Dec 1, 2018

Saturday, December 1, 2018, Frederick J. Healy

Themeless Saturday by Frederick J. Healy

Today on this first day of December, we celebrate National Christmas Lights Day. Depending on your taste, this house is either a wonderful, festive expression of holiday spirit or a prime example of going overboard worthy of Clark Griswold from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

At our little outpost here on the Great Plains, outside lights are illuminated on the day after Thanksgiving although some of our neighbors have had their lights on for two weeks which does not seem right to my lovely bride.

Some households wait until the first Sunday of advent to put up lights and take them down after epiphany. Your preference?

Soon after inventing the incandescent bulb, Edison's good friend and partner Edward Johnson strung 80 miniature bulbs together and hung them around the lab at Menlo Park.
President Grover Cleveland had strings of  these light installed on the White House Christmas Tree in 1895.

This  ad below shows how the Edison Decorative and Miniature Lamp Department sold their electric product as a safer alternative to using candles on Christmas trees.

Today's constructor is Fredrick J. Healy and I have found out that he has had several themeless Saturday puzzles published here in the past few years. 


1. Early Greek lyric poet: SAPPHO - SAPPHO of Lesbos was a poet of antiquity whose work is mostly lost. In some circles she has become a symbol of modern feminism 

7. Roll by: ELAPSE - Somehow, 50 years have ELAPSED since I started teaching

13. Strong desire: CRAVING.

15. Respectful bow: SALAAM - Cultural coin-flip? 

16. Friendly greeting: HEY THERE - A wonderful song from The Pajama Game sung by George Clooney's Aunt Rosemary 

18. Eastern religion: SHINTO - The state religion of Japan until 1945

19. Novak Djokovic's org.: ATP - Association of Tennis Professionals

20. Place to gas up for free?: OPEN BAR  that may be accompanied by a 22. Beer __: NUT  or two or fifty or... 

23. Memorable Gregory Peck role: AHAB - As I recently blogged, Peck said at one time he was embarrassed by his portrayal  

25. How work may be done near a deadline: MADLY - I waited until Dec. 23 to bury $100 (in baggies) in Jello for the kids Christmas presents and had to work MADLY to get done. It was great fun to see them eat their way to cash.

26. Drain: TIRE - Didn't you TIRE of the political nonsense in the ads last month? Talk about your obloquy! 

27. California's __ Verdes Peninsula: PALOS  - Some modest housing on the peninsula 

29. '70s radical gp.: SLA - The Symbionese Liberation Army famously kidnapped Patty Hearst where she may or may not have developed Stockholm Syndrome

30. Singer Stefani et al.: GWENS- The first name of the rookie teacher who ran in  to tell me to  turn on my TV on 9/11/01 during class

31. Reception for champions: THREE CHEERS - Hip, hip... 3X

34. Scrooge types: CHEAP SKATES - In the late 18th century a "skate" in America was a name for mean person. Cheap was later added to compound the felony

35. Fruity treat: BANANA SPLIT - To be eaten, not worn!

36. Jazz guitarist Herb: ELLIS - Remember Jeffrey Wechsler's recent TRELLIS ISLAND 

37. Terre dans la mer: ILE - Literally "earth in the sea" (Island)

38. Wetland birds: TERNS.

42. Caffeine-rich seed: KOLA - No Pepsi after noon for me

43. 1960 Random House acquisition: KNOPF 

45. Wild way to run: RIOT - A headline about an embarrassing Australian loss to Scotland in Rugby

46. Web crawler, e.g.: BOT - A internet application that can perform repetitive tasks quickly for good or ill. Okay...

47. Hit the skids: GO TO POT - "The idea here is of chopping ingredients up into small pieces before putting them in the pot for cooking and from this comes the sense 'be ruined or destroyed'" You're welcome!

49. Pressure meas.: PSI 

50. Designer Pucci: EMILIO - Haute couture is not my cup 'o tea.

52. Traditional Dixie dessert: PECAN PIE - Please keep the pronunciation 54. Comment: REMARKs civil!

55. Reptile named for the warning sound it makes: RATTLER 

56. Stars: GREATS - Norma Desmond, "The Stars are ageless, aren't they?"

57. Death Star "super" weapons: LASERS - What else on Christmas Lights Day?


1. Award-winning ESPN writer/reporter Jeremy: SCHAAP - I much preferred his sports writer dad Dick Schaap

2. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's first female inductee: ARETHA - Powerful and soulful!

3. Check alternative: PAYPAL.

4. Many a GI: PVT.

5. Old Ritz rival: HI HO - Pitched by an Old TV Character

6. Afternoon hr.: ONE PM - One day at this time of day as I faced three more classes, I finally decided retirement was a great option after literally answering the bell for 42 years

7. Lamb product: ESSAY - Charles Lamb wrote the ESSAYS but he used the pseudonym of Elia which was the last name of a fellow worker at South Sea House in London

8. Memorable lion suit wearer: LAHR - The lovable Cowardly Lion from Oz

9. 2001 biopic: ALI - Will Smith as The Greatest

10. Burro's baskets: PANNIERS - The Burros laden with PANNIERS from The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre

11. Former GM cars: SATURNS - More GM cars will become "former" next year as GM retools for the future 

12. Doesn't act well: EMOTES - There's nothing worse than a ham EMOTING in a turkey

14. Stage makeup staple: GREASE PAINT - This gave us the haunting Who Can I Turn To?

17. Programmer's problem: ENDLESS LOOP - Sometimes you  just have to shut the machine off and start over

21. McCormick offering: BLACK PEPPER - A staple in our cupboard for decades

24. Gulf of __: Baltic Sea arm: BOTHNIA - I knew this about as well as I did Gabon last Saturday ๐Ÿ˜

26. Modern poster: TWEETER.

28. Trees whose fruit yields a moisturizing butter: SHEAS - More Africa geography: Here a woman is processing SHEA Tree nuts in Burkina Faso 

30. Catch on: GET IT

32. Bolted: RAN.

33. Bryan's "Malcolm in the Middle" role: HAL - That's Bryan Cranston as Hal on the left and as Walter White in Breaking Bad seven years later

34. Use a certain two-handed signal: CALL TIME - Making the T with your two hands will indicate a TIME OUT

35. 19th-century women's rights advocate Amelia: BLOOMER- Amelia did not invent BLOOMERS but she wore them and advocated their use in her newspaper so women could dress in less restrictive clothing. Therefore, her name became associated with them.

36. "La Dolce Vita" actress: EKBERG - Ms. EKBERG eschewed Ms. BLOOMER'S apparel in this Trevi Fountain scene from La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life)

39. Flow in small waves: RIPPLE - Seen above

40. More inclined to pry: NOSIER.

41. "M*A*S*H" actor David Ogden __: STIERS - Major Charles Emerson Winchester

43. Screwballs: KOOKS.

44. Kind of point: FOCAL - Did Archimedes really start Roman ships on fire with polished shields reflecting sunlight to a FOCAL point in 212 B.C.?

47. Prepared (oneself) for action: GIRT  - I have GIRDED my loins but never did I GIRT them as far as I know ๐Ÿ˜Š

48. "Catch ya later": TATA.

51. A.L. West team, in crawl lines: LAA - The Los Angeles Angels have been referred to as HALOS in these puzzles 

53. Some Windows systems: NTS (New Technology) - Sheldon on operating systems

Comment at will:


OwenKL said...

FIWrong. Knew I had troubles in the SW, and 5 out 7 bad cells were there.
In the NW, SCHnAP + nTP,
In the NE, PANgIERS + gUT,
in the SW, BOTHNeA, cOLA, aLLeS, acBERt, tREndS, LAn, GIRd.
Aside from names, PANNIERS was the only word new to me. NUT, KOLA, GREAT, GIRT were just stupid errors.

PECAN and BANANA were canoodling, the car was unlit.
She had taken off her shell, his peel was open a bit.
Then the siren squeal came,
A raid on lover's lane! --
She wasn't quite ripe, so the BANANA SPLIT!

The OPEN BAR had what AHAB was CRAVING
A root-beer float with PECAN and almond shavings!
The ice cream was cosmopolitan,
Not vanilla or neapolitan,
Not chocolate, but chocolate RIPPLE, for those behaving!

{B+, C+.}

manitoba said...

Where the hell did you drag GIRT from?

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Wow, did I blow this one! That first A in SCHAAP was an L. My burros wore PANGIERS, thus providing my beer GUT. The fog rolled in over the Golden Gate and never rolled out again. EKBERG (could picture Anita, but couldn't remember her name), BLOOMER and CALL TIME all remained wintry white. My performance was too sad to be called a simple DNF. Humbling. Thanx a bunch, Frederick and Husker.

RE Christmas Lights: Our abode remains fashionably dark so as to not detract from what the neighbors might do. In recent years they haven't done anything, either. Had a routine dental cleaning on Thursday, and the Muzak radio was tuned to a station playing non-stop Christmas music. It was still November! I couldn't work in that office; mayhem or murder would result.

BOTHNIA: A body of water apparently named by Kripke.

RIPPLE: Also a high-class wine.

ENDLESS LOOP: I plead guilty to creating a few in my programming days. Loops are very useful, but there has to be an exit.

Lemonade714 said...

Thank you, Frederick and Gary. Not too many unknown or forgottens; Herb ELLIS is still a blank page in my memory bank; PANNIER was sort of inferrable but not because I know it, and, the Gulf of BOTHNIA sounds like a bad SNL skit about a man with a lisp reporting on the conflicts in the Balkans. Instead, it is between Finland and Sweden which gave us the incomparable ANITA EKBERG who highlighted a woman's charms in LA DOLCE VITA and more, but in the end (if you watch) shows that internal beauty is all that lasts.

Lemonade714 said...

past participle of gird.

billocohoes said...

Sds, cOcA, and gUT before SLA, KOLA and NUT

Remembered PANNIERS from biking equipment.

Mythbusters disproved Archimedes' rays, or at least they showed that flaming arrows would be easier and more effective. It wasn't mentioned until hundreds of years later.

Forming a "T" is an informal CALL for a TIME out, but referees in basketball and football cross their hands (arms) over their heads.

jfromvt said...

Typical Saturday puzzle for me, start out slowly then pecked away. Finally got the three long across answers in the middle, and that opened up the puzzle for me.

Lots of college football on today, good way to spend this dreary Saturday.

WikWak said...

Wow. Just... wow. Mr Healy well and truly gave me a drubbing today! Too many names I didn’t know, and the whole NW remained pristine until after I had finished the rest. Red letter help was needed there. Surprisingly (to me, anyway), the long fills (ENDLESS LOOP, PANNIERS, BLACK PEPPER, GREASEPAINT, THREE CHEERS, CHEAPSKATE, BANANA SPLIT), came much easier than many of the short ones. Thanks, Husker, for 'splaining the origins of CHEAPSKATE.

The Gulf of BOTHNIA was a gimme for this geography teacher. But ATP? Who knew?

Cool, dark and rainy here. Looks as though we’ll lose much of the snow cover today. This seems a perfect time to go back to bed. So I will.

Have a great day, all!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Hrumph. Another Technical DNF. That Schaap guy was totally, completely, and utterly unknown, making that corner largely experimental.

Hand up for gird/girt - I missed the tense of “prepared” in the clue.

Morning Husker, I hold the view that people have gone way, way over the top in holiday and similar decorations. Halloween stuff should be stowed by sunup on Nov. 1. Wait until Dec. 1 to fire up the lights. Don’t get me started on retail practices!

Lemonade714 said...


PK, I was "legally" blind as a child with my vision 20x300 in my left (good eye) and able to distinguish fingers at 1" in my right eye. I suffered from a genetic/unknown cause condition known as KERATOCONUS which somehow afflicted me as a small child. KERATO meaning of the cornea. It is the same as referenced yesterday with ker·a·to·mi·leu·sis the "K" in LASIK surgery.

As with many challenged people, I adapted and survived, never wanting to admit I was "handicapped." I was blessed to be introduced to some doctors at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary they were home to pioneers such as Claes H. Dohlman, M.D a Swedish doctor brought to Harvard Medical School (HMS) for cornea research and treatment.

Because I was affected by a condition which usually did not occur in young people, and because my version of the condition was so severe (see right eye above) I was a teaching subject at HMS for many years.

Growing up in a medical family (my uncle was a physician and health officer for Windham County and my mother a registered nurse) we were kept in the loop and participated in various experimental (at the time) treatments such as the use of gas permeable scleral lenses.

I have many stories, but when I was fully grown, I had a corneal transplant. The 50th anniversary will be exactly two weeks from today. I spent 13 days in the hospital for what is now outpatient surgery.

But the operation was a success, and the cornea is still there and healthy. The trauma has had other effects and my optic nerve is shot and my vision in my good eye is limited and never clear anymore. I had two surgeries on the right eye but they were never successful though now I see better than distinguishing fingers.

D-O your comment was better than mine, and white rabbit, white rabbit all, as this made me realize today is the 1st.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

This was a big, fat FIW due to the Schaap/ATP and Pannier/Nut crossings. I was so sure of WTA and Gut but, alas, no cigar. I also had SDS before SLA, Amok instead of Riot, and Gird before Girt. Bothnia, Sappho, Hal, and Palos needed perps. The long fill was fun, as well as helpful to the solve. Ellis right next to Ile struck my fancy.

Thanks, Mr. Healy, for a Saturday stumper and thanks, HG, for a merry and cheery expo. The Banana Split kitty looks none too happy! Just the other day, I said that an acquaintance was a "good skate" and, later, I thought to myself, what an odd expression. Thanks to you, it's no longer odd. Well, maybe it's still a little odd, but at least I know how it came about!

Have a great day.

desper-otto said...

Spitz, I think you're referring to a d-o loop.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Good Saturday slog today but eventually got it all except in the SW. Had to look up EKBERG and EMILIO in my crossword dictionary. The longer center fills were relatively easy and helped with the overall solve.
ENDLESS LOOP - As D-O did, I, too, had to learn to be careful when programming a DO loop In Fortran II back in the 60's. Eventually got pretty good at it, especially nested DO loops, and wrote some good stuff such as modelling the backwater profile of the Upper Niagara River surface profile where it exits Lake Erie at Buffalo - Ft. Erie. The work eventually developed into a Master's Thesis.
BOTHNIA - Ice forms easily there in Winter due to latitude and the low salinity of the water. Finnish and Swedish icebreakers are kept busy every winter keeping open the shipping lanes.
SCHAAP - Means "sheep" in Dutch.

desper-otto said...

Dang, I'm prescient.

Clay said...

I'm surprised nobody (including the Crosswords Fiend reviewer) caught that Healy also included 16 sets of double letters in this grid. When I got ATP and AHAB, I saw that AA and since I didn't know the name Schaap, I questioned having AA in someone's name, but then got SALAAM and thought this might be a theme, which I think it is.

Lucina said...

Normally, I look forward to themeless Saturday's because they offer a sporting challenge. In most of this I sashayed all the way to the Natick of several names. ELLIS, BLOOMER, EKBERG, EMILIO and at the top SCHAAP. I should have recalled the eponymous BLOOMER and the unforgettable EKBERG but didn't.

I see, too, that I'm in good company with beer GUT since PANNIERS is unfamiliar to me though now that I think about it, I've heard the term.

Even lamb product didn't fool me; I knew it referred to ELIA's ESSAY. Had ELLIS somehow referred to the island I'm sure we all would have aced it.

GIRT is perfectly acceptable.

Thank you, Gary, for some interesting instruction on the background of CHEAPSKATE and your always lovely, explanatory graphics.

Thank you for the detailed explanation of your eyesight problems. I had wondered when and how you became so nearsighted.

Have a fantastic day, everyone!

JJM said...

I thought that this was probably the easiest Saturday puzzle in weeks. I stumbled at KNOPF, but overcame it quickly.

Put me down for the first answer I had for 22A was RUN and not NUT. "Forget the NUTS... just go on a BEER RUN" hahaha!

JoeB said...

RIP George H. W. BUSH

A patriot, dedicated to a lifelong service of his country and a much admired family man. I just read his bio on wiki and wow, just wow.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Thank you, Fred, for the challenging puzzle. Thank you, Gary, for "lighting" our waze through the murk.

I knew KNOPF & PANNIERS but the spelling escaped me for awhile.


GM cars: niece's husband is a foreman on a GM production line making Malibus. Wondering what the future holds for him. He weathered a lay-off work-force reduction a few years ago. They have four kids with two in college next year so...

Lemony: thank you for sharing your interesting eye story. Wow! How you do what you do is amazing.

Yellowrocks said...

FIW. Very crunchy. I filled 2/3 correctly, the east coast and the middle vertical stripe, with plenty of P&P. For the west coast I needed help. The puzzle was very enjoyable. Gary, terrific, as always!
We say PEE CAN with both syllables stressed equally. Dictionaries usually give a choice of two pronunciations, neither is right or wrong. Pecan pie used to be a favorite of mine. Now I find it too sweet. Just as well, because I have to watch my glucose.
Poor kitty with the banana coat! I feel sorry for her.
My favorite Gregory Peck role was Atticus Finch.
Lemonade, you really have had a trial with you eyesight. It is amazing you have done as well as you can.
Girt and girded are both past tense of gird.
I admired George H.W. Bush, even when I didn't agree with him. Many of his policies I liked.
I am very stressed and distracted this week. Alan functions like an 8 year old, at best. Yesterday I went to our neurologist to receive yet another affidavit to affirm this. The doctor incredulously asked whether the team had a talked to Alan. Yes, just 3 or 4 very basic questions that gave no hint about how well he functions. During our appeal the team said his IQ of 58 is too high for help. The alternative would be a rent subsidized apartment with an aide coming in once or twice a week. Horrors!! Mama Bear is scared, mad, and very worried. I have an appointment with an attorney on wed.

Spitzboov said...

We called them DO loops because that was the Fortran command. There were certain arguments entered after DO such as range, number of iterations, etc.

Picard said...

There is a difference between crunchy and absurdly unfair. There, I said it. Unfair.

A good constructor will at least cross a Natick from one field with a Natick from another field. SCHAAP/ATP are both sports Naticks. Did WAG it correctly, but SCHNAP/NTP looks more reasonable.

Then there was the SW:

Not crunchy. Absurd. Yes, Unfair. FIW with EKBERT and GIRD with no idea what TREADS have to do with STARS.

PECAN PIE is the one treat I enjoy in this season. Sorry to be a grinch, but most "treats" in this season have spices I find most distasteful. Hooray for PECAN PIE! However you pronounce it!

Can someone please explain how an OPEN BAR relates to GAS?

I just know SALAAM as a verbal greeting in Arabic. Not as a BOW.

Husker Gary as usual, thank you for your illustrations! Loved Radar pitching HIHOs! I also wondered about the FOCAL story with Archimedes.

Here we got to see a RATTLER up close and personal at Joshua Tree in March.

I love all the blue tongue flicks!

Here was a Polo RECEPTION FOR CHAMPIONS we saw last year.

I don't remember THREE CHEERS given.

desper-otto said...

Spitz, I was just pullin' your chain.

JJM, here's your Beer Run.

desper-otto said...

YR, we also say PEE CAN, but we call the nut a pih-cahn'.

Anonymous said...

Picard, if you are unable to parse "gas up" at an OPEN BAR, then you are not qualified to deem a puzzle "unfair". Maybe it would be better for you to stick to the Monday through Friday puzzles if Saturdays if you feel this puzzle was absurdly unfair. It was a fine puzzle that really challenged the silver.

P.S. I didnt finish at first. Need to "cheat" twice before I solved it.

Husker Gary said...

-Picard, GASSED is another euphemism for getting drunk which of course can happen at any bar. I apologize for assuming that the concept would be more common and here is an All-American expression of the idea.

Yellowrocks said...

Free Dictionary; "gassed (up) mod. alcohol or drug intoxicated. Fred is gassed up and very wobbly." I got that one. So many idioms for drunk.
I have seem salaam used as a bow. From Google: "a gesture of greeting or respect, with or without a spoken salutation, typically consisting of a low bow of the head and body with the hand or fingers touching the forehead."
Picard, tough puzzle. Although I failed miserably on the west coast, I found that only the A in SHAAP crossing the A in ATP were was not perpable. Now that I think of it, I believe I have heard of one of the SHAAPs on ESPN. By the time I got to that section I was all out of P&P. On some Saturdays, I might have done better. I'm not functioning on all cylinders lately, anyway. This morning I had to go right back to Shop Rite for four important items I will need this weekend. And I had a list.

Spitzboov said...

Ah, now I get it. The eponymous d-o command.

My one-time boss was from El Paso, living in western NY. He braced when someone would call the nut a PEE'-CAN, and tell us in Texas it was a pih-CAAN'.

Picard said...

Husker Gary and Yellowrocks thanks for explaining that meaning of GAS. New to me.

Yellowrocks glad you agree that SCHAAP/ATP is impossible to get without a lucky WAG.

But the SW was worse. I forgot to add BOTHNIA to the list of absurd Naticks crossing in that area. And it is a stretch to call KOLA a "seed". I feel proud that I got as close to correct as I did. Remember, I am one who only counts it as FIR if I do not look things up.

I will say I appreciated the learning moments of BLOOMER and GIRT.

Thanks again, Husker Gary!

Dudley said...

Rats! I forgot that November is in now the past!

Rabbit Rabbit

I hope it’s not too late

Avg Joe said...

I stopped at a roadside pecan stand in Georgia many years ago. There was no posted price, so I asked how much they were. "How much are what?" the proprietor asked. "The 'Pih-Cahns'" I said. "$3 a pound." I bought a couple pounds, then asked "Why did you ask that question? You're not selling anything else." He said "That's my way of pricing them. If you'd of asked for "Pee Cans", it would have been $5 a pound."

PK said...

I forgot to include SAPPHO as DNK. Crossed with SCHAAP, a natick. I just moved on. First known down was ONE P.M. Kept on going before I backed into SCHAAP then red-lettered ATP. I had trouble coming up with ARETHA for a while altho I certainly knew the answer to the clue. A few perps and the rest came to mind. Sad to no longer remember names. At one time, I was good at names.

Sad rainy day here. My BFF let me know that she had to get hospice help with her 90-yr-old husband this week altho he is still at home. Such a load on her. I'm too far away to be a help. Lovely elegant lady with a good heart that I have been fortunate enough to have in my life since age 5.

YR: Thinking of you in this time of frustration with Alan's possibilities. Maybe you should just walk out of the "judges" office and leave Alan alone there for an hour or two before you return. Disappear & let them stew. It might open their eyes.

Sometimes what is on the internet is so ignorant. I saw advertising for how to perform a douche which included the first instruction to "insert into the virginia." I didn't click on that.

AnonymousPVX said...

Well, a completed grid, but the new to me GIRT did me in. Didn’t even realize GIRT was a word, although that left me stuck with GREADS, which I didn’t check. Oh well.

Markovers....not that many but as I didn’t correctly finish no point in listing.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Maugre Edison's wonderful lights, there is nothing that beats the beauty of a candle-lit Christmas tree.
I recognize the danger, but if one takes the appropriate precautions, candles can be both safe and beautiful. I discovered this years ago when mounting annual productions of A Christmas Carol. We used a candle-lit tree at the end of the show, when we added a visit from Father Christmas to our curtain call.
We worked with the city fire commissioner to do it safely (with extinguishers built into the tree's base, flanked by hired firemen in costume).
I was so taken with the softly glowing tree that for several years we went with a candle-lit tree at home -
always being sure to light it only when we were present in the room & extinguishing the candles one by one when we were done.
It made for a very pleasant, intimate ceremony each evening. Sometimes we sang carols as we lit the tree.

A tough pzl today. Mr. Healy had my number. One of my main hangups was DAD before HAL. I finished about half before Googling for some help. But after a few prompts I found some fun in closing up.

clatskanieclay @10:46 ~
You're on to something! Yes, I agree that so many double letters - 16 pair! - constitute a theme. I suppose it hasn't been REMARKed elsewhere because Saturday pzls are supposed to be theme-less.
Aha! This one slipped under the wire...


Anonymous said...

Funny, when I can't FIR, I say to myself "wow this one kicked my butt". I never say it is absurdly unfair. If I dont know an answer, it is my lack of knowledge to blame, not the constructor's evil doing.

Yellowrocks said...

Picard, I didn't know Bothnia. On this blog we can learn something new almost every day. Bothnia is so large I am surprised that I have never seen it mentioned anywhere. PALOS VERDE was buried very deeply, so I had to wag the O. Of course! Duh! I heard of that. But, I didn't know that "The bark of a palo verde tree is green because it's filled with chlorophyll. Unlike most trees, this plant gets a lot of photosynthesizing done through its bark. According to The Arizona Native Plant Society, only about a third of the palo verde's food is produced by the leaves." from Tucson,com.
You are in good company, Picard. I think most of the regulars agree. "Remember, I am one who only counts it as FIR if I do not look things up." I filled all the cells correctly after getting help, so I gave myself a FIW, as did many other posters. I was relieved to see others had similar problems. We were not alone. Schadenfreude? Actually, if there is no way I could have known, I feel good. If I think I should have known better, I regret my errors, not like Piaf with her, "Je ne regrette rien."

Sandyanon said...


Jayce said...

Somehow I managed to complete this puzzle, but only after turning on red letters when I still had about 6 or 7 answers unfilled. That's how I found out that my SDS at 29a and my WTA at 19a were wrong. I won't tell you what I thought when I had F-CAL at 44d; happily I thought wrong. I did manage to remember Dick SCHAAP but only after filling that name from the perps. Well not quite the perps because I had WTA until I turned red letters on. 'Twas a hard puzzle.

The programmer at work often wrote code that got stuck in endless loops, almost always while waiting for some external event to happen. If that event would never happen, usually due to the external device malfunctioning or not even being turned on, then the program would never continue, waiting forever for Godot. His reply was, "Well, make sure the modem is turned on before you boot up." My reply to that was, "Well, make sure you break out of the damn loop and report an error code indicating that the modem is not present." Fortunately my boss sided with me.

Happy December to you all.

Michael said...

I see I'm among friends. This was a certified, Class A, doozy.

In addition to WEES, the area around Lake Tahoe just wouldn't resolve ... probably because I had BUG for 'web crawler', so nothing else could coalesce.

Humiliy comes too easily on Saturdays!

Bill G said...

Hi everybody. Saturdays are always too hard for me. Thank goodness for red letters. Otherwise I'd usually be successful only through about Thursday.

The Palos Verdes peninsula is about a 20-minute drive from here. We drive along a road skirting the western side, enjoy the view of the Pacific, and then turn inland for a stop at a coffee shop. We usually have a tuna salad sandwich and a pastry. Then we drive up toward the top of the peninsula and enjoy another panoramic view of the coastline. I usually bring my Image-Stabilized binoculars. You can see from the Manhattan Beach pier all the way around to Catalina Island. I never get tired of that view.

Lemonade714 said...

There is no competition in solving unless you go to the ACPT or another tournament. There is no shame in not finishing and two crossing clues which you do not happen to know are not a Natick. A Natick only occurs if something is so obscure a huge percentage of solvers do not know it. When you complain about a puzzle which others solved and even thought was easy, you are the one not being fair.
I knew SCHAAP (like HG, both father, and son) and ATP has been the governing body for men's tennis for years. The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) was formed in September 1972 by Donald Dell, Jack Kramer, and Cliff Drysdale to protect the interests of male professional tennis players. Drysdale became the first President. Since 1990, the association has organized the worldwide tennis tour for men and linked the title of the tour with the organization's name. It is the governing body of men's professional tennis. When the tennis world changed and allowed professionals to play in the previously amateur only events, someone needed to step in. This is/was a fascinating part of tennis history.
I enjoy knowing answers and solving but I also love learning. I also appreciate the challenge of correctly "deducing" an answer. You may call that a WAG but there is much stored in our brains. Relax and don't worry, nobody here thinks more or less of you based on your solving expertise. Thos of us who blog get plenty wrong, but hopefully not always the same thing.
Rant over.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Jayce ~
Appreciate your tale of the weaselly progammer. A reminder that no one should ever, ever wait for Godot.
But dang if they don't still do it...

On another note, I used to have a lovely pinup of Anita EKBERG on the wall of my work studio.
She was d.d. gorgeous. She died three years ago, age 83.
Tempis fugit

or maybe Sic transit... is more appropriate.

Anonymous said...

"Endless Loop" is acceptable, but FWIW, the preferred term among many programmers is "Infinite Loop".

What's the story if there is one behind Apple's Infinite Loop address?

Lemonade714 said...

BTW to clarify, my comments are not directed at any individual poster but a certain type of post. Relax and enjoy

Ladies, in my life I only know what I know and while it might have been easier without visual challenges, maybe not. If I felt any negative aspect, it was being somewhat alienated from others. This led to some bad choices and misunderstandings for which I have paid dearly.

Yellowrocks said...

PK, AnonT, IM, Madame D and others, thanks for your support. This is one of the most life altering episodes we have faced in many years. I am cannot leave Alan to the tender mercies of the state of NJ after 55 years of caring and supporting him.
As for myself, despite being diabetic, I am loading up on carbs and raising my BP due to stress. I am reading novels like crazy for distraction.
At age 80 I need to make plans. If I cannot settle Alan's future I cannot settle my own. If I become disabled or demented, my care options do not include a dependent. What can I sign up for without knowing where he will be? If I am disabled or die, what will happen to Alan? For many reasons which I cannot go into, David and his wife cannot take Alan in, but they can oversee his care.
On a happy note, Motoko is home and using a walker. David drives her to outpatient therapy a couple times a week. I believe she will be able to return to a normal life.
PK, I know we can't email each other. Others, please leave the blog to talk to me by email. I know this off topic.

Sandyanon said...

Not a rant, just a clear explanation. Yes, ATP was a "gimme" for me, though not for a non-tennis-fan. Areas of knowledge differ so much, and I appreciate the new knowledge I can pick up on this blog.

Abejo said...

Good afternoon, folks. Thank you, Frederick J. Healy, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Husker Gary, for a fine review.

This puzzle was TOUGH! Spent quite a few hours on it. Got it, but lots of perps and wags. Using the iPad and cruciverb told me when I had it right.

The SW corner was my last to finish.

BLOOMER, CALL TIME, ELLIS, EMILIO, LAA, GREATS all crossing did not help. GREATS gave me a breakthrough.

Liked BLACK PEPPER. That is my favorite condiment, and lots of it.

Anyhow, we are heading to Chicago tonight for a dinner. See you tomorrow.


( )

Moodnuck said...

Girt???? Really?

Lucina said...

Solving CW puzzles is all about experience and learning as well as some good guessing. Though Lemonade thoroughly explained ATP just now, I would not have guessed it in 100 years because I know very little about tennis or any other sports and have no desire to learn about them.

After more than 65 years of solving a puzzle like today's just excites me; it's the thrill of the hunt to discover how much I can do and always preferably unassisted. Today, however, I had to look up those names much to my chagrin. And as I said earlier, I should have recalled them.

I so empathize with your plight; it sounds terribly frustrating to be unable to comfortable accommodate your son's future. I'm your age and I can't imagine what I would do in the same circumstances. Good luck and many prayers for you from me.

Again, I am astonished at how much you do with your visual handicap.

Good catch! I went back to look at them and found them all.

Sandyanon said...

And for anyone interested: the ATP clue referenced Novak Djokovic because he finished this year as the No. 1 ranked player in the ATP!

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

//yes Michael, you are among compatriots on this one...
DNF by a mile. Chalk it up to a learning-day; I could only get the SE w/o copious cheats [thanks to HG, I could get some extra-play / AHA!s]. Thanks for the offering Frederick but it was way above my pay-grade. #FredKickedMyBurro

Missteps that didn't help: Ritz's rival ≠ Omni, Joplin (1995) must have gone into RROHF after ARETHA (1987 inductee), Blogger wasn't the Modern poster (and Op-Art was right out). At least I was able to fix Amok to RIOT on my own.

Thanks again HG for letting me look at your paper. Expo was excellent and we may get our lights up sometime this month (neighbor, the show-off!, got his lights out last week). BTW, no one's commented on it since you started it - I like the histogram post-grid; I'm not sure why but it's fun to look at letter distribution - and today had as many As as Es (nice catch @clatskanieclay)

Clue for OPEN BAR was cute.

{A, C+}

FLN - Picard: Harness Replacement Smoke was hilarious.
FLN - CED: I love Taxi and that clip is one of my favorite scenes. The other is Jim analyzes Latka's cookies. You're welcome :-)

YR - Your tenacity is not only impressive but will eventually land Alan what he needs. #YouGoGirl

Lem - did not know that about your journey gaining sight; I can't imagine being a kid in and out of surgeries.

AveJoe - Typical charm of the South - stick-it-to-the-Yankees :-)

JoeB - Yes, Houston (and the country) lost a Hero last night. My favorite images of him are of he and Barbra behind home plate at Minute Maid park. I never got to meet him - I always wanted to tell him he was the only Republican I voted for Prez twice (in both elections*). GHWB will be missed. +/- your thoughts on his policies, he was an outstanding man.

D-O: I wanted Logic Errors for 17d. I suppose an ENDLESS LOOP is an example of such but only perps (via cheat) let me see it. My early programming was prone to LOOPS w/o END (especially when playing w/ Recursion); nowadays I use foreachs over a set - makes 'em near impossible.

On "puzzling rules": 'Tis like Golf - you play against yourself.

Cheers, -T
*'88 was the first election I could vote in.

Ol' Man Keith said...

I appreciate Husker G's explanation of the meaning behind "GO TO POT."
And I always thought it was when one was reduced to seeking solace in marijuana.

Spitzboov said...

John Moody @ 1555 -= GIRT - What is wrong with that? It's in Merriam as and accepted 'girt' past tense (participle). Sea GIRT is a town in Monmouth Co., NJ.

Lemon, thanks for sharing your eye history problems. You've been through a lot.
Your treatise on puzzle solving at 1458 is bang on. Thanx.

SwampCat said...

I am watching the Alabama/ Georgia game on TV. Georgia is leading. A sweet young thing was just captured on camera yelling the F-word on National TV. Sweet young things are just not what they used to be.

Picard said...

Lemonade thank you for sharing your vision challenge with us.

AnonT glad you enjoyed the Lucas Smoke Theory, including the jar of replacement smoke! That guy in the video sure took a lot of time to get the smoke generator lit, though!

Here is a nice cartoon representing a misuse of the word "Fair"!

I have a very specific concept of "Fair" in mind and I am sorry if I am not conveying it well.

To me, it is a lazy constructor who makes a puzzle "hard" by using obscure words. Even more lazy for doing so in a way that favors people with one kind of knowledge over another. I admire a puzzle that challenges the solver to be creative. And that rewards the solver for that effort.

It takes extra work for the constructor to re-work a puzzle when painted into a corner. A lazy constructor just sticks some obscure fill in to patch over the problem.

Yellowrocks I think you captured my frustration quite well when you speak of "regret". If I give a puzzle my best effort and find that there was no way I could have solved it... That is when I call it "Unfair".

I will continue to call out puzzles that I consider to be "Unfair" in this way. And I will continue to praise good constructors and their puzzles: The ones that reward creative problem solving. End of my rant!

billocohoes said...

Never heard GASsed as drunk. I"ve heard it as tired, worn down, panting, as in "the football team's defense was gassed by the fourth quarter" (probably from "out of gas")

As an old COBOL programmer, LOOPs were usually when you coded "Perform paragraph-1 until counter = x", then either forgetting to increment the counter, or not resetting it for the next record.

Anonymous said...

Billocohoes points out the dual opposite meaning of GASSED! I think someone just posted about those type of words, maybe YR. They even have a name. Oppositophones or something like that.

Picard can continue to rant as he can continue to wrong as well. Neither Schaap nor ATP are obscure. Just because one doesn't follow sports does it allow him or her to deem all sports clues obscure. If you want to play along in the puzzle world you'd be wise to expand your knowledge of all trivia, including sports and poetry and Jewish months and African countries and even some French! (wink,wink)

Btw, I would never accuse a constructor of being lazy. That's just ignorant. They create puzzles for us mere mortals not for monetary gain or even notoriety (half the time they dont even get a byline), they play along just for the love of the game. They have by utmost respect and understanding of a tough corner to fill.

Like I mentioned earlier, I NEVER think to blame the constructor for a tough puzzle or a even a Natick. This puzzle stuff is not easy and has many subsets of interest among the solving crowd. Your definition of lazy is another's definition of sheer genius. Oh well, c'lest la vie.

Anonymous said...

Although the clue was in reference to Dick Schaap's son and was not immediately clear to me, once I got a couple of letters I recognized the very famous sports related name. Isn't how tough puzzles are supposed to work? On Monday thru Thursday Dick would be in the client to make the answer easier.

Just as Lemonade made the case for ATP being not obscure, the same could be said of SCHAAP. The man won 8 Emmy awards and eventually had an Emmy award named for him, The Dick Schaap Outstanding Writing Award. He has had bestsellers on the NYT list. The bane SCHAAP is a known entity.

I read his wiki to learn he attended Cornell (shout out), was a friend or rather a father figure to Bobby Fisher and died from complications after a hip replacement surgery. Pretty neat to learn all this because of a random clue in my morning crossword puzzle.

Yellowrocks said...

Amen, Anon @ 6:26

SwampCat said...

Thanks Anon@ 6:26. That’s what it’s supposed to be about!

Bill G said...

This puzzle was too hard for me also and as a result, I didn't have a lot of fun trying to solve it. It's not the constructor's or editor's fault. Friday and Saturday puzzles are supposed to be hard. Red letters save the day, thank goodness.

On another matter entirely, when you carefully took apart a frog in high school biology class, you said you were dissecting the frog. How did you pronounce 'dissect'? Most people seem to say die-sect and so did I for most of my life. But I think it's supposed to sound like dis-sect. If you cut an angle in half with a geometric construction, it's bisect, pronounced bi-sect. It's easy to pronounce dissect the same way. But it starts with 'dis.'

Bill G said...

As a college student, I looked forward with anticipation whenever a foreign film would come out with Anita Ekberg... Later, I switched allegiance to Sophia Loren.

Spitzboov said...

Bill G @ 1942 - You bring up an interesting point. So much so that I went to Merriam for their sound description and, indeed, it is pronounced with a long i on the first syllable but accented on the second syllable. Sorry, no short i.

Sandyanon said...

M. Picard,
If there is no way you could have solved everything in a given puzzle, then that just means that you lack some specific knowledge. Another person may well possess that specific knowledge but be lacking in some area with which you are totally conversant. In fact, since no one person can know everything, the situation I describe is inevitable.

So how is it unfair to you any more than to that other person? Neither fairness nor blame is a relevant concept.

Please give over attributing to the constructor what is really attributable to the solver.

Sandyanon said...

I checked half a dozen dictionary websites and found that, in general, dis-sect (short i) is the preferred U.S. pronunciation, with di-sect (long i) as a preferred British pronunciation, and a secondary U.S. pronunciation.

Trivial issue, but interesting. Always enjoy finding information about language; thanks for the impetus.

TX Ms said...

Crash and burn! East side filled in easily, beer [G]ut, Shinto, Gwens, essay, Lahr. Felt too confident with beer Gut and never alpha-checked - never heard of Beer Nut(s?!) anyway. Then SE and northward. C/W dictionary helped with Sappho to complete the cw. Except I had gird, instead of GIRT (never heard of the past tense of "gird." Never heard of "greads" but I was stubborn - girt, really? Oh, well, parse and learn.

Big Easy said...

It doesn't look good when both 1A & 1D,SAPPHO & SCHAAP, are unknowns along with PANNIERS, HAL (and Bryan and Malcom...) & KNOPF. as for the rest I did GET IT after many false starts.

SOPHIA Loren? Nope, EKBERG after COLA changed to KOLA and GIRD to GIRT.
My original 'Bolted' was ATE not RAN; The SDS turned out to be the SLA.

McCormick offering- there are many spices out there.
Windows NT? Microsoft quit supporting it because most users used pirated copies. Why support something that most people didn't pay for.


TX Ms said...

D-O @ 12:13 and Avg Joe @ 1:13 - couldn't stop laughing - you guys are hoots-and-a-half!

Lucina said...

Well. I would never accuse a constructor of being lazy; I've not tried constructing myself but I'm sure it requires some high intelligence and creativity. If a constructor happens to assign an obscure or unknown (to me) term, it is not her/his fault and it's up to me, the solver, to learn it or discover it.

Like anonymous @6:26 I have the utmost respect for constructors.

Wilbur Charles said...

A tour de force YR


Wilbur Charles said...

You mean to say you passed on Michael Dukakis?

Boston Bill

Wilbur Charles said...

I got Anita mixed up with this other Swede
And I had the _ UT, Ran the alphabet and got to G. "That'll do" I said. Mr S nodded. I think I know PANNIERS.

The T signal is Technical Foul. To call time one extends a hand and says "TIME!".
I was thinking PEAR COMPOST. I LIU. They do have dessert composts.
And... BELLS PEPPER. The Elia clue was Qte.

I kept thinking of GOOSEPAINT.

Owen, #1 = A+
I thought this was extremely tough as I had to go all the way down to STIERS to get started. I had my mtg at ten and bolted TO the restaurant for another shot at it.
The Wilbur syndrome says the cerebellum will work on the puzzle unconsciously. Strangely, no one has asked me to donate my brain to science*

In COBOL we PERFORMed While or Until(hence the ENDLESS LOOP when "X" can't be reached. It was always advisable to use > or < not =. )

I too thought "Infinite loop". Too technical for xword use and too many letters
I believe Sophia Loren was in La Dolce Vita too

Note on solving. Saturday is supposed to be virtually unsolvable. I found that I couldn't allow myself the benefit of a lookup**. In fact, I solve in pen with the challenge of only inking when I'm sure. ***

And, I'm Sports knowledgeable but was thinking WTA(Which is Women's tour)


*Only to the COMPOST
** Except when my son Phillip is around for gaming questions. This is supposed to be fun
*** I had such a mess one week I had to buy another paper and recopy

Wilbur Charles said...

It just dawned on me that the word i was looking for is COMPOTE, as in Fruit compote


Michael said...

SpitzB @ 2016: "Bill G @ 1942 - You bring up an interesting point. So much so that I went to Merriam for their sound description and, indeed, it is pronounced with a long i on the first syllable but accented on the second syllable. Sorry, no short i."

May I respectfully disagree here? I've been pronouncing 'dissect; as 'dih-SECT' every since my first scalpel in bio lab, lo, these many decades ago. (This may be a California regionalism; but both forms are legit. IMHO, YMMV, and the other disclaimers as needed.)

Anonymous T said...

Well, that was a good nap! But, boy, look what I missed...

BillO -COBOL(?) [how well did you make out in '99? :-)]; another computer guy? It strikes me odd at all the tech-folks on this blog - is it just because we're techies so we are more likely to be bloggin' OR is there something about techs that we're drawn to puzzles? - Chicken/Egg Conundrum...

Picard - I'm going to have to disagree w/ you on that. No constructor (sans perhaps present company) is lazy. To me gridding is the hardest part (I've got 16 drafts* of one who's corners I cannot paint myself out of). To wit - today's triple-11 stacks, both vertically & horizontally, would drive me mad [+ I'm too ignorant to know I could turn _NOP_ into something like KNOPF**]. If it weren't for C.C.'s brilliance in grid'n', my puzzle ideas would have never made print. Chalk it up to areas you aren't versed in and take on some learnin'. //BTW, I was moaning to DW on how hard even 1a was (who else wanted Homer?, you know, the only one you know!) and she nailed SAPPHO on her third guess running through Greek lyricists.

Finally - and to put this to bed - yes sometime a constructor just can't help a clunker. It is forgiven (even by the Ed.) if the rest of the grid is solid.

WC - I laughed 2x at Compote-post. I too will donate my body to Science...Fiction.

BigE - NT isn't supported anymore because M$ feared missing the app-cloud revenue streams. NT 4 SP 6.51 and XP SP3 were probably the best, most stable, versions of Windows M$ produced. Vista was the "app" desktop, Win 7 continued NT's interface (and stability) because of the backlash, then 8 (appy) & 10 went Cloudy - which from a defensive-security perspective is #GameOver #IGiveUp. //put a sniffer on your network and watch how many times Windows/Office reaches out to M$ for bits of code.
Note: in the Registry, the "versions" listed above are all NT - see: Wiki

BillG - Die-Sect, Bye-Sect, Try-Sect, and Puree [:30 SNL / Bass ad]

Cheers, -T
*And I've got the software & 1/2 the dictionaries on the market.
**I'd certainly need three more squares for Knopfler [4:08 and go for it CED!]

Anonymous said...

I think anyone paying attention is aware of Picard's disdain for all things sports. Well, today, two crossing clues that referenced sports really flummoxed the poor fella and he is just throwing a hissy fit. Hopefully he'll wake up tomorrow and realize the error of his ways. Maybe he will even apologize to all the constructors who visit out fair corner, especially to our hostess C.C..

Curious Lurker said...

Just curious: Did anyone solve this correctly with no help?

This puzzle seemed unusually full of weird words.