Dec 28, 2018

Friday, December 28, 2018, Tracy Bennett and Victor Fleming

Title: Themeless Friday with a Mini-Theme

I have been doing puzzle blogging here for close to nine years, Friday for 7 years, I think. I have never been faced with a themeless puzzle, so I have spent a very long time looking for a theme in this cooperative effort from Tracy Bennett and Victor Fleming. We had our debut for TRACY on a Wednesday blogged by Steve. He commented she was getting into themeless puzzles. She had one here on a Saturday with Erik Agard recently. In a comment on xwordinfo, she mentioned that Victor Fleming was her "mentor." I really do not know how to write-up a themeless. There are lots of long, sparkly fill FINITUDE,  IT CAN'T BE, NOT A HOPE, TRAWL NET,  PULLAPART, SATIN DOLL, BULL MARKET FAIR ENOUGH and the mini-theme ALMOST HEAVEN /WEST VIRGINIA. Splynter, where are you when I need you? Here he is suggesting that concept in a C.C. SATURDAY.  So here I go...

5. Like 22-Down, according to a song by John Denver (born 12/31/1943): ALMOST HEAVEN. 22D. See 5-Down: WEST VIRGINIA.


1. Caesar's fault: CULPA. In the incomparable luck of the puzzle, hopefully you all saw IM's mea culpa in yesterdays comments.

6. Big box office success, slangily: BOFF. I do not like this fill, as I always thought it was BOFFO, but says "Theater. a box-office hit.; a joke or humorous line producing hearty laughter. a loud hearty laugh; belly laugh."

10. PC scroll key: PGUP. Page up.

14. Rental brand with a hyphen: U-HAUL. Rental was so unhelpful.

15. Like the 1998 Pikachu Illustrator card: RARE. There’s an old saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and this card sold at auction in 2016 for more than FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.

16. Source of fizz: SODA. That is backasswards to me.

17. Stock up time?: BULL MARKET. When stocks are going up it is considered a bull marker; when down a bear market.

19. Does sum work: ADDS. A tiny pun.

20. Hebrew wishing well?: SHALOMשלום is such an important word in Hebrew, and the pun here is wonderful, worth the 25 cents you need to throw in.

21. Shrimper's catcher: TRAWL NET.

23. More than dream: ASPIRE. To direct one's hopes or ambitions toward achieving something

25. Atlanta campus: EMORY. The University.

26. Dreamt, perchance: SLEPT. Shakespeare.

29. Monument Valley features: MESAS. A natural wonder in Utah.  and the clecho 53A. Hilly terrain features: RIDGES.

31. Zero chance: NOT A HOPE.

33. Starfleet Acad. grad at the helm: LT. SULU. Our friend...

38. Woman in the picture: ACTRESS. A tricky generic clue.

39. Old duple-time dances: PAVANES. Duple meter (or duple metre, also known as duple-time) is a musical metre characterized by a primary division of 2 beats to the bar.

40. Some religious sculptures: PIETAS.

41. Limited state: FINITUDE. A finite state or quality. For example, one quickly senses the finitude of his patience.

42. Event with a horse: VAULT. Actually, this is no longer true, as it has been replaced with the vault TABLE.

44. "How Do I Live" singer: RIMES. LeAnn

45. Binary pronoun: HESHE. Is this now an accepted unique pronoun?

49. Quit: RESIGN.

51. "Unbelievable!": IT CAN'T BE. It reminds me of a commercial but I can't remember the product.

57. Retreat: LAIR.

58. Negotiation-ending words: FAIR ENOUGH. This is ridiculously hard, as I have never seen a negotiation end this way.

60. __ hack: LIFE.

61. Hathaway of "Rachel Getting Married": ANNE. Very popular actress, not so much the MOVIE.

62. Willing offer: I'LL GO. Also not easy. But with 64A...

63. Not likely: SLIM. And none.

64. Big name in little bricks: LEGO. We see GO often in this puzzle;  55D. "Too good not to share" breakfast brand: EGGO.

65. Permit: ALLOW.


1. Chicago's "North Siders": CUBS. Baseball- CUBS to the North, WHITE SOX to the South.

2. "Don't think so": UH UH.

3. __ land: LA LA. A CSO to our friend Linda who I hope is doing well now.

4. Separate: PULL APART.

6. Cold reaction: BRR.

7. Symbol of might: OAK TREE. There have been many POEMS extolling the Oak.

8. Famille members: FRERES. Brother, in French families.

9. Cheese served with kalamata olives: FETA. Made from sheep and goat milk. READ.

10. One of a Biblical 150: PSALM. These are poems of praise originated in Hebrew literature and revered also by Christians.

11. "What terrible news!": GOD NO. Oddly placed.-

12. Whence milk: UDDER. A very literal answer.

13. Irish pub pie: PASTY. A pie or turnover, especially one with a savory filling including seasoned meat, fish, or vegetables. These are popular in more places than Irish pubs.

18. Energize: AMP. If you think of being "amped" this makes sense.

24. Provocative little ones: IMPS. Next to amp, this is a cute use of a common fill.

26. __ bean: SNAP.

27. Math points: LOCI.

28. Marion's conclusion: ETTE.

30. Actor Thicke on Canada's Walk of Fame: ALAN. Alan Thicke was born on March 1, 1947, in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada as Alan Willis Jeffrey. He died in 2016.

32. Mountain near Pelion: OSSA.  Tough unless you are up on your Greek geography or mythology. Pelion a wooded mountain in Greece, near the coast of SE Thessaly, which in Greek mythology was held to be the home of the centaurs, and the giants were said to have piled Mounts Olympus and Ossa on its summit in their attempt to reach heaven and destroy the gods. This story has given rise to the phrase pile Pelion on Ossa, meaning to add an extra difficulty or task to something which is already difficult or onerous.

34. Ellington classic: SATIN DOLL.

35. Coined word?: UNUM. E Pluribus...cute clue.

36. News article intro: LEDE. Often mistaken for "lead"

37. Avails oneself of: USES.

39. Drupe remains: PITS. A drupe is any fruit, such as a peach, cherry, plum, etc., consisting of an outer skin, a usually pulpy and succulent middle layer, and a hard and woody inner shell usually enclosing a single seed, or pit.

41. Hardly turning oneself in: FLEEING. The fleeing felon.

43. Polished: URBANE. Thin David Niven.

45. Roman septet: HILLS. Septet = 7. Seven Hills of Rome, the group of hills on or about which the ancient city of Rome was built. The original city of Romulus was built upon Palatine Hill (Latin: Mons Palatinus). The other hills are the Capitoline, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Caelian, and Aventine (known respectively in Latin as the Mons Capitolinus, Mons Quirinalis, Mons Viminalis, Mons Esquilinus, Mons Caelius, and Mons Aventinus).

46. Much cashless commerce: E-TAIL.

47. Ursula K. Le Guin's genre: SCI-FI. This acclaimed AUTHOR died in 2018.

48. Polyamorous anime subgenre: HAREM. I understand the words but knew nothing about this graphic genre of anime where there is a possibility of a polygamous romantic relationship. It is a reverse harem when it is more than one boy involved. You can look it up yourselves.

50. Wrath: IRE. Maybe the most common fill in crosswords.

52. Pan name: T-FAL. Also very common fill. Lots of hyphens today.

54. Seaside soarer: GULL.

56. Take third: SHOW. WIN/PLACE/SHOW. Easy if you bet on horses.

59. __ Speedwagon: REO. I will leave you with some music and a sincere thanks to Tracy and Victor providing my first themeless review, C.C. and the rest of our bloggers for help and reassurance in my efforts and to all of you I wish healthy, happy, successful 2019.


OwenKL said...

Perhaps my first real love was a girl from West Virginia, and near the time this song came out. Yet I've never been within a thousand miles of the state, despite the longing this song generates in my heart. Alas, it turned out I was not her real love, first, last, or ever.

Take me home, country roads,
There I'LL GO, with my LIFE's loads
Let me RESIGN,
My place I'll find,
My lost home, my HOPES and goads.

Mountain RIDGES, HILLS of home,
Where all the roads splay out to roam,
Far I may travel,
And paths unravel,
As thru this world I ASPIRE to comb.

Yet in my memories, FAIR ENOUGH,
Are times of loves, tho some were tough.
They keep me strong,
Get myself along,
Take me home, ye roads of dust.


OwenKL said...

I wouldn't call this themeless. Note that 53a, 60a, & 7d all appear in the first verse of the song, as well as the entire first line; and John Denver's birthday is only 3 days away. According to Wiki the song was written about Maryland, but that didn't scan (only 3 syllables), nor did Massachusetts (meter was off), so W.Va. got the nod even tho the writer (like myself) had never been there!

A minitheme was HILLS, MESAS, RIDGES, Mount OSSA.

Blue RIDGE Mountains, Shenandoah River
LIFE is old there, older than the TREES
Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze.

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia, mountain mama
Take me home, country roads

All my memories gather round her
Miner's lady, stranger to blue water
Dark and dusty, painted on the sky
Misty taste of moonshine, teardrop in my eye


I hear her voice, in the morning hour she calls me
The radio reminds me of my home far away
And driving down the road I get a feeling
That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday

chorus x 2

PK said...

Hi Y'all! What a challenge from Tracy & Victor! NOT A HOPE to fill this without red-letter runs. I can only ASPIRE to doing that.

Thank you, Lemonade, for a great expo. I had never seen the names of the Roman Hills before. I did know there were seven hills but "septet" threw me in another direction. I was trying to think of seven Italian tenors. Duh!

Last to fill was the NW. All I had was UHUH & UHAUL (I've rented a bunch of those). "Country Roads" was one of my favorite songs to sing & strum my guitar back in those days. I got WEST VIRGINIA right away, but "ALMOST HEAVEN" eluded me (just like in real LIFE). Thanks, Owen, for a more detailed visit to the song. I had one ancestor born in W.V. who died in the Civil War.

Filled in a few letters at a time in a lot of places with perps & WAGs. SW corner was a lot of red-letter runs: HAREM & Ursula's genre totally unknown. Drupe? What's a drupe? Other DNKs: PGUP (not on my IMAC), LT.SULU (not a Treky). BOFF, VAULT, FINITUDE.

I got RIMES altho I tried Trisha (Yearwood) -- one too many letters. I have both versions on tape. RIMES was a young teenager when she recorded it and the label powers thought it was inappropriate for her so they gave it to Trisha. I like hers better.

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, Jason and friends. This puzzle did me in. Looking for a theme to help with the fills but couldn't find one. Maybe Owen is right, and the somewhat mountainous references make up the theme.

I have a bad connection with John Denver. In college I had a bad roommate who played John Denver constantly.

I misread Pan Name as Pen Name, which took a while to suss. Pan Name appears enough in the crosswords, so I do know the correct answer.

Whence Milk = UDDER made me laugh.

QOD: The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is that they have a common enemy. ~ Sam Levenson (né Samuel Levenson; Dec. 28, 1911 ~ Aug. 27, 1980)

Montana said...

This puzzle was too tough for me. I solved it, but with heaps of red letter help.
Saw both Denver and Rimes in person at concerts in Montana. John Denver's concert was for native Americans only in a very small town, but my husband taught in a nearby school that was primarily Indian students, and his family got to tag along. It was interesting to see on tv how they made a high school gym look like a concert venue.

Finally have a little snow and chilly weather but not until the day after Christmas. It has stayed for awhile.

Have a nice weekend,


desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Working this one today was just like deja vu all over again. Can you believe that earlier this week d-o was asked if he could see a theme in this one. D-o? You've gotta be kidding. I did enjoy the puzzle. Even without a theme, there was some really nice stuff in there. Thanx, Tracy and Victor. Lemonade, thank you for your yeoman service today.

URBANE: In my dictionary the illustrative photo is of Cary Grant.

BOFF: Not to be confused with boof, per Kavanaugh.

VAULT: My music server is a "Bluesound Vault 2."

Big Easy said...

Until Henry Deutschendorf's song's clue (22D) appeared, I was lost. And to make it worse, I filled MOUNTAIN MAMA before ALMOST HEAVEN kicked it off. Tough clueing and too many unknowables to be able to finish. NOT A HOPE for me today. FINITUDE & LEDE and SCIFI & LIFE hack crosses and HESHE made it a DNF. Never heard the term 'life hack' or the word finitude. Ditto for BOFF. When will the XYZ crowd demand a HESHEIT designation.

Drupes was unknown but PITS seemed logical. Same for Pikachu & RARE and Kalamata & FETA.
VAULT- I was thinking real horses before the pommel horse used in gymnastics V8ed.
Anime- I know zero about Japanese cartoons, let alone any subgenre.

THU & FRI as DNF. IT CAN'T BE, but it was. With that corny line, I'LL GO.

Lemonade714 said...

I appreciate your ingenuity OKL, but before I published this write up I confirmed with the constructors that this is themeless with a mini-theme.

Two John Denver stories in the first 5 comments, amazing!

desper-otto said...

I got to meet John Denver in 1965 when he appeared in Madison as part of the Chad Mitchell Trio. It was their "That's The Way It's Gonna Be" tour. Chad had decided on a solo career, and the unknown Denver had been drafted to fill his trio slot. I did a radio interview with the trio after the concert. A few years later the trio disbanded, and John Denver began his own very successful solo career.

Lemonade714 said...

Three John Denver stories! Really cool, especially as the Chad Mitchell Trio is a favorite of our own Boomer. Great story Tom.

Yellowrocks said...

I love Country Roads and all of John Denver's songs. I am slightly disillusioned today to see that the song was not originally about WV. I love the mountains in WV. We have been vacationing there every summer since the early 1970's. 45+ years. We rent housekeeping cottages and cabins in many of the state parks.
Tough, but fair and fun puzzle. Missed by one cell, the M in unum and Rimes. I stopped my ABC run at K, thinking unu- could not be a coined word. A little more p&p would have won the day. UNUM is written on coins. DUH. Great misdirection.
I can still taste the pasties we got in Scotland, fresh from the oven. They were savory and had a delightfully crunchy crust. The delis here buy them from the bakers and wrap them in foil and keep them warm. I was so disappointed when I bought one. The crust, of course, had greatly softened. Ugh! I never bought another one.
I often hear "fair enough" at the end of very informal negotiations.
Let's share the chores. You cook and I'll wash the dishes.
Fair enough.
I have heard of PAVANE in novels. It seems boring to watch and likely would be boring to dance.
Thanks for a great puzzle, Tracy, and a very informative blog with plenty of music, Lemonade.

jfromvt said...

It was a toughie, more like a Saturday puzzle with no theme. Eventually got most of it, but didn’t get all of LEDE down and misspelled UNUM (guess I should have looked at a coin), so had FINITIVE instead of FINITUDE. Maybe they’ll be nice and make Saturday easier this week, but I doubt it!

SwampCat said...

Thumper and I will sit this one out.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I finished w/o help but it took longer than usual for a Friday. I guess that's understandable because theme less (mini-theme) are harder to solve until you gain some footholds. On the first pass, I had only a dozen or so answers filled in. For me, there were numerous unknowns, both clues and answers. Drupe, Life hack (what is a life hack?), Harem, as clued, Lt. Sulu, Finitude (never saw or heard that word, ever), Boff (only familiar with Boffo). I also needed perps for Rimes, Ossa, and a few others. Usually, a five letter singer is Adele but not today. When I see Imps I think of CED and when I see Urbane, I see Cary Grant. [Sigh ] Hi, DO's dictionary.

Thanks, Tracey and Victor, for a tough but rewarding solve and thanks, Lemony, for your fortitude and for the spot-on review.


Anonymous T ~ Your warning about the Tom Cruise link was too late. I had a similar reaction but no surprise there, eh? As to my Discover card issue, I don't use ATM's and haven't used the card anywhere that it's left my possession. I do a lot of online purchasing and I'm guessing that's the source of the data theft. I really don't want to cancel the card as I've had it for 30 years and I like the rewards program and their service, in general. Maybe I should curtail my spending habits online.

OMK, I have reread Owen's comments and no where do I see any reference to alliteration in the clues. His "appellations" and examples refer to the fill in the grid, not the clues, as I interpret it, i. e., Peter Piper, Lex Luthor, Bugs Bunny, etc. If my interpretation is incorrect, that's my error but I would never knowingly slight Owen or anyone else deliberately. 😇

Have a great day.

Tinbeni said...

Lemon: Nice write-up. Good job!

Tracy & Victor: Thank you for a FUN Friday puzzle.

I'm on a flight to Moscow later today ...I enjoy "Year-End" Inventories.

Will "Toast Y'all" from Red Square on Monday night.


Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

This puzzle defined the FINITUDE of my ability to solve it. The cross with LEDE and that with RIMES formed a Natick which did not give way. BTW, I don't consider FINITUDE fresh fill; just annoying. But there were bright spots which made this solve worth doing. Liked the cluing for PSALMS, UNUM, and CULPA. We've had PAVANE before. LIFE hack was a learning.
UDDER - German Euter, L. German Jiller or Jidder. (Local dialects vary.)

Notwithstanding the above, I think Tracy and Victor composed a cw with much exceptional cluing. BZ

Husker Gary said...

-Uh, Lemon, themeless puzzles are my bailiwick! :-)
-LEDE is good, I learned what a drupe is and I’m good to go
-The Broadway play Hair was BOFF because the cast was in the BUFF
-I have a FINITUDE of interest in watching the rest of that PAVANE video
-Courage personified on the VAULT (1:13)
-I’LL GO to the craft show if you’ll go to the golf shop with me. FAIR ENOUGH
-Jimmy Dean singing Big Bad John - “Like a giant OAK TREE he just stood there alone”
-An URBANE person would be less appreciated here on the prairie
-Gotta run to go to a funeral in a snowstorm!

Yellowrocks said...

Mental Floss and many other online sites, as well as women's magazines have long lists of life hacks. For instance
"Life Hacks to Make 8 Household Chores Easier

I stared at HAREM because it is not a Japanese word. The Japanese borrowed it and pronounce it Ha ru mu.
In Japanese no consonant stands alone without a vowel, thus the mu instead of just an M.
MacDonald's is
マクドナルド Makudonarudo, See all the added vowels.

Finitude does not seem strange to me. There are dozens instances of it in writing.
"Wherever mortal beings are thoughtful about their mortality, and finite beings ponder their finitude, at whatever level of intellectual articulation, there is philosophy." New York Times Jan 7, 2015
"In conventional religion, the cultivation of transcendence — God, Dao, Brahman or Nirvana — helped people to appreciate human finitude." New York Times Dec 26, 2014
FLN. Mike S. Thanks for your reply. Deer and bears are a problem here. NJ is a densely populated state. In the days of the colonials there was much more open land and much fewer deer. We are destroying the deer's habitat, but in such a densely populated place there is not room for that many deer and not enough food for them either. They have few enemies here. As for bears, we cannot just leave whole swaths of land free of humans. People need habitat, too.
FLN, Anonymous T, thanks for the phone #.
Sorry, Victor, I meant to praise you as well as Tarcy.

Anonymous said...

John Denver performed “Take Me Home, Country Roads” in Charleston WV before the song became famous. The crowd went wild, much to the surprise of the band who thought it was just a good song. It is sung at WVU by students and fans after every football game and often played by the “Pride of West Virginia”, 365 piece award winning marching band. (Camping World Bowl game WVU-Syracuse today, ESPN 5:15 pm). He sang the song other times in WV, notably at the opening of the new Mountaineer Field. WV adopted it as a state song in 2014. His base player, who later played with Peter, Paul, and Mary, was no longer performing with Denver when he developed brain cancer. I was told that John Denver paid his medical bills.

inanehiker said...

Most of this was slow and steady - but with the mid Atlantic area I was stuck - partly because of putting LEAD instead of LEAD and WEES about not knowing PAVANE and could have perped RIMES but since I had the D of LEAD in there it messed that up and perping the rest of FINITUDE.

John Denver brings back many fond memories - first person I went to see live in concert back in the mid 70s. I had a friend from Virginia who thought VA was the center of the known universe -- she always joked that the lyrics were ALMOST heaven WEST Virginia because of course HEAVEN was VIRGINIA.

John Denver's wife Annie was from the Mankato/St Peter area of Minnesota. My boyfriend in college was from Mankato and when I visited we went to Holiday House dinner club that Annie's parents owned. Great food! Here is an article about it:

Lucina said...

Unless a theme slaps me in the face I don't usually get it, so a themeless puzzle for me is as good as a themed one. I thought perhaps the MESAS and RIDGES as well as OAKTREE might be part of a WVA theme. Thank you, Lemonade, for clearing that up.

In the SW, LIFE, SCIFI, HAREN emerged very slowly because of the unfamiliar cluing. LIFE hack is not something I recall hearing or reading.

And in the eastern center, I didn't know RIMES (not a fan) so UNUM and LEDE undid me though now I recognize LEDE. FINITUDE is another one I likely have seen but don't recall.

BRR is what we are experiencing this morning here. Temps were in the high 30s.

Hand up for Cary Grant as URBANE. David Niven, too.

Thank you to Tracy and Victor for this challenge and Lemonade, too; I always learn something from you.

Have a fruitful Friday, everyone!

Lucina said...

Oops! HAREM not HAREn.

Anonymous said...

The version oh “Country Roads” here is terrible! Words and music are not even correct. I am not good at the computer so, respectfully, could someone show a better version, maybe by John Denver himself?

Misty said...

Well, once again, no morning paper, so had to do the puzzle on the computer. Ironically, it felt easier than most Fridays that I do on paper. And, of course, cheating is easier, since the blog is right next door to the online puzzle site. The top right filled in first, but so did lots of other items, like SHALOM. Once I got USES, I knew the across would be SULU, but didn't know his rank. Got both LEGO and EGGS instantly, but never heard of either BOFF or DRUPE. My favorite clue, though, was the MARION one. I, of course, thought it referred to a woman, and when I realized it would be ETTE, I had to laugh out loud. I too wondered about the theme, and am relieved to learn there wasn't one. Still, thanks, Tracy and Victor, and Lemonade, the amount of knowledge you build into your commentary is awesome.

Have a safe trip, Tinbeni.

And have a good Friday, everybody.

desper-otto said...

Anon@11:30, Here ya go...Take Me Home Country Roads

Lemonade714 said...

For inanehiker:

I am at work so I have so speakers but here COUNTRY ROADS .

Misty, you make me blush. Tin, look forward to hearing from you but bring something warm. HG, themeless is you.

billocohoes said...

Of course the band was named after the prototype pickup truck, the Speedwagon, made from 1915-1953 by crossword staple Reo (founded by Ransom E Olds)

Only knew PAVANE from an album of works by Ravel. Besides Boléro it had Pavane for a Dead Princess

Lemonade714 said...

Among the reasons, I love the Corner is learning so much not only from solving puzzles, writing about puzzles but from all who post. Inanaehiker, I really enjoyed the article and learning about John Denver's ties to Minnesota, our "home" state.

I also stand corrected on FAIR ENOUGH; my mind was lost in the formal negotiations which have been a big part of my work life, not all the wonderful examples which are given.

Yellowrocks said...

Boffo, meaning extremely successful, is an adjective. Boff is a related noun, a hit or a success. BTW It is also a dirty word.

Avg Joe said...

I think it's worth mentioning that John Denver's namesake city wasn't all that thrilled with his appropriation of their moniker in the late 70's, during his heyday. Denver magazine once reported: "He should move back to Ohio and change his name to John Toledo."

billocohoes said...

Mountaineer, your “small outcropping” reminded me of today’s Zits comic.
Did Cincy have one of those?

Jayce said...

Nice, well-constructed puzzle. I was able to solve almost all of it without "help" but having RETIRE instead of RESIGN, and MR SULU instead of LT SULU, messed me up so much that I couldn't extricate myself without resorting to red letters. Oh, and for that event with a horse I had RODEO which also messed me up. Wrinkled my nose at HESHE and BOFF. Never heard of HAREM as an anime subgenre. I laughed to see LEGO my EGGO. I also laughed out loud at MarionETTE. Lots of Ls in the SE corner. A little bit freaky to have UHUH and LALA parallel to each other.

Owen, really nice writing. Thank you.

My wife went to Mankato State University for a while, several years before we met.

I've heard the term "life hack" but really don't know what it means, now that I think about it.

If "boof" means "fart" then Burt Reynolds is Cary Grant. Oh, and of those five little words "I don't know. Have you?" I wish the attention had been on the first three not the last two.

Good wishes and four calling birds to you all.

PK said...

I saw John Denver in concert and was amazed by his stamina. When his band left the stage, he stayed and did a more intimate set of songs -- just him & his guitar. Then later I was in Hershey, PA when he was there to do a concert. We drove through a nice resort there and saw John Denver playing tennis. My brother wanted to know if I wanted his autograph. I didn't want to invade his privacy so we didn't linger. My music club played a lot of his songs because they were easy for novices.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Crash-and-Burn for me today. I went w/ TNG's LT (Cmdr) Data instead of SULU giving me ASKS@27d.
I didn't know SATIN (only had D---N DOLL and though about DatiN' DOLL for way to long), nor RIMES, what a Drupe was, forgot the dance PAVANES (didn't we have that in the last two weeks?), and FINITUDE is right-out of my vocabulary. Time (thinking date-line) was not 'News article intro.'

Thanks Tracy and Victor for an otherwise fun puzzle.

Thanks Lem for the expo - learnt what Drupe meant and that it's not the horses VAULTing (pass the V8! BigE).

WOs: BOFo and TRoWL NET [sic] b/f noshing FETA.
Fav: 26a as clued for our Friday Shakespeare.
Runners-up: LEGO my EGGO in the grid. Clue for ACTRESS sent me on a Godiva train of thought. UDDER c/a was utterly giggle inducing.
Hate'd: BULL MARKET. Oh, it's a FAIR 'NUFF c/a; it just that it reminded me of my stocks in the last 3 months... IT CAN'T BE! NOT A HOPE! :-(

{Love it!}

IM - To add to YR (and likely more than you wanted to know) LIFE Hack is techie for "Hints from Heloise." Here's 100 simple ones (1/2 of which you probably already know/do).

Anon@10:30 - I already found it b/f refreshing to see that D-O linked one... Oh, what the heck: John Denver Live in '72.

Safe Travels Tin!

*I'm not Jewish but I did have Bagel w/Schmear & Lox this morning :-)

Bill G said...

Hi everybody. I enjoyed the puzzle as expected. Hard for me though. Thank goodness for red letters.

After I finally finished, I kept looking and looking for a theme. I couldn't find one and was frustrated by my apparent ineptitude. Now I find that there wasn't one. Aargh! Here's a strong vote for saving the themeless puzzles for Saturday and continuing to have difficult Friday puzzles with a theme.

We had bagels and lox for brunch a couple of days back.

Time for a mini-vacation.

Mind how you go.

~ Bill G

Michael said...

Well, if I wasn't awake before, this puzzle certainly did the job.

'Drupe remains' just had me drooping ... and things went downhill from there. Yuck.

Yellowrocks said...

billo @1:49, your Zits link reminds me of Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL. I was amused by a sign there saying HILL, near a very tiny rise that you could walk down in two easy steps. On the other hand, our development is on a 1/3 mile long hill,so much steeper than that.

Anonymous T said...

Jerry L - Oh, God! [Trailer]. I loved that movie (forgot Denver was in it) and didn't know Reiner was in on it too - Carl is a genius! //and his kid, Rob, isn't bad either [and I caught your reference to Mel's Young Frankenstein SHOW].

Thanks for bringing it up... Put a smile on my face, it did.

Mini-vacation time...
Cheers, -T

Wilbur Charles said...

Well, Ms RIMES got me again. I was thinking of Les etats unie and of course LEAD seemed obvious. So. I ended up with FINIT.IAE

OK, I shouldn't rush a weekend xword

I was thinking ONCLES but they kept it simple
I thought of SMEE and HOOK for Pan name. I guess BELL might fit too

Was it here or NYT that we had PAVANE show up?
J fromVt. Best laugh of the day

I see Spitz has the same solving experience

Misty, until I saw your post I never got Marion-ETTE
I better post now


OwenKL said...


Wanted BOFo > BOFF, mazel tov > SHALOM.

Ah, for the days when I was still a dancer. Mostly square dancing, but also ballroom, minuet, Renaissance ... I'm sure I must have done PAVANE, tho probably just thought of it as a variety of contra. That clip was a travesty of a graceful period enjoyment!

Until I read the write-up, I assumed VAULT was part of steeplechasing.

OAK TREE? Here's one I revised from an unknown poet a year ago.

At one time I lived about 3 blocks from Ursula LeGuin, and knew of her by reputation, but hadn't read any of her books, which sounded more like fantasy while I preferred hard science fiction, so never made an effort to meet her. By the time I did read and love her books, I lived far away.

IM,FLN: "appellation" is a descriptive name, which is what a crossword clue can often be considered to be.

One of my favorite TV channels is truTV, including a show called "Hack My Life".

Anonymous T said...

At risk of over posting today say...

OKL - You seem steeped in SCIFI so I was going to ask about Ursula LeGuin's books... Piers Anthony was my last venture into SCI-Fantasy [prep'in' for Desert Storm, I got the whole Incarnation series]... come to think of it, that was my last venture into any fiction.

Anyway, would a grown dude still enjoy Ursula LeGuin? //I still enjoy picking up Asimov's short stories if that helps w/ your answer.

Cheers, -T

Anonymous said...

YR @1029 - yes it’s a conundrum. I guess over time all critters will adjust their populations to what their altered habitats can provide. If there are a lot of restrictions on hunting in NJ, easing them could contribute to a solution. But adaptation is a lot slower than development, so we humans have to live with the problems we create, often for the long time it takes nature to adjust.

Mike Sherline

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

A bit late to the party today. Technical DNF, because I never heard of a drupe (neither has spell check), so I tried guts instead of pits. Hey, it fit, and in the words of Splynter it was 100% 50% correct, or something like that.

OKL’s mention of the song Massachusetts reminds me of a story. Back in the 80’s I was visiting a college friend in Turkey. There were lots of English-speaking Turkish friends around, mostly college age, and we tended to gather for companionship and song. One guitar-playing young Turk had heard where I lived, and started playing Massachusetts for my benefit. He was soon joined by the locals, who knew most of the words, but there was a hitch: I had never heard of the song. They were astonished. I was embarrassed. Oops.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Not a pleasant experience.
I'm with Thumper & SwampCat.
Today's puzz required more attention than I'm inclined to give a leisure activity.
I appreciated Lemonade's good spirit and readiness to roll with a theme-less Friday, but I'll concede the victories to my more dedicated colleagues.

A pzl like this causes me to reflect on my gamesmanship. Normally, I am a great believer in P+P. But I don't use red letters, and if I can't solve more than four out of nine sectors on my own (as today), I don't see the point of Goggling for help.

Funny: when I saw the Bennett name, I recognized one of my family's surnames & thought--for just a moment--I might share a wavelength.
But, helas!--'twas not to be.
Bless all today's finishers. The Bennett/Fleming team has sent this holiday hurdle to you.

Lemonade714 said...

Here is the link to the ZIT COMIC

I changed the John Denver link.

He should have been Fred Minnesota, I guess.

TTP said...

Busy day. Thank you Tracy Bennett, Victor Fleming and Lemonade 714.

I actually solved this one the other day. Didn't see that there was any theme.

But I thought it was a fine and challenging puzzle, worthy of a Friday.

Lemonade, Dash T, I just fixed the link to the Pikachu entry. It may not be the one Lemonade intended, but a) it's the subject matter, and b) I couldn't decipher the link that was in the html. looks like it got corrupted. So Lemonade, you can change it again if it's not what you wanted.

Our nephew had hundreds and hundreds of Pokemon cards. He was really into it. I never understood it. But I did understand that Pokemon card and related ephemera was always a sure hit.

Unknown said...

Tracy joins me in saying you are welcome and in thanking you for all the nice comments. My files show we made this puzzle in the fall of 2017. We intended a themeless with an Easter egg. Original clue for 5d was something like [Not sublime ... just shy]. It was Rich's call to clue 5d & 22d as an overt mini-theme. Nothing else was intentional. Vic

Yellowrocks said...

Takei,'s,speech reminds me of WW II. I was only 7+ years old at its end, yet I remember it vividly, the rationing, the air raid drills and black out curtains, a nightmare about solidiers on the hill behind our house. The war news was always on the radio. Nothing was mentioned about the Japanese Americans' internment in my hearing back then.
As an adult I was shocked and dismayed to hear of this ignoble event.
Many of us here have read The House on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, a poignant segment of this story. I highly recommend the book.
Since then I have read many WWII historical novels, especially about the resistance groups, the refugees, the extermination camps, and The Righteous Among the Nations who risked their lives to help the Jews.

Lemonade714 said...

Vic, thank you for stopping by and sharing a little more insight into your creation.

TTP, thank you; that was the same link I had originally.

Bill G said...

These two make me smile on the inside. Laurel and Hardy do a little dance

Abejo said...

Good evening, folks. Thank you, Tracy Bennett and Victor Fleming, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Lemonade, for a fine review.

No theme, huh? Well most of the time I do not look expressly for the theme, I just trip over it as I am wending my way through the puzzle. Sometimes i never see it until I come to the blog. I thought that today, I just missed it. So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Puzzle was a tough one. Got through most of it in decent time, but had a problem in the South and east. FINITUDE and LEDE was tough one. PAVANES was a new word for me. I just winged at PITS and its worked.

Liked ALMOST HEAVEN WEST VIRGINIA. Great song. Too bad John died in a plane crash. I lived and worked in West Virginia. Bluefield. I always remember the Flat Top National Bank in Bluefield.

Liked the Roman and Latin clues/answers. CULPA, HILLS, PIETAS.

Liked the 150 PSALMS.

Anyhow, my family and I are going to the Italian Restaurant across the street for dinner. WikWak, TTP, and Madame Defarge have all been there.

See you tomorrow.


( )

Anonymous T said...

@5:54 - I don't play for an audience but, yeah, sometimes :-)

Vic - thanks for the inside-baseball. So Ridges, wasn't a subtle-sub, eh? It really was a well constructed (and clued) puzzle - just enough out of my wheelhouse to learn something(s).

BillG - I read in the Houston Chronicle this week that Stan & Ollie is a good movie.

Picard & YR - I too learned later in life about internment camps. Like WC, I heard it in an interview with Takei on NPR. Sometimes humans suck...[see: below]

Jerry L - I want to thank you again. For four bucks I rented 'Oh, God' on XFinity. Eldest, DW & I enjoyed (DW said she was going to tend to emails but stayed 'till the end). The movie (and the message) is, sans all the brown and yellow wardrobe/appliances [what the heck were people thinking?!? - I guess avocado-green just went out :-)], timeless.
And I'm agnostic :-)

Cheers, -T

Dudley said...

WC 7:42 - true, I’m completely ignorant about football and pretty much every other sport. I did go to a Patriots game at Gillette Stadium about 15 years ago (a neighbor’s wife had fallen ill, and her ticket was going to waste) but I don’t recall a state song, or a fight song, or any other music. (It was a cold rainy day, and the fog was such that I could barely see players, let alone a football - perhaps I didn’t see the NFL at its best)

Could you expand a bit? Do you mean the BeeGees song was repurposed?

Yellowrocks said...

I forgot what an Easter egg is in crosswords. See Unknown (Vic) @ 5:14.
Anonymous T, how were you ignored? I love your posts.

Anonymous T said...

YR - were you asking what an Easter Egg is?

As far as ignored, I was joking along w/ @5:54...
//Though, it was funny that JzB posted the cartoon "Aisle B, Bach" the day after I made the same-but-not-as-good Schwarzenegger joke [see: Wed/Tues]. No biggie; like I said, I just play for myself -- wait, that sounds oddly-wrong... :-)

Re my 9:53 - I meant to say "humans suck but there's hope... [see: below]" 'Oh, God' is that message - it's on us folks!

Cheers, -T

Yellowrocks said...

Thanks, Anonymous and Anonymous T.

Anonymous T said...

Overposter say...

YR & @12:07 - I can see folks skipping over my posts or missing bits of what I type. I take no offense.

I've been told more than once that I'm not so good at communicating / hard to parse (in English; my code always compiles :-)). Even DW, who kinda likes me, says so. :-) -T

Anonymous T said...

Really overposting say...

Smothers Brothers all grown up for your good-nite giggle.[7:11] //Picard - they mention Van Nuys; that's how I stumbled upon it.

Nite. -T

Anonymous said...

-T Smothers are still great! Thanks.

MIke Sherline

Lemonade714 said...

I apologize for reposting the trailer, and I was at work and missed -T's post. I did delete it once it was noted. I appreciate every comment. Thank you -T for your posts and attitude.