Jan 23, 2019

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 Roland Huget

Theme: Every Snowflake Is Different!  What I love about this claim is that it is not testable.  In today's puzzle, the claim is that for each multi-word theme entry, every letter is different.  This is testable, so let's get our deerstalker hats and magnifying glasses and have a go at it.

20 A. 2011 Steve Carell romcom: CRAZY STUPID LOVE.  Careful inspection confirms that each letter is, indeed, unique.  I am not a fan of the genre.  The presence of Jennifer Aniston in a movie's cast is enough to make me say, "No, thanks," no matter how cute she is.  But this movie has Julianne Moore supported by an all-star cast.  I'm actually rather fond of this flick.

34 A. Rickety abode: TUMBLE DOWN SHACK.  Not a phrase you're likely to encounter in daily conversation, but the meaning is clear enough. Reminds me of my mom's humble beginning in rural south-east Ohio. Searching through all the rooms - and even the outhouse - I was unable to find even one duplicated letter.  So far, so good,

41 A. "Stop whining!": DON'T BE SUCH A WIMP.  Do WIMPS duplicate letters?  Not here they don't! Not on my watch! Does this phrase foster toxic masculinity? I'll just leave that as food for thought.

53 A. Neither 20-, 34- nor 41-Across has any: REPEATED LETTERS.  Is it my hyper-active sense of irony that notes the repeated Rs, Es and Ts in the unifier?  Well - be that as it may, we do have a clever and unique theme, aptly described, with four grid-spanning entries, and that is only a J and a Q away from being a pangram. Yes, I also love run-on sentences.

Hi, Gang.  Inspector JazzBumpa here looking under cushions and dusting for prints.  Let's see what we can find.


1. Soft ball: NERF.  A toy brand created by Parker Brothers and now owned by Hasbro.  The product line is mostly foam-based items, like balls and weaponry.  Mostly harmless, I suppose.

5. Berkshire Hathaway headquarters city: OMAHA.  A multi-national conglomerate run by Warren Buffet.  Note the repeated A.

10. Greenish-yellow pear: BOSC.  A European cultivar that originated in France, now grown in many locations in Europe and North America.

14. Mine, in MontrÈal: AMOI. They speak French there.  I visited the city once, back in the early 80's.  It was wonderful.

15. Chicano rock band Los __: LOBOS.  It means The Wolves.

16. "Enchanted" girl in a 2004 film: ELLA.  Not your typical RomCom.

17. Hors d'oeuvre cracker: RITZ.  Nabisco product introduced in 1934, the depth of the depression, to offer their customers "a bite of the good life."

18. Lose tautness: DROOP.  Sag, limply hang down.

19. Logician's error, maybe: LEAP.  One step should lead logically to the next.

23. Slangy affirmative: YEH. Unhuh.

24. Light beam: RAY.  Heavy beams are used in construction.

25. Poseidon's realm: SEA.  In Greek mythology, the god of the sea, storms, earthquakes and horses.  Horses?  How did they get in there?  Anyway, He was one of the most ill-tempered, moody and greedy Olympians.

28. Lav, in Bath: LOO.  Comfort station, to be delicate.

30. Zero in: AIM.  Focus attention on something.

31. Federal bldgs. with mailboxes: POSPost Offices.  Though I imagine other Fed bldgs. might also have mailboxes.

38. Diva's time to shine: ARIA.  Solo vocal feature in a longer musical work such as an opera or oratorio.

39. Savings plan inits.: IRAIndividual Retirement Account.

40. Fair-haired sci-fi race: ELOI.  One of two post-human races of the far distant future in The Time Machine, from 1895 by H. G. Wells

46. Chinese menu surname: TSO.  Generally speaking.

47. Put away: EAT.  Consume at the dinner table.

48. Pine-__: cleaning brand: SOL.  A registered trade mark of Clorox.  From its inception in 1929 until 2016 it contained pine oil.  Then the product was cheapened to increase profitability.

49. Old Nintendo game console: Abbr.: NES.  The classic Nintendo Entertainment System was released in 1985.

50. UFO pilots, supposedly: ETSExtra-Terrestrials.  I suspect they took one look at us, shook their hairless, crenellated heads, and just kept on going.

51. Nintendo game console: Wii.  The letters don't stand for anything.  Instead, the two lower case is are intended to represent gamers together, reinforcing the "we" pronunciation of the item's name

62. Similar in nature: AKIN.  Derived from the word "kin" meaning related by blood.

63. Online biz: E-TAIL.  Electronicized retail.  Is this a portmanteau?

64. Compete for the America's Cup: SAIL.  This Cup is the prize awarded to the winer of a race between yachts, so named because the original winner in 1851 was the schooner America.  Any qualifying yacht club can challenge the current cup holder, at a place and time determined by mutual agreement.  The winner retains the cup until defeated.

65. Fish catchers: NETS.

66. Art class subjects: NUDES.   Unclothed models.

67. Stubborn sort: MULE.  A sterile beast of burden, bred from a male donkey and a female horse.  By extension, a person who acts as stubborn as one.

68. Aussie greeting: G-DAY.  Short mouth for "good day."

69. Part of LED: DIODE.  An electrical component that only allows current flow in one direction.

70. Marked for deletion: EXED. X marks the spot - and not in a good way.


1. DEA operative: NARC. The Drug Enforcement Agency employs NARCotic agents to enforce the relevant laws.

2. House of Saud bigwig: EMIR.  A title for various rulers of Arabic Muslim countries.

3. Duty roster: ROTA.  Derived from the Latin word for wheel.  I imagine this might indicate that the jobs rotate.  But I'm just guessing.

4. Like soda pop: FIZZY.  Bubbly, due to carbonation.

5. Part of a comfort simile: OLD SHOE.  I found a proverb I wasn't familiar with: "Old shoes are easy, old friends are best."  So, an OLD SHOE is something or someone you are unquestionably at ease with.

6. Mad Magazine cartoonist Drucker: MORT.  He was born in 1929, started with Mad Mag in 1956 and continued with them for 55 years.  I loved Mad when I was a kid, and his satirical drawings of pop culture icons was a part of it.

7. Leigh Hunt's "__ Ben Adhem": ABOU.  A poem with a sweet message, that you can read here.

8. Earring style: HOOP.  A round dangling ornament.

9. "Take two __ and call me ... ": ASPIRIN.  Cliched expression representing being shrugged off by an uninterested doctor.

10. Kind of dancer: BELLY.

A brief how-to video

11. Breakfast spread: OLEO.  An ersatz butter substitute made from vegetable oil, also called margarine.

Also a jazz standard written by Sonny Rollins in 1954, to the same chord progression as the Gershwin classic tune I've Got Rhythm.

12. Balkan native: SLAV.   Members of an Indo-European ethnolinguistic group.  There are three geographic sub-groups, Eastern, Western and Southern.  Balkan natives are in the Southern sub-group.

13. Superman accessory: CAPE.  Dracula, too - but not always a good idea.

21. Holler: YELL.  Produce a loud vocalization.

22. Beaver creations: DAMS.

25. Town, in Germany: STADT.  Literal.

26. Irish banknotes: EUROS.  Unaffected by Brexit, Ireland remains in the E. U.

27. Protein-building acid: AMINO.  An organic compound containing both amine and carboxylic acid functionality. These are active groups that can react with each other, and therefore build long chain molecules.  Due to its alternating vowels and consonants, it is also a frequently useful building block for crosswords.

29. Poet with dedication?: ODIST.  One who writes an ode - a lyric poem, usually in an elevated style, in the form of an address to a particular subject.  I suppose some dedicatio is required to achieve this.

30. Military plane acronym: AWACS. Airborn Warning and Control System - designed to detect various kinds of vehicles at long distances and perform command and control functions in a battle engagement.

31. McCain's running mate: PALIN.  'Nuff said.

32. "__, all ye faithful ... ": O COME.  Opening of a famous Christmas carol.

33. Decides not to attend: SKIPS. As a school class or social event.

35. Baseball club: BAT.  The smooth, tapered wooden club used to strike the ball.  An ambiguous clue, since an organized team is also called a club.

36. Tulsa sch. named for an evangelist: ORUOral Roberts University, an interdenominational Christian university founded in 1963, and named for its founder.

37. Use an axe on: HEW.  Chop.

42. Test version: BETA. A software version with a limited distribution for testing, prior to public release.

43. London area that includes Canary Wharf: EAST END.  You can read about it here.

44. "Is there another way?": HOW ELSE.  Searching for alternatives.

45. Landed: ALIT.  Descended from above.

50. Itty: EENSY.  Teeny tiny.

52. Answer at the door: IT'S ME.  Truthful, no matter who says it.

53. Pealed: RANG.  Loudly, as in a bell in a bell tower.

54. Scratched (out): EKED.  Got by with difficulty.

55. Pocket bread: PITA.  From the Greek word for a pastry.  In this context, a flat, hollow, unleavened bread that can be split open and filled.

56. Small decorative case: ETUI.  From an Old French word meaning: something shut up, as a prison; then by the 17th century, a small container.

57. Carpentry groove: DADO.  A flat, parallel-sided groove cut into a board so that it may be attached to the edge of another board.

58. Wasn't honest: LIED.  Made an intentionally false and misleading statement.

59. French waters: EAUX. Literal.

60. Stir up: RILE.  Early 19th century variant on ROIL, meaning to aggravate, bother, annoy, or make water muddy by disturbing the sediment.

61. Malamute's burden: SLED.  The malamute is a large domestic dog bred for strength and endurance to haul heavy loads, and therefore dog SLEDS.  It is closely related to the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Husky, but not the Canadian Eskimo dog nor the Greenland dog.

That wraps up another Wednesday.  And true to the theme, every answer was unique.

Cool Regards,

Jan 22, 2019

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 Paul Coulter

"Punctuation Matters"

17. Mortgage check, say: PERIODIC PAYMENT

23. Brit's sausage-with-potatoes dish: BANGERS AND MASH.  The only one of the three that might need an explanation.   Bang is another word for the exclamation point in the lexicon of print terminology.   Also know as a screamer  to some printers.  My BIL was one.

49. 42-7, say, in an NFL game: COMMANDING LEAD.  At this point, let's give pause before moving on to the reveal.

58. What ends many a line, and what begins each of the puzzle's three other long answers: PUNCTUATION MARK.


1. Senegal's capital: DAKAR.  On the west coast of Africa. 

6. Website for techies: CNET.   "CNET tracks all the latest consumer technology breakthroughs and shows you what's new, what matters and how technology can enrich your life. "

10. Talk show runner: HOST.  Run as in manage.  Johnny Carson kept things moving along but frequently had to reschedule guests that were to appear at the end of the program.

14. 2018 romaine lettuce concern: E. coli.  Last time it was a Yuma, Arizona grower.  This time it was linked to a grower in Santa Barbara County, California.   As of January 9, 2019, the FDA continues to investigate, while the CDC reports that the current outbreak appears to be over.

It's not just you: There are more food recalls these days.

15. Drinking glass edges: RIMS.  As shown in this double walled tumbler:
No Coaster Needed
Hey, that gives Tinbeni an idea !  Sans ice, of course.

16. "What's gotten __ you?": INTO.  You have a burr in your britches ?

20. Italian three: TRE.  Uno, due, tre, quattro, cinque, sei, setto, otto (desper-), nove, dieci.

21. Classified ad abbr.: EEO.  The Commission stresses that Equal Employment Opportunity is the law in the U.S.    The law provides for protection from certain discriminations.

22. "How exciting!": OOH

30. Benelux locale: Abbr.: EURBelgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg location: Europe.

31. Furniture chain also known for Swedish meatballs: IKEA.

32. Wash. Nats' div.: NLE. The Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball are in the National League East division.

33. "Encore!": AGAIN.

36. Barbara of TV's "Mission: Impossible": BAIN.

37. Patriarch from Eden: ADAM.

38. Calls on for help: TURNS TO.  Relies on.   Sometimes a family member or trusted friend, sometimes an advisor or subject matter expert.  

40. Stash out of sight: SECRETE.

42. Highland caps: TAMS.  The traditional cap worn by Scottish men.

43. Blockheads: OAFS.

45. "I don't mind eels / Except as meals" poet Nash: OGDEN.

46. __ nutshell: briefly: IN A.  Brief and to the point.  Some are allergic to this concept.  To further elaborate, I can provide a comprehensive and thoroughly detailed explanation that extensively expands on this notion of brevity, from a to z or from top to bottom,  upon request.

47. Had on: WORE.

48. Évian water: EAU.  A natural mineral water drink.

54. Consume: EAT

55. Eggy drink: NOG.  I only know it as eggnog. 

56. Key lime __: PIE.  

64. Citizenship recitation: OATH.

65. Bad day for Caesar: IDES.

66. Intrude rudely, with "in": BARGE.  A barge is a somewhat awkward vessel.  Hard to steer and prone to bumping into things.   Like that unyielding fellow that interrupts an exchange of pleasantries to lecture on the "real" reasons for the current weather conditions.   

67. Cancún cash: PESO.

68. Whirling current: EDDY

69. Pretended to be: ACTED


1. Cabinet div.: DEPT.   A structure of U.S. government.    "The Cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments — the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Attorney General." - 

2. Biting: ACERB.  Is Key Lime pie acerbic ?  I've never had it.  Oh wait, the sarcastic and stinging kind of acerbic.  Never mind.

3. South __, 2018 Olympics site: KOREA.

4. Boxing legend: ALI.   "The Greatest" was full of bravado.

5. 2016 Olympics city: RIO.   Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.   The Kia Rio is a model of a car, as some of us learned in Susan Gelfand's crossword last Wednesday. 

6. Colonial news source: CRIER.   The employment outlook for town criers waned as literacy rates improved.  Now pretty much ceremonial. 

7. Capital of Cyprus: NICOSIA.    Thank you perps. 

8. Old Rom. ruler: EMP eror.

9. Airport screening org.: TSA.   Transportation Security Agency.  Created after the Sept 11 attacks. First placed in the Department of Transportation, but moved to the (then) newly created department of Homeland Security in 2003. 

10. Greeting mouthed to a stadium cam: HI MOM.

11. Like home-run-robbing catches: ONE HANDED. Mike Trout demonstrates.

Pitchers and catchers report in about a month.

12. RR stop: STN.

13. Typical Nick Jr. watcher: TOT.  Programs like these:

18. Venison source: DEER.

19. "Patience you must have" Jedi master: YODA.

24. Bundestag nos: NEINS.  The German Bundestag is the equivalent to the U.S. House of Representatives. 

25. Tries hard (for): GUNS.

26. Part of SWAK: A KISS. Sealed With A Kiss.   This song reminds me of a 53. Mournful song: DIRGE.

27. Endangered Hawaiian goose: NENE.

28. Bluish gray: SLATE.

29. Studly dudes: HE MEN. and: 50. Like 29-Down: MACHO.

 He-Man and Battle Cat 

33. Heirloom storage spot: ATTIC.  If your attic exhaust fan is running in the winter in northern climates, it's probably the humidity sensor turning the fan on.  Heat escaping into the attic causes condensate against the cold roof.  Mold ensues.  The fan should turn on at 45 to 50 % relative humidity to exhaust the moist air.   The fix is to eliminate the heat escapes and to better insulate.

If your HVAC fan is running constantly, change the fan switch on the thermostat from the On to the Auto position.     

34. Organic fertilizer: GUANO.

35. Arsenal contents: ARMAMENTS.   The Rock Island Arsenal Museum has an extensive collection of armament.  It's open to citizens of the U.S. with free admission but you must secure a pass at the Moline gate as it is located on an active military installation.  The Rock Island Arsenal is the second oldest military museum in the U.S.

Can you name the five Quad Cities ?

36. Lumber unit: BOARD.

37. Bicker: ARGUE.

39. SpongeBob, e.g.: TOON.

41. What Frosty's eyes are made of: COAL.   His base may be a surprise...

44. Made a misleading move: FEINTED.

47. "W" on a light bulb: WATT.   Ex Wisconsin Badger and current Houston Texan JJ Watt saying "Hi Mom"

48. Thick & Fluffy waffle brand: EGGO

51. Clamorous: NOISY.

52. In different places: APART.

57. Barely managed, with "out": EKED.

58. Drop by, with "in": POP.

59. Federation in OPEC: UAE.   Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries : United Arab Emirates.

60. One-eighty: UIE.   How do you spell U-Turn ?  How do you spell food on a skewer K-B-BS ?

61. Do simple math: ADD.

62. Org. with Nets ... and nets: NBA.    Great clue with the "...and nets" added in.   The Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association.

63. Dude: MAC.  We'd barely parked the car, and the eager young salesman was rushing out the door to greet us.  Within minutes, he was guiding us to a round table just off the showroom floor.   I think he wanted to skip the part about showing showing us any vehicles and answering any questions, and  jump right into a purchase agreement.   Urged to "grab a seat" I declined because of my back;   standing sometimes helps.   "Whatever you want dude !" came the response.   My wife still chuckles when I say that phrase. 

Note from C.C.:

Happy 73nd Birthday to our constructor and friend John Lampkin, who always delights us with his superb crosswords and amazing nature photos. Thank you for the joy you've brought to us all these years, John!

Lemonade and John

Jan 21, 2019

Monday January 21, 2019 Kurt Krauss

Theme: Company Slogans

17. "Am I coming in loud and clear?" (Verizon): CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?
28. "Waiter, isn't my steak ready yet?" (Wendy's): WHERE'S THE BEEF.

47. "Don't settle when it comes to personal potential" (U.S. Army): BE ALL YOU CAN BE.

63. "No fakes here" (Coca-Cola): IT'S THE REAL THING.

Boomer here.

Last year, the Superb Owl came to Minnesota and if you read the news, it cost the city and state around 55 million dollars (however I believe hotels, restaurants, cabbies, Uber, and MSP Airport did just fine.) This year, Minneapolis' U.S. Bank stadium is hosting the NCAA Basketball Final Four, and rumor has it that we are spending 110 Million bucks on security, traffic control and various protections. I cannot afford a ticket but it's nice to know that my tax money is paying for something worthwhile.   

Congratulations to our L.A. Times own Rams for their victory in overtime and a trip to Superb Owl number LIII.  (If you are not Roman that's 53.)  Good Luck!!!


1. Broadway auntie: MAME. "You charm the husk right off of the corn."

5. Sean Connery, for one: SCOT.  The original 007.  I think I saw every 007 movie when I was a kid.

9. Strong winds: GALES.  Reminds me of Dorothy Gale who was blown to Oz by a strong wind.  Then there was Gale Storm - "My Little Margie".  Interesting weather related name, but I doubt it was real. 

14. Words while calling a bet: I' M IN.

15. Any volume of Hume's "The History of England," e.g.: TOME.

16. Banded marble: AGATE.  We had steelies, peeries, and agates. Kid fun was great before computers and smart phones.

20. Boutros-Ghali's successor: ANNAN.  Served in the U.N. Kofi just passed away last fall. 

21. Happen as a result: ENSUE.

22. USCG officer: ENS.  Whenever I see this answer, I think of Ensign Parker in McHale's Navy. 

23. __ Tomé and Príncipe: SAO.

24. Round Table title: SIR. But how do you thank someone who has taken you from crayons to perfume? It isn't easy, but I'll try.  It was a Lulu of a hit song.

26. Bluesy James: ETTA.

34. The Vols' sch.: U TENN.

35. Astronomical red giant: S STAR.  I have never heard of this, so I Googled it,  Now I still don't know what it is.

36. "The Wizard __": comic strip: OF ID.  Not the Wizard that Dorothy Gale visited.

39. Gawk: STARE.  I suppose this is an "E" Star.  Sort of like an "S" Star but part of one of those stupid constellations that everyone talks about.

42. Like Cheerios: OATY.  I like GM cereals, but I have to admit, I buy the off brand copies. I bowl with a guy who retired from General Mills.  I think I will ask him if they make the Wheat, Rice, and Corn Chex, and package them in a different box for Aldi and other grocery stores. They sure look and taste the same. 

43. Sonata movement: RONDO.

45. Flu symptom: FEVER.  Peggy Lee - "Fever in the morning, Fever all through the night".

51. Cylindrical cheese: EDAM.  I love cheese, but I never buy round chunks.

52. Genetic "messenger" initials: RNA.

53. "Morning Edition" airer: NPR. One of C.C.'s favorite news channels

56. Letter before omega: PSI.  Omega is the final letter. Graybar retirees (like me) belong to "Older More Energetic Graybar  Associates" Aka OMEGA.

59. Largest Greek island: CRETE.

61. Drink served with marshmallows: COCOA. I have to drink my cocoa straight up.  Marshmallows have too much sugar.

66. Shire of "Rocky": TALIA.

67. London art gallery: TATE.

68. A single time: ONCE. Upon  time there were three bears, Mama, Papa, and baby,  Oh, never mind, you have all  heard that story.

69. Precipitous: STEEP.  I think we make tea this way.

70. Flock's "Absolutely!": AMEN. So be it!

71. Garden scrapers: HOES. Garden waterer - HOSE


1. Layered minerals: MICAS.

2. Appliance brand: AMANA.  Famous manufacturer in Amana, Iowa.

3. Bait fish: MINNOW. I bowl with a Minnow.  His real name is Marlowe, but everyone calls him "Minnow".

4. One-named New Age singer: ENYA.

5. Consecutive alphabet trio that spells a name: STU.  A big husky guy may be called Beef Stu.

6. Easy to understand: COHERENT.

7. Black cat, to some: OMEN. A strange movie about a weird young boy.

8. It includes cups, a pot and a sugar bowl: TEA SET.  Don't forget the Barbie Doll.

9. Reproductive cells: GAMETES.

10. 242, for the USA: AGE.  71 for me. (A baby boomer),  Happy I am old enough to remember and enjoyed all the hoopla surrounding 1976.

11. Narrow street: LANE.  "On Penny Lane there is a barber sharing photographs"

12. Berkshire school: ETON.

13. Puts in stitches: SEWS.

18. Initial stage, as of the flu: ONSET.

19. Baseball's Babe: RUTH.  The "Bambino" among other nicknames.  It is scary to think how good he might have been if he stayed in shape and laid off the brew. 

25. More than annoys: IRES.

27. Soak up: ABSORB.

29. Gathering around the quarterback: HUDDLE.  In the old days, the guy with the single digit number called the plays.  Now I think they have speakers in their helmets and call what the coaches tell them to do.

30. Big mess: SNAFU.  In high school we had a goofy guy named Anthony who we nicknamed Snafu.  I suppose every high school had a snafu.

31. In-flight approx.: ETA. Maybe a little early if with the wind.
32. "Dig in!": EAT.  Please pass the chicken.

33. Cook in oil: FRY.  I mean, please pass the FRIED chicken.

36. Heavenly body: ORB.

37. Them, vis-à-vis us: FOE

38. Once-lifetime link: IN A. Once in a lifetime.

40. Make over: RECREATE.  The fried chicken plate is empty.  Please recreate more. 

41. "Dear __ Hansen": 2017 Best Musical: EVAN.

44. British buddy: OLD CHAP.

46. Legislate: ENACT.

48. Easily maneuvered, at sea: YARE.  Umpire talk - "YARE OUT"

49. Mafioso code of honor: OMERTA.

50. Affluent Los Angeles district: ENCINO.  I don't know much about the logistics of Los Angeles.  I hope the teachers can get back on the job and schools become more to their liking.   

54. Explorer __ de León: PONCE.

55. Fits of anger: RAGES.  Argue with an ump and he may call "YARE OUT" (of the game.) 

56. Indy service areas: PITS. I wonder if they allow "SPIT" in the PITS.

57. MD's "Now!": STAT.  This comes from Latin "Statum"  which means right now.  For some reason medical professionals needed to know Latin. I think they used to write prescriptions Quaque die.

58. "Cast Away" setting: ISLE.  With Gilligan, the Skipper too, the millionaire and his wife.  The movie star, the professor and Mary Ann here on Gilligan's Isle.

60. Angels or Saints: TEAM.  We know about Albert Pujols' Angels.  St. Paul, MN has a low level minor league team called the Saints.  Apologies to Drew Brees.

62. "Oops!": OH OH.

64. Game with no winner: TIE.  I have a few neck ties that are winners.

65. Actor Cariou: LEN.


Notes from C.C.:

1) Happy 71st birthday to our young Madame DeFarge (Janice)! So glad you bumped into Abjeo. Otherwise, we would never seen this great picture.

Left to Right: Abejo, WikWak, Madame DeFarge  and TTP, July 19, 2018
2) Happy 11th birthday to our blog!  Thanks for being here for me all these years. I can't imagine what my life would be without you guys.

Jan 20, 2019

Sunday January 20, 2019 Paul Coulter

Theme: "Pass" (P as S) - P is changed into S in each themer.

23. Imminent wordplay warning?: HERE COMES THE PUN. Here Comes the Sun.

33. "Is my account settled?"?: NEED I PAY MORE? Need I say more?

47. Nervous draft choice?: WORRIED PICK. Worried sick.

63. Agency that regulates test cheating?: PEEKING OFFICE. Seeking office.

83. Very first ATM password?: ORIGINAL PIN. Original sin.

96. Popular disco era pastimes?: PONG AND DANCE.Song and dance.

110. No longer be comprehensible ... and, with its first word divided in three parts, a hint to how to read this puzzle's title: STOP MAKING SENSE Read STOP as S to P.

What a great reveal, Paul! Letter addition/deletion/change theme type is more interesting with a rationale for the change.

There's one stray letter S in the first themer, but I really love the new phrase.


1. Brewer's need: HOPS.

5. "In the Land of Israel" author Oz: AMOS.

9. Barbershop tool: STROP.

14. Cremona artisan: AMATI. The famous violin-maker.

19. Skunk River city: AMES.

20. Hardly a revealing style: MAXI. Depends.

21. Quiet partner: PEACE.

22. Domed-top structures, perhaps: SILOS.

26. Peter, Paul or Mary: SAINT.

27. "Aladdin" prince: ALI.

28. Astronomy Muse: URANIA.

29. Disney's Cruella De __: VIL.

30. Many a Degas: PASTEL.

31. Oil sources: SESAMES. I sprinkle sesame seeds on everything.

36. Drive-__: THRU.

37. Types: GENRES.

39. Parmenides' home: ELEA. Or Zeno's home.

40. Apiece, in scores: ALL.

42. Others, in Latin: ALII.

43. You're looking at one: GRID. Crossword grid.

44. "Sunday Night Football" network: NBC.

51. 1982 sci-fi film: TRON.

52. "Mon __!": DIEU.  My god!

53. Field of study: AREA.

54. Workbench attachment: VISE.

55. Getting on: AGING.

56. Scary fairy tale beast: OGRE.

57. More mean: NASTIER.

59. Film festival entry: INDIE.

61. Half a luau serving?: MAHI. Had grilled mahi mahi at Red Lobster once.

62. French season: ETE.

68. Sched. uncertainty: TBA.

70. Really digging: INTO. My sister-in-law Connie sends me a package of walnuts every Christmas. So fresh. She gets them from this farm.

72. Oldest Musketeer: ATHOS.

73. Became aware of: NOTICED.

75. Kind of guy you can count on: GO TO. So lucky for mine on our blog.

76. Bit: SHRED.

78. "I, Claudius" role: NERO. He succeeded Claudius.

80. A silly stunt may be done on one: DARE.

81. Cabinet dept.: ENER.

82. Swarm: TEEM.

86. "Dropped" '60s drug: LSD.

87. European capital: BERN.

88. Fruity cocktail word: PINA. Spanish for "pineapple". Pina colada.

89. "Comprende?": SEE.

90. Space opening: AERO. Aerospace.

91. International economic coalition: G SEVEN.

93. Link warning letters: NSFW. Not Safe For Work.

100. Moves unsteadily: TEETERS.

103. Heads off: AVERTS.

104. According to: A LA.

105. Shark hanger-on: REMORA. Suckerfish.

108. "What's __?": NEW.

109. Make a mash of: PUREE.

113. Young conger: ELVER. Baby eels are white?

114. Public commotion: FUROR.

115. Logician's link: ERGO.

116. Former gen.'s status: RET'D.

117. Orchestra section: REEDS.

118. Signs of the future: OMENS.

119. Running goal: SEAT. Running for office.

120. "Anything __?": ELSE.


1. Comedy club chorus: HAHAS.

2. Breakfast choice: OMELET. What do you have breakfast these days?

3. "... shall not __ from the earth": Lincoln: PERISH.

4. Atlanta-to-Miami dir.: SSE.

5. Love abroad: AMORE. Mangia!

6. Half a '60s quartet: MAMAS.

7. Beasts of burden: OXEN.

8. Spanish ayes: SI SI.

9. Planet shape: Abbr.: SPH. Sphere.

10. Best Buy buy: TEEVEE.

11. They may be shot in rafts: RAPIDS.

12. Eyelike openings: OCULI. Plural of oculus.

13. Ballpoint, e.g.: PEN.

14. Tested for gold, say: ASSAYED.

15. Really bad atmosphere: MIASMA.

16. Justice confirmed under Bush 43: ALITO.

17. Workplace cartridge contents: TONER. Also an important skin care product.

18. Basketry fiber: ISTLE. Been quite some time since we had this entry.

24. Puffy clouds: CUMULI.

25. Kind of acid in red wine: TANNIC.

30. Turning whiter: PALING.

32. Biblical debarkation point: ARARAT.

34. Estrada of "CHiPs": ERIK
35. Big name in Argentine politics: PERON.

37. Breaks: GAPS.

38. "Night" author Wiesel: ELIE.

41. Flood deterrent: LEVEE.

43. Annoying criticism: GRIEF.

44. Romantic evening extension: NIGHTCAP. Sparkly fill.

45. Thiamine deficiency disease: BERIBERI. Vitamin B1.

46. It could be a mere nod: CUE.

47. Decline: WANE.

48. Talks from Cicero: ORATIONS.

49. Took offense at: RESENTED.

50. Acute: DIRE.

51. "What a long week!": TGIF.

52. Classic O'Brien noir film: DOA. Edmond O'Brien.

55. Bothers: ADOS.

58. Nasdaq debut: IPO.

59. How many TV shows air: IN HD.

60. Private nonprofit: Abbr.: NGO. Non-Governmental Organization.

61. Ran into: MET.

64. The Carpenters' soloist: KAREN. I like "500 Miles".

65. Shopping list entry: ITEM.

66. Calvary inscription: INRI.

67. Relatives of b'ars?: COONS. Bears? Why abbreviation?

69. Arabian Peninsula port or its gulf: ADEN.

71. Crag: TOR.

74. Least occupied: IDLEST.

75. Come together: GEL.

76. Rears: STERNS.

77. Friend of Claudius I: HEROD.

78. Common opening time: NINE.

79. "A Visit From the Goon Squad" Pulitzer winner Jennifer: EGAN.

83. Crude gp.?: OPEC. Crude oil.

84. MLB leader in career saves: RIVERA. Mariano.

85. Virgil subject: AENEAS.

87. Clunky old cars: BEATERS.

90. Concurred: AGREED.

91. Aplenty: GALORE.

92. Designed to fit tightly: SNAP ON.

94. Herb commonly in five-spice powder: FENNEL. Fennel seeds.

95. Removes forcibly: WRESTS.

96. Mill output: PAPER.

97. Elementary seed: OVULE.

98. Audacity: NERVE.

99. Fact: DATUM.

100. Fiji's eastern neighbor: TONGA.

101. Cereal grass disease: ERGOT.

102. Bjorn Borg, e.g.: SWEDE.

106. Barely gets, with "out": EKES.

107. Bog: MIRE.

110. BART stop: SFO.

111. Simon & Garfunkel's "__ Robinson": MRS.

112. "... __ he drove out of sight": Moore: ERE.

VA Pharmacy Care called Boomer for a detailed drug side effect report, then they mailed us the Zytica and prednisone steroid on time. Hopefully we've settled on a routine drug-wise. His appetite has also returned to normal. Big bowl of chili!  This makes me very happy.

Dave2 continues to improve and is getting stronger every day. He gets along quite well with his roommate at the rehab place.


Jan 19, 2019

Saturday, January 19, 2019, Ryan McCarty

Themeless Puzzle by Ryan McCarty

 Going to the movies can be a great to mediocre event but the one constant of going is the beguiling smell of popcorn. Today we celebrate this simple delight on National Popcorn Day. A Univ. of Cal. at Irvine prof figured it cost $.10/oz to make and is sold for way more per oz. than a filet but how can you resist?

Popcorn comes in infinite varieties but for me, I'll take plain old yellow popcorn in real oil, salted and lightly buttered! Keep your chocolate, cinnamon, cheese and jalapeño flavors!

Our constructor today is Princeton grad Ryan McCarty ’14. Ryan info from the last write-up I did of one of his puzzles.

Ryan's puzzle drove me crazy as some of the clueing was two steps beyond fiendish but turned out to be really fun in the end, like getting that caraway seed out from between your teeth! I'll complain comment in my write-up of this puzzle where I quickly filled in the NE and then had a wonderful slog to the finish line at the DNIESTER River.

BTW, I think the grid design was incredible and very elegant! Ryan used only 22 blocks and only 62 words! Wow, those are some very impressive numbers!

All right, let's see what else popped into Ryan's head (ya had to see that comin'!) 


1. Barber's "Adagio for Strings" is in it: B FLAT MINOR - Oh, not a bigger musical work but the key in which it was written. Ryan!

11. Hits with a charge: ZAPS - "Don't tase me bro!"

15. Kerry Washington's "Scandal" role: OLIVIA POPE I had to look up her and the show and same goes for 40. "Clown Prince of Hip-hop" Biz __: MARKIE. Biz MARKIE

16. Jukebox opening: SLOT - One of the first

17. Sang: NAMED NAMES - Film maker Elia Kazan joined the Communist Party in 1934 for a year-and-a-half.  Sixteen years later he NAMED NAMES of others who had joined the party to the HUAC committee so he could keep working. Most other Hollywood types kept quiet and Elia's party invitations diminished.

18. Villa-studded Italian lake: COMO Ho una villa sul Lago di Como (I have a villa on Lake Como)

19. Salon boards: EMERIES - Emery boards

20. One taking things literally?: REPO MAN - 22. Angry: HEATED Matt Burch from short-lived Operation REPO TV show has a discussion with a car owner with delinquent payments.

23. Part of a football game-ending tradition: GATORADE - Coach Saban does not seem to be pleased with his GATORADE bath

24. Rear attachment: ENDER - Texting while drive can cause a REAR-ENDER car accident

25. Worked together: PARTNERED - When these two PARTNERED together, they became the #1 passing/receiving duo in NFL history 

26. Nailed, test-wise: ACED.

27. "Rabbit ears" antennae, e.g.: DIPOLES - We had a TV with the aforementioned devices that looked like this
28. Pixie and flip: DOS - HairDOS

29. Wheat whackers: SICKLES - Undoubtedly, someone with a scythe or SICKLE cut this wheat but these wheat whacking women in Punjab, India are not using either to thresh the grain 

30. Poor: BAD.

33. Washington team: HUSKIES - Oh, Washington University (UDUB) in Seattle   3,000 miles away from D.C.

34. Goat-man of myth: FAUN - Is this the right shot for 
35. Rocks below bridges?: NOSE STUDS - This one below her nose's bridge are magnetic 

38. Cabinet member under Dubya: CONDI - The owner of the Cleveland Browns talked about hiring lifelong fan CONDI Rice as their new head coach. 

39. See 43-Across: OLD CHAPS - Our cheerleaders back in the stone age had a cheer: 43. With 39-Across, "Listen up, lads": "I SAY (clap, clap), OLD CHAP(S) (clap, clap) Take the ball (clap, clap), fight back (clap, clap)". No really!

41. Boards around the house: DECKING - We switched out real wood for synthetic DECKING

42. Rocky Mountain rodents: MARMOTS.

44. Ones sniffing out trouble: CANINE UNIT - A valued member of the UNL CANINE UNIT

46. Reactor meltdown site: CORE - Not a geographic location but where the fission takes place

47. Old cooking show with a Creole theme: EMERIL LIVE  - BAM!

48. Outcomes: ENDS - That arm is merely a means to an END to this kitty

49. "Gotta split!": SEE YA LATER - I'm not saying alligator, you can't make me!


1. Unthinking, as a mistake: BONE HEAD - #78 Leon Lett celebrated too early and hustling #82 Don Beebe made him fumble before he got a touchdown which 4. Staved off: AVERTED the Cowboy's scoring a touchdown

2. Spanish steps?: FLAMENCO - Why do I remember the name José Greco after all these years?

3. Fruity refreshments: LIMEADES.

5. Larger, as a sum: TIDIER - A sorta variation on "a TIDY sum" 

6. Like gnus: MANED I'm not saying "I already GNU that", you can't make me!

7. Draft choices: IPA'S - Englishman George Hodgson made a lighter colored Pale Ale by using coke-fired malt and he exported it to India where it became very popular. Hence...

8. __ de guerre: NOM - An assumed name under which one writes, paints or fights such as

9. Macbeth and Otello: OPERA ROLES - Both these OPERA ROLES created by Giuseppe Verdi (Joe Green in English) call for baritones

10. Puts down new roots: RESETTLES - The second generation of Hispanics whose families have RESETTLED in our town are really adapting 

11. Standard deviation measures: Z-SCORES - A Z-SCORE of +1 means one standard deviation above the mean (average) and a -1 means... Of course, it is figured by z = x – μ / σ,

12. Baseball family name: ALOMAR - Sandy, Sandy Jr. and Roberto

13. Salon stuff: POMADE - Johnny Cash's choice

14. Hopped-up: STONED.

21. Johnnycakes: PONES Johnnycake. Johnnycake (also called journey cake, Shawnee cake, corn PONE or johnny bread) is a cornmeal flatbread. Johnny is thought to be a corruption of Shawnee Cake. Wiki

23. Retailer specializing in youth fashion: GAP KIDS - Had to erase GAP BABY

25. Impromptu competition: PICK UP GAME - Getting picked last is a trauma that lasts a long time
27. Golfer's yardage book data: DISTANCES - I don't write down the distances, I use this

29. Bar food: SUSHI - What? No bar nuts?

30. "There's no doubt about this": BANK ON IT - I can hit that green shown here on the Golf Buddy over the water from 123 yards out! I said I can, not that I will.

31. Hearing-related: AUDITIVE - Ryan!

32. River to the Black Sea: DNIESTER - Essentially from Kiev to Odessa

33. "Why, sure!": HECK YES - Do we get a lot of European Rivers in crossword puzzles?

34. Conventional writing method: FORMULA - TV sitcoms come to mind if you aren't talking about chemistry formulae - Lame sarcastic lines filled in with laugh tracks 

35. "Uh-uh": NO DICE.

36. "Little House" antagonist Nellie __: OLESON - Alison Arngrim, then and now

37. Digital camera insert, briefly: SDCARD - Scan Disk CARD

38. Steve of "Foxcatcher": CARELL - He recently lamented that his famous show, The Office, could never be made in today's PC climate. No matter what is written, someone will take offense. 

40. Craze: MANIA.

42. Like wetlands: MIRY - Ryan! 😏

45. Alumni newsletter word: NEE - I am totally okay with a woman retaining her birth surname. 

All this talk just gave me an idea. I'll be pop back to read your comments after a visit with Orville Redenbacher and the microwave!