Oct 31, 2020

Saturday, October 31, 2020, Jeffrey Wechsler

 Themeless Saturday by Jeffrey Wechsler 

Jeffrey is second from the left in this picture

Today we have a Jeffrey Wechsler puzzle that is a Halloween treat but not devoid of tricks.

Here are Jeffrey's very interesting and generous comments in answer to my inquiry about this puzzle:



It’s very nice to hear from you. 

Puzzle editors have a free hand in rewriting clues, and sometimes might change up to half of them in a puzzle.  I see the changes as not only a matter of trying to improve clarity and accuracy, and a way to modify the overall difficulty of a puzzle, but also an occasion for puzzle editors to exercise their own creativity.  Sometimes I appreciate the changes, sometimes not.  In this puzzle, several clue changes can demonstrate the range of alterations.

 6-Down is an interesting place to start.  Husker Gary wrote to me that it took a long time for him to figure it out.  My clue was certainly “meta (Husker - self-referential)”, but remarkably, Rich substituted [Number before Number], a different “meta” clue!  Mine was [Number to the left], meaning that SIX was to the left of the clue.  Both clues are fine, in my opinion.  Elsewhere, Rich left in one “meta” clue, and removed another.  Rich used 62-Across: [With “fix”, it describes itself] for PRE.  He changed the clue at 1-Across, which was [Its symbol is described by 2-Down’s answer].  2-Down is ONE K, and a single letter K is the chemical symbol for POTASSIUM.  Perhaps that was too much “meta” for one puzzle, especially at 1-Across.


Clue changes can make answers easier or harder to discover.  Changing the clue at 41-Across to [Pram occupant’s diaper], from the original [Apparel for a pram occupant], made NAPPY much more obvious.  On the other hand, I think that 61-Across’s [1963 Johnny Thunder hit] is much harder than the original [Example of aerial derring-do] for LOOP DE LOOP.  


It’s always gratifying when a clue that one considers rather clever is maintained, such as [Request before reaching 21?] for HIT ME AGAIN at 11-Down.  Alternatively, an editor may consider a clue too cutesy, which I think happened at 49-Across, when Rich used a straightforward clue defining TITANIA, when I had offered [One whose emotions hit Bottom?].  In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Titania is affected by a love potion, causing her to fall in love with the character Nick Bottom.  Now, I like this clue very much, but I can understand that Rich might have thought “Enough!”.  As many LA Times regular solvers might have noticed, I try to insert a Shakespeare quote (usually as a fill-in-the-blank) or reference into each puzzle I submit.  Sometimes they are used, sometimes they are not.  In this puzzle, I received a double whammy.  Besides the loss of the Bottom clue, I had a Shakespeare quote clue at 18-Down: [The air bites shrewdly; __ very cold”: Hamlet], for IT IS.  Rich changed that to the suffix ITIS.





Now let's look for the other treats Jeffrey has put into our literary bag:


1. One of the alkali metals: POTASSIUM - Like all the alkali metals, POTASSIUM is very reactive and is usually stored in mineral oil or an inert atmosphere. It does this when it is dropped into water.

10. Enjoy a meal, with "down": CHOW.

14. Lacking taste, say: UNARTISTIC - I had to replace INARTISTIC

16. Yul's "Solomon and Sheba" co-star: GINA - Rotten Tomatoes indicated it lacked 
19. Ability: SKILL and 30. Skills: COMPETENCE.

17. Where fajitas may be seen: TEX-MEX MENU.

18. Senior suffix: ITIS - Prospective graduates last spring did not get to experience SENIORITIS in person

20. Breaks down: SOBS.

22. Big extinct bird: MOA.

23. "Frozen" snowman: OLAF.

26. Chem lab substance: REAGENT.

28. Casino option: BACCARAT - James Bond playing BACCARAT against Emilio Largo in Thunderball. The dealer holds a card on the palette.

32. Exercise apparel: SWEATS - My standard outfit these days

33. Out of control: AMOK.

34. Increase: GROW.

36. Fungal rye disease: ERGOT.
37. Wheel part: RIM.

38. Attack, as with questions: BOMBARD.

40. Org. monitoring gas prices: AAA.

41. Pram occupant's diaper: NAPPY.

43. __ lily: Utah state flower: SEGO.

44. W.E.B. Du Bois' Tennessee alma mater: FISK.

45. Looks of contempt: SNEERS.

47. Maker of Contadina products: DEL MONTE - DEL MONTE acquired the brand in 1997

49. Shakespeare's fairy queen: TITANIA - From A Midsumer Night's Dream

51. Evening in Paris: SOIR - Ce SOIR, nous distribuerons 250 sacs de bonbons (Tonight we will hand out 250 bags of candy)

53. Wings with rooms: ELLS - My old school is building one on the last piece of ground they can use

55. __ fog: DENSE.

59. Outer layer: RIND.

61. 1963 Johnny Thunder hit: LOOP DE LOOP - Ah, a classic of my misspent yute! YouTube if you must.

64. Footwear for the stealthy, maybe: MOCS.

65. "Where's everyone else?": YOU'RE ALONE

66. Originate: STEM - We are all trying to STEM the tide of the Corona virus

67. Like some eggs: FREE RANGE - Free at last!


1. With 31-Down, finalizes, in publishing: PUTS and 31. See 1-Down: TO BED.

2. Short race: ONE-K - .67 mile

3. Approach the gate, perhaps: TAXI.

4. Wrestling maneuver: ARM LOCK.

5. Blanche's sister, in a Williams play: STELLA 

6. Number before Number?: SIX - 6. Number before Number?: SIX - SIX is the Number before the word Number in this "meta" clue. Wow, getting the fill here was pretty easy but making the connection took me a while!

7. Belief suffix: ISM.

8. Pickup cousins, briefly: UTES - A UTE  being loaded into a pickup

9. Inconsequential: MINOR.

10. Movie SFX: CGI.

11. Request before reaching 21?: HIT ME AGAIN - This chart tells you

12. Savory baked bread: ONION TOAST.

13. Hung in the balance: WAS AT STAKE - The game WAS AT STAKE when this smallest guy on the team walked onto the field 

15. Dice, e.g.: CUBES.

21. Shortened a log: SAWED.

24. Ship that encountered Sirens: ARGO - Here the Sirens are calling to Jason

25. Rural spreads: FARMS - Here are some here in Dodge County Nebraska from the air

27. Switz. neighbor: GER - On our German tour, a cousin of mine met us in Kißlegg, GERmany and drove us to his (and my grandfather's) hometown of Heiden, Switzerland at 125 mph in a European Ford Escort

28. Campaigns rurally: BARNSTORMS - Before he landed in Paris in 1927, Charles Lindberg did this kind of BARNSTORMING

29. "That was so stupid of me!": AM I AN IDIOT.
35. Pay: WAGES.

38. Talking Heads lead singer David: BYRNE Why he left the group

39. Cone-like candy: ROLO.

42. Little veggie: PEA.

44. Patti Austin album dedicated to a legendary jazz vocalist: FOR ELLA - Her musical 
52. Dedicatory lines: ODE to Ella

46. Frivolous: SILLY.

48. Piercing locale, perhaps: MIDEAR.

50. Disinterested: ALOOF.

54. Whiskey __: SOUR.

56. Palindromic time: NOON - You movie buffs will know this is the time Will Kane had to meet Frank Miller and his gang. Frankie Laine's fabulous theme song

57. Grammy honoree: SONG - The High Noon theme song was a 1952 Oscar awardee. The Grammy's started in 1958

58. Duel tool: EPEE.

60. Mil. decoration: DSM - Eddie Rickenbacker won 8 Distinguished Service Medals

62. With "fix," it describes itself: PRE - Another fun clue. PRE is a PREFIX for the word PREFIX

63. Land's end?: DEE - The end of the word LAND not terra incognita 



BobB said...

Confused Johnny Thunder with Johnny Thunders. But Thunders(born in 1952) was not old enough to have a 1963 hit song.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

This one was going swimmingly...until I went under. It all came down to _ISK/_ORELLA and d-o guessed wrong. Bzzzzt! We have some delightful parting gifts for you. I think it's a stretch to call ROLO "cone-like." Nicely done, JW. Enjoyed your (as usual) excellent expo, Husker. (I suspect you're gonna have over 200 bags left after tonight.)

NOON: Tex Ritter sang the theme in the film. I've got his version on my music server.

Don't forget to "fall back" tonight. And don't forget to take a look at that Blue Hunter's moon.

Hungry Mother said...

FIR, with lots of ink smears. I was trying BACCARac in the SB, but saw the right spelling as I wrote it down. Couldn’t remember who Marlon Brando was yelling at, so had theLmA for a while. OLAF was OmAr too long, especially since I’ve seen Frozen an embarrassing number of times, sometimes without grandkids. EttA and ELLA always confuse me. Very fast solve for the end of the week.

ATLGranny said...

FIW again with one bad square. Doing an alphabet run would have helped, but I left STEt. The NE long downs took time and ink to get but finally I saw AAA and FISK. I had forgotten about MOA and tried all kinds of vowels for GINA, but ultimately the area worked out using all these perps. HIT ME AGAIN was devious! At first I had olIve for ONION but that didn't work. I hadn't separated FOR ELLA in my mind, but the perps were solid once I had FISK. More time and patience would have been nice but I relied on Husker Gary's review to clear up the DENSE fog instead. Getting all but one square right in a Saturday Jeffrey Wechsler is satisfying. Thanks, Jeffrey, for the challenge and for the comments to Gary.

Noticed the huge moon this morning in time for Halloween, but don't expect Trick or Treaters tonight since we don't get them on our street in the best of times. It's cooler and power outages remain for many, along with COVID fears this year. Looking forward to the time change tonight and brighter mornings!

Wilbur Charles said...

I thought I had FIR on a (to me) difficult Saturday until I realized the singer spelled his name with a Y. NAPPY is not unknown, I've heard it used.

Nappe is a derivation of what essentially is a napkin which probably became NAPPY or diaper.

I remember that song which arose during the Twist mania. Once I got the K I remembered FISK.

wos: farm fresh/FREE RANGE and roulette/BACCARAT. DSM was not OBE(or DSF). TITANIA was a distant memory but Mr Bottom was not.


Big Easy said...

Jeffrey- K as a clue for POTASSIUM would be a giveaway clue to those who remember a few chemical symbols. But SeniorITIS- that's a term I've never heard. And did Rich make the clue for 30D-"Skills" which was the plural of the answer for 19A-SKILL?

I woke around 3:00 this morning and didn't hear my generator humming. That's great news for the people who had been without power since Wednesday.

An easy fill for a Saturday puzzle. FIR in under 15 minutes. David BYRNE, FOR ELLA, FISK, & ROLO were unknowns but the last three filled easily after a few perps.
Inartistic or UNARTISTIC- I filled it but it describes me well.
LOOP DE LOOP- don't know the song but after a few perps I got it filled.
Blanche's sister? It's an easy fill if you live in the NOLA area; there is a STELLA yelling contest EVERY YEAR but 2020 and people come from all over to participate.

BobB- Johnny Thunder or Thunders- BOTH unknown to me.

d-otto- I've got over 600 pieces of candy to give away but with the dual whammy of Covid19 & a direct hit from hurricane ZETA it's hard to know how many children will show. There is usually over a 1,000 coming to our neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Big Easy has me beat. Took almost 19 minutes for me this morning, but I'll consider that a win as there were many unknowns.

desper-otto said...

BE, here in Texas, we don't count the individual pieces of candy corn.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Jeff always seems to pull more out of me than I think I have. Getting a good starting grip was dicey, but finally got critical mass in the SW and center. Guessed at GINA (Lollobrigida). Had 'gain' before GROW, and 'dash' before ONE K. Also considered 'wolf' before CHOW. Ultimately finished it without help.
CSO tp M Manatee with ARGO. Manatees are in the order Sirenia.
27d GER - On the other end of L. Constance on Gary's map, in Constance, wife's 3rd cousin's backyard fence was Swiss border.

Thanks Gary for unpacking another great puzzle and sharing Jeff's thoughts on the puzzle, making this a very rich site to visit, indeed.

Husker Gary said...

-Thanks, D-O, Tex sang that song for the movie but Frankie’s version was the one that became a hit.
-BTW, Tex sang it the night it won an Oscar at the first televised Academy Award Program
-The movie’s intro featuring Tex’s version What’s making that rhythm sound in the background?
-I’ll let you know how many bags survive tonight’s activity
-Jeffrey’s TITIANA cluing would have been a lot tougher
-It might warm his heart to know that my grandson told me last night that he really enjoys Shakespeare in AP Lit.
-Today our Omaha paper has an editorial advocating for year-round DST and said that the idea is slowly catching hold in legislatures.
-Going to work in the dark is not a problem when you are retired

Anonymous said...

Too tough for me...On to Sudoku.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Mom's name was STELLA. Dad loved to tease her....He'd come home from work when I was little and start yelling STELLA!, STELLA!, HEY STELLA!. Mom would pretend to be annoyed. I had no idea what was so funny until decades later when I finally saw "Streetcar". In the looks department Dad gave Brando a run.

On to the puzzle....

Rare successful Saturday. Tricky but fair challenge.

Once the long verticles were filled I plodded along, cappuccino got my neurons firing and surprised myself with a finish...lots of inkovers: mexico/TEXMEX, acres/FARMS, cubic/CUBE, hub/RIM, sega/SEGO (always get that wrong!). Actually it's the hens that are FREERANGE

Wanted to write in Hippolyta (too long) for TITANIA. Thought Tenn. school would have a U somewhere. Never heard PUTSTOBED used for publishing. Needed the narrative to get SIX. LOOPDELOOP with BARNSTORM, clever.

D.Otto. I agree so LIU..ROLO is a frustrum (cone with the top cut off)

Wrestling maneuver: hitting your opponent over the head with a folding chair too long.

This will answer the musical question, AMIANIDIOT?

Support a stoolie....BACCARAT.
Nuclear poet....BOMBARD.
Derides slippers....MOCS

Had a frost last night....Goodbye plantings.

Happy Halloween ..... plan to offer individual treats on a tray offered to the kids if they show. Nuthin touchin

SwampCat said...

I did it! I finally solved a Jeffrey Wechsler puzzle, and a big one at that! Loved this one. Thanks Jeffrey for your letter to Gary, it added to,the enjoyment. I’m not sure the changes. were “better”. I would like the Bottom reference more, and I never heard of SenionITIS.

On the other hand, HIT ME AGAIN was wonderful. And Blanche’s sister for STELLA. Well of course she was. Clever Wechsler wizardry.

I fell for Lacking Taste. I was thinking unseasoned or something.

I also liked SOIR near SOUR. So many fun clues.

D-O beat me to mentioning tonight’s HUNTERS MOON which is also a Blue moon, being the second in the month. As it’s also on Halloween, it is special indeed.

Our building got power back, but most of the neighborhood is still dark. It will be a spooky Halloween, if anyone dares venture out.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I can’t think of a better way to end the week and the month than having a JW puzzle to solve. Although I prefer Jeffrey’s themed offerings with his uncanny wordplay wizardry, I enjoyed this very much. I breezed through certain sections because of some of the long entries were easy to discern, i.e., Hit Me Again, Barnstorm, Am I An Idiot, and You’re Alone. However, the NW corner had me stymied for awhile because of having Leg Lock instead of Arm Lock. Unartistic was slow in seeing as I was thinking of Taste as in food. I didn’t understand the clue for Six until HG’s expo. Other missteps were Lang/Song and Roc/Moa. I’ve never heard of Onion Toast, only Onion Tart and I believe the usual Brit spelling is Nappie. I liked the Pre, Dee, Pea trio (echoes of yesterday), the Ells/Ella, and the Stella/Ella duos. CSO to Lemony at Argo.

Thanks, Jeffrey W, for a pleasant treat and a few tricks throw in for good measure; I appreciated your detailed explanation of the constructor-editor cluing conflicts. Thanks, HG, for another sparkling and scintillating summary and the numerous links and visuals. Was that kitty photo of dear Lily?

Like ATLGranny, I never get trick or treaters so I never even buy any candy. I doubt that there will be very many children allowed to go from door to door, but I could be wrong. 🧛‍♂️ 🧙‍♀️

Have a great day.

Irish Miss said...

Corrections: Remove “Of” in my third sentence and add an “N” to Throw in my comment to Jeffrey.

Note to Self: Proof read more carefully!

Wilbur Charles said...

Then there was this Stella

We at the retirement community refer to SeniorITIS all the time. Yes, it's a HS and College syndrome too.

Ok everybody'gets' SIX. Is it related to the clue being "6"? I thought Sep would fit as in septuplets. Or SIX as a prefix for teen. Speaking of…

FLN, -T; if "switching" is better odds is it because Monty Hall knew the box that had the keys? eg box A was 1/3; Box B was 1/2.


Malodorous Manatee said...

Valerie and I FIR with a bit of luck. I was thinking of "Little Latin Lupe Lu" which was the wrong song but similar enough that it lead to the correct answer. The answers to clues that were things people might say were semi-intuitive so, even though a bit awkward, they were solvable - if not quickly filled.

Husker Gary said...

-Yes, Irish, that is Lily. She jumps up on that shelf and assumes her ALOOF demeanor while supervising Joann who is working at the computer
-It’s already 60F here on the Great Plains at 11 am. Hmmm…

CanadianEh! said...

Super Saturday. Thanks for the fun, Jeffrey and HuskerG (and for the interview). (I thought that ALOOF cat was Lily.)
With P&P, I completed this JW workout, but lots of inkblots.

I had an ocean of white, but finally got a foothold in the SE corner and moved up from there. N was the last to fill.

Hand up for thinking that "lacking taste" had something to do with 10A CHOW down.
I was also misdirected by 3D gate, thinking of a horse race, not a plane.
CW "big extinct bird"s include Rhea, Dodo and MOA. Only three letters today.
I merrily entered Cel at 10D as a reflex answer to any three letter clue to do with movies. Finally changing to CGI cleared up that NE corner.

I fought ONE K as being metric (and unAmerican!) but SKILL confirmed it. We had British NAPPY today also. (IM, we are more apt to seeing the plural Nappies rather than the singular NAPPY! but nappie is an alternate, lesser-used singular spelling also).
I initially wanted the British OBE for 60D Mil. decoration, but it was DSM.

I smiled at the DuBois in 44A clue and Blanche in the 5D clue. (But FISK was totally unknown to this Canadian.)
Another smile at ARGO and ERGOT.
26A brought back not-so-loved memories of 2nd year university afternoons spent in the Chem lab with plenty of REAGENTs. If I had remembered better, I would not have entered Plutonium (an actinide metal) before POTASSIUM. (In my defence, it was 48 years ago LOL) (I would have loved JW's ONE K clue)

DEL MONTE is a bad word in the Niagara area after they closed their fruit processing plant in St. Davids back in 2008 and started using fruit from China. I can my own Niagara fruit!! I'm not familiar with Contadina.

Switz. (SUI) neighbours include GER, AUS, FRA, ITA, FRA, LIE. Perps were needed to decide. On our tour, we crossed all those borders (but only a short formality or no stop at all because of European Union rules).

We note another instance of former NoNo- SKILL as answer and Skills in clue.
48D "piercing locale" had me rejecting EAR, navel, as too short. Wow, is Rich allowing more risqué locales? Oh, MID EAR!

Wishing you all a great day.

JB2 said...

I thought this easier than most JW puzzles - maybe the little gray cells were just on the right wavelength for a change. Add a wonderful HG write-up and it is a great start to the day.

Going to be warm here in Chi for anyone going out candy hunting. Big change from last year when it snowed!

Have a great day everyone. Stay safe and well.


Ray - O - Sunshine said...

So if I understand Gary's commentary. Jeffrey Wechsler (or any contructionist) works out a crossword and then some unidentifed editor can change up to half of it? Jeffrey has no say in the changes but still has his name attached?

When we make clue observations good or bad they might not even be based on his ideas....strange

Chairman Moe said...

Puzzling thoughts:

ONE K crossing POTASSIUM - too clever to be coincidental; UTES for “pickup cousin”, also clever; FOR ELLA and STELLA; BARN STORMS; lots of creative fill

This one sent me for a LOOP DE LOOP. FIW as a result of not getting CHOW in 10-across, and not seeing STEM/DSM in the deep SW. I had COMPETENCY/DSA instead

All of the eggs I buy are FREE RANGE. I really can’t see or taste the difference - but I buy ‘em anyway

Happy weekend all ... thanks Jeffrey and Gary

desper-otto said...

Now that early voting has ended, today I received the two "Vote Early" face masks that I ordered back in October. [Sigh]

Canadian Eh! -- Rheas do appear often in CWs, but they're not extinct...yet.

Ray-O -- Yup, the editor can (and does) make changes to the puzzle, revising clues and sometimes even reworking a section of the grid.

Lucina said...


JW on Saturday! It doesn't get any better than that! The SW yielded its secrets pretty quickly for me then on to the center and top. POTASSIUM filled when I had about half of the letters.

I was surprised to see SKILL as fill then as a clue. And I had no idea about Talking Heads much less of David BYRNE. Five perps is all it took to get it.

I love A Midsummer Night's Dream and have watched the DVD several times. Michelle Pfeiffer is a gorgeous TITANIA. In fact the entire cast is fabulous.

Had to LU GINA to finish the NE corner. Seeing SOUR and SOIR amused me for some reason.

Thank you, Jeffrey for a fine puzzle and Gary for a superb commentary!

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Lucina said...

I forgot to mention that I voted several weeks ago; as soon as my ballot arrived I filled it and mailed it.

Misty said...

Always nice to see a Jeffrey Wechsler puzzle--many thanks, Jeffrey. And enjoyed your commentary and pictures, Gary--especially the one of the ALOOF kitty.

Fun to see STELLA and FOR ELLA, and your Stella story cracked me up, Ray.
Cool also to see TITANIA and ARGO. Some nice emotional items with SNOBS and SNEERS.
Had trouble with SENIORITIS even though I've been a senior twice in my life by now.
I'm not sure I'll ever get used to those clues that end up meaning a letter like the DEE for 'Land's end.' Well, okay, it was fun to get it at the end of the puzzle.

Happy Halloween, everybody.

Alice said...

The clue for 6D was very tough. I got it thru perps, but needed Jeffrey’s explanation to ‘get it’.

BACCARAT took me down a rabbit hole wondering ‘what ever happened to Bert Bacharach...’. He’s now 90 years old and still active.

Enjoy the weekend!

Spitzboov said...

Rheas - In addition to the S. American Rheas, there are over 250 Rheas in NE Germany, that somehow escaped from a Rhea meat farm. They are thriving in the wild. Does that make them FREE-RANGE Rheas?

AnonymousPVX said...

Got the solve, always an accomplishment with a JW .

I must mention that the 6D clue was just....poor, shall we say, trying to be nice.

SASSES...glad it got fixed, one should NEVER be afraid of slamming on the brakes.

I’m keeping my lights off tonight, which saddens me, I love seeing the kids...but I’d like to be alive to see them next year.

Lemonade714 said...

In the sad coincidence department, SEAN CONNERY died last night. He died in the Bahamas where Fleming wrote many of the James Bond books.

It was extremely fun to see Jeffrey work his theme wit and misdirection into a themeless puzzle, and a real treat to review his comments o the puzzle and the editorial process. When I discovered C.C.'s amazing creation, I too was shocked to learn how much the editors tinker with the puzzles. Corresponding with constructors showed me that the changes were not always logical. In a single puzzle some clues were made harder, others easier. The end result however was another Wechsler winner with a side order of HG's tour guide skills.

I never did give in to those sirens, but it was a tough choice.

It is a rainy day here, perfect to stay home and read. Be safe all.

Yuman said...

Sean Connery Aug. 25, 1930 Oct. 31, 2020
Maybe 007 had enough of 2020.

Ol' Man Keith said...

An excellent Saturday pzl, seemingly daunting, but not impossible.
A fine encourager of our P+P policy. Thank you, Mr. Wechsler.

TITANIA is a wonderful character, both graceful and comic.
I have fond associations with the play. I was Lysander in a Yale Drama production, and I staged my own version of it for the Asolo Theater in Florida, with my then-wife as Hermia and a local boys chorus as the fairies.
There is no funnier scene in all of English language theater than the Pyramus and Thisbe romance in act V, performed by Bottom and his comrades.
For a real treat I recommend viewing the 1935 Max Reinhardt movie. Anita Louise is TITANIA, with James Cagney as Bottom and Mickey Rooney as Puck!
(And Dick Powell in my role.)
A 3-way on the inside-side.
The main diagonal yields a description of the initial move a young mugger/robber practices before taking his first step into street (or back alley) crime.
It might be something as simple as a distraction, causing the mark to look the other way.
Or it might be a more physical move, such as grabbing the lapel or shirt front of the victim.
If a weapon is involved, it might be drawn.
Whatever it is, it is a...

waseeley said...

Ray, I'd suggest watching the video "Wordplay" for Will Shortz' description of the role the CW editor. You might send him a letter too. He loves to hear from solvers. :-)

CrossEyedDave said...


An 11 year old is too young to have a hit song?

Maybe in 63, but times are a'changin...

Crownvic89 said...

What is a “meta clue”?

waseeley said...

Thank you Jeffrey for an excellent puzzle and the first Saturday that I've attempted, as I've always thought them too difficult. Thanks to some expert advice in the video "Wordplay" I began by looking for the first word I knew to build out from. And thanks to Rich that word was 1A, easily guessable as Potassium is the only alkali metal that fit (great video clip Gary - we use to pull stunts like that in HS chem.) Subsequent words fell quickly until I got lost in the Middle East when I hastily created my own Natick ("Miss" is not in Tennessee Bill - see 29D!).The rest went smoothly even though I FIW.

Anyway I'll thank Jeffrey by recommending to him (and y'all) the Brit TV show "Shakespeare and Hathaway" currently steaming on Prime. It's a mystery series filmed in Stratford itself. It's really a comedy masquerading as a mystery, featuring beautiful scenery from the town and surrounding countryside, lots of allusions to the Bard, and of course lots of bad puns.

A suggestion to Gary re 66A: I think "COVID19 stems from the coronavirus" might be a better usage example for the clue "Originate".

28D The original "Barnstormers" were stunt pilots, people like Glenn L. Martin, William Boeing and others who built their own bi-planes and performed daring feats like flying low through barns that had their doors open on both ends. We recognize their names today as founders of the multi-trillion dollar aircraft industry (at least the ones who lived to tell about it!).

29D First rule of gardening: "NEVER leave a rake on the ground tine side up". Not only might you knock yourself out, but step on it hard enough and you might impale your foot. BTW, everybody up to date on their tetanus shots? Our local pharmacy does them for free.


Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Haven't read anyone yet but I'm ready for Social Distancing Trick or Treat.
//Eldest & I built that today.

Puzzle? No chance - too many shots in me own foot (as Sean Connery (RIP) might say).

Cheers, -T

Jayce said...

It took plenty of noodling to solve this terrific puzzle. AM I AN IDIOT? I still don't get that Number before Number = SIX thing.

I have thought about this before, but today, after reading what Jeffrey wrote to Gary, I have become even more reluctant to mention which clues I liked and which I didn't. So I think from now on I will not comment on them any more.

Today, however, since Jeffrey confirmed that the clue for 11 down is his (and that he himself likes it), I will say I very much like it too.

As far as SKILL being an answer and "Skills" being a clue, I can assume the rule about that has changed. Personally, I hate it when rules are changed without us being informed it is happening and all we can do is shrug and think "Well, I guess that's the way it is now." As Steve often said, we should be told.

Agree that it is the hens that are free range, not the eggs. Like Chairman Moe, I really can’t see or taste the difference - but I buy ‘em anyway.

Happy Halloween wishes to you all.

Anonymous T said...

Jayce - It's meta. The clue is SIX Down. Six (6) sits in front of "Number" in the clue...

And that, Crownvic89, is a meta (self-referential) clue/answer.

GNU [GNU NOT UNIX] is also meta & wonderfully recursive.

Cheers, -T

Anonymous T said...

Still waiting for Trick or Treaters say...

Jayce - don't take my explanation of 6d as me being a pompous, please. It was 3 perps and then [V8!].
//I called Jeffery all kinds of (not suitable for a family-forum) names for tricking me so.

I went to WEB Du Bois grades 1 through 4 in SPI.
Memories? Sure, one kid nearly lost his lip on an ice ramp we tried to skate down in tennis shoes AND I found out my crush, Mary, had a crush on me when she found out I was changing schools for grade 5 (moved in w/ Pop then). We both had music class together where I learned every word to 'Doe a Dear, a Female... [you know the rest]

Later in life, I learned fromTrevor's Taco Monologue what a NAPPY is.

Cheers, -T

Shankers said...

Back home after a fabulous week in Ca with dear daughter and family. Missing one week of doing puzzles has to be like a runner not running for a week. It came slowly especially for a JW Saturday, and because I was watching Notre Dame football at the same time. Anyhoo, I found all quadrants very crunchy. Eventually only two wrong squares at the extreme SW at the crossing of stem and Dsm. Nice to be back home and in the groove.

Lucina said...

Happy Halloween, everyone! I didn't even buy candy as no children knock on my door. The city park system here hosts parties for the local youth. It's safer, too, though I'm not sure how they are handling it this year.

Jayce said...

Anonymous T, I didn't take your explanation as pompous. But thank you for your consideration.

We haven't gotten any trickertreaters here for several years, and end up eating the candy ourselves. (For that reason, knowing we're most likely going to end up eating it ourselves, we buy good quality candy.) This year we didn't buy any candy, and we're going to turn the porch light off.

waseeley said...

And it continues to recurse to this day ...

waseeley said...

I learned a long time ago the bitter lesson that writers, CW constructors, and all other creators of publication "content" are merely the editor's fodder, grist for the publication mill. He/she is ultimately responsible for the final product, although the originator is usually one the who gets the "credit" or the "blame". 68A "C'est la vie" -> "That's life"

SwampCat said...

Me too, Jayce!!