Sep 12, 2019

Thursday, September 12th 2019 Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: Back to Square One - and how is that? Let's explain.

40A. Classic American board game symbolized by this puzzle's circles: CHUTES AND LADDERS. In the UK, and, I believe, Canada, the game is called "Snakes and Ladders" although there are many variations. There are even a chain of coffee shops headquartered in Toronto called "Snakes and Lattes".

The game originated in ancient India under the name Moksha Patam, and traveled to the UK to be called "Snakes and Ladders", faithful to the Indian original, and thence to the Americas, where Milton Bradley renamed it "Chutes and Ladders" and produced the first US version in 1943. I hope the clue refers to the name of the US version, and not the provenance.

It's an interesting study of morality, the ladders reward virtue and the snakes, or chutes, punish transgression. The phrase "back to square one" originated from the game.

Here's a game board preserved in the National Museum in Delhi:

OK, history lesson over.

Jeffrey served up a wonderful puzzle here, it takes great skill to be able to hide the theme entries in multiple adjoining fill, and note that the "downwards" entries are all "chutes" and the "upwards" entries are all "ladders".

Downwards: TRASH, MAIL and LAUNDRY
Upwards: ROPE, FIRE and STEP.

As always, Jeffrey hides some landmines, so just when you think you have the thing beat, you find a section that you stare at, fiddle with, write stuff in, take stuff out, you just can't figure it out. For me this week was the top-center, I had terrible trouble getting that straight.

So Bravo! Mr. Wechsler. Let's take a look at what we have:


1. "Are you getting 100%?" cereal: TOTAL

6. Lover: FLAME. As I mentioned above, this section took me an age to figure out. I just couldn't see FLAME, OILER and even when I finally tripped to PULLMAN I was lost.

11. Excludes: BANS

15. Place to play: ARENA

16. Gulf of Oman vessel: OILER

17. Neutral tone: ECRU

18. Charcuterie fare: MEATS. Food! Originally a way of preserving meats, mainly pork, before refrigeration. Nowadays extends to pates, sausage, and all kinds of interesting stuff.

19. Quaint sleeping coach: PULLMAN CAR. The UK railways ran various all-Pullman services which were first-class only. White tablecloths, candles, waiter food service. I have a couple of Pullman cars on my model railway.

21. Target, as a receiver: PASS TO

23. "Moonlight Sonata" opening movement, e.g.: ADAGIO. Here's Beethoven's masterpiece adagio. Don't bother reading the snarky comments below the piece, it's amazing how those keyboard warriiors want to find some, any excuse to criticize. I think comments should be closed for YouTube.

24. Stand buy: ADE. Lemonade, Ice-T :) What was that commercial for? It was funny.

25. Dromedary feature: HUMP

28. Hybrid fruits: UGLIS

31. Cheerleader's cry: GO TEAM! Or GO WRONG TEAM! as this USC cheerleader celebrates Vince Young's winning touchdown in the 2006 Rose Bowl which confirmed Texas as the National Champions. Ooops.

33. Top __: BANANA

34. "Garfield: __ of Two Kitties": A TAIL. Unheard of, but an easy guess.

37. Deceptive appearance: GUISE

39. __ Plaines: DES

44. Fish often fried: COD. Back in me youth, we ate fish on Fridays, as did all good Catholics (or bad Catholics, in our case, but we had to keep up appearances). The local "chippy" was my mother's night off cooking, we had take-out of fried fish and chips. Three choices, battered cod or haddock; or my dad's favorite, breaded plaice. Wrapped in genuine newsprint. Happy days.

45. Famille member: ONCLE

46. Out of practice: RUSTY. Like my piano skills, I might be able to knock out a "Moonlight Sonata" but I'd have the dogs howling, and not at the moon.

47. Deceptive: TRICKY. A bit like Jeffrey's puzzles.

50. Took to heart: HEEDED

52. Sleep soundly?: SNORE. Loved this clue/answer.

53. Classic movie theaters: RKO'S. RKO had a crack at "verticalization" before anyone had even thought of the term. They figured that if they were producing the movies, they may as well air them in their own theaters and take the box office directly without giving a cut to the theater owners.

54. Maple yield: SAP

57. Martial arts teacher: SENSEI. Literally "one who comes before". An honorific shared in both Chinese and Japanese.

61. Knesset country: ISRAEL. The Israeli Parliament.

63. Brit's afternoon drink: A SPOT OF TEA. Tough to parse if you have all the letters from crosses: ASPOTOFTEA. What? It's the "POT" that throws you.

67. Raised landform: BUTTE

68. Stable baby: FOAL

69. Befuddled: AT SEA

70. It was originally a sitting meditation pose: ASANA. Now a yoga position.

71. Capital on the Tiber: ROME

72. With 22-Down, intimidate: PSYCH (out).

73. Reach: GET AT


1. __ Bay Rays: TAMPA. When did they drop the "Devil" part of the name? C.C. would know.

2. Nymph associated with Artemis: OREAD. Not one, but many. These were mountain nymphs, allegedly aggressive, but they didn't seem to have any trouble attracting attention. I wonder why?

3. Needle: TEASE

4. Tiny tunnelers: ANTS

5. Eighteenth, usually: LAST HOLE. My last hole is the nineteenth - the clubhouse bar.

6. Clotheshorse: FOP

7. Sch. with a Brooklyn campus: LIU. This innocuous little fill was the source of a good 20 minutes of head-scratching - couldn't see past NYU. NYU went in, came out, went in, came out, we do the hokey-pokey and we turn about and end up with NYU all over again. Long Island University - of course. Now if you were asking about Iced Tea, you'd be speaking my language.

8. Penne __ vodka: ALLA. Food! I know you wanted "A LA", as did I - but we are speaking Italian, not French. Here's my dinner tonight - ragu Bolognese I made yesterday (the flavors develop if you leave it overnight), linguine, Parmegiano Reggiano, basil from my own bush and - the killer - a poached egg. So I present "Lingine alla Bolognese con l'uovo" in my terrible Italian.

9. Fuse: MELD

10. Writer Bombeck: ERMA. I still struggle to remember ERMA vs IRMA. Sorry, Irma - I mean, Erma.

11. Inoffensive: BENIGN

12. Praise: ACCOLADES

13. New Deal agcy.: NRA

14. __ La Table: cookware shop: SUR. There's one next to the original Farmer's Market on Fairfax here in LA. It has a magnetic attraction - when I shop the market, I swear they teleport me in there and do the hypnosis finger-snap just after I've finished buying something. I have a rather lovely paella pan from my last telekinetic moment, but I have to say it's had a lot of use.

20. Bonn : Wasser :: Barcelona : __: AGUA

22. See 72-Across: OUT

26. Soccer star Rapinoe: MEGAN

27. Beer belly: PAUNCH

29. Unlikely to react: INERT

30. Likely to react?: SASSY

31. "Scram, varmints!": GIT

32. 2017 "Hello, Dolly!" Tony winner: MIDLER. Bette, of course.

33. TV's Arthur: BEA

34. Billing nos.: ACCTS

35. "This __ / Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong" (Shakespeare): THORN. The "thorn" of love.

Countess: Even so it was with me when I was young:
If ever we are nature's, these are ours; this thorn
Doth to our rose of youth rightly belong;

All's Well that Ends Well, Act III sc i.

36. Intrusive MP3 files: AUDIO SPAM. Is this a thing? I know the two words go together, but had anyone ever had an unwanted intrusion of MP3 files? I know U2 came in for some flak a while ago when they gave their latest album away free to anyone who had an Apple iTunes account, but I can't think of anything which might come close to spam. Anyone?

38. Aerodynamic: SLEEK

41. __ sauce: SOY

42. Bridal gown storage option: DRESS BAG. Hmmm, OK.

43. It'll never work: DUD

48. Big Easy cuisine: CREOLE. Food!

49. Co-worker of Lane and Olsen: KENT. Superman in his day job.

51. "Where __ sign?": DO I

54. Pulled a chair up to: SAT AT

55. Insurance giant: AETNA. Founded as the Aetna (Fire) Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut. Why Aetna? Based on the name of Etna, the active volcano beloved of crossword constructors.

56. Skirt fold: PLEAT

58. Dove, e.g.: SOAP

59. Young salamanders: EFTS

60. Wee: ITSY

62. Sleight of hand: RUSE

63. Egypt's cont.: AFRica. If you'd like a little different take on the by-now bland "Toto" song, here's my favorite Norwegian heavy metal and legendary cover artist Leo Morachiolli. Ear defenders advised for the weak at heart, or hearing.

64. Jack of "Barney Miller": SOO

65. Common Market letters: EEC. European Economic Community.

66. Hot tub sigh: AAH!

I'm in the UK for a few days, I'm crossing my fingers that civil war doesn't break out while I'm here and the hordes descend on Heathrow Airport with pitchforks and torches. If that happens, I'll just pop into the pub for a pint or two and maybe a spot of tea and wait for it to rain. The last time there were major riots in England when I lived there it was during a spell of nice weather. Once it started raining, the rioting subsided. No-one likes to riot in the rain.

Pip-pip, old Chaps! Toodle-oo!


Note from C.C.:

Happy 60th birthday to dear Steve, the Cal Ripken Jr. of our blog. Steve has a busy job and travels often, but he always prioritizes our blog and writes many posts on the road. Thank you so much for your incomparable dedication and humor, Steve!

Steve and Jill, June 12, 2016
Tea at The Queen Mary


D4E4H said...

FIR in 51:21 min.

Good morning Cornerites.

Thank you Jeffrey Wechsler for  this enjoyable Thursday CW.
Thank you Steve for your excellent review.


Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Top center threw me, too. I had NYU and weld before LIU and MELD. Agree with Steve about AUDIO SPAM. I've never had an issue with MP3 files.
CHUTES AND LADDERS was unfamiliar to me but getable from the perps.

Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

Finished in 10:55. Top center took me most of that time too.

I didn't see the theme until I read the nice review.

I really don't like "stand buy" for "ade."

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Played CHUTES AND LADDERS as a kid, so that went in with just a couple of perps showing. I had no problem top center, but struggled in the southwest. Had AUDIO, but SPAM never occurred to me -- still doesn't. SOAP and ITSY were slow to appear, but finally did. Hooray! Impressive showing, Mr. Wechsler. Happy Birthday, Steve, you young devil. Once again you tickled me with one of your Britishisms: ear defenders.

RUSTY: Sold my piano 15 years ago. Haven't touched one since. I'm beyond RUSTY now.

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Jeffrey Wechsler, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Steve, for a fine review.

Got through this not easily, but it was doable. Just finished.

Caught the theme. I played CHUTES AND LADDERS as a youth. Did not know the history, however.

PULLMAN CAR was a good one. There is an area near Chicago called PULLMAN, where they used to build these cars.

Our old friend ERMA Bombeck.

A SPOT OF TEA was easy for me. That is all I drink, except for few beers at night.

AUDIO SPAM is a new term for me. But, it makes sense.

I don't have a PAUNCH, but I know some guys that do.

Anyhow, I have to run. Guarding the crossing shortly. Then we are off to Pennsylvania for my wife's 50th Class Reunion. Johnsonburg, here we come.

See you tomorrow, hopefully in Johnsonburg.


( )

inanehiker said...

Another clever puzzle from JW! A smile for the morning!
Fond memories of playing CHUTES AND LADDERS as a kid- also learning moment memories, as in most of those games like "Candyland" or "Sorry" where there is a certain amount that you can't control (unless you cheat LOL) and they can all send you back to the beginning of the game. As a child you have to deal with that frustration and being a good sport- all good life lessons. My grandma loved to play games with us- but she never just let us win.

Thanks Steve and Happy Birthday!
Also belated HBD to HG - I was in KC celebrating my lifelong friend's 60th birthday yesterday and didn't do the puzzle until late last night!
Hope you are doing well, Boomer!

Yellowrocks said...

Great Friday. Faster solve than usual. I really liked the theme and the circles with chutes going down and ladders going up My last to fill was the north central. The reason was I transposed letters in two words. I do that in typing all the time. Now I am doing it in writing. Maybe I should solve online where the letters are easier to see.
Interesting review, Steve, and a very happy birthday far away from home. I am amazed at your globe trotting. It would make my head spin.
Last week the kids down the block had a stand where you could buy lemonade. I liked that clue.
A Tail of Two Kitties is a cute title.
I just listened to the Moonlight Sonata. Now I am listening to one of my favorites, Smetana's The Moldau.
MP3 audio spam seemed odd so I LIU.
"Currently, spammers are introducing MP3 music files in their messages as a way to bypass filter defenses. MessageLabs has estimated that around 15 Million stock spam mails, apparently carrying MP3 music files, were delivered to users' inboxes." I am no techie. I just know what I read.
Almost everything is corrupted by spam - emails, junk mail, robocalls. It must get results because it seems to increase.
Back to the arduous work of thinning my belongings.
The Moldau has just come to its glorious conclusion. Adieu.

OwenKL said...

DNF. Got the rest, but had to turn on the red to finish the NE corner. Liked the theme, which I sort of got by the circles' appearance as soon as I hit the reveal, before any were completely filled in.

While Brits use pythons and adders?
Because we have the West
Where if you're not fastest,
A gunslinger will "shoot" you to tatters!

At the pole dance competition
TEAM names are worth admission --
There's the crack Kracovians,
The alarming lady Firemen,
And the BANANAS, with a-peeling ambition!

In the year of seventeen seventy three,
In Boston they had a wild par-tee!
In the harbor next day
Observers on the quay*
Would report A SPOT OF TEA!

*I've pronounced it cway for 69 years, and I ain't gonna change now!

OwenKL said...


Carlson said...

Le Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits (the International Sleeping Car Company) brought the Pullman sleeping car concept from The States to Europe and started many of the famous train lines of the day. Examples of such luxury travel include the Blue Train, the Golden Arrow, North Express and the Orient Express.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

FIR, but erased odia for RKOS, freak OUT for PSYCH OUT, and Jack woo for SOO.

My favorite restaurant was Romano's in DES Plains. All you can eat king crab legs or BBQ ribs for about $12. I would go there with other students from Bellcore and half would order crab legs and half would order ribs, and they just brought heaps of both and put them in the center of the table. DES Plains is on the approach path to ORD, so it is easy to find. Just look up and DES planes!

I'm so old that Carol Channing is my Hello Dolly. Saw her on Broadway as a teen.

Cornerites know I do not understand the concept of "inoffensive".

FLN - CED, after I went to bed I thought of a better caption for the rock formation: "The Suffolk Arts Commission couldn't afford to exhibit Michelangelo's The David, so they settled for his lesser-known work The Bertha."

Thanks to JeffWech for another fine puzzler. Can't believe I got it. And thanks to Steve for your usual great tour. BTW, I have dined in that room on the Queen Mary circa 1993. They made me wear one of their dingy sports coats to the table, and from the table to the exit. DW and I were staying there while shopping for a Catalina 38 sailboat.

Lemonade714 said...

Steve is once again leading us up the down staircase with an exposition of JW's creativity. While we owned the American version of the game at one time, it was never a favorite of mine. That did not hinder the solve luckily.
This has all of Jeffrey's earmarks

Husker Gary said...

-Steve’s summative paragraphs work for me. What an amazing puzzle!
-Who sang, And Marie’s the name of his latest FLAME?
-E-cigs and Vapes are getting the same BANS as tobacco products. Works for me
-Who could coach while sleeping? Oh, it’s not that kind of coach. Never mind : - |
-RUSTY? Nope, I got right back on my bike after ten years! The old saying is right
-C-PAP has eliminated my SNORE (which does not indicate sound sleep for me or DW)
-Even my young students know the movie with this infamous SENSEI
-Crowheart BUTTE was visible for miles and miles as we drove from Cheyenne to Yellowstone
-Our LAST HOLE is a par 3 where you have to hit over a giant tree guarding the green
-VIDEO SPAM is when an ad pops up every 30 seconds on something you are watching
-Happy Birthday fellow Virgo!

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I found this solve pretty straightforward, with no major stumbles. I'm ambivalent about circles, especially in late week grids, but I suppose this one, without circles, would be too challenging. I've heard of Chutes and Ladders but know nothing about its origins or rules. Our favorite games growing up were Monoply, Sorry, and Clue. I liked Uglis over Banana, Out crossing Go Team, and the unknown but easily guessable A Tail (of Two Kitties). If that isn't an example of clever wordplay, I don't know what is. Right, Mr. Meow? Nice CSOs to Wilbur (Tampa), HG (Last hole), and Lemony (Ade). This was a vintage JW offering: Fresh theme, clever, tricky cluing, and lively fill, Dress bag, excepted.

Thanks, Jeffrey W, for always pleasing and never disappointing your faithful fans and thanks, Steve, for your wise and witty write-ups, week after week, from near and afar. You'd make a terrific food writer, BTW. Happy Birthday and I hope you celebrate it in style on your home turf, sans pitchforks and angry mobs! 🎂🎁🎉🎈🍾


CED, thanks for the update on your MIL, I hope her recovery progresses successfully. Good for you that your daily trek to Brooklyn has ended.

Picard, I'm so sorry that that awful tragedy struck so close to home for you and your whole community.

Have a great day.

Yellowrocks said...

Arrgh! Last night I heard a loud crash. When I couldn't find anything amiss I thought it must have happened at my neighbors' condo because we share a common wall. This morning when I went to sort my clothes closet I found one 97 foot rod had come crashing down and bent. My bed is now heaped with clothing.
I will sort out the no longer needed clothing. Then I will put all my square dance dresses, coats and jackets in Alan's empty closet. I hope the other rod will hold everything else.
I have been hoping to declutter and then have a realtor evaluate my home by the end of the month. Fat chance! I need to know what amount of renovation is cost effective and necessary to make the house appealing enough to sell. I will likely stay about five or so more years. There are some items I want now, like a new stove. I may as well do the whole thing and enjoy the result. I also need to know what money I can count on when I move out.

SwampCat said...

Another masterpiece of composition from our grand master! But I most enjoyed the clever clues.

Sleet soundly was my favorite but I loved Stand Buy for ADE. Wanted art at first thinking Stand meant easel but Lemonade Stand was delightful.

I also appreciated the football references: receiver for PASS TO, place to play, cheerleaders cry, Even beer belly sorta fits as does (Houston) OILERS. Love the sound of PAUNCH.

Loved 29 and 30 down, Unlikely to react, Likely to react. I’ll take a CSO at 48 down , Big Easy cuisine for CREOLE. Bless you Jeffrey for getting it right. Cajun grub is Down da Bayou.

Steve, HB. Hope you eat well at your celebration.

Owen, all A’s ! Great job!

Jinx, I’m never offended, just amused.

CanadianEh! said...

Terrific Thursday. Thanks for the fun, Jeffrey and Steve. (SPOT OF TEA (where is Nice Cuppa?) and COD (fish & chips) were perfect for your blogging day.)
I FIRed but this CW required lots of P&P. Hand up for struggling in the North-central.
This Canadian knows the game as Snakes and Ladders (grandchildren love it), but I have heard the other name. But I did not get the full reveal. Initially I had ROPE and thought the game was Clue, but it was much too short. Even when I got CHUTES AND LADDERS, I was trying to remember where the TRASH, LAUNDRY, FIRE etc. were in that game. D'ugh! Thanks Steve, for the lightbulb moment. . . plus they go upwards and downwards correctly. Clever JW.

I did not know about the Snakes and Lattes cafes. All are located in Toronto it seems (update, there are two in Tempe, Arizona). They look interesting and a good source (they ship free in Canada) of many different board games.

A Tale of Two Kitties changed to A Tail (LOL); I initially wanted Top Dog but it was a BANANA (to go with the UGLIS?).
I haven't LIUed - is a BUTTE different than a Mesa?? (no, this LIU is Not "a Sch. with a Brooklyn campus")
Besides the CSOs mentioned by Irish Miss@9:14am, I saw one to Big Easy at 48D.

My bridal gown was cleaned and stored in a sealed box for 33 years. My daughter had it altered and updated and wore it for her wedding. It came out of the box in perfect condition! (white not ECRU)

Happy Birthday Steve.
Wishing you all a great day.

CanadianEh! said...

Yes, SwampCat, I missed crediting a CSO to you also.

Jerome Gunderson said...

Yellowrocks says, "last week the kids down the block had a stand down the block where you could buy lemonade"

A hundred bucks says no one bought him.

Lemonade714 said...

JG, I'll have you know I was bought and traded and sold many times.

Steve, I think I keep getting distracted from wishing you a very happy birthday and more. We do have a bunch of Virgos here

SwampCat said...

CanadianEh, my bridal gown was also stored and my daughter wore it at her wedding . We both thought that was “sweet”. Granddaughter has already announced she wants a NEW gown. Ah, tradition.

Jerome, Groan!

Yellowrocks said...

Jerome, LOL. As for buying Lemonade, he is priceless and one of a kind.
It wasn't really down the block,down the block, just a little ways down LOL. I can make enough mistakes on my own, thank you. I wrote," Last week the kids down the block had a stand where you could buy lemonade."

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Didn't catch the significance of the up and down answers. Made so many crossout corrections they were hard to read through the inky not a pretty picture

Lucina said...


Oh, JW, you are a clever one! I saw the name of the game with only a few letters and admired the downward CHUTES and the upward LADDERS. My daughter and her friends often played that game.

For a Thursday this was a really quick solve. AGUA and ASANA pleased me.

Yes, a BUTTE and a mesa differ in that the latter is flat and the former is also high but jagged in form.

Happy birthday, Steve! I'm sure the celebration will be terrific.

Have a delightful day, everyone!

Misty said...

What fun to get a Jeffrey Wechsler puzzle along with a Steve birthday review on a Thursday. Makes for a delightful morning. I got AETNA instantly--just checked my insurance statement yesterday. UGLIS come up a lot in puzzles, and with the O I got ONCLE right away. And I loved SNORE for Sleep soundly?--a give-away but much appreciated. And yes, I too had A TALE of Two Kitties before changing it to TAILS with a chuckle. So thank you again, Jeffrey and Steve, for this great start to our day. And I also loved the Corner discussions this morning--more fun.

Sorry to hear about your broken closet rod, Yellowrocks.
Reminded me to check and see if my wedding gown is still in a DRESSING BAG in one of my closets.

Nice discussion of trains, Carlson.

Enjoy a fun reunion, Abejo. And have a great day, everybody.

CanadianEh! said...

Thank you Lucina. I knew you would know the difference. So the clue "raised landform" could have been answered by BUTTE or Mesa. At least, they have a different number of letters (unlike Avow and Aver) to distinguish the answer.

SwampCat- My daughter has stored the dress (in a box not a BAG), but the granddaughters are too young to have any opinions on new vs. traditional. We shall see.
We had Photos at the wedding of both of us in the dress. "Say Yes to the Dress."

Jinx in Norfolk said...

OK, I admit that I'm not particularly domestic, in fact DW would say I'm barely housebroken. But Yellowrocks, how and why do you have a 97 foot rod in your closet? Surely you don't have a closet that's 97 feet long? If you do, "clothesehorse" must be a CSO to you!

Yellowrocks said...

Jinx, proof is here that I can make mistakes all my myself. That is 97 inches or about 8 feet.
Good eye.
I'm 2/3 finished with my sorting and rehaning. I believe all will fit.
My wedding gown of 60 years (come 2020) is still white and not fragile, being preserved in a dress bag. I think of it as the prettiest dress I ever had. My DIL, though small, could not wear a size six. Me, either, these days. The corporation has gotten bigger. I hate to just discard the dress, but I don't know who could use it. I see many crafts I could make using its fabric, but I am no longer into crafts.

Picard said...

I have to comment to praise the extraordinary construction by Jeffrey Wechsler today. It was even more impressive when Steve highlighted the CHUTES AND LADDERS showing the beautiful symmetry.

Several unknowns, but filled with fair crosses. Very appropriate that Steve is in England now to cover A SPOT OF TEA in his review.

Wilbur Charles thank you for the kind words yesterday about my memorial article. Did you read my answer to your previous inquiry about electrical terms? Did this help, or did it make things even more confused for you?

Irish Miss thank you for the condolences. Yes, as you can see from my article it indeed has brought the community together. We eagerly await word of what caused this terrible tragedy at sea. And what we need to do to keep this from ever happening again.

In a harbor town like this we are often out in boats and we want the experience to be rewarding and enjoyable, not leading to fear and possible disaster.

CrossEyedDave said...

Yay me! I finished a Friday JeffWech!

Still, I thought the words in the circles would
mean more...

Wait a sec!
24. Stand buy: ADE.
(I had Ale!)
Oh well, you go to your purveyors, & I'll go to mine...

It's Steve's Birthday? Well, that IS news!

Care to provide a lead in for this link?

Ol' Man Keith said...

HBD, Steve!

RKO = Radio-Keith-Orpheum, the amalgamation of RCA and the old Keith-Albee-Orpheum vaudeville circuit.

I wouldn't have had a chance at today's theme game except that my grand-kids once played it with me. Once only, as nobody seemed to enjoy it much. I managed to get all the pzl's circled letters even though I couldn't remember how they figured into the game.
Despite all the diagonals connected to today's theme, I have nothing to report as to grid-spanners--because it is an asymmetrical (16x15) Xwd.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Wow! Jeffrey, a real challenge today. Thanks, Steve! Happy Birthday!

For once I had the circles which did me absolutely no good. I had never played or even seen a Chutes & Ladders board. No idea what the circled words have to do with anything.

Didn't get many toe holds until the bottom tier then worked my way back up. Couldn't even come up with top BANANA.

Thought BENIGN but tried to spell it BENine. Duh!

Didn't come up with the cereal TOTAL until dead LAST. Duh! To eat, it would be my last choice also.

We don't have COD out here so tried fried Cat fish.

However, I was very proud to know right away that ISRAEL is the Knesset country & SENSEI is the martial arts guru. My kid took Karate.

Have any of you Cornerites actually bought anything from SPAM or Robocalls? I haven't. Are these effective or just hopeful tries?

AnonymousPVX said...

Well, this seemed a lot like yesterday, including the part where I had to take a look for the author...and there it was , another JW thumper.

Now with circles!

This was a bit of a toughie for me, for sure.


YR...useless to wonder what the property will return in 5 years. I would gently advise you to make your home the way you want it, you are living there now. Worry about the return in 5 years, you may not even want to sell it then. But again, you’re living in it now, make it nice for you while you are there.
Also...I bought an Induction stove with a (real) Convection oven (fake ones have the fan in there, real ones have a heating element behind the fan). No gas emissions, boils water faster than gas...I’m loving mine.
My 2¢.

See you tomorrow.

Wilbur Charles said...

Hbd Steve and thanks for the great write-up. I didn't think to check the author of this fun xword. Should have known it was JeffWesch.

A _ POT OF TEA???? Then it hit me, I say ol' chap, it finally hit me and make mine Green Tea with lemon.

The proper nouns were in my bailiwick today. Tampa fe. Of course, they dropped the "Devil" circa 2010. Complaints from the overly religious. Instead of replacing it with MANTA they simply dropped it and introduced RAY a lovable mascot. Aaarrrggghhh!!!!

The whole experience of MLB in St Petersburg is foreign to a Redsox fan. The attendees are actually "Fans" who root, root,root for the Rays. There's no edge. Broadcasters and Sportswriters might as well be addressing said Church groups. Plus, knowledge of the inner game is missing but that's universal.*

That would be Elvis

Picard, that was the best explanation of watts,amps etc I ever read. Thx.

I made things difficult by inking in SNEAKY which made me a question COD and SNORE. I didn't know what Billy the Shake was talking about.


PS, EEO,EEC, etc I can never get straight. I hear the Irelands are talking about merging. I told Phillip they could do so if they get the votes. Is that so Steve?

* No one, fe, questions the phony dives by outfielders. Said outfielders are so bulked up they can't throw. And on and on...

Yellowrocks said...

Thanks,PVX. My son advises me to invest in high end features which I do not need. He says eventually the house will sell better. I am reluctant to use too much of my nest egg. Although I have long term care insurance, nursing home care prices are rising precipitously.

The box says Chutes and Ladders is for ages three and up. A kid aged 8 or more would be bored. It is a baby game.

Wilbur Charles said...

CED, nothing clever for your link but it did remind me of a clue/answer:

What gave away that the Jersey Shore character was incontinent

20 letters in all (NYT Sunday xword)

Speaking of puzzles, anyone solve Linus's Quiz?


Wilbur Charles said...

Actually, it's Charlie's sister.

Bill G said...

That was a very enjoyable puzzle and theme for me. Thank you.

I came across an "Avengers" rerun on cable (with John Steed and Mrs. Peel). The story line was just terrible. How could I have ever watched it? Well, Steed was driving a beautiful old roadster. Otherwise, Diana Rigg was definitely the main interest for me.

Lunch today was a bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado sandwich on sourdough toast. Really good!

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Whoot! What a fun puzzle JW and, since it's only Thursday, I can win! What Steve said re: theme & execution. Nice.

I was floundering (FLAILing?) pretty poorly until I got the theme's reveal -- and I only "TE" at the time! -- which then opened it all up. Noticing the TRASH CHUTE, and ROPE LADDER, helped me get started / finished on RKOs, ADAGIO.

Thanks Steve for your trademark witty expo. And Happy Birthday!

ESPs: EEC, OREAD, FOP (as clued), MEGAN
Fav: Jack SOO [:30]

When I saw '14' in the NE's box I knew immediately the sorry it would bring you OMK ;-)

Going for pizza with computers with the Defcon crowd. Play later.

Cheers, -T

Jayce said...

Happy Birthday, Steve!

Excellent puzzle, JW.

Good wishes to you all.

Lucina said...

Bill G:
Your lunch sounds delicious!

Picard said...

Wilbur Charles you really made my day with your comment "Picard, that was the best explanation of watts,amps etc I ever read. Thx."

In many ways the world of electronics is easier than the mechanical world once you get used to it.

CanadianEh! said...

Bill G - I had BLT today also (but not with avocado & sourdough bread! sounds yummy). Only a few more large tomatoes to ripen in the garden; we have to enjoy them while they last!

YR - we have a group called Precious Angels that takes donated wedding dresses and makes tiny gowns for babies that are stillborn or pass away very early. I see that there is an American group called NICU Helping Hands’ Angel Gown® Program. They are accepting wedding gowns on an "as needed" basis; you can put your name on a list and seamstress closest to your area will contact you when she needs another dress to work on, and arrange shipping.
Might be a worthwhile alternative to throwing it out.

I agree with AnonPVX to "make it nice for you while you are there". What is high-end now may NOT be popular in 5 years and your investment would not be returned. Choose good quality, practical items that you like and enjoy it. Nowadays, it seems that appliances only have a 10 year lifespan if you are lucky. Kitchen and bathroom renos probably are the most cost-effective. Just my $0.02 worth.

Yellowrocks said...

Canadian Eh, thank you. I heard about Angel Gowns. That might be the best way to go.
I have renovated my two full baths. They are lovely. The wallpaper in the stairway and hall has seen better days and must go. My son's ideas for the kitchen are too grand for me. I think the realtor's advice will help to know how far to go with that.

PK said...

Yellowrocks: Before you spend any money, you might want to read thru your nursing home insurance and see if it has a term limit and do the math. My mother's insurance terminated at the point where they would have paid out only every dollar she had sent as premiums -- no interest on her money they had been accumulating for years. There was a small clause saying that if she left the nursing home for a month before the termination date, the company would pay her nursing home bill for another length of time. I think it was 6 mos. She had knee replacement surgery and we kept her in rehab for a month to fulfill that insurance clause. I had to pay the nursing home out of trust funds to hold her room but it was worth it. Her Aetna insurance paid for rehab & she did need to be rehabbed every day of a month.

Steve said...

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, everyone, and @CED, thanks for the cake!

@Wilbur Charles - it'll take more than a vote to unite Ireland, the fact that the UK would be ceding Northern Ireland and the sectarian differences between the North and the Republic run a little deeper than "we're all Irish, let's just get along".

Wilbur Charles said...

For the record:
The Jersey shore character was
"The Situation"
And... With a few perps the answer:

I thought it was a classic

Re. Charlie Brown:

I'm not sure there is an answer. I'd need a spread sheet which I'm sure Charlie's six year old sister is adept at. But it's awkward on a cellphone


Yellowrocks said...

Thanks PK. I have checked my policy several times and even phoned the insurance company. The first 90 days of care are excluded, but Medicare will cover the first 20 days after a hospital stay and partially cover another 80 days beyond that. It provides an unlimited number of days in a nursing home or assisted living, even for long term, but there is a daily $ limit. I have pension, Social Security and a small nest egg to supplement that, plus health insurance for medical needs. My attorney thought I was in a good place with this.
I have heard many stories like your mother's. On the other hand I may be well enough to live here the rest of my life. For this A type personality, the uncertainty is difficult.

Dolf LB said...

20 Down - "AGUA", Spanish for water, is of course the correct answer but as a non-crossword question the answer could just as well be Catalan "AIGUA". Catalan is also an official and much-used language in Catalonia of which Barcelona is the capital.