Aug 3, 2020

Monday August 3, 2020 Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke

Theme: BUSINESS LETTERS (40. Company correspondence ... and a hint to the abbreviation hidden in 17-, 24-, 52- and 66-Across) - INC is hidden in each theme entry.

17. High-intensity indoor cycling group: SPIN CLASS.

24. Cinderella's ride: PUMPKIN COACH.

52. Pipe unclogger: DRAIN CLEANER.
66. Feature of New York-style pizza: THIN CRUST.

Boomer here.  

I suppose most of you use a pencil when completing a puzzle, but today you might want to use pen and INC.  

Major League Baseball is finally on TV but no fans in the stands. It just doesn't seem right.  However the Miami Marlins lead the league in positive tests, followed by the St. Louis Cardinals.  C.C. and I are still virus-free, but I have to scratch my head and wonder how these organizations of millionaires cannot stay healthy.


1. Like "le" in Fr. or "el" in Sp.: MASC. Masculine. Maybe they should wear a MASC?  Okay, bad joke.  Minnesota passed a mandate last week. 

5. Scissors sound: SNIP.  Spell it backwards and knock them down.  When we get a vaccine?

9. Stuffed shirts: SNOBS. I don't stuff shirts any more. I lost a few pounds but kept the same wardrobe.

14. Utah ski resort that means "high": ALTA.  I don't ski but I heard it's a nice place if you do.

15. Statistician Silver: NATE.  He wrote a book about "Why so many predictions fail, ...but some don't."

16. __ buddy: BOSOM.

19. Video game name for nearly 50 years: ATARI.  We had a new garage door installed last week so C.C. and  I had to move some stuff (baseball cards) out of the installer's way.  Holy cow!!  I was surprised to find my ATARI games in the garage, and the black and white TV that I used to play them on.  We have a nice two car garage but I can barely fit my van into it.

20. Bar mitzvah scroll: TORAH.

21. __-Cola: COCA.  I prefer Diet Pepsi.

23. Variety show bit: SKIT.

27. Barrio grocery: BODEGA.  You know, I hear this word on "Law & Order" reruns and in Minnesota we certainly have a bunch of corner grocery. Pop, and cigarettes stores, but I have never heard a Minnesotan call them a BODEGA.

30. "Nope": NAH.  Sounds like a Discover Card commercial.

31. Many a Monopoly prop.: AVE.  They also have "Place, Company, Works, Gardens," but none of those words fit.

32. Microwaves: ZAPS.

36. "Agree totally!": SO DO I. -- And I DO TOO !

44. Protein-building acid: AMINO. I watch too much PGA golf but I am no fan of Bryson DeChambeau.  I don't know if he uses amino acid, but it is told that he drinks six or seven protein shakes each day.  He sort of has the body of Hulk Hogan and hits a golf ball over 350 yards, but it is seldom straight.  Plus he wears one of those flat sports car hats which I consider to be an insult to Payne Stewart and especially Ben Hogan.

45. Settles a bill: PAYS.  We use our computer to take care of  bills.  Saves on those 55 cent stamps.

46. Epitome of slipperiness: EEL.  Slipperiness??  Describes the lane conditions at the Peterson Classic bowling tournament in Chicago.

47. Bath fixture with claw feet, perhaps: TUB.  Have you seen the walk-in tub advertised on TV.  They tout that the tub empties quickly so you don't have to sit there in the cold.  I wonder what it's like sitting while the tub fills.

49. __ Vision: eye care chain: PEARLE.  They are pretty good.  We have one near our home.

58. 500 sheets of paper: REAM.

59. Scratching post users: CATS. "Oh the CATS in the cradle with a silver spoon." Harry Chapin.

60. Duo Hall & __: OATES.  Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy. Bing Crosby and others.

64. Gillette razors: ATRAS.

68. Jotted (down): WROTE.

69. Lamarr of old films: HEDY.  Born in Austria and became famous in the U.S.

70. Mandatory bet: ANTE.

71. Nine-player chamber group: NONET.

72. Part of GE: Abbr.: ELEC.  Also part of Graybar.

73. Overflow (with): TEEM.


1. Sail holder: MAST.  And maybe you can make many MASKS out of the sail when you're done with it.

2. Friskies sister brand: ALPO.  I am seeing a lot of ads about "Farmers Dog" food.  I don't have a dog.  I wonder if it's any good on pizza.

3. Pudding recipe direction: STIR.  STIR ?? Nope, toss it in the blender and use #4.

4. Cocktail party nibble: CANAPE.  I wonder if they use CANned APE in Farmer's Dog food.

5. NBC skit show: SNL.

6. Rights org. since 1909: NAACP.  I have mentioned that I was in Fort Campbell on the evening that Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered.  The memory came back as I watched some of the memories on John Lewis last week.

7. "Not to worry": IT'S OK.

8. Joe of "Home Alone": PESCI.  My favorite was Nicky in Casino.

9. Agcy. that helps startups: SBA.  Small Business Assn.  Not so sure about startups these days.  They may be trying to help small businesses stay afloat.

10. Just fair: NOT SO HOT.  My bowling is still pretty good, if we ever get a vaccine.  My golf is "NOT SO HOT", but I get by and stay healthy.

11. Japanese port: OSAKA.

12. Antiseptic acid type: BORIC.  BORIC acid comes in powder or tablet form.  I have never used it so I am not sure for what it is used.

13. Worker suffix with black or silver: SMITH.  Paul Revere was a famous silversmith.  I wish I still had all of the silver money I spent as a kid.  It's probably worth as much as the baseball cards I bought.

18. Drink all at once: CHUG.

22. Gothic novelist Radcliffe: ANN.

25. Puzzle with paths: MAZE.  Or at least the silver ball that I needed to guide through the wooden MAZE with two knobs on the sides.

26. Group bowing to a curtain call: CAST.  Been there, done that.  I was Noah.  Benjamin Britten spelled it Noye's Fludde.

27. Ali __: BABA.  And the Forty Thieves.

28. Egg cell: OVUM.

29. Arnaz of early TV: DESI.  Ricky Ricardo.

33. Deadly viper: ASP.  Cleopatra had one.

34. Awareness-raising TV ad: Abbr.: PSA.  I don't know about TV ads.  I get the test in my blood for Prostrate Specific Antigen.  For my age a PSA reading of 1 - 4 is normal.  My last one was 0.89.  Seems okay but previously I was 0.23.  My oncologist checks my blood every 6 weeks to 2 months.  He keeps telling me that my PSA is okay, but C.C. is not too convinced.

35. Devious: SLY.  And the Family Stone.

37. Leaper in a tractor company logo: DEER.  Doe, a DEER, a female DEER.  Ray, a drop of golden sun.  "The hills are alive, with the Sound of Music".

38. Hershiser of baseball: OREL.  Great Dodger pitcher who won over 200 games in about 18 years.

39. Land in the ocean: ISLE.  We have a city of ISLE, in Northern Minnesota.  Sorry, no where near an ocean.

41. Very personal: INTIMATE.

42. Part of speech after "the," often: NOUN.

43. Sports bar channel: ESPN.  They had a lot of reruns there for about 5 months.  Now maybe they have a game to show once in awhile.

48. Discreetly send a dupe email to: BCC.

50. Fair-hiring agcy.: EEOC.

51. Noah's landfall: ARARAT.  Did he really take two mosquitoes on the boat??

52. Sketched: DRAWN.

53. In style again: RETRO.  Maybe bowling will become RETRO next year.

54. Composer Copland: AARON.  Of course - thoughts follow to Hammerin' Hank or maybe even "ALL RISE" Mr. Judge of the Yankees who may be chasing some of Hank's records.

55. Wood shop tool: LATHE.

56. "I Love Lucy" role: ETHEL.  I always wondered how the writers chose the last name of "Mertz".

57. Actor-to-audience remark: ASIDE.

61. Bring into pitch: TUNE.  Or Maybe send the message to the bullpen,

62. 90° from norte: ESTE.

63. Wineglass support: STEM.  Also supporting our cucumber plant crawling up our home.

65. Good to go: SET.

67. Five-bor. city: NYC.  Yup, "ALL RISE" hits HRs there.

Notes from C.C.:

Happy birthday to dear Melissa, who gave up her job and everything to fight for her brother and criminal justice. Melissa founded Adopt an Inmate project and has successfully facilitated over 1,200 adoptions.

Here is a podcast Melissa did with Plague Talk. I teared up listening to some of the ordeals she went through. What a beautiful, compassionate and courageous soul!

I hope you can support Melissa and her mission. Anyone who donated to Adopt an Inmate will receive a never-published puzzle I made with Melissa's talented brother Rick Fisk. We spent lots of time on the puzzle finessing the theme set and clues. It has a fresh & playful theme. You will receive the puzzle and answer grid in puz or pdf format.

Thank you!

Aug 2, 2020

Sunday, August 2, 2020 Dan Schoenholz

Theme: "Double Features" - Movie hidden in another movie.
23A. Two that received Oscar nods in all four acting categories: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. Reds.

39A. Duo from the Deep South: STEEL MAGNOLIAS. Selma.

53A. Pair for the holidays: IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Elf.

74A. Couple in the 21st century with Best Director Oscar winners: BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. Roma.

 91A. Two period pieces from across the pond: THE KING'S SPEECH. Tess.

107A. Pair of divergent tales of the paranormal: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Tiny dupe with the street in 23A. Ghost.
 Movie within a movie. Such a super tight set.

Great to see Dan Schoenholz back. Seems like a long time since we saw his last byline.

1. Defeat big-time: STOMP.

6. Food chain with a smiley face in its logo: IHOP. Not fond of their P/B flip a while ago.

10. Oma's "Oh, my!": ACH.

13. Car company that owns SolarCity: TESLA. I'm pretty lousy with cars. I don't think I can recognize a Tesla car. Also 98. Bygone Swedish car company: SAAB.

18. __ eclipse: LUNAR.

19. Super stars?: NOVAE.

21. Wish to do over, perhaps: RUE.

22. Get on the wagon: HOP UP.

27. Vietnamese soup: PHO. The broth is flavored with star anise.

28. Chocolate choice: DARK.

29. Nile danger: ASP.

30. Meet activity: SWAP.

31. Homer's TV neighbor: NED.

32. Samoa's largest export before the blight: TARO. Wiki shows the Taro Leaf Blight epidemic of Samoa happened in 1993.

33. Lurid material: SMUT.

34. "Just to clarify ... ": I MEAN.

36. Fancy neckwear: ASCOTS.

44. Reinforce, with "up": SHORE.

45. "Come again?": WHAT.

46. Kisser: YAP.

47. One soaking things up: SPONGE.

48. Word with up, mid or down: TOWN.

49. Feudal lord: LIEGE.

50. Orca group: POD.

52. Olympic sledder: LUGER.

58. Versailles VIP: ROI.

59. Coolidge's VP: DAWES. No idea. Charles Dawes.

60. Iris ring: AREOLA. Vowel-rich. So grid-friendly.

61. Retina part: CONE.

62. Gathers in a condensed layer: ADSORBS.

65. Disrespects: SNUBS.

67. Big game centers: ARCADES.

69. Supply orders: Abbr.: REQS.

70. Big name in pain relief: ANACIN.  We have all kinds of pain pills/gels/creams at home.

72. Weasel relative: STOAT. Cute.

73. Sigma follower: TAU.

80. More than annoyed: IRATE.

82. Recycle container: BIN.

83. Band led by the Wilson sisters: HEART.

84. Mystical old letter: RUNE.

85. Soda shop freebies: STRAWS.

87. Game console letters: NES.

89. "Relax": EASY.

90. Category: GENRE.

94. Went sailing, say: BOATED.

95. Have confidence in: BET ON.

96. Go for the passer: RUSH.

97. Innate talent: GIFT.

98. Insignificant amount: SOU.  Not worth a SOU.

100. Bird one hates to eat?: CROW. Ha.

102. Before, to Byron: ERE.

103. Second: AIDE.

104. Bounty title: HMS.

112. Tree-lined walkway: ALLEE. Grande Allee, Quebec City.

113. Actress Longoria: EVA.

114. "Attack, Rover!": SIC 'EM.

115. Date component, often: COMMA.

116. Digital units: BYTES.

117. Work with thread: SEW.

118. Model: POSE.

119. Bouncing off the walls: HYPER.


1. Hockey's __ shot: SLAP.

2. Heinie: TUSH.

3. Not fooled by: ONTO.

4. Scrape, say: MAR.

5. Happen before: PREDATE.

6. "101" course title word: INTRO.

7. Pawn at a shop: HOCK.

8. In vitro supply: OVA.

9. Defining characteristic: PARAMETER.

10. Escort's offering: ARM.

11. Sticks maintained with chalk: CUES.

12. Harry Potter's owl: HEDWIG.

13. Whom prosecutors represent: THE PEOPLE.

14. Canon camera line: EOS.

15. Equipment shunned by fly fishers: SPINNING ROD. Because?

16. Entice: LURE.

17. Mimicked: APED.

20. Happen next: ENSUE.

24. Pair with drums: EARS.

25. In a relevant way: APTLY.

26. Puts a curse on: DAMNS. Amazed that Rich allowed it.

32. Fujita scale subjects: TORNADOS.

33. __ fright: STAGE. Finally went to my dentist's office on Friday. Felt like I had a fever on  Friday night. Thankfully I was fine yesterday. Mental thing.

35. Jesus of baseball: ALOU.

36. Italian bubbly: ASTI.

37. Tequila order: SHOT.

38. Jerseys, e.g.: COWS. Jersey cows.

39. Gets rid of: SHEDS.

40. Sources of fall colors: MAPLES.

41. Olympics speed skater Ohno: APOLO.

42. When many walk: AGE ONE.

43. Set of TV programs: SERIES.

45. One trashing a cab, maybe?: WINE SNOB. Cabernet.

49. Type of weightlifting squat: LOW BAR. Look similar to me.

51. Tending to procrastinate: DILATORY. Not related to "dilate".

54. High-card-wins game: WAR.

55. Zoologist's subject: FAUNA.

56. Metro area, informally: URB.

57. '60s "Sweet!": FAR OUT.

61. Snack for Tabby: CAT TREAT. And 90. Lab order?: GO FETCH.

62. Hopper or Whistler: ARTIST.

63. Serious shortage: DEARTH.

64. Broad and solidly constructed, in Sussex: SQUARE-BUILT.

65. Act parts: SCENES.

66. Writing tip: NIB.

68. Fire at work: CAN.

71. Pulitzer playwright Zoë: AKINS.

72. Big shot in tennis: SMASH.

74. Entrances: BEWITCHES.

75. Nabisco cracker made with cheddar: CHEESE NIP.

76. Stacy who played TV's Mike Hammer: KEACH.

77. Rosemary Clooney, to George: AUNT.

78. Subject opener: INRE.

79. "__ I say more?": NEED.

81. Grab: TAKE.

86. Stable sound: SNORT.

88. Buying time big-time?: SPREE.

92. Fabled underground treasure guardians: GNOMES.

93. Capital of France: EUROS. Not PARIS.

94. Auction actions: BIDS.

97. The Stones' "__ Shelter": GIMME.

99. No more than: ONLY.

101. Permanent __: WAVE.

103. Sierra Nevada products: ALES.

104. Rope source: HEMP. Any of you tried hemp seeds/hearts?

105. Internet __: viral item: MEME.

106. Headliner: STAR.

108. "No kidding": GEE.

109. Not even rare: RAW.

110. Green opening: ECO.

111. Pop artist Lichtenstein: ROY.


Aug 1, 2020

Saturday, August 1, 2020, Kevin Salat

Saturday Themeless by Kevin Salat

Today Kevin Salat enters the world of themeless Saturday puzzles at the LA Times. As you can see by the picture, he joins our list of constructors who are
Jeopardy alums. 

Here is his gracious note to us:

Hey everybody! Thanks to Gary for the invitation to introduce myself in this wonderful community. 

I'm originally from Winfield, IL where I started solving these puzzles in the Chicago Tribune with my grandma Natalie. Now I reside in Seattle, WA working in product marketing and spending leisure time on long bike rides or at the movies (when they're open). Some favorite first-time watches I've had during quarantine have been In a Lonely Place (1950), The Apartment (1960), Paper Moon (1973), Something Wild (1986), and in terms of new 2020 releases, First Cow (2020). All are highly recommended!

Delighted to have my first Saturday in the LAT, which along with my first Friday on 7/10 completes my "cycle" of having a puzzle run each day of the week! This is one of the first themeless puzzles I had ever created, and while I think my game has improved since this one I'm relatively pleased with how it turned out. I like entries with 3+ words, so I started with stair-stacking 34A and 37A and the puzzle came together from there. And while I didn't have "in England" in my clue for 38A I think it makes it more accurate. 

Not much else to say about the rest of the puzzle, but I just want to say thanks to Rich/Patti & the editorial team and also reinforce how wonderful this community is. It's such a joy knowing that so many are not only enjoying something you've created, but also using it as a springboard to connect with others and provide laughter and support in such trying times. And I've heard Alex Trebek say that he solves the LAT every day, so it's also nice to know icons like him are potentially enjoying my work too (FYI, he smells great). 

Have a good Saturday -- see you next time!


I navigated around Kevin's fun puzzle but hit a single roadblock at the bottom where this physics teacher had no idea on YLEM or on matador art called TAUROMACHY (Kevin explains below). See my "angry" red square in the grid 😤! Okay, Kevin seems to be a great guy, I had fun and am not really angry but still...


1. Cajun staple: OKRA.

5. Rhyme $yndicate Records founder: ICE-T Here 'ya go

9. Pooch living in 2062: ASTRO - George Jetson's pooch

14. Fast-food option: DRIVE THRU - Very popular these days

16. Fine fiddle: STRAD - As opposed to "fine fettle"

17. Asian cooking ingredient: SESAME OIL.

18. Sad: TEARY.

19. Red state verb: OWE and 26. Blue side: Abbr.: DEMS - The former represents being in debt and the latter refers to DEMOCRATS being referred to the blue side of politics

20. Boston song whose title lyric precedes "We're cookin' tonight": SMOKIN - The 1976 "B-side" of More Than A Feelin'. Here ya go

22. Preceding periods: EVES.

23. Goose that may nest on volcanic ash: NENE - Our fine-feathered Hawaiian crossword friend 

25. Donkey Kong or King Kong: APE.

27. Sound that gets an exam proctor's attention: PSST 

31. Jan. honoree: MLK.

33. Pop singer Brenda: LEE - She went on my turntable right after Roy Orbison and The Everly Brothers! Here she shows that 59. Moody genre: EMO music is nothing new

34. "Nevertheless ... ": BE THAT AS IT MAY 

37. Dealer's question: ARE YOU IN OR OUT

38. Teaching where to go in England?: Puppy HOUSE TRAINING is preferred in England whereas HOUSE BREAKING is used more often on this side of the Atlantic. Fun clue, Kevin!

39. Wine label abbr.: ALC - The ALC(ohol) content of champagne is around 12.2% for example. SEC hung on a long time 

40. Airport near OAK: SFO - A half-hour drive 

41. "This comes __ surprise": AS NO.

42. De Matteo of "The Sopranos": DREA - Here, as Andrea La Cevera, she is being "taken for a ride" on The Sopranos 44. "!!!": OMG - They're going to kill me!

46. Judicial order: WRIT.

50. Bubble Up sister brand: DADS.

51. Wyndham-owned chain: RAMADA.

55. Kerfuffle: ADO.

56. "Don't get any __": IDEAS.

58. Spam-revealing aid?: CAN OPENER - Here you can see the key that served as the can opener for the metal strip around the can of Spam for K-Rations in WWII

60. Hitchcock menace: BIRDS - One reviewer said it shows that nature can dominate man despite all his technology. Sound familiar?

61. Erratic: HIT OR MISS.

62. Toothed whale's technique: SONAR - Echolocation also used by dolphins

63. Proto-matter of the universe: YLEM - New to me. Definition, pronunciation and etymology

64. Wary of: ONTO.


1. Indulges in to an extreme degree: OD'S ON - OverDoseS ON

2. Mardi Gras parade-organizing group: KREWE - The invitation to form the first KREWE - The Mystick KREWE of Comus in New Orleans 163 yrs ago

3. Up and at 'em: RISEN.

4. "Selma" director DuVernay: AVA - Has the crossword torch been passed from AVA Gardner?

5. Thing: ITEM.

6. End of an allergic reaction: CHOO - AH, I get it!

7. Alexander of "Living Single": ERIKA - ERIKA maintained that Living Single supplied the template for Friends which first aired a year later

8. 17th-century craze involving bulbs: TULIP MANIA - Often called the first investment "bubble". Prices for Dutch bulbs soared and then collapsed in 1637

9. Puerto Rico hrs.: AST - Atlantic Standard Time. They welcome in the new year two hours before I do

10. Medieval Times ride: STEED.

11. Commuter's convenience: TRAVEL MUG.

12. What's just not done, to some diners?: RARE MEAT - RARE MEAT would mean "not done" to me. You? Loved the clue, uh, eventually.

13. Quite a journey: ODYSSEY.

15. Mushroom ends?: EMS MushrooM. Last week Joe Deeney gave us 53. Neon tips?: ENS NeoN

21. '50s-'60s TV family: NELSON'S - My daughter's former mother-in-law calls us Ozzie and Harriet because her family was/is so dysfunctional 

24. Pentathlon equipment: EPEES - I leave it to you to ascertain the five events where athletes have 29. Strove to achieve: SHOT FOR the gold medal

28. Lid problems: STYES.

30. Matador's art: TAUROMACHY - Kevin told me, "Hah, it happened to be in my word list because it was once used back in 1996. Definitely a unique word but glad that it's somewhat inferable with the Greek roots."

32. Beer order at a sushi bar: KIRIN Here ya go!

34. "Nebraska" Best Actor nominee: BRUCE DERN - A bittersweet movie where I saw a lot of characters I recognized.

35. Padre's hermana: TIA - Dad's sister: Aunt in Spanish (correction)

36. Thus far: TO NOW.

37. Music service pioneer that merged with Slacker in 2017: AOL RADIO Here 'ya go

38. Staked a claim (on): HAD DIBS - These words left my lips often in my yute!

43. Adjective on taco truck menus: ASADA - Carne ASADA (meat grilled)

45. Outlook alternative: GMAIL - Write to me at if you want to add to/subtract from our map

47. Arrested: RAN IN 48. Latin clarifier: ID EST - i.e. got put in jail

49. Where the heart is: TORSO.

52. Penultimate prefix: ANTE - The ANTEchamber before you enter Tut's tomb

53. Dire prophecy: DOOM - If you disturb Tut's tomb...

54. National Poetry Mo.: APR.

57. Ukr. or Est., once: SSR.

Kevin emailed me this great link to the Chicago Tribune review of Alex Trebek's new book The Answer Is... 

I found the article to be a fascinating story about a man whose show is mentioned often here. The book includes info on his health issues and repeats the fact that he attempts the LA Times Crossword everyday.

I'll take Comments For Kevin for $800 Alex!