Dec 4, 2019

Wednesday, December 4, 2019, Jeff Eddings


21. Holiday song whose first line ends, "come sailing in": I SAW THREE SHIPS.

41. Holiday song first recorded by Gene Autry: FROSTY THE SNOWMAN.

61. Holiday song based on a traditional German folk song: O CHRISTMAS TREE.

74. What 21-, 41- or 61-Across is ... and, phonetically, a curiously apt common feature of those answers: NOEL. Each of the theme answers is the name of a popular Christmas song, containing no letter el. From Wikipedia: Christmas, from French Noël (“Christmas season”), may come from the Old French nael, may be derived in turn from Latin natalis, meaning "birth" Christmas carol, a song sung during Christmas. I wonder if the 21, 41, 61 was a lucky coincidence or planned.

Festive theme today, with supporting appearances by Eeyore, Babar, and the Muppets.


1. Retina 5K computer: IMAC.

5. Pet collar clip-on: ID TAG.

10. Theme park with a geodesic dome: EPCOT.

15. Bite: NOSH.

16. Béte __: NOIRE. French, literally ‘black beast.' A person or thing that one particularly dislikes.

17. Place to get clean: REHAB.

18. Medication unit: DOSE.

19. Crooner who co-wrote the "Chestnuts roasting ... " song: TORME. Another Christmas tune with no el.

20. Swim events: MEETS.

24. Pooh's dour friend: EEYORE.

25. Leader with a dot-edu address: DEAN. Academic institutions have domain names ending in .edu.

26. Brief "If only I could unhear that ... ": TMI. Too Much Information.

29. 2018 US Open winner Osaka: NAOMI.

32. Inductee: MEMBER.

34. Personal: OWN. As in, 'my own laptop.'

37. Marathoner's woes: CRAMPS.

40. One for the road?: AUTO. Nice clue.

45. "The Nutcracker" skirt: TUTU. More Christmas fill.

46. Like some owls: HORNED. Beautiful. A large, bulky owl with prominent ear tufts, white throat, gray beak, and bright yellow eyes.

47. Cottonelle layer: PLY. Bathroom tissue.

48. Jumps in: ENTERS. Wonder who else will jump into the 2020 presidential race.

51. Apply to: USE ON.

53. Nonprofit aid gp.: NGO. Non Governmental Organization. A nonprofit organization that operates independently of any government, typically one whose purpose is to address a social or political issue.

54. Opera set in Egypt: AIDA.

57. Curtains: DRAPES.

65. Storybook pachyderm: BABAR.

67. Pens: STIES. Nice to see the plural form here.

68. __ Kong: HONG. Not King.

69. "Home Alone" actress Catherine: O'HARA. More Christmas theme.

70. Line dance: CONGA.

71. French friend: AMIE. French. Ami is masculine and amie is feminine. They are pronounced exactly the same.

72. Area component: WIDTH.

73. Ready to pour: ON TAP. Ready to dispense, seems more accurate.


1. Many a low-budget flick: INDIE. Independent, not belonging to or affiliated with a major record or film company.

3. Analyze: ASSAY.

4. Ponder: CHEW ON.

5. On paper: IN THEORY.

6. Spot for a wreath: DOOR. 🎄

7. Hankook product: TIRE. Brand.

8. Like bodyguards: ARMED.

9. "Six __ a-laying ... ": GEESE. More theme-related fill, but with els.

10. Valuable fur: ERMINE. Aka weasel or stoat. The species is called ermine especially during its winter white color phase.

11. Sound often not allowed?: PEEP.

12. Celebratory gesture: CHEST BUMP.

13. Granola kernel: OAT.

14. MLB playoffs broadcaster: TBS. Turner Broadcasting System.

22. Stretch of land: TRACT.

23. Holiday roast: HAM. More holiday themeage!

27. Heavy __: METAL.

28. Wry twist: IRONY.

30. "Do the __!": MATH.

31. Texting qualifier: IMHO. In My Honest Opinion.

33. Gaping hole: MAW.

34. Quite a lot: OFTEN.

35. Squeezed (out): WRUNG.

36. Decently: NOT TOO BAD.

38. Where the Amazon begins: PERU.

39. Nine-digit IDs: SSNS. Social Security Numbers.

42. Mystery writer Grafton: SUE.

43. Rush job phrase: NEED ASAP.

44. Fragrances: ODORS.

49. Really spirited: RAH RAH.

50. Title for Patrick Stewart: SIR.

52. Eponymous hot dog guy Handwerker: NATHAN. Nathan's are the best - served at Coney Island.

55. Summer songs?: DISCO. Donna Summer.

56. __ Martin: British car: ASTON.

58. Ad: PROMO.

59. Choice start: EENIE. Eenie, meeny, miney mo ...

60. Jason of "The Muppets": SEGEL. He executive-produced, co-wrote, and starred as Gary
in the 2011 movie.

62. E-commerce icon: CART.

63. Color variant: TINT.

64. Huge opening?: MEGA.

65. Present prettifier: BOW. Lol.

66. Sashimi choice: AHI Sashimi is thinly sliced raw seafood served without rice (image below) and is not considered a type of sushi. Sushi is vinegared rice, traditionally rolled with raw fish, but can include cooked seafood, veggies, or even other meats. Nigiri is raw seafood, similar to sashimi, served over hand-balled vinegared rice.


D4E4H said...

Carol and I FIR in 35:36 min.

Good morning Cornerites.

Thank you Jeff Eddings for this enjoyable Wednesday CW.

Thank you melissa bee for your excellent review.


Hungry Mother said...

My favorite Milne character and some fond memories from the yule season made this a fun romp.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Zip. Zip. No errors. Got the Christmas connection, but missed the No L until the reveal. Cute. Hand up for "King." Also for "Detox" before REHAB barged in. Never heard I Saw Three Ships -- is it pre-Columbian? Nicely done, Jeff. Melissa, I enjoyed the tour.

NOEL: There was a lady named Noel in our HR department. At Christmas time she wore a red sweater decorated with a green L with a slash through it. She also occasionally wore a sweatshirt emblazoned with "Whirled Peas."

Anonymous said...

Fun puzzle. I believe there is only one "L" in the entire puzzle besides the one in NOEL. I'm a little surprised that they didn't make the entire puzzle "no-el" since they are so close already!

Big Easy said...

Good Mittwoch. DW went to a gastroenterolgist yesterday to set up one of those hated five year checkups. Okay, IMHO that's TMI. His name was 61A in German; (Dr.) RIAN TANNENBAUM but "O CHRISTMAS TREE fit the grid.

As for the other NOEL songs I'd heard I SAW THREE SHIPS sung before but really didn't know the name. New one for me. Everybody knows FROSTY and Gene Autry's other two famous ones. RUDOLPH and HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS but those two wouldn't fit.

1A- Retina 5K was unknown but it had to be eithr ACER or I-MAC.
MLB playoffs- put a B in the middle and waited for the crosses to get TBS.
Jason SEGEL & Catherine O'HARA- unkowns filled by perps.

anon@6:38- very astute observation for the no 'L" except the last letter in the grid.

Nice easy peasy puzzle.

Wilbur Charles said...

Got up early and knocked off the newspaper. Sports, news and OP-EDs, agony, comics, Jumble and finally the xword.

Relatively easy without pop-cul personalities. I'm not familiar with"Three Ships".

E-commerce icon??? I guess I read that wrong. I "get" CART now.


PS, thx Melissa and nice to see Dave and Carol back solving. You two ought to add the Jumble. (Insert smiley)

PPS, let's hope Owen is feeling okay

Lucina said...

Hola! Is it too soon to say Feliz Navidad?

Thank you, Jeff Eddings and Melissa Bee, especially for translating bete NOIRE. I always assumed it was good something, thinking bete meant good.

On KBAQ, the classical music station, I hear a complete repertoire of Christmas music during December and that's where I first heard I SAW THREE SHIPS as well as other obscure NOEL songs many years ago. Speaking of which, what a clever theme.

The Hankook TIRE is completely unknown to me. Why not Goodyear, Michelin or another more common name? Too easy I guess. Live and learn!

My granddaughter and I watched Home Alone a few days ago but I still don't know it's Catherine O'HARA who plays the mother. Maybe now I'll remember.

ASTON always beats me; for some reason I want ASTIN.

We have a wedding approaching in May so presumably we'll dance the CONGA.

Today I have my regular six months eye check.

Have a gorgeous day, everyone!

Lucy Loo's Mom said...

Hello, enjoyable puzzle. Also did not know the three ships. Have a great day everyone.

Yellowrocks said...

Fun puzzle, neat surprise reveal. I am slowly getting into the Christmas spirit.
LEASH before ID TAG.
Have you seen the delightful Frosty sequel in which he gets married? I saw it at 3:00 AM one night when I couldn't sleep.
My son has a beer tap which the connects to a keg. May I pour you another beer seems more common than May I dispense another beer for you. In articles about problems with beer taps they discuss what to do if the beer does not pour.
Instead of the over-used sushi eel, we have AHI today. However, my favorite sushi is unagi (freshwater eel). Never served raw, it is commonly grilled with a delicious sauce.
I thought I Saw Three Ships was very common. It is often included in Christmas concerts and I have it on several Christmas discs. The ships are thought to be the Magi's camels.

Husker Gary said...

-Lily’s collar has ID TAGS, a tracking module and a flashing light for night. What…?
-TMI – I asked Joann’s uncle how he was doing yesterday
-IN THEORY, the Edsel looked like it was going to be a big success
-IRONY – Suzanne Pleshette told Bob Newhart it was all a dream
-SUE is in the fill and not the clue today
-I Saw Three Ships by a famous Omaha-based group
-Back to supervising welding class

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Several alternate meanings today such as "quite a lot" meaning 'frequently' or, in this case, OFTEN. Had to muck around some, but eventually got it all without white-out. No searches were needed; perps were adequate. Got the basic theme OK. Did not CHEW ON the 'no L' bit. Agree with Melissa.
O CHRISTMAS TREE - Had lots of "O Tannenbaum" as a kid.

Off to play some bridge.

Anonymous said...

With the Noel theme today I have to remember Argyle aka Santa. I also think about Splynter because he was so busy during the Christmas season at UPS. Both were fantastic contributors.
Glad to see Dave post. It's also fun to see BarryG & other previous regulars make a rare appearance.

Anthony Gael Moral said...

Thanks, Jeff, for getting me in the Christmas spirit.

"I saw three ships come sailing in, come sailing in, come sailing in. I saw three ships come sailing in on Christmas morning." Or something close. Bing Crosby recorded it.

Wasn't happy about INDUCTEE/MEMBER. The inductee is yet to be a member; hence, he's a "member to be." But the puzzle was a good one and most appreciated.

jfromvt said...

Early Christmas theme. Fun puzzle. Anonymous has a good point, they could have easily made this an entirely NO-L puzzle, and that would have made it special.

Tinbeni said...

melissa bee: Nice write-up.

D-N-F ... guess I wasn't on the constructor's wave-length.
(Didn't know the Three Christmas Songs.)

Major "Head-Slap" at 55-d, Summer Songs being DISCO ... Duh!

Fave today, of course, was 73-a, Ready to pour, ON-TAP. LOL


SwampCat said...

Fun to have a Christmas theme today. I knew all the theme entries... that never happens! Thanks Jeff. MB good tour . Thanks.

I always thought IMHO meant in my HUMBLE opinion. Fill was the same so no problem.

Loved The Nutcracker Skirt for TUTU.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

When I read the reveal, I felt it was so-so, a little bit gimmicky, but after thinking about it more and having Melissa point out the numerous holiday references, I give it a thumbs up! Also, the almost L-less factor brings it up another notch. I'm not familiar with I Saw Three Ships and Jason Segel and Naomi were also unknowns, as was Hankook, but Tire was easy to guess. In theory was slow to parse as I kept seeing In the (something). Babar replaced Dumbo very quickly. All in all, a timely and pleasant solve.

Thanks, Jeff, for an enjoyable solve and thanks, Melissa, for the informative write-up which made me aware of many added features that I had overlooked.

Dave4, nice to see you and Carol back. Hope Carol is improving by the day.

I finally saw The Irishman in its entirety and it took two sessions as it's 3 1/2 hours long. I didn't mind rewatching a lot of scenes because I picked up on several nuances and euphemisms that I missed the first time around. Based on what I've been reading, it's either the greatest movie ever, or the worst. I liked it well enough but I couldn't truly accept Robert DeNiro as an Irish thug, especially in one scene where he spoke fluent Italian with Joe Pesci's mob character.


Anon T, sorry about the soup fiasco. Where did it go wrong?

Have a great day.

Sak Say Sha said...

Thanks Jeff, nice puzzle, quick solve, and Melissa for the delightful write-up. Nice to see other Christmas answers/clues. Could have had even more with Dean MARTIN and frankincense and myrrh as Biblical ODORS, but maybe those aren't as RAH-RAH. :)

Other than TMI, SSNS, and AHI, nice to not have much glue. Particularly want to give a CHEST BUMP to Velvet Fog Mel TORME. NOT TOO BAD.

As for the puzzle having one L aside from the theme answer, I know editors make edits to make the puzzle "flow" better. This could have been the case, that a busy editor with so many puzzles to edit forgot this puzzle wasn't supposed to have L's in it. The fact that there is only one L makes me believe that this might be the case. But yes, too bad! Would've elevated this puzzle one notch higher.

Misty said...

Delightful Christmas song puzzle--many thanks, Jeff (although I too never heard of ""I Saw Three Ships"--camels, really?). But loved working on this. Especially sweet to see EEYORE and BABAR from children's tales. Wonderful pictures, Melissa--especially the one of that gorgeous owl. But, like Swamp Cat, I too was sure that IMHO was 'In My Humble Opinion'.

Great to see you back, Dave.

Have a good eye appointment, Lucina.

Have a great day, everybody.

CrossEyedDave said...


I went into this one thinking I was totally
off the constructors wavelength. Couldn't figure out
half the clues at all...

So much so I started perping before my usual across & down...

But I put on my Sussing hat,
and was very pleased at all the Aha moments in this puzzle!

One I missed was the theme, No "L"?
Never saw it coming...

Forgive me, but the Indie reference requires some input (TMI?)
on my behalf. You see, I never heard of Bollywood, until I watched
a Netflix movie (in English) called "PK" (the name of my beloved Cat.)
They tell me this is "Indie" in its finest form.

Now, don't get me wrong, it is just that this movie sucked me in
being SCi-Fi (but it is not)
named after my cat (but it is not)
& in English if you watch it on Netflix.
& what finally got me addicted?
this silly dance scene...
Background info:
He is an alien, stranded on Earth.
She is a reporter, looking for a story.
He notices she is sad, & shows her what they do on his planet
to cheer themselves up...

(I swear, this scene makes me wish I could dance!)

If interested, & you do not have Netflix,
here is the YouTube version with subtitles...

Note that it is a comedy, with a very deep meaning
if you give it a chance...
(CED gives it 3 thumbs up!)

Oh, totally sidetracked,
to get more in theme,

Anyone of my age knows the Snoopy & the Red Baron theme well,
but did you know, they added to it?

Jinx in Norfolk said...

FIR, but erased eel for AHI and ekeeed for WRUNG. At least I didn't add any apostrophes. I heard that this entire single-L puzzle was a CSO to Scott Turow.

I liked seeing METAL and IRON(Y) side-by-side.

YR - I've heard "may I draw you a draft (or draught) beer?"

FLN: -T, have you tried horehound or sen-sen candy? To me both have a licorice flavor, but I'm not particularly fond of that.

Thanks to Jeff for the fun, easy puzzle and to melissa b for the fine tour.

desper-otto said...

Jinx, I agree that Sen-Sen has a licorice flavor, but to me, horehounds taste like root beer rather than licorice.

CanadianEh! said...

Wonderful Wednesday. Thanks for the fun, Jeff and melissa bee.
I FIRed with only one major inkblot and got the NOEL theme. (Although I tend to think of a NOEL as a Christmas carol with a religious theme, and the three themers were Christmas songs. Just a technicality.)
I had Tone before TINT which held up that mid-south. Plus I fought STIES as the plural of Sty. It just didn't look right but it is! And ON TAP was a stretch for that clue IMHO. I was thinking of pouring rain.

Anon@7:42 AM - Interesting catch re only one other L in the CW.

There were a few more Christmas theme answers not already mentioned: that reindeer, Rudolph (or we had Dasher the other day) who is not a MOOSE; Scripture says "but Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart" (CHEWED ON sounds much cruder!); we have a wreath for the DOOR; a BOW for the present, and a CART for our ETail (also the other day) Christmas present purchases (if you are lucky, you might have a PROMO code).
No PEEPs allowed because that would be for Easter.

Like YR, I thought of Leash before ID TAG; like Tinbeni, I was misdirected with Summer; didn't everyone think of Eked before WRUNG had the required 5 letters (nice try with the extra E, Jinx).
I know I Saw Three Ships (lovely to hear all the different versions, Melissa, YR & HG). It is an old English carol; perhaps I had Canadian advantage today LOL.

Good catch, Swampcat. I think IMHO is Humble too (not honest).

Wishing you all a great day.

Lucina said...

Thank you for the good wishes on my eye appointment but alas, it was not to be! Some new regulations now require a referal from my primary MD and no one told me. The receptionist claims someone called me but no, I believe I would have acted on it had someone called me. I may look for a new ophthalmologist as that one is 25 miles away and I'm sure there is someone closer. Am I upset you ask? Oh, yes, just a little since my MD closes on Wednesday so I couldn't call and get the referral.

Lucina said...

Ha. I just saw the comment about IMHO which I have always thought to be In My Humble Opinion.

ThelmaLouise said...

IMHO does stand for In My Humble Opinion. Look it up on Google. “honest” is incorrect.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Oy! That was a toughie. Didn't help that I had Pat Boone instead of Mel TORME and Study before ASSAY finally showed.

Thanks Jeff for the puzzle and mb for the fine review.

16a confused me - I know of Film Noir and heard of bete noire but didn't realize the latter had an e.
//I LIU: "'noir' when you are describing a masculine noun, and 'noire' when you describe a feminine noun"
I guess movies are male? :-)

WOs: see above
Fav: c/a for DISCO was pretty good

Jinx / D-O: Never heard of Sen-Sen nor horehound. It's pretty cheap on Amazon.

IM - I think it's a matter of too much broth and/or not enough peas. Instead of being bright green it's kindof a brown and the taste of peas don't "pop though." I'll try it again but next time on a smaller scale. :-)

Enjoyed your 3rd paragraph, C, Eh! You really are in the holiday spirit :-)

YR - Aren't camels called "the ship of the desert?" I'm pretty sure that's why he SAW THREE SHIPS.

Cheers, -T

Ol' Man Keith said...

I missed 63D, filling TONE instead of TINT. Otherwise, this was an enjoyable humpday pzl.

Neat Owl pic. The bird is our family totem, so I have an eye for their beauty.

I too vote for "humble" in IMHO. ("In me 'umble opinion...")
This isn't to say that it's always used humbly, as a note of IRONY may well be intended.
No diagonals today-- the grid is asymmetrical.

CrossEyedDave said...


I may be a little biased on the Indie Bollywood
PK movie, but that's because I have been watching Indie
SciFi since I was a little kid...


now that I am older,
these stories are starting to sound a little "fishy."

Wilbur Charles said...

-T, And AMIE as a noun has the added "E". But it's not"Ma amie" as in ma plume (fountain pen). It's "Mon" amie." A male friend would be Mon ami. An everyday, dollar store roller ball pen would be "Mon stylo".

But "a friend (girlfriend)" is une amie. The French like to connect the article, possessive with it's object

. WC

AnonymousPVX said...

Hands up for HUMBLE...



Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Thought this would be a breeze when I quickly filled in all three Christmas Carol titles but then it got nasty instead of nice.

Can't believe I forgot how to spell "Eeyore". Thought of closer Reindeer relatives than "Moose" like elk or caribou.

Started putting Austin instead of "Aston" until it wouldn't fit then spelled it Astin. The Conga line fixed that.

Rush job answer could also be taken as "need a sap"

Are all owls considered "horned" when they're frisky? Come to think of it where did Barn owls live before there were barns?

Didnt realize Desmond "tutu" was in the Nutcracker.

Although I finished I Nowell the difficulties of a Humpday puzzle.

Jayce said...

I liked this puzzle.

Misty said...

Lucina, so sorry to hear about the problem with the eye appointment. What a frustrating day you've had. I hope you'll be able to find a better and more successful solution soon.

Lucina said...

Thank you, Misty. I'll speak to someone at my insurance provider's site and I'm sure they can recommend another Dr.

Michael said...

Dear CED:

At last! A Bollywood dance that does not involve the entire Sikh Regimental Wives' Club! Good on you!