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Feb 1, 2018

Thursday, February 1st 2018 Mark McClain

Theme: Price Hikes - Common phrases fall prey to inflation, as the reveal suggests:

59A. Economic factor that affects three puzzle answers : INFLATION RATE

So we get:

20A. Really cheap : QUARTER A DOZEN. Up from "dime a dozen". Apropos of Sunday's "Big Game" (shh, you can't say $üperßøw£ without getting sued by the NFL!):


37A. Precisely : TO THE NICKEL.Up from "to the penny." Accountants need to tie their books to the penny, especially in the corporate world.

44A. Worthless item : PLUGGED DIME. Up from "plugged nickel". A plugged nickel is a coin where the center disc has been removed, reducing the value of the metal in the coin. Used as a colloquialism for "worthless".

I liked this theme - "TO THE NICKEL" gave it away for me, so then it was a simple matter to backtrack and fill in 20A then I was off and running.

The puzzle is also a pangram today - all the letters of the alphabet appear. When you start to collect the higher-value Scrabble letters like X, Z, Q, K and J you know you're probably in for a full set.

A couple of nice longer downs kept things moving along nicely too. Let's see what else jumps out:

Across:

1. Rankles : IRKS

5. Go higher : CLIMB

10. Burgoo or ragout : STEW. Food! One of my favorite recipe sites Epicurious has a recipe for Kentucky burgoo with bourbon in it. Sounds worth a try to me!

14. Harvest : REAP

15. Speeder spotter : RADAR. Nice alliteration in the clue.

16. Dance for a lei person : HULA. I like the play on "lei".

17. Cornstarch brand in a yellow-and-blue container : ARGO. I've got a tub of this in my pantry but I had no idea what the brand name was! Thank you, crosses.

18. String in a kids' song : E-I-E-I-O. Old MacDonald earworm .... I'll spare you a link.

19. African antelope : ORYX. There's a few four-letter antelopes in Africa. You need to be careful before jumping in.

23. Baltimore's __ Harbor : INNER

24. Enjoy Vail : SKI

25. Podded plant : PEA

28. Fountain output : SODAS

32. Sully : TAINT. Because "Nickname of US Airways pilot who ditched in the Hudson" doesn't fit.

34. Rest area freebie : MAP. Do they still give these out? Gas stations stopped handing them out for free years ago.

40. Mother Nature's balm : ALOE

42. "The Glass Lake" writer Binchy : MAEVE

43. Trillion: Pref. : TERA- I have a 2 terabyte external hard drive for backups. When I started my computer career that kind of capacity was pure science fiction. The IBM mainframes I first worked on had disks with a capacity of 300MB. My external drive holds more than 6,500 times that much data.

47. "Mamma Mia!" number : S.O.S. Catchy stuff from from those Swedish pop-tastic greats Abba. The videos have a fantastic Seventies look too.

48. Slow movement : LARGO

49. Move through muck : SLOSH

51. Kennedy twins? : ENS. Two of 'em in the name. I wanted "EES" first. Was wrong.

52. Luthor of the comics : LEX

55. Infield fly : POP-UP

64. Naan relative : ROTI. Food! I had a couple of them with my first dinner in Delhi earlier this month.

66. Demand and obtain, as vengeance : EXACT. Or revenge. Nice clue.

67. Adopt-a-Pet pet : MUTT

68. "Dilbert" intern : ASOK. He's one of my favorite characters in the strip.


69. Comparatively friendly : NICER

70. Geek Squad client : USER

71. LGBT Pride Month : JUNE

72. 2017 A.L. MVP José Altuve, for one : ASTRO. Houston ball team. I was changing planes in Houston on Monday. I like the airport, it's one of the NICER ones I pass through.

73. Zip : ZERO

Down:

1. Kirkuk native : IRAQI

2. "Seinfeld" episode, now : RE-RUN. I could watch every episode all over again.

3. See 53-Down : KAGAN

4. Reproductive bodies : SPORES

5. Hudson Bay nation : CREE. Nailed it! Thank you, crosswords past.

6. Bear's home : LAIR. Tried CAVE. Obviously a bad idea.

7. One may be called bright when it isn't : IDEA. Lovely.

8. "Downton Abbey" figures : MAIDS. We recently binge-watched all six seasons of Downton on Amazon Prime. Totally got into it.

9. Forest babbler : BROOK

10. Christian Louboutin creation : SHOE. Barney's has a men's shoe with his trademark red soles for $850 a pair. I think I'll stick to the outlets.

11. Tolls are taken on them : TURNPIKES. Nice. Took me a while to see this one.

12. Bridge expert Culbertson : ELY

13. Candle stuff : WAX

21. Easy gait : TROT

22. Tubular pasta : ZITI. Food! My kind of puzzle today.

26. Summer month in Uruguay : ENERO. January, in the Southern Hemisphere. More of a tricky Thursday-level clue for this Spanish month.

27. Book with 11-Down : ATLAS. Another one a long time a-coming. Turnpikes, among other things, are represented in a road atlas.

29. St. Paul's feature : DOME. The famous cathedral in London designed by architect Sir Christopher Wren. As recently as 1967 it was the tallest building in the city. I'm off to London tomorrow, the flight path into Heathrow passes above St. Paul's. and the rest of Central London. You get a great view of all the landmarks if the weather is clear. The dome gets a little lost among the tall buildings, but I've outlined it here:



30. Minimally : A TAD

31. Drops, as pounds : SHEDS

33. Part of ACA : ACT. The full name is The patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, familiarly known as Obamacare.

34. Scott Joplin's "__ Leaf Rag" : MAPLE. I learned this on the piano when I was a kid. I loved Scott Joplin's music after first encountering it in the movie "The Sting".

35. Literary middle name : ALLAN

36. Goes all out : POURS IT ON. Took me a while to parse this.

38. Downright nasty : EVIL

39. "Finding Dory" character : NEMO

41. __ salad : EGG

45. Club sport : GOLF. Nice clue. Could refer to the institution or the equipment.

46. "Around the Horn" channel : ESPN

50. Strait of __: Persian Gulf outlet : HORMUZ

53. With 3-Down, justice since 2010 : ELENA

54. Graph line : X-AXIS. Could be Y- or Z- so wait for the cross to confirm it.

56. Hesitation : PAUSE

57. Unmitigated : UTTER

58. Chemical prefix? : PETRO-

60. Maker of LeBron 15 basketball shoes : NIKE. More expensive footwear. Foot Locker has them for $185/pair. Not bad for a pair of sneakers.

61. Delicate handling : TACT

62. Pastry prettifier : ICER

63. Other, in España : OTRO. Second Spanish reference today.

64. British rule in India : RAJ. "Raj" is the Hindustani word for "Rule".

65. The Cowboys of the Big 12 Conf. : O.S.U. Oklahoma State University.

And with that, I think I'm done. Here's the grid - and I'll see you all next week from Blighty!

Steve


77 comments:

Dudley said...

Rabbit Rabbit

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Straightforward solve today, almost no unknowns. Interesting theme idea.

Morning, Steve, and Happy Landings.

Argyle said...

Rabbit rabbit ...in the stew. Burgoo needs more than one kind of meat. Burgoo King was a racehorse. You don't think ... nah.

desper-otto said...

Good morning! (and bring on the rabbits...)

Quickly worked my way to a DNF this morning. I didn't know the naan relative, the Dilbert character nor the home of the Cowboys -- could only think of Denver...or is it Dallas? Dunno. Not an auspicious start to the new month. Thanx, Mark, maybe.

Steve, I also have a 2 TERAbyte external drive for backing up my music server. I remember back when I thought a 100 kilobyte floppy was "massive" storage.

SHOE: I had a nice pair of Boston dress shoes which I seldom wore. When I finally had occasion to wear them, the soles disintegrated after a couple of hours. Ever had that happen to you? -- not mine, but you get the idea. Last week it also happened to the swivel-mount on my GPS. From what I've read, it only happens to certain plastics when they're seldom used. If I'd worn those shoes every day, they'd never have fallen apart.

Busy day. Tax season has begun. Gotta run...

Jinx in Norfolk said...

FIW, missing my EWAG at the Natick of hOTI x hAJ. I flipped a mental coin between RAJ and hAJ, having never heard of ROTI. Also didn't know Binchy, LARGO, Culbertson or that Joplin tune. Until today I thought that the red sole guy was Lou Boutin.

After yesterday's round, I think a better clue for GOLF would be "punishment for having too much money and free time".

Churchill Downs serves a great burgoo. Santa would probably add that it should be, considering that suspected sources of the major ingredient abound. Kind of like getting apples at the orchard. I've always heard that it was originally made from squirrel, but is made of beef and pork in the current version.

Thanks to Mark for a fun Thurday puzzle. And thanks to Steve for your tasty review.

TTP said...

Good morning all. Thank you Mark McClain and thank you Steve.

A puzzle with a theme that has to do with INFLATION RATE ? Where's JzB ?

No complaints though. A fine puzzle and review.

Didn't know Culbertson or Laboutin, so the NE took a moment or two. Perps and wags helped. Didn't know MAEVE either.

Steve, I had to look up Blighty. Had no idea what that meant.

Typos continue. Caught a few along the way, but missed one. I'm pretty sure it's due to having different sized keyboards on the various PCs.

Argyle, I bit. I'll be...

Oas said...

Thanks Steve . Needed help today as I didn't know Lex or Elena Kagan so Argo was slow in comming. Didn't know Oryx so jumped in with Ibex. Stalled out so knew it must be wrong. Pita had to change when I needed the I for Nike. Liked the puzzle a lot accually.

Oas said...

FLN PK re downhill skiing. Talked about it yesterday and it shows up today. For you and those who know about dairy farming- In our community a young dairy farmer , soon after taking over the family farm went skiing and broke his leg. His mother was not impressed and bought him a cap with the inscription " If God had wanted farmers to SKI , He would have made cowshit white"

Oas said...

Another word that gave me cause to reflect was TACT . DW used to say I had lots of it . She knew this because I hadn't used any of it yet.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Argyle @ 0611 - Chortling over the comment.

A good Thursday grinder, but ultimately got it all. Non-plussed over the coin shift in the, otherwise, well known theme phrases. Got it with the middle 2 phrases. Many fine clues, and fun to solve.
TERA - Seems to be a common prefix in computer storage usage, and the bulk electric energy business ie; TERA-watt hours (TWH)ie; seasonal contracts between systems.
INNER - Our ship sailed up Chesapeake Bay several times to moor at Baltimore's INNER Harbor.

Big Easy said...

Nice theme that was very easy for a Thursday with MAEVE, ASTRO, & NEMO as the only unknowns. The last two were easy guesses after a letter or two. I kept looking at it thinking maybe "MA EVE" could be a nickname.

TERA- my backups are on Microsoft One Cloud AND Google Drive (Documents) and Google Photos. If the computer crashes I'll just buy another one.

Lemonade714 said...

White rabbit, white rabbit. Today is the anniversary of my grandparents and parents getting married.

On to the puzzle, Mark has really stepped up his game. He not only uses fun alliteration but he packs it in punnsylvania. Podded plant: PEA

He also has the wonderful deception of putting his Turnpike next to a Bridge expert Culbertson: ELY causing me a pause as I was thinking of roadways.

I had heard "Blighty" before which reminded me of Winston Churchill. The anniversary of his death was one week ago. Steve, how is he perceived in GB now?

Thank you Mark and Steve.

inanehiker said...

Creative theme - I was filling in but clueless until I got to PLUGGED DIME - WHA!?! - then backtracked to see the other theme fill to appreciate the full scope. Now I want to try a burgoo recipe.

Thanks Steve and Mark!

Yellowrocks said...

Plenty of neat clues, like ATLAS and PEA plant, Mark. Interesting expo, Steve. I noticed right away that all the coins were worth more than in the original saying. I liked the reveal.
When I went to college in the northern suburbs of Baltimore, a friend and I decided to walk into Baltimore (miles) and catch a bus when we got tired. We didn't come across any buses and walked all the way to the Inner Harbor and back in heels. Ow! My aching feet.
I have read many of Maeve Binchey's novels, including The Glass Lake. She's a favorite.
At the rest stops near the state borders on Rte. 80 and other major routes, including turnpikes, you can still get maps and tourist info.
I knew ELI and OREX straight off, but forgot how to spell them. The I and E didn't compute. I missed that they needed a Y. Seeing it now, I recall it too late.
Another sticking point was the O in ROTI and OSU. Wagged it.
I have often wondered why England was called Blighty, so I looked it up this morning.
Blighty

Husker Gary said...

Musings
-Very clever with some SLOSH points along the way. Always great Steve!
-1st Lt. Kermit Tyler told the men with new RADAR at Opana Point to “Don’t worry about” the large mass they saw heading toward Pearl Harbor that morning. So they turned it off and went to breakfast.
-This SODA fountain in Manchester, CT was voted one of America’s best
-Do you have to understand the infield fly rule to be called a baseball fan?
-Jose gives hope to those who are vertically challenged
-I remember the Florida TURNPIKE charged us upon leaving it not entering
-Are you also glutted with Marie Osmond ads this time of year about SHEDDING pounds?
-In the script Bushwood Country club of Caddyshack fame was said to be in Nebraska but was filmed in Florida
-The number of my sneakers in the $185 range is ZERO

Anonymous said...

Husker, I don't know the infield fly rule but how bout this:

It's the top of the 1st. 2 outs. 2 on. And the 8th batter is up.

What's the score?


Fun huh?

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Caught the theme immediately and I was off to the races. Only w/os were Eli/Ely and Slogs/Slosh. I needed perps for Roti which we have had before but I couldn't remember. I, too, loved Maeve Binchey's novels. She was the consummate story-teller. This is the first puzzle I have seen with Elena Kagan's full name. She and Sonia (Sotomayor) have crossword-friendly letters. I think we've see Alito fairly frequently, also.

Thanks, Mark, for a fun, clever theme and pleasant solve and thanks, Steve, for the entertaining expo, particularly the culinary comments. Safe trip to Blighty. Thanks, too, for pointing out the pangram; I guess my mind was wandering because I never gave it a thought. Actually, I KNOW my mind was wandering because I entered Luau instead of Hula! Doh and Double Doh!)

Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

Pretty simple anon.

Try this one: Bottom of the fifth and I can't walk a straight line. My girl is upset with me yet I still hope to score. What sign does the catcher lay down?

oc4beach said...


Finished it but didn't quite get the theme until Steve explained it. There were enough good perps to fill in my unknowns.

Only a few missteps: PITA vs ROTI, SLOGS vs SLOSH, PILOT vs TAINT, and NADA vs ZERO. They quickly fell with the perps.

Even though I have a number of GPS units plus the GPS function on my smart phone, I still use maps when planning a trip. I like to visualize the entire route and not just rely on the small piece of a map on the GPS screen. As Yellowrocks said, you can usually get official state supplied maps at various rest centers. Also, I get my money's worth with AAA maps. The annual dues are worth it just in the number of maps and travel guides I get. Plus I've had a GPS unit try to put me into a lake because the road was continued on the other side of the lake, but there was no bridge across the lake to the road.

More up and down temperatures and weather this week. Let's see what Phil tells us tomorrow about the arrival of spring.

Have a great day everyone.

CanadianEh! said...

Thursday level CW today. Thanks for the fun, Mark and Steve.

The theme flew right over my head until I got here.
East coast was the last to fill.
Unknowns included KAGAN, ARGO, HORMUZ, BURGOO. Perhaps some Canadian disadvantage there.
But I'll take a CSO with MAPLE leaf. I loved Scott Joplin music from the Sting too.

HULA for WilburC ( no Speedos please LOL!)

Like Oas, my Ibex changed to ORYX, pita to ROTI.
Ires changed to IRKS, and I moved through Max and Rex before getting to LEX.
I toyed with Nada before ZERO.

Belated HBD to Bill G.
Enjoy the day everyone.

Lucina said...

Thank you, Mark and Steve!
This grid contained so much familiar fill:
MAEVE Binchy whose books I also have enjoyed.
ARGO
ALOE
RAJ (reading and CWs have taught me this term)
ORYX (I love the sound of it)
OTRO and ENERO (cleverly disguised)
SOS song (A new version of Mamma Mia is planned featuring the daughter; my family is already planning to go en masse)
ALLAN (Edgar)
HORMUZ (only because of our engagement in the area
CREE (also from CWs)

Unknowns:
POPUP (I'm sure this has appeared before but I couldn't recall it. Thanks, perps)

What a nice start to this month!

Have a wonderful day, everyone! Today we continue on our goal to see all the Oscar nominated movies, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. Darkest Hour was good!

Picard said...

Got the theme right away with PLUGGED DIME. Creative theme which I enjoyed!

But ROTI/RAJ/OSU seemed like a Natick to me. Did WAG it correctly to FIR.

Thirty years ago I discovered San Antonio Shoes. Supposedly the last all-American made shoes. All I know is they fit and I have never bought another brand of SHOE since! I even visited the factory in San Antonio when visiting friends there!

This LGBT PRIDE event in JUNE in San Francisco was quite memorable! Warning: Some nudity!

I went with my brother and his then-teen-age daughter. I suggested she would have something interesting to share with her classmates then next day and she agreed. Her only complaint was that too many of the nude people were "too old".

From yesterday:
Lucina and PK: Thanks for letting me know the HAY bales I saw in France also are found in parts of the US. As I child in rural New England we could watch HAY being baled from our window. It was all formed into rectangular solids. My brother called the amazing HAY baling machine "the oblong machine".

Wilbur Charles said...

I've always equated"Blighty" with limey ie the individual. I referred to an English gentleman as Limey and he burst out laughing. However, in the interest of the paranoic PC going around I've decided to desist.

Except in my l'icks. I'm taking that as a CSO Steve. Btw, thanks for taking time out of a busy schedule to entertain us with your blightistic write-up.


I have apparently seen all of Seinfeld as well as TBBT. I've been watching "Nightfall". History and fiction mixed. I see Jacques DeMolay is going to make an appearance. Anyone recall kids running around with JdeM jackets?

I blew it by spelling my old fav Ely with an I.

Dilbert question. Does the IDLER with the coffee cup have a name. Lio was funny today.

I may hit some golf balls today.

WC

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if my local newspaper published the theme to the puzzle. I had no idea what was going on until I checked the answers and saw the theme.

Wilbur Charles said...

Anon. 3-0. And... What's the minimum number of runs scored in an inning in which one batter makes all three outs?*

I used to ump and calling IF immediately was the test of the pro.

Hint on ? If you had 4 on anon's ? Then your making an obvious error.

WC

* I was at a game at Fenway where George Kell made the first two outs before hitting a double off the wall. The Redsox scored 17 in that inning.

Lemonade714 said...

My wife makes me a regular breakfast of THAI ROTI although she uses rice flour.

HG, I can attest to the joys found at SHADY GLEN as this was and is a must stop when in the neighborhood. Founded by local dairy farmers, the homemade ice cream is wonderful, as well unique burgers. Manchester is also where my father grew up. I bet other of our New England Cornerites have had this pleasure.

OAS, I like the tact comment. Good to have a TART tongue to keep you in line.

Anon 9:19 - since we do not know the score before the inning started, we cannot know the score. We do know three runs have scored up to that point. It is doubtful Anon 9:26 will ever score.

TTP said...

OAS, best chuckle of the day with that TACT line.

Jinx FLN - same with our family on the three squares. At least on my dad's side of the family.

Anon T FLN - loved your line about being in your own little circle. BTW, did you find time to solve this puzzle I linked Sunday ?. I thought you and TxMs might enjoy it as much as I did.

All FLN - I prefer to see or hear WHA? rather than the WTF? that is often seen and heard. Depending on context, it's usually a reaction to being dumbfounded, or in finding something incredulous.

OC4BEACH, funny about the GPS trying to route you across the lake. Just this morning there was an accident on southbound LSD (Lake Shore Drive), and the police were diverting drivers off the main thoroughfare onto the exit for the Museum of Science and Industry. Next thing you know, lines of vehicles were driving on the bike paths and sidewalks. Me thinks GPS may have started a few of them, and then cattle-mode took over.

Anon Don said...

Left in ires and Eagan until I came here to see the error of my ways.

desper-otto: Same thing happened to a pair of my high end black dress shoes. I wore them maybe a dozen times in 20 years. When I went to put them on last Christmas the soles and heels just fell to pieces. Strange.

Spitzboov: Crewed on the H.M.S. Bounty a few years back. We circum-navigated the inner harbor and tied up at Fels Point. Interesting voyage.

Misty said...

Well, I got quite a bit of this puzzle before I had to start cheating. Nice to see ELENA KAGAN and MAEVE. But even though I read 'Dilbert' in the comics every morning, I never noticed that those guys are given names and so didn't know ASOK, although I got it thanks to perps. I also had problems by putting IBIX instead of ORYX, and LENTO instead of LARGO. And never heard of ROTI. Impressive that you got all of the letters of the alphabet into the puzzle, Mark. And fun write-up as always, Steve. But, okay, I'm going to be the only one to ask 'what is Blighty'?

Have a good day, everybody. I'm off to talk to a group of neighbors who want to learn about Joyce's 'Ulysses' and then go off to finally get a haircut after a couple of months. My hairdresser of 30 years had apparently retired when I called to make an appointment, and I've been at a loss about where to go. Will try a neighbor's recommendation and see how it goes.

JJM said...

I enjoy when the puzzle employs the use of a pangram.

Mark McClain said...

Glad to hear so many who enjoyed this puzzle, which was fun to construct as well. The pangram (all letters) is not something I really try to get, but happy to jump on it when the opportunity arises. I prefer RAJ as one of the TBBT characters, but Rick gets the final say on this as he can see how words have been clued in recent puzzles and that has some bearing on the final edit. Noticed in today's Dilbert, TED was mentioned by name, but true we don't see ASOK being called by name too often. Just one of those bits of crossword fans' trivia. Nice write-up Steve! More soon . . .

Wilbur Charles said...

Misty, Sheldon of TBBT had his barber go to the hospital. He tried to get the barber to do his hair while lying in the hospital bad with tubes in his arms.

Dilbert characters generally don't have names. But I think the one with the coffee cup has one I just can't think of it.

I want Husker Gary to post my inning question to one of his sub classes. Lemony, I think Anon said it was too of first. If you got 3 then you should get mine right.

WC

PS. I've got to take another crack at Ulysses. I just reread Ivanhoe.

Husker Gary said...

Musings
-Anon, the score would be 3 – 0 unless the “first ups” have batted around. I would say 24 – 0 would be minimum if one player makes all three outs and it would be by the #9 hitter
-Argot - This is how umpires signal to each other to alert each other the infield fly rule is in effect for this next batter and this is the signal if a hit ball is a potential “infield fly”
-I have seen the name MAEVE in print somewhere recently and it IRKS me I can’t think where!
-I paid $159 to get a GPS update in my car and it omitted two major four-lane highways that were over two years old. I got my money back and kept the “update”
-Double header – I have an appointment next Wed. with an ENT and an audiologist in the same office to assess my hearing and snoring

Vince said...

You are correct Wilbur.

Lemonade714 doesn't doesn't follow directions. Top of the first?

More sports for a change:

Just in time for the Super Bowl, a little lesson for the unwashed masses.

In football, the standard defense utilizes 4 defensive backs. 2 corner backs, 1 strong safety and 1 free safety. No need to describe the responsibilities of each for the purpose of this dissertation. Anyway, when the defense expects a pass they will swap out a lineman and add a 5th defensive back. He is nicknamed a "NICKLE"back since he is the 5th one. On very obvious pass plays the defense will add a 6th defensive back. This player is called the "DIME"back. No, not the 10th player, just one up from NICKEL. Clear? ;)

We all know the "QUARTER"back personified by Tom Brady.

I predict the "HALF"back Rex Burkhead, representing Husker nation, will play a prominent role on Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Btw, there is only 1 correct answer: 3-0

Top of the first, 8th batter.

Not the 17th batter.

Rick Papazian said...

Special thanks to Mark McClain for a Thursday puzzle that had it been for ROTI, I would have knocked off like a rerun from last week. Steve's travel experiences continue to make me jealous. (Just of the places he goes to - not the actual plane rides and airports.)
Well, anyone who is interested, this is what I've got:

It was June and it was a tad nicer than “Enero” in Michigan, as my friend Elena in Key Largo, would say. That’s where I was headed when I got tagged with a ticket in a RADAR trap that clocked me going a quarter the speed of sound on the Florida Turnpike.
It irks me when my cell phone drops to zero, so I had to pull out the atlas. I couldn’t line up the X-axis on the map. Should have listened better in geometry classes, I guess.
My motel was near a brook next to a golf course. It had a half painted dome on top that made it look like wax was dripping down the sides.
I plugged the cell phone into a dime slot in my shoe box sized room. It rang as I did so, and I knew the number. It was my client, Elena Allan, and she poured it on with utter terror about an evil hula dancer named, Maeve Lex. She lost money at the “Oryx Argo” nightclub where Maeve held court.
It seems Maeve Lex used tact and enticed people, getting into their inner circle of friends, and reap money by selling a bogus product that was called, “Astro-spores.” It was touted as better than aloe and sheds fat. I looked up the product and got a user review that found the only ingredients were eggs and peas in a sloshy soda stew mixed with roti bread from New Delhi. All the users pegged it as worthless.
I looked up the hula dancer. She popped up as somebody else. She had a sex change operation – her real name was Asok Raj, was born near the strait of Hormuz and his mother was Iraqi.
The maids were knocking on the room next door. I could hear the TV blasting out a news story about the inflation rate going up a nickel to the dollar and Cree natives sending out an SOS near Hudson Bay in a skiing accident.
I called the FBI and then called Elena back. I told her the law would exact revenge on the hula dancer and she would have to climb out of the financial hole she was in.
She said, “That’s okay, I have a friend who wants me to invest in Petro-dollars!”

Dudley said...

Picard 10:05 - Adding to yesterday’s round hay bale discussion: the round ones have become very popular here in cow country. Most often, local farmers use a machine to wrap the big bales, while still green, with an impervious plastic wrapper. The plastic is usually white, so the bales are nicknamed marshmallows or dinosaur eggs. With the wrapping, the bales can stay out in the field for months until needed. The hay is exposed to very little oxygen, and it stays pleasant and fresh even in hot weather. Once torn open, it is usually used up all at once.

Around here we don’t see unwrapped bales unless it’s material that isn’t being kept for feed.

Round bales are mighty heavy, 1000 pounds apiece give or take, and that becomes a real concern when making hay on a sloped hayfield. Once discharged from the bailer, they can roll a surprising distance; a local farmer had one threaten a little house at the bottom of a slope. The bale changed its mind at the last minute.

Horses are popular here too, and since horses have such delicate digestion, they can’t be fed hay from a wrapped bale. Thus we still have a large number of working rectangular balers out in the fields each summer. I used to do that work as a younger lad, but nowadays I’d be hard pressed to toss a bale onto a wagon.

Anonymous said...

The coffee drinker in Dilbert is named Wally. The female with the triangular hair style is Alice.

Vince said...

The super bowl is being played in an indoor stadium located in Minnesota. Not sure if it's considered a DOME or if it located in St. Paul.

Yellowrocks said...

Anon@12:12, yes I have seen many names on Dilbert including Wally, Alice, Dogbert and Asok. They are not named every time they appear, but often enough. And then there is the Pointy Haired Boss.

AnonymousPVX said...

This was kind of an easy Thursday run....had to guess the R-TI / -SU cross...had to be A, I, or O, guessed O because Oklahoma was most likely to have Cowboys.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

13 runs. Least scoring scenario: One out. Next 8 batters reach, 5 score, three on. Two out. Next 8 batters reach, 8 score, three on. Side out.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

Don't forget about Catbert, the evil HR director, and Mordac, preventer of IT services(my favorite). I worked with a guy like Wally. Every morning he could be seen with his coffee and the newspaper, walking toward the men's room.

D4E4H said...

ODE TO WILBUR CHARLES

I heard Wilbur Charles wrote a Limerick, <----Click here.

With OKL and C-Moe innerick.

But I'd like to know,

Just where did it go?

'cause when I got there it was just a little l'ick.

{B-}

Name withheld
to protect
The idiot

Bill G said...

Hi everybody. I enjoyed the theme and the rest of the puzzle. Thanks Mark and Steve.

Thank you to CanadianEh for the nice birthday wishes. I appreciate the kind words from CC and everybody else. It's nice to be a part of such an intelligent and thoughtful group. Thank you.

AnonT, thanks for the WKRP clip.

I've got to take a written test and an eye test on Saturday to renew my driver's license. Rats!

They are replacing the gas line that runs under our street. That involves lots of digging with power tools. The constant din and drone of the construction noise is disconcerting. It's starting to make me feel tense.

Misty said...

Thanks for checking in with us, Mark. And interesting story, Wilbur.

oc4beach said...


Here are the names of THE DILBERT CHARACTERS.

Ol' Man Keith said...

A feisty one.
Cute, but tough.
Still, Ta-DA!
Today's pzl from Mr. McClain required three or four erasures/re-writes to complete, but no look-ups or cheats. Which made it the perfect level for Yrs Truly.


____________
Diagonal Report: One fine diagonal, the central line from NW to SE. No hidden message.



.

Tinbeni said...

Pinch, Pinch ...

Steve: Good job explaining my D-N-F ... to many unknowns to mention.

Oh well, there is always tomorrow's puzzle.

Cheers!

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Interesting & enjoyable puzzle and expo, thanks, Mark & Steve.

Re: MAPs at rest stops: Some rest stops have big board maps that stay at the place, usually on a wall outside the rest rooms.

Knew MAEVE Binchy, a favorite, but not that book.

Didn't know ELY or HORMUZ. ENERO only Spanish month I know, but forgot it would be summer there.

St. Paul's -- oh, not Minnesota. Had more trouble with ELENA KAGAN than I should have. If ELENA had been first....

OAS: Farmer's ski hat -- too funny! I think my TACT is all entact too. I hung out with rough men too many years in my work and at home. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Argyle: Horse burgoo? Better than wasting all that meat, sez I.

Picard: I toured the SAS Factory in San Antonio also. Interesting that most of the very skilled workers were Mexican or Indian. I bought a purse that just didn't wear out.

Finally found the computer app to do what my ISP tells me to do to update my email. Click, click! I was so proud. Phooey! Still can't send email. Arrrrgo! Didn't have internet from late evening to 11 a.m. today. I'm about ready to boycott electronics on which I've spent a wad. Either that or try to call Cox support. Which is worse?

Jayce said...

Fun puzzle. I like Mark McClain's work and cluing skills. Didn't understand the theme but it didn't detract from the pleasure of solving.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Thanks for the link explaining "Blighty," Yellowrocks.
I have used the term myself a few times.

It sure beats "perfidious Albion."

Ol' Man Keith said...

Misty, Wilbur Charles,
and all faithful Dilbertians,
At least you had a chance, knowing something of the particular strip.
For me, I found ASOK to be the strangest of all today's fills.
This is a name?
Maybe it's a job title? Or two words?
Not being a fan of Dilbert and so unfamiliar with its characters, I felt some trepidation leaving it in place.
I was - for a short while - possessed by that awkward but weighty thought so familiar to all cruciverbalists:
"The perps make sense."

Spitzboov said...

I read Dilbert and Prince Valient every Sunday. Dilbert was a direct clue.
So ASOK was easy today.
MAEVE was reasonably familiar as a name because that is Arn's wife's name, although he or she have not appeared in the Valient continuing story for quite a few years. Beats some of the names we are seeing today. We have a reporterette in our TV market named Callihan. Cute, though; just doesn't seem to go with the name.

Pat said...

Finally, I'm getting to the comments before bedtime! This weeks' puzzles have all had a bit of crunch to them but were mostly doable. Thank you constructors and solvers!

The first theme answer I got was QUARTER A DOZEN. Then I got PLUGGED DIME and I understood the theme. It reminds me of a Victor Borge routine, Inflationary Language

My trouble spots have been discussed and I have nothing new to add.

Belated Birthday wishes, Bill G. It's good to hear that Barbara is doing well.



Lucina said...

Rick Papazian:
You have an impressive imagination! I loved your story and how you cleverly used all the interesting names in today's puzzle.

Movie report on Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri: unless you are enamored of salty language throughout a movie, don't bother. The story would have been a good one on anger, love, revenge, and changing one's attitude but for the language; I don't mind an occasional profanity, just not the entire the dialog. Very good acting, of course, but still. . . . . .

D4E4H said...

FLN Wilbur Charles 1255P wrote about Pat Riley. I can remember the Kentucky Colonels playing in Freedom Hall, Louisville.

FLN Mike Sherline 306p My speedos were confiscated by TSA, and I am now on a "No Fly List." Oh I can use airplanes, but I am no longer allowed to have a zipper in my trousers. That works out well because I couldn't remember to zip it up anyway.

I would enjoy an e-mail. See my profile.

FLN Michael 336p I second that motion. All in favor say WHA, opposed DOH, confused hunh !

Dave

Jayce said...

Anonymous-T, I briefly skimmed the article about seismic circles. Last night you expressed interest in knowing my take on it. Please feel free to email me at your convenience and I'll give my input. Thanks.

Anonymous T said...

Hi Puzzle Pals!

Thanks Mark for fine puzzle offering no IRKS and lots of fun. Allow me to WAX A TAD on Steve's wonderful expo and thank him for the STEW recipe (the season's almost over for it in Houston though). I assume you were at IAH if you said "NICER" about any HOU airport. //back to you Mark...

WOs: IRAnI; EeS b/f ENS too Steve; spelt it NICKle b/f the PENNY dropped on ATLAS.
ESP: MAEVE //don't take that as I knew much
Fav: I wouldn't be much of a fan if I didn't say the ASTRO Altuve!
Runner-up: I'm a fan of Scott Adams too - knew ASOK right-off.

OSU was in my wheelhouse - them's the cow-pokes NE of OU [Boomer Sooner!]
LEM - thanks for clarifying card-bridge v. concrete ones on ELY

I didn't parse 37a correctly and was not happy with 'TOTHEN' NICKEL (yes, I know, but I just said I was having parsing issues...) so I didn't fully appreciate the RATE increase until Steve parsed TO THE. The 'TA' in A TAD (Minimally?, um OK) were my last to ink.

{}{}{B- is pretty spot-on :-)}

Welcome Anon Don. See the Olio section on the home page for how to 'go blue' [How to create a blogger Account (by TTP)] if you wish to stay and play.

Pat - no one says you gotta say something new... You can agree w/ others' errors or just kvetch :-). I look forward to clicking your Borge link later.
OAS - LOL both the hat & TACT...
Jinx - Me too re: Lou Boutin; not a fashion guy, me

Rick - Cute and LOL @ASTRO-SPORES
HG - Yes and Yes :-)

TTP - Yes I did and [SPOILER Link!] "A, Haw,haw,haw,haw..." Thanks mate.

Cheers, -T

Anonymous said...

Jeopardy said "HI YO" tonight...

Anonymous T said...

D'Oh! Picard - I'm in the market for new dress-SHOES to SLOSH about in and never heard of San Antonio Shoes. With PK's doting on the purse, well, I had to Google 'em.

Oh, SAS - I've seen those stores. I've worn Johnson & Murphy since I tried them on years ago and get a new pair at Dillard's or Macy's every few years when they wear-out. Time for a trip to SAS (there's one in Sugar Land!) and support a TX business (if they're as good as you say :-)). Cheers, -T

D4E4H said...

While that moon is still in our hearts, here is Blue Moon of Kentucky by Bill Monroe.

Everybody dance.

Dave

Misty said...

Glad you got ASOK with perps, anyhow, Ol'Man Keith. Good for you.

Mario said...

Does Jazz keep it real? I'd say he has a calling!

SwampCat said...

Anon T, you have always been kind.

Puzzle was interesting. I got most of it. Thanks Mark. Loved the write up!

Did I forget white Hare white Hare!!

Happy February! And

SwampCat said...

Regarding Burgoo... Our Cajun Sauce Piqueant was once made of what ever could be caught in the swamp.....alligator, possum, squirrel, whatever. YUM!!!

In its cleaned up version it is mostly chicken or respectable things. I liked the older versions better. I never knew what I was eating. But the seasonings were wonderful!

Picard said...

Surprised no one commented on my LGBT JUNE PRIDE photos as they are quite colorful!

Dudley: Thanks for the additional information about the HAY bales in your region. I had never seen or heard of them being wrapped in plastic.

PK: Glad you also have toured San Antonio SHOES and liked their products.

AnonymousT: I can't guarantee you will like the San Antonio SHOES, but glad that you can try them in your place for yourself.

My feet are a bit wide and it is hard to find shoes that fit that still look nice. Just as important: San Antonio SHOES keeps the same style for decades. That is very important to me. Once I find a SHOE that fits, I don't want to have to start over searching for a new one. My creativity is expressed in my shirts!

Picard said...

D4E4H mentioned the amazing Moon experience yesterday.

Here is my short article with a few Lunar Eclipse photos I took right from our home! The blood red color made it very special.

Learning moment for me that lunar eclipses are paired with solar eclipses. The paired solar eclipse will be in South America in about two weeks. It is just a partial one, though.

Lucina said...

Picard:
Your photos of the June Pride parade are brilliant! In Hawaii one year we happened to be there during one of those and it passed right in front of our hotel. It was just that colorful and fun! The participants waved, sang and danced.

One of my friends wears only SAS shoes and she loves them. I have two pairs now and have also worn them in the past. They are superbly comfortable.

jon said...

Amazing pics. I'll just go to his display from now on.

Bill G said...

Dave, I enjoyed your Bill Monroe link.

I went to a little Mexican bistro for lunch today. They make great chicken-tortilla soup. ¡Muy bueno!

Picard, I enjoyed your lunar photos.

Spitzboov said...

Picard @ 1953 - re: eclipse pairing. Makes sense since the moon is usually not on the ecliptic, but is above or below it. As time elapses, the moon drifts away from the plane necessary for eclipse.

Wilbur Charles said...

13 is correct on the minimum number of runs and still make all the outs. When Kell came so close I wondered at the odds of anyone ever doing it. Of course, one subtracts 2(outs) + 3(runners on base) from 9+9 or 18-5=13. I had made the mistake of using 9+9+1-5= 14.

There have been a bunch of 13 run innings but hardly any 14 or greater.

Naming all the ABL teams is almost as hard as the original NBA/NBL teams. I know there was a Tri-Cities and a Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons.

Since Anon-T is probably out there I'll continue this exceedingly boring lecture.
ESPN's 30-30 had a segment on the Celtics-Lakers rivalry where they actually mentioned that the C's obtained Bill Russell for Ice Capades dates.


Who was drafted with the swapped pick?* Note: The St Louis Hawks didn't want Russell for race reasons and made a more conventional trade.

WC

*I'll wait a half hour and post that name. It was the Rochester Royals btw.

Anonymous T said...

Picard - those moon-shots were pretty cool. Um, HG, is that the reflection of the earth on the moon in pix 7 & 8 or just the crators looking like N & S American?

Pat - I've seen it before and I'll RE RUN it again. Thanks.

Cheers, -T

PK said...

Picard, great moon shots. Since I've been up at that hour a lot recently, I planned to see the moon event. Slept right through it and since I went to sleep at 5 p.m. I also missed the State of the Union Address and a later show I like to watch. These erratic sleep patterns drive me nuts.

Anonymous T said...

Swamp - OK, I'm still trying to 'get' if that was tongue-in-cheek about me==kind or if I said something that went awry(?)

In so far as questioning a Cajun about what meat's in the bowl... Hell no!, just shuddup and eat 'cuz you don't want to know but 'tis always good. I gaurrontee!

Cheers, -T

Michael said...

It's late, but inquiring minds want to know ...

Asok is a common spelling of Ashoka. It may additionally refer to:

Asok (Dilbert), a character in the Dilbert comic strip
Asok or Asoke, short name for Asok Montri Road or Sukhumvit Soi 21 in Bangkok
Asok BTS Station, a BTS skytrain station in Bangkok
Ašok Murti (born 1962), Serbian wardrobe stylist
Asok Kumar Ganguly, Indian judge and former chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission
Asok Kumar Barua, Indian condensed matter physicist
(Wikipedia)