Aug 12, 2020

Wednesday August 12, 2020 Gabrielle Friedman

Theme: Best place to COURT?  Right in the middle, so to speak.  Different types of COURTS are embedded in the middle - or CENTER, actually - of in-the-language phrases.

Today's theme song --

Let's start with the unifier for clarification.

59 A. Site of a tennis focus match ... and a hint to what's hidden in 16-, 30- and 45-Across?: CENTER COURT.  In an array COURTS, that's where the most important match will be played.

16 A. Go off without a hiccup: RUN SMOOTHLY.   Everything is A-OK.  A MOOT COURT is an extracurricular activity at many law schools. Participants take part in simulated court or arbitration proceedings, usually involving drafting memorials or memoranda and participating in oral argument.  [Wikipedia]  I did not know that.

30 A. Paranormal power: PSYCHOMETRY.  Another word that is probably not in your daily vocabulary.  Specifically, the supposed ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them.  HOME COURT is a sports team's arena where they host visiting teams, and - presumably - have an advantage.  With no fans in that stands, that might be a MOOT point.

45. London-based credit brand: BARCLAYCARD.  Is there any good reason for anyone here in the states to know or care about a foreign-issued credit card?  I have my doubts.  A CLAY COURT is one type of venue for a tennis match.  The other is a hard court.  The bounce off a CLAY COURT is higher and slower, and players can slide into their shots instead of having to come to a stop when hitting a return.

Hi, Gang, JazzBumpa here -- So today we have a theme that's well constructed, but containing three obscurities. Is this Gabrielle Friedman's maiden voyage? Let's hope the rest of this well done puzzle RUNS SMOOTHLY


1. "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," e.g.: FABLE.  A story that teaches a lesson.

6. __ bean: NAVY.  A variety of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) native to the Americas.

10. "Gee whiz!": OMG.  Expressions used in circumstances of astonishment, wonder or dismay.  Though I don't think they are both likely to be said in the same situation.

13. Name on a sweetener packet: EQUAL.  Brand name for  aspartame artificial sweetener.

14. AprËs-ski drink: COCOA.  A hot chocolatey beverage.

15. IOC country two before NZL, alphabetically: NOR. Norway.  Probably the only place on earth where you can do this.  I'll pass, thank you.

18. Still, in verse: THO.  Despite that fact.

19. Needs for 3-Downs: BATS.  The implements in baseball games used to strike the balls.

20. WSJ headline topic: IPO. Initial Public Offering of a company's common stock, as mentioned in the Wall Street Journal.

21. Tobacco plug: CHAW.  How the word "CHEW" comes out when one is speaking around a plug of tobakky.

22. Singapore makeup: ISLANDS.  It has one maim island, 63 satellite islands or islets and one outlying islet.  It is home to a multi-racial population of 5.7 million people

26. Complain (about): RAIL.  Typically used with the word "against."

27. PC corner key: ESC.ape.  It is used to halt a current operation or change the interpretation of another key.

32. Hawaiian Congresswoman Gabbard: TULSI.  Since 2012 she had represented Hawaii's 2nd district.  But no more.  She lost her primary to Kai Kahele.

34. 50 minutes on a couch, say: SESSION.  If you have an appointment with a psychiatrist, frex.

35. Going out with: SEEING.  In a relationship.  Probably not going out much these days, though.

37. Divvies up: ALLOTS.  Apportions quantities of something according to an agreed protocol.

40. Harsh: ACERBIC.  Tasting bitter or sour, or figuratively referring to sharp commentary.

44. Big name in insurance: AETNA.

48. List-ending abbr.: ETC.

49. "A Death in the Family" author James: AGEE. [1909-1955] American author, playwright and film critic.  This autobiographical novel was published in 1958, after his death.

50. Crack shot: DEADEYE.  In a brief search I was unable to find an explanation for this term.

52. Comic Foxx: REDD. [1992-1991] John Elroy Sanford was an American stand up comedian and actor.  He had a rauchy night club act in the 50's and 60's and then a popular TV show.

53. New Deal agcy.: NRA. National Recovery Administration.  Some New Deal Ideas were successful.  This one - not so much.

54. Baseball's Rose: PETE. [b 1941] A serious contender for best player of all time, but permanently banned from baseball and made ineligible for the Hall of Fame due to his gambling on his team's games while managing the Cincinnati Reds.

58. One might be under a selfie: BIO.  Story or facts about one's life.

63. The Cyclones of the Big 12 Conf.: ISUIowa State University.

64. Spanish 41-Down: ADIOS.  Word of departure.

65. Bitter-tasting: ACRID. More or less so than ACERBIC?

66. Lifesaver, briefly: EMTEmergency Medical Technician.

67. Water ___: POLO.  Sure needed perps for this one.  A game played in a pool, treading water, throwing a ball towards the opponents goal.

68. Hits hard: WHOPS.  More then smacks, then?


1. Stepbrother of Phineas on a Disney animated series: FERB.  This show, the hight of absurdist animated humor, is an absolute hoot.  You can check it out on Disney+.

2. Shade of blue: AQUA.  A bit on the watery side.

3. Hit close to home?: BUNT.  A baseball play in which the batter deliberately plunks the pitch into the dirt, generally leading to an out, but hoping to advance the runner(s) to the next base.  Statistically, this is ineffective, since giving up the out costs more than advancing the runner(s) gains under most circumstances.  Further, there are possible bad outcomes, such as popping the ball up, in which case the runner(s) can't advance, or, even worse, hitting into a double play.

4. Indian yogurt drink: LASSI.   I know what you're thinking - but this is not made with dog's milk.  It is a blend of yogurt, water, spices and fruit.

5. Nightmare street: ELM.  From a series of horror movies.

6. Never ever: NOT ONCE.  Don't even think about it.

7. "Bah!" in Bavaria: ACH. Exclamations of disapproval.

8. Tennessee athlete, briefly: VOL.  Short for Volunteer.

9. Joyous shout: YAY.  Short for Yippee?

10. "Speaking of which ... ": ON THAT NOTE.   Now - where was I . . .  oh, yes!

11. Sweater material: MOHAIR.  A fabric or yarn made from the hair of a mo -- I mean an angora goat.  Bah!

12. Guttural: GROWLY.  Gravelly sounding.

14. HMO outlays: COPAYS. Additional payments for medical services beyond the premium.

17. Works on walls: OILS.  Paintings.

21. Bayou cuisine: CREOLE. Food originating from a people of multi-ethnic descent in the Caribbean and the American south

23. Rubylike gemstone: SPINEL.   The magnesium/aluminium member of the larger spinel group of minerals. It has the formula MgAl₂O₄ in the cubic crystal system.

24. Post-9/11 cabinet agcy.: DHSDepartment of Homeland Security.

25. Slugging Sammy: SOSA. [b 1968] He played baseball in the major leagues for 19 years, most of that time with the Cubs.  He is one of the greatest power hitters of all time.  Controversy about alleged use of performance enhancing drugs has kept him out of the hall of fame.

27. "The War of the Worlds" villains, for short: ETSExtra-Terrestrials.

28. Bring an action: SUE.  Institute legal proceedings, typically or redress; or appeal formally for something.

29. Decamped, say: CLEARED OUT.  Picked up and moved away.

31. Address for a noblewoman: MILADY.  Or MILORD, as the case may be.

33. Urged to attack, with "on": SICCED.  As of a guard dog, frex.

36. Former senior: GRAD.  Aka, ALUM.

38. Wile E. Coyote purchase: TNT.   Never ends well.

39. Pouch: SAC.   A soft-walled anatomical cavity usually having a narrow opening or none at all and often containing a special fluid.

41. English 64-Across: BYE.  See ya.

42. "Just watch me!": I CAN TOO.   Dare acceptance words.

43. Close-knit groups: CADRES.  A CADRE  is a small group of people specially trained for a particular purpose or profession. or a group of activists.

45. She's a doll: BARBIE.  A toy fashion doll made by Mattel since 1959, modeled after the German fashion doll BILD LILLI, introduced in 1955, and based on a popular comic character.

46. Discrimination based on years: AGEISM.

47. Raise: REAR.  Bring up and care for, as a child.

51. Many, many years: EPOCH.  Only as used in geology.  Otherwise a significant period of time in history or one's life.

55. Spanish coin: EURO.  From anywhere in Europe, actually.

56. Fall lead-in, maybe: TRIP.  Fall, as an uncontrolled drop, not the season following Summer.  Trip as in catch one's foot against something and lose balance, not a traveling experience - though, in  a sense, it is.

57. Flight board listings: Abbr.: ETDSEstimated Times of Departure - for that other kind of TRIP.

59. Souvenir shop purchase: CAP.  A hat with a bill, and often some words or a symbol.

60. Tokyo, formerly: EDO.  The de facto capital of Japan under the Tokugawa Shogunate from 1603 on.  In 1868 the Meiji government renamed it TOKYO, Eastern Capital.

61. Nothing: NIL.  Nada, zilch.

62. Crow cry: CAW.  They are not song birds.

This is the way today's post ends
Not with a bang but with a CAW.

Cool Regards!

Note from C.C.:

Here is a great picture of Java Mam (left) and Pat (right). They're in front of the shelter where they volunteer. 


OwenKL said...

A MOOT COURT is where lawyers practice debate.
The ACERBIC SESSIONS sometimes run late.
The winner may shout!
And ON THAT NOTE, his victory relate!

Chairman Moe is our poetic spare
Does an excellent job when I'm not there.
Verse and beard, debonair.
His cardigan, MOHAIR.
And atop his head, he has MO' Moe HAIR!

{B, B+.}

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

The only snag in this one came at the very bottom changing Water ____ HOLE to POLO. CAH and Can SOE just weren't working. My first thought, looking at the Kjerabolten was, "Isn't that just southwest of Lysebotn?" Riiiiight. Theme? Not a chance. Thanx, Gabrielle and JzB. (Dog of a mo, Cute.)

MOOT: One of those opposite words. It can mean debatable, or not worth debating.

CLAY Court: In our town we have a Cassius Court. Get it? Cassius Clay...Clay Court. Maybe you had to be there...

Hungry Mother said...

I accidentally left a square out in my otherwise correct solve: the WHOPS/TRIP cross. Would I have gotten it? That is the question. Wagged the TULSI/SPINET cross successfully. I found the NE corner very trying. Altogether a very worthy challenge, almost well met.

Wilbur Charles said...

The NE gave me fits. I finally had a hunch on NOR and went back to CHAW from chew; ere turned to THO and OMG, two downs filled. GROWLY? yeh I felt that way

Prescience? I just looked at Bill G's PSYCH comment FLN. I solve several days early but coulda sworn that long PSYCHOMETRY fill was today.

My only other glitch was thinking those Cyclones were TCU. The latter are Horned Frogs, methinks.

Two shades of blue up north: AQUA and NAVY. Gabrielle, who thought this was a Fri or Sat, could have repeated the clue like the CAVS/BLAZERS the other day.
Anybody check yet which country is between NOR and NZL?

I was just talking about REDD prior to my prostate exam. The doc referenced "Fletch". -T, feel free.

The sac bunt was usually done by a pitcher to advance a runner to second. Today's problem is 1. Players can't BUNT and 2. They don't want to because the same geeks pay them on power stats. My local Rays are proficient in this, though.

Oops, FIW; I had a Y in SPINEL/TULSI. I knew the latter but not the arbitrary spelling of either.


ATLGranny said...

Good morning all! Thanks to Gabrielle for the challenge and JzB for the answers.

Got the theme after the reveal but couldn't see past smooth for court instead of MOOT. Oh well.... My big slow down was putting cup instead of CAP, thinking of coffee mugs, of course. I finally saw the error of my ways and BYE, ADIOS, I was done.

Off to the next project. Hope you all have a nice day.

Madame Defarge said...

Good Morning.

Umm. . . . Wednesday? Or maybe the lights in my wheel house were still out for lack of power.

Thanks, Gabrielle, for a definite challenge. FIR, but with plenty of do overs. Garnet over SPINEL really held me back.

JazzB, thank you for a very thorough walk through. Great links.

Gotta run. Lotsa homework. Not complaining at all. It keeps my mind off all the other "stuff." Have a great day. Make it a sunny one. ADIOS.

Husker Gary said...

-An amazing and challenging Wednesday puzzle for me
-Hit close to home was particularly fun. A player must really not know how to BUNT against this defensive shift!
-Constructor Julian Lim works in Duke University - University of Singapore.
-Literary solvers get James AGEE. We sports people will get Tommy AGEE in the future
-PETE and SOSA are not in the hall of fame because they denied that they NOT ONCE gambled or used steroids respectively
-I am much more familiar with “A-WOP-bop-a-loo-bop-a-WOP-bam-boom!”
-If BARBIE were an actual women, she would be 5’9” tall, have a 39” bust, an 18” waist, 33” hips and a size 3 shoe!

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Only help with the solve was checking aptness of THO. Several choices for the RAIL slot, so MOHAIR began to look good, as did NOR. GROWLY seemed gluey to me but it fit the clue and the squares. The rest of the puzzle was relatively easy. Understanding the theme came with CENTER COURT and BARCLAY CARD.
SPINEL is one of the three birthstones for August.
ACH is somewhat guttural (or GROWLY). YMMV

Thanks JzB for a fine intro.

Malodorous Manatee said...

As it was for others who have previously posted, this was a challenging Wednesday puzzle for me. FIR, but it took twice the "normal" time. I did not know FERB, PSYCHOMETRY, LASSI or TULSI. My Hand's up for Fava in lieu of NAVY bean as an initial working guess. GROWLY? Really? Even the spell checker here doesn't want that. Ultimately, everything was worked out and the puzzle was solved and I did enjoy the process.

Lemonade714 said...

Is there anyone out there who has the International Olympic Committee list of names for countries memorized? Norway (NOR) before New Zealand (NZL) is enough of a challenge but NAURU (NRU) is off the charts. It is, however, a very interesting STORY OF THE SMALLEST ISLAND NATION .

TULSI who retired from Congress as part of her plan to run for President was not a candidate this year.

From the world of Law, MOOT is not only a CSO to Susan and me, but a very confusing WORD

As the resident historian, GABRIELLE makes her solo debut in puzzledom today but she did have a collaboration with a fellow U. of Chicago student last year in the NYT.

Welcome Gabrielle and thank you as always JzB.

Jazzbumpa said...

Hi Gang -

Yeah, I thought this was challenging for a Wednesday, but ultimately solveable.

Pretty well constructed, too.

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

Stay safe, stay healthy.


GJ said...

I agree, a good Wednesday challenge. My only RAIL is the "courts" in the themers are not in the center of the fill as suggested by the reveal. I could not see the connection of MOO, HOM, and LAY which are in the actual center. Is this a legit complaint? I also had RANT before RAIL and CHECKED OUT then CLEANED OUT before CLEARED OUT finally made sense. As my occupation is a tennis professional, I always enjoy references to the game in puzzles. AD-IN everyone!

Picard said...

Hand up this seemed more like a Thursday or Friday at times. FERB, LASSI, SPINEL had me stuck in NW. I thought the NE would be a DNF. PSYCHOMETRY seemed wrong, but I was mistaken. FIR.

Learning moment about MOOT COURT. I thought it was SMOOTH COURT; some other kind of game court.

Our Early Music Group performed in period costumes with a Royal COURT. I think at least one of these women would be addressed as MILADY.

I hope this post does not get deleted. Still mystified why my post of a fellow engineer riding a unicycle in Nicaragua was deleted.

TTP said...

It's nice to have power, phone, cable TV and internet back. Heard that at the peak, 850,000 in Chicagoland had no power after the derecho blew through. Just heard a bit ago that there are still some 200,000+ still w/o power in the hardest hit areas. The derecho spawned 7 tornadoes in this area according to the NWS.

We lost power at 3:30 PM Monday and it got restored 15.5 hours later at 7:00 AM Tuesday. Phone, internet and cable TV came back around 4:45 Tuesday afternoon.

WMMS: This Wednesday crossword took about twice the normal time, but still FIR. Thought maybe I was just a little mentally exhausted to go along with the physical exhaustion, so there's some small comfort that others had a little difficulty as well.

Thank you, Gabrielle and JzB.

Pat and Java Mama, nice to see you. You both are always so nice here, and I admire your volunteer work at the animal shelter.

Enough of a break. Back to the cleanup and chores.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

This had a bit of crunch with Lassi, Spinel, Psychometry, and Ferb, all of which were totally unknown to me. I, too, had Fava before Navy and Garnet before Spinel. But, the perps were fair and the well-hidden theme led to a nice Aha reveal. Whops caused a slight nose wrinkle, as did the plethora of three letter words; both nits are strictly personal pests. CSO to DO and Spitz at Navy and to CC with the mini-baseball theme of Sosa, Pete, and the cute Bunts crossing Bats.

Thanks, Gabrielle, for a mid-week challenge and thanks, JzB, for a most informative and enlightening expo. The highlight was the photo of Java Mama and Pat who met each other through this blog. Thank you, ladies, for your care and devotion to our beloved furry friends! 🤗

Have a great day.

TTP said...

Picard, plain and simple:

You original post was a hot topic and had overt political commentary.

Respect the requests of the blog owner or move on. You can discuss anything you want on your own blog, but not here. There will not be a debate about this. No back and forth.

Feel free to create your own blogspot, find your own audience and invite whomever you want, but bringing up hot button topics and political commentary here is taboo.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Big challenge, thanks, Gabrielle! JzB, thanks for a little fun to ease the pain.

I got the theme & found MOOT, HOME, CLAY. Then thought I couldn't possibly be right. I WAS! YAY!

That NW corner was a bugger! Never heard of FERB or LASSI and FABLE didn't come easily because I tried to remember if the kid in the story had a name. Finally got enough perps to WAG an "F".

Also never heard of TULSI Gabbard. "T" was my last fill. Didn't know there were ETS in that movie. Didn't see it. Should have guessed by the title.

ACERBIC & ACRID in the same puzzle leaves a bad taste, best remedied with COCOA.

Never have seen a sweater tag with the word MOHAIR. I did a story on Angora goats whose MOHAIR is used mostly for upholstery material. I thought Angora sweaters were hair from rabbits. Something to look up.

Never heard of SPINEL. Don't think I'll look it up. Recently I read a book with a type of gemstone I didn't know. LIU and now I am bombarded with ads for multi-colored jewelry pieces. All the sparklies are pretty to look at, but I'm not buying these days.

Shankers said...

So today is Wednesday, huh? Coulda fooled me. Sounds like most everyone had the same speed bumps. Fava before navy, unknowns lassi, psychometry and spinel. Got a FIR, but can't say it was fun. Too many obscure answers, not to mention never saw the theme. Ten more days of 110°+ forecast for Phoenix metro even though we broke the old record yesterday. Yippie!!

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

FIR but barely... almost started out with faker instead of FABLE. Notfor nul but its NIL.

WHOPS!!! 😖...Tony what happened to No personal attacks?? 😠 Geesh

DEADEYE implies site impairment. Why would that improve marksmanship. Had map instead of CAP so wondered what a "mentercourt" was. Garnet for SPINEL didn't work at all. SICCED didn't look right to me but BARKCLAY needed a C. Thought maybe TSA which also didn't work ...perpwalked to DHS.

As a resident I worked with a SE Asian male surgeon whose first name was TULSI so tried an A ending for a female. Nope. fava became NAVY

So to atone for the above indiscretion are subjected to...

Stay away from Runaround _____ ...SUE

Lumbar puncture familiarly: ______ tap...SPINEL

Massachusetts cape mantas.......CADRES
DW makes a good______ cake.....BUNT

Jayce said...

I had a difficult time with this puzzle. ANGORA became MOHAIR, FAVA became NAVY (I held myself back from putting in LIMA), TODDY became MOCHA and then COCOA, MAP became CAP, and HERE I GO became I CAN TOO. Had no idea about FERB, LASSI, or SPINEL. At least I knew TULSI Gabbard, DEADEYE (Dick), Sammy SOSA, REDD Foxx, and PETE Rose, and I successfully wagged MILADY. CHAW went in, came out, and went in again.

I simply don't even try to answer 3-letter abbreviations, especially schools, sports leagues and conferences, and what's on a scoreboard. Let 'em get filled from perps.

Aren't WHOPS the sound a helicopter makes?

GROWLY is what my stomach is when I'm real hungry. CREOLE food silences it.

If you have more than one SESSION you get a former Attorney General.

ACERBIC is, as C.C. often says, not a word I would use in daily conversation.

Take care, all.

Malodorous Manatee said...

This Is Spinel Tap

Dion - Run Around Sue

Bill G said...

Hi everybody.

A number of the clues today seemed original and fresh. I enjoyed that.

Why didn't Noah just swat those two mosquitoes? 

~ Mind how you go...

NaomiZ said...

Gabrielle, you gave us a Wednesday workout. I was about to call it quits in the NE, but decided to give OMG a whirl, MOHAIR followed, and finally FIR.

JzB, I needed your help to see the CENTER COURT in the other three long answers. Thank you!

Wilbur Charles said...

Actually, Pete Rose did admit to gambling. He claimed it didn't involve his own team but it obviously did and his bets were probably AGAINST his team.

Lemony, I've often used MOOT to mean NON arguable. But the Law 101 def has become the standard.

Do xwords get submitted marked Mon, Tue,Wed etc or does Rich decide? If OMG had been clued "texter's" perhaps it becomes Wednesday level.


Anonymous said...

FIR, but a tough slog for a Wednesday. Had the "N" in 23 Down (rubylike gemstone) and went with GARNET, which slowed down things considerably.

Yellowrocks said...

FIR, crunchy for a Wed. I see I am in good company.
Dead eye- Dead can mean unerringly accurate. The marksman has an unerringly accurate eye. This meaning of dead is also used in dead reckoning, dead right, dead to rights.
Mohair, the long silky hair of an angora goat. MY MIL gave me a mohair sweater on our first Christmas together.
I quickly changed garnet to spinel when SP showed up.
No prob with GROWLY. I see it often in novels, growly voice, growly beast, growly engine.
Not a good day today. The air bag beat up my entire torso. My right breast almost illustrates VIBGYOR. The lower part is violet and indigo and the upper part is green,yellow and orange.
I love ham and navy bean soup. Navy beans, fava beans and great northern beans are not the same.

Chairman Moe said...

Puzzling thoughts:

This one did not RUN SMOOTHLY, as I finally had to look up synonyms for “guttural” to fill out the NE corner. “Gee Whiz” = OMG?? This quadrant was my only hiccup, THO I did consider fAVa before inking in NAVY in 6a. I actually like clues/solves that can mislead, when shared letters exist

I guess it’s a kind of CSO to yours truly with the MO [sic] HAIR entry. I was a bit premature last week when I entered a haiku with that reference ... could’ve waited until today but our poet laureate OKL did OK in his limerick.

Guess it’s good to see us both post on the same day, as someone once queried whether we are one in the same. We are not.

SMH entries (otherwise known, as words I’d never seen or used in xword puzzles): FERB, LASSI, PSYCHOMETRY. Fresh words I liked from today include: TULSI, ON THAT NOTE, and the BUNT/BATS crossing.

From yesterday ... I had this haiku posted on my Facebook page, and later realized it “sort of” fit with one of the crossword entries ... here goes, albeit a day late ... crossword entry is capitalized ...

Cleaning is pricey. You have
To have deep pockets.

Misty said...

This was a Wednesday puzzle? Not your fault, Gabrielle--it's just that it would have been so much more fitting for a Thursday or a Friday. But I still enjoyed it and actually got much of the bottom half--it was the north that gave me trouble. Never heard of FERB or TULSI or SPINEL, for that matter. Great relief to get REDD Foxx right away, and then slowly AGEE, ROSE, SOSA, and, of course, BARBIE all fell into place. And many thanks for a very helpful write-up, JazzB.

And thank you, too, C.C. for posting that delightful picture of Java Mom and Pat.

Have a good Wednesday, everybody.

Malodorous Manatee said...

Chairman Moe,having been at the dentist within the past week, where, among other charming diversions, they measured pocket depth, your Haiku was topical if a bit visceral.

Does anyone here solve the puzzles in the Simon and Schuster Mega Book of Crosswords? It is published each fall and Volume 20 is coming out in a couple of weeks. In recent years, I have solved the puzzles in Volumes 15 through 19 and those volumes have provided an introduction for me to many constructors. If you're not familiar you might want to look into it. Generally, the cost is around $10 to $15 for a book of 300 puzzles.

inanehiker said...

This was a challenging but fun puzzle. Busy today so didn't get to work it until the afternoon. Definitely didn't get the theme until the reveal and then it still took me a few minutes to see the different types of courts!

SPINEL - came to me once I had the S - when I was a teen I got a antique ring from my grandma that I thought was a garnet or ruby but turned out to be a SPINEL. Since then I haven't ever had to use that word!

Thanks JzB for the fun and musical blog today...and to congrats Gabrielle for the debut LA times puzzle!

Ol' Man Keith said...

Well, I see I was far from the only one who was slowed down considerably by SPINEL.
Several of us went for GARNET, the obvious choice for a "Rubylike gemstone."
Pure SPINEL, we understand, is colorless, but it can also come in a "variety of colors."
Hardly "Rubylike."
This wasn't a cute misdirection, but a fraud, the sort of disinformation that dampens the fun of an otherwise enjoyable Xwd.
And because it crossed two of the three long theme fills, it caused a longer-lasting delay than a minor glitch-in-a-corner.

Enough grumbling. Grrr.
Ta ~ DA! anyway--thanks to fills (and a leap of faith for TULSI).

Jayce ~ I think you're right about the sound of helicopter rotors.
But I bet you can't just hear one.
Must be why the fills calls for an "S"--to pluralize it.
Imagine it as WHOPWHOPWHOPWHOP, etc.
The true answer to 68A should be WHAPS. Second choice, WHIPS.

No diagonals. Too bad.

Moodnuck said...

There is Barclaycard in the US. Do your research before you comment. Typical American know it all or knows just enough to get by. No wonder you all suck at geography!

Bill G said...

Dear Moodnuck,

Having a bad day are we?

Shankers said...

Hey, moonuck, where ya from? Wherever it is I'll just stay clear, thank you. I hope you get over whatever might be ailing you.

Wendybird said...

I enjoyed the puzzle today but not the angst that seemed to pop up here and there. “No personal attacks”?
Maybe the virus is getting to everyone and elevating the grump factor.

Thank you Gabrielle for a crunchy challenge, and thanks JzB for the interesting tour.

Jayce said...

Thanks for your comments, Ol'Man Keith.

Linda said...

I was a regular several years ago and wonder about some of the regulars at that time.
Does any one have info on Jimbo, Dennis, Jeannie or Windhover

LEO III said...

Well, somehow I FIR. It was tough, though, but all of them are tough for me. WEES – except: It all started out wrong for me when I chose FAVA instead of NAVY (as some others of you did). That screwed up the top of my grid forever! Once I switched beans, though, I was able to straighten out my mess. Thank goodness I didn’t even think of LIMA!

I kept vacillating between a “C” and a “K” in BARCLAY, and SICCED didn’t help me any. I finally decided a double “C” was correct for the latter, which saved me there. I also had to choose between CHAW and CHEW (before I straightened out the top and got MOHAIR), but I figured a puzzle that had SICCED most certainly would also have CHAW.

Being the contrarian that I am, I actually revere the BUNT as still being the preferred tactic for advancing a runner when a pitcher is at bat, since the odds are much better than letting the pitcher try to get a hit. (GET RID OF THE DESIGNATED HITTER!!!) And don’t forget, Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes) scored all the way from second base to win the game on Jake Taylor’s (Tom Berenger) surprise bunt in “Major League”!

What YR said about DEADEYE. It’s from back in the old, old black and white Saturday cowboy TV shows (you know, the ones that are now on MeTV on Saturdays).

Loved Redd Foxx! Sadly, he made a career of faking heart attacks on his TV show, and nobody thought he was really was having the one that killed him. (He was rehearsing at the time.) It’s doubtful he could have been saved, but we’ll never know for sure.

Lucina said...


So late today but only because I've been glued to the TV. What a historic day! I'm surprised more don't remember TULSI Gabbard who aspired to high office but was defeated.

Hand up for FAVA before NAVY and GARNET/SPINEL. Otherwise, WEES. Also, RANT then RAIL which made GROWLY possible. CHAW was slow to emerge but that forced MOHAIR to the fore.

Over all the solve RAN SMOOTHLY though I failed to see the theme. Not unusual for me.

I'm still waiting to hear about my car and I fear it will be during the rush hour traffic on the freeway.

Has anyone here suffered from AGEISM? I can't say that I have but then I don't get out much.

I think I've mentioned before that my daughter is employed by AETNA.

SICCED almost tripped me because I wanted SICKED but it didn't look right and anyway BARCLAYS would not permit it.

I hope you all have enjoyed a lovely day! Nice photo.

Lucina said...

Thank you, Gabrielle and Jazzbumpa! I do love your detailed narrative.

Bill G said...

Hi Linda.

I remember you and those other guys from way back. I miss you all. I haven't heard from any of them in several years. Maybe CC is still in touch with them?

Regards, Bill G.

Shankers said...

Looks like moodnuck couldn't take the heat. Ha! BTW, could someone please tell me what WEES stands for. Thx.

Spitzboov said...

Linda @ 1751.

C.C. wrote on Jan 26, 2020 that she had heard from Dennis and that he is doing fantastic.

Yellowrocks said...

Yes, the US has a Barclay Bank and a Barclay bankcard.
There is a gem called ruby spineless.

Yellowrocks said...

Boo hiss, spell check. Ruby spinel

SwampCat said...

I had things to say. But I think Thumper and I will just retire.
Owen, good job.

Spitzboov said...

YR - Glad to see you interacting with the Blog. Hope you are mending OK.

Shankers @ 1916 - - WEES means "What everyone else said.'

Anonymous T said...

I or Y, flip a coin. Drat, it is I. [Hungry Mother: Lucky. Welcome to our Y-Boat WC.)
FIW (but!, I learnt of SPINEL)

Hi All!

Thanks Gabrielle for the fun puzzle. Took me longer than a regular Wednesday but nothing to RAIL against.
//I should time this - I think debut puzzles take longer because we're introduced to a new set of c/a synapse.

Great Expo JzB. Loved the clips you used for Phineas & FERB and Wile E. "Acme Prime*" Coyote.

WOs: RAnt -> RAIL (Hi GJ), I got a CuP at the souvenir shop too ATLGranny, ETaS b/f ACRID
ESPs: SPyNEL | TULSy [sic & sic], LASSI(?), ISU. Most of PSYCHOMETRY(?) //bold is all I knew
Fav: Phineas & FERB [10:49 but first 3m tells you everything you need to know]. The Girls & I looked forward to every Sunday when new episodes aired; I liked it as much as they.
Runner-up: BUNT c/a //I'm w/ you LEOIII on designated abomination

Hand-up for thinking "SMOOTH COURT" 'cuz it's CENTER of 16a.

{B, A}

YR - sorry you are so bang'd up but nice that you've enough energy to play with us.

Linda: Nice to see you. Windhover still stops by occasionally. As for the others - I donno.

Shankers - What Everyone Else Said. See Olio

Pat & Java Mama: That's so cool that your volunteer-hours finally overlapped & you met.

For you WC - Fletch //Good thing Breakfast is over :-)

ON THAT NOTE MManatee - yeah, Ray-O made me think of This is Spinal Tap too. [Trailer] Great movie if you pay attention.

Lucina - AGEISM is a big problem in tech - they want young guns that will work 18 hours a day and play foosball. If you're over 30, you're out (I've heard it's getting better but...).
Fortunately, I work in stodgy big-oil and there's a lot of gray-beards all around.

The Sultans of Swing play CREOLE [Dire Straits]

ADIOS, er, BYE, er, Cheers! - T
*I mean, Wile E. has to have Acme Prime for free next-day delivery, right? :-)

SansBeach said...

Good evening, all. Really late to the party but been working on the house and doing the xwords later in the day. Wanted to give this one the "woo hoo" as it pushed my solving skills to the limit with a FIR. Ferb just didn't seem right and I thought I had the theme with center court and saw clay, home but was clueless to moot. Thanks Gabrielle for the challenge and your debut pzl. They might promote you to Thurs or Fri if you ask. lol Thanks JZB for the detailed 'splainin'. WEES the rest (what everyone else said) for Shankers.

WC, I spent most of my adult life in Cinti and knew a great deal about Pete Rose. Pete was the real deal in baseball, didn't drink or do drugs and really was "charlie hustle". His problem was gambling, period. When he finally admitted to gambling on baseball and the Reds, he said he never bet on the Reds to lose. Credibility could be an issue but I tend to believe him...What kind of manager thinks their team will lose?

Lucina, I too, wondered why Tulsi was an unknown. She hung around to the end of the debates and (sexist comment) she isn't hard to look at. Sleep well.

Wilbur Charles said...

Sansbeach, answer: A manager that's desperate to win a bet and managing a loss is much more doable than VV.

Now, being close to the game he may see something and bet accordingly ( re. injuries). I remember bookies joking about "Betting hockey" where one guy, the goalie can really influence things.

I happened to be in Chicago and took in a Reds game. When the gambling thing arose I thought back to that game and things made sense.

Same thing happened with BC basketball circa 1981-82.

-T thanks for late day entertainment.


Lucina said...

Comments stopped at 9:27. I'm surprised but maybe you all were doing the same as I was, watching the interesting launch of the VP nominee. We do live in interesting times!

Lucina said...

I occasionally hear from Windover though not lately. I should contact him.

Anonymous T said...

Lucina - Some of us are still working late into the night...

And, then, they realize they fubar'd a link. They play'd CREOLE .

Cheers, -T

Wendybird said...

Very subtle! Good old Thumper and his wise mother.