Jun 30, 2019

Sunday June 30, 2019 Pam Amick Klawitter

Theme: "Can You Digit?" - Anagrams of 1-9 span across each theme entry.

21. Unite in a common cause: DRAW TOGETHER. Two.
26. Unobstructed view: LINE OF SIGHT. One. Should have avoided ONE THIRD (41. Eight hours per day?)

35. Place to find a hack: TAXI STAND. Six.

46. Post-Civil War economic growth period: THE GILDED AGE. Eight.

62. Fortuitous: HEAVEN-SENT. Seven.

64. On a lark: JUST FOR FUN. Four.

74. With no time to spare: UNDER THE WIRE. Three.

90. Front door, usually: MAIN ENTRY. Nine.

95. What "I don't wanna" do, in a Zayn/Taylor Swift hit: LIVE FOREVER. Five.


104. 5½ and 8¾, e.g. ... and a hint to this puzzle's circles: MIXED NUMBERS.

I bet Pam tried to put those numbers in order, but could not make it happen.

10 theme entries is quite challenging to grid, esp when all the theme entries are placed in Across. 


1. Prepared for a selfie: SMILED.

7. Pizzeria chain, familiarly: UNOS.

11. Grey Cup gp.: CFL. Canadian Football League.

14. ER figures: DRS.

17. What worms help do, soilwise: AERATE.

18. Rowling teacher: SNAPE. Harry Potter's potions professor.

19. Brewpub choice: ALE.

20. Silk on the Seine: SOIE.

23. Extinct bird: MOA. Here in MN, it stands for Mall of America.

24. Duds: TOGS.

25. Official fuel of NASCAR since 2004: SUNOCO.

29. You, in the Bible: THOU.

32. Mustard, e.g.: Abbr.: COL. Colonel Mustard.

33. Bruins legend: ORR.

34. Lacking freshness: TRITE.

38. Blood prefix: HEMA. Boomer's hematocrit and hemoglobin are both low. The doctors check these two numbers every month. No idea why is hema, one is hemo.

40. Problem for the weary: NO REST.

42. Nods from NASA: A-OKS.

43. Loner of a fish?: SOLE.

44. Prospecting tool: PAN.

45. Laryngitis docs: ENTS.

51. Food service trade org.: NRA. Had to google: National Restaurant Association.

52. Midsummer arrivals: LEOS. I was picturing lychees. They've arrived here in the US. Only available for a very short period. I still have a few in the fridge. Precious!

53. Vintage autos: REOS.

54. Kid __: reading genre: LIT.

55. Shopper's indulgence: SPREE

58. Newspapers: PRESS.

60. Lord's domain: FIEF.

61. Audi's rings, e.g.: LOGO.

66. Co-star with Goldie, Ruth, Henry, et al.: ARTE (Johnson). "Laugh-In".

67. Courtroom attention-getter: OYEZ.

68. Reference volumes: TOMES.

69. Musical markings: NOTES.

70. Toon bartender: MOE. "The Simpsons".

71. Circle makers: ARCS.

72. Sham: FAKE.

73. Phishing target, briefly: SSN.

77. Nero's 902: CMII.

79. Six-pack muscles: ABS.

82. "__ Walked Into My Life": "Mame" song: IF HE.

83. Love interest of 58-Down: EROS. 58. Love interest of 83-Across: PSYCHE.

84. Liability: HANDICAP.

86. Aussie leaf munchers: KOALAS. Also 94. Barcelona bears: OSOS.

89. "Yeah, right!": I BET.

91. Week attachment?: ENDER. Weekender.

92. Banned bug spray: DDT. And 106D. 92-Across banner: EPA.

93. Fla. NBA team: ORL.

99. Crew member: SAILOR.

102. Butcher's cut: LOIN.

103. __ Today: magazine for teachers: NEA.

109. RSVP cards, say: ENCS.

110. Terrible start?: MAL.

111. "Come-faithful" filler: ALL YE.

112. Clavell's "Shogun" sequel: TAI-PAN.

113. Deli choice: RYE.

114. People fixers: Abbr.: EDS. People magazines.

115. TV's "New Girl": JESS. Played by Zooey Deschanel.

116. Involve: ENTAIL.


1. Hangdog: SAD.

2. Cousteau's sea: MER.

3. Nest egg letters: IRA.

4. Action in a legal thriller: LAWSUIT.

5. Words from Caesar: ET TU.

6. Cole of "Angie Tribeca": DEON. Unfamiliar to me.

7. Incalculable: UNTOLD.

8. "Guess again": NAH.

9. GM subsidiary until 2017: OPEL.

10. LPGA star Pak in the World Golf Hall of Fame: SE RI. She opened the door for all the Korean golfers.

11. Smartphone feature: CAMERA.

12. It's underfoot: FLOOR.

13. Foliage element: LEAF.

14. Dr. Howser of '80s-'90s TV: DOOGIE.

15. They involve responsibilities: RIGHTS.

16. Largish combo: SESTET. Six.

18. Difference between winning and losing, maybe: SECONDS.

20. Word in an iconic cocktail order: STIRRED. "Shaken, not stirred."

22. Small racer: GO CART.

27. Asian menu promise: NO MSG. MSN never caused me any trouble.

28. Inedible wraps: STOLES. Cute clue.

29. 'Vette roof option: T-TOP.

30. Maui's scenic __ Highway: HANA.

31. Babe's relatives: OXEN. Babe the pig. (Correction: Babe the Blue Ox. Thanks, Jinx!)

36. Wilson of "Walker, Texas Ranger": SHEREE.

37. Brown of publishing: TINA. Rival of Anna Wintour for many years.

38. Snack cake brand: HOHOS.

39. Scratches (out): EKES.

40. React to a boring speech: NOD OFF.

42. "This is only __": A TEST.

43. Comes down hard?: SLEETS.

47. Angelou's "And Still __": I RISE.

48. Up in the air: ALOFT.

49. Movement in some Bach suites: GIGUE. Rooted in "Jig".

50. Stiff collars: ETONS.

51. Snow in le Alpi: NEVE. French for "snow"?

52. Kay of "Rich Man, Poor Man": LENZ. Never heard of her.

55. Longtime SeaWorld orca: SHAMU.

56. Eva of Argentina: PERON.

57. Used Yelp, maybe: RATED.

59. Baseball's Pee Wee: REESE.

60. Blow one's top: FUME.

61. Scientologist Hubbard: L RON. Did you know that Scientology has its own prison? It's called "The Hole".

63. Bridge positions: NORTHS.

64. Stand-up fare: JOKES.

65. Risky kind of kick: ONSIDE.

68. Mystic's deck: TAROT.

71. Kennel double talk?: ARF ARF.

72. Let go: FIRE.

73. __ Féin: SINN. Left wing Irish political party.

75. Actresses Brennan and Davidson: EILEENS.

76. Vehicle for Hulu and Roku: WEB TV.

77. Pretense: CHARADE. Great fill.

78. E-file alternative: MAIL IN.

79. Talent show entries: ACTS.

80. Pressure: Pref.: BARO. Barometer.

81. Northern __: apples: SPYS. This looks like our Honeycrisp.

85. How much space debris travels: IN ORBIT.

86. Sullivan's pupil: KELLER.

87. Like some bagels: ONIONY.

88. It may be unwanted: ADVICE.

89. Things to aspire to: IDEALS.

90. Walks unhurriedly: MOSEYS.

92. Hardly look forward to: DREAD.

96. Bar words that make you smile: ON ME.

97. Key with four sharps: Abbr.: E MAJ.

98. Tick off: RILE.

100. Renaissance instrument: LUTE.

101. Yemen neighbor: OMAN.

105. Tee sizes: XLS.

107. Bollywood star Aishwarya __: RAI. Very pretty.

108. Popular skit show, for short: SNL.


Jun 29, 2019

Saturday, June 29, 2019, Christopher Adams

Themeless Saturday by Christopher Adams

Today celebrates your local pour-master and perhaps listening post.

FYI: "A mixologist is an individual with a passion for combining elixirs and creating extraordinary cocktails, whereas a bartender is an individual with a passion for making great drinks and creating well-balanced experiences. To be successful, you really need both types of pros behind the bar."

Christopher Adams

Our constructor Christopher Adams is currently a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Iowa. He graduated in 2014 from Cornell University, with a major in mathematics and minors in physics and creative writing, after which he spent a year abroad teaching physics at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. 

Christopher's puzzle took me twice as long as Dr. Lim's did last Saturday but was still a fun excursion.

Now let's examine the loci of our math man's cluing:

1. Drink containing neither of the ingredients in its name: EGG CREAM - Harkens back to the days of soda fountains. Here's the recipe for the chocolate variety - Pour 3 tablespoons of chocolate syrup and 1/4 cup of milk or half-and-half into a 16-ounce glass. While beating vigorously with a fork, slowly add club soda until the glass is almost full. Add a straw and serve very cold.

9. Kidder who played Lois in four "Superman" films: MARGOT - Before the blue screen was added

15. Trendy Starbucks option: SOY LATTE - SOY milk instead of dairy milk

16. Ballpark figures: USHERS - "Crazy Steve" is a truck driver by day and an USHER with some good dance moves at night in Peoria, IL

17. "Kennedy" biographer: SORENSEN - Native Nebraskan Ted SORENSEN graduated from Lincoln High School and UNL

18. "Grey's Anatomy" show runner Rhimes: SHONDA - I have visited "Shondaland" quite often on Netflix. Her productions have included many strong women

19. Secluded spot: NOOK - Not a NEST it turns out

20. Rose: AWOKE.

22. "__ Rosenkavalier": DER The Knight Of The Rose - A comic opera by Richard Strauss. If you think I knew that, I've got this bridge in Brooklyn... 

23. Actor Danny Trejo, for one: LATINO From the IMDB

25. Towel spec: HERS.

26. Worked on a roast: CARVED Carving a roast for dummies (;30)

30. One on the phone, often: TEXTER - Not while driving!

32. Here, in Juárez: AQUI - a very familiar sign in our town

33. 2022 World Cup city: DOHA - This World Cup, usually played in the summer, has been moved to the Qatari winter due to the incredible high summer temps in DOHA

35. "Nunsense" costume: HABIT - Here starring Rue McClanahan 

38. Academic dictum: PUBLISH OR PERISH - Academic treadmill

41. Glides (through): SAILS.

42. Heavyweight fight?: SUMO - No 
12. Workplace concern: GENDER BIAS here

43. Account: TALE.

44. Album by Destroyer with a German title meaning "broken": KAPUTT - You would have known this if you were into Kiss tribute bands from Canada

46. Ameliorate, in a way: LESSEN.

48. Burns miss: LASS - Robert Burns of course

50. Eponymous Portland bookstore founder: POWELL - Number 4 on Top Ten Things to do in Portland, OR

52. Evil Tolkien soldier: ORC - A frequent member of the cwd military 

53. Big note: C-SPOT - Some restaurants will no longer accept C-SPOTS ($100 bills)

54. Bring home: EARN 

58. Fictional 1719 autobiographer: CRUSOE - Many thought Daniel Defoe's character was real

60. More than just meddle: MUSCLE IN.

63. Tasmanian capital: HOBART - Viking Cruises offers this trip from L.A. 
starting at $15,000 with HOBART being a port of call 

64. One might copy from it: EDIT MENU.

65. Ace of Base, e.g.: SWEDES - "Alex, I'll take 'Swedish pop rock quartets beginning with A' for a $1,000" Oops, it's not our old cwd buddies!

Ace Of Base 
66. Discounted amount: NET SALES - Like 20% off MSRP?


1. Head of state?: ESS State

2. "I'm listening": GO ON.

3. Greek deli item: GYRO - "YEE row" seems to be the consensus pronunciation

4. Psychic Miss: CLEO - There's one born every minute

5. Bother big-time: RANKLE.

6. "The Martian" has none: ET'S - Most famous line from this great movie "I'm gonna have to science the $*^+ out of this!"

7. Bothered big-time: ATE AT -  I know how Jerome will see this fill 😏

8. 1927 Hemingway short story collection: MEN WITHOUT WOMEN All you need to know

9. Arctic grazer: MUSKOX - Named for the strong odor it emits during mating season

10. Court immortal: ASHE - Arthur is a tennis star from Richmond, VA

11. Parthenon P: RHO - Yup, RHO is the third letter in Parthenon - Παρθενώνας

13. Court command: ORDER.

14. Peter and Paul, but not Mary: TSARS - TSAR Paul I was a great grandson of Peter I (the Great)

21. Like show-offy push-ups: ONE ARM 

24. Tosses in: ADDS.

25. Trick-taking game: HEARTS Play online if you like

26. Mushroom parts: CAPS.

27. Water color: AQUA.

28. It has over 43 quintillion configurations: RUBIK'S CUBE.

29. Ritzy retreats: VILLAS Info on VILLAS to rent in Tuscany

31. Not just any: THE - Ohio State emphasizes THE

34. "You're too kind!": OH STOP.

36. Archipelago component: ISLE - Solzhenitsyn's archipelago was of gulags (forced labor camps) in the U.S.S.R. not ISLES

37. Second of a logical pairing: THEN - It appears here that entering A was the only way get a TRUE response

39. MSN, for one: ISP - My Internet Service Provider is Spectrum (formerly Time/Warner)

40. Ask for opinions: POLL 

45. Some March Madness madness: UPSETS - UPSETS are fun but the final four teams are populated by many of the favorites save for the occasional UPSETS

47. Sends to Washington: ELECTS.

48. Leven and Lomond: LOCHS - There's about an hour-and-a-half driving time between these two LOCHS (lakes)

49. The CW show about a vigilante archer: ARROW Wanna stream some episodes?

51. Scriabin work: ETUDE - Tolstoy called Alexander Scriabin's music, "a sincere expression of genius"

53. Fission site: CORE - This is where the uranium atom is split in a nuclear power plant and that heat boils water which... 

55. __ mater: ALMA.

56. Show shock: REEL - The Beach Boys were Rockin' and a-REELIN' in this fun song

57. Roger Maris' uniform number: NINE - Roger (a proud product of Fargo North Dakota High School) got a record breaking 61 home runs in 1961. BTW, if you don't know the other guy depicted below, baseball really isn't your thing.

59. Regrettable: SAD - It was very SAD that the stress of chasing Babe Ruth's single season home run record made Roger lose hair

61. Skip, with "out": SIT - Roger did SIT out one of the 162 games that year

62. Frat letters: NUS - There are four Greek letters that would fit this 2-letter fill. Can you name the other three?

Very nice puzzle for a Hawkeye! (Husker sarcasm 😙). Feel free to comment on Christopher's great work.

Note from C.C.:
Happy 49th birthday to dear Barry G, who used to comment on our blog regularly. So glad that he continues to solve the daily LAT crosswords and reads our blog from time to time. Is Joshua now taller than you, Barry?

July 2, 2016

Jun 28, 2019

Friday, June 28, 2019, Michael Paleos

Title: Ten-hut!

Michael Paleos
is a new constructor who already has an NYT and a WSJ publication under his belt. Why he keeps them there I do not know, but it isn't for me to judge. The New York Times was October 24, 2018, and the reveal and puzzle were great. The WSJ on May 9 of this year also had a really fun reveal. Today, we are presented with a reveal that hints at the solution but lets us work at the solve. The rest of the fill is very gettable, but you have to unravel 38A. Splitting with one's group ... or a hint to the theme found in four puzzle rows: BREAKING RANKS (13). First, you need to understand that ranks are military ranks. The next hint is that the military ranks are hidden 4 different across rows. Then you need to picture the military ranks split into two pieces like...

1A. Pickle: DILEMMA paired (7) with 8A. Important biblical river: JORDAN (6) which together gives us a MAJOR. Then knowing the rule of symmetry we go to the very last row and find:
67A. Oregon city where Nike was founded: EUGENE(6) paired with 68A. Comes back: RALLIES (7) which together gives us a GENERAL. Now to find two more can quickly discard rows 2 and 3, but behold! Row 4 has the delightful pairing
18A. Rundown: RECAP (5) paired with 19A. IMPURETAINTED, which together gives us CAPTAIN.  Then go up 2 rows from the bottom to maintain the grid symmetry and locate 56A. High wind: PICCOLO. (7) Very tricky, a high wind instrument paired with 59A. "M.O." rapper: NELLY (5) which gives us COLONEL. And now you know how I solved the puzzle. Michael needed many "cheater"(helper?) squares to make this work, 8 in all which are shown with a pink sign in the black squares in the grid.       

                                                                                                            The stacks of seven and six in the top three and bottom three rows were impressive and the theme was so close to being elegant if he could only have had the Captain Major Colonel General appear in order. There lots of common fill but also he squeezed in AIR ASIA,  ECOTOUR, ICELAND, PICANTE, CABLECAR, DEADLOCK,  RETAPING, and the timely and controversial ROE V. WADE. Now that my write-up is all out of control, let us examine the rest.


14. Whale-watching excursion, say: ECOTOUR. I found this definition of ECOTOURISM: “Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past, and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples.”

15. It's about 80 miles SW of Buffalo, N.Y.: ERIE, PA. Major (pun intended) to our Erie folk. Do you this BILLIONAIRE?

16. Hot and spicy: PICANTE.

17. Only Jet who was a Super Bowl MVP: NAMATH. The Jets along with the Tampa Bay Bucs and New Orleans Saints have each played in and won 1 Super Bowl.

21. Photo lab abbr.: ENLarge.

22. That, south of the border: ESO. Spanish, man.

24. Food additive: DYE.

25. Something you can stand to lose: LAP. Not a racing lap, the one that goes away when you stand.

28. Lyric tributes: ODES.

30. Med. school subject: ANATomy.

32. Name on a banana sticker: DOLE. This multinational company is at the forefront of growing ORGANIC FRUIT.

33. Winery cask: TUN. I like the definition: an imperial measure of capacity, equal to 4 hogsheads. Cutting the quantity in half each time, volumes were measurement went as follows: tone (tun), butt/pipe, hogshead, barrel, kilderkin, and firkin. While working at a start-up brewery my son reintroduced the firkin as a part of both brewing and sales.

35. Iconic San Francisco sight: CABLE CAR. This is not just a sight, it is a really fun way to get around the city and not get totally worn out by the hills. LINK.

41. Landmark 1973 decision: ROE V. WADE. Now it is all politics.

42. Oxford, to Oxonians: UNIversity.

43. Pay to play: ANTE. Poker and other gambling card games.

44. Mideast seaport: ADEN. Again no comment, but you can watch.

46. Natural floor covering: MOSS.

50. __ green: PEA. Or green pea.

51. __Kosh B'gosh: OSH. My boys were dressed in this children's clothing manufacture when they were young.

53. Louis XIV, par exempleROI. I hope you remember this from two weeks ago. He was a French King.

55. Something you might grab in a hammock: NAP. Also, the sides to keep from falling off.

61. "Okay, that makes sense now": AH, I SEE.

63. Budget carrier headquartered near Kuala Lumpur: AIR ASIA.
65. Scammer: CONMAN. Sexist, it can be a con woman.

66. Nordic Council member: ICELAND.


1. Hinge (on): DEPEND.

2. It's pointy and cold: ICICLE. They look very pretty at first.

3. "Livin' la Vida __": LOCA.
4. Military day's march: ÉTAPE. This is a place where troops camp after a day's march, or the march itself.

5. Many a fed. holiday: MONday.

6. Chop meat: MUTTON. This was tricky because in the US we think only of lamb chops or beef, pork and veal as chop meat.

7. Calculation often using pi: AREA.

8. Spinning __: weaving innovation: JENNY. The STORY of this invention and its impact on the industrial revolution.

9. Provide an address: ORATE.

10. Frosty coating: RIME.

11. Stalemate: DEADLOCK. I am not sure why but I had trouble with this dead-heat being the last to fall away.

12. Fitting: APT.

13. "You're dreaming": NAH.

18. Speed Wagon make: REO. The Reo Speedwagon was a very creative vehicle from Mr. Olds and his Reo company. REO Speedwagon was a band.

20. Aid in reuniting a lost suitcase with its owner: ID TAG.

23. Coffee brand with an orange cap: SANKA. It was all there was for decaf for years unless you wanted to drink grain like Postum.

26. Word of regret: ALAS.

27. __ sePER.

29. L.A. Clippers owner Ballmer: STEVE. I love that he could be called Steve "Basket" Ballmer, but he is much MORE.

31. Blemished, in a way: ACNED. Meh.

32. Commonly blue fabric: DENIM. Levi Strauss started with Canvas because the miners needed strong pants to hold their gold.

34. Motor City org.: UAW. United Auto Workers.

36. Musical Mars: BRUNO. Two for one. 41D. Cardi B genre: RAP.
37. Office PC nexus: LAN. Local Area Network.

38. Fillet's lack: BONE.

39. Recording over: RETAPING.

40. Panhandle state: IDAHO.

45. Beethoven's Third: EROICA.

47. Browsing, nowadays: ONLINE.

48. Tortilla shell fillers, perhaps: SALADS. When? okay, there is lettuce and tomato along with the        cheese and meat, but really, just salad?

49. Special Stratego piece: SPY.

51. Broad expanse: OCEAN.

52. A co-star might steal one: SCENE.

54. Taken together: IN ALL.

57. "Woe __!": IS ME.

58. Villain's hideout: LAIR.

60. Morales of "NYPD Blue": ESAI.

61. Great service?: ACE.

62. Astros, on sports tickers: HOUston.

64. Shinto, for one: Abbr.: RELigion.

You already have the grid above so don't be greedy. Welcome Mike and I hope you stop by and say hello. I enjoyed reading your comments when your NYT was published. Lemonade out.

Jun 27, 2019

Thursday, June 27th 2019 Bruce Haight

Theme: Corporate Takeover - the theme entries are clued punningly as commercial operations:

16A. Place to get gifts?: PRESENT COMPANY. "Present company" seems tied to the word "excepted" in my mind. Anyone else?

24A. Place to get fireplace equipment?: POKER DEALER. Disney's "Toy Story 4" is in theaters shortly and apparently features the poker-playing dogs from the movie "Up".

35A. Place to get movie actors?: EXTRA FIRM. Food! As in extra firm tofu, I use it for my pad thai noodles.

49A. Place to get laundry detergent?: ALL BUSINESS. I rarely see ALL on the shelves on my shopping forays. Is it exclusive to Walmart?

57A. Place to get help with estate planning?: PASSING CONCERN. A problem that keeps soccer coaches awake at night. Did anyone else think the England v. Cameroon game in the World Cup was one the most bizarre sports events you've ever witnessed? Quite strange.

And to the summary!

Enjoyable puzzle from Bruce. It was a pretty much left-to-right and top-to-bottom solve for me, I was firmly on the Haight wavelength today. I caught myself entering "PASSING COMP .." and then realized it must be something else, it was too similar to 16A and didn't make sense in the context of the theme.

All the theme entries are fresh, but the fill less so - maybe that's why there wasn't a lot holding me back. The puzzle is only the "Z" short of a pangram - I wonder if Bruce tried to find a place to slot one "Z" in there somewhere?

Let's go and look at what catches the eye:


1. "Welcome to Kauai!": ALOHA!

6. Channel bobber: BUOY. Pronounced "BOY" in the UK. Makes as much sense as "BOO-EE" here in the US.

10. Persian for "crown": TAJ

13. "Service at the Speed of Sound" fast-food chain: SONIC. I've never been in one, they're relatively scarce here in California, and we already boast the king of all burger chains - In N Out. If you've got a couple of spare minutes, check out the late, great Anthony Bourdain describing the glorious food item that is the In N Out burger.

14. Tolstoy title name: ANNA

15. Moment or way lead-in: IN A

19. Web statistic: HITS

20. Cruet contents: OIL. A cruet set always seemed so posh to me when I was a kid, something that exotic people had on their dining table. We had salt, (white) pepper and a bottle of malt vinegar.

21. "Yay me!": I RULE!

23. French friend: AMI

27. Hedy of Hollywood: LAMARR. She wan't just a pretty face - she and co-researcher and composer George Anthiel were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for their wartime work developing radio guidance systems.

29. Stick with a boat?: OAR

30. Singer DiFranco: ANI

31. Roman fountain: TREVI

32. "Rebel Yell" singer Billy: IDOL

34. Grasp, in slang: GROK. Well known around these parts referring to when you finally see the theme in a puzzle.

38. Put up with: BEAR

41. Techniques: WAYS

42. Liver spreads: PATÉS. Food! You could leave the accent out and have a collection of bald heads.

46. Prefix with catastrophe: ECO-

47. Online help page: FAQ

48. "My turn": I'M NEXT

53. Shopkeeper who by his own admission sells "surprisingly expensive" penny candy at the Kwik-E-Mart: APU. 

Customer 1: I need one twenty-nine cent stamp.
Apu: That's a dollar eighty-five.
Customer 2: I want two dollars worth of gas, please.
Apu: Four-twenty.
Martin: How much is your penny candy?

Apu: Surprisingly expensive.

54. Silent performers: MIMES

55. Oz. or lb.: AMT. I tried QTY first, but it looked a little odd.

56. "Instinct" star Cumming: ALAN. A very talented stage, film and TV actor, as well as performing in cabaret.

61. Park it, so to speak: SIT

62. Slope overlooking a loch: BRAE. Alan Cumming would know this, he's Scottish. Did you know there are five inlets named as lochs around Pearl Harbor?

63. Speak formally: ORATE

64. Pair of allies?: ELS. Nice clue. Two "L"s.

65. "G'day" addressee: MATE, followed closely by "Throw another shrimp on the barbie while I shout us all stubbies".

66. Put on the back burner: DEFER


1. It can cover a lot: ASPHALT. Another nice clue. I'm always tempted to put an extra H in there ... ASHPHALT - then it looks wrong and out it comes.

2. "Dallas" production studio: LORIMAR. I couldn't believe I didn't hesitate on this one. "Dallas" was enormously popular in the UK. The BBC caused all kinds of rumpus among the traditionalists when they announced the shooting of J.R. on the prime BBC news broadcast after the episode was aired.

3. Former: ONE-TIME

4. Sound neither an actor nor a hiker wants to hear: HISS.

5. Top fighter pilot: ACE

6. Dyeing art: BATIK

7. "I give up!": UNCLE!

8. Peace activist Yoko: ONO. Beatle fans on one or other side of the Yoko divide should enjoy this picture published today of John and Paul during the recording of "Abbey Road", taken by Paul's wife Linda. He says "... it reminds me that the idea we weren’t friends is rubbish. We were lifelong friends, our relationship was super-special." which might put paid to the notion that Yoko was instrumental in the breakup of the band.

9. Thanksgiving veggie: YAM

10. Royal topper: TIARA. Wasn't sure about the "royal" part here. Anyone can wear a tiara.

11. Ring-shaped: ANNULAR

12. Host of a "garage" show since 2014: JAY LENO

17. Jordan's Queen __: NOOR

18. Berth place: PIER

22. Composer Satie: ERIK. Here's "Gymnopédie No.1" beloved of unimaginative ad agencies all over the world.

24. __ fixe: PRIX

25. They may be pitched: ROOFS

26. Spanish surrealist: DALI

28. Say with conviction: AVER

32. Mosul native: IRAQI. I'm never quite sure about the middle east cities, I know I should be ashamed. IRANI/IRAQI  to me means "wait for the crosses".

33. Calendar square: DAY

34. FBI agent: G-MAN

36. Christmas poem contraction: 'TWAS

37. Tach nos.: RPMS. I wanted REVS, but the crosses I had already completed wouldn't let me.

38. Ray: BEAM

39. Total or partial event: ECLIPSE

40. Outlook alternative: AOL MAIL. Is this still a thing? I suppose it is. My first email address was with Compuserve, later acquired by AOL. In the early days, you couldn't choose your own email address, it was your 10-digit Compuserve account number. Mine was something like Hardly memorable.

43. One steeping in a cup: TEA LEAF

44. One-sided, in legal proceedings: EX PARTE

45. Huge surprise: STUNNER

47. Complain: FUSS

48. Analogy words: IS TO. There's a whole existential debate about analogies that I began to read and fell down the rabbit hole that is the Internet. I emerged an hour later with my head spinning with examples from linguistics, mathematics, artificial intelligence, anatomy and other areas I can't wrap my head around. I'll stick to "like" as evidenced in a Washington Post competition entry: "Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever." Wonderful.

50. Conquers: BESTS

51. Pester: NAG AT

52. One sporting a mic: EMCEE

56. "Back forty" unit: ACRE

58. Tech giant that sold its PC division to Lenovo: IBM. Lenovo have done a pretty good job with the tech acquisition. My last three work laptops have all been Lenovos. My personal laptop is a Chromebook, to the chagrin of my techie chums. I love it (I'm writing this blog on it as we speak).  I've not found anything I can't do on this that I did on the PC.

59. New Deal agcy.: N.R.A. The National Recovery Administration.

60. Drift (off): NOD

Well, the puzzle didn't make me nod off, so huzzah! for that. Here's the grid, "one Z short of the pangram." Do you have any expressions for someone not "quite there"? The British have "One sandwich short of a picnic", the Australians "two bricks short of a full load" (or "he's got kangaroos loose in the top paddock" which has to be my all-time favorite, but not quite fitting this theme).

OK, as you were, back to business. Here's the grid.