Mar 17, 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018, Alan Olschwang


Another worthy Saturday puzzle! I fell for the bait and switch mode as the entire top tier fell easily after which I found I was in for a real fight. The triple stack of grid spanners was very impressive and helpful. I was so proud I got 39. Event on a fall highlight reel : INTERCEPTED PASS with
 I _ T _ _ _ _ P _ _  D P _ A _. 
Interestingly, those spanners made for a disproportionate number of Down clues as the 45 cells of the spanners didn't leave room for the usual number of horizontal entries.

Here is an interview in 2009 with Alan conducted by C.C. where he reveals he is a retired lawyer who developed his love of crosswords by watching his Dad do them in ink so he, of course, eschews using a pencil.

I hope this St. Patty's Day finds you in fine fettle and that you got the same pleasure out of the puzzle that I did!

Let's start with the wonderful stacked grid spanners:

29. Hose : PAIR OF STOCKINGS - Each Radio City Rockette here is sporting a lovely PAIR OF STOCKINGS! 

38. "Mom," e.g. : SITUATION COMEDY - Of all the SITUATION COMEDIES available, Alan chose this one

39. Event on a fall highlight reel : INTERCEPTED PASS - Some think this Malcom Butler INTERCEPTED PASS was the most important of all time as it won Super Bowl XLIX (I'm not sure why 49 is not IL). Some also say it was the dumbest play call in history.

Here's the balance of the former barrister's clues 


1. Surfers' banes : WIPEOUTS - Talk about spectacular!

9. Figures in Spanish skating : OCHOS - Figure 8's. Cool cluing!

14. Caught : IN A SNARE

15. Concord, for one : GRAPE - Not a PLANE as it turns out

16. NBC slogan that covered "Hill Street Blues," among others : MUST SEE TV - When I watched this scene from Hill Street my jaw dropped when Belker delivered this "best ever TV line" starting at 1:00. Worth the wait!

18. Took on cargo : LADED

19. Orchestra area : PIT

20. Some functionally limited applications : SHAREWARE - SHAREWARE all kids were playing in the late 70's - Lemonade Stand

22. WWII camp : STALAG - Some thought Hogan's Heroes set in STALAG 13 came out too soon after WWII

26. Feature of some lights : LESS TAR

27. NL West team : ARI - ARIZONA Diamondbacks

28. Wee : SMA - Here  is SMA in a Burns stanza with an explanation I truly needed!

40. Zebra kin : ASS - Speaking of kin that are ASSES...

41. "Blueberries for __": kids' book awarded a 1949 Caldecott Honor : SAL - Last Saturday SAL was the name Jack Kerouac took for himself in On The Road.

42. Newsletter editor's filler : CLIP ART - My first, although limited, access to images  for my files

47. Has an online chat with : SKYPES - We SKYPED our granddaughter in Grenoble, France last year. That sill amazes me!

51. Like evil villains : REDUNDANT - e.g. Absolutely essential, Fewer in number, Merge together... Others?

54. Skeletal start? : EXO - Great lobster meat lies beneath one which requires a nutcracker to break through 

55. Sluggish : INERT

56. One who's not at all graceful : SORE LOSER

60. Put on : STAGE - Speaking of losers...

61. Popular Canadian beer : LAKEPORT - New to me

62. Opposite ends : POLES

63. License requirements, perhaps : EYE TESTS - It took about 15 seconds for me last year. Not what you would call an exhaustive process


1. Timid types : WIMPS

2. Arctic inhabitant : INUIT

3. Ristorante regular? : PASTA

4. World-record finish? : EST - The margins of victory for Usain Bolt, the FASTEST man in the world, in successive Olympics

5. Switch statuses : ONS - Switches have ONS and OFFS I guess. C.C. would call this "gluey fill" as it is less than desirable but is necessary to hold the puzzle together

6. Gulf states fed. : UAE - United Arab Emirates

7. Tijuana trio : TRES - Por favor, dĂ©nos TRES margaritas (Please give us three margaritas)

8. Newborn mentioned in Genesis 4:25 : SETH - Said to have been born after the death of his brother Abel 

9. Gives more than the once-over : OGLES

10. Crows' crops : CRAWS - Like this gull, a crow has a Crop or CRAW where excess food is stored for later digestion or feeding young

11. Attacked : HAD AT

12. Work often with subtitles : OPERA - My favorite aria with Italian and English subtitles

13. Where the same questions are asked annually : SEDER - A ritual Jewish passover feast held on the 15th of Nisan

17. 1989 Firth/Bening movie : VALMONT - Also a huge world-wide manufacturer of center pivot irrigation systems 10 minutes from here in Valley, NE

21. Log onto after a crash, say : REACCESS - Computer speak

23. "CSI: Miami" actress Eva : LARUE - Did Lash have grandchildren? 😏

24. Like the arena after the home team's winning goal : AROAR - Our old friend Marty hated the "A" words

25. Present with many options : GIFT CARD

28. Timetable listings : STOPS - I once asked a concierge in downtown Chicago what STOP I should look for on the Red Line to get out for the Cubs game. He looked at me and said, "If can't figure that out, you're the dumbest SOB in world! Just get out when everybody else does!" Uh, it was the Addison Ave. STOP.

29. Meas. checked at a garage : PSI - The low PSI warning light led me to find a nail in my tire last month

30. River to the Rhone : AIN - Europe seems full of rivers that are full of water and vowels

31. Former comm. giant : ITT

32. Shuteye sessions : SIESTAS

33. Brownie maker : KODAK - The camera of my ute!

34. Suggest : IMPLY

35. "Great Public Schools for Every Student" org. : NEA

36. Whse. filler : GDS - Hey, those are my initials as well as an abbr. for GOODS

37. __ admin : SYS  SYStem Administrator

42. Like fresh lettuce : CRISP

43. Slow tempo : LENTO - Not LARGO I guess

44. As good as it gets : IDEAL - Don't let IDEAL get in the way of possible

45. Completely cleanse : PURGE - His name is synonymous with that word to me

46. Asks for a hand? : ANTES - Ya gotta pay to play!

48. Monterrey jack : PESOS - Ah the euphemisms for money

49. Apply : EXERT

50. Gets ready to file : SORTS

52. NCAA 'Cane's rival : NOLE - The Seminole Nation Of Florida fully supports the use of SEMINOLE as Florida State's athletic nickname. Below tribe members are shown with the FSU homecoming king and queen

53. Airplane platform? : TRAY

57. Supplement, with "out" : EKE

58. Give leave : LET - I give you leave to comment on Alan's fine puzzle

59. "... thus wide I'll __ my arms": "Hamlet" : OPE - So spoke Laertes 


Tabhair do thuairim dĂșinn! (Please give us your opinion! in Gaelic)

Notes from C.C.:

Tried many times still could not reach Argyle yesterday. His friend Jennifer said Argyle had the phone off the hook by accident. She also said Argyle is still very tired and still groggy from medicine, but he's stable and doing OK. I'll update you when I have more news. Miss you, Santa!


Mar 16, 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018, Roland Huget

Title: Bassackwards.

Roland presents a challenging workout, with a classic theme that I have seen in a few Sunday puzzles, where you generally have a title rather than a reveal. A quick look at the record books shows this PUZZLE from the pre-Will Shortz NY Times. That cluing was much easier. The most impressive thing about this version is that Roland took two single words- SHORTSTOP + OVERHEADS and made them two-word themers and took 2 two word phrases and made them a single word. Then we have the rest of the puzzle. Triple stacks of 7 letter down fill with many of the words very sparkly such as ALANINE, ENTOMBS, HABITAT, JOCKEYS, MORTARS, NAIROBI, ONE COAT, SCABBED, SHYSTER, USER FEE, WALKURE as well as E-TICKETS and ICE SKATE. This took me longer than most Fridays. YMMV.

17A. *Prepares to pass the football: BACKDROPS (9). A quarterback DROPS BACK to pass. LINK.

21A. *Baseball position: STOP SHORT (9). A SHORTSTOP is placed between 2nd and third base. LINK.

38A. *Strokes in tennis: HEADS OVER (9). OVERHEADS are the smash of tennis. LINK.

59A. *Basketball strategy: BREAKFAST (9). The FAST BREAK is where a team gets a rebound and attempts to make it downcourt before the other team can get back to play defense. LINK.

65A. Fair play? ... or the key to understanding the answers to starred clues: TURNABOUT (9). It can be one or two words. The phrase has been in existence since at least 1755.

Okay now on to some very Friday clues/fill.


1. Fifth pillar of Islam: HAJJ. If you want more information READ.

5. Puts on a patch, say: SEWS. Does anyone patch clothes anymore?

9. Intestinal tract division: ILEUM. This is the third portion of the small intestine, between the jejunum and the cecum.

14. Moises of the 2002-'04 Cubs: ALOU. He was the outfielder in the famous Bartmann Cubs loss to the Marlins and he was a very good PLAYER as well as being related to the Alou brothers- dad Felipe,  uncle Matty and uncle Jesus.

15. Card in a baby straight: TREY. Baby straight:  ace, deuce, trey, four and five.

16. Playground retort: CAN SO. Cannot.

19. Butyl acetate, e.g.: ESTER.  I will let our scientist handle this one. Chemistry.

20. Graphic novel artist: INKER. The page is drawn in pencil, then the lines inked, colored and the talk bubbles lettered. 4 people plus the author and editor.

23. Is connected: TIES IN.

25. Water__: dental brand: PIK.

26. Curator's deg. : MFAMasters of Fine Arts.

27. Word with idea or luck: ANY. Random.

28. Gaucho's weapon: BOLA. We get this about once a year.

31. Schmoozing sort: GABBER.

33. Hardy heroine: TESS. d'Urbervilles.

35. Sweeping: VAST.

37. Shocks, in a way: TASES.

41. Uppity sort: SNOOT. So - informal: a person who shows contempt for those considered to be of a lower social class.

44. Hospital fluids: SERA.

45. Hair adornments: BOWS.

49. Aerobic regime, familiarly : CARDIO.

51. Many a Black Friday worker: TEMP.

53. Casual negative: NAH.

54. First _ _: AID.

55. Two-timer: CAD.

57. 100 percent: PURELY. Not 99 and 44/100 percent?

63. Big haulers: MACKS. The trucks.  For SALE in Miami.

64. Comedic pianist Victor: BORGE. So entertaining.

67. "Sneak Previews" co-host: EBERT. It started more than 40 years ago. LINK.

68. Niagara Falls source: ERIE. A CSO to Abejo and others.

69. Empty: BARE. This came to mind.
Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone;
But when she came there
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.

70. Pranks: DIDOS. 1.  a mischievous or capricious act: prank, antic —often used in the phrase cut didoes. Not a word I remember.

71. It may be payable monthly: DEBT.

72. Bodily passage: ITER. Anatomy. 1. a canal or passage.


1. Natural environment: HABITAT. Also the chosen name for Habitat for Humanity.

2. Amino acid used in protein biosynthesis: ALANINE. More CHEMISTRY that I have forgotten or never knew.

3. Derby VIPs: JOCKEYS. Both in Kentucky and the ORIGINAL race.

4. Diner devices, familiarly: JUKES. Jukeboxes. Did you know restaurants are supposed to pay mechanical rights to the publishers? The LAW.

5. Orch. section: STRing.

6. Piccadilly Circus statue: EROS.

7. Turned on the waterworks: WEPT.

8. Network admin: SYSOP. While it was an abbreviation, it may no longer be one - LINK.

9. One of many seen at the NCAA's Frozen Four: ICESKATE. The hockey version.

10. Mascara target: LASH.

11. Puts to rest: ENTOMBS.

12. Cover charge relative: USER FEE.

13. Pestle partners: MORTARS.

18. Smidgen: DRIB. Dribs and drabs.

22. Barnyard rooter: PIG.

24. Stellar phenomenon: NOVA.

29. Fellows: LADS.

30. Corporate machinery, e.g.: ASSET.

32. Caustic remark: BARB.

34. Like racehorses: SHOD. Clecho with...

36. Went like racehorses: TORE.

39. Modern concert conveniences: E-TICKETS.

40. Mae West persona: VAMP.

41. Crossed a picket line: SCABBED. I do not like this as verb.

42. Capital east of Lake Victoria: NAIROBI. You might want to go, use this TRAVEL GUIDE.

43. Requested at a drive-thru: ORDERED.

46. Primer application: ONE COAT. Not necessarily. READ.

47. Wagner's "Die __": WALKURE. It is pronounced like Valkurey (Valkyrie) a gimme for our German speakers.

48. Lawyer to avoid: SHYSTER. More German: mid 19th century: origin uncertain; perhaps related to German Scheisser ‘worthless person.'

50. Clumsy one: OAF.

52. Big cat: PUMA. We have them in Florida. They are endangered,  they arecommonly known as the cougar, mountain lion, puma, panther, native to the Americas.

56. Old hat: DATED.

58. Religious leader: RABBI.

60. Prefix with industry: AGRO.

61. Unwavering: SURE.

62. Salt Lake daily, familiarly: TRIB. The daily TRIBUNE.

66. Realize: NET. How much profit did you realize?

Well, I profited from another entertaining Friday presentation from Roland and have enjoyed unraveling the theme - easy; the fill - not so much. Hope you all enjoyed and thanks for stopping by. Lemonade out.

Notes from C.C.:

I was not able to talk to Argyle yesterday. He is still out of it due to pain meds, but he's stable.

Several have asked me about where to send the get-well cards to Argyle, here is his home address. 

Argyle will be in the hospital for a few days, so Agnes (best wishes to your brother Jack!) helped me get the hospital address:

D. Scott Nichols
Saratoga Hospital
211 Church St.
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Thank you for your kindness, prayers and thoughts. I just cannot stop sobbing after learning his surgery.

Mar 15, 2018

Thursday, March 15 2018 Bruce Haight

Theme: Beware the herds of March. A hidden word theme from Bruce, with "herd" being the concealed noun, as the reveal explains:

61A. Certain investor ... and, based on the word hidden in each, what 17-, 26-, 37- or 50-Across is? : STOCKHOLDER

And we have:

17A. Dual-purpose machine : WASHER/DRYER. I had one in my London flat, there was no room for anything bigger. When I moved to the US I was taken about by the size of the appliances, particularly that you could fit more than a six-pack of beer and a pint of milk in the fridge.

26A. End of the end of "Gone With the Wind" : ANOTHER DAY. Tomorrow is ..

37A. Lower : FURTHER DOWN. Tricky clue, could be something to do with a cow, something to do with a sail, all kinds of options.

50A. Place to order matzo ball soup : KOSHER DELI. "All kosher delis are Jewish, but not all Jewish delis are kosher". Discuss. My favorite, Katz's in New York is "kosher style".

Straightforward theme from Bruce today, the theme entries are all solid and there's some nice fill too. Let's dig in and see what we've got:


1. Croquet surfaces : LAWNS. Did you know that the full name of Wimbledon (not Wimbleton, please) where the tennis championships are held is "The All-England Wimbledon Tennis and Croquet Club?" Wimbledon is a great place. There's a golf course I've played on Wimbledon Common where golfers have to wear a red shirt or sweater so that those strolling on the Common can see them coming and be alert for miss-hit balls whistling around their ears.

6. Chic : SMART

11. Christopher A. Wray's org. : F.B.I.

14. Roundish : OVATE

15. Course without much challenge : EASY "A"

16. Neurotic cartoon dog : REN and his buddy Stimpy.

19. Trauma ctrs. : E.R.S

20. Airport limo driver's concern, briefly : E.T.A. I'm glad I didn't have a limo driver meeting me at LAX on Tuesday from Chicago. There was an engineering problem with the plane that needed to be fixed, then a snowstorm that suspended operations for a while, then a de-icing, then Air Force One was flying into LAX which always causes delays for commerical traffic, then we had to wait 20 minutes for a gate to open up. The joys of travel. Added up to about three hours late. I've had worse.

21. "Later, dude" : PEACE

22. Scrawny : GAUNT

24. One in the woods? : BABE. I had "TREE" first. I was wrong, obviously.

28. Water filter brand : BRITA

30. Socialite adopted by the media : "IT" GIRL

31. In-house trial : TEST RUN

36. Cool drink : ADE

40. Court org. : A.B.A. American Basketball Association which merged with the NBA in 1976. Coincidentally I took this picture at the NBA office in Secaucus a couple of weeks ago of a poster which shows a few of the old ABA franchises. Miami Floridians, Oakland Oaks anyone?

42. Shut the door on : EXCLUDE

43. "How pathetic!" : SO LAME!

46. "Tree of Smoke" novelist Johnson : DENIS. Unknown to me, thank you, crosses.

55. Facebook entry : POST

56. Yarn coil : SKEIN

57. Words of urgency : I MUST. There was a breast augmentation exerciser marketed in the UK when I was growing up (I'm being serious) which had the advertising tag line "I Must, I Must, Improve My Bust". I learned this from reading my mom's copy of "Woman's Own" magazine.

59. WWII battle site, for short : IWO. Jima.

60. Rock concert effect : FOG

64. Tokyo-born artist : ONO. Yoko. Food! Ono is also an alternative name for the Hawai'ian wahoo fish.

65. Jazz pianist Chick : COREA

66. Flash of light : GLEAM

67. Word with cell or cent : RED

68. Vacuum attachments : HOSES

69. Like R.L. Stine stories : SCARY. "The Stephen King of children's writing". He looks pleasant enough.


1. Serious state of decline : LOW EBB

2. Personification : AVATAR

3. Pungent condiment : WASABI. Most wasabi you find is simply horseradish with a green food coloring. I get the genuine stuff from my local Japanese market, the flavor is a little more subtle.

4. __ degree : NTH

5. Flow slowly : SEEP

6. Four-door ride, usually : SEDAN. They call 'em "saloons" in the UK.

7. Call in a pool game : MARCO. Took me a while here. I was thinking bank shot, swerve, massé, something along the billiards lines.

8. Until now : AS YET

9. Manhattan liquor : RYE

10. Walmart rival : TARGET

11. Like some revealing slips? : FREUDIAN. Not wardrobe malfunctions.

12. Name associated with alpine rescues : BERNARD. St. Bernard rescue dogs. Don't forget the schnapps!

13. Fashion magazine : IN STYLE

18. Actor Stephen : REA

23. Tango land: Abbr. : ARG. Don't cry for me.

25. Words to a traitor : ET TU? Very apt for today.

27. Vishnu worshiper : HINDU

29. Fizzy prefix : AER-

32. Take the wheel : STEER

33. Appreciative text : THX

34. __ hall : REC

35. Bus. card address : U.R.L. Universal Resource Locator.

37. Baal : FALSE GOD

38. Like 2017 : ODD. 2017 was so last year. Odd number.

39. Lose it, in a way : WEEP

40. Requests : ASKS FOR

41. Trilogy starter : BOOK ONE

44. Sushi fish : AHI

45. Decent sort : MENSCH

47. "Darned if I know" : NO IDEA

48. "Cross my heart!" : I SWEAR!

49. Tempestuous : STORMY

51. Some designer gowns : DIORS

52. Award show VIP : EMCEE

53. Haas of "Witness" : LUKAS. First came to notice playing the role of the Amish boy in this movie. He's had a pretty successful acting and music career since. I'm not sure this is the most flattering picture though:

58. Outfits : TOGS

62. And : TOO

63. Business letters : LLC. Limited Liability Company.

And - the grid.


Notes from C.C.:

Argyle had surgery yesterday. He's stable right now. I'll let you know more information soon. Please continue keeping him in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you!

Mar 14, 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 Robin Stears

Theme:  WORK.  You can WORK out, WORK at something, or WORK on someone.  Alternatively, you can use the word WORK as a modifier or compound noun component, as applied to either half of today's two-word theme entries.  Let's start off with today's theme song number 1.

17 A. Door-to-door seller's form : ORDER SHEET.  This is a list of items you can chose to buy from. A WORK ORDER tells the crew what their next job is.  A WORK SHEET can either be a student's assignment page listing questions with places for answers, or a page in a spreadsheet program.

25 A. Do some bargain-hunting : SHOP AROUND.  Search for the most cost effective alternatives.  A WORK SHOP is a meeting where people engage in activity related to a specific goal or project.  A WORK AROUND is a method for overcoming a problem or difficulty in a system or program,

35 A. Text with maps and timelines : HISTORY BOOK.  A chronicle of who did what to whom, and when and where it happened.  Your WORK HISTORY is a detailed report of all the jobs you've held, complete with dates and titles.  A WORK BOOK contains pages of student's instructions and assignments related to a specific topic.

49 A. Residential get-together : HOUSE PARTY.  A gathering at the residence of the PARTY's host. A WORK HOUSE is a prison where the inmates are subjected to labor as punishment.  A WORK PARTY can be either a social gathering of or for employees, or an organized unit of persons WORKing together.

59 A. Game with ringers : HORSE SHOES.  A game in which two players or teams alternate throwing actual HORSE SHOES or similar U-shaped objects at a stake set in the ground.  A ringer is a HORSE SHOE that completely encircles the stake.  A WORK HORSE is literally a HORSE used for work on a farm, or figuratively a person who dependably and consistently performs hard WORK. A WORK SHOE is a sturdy SHOE designed to provide protection for the foot during a labor assignment.

And the unifier -- 66 A. 2016 #1 hit for Rihanna, which can precede both parts of 17-, 25-, 35-, 49- and 59-Across : WORK.  Now that you can see how this theme WORKs, here is theme song 2.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa on the job.  We definitely have a thematically rich entry today.  How much WORK do you suppose that took?  Let's WORK our way through the puzzle and see what we can accomplish.


1. Flow back : EBB. As tide.

4. "Get outta here!" : BEAT IT.  Advice from Michael Jackson.

10. Column in a pugilist's record : TKOs.  A Technical Knock Out occurs when the referee or official ring physician decides that a boxing mach must be stopped for safety reasons, while a round is in progress.

14. Congressional auditing org. : General Accounting Office.  An independent, non-partisan agency that WORKS for Congress using facts and data to support Congress in meeting constitutional responsibilities and help improve performance and accountability.

15. Rhine wine region : ALSACE.  Located in eastern France, adjacent to Germany and Switzerland.  Historically it's control has been disputed between France and various German states.

16. Stable parent : MARE.  Horse mama.  Mental and emotional states may vary.

19. Very smart : CHIC.  Fashionable and well-appointed.  Levels of intelligence may vary.

20. Gosling of "Blade Runner 2049" : RYAN.  This is a remake of a 1982 classic neo-noir science fiction film.  I never saw either, but long ago I did read the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, on which they are [more or less] based.

21. Tupperware sound : BURP.

23. Jeans label : LEE.  Brand name.

24. Nightly TV staple : NEWS.  What weird thing happened today?

28. Where K-I-S-S-I-N-G goes on : IN A TREE.  Part of a playground taunt traditionally directed at a boy or girl suspected of being attracted to a girl or boy.

(Girl's name) and (boy's name) sitting in a tree
K-i-s-s-i-n-g! (spell it out)
First comes love.
Then comes marriage.
Then comes baby in the baby carriage,
Sucking his thumb,
Wetting his pants,
Doing the hula, hula dance!

 I can testify that I have never kissed anyone while sitting in a tree.

30. Hold the floor : ORATE.  Make a speech - especially pompously or at length.

31. Fabled beast : ASS.  Lots of animals in fables.   Levels of pomposity many vary.

32. Brad Paisley venue : OPRY.  It's grand, it's old, it's country.

34. Copycat : APE. Mimic.

39. Org. in Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress" : NSA.  National Security Agency.  

40. Temps : SUBS.  Temporary or substitute workers.

41. "There's an __ for that" : APP.  APPlication program for your computer or mobile device.

44. Figures on a sports news crawl : STATS.  Statistics - also scores and events.

47. Input, as accidentally erased data : RE-ENTER.  Tedious WORK.

53. Aviation prefix : AERO-.  Short for aeronautical, used to construct portmanteau words.

54. Pop __ : ART.  ART based on popular culture, often with critical or ironic intent.

55. Mongolia locale : ASIA.  The largest continent.

56. Camp Lejeune gp. : United States Marine Corp.

57. Losing proposition : DIET.  Ordinarily this means something that turns out - too late, alas - to be a lost cause.  But here, it's a clever misdirection for a nutritional strategy intended for weight reduction.

63. Burden : ONUS.  Literal, from Latin.

64. Smart people? : ALECKS.  Irritating people or who make rude wise-cracks or act superior in knowledge.  Actual knowledge, intelligence and fashion sense may vary.

65. NBC skit show : Saturday Night Live.

67. More sinewy : WIRIER.  More lean and tough.  Try saying it 3 times, quickly.

68. Farm area : STY. Where the pigs hang out.


1. Cause of star wars? : EGO.  Stars as celebrities, not celestial objects - so the wars are rather more trivial, and down to earth.

2. Scrubby wastelands : BARRENS.  Aptly descriptive.

3. Fragrant shower gel : BODY WASH.  Thickened liquid as an alternative to bar soap.

4. Setting for most of "Charlotte's Web" : BARN.

5. Overhead trains : ELS.  So called for their ELevated tracks.

6. Volcanic __ : ASH.  Small mineral particles expelled during a explosive volcanic eruption, correctly referred to as tephra.

7. Billy Blanks' workout system : TAE-BO.  A total body fitness system employing matial arts techniques.

8. Become frozen : ICE UP.

9. Aquarium fish : TETRA.  Small, tropical, brightly-colored tropical fresh-water fish.  Those in aquariums are penta-up.  Fortunately, they cannot put a hex on you, even if you have deviated septa.

10. SHO sister channel : TMCThe Movie Channel.

11. Liqueur in an espresso martini : KAHLUA.  Coffee flavored liqueur.

12. Point in the right direction : ORIENT.  If you point in the wrong direction, someone could end up getting lost by occident.

13. Formally withdraw : SECEDE.

18. Point in the right direction? : EAST.  A clecho, indicating the normal ORIENTation of flat maps.  Do you have to turn the map upside down when traveling south?

22. Ask for a hand? : PROPOSE.  Another nice misdirection.  Not a request for assistance or one's share of the cards, but rather a request for a loved-one's hand in marriage. Possible outcome of K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

24. "Empire" actress Long : NIA.

25. Nasal dividers : SEPTA.   The SEPTUM is the wall of cartilage and thin bone separating the nostrils.

26. Deli option : HERO.  Big sandwich of meat, cheese and spreads made on an oblong roll or similarly shaped loaf of bread that is sliced end-to-end horizontally, alternatively called the dagwood, submarine [sub], hoagy or grinder.

27. Cookie with a Peeps variety : OREO.   Please just stop.

29. Antarctic waters : ROSS SEA.  A deep bay in the extreme south pacific, at the edge of the antarctic continent.

33. Many mos. : YRS. Abbreviated or not, many months make years.

34. "__ Road": Beatles album : ABBEY.

36. QB's mistakes : INTs.  Interceptions - in American football, passes caught by the defenders instead of the intended receivers.

37. Mongolian tent : YURT.  A round, portable tent covered with skins or felt, used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of central Asia.

38. London-born supermodel : KATE MOSS.

42. Word of interest? : PERCENT.  Number used to calculate deposit earnings or loan premiums.

43. Quid __ quo : PRO.  Latin - "something for something" - a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something.

44. Omen on February 2nd : SHADOW.  Woodchuck [marmota monax] as weather maven.

45. "Starsky & Hutch" Ford model : TORINO.

46. Highbrow filmmaker : AUTEUR.  One who controls all aspects of a collaborative creative WORK.

48. The "N" of CSNY : NASH.   Graham, along with David Crosby, Steven Stills and Neil Young.

Still great 48 years later

50. "Get outta here!" : PSHAW.  An expression of contempt, impatience or disbelief.

51. Garlic mayonnaise : AIOLI.

52. Worth more to collectors : RARER.

56. KGB country : USSR.  The Soviet Union, a grouping of nominal republics under Russian hegemony that existed from 1922 - 1981.  The KGB was its main security agency.

58. "Naughty, naughty!" : TSK.  Comic book attempt to indicate the disparaging sound of tongue clucking.

60. __-fi : SCI.  Reference to the SCIence Fiction genre of speculative literature.

61. Squeeze (by) : EKE.  To barely achieve, with great difficulty.

62. Plotting : SLY.  Cunning and deceitful or secretive.

That wraps up another Wednesday's labor.  Did you love it, or were you lost?

Cool Regards!

Mar 13, 2018

Tuesday March 13, 2018 Rich Proulx

Theme: The measurement in each theme entry is clued by its metric measurement.

 20A. 113-gram sandwich, more or less : QUARTER POUNDER

 24A. About 1.8 meters deep : SIX FEET UNDER

 46A. 37.9-liter topper, roughly : TEN-GALLON HAT
 54A. Proceed another 1.6 kilometers or so : GO THE EXTRA MILE

C.C. here. Argyle is sick. I'm going to just put the skeletal entries here. Will fill in more later.

Back now.

Looks like this is a debut from Rich Proulx. Congratulations! He gave us 72-worder today. It's in the themeless territory.


1. Kind of guitar : BASS

5. Foul-smelling : FETID. This word looks dirty too.

10. Bouillabaisse, e.g. : STEW

14. Where the Jazz play : UTAH

15. Dodge : EVADE

16. Weighty book : TOME

17A. Signed up, as to vote : REGISTERED. We also have 60A: Double-checked before cutting: REMEASURED.  Often constructors avoid long Across entries for fear solvers will think they're themers, but today the clues make the theme clear.

19. Military group : UNIT. Tiny clue/answer dupe: 35. Mall unit : STORE. Did you go to the Fashion Show Mall last week,  Big Easy?
22. Sleeping woe : APNEA

23. Like Oberlin College since it opened in 1833 : CO-ED

31. Watch pocket : FOB

34. Approaches : NEARS

36. Word after New or teen : AGER

38. Hidden drug supply : STASH

40. Big gulp : SWIG

41. Insurance case : CLAIM

43. TV ex-military group led by Hannibal Smith : A TEAM. Only know Mr. T was in it.

45. Mario Bros. console : NES

49. Fatty liver spread : PATE. Have some!

50. Hybrid pack animals : MULES

59. Christmas tree topper's topper : HALO

61. Congregation's "I agree!" : AMEN

62. Geometry calculations : AREAS

63. Track assignment : LANE

64. Arnaz with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame : DESI. I just learned that Gene Autry had five stars.

65. Toy truck brand : TONKA

66. Old Russian leader : TSAR


1. Traditional Islamic garment : BURQA

2. Thoroughly delighted in : ATE UP. Nope, Picard, I did nothing special for Chinese Spring Festival. I did treat myself with a bag of Chinese dumplings. As for places in China, I suggest Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi'an (my hometown), Hangzhou and Tibet.

3. Cosmologist Carl : SAGAN

4. Counties across the pond : SHIRES

5. Lavish party : FETE

6. At any time : EVER

7. Firewood protector : TARP Also 18. Wood finish : STAIN

8. Logical beginning? : IDEO. Ideological.

9. Subtract : DEDUCT

10. They often have class : STUDENTS

11. Softened, as rhetoric : TONED DOWN

12. Kuwaiti leader : EMIR

13. Rainy : WET
21. We, to one who says "oui" : NOUS. Just French "we".

25. Ballot markings : Xes

26. Deadly : FATAL

27. Muse for Shelley : ERATO

28. German industrial city : ESSEN

29. Cleveland's lake : ERIE. How long have you been with Amazon, Abejo?

30. Govt. agency rules : REGS

31. Something known to be true : FACT

32. Eye rudely : OGLE. Also 47. Eye rudely : LEER AT

33. Tall, skinny sorts : BEANPOLES. Great fill.

37. Tubular pasta : RIGATONI

39. "So there!" : HAH

42. Course with squares and cubes : MATH

44. What babies create, and vice versa? : MAMAS. I got via crosses.
48. Ruckus : TUMULT

51. Turkish coins : LIRAS

52. Kagan of the Supreme Court : ELENA

53. Meal where the 10 Plagues of Egypt are recalled : SEDER

54. Mario Bros., for one : GAME

55. Architect Saarinen : EERO

56. Magneto's enemies : X-MEN

57. Hardwood prized for outdoor furniture : TEAK

58. Tabula __ : RASA

59. Owned : HAD

Updated at 11:15am:
Santa was admitted into the Saratoga hospital last night. His friend Jennifer said he was dangerously sick yesterday. He'll be in the hospital for a few days.

Please send him your positive thoughts. Keep him in your prayers.

Thank you! Get well soon, Santa!

Argyle our Santa