, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: December 2018


Dec 31, 2018

Monday December 31, 2018 C.C. Burnikel

Theme: Say it Again - The last words are all homophones

17A. Persistent ache: NAGGING PAIN.

23A. Window section: GLASS PANE.

48A. Heartthrob in the band One Direction: LIAM PAYNE.

57A. "Common Sense" author: THOMAS PAINE.

Boomer here. 

Hello Auld acquaintances! Trust me, you will not be "forgot".  Happy New Year!  Now for the bowling scores - Monday 171-209-188, Thursday 158-179-158. The Thursday bowling center has changed the oil pattern and it's fairly difficult for me because I am still weak and my ball speed is around 10 MPH.  I think as I get healthier my Thursday results will improve. 

I peeked in on last week's blog about the West Virginia and noticed someone mentioned that John Denver replaced Chad Mitchell in the trio. They changed the name to the "Mitchell Trio" but did not last long after that. This vaulted a solo Mr. Denver to huge success.  I might add that I attended a single performance by Chad Mitchell at a crummy speakeasy bar in a Minneapolis west suburb back in the sixties and he was terrible.


1. Actress Vardalos: NIA. I had only heard of Nia Peeples

4. Chapel vow: IDO.

7. Fine apparel: ATTIRE.

13. Bird that gives a hoot: OWL. In Minnesota, we used to have a grocery called "Red Owl".  An interesting name and logo.

14. Stock horror film servant: IGOR.

15. Came down and spoiled the picnic: RAINED. Uh Huh, Oh No Don't let the rain come down.

16. Open __ night: MIC.

19. Ski resort feature: SLOPE.  Chad Mitchell Trio -

Well, they called him Super Skier
As he sat around the sun-deck,
For he swore that he would never take a spill
When they finally took him down
They had to use three toboggans
To carry all the pieces down the hill
21. Self-defense spray: MACE.  This is nasty stuff.

22. Fey of "Date Night": TINA.  On SNL she looked more like Sarah Palin than Ms. Palin did.

25. D.C. pro: POL.

26. Yard sale caveat: AS IS.

27. Bar for circus swingers: TRAPEZE.  "He flies through the air with the greatest of ease."

31. Long-faced: SULLEN.

34. Tire, with "out": WEAR.  Replace your tires when they wear out.

35. Controlled Substances Act org.: DEA.  Drug Enforcement Administration.  One of the decent ideas of Richard Nixon around 1973.  I wonder if they are working during the shutdown.

36. Hyde Park buggy: PRAM.  I thought they called these "Handsome Cab".  Reminds me of when Kramer fed his horse beans.

37. Madison Ave. pro: AD MAN.  Now we get hundreds of ads on Facebook.

39. Main point: GIST.

40. Lincoln or Ford: CAR.

41. Poker variety: STUD.  5 cards without a draw, or where they send retired racehorses.

42. Lawn service company that merged with TruGreen: SCOTTS.  I have never found anything that works. Maybe because winter messes up lawns and it takes until May just to start turning green again. 

44. Fairbanks resident: ALASKAN.

46. Period of prosperity: BOOM. Not reason for my boom. I am part of the "Baby Boom" of 1947.

47. Windy City train org.: CTA.  If the Chicago Transit Authority, (Better known as the CTA) raises their rates, "Charlie may never get off of that train."

53. Off-kilter: AWRY.

55. Fuzzy green plant that grows on rocks: MOSS. Number 84 Randy of the Minnesota Vikings.  Was controversial, however now headed for the hall.

56. Dimwit: IDIOT.

60. Down Under bird: EMU.  It's a pretty big bird, but also an acronym for Eastern Michigan University.

61. Make pure, as sugar: REFINE.  This could happen if you park in a restricted zone more than once.

62. Maker of Aspire laptops: ACER.

63. Young fellow: LAD.

64. Show up at: ATTEND.  Did anyone attend a bowl game this year?  I did not go, but our Gophers took care of Georgia Tech in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit.

65. Winter hrs. in Minneapolis: CST. While you are reading your L.A. Times, I'll be getting ready for lunch.

66. Beats by __: audio equipment brand: DRE.


1. Chinese menu assurance: NO MSG.

2. Volunteer's words: I WILL.  Who will take out the trash ?

3. Reynolds Wrap maker: ALCOA.  Also producer of Aluminum wire of which Graybar sold many thousands of miles.

4. Grocery chain letters: IGA.

5. Rigid beliefs: DOGMAS.

6. Church instrument: ORGAN.  Here's my experience. I sang in a church choir back in the 60's and there was an organist who played wonderfully. The church I attend now has an electronic piano which can sound like an organ, a flute, bongo drums, an accordion, a trumpet, two guitars, and a tambourine.  It sounds like a bit much, but they are well- rehearsed and don't play everything at the same time.  

7. Obama Education secretary Duncan: ARNE.

8. Garment label: TAG.  You're it.  Played in Minnesota in the summer.

9. First-rate: TIPTOP.  Retailers have used this as an adjective for their business.  I seem to remember Tiptop Bread.

10. "Aced that test!": I NAILED IT. Hit a golf ball 300 yards.

11. Horse rider's strap: REIN.

12. Writer Ferber: EDNA.

14. Actually existing: Lat.: IN ESSE.

18. Summer pitcherful: ICE TEA.  I think I saw this before.  I prefer to call it "Iced tea."

20. Biblical song: PSALM.

24. Whacked gift holder: PINATA.

25. Links standard: PAR. A rare event for me these days (especially in winter).  A piece of cake for Dustin Johnson.

28. Coerced payment: RANSOM.

29. Citrus peel: ZEST.  A tricky clue.  I would prefer soap or energy.

30. Puts away dishes?: EATS.  I am not too fond of these tricky clues.  Especially in a Monday Puzzle.

31. Animal welfare org.: SPCA. I only know them as ASPCA from TV commercials where they ask for donations.

32. Eurasian border river: URAL.  What Peggy Bundy calls her husband. ("Married with Children")

33. "Tomb Raider" heroine: LARA CROFT.

34. Iraq War armament: Abbr.: WMD.

38. Big name in tires: DUNLOP.  They have also sneaked into the Tennis market, balls and racquets.

39. Lose one's marbles: GO MAD.  Which loss made you madder?  Peeries, steelies, agates, or shooters ?

41. Jamaican music genre: SKA.

43. Paper jam site: COPIER.

45. Thwart: STYMIE.  The only Stymie I remember appeared with Buckwheat in the our gang comedies back in the 1930's.  No, I am not THAT old, I saw replays in the 1950's.  When I watched, I did not realize it was a racist characterization.

46. Nuts and bolts: BASICS.

49. Sir __ Newton: ISAAC.

50. Give ground: YIELD.  A triangular yellow sign.

51. Red Sox great Garciaparra: NOMAR.  Great Major League.  He received his unique first name from his father, Ramon.

52. Practice piece: ETUDE.

53. Razor brand: ATRA.  I don't use these.  I like the Bic 5 blade.

54. Spark, as an appetite: WHET. I think this can also mean sharpen like a knife, dear Liza.

55. Grad. degree for teachers: MSED. Master of Science in Education.  This is a highly scholarly degree so why break acronym rules by using the first two letters of Education

58. Landers of letters: ANN.  The sister of Abby Van Buren, who is grandmother of Minnesota's new congressman Dean Phillips.  (3rd Congressional District where C.C. and I live).

59. Driving range barrier: NET.  Not too often on the range, but how might you get the fish into the boat ?


Notes from C.C.:

Here are three more pictures of Baby Boomer. The older girl is my sister-in-law Barbara, who lives in San Francisco. (Note from Boomer: I believe this is a Cushman motor scooter, owned by my dad.  We did not have a car when I was young.)

Dec 30, 2018

Sunday December 30, 2018 Gary Larson

Theme: "Calling Forth" - S sound is changed into Th sound,  changing spelling as needed.

23A. Off-season at a nudist camp?: CLOTHING TIME. Closing time.

28A. Dollhouse Christmas decoration?: PEEWEE WREATH. Pee Wee Reese.

43A. Defrost in the microwave?: POWER THAW. Power saw.

51A. Two, for most folks?: THUMB TOTAL. Sum total.

68A. Aha moment sensation?: THINKING FEELING. Sinking feeling.

89A. Geek chic?: MATH APPEAL. Mass appeal.

98A. Underwear catalog?: THONG BOOK. Songbook.

111A. Cinderella's coach?: MYTH CARRIAGE. Miscarriage.

122A. Suffering from stress-related weight gain?: WORRIED THICK. Worried sick.

Remember Gary's "Sounds Like a Snooze" back in August? In that puzzle, he changed S to Z sound. 

This is a great followup. Similar style with 9 theme entries. The designing for that grid was harder due to those knotty Z's.

1. Close to closed: AJAR. "When is a door not a door?" - Hahtooolah!

5. Salad veggie: RADISH.

11. Its "M" stands for "Motoren": BMW.

14. Batty: DAFT.

18. Ashton's spouse: MILA (Kunis).  Ashton Kutcher.

19. 2002 "Friends" Emmy winner: ANISTON. I like her a lot. So sweet and kind.

21. French monarch: ROI.

22. Barbarian: OGRE.

25. Stock female roles: INGENUES.

27. Caribbean getaway: ST. THOMAS. Probably not the getaway spot for our two saints.

30. Reveal, poetically: OPE. Open.

31. Sale limitation word: PER.

32. Early Indo-European: ARYAN.

33. Hot: STOLEN.

36. Abandon: DESERT.

38. Silver and gold: METALS. Or MEDALS.

45. Cubes for cooking: DICES.

48. Longtime Dolphins coach: SHULA (Don)

49. Reggae's __ Kamoze: INI. Unknown to me. Wiki says "His name means "mountain of the true God".

50. Ham, to Noah: SON.

53. English critic Kenneth: TYNAN. Another learning moment. That's a great quote.

56. Folks: PEOPLE.

60. Worker in a garden: BEE.

61. Apple variety: ROME.

62. Capital south of Vienna: ZAGREB. Tinbeni's old haunt.

64. Links prop: TEE.

65. Broom-__: comics witch: HILDA.

67. "As Time Goes By" pianist: SAM. "Casablanca". 

73. Pops: DAD.

76. Frozen summer coolers: ICEES.

77. Propel, in a way: OAR.

78. Words to live by: MOTTOS.

82. Biblical prophet: AMOS.

84. Grab a bite: EAT.

85. Type of plane: ASTRAL.

88. One at a family reunion: NIECE.

92. Minor player: COG.

94. With 130-Across, weekly U.S. magazine with a cryptic crossword: THE. 130. See 94-Across: NATION.

95. Beat out: ONE-UP.

96. More cunning: SLIER.

101. Aslan's land: NARNIA.

103. "Juno and the Paycock" playwright: O'CASEY.

105. Combat zones: ARENAS.

106. Most letters, nowadays: EMAIL.

109. Tiny insect egg: NIT.

110. Cyst of no concern: WEN.

116. Con artists: FLEECERS.

121. Atmosphere: AMBIENCE. Lovely fill.

124. __ tissue: SCAR.

125. Scout group: DEN.

126. Kia SUV: SORENTO.

127. Author Bombeck: ERMA.

128. Victim of a fabled upset: HARE.

129. Drink suffix: ADE. My favorite lemonade stand.

131. Back-to-school time for many: Abbr.: SEPT.


1. Gremlins and Pacers: AMCS.

2. Abandon at the altar: JILT.

3. Heaps: A LOT.

4. Filthy quarters: RAT HOLE.

5. Duds, old-style: RAIMENTS. No wonder I'm not familiar with. Old-style. 

6. Kournikova of tennis: ANNA.

7. Quarters: DIGS.

8. Novel ending?: IST. Novelist.

9. Mushroom stems: STIPES. I just call them stems.

10. Went deep at the park: HOMERED.

11. Pipe material: BRIER.

12. Bank contents: MONEY.

13. Early American home: WIGWAM. This one looks warm and cozy.

14. Ready to serve: DONE. Tiny clue/answer dupe: 16. Done, in Verdun: FINI.

15. Contents of el mar: AGUA.

16. Be a bundle of nerves: FRET.

17. Radio host John: TESH.

20. Society page word: NEE.

24. Optimist: HOPER. I've only used "No hoper".

26. The "E" in E. & J. Gallo: ERNEST.

29. Strapped-on accessory: WATCH.

31. Nave seat: PEW.

33. Phelps broke his gold-medal record: SPITZ (Mark)

34. Skater Harding: TONYA.

35. Because of, with "to": OWING.

36. Copenhagen native: DANE.

37. Confirmation, e.g.: RITE.

39. Norse god associated with storms: THOR. Thunder!

40. Jam ingredients: AUTOS. Traffic jam.

41. Andean wool source: LLAMA.

42. "The Crucible" setting: SALEM.

44. Letters after I?: HOP. ? should prevent you thinking of JKL.

46. Jazz pianist Blake: EUBIE.

47. Common sense: SMELL. Got this body wash for Christmas. Lovely smell.

52. Obscure: BEDIM.

54. __ show: ART.

55. Soft drink brand since 1924: NEHI.

57. Elevator innovator: OTIS.

58. Cartridge holder: PEN.

59. Colorful blocks: LEGOS.

63. Flexor muscle, informally: BICEP.

65. German title: HERR. I'll just copy and paste what TTP said last time: "Damen and Herren are on some doors in Germany. Good thing for the images to teach foreigners that Da Men use the one marked Herren."

66. Before long, quaintly: ANON.

69. Some tides: NEAPS.

70. __ One: vodka brand: KETEL.

71. Lucrative, contractually: FAT.

72. VW hatchback: GTI.

73. Friend of Pythias: DAMON. Read the myth here. Quite moving. I want to be Damon. Pythias is hard to say.

74. Appliance maker since 1934: AMANA.

75. Grandparent, often: DOTER.

79. Wyoming's __ Range: TETON.

80. Former #1 LPGA golfer Lorena: OCHOA.  She was here for the US Open many years ago.

81. Goes after: SEEKS.

83. Evade: SHUN.

85. One of the Baldwins: ALEC.

86. Hurting: ACHY. Boomer woke up Saturday morning with back pain. Made me nervous. He did feel better later on. This bone cancer is sure tough!

87. John in London: LOO.

90. Separately: APIECE.

91. Garlicky sauce: AIOLI.

93. Chewed persistently: GNAWED ON.

97. Former name of Myanmar's most populous city: RANGOON.

98. Asian celebration: TET. Same day as our Spring Festival. Feb 5, 2019.

99. Welcome: GREET.

100. They may empty in a brawl: BENCHES.

102. Actress Plummer: AMANDA.

104. NATO alphabet letter after Romeo: SIERRA.

107. Rainbowlike: ARCED.

108. Cara of "Fame": IRENE.

111. Bangers partner: MASH.

112. Gym site: YMCA.

113. Skier's aid: T-BAR.

114. Put in a position: HIRE. And 123. No longer working: Abbr.: RET.
115. Sympathetic sounds: AWS.

117. Jared of "Suicide Squad": LETO.

118. Where Cork is: EIRE.

119. Dudley Do-Right's org.: RCMP.

120. 32-card game: SKAT.

Boomer Updates:

He had one more blood draw last Thursday, the result is still not posted on his "My HealtheVet" account.

He will have another blood draw on January 9th and every month in 2019. VA Pharmacy Care will follow up every time he has the blood draw. If Boomer's numbers (kidney and liver) are normal, The Pharmacy Care will send us one more month of Zytiga & prednisone.

Thanks again for your love and support this year. It would be a much tougher journey without you guys here constantly cheering up Boomer and giving me advice.

Have a healthy and happy 2019!


Dec 29, 2018

Saturday, December 29, 2018, Ed Sessa

Lip Service Puzzle by Ed Sessa

As 2018 is nearly gone, the day of December 29 is designated as National Tick Tock Day. Think of all the things you intended to get done in this calendar year but have not yet completed. It is my intention to get my basement workbench cleaned up and organized before I plop down for my College Bowl Game (plus the Rose Parade) extravaganza coming up.

Well yesterday Lemon got a themeless Friday puzzle and today on themeless Saturday, Dr. Sessa, by way of Rich, has given us one that does have a theme. 

C.C. wrote me and asked if I saw a theme because of the cluing and somewhat closely related fills I made what I think is at least a somewhat tenuous connection to the fills. When C.C. wrote Ed, he replied that he was trying to even make the grid look like a smile. Do you see it? 😀

Now here is my take on the themers as I see them and the reveal:

17. Line erasers - PLASTIC SURGEONS can permanently fix the line of downturned lips into a SMILE

32. Necklines?: CAROTID ARTERIES - This droopy SMILE line can indicate a blocked CAROTID ARTERY

36. Title line after "Gray skies are gonna clear up": PUT ON A HAPPY FACE - Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh from Bye Bye Birdie on obtaining a SMILE

56. Echoic phrase from a WWI marching song: SMILE SMILE SMILE - All three fills are summed up by "Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and SMILE, SMILE, SMILE". 

I hope you agree on my Saturday SMILE themeage, but now let's quit procrastinating on National Tick Tock Day and see what Dr. Sessa has prescribed for us. If your ailment requires devilish cluing, Ed has the correct Rfor you today!


1. Actor Omar with three NAACP Image Awards: EPPS - he won by playing a doctor in 45. Sites with masked workers, briefly: OR(S) with other masked people

5. 007's watch, in the later films: OMEGA - Here you can see the famous 007 trademark

10. Sent to, too: CCED - Carbon CopiED - usually an anachronism today

14. Independent African country since 1960: MALI - Recently, we have also had Niger, Burkina Faso and Gabon Find them?


15. Santa-tracking acronym: NORAD - Even in Asia 

27. Stores with a blue-and-yellow logo: IKEAS - See comment above

16. Jennifer of "Pride and Prejudice" (1995): EHLE Here she is

44. Actress Aimée: ANOUK Here she is

20. It carries a charge: ION.

21. Stable attendant: HOSTLER - Chapter 15 of Black Beauty is entitled The Old HOSTLER

22. Half an ouchie?: BOO - "Mommy, I got a BOO BOO!"

23. Despicable: ROTTEN.

25. Genre with ad images: POP ART 

28. NYC subway line: IRT - Interborough Rapid Transit 

31. "The Divine Comedy" division: CANTO - It has 100 CANTI (pl.) or sections 

35. Tablet since 2013: IPAD AIR - Another entry in the Apple stable

46. Timeworn: BANAL - We have many timeworn fills here but they are vital for constructors 

47. Delivered a screed: RANTED - Pro rasslers RANT to build up a gate

49. "Man is condemned to be free" philosopher: SARTRE - Jean Paul

50. Thou follower, often: ART.

51. Butler's classic line: YOU RANG - C'mon, no one is listening, do your best Lurch imitation 

55. Its first letter often means "more than one": HOV.

59. Smallville name: KENT - Even when he was a baby, Ma and Pa KENT knew their son was Super

60. Gay opening?: ENOLA - A new clue for Col. Paul Tibbets' Omaha-built B-29

61. Chrysler Building architect William Van __: ALEN - This iconic NYC building was the world's tallest for 11 months in 1930

62. Pointed at, perhaps: IDED - I witnessed a hit and run two weeks ago but I know I could never ID the guy who did it

63. "That's unfortunate": SO SAD.

64. Ford contemporary: OLDS - Charles King (l.) was a mentor to Ransom OLDS (c.) and Henry Ford (r.)


1. Based on observation: EMPIRIC - EMPIRIC evidence shows we landed a man on the Moon despite the loonies who say we didn't 

2. Two-bit boxer: PALOOKA - Even comic book characters pitched in during WWII

3. One with a rooting interest: PLANTER - Now this is a serious PLANTER

4. Short sibling?: SIS - My SIS is very short

5. Kitchen bulb: ONION.

6. Soft shoes: MOCS - MOCassins 

7. "... which __ was irksome to me": Shakespeare: ERST - Thy company, which ERST was irksome to me, (I used to hate you) Act V Scene III As You Like It

8. Three-part region, per Caesar: GAUL - "All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in ours GAULS, the third." Caeser, The Gallic Wars

9. Media industry worker: AD REP - TV's most famous AD REPS

10. Left of center?: CEE - Yes, CEE is on the left of the word Center

11. Greek-style yogurt brand: CHOBANI and 28. Site of an 11-Down yogurt plant, the world's largest: IDAHO - A $100,000,000 plant in Twin Falls, IDAHO

12. America, in Acapulco: EL NORTE  - Also Norteamérica and América del norte,

13. Autos advertised on "You Bet Your Life": DESOTOS - Grouch (:08)

18. It's a dirty look: THE STINK EYE - Kramer on the "looks" (:33)

19. Holders of staples: GROCERY BAGS - Gotta love this one

24. Confucian path: TAO.

26. Expected: PAR - Yup, this is a 1,000 yard PAR 7 in Seoul, South Korea

29. "M*A*S*H" role: RADAR.

30. Doesn't allow out: TRAPS - Like The Roach Motel

33. Draft choice: IPA - India Pale Ale

34. Pointer or point: TIP 

Giving a TIP                           The TIP of the sword

36. Hybrid jumping sport with a landing target: PARA SKI.

37. Lacking heat?: UNARMED - If you're "packing heat" you're carrying a gun. If you aren't then you're UNARMED

38. Survivor-take-all investment scheme: TONTINE - A lovely four minute scene about a slightly different TONTINE which is mentioned at 1:42

40. With 39-Down, unconventional: FAR and  39. See 40-Down: OUT 

41. End of a line in the sand, maybe: ANTHILL - I suspect this ANT TRAIL in Alaska will eventually end at an ANT HILL

42. Sang for an audience of one, sometimes: CAROLED - Even the lovely CAROLS of the season can become tiresome

43. Gridiron numbers: ELEVENS - Eleven on each side of the ball

48. Dispensed amounts: DOSES.

49. Winner of 82 PGA Tour tournaments: SNEAD.

52. "Don't think so": UM...NO.

53. Spanish waterways: RIOS - The RIO Paraná empties into the RIO de la Plata

54. Italian recipe word: ALLA - In the style of

57. Ford's Crown Vic, originally: LTD - Something Crown Vics are noted for

58. Foe of Chiang: MAO.

Now, get off the couch, chair, chaise or whatever and get that last 2018 project done on Tick Tock Day, starting with commenting on Dr. Sessa's puzzle: