Dec 25, 2018

Tuesday, December 25, 2018 Mark McClain


17. Film character #1 (played by George C. Scott in 1984): EBENEZER SCROOGE.

25. Film character #2 (played by Leo G. Carroll in 1938): JACOB MARLEY.

43. Film character #3 (played by Kermit the Frog in 1992): BOB CRATCHIT.

55. Novella that introduced the three film characters: A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Why Does Charles Dickens Use Staves Instead of Chapters in A Christmas Carol ?

An appropriate puzzle for the day. 


1. Clever or stylish: SMART

6. October gem: OPAL.

10. Most eligible, draftwise: ONE A in crossword puzzle answers.  1-A in the Selective Service classification system that was used from 1948 - 1976.  

14. Temple scroll: TORAH.

15. "The X-Files" agent Scully: DANA.

16. Gym specimens: BODS.

20. Non-commercial TV commercial: PSA. Public Service Announcement

21. Order (around): BOSS.

22. Canadian province with a French motto: QUEBEC.  Figured Quebec, but didn't know the motto.  It is "Je me souviens" which translates to "I remember."

23. New Mexico art hub: TAOS.

24. Little bears: CUBS.

29. Polished off: ATE.

32. Go along (with): AGREE.

33. Spot for an AirPod: EAR.

34. The Grinch's dog: MAX.

35. Meadow bleats: BAAS.

36. Fronts of hands: PALMS.

38. __ torch: party light: TIKI.

 Mele Kalikimaka

39. Commercial URL suffix: BIZ.  Phonetic abbreviation for business.  This Top Level Domain ( TLD. e.g. .com, .edu, .gov, .net etc), was introduced in 2001 to relieve some of the demand for the .com (commercial) TLD. 

40. Sac fly result: RBI.

41. Makes simpler: EASES.

42. No particular one: ANY.

46. Like many breakfast bars: OATY.

47. Resound: ECHO.

48. Long-eared dog: BEAGLE.  "Large dogs in small packages"

51. Height: Pref.: ALTI. Altitude

52. Fed. law known as Obamacare: ACA. Affordable Care Act.

58. Shade provider: TREE.

59. Jog: TROT.

60. Geometric truth: AXIOM.

61. Totals: SUMS.

62. Drink with sushi: SAKE.

63. Plumbing issues: LEAKS.


1. How-to instruction: STEP.

2. Unruly crowds: MOBs.

3. Geometric product: AREA.

4. Sought office: RAN.

5. George Herman Ruth's nickname: THE BABE.

6. Ukrainian city: ODESSA.

7. Golf scorecard numbers: PARs.

8. Q&A part: Abbr.: ANS.

9. Glossy coatings: LACQUERs.

10. Orchestral reeds: OBOEs.

11. Rookie, in gaming: NOOB.

12. Sharp part of a sheet of paper: EDGE.

13. "Just __!": A SEC.

18. Repeated Mazda ad word: ZOOM.

19. Shade of red: RUBY.

23. Wiggled digits: TOES.

24. Chowder morsel: CLAM.

25. Hutt in "Star Wars": JABBA.

26. "Time and __": illustrated Jack Finney novel: AGAIN.

27. Outlandish, as an idea: CRAZY.

28. Artifact: RELIC.

29. Barn-raising sect: AMISH.

30. "Oh Myyy!" memoirist George: TAKEI.

31. Be real: EXIST.

36. Some public demonstrations: PROTESTS.

37. First name in advice: ABBY. "Dear Abby..."  Syndicated advice column started in 1956.  

38. Tex-Mex snack: TACO.

41. Principled: ETHICAL.

43. Indonesian resort island: BALI.

44. "I can __": words of empathy: RELATE.

45. Doesn't just sit there: ACTS.

46. Fairy tale beasts: OGRES.

48. Dugout rack items: BATS.

49. Earth tone: ECRU.

50. "Excuse me ... ": AHEM.

51. Run __: go wild: AMOK.

52. Puccini solo: ARIA. Let's have some Bach instead

53. Kitchen worker: COOK.

54. Help for the poor: ALMS.

56. Refrain syllable: TRA.

57. Firefighter's tool: AXE.

Notes from C.C.:

1) Happy Birthday to dear Yellowrocks (Kathy), whose strength and persistence have been a source of inspiration for me over the years. Thanks for being here for us, Kathy!
Yellowrocks and son David, Sept 2016
2) Happy 80th Birthday also to Lorraine (Fermatprime), who's been with the blog since Nov 2009. 

Thanksgiving, 2015
3) Have to share with you this sweet picture JD sent me last night. JD lost her Blogger password and could not get back to the blog. If any of you know how, please let us know in the Comments section.

Brothers and Cousins: Truman, 11, Dylan, 5, Cameron, 8, Grady, 9


OwenKL said...

Bah, humbug! I'm trying to be funny and light, but failing.

EBENEZER SCROOGE would seem a proper villain,
And the noisy chains of JACOB MARLEY could be chillin'.
BOB CRATCHIT was to blame
That Tiny Tim was lame,
But three CHRISTMAS ghosts, to change it were all willin'!

MOBS with TIKI Torches in this era
Symbolize a revived racist terror.
From the past, a RELIC,
Of days so not idyllic
When PROTEST were to make our nation fairer!

If I were SMART, what could I do?
Be like a BOSS, or like a NOOB?
Make a TACO?
Trace an ECHO?
Paint my room a nice ECRU?

A RUBY's red, bright and clear.
An OPAL swirls with colors queer.
One seems angry, chaos bent,
The other has a calm intent.
An oyster's nacre is opalescent,
But our blood has ruby essence.

{A-, B, C-, A-.}

fermatprime said...


Thanks to Mark and TTP!

Only had pause with MAX.

Happy Birthday Kathy!

I am 80 today! Whew!

Have a great day!

Dudley said...

Hello Puzzlers -

Merry Christmas, fellow Cornerites. HBTY Fermat and YR!

Morning TTP, good of you to keep us informed, educated, and amused this fine holiday. I particularly enjoyed the time-lapse barn raising - I’d like to know how a workforce of that size is coordinated.

Smooth sailing through today’s puzzle, even using the LAT. Those who are Cruciverb-dependent, as I am, will know it’s broken again. I was hoping for a strong Christmas theme, and this one delivered.

I find myself awake not from visions of sugarplums, but from restless noisy in-law house guests, one of whom apparently has a nasty cold. Oh dear!

Greetings C.C., thanks for providing us some room at the inn! :-)

Hahtoolah said...

Good Morning, TTP and friends. How nice to have a Christmas theme today! My favorite version of The Christmas Carol is the one with Mr. Magoo.

Today I learned that Plumbing Issues are not Clogs, but LEAKS; and that Totals is not Adds, but SUMS.

I hope everyone has a Joyous Christmas day. As is the American Jewish tradition on Christmas, we will be joining friends for Chinese food.

Happy Birthday, Yellow Rocks.

Today's puzzle was a virtual CSO to our Birthday Girl, Fermaprime with (1) Geometric Produce = AREA; (2) Totals = SUMS; and (3) Geometric Truth = AXIOM. Thus, today's QOD is for her ...

QOD: If I feel unhappy, I do mathematics to become happy. If I am happy, I do mathematics to keep happy. ~ Alfrรฉd Rรฉnyi (Mar. 20, 1921 ~ Feb. 1, 1970), Hungarian mathematician

BobB said...

Happy birthday fem@prime, Christmas babies usually get shortchanged on gifts. I was 75 this past summer, I wonder if young people do crosswords. Young to me is under 40.

Lemonade714 said...

Fermat- 80! wonderful, have a wonderful birthday and year. YR, happy day and year to you as well.

This was obviously timely, and there could have been so many more theme fill as there have been so many ADAPTATIONS. A true classic.

My only unknown was the TIME AND AGAIN NOVEL which sounds like an interesting read.

If you live in South Florida you would know the motto JE ME SOUVIENS as it is on all the license plates of all our snowbirds from Quebec. We have 4 or 5 here at our place.
The motto comes from the French verb SOUVENIR which we have appropriated into English to mean a remembrance or keepsake. The word was derived from the Latin "subvenire" "occur to the mind"

Thank you as always for a fun solve Mark and a really detailed write-up T.

I wish you all a merry, merry Christmas

Lemonade714 said...

Bob Niles, if you look at the many new constructors who are quite young, I am sure many young people do crosswords. I think as long as people commute on subways, cars, and planes the puzzle will not die. You just have to look around at all the new puzzle sites that have come on board. I am just not sure that the Sunday family ritual of solving the New York Times is still around.

Lemonade714 said...

JD, a great picture. Have you tried just going to g-mail and creating a new password there and using it to sign in here?

desper-otto said...

Good morning! And Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate; Happy Holidays to the rest of you. All is calm, not yet bright, and there's no sign of round John Virgin here in south Texas.

Things were zipping along until I put a fifth E in EBENEEZER...and ran out of room. Quickly fixed. Based on TTP's expo, I evidently missed reading lotsa clues, because the answer was already filled in. Thanx, for the softball, Mark. TTP, that's more than I wanted to know about papercuts.

Happy Birthday, YR and Fermat! I hope it's a special day.

Chore time...

Mark McClain said...

Good morning, all and a very merry Christmas! Thanks C.C. for the usual entertaining expo, and thanks to all for spending a bit of your day with me. I can't tell you how much pleasure it gives me to know that so many people are taking the time to enjoy (or be puzzled by) my work. My hat is off to Rich Norris, who does such a classy job of editing, and everyone else who's involved in the process. Last night I had the opportunity to watch the Albert Finney (1970) version of the Dickens Christmas classic ("Scrooge"). In addition to telling the well-known tale, this film introduces some wonderful show tunes (and takes a few liberties with the story line). Finney was in his mid-30's when the film was made and played both the elderly Scrooge and Scrooge as a young adult.

Mark McClain said...

Sorry - TTP expo CC comments . . .

Jinx in Norfolk said...

Happy birthday to YR and ferm! As an antidote to Hahtoolah's Renyi quote, here's a song about math from another Christmas baby, Jimmy Buffett. The song was condemned by the NEA, which means I loved it automatically.

FIR, but erased TAKaI. If you aren't a Howard Stern fan, you probably don't know that "oh myyy" is George's catch phrase. Fascinating person. Hates William Shatner and is an advocate for human rights. Lived in an internment camp during WWII. Was among the first to wed when California legalized gay marriage.

Thanks to Mark for the fun puzzle. I had forgotten about the Muppet Christmas movie. And thanks to TTP for the very visual review.

Montana said...

Lemon and JD—that's how I recently got back to the blog.
Happy Birthday Fermat & YR!

What Dudley said!

Have an enjoyable day, everyone.


Husker Gary said...

-A Q, X and two Z’s near the top. A pangram?
-Maybe he used Staves because the story is a barrel of fun!
-Christmas at my Grandma OPAL’s was “Children are to be seen and not heard”
-I’ve never seen X-FIles and this is the only Scully some of us know
-Would I be thought “snobbish” if I say Kah bek’ and not Kwa beck’?
-MIL worked in ALT(A) (high) Mont (Mountain) during WWII in our crossword Uinta Range
-There is debate whether THE BABE could have hit today’s 100+ MPH pitching
-OBOES must be hard to play
-I watched a late 50’s What’s My Line and the first guest was ABBY’s advice column twin sister who signed in as “Mrs. Jules Lederer”
-HBD YR and Ferm and nice pix JD!

Madame Defarge said...


Greetings. I have been busy making Christmas magic, but I have done all the puzzles and read all the blogs. Just no time to write. Merci to all this week's constructors, bloggers, and commentators. I always enjoy being here.

Happy Birthday YR and Ferm. And my husband thinks he suffered a childhood of forgotten birthdays on December 20! Be well everyone.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Day!

SwampCat said...

What a wonderful Christmas gift! Thanks, Mark. And thanks for stopping by. TTP the fun expo was also a gift.

HG, DANA Scully was apparently named for Vin Scully. As an X-phile such trivia washed over me and some stuck.

Hahtoolah, I didn’t know of the Chinese food custom on Christmas. My Jewish relatives came over las night for gumbo on Christmas Eve, and invited me to go out to dinner with them tonight... probably to a Chinese restaurant. Traditions just fascinate me!

Happy birthday YR and Fermat.

thehondohurricane said...

Happy birthday YR & Ferm. may you have many more.

And again to you who celebrate, MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Full house at Hondo's today. Two dils , two sons. 3 grand children, and four dogs.

Anthony Gael Moral said...

To Hahtoolah and other Jewish and Muslim friends ---

Thanks for the Christmas wishes. It's a great tradition that goes beyond religion and seeks to reach the hearts of all. To everyone I wish a Merry Christmas and hope they feel deeply the spirit of the season.

And thanks LA Times for recognizing the day.

Misty said...

I feel blessed today!

Woke up to find no LA Times newspaper for the third day in a row. Feared no puzzle, no blog--a sad and miserable Christmas day coming up. Then noticed I had a link that said Crossword Daily. I clicked on it, and there it was: today's LA Times puzzle! Woohoo! I've never seen or done a puzzle on line, but I gingerly put in a word, and it worked! Woohoo! And so I began my first on-line puzzle on Christmas Day, 2018. And, can you believe it, I got the whole thing! Woohoo! In fact, after I put in the last word, a message came on that said 100% and 27.16 minutes. And it was true--when I came to the blog, I did indeed get everything right! Woohoo! So my thanks to the figures in the Nativity, but also to everyone here! Perfect Christmas puzzle, and thank you for checking in with us, Mark. Great write-up, TTP. And thanks for posting, C.C., and for being our Christmas spirit all year around!

Will I ever get a morning newspaper again? I don't know--but the fact that I can do the puzzle is a huge relief.

Happy birthday, Yellowrocks--great picture! And have a wonderful landmark 80, Fermatprime!

And Merry Christmas, everyone!

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Mark McClain, for a fine puzzle. thank you, TTP, for a fine review.

Happy Birthday, Yellowrocks. Wow, a Christmas Baby! Good for you!

TTP: Enjoyed especially the barn raising. That was fun.

Puzzle worked out fine. A couple inkblots, but that's OK with me. Tried RUN before RBI became obvious. Misspelled EBENEZER and CRATCHIT. Par for the course. I am a spelling freak, but I do make mistakes getting there.

Liked the BEAGLE link. Great dogs. We now have a Pit Bull mix and she is a fine dog. Very friendly. (Except for the mail man.)

Stayed up until 2:00 AM last night. Our daughter and her boy friend were over after church. Had a good time. I got some Fat Tire as a gift. Ho Ho Ho!

TAKEI was unknown to me. Perps.

OK, lots to do today. Oldest daughter and her family are coming in tomorrow from Ohio.

See you tomorrow.


( )

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

This was a pretty straightforward offering and timely, to boot. No stumbling blocks and any unknowns were solved with perps.

Thanks, Mark, for a fun Christmas present and for dropping by and thanks, TTP, for the very enjoyable expo and links. Liked the barn raising video and loved seeing Flash, the super-sniffer strut his stuff! Our Beagle used to howl along when I played the piano. I think he was howling in protest, not in approval!

Happy Birthday, YR, hope it's a special day. ๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽˆ๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿพ

Happy Birthday, Ferm, 80 is a great milestone! Enjoy your day. ๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽˆ๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿพ

JD, nice to see the boys growing up.

Merry Christmas to all.

TTP said...

A Merry Christmas to us all !

Happy Birthday to Yellowrocks and Fermatprime !

Dudley, you were up about the time I was finally getting back to sleep.

Mark, I agree. Hats off to Rich. His editing enhances every puzzle.

Misty, congratulations on your first online solve !

JD, assuming you don't have a blog, try the second option at:

I have to get into the kitchen. See all y'all later n'at !

D4E4H said...

Just a quick note to let you know that I am settling into Rehab well. I must wear a sling on my left arm until Jan, 23 so my rehab of the left shoulder will start then. I am saving the CW from the Louisville paper, and will work in ink. I am not reading comments, so if you wish to talk, you may call me on (502) 645-0822.

Merry Christmas!


Lucina said...

Feliz navidad! I hope all are enjoying the spirit of Christmas which is love and peace to all.

Happy birthday, Yellowrocks and Fermatprine!

I finished the puzzle in almost no time and was pleased to see the Christmas theme. Bravo! Thank you, Mark M.

This morning I went to my daughter's home at 6:30 then came home and took a nap! My SIL made waffles for us after all gifts were opened.

Your grandsons grow cuter by the year!

Thank you for your gift of a narrative today. TTP Tuesdays are terrific!

I wish peace and joy for everyone!

Jayce said...

Merry Christmas! Excellent puzzle and comments. Happy birthday, Yellowrocks and Fermatprime.

Anonymous T said...

Merry Christmas all!

Thanks Mark for a SMART Christmas puzzle; even had a TREE and MAX the dog tossed in. SUMS up to fun. I nearly finished before the Girls had their presents open. Thanks for popping into The Corner today.

SciFi sub-theme: X-files, Star Wars, Star Trek (TAKEI)
Baseball sub-theme: THE BABE, RBI, BATS

Thanks TTP for the fun expo - you said yesterday you were prepping to stuff our stockings and you delivered. The AMISH barn raising was cool (I liked the buggies going in and out of frame too) and the PSA was funny. I'll be back for Bach later //Schwarzenegger: I'll be Bach :-)

WOs: CRATCHeT which Mr. Sulu fixed. Started Anne(?) Landers b/f checking perps; got ABBY w/ an RBI.
Fav: Something about TIKI xing TAKEI tickles me.

{A, A+, B+, B+}

Happy Birthday Fermat & YR. Hope you got extra somethings from Santa.

D4 - good to hear from you.

JD - Cute kids! Thanks for sharing the photo.
Adding to the Chorus: Click forgot password at (or however you get to The Google) and it will email you a temporary password at the address you registered with. Once you're done, get KeePass to vault your passwords :-)

Turkey's in the oven, deviled eggs are done, brussel sprouts ready for roasting, potatoes prep'd for boiling... I think I can catch 20-winks before it's time to COOK some more.

Play later. Cheers, -T

PK said...

Merry Merry, Y'all! Great seasonal puzzle, Mark, without being overly religious! Nice to have you stop by. Thanks, TTP, for the nice gift in our Christmas stockings.

Zipped right through this puzzle! MAX & AGAIN were unknown but filled before I read the clue.

Happy Birthday, Kathy & Lorraine! When I was pregnant during the Christmas season, I always thought I was so glad I didn't have to ride to Bethlehem on a donkey and give birth in a barn.

My elder son called yesterday and invited me to their house in another town for Christmas dinner. I declined since I catch any stray virus going around and I need to be well enough to go to the gathering of all my kids and grandkids on Saturday. My son volunteered to come get me and take me to that event since I might have trouble getting there and back. I am relieved. He has been my kindest offspring and always takes care of me if he knows I need something. I just hate to ask.

Lucina said...

Whew! PK, that is such a relief for you. What a wonderful thing to have a caring son like that.

Bill G said...

Merry Christmas to everybody! Also, very happy birthday wishes for Yellowrocks and Fermatprime!

Thanks Mark and Rich for all of your excellent and creative output.

We just got back from a Christmas brunch at my daughter's condo. We used to have everybody over here but it's nice to be able to pass the torch. Deviled eggs, bagels and lox, cinnamon rolls, etc.

Time for a mini-vacation.

~ Bill G

Spitzboov said...

Merry Christmas everyone.

Happy Birthday to Yellowrocks.

Happy Birthday to Fermatprime.

You both have some tough competition for the day.

billocohoes said...

Ho Ho Ho everyone

Another vote for Mr Magoo

HG, pronouncing it Keh-beck isn't snobbish, it only means you take care to say it the way the natives do. Plenty of Quebec license plates in upstate NY, I was just never sure what the motto meant.

Coincidentally, my daughter's married surname is Montalto.

I think THE BABE would still be a star today, if not as dominant as 90 years ago, but he'd have to trade in his 42-ounce bat for a lighter model. Presumably his training/eating habits would change as well.

Spitzboov said...

QUEBEC is the name for the letter "Q" in the NATO alphabet. It is pronounced the way billcohoes indicated and HG was ruminating about. It is not considered snobbish by NATO people, or pilots either who use the same alphabet, to say it that way. In fact, they are trained to say it that way so it is properly understood by the ear receiving that voicing.

CrossEyedDave said...

Happy Birthday FermatPrime

Happy birthday YellowRocks, I m still working on your cake...

Is it too late to chime in bout the puzzle theme?

Roy said...

I always wonder: is "I remember" (Je me souviens) nostalgic or threatening?

Anonymous said...

In the Navy and in police dispatcher training and pilot training I always heard (and said) Kay-beck (equal emphasis on both syllables). There is an accent รฉgule on the e, n'est-ce pas?

Merry Christmas all. And Happy Birthday to fermataprime and Yellowrocks - must have been somewhat difficult in childhood.

Husker @0918 - the oboe and bassoon are harder than most other instruments for beginners to learn to get a decent sound and to control it because of the temperamental double reed. I think all instruments are about equally hard to learn to play really well.

Mike Sherline

TTP said...

PK, glad that it worked out for you and that you will be able to attend the larger family gathering on Saturday.

Yellowrocks and Fermatprime, did you know, also born on this date...

1990: The World Wide Web, the system providing quick access to websites over the Internet, is born in Geneva, Switzerland, as computer scientists Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau create the world’s first hyperlinked webpage.

Picard said...

FIR! Fun Christmas theme! Some learning moments about these performances!

Nice to see TAKEI again! Once again here is my article!

Yellowrocks and Fermatprime belated Happy Birthday!