Oct 20, 2019

Sunday, October 20, 2019 Gary Larson

Theme: "Off to a Good Start" - The first words of all the theme entries are synonyms of "good".

22A. Awesome product component?: CHILL FACTOR.

24A. Awesome mattress covering?: DOPE SHEET.

43A. Awesome plumbing connector?: TIGHT FITTING.
68A. Awesome hobby?: HOT PURSUIT.

70A. Awesome hunting dog?: HIP POINTER.

88A. Awesome entitlement?: RADICAL RIGHT.

113A. Awesome suit fabric?: BOSS TWEED.

115A. Awesome predicament?: SWEET PICKLE.

Each first word has a totally different meaning than "good", awesome!

I'm not familiar with "tight" and "radical" as "good". Is it common or new slang?

1. Dojo maneuver: CHOP.

5. Guitarist Joe of The Eagles: WALSH.

10. Wilts: SAGS.

14. Start of an incantation: ABRA. Do you have Abra auto repair shop in your area? 

18. The last Mrs. Chaplin: OONA.

19. Slow down: BRAKE.

20. Shiraz's land: IRAN.

21. Trickle: SEEP.

26. Step on it: INSOLE. Nice clue.

27. Stuck a fork in: STABBED.

29. Glenn Miller Orchestra singer Ray: EBERLE. Unknown to me. The guy on the left.

30. Immortal name in dance: ASTAIRE.

32. Ultimatum word: ELSE.

33. Staring-into-space experiences: TRANCES.

34. DEA agent: NARCO.

36. Court game word: ALAI. Jai alai.

39. Routine: ACT.

40. Stubborn critter: ASS.

48. Tiny toiler: ANT.

49. Fall collection?: LEAVES. We have quite a collection in our yard.

51. More consequence?: MERRIER. The more, the merrier.

52. Poetic adverb: OFT.

54. "__ & Basie": 1963 jazz collaboration: ELLA.

55. "True Detective" actor McNairy: SCOOT.

56. Bump from the schedule: PREEMPT.

60. Peacock's pride: PLUMAGE. I'll be proud too if I have plumage like this.

64. QVC sister channel: HSN.

65. Shot in the arm: BOOST.

66. Wall St. trader: ARB. Arbitrator. (Correction: It's arbitrager. Thanks, Sandyanon.)

72. Bit of legal advice: SUE.

73. Lose control: GO APE.

74. Chicken dinner choice: LEG. Roasted pigeons are very popular in Guangzhou.

75. Support: ENDORSE.

76. Gallivant: TRAIPSE.

78. Sound: NOISE.

80. Wine choice: ROSE.

81. Originally called: NEE. Wang for me.

82. Tool in a kit: NAIL GUN.

84. Shadowed: TAILED.

86. Low-tech note-taking aid: PAD. Scored a few cute pads during my last Marshalls' trip.

91. Snake's sound: SSS.

92. Zodiac animal: RAM.

93. Vacation spot: ISLE.

94. "Truly, the souls of men are full of __": Shak.: DREAD.

96. "We the Living" novelist: AYN RAND. Never heard of the book.

100. Big drink of water: SWIG.

104. Retail outlets: EMPORIA.

108. Low wind: BREEZE.

109. Like some receptions: CATERED.

112. In a showily pretentious manner: ARTILY.

117. Tennis great Nastase: ILIE.

118. Villain named Julius: DR NO.

119. Points at the dinner table: TINES.

120. Pepsi rival: COKE. Only Pepsi in our home.

121. Picnic staple: SLAW.

122. Cereal grain: OATS. I finally tried oat milk for the first time. It's a bit thin but pretty good with cocoa powder.

123. Mocking sarcasm: SNARK.

124. Arab leader: EMIR.


1. Movie mogul Harry and sportscaster Linda: COHNS. Wiki said Harry Cohn co-founded Columbia Pictures.

2. Lift: HOIST.

3. Checked out at the library: ON LOAN.

4. Ease, as symptoms: PALLIATE.

5. Ring org.: WBA. Boxing ring.

6. Scythe blade shapes: ARCS.

7. Starbucks serving: LATTE.

8. Bar word meaning "cup" in Danish: SKOAL. The fight song for Vikings is "Skol,Vikings".

9. Sage and thyme: HERBS.

10. Pro or con: SIDE.

11. 2000s Yankee nickname: A-ROD.

12. Sign of something missing: GAP.

13. Unkind look: SNEER.

14. Whitish: ASHEN.

15. Tailgate party recyclable: BEER CAN.

16. Campaign poster word: REELECT.

17. Most pertinent: APTEST.

22. Org. in Clancy novels: CIA.

23. Wheel inventor: FERRIS.

25. Govt. agency that aids entrepreneurs: SBA. Small Business Administration.

28. "Get lost!": BEAT IT.

31. Hosp. readout: ECG. All too familiar to Dennis.

33. Bolivian export: TIN.

35. Units of resistance: OHMS.

37. '80s-'90s Compaq laptop model: LTE. No idea.

38. Prepare sans oil, as a movie treat: AIR POP.

40. Israeli leaders?: ALEPHS. First letter in Hebrew.

41. Betray: SELL OUT.

42. Soldier, at times: SALUTER.

44. Electronics whiz: TECHIE. A few T's on our blog. Tony, TTP and the Hainan Tom (a la Carmen, D-Otto), all vets.

45. "Mending Wall" poet: FROST.

46. Wrinkle remover: IRON.

47. Continues: GOES ON.

48. Supplier of bills: ATM.

50. Seductress: VAMP.

53. Far from fragrant: FETID.

57. It may be skipped: ROPE.

58. Security rounds: PATROLS.

59. Locks: TRESSES.

61. Bellow title hero March: AUGIE. Also unknown to me.

62. One looking for a switch, maybe: GROPER.

63. Those, in Tijuana: ESAS.

65. Coastal California scenic attraction: BIG SUR.

67. Basenji and Borzoi: BREEDS.

69. Flips: UPENDS.

70. Katherine of "Suits": HEIGL.

71. Edible seaweed: NORI.

74. 1970 Kinks hit: LOLA.

77. What's more: AND.

78. Like Miss Congeniality: NICEST.

79. Writer Bagnold: ENID.

83. Trouble: AIL.

84. Prominent, after "on": THE MAP. Took me forever to identify this song. Has anyone heard of Mindme or Ebba? The song is amazing. 

85. "... but it'll cost you": AT A PRICE.

86. __ tax: PAYROLL.

87. "The Bourne Identity" malady: AMNESIA.

89. Assist: AID.

90. Test for M.A. seekers: GRE.

92. Yeshiva leaders: RABBIS.

95. One involved in a speculative "bubble": DOTCOM.

97. Fix, as a hem: RESEW.

98. AIDS-fighting drug: AZT.

99. Salon overhaul: NEW DO.

101. Bridge positions: WESTS.

102. Novelist Shaw: IRWIN.

103. Actress Davis: GEENA.

105. Kipling's "__-Tikki-Tavi": RIKKI.

106. Less well: ILLER. Ill is good too.

107. Word of support: AYE.

109. Small change: CENT.

110. Bothers: ADOS.

111. Critter on XING signs: DEER.

114. Notable time: ERA.

116. Word of reproof: TSK.


Oct 19, 2019

Saturday, October 19, 2019, Jeffrey Wechsler

Themeless Saturday Puzzle by Jeffrey Wechsler

Today I had a pleasant 18 minute stroll through Jeffrey's 151st LA Times puzzle. As you regulars know, Lemon noted on October 11 that he was blogging Jeffrey's 150th LA puzzle that day and we had the benefit of a fun puzzle and commentary from Jeffrey. Add in Lemon's always elucidating narration and it made for a lovely experience. 

Jeffrey's accompanying comments on that Friday said how he values terseness for that which  made me look to see where he and Rich pared down to the most succinct cluing today.

You regulars will also be able to pick Jeffrey out of this gaggle of constructors shown in the accompanying picture here. I will post at the bottom (*) of the write-up which one is our prolific Jeffrey. 


1. Safari sight: WILD ANIMAL - All right, who's watching whom?

11. Class clown, at times: APER - I had a student "APE" some of my actions during class and I laughed really hard!

15. MRI safety consideration: ENERGY DOSE - An ENERGY DOSE greater than 3.5 kJ/kg can be uncomfortable for the patient. You're welcome! ðŸ˜™

16. Fabric used in sci-fi costumes: LAMÈ  - Still puzzled about your halloween costume? For around $80 you can get this gold LAMÈ outfit that would make Elvis proud. Do sci-fi next year!

17. Ones concerned with public images?: TV STATIONS - In my misspent yute, we had two and then three TV stations. Now...

18. Infuriates: IRES.

19. Where food may be collected: BIB.

20. Many Egon Schiele works: EROTIC ART - Search at your leisure. I couldn't pick a "favorite" to post

22. Lacking a key: ATONAL - A two-min primer on this type of music

26. __ code: PENAL.

27. Has as an address: RESIDES AT - Most here know what fictional character RESIDES AT this Baker Street address

31. "__ Mio": O SOLE - Sherrill Nielsen sings in Italian and then The King answers with the English adaptation of this lovely melody

32. Gradual process of concern to periodontists: BONE LOSS 

34. Recognizes: ID'S.

35. See 46-Down: THIS and 46. With 35-Across, self-confident words: I CAN DO - That is the mantra for this anxious woman anticipating her first roller coaster ride

38. Annoying sort: TWERP.

39. Leporello in "Don Giovanni," e.g.: BASS - Don's servant. Description of the role is servant, comic relief, sidekick, misguided, loyal 

40. Dorm figs.: RA'S - Resident Assistants are supposed to prevent liquor from entering the dorm

41. Vacation itinerary entry: TOUR SITE - Daughter avoids these on vacation and we seek them out

43. French dispatch boat: AVISO -I was proud my cwd experience filled this in immediately 

45. Summer fun item attached to a ladder: POOL SLIDE - I CAN NOT DO THIS!

49. Cetera of Chicago: PETER Not on my play list

50. __ powder: TALCUM - Whether TALCUM increases cancer risk due to some asbestos content is an open debate right now

51. Intellectual property statute: PATENT LAW - America's first patent issued to Samuel Hopkins and signed by G Washington

56. Greece neighbor: Abbr.: ALBania

57. Oklahoma city: ENID - About 7 hours SSW of me

58. Payment: REMITTANCE.

62. Coleridge work: RIME - Archaic spelling of rhyme. Coleridge's original title was RIME of the Ancyent Marinere.


64. Hightailed it: SPED.

65. Musical with the song "Sex Is in the Heel": KINKY BOOTS - Music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, book by Harvey Fierstein. Trailer 


1. Rec room amenity: WET BAR - Yes, but here is a real (and really) WET BAR

2. Ask: INVITE.

3. Sappho's home: LESBOS Here 'ya go

4. Gere title role: DR. T - The critics saw a lot more to like than the audiences

5. Ottoman honorific: AGA - The AGA Khan is said to be a direct descendant of the prophet Mohammed 

6. News initials since 1851: NYT 

7. Romeo's last words: I DIE.

8. Baskerville Hall setting: MOOR.

9. "It came __ surprise": AS NO.

10. Opposite of provided: LEST.

11. Eatery "just a half a mile from the railroad track": ALICE'S The Smithsonian's take on Arlo's song

12. Conspiracy theory origin, perhaps: PARANOIA - Nobody as insignificant as Lee Harvey Oswald could have killed JKK, so... 

13. Green shades: EMERALDS.

14. Antsy: RESTLESS - Supervise a 7th grade study hall and you can also find some 24. Commotion: ADO.

21. Wall St. events: IPOS Ten biggest IPO's of 2019

23. Ink spots?: NIBS - The NIB on this pen is the spot where ink is placed

25. Tempo of Chopin's "Marche funèbre": LENTO - Same for this piece more familiar to me (assai means very)

28. Clinch: SEW UP.

29. Last Olds model: ALERO.

30. Where the heart is: TORSO - More "that's why I love Jeffrey's puzzles" cluing/fill

33. Like some wasted milk: SPILT - Don't cry over it 37. Anticipatory question: IS IT TIME? - Yes, it's time to let it go!

35. Early Hudson's Bay Company employees: TRAPPERS.

36. Imbibe minimally: HAVE A NIP - Not a SIP it turns out

39. Franklin half-dollar image: BELL - Can you find the mint mark that indicates where this coin was struck?

41. Undecided: TORN.

42. Org. with beeping wands: TSA - Truly a thankless job but...

44. Like some rye: SEEDED.

47. Pleasing to the ear: DULCET - My first thought was of Bing Crosby but this was too hard to pass up

48. Places firmly (in): EMBEDS - A ___ EMBEDS a(n) ____ into a ____

52. "Star __": TREK 

53. First name in casual wear: LEVI - These LEVI jeans from 1879 (when Mr. Strauss was 50 yrs-old), with trademark rivets, were not made for casual wear. They are stored in a fire-proof safe where only two people have the combination. 

54. "And that goes for me, too!": AMEN.

55. Pretend not to see, with "at": WINK - Trust me

59. Old possessive: THY.

60. Q neighbor: TAB - Not NOP or RST

61. "Is that __?": A NO - Not my response if you are asking to comment today!

*Jeffrey is standing next to C.C. in an argyle sweater

Oct 18, 2019

Friday, October 18, 2019 David Alfred Bywaters

"The Ess Sense of Questionable New Phrases"

17. Iranian vocal improvisation?: PERSIAN SCAT.

24. Household employee's fraudulent ruse?: NANNY SCAM.

38. Nursery school air fresheners?: DAYCARE SCENTERS.

50. Poem that seemed awfully profound at the bar last night?: PUB SCRAWL.

62. What optical character recognition software often produces?: GARBAGE SCAN.


1. Show anxiety, in a way: PACE.

5. No good: FUTILE.

11. Prankster's projectile: EGG

14. Excited response to a cue: I'M ON.   It's showtime.   Break a leg !

15. Pressed: IRONED.

16. Also: TOO.

19. Primitive dwelling: HUT.   The original Pizza Hut:

20. Furniture cleaning brand: ENDUST.

21. Bar __: CAR.

22. Assistant: AIDE.

23. Web address: URL.   Uniform Resource Locator

26. Approve: AGREE TO.

29. Put into words: SAY.  Phrase.

30. Preface to a conviction: IMO.   In My Opinion.  A conviction as in a firmly held belief.

31. Product warning: AS IS.    I remember one particular auctioneer's call at the start of the auction: "You are buying as is, how is, where is."  

34. Sew up again: REHEM

42. First name in black-and-white photos: ANSEL.

43. Stash: STOW.

44. Cabinet dept.: AGRiculture.  "Founded in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law an act of Congress establishing the United States Department of Agriculture.   Two and one-half years later, in what would be his final annual message to the Congress; Lincoln called USDA "The People's Department."   At that time, about half of all Americans lived on farms, compared with about 2 percent today."

45. Born, in Brussels: NEE.

47. Smidge, to a laddie: WEE DROP.  

55. Realtor's unit: LOT.

56. Words of understanding: I SEE.

57. Shad product: ROE.

58. Tabloid output: SLEAZE.

61. Catch: NAB.

64. I problem?: EGO.

65. Purpose: INTENT.

66. "This is terrible!": OH NO.

67. Intl. Talk Like a Pirate Day month: SEPtember.   Arrgh !

68. Sudden reactions: STARTS. - Start:  "...of Germanic origin; related to Dutch storten ‘push’ and German stürzen ‘fall headlong, fling’.  From the sense ‘sudden movement’ arose the sense ‘initiation of movement, setting out on a journey’ and hence ‘beginning of a process, etc.’."

69. Crucial things: KEYS.   "People say that money is not the key to happiness, but I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made." - Joan Rivers.


1. Plumbing item: PIPE.

2. "So be it!": AMEN.

3. Casual pants: CORDUROYs.   The term corduroy comes from an 18th century English word for coarse woolen cloth (duroy) and cord, for the wales.

4. Make certain: ENSURE.   Ascertain.

5. Decree: FIAT.   Derisively, the car FIAT is an initialism for Failure In Automotive Technology.

6. Item near a sugar bowl, perhaps: URN.

7. Opera about an opera singer: - operas - tosca

8. Peruvian of old: INCAN.

9. Comes to realize: LEARNS.

10. Summer CT clock setting: EDT.

11. Moral principle: ETHIC.

12. Big wheel in delis: GOUDA.  This isn't South Holland, Michigan:

18. Hebrides unit: ISLE.

22. So far: AS YET

24. Pokes (around): NOSES.   Into someone else's affairs or belongings.  Snoops.

25. Knitter's need: YARN.   Hello, Madame Defarge !

26. Opera about an African princess: AIDA.   Synopsis of Verdi's Opera, Aida

27. Gangster movie hero, perhaps: GMAN.  And 13D. 27-Down's victorious words: GOT 'EM.

28. Sailor: TAR.

32. Follower's suffix: IST.

33. Displeased look: SCOWL.  

35. Sad song subject: HEARTACHE.

36. Cogito __ sum: ERGO.   I blog, therefore I am.

37. Car sticker amt.: MSRP.   Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price.   Kelley Blue Book - What is MSRP ?

39. Perfume with myrrh, say: CENSE.   Turns out cense is a verb (archaic),   therefore,   perfume is a verb rather than a noun in this clue.   We know the modern word as incense, in both noun and verb forms.   And for the second definition of the modern form in past tense, "The rookie solver was incensed with this clue."

40. Actor Guinness: ALEC.   Sir Alec Guinness

41. Lamb's dam: EWE.   Cute clue !

46. Roaming, like a knight: ERRANT.   Errant: 2. - archaic•literary: traveling in search of adventure.

48. Palindromic Parisian pronoun: ELLE.

49. Performs adequately: DOES OK.   On the second day in one of my first staff positions early in my career,  I was led down the hall by the director who introduced me to the regional vice president. "Middle of the pack is not acceptable" was all he said, meaning doing OK was not sufficient.    I guess he wasn't satisfied with the latest numbers that had come in. 

50. Longs: PINES.   A typically rural and olden usage. 

51. Treatment: USAGE.

52. Jazz style: BEBOP.  Dizzy Gillespie came to mind.

53. Vital vessel: AORTA.  Vessel: 3. - Anatomy•Zoology: a duct or canal holding or conveying blood or other fluid.

54. Barbecue brand: WEBER.   This is the design of the original Weber Genesis grill in 1985.   I bought a new one in 1989, thinking that the almost $400 price tag was steep, but it is going strong thirty years later, and I've never had to replace a single part.  My bottom shelves are composite rather than the wire rack shown.

58. Some NCOs: SGTs. Non Commissioned Officers: Sergeants. Pairs with 62D. Base figs.: GIs.  GI is an initialism for either Government Issue or General Issue because of the general items disbursed to soldiers and army airmen. Over time, GI came to mean a soldier.

59. Wacko: ZANY.  Not my cuppa for humor. 

60. First chimp in orbit: ENOS.  "Enos was the second chimpanzee launched into space by NASA. He was the first chimpanzee, and third hominid after cosmonauts Yuri Gagarin and Gherman Titov, to achieve Earth orbit. Enos' flight occurred on November 29, 1961."  - Wikipedia.  

63. Small colonist: ANT. Easy, but cute.

Check your answers against this grid:

Notes from C.C.:

Just heard from Dennis. He's recovering nicely. Already off all pain meds. Right now he's in the step-down unit and he hopes to be home next Monday. 

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers.