Nov 30, 2020

Monday November 30, 2020 Kurt Krauss

Theme: Phrases with numbers at the start are literally itemized.

17. Big burger chain, literally?: GUY GUY GUY GUY GUY. Five Guys.

27. "I Can't Help Myself" R&B group, literally?: TOP TOP TOP TOP. Four Tops.

44. Many a sports car, literally?: SEATER SEATER. Two-seaters

58. Exec's dressy suit, literally?: PIECE PIECE PIECE. Three-piece.

Boomer here. "Eight Days a Week" - The Beatles - Day Day Day Oh never mind.  I only do the blog comments on one or two days.  Hope your Thanksgiving went well.    


1. Two-wheelers: BIKES.  Yes I had one. Years ago "Two wheeler" was a common term when one graduated from a tricycle.

6. Haunted house sound: MOAN.  I am old.  Does not MOANing aches and pains count?

10. Stick a fork in: STAB.  Between the "R" Tab and the "T" Tab.

14. Standing at attention, say: ERECT.  Or build a metal Ferris Wheel with your set.  I could never do it.

15. Oscar winner Paquin: ANNA. Won Oscar at 11 for "The Piano".

16. Soft drink nut: KOLA.  Odd looking and terribly expensive.  I get cashews at Fleet Farm.

20. Yale student: ELI

21. Homes for bears: DENS.  I was a young Cub Scout back when IKE was President.  We had meetings in the den of the pack leader's home.

22. Con jobs: SCAMS.

23. __ strength: ability to withstand stretching: TENSILE.

25. On the briny: ASEA.  "We sail the ocean blue, in our saucy ships of beauty."  Gilbert and Sullivan.

32. Honors with a fancy party: FETES.

35. "Wild Blue Yonder" mil. group: USAF.  I was in the Army.  I suppose I would have to serve more than two years in the Air Force to get a jet.

36. __ de Janeiro: RIO.  Home of the 2016 Olympics.

37. Dutch cheese: EDAM.  On the river between the "D Dam" and the "F DAM". 

38. Worker in a shaft: MINER.

40. Curve in a road: BEND.

41. Round Table title: SIR. "How do you thank someone, who has taken you from crayons to perfume?" - Lulu.

42. Locker room powder: TALC.  This is the stuff that Johnson and Johnson is getting sued about.  Maybe they can make it up by selling vaccine.

43. Walrus features: TUSKS. "I am the egg man, they are the egg men, I am the Walrus goo goo g'joob."  The Beatles.  I had to Google the last three words.  I thought it was "coo, coo, kachoo."

48. Floor space calculation: AREA.  Length times width.

49. Sticks around: LINGERS.

53. Big rigs: SEMIS.

56. Bowling targets: PINS.  And on LANES not ALLEYS.

57. Animal doc: VET.

62. One of 12 in a foot: INCH.

63. Farm size unit: ACRE.

64. Confess: OWN UP.  I confess - I forgot what a bowling target was.  The only time I have picked up a ball since last March was to get at my golf clubs.  Where is that vaccine everyone is talking about?

65. Classic grape soda: NEHI.  I believe RADAR on M*A*S*H drank it.

66. Hair colorings: DYES.

67. Handy carryalls: TOTES.


1. Procreate: BEGET.

2. "Go, me!": I RULE.

3. Enter, as data: KEY IN.  We used to call it typing.

4. Cardio readout: ECG.  AKA EKG.

5. Small apartments: STUDIOS.  Sleep in the living room - between the TV and the computer.

6. Wall calendar : nail :: shopping list : __: MAGNET.

7. Burden: ONUS.  Some times a puzzle becomes a burden ON US.

8. "__ further discussion?": ANY.  Yeah, we have more clues to kick around.

9. Old horse: NAG.

10. Airport porter: SKYCAP.  They were busy last weekend, even though governors asked people not to go.

11. Forum wear: TOGA.  Did someone say "Animal House"? 

12. High school reunion attendee, briefly: ALUM.  Skipped my 55th.  It was cancelled due to virus.

13. Howls at the moon: BAYS.  I used to love fishing in these parts of our 10,000 lakes.  Water was calm and fish were always biting.

18. Puppy's cry: YELP.  Also a company in San Francisco that spies on businesses.

19. Make __: employ: USE OF.

24. Flower holder: STEM. Or VASE.

25. Semicircular cathedral area: APSE.  I often wonder why Catholic Churches have really high ceilings.  This is Minnesota.  The buildings are impressive but heat in winter and AC in summer are not cheap. 

26. Lead actor or actress: STAR.

28. Postal scale unit: OUNCE.

29. "__ bien!": TRES.  "Je ne sais pas". 

30. Sty cry: OINK.  That's the way we spell it, not the way pigs yell it.

31. Snow pea holders: PODS.

32. Come clean, with "up": FESS.  "Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the wild frontier."  FESS Parker.

33. Falco of "The Sopranos": EDIE.

34. Butler's quarters?: TARA. Rhett Butler. "Gone With the Wind".

38. Female horse: MARE.  The old gray one "Ain't what she used to be".

39. "Casablanca" heroine: ILSA.

40. Town: BURG.

42. Wasting few words: TERSE.

43. Sawbuck: TEN SPOT.  "Sawbuck" is a bit of an insult to Alexander Hamilton.  We call a $100 a Benjamin, we call a $20 a Jackson, and we call a $50 bad luck in Las Vegas.

45. Meditative martial art: TAI CHI.

46. Restaurant in an Arlo Guthrie hit: ALICE'S.  "You can get anything you want" there.  And you can get a year older if you can recite the entire ditty.

47. Fork prong: TINE.

50. Discus or pole vault: EVENT.

51. Prompt, as a forgetful actor: RECUE.

52. Staircase divisions: STEPS.  Down is no problem but I have to take my time going up.

53. "Wheel of Fortune" choice: SPIN.

54. German article: EINE.  Rhymes with WINE.  Only 50 cents a bottle over there in 1969.

55. Kind of drawing: Abbr.: MECH. Mechanical.

56. Dijon dad: PERE.

59. Note-taking aid: PAD.  I don't think anyone uses them any more.  Just record the note on a phone.

60. Aloof: ICY.  Anyone who think ICY is aloof, never landed on their butt taking the garbage can out to the street in the winter.

61. __ Jima: IWO.

 I didn't know I have friend with friends in high places.

Janet Yellen with Graybar CEO Kathy Mazzarella. Kathy with Boomer


Nov 29, 2020

Sunday, November 29, 2020

 Theme:  "History Lesson" - The last word of each theme entry can follow "Social".

 22A. *Cuddly toy: STUFFED ANIMAL. Social animal.

 37A *Layered lunch: TURKEY CLUB. Social club.

 60A. *Braves outfielder who was the 1990 N.L. Rookie of the Year: DAVID JUSTICE. Social justice.

 83A. *Webmaster's concern: DATA SECURITY. Social security.

 106A. *Cuts a school period: SKIPS CLASS. Social class.

 15D. *Jackson or Lincoln: STATE CAPITAL. Social capital.

 63D. *"We'll need a better solution": THAT WON'T WORK. Social work.


125. Field including history, and a hint to the ends of the answers to starred clues: SOCIAL STUDIES.

I originally had GO THE DISTANCE as one of the theme entries and "Social Studies" as the puzzle title. Rich said "SOCIAL DISTANCE, as it turns out, has another meaning, a very different one from SOCIAL DISTANCING. I'm not sure how familiar that meaning is ..." 

He proposed that I use SOCIAL STUDIES as a reveal and suggested "History Lesson" as a title. As always, lots of clues are Rich's. So in awe of his YEAS (86. Passing words?)

Grid-wise, I was excited to make the four theme entries intersect. I always try, but often I can't make it happen.


1. Readily available: ON TAP.

6. Arabian Peninsula natives: OMANIS. They use RIAL.

12. Declines: SAYS NO.

18. __ apart: WORLDS.

20. 1998 Winter Games city: NAGANO. Tara Lipinski won her Olympics gold medal there at age 15, youngest in figure skating history.

21. Place for retiring?: PIT STOP.

24. Was behind: RAN LATE.

25. April 4, in 2021: EASTER.

26. "99 Luftballons" singer whose name is an anagram of two of Henry VIII's wives: NENA. Rich added the anagram part. Not a common name, hence Rich's helpful hint, I think.

27. Texter's "If you ask me": IMO.

28. Q's value in Scrabble: TEN.

29. "Solve for x" subj.: ALG.

31. Harbor bobber: BUOY.

33. Feudal workers: SERFS.

35. Pieces with views: OP-EDS.

41. Popular fact source: ALMANAC.

43. Hunter seen at night: ORION.

44. Rami's role on "Mr. Robot": ELLIOT. Elliot Alderson. Malek also played Freddie Mercury.

47. Sch. with a Lima campus: OSU.

48. Swingers' tools: BATS.

51. Attend to a boxer, maybe: PET SIT. 57. Litter box emanations: ODORS. And 92. Where kitties get pampered: CAT SPA.

53. Ill will: ENMITY.

55. Irrefutable truth: GOSPEL.

62. "Ex on the Beach" channel: MTV.

64. Actress Hatcher: TERI.

66. Half a film genre portmanteau: ROM. Com.

67. Workplaces for RNs: ORS. We had 9,040 new cases yesterday. Quite scary. Wear better masks, guys. The cloth masks do not offer enough protection.

68. Tiny bit: TAD.

69. Cheery greeting: HI HO.

70. __-free: cleaning cloth term: LINT.

72. Market: SELL.

74. Bowlers, e.g.: HATS.

75. Menu preposition: A LA. I've been enjoying Kenchin soup lately. Warm and comforting.

76. Palais pal: AMI.

78. Aides for profs: TAS.

80. Check, with "in": REIN.

82. __ Miss: OLE.

87. Financial liabilities: DEBTS.

89. Ailing: UNWELL.

90. Performed a concerto's cadenza: SOLOED. Rich's clue.

96. Substandard: POOR.

97. __ de parfum: EAU.

99. Beaux of old: SWAINS.

102. Civil rights icon John: LEWIS. I did not realize his achievements until he passed away. What a great guy!

103. "Close, but no cigar": NICE TRY.

108. Prefix with league: INTER.

110. Some video files: MPEGS.

113. Israeli statesman Abba: EBAN.

114. Washington MLBer: NAT.

115. "Right this instant!": NOW.

116. Global fiscal org.: IMF. International Monetary Fund.

118. Piece of cake: SNAP. We have a tiny slice of pumpkin pie left. Still plenty of turkey though. Have you tried turkey with wasabi & soy sauce? Delicious!

120. Paid off: BRIBED.

123. Sweetums: POOPSIE.

129. Poland neighbor: UKRAINE.

130. Entering words: I'M HERE. Rich's clue.

131. Thin piece: SLIVER.

132. "Shame on you!": TSK TSK.

133. Raised: REARED.

134. Topples (over): KEELS.


1. Cries of pain: OWS.

2. "Just kidding!": NOT.

3. 2010 Coen brothers remake: TRUE GRIT. One the first entries I put into the grid earlier on.

4. __ Romeo: ALFA. Hi Tony!

5. Some downloaded docs: PDFS.

6. Hot: ON A ROLL.

7. Superhero suffix: MAN.

8. Opposin': AGIN.

9. Identifies: NAMES.

10. Cockamamie: INANE.

11. Discontinued Camry model: SOLARA.

12. "The King and I" kingdom: SIAM. The King and Oo.

13. When two hands come together?: AT NOON.

14. Luxury bag monogram: YSL. No idea why women all love bags.

16. Prominent: NOTED.

17. Warms up the crowd: OPENS.

19. Hold in reserve: SET BY.

21. Beam benders: PRISMS.

23. Court tie: DEUCE.

29. Straddling: ATOP.

30. Tempt: LURE.

32. Festive time: YULE.

34. Name on the 1979 album "The Wall": FLOYD. Rich's clue.

36. MillerCoors rival: PABST.

38. Part of the former Yugoslavia: KOSOVO.

39. City west of Tulsa: ENID.

40. Tough situation: BIND. And 104. Tense situation: CRISIS.

42. Portend: AUGUR.

45. "The Wire" antihero __ Little: OMAR. Unfamiliar to me. Rich's clue.

46. Saves for later viewing: TIVOS.

49. Mexican town known for its beer, which is now a Heineken brand: TECATE. Also Rich's clue. I did not know the beer was named after a town.

50. Winter hillside sights: SLEDS.

52. Kid: TOT.

54. Track official: TIMER.

56. Spy org. created by FDR: OSS. Office of Strategic Services.

58. Dig find: RELIC.

59. Asian honorific: SRI.

61. ''Maleficent'' actress: JOLIE.

62. City west of Venezia: MILANO. And  94. Birthplace of Galileo: PISA. My favorite Pisa guy.

65. Opening remarks: INTRO.

69. Invited to the skybox: HAD UP.

71. Flip sides?: TAILS.

73. Was in charge of: LED.

74. Low-cost stopover: HOSTEL.

76. __ interpreter: press conference figure: ASL.

77. Fighting word from the French for "mixture": MELEE. Also Rich's clue.

79. Store: STOW.

81. "The Good Place" network: NBC.

84. EagleCam spot: AERIE.

85. Seize illegally: USURP.

86. Passing words?: YEAS. So original. So Rich. He's a true wordsmith.

88. Poolroom powder: TALC.

91. What Brinker's boy plugged with a finger: DIKE. Hans Brinker. Read the story here.

93. Graceful vertical entrance: SWAN DIVE.

95. Mgr.'s helper: ASST.

98. Cost of withdrawal: ATM FEE.

100. Ate in small bits: NIBBLED.

101. Exchanges verbal jabs: SPARS.

105. Private agreement?: YES SIR.

107. Agitated states: SNITS.

108. Two cents: INPUT.

109. Partners of crannies: NOOKS.

111. Grimm creature: GNOME.

112. Actor __ Baron Cohen: SACHA.

117. Stole stuff: MINK.

119. Docking place: PIER.

121. Cheapest way to buy, with "in": BULK.

122. "Nurse Jackie" star Falco: EDIE.

124. Gentle touch: PAT. Do any of you have this type of shiatsu shoulder massager? Does it really work?

126. Exist: ARE.

127. Fish in unadon: EEL. I have not had uadon for ages. Grilled eels over steamed rice.

128. Yearbook gp.: SRS.


Nov 28, 2020

Saturday, November 28, 2020, Chuck Deodene

 Saturday Themeless by Chuck Deodene

Today's puzzle is by veteran constructor Chuck Deodene. Chuck had this to say about himself: I grew up in suburban New Jersey in the 1970s, majored in Chemistry at Oberlin College, and currently reside in Bloomington, Indiana. Along with my reading for the OED, another word-based trade I sometimes ply is crossword puzzle construction.

Yes, you read that right, Chuck is a reader for the Oxford English Dictionary and actively ferrets out new words to enter into that TOME. Chuck made a connection with a man from the OED in his father's used book store in Bloomington. Here Chuck describes this fascinating OED job

I have to wonder how many of the words Chuck unearths for the OED wind up in his puzzles.


1. Filtered messages: SPAM - You hope they get filtered out

5. Walk, e.g.: GAIT 

9. Disreputable: SLIMY beat out Shady and Seamy

14. Get sucked into, in a way: HATE WATCH - Our constructor friend from Kingston, Ontario, Brian Paquin, introduced this term to us earlier this month. It means getting "sucked into" watching TV that you really don't like. For me it's soccer because I get sucked in to see why it is "the most popular game in the world" but after a few minutes I still don't get it and move on.

16. Choice word: EENIE.

17. Certain charger: AC ADAPTER - This one keeps me able to keep outputting whatever it is I output here even though I have worn off the top of the Command Key

18. Opposite of après: AVANT Je peux te rencontrer AVANT ou après l'école (I can meet you before or after school)

19. Director's cut, perhaps: RE-RELEASE - One more shot at wringing some bucks  out of a movie

20. Discovery: FIND.

21. It may be slashed: PRICE - The Omaha World Herald was going to charge me $620/yr up from $575 and I declined. Then someone from the paper offered to slash the PRICE to $490. What an insult! This just in: Yet another call offering me the paper for $199!

22. Curiosity shop stock: EXOTICA.

25. Tray opening: ASH - An smoking artifact of my childhood I do not miss

27. "Fake" salon service: SPRAY TAN - Very popular around prom time. Girls call it '''fake bake"

Avant                                         Après               

28. Tool box?: SHED - Yeah, I suppose most SHEDS are just big boxes

31. Trenton Thunder, for one: AA TEAM - Derek Jeter filled the stands in Trenton, NJ when he was there for a Yankee rehab assignment 

33. Stop on the road: INN.

34. Adulterate (with), perhaps: LACE 

35. Bite harmlessly: NIP AT.

36. Feet treat: PEDIcure

37. Japanese salad veggie: UDO - UDO and wakame seaweed salad

38. Aussie agreement: OK MATE - I suspect you can append MATE to most anything said "down under"

39. "__ sow ... ": AS YE so shall ye reap.

40. Low-fat, low-sodium regimen: RICE DIET - Like most diets:

42. Noble title: DON - Zorro's real identity was DON Diego de la Vega

44. Got off the point: STRAYED.

45. Religion involving ritual magic: WICCA 

49. Possible swing result: MISS - There is no joy in Mudville...

50. Rare medical service: HOUSE CALL -  We have great EMT's in our town who saved my friend's life in his house 

54. Stuns, in a way: TASES.

55. "Terrible idea": I THINK NOT.

56. Pop superstar from Tottenham: ADELE - She recently made headlines for something other than her angelic voice. She lost 50lbs

Avant                                         Après 

57. Smarts: GOOD SENSE and 1. Quick-witted: SHARP.

58. Like contested divorces: MESSY.

59. Villainous giggle: HE HE - or this NYU assistant professor. BTW, that is her full name.

60. Batik artist: DYER.


2. Hoosier State NBAer: PACER - Not LARRY (Bird) but the Indiana PACERS

3. Gaming pioneer: ATARI - ATARI's Pong was an early game changer! I remember standing in line to plunk down my quarter to play at a console like this. Wanna play online using your arrow keys?

4. The '70s, in a Tom Wolfe essay: ME DECADE - Wolfe's essay postulated that this was a break from the communalism of the '60's

5. "Um, what?" expression: GAPE.

6. "__ way!": ATTA.

7. Street fair treats: ICES - Philadelphia's Famous Italian ICES

8. Term trademarked by Lakers' coach Pat Riley, even though the team never achieved one under his leadership: THREEPEAT - He never did get three in a row

9. Spume at the shore: SEA FOAM.

10. Joshing: LEVITY.

11. Silly comments: INANITIES - They have a lot of air time to fill in during transitions 

12. Pleasurable diversions, informally: MIND CANDY - Ours are crossword puzzles

13. Still: YET.

15. Dylan Thomas's home: WALES - Dylan's home of Swansea, U.K. in Wales is NNW of Exmoor, U.K. (Doone Country) we had recently 

23. Like the 1972 film "Fritz the Cat," originally: X-RATED - Google if you must

24. Miss Hannigan's charge: ANNIE - Carol Burnett played the authoritarian head of the orphanage in ANNIE in her Hard Knock Life

26. Pocket square, e.g.: HANKIE.

27. March VIP: ST PAT.

28. Sounds tipsy, maybe: SLURS.

29. Was on Easy Street: HAD IT MADE.

30. Oil spills, e.g.: ECO CRISES - The Exon Valdez and Capt. Hazelwood leapt to mind

32. Aspired: AIMED HIGH 

36. Lost one's cool: PANICKED.

38. Hardly a quick jaunt: ODYSSEY 
41. Whiteboard props: EASELS.

43. 1936 Olympics standout: OWENS - Hitler didn't really snub Jesse OWENS as he did not congratulate any athlete. Here is a famous mashup of the two outside pictures that show an event in the middle that never happened.

Actual Picture                 Fake Mashup              Actual Picture

46. Clever: CANNY - Kathy (Yellowrocks) is a fan of this word but I am more familiar with uncanny as in: Patrick MaHomes has an uncanny ability to avoid getting tackled.
47. Conclusion: CLOSE 

48. Get to fit: ALTER - Dang, these pants have shrunk since Thanksgiving 

51. Chiwere-speaking native: OTOE.

52. "I'm toast": UH OH.

53. Toast, sometimes: SIDE - $1.29 below. Fun clue.

54. Flat-topped cap: TAM.