Apr 23, 2020

Thursday, April 23rd 2020 Ed Sessa

Theme Metallic Mystery - the word "golden" has gone missing from five theme entries

The reveal hints at the word we're missing:

59A. His touch will complete five puzzle answers: KING MIDAS. It didn't work out quite the way Midas had planned, he didn't really think it through, did he?

and so we find:

17A. Generous severance package: [Golden] PARACHUTE

32A. Chance of a lifetime: [Golden] OPPORTUNITY

41A. Marriage milestone: [Golden] ANNIVERSARY

10D. McDonald's trademark: [Golden] ARCHES

45D. Automatic promotion on "America's Got Talent": [Golden] BUZZER

A slick theme from Ed. I actually saw the theme right away when I got to 17A, but it was only the symmetry with ARCHES that led me to BUZZER - I don't watch America's Got Talent and so I had no idea there was such a device as a "golden buzzer" which I discover immediately puts a contestant through to the final rounds.

Let's take a tour:


1. Title critter in Blake's "Songs of Innocence": LAMB. Blake was apparently quite fond of lambs, if you look at his "Songs of Innocence" (strictly speaking, "Songs of Innocence and of Experience") there's not only "The Lamb" referenced by this clue, but a whole bunch of lamb-y lines in other poems. If you've ever seen the movie "Chariots of Fire" you'll be familiar with my school hymn "Jerusalem" which plays at the end. And references a lamb. Talented chap, lamb-centric.

5. Almost dry: DAMP

9. Football's "Papa Bear": HALAS. George Halas, founder, owner and head coach of the Chicago Bears. He was also known as "Mr. Everything" in consequence.

14. __ vera: ALOE

15. __ Eats: delivery service: UBER. Their drivers are busy at the moment. Note that there's no umlaut in the company name.

16. Hold the floor: ORATE

19. Bobby in a 1971 #1 hit: MCGEE. Janis Joplin classic which still sounds great today. The recording was released posthumously and reached number 1 on the Billboard chart. It was written by Kris Kristofferson.

20. Toss aside: DITCH

21. Bad loser: SOREHEAD. I've never heard this expression. Sore loser, of course, but not sorehead.

23. Locks: HAIR

26. Stage of adolescence: PUBERTY. All angst and acne.

27. Frito-Lay brand: TOSTITOS. Chips and salsas.

31. Sudoku fill: Abbr.: NOS.

34. Web spots: ADS

37. Ethically uncertain: GRAY. American spelling. Wouldn't it be more accurately be a "gray area"?

38. Ring bearer: EAR

39. Came down to earth: ALIT

40. "Atlas Shrugged" writer Rand: AYN. I read this a number of years ago and I can't remember a single thing about it.

45. Lily of France garment: BRA. I had to validate, of course, that this clue/answer combination was in fact correct. After much long and painful research I can confirm that it is. You're welcome!

46. Citrus grove sight: LIME TREE

47. Covered, in a way: INSURED

51. NYC area above Houston Street: NOHO. There's a NoHo in LA too, the trendy name for North Hollywood. It's a bit of an oddity, to be honest. It's so far north of Hollywood that it's across the Cahuenga Pass in the San Fernando Valley, and you have to struggle through Studio City and Toluca Lake before you actually get there.

52. Suddenly stops working, as an engine: SEIZES UP. Not a good thing to happen. My motorbike sprung an oil leak while I was riding back in 1976 and I didn't notice. Suddenly the engine went from a two-cylinder four-stroke to a single, and useless, lump of metal.

54. __ Gay: ENOLA. Not so fast, it could be sprinter Tyson Gay. And he is fast.

58. TV host Gibbons: LEEZA

62. Garden tool: EDGER

63. Biblical twin: ESAU

64. California's __ Valley: SIMI. It's the safest city with a population of more than 100,000 in the USA, primarily because police officers from the LAPD were given incentives to move there by the City Council.

65. Stadium levels: TIERS

66. Droops: SAGS. What "Lily of France" hopes to have us avoid.

67. Air filter acronym: HEPA, our old friend the High Efficiency Particulate Absorbing filter.


1. W. Coast force: LAPD. Nice clue, it took me a which to see this one. In fact this corner of the puzzle was my last fill.

2. Court game word: ALAI

3. Cartoonist Drucker: MORT. "Master of the Mad Caricature".

4. Bucket shaped like a sandcastle, for one: BEACH TOY. I find this clue a little odd. Would you call a bucket that's designed to make sandcastles "shaped" like one?

5. "Thank you, Captain Obvious": DUH! I love Billie Eilish's song "Bad Guy" which is so catchy and features a few "DUH"s.

6. __ Dhabi: ABU

7. Team that retired Mike Piazza's #31: METS. It's odd, I associate him more with the Dodgers than the Mets, but the Dodgers didn't retire his number. I remember him hitting a home run clean out of Dodger Stadium and into the parking lot, a wallop estimated to be 440 feet.

8. Hosp. area: PRE-OP

9. __ Industries: L.A. youth program: HOMEBOY. I like the salsas produced by Homeboy Grocery which are sold in my local Kroger market.

11. Ale alternative: LAGER. I bought a couple of bottles yesterday of "limited edition" Midnight Lager produced by Stella Artois. It's almost black in color. I'll report back when I've tried it.

12. Bugged a lot: ATE AT

13. Like some bagels: SEEDY. Did you know that restauranteur Joe Bastianich is credited with inventing the "everything" bagel? He was working in a bagel bakery and was tasked with putting the poppy seeds, sesame seeds and what-not on each type of bagel. At the end of his shift he decided to dip the last few bagels in the spillover of all the toppings, and bingo, the Everything Bagel was born.

18. Department head: CHAIR

22. Litter lightweight: RUNT

24. Addams cousin: ITT

25. Monet's "Cathedral Series" city: ROUEN. I once stayed in a hotel opposite the cathedral in the main square in Rouen. The bellringers started on Sunday morning 6AM, and that was the end of my night's sleep.

27. Forum robe: TOGA

28. "Live at the __": Patsy Cline album: OPRY

29. Spread across: SPAN

30. __ mail: SNAIL. 

33. "The Empire Strikes Back" director Kershner: IRVIN. Thank you, crosses

34. Old apple spray: ALAR. Daminozide was banned in 1989 as a "probable carcinogen".

35. Desperate: DIRE

36. Eye woe: STYE

39. Blow away: ASTONISH

41. Unpaid balance: ARREARS

42. Highland refusals: NAES

43. Punk subgenre: EMO. I never really got into Emo music; it seemed a little too naval-gazing for my taste.

44. Shorten, as a pants leg: RE-HEM

47. Spot of land: ISLET

48. "__ say more?": NEED I

49. Onslaught: SIEGE

50. They're put up in fights: DUKES

Did you know that Notre Dame were called, variously, The Terriers, the Horrible Hibernians, The Catholics and the Ramblers before settling on the Fighting Irish moniker? I quite like the Hibernians one.

53. City in Tuscany: PISA

55. Comic strip canine: ODIE. From the "Garfield" strip by Jim Davis.

56. Light source: LAMP

57. Sri Lanka locale: ASIA. Because "Laccadive Sea" doesn't fit.

60. Old horse: NAG

61. "Better Call Saul" drug lord Fring: GUS. Another "thank you" to the crosses today.

Which just leaves the grid to wrap things up:



OwenKL said...

DNF. After Bear Bryant didn't fit at 9 across, I was stumped not knowing 9,10,11, or 13 down. Finally turned on the red letters and lit up (Bobby) soxEr and (sudoku) Num. No wonder I couldn't get those downs!

The theme I didn't get before hitting the reveal either. PARACHUTE, OPPORTUNITY, and ANNIVERSARY all seemed to fit their clues just fine as they were, ungilded by any added adjective. It took a long time searching to see the 5th longest down answer (15th overall), ARCHES, could also go with golden, and I assume its reflection, BUZZER, must be the 5th theme word the reveal referred to. AGT and the like don't have much appeal to a deaf TV viewer.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

FIR , but erased conks out for SEIZES UP.

I knew that LEEZA had an unusual spelling, but had to wait for perps.

Not much of a gardener, but do you use an EDGER in one?

I would love to put up your DUKES against my Kentuckys and be happy with whoever wins. As long as we beat the dreaded Louisvilles. "AAA in Albuquerque" would be a good Saturday baseball clue for DUKES.

Hand up for never seeing AGT and not knowing the composition of their buzzer. Should have gotten golden ARCHES, since my first job was there. Got the other three, but not until I had finished the fill.

Thanks to Ed for another fine challenge. And thanks to Steve for the fun review. I thought that you might be a leg man like Splynter, but I see you are above all that.

Lemonade714 said...

Dr. Ed continues to pop up everywhere during the week. He is prolific and skilled. I appreciated the scope of the theme from the timeless reveal to the modern television franchise AGT . The (GOLDEN) PARACHUTE gave me the theme and with limited unknowns:
9D. __ Industries: L.A. youth program: HOMEBOY; 33D. "The Empire Strikes Back" director Kershner: IRVIN ; and, 61D. "Better Call Saul" drug lord Fring: GUS the most prominent.

The name that was the most unknown IRVIN KERSHNER despite his history of successful movies.

Steve you put up another great review with the history of the everything bagel a nice bonus, It is not my favorite but others at work love it.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Got through this one with only a few scathes. Tried SAND PAIL, and then planned to come here and carp about the repeat of "sand." D'oh! DARE I say more. Double-D'oh! Made it through with a final WAG of the H in HALAS. I decided HOMEBOY made more sense than SOME BOY. Filled them correctly, but missed seeing ARCHES and BUZZER as part of the theme. Thanx for the diversion Dr. Ed, and for the tour, Steve.

AYN -- The main thing I remember about Atlas Shrugged, after lo these many years, is "Who is John Galt?"

ABU -- Steve, your Rouen comment reminds me of my first night in ABU Dhabi. I came flying out of bed when the Imam started screaming the invitation to morning prayer. Must've been nearby, because I thought he was right in my room. Blog rules don't permit me to tell you what I screamed back.

Lemonade714 said...

D-O, in Asian countries it is common practice to have trucks with loudspeakers driving around at dawn calling with monks preaching. My first night in Thailand after the 30 hours it took to get, I was not pleased either.

Today in the 404th anniversary of the death of SHAKESPEARE and the 15th anniversary of the birth of YOU TUBE . I am not sure if the events were related.

Hungry Mother said...

FIR, no write-overs, and I noted the theme but didn’t use it as a helper. A wee bit easy for this end of the week, but no complaint here.

Big Easy said...

Good morning. I was thinking GOLDEN at 17A after PARACHUTE was filled but never gave it another thought. A fast fill for a Thursday; I agree you you Hungry Mother.

I've never watched AGT so the BUZZER was filled by perps. Ditto for Lily & BRA, Air filter & HEPA, and the spelling of LEEZA. HOMEBOY was all perps along with IRVIN & GUS.

Piazza- I didn't know he also played for the METS, only the Dodgers but I don't follow baseball.

PUBERTY- when you body changes faster than your brain's ability to understand what's going on.

There might be a day of reckoning very soon for many states. Their overly generous semi-golden retirement systems are going broke. NY, CA, CT, & IL are in the worst shape. Full retirement after 30 years based on your highest 3 years of pay instead of what you contributed is not and will never be fiscally sound. But they expect the taxpayers to bail them out. It will not be pretty when it hits the fan.

inanehiker said...

Clever theme which I guessed with the golden PARACHUTE and confirmed once the ARCHES came up as I first had RONALD for the McDonald's symbol. I don't watch AGT but the golden BUZZER worthy performances often are posted on someone's Face Book feed because they are noteworthy!
I also had ASTOUNDS before ASTONISH even though I knew it wasn't quite the right tense - but perps fixed that.

I was okay with the "bucket shaped like a sand castle" clue because I think he was referring not to a generic bucket or pail but the ones that are shaped like a castle that are definitely BEACH TOYs

Thanks Steve and Ed for a fun start to the day!

desper-otto said...

Inanehiker, I also tried ASTOUND...but it was too short. That sand-castle-shaped bucket is a new one for me. Never heard of one.

PUBERTY: The phase before adultery?

Anonymous said...

Way too many proper names for my liking. Almost naticked at the homeboy/halas crossing. But really rouen,irvin and the clue for Ring bearer: EAR was just not neccessary. Btw I liked the theme.

Lemonade714 said...

For inanehiker, SAND CASTLE BUCKET . Personally, I do not think Dr. Ed was thinking that specifically, but then again, it could be Rich's clue.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Woohoo. FIR. Found hunting better in the bottom half, but then managed to "bubble up" and polish off the top. Had Otto before ODIE (SIMI looked good.). Also had 'surge' before SEIGE. HOMEBOY was largely a WAG, but we have had MCGEE recently, and I finally thought of the correct spelling for HALAS. What else but ASIA for Sri Lanka locale?; (Palk Strait (පෝක් සමුද්‍ර සන්ධිය) wouldn't fit.).
Also considered 'chief' before perps solidly pointed to CHAIR.
Another fine puzzle from Ed.

Thanks Steve for your always interesting intro.

Yellowrocks said...

Just right Thursday level for me. I wondered about the missing GOLDEN in parachute and arches, but didn't suss that this was the theme until I got to the reveal. I liked the long answers. I got BUZZER from the double Z's, but didn't know it was golden until I saw the reveal and thought back on it.
I wagged the M in MCGEE. Then H in 9D was obvious, HOME. HALAS was unknown. I did think of Bear Bryant first.
GUS, BRA and IRWIN were all perps.
We have lawn service, but I see many edgers in use by do-it-yourself types.
I have just been reading pro and con about golden parachutes.
SOREHEAD is common to mean bad tempered. A sore loser is just one type of sorehead.
If we use ethically uncertain as an adjective, then this clue works. Ethically uncertain area = gray area.
My mom had metal bookends in the shape of Notre Dame in ROUEN. I dusted them every week, sometimes with a book in my left hand.
4D I immediately pictured this sand castle shaped bucket. It made perfect sense to me as an example of a beach toy.The beach season here seems lost, especially for the first half of summer and maybe all of it.
Link text

Husker Gary said...

-I filled in the reveal and then had to go back and find two more fills to complete the quintet. Wonderful, Dr. Sessa!
-There are so many very annoying ADS by companies who want you to be INSURED with them
-SIEZES UP – I didn’t check the school’s mower’s oil level and so while mowing the football field…
-Did the ENOLA Gay’s mission keep my dad from having to be part of the invasion of the Japanese homeland?
-I can’t remember the last SNAIL MAIL I got that I enjoyed

Anonymous said...

Good puzzle although it seemed pretty easy for a Thursday. As always, great write up by Steve. Similar to D-O, experienced the call to prayer my first morning in Tanzania. And every morning thereafter. Definitely changed by bed time schedule.

Stay safe everyone.


Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I wondered about the Parachute and Anniversary standing on their own, but the other themers went right over my head, particularly Buzzer, as I have never watched AGT. Of course, the reveal made everything crystal clear. Irvin and Gus were unknown, as was Homeboy, but were all easily perped. I liked the Lamp/Damp and Alai/Alar duos.

Thanks, Dr. Ed, for a fun Thursday and thanks, Steve, for the pleasant tour.

Stay safe, all.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

"Midas well face it you're addicted to gold."

FIR nice 'n easy inkovers pitch/DITCH. And if I paid more attention to the north part of the clue, though I never heard of it, eventually perp changed from SOHO.

Is Captain Obvious another MOBY DICK character? ...(He's not mentioned in my HS Cliff'sNotes.) Darn I should have read the book!

I think of a SIEGE as surrounding a castle for as long as it takes to starve out the enemy till they surrender. Not exactly an onslaught. Obviously reading too many historic novels with endless battle scenes but still my favorite genre especially renaissance England. Right now working through Phillippa Gregory's "Three Sisters, Three Queens" (No, not about three minstrels who dress in drag for Henry VIII) in reference to the world of Margaret and Mary Tudor and Catherine of Aragon.

Woke up groggy and there was a gray long haired hippy brushing his teeth in the bathroom!! Oh wait, just the mirror above the sink.

Even worse....

"Not fair if ____ you in without a ticket".....ISLET.

Results of Santa's laryngitis or a COVID sign on a closed brothel..NOHO

The Cockney witness says _____ who did it...ESAU

Anatomical opposite of warm fingers...TOSTITOS

No rants no raves no ragers ...Friday awaits..

TTP said...

Yes, the NW corner was my last fill. Slowed by throwing in slam for court game word.

Surprised to learn: That SIMI Valley is a city, and not a geographical area.

ENOLA Gay - There's at least two of us here that knew a woman named Enola Gay.

We enjoy watching and listening to Joe Bastianich's mother as she cooks.

Circa 1980, I drove my brother's Mazda with the Wankel rotary engine the 500 + miles from near Youngstown to Nashville after he relocated to open and manage a new department store. The engine SEIZED just short of getting there.

Never saw GUS, and I try to make a point of reading every clue. If I miss one during the solve, I catch it in the review.

Me too, Spitzboov. Chief before CHAIR.

Speaking of PARACHUTEs... Parachute

Gotta run. "Aerial America - Kansas" is on the Smithsonian channel.

Crockett1947 said...

The first clue I saw was the AGT and I knew that! Just watch the U-tube snippets -- don't watch TV.

Amazed to see comments about SIEZED UP --it's SEIZED. Got my directions messed up so SOHO made it FIW, but very pleased to almost get a Thursday!

Stay safe.

Spitzboov said...

Merriam Webster calls SEIZE UP a phrasal verb:

to stop working because the moving parts can no longer move

—sometimes used figuratively
"Her brain seized up when she tried to answer the question."

CrossEyedDave said...

Having missed yesterdays Blog (I did the puzzle)
due to a walk in the woods (masked) with a friend
on Earth Day, I find find myself especially talkative today...

(Apologies in advance...)

Today was actually the 1st day I have done the puzzle in ink on dead trees
in almost 2 months! I braved the newspaper in the bag in the driveway simply
because The Star Ledger screwed up the zoom in feature, & I could not read the comics.
(Can you imagine a world where CrossEyedDave does not read the comics?)
I figured if I pulled out the today section with a tweezers before discarding the
the "outer news" & washing my hands, I would be safe...

(I have been OCD for many years, so now I am in my natural element...)

Very refreshing to smell that Ink again!

The Puzzle?

Ring Bearer, I was sure was Toe, but it perped into a 3 lettered lobe...

Engine seized?
I have a leaf blower that is 25 years old.
The day I bought it, the fuel line came off and leaked
fuel all over the hot engine, & I threw it into the street
thinking it would explode any second. I have been fixing it ever since...
The last time it went Kablooey, the engine just slowed down and died.
pulling the starter cord only revealed a rock solid seized engine.
It sat in the shed for 6 months, & I refused to throw it out
(because I am also a Pack Rat...)
My thinking is, "It's already broke! I can't make it worse."
& watched Youtube vids on how to fix a seized engine.

After taking it all apart, I discovered the engine was fine!
The pull cord got tangled around the main shaft & locked it up!

Should you wish to try and fix junk,
For Gods Sake take out the sparkplugs first!

(To be continued...)
(up to 4X)

Anonymous said...

I really liked the puzzle. It was a bit confusing that the theme down answers were not the longest down answers, but I think of the downs as being bonuses. The across theme answers are the longest across answers. At first, I thought the LA industry must have been called Golden HOMEBOY since I'd never heard of HOMEBOY Industries anyway.

CrossEyedDave said...

Two days ago, I passed on linking Mort Drucker,
not so today! how many famous people can you identify?

Our local Supermarket got a palletload of everything
bagel seasoning, & put it on sale/on said pallet/in the middle of the store.
I love it! & will be going back for more until they run out.
but when they do run out-I am going here!

Hmm, sandcastles,
I must put that on my BUCKET list...

Oh yes, the theme!
Some trivia you may not know.
The King Midas story was scandalous in many ways,
but the deepest/darkest part was lost to history
because it was so brief...

CrossEyedDave said...

Re: yesterdays walk in the woods...

Being stuck in the house, I have been living
vicariously thru YouTube videos of Bushcraft everything (except the Bagel)

(Baking bread in an oven in the woods is for experts only...)

& I have particularly enjoyed the making of survival shelters
out of whatever is available, wood/leaves/bark etc...

Imagine my surprise when we walked right into one yesterday!

This was made with nothing more than fallen pine, branches, bark, & Pine needles!

a view of the front...

a close up...

inside, this (boy scout?) made a raised bed of logs & pine needles...

I can't show you all the pics, or reveal where this is precisely,
but here is a clue...

If you like this sort of thing, you will love a youtube site titled Mathew Posa.
He goes camping with his dog (monty) & it is adorable!
here is a rainy day sample...
(be prepared to lose 2 hours of your life...)

Shankers said...

Not too bad for a Thursday with only a couple perps for Irvin and buzzer. Being a Chicago born sports guy, Halas came instantly. Never watched AGT either. Steve, it must have painful and agonizing to research the visual for 45A above. Such are the awesome responsibilities of managing this blog.

Lucina said...


I liked this GOLDEN grid! Like others I missed the golden part until the reveal but did not know BUZZER was one.

The H in HALAS was my last fill because HOMEBOY Industries made sense but I don't know HALAS and find it a strange name.

The entire northern section filled quickly once LAPD/LAMB were in place. If I recall correctly William Blake was one of the metaphysical poets. Keith and/or Misty might remember.

EAR was my favorite, too. Very cleverly clued.

I don't know if it still exists but there was a restaurant named Bobby MCGEES. The one here in Scottsdale closed many years ago but there was one in north Phoenix.

NOHO is new to me. I only know Soho. A local group wants to name south Scottsdale SOCO but it hasn't caught on.

An EDGER is very much a part of the landscaping in this community.

Many of my friends and I still send each other SNAIL mail.

Thank you, Ed Sessa and Steve. You should be rewarded, Steve, for your tireless investigation! I see your findings hold up.

Have a happy day, everyone!

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Thanks Ed for the glittery puzzle - caught the theme at 17a but didn't connect the downs to it until Steve pointed out the ARCHES.

Fabulous expo Steve. Note: Jerusalem [ELP] link points to the Fighting Irish image too.

Fav: The I before: SIEGE xing rule-breaker SEIZE. //Hi Hahtoolah!

Clue for 4d evoked the buckets in inanehiker's link - we had some of those when the kids were younger.

ER in EAR was my last fill (b/f changing s->N in IRVIN).

CED - remember the small-engine repair videos Boo LuQuette would link?

That's enough goofin'-off for now. Back to work.

Cheers, -T

John E said...

Where is the identity KEY?
I can guess about 2/3 of them.

OwenKL said...

CED, thanks for unblocking my writing and inspiring a poem:

I saw a GOLDEN statue of the Saviour yesterday,
Hand reached out in blessing all who saw it on display.
It was a holy signal
To remind those who mingle
Not to get too friendly when King Midas wants to play!

Misty said...

Woohoo, after that difficult Wednesday puzzle yesterday, I almost got this delightful Thursday offering except for a little trouble in the southwest. Many thanks, Ed--a real treat. No, I didn't get the Golden theme until Steve's commentary, but no matter--I still loved getting all those great long words--PARACHUTE and OPPORTUNITY and ANNIVERSARY. Lots of fun even with a bunch of unknowns (HALAS? HEPA?), but no problem, perps helped with those. Had GREY before GRAY--I can never remember the difference.Nice to get INSURED instantly, I especially appreciate being INSURED at this tough time.

Enjoyed your Imam story, Desper-otto.

Have a good day, everybody.

Anonymous T said...

Misty - Gray is a color while grey is a colour. -T

oc4beach said...

Today was a golden OPPORTUNITY to finish a very good Dr. Ed puzzle. Steve's tour through the grid was informative and enjoyable.

I wanted to start 17 A with Golden PARACHUTE but it was obvious that it was only PARACHUTE. When I got to OPPORTUNITY, the theme was obvious that Golden was in front of all of the theme answers. However, like many here, I don't watch America's Got Talent, so, I didn't know BUZZER, but perps were kind today and filled it in for me.

In Central and Western Pennsylvania if you go into a bar and ask for a LAGER, you will automatically get a Yuengling. Of course, no bars are open, so I guess I'll have to buy a case at a beer distributor that's still open. FYI Pennsylvania is in the dark ages when it comes to the sale and distribution of beer, wine and spirits.

At first I had HOMEBuY before HOMEBOY, but NuS didn't make any sense. For Onslaught I wanted ATTACK, but it didn't fit, SIEGE fit, but like Ray-O- I think of it as a blockade like the Siege of Leningrad. As I said above, Perps to the rescue.

I've never used an EDGER in my garden, (a Rototiller maybe) but I definitely have used one to trim the grass along my sidewalks and driveways.

When the engine block cracked on an old '57 Buick it only took a minute or two for the engine to SEIZE UP because all of the oil poured out of it. It was really upsetting because I had just spent months doing a lot of body and paint work on it. With no working engine it went to the junkyard for $50. Sad day.

When it came to Ring Bearer, I thought Ed was cluing out of the box, so I entered TUB. Wrong, but perps again changed things. If it had been a 6 letter answer, I would have entered COLLAR. Maybe Ed will use them in a future grid.

When I worked in New York while commuting from DC, I would stop at the Plainview Bagel Bakery on Long Island on my way to the airport every week and load my (empty) briefcase with fresh hot bagels to take home. The bakery was open 24-7 and didn't have a lock on the front door.

I hope all are staying safe and healthy.

AnonymousPVX said...

This Thursday puzzle was another Sessa gem.

Write-overs..NUM/NOS, IRWIN/IRVIN.

Had to go to the eye doc yesterday, yearly check, clean bill of health, no issues.

Everyone working there had an N95 mask on.

And it made me wonder, why isn’t that the case always? It seemed very correct. Now maybe on a “normal” day to day there isn’t much worry about infection in an ophthalmologist office, but what about a “regular” MD? That’s where sick people go.

Anyway, I liked seeing the masks.

And on to Friday.

CrossEyedDave said...

John E @ 12:32

Never thought to look, or find an identity key..
But if it helps:
(my best guess is...)

Top row from the left:
(dunno her name, but she was in the sitcom Julia)
John Wayne, Batman & Robin, (I think Liz Taylor & her many time husband Whazhizname?)
& the flying Nun AKA Sally Fields.

2nd row from the left:
Ed Sullivan, Mitch Miller, 3rd is tough one, it could be Doris Day, but it could also be Carol Channing...
Robert Culp & Bill Cosby of I spy, If it's not Marilyn Munroe I dont care...
Spock, David Whazhizname kuriakin, Kirk, Robert Vaughn man from uncle...

3rd row (starting from under Mitch Miller)
Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Julie Andrews, Dean Martin
& then Iduno followed by Idunno followed by David Jansen (the Fugitive...)

Leaving the bottom left, cast of Lost in Space.

Bill G said...

Hi everybody.

Today is peaceful so far. Yesterday we experienced an unusual earthquuake. I was watching TV close to midnight and there was a large BOOM. Not the usual rolling and shaking but just one big jolt. The epicenter was about 10 miles north of here. I went to check on Barbara but she had slept right through it.

Last night, a Jeopardy clue said that the OED proclaims that it is perfectly OK to say that something is "very unique." Aargh! This is one of the few times I am in disagreement with the OED. Very one-of-a kind? Yuck. I know people use it that way often but I don't like it at all. It's a special word with a specific definition of 'One-of-a-kind. Otherwise, use another good word like 'Very unusual.'

Steve said...

@Anon T - thanks for the alert! Link now fixed. That's my one mistake for the week :)

Spitzboov said...

From Merriam-Websters site:

Unique' is often cited as a word that should never be modified, as its original meanings were "being the only one" and "unequaled." But 'unique' has another meaning, "unusual," and it's common to modify the word when it's used this way.

Bill G said...

Spitz, right, I get that. But unique's original meaning of one-of-a-kind is unique. Why water it down with a less restrictive definition when there are other words that will do the job?

Wilbur Charles said...

The Scots say: "If there's NAE wind, there's NAE Golf".
I say "If there's NAE gambling, it's NAE Golf."

My Gibbons was Euell but that didn't fit.

Chief/CHAIR and the I/E for INSURED were my write-overs.

Not a particularly difficult Thursday xword. I tend to use lower case e which I sometimes confuse with small p. Thus SpAN/OPPORTUNITY

Betsy thinks that she actually knew Bobby MCGEE.

SwampCat said...

Bull G, the OED May think it’s okay to say Very Unique. Just don’t say it to me, please!!

SwampCat said...

Oops... BILL G....

Ol' Man Keith said...

I agree, SwampCat.
The only excuse for using "very" to intensify "unique" is in the continuation of an already existing debate about which of two or more competing oddities deviates more from an expected norm.
And even then, the user must apologize.
'Nuff said, OED!

Lucina ~ Yes, I am up on Blake, but no, I am not all that familiar. My first thought was "Tiger," which, alas, would not fit. Still, a Ta ~ DA!

Misty ~ Glad you did so well. And don't you love Anon T's explanation of the differences of gre/ay?
A 3-way on the left hand and a single on the right.
Unfortunately, all the diags are either too raw or overripe in the vowel/consonant ratio. But I can salvage one anagram from the center front diagonal, a reference to the esoteric knowledge possessed by a bipolar priest, the...

Yellowrocks said...

Unique has come to mean unusual as well as one of a kind. I accept the change. The world a changin'. This is not your grandpa's language.

Bill G said...

SwampCat and OMK, so we all agree then?

Dictionaries describe common usage including common mistakes. I wonder if Strunk and White included "Unique" in their famous book, "The Elements of Style"? (No, they didn't seem to mention it.)

However, here's some of what Grammar Girl had to say:

Here's the deal: every authoritative source I checked said it's bad to qualify or compare the word “unique,” and then in the next breath they all acknowledged that it's commonly done, and that it's been done for a long time.

Even though “very unique” is widespread, has been in use for a long time, and is increasing, it’s still a good idea to avoid it if you want to be safe because it’s one of those things that always shows up on lists of pet peeves, meaning it’s the kind of phrase that’s still likely to get noticed in a negative way. 

Similar absolute words that people tend to modify when they technically shouldn’t include “destroyed,” “perfect,” and “dead.” Technically, “completely destroyed” is the same as “destroyed,” and “absolutely perfect” is the same as “perfect.” I will, however, argue that when you’re writing about zombies and vampires, there’s a difference between “dead” and “100% dead.”

Ol' Man Keith said...

You are right, Yellowrocks, that the "changin' world" may not be at home with "Grandpa's language."
May I remind you--with respect & gently--that you're addressing quite a few Grandpas?
And Grandmas (your dear colleagues)?

PS. Some of us still try to avoid ending with a preposition. Imagine that.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

It all started when the jocks started saying nonsensical things like "the MVP gave 110 percent effort." But my pet peeve is more black and white than that. Literally. There aren't shades of black or white (when you are discussing colors). But the folks that repair fiberglass boats will tell you that "white" is never white, and that no two brands of boats have the same "white". (I wonder what all those fiberglass fixers are doing now that I'm no longer sailing?)

Runners up - "Inflammable" and "Irregardless".

CrossEyedDave said...

just bookmaking my place...

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Great puzzle, Ed! Great commentary, Steve!

Can't believe I'm the only one who ever watched AGT. Watched it the first season and part of the 2nd, then quit when I didn't agree with the judges on what was talent. I had watched them hit the GOLDEN BUZZER every week. However, I filled in the cw with "ticket" which turned red instead of GOLDEN. They give contestants tickets to continue. Got BUZZER after one "Z" perp.

GOLDEN PARACHUTE: my dad worked many years for the US Postal Service. Years into his retirement he bragged to me that with the increases for inflation, he was now drawing more money with his monthly pension than he had ever taken home when he was working. I laughed and jabbed him a little saying, "Yeah, all you old pensioners will break the post office some day." Was that prophetic or what?

Ray-O: Captain Obvious is a character in a currently running TV commercial (can't remember for what) not in MOBY DICK.

SwampCat said...

Bill G and OMK, part of my objection is my disdain for the word “very.” Just say what you want to say. Why does anything have to be Very!?

The other part is my experience as an editor, blue-penciling extraneous words. Most modifiers are not needed!

SwampCat said...

YR, you may accept it, but that doesn’t mean it is acceptable.

Bill G said...

SwampCat; but, but, our president uses two or three 'verys' per minute so it must be OK.

Yellowrocks, you are often one to defend questionable usage like 'very unique' but your personal usage in your posts is flawless much like "Grandpa's language." There was much grumbling among my classmates at Cornell re. Freshman English but I enjoyed the reading and I learned a lot of stuff that improved my writing.

CanadianEh! said...

Terrific Thursday. Thanks for the fun, Ed and Steve.
I FIRed eventually but could only find four of the Goldens (BUZZER was missed, probably because this Canadian did not watch AGT!)
Hand up for the NE being the last to fill.

Was I the only one who entered Handshake instead of PARACHUTE (and would not let it go!)? Only the H and E were correct and that created all sorts of issues with 1 to 8 D. Hand up for Slam before ALAI.
Finally I saw the light (or LAMP but that was in the SW corner😀) (does that mean I was ALIT.😀😄?). DUH.

I smiled at the clue for LAPD, and changed Soho to NOHO.
Hand up for noting SEIZE crossing SIEGE.
Of course this Canadian entered GRAY, but knows that Grey is the correct colour (AnonT thanks for the humour!).

Wishing you all a good evening.

SwampCat said...

Bill G, LOL,

Ol' Man Keith said...

SC ~ I agree wholeheartedly. And I say this as an addict to those two overused English words, "very" and "just."
Whatever I write, I have to go back and strike several appearances of those two buggers.
I will allow just one of each, but I'm never surprised when I find two or three in the very same sentence.

Wilbur Charles said...

Then there's Mr Obvious on the Alt-web. I think places like YouTube have disowned him but his followers keep him funded.

I recall using the expression "Exactly Wrong". And I happen to like "irregardless".


SwampCat said...

WC, we all have our little secret vices !

SwampCat said...


Misty said...

Thank you, AnonT, for your clever gray/grey help--and thanks, Ol'Man Keith, for alerting me to it.