, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: March 2019


Mar 31, 2019

Sunday March 31, 2019 Ed Sessa

Theme: "Pardon My Yiddish" - One word in each familiar phrase is replaced by a soundalike Yiddish word.

23A. Bar mitzvah celebratory drink?: MAZEL TOV COCKTAIL. Molotov cocktail.

36A. Incompetent drivers?: SCHLEMIELS ON WHEELS. Meals on Wheels.

50A. Where decent people buy decent clothes at honest prices?: MENSCH STORE. Men's store.

66A. Cream cheese promotion?: SCHMEAR CAMPAIGN. Smear campaign.

84A. Trash-talking broadcaster?: SCHLOCK JOCK. Shock jock.

93A. Trudged through a nudist camp?: SCHLEPPED IN THE BUFF. Slept in the buff.
115A. Disaster for a figure skater?: KLUTZ PERFORMANCE. Clutch performance.

What a fun puzzle! So many unusual consonant combos in Yiddish, esp SCHLM/SCHL. Scrabbly too.

Mr. Ed gave us 7 entries. All of them are quite long. We have total 105 theme squares with some inconvenient letter pattern. But nothing fazes our Ed, who is one of the few constructors who make both themeless and themeless grids. Ed had a rare "Mr. Ed. Sessa" byline when his "HELLO I'M MISTER ED" puzzle was published by the New York Times a few years ago.


1. Tricks that treat: MAGIC.

6. Dalí contemporary: ARP (Jean).

9. Shame: ABASH.

14. Corp. bigwigs: CFOS. Still remember this guy?

18. Raspy-voiced Cooper: ALICE.

19. Protein provider: MEAT. Tofu for me. Mostly.

21. Evergreen bean: CACAO. The tree is evergreen.

22. Road division: LANE. So I marveled at a big maple tree in our neighborhood last week and asked Boomer "If you could be a tree, what tree would you like to be?" He said "I don't want to be a tree. I want to be a bowling ball".

26. "Roots" author Haley: ALEX.

27. Current gauge: AMMETER. Not ADAPTER.

28. Body wrap venue: SPA.

29. Jed Clampett, for one: HILLBILLY. Derogatory.

31. Sault Ste. Marie's __ Locks: SOO.

32. "That __ fact!": IS A.

33. Ring ruling: TKO.

35. Two in a canoe: OARS.

44. Seaweed product: AGAR. These are incredible mooncakes. The yellow centers are eggs, then red adzuki beans, then flour with green matcha. Reminds me of the mung bean cakes I had when I was a kid.


Mung Bean Cakes

47. Howard of old comedy films: MOE.

48. Hereditary ruler: DYNAST.

49. Thumbs-up letters: A OK.

55. Lay idle: SAT.

56. Light sparkling wine: ASTI. Have any of you tried champagne vinegar?

57. Lodging with a "keeper": INN.

58. Bank job: HEIST.

59. Collectible print, briefly: LITHO.

61. Dark marks: BLOTS.

62. Stranger things: EXOTICA.

64. Officer Kalakaua's group, familiarly: FIVE-O. Never watched "Hawaii Five-0". Here is Officer Kalakaua.

65. Rainforest vine: LIANA.

70. Sapling support: STAKE.

72. Coordinate (with): TIE IN.

73. Traffic warning signal: FLASHER.

77. Means of access: DOORS.

78. Trouble from all sides: BESET.

79. Gumbo thickeners: OKRAS. Plurable?

81. Label for some Elton John albums: MCA.

82. Son of Seth: ENOS.

83. Web address letters: URL. Glad you noticed our blog URL C.C. logo, D-Otto! It's been there since Nov 2011 though :-)

87. Pickable point: NIT.

88. Confounded: DARNED.

91. Joey's mom: DOE.

92. "Gotcha": I SEE.

99. Sport with mallets: POLO.

100. Metric introduction?: GEO. Geometric.

101. Blood classification letters: ABO.

102. Tubular pasta, for short: MAC.

105. U.K. utility cost limitations: PRICE CAPS. Also a term we use here.

110. Blow away: AWE.

112. Sufi Muslim ascetic: DERVISH. Whirling dervishes.

114. Bull's partner, in a story?: COCK. Cock-and-bull story.

118. Musical diner fixture, for short: JUKE.

119. Like Poe pieces: EERIE.

120. It ends at the gutter: ROOF.

121. Choir voices: ALTOS.

122. Nap: REST.

123. __ Haute: TERRE.

124. Letters on a Sun Bum container: SPF. Never tried this brand. 

125. Scientific methods: TESTS.


1. Some baby rockers: MAMAS. Rock-ers.

2. Legendary mission: ALAMO.

3. Rube Goldberg device, e.g.: GIZMO.

4. Brand written in frosty letters: ICEE.

5. Irish musical ensemble __ Woman: CELTIC.

6. Unprincipled: AMORAL.

7. Short spin?: REV. Short for Revolution. Nice clue.

8. D.C. fundraisers: PACS.

9. "That's awful!": ACK.

10. Whole or half home unit: BATH.

11. Smoothie berry: ACAI.

12. Wind catcher: SAIL.

13. Valleys: HOLLOWS.

14. Danes of "Homeland": CLAIRE. Her husband Hugh Dancy is going to be on the last season of "Homeland".

15. When many TV shows debut: FALL SEASON.

16. Like Nash's lama: ONE-L.

17. Steamy: SEXY.

20. Of the highest quality: TOP TIER.

24. "A Deeper Faith" musician: TESH (John)

25. It's iced and sliced: CAKE. We call that western cake. Chinese cakes can be sweet or salty, like these turnip cakes Cantonese eat during spring festival. You can find them at dim sum place also. Taro cakes are similar.

30. Thai currency: BAHT. Also 53. "The King and I" kingdom: SIAM. So Lemonade, does Oo make Nam-Pla Wan at home or just buy a jar from the Asian store? This sauce is very Thai. It's a mix of hot red pepper, dried shrimp, fish sauce, shallot and palm sugar. Then people dipping sweet apple or mango slices into the sauce.

34. Overused, jokewise: OLD.

36. Yearbook gp.: SRS.

37. Ambulance pros: EMTS.

38. Of no consequence: MOOT. Point.

39. Bettor's strategy: SYSTEM.

40. After one bounce, in baseball lingo: ON A HOP.

41. Warsaw Pact counterpart: NATO.

42. Host of, in slang: LOTTA.

43. Slope gear: SKIS.

44. François's friend: AMIE.

45. Millennials' folks: GEN X.

46. A year in Caesar's time: ANNO.

51. Peepers: CHICKS.

52. Anne of 1998's "Psycho": HECHE.

54. Brings out: ELICITS.

56. Arkin and Menken: ALANS.

60. "Terrible" despot: IVAN. 63. 60-Down et al.: TSARS.

61. No small favor: BIG ASK. That's a big ask. Ask is a noun.

64. Given away: FREE.

65. Fragrant shrub: LILAC.

67. Endless, in verse: ETERNE.

68. Organized like big stores: AISLED.

69. Jimi Hendrix do: AFRO.

70. Drive-in with skating carhops: SONIC.

71. Sticks with the Swedish meatballs: TOOTHPICKS. Boomer and I went to our local Ikea ages ago. We got hopelessly lost.

74. Med. group options: HMOS.

75. Behold, to Pilate: ECCE.

76. Dirt smoother: RAKE.

77. Red fox holes: DENS.

78. Possible result of swallowing air: BURP.

79. "Didn't expect that": OH OH.

80. Swiss painter Paul: KLEE.

85. Jewel case storage unit: CD TOWER.

86. Peter Pan rival: JIF. My favorite. Chunky.

88. Editor's mark: DELE.

89. "... __ full of rye": A POCKET. Long partial.

90. Archaeological site: DIG.

94. Tiny portrait holder: LOCKET.

95. Type of tide: NEAP.

96. In money trouble, say: BAD OFF.

97. It dropped "Cab" from its name in 2011: UBER. Lyft just went public.

98. Document details: FORMAT.

102. Diner freebies: MINTS.

103. Tied accessory: ASCOT.

104. Game with a mate: CHESS.

105. '80s IBM flop nicknamed "Peanut": PC JR.

106. Don Juan: ROUE.

107. Mariner's direction: ALEE.

108. Sound from a lynx's larynx: PURR.

109. To-do: STIR.

111. God with a bow: EROS.

113. Poetic lowland: VALE.

116. Slice of pizza?: ZEE. Pizza.

117. Dandy: FOP.

Here is a picture of Will Shortz and Mike Alpern at the Cru dinner. You can find more pictures here. Hopefully Rich will make it next year.  Below is a picture of Jeffrey Wechsler and Mike.

Cru Dinner Celebrities, Will Shortz and Mike Alpern
Jeffrey Wechsler and Mike Alpern, ACPT, 3/23/2019


Mar 30, 2019

Saturday, March 30, 2019, Pawel Fludzinski

Themeless Saturday by Pawel Fludzinski

On this day in 1858, Hymen Lipman received a patent for attaching an eraser to the end of a pencil. So now we celebrate National Pencil Day on this date.

The recent floods prevented me from getting a newspaper for four days and forced me to do the crosswords online instead of using my trusty #2 Ticonderoga. I did not enjoy the experience. 

Fun fact: John Steinbeck was an obsessive pencil user and used more than 300 to write East Of Eden. You're welcome!

Our constructor today is Pawel Fludzinski Ph.D (Pah' vel   Flu gin' ski). His Ph D is in organic chemistry and he retired to Santa Fe, NM in 2015 after 31 years of working for Eli Lilly in Pharmaceutical R and D. 

Pawel and I had a nice email exchange when I blogged his Feb. 3, 2018 puzzle and also for this one.  He said he wrote the cluing for this puzzle over a year ago and so we had some interesting exchanges about the cluing process as he tried to recall what his thought process was. I told him that he looks like he could be a James Bond super villain and he thought that was pretty funny! 

I told him I would love to have a glass of wine with him someday but he says he more or a single malt scotch man and has OBAN (a single malt scotch brand) in a submission. Suffice it to say he is a very interesting guy.

Pawel's license plate tells you both where he lives and what one of his passions is.

Pawel even managed to work his new home state into the first down clue 1. Alamogordo experiment: A-TEST- The first A-TEST detonation for The Manhattan Project occurred 1 hr and 35 min NNW of Alamogordo, NM

Cue the Goldfinger music as we see what Pawel has for us today.


1. SALT topic: ABM - SDS didn't cut it

4. Surface collection: DUST - My dad and his siblings talked a lot about the DUST of their childhoods

8. Territory affected by the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie: DAKOTA - The Sioux got rights to their sacred land - The Black Hills. And then gold was discovered there and George Armstrong Custer, et al soon followed 

14. Impulsively attack: TEAR INTO.

16. Panacea: ELIXIR - Good for what ails ya!

17. Makes a pig of oneself: ENGORGES.

18. Coquettes: MINXES - Synonyms for flirts 22. Esteem: REPUTE - Some coquettes can be of ill REPUTE and some can be 44. Smokin': HOT.

19. Showroom surprise: STICKER SHOCK.

21. Every other second?: TOCK - My favorite, Pawel.  I proudly sussed TICK but then I had the wrong vowel for 2. Japanese box lunch: BENTO.

23. Keystone figure: KOP.

26. King or queen: BED 

28. "Return of the Jedi" dancer: OOLA - A picture of the character autographed by Femi Taylor who portrayed her

29. Article beginning, in newspaper jargon: LEDE LEAD/LEDE

30. Like some colors: MUTED.

32. Dish-washing liquid: TAP WATER - TAP WATER safety was a real concern during recent Nebraska flooding but it remained fine in my town

34. Lively ballroom dances: BOLEROS - I've never danced with someone who could touch the ceiling with her foot

36. City named for a Suquamish chief: SEATTLE - Below is the grave site of Chief Noah Sealth. Seattle founders mispronounced the chief's name to arrive at Seattle. Sealth was converted to Christianity by French missionaries

37. Interminably: AT LENGTH - Fidel Castro could talk for muchas horas 

39. Expand: SWELL.

40. Young follower?: STER - Voila! An description becomes a person

41. College bookstore, perhaps: COOP - This one probably has a lot of books that I would not understand

43. Sylvie's soul: AME - Sylvie a une belle ÂME (Sylvie has a beautiful soul)

45. Surveyor's equipment: TRIPOD - Today that TRIPOD is likely to support a surveying  laser

47. U.K. honors: OBES - Here Stella McCartney, Paul and Linda's daughter, receives the Order of the British Empire

50. Fix things?: STACK THE DECK - Nepotism can "STACK THE DECK" against you for getting a job

52. Not the usual merchandise amount: ODD LOT - One sleeve is 2" shorter?

55. French actress Adjani with a record five César Awards: ISABELLE Her Internet Media Data Base page

56. Words of despair: NO HOPE - An ominous doormat "Abandon HOPE all ye who enter here" 

57. Smear protection?: LIBEL LAW - Can you sue for LIBEL if it's true? 

58. Excessively focus (on): OBSESS Emerson's take on this

59. Ruhr refusal: NEIN.

60. D and C in D.C.: STS - Here they are just north of the Capitol. Very clever Pawel!


3. Panacea: MAGIC BULLET - A famous/infamous one

4. __ Nowitzki, 21-season NBAer: DIRK A great German-born seven footer

5. Neat freak of film and TV: UNGER - Tony Randall was my favorite Odd Couple Felix

6. Sound purchase: STEREO

7. Pink elephant sighter: TOSS POT - A Britsh insult - Beer or ale was customarily served in ceramic pots, so a tosspot was a person who copiously 'tossed back' such pots of beer.

8. Rock samples?: DEMO TAPES - What musicians submit in hopes of getting recorded or published

9. "You're nothing but a pack of cards!" speaker: ALICE.

10. Flaw: KINK - We've all used this as a verb to get a drink from a hose

11. Losing game line: OXX - Top line here

12. Nil-nil, e.g.: TIE - Zero to zero on this side of the ocean

13. Razor edges?: ARS - Yes, R's start and end the word RAZOR

15. Gagarin or Glenn: ROCKETEER - I'm calling a foul, Pawel! Astronaut also has 9 letters. 😏

20. Island dances: HULAS

23. Exercise equipment sometimes swung: KETTLE BELLS 

24. New York Giants' star __ Beckham Jr.: O'DELL - Just this month, this flashy receiver became a Cleveland Brown

25. Famille member: PERE -  Mon PÉRE, était pompier volontaire (My Dad was a volunteer firefighter)

27. "Nebraska" Oscar nominee: DERN - A wistful look at aging and small town life - Trailer

29. Part of a getaway car description, maybe: LATE MODEL - Thieves can't drive old clunkers?

30. Words often framed: MOTTO.

31. Pet shop buys: DOG CRATES - They were temporary homes during our recent floods

33. Toddler's drink: WAWA - I better remember Gildna Radner's Bawbwa WAWA

34. Disparage: BASH - Ah, next year is an election year so let the BASHING begin

35. Unflappable: STOIC.

38. Brewer's drier: HOP KILN - Along with our cwd friend OAST

42. Friend of Richie, Ralph and the Fonz: POTSIE Warren "POTSIE" Weber (Anson Williams)

45. 'Vette options: T-TOPS - '68 was the first 

46. Abu __: DHABI - Ferrari Abu DHABI is a motor themed amusement park and the world's largest space frame structure 

48. Panache: ECLAT  and 50. Gin flavor: SLOE and 52. "The world's most famous unknown artist": Lennon: ONO - Three old cwd friends

53. Passport nos.: DOB - Speaking of John and Yoko, John had his middle name changed from Winston to ONO. His passport shows both middle names along with his Date Of Birth

49. Unfairly presents: SKEWS - Good luck finding a news source that doesn't 

51. __ Upton, co-founder of the U.K.'s Raspberry Pi Foundation: EBEN Here ya go!

54. They don't play the field: Abbr.: DHS - The American League still uses the Designated Hitter and The National League does not.

All right class, pencils down! It's time to electronically comment on this puzzle from the Dr. Fludzinski in the highest (7,000') state capital in America

Psst! When I can't find my #2 Ticonderoga, I use these because they have a great eraser and cost less than a dollar each!

Mar 29, 2019

Friday, March 29, 2019 David Alfred Bywaters

Insider Trading.  Each theme answer consists of two 4-letter words where the first and last letters are the same, but the two internal, or "inside", letters (in the pattern of A__ or __A) have "traded" places.  How very clever!

17-Across. Frantic activity at a clothing sale?: GARB GRAB.  The infamous Wedding Dress Garb Grab at Filene's Basement in Boston.  If you haven't experienced the original Filene's Basement, you don't know what you're missing.

26-Across. Wooden bird sculpture?: SAWN SWAN.  This was my Rosetta Stone.

52. Cereal maker's storage building?: BRAN BARN.  I couldn't find a Bran Barn, but here's the famous Bran Castle near Brașov, Romania, allegedly the home of Dracula.  Well worth the visit!

66. Dispassionate bivalve?: CALM CLAM.

40-Across. With 42-Across, white-collar crime ... and a hint to four Across answers: INSIDER.

42-Across. See 40-Across: TRADING.  Together these clues give us INSIDER TRADING, which is a big No-No with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This was a tough Friday puzzle.  It's never good when I can't get 1-Across/1-Down on the first pass.  Getting the gimmick early helped me today.

1. Result of littering, maybe: PUP.  Oh, not like the street after the parade has floated by,

but as in a dog with its babies.

4. Recipe direction: SIFT.  I remember my mother sifting flour before doing any baking.  I only occasionally used a sifter when baking.  Probably why my cooking is the way it is.

8. Round paths: ORBITS.  The orbits of the planets are elliptical .  The elliptical orbits are a subset of the round orbits.

14. Airport info: ETA.  As in Estimated Time of Arrival.  A crossword staple.

15. Minorca, por ejemplo: ISLA.  Today's Spanish lesson.  Minorca is one of the Balearic islands in the Mediterranean Sea.  The Islands belong to Spain.  Minorca is the tiny island on the far right on the map.

16. Promote: TALK UP.

19. How some insults are veiled: THINLY.  If someone ever says to you, "Oh, you lost 10 pounds?  That's a good start", then you have just been the subject of a thinly disguised insult.

20. Luster: SHEEN.  Not to be confused with Martin Sheen.

21. Electric guitar effect: WA WA.

23. Meh: SO-SO.  //  And 41-Down.  Meh: DRAB.

24. Comedy bit: GAG.

28. Recreational walk: STROLL.  My memory is a little rusty, but I think you can take a STROLL down ...

31. European relative of aloha: CIAO.  Today's Italian lesson

32. Financial claim: LIEN.

33. Heroic poetry: EPOS.  A long, narrative poem, such as Beowulf.  I was so disappointed when I learned that Beowulf was not actually about a wolf.

35. Scheming wife of Augustus: LIVIA.  Livia (58 BCE ~ 29 CE) was a Roman Empress.

44. Mongol invader: TATAR.  Probably the most famous Tatar was Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire.

45. "__ Tired": Beatles "White Album" song: I'M SO.  I don't remember this song.  //  And 71-Across: SLEEPY.

47. Long-gone time: YORE.

48. Plant with therapeutic sap: ALOE.  A crossword staple.

50. Ball VIPs: BELLES.

56. Longtime NBC hit: SNL.  As in Saturday Night Live.

57. Drive-in need: AUTO.

58. Ivan IV, from 1547 to 1584: TSAR.  Also known as Ivan the Terrible.  He is considered the first TSAR of Russia.  Previous rulers were known as Grand Princes.  The title of Tsar gave him gravatis in the eyes of the European monarchs. Once he appointed himself Tsar, he and Queen Elizabeth I carried on a long correspondence, which opened up trading between England and Russia.  It is said that Ivan proposed to Elizabeth, but she declined.  Probably just as well for her.

60. Passageway: AISLE.

64. Theater company: TROUPE.

68. Fairy tale sibling: HANSEL.  Brother of Gretel. The story of Hansel and Gretel is an old German fairy tale, recorded by the Brothers Grimm.  They were children of a poor woodcutter.  Their mother had died and their step-mother took them deep into the woods and left them to fend for themselves.  They came upon a beautiful gingerbread home, unaware that its owner was a cannibalistic witch.

69. Logician's adverb: ERGO.

70. "Really? Me?": AMI.  Hmm ...  Ami the transliteration for a Hebrew word meaning "my people".

72. Precious: DEAR.

73. Favorite: PET.  My late pet.

1. Coat holders: PEGS.  My first thought was a coat tree, but that didn't work well with the perps.

2. Wasatch Front state: UTAH.  This was totally unknown to me.  Apparently, the Wasatch Front is a metropolitan region in Utah, which includes such cities as Provo, Salt Lake City and Odgen.  Do any of our crossword friends live in this area?

3. Opposite of embiggen: PARE.  Embiggen is a perfectly cromulent word.  It's first known use was on a 1996 episode of The Simpsons.

4. Traffic stopper, perhaps: SIGNAL.

5. Leb. neighbor: ISR.  Israel is a neighbor of Lebanon.

6. Diamond concern: FLAW.  Can you spot the flaws in these diamonds?

7. Spicy sauce: TABASCO.  Made in Avery Island, Louisiana.  Did you know that Avery Island isn't really an island?  It's really a salt dome.  There are five such "Islands" in southern Louisiana.

8. Capital NNW of Albany: OTTAWA.

9. Cheer syllable: RAH.  //  And 25-Down. Cheer: GLEE.

10. Euphoria: BLISS.

11. "You don't need to tell me": I KNOW.

12. Home of the Drillers of Class AA baseball: TULSA.  The Tulsa Drillers are the double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

13. Watch surreptitiously: SPY ON.

18. Colorful tropical flower: BEGONIA.

22. Middle management issues?: WAISTS.  Another good clue.

27. Satchmo's birthplace, briefly: NOLA.  Louis Daniel Armstrong (Aug. 4, 1901 ~ July 6, 1971), also known as Satchmo, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

28. Narrow opening: SLIT.

29. Turner with numbers: TINA.  As in Tina Turner (née Anna Mae Bullock; b. Nov. 26, 1939).  Tina on her last birthday at age 79.  I hope I can look as good as she does when I turn 79.

30. Enjoy an easy chair: REST.

34. Monastic leaders: PRIORS.

36. Charmingly pastoral: IDYLLIC.

37. Member of a Baroque consort: VIOL.  A musical instrument used in Renaissance and Baroque music.  It is similar to a cello, is six-stringed, held vertically and played with a bow.

38. Memo heading: IN RE.

39. Survey range components: AGES.  On a survey form, there are often boxes to check one's age range.

43. Takes badly?: ROBS.  Nice misdirection.

46. Threatened: MENACED.

49. These days: LATELY.

51. Charm: ENAMOR.

52. Spa features: BATHS.  Here I am (way in the back) swimming in the pool at the Gellert Spa in Budapest.

53. Like much of Oregon: RURAL.

54. Make amends: ATONE.  This is becoming a crossword staple.

55. "I give up!": NO USE.

59. Uncommon: RARE.  Tanzanite is one of the world's rarest gem stones.  It is found only in Tanzania, hence its name.

61. Open-handed blow: SLAP.

62. Unconvincing, as an excuse: LAME.

63. Put out: EMIT.

65. Energy: PEP.

67. NY airport named for a mayor: LGA.  As in LaGuardia Airport, which is named after Fiorello Henry LaGuardia (Dec. 11, 1882 ~ Sept. 20, 1947).  He was only 5'2'', and interestingly, his first name means "little flower" in Italian.  He was the 99th Mayor of New York City.  He served as Mayor from January 1934 through December 1945.

Now here's the GIRD GRID:

QOD:  Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will make me go in a corner and cry by myself for hours.  ~  Eric Idle (b. Mar. 29, 1943)