May 11, 2019

Saturday, May 11, 2019, Matthew Sewell

Themeless Puzzle by Matthew Sewell

Spring Astronomy Day is observed on the Saturday nearest the 1st quarter moon between Mid April and Mid May. This year that falls on May 11 and I wish I could get to the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club event near Manassas where they have all the wonderful opportunities you see listed on this poster.
Today's constructor is Matthew Sewell, PhD who teaches literature and film at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and has had puzzles published in the The Chronicle of Higher Education, Newsday, The Orange County Register and the Wall Street Journals. Some of Dr. Sewell's classes at UMM

Having these two entries in the NW corner was a real stumbling block for this solver:

17. Modern gamer's headset, briefly: VR GOGGLES - (Virtual Reality GOGGLES) and 1. Nordic cured salmon appetizer: GRAVLAX - (A new word for you too?)

Let's now peer into the wide sky of the crossword universe to see what else Dr. Sewell has for us today.


1. Annual gown renters: GRADS.

6. Dwelled (on): BROODED.

13. Theatrical potpourri: REVUE - My barber bought this shop 30 years ago but has no idea why the word REVUE is in the business title

14. Got some air, say: TOOK FIVE - Dave Brubeck's famous TAKE FIVE was #5 on Billboard's Hot 100 for three weeks

15. Lit: AFIRE.

16. Multicolored solidarity emblem: PRIDE FLAG - References the rainbow flag of the LGBTQ community

19. Org. concerned with gaps, at times: ADA - David Letterman eschewed their services for his tooth gap

20. Cavalry member: LANCEMAN - The LANCE/Saber equipped calvary members of The Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854. My original HORSEMAN was wrong

21. "Between the World and Me" author Ta-Nehisi __: COATES More info

24. Latin primer word: AMO 

25. Singer who made Georgia famous: RAY CHARLES - Five of the best minutes you'll spend today

27. TV warrior princess: XENA - Lucy Lawless then and now

29. Classic paper name: HERALD - My puzzles appear on the last page of the sports section of The Omaha World HERALD

30. Restored: MADE WHOLE.

34. San Joaquin Valley wine region: MADERA - There it is just south of Sacramento. _ _ _ _ _ A was not Sonoma

35. Anguished protest: YOWL.

39. Fast-paced highlight video: SIZZLE REEL - A new phrase for me but here are Six examples you can play (I loved the Cracker Jack one)

43. Adjective for Scotty on "Star Trek": WEE - Aye, tis likely for a Scotsman

44. Baker, for one: STREET - A museum is adjacent to the famous 221B Baker STREET address

45. Most delicate: FRAILEST.

47. Cy Young Award stat: ERA How to calculate an Earned Run Average

48. Two-piece ensembles: PANT SUITS.

49. Sports show hosts, often: RECAPPERS - This guy is also called a RECAPPER

53. Hitchcock antagonist: BATES Psycho killer Norman BATES shows his "mommy" issues in this very famous scene

54. Had no doubt: FELT SURE.

55. Bizarre: OUTRE - These useful letters are seen here often  pronunciation 

56. Go caving: SPELUNK - Other pictures I found made me claustrophobic just looking at them. These people are 9. Not right: OFF 

57. Perfectly harmonious: AS ONE.


2. Provide another context for: REFRAME - Tom 11. Gets by: EVADES work by REFRAMING what he is doing (1:30)

3. French city on the Rhone: AVIGNON - The seat of the Papacy from 1309 - 1377

4. Hardy red hog: DUROC - A Nebraska State Fair champion

5. Honoree of Springsteen's 2006 "We Shall Overcome" album: SEEGER.

6. __ de Boulogne: Paris park: BOIS pronunciation. Woods of Boulogne, a seven minute Uber ride from the Eiffel Tower

7. "Submitted for your approval ... " first name: ROD.

8. Fine, in old slang: OKE - [ohk] - An Americanism dating back to 1920's, apparently the shortening of okay

10. Widened: DILATED - Haven't we all worn anti-DILATION sunglasses after leaving the optometrist? BTW, this word only has three syllables 

12. "Place de la Concorde" artist: DEGAS.

14. Fighting involving excavated shelters: TRENCH WARFARE - Miserable living amidst horrible WWI warfare

16. Word with safe or out: PLAY - If kids PLAY SAFE it will probably PLAY OUT fine. Making a SAFE PLAY often allows you to OUTPLAY your opponent 

18. 1975 ABC debut, initially: GMA - I am not a morning TV watcher 

21. Dear, to Donizetti: CARO Caro elisir! Sei mio! (Dear elixir! You are mine) from Donizetti's Elixir of Love

22. Dictated: ORAL - 50's TV featured Susie taking dictation from Mr. Sands

23. Urban shortcut: ALLEY 28. Bowl over: AMAZE - Boomer has AMAZED a lot of pins in ALLEYS

26. Devious laugh: HEH.

31. Trimming tool: ADZE - Familiar tool to crossworders

32. Lat neighbor: DELT - Here ya go (first syllables only)

33. "And fly, __ evil intercept thy flight": Milton: ERE - "Get going while the gettin's good" is how I read it

34. Wonder: MIRACLE.

36. Credit as an inspiration: OWE IT TO - Crosswords and this blog have filled a large part of my retirement. I OWE IT all TO C.C. and youse guys!

37. Best __: WESTERN 

38. Chin stroker's words: LET'S SEE - Ahhh, I'll have a Snickers

39. "The Post" co-star: STREEP - She plays Katherine Graham

40. Taloned predators: ERNS - ERNS and EMUS are chief residents in our cwd avaiary 

41. Take off the table?: EAT - Fun!

42. Portugal's capital, locally: LISBOA - You say LISBOA, I say LISBON, Let's call the whole thing off 😉

44. Lowly laborers: SERFS 

46. Hawaiian parties: LUAUS.

48. Exec's private jet, say: PERK - My classmate Glen (Nick Saban on the right) pilots the Bama private recruiting executive jet.

50. Delta hub code: ATL 

51. Sch. with a Schuylkill campus: PSU.
52. Many a Ben & Jerry's flavor: PUN - Is Cherry Garcia their most famous flavor pun?

Please take an opportunity tonight to be amazed by the spring evening sky - especially Leo (backwards question mark for the head)!

Southern Spring Sky From North Of The Equator


OwenKL said...

FIWrong, no surprise. But only two cells, next to each other, and one was the penultimate one I entered. Wasn't sure between SEEGaR or SEEGER, and switched between them, ending on the wrong one. but the naticks were GRAVLAX (which I WAGed correctly) and DUROk and LANkaMAN, which I blew. Wanted TANKMAN, but it was a letter short. Tanks are modern cavalry, aren't they?
So many w/os! SNL > GMA, SIDE > PLAY, YELP > YOWL, PEONS > SERFS, OWLS > ERNS, RESIDED > BROODED, probably others.

This old netbook is a real pain. Where my apps went is a mystery. I think I've got typing settled down, so I can do a l'ick.

A gamer with V.R. GOGGLES,
Between PLAY and reality he toggles.
Should he REFRAME
Which is the game,
Well, that reality just boggles!

There was a pundit who BROODED,
TOOK FIVE, and the world excluded.
A RECAP of his views,
Like a mental REVUE,
And he FELT SURE the whole world had colluded!

There was a woman from AVIGNON,
FELT better with a PANT SUIT on.
Two pieces weren't WEE
Like a business bikini,
So she enjoyed sales calls on a faun!

{A-, A-, A.} And I'd lust to see a "business bikini", as long as it wasn't on a fat guy like me!

TTP said...

Good morning. Thank you Matthew Sewel and Husker Gary.

The gimmes were there for the taking, but some of the other fill took a while to get. 37 minutes before this puzzle was MADE WHOLE.

- That C at COATES and CARO was a best guess of the 26 possibilities. With a first name of Ta-Nehisi, I was thinking the author must be American Indian.
- BOIS required every perp.
- Lat ? Not Latvia neighbor, but the muscle.
- Gets by ? Wanted something in the sense of EKES OUT.
- DEGAS was a wag that I worked around after getting PRIDE FLAG.
- TRENCH WARFARE was my second fill. ROD was first
- GRAVLAX - Husker Gary, don't you watch New Scandinavian Cooking on the Create channel ?

I love the sax in this Baker Street

Good challenge to get the brain working this AM, and a great review by our Saturday RECAPPER.

desper-otto said...

Good morning and Ufda!

This one used up a lot of Wite-Out. Finally got 'er done, came here, and bzzzzzt! DNF. I knew that salmon appetizer must have "LOX" in it. That made my Latin primer word OMO -- Latin is Greek to me. Anybody else think that "Hardy red hog" was a pet belonging to Tess? No, just me, I guess. That makes two fails in a row. Ugh. Thanx, Matthew and Husker.

Lemonade714 said...

This was some work but I managed to eventually get over all the hurdles. Interesting puzzle Professor and the usual entertaining and provocative expose we expect from HG.

Total unknowns, COATES and DUROC. My wife likes GRAVLAX and orders it when we go to ESCARGOT BISTRO a local family owned French restaurant which helped the solve. I was deceived by Baker for one and was happy when the penny dropped. We are currently working for a client who owns an original DEGAS and is thinking of selling. I also initially went with MERCED which slowed me down.

It was nice to see the full name RAY CHARLES as I had the pleasure of meeting him when he played at the Great Southern Music Hall in Gainesville when it was owned by my law partners.

Finally, once again a link chosen by Gary sent me to Google and IMDB to look up PRIVATE SECRETARY which starred ANN SOTHERN (where is that "U"?) and DON PORTER which was on before we got a tv. I was amazed to see so many familiar names on the FULL CAST for the series including some future stars.

Big Easy said...

It was a DNF today. I got the NW except the V in the GRAVLAX & VF GOOGLES ( never heard of either). Got the SE. But the NE was a total bland except OFF. The 'Submitted for approval' & 'Fine' clues made no sense to me, so OKE & ROD fills were not possible. BOIS,PRIDE FLAG, CARO & COATES-new to me; never heard of them. After that I FELT SURE I would lose this TRENCH WARFARE battle with the constructor today.

SW filled ZZLEREEL but there was no 'sizzle'-new term along with the unheard of RECAPPERS and unheard of movie "The Post", so STREEP was not possible.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I was surprised to see my completion time of 23 minutes because I struggled in several areas until the perps came to the rescue: I never heard of Madera, VR Goggles, Sizzle Reel and, as clued, I had trouble with Duroc, PSU, Bois, and Lisboa. Coates was a gimme as I've seen him on TV and Gravlax is ubiquitous in delis and on cooking shows. I had Yelp/Yowl and Peons/Serfs and, although Rod filled itself in, I had no idea who or what it referred to. Liked the Street/Streep crossing, probably because my husband always pronounced Meryl's name as Street, no matter how many times I said it's Streep, with a P.

Thanks, Matthew, for a challenging Saturday and thanks, HG, for your usual enlightening expo and fun links and visuals.

Have a great day.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

DNF. DUROC was unknown, and I BROODED over PRIDE FLAG. Had Sonoma before MADERA, Hearst before HERALD, and howl before YOWL; all auguring for a cranky solve. I never could get a good cadence going.
First entry was BOIS; 2nd was TRENCH WARFARE, which turned out to be the theme of trying to get it solved.
Interesting that STREEP crossed STREET.

Happy Mother's day to all the fine Moms out there.

Misty said...

Well, Saturdays are always toughies for me, and this one was even a little tougher than usual. I did start off with XENA which gave me LOX (didn't quite work, it turned out). Also got LUAUS, on my first run. But lots of struggle after that, although it was a miracle that I actually got MIRACLE after a while. Nice to see RAY CHARLES in the puzzle, and also PANTSUITS. So, still turned out to be fun--many thanks, Matthew. Great pictures in your commentary, thanks for that, Husker Gary.

Finally got a good night's sleep and look forward to a good weekend. Have a great day, everybody.

WikWak said...

I feel like I’ve been rode hard and put away wet. Took half an hour and lots of skull sweat to get through this one. SO many unknowns! Thank heavens for perps. Thanx to Dr Sewell for a real workout and to HG for ‘splaining things.

Gotta go. Got places to see and people to do. Have a great day, all.

billocohoes said...

Never seen LANCEMAN used instead of Lancer, but I suppose it's a real word.

Knew BOIS means wood, because old friend oboe comes from the French haut bois ("high wood")

CrossEyedDave said...


I tried to find you a Business Bikini,

But H.R. didn't approve...

Lucina said...


Thank you, Matthew Sewell and Husker Gary! Three-fourths of this was fairly gettable and I filled it in record time but the NW did me in. I no longer watch cooking shows because I can't eat what they promote so GRAVLAX is completely unknown. The same with DUROC, VRGOGGLES and I, also, had HORSEMAN before LANCEMAN. COATES is also unfamiliar but it perped.

I abhor looking up things but was forced to and results in an unsatisfying finish.

ROD immediately came to mind but not BOIS. I would have known Du BOIS. LISBOA made perfect sense.

Meryl STREEP, as she is in everything, was superb in The Post.

Today is my daughter's 42nd birthday!

Have a happy day, everyone!

AnonymousPVX said...

Wow. This Saturday grinder was really tough. No “gimme” today for sure.

And for whatever reason, no bad cells today.

But plenty of markovers....AGLOW/AFIRE, WAIL/YOWL, OWLS/ERNS, PEONS/SERFS.

I’m a sports fan, but SIZZLE REEL was new to me.

And where is everybody today? And why is it mentioned that “DILATED” is 3 syllables? How else would it be pronounced?

Have a great weekend....see you Monday.

WikWak said...

Anon PVX: TONS of people pronounce it DYE-UH-LATE-ED. 4 syllables. Drives me nuts to hear that. ,

PK said...

Hi Y'all! I was not on Matthew's wave-length but thanks for keeping me occupied at midnight. Always a treat, Gary.

I had only GRADS & DEGAS on the top half after the first pass. Looked up COATES. Finally got XENA. The bottom half went better and I worked back up. Resorted to red-letter runs on a bunch of words including GRAVLAX (never heard of it. Sounds like something you'd spend time in the bathroom after eating.)

On the Georgia clue, I tried Neil Diamond. Nope. Had to wait until I had enough perps to attribute it to RAY CHARLES.

Another gray rainy day in our usually sunny state.

Ol' Man Keith said...

My great great granddaddy was a cavalry trooper, but I doubt he was a LANCE MAN--or ever wielded or even saw a LANCE. He served with the Union army and then was an Indian fighter (in the days when that was, sadly, a real thing) and a quartermaster sergeant. He retired to become a Missouri state representative.
Fittingly, his daughter married the son of an ex-CSA lieutenant, and the rest is...

I did not know today is Astronomy Day Thank you, Husker G!

Ta~ DA!
Tough but doable. Not nasty, like yeterday's.
I so wanted 49A to be EX-PLAYERS. I resisted for the longest time but finally caved (SPELUNKed?) to RE-CAPPERS.

Misty ~
Glad you slept well last night. We were worried. Do you know the rhythm trick for getting to sleep? I saw it in a TED Talk. It was a percussionist, a drummer, who figured it out.

Jayce said...

Whew, quite a a trek through Solverville today. Nice and hard but doable. I won't bore you with the starts and stops, erasures and rewrites, etc that I experienced. Suffice it to say it was a satisfying experience. I'm glad Mr. Sewell constructed and submitted it.

(A little factoid: my wife went to Mankato State for a year.)

I loved The Twilight Zone and the way Rod Serling enunciated it. He had an interesting way of speaking, and genius muse for writing.

Speaking of geniuses, I think RAY CHARLES was one also.

Every time see the term PANT SUIT I think of ... oh no! Get out of my head!

"... si votre ramage se rapporte à votre plumage, vous êtes le Phénix des hôtes de ces BOIS!" Jean de la Fontaine

"Sur le Pont d'AVIGNON
L'on y danse, l'on y danse..." Traditional chidlren's song

The Post was actually a pretty good movie. At least my wife and I enjoyed it greatly. It took us two viewings to fully see and appreciate all the detail.

Yep, I think Cherry Garcia is Ben and Jerry's most famous flavor pun. I think it's actually pretty good ice cream.

Got our new garage door installed yesterday and we like it. It looks good and works perfectly. LW has stopped flitting about and has settled down. She even slept the whole night last night.

I just finished editing a short story our bald-headed, chemo-infused DIL wrote. I hope she can get it published.

Good wishes to you all.

Wilbur Charles said...

“Can Saturday be any harder?”(than yesterday?) Duh, yep

Jayce , that's my favorite French poem “Sans doute” is in there somewhere. I can still recite it. Jr yr, HS

How about Brian de BOIS Gilbert from ?*(see bottom)

Yes, I struggled Phil came by and I pointed out the gamer clue. “ VR something, Dad” . Doesn't matter, after dreaming up the full NW,NE,and South in reverse order I left IS ONE and the non-sensical LISBOi . Aarrggghhh!!!

I believe AVIGNON is near Tours where the big battle of 710 was fought with Charles (the Hammer) Martel vs the Moslem Army . Arabs were forever wary of Francs after that

I can't believe it took so long to grok RAY CHARLES . It came to me at 4pm Mass and I couldn't wait to ink it in.
But it didn't help with LOX/LAX - AMO/OTO(RESTATE/REFRAME) etc.

. Some of this was V8 material but the result of staring at the White Sea(there is one)


*Ivanhoe He's the real hero. In my Musical the audience never sees Ivanhoe, essentially a minor character.

If the talent in here wants to write lyrics(Owen) and music (?) I'll finish the outline

Wilbur Charles said...

Of course, OMK will direct

Lucina said...

It has been noted many times before: it's so interesting how different are our frames of reference. RAY CHARLES was my first fill, thought of him immediately.

Lemonade714 said...

I guess everyone is out and about today but those who are here have been interesting, highlighted by the fable by Jean de la Fontaine. I also have had time to appreciate all of HG's pics and links. I also realized that it is the absence of bangs which is the biggest difference in Lucy Lawless.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Matthew, it took me all day (on and OFF) and I still had to cheat my way to a DNF (5 cheats, that's my limit :-))

Thanks HG for the help and the final solve.

Fav: VR GOGGLES. I you have 45 minutes, check out the Pilot to VR5 [45:04 - a cameo of Penn Jillette]

{A, B+, A}

Misty - until you said LOX was wrong, I didn't notice. +1 bad square.

TTP - Thanks for Baker Street. I had to look-up Gerry Rafferty and found he also did Stuck in the Middle.

Y'all have a wonderful night.

Cheers, -T

Anonymous T said...

TTP - File this under Bizarre Synchronicity in the Universe...

I looked up Gerry Rafferty b/c I didn't know that name (was he one-hit?) though I know the song. Here I am an hour later reading Eric Idle's "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" and there on page 163...
"I have known Salman [Rushdie] for some years, since we met at a Billy Connolly concert in Hammersmith, where his dates were four hefty guys from Special Branch, and we sat singing Beatles songs with Gerry Rafferty."

So thanks for lining up the stars for me on Astronomy Day!

Cheers, -T

Misty said...

Thank you, Ol' Man Keith and AnonT, for your kind comments.

Wilbur Charles said...

I tried Irish FLAG. I've got a new phone and I'm not having any luck linking. Subtle OS differences.

HORSE was not Saturday fill; LANCEMAN is noday fill.

I see Mr COATES is a Capt Marvel guy.
The Capt goes all the way back to my day.
I was thinking of the Country Music Assoc. That wasn't Frank Gifford's wife was it?
Re. Racine...
I see it was “sans mentir”. “Sans doute” comes at the end. I used to love “Sans doute,”.


Big Tuna said...

File this under bizarre synchronicity in the universe part deux

So I was browsing Reddit just now and came across this. It's a day late and a sad choice for a beverage but it'll do.

I submit for your approva for yesterday's readers.

BEER ME and koozie!

p.s. I hope this works. First attempt to do from mobile and probably last. Lol. Phew I'm tired...

p.p.s. here's the url just in case

Anonymous T said...

Big Tuna - That's a Good Dog!

TX Ms said...

Big Tuna, LOVED IT! THX - love dogs! Now translate that to a cat's thinking of responding to commands. My apologies to all Corner cat-lovers - mea culpa.

Big Tuna said...

He is a good booooy!

TTP said...

Decided to rest my eyes around 6:30 and my 5 minute nap turned into a 5 hour nap. Couldn't get back to sleep.

Dash T, I bought the Rafferty "City to City" album because of "Baker Street" but another good song on that album was Right Down the Line. Used to sing that one to my girlfriend in Houston.

Funny how you can tie everything back to Monty Python (in less than 6 degrees), but it was serendipitous that you should come across that line in your book after listening to the song and reading about Gerry Rafferty. You should create a Python Number site like this

I also had Stealers Wheel "Stuck in the Middle With You" on one of those 8 track tapes of hit songs. Love that line, "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you."