Dec 4, 2020

Friday, December 4, 2020, Yoni Glatt

 Title: Hey let's go to the double feature at the bijou!

Yoni is back for his first solo effort here at the LAT, after two collaborative Sundays working with Yaakov Bendavid over this past summer. Yoni has two solos published at the Universal site as well as 98 puzzles in the Jewish Press dating back at least to 2013. Today is a variation on a somewhat common theme where the front and back of the theme fill each is part of the hidden joy. Simply put, the clue ends up revealing two movie titles. The sparkle comes from both of those movies being in the horror genre, as is revealed in 36A. 2001 Wayans Brothers sequel, and a hint to the four other longest puzzle answers: SCARY MOVIE TWO which was pretty funny with an interesting cast. The icing on this creation is having two of the theme fill be grid-spanners. Well done.

We also have some long fill outside the theme ABSOLVE, ELAPSED, OPTED IN, HERBIVORE and SHREDDERS with the word highlighted in red making its major puzzle debut.

On to the theme:

17A. Checked out '70s AMC cars? (2004, 1984): SAW GREMLINS. The Gremlin automobile was introduced on  April 1, 1970, which led many to believe it was intended as a joke. The year of the release of the films is added in parentheses to guide the solver once the theme is recognized. SAW and all of its sequels are truly horrifying. GREMLINS was much sillier, but does show us a baby Yoda? 

23A. Genetic indicators? (2018, 2002): HEREDITARY SIGNS. I never SAW HEREDITARY, and am content with seeing only the trailer even though I enjoy the work of TONI COLLETTE. On the other hand, I have watched and enjoyed SIGNS.

51A. Getting no goodies from trick-or-treating? (1978, 1990): HALLOWEEN MISERY. This Jamie Lee Curtis vehicle TRAILER spawned so many sequels. Kathy Bates was so perfect in this MOVIE based on a Steven King novel.

58A. Possible sequel to "Despicable Me"? (2010, 2019): INSIDIOUS US. This cluing is an outlier as it uses a film to lead to the fill. It also used two films I never have heard about. The INSIDIOUS franchise was a second appearance of director JAMES WAN on our list of movies. Jordan Peele brought us US a movie with hidden meanings and dramatic twists, or so I am told.

If you followed every link you may be too tired to go on, but on we must go.


1. Brosnan and Craig, most recently: BONDS. An added hint to the movie basis of the puzzle. 

6. "You __ at hello": HAD ME.

11. Bench subject: LAW. The bench and the bar.

14. Mosque-goer's deity: ALLAH. If you want to LEARN more.

15. Certain lesson: MORAL. This usage was coined by Cicero ("De Fato," II.i) to translate Greek ethikos (see ethics) from Latin mos (genitive moris) "one's disposition."

16. "Do Ya" rock gp.: ELO. Electric Light Orchestra.

19. Uruguay uncle: TIO. A Spanish speaking country.

20. Coagulate: GEL. Also, bonus fill reference to all the blood that is coagulating in the theme movies.

21. Went by: ELAPSED. Time, rather than a name. 

28. "We need to chat": A WORD. Generally not a good thing to hear.

29. Hand-off recipients: Abbr.: RBS. American                         Football running backs.

30. Interested to a fault: NOSY.

31. Gamble: BET.

32. Flight sked info: ETAS.

34. "Dexter" airer, briefly: SHO. More bonus fill, with this very popular serial killer's story. 

41. Ltr. addenda: PSS.

42. King played by Glenda Jackson: LEAR. This remarkable PRODUCTION included PEDRO PASCAL who plays the MANDALORIAN

43. Actress Gardner: AVA. She never played hockey in Colorado but she was a beautiful woman.

45. Sneaky stratagem: TRAP.

48. TV watcher's device: DVR.

49. Long-time Delaware senator: BIDEN. I have heard of the man.

55. Chose to take part: OPTED IN.

56. Colorado NHL club, to fans: AVS. Avalanche. 

57. 66, e.g.: Abbr.: RTE.

64. 1994 Olympics host: Abbr.: NOR. Olympiske vinterleker 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway.

65. Movie segment: SCENE. More movies, but too many great ones to pick a single one.

66. Curbs, with "in": REINS.

67. Graduating gp.: SRS.

68. Concise: TERSE.

69. Vedder of Pearl Jam: EDDIE. The 2020 Pandemic Tour.


1. English lit degrees: BAS.

2. Pay add-on?: OLA.

3. Dodgers' div.: NLW.

4. Prop for a Macbeth soliloquy: DAGGER. We get a touch of our Friday Will Shakespeare.

5. Machines that may cover tracks?: SHREDDERS. Really fun clue.

6. "Interesting": HMM

7. Web pioneer: AOL.

8. Moisture-absorbing substances: DRIERS. Hmm. Are they driers?

9. Virile: MANLY. Thank you, Yoni for the CSO.

10. __ ice palace: Disney movie setting: ELSAS. Was FROZEN a horror movie? 

11. Releases: LETS GO.

12. Sci-fi film staples: ALIENS. Another bonus horror film reference.

13. Pine-scented, say: WOODSY.

18. Manning with two Super Bowl victories: ELI. They both have two now.

22. Wine option: PINOT. Their are varieties in that grape family; Pinot blanc (Pinot bianco, Weißburgunder); Pinot gris (Pinot grigio, Grauburgunder); Pinot Meunier (Schwarzriesling); Pinot noir (Spätburgunder, Pinot nero); and, Pinot Noir Précoce (Frühburgunder). Anything else, ask Moe.

23. Montreal NHLer, to fans: HAB. The nickname "Habs" is short for Les Habitants, which refers to the French settlers and inhabitants of the land along the St. Lawrence Gulf and River in Quebec beginning in the 17th century. The "H" in the jersey logo stands for hockey, not Habitants, a popular misconception.

24. Wool sources: EWES. But not mine.

25. Campus mil. group: ROTC. Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a college program offered at more than 1,700 colleges and universities across the United States that prepares young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military.

26. Airport transport: TRAM.

27. Clear: ABSOLVE.

33. TV's Burrell and Pennington: TYS. Two that bind.

34. "Titanium" vocalist: SIA. I did not know the song or the singer.

35. Stegosaurus, for one: HERBIVORE. There were lots of plants and the other dinosaurs looked hard to kill.

37. Jobs creation, in part: APPLE. Leaving out the apostrophe is a bit of a cheat, but still a fun clue.

38. Offscreen friend in "Ernest" films: VERN. The cool part is that we the audience were Vern.

39. Get one's feet wet: WADE.

40. Finished: OVER. I'm over this fill.

44. Whichever: ANY.

45. Hiking hazards: THORNS

46. "Jurassic Park" enemy: RAPTOR. Another scary movie reference. Are there many more frightening scenes in film?

47. Edits, say: ALTERS.

48. More concentrated: DENSER. Or Ernest?

50. Gave out: ISSUED.

52. Keats, for one: ODIST.

53. Show a bit of pain: WINCE. This means"to recoil suddenly," as from pain, from Anglo-French wenchir, Old North French wenchier which is related to winken.

54. Month in printemps: MAI. French for spring and May.

59. They can get you a job: INS.

60. Crummy grade: DEE. Very.

61. Funny Caesar: SID.

62. Aussie college: UNI. A nice CSO to Kazie

63. Chicago-to-Jacksonville dir.: SSE. This is the time of year for the trip, less than 16 hours driving if you take  I-65 S, I-24 E, I-75 S, and I-10 E to your destination in Jacksonville. Or if you take I-10 to I-95 South to exit 36 and go east about 2 miles until you see a Wendy's and a Dandee Donut shop (freshly baked on the premises) where you turn right on 19th avenue to go past three stop signs and you will see our condo complex on the left. Come on by. 

I hope you have the energy left to congratulate Yoni on his puzzle and share your thoughts. I am off to take a nap. Lemonade out.

Dec 3, 2020

Thursday, December 3, 2020, Kevin Salat


Good morning to you, cruciverbalists, from your local manifestly malodorous marine mammal.  It is now December and it has been a full week since this year's Thanksgiving holiday observances.  Whatever the form yours may have taken let us hope that everyone has stayed well.

The August 1, 2020 Crossword Corner post has some comments by, and biographical information about, today's constructor, Kevin Salat.  You may find it worth the time to peruse it.  Here is a link:

THEME:  It Is A Far, Far Better Rest

For today's puzzle, Kevin has created a theme that is good.  No, it is better than that.  In fact, it is quite literally:

At three locations in the puzzle Kevin has placed a synonym for CUT directly above the word REST.  All are found among the Across clues/answers and the answer at 63 Across does  double duty.  It not only serves as part of the theme but it is also the reveal.

16 Across.  Outshine: ECLIPSE.

18 Across.  The Home of the highest terrestrial biodiversity: RAIN FOREST CANOPY.

37 Across.  ICU hookups: I V DRIPS.  In the Intensive Care Unit they might hook you up to one or more IntraVenous DRIPS.

41 Across.  Airbag, e.g.: PASSIVE RESTRAINT

61 Across.  Extra: SPARE.

63  Across.  Superior ... or what this puzzle's circled letters represent?: A CUT ABOVE THE REST

A look at the Answer Grid shows the placements.  It would have been just a touch more elegant if Kevin, somehow, had found a way to work in a four letter synonym for CUT at 37 Across.  Then all of the pairs would have stacked four letters over four letters.  That, however, is a mere nit to pick.


1. It's not clear: BLUR.   On the other hand, this graphic is clearly BLURry.

5. Strategic corporate name change: RE-BRAND.  An almost, but not quite, made-up word (aren't they all) using RE.  Not all RE-BRANDing represents an improvement.

12. Expert: PRO.  This could have been clued as Con con.

Can Can

15. Arm bone: ULNA.  Alternative clue:  Bone commonly found in crossword puzzles.

17. Cornish game __: HEN.  A straightforward fill-in-the--blank clue.

A Cornish Game Hen (Precooked)

21. Partner of mirrors: SMOKE.  The expression "SMOKE and Mirrors" is used to describe the obscuring or embellishing of the truth with misleading or irrelevant information.

22. What duct tape has a lot of: USES.  You only need two items in your tool box.  If it does not move and it should - USE the WD40.  If it moves and it should not - USE the duct tape.  There is a brand of Duct Taped called Duck Tape.

23. Computer operating system with a penguin mascot: LINUX.

24. Color like khaki: TAN.  This could also have been clued as Bask in the sun, or Wallop, or, as we recently saw, Something done to leather.

25. Little helper?: ASST.   In this instance, when combined with the question mark, "Little" tells us that the answer will be an abbreviated version of a synonym for helper - ASSistanT.

27. Identify: PEG.  A legitimate answer, as in "I've got you PEGged" and just enough of a stretch to be quite clever.

28. Texter's segue: BTW.  Shorthand for BThe Way.

29. Building up: AMASSING.

34. 3-Down concern: SCAB.   3-Down's answer is UNION.  A SCAB is a strikebreakers who works at a place where, and when, the unionized workers are on strike.

40. 19th Greek letter: TAU.

44. Craft measured in cubits: ARK.  Recently, we asked the question "What's a cubit?"  A cubit is an ancient measure of length approximately equal to a person's forearm.  Noah was instructed to build an ARK that was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high.

A Full-Scale Version of Noah's Ark

45. What chefs do often: RETASTE.  Another almost-made-up word formed by sticking RE at the beginning.   Is Linquish a word?

46. Single-file travelers, at times: ANTS.

47. "King Arthur's Song" musical: SPAMALOT.  No it isn't.  Yes it is.

King Arthur's Song

49. Red or Ross: SEA.  The Red SEA borders Asia and Africa.  The Ross Sea abuts Antarctica.

51. Were, now: ARE.  A riff on verb tenses.

52. Baja's opposite: ALTA.  In English, lower and upper.  We often see Spanish words in the puzzles.  French, also.  Rarely, Slovene.

54. __ Mahal: TAJ.  Probably a reference to the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah in Agra but it could also be a reference to this gentleman:

Taj Mahal - "Fishin' Bues"

57. Chew out: SCOLD.

59. Fast-food option: TO GO.  In some jurisdictions, today, the only option is to order your meal TO GO.  Also, the name of a dog hero in a 2019 Walt Disney movie.  It was rated PG - for those here who might be curious.

66. Relations: KIN.  Relations as in family relatives and not, for example, algebraic - reflexive, symmetric, transitive or anti symmetric.  Can you think of other types of relations?  I knew that you could.

67.  Part of the CMYK color model:  MAGENTA.  Cyan, Yellow and Black (aka "Key") are the other colors.  One reason that black is referred to as "Key" in this model is because in the German version there is already a color that starts with the letter B (blau).

68. Bassoon cousin: OBOE.  OBOEs often appear in crossword puzzles.  One of the most famous OBOE passages is from Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev.  The OBOE plays the part of the Duck.

The Duck

69. It can cover a lot of ground: SOD.  Installing rolls of SOD can provide a very nice form of instant gratification.

70. Specter: PHANTOM.

The Phantom of the Opera

71. Puts on: DONS.  Doff and DON both date to the 14th century with Doff coming from a phrase meaning "to do off" and DON coming from one meaning "to do on".


1. Rupture: BURST.

2. Cub : bear :: cria : ___: LLAMA.  While he is not familiar with the word "cria", this debonair dugong is  familiar with the sophisticated art of poetry. 

        The one-L Lama, he's a priest
        The two-L Llama, he's a beast
        And I will bet a silk pajama
        There isn't any three-L Lllama
                                        --- Ogden Nash

3. Group with a rep: UNION.

4. Arrange in order: RANK.

Some USMC Ranks, In Order

5. Rock's __ Speedwagon: REO.  The original REO Speedwagon was a truck designed in 1915 by Ransom EOlds.  The eponymous rock  band was formed more than fifty years later, in  1967.

An REO Speedwagon Truck 

6. Beige relatives: ECRUS.  We abide the recurring appearance of ECRU because it is a very constructor-friendly combination of letters.  But the plural somehow seems far less acceptable.  Greens or Blues or Reds seem okay.  Maybe that's because those words all have alternative meanings.

7. Hallowed: BLEST.  An archaic form of Blessed.  BLEST is (s)he who expects no gratitude for (s)he shall not be disappointed.

8. What yeast makes dough do: RISE.  The current pandemic has resulted in a significant RISE in the number of people making bread at home.  

9. Bldg. units: APTS.  APartmenTS

10. Situation Room gp.: NSC.  The gp abbreviation tells us that the answer, the National Security Council, will also be abbreviated.

11. "You're on!": DEAL.  As in "It's a DEAL."

12. Do the minimum: PHONE IT IN.  A colloquialism for dong something in a perfunctory or unenthusiastic manner.

13. Vile: REPUGNANT.

What, No Mitt?

14. Black stone: ONYX.  Have you ever searched online for a color photograph of ONYX?

19. Bowling a 300, e.g.: FEAT.  The odds of a professional blower bowling a perfect game are said to be approximately 460 to 1.  The odds for the average bowler are about 11,500 to 1.

20. Pinches: NIPS.  NIPS has many definitions of which pinches is one.

26. Turn while seated: SWIVEL.

28. MLB scorecard entries: BBS.  Base on BallS more commonly called Walks.  Barry Bonds holds the Major League Baseball record with 2, 558.

29. Wonder Woman adversary: ARES.  Long before Wonder Woman was just a glint in her mother's eyes, ARES was the Greek God of War.  He often appears in crossword puzzles clued as a belligerent being or as the son of Zeus and/or Hera.


30. Drops above the ground: MIST.  I got lost in the MIST today and didn't have the foggiest idea where I was.

31. H.S. exam for college credit: AP TESTAdvanced Placement Test  It would be a safe bet that more than a few Cornerites have taken AP TESTS.

32. Georgia, once  ABBR.:  SSR  The former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics eventually encompassed fifteen nominally independent republics.  The clue was a bit of misdirection intended to have us think, I think,  of the U.S. State of Georgia or, perhaps, of a Ray Charles song.

33. Courage: GUTS.  Do you know what really takes GUTS?  Digestion.

34. Apt rhyme for "aahs": SPAS.

35. Italian dish of thinly sliced raw meat or fish: CARPACCIO.  By most accounts, the dish was named for the painter Vittore CARPACCIO who was known for the characteristic red and white tones of his work.

36. Do some informal polling: ASK AROUND.

38. Quash: VETO.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt holds the record for a U.S. President.  He issued 635 VETOs.  Grover Cleveland and Harry Truman RANK second and third with 584 and 250, respectively.

39. "Fiddlesticks!": DRAT.  Both are expressions of mild annoyance or irritation.  In the 17th century, Fiddlesticks (originally Fydylstyks) was appropriated from it's original usage as musical instrument bows and began to be used to indicate absurdity.

42. George's musical brother: IRA.  It is nice to see IRA with a Gershwin clue instead of a type of savings account.

43. Energizer size: AAA.  To get this one it helped to know that Energizer is a brand of batteries.

48. Liquefy: MELT.

50. State of comfort: EASE.  Also, the final word of Tom Lehrer's "It Makes A Fellow Proud To Be A Soldier" (1959).

"At Ease"

52. Secret __: AGENT.  Oxymoronically, there are many well-known Secret Agents - both in real life and from the world of entertainment.  Mel Brooks and Buck Henry created this one:

Maxwell Smart

53. Numbers game: LOTTO.  The CFO of my children's school once described the California State LOTTO as "A tax on the stupid."

54. Fitness portmanteau: TAE BO.  This portmanteau is a "mash up" of TAEkwondo and BOxing.

55. Burning issue?: ARSON.  We have seen this play on words before.  A clue meant to be taken quite literally.

56. Ballet leaps: JETES.

57. Upscale retailer: SAKS.  In September 15, 1924 SAKS Fifth Avenue opened their most recognizable store located between Forty-ninth Street and Fiftieth Street. 

SAKS Fifth Avenue

58. Slightly soggy: DAMP.  It's a myth that people's joints hurt because it's cold and DAMP.   'Turns out that it's a mist ache.

59. Frat party costume: TOGA.

60. One may be self-cleaning: OVEN.  There are several good reasons to never use your oven's the self-cleaning feature.

62. Spur: PROD.  I never knew how a grown man could cry at his own wedding until my father-in-law PRODded me with his shotgun. 

64. Cry of disgust: BAH.

65. Western omelet morsel: HAM.  A Western Omelet has eggs, salt, butter, bell pepper, scallions,  white cheese and, of course, HAM.  If you did not know the recipe the perps very likely bailed you out.


MM Out

Dec 2, 2020

Wednesday December 2, 2020 John Guzzetta

Theme: THE END IS NIGH (36. *Warning on a street prophet's sandwich board ... or a hint to the answers to starred clues) - The ends of four theme entries all have the same pronunciation as "Nigh".

16. *Southeast Asian monarch: SULTAN OF BRUNEI.

28. *Pentateuch peak: Abbr.: MT. SINAI.

 56. *Certain PAC-12 graduates: STANFORD ALUMNI.

46. *Guy who "Saves the World" on Netflix: BILL NYE.

Boomer here again. Filling in another slot. A slim 14x15 grid with lots of 3-letter words.

Good day everyone and happy Wednesday. Thanksgiving is over our shoulder so we can look forward now to vaccine and Christmas.  I'm sure most of you have heard that the new vaccines need be kept at extremely cold temperatures. Be careful if a guy walks into a bar and orders a cold one.    


1. Tale about Tantalus, say: MYTH.  'Tis a MYTH that the Grinch Stole Christmas.

5. Gear tooth: COG.  Also an acronym for Children's Oncology Group.

8. Sets upon: HAS AT.  Our Gophers could not have at Wisconsin last week due to the virus.  Paul Bunyan's AXE stayed at home.

13. Angelou or Dickinson: POET.

14. Celebrity chef Garten: INA. Many items in her cookbook. 

15. Cause to blush: ABASH.  DanA BASH is on CNN news.

19. Stat: PDQ.

20. Fancy dresser: FOP.

21. Common TV set-top box: DVR.

22. Tokyo okay: HAI.

25. Home of the Oregon Ducks: EUGENE.  They have had nasty air quality there all summer and fall due to all the fires.

27. Place with pillows: BED.  Or Maybe flowers.

30. Award named for Poe: EDGAR.  I think he was famous for "The Pit and the Pendulum".  Now he's famous for a museum in Virginia.

32. Catcher's need: MITT.  Yogi and others were the only ones to wear a MITT.  All others wore gloves.

33. They, in Tours: ILS.

35. PBS URL ending: ORG.

40. Adams of "American Hustle": AMY.  I have a sister of the same name.

41. Concert equipment: AMP.  A measure of current flowing through wire.

42. What 34-Down means in Swahili: LION.  34. He hung out with Pumbaa and Timon: SIMBA.

44. Befuddled: AT SEA.

48. __ constrictor: BOA.  Also fluffy neckware,

49. Smooth musical passage: LEGATO.

51. Roam (about): GAD.

52. Dogspeak syllable: ARF.  I think Dennis' dog says RUFF.

53. Roth __: IRA.  This has some tax benefits but I am too old to cash in.

54. Dr. Mom's skill: TLC.

62. Implied: TACIT.

63. __ choy: BOK.  It kind of looks like cabbage only long not round.  I'm sure C.C. knows more than I. 

64. FBI operation: RAID.  I think you spray it to kill bugs and such.

65. Colorado's __ Park: ESTES.  "A Rocky Mountain Colorado High".  John Denver.

66. Be in the red: OWE.  "I OWE, I OWE, so off to work I go.

67. Big show: EXPO.  No longer Montreal's MLB team.  Now known as the Washington Senators.


1. AWOL trackers: MPS.  I stayed away from those guys.  Never went AWOL.  You could get an Article 15 and/or lose a stripe.

2. Second person: YOU.

3. __ Aviv: TEL.

4. Start of many Web addresses: HTTP.

5. American literary form inspired in part by haiku: CINQUAIN. A 5 line poem.

"There once was a girl from St. Paul

 Who went to a newspaper ball

Her dress caught on fire

And burned her entire

Front page sports section and all." 

6. Tokyo-born artist: ONO.  John Lennon's Wife.

7. Diplomatic blunder: GAFFE.

8. Wouldn't stop talking about: HARPED ON.  MSNBC and CNN about the virus.

9. __ Dhabi: ABU.

10. Holding back to gain an edge: SANDBAGGING.  I have been SANDBAGGING my golf game for years.

11. Letter sign-off: AS EVER.  AS if I EVER

12. Almost-home base: THIRD.  Could also be last strike of an at bat.

17. Port on its own gulf: ADEN.

18. Skeleton part: BONE.  "Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones."

22. "Let me think ... ": HMM.

23. "They're __ again!": AT IT.

24. "Oh, really?": IS THAT A FACT.  That's a fact, Jack.

26. Radner of "SNL": GILDA.  An original cast member of 'Saturday Night Live" back when I used to watch.  Unfortunately passed of cancer at age 42.

29. List components: ITEMS.

31. Cookout feature: GRILL.  We got rid of ours.  Impossible to keep clean and a hassle sitting on the deck.

37. Ocular surgical procedures: EYELIFTS.  Eye surgery does not look like much fun.

38. Comedic reaction involving a sprayed beverage: SPIT TAKE.

39. Georgetown athlete: HOYA.  Great basketball teams.

43. Outlaw Kelly: NED.

44. Large arteries: AORTAS.  Probably the largest.

45. Prefix with dynamic: AERO.

47. Hang loosely: LOLL.  Durham Bulls - A bunch of "LOLLYGAGGERS". Kevin Costner as Crash Davis.

48. Moisten while cooking: BASTE.  Gave our BASTER a workout last Thursday.

50. Movie legend Greta: GARBO.

55. Medical research goal: CURE.  Or at least a VACCINE please!

57. Nuremberg "never": NIE.

58. Part of DJIA: DOW.  I think his second name was JONES.

59. Highest output: MAX.

60. Something in the air: NIP.

61. Altar promise: I DO.