to get beers?: DANDY BARS. Candy bars.

46. Nightmare?: SOUR DREAM. Sour cream.

62. Terse Supreme Court decision for lions?: THE PRIDE IS RIGHT. The Price is Right.

80. Challenge from an ex-president?: OBAMA DARE. ObamaCare.

83. Southern tavern accents?: PUB DRAWLS. Pub crawl.

100. Wall Street bear?: SHARE DROPPER. Share cropper.

108. Classic audiophile's equipment, and a hint to eight long puzzle answers: CD CHANGER.

Some letter changes happen with the first letter of the first word, some first letter of the last word. Some in the middle, but no odd man out. A nice mix.

Also, Marks allows no straying C's in his theme entry choices. An extra layer of elegance.


1. Archaeologist's find: TOMB. Some of you have been to my hometown Xi'an and said hello to these terracotta warriors.

5. "Fire" crawlers: ANTS.

9. Cartoon explosion word: BLAM. Not WHAM.

13. Trickster: SCAMP.

18. Where the iris is: UVEA.

19. Country dance: REEL.

20. German camera: LEICA. Also 8. Camera initials: SLR. Olympus was the only brand used in my Pinkerton days.

21. Trilateral trade deal: NAFTA.

24. Allegro __: very fast, in scores: ASSAI.

25. Like some statues at night: UP-LIT.

26. Surrounded: ENCLOSED.

29. Opposing teams: FOES.

30. __ chin: CLEFT.

31. Like a sudoku solution: LOGICAL.

32. Allergic reaction: ACHOO.

35. "A Writer's Life" writer: TALESE.

37. What a red handset icon may end: CALL. This is sweet.

38. Ought to: SHOULD.

40. Humongous: VAST.

48. Authenticity on the street: CRED.

49. Pound or stone: UNIT.

50. Bier chiller: EIS. Beer. Ice.

51. Police dept. rank: SGT.

52. Place for an updo: SALON.

54. Ancient temple complex: KARNAK. And 47. 54-Across' land: EGYPT.

56. Grab the tab: TREAT.

59. Alma mater of Clinton and Ford, briefly: YALE LAW.

61. Marina sights: VESSELS.

65. House Speaker before Pelosi: HASTERT. Still in prison, right? Wiki says "Notwithstanding his conviction, Hastert continues to receive his congressional pension, which amounts to about $73,000 a year."

68. Actress O'Hara: MAUREEN.

69. Position paper, e.g.: ESSAY.

73. Many have pins at one end: ALLEYS. Boomer's favorite places.

74. Kunta in "Roots": KINTE.

75. Prefix with warrior: ECO.

77. Animation letters: CGI.

78. In a trice: SOON.

79. Rides the bench: SITS.

86. Texas' __ Duro Canyon: PALO. One of our three T's might be there: Tom (TTP), Tom (D-Otto) and Tony.

88. Grimm girl: GRETEL.

89. Tied: EVEN.

90. Afghans' neighbors: TAJIKS. Scrabbly fill.

92. Inspected prior to a job: CASED.

93. Bellamy's sister on "The 100": OCTAVIA. Unknown to me.

97. Underworld figure: SATAN.

98. Military sch.: ACAD.

102. How Albee's "The Zoo Story" is written: IN ONE ACT.

106. Grammatical separator: COMMA.

107. Senator Hatch: ORRIN. Longest-serving Republican senator.

109. Adrien of cosmetics: ARPEL.

110. Misleading move: FEINT.

111. Greeting from Kermit: HI HO.

112. Marginal mark: DELE.

113. Good __: enjoyable books: READS. Hahtoolah reads and reviews. 

114. Fictional navigator Phileas: FOGG.

115. Negotiation obstacles: EGOS.

116. Note recipient, at times: SELF.


1. Arrogance, in slang: TUDE. Attitude.

2. Range feature: OVEN.

3. Sporty Spice, familiarly: MEL C.

4. Cause of a walk: BALL FOUR. I read this book at a card show ages ago.

5. Came up: AROSE.

6. Most recently made: NEWEST.

7. Aggravated, with "off": TEED.

9. "Take care!": BE SAFE.

10. "Hungarian Rhapsodies" composer: LISZT.

11. Palm tree berry: ACAI. Trade Joe's has acai puree pack. You can make your own acai bowl.

12. Most of Italy, to 14-Down residents: MAINLAND. 14. See 12-Down: CAPRI.

13. Warm and cozy: SNUGGLY.

15. Company with a quacking mascot: AFLAC.

16. Crete peak: Abbr.: MT IDA.

17. Pi __, "Life of Pi" hero: PATEL. Unknow to me also.

20. Least plausible: LAMEST.

23. Ineligible for kiddie rides: TOO OLD.

27. Bass et al.: ALES.

28. Miner's find: GOLD. And 30. Digger's find: CLAM.

32. Strength: ASSET.

33. Group in a loft: CHOIR.

34. Casino, to gamblers: HOUSE.

36. Gamer's game face: AVATAR. Nice "game face".

37. City near Le Havre: CAEN. OK, let's see.

39. MASH staff: DRS.

41. Nod off: DROWSE.

42. Pops, as a bubble: BURSTS.

43. Last Stuart queen: ANNE.

44. Iranian dough: RIAL. The only Iranian dough I know. Never had the real Iranian dough or any Iranian food. This looks delicious.

45. NYSE listings: STKS. Stocks. We also have 72. Investor's concern: YIELD.

48. Missouri senator McCaskill: CLAIRE. What a fast-changing word. Eric Greitens once was so promising. 

52. Most squad cars: SEDANS.

53. Alaskan native: ALEUT.

54. Stout container: KEG.

55. US Open stadium namesake: ASHE.

57. Make it to: ATTEND.

58. Unnamed persons: THEY.

60. Caps: LIMITS.

61. Ground cover plant also called periwinkle: VINCA. Gimme for our Master Gardener Katie (TTP's wife). I did not know this.

63. Hesitant sounds: ERS.

64. Nike rival: REEBOK.

65. Padlock hardware: HASP.

66. Matty with a .307 lifetime batting average: ALOU. Thank you, ALOU, A-ROD and SOSA.

67. Unkempt sort: SLOB.

70. Skedaddles: SCATS.

71. Match: AGREE.

74. Firing device: KILN.

76. Texter's "Holy cow!": OMG. I only learned that the other day that the two T's in Tostitos' logo stand for two people. The dot above the i is a bowl of salsa.

79. Really quit: SWEAR OFF.

80. "Chocolat" co-star: OLIN.

81. Mystical secrets: ARCANA.

82. Lost driver's disappointments: DEAD ENDS.

84. Exposes: REVEALS.

85. Intensely supportive: AVID.

86. Unmistakable: PATENT.

87. Cracked a bit: AJAR.

90. Sealing, as a package: TAPING.

91. Don Quixote's squire __ Panza: SANCHO.

93. Grumpy Muppet: OSCAR.

94. Task list entry: CHORE.

95. Buccaneers' home: TAMPA.

96. Dangerous companion?: ARMED. Armed and dangerous.

97. Thyme bit: SPRIG.

99. Pacific salmon: COHOS.

101. Nabisco bite: OREO.

102. "With ya so far": I DIG.

103. Tommie of the 1969 Miracle Mets: AGEE.

105. Not kosher: TREF. Learned from doing crossword. The Islamic equivalent HARAM, meaning not halal (kosher).

108. Role in "Evita": CHE.

So glad to hear AnonymousPVX and Jinx in Norfolk are safe and sound. Shout-out to Brad Niven, another faithful LAT crossword solver. Brad lives in Winston Salem. Looks like another day of  heavy rain and gusty wind in his area.

Happy Birthday to dear D-Otto, who has generously helped me and this blog over the years. I rely heavily on Tom for puzzle theme/fill feedback. It's always a good idea to discard ideas and entries if they don't fly with him, unless I'm really desper-C.C. I also turn to Tom for rants or life guidance. He has this amazing ability to make complicated things easy for me to understand, from computer program to supplemental policy to comfort height toilet. I can't imagine our little corner without your wicked humor, empathy and patience, Tom, thanks for being you!

D-Otto (Tom)

Sep 15, 2018

Saturday, September 15, 2018, Michael Ashley

A Themeless Saturday Puzzle by Michael Ashley

Today we celebrate that fruit that the old saw says if ingested daily can keep the doctor away. It is significant to me because it falls so near my 9/11 birthday. It has become a tradition for my lovely bride and I to meet our kids and their kids in Nebraska City, NE at the Kimmel Orchards where we pick fruit from the trees and peruse their country wares in the store. Following that we go up to the Lied Lodge and Conference Center for a wonderful meal overlooking the lovely country bordering the Missouri River. I'll be so sad when we no longer do this.

Today's constructor is Michael Ansley. He writes of himself - I lived nearly 20 years in Manhattan, New York, and have now lived with my wife and two children in Scottsdale, Arizona, since 1993. Besides being a maniacal online chess buff, in my spare time I dabble at another sport which, on my better days, strongly resembles golf. 

Michael is a wonderful crossword constructor and is very prolific in the construction of Acrostics. Click here to read more about Michael and see more of his other publications on Amazon.

My solving involved searching for any port in a storm and then eventually there were no more cells to fill.  The SE corner was a treasure trove of known answers as soon as I remembered how to spell the rope-soled shoe.


1. Ones going downhill fast: SKI JUMPERS  - Many of us remember when ABC's Wide World Of Sports opening used this SKI JUMP accident to show The Agony of Defeat

11. Opulent: LUSH and 11. Opulent: LUXE - I am not likely to use one of these synonyms 

15. They always get underfoot: INNERSOLES - Get a "custom" one at these kiosks 

16. Biblical preposition: UNTO.

17. Pop music feature: TOP TEN LIST - TOP TEN LIST of songs for every year since 1950

18. Wolverine, for one: X-MAN - If you're interested, you already know about him

19. "Westworld" airer: HBO - A violent sci-fi (yes, I said sci-fi) western

20. '70s-'80s self-improvement course: EST - Erhard Seminar Training A very intense course that eventually was labelled a cult and died out

21. Notre Dame's river: SEINE  - Yup!

22. Legendary chanteuse: PIAF  - A very young girl doing an fabulous imitation of Edith PIAF's distinctive singing/warbling style 

26. Max.: ULT - Max(imum)/ULT(imate)

28. Equivalents of pairs of FGs: TDS

29. Somewhat out of place, as hair: MUSSED

31. __ dish: PETRI.

33. Type of medicine: HOLISTIC - Do what you like but I'll take my doctors

35. 1969 retail clothing debut: THE GAP - The founder Don Fisher couldn't find a pair of jeans that fit him so he opened his own store on Ocean Ave. in San Francisco.

38. Second film with Craig as Bond: QUANTUM OF SOLACE - Ah something new! A beautiful woman, suggestively attired, wearing illogical footwear and walking away from mayhem

40. "Counting Sheep" purchases: SERTAS - We have one and it is wonderful!

41. Monthly reading: GAS METER - Do meter readers still roam the landscape?

42. Pampers, with "on": DOTES.

44. More stingy: MEANER - Which was your favorite stingy Scrooge? Mine is Reginald Owen - circa. 1938

45. "Avatar" actress Saldana: ZOE - Her makeup probably took as long as John Travolta's for Hairspray

47. Attorney's letters: ESQ - Perry Mason, Esq.

48. Origin abbr.: ESTD - LA Times Crossword Corner - ESTablisheD 1/21/2008

49. Pointed: AIMED

51. Small city?: URB - The Oxford Dictionary says it is, "An urban area, a city" and so URB is a small word for a city

54. Base figs.: GI'S - A crazy bunch of GI'S in Stripes, shot on BASE at Fort Knox.

57. Scheme: PLAN.

58. Left in the dust: SAILED PAST - What Usain Bolt did in his Olympic races

62. Hang: PEND.

63. Shoe with a rope sole: ESPADRILLE - The spelling took some perp help

64. Contributes: ADDS.

65. Film with cues: THE HUSTLER  - A great movie that garnered Oscar nominations for Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason and George C. Scott


1. Jedi foes: SITH - Their starting lineup

2. Round handle: KNOB.

3. Hot: IN POPULAR DEMAND - The Beanie Babies were IN POPULAR DEMAND in the 90's but that craze wore off and some got stuck with lots of toys that did not appreciate in value

4. Fly quickly: JET.

5. Midge __, co-organizer of the Live Aid benefit concert: URE - Midge was a phonetic reversal of his given name Jim

6. AOL alternative: MSN.

7. German's neighbor: POLE - In 1939 the Germans dropped in on their neighbors unexpectedly and violently 

8. "__ Comin'": Laura Nyro song: ELI'S - I remember Three Dog Night singing that song

9. Gather one's strength: REST UP 

10. Retired flier: SST - A crash in 2000, the 2001 Trade Center attack and rising maintenance costs grounded our crossword friend


13. Orchestra pit aid: STAND - Usually with lights

14. Brushes up on: HONES  

21. Westernmost of the Virgin Islands: ST. THOMAS and 55. 21-Down, e.g.: ISLE.

23. Digs: IS INTO.

24. Per prior mention: AS STATED  - AS STATED in paragraph 4, subsection c... 

25. Some ultrasound images: FETUSES - I would have liked to have known the gender of our children before they were born. You?

27. "Well, as I recall ... ": LET'S SEE, I think I told you I take a 30. Skeptical, as a view: DIM view of your talking while I am talking

29. Grimace: MOUE.

32. Cave: RELENT - She did neither 

33. Command ctrs.: HQS  - The Strategic Air Command's  (Now Stratcom) HQ is just south of Omaha

34. Small part: COG.

36. Maker of Swift laptops: ACER.

37. Each: PER.

39. Sibs, uncs, etc.: FAM - The FAM dynamics at the funeral for my niece this week weren't all that great

43. Suppress: SQUASH.

45. 1997 Grammy Lifetime Achievement awardee: ZAPPA - Okay

46. Quieted, in a way: OILED  - Get some on that squeaky wheel

50. Closes: ENDS.

52. Fit for harvesting: RIPE - This corn looks RIPE but is not fit for harvesting because the moisture content is too high at 29.2%

53. Boring: BLAH  - Is that the best ya got, Husker Gary?

56. End of a mob?: STER - Is Al Capone your first image?

58. Full collection: SET.

59. Loyola domain: EDU - Loyola University of Chicago's web site is

60. OR principals: DRS - Do you know the names of any of these TV DRS or the show that featured them?

61. Peril in a Poe title: PIT - I chose the less graphic depiction of this 1843 Poe classic tale

Treat yourself to some caramel dip with an apple as you comment for us today!