Mar 20, 2020

Friday, March 20, 2020, Robin Stears

Title: Anagram that!

After writing up hundreds of Friday puzzles, it is unusual to fill in all the spaces and not know the theme. But that is exactly why I love crossword puzzles, and it took staring at the reveal and fill positioned in all the regular theme locations (e.g. 17A) to have the light bulb come on. A classic V-8 can in the forehead. I will bet that Steve and others who love the classic British puns and anagram puzzles featured in the London Times etc. will adore this theme. Once I saw the concept, it was so easy. Robin took four very different types of oils- ESSENTIAL, COD LIVER, VEGETABLE, and LAVENDER  and repurposed the letters into fanciful but legitimate alternate fill. This built on a 2018 PUZZLE that Steve stared at, just like I did today. Finding combinations that included all the letters of the oil was most impressive.

Robin has appeared in the LAT since 2009 but has ramped up her mainstream publications with this being her 5th of 2020. Here is a quick LOOK at her construction history. Today, she crammed the grid with 7 letter fill like ACADEMY. ATINGLE, CARTELS, EVASIVE, ICE FLOE, LA PLATA, MASONIC, ODDBALL, OVERRAN, PESETAS, RATRACE, REPTILE, SEASIDE, SO HAVE I, SOLACES , and SOVIETS.

17A. *Bargain on the last day of Oktoberfest?: STEIN SALE.
ESSENTIAL. What makes it essential? The ESSENCE.

26A. *Singer Damone, vis-à-vis actor Morrow?: OLDER VIC.
COD LIVER. Damone was only about 8 months older. Cod Liver Oil was a big threat to kids wanting to stay home from school when I was young.

38A. *Snoopy's specialist?: BEAGLE VET.
VEGETABLE. I was stumped on 36A trying to make it a variation of Olive Oil. Some OILS that didn't make the cut.

53A. *One who'll talk your ear off about osso buco and saltimbocca?: VEAL NERD.
LAVENDER. The silliest of the fill.
and, the reveal:
65A. Basic auto maintenance, and how each answer to a starred clue was created: OIL CHANGE. This is one time I may not have gotten the theme without the reveal.


1. Incite: PROD. Prodding sounds much meaner, but I grew up in cow country so my mental picture may be wrong.

5. Modern "methinks": IMHOIMHumble Opinion. Language changes the words not the thoughts.

9. Pink flowers in a van Gogh still life: ROSES. He painted this while in the asylum at St.Remy. The color has faded.

14. Water-diverting feature: EAVE. The eaves are the edges of the roof which overhang the face of a wall and, normally, project beyond the side of a building. The eaves form an overhang to throw water clear of the walls. Wiki.

15. It's not optional: NEED. Nice clue.

16. Brigham Young University city: PROVO. Read its HISTORY.

19. Urdu for "palace": MAHAL. Urdu تاج محل‎ (tāj mahal, “crown of palaces.

20. Blunder: ERR.

21. Barbarian in Dante's Seventh Circle: ATTILA. In the river of boiling blood are the violent sinners, such as Alexander the Great and Attila the Hun, Ghibelline tyrants and 13th-century robber barons, "are paying for their heartless crimes" (XII.106). Michael Delahoyde.

23. Butterfield of "Ender's Game": ASA. Almost the theme from Tuesday's END GAME puzzle.

24. Cartomancy deck: TAROT. This is a stretch because cartomancy uses a common deck (or part of one) of cards. This is what my grandmother TAUGHT.

29. Starfleet school: ACADEMYStar Trek.

32. Record holder: SLEEVE. I love this misdirection, especially now that they are producing albums again.

33. Ship: SEND.

34. Accessories for a Red Hat Society lunch: BOAS. This ORGANIZATION is appropriate for many Cornerites.

37. Bond and Bourne: SPIES.

41. Scratching post material: SISAL. Cats prefer woven sisal because their claws do not get caught in the sisal rope. It is a natural fiber derived from the 'agave sisalana' cactus plant and is not the same fiber as coir or jute.

44. Jai __: ALAI.

45. Its first version was egg-shaped: iMAC.

49. Spotted cat: OCELOT. For CED.

51. Argentina's "City of Diagonals": LA PLATA. A CSO to OMK and this CITY.

56. Norse group that fought the Vanir: AESIR. The Aesir (pronounced “ICE-ir”; Old Norse Æsir for multiple gods, Ásynjur for multiple goddesses, Áss for one god, and Ásynja for one goddess) were one of the two main tribes of deities venerated by the pre-Christian Norse.

57. Hypotheticals: IFS.

58. Part of AC/DC: DIRECT. Current.

61. Minn. neighbor: ONTario. We have many visitors from Ontario here in Pompano Beach.

62. A-listers: ELITE.

67. "Who's on First?" catcher: TODAY. You have to be a real fan to recall that position.

First base         Who
Second base What
Third base I Don't Know
Leftfield           Why
Centerfield Because
Pitcher             Tomorrow
Catcher            Today
Shortstop          I Don't Give a Darn! or I Don't Care!

68. Composer Sibelius: JEAN. Fifteen FACTS.

69. While away: KILL. Ah, while away not while away!

70. Note next to a red F, maybe: SEE ME. Since we have so many teachers who read this blog, this may be an ultimate gimme.

71. __-Navy game: ARMY.

72. Downfall of many kings?: ACES. Also a fun clue.


1. Old Iberian coins: PESETAS. Woth 100 centimos.

2. Grind: RAT RACE. I loved the Lucys.

3. Exceeded, as a budget: OVERRAN. I like "waves of barbarians overran the Roman Empire" and "he must not overrun his authority as governor" better.

4. Agnus __: DEI.

5. MIT center?: Abbr.: INSTitute.

6. Substantial content: MEAT. What a meaty tome.

7. Sun: Pref.: HELIO. We had this in January.

8. The "O" in football's OBJ: ODELL. Beckham Junior.

9. Tach readout: RPM. Revolutions Per Minute.

10. 60 minuti: ORA. Italian lesson.

11. "Me too": SO HAVE I.

12. Hard to follow: EVASIVE. I like this clue.

13. Says "There, there," say: SOLACES. Middle English: from Old French solas (noun), solacier (verb), based on Latin solari ‘to console’.

18. Silver of FiveThirtyEight: NATE. The POLLING PLACE.

22. Spots: ADS.

25. Eccentric: ODDBALL.

27. "What __ can I do?": ELSE.

28. Snake, for one: REPTILE.

30. MIT Sloan deg.: MBAMaster of Business Administration was created in the US.

31. Class with mats: YOGA.

35. Entirely: ALL.

36. Authenticating symbol: SEAL. Now we use stamps for seals on legal papers.

39. North Carolina university: ELON. This is where my friend the late Roger Staley studied as an undergraduate; it is a selective, average-sized private university eminent as a national model for connected and experiential learning.

40. Through: VIA.

41. Khrushchev and Gorbachev: SOVIETS.

42. Baffin Bay hazard: ICE FLOE. Baffin Bay is the body of water between Baffin Island in Canada's Nunavut and Greenland's southwestern coast. It lies north of the Arctic Circle, connecting the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, and is frozen for most of the year.

43. Coastal region: SEASIDE.

46. Like some lodges: MASONIC.

47. Goose-pimply: ATINGLE. An "A" word.

48. Price-fixing groups: CARTELS. In the United States, virtually all cartels, regardless of their line of business, are illegal by virtue of American antitrust laws. Cartels have a negative effect on consumers because their existence results in higher prices and restricted supply. In South Florida, they are WORSE.

50. "Chopped" host Allen: TED. I really did not know this MAN.

52. Way to go: PATH.

54. Spanish red wine: RIOJA. Rioja is a wine region in North Central Spain, 120 Miles south of Bilbao.

55. Less rainy, as a climate: DRIER.

59. Oater actor Jack: ELAM. What a face.

60. Harlem sch.: CCNYCity College of New York.

63. Bagpiper's hat: TAM. Oh the one from shanter!

64. London __: Ferris wheel: EYE.

66. Letters in an APB: AKA. I guess, but they are not mutually inclusive. An All Points Bulletin does not need an Also Know As.

Robin is fast becoming one of our regular setters, with this effort containing so many gems. Be safe everyone, we have canceled the condo Bingo night and our Starbucks no longer allows sitting or loitering. Lemonade out

Notes from C.C.:
1) Happy 82nd birthday to Commander Al (Spitzboov), who served in the Navy Reserve for over 20 years. Al is a very resourceful and creative person. He helped me solve many tricky problems. Here is Al with Argyle.
Argyle and Spitzboov
(August 23, 2014, Washington County Fair)
3) Happy 84th birthday to John28man! So glad to hear from you from time to time, John!


TTP said...

Me too, Lemonade. Stared and stared. Spent more time pondering the theme answers than solving the puzzle. (D-O won't have that problem)

Filled the grid easily enough. Didn't immediately know all the answers but with perps and logic it all came together. The only real slow down was due to having keyed in MEN ONLY for "Like some lodges". That led to having AENID for a moment or two. D'OH !

Reworked that corner and TADA. Reread the reveal clue and tried to make sense of the starred answers. And then stared. Saw LIO from HELIO first and looked at the other starred answers for other OIL "change of directions" with OIL in them. Nope.

Then tried various swapping of O, I, and L in the starred answers. Nope.

Then stared. Then watched Broderick Crawford solve a triple homicide. Then watched Jack Webb and Harry Morgan solve another one. A mindless respite.

Then stared a bit longer. The V-8 moment never came. Finally caved on figuring out the theme. I'll blame it on being tired.

Loved your puzzle, Robin ! I wasn't expecting anagrams and it stumped me. As Lemonade said, "But that is exactly why I love crossword puzzles..."

Jinx in Norfolk said...

FIW, missing my WAG at the Natick RIOsA x sEAN. Like TTP I wanted the lodge to be MEN ONLY. Also erased stars for ELITE, loll for KILL, oro for ORA and all for AKA. Didn't get the theme, and didn't appreciate it when Lemony revealed it. But as we know there is a large intersection of Cornerites and Jumble aficionados, so a scattering of these is fine with me. (I like to solve the Jumble without solving any anagrams.)

I had a friend who lived in ELON, NC until he moved to Florida. Crossword constructors may not know that there is a town there; we always see it clued as a college.

Lyrics from Joe South's great song Games People Play:

And they wile away the hours
In their ivory towers
Till they're covered up with flowers
In the back of a black limousine

HBDTY, Spitz. May you have fair winds and following seas. Thanks to Robin for the fun, and to Lemonade for the explanation of that fun.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I must be the early worm, because Robin got me again. DNF with RIOSA/SEAN. Egad, dang, drat. Got AESIR immediately, but needed Lemonade to explain how to pronounce it. ODELL? I take it that OBJ is a person. Who knew? Robin, thanx for the repeat foot injury. Lemonade, thanx for the elucidation.

SISAL: We have a SISAL scratching post. The cats much prefer the area rug in front of the TV.

SOLACES: This is one of the few pieces I could play from memory on the piano: SOLACE -- Scott Joplin

Happy birthday, Spitz. I always learn something from your etymologies. You, too, John28man. With that moniker you'd think he'd be 92 rather than 84.

desper-otto said...

Forgot to mention. I figured this was a Friday themeless, so I didn't waste time looking for it. Obviously, I didn't read the full reveal clue, either. Again.

jfromvt said...

I’m in the same boat as others - finished the puzzle but couldn’t figure the theme. Each anagram was for the entire answer, very clever!

John E said...

Just WOW! How inventive your theme was. Thanks, Robin.

billocohoes said...

Abbott and Costello funniest 6 minutes in the movies ever. Third base was "I don't care" in the movies, "give a darn" on radio, and ...damn" in live shows depending on the audience. It's speculated that the right fielder was either Where or Nobody.

ELON teams are the Phoenix, but they used to be the Fighting Christians.

TTP said...

C.C. must have added the notes to Lemonades blog after I read it and posted my comments.

Happy Birthday, Spitzboov, and Happy Birthday, John28man !

Robin Stears said...

Hello, everyone! This puzzle was so much fun, and my favorite theme entry was the LAVENDER/VEAL NERD one. Originally, I had only one-word oils, but Rich Norris convinced me to try it with COD LIVER/OLDER VIC. Of course, I went along with him because his entry was much funnier than mine.

My long absence from CrossWorld is easily explained -- a few years ago, I went back to college to finish the degree I started waaaaaaay back in 1978. I graduated last spring. Such fun! As long as I didn't look into a reflective surface, I could pretend I was young and free and out to change the world!

Fun, but exhausting trying to keep up with those kids. It's great to be back!

Anonymous said...

Took a little more than 11:30, but decided to cheat for the final letter: the "j" in rioja/Jean. That intersection, and La Plata on top of Aesier crossing "atingle" (or an a-words) are my only complaints. Very clever theme, though it's more of an "after the fact" than part of the actual solving experience.

Lucina said...


Happy birthday, Spitzboov! I also enjoy your etymologies.
Happy birthday, John28man! I wish you both many more.

Lemonade, thank you. Without your explanation I would still be in the dark about the theme. I solved the puzzle easily enough but had no idea how OIL CHANGE was related.

In Spain I bought RIOJA wine to bring home.

CSO to Abejo at MASONIC.

PROVO was a pure guess and it forced me to CHANGE EluSIVE to EVASIVE.

The only ODELL I am familiar with is Digger ODELL, the friendly undertaker; that is if I remember it right from nighttime radio in the 50s.

Yes, SEE ME with red pen is familiar to me.

Thank you, Robin Stears, for your tricky and challenging puzzle!

Please be careful, be safe, and stay healthy, everyone!

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I think this is only the second time I have completed a puzzle and was unable to see the theme and, believe me, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to parse those answers. The closest I came was seeing Olive in Older Vic, but that really didn't make sense because the letters were scattered all over. The only other oils that came to mind were Canola and Linseed, neither of which worked, so, I gave up and relied on Lemony to solve the mystery. As usual, the proper names needed perps: iMac, Jean, Rioja, and Asa. I also needed perps for Sisal, not knowing much about cats or their preferences. After watching Pinky's cat fit yesterday, I'll stick to canines. My only w/o was La Playa/Plata. CSO to Abejo (Masonic) and CanadianEh (Ont). My favorite C/A was Hard to follow=Evasive.

Thanks, Robin, for a tough but fun theme and for stopping by. Congrats on receiving your degree. Thanks, Lemony, for an interesting, informative, and, in my case, very enlightening expo. I haven't seen or heard anything about the Red Hat Society in many years. There for awhile, you saw groups of them everywhere. I don't own any hats, red or otherwise.

Happy Birthday, Spitz! 🎂🎈🎁🎉🎊

Happy Birthday, John28man! 🎂🎈🎉🎁🎊


Sandyanon, congratulations on your new great-grand baby. 🧸

Have a great day.

Husker Gary said...

-ELMER POUT – Fudd fit?
-Lemon’s summative paragraph was spot on! One unforgivable, bad cell for me (me too TTP)
-Our kitty prefers SISAL over carpet on her towers and leaves furniture pretty much untouched
-Tesla’s Alternating Current won out over Edison’s DIRECT Current for generating plants
-It had to be ONTario but I didn’t realize it came that far west
-S O _ _ _ E S is not SOOTHES. There, there Gary…
-My cousin just returned home to Heiden, Switzerland from India where she received YOGA training
-Of all the TEDS Robin could have picked… Cooking show names are ubiquitous here now.
-Happy Birthday to Al and John!
-Thanks for the amazing puzzle and the visit, Robin!

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Alas thought I FIR on a FRI!! no less...But crossed Riolo (RIOJO) with leon (JEAN) so FIW. Insult to injury didnt figure out the theme either.

Alterntive facts... I mean clues..

Funds borrowed for a Utah cheese factory. ..PROVOLoan

Expresses wonder frequently...OCELOT?

Grill is ready for our Friday fish dinner so put the...ELON

"With schools closed you can't play videogames ATTILA you finish your online homework!"

Had "routine" for GRIND. "Iceberg" then "Iceflow", finally ICEFLOE. Mill for KILL. CUNY for CCNY. All perp walked.

Thought Van Gogh painted irises? But clearly wouldn't fit. Almost put Commies for SOVIETS

TAROT was obvious but "cartomancy" a neologism for me.

Knew the two VICs and that one was OLDER. But didn't get the clue.

Didn't realize SOLACE(S) could be used as a verb.

Asked the ID nurse who took my temp at the hospital entrance how to disinfect a newspaper. She said to keep it in wrapper for 24 hrs. But worse than old news that means the crossword will be a day behind!.....suggested microwave on the "popcorn" setting.

Husker Gary said...

Side Bar
-We all have to rethink what we really NEED these days and when to go out for whatever that is. Daughters both texted us last night to inquire about us and to tell us in no uncertain terms, “Stay home!” More time to KILL today with Netflix and YouTube.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

I drive through LA PLATA (MD) quite a bit. I've been told by someone who lives there that they intentionally time the traffic lights on US-301 to break up the flow of traffic. He said it was intended to slow down traffic flow for safety, but I suspect it might be more to increase cash flow from when people stop to eat, fuel or shop. Just up the road is Waldorf, another traffic jam locale. Probably a good place to get a salad, so they've got that goin' for 'em.

Big Easy said...

EVASIVE- that's the word that I will use to describe today's puzzle that I liked but had a DNF with an incorrect WAG (just like D-otto) at the intersection of RIOJA & SEAN- both unknowns. I don't drink wine and guessed RIOSA & SEAN.

I managed to get all the theme fills done but even with the OIL CHANGE fill in place I didn't pay attention to the anagrams because I was trying to guess that last square. Like TTP I thought about swapping OIL letters but that didn't work. Other unknowns were ASA, SISAL (my outside cat uses trees), AESIR, TODAY, NATE, TED Allen, CCNY, London EYE.

OBJ and both of his parents went to LSU.

Robin- You're a tricky one. Keep up the good work. I don't like EASY puzzles.

MBA- back in the mid-1990s my boss (MIT grad) had a group of Sloan students come to my office to look at a computer system that we developed to enable drugstores to communicate and order directly from a wholesaler, namely ME. We already had multiple systems out so that they could run their pharmacies. The business students solution: sell enough to get Microsoft interested and sell it to them. We didn't. Remember those days before fast internet access? It was though dial-up modems. How times have changed. It was around Mardi Gras so I took them to Bourbon Street.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Happy Birthday John28man.
Another trip around the Sun. Thanks to all for your good wishes.

Managed to bollux up the SE with not getting KILL and AKA, but got everything else. Not good at anagrams so, passed on the theme.
BTW; anagram of OIL CHANGE IS 'halogenic'.
2 clues relating to MIT; INST and Sloan.
JEAN - Knew it started with a 'J'. Perps helped. BH toured Sibelius' home near Helsinki.

First full day of Spring. Happy Social Distancing everyone.

Thanks Lemon and Robin for the intro and today's challenge.

Wilbur Charles said...

Jinx, it took me twenty minutes to solve J riddle with all the letters. And...The Natick at RIOsA/jEAN got me too. One box again from FIR on a tough Friday.

And of course I was ASEA* re. OILS . I also had elusive /EVASIVE.

HBD Spitz and John28. Great write-up lemony.


*I'll cap the regulars

inanehiker said...

Nice crunchy Friday puzzle - WEES about needing the blog to figure out how OIL CHANGE went with the other theme answers- thanks Lemonade! Appreciated the construction Robin!

Happy birthday Spitboov and John!

Keep up your sense of humor - it not only makes you feel better , it's good for the immune system!
For those who enjoy musicals - here is a fun parody from the Music Man by Broadway actor Danny Gardner- always better to laugh than to cry during tough times:

Yellowrocks said...

I liked this puzzle a lot, though I didn't find the anagrams. Excellent theme, Robin. Ted, NATE, ODELL were new to me, easily perped. I knew JEAN, AESIR, RIOJA, CCNY, SISAL, ELON, although I needed a perp or two to jog my memory for a few of them. It took --DAY to remember TODAY. Love that skit. It is still funny after all these years.
Lemon, as usual, always interesting post.Those ocelot babies were cute.
Contractors, especially defense contractors, seem to OVERRUN their budgets frequently.
ATINGLE is more evocative and accurate for that feeling than TINGLING would be. A-words do have their niche.They kick it up a notch.
Congrats, Robin on your degree.
Happy birthday, Spitz and John.
There is a traffic light near a McDonalds's here to control traffic. Before it was installed there was a major blockage as vehicles lined up trying to cross busy lanes to get into McDoanld's and then they found it near impossible to get back on the highway. The light has certainly expedited the traffic flow through there.
I am under the weather even though I have been staying home starting Tuesday, so I will not bring Alan home this weekend. He and his group home family are too medically fragile to take changes with.
Stay safe. Stay well.

john28man said...

Thaank you for the greeting. In this difficult time it's nice to have something to celebrate.

NaomiZ said...

I was stumped (LA PLATA, AESIR, RIOJA, ELAM) but enjoyed the reveal once Lemonade revealed it! Thanks!

Misty said...

Got chunks of this Friday toughie here and there, especially in the northwest corner where AGNUS DEI gave me PROD, and ERR and STEIN helped fill in much of the rest. Further down YOGA and MBA and ALL gave me that BEAGLE VET after I put in VIA. Had trouble in the northeast because, like Ray, I too wanted IRIS for the Van Gogh painting. Of course I never figured out the theme, but lots of fun along the way--many thanks, Robin. Thanks also for checking in, and congratulations on your degree. And thanks for the helpful commentary, Lemonade.

Happy birthdays, Spitboov and John.

Have a good weekend coming up, everybody.

Lemonade714 said...

Very happy birthday wishes for Spitzboov and John28man!!!

Bill G said...

Hi everybody.

I'm a little glad that I was in good company in trying to figure out the theme but couldn't. :>)

Thanks Robin and Lemon.

HBD Spitz and John28. I always enjoy your comments.

I'm constantly trying to fight off depression these days without much success. I have tried to order groceries online. We'll see how that goes.

I love Joplin's Solace. Very evocative. It's especially appropriate with my present state of mind. Tony (AnonT) often tries to find some Joplin to share with me (us).

Time for a nap maybe.

~ Mind how you go...

Lemonade714 said...


We appreciate your puzzles and the time it takes to stop by and interact here at the Corner. A blog started and run by a female especially encourages female builders. Keep up the fun work and cont=rats on your degree.

Sandyanon said...

Hi. I'd be interested to know what other housebound people are spending time on. I'm on my tablet a lot; prefer to read the news rather than watch it. And I do the N.Y. Times puzzles and the extra Jeopardy questions every day

Watching a lot of tv shows in Amazon Prime, Britbox, and Acorn. E.g., Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, As Time Goes By, and Jack Ryan. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

Jayce said...

I liked this puzzle. Didn't see the anagrams at all.

Bill G, sorry you have been feeling depressed. I hope you feel better soon. Maybe Calvin and Hobbes can help cheer you up.

Very happy birthday wishes for Spitzboov and John28man, and good wishes to you all.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Sandy...recommend "The Hunters" Emmy worthy performances by Pacino and Carol Kane. Nazi hunters in the 70s. Shocker ending. Unfortunately hard to watch scenes of incredible German cruelty to the inhabitants of the Ghettos and camps.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

"Hunters" not "The Hunters" sorry...on Amazon

Hungry Mother said...

FIR, but felt sloggish, as it should toward the end of the week. Didn’t really get the theme and didn’t need it. While on Torcello as a side trip from our stay in Venice, we saw a stone seat that supposedly was used by ATTILA.

Sandyanon said...

Thanks, Ray. I've seen the Hunters trailer. Looks really hard to watch, as you said.

AnonymousPVX said...

This Friday go resulted in a bad cell.

The same as others, the cross of RIO_A and _ guess was S.

Write-overs, just one, TIM/TED.

I’d call a Natick but that would be self-serving.

And on to Saturday.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

Sandy, how about a little light reading? Maybe some Robin Cook - Vector, Outbreak or Pandemic?

jfromvt said...

What is the acronym FIR? I see it in more in the comments of late.

Hungry Mother said...

In 2003, my wife and I shared a small bedroom in the village of El Palo, near Malaga. We were spending 4 months learning and being totally immersed in Spanish. My wife kept a box of RIOJA on the floor, while I kept a bottle of aqua con gaz there. Periodically, we’d go to a nearby store and pay 0.5 Euro for a new box.

Wheels42 said...

Oof, I struggled with this one. I needed the error check mode on in order to get to the finish line, which is a rarity for a non-Saturday puzzle.

Thank you for the helpful explanation, as I too did not get the theme. For me, it was too cute by half. Perhaps if the revealer were more descriptive, I would have enjoyed it more. For example, a revealer of "SCRAMBLEDEGGS" would make me more likely to think that the themes are types of eggs that are jumbled. "OILCHANGE" doesn't suggest a jumbling to me. But, different strokes for different folks.

Happy birthday to Spitzboov and John!

Wheels42 said...

@JFromVT: FIR means "finished it right"

Sandyanon said...

It's weird, Jinx, but though I've always been a great reader. I seem to feel more connected when I'm on the Internet or watching tv. Thanks for the ideas.

Staying in touch with family and friends via text and email, but lately I've noticed a greater urge actually to talk on the phone. Worry about my daughters and grandchildren, not to mention the 27-month and less-than-one-month old greats.

I guess we all need to keep that proverbial stiff upper lip. Though I never feel I have much of note to contribute about the puzzles, I surely do appreciate being able to read these blogs.

Ol' Man Keith said...

A delightful pzl!
Thank you, Robin Stears.
Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish, Ta ~DA! -- even though I missed the anagrams.
I am usually pretty good with mixed-up letters, but just didn't see how to resolve these theme answers. I think it's because I don't usually carry the names of these quite different oils around in my head.

Flatten the Curve!

A Happy Birthday to Spitzboov, and likewise to John28man.
I regret there are no diagonals to this otherwise rewarding Xwd.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

DNF. Once I Googled ASA, I changed SOotheS (hi HG!) to SOLACES allowing me to enter SOHAVEI [VIh made no sense!] thus finishing-off MOHAL(?) and OLDER VIC (I guess Damone & Marrow are Vics).

FIW too... :-) Like D-O, I had RIOsA/sEAN. Plus, I had EtON for the school in NC.

Theme? TTP, I kept looking at LIO too and it crossed two themers; RIO from VEAL NERD @54d also crossed but R???...

Thanks Robin for the puzzle and stopping in. What a great gimmick! What was the fill b/f OLDER VIC?
//congrats on knocking out the degree!

Thanks Lem for unscrambling the theme and the mighty-fine expo.

WOs: CSNY - wait... That's Crosby, Stills...; MEAL b/f ATTILA came along; aforementioned Soothes
ESPs: Yep.
Fav: Clue for TODAY.

{Thought of OKL at MASONIC} //you too Abejo, but this is OKL's spot :-)

Jinx - LOL Waldorf...

HG - we thought about what we'd need in case anyone got sick weeks ago [recall, DW was following Italy & Spain 'cuz had to make the go/no-go call to send students to Barcelona]. We haven't been out of the house since Saturday and won't NEED anything for a while.

SandyAnon - I'm on laptop(s), as normal, working as is DW. The Girls entertain themselves with cooking which is a bonus for me & DW. So far the TV is off (mostly - we did just get Disney+)

Happy Birthday Spitz! I enjoy reading you daily and I'm oft educated by your posts.
Happy Birthday John28man - haven't seen you in a while. Hope all is swell.

As seen on Twitter from a retired Marine:
I just watched two of the smartest Privates I've ever seen.
Long ass line at the commissary and one comes walking toward the other and says:
"Hey, Beck, they're re-stocking toilet paper, did you want some?"
Nearly cleared out the F*n' line. :-)

Cheers, -T

CrossEyedDave said...

What a terrible day here in sunny Florida...

1st, they closed the beaches!

2nd, I could not figure out the theme, & then I could
Not find a decent link to an image of being hit in the head by a V8 can
After reading the Blog. What a disaster!

3rd, I gotta remember to post a virtual cake for D4E4H DW on the 24th...

4th, I have to find virtual cakes for Spitzboov & 28JohnMan?
(Tough namage for cakes - sorry Al&John...)

Then the Gov of Fla announced all restaurants are to be take out only...

Ack! There goes my mussels in beer and blue cheese appetizer,
With garlicky toast and rosemary sprigs, & 99 other secret ingredients...

So, I thought we all deserved a virtual" cupcake in these troubling times,
I thought a field of cupcakes would be appropriate. Going on to the horizon,
& what does Google give me?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone actually get the theme answers?

If a theme is hidden and no one gets it does the theme even exist?

The RIOSA/ELAM/SEAN Natick cluster was a real downer after working so hard to get the rest of it.

Sandyanon said...

Anon-T, I love your joke about the smart private and the toilet paper. It's great to find humor these days.
Ref your Natick comment. I find myself puzzled when people refer to Naticks. I understand the term, but it just seems to me that if some people are stuck on both across and down clues, some others are bound to know one or both. So it's just a question of different areas of knowledge, isn't it???

Anyway, thanks for the joke.

Sandyanon said...

Anon-T, I guess that was someone else's Natick comment?

Robin Stears said...

Replying to: What was the fill b/f OLDER VIC?
//congrats on knocking out the degree!

Thank you! The fill before COD LIVER/OLDER VIC was HEMPSEED/SPEED HEM, and I had intended to clue it as participating in an event in a tailoring competition. That would have made for a much easier anagram!

Jinx in Norfolk said...

Sandy, you are right about at least one person knowing the answer to every clue. To me Naticks are personal. When I either guess the cross correctly or have it answered when I look at the finished grid, if the V8 cans don't hit me it was a Natick.

We all know stuff that other Cornerites are unlikely to know. I could cross "Kentucky town spanning Perry and Knott counties" (VICCO) with "First skipper to lose the America's Cup" (CONNER). Some folks here are likely to know one or the other, but most wouldn't. OTOH, most folks here know music, literature and grammar factoids that leave me in awe of their knowledge. To me, seeing the vast diversity in knowledge across Cornerites is as fun as solving the grid.

Jayce said...

Welp, LW and I just did our census. Quick and easy.

As for TurboTax, I have a sort of love/hate relationship with it. We've been using it successfully for more than 10 years to prepare and file our taxes, but has always been, and still is, a pain in the neck the way it asks you questions and the order in which it tackles the various tasks. Sometimes is quite unintuitive (Hello Intuit!) to figure out.

SwampCat said...

Fun puzzle! Thanks Robin. Of course I didn’t get the theme. I never do. But finding the fills was fun.

Loved c/a for SLEEVE. Got it on the first pass ( I’m old!). Loved ACES, too. I’m not sure about BOAS. It filled in with out any problems so I should rest on that but I didn’t know the Red Hat ladies wore BOAS.

Lemon, thanks for clarifying the hard parts like the theme.

SwampCat said...

Did I forget to say HBTY to Spitz and John? Well, I’ll say it now ...and many more! CED, that cake was painful! I’m missing football! It hurt!

Abejo said...

Good afternoon, folks. Thank you, Robin Stears, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Lemonade, for a fine review.

Worked through this puzzle slowly. Cherry picked the easy ones.

Thought I had a good pick with STEINSFUL for 17A. Changed that later to STEIN SALE. OK.

MAHAL came easily once I thought of Taj Mahal.

When I got to the SE, I saw 46D. I counted the squares and they were the right number so I entered MASONIC. I figured that may not be correct based on the history of these puzzles. However, it worked and I was elated.

I got all the theme answers. Plenty of perps to help me. However, I could not suss the theme. I knew it had something to do with car maintenance, or oil changing, etc. So, I gave up and came here. Then it was simple. Duh. This was a great puzzle and I give the constructor lots of credit for her hard work.

Happy Birthday Spitz and John28man. And, many more.

Just kind of hung around the house today. My wife had to work tonight at the CVS. She is there now.

See you tomorrow.


( )

Spitzboov said...

Thanks for all the good wishes. Much appreciated.

ONTario has shoreline on all the Gt. Lakes except Lake Michigan, while Michigan has shoreline on all the Gt. Lakes except Lake ONTario.

CrossEyedDave said...

Wait a sec...

could that silver lining behind the clouds be icing?

PK said...

Hi Y'all! I was definitely not on Robin's wave-length. I filled the puzzle thanks to red-letters -- in the SE corner especially. Robin, I did not find the answers funny at all. Had no chance at finding any of the obscure, to me, OILS. I, too, sat and stared a longer time than was enjoyable. Never dreamed of looking for anagrams. Gripe! Whine! Carp!

Lemonade, thanks for bailing out Robin with your great explanation. Never heard of LAVENDER OILs. ESSENTIAL OILS, I've heard of, but don't agree that they are.

While away = KILL? Meh! Feh! Bleh!


Happy Birthday to SPITZ who helps make the blog interesting. Happy Birthday to John28. Our blogmates always SOLACE the wounds from a tough puzzle.

BillG: a virtual hug for your depression. Hope you & Barbara are holding your own. I think anyone who isn't depressed by the current state of affairs just doesn't realize what is going on.

Wilbur Charles said...

Agree on the Natick designation. Spanish fe is not my bailiwick so I couldn't really call that wine a Natick.

Sports questions are often called Naticks even though they're often obvious to me. Not to speak of the OTT,ORR,ALOU chestnuts.

But OBJ stumped me but ODELL sounded familiar. The corporate names of ballparks and arenas are an area I refuse to acknowledge. Give me Fenway Park and Yankee stadium.


Anonymous said...


Sorry to hear of your current mood.

I am familiar and decided to share what has improved my outlook.

- Turn off facebook entirely. Seriously. If you use it to keep up with family, then ask them to talk or text with you directly. Fb is full of pictures of showing only the good and none of the bad making us think we are missing out. The other 50pct is people espousing their negative views of politics and such.

Turn off FoxNews, CNN and MSNBC. Their programming is crap. Nothing worthy there. Just brainwashing drivel trying to make us all hate each other and thus ourselves. Try to get your news once a day from a local source and then live your life.

Once this current crisis is over you can volunteer. Helping others has helped me tremendously. Hospitals, libraries, soup kitchens, animal shelters, churches and many others are a great place to feel good about ourselves and give back.

Set a goal like weight loss or learning a language or learning to paint helped also. The sense of achievement makes one love ourselves luke the good ol days.

Good luck. Happiness is just around the corner.

Yellowrocks said...

CED, awesome cupcake tree. Very creative.
My social salvation is my phone. Very satisfying calls today to friends and family. Beats text and email by miles.
Is there a bread shortage in your area? Some stores here aren't getting bread deliveries. Milk is rationed to one or two gallons per customer. Are there that many people who can use more than a gallon or two before it goes bad?
Bill G.we are here for you at a very bad time. I was depressed and inert from mid Feb. to mid Mar. No reason why it started or ended.I feel for you. Great suggestions Anon.

Bill G said...

Thanks for all of your concern and thoughtful comments regarding my bout of mild depression. The virus news and political animosity are burdensome on my normally middle-of-the-road mood and personality. I miss getting together with Jordan. He isn't interested in geometry help since school is on hiatus for the near term. Can we read/share Calvin and Hobbes while maintaining social distancing? Dunno...

~ Mind how you go...

Lucina said...

Bill G:
You are such a kind and thoughtful person. I hope you feel better soon.

Today I ventured out to the store and was shocked to see all the empty shelves everyone has bee talking about. It is surreal! I found most of what I needed except eggs and had to go to 5 stores before finally finding some at CVS of all places and priced at $4.79.

Speaking of CVS a friend texted me that I should save those receipts in case I ran out of toilet paper. She always makes me laugh.

Stay well!

Wilbur Charles said...

I just had to ask, re. -T and "Joplin" was that Scott, Janice or Missouri?


Anonymous T said...

WC - It was Scott re: BillG. Oft though, 'tis Janice.

Robin - SPEED HEM; sewing decathlon event? Still would have missed the anagram :-)

YR - Youngest loves to bake - esp when stressed (typically caused by her AP classes) so we always have 20lb of flour & 2lb butter on hand. She's already made lemon poppy-seed loaves (with about to spoil blueberries - yummers!) and plans some baguettes tomorrow (to nosh w/ olive oil we got in Italy!)

BillG - do a little Calvin & Hobbes via FaceTime; Jordan's protecting you!
Here's 1:35:51 of Joplin. Have a glass of your particular poison and enjoy!

Lucina - I heard that quip re: CVS receipts the other day and *beer out the nose*

PK - I'm just KILLin' time here...

Time for some sleep. Assuming the rains stay at bay tomorrow - garden goes in!

Cheers, -T

Anonymous T said...

Sad news... I just heard that at 81, The Gambler played his final hand. -T