, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: February 2020


Feb 29, 2020

Saturday, February, 29, Michael Wiesenberg

Saturday Themeless Puzzle by Michael Wiesenberg

Our professional poker player/author and crossword constructor from Calgary gives us a very doable Saturday themeless puzzle.

Advice on gaming can be found in his book Ready, Bet, Go 

Odds are always good that Michael will deal us a fun puzzle and he has done so on this Leap Day:


1. Baseball warm-up word: SHAG - In 2012, Mariano Rivera tore his ACL while SHAGGING fly balls before a game in Kansas City. What's SHAGGING in baseball, Gary?

5. Brazilian music genre word meaning "trend": BOSSA - In 1963 Eydie Gorme sang Blame It On The Bossa Nova (New Trend) or in Spanish:

10. Secured: ICED and 15. Nailing, in a way: ACING - Steph Curry NAILED this three-point shot to ICE the game

14. Ebb: WANE.

16. Weather __: VANE.

17. Kitchen fixture: OVEN.

18. Mountain slope debris: SCREE - SCREE skiing in Austria - Yikes!

19. Welder's output: ARCS - Not quite the same 

20. Home improvement team: REMODELERS.

22. One of two sts. admitted to the Union 11/2/1889: N DAK - The map the year before:

23. Elder of an '80s-'90s country duo: NAOMI JUDD (corrected picture)

24. Metaphorical casino loss: SHIRT - A prescient clue that hints that if I study Daniel's book maybe I won't lose my SHIRT

25. Formed by solidified magma: IGNEOUS - Uh, I'd try to keep my car out of the path of magma before it solidifies into that IGNEOUS rock

26. Is __: imminently will: SOON TO.

27. Turndowns: NOES.

28. Perceived Cold War weapons disparity: MISSILE GAP.

31. Propelled, as a raft: POLED - In Sweden you can sign up for a five-day "Huckleberry Finn" adventure to POLE down the Klarälven River 

32. Words preceding an important reminder: PLEASE NOTE - PLEASE NOTE: today would be Leap-Day-Baby Dinah Shore's 26th birthday as she was born on this day in 1916.

37. Power eponym: WATT - James

41. Antagonism: RANCOR.

42. Amazon, notably: E-TAILER - I tried to shop local but getting a taillight on Amazon saved me $500 

44. Singer for whom Bernie wrote lyrics: ELTON - This movie told the story of ELTON John and his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin 

45. Remit, nowadays: PAY ON LINE - My wife/bookkeeper of 53 years insists on checks, stamps and envelopes 

47. "Contact" author Sagan: CARL - I loved the first half of this movie and then it fell apart. 

48. Comes to terms: MAKES A DEAL - this 1963 pilot is like a time capsule with pre-costume contestants, very small prizes and modestly dressed models

49. "I'll do it": OKAY - The last line in this hilarious Seinfeld scene is spoken by Marlee Matlin

50. Formal "Who's there?" response: IT IS I - A grammatically correct but perhaps slightly pretentious reply

51. Letter-bottom abbr.: ENCLosure

52. Bit of progress: DENT - Beetle Bailey is often shown trying make a DENT in the pile of potatoes 

53. Atlantic food fish: SCROD - On a Boston picnic, one might eat SCROD in someone's yahd after pahking the cah 

54. Pak of the LPGA: SE RI - One of many fabulous Asian players on the tour

55. Artist's pseudonym formed from the French pronunciation of his initials: ERTE Romain de Tirtoff Russian-born French artist and designer known by the pseudonym Erté, from the French pronunciation of his initials (pronounced [ɛʁ.te]AIR TAY)

56. 1953 Ladd classic: SHANE.

57. Casual wear: TEES.


1. Like court witnesses: SWORN IN - Putting your hand on a Bible is not required these days and the witness can AFFIRM and not SWEAR to tell the truth

2. Try it: HAVE A GO.

3. Buttercup family member: ANEMONE - Buttercup seems like a apt name to me

4. Biological mapping subjects: GENOMES Here ya go!

5. Parachutist using low-altitude starting points: BASE JUMPER - BASE stands for jumping from Building, Antenna, Span, or Earth (cliff). Here's an Earth  jumper shown in stop motion photography

6. Blockage: OCCLUSION - The repair of two coronary OCCLUSIONS

7. Brought into being: SIRED.

8. Dummy Mortimer: SNERD - I never thought Bergen was a very good ventriloquist and perhaps Mortimer would not be accepted today

9. Quite a while: AGES.

10. Rowena's lover: IVANHOE All you wanna know

11. Bouncer's job: CARDING - Hand up if you had a fake ID!

12. Early Wikipedia competitor: ENCARTA - 1993 - 2009

13. Icon locale: DESKTOP - The one on my MacBook Pro is very cluttered

21. Giovanni's god: DIO  - The Italian song DIO, come ti amo  means "God How I Love You"

24. Roman sun god: SOL - One of many in the deity array

26. Like a pendulum's movement: SIDE TO SIDE - Galileo used his pulse to time how long it took for the side-to-side swings of a pendulum (chandelier) in a Pisa Cathedral

29. __-mo: SLO.

30. Saw: SET EYES ON - Doing this with Lady Liberty is a highlight for many entering N.Y. Harbor

32. Like Hollywood films before censorship guidelines were introduced: PRE-CODE Ten PRE-CODE movies that pushed the envelope

33. LeBron, since Jul. 2018: LA LAKER - Cavalier, Heat, Cavalier, Laker

34. One in a 1K, say: ENTRANT - That 1-Kilometer ENTRANT would have to run/walk about  .62 miles

35. Follower: ACOLYTE - Usually young people who help in religious services 

36. Certain youngster's nickname: SON - Something I can't call anyone

37. Least civilized: WILDEST.

38. Property recipient, in law: ALIENEE Here ya go

39. Like a good-sized farm: TEN ACRE - C'mon, TEN ACRES? Around here that's barely a good-sized sweet corn patch

40. Plant support: TRELLIS - In the background you can see my wife's Clematis starting to bloom on its TRELLIS

43. Santa follower: ANA.

45. Cabbage site: PATCH.

46. "Ran" director Kurosawa: AKIRA His IMDB

48. Wish were here: MISS - My wife would write that to our kitty 

Feel free to ante up an opinion. 

Feb 28, 2020

Friday, February 28, 2020 Mark MacLachlan


18. Power of a Hummer?: UTE FORCE.  Brute force

23. Enormous card revealed at end of magician's routine?: ACE FOR IMPACT.  Brace for impact

38. Tattoo depicting the last woolly mammoth?: INK OF EXTINCTION.  Brink of extinction

47. Avian mascot on a refueling vessel?: OILER CHICKEN.  Broiler chicken

57. Hotel employee who only works one day a month?: IDES MAID.  Brides maid

68. Subject of a 2016 U.K. referendum, and a hint to five puzzle answers: BREXIT.  Parse it as BR Exit.

I liked this puzzle.  Drop the Br from the commonly known phrases and redefine the remnants.

Initially couldn't figure out any of the theme answers due to good cluing and a few crossing unknowns.   Then got IDES MAID but didn't think too much about it.   A few moments later, got BREXIT and then knew the game.   Add Br back in and fill in the rest of the common phrase.   Nice !

This is Mark's fifth puzzle.  One each year starting in 2016.   I looked back at each.

"C Battery" Sunday March 26, 2016

"Three Little Letters" Wednesday April 5, 2017

"Iron In" Friday September 28, 2018

"Code Crackers" Sunday July 14, 2019

Mark is a chemistry professor at the University of British Columbia.    Using my code cracking skills (not very refined), I see a pattern: 
  • Add C (the chemical element symbol for Carbon).    
  • Add Fe (the chemical element symbol for Iron).    
  • Drop Br (the chemical element symbol for Bromine).  
Every other one of his puzzles is going to have wordplay based on an element symbol !

I don't recall the Friday puzzle and had no comments that day, but of the other three it appears I only aced one.   It would have been one for four if not for perp saves on  SPIFF,  ON THE DL,  ETOILE and SEN-SEN. 

Hope you had fun solving it !


1. Big divides: CHASMs.    Ideological divides: Schisms.

7. Vat sediment: LEES.   Dregs.  Speaking of remnants...

11. Swindler: CON.

14. Aid, as a fallen teammate: HELP UP.    And, 23D: Give a hand: ASSIST.

15. Munch Museum city: OSLO.  Dedicated to the life and works of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch.  The new museum opens in the fall of this year.

16. Crazy Eights relative: UNO.

17. Connected: ONLINE.

20. Greek group: FRAT.

22. Discreetly, in slang: ON THE DL.   Down Low.

27. Form fig.: SSN.

28. Fictional anchor Nessman: LES.

29. Goes apace: HIEs

33. "Your point being?": SOO.    An informal,  and perhaps confrontational or condescending  "What is your point ?"     Elongate so.    Why drag it out ?

34. __ 51: AREA.

36. The slightest bit: A TASTE.

41. Avoids: SKIRTs.   Sidesteps.

42. Muslim leader: IMAM.

43. Carol contraction: TIS.    No,  Tinbeni,  the lyrics to "Deck The Halls" do not have the verse,  "Tis the season to drink Stoli" but it does have a nice ring to it.

44. Immobilize with a charge: TASE.

45. "Moby-Dick" setting: SEA.   Hardly a favorite here.

46. Bullring bravo: OLE.

Ole wore both of his winter jackets when he painted his house last July.   The directions on the can said "put on two coats".

Sven says to Ole "I found dis pen, is it yours?"
Ole replies, "Don't know, give it here" 
He then tries it and says, "Yes it is"
Sven asks "How do you know?"
Ole replies, "Dat's my handwriting!"

53. Three on a match, they say: BAD OMEN.   Bad luck is what I knew.

56. Ikea purchase: SOFA.  Some of their brands include  Kivik, Ektorp, Klippan, Friheten and  Balkarp.  These are the kinds of words I would need if I were creating a crossword.   

59. Acted greenly?: REUSED.

63. It usually needs breaking: TIE.   Last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in an 8-way tie.   The final eight went 20 straight rounds of spelling without any errors.  The Bee simply ran out of predetermined words to sufficiently challenge these children.   Each co-champion took home the $50K first place prize.  The Bee is taking steps to reduce the number of entrants to the final, and searching for new lists of words that are even harder to spell.

What word in the dictionary is always spelled incorrectly ?   

64. 1968 self-named folk album: ARLO.   Arlo Guthrie, known for singing songs of protest and about social injustice. - Wikipedia.

65. Stands in a studio: EASELs.   Bob Ross used them on his program... 

66. Wrap up: END.   "That's a cut !"

67. Changes to green, say: DYEs.   Sounds Eco.


1. Comic Margaret: CHO.    Not my cuppa.

2. Egg producer: HEN.

3. The lot: ALL.   Lock, stock and barrel.   Everything. 

4. Calvin's spaceman alter ego, in comics: SPIFF.   Spaceman Spiff  at Fandom.

5. Literature Nobelist Alice: MUNRO.   "Munro’s stories reveal her as a consummate artist who is without question among the most accomplished masters of the short story."  - Nobelprize.orjg

6. Weapon for Goliath: SPEAR.    Asparagus, broccoli or pickle ?

7. Teammate of Babe: LOU.    Ruth and Gehrig, respectively.  Numbers 3 and 4 on their jerseys and on your Yankees lineup card.

8. Legally prevents: ESTOPs.

9. Justice Kagan: ELENA.

10. Cymbal sound?: SOFT C.

11. "Friday I'm in Love" band, with "The": CURE.    A British band that scored a top 10 pop hit with that song.   No idea.  Perps.

12. Saved, in a way: ON CD.  

13. Holiday song: NOEL.

19. "Ah, I see what you meant": OH, THAT.

21. Household cleaning brand: TILEX.

24. Dolphins Hall of Famer Larry: CSONKA.   Talk about brute force.   The big bruising fullback was the featured running back in the ball-control ground-game offense of Don Shula's undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins.  Jim Kiick and fleet-footed Mercury Morris shared the halfback duties.

25. Japanese mushrooms: ENOKIs.

26. More substantial: MEATIER.

30. "Will this work for you?": IS IT OK ?

31. French star: ETOILE.   étoile definition is - a star or a pattern in the shape of a star. Merriam-Webster.

32. Longtime breath freshener: SEN-SEN.   Me too, Carrie, me too.

34. Back to a mate: AFT.   As in the stern (back) of a ship and a crewman (mate).

35. Dorm, briefly: RES.   Residential quarters.

36. Gasteyer of "SNL" (1996-2002): ANA.     What do Ana Gasteyer,  Jane Curtain,  Brad Hall,  Gary Kroeger,  Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Seth Meyers all have in common ?  They are all former members of SNL that attended Northwestern University.

37. Network for film buffs: TCM.  Turner Classic Movies.

39. Chocolatey Post cereal: OREOOS.

40. Apple models: IMACs.

45. Declining due to age: SENILE.

48. "Grr!": I'M MAD.

49. Comic Denis: LEARY.

50. Biblical mount: HOREB.

51. "The bad news is ... ": I FEAR.   Spellcheck can only do so much.  The user still needs to have a clue.   This one probably didn't make it out of the first round in the school's spelling bee.

52. It might have a champion: CAUSE.

53. Sound __: BITE.

54. Score after deuce: AD IN.

55. Monopoly card: DEED.
58. Mexican pair: DOSuno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez.

60. __ roles: SEX.   Gender roles.

61. Inventor Whitney: ELI.    The History of Interchangeable Parts in the Industrial Revolution

62. Summer hrs.: DST.

Here's the grid:
Note from C.C.:

Just another reminder for the Cru Dinner again, which will be held on Friday, March 20, 2020 (6:00pm to 8:00pm) and officially kick off the 43rd ACPT. The space is limited, so please contact with Mike Alpern as soon as possible. Mike's email address is:

Here is more detailed information.

Feb 27, 2020

Thursday, February 27th 2020 Debra Hamel

Theme: Compass Pinots - I mean pitons - no, wait, piston? Anagrams of the primary compass points modify a well-known directional phrase; and hinted at by the circled N, E, S, W at the center of the puzzle.

17A. Authentic piece of a holy relic?: TRUE THORN. True North. The magnetic inclination (the difference between True North and Magnetic North) changes over time and also depends on where you are on the globe, but if you were standing at the North Pole and pulled out a compass, it would point you towards Ellesmere Island in northern Canada, more than 300 miles away.

58A. Biblical pronouns read by James Earl Jones?: DEEP THOUS. Deep South.

11D. Place reserved for one reconciling a dispute?: MIDDLE SEAT. Middle East. Funnily, the middle seat occupant on the airplane sometimes is the cause of a dispute over the armrest.

28D. Unwelcome leftovers?: THE OLD STEW. The Old West. Depends how old. Some stews get better left for a couple of days to let the flavors develop. Obviously, there's a tipping point :)

Right then, let's dig into this one. The anagrams don't seem forced in the four theme entries which is great, Debra did have a clever observation that there are anagrams to be had; and the circled letters highlighted in the grid do give you a nudge towards finding the compass points. A great way to solve an anagram is to write the letters in a circle; perhaps that was a subtle hint too, I'm not sure if this was Debra's intention. Maybe I'm reading too much into that, but I liked it.

Now, let's get to a couple of niggles - I'm thinking that if you're going to use "THE old west" you should also have "THE deep south" and "THE Middle East". These don't really stand on their own, unlike "True North" which doesn't need the definite article. I like consistency and to me this falls a little short. Also, if you're going to use "?" in the clue as the device to hint at the theme entries, you absolutely shouldn't have a clue like 20A. Your mileage may vary, naturally.

Moving right along ...


1. Ottoman bigwigs: AGAS

5. Wildly: AMOK. Amok is a funny word, you only ever see it paired with "run". I suppose "walking amok" doesn't have the same ring to it.

9. Peaks: ACMES

14. At hand: NIGH

15. Animated explorer: DORA

16. Patterned fabric: TOILE

19. Comedian Izzard: EDDIE. One of my favorite stand-up comics, I've linked to him before. How Britain built its Empire (TV-MA for language).

20. Sound investments?: STEREOS. See intro comment.

21. Like some deliveries: SAME-DAY

23. Indy guide: PACE CAR. Nice clue - "Lonely Planet" would be my first guess, despite having way too many letters. Since 2002, Chevrolet has had the exclusive rights to provide the pace car at the Indianapolis 500, they've all been Corvettes or Camaros, unsuprisingly. I wouldn't want to pace a field of IndyCars in a Chevy Spark.

25. She walked into Rick's gin joint: ILSA. "Play it, Sam".

26. Disastrous: FATAL Yep. Pretty much covers it.

29. Comedian Garofalo: JANEANE. Thank you, crosses.

31. Folk legend Phil: OCHS

32. __ Jose: SAN. Do you know the way?

33. Connects with: TIES TO

36. Arles article: UNE. It seems a shame to consign Arles to a crossword clue. I lived there for a few weeks, and who doesn't appreciate a nice Roman adqueduct?

37. __ West Records: Nashville label: NEW. Thank you, crosses.

38. Rosy-fingered goddess who rises in the east: EOS, Thank you, crosswords.

39. AirPod spot: EAR. Pops up again.

40. Get back in business: RE-OPEN

42. Product prefix that evokes winter: SNO-

43. Die down: WANE

44. Herbie, in Disney films: LOVE BUG

46. Outset: GET-GO

47. They don't last: FADS

49. Part of Curaçao: CEDILLA. The diacritical mark under the "C". The spendidly-named map-maker Heironymus Cock named it "Quraçao" on his 1562 map of the region, but that variant didn't catch on, so Curaçao it is.

51. Rather: INSTEAD

53. Apparel brand with a spinnaker logo: NAUTICA

57. Mesh: FIT IN

60. Red-pencil: EMEND. I had the first "E" already in place, so I wasn't tempted by AMEND.

61. December 24 and 31: EVES

62. "At Last" singer James: ETTA. A lovely song.

63. Georgia team, in sports headlines: DAWGS. Bulldogs, to give them their formal name.

64. Take a chance: DARE

65. Hoarse laugh: RASP


1. Tiny colonists: ANTS

2. Structural engineering piece: GIRT. Thank you, crosses. Want to know your studs and joists from your girts? Here you go ..

3. Chills and fever: AGUE

4. Tibetan leaders: SHERPAS. Not the Dalai Lamas then. I'm not sure I'd call a sherpa a leader, but I guess they are in the mountain guiding sense.

5. Specially formed: AD HOC

6. Saskatchewan city with a 34-foot animal statue named Mac at its tourist info center: MOOSE JAW. Here's Mac, with his "cute" Lego model which looks to be about eight feet tall!

7. NHL great Bobby: ORR

8. Dodge City native: KANSAN

9. "Up and __!": AT 'EM! Funny, I talked about this last week - we had "Up and About" then.

10. Cough medicine ingredient: CODEINE

12. Inventor Howe: ELIAS. He invented and patented the lockstitch sewing machine, and was involved in a protracted lawsuit for five years with Isaac Singer, who was producing and selling machines which violated Howe's patents. Howe won, and made a lot of money over the years with royalties from Singer. He was granted a patent in 1851 for an "automatic, continuous clothing closure", the zipper as we know it today. He didn't exploit the invention, possibly because he was making money from the sewing machine royalties.

13. "Peace out": SEE YA!

18. Marsh duck: TEAL. They can't walk straight, but they can fly in a corkscrew motion at speeds in excess of 50 mph. That's some achievement! The English expression "drunk as a duck" refers to the teal's characteristic waddle on land.

22. Schoolyard retort: ARE TOO!

24. U.S. neighbor to the north: CAN.

26. One of two in Hank Aaron's uniform number: FOUR. There's a mint-condition "Hammerin' Hank" 1954 rookie card on eBay at the moment going for $37,500 if you're interested!

27. Proactiv+ target: ACNE

30. First words in an alphabet book: A IS ... for ...

32. Largest of New York's Finger Lakes: SENECA. I don't know any of the Finger Lakes off the top of my head, but I had enough letters from the crosses to fill this in without a thought.

34. Tart taste: TANG

35. Mega Stuf cookie: OREO

37. Great Basin st.: NEV. National Park in eastern Nevada close to the Utah border.

38. One may be civil: ENGINEER. I used to go to football matches back in England with a friend who was a civil engineer. His language was anything but civil when his team was losing (which was often!)

41. Message board item: POSTING

42. South, in Avignon: SUD

43. Local news segment: WEATHER

45. Settled in for the night, with "down": BEDDED

46. Surfeit: GLUT

47. Fluted on the march: FIFED. I fell for the "PIPED" trap at first, but didn't take long to correct it.

48. Jungian inner self: ANIMA. I think I knew this, but the crosses filled it in for me.

50. Momentary error: LAPSE

52. Fades to black: ENDS

54. Bit: IOTA

55. Stops shooting: CUTS. I like that movie and TV directors still have megaphones; I saw a lot in use when I worked on the lot at Warner Bros.

56. "Stat!": ASAP!

59. Gabor of "Green Acres": EVA. Her sister, Magda, was briefly married to George Sanders, who had been previously married to the third sister, Zsa Zsa. Keepin' it in the family!

I think that about covers it for today. Here's the grid, with the circled "compass rose" in the center.


Feb 26, 2020

February 26, 2020 Blake Slonecker

Theme - Alas, poor Marion Crane, we hardly knew ye.  The theme answers all begin with elements of an iconic event in a classic noire movie.  First the unifier.

59A . Classic "Psycho" segment where one might see the starts of the answers to starred clues: SHOWER SCENE. Here it is, in all its screaming intensity.

17 A. *Top brass: HEAD HONCHOS.  The people in charge.   In the movie scene, there is some controversy over whether a body double was used.  But clearly, the HEAD belongs to Janet Leigh, who portrayed the unfortunate Marion Crane.

25. *Response to wild applause: CURTAIN CALL.  When the actors get another chance to bow after a great performance.  But that is after a stage play, and we're at a movie. The CURTAIN is prominent in the scene, and afterwards Norman Bates, played by Tony Perkins wraps Marion's corpse in it, and sticks it in the trunk of her car.

37. *Political metaphor about dealing with bureaucracy: DRAIN THE SWAMP.  Nope. No politics. The stage blood circling the DRAIN is a bit of cinematic brilliance.

50. *Market-based pollution-control policy: CAP AND TRADE.  The junction of politics and economics is still of limits.  Moving right along  .  .  .   One might have expected Marion's shower CAP to keep her hair neat - but all to no avail, since her corps ends up in an UNDRAINED SWAMP.   But wait - she doesn't wear one!  Am I missing something here?!?

Hi gang, a somewhat confused JazzBumpa here to direct today's excursion.  Hope we don't get too bogged down.


1. Commerce pact to be replaced by USMCA when it's ratified: NAFTA.  Trade deals, new and old.  More politics, where we dare not venture.

6. __ circus: MEDIA. A news event with hyped-up or out of proportion coverage.

11. Cook quickly: ZAP.  Use a microwave.

14. Fluffed-up dos: AFROS.  Most popular X-word hair style.

15. Apple music players: IPODS. Portable player of digital audio and video.

16. Actress Longoria: EVA. Eva Jacqueline Bastón (née Longoria; born March 15, 1975) is an American actress, producer, director, activist, and businesswoman. [Wikipedia]

19. Outlaw: BAN.  Officially or legally prohibit.

20. Iraq War concern: Abbr.: WMDWeapons of Mass Destruction.  There weren't any.

21. New beginning?: NEO-.  A prefix denoting a new or [more likely] revived form of something.

22. Spine-tingling: EERIE.  Like a scene depicting a murder in a shower.

24. Farm female: EWE.  This answer makes me feel sheepish.

28. Almost on "E": LOW.  Fuel gauge reference

29. Biblical mount: ASSHere are 76 references.

30. Attend: GO TO.

31. "The Art of Loving" author Erich: FROMM.

33. Cubs' home: DEN.  Animal offspring, not a sports team

34. Fort Collins sch.: CSU. Colorado State University.  Home of the Rams.  Our second ovine of the day.

41. Wild blue yonder: SKY.

42. Unagi, e.g.: EEL. Japanese fresh water eel.

43. Beyond angry: IRATE.  Feeling great anger.

45. Membership fees: DUES. An obligatory payment

47. "Help!" at sea: SOS.  A Morse code distress signal transmitted as an unbroken sequence of 3 dots, three dashes and three dots.

49. P-like letter: RHO.  Rho (/roʊ/; uppercase Ρ, lowercase ρ or ϱ; Greek: ῥῶ) is the 17th letter of the Greek alphabet. [Wikipedia]

54. "__ Explain Things to Me": 2014 Rebecca Solnit essay anthology: MEN.  Man-'splainin' is politically incorrect.

55. Yellow-and-white daisy: OX EYE.

56. "Otoh, what will you pay?": OBOOr Best Offer.  Price haggling phrase.

57. Long of "Empire": NIA. [b 1970] American actress

58. A-lister: VIP. Very Important Person.  I'm not sure who decides these things.

64. Canon SLR: EOS. Electro-Optical System. An autofocus single lens reflex mirrorless camera series.

65. Programmer: CODER.  Software engineer.

66. Certain Jamaican, religiously: RASTA.  A religious movement with distinctive and restrictive modes of diet, dress and behavior that honors people of African descent.

67. Brief reaction to oversharing: TMI. Too Much Information.

68. Newspaper essays: OP-EDS. Items placed opposite the editorial page.

69. Wild West movie: OATER.  An allusion to horse feed.


1. "Don't think so": NAH. Slangy negation

2. Brief thing to say: A FEW WORDS. Literal

3. Basic structure: FRAMEWORK. Or supporting structure.

4. Lincoln in-law: TODD. Relative of Mary Todd Lincoln.

5. Shade of gray: ASH.

6. Ones who dig hard rock?: MINERS. Literal, not musical.

7. Florida theme park: EPCOT. At the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando.

8. Play-__: kids' clay: DOH. Colorful modeling material mostly made from flour, water and salt.

9. Wedding promise: I DO.  But, alas, so many don't.

10. Agreement: ASSENT.

11. Striped equine: ZEBRA. Native to Africa.

12. To no __: useless: AVAIL.

13. Group of judges: PANEL.

18. Weight on one's shoulders: ONUS. From the Latin word for a load or burden.

23. Tesla Model X, for one: ECOCAR. An environmentally friendly vehicle.

24. "The Hobbit" being: ELF.  ORC is also three letters, as is ENT.

25. Sleeveless top, for short: CAMI.  Camisole, for long.

26. "A Death in the Family" author: AGEE.  James AGEE [1909 - 1955] started writing this autobiographical novel about his father's 1915 death in 1948.  Ironically, he died in 1955 with the novel not quite finished.  It was released posthumously in 1957.

27. + or - particles: IONS.  Atoms or molecules with an electron either added or missing.

32. "Help!" at sea: MAYDAY.  This is repeated three times at the beginning of a transmission, to avoid any misunderstanding.  The word was selected in 1921, and is derived from the French  venez m'aider ('come and help me.') I did not know that.

33. UPS rival: DHL.  Parcel delivery companies.

35. Most ingratiatingly earnest: SMARMIEST.  In a way that is extreme and/or insincere.

36. Get serious, gambler-style: UP THE ANTE.  Increase the stakes in a deliberation, conflict or dispute.

38. Can't live without: NEED.  Must have.

39. Push to the limit: TEST. Can you do it?

40. Sage: WISE.  I once met a sage named Herb.

44. Seemingly forever: EON.  A long time of indefinite duration.

46. World Heritage Site org.: UNESCO.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

47. Civil War swords: SABERS.  A SABER is a type of backsword [having a single-edged blade and a hilt with a single-handed grip] with a curved blade associated with the light cavalry.

48. Baking soda target: ODOR.  It absorbs the odor causing substance.

50. Tenth Commandment verb: COVET.  The desire to possess something.

51. Universal principle: AXIOM.  A statement regarded as established, accepted or self-evidently true.

52. One side in the "cola wars": PEPSI.  Preferred by some in my family. My lovely wife favors Coke.  I am indifferent.

53. Crewed in a shell: ROWED.  Shell is word with many meanings.  It was my nickname for my daughter when she was little, based on her middle name, Michelle.  Here it refers to a light racing boat used in the sport of crew.

57. College Football Playoff org.: NCAANational Collegiate Athletic Association.

60. Sock __: HOP.  An informal dance event, usually to popular recorded music, generally held in a high school gymnasium.  Hard soled shoes had to be removed to protect the floor - hence the name.

61. Lyrical tribute: ODE.  A lyric poem in the form of an address to a person or object.

62. "No seats" sign: SRO. Standing Room Only, indicating an at-capacity event.

63. Cup handle: EAR.

That wraps up another Wednesday.  Crazy week so far.  Nobody knows how dangerous the corona virus may be.  We are having a snow event that closed all the schools today.  Stay warm and safe.  Take your vitamins.  By low and sell high.  And please be careful in the shower.

Cool regards!

Note from C.C.:

Dear Irish Miss (Agnes) lost her beloved brother James (Bud) last Sunday. Here's the obit page. Please accept our condolences, Agnes! Thanks for the link, Spitzboov!