Dec 18, 2020

Friday, December 18, 2020, Robin Stears

  Title: It's my job man not my life.

I agree, not every title is a gem, but 2020 is almost over and I am worn out. Robin's debut at the LAT was this 2009 FRIDAY which is worth visiting because it tells us about Robin, and also shows the joy of a C.C. write-up which led to her being a preeminent constructor. Today's effort is substantially easier, with a wordplay gimmick that makes sense once you see it. After a brief struggle, the always helpful 17A filled and I was off to the races. There were some unknowns but the perps were all fair and the longer non-theme fill helped getting the solve. ARRANGE, AVONLEA, ENLARGE, IVORIES, MIDEAST, YIELDED, BROWN BAG, and COOLANTS were the helpers. We end up with 5 fill in the theme symmetrically placed. So now what?

First the themers, then the rest. 

17A. Organizer of a party for a mom-to-be?: SHOWER HEAD(10). The mandatory baby shower is not just for females any more in our new realities.

25A. Class clown at the prom?: DANCE CARD(9). If you call someone a card, it means they’re funny or quick-witted. This is discussed on a radio show.

34A. Musicians at a formal gala?: BALL PLAYERS(11). A CSO to our own Trombone master JzB. 

49A. The most amazing party guests ever?: DO WONDERS(9). Sussing this one was the most difficult. First, you have to relate to throwing a  DO, meaning a party. The dictionary says this is a mostly British definition of a social event such as a party. The WONDER as a noun, oh my he is a Wonder!

58A. Radio hobbyists at a park outing?: PICNIC HAMS(10). This is very cute. 


1. HBO political satire until 2019: VEEP. The show that won Julia Louis-Dreyfus more Emmys.

5. Low areas: DALES. A CSO to dear Lucina.

10. __-deucey: ACEY. A card game I have not played in years which I have seen in rare visits to the casinos.

14. Limo bar: AXLE. I never get tired of a good misdirection.

15. Light __: Offenbach music genre: OPERA. This is a short, amusing musical play; an operetta. This is OFFENBACH

16. Love of "The Real": LONI. I knew nothing of this comedian, her show or the CONTROVERSY.

19. __ vault: POLE. What else would you call it?

20. Tree goo: SAP. Goo?

21. Collar: NAIL. Think police and a perpetrator.

22. Judaism : kosher :: Islam : __: HALAL.

23. Inuit relative: ALEUT. The same but DIFFERENT.

28. Depot worker: REDCAP. A train depot, as these are baggage handlers at the train station.

30. Orchestrate: ARRANGE. One could think about arranging as a type of musical composition, requiring the same skills and talents required of all composers. Orchestration is the art and craft of arranging a musical composition for performance by an orchestra or other ensemble. According to New Music Box.

31. "Kung Fu Panda" voice actress Lucy: LIU.

32. Health haven: SPA.

33. Dude who time-travels with Bill: TED. And they have excellent adventures.

38. Damage: MAR.

40. Sauce in a tiny packet: SOY. Very Asian.

41. Ergonomic kitchenware brand: OXO.

42. Keys for a music room?: IVORIES. Keys, NOT keys!
45. Words of emphasis: NO LESS.

52. Car company that owns SolarCity: TESLA. A pure guess, but why not.

53. Blah feeling: ENNUI. High school.

54. German automaker: AUDI.

56. Prefix with gender: CIS. Another modern word added- cisgender.

57. Mass robes: ALBS. Not sure why but I always remember this fill.

61. Political goal: SEAT.

62. Field of conflict: ARENA.

63. Weapon with two accents: Γ‰PΓ‰E. Both of which are French.

64. States' plates: TAGS.

65. She played Julia in "Julie & Julia": MERYL. Did you know that because of Meryl Streep's height (5'6") several camera/set/costume tricks had to be employed to mimic Julia Child's height (6'2")? Countertops were lowered, Streep wore extra-high heels, and forced perspective camera angles were used. 

66. Major muddle: MESS. I am into kerfuffle today. 


1. Poughkeepsie campus: VASSAR. Once a famous female-only school, now COED.

2. Yoga class directive: EXHALE. Breathe in, breathe out; repeat.

3. Got together quietly?: ELOPED. I like this clue/fill combo.

4. Place to pray: PEW. Unless it is Pepe Le's place.

5. Bilingual toon explorer: DORA. She is becoming a regular, but I guess if it were clued, "Jason's aunt" it wouldn't be fair.

6. Rose pest: APHID. While they benefit Peonies, not so much roses. You can often get rid of the aphids by wiping or spraying the leaves of the plant with a mild solution of water and a few drops of dish soap.

7. "Futurama" woman with one eye and purple hair: LEELA. I could hear Katey Sagal's voice but my brain only got me as far as Leeza which I knew was wrong.

8. Detergent brand: ERA.

9. Pathetic: SAD.

10. Source of silky wool: ALPACA.

11. Radiator fillers: COOLANTS.

12. Blow up: ENLARGE. A photograph, not a bomb.

13. Produced: YIELDED.

18. Necessitate: ENTAIL.

22. Part of HRH: HER. Or HIS Royal Highness.

24. Bruins' sch.: UCLA. University of California Los Angeles. They played a classic football game last Saturday. 

26. Valley with a Wine Train: NAPA. California's wine region; more from Chairman Moe if he feels like it.

27. Handout with a kids' menu: CRAYON. Restaurants want to keep the little ones occupied so they do not disturb the haters.

29. Throbbed: PULSED. Either a headache or a ... oh never mind.

32. Subtle: SLY.

34. There might be a lunch in it for you: BROWN BAG. Before fast food was king you brought your lunch to work either in a lunch box or a brown bag. 

35. Prepare for a selfie: POSE. So many spend so much time...

36. Definitely not from around here: EXOTIC.

37. IMDb listing: ROLE.

38. Region spanning three continents: MIDEAST.

39. "Anne of Green Gables" setting: AVONLEA. I mentioned how much I enjoyed Anne with an E.

43. De-bunks?: ROUSTS. very witty, especially if you were a camp counselor and you had to get the little darlings up in the morning. The hyphen and the "?" give it away.

44. "Here Comes the Hotstepper" singer __ Kamoze: INI.

46. Get away from it all: ESCAPE.

47. Coats with goo: SLIMES. Nickelodeon and Ghostbusters both made slime famous. 

48. Gets lippy with: SASSES. No talking back!

50. Danica Patrick, for one: RACER. Now she is just a talker.

51. Fair: SUNNY. It's always sunny in Philadelphia.

55. Remote precursor: DIAL. Yep, you had to get up and turn the dial.

58. Cooking spray: PAM. I have mentioned before that PAM was introduced in 1961 by Leon Rubin who, with Arthur Meyerhoff, started Gibraltar Industries to market the spray. The name PAM is an acronym for Product of Arthur Meyerhoff.

59. Fury: IRE.

60. Blind stitch: HEM. So you do not see it.

As with many Fridays lately, this was not as challenging as some but still very entertaining. It also, absent divine intervention will be my final 2020 blog, but I will start off 2021. Have a very safe and happy rest of this year and holiday season. Lemonade out.


Boomer said...

Good Morning to all my friends, especially Irish Miss and Spitzboov and any others in the Northeast, I wish you safety from the blizzard. As one from Minnesota, I have lived through hundreds of those storms and hated them all. But the good news is it will melt, sometimes it takes until April. sometimes until the Groundhog sees his shadow, but IT WILL MELT. Meanwhile, in the words of one of those crooners, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, or Frank Sinatra, - I'm too old to remember which one, "Oh there's no place like home for the holidays!"
Stay safe, Boomer

Wilbur Charles said...

I didn't know the HBO show and a NY Campus? But the V was the key. 60k+15 for board? #1 for veterans?

Anne with an E does look interesting. A British Sheldon?

A little trouble in the SW. Then I thought of these Ivories

I solved this thinking it was a Thursday. Hmm, typical Thurs. Then I solved Thursday which seemed much harder.

Getting the themes was a big help. I was trying to think of that thingy they do for expectant mothers. There was a LEELA The Jungle Girl I recalled from Dr Who. Yes, that was back awhile but the dates fit my Who-watching days.

Thanks Robin and Gary. I've got to go back and check some of those links.


Jamie said...

Interesting to learn the origin of PAM! I always wondered who Pam was, assuming it was the name of the inventor.

Wilbur Charles - Leela wasn't the only Doctor Who fakeout today. I briefly tried to make 33A, "Dude who time-travels with Bill," into a reference because Bill was the name of a main character in Season 10 of the modern series! But the three letters (and the "dude") made me realize it was of course TED.

There's a Leela in Futurama and a Leela in Doctor Who. There's a Leeta in Star Trek DS9 and a Lyta (pronounced the same) in Babylon 5. Science fiction writers need to get one of those baby name books!

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Tried SHOWER HOST (LEOLA, ERS, and SAT all looked OK, provided d-o didn't read the clues...which d-o didn't). Realized HOST wouldn't do when DANCE CARD showed up and the theme became obvious. Whew, d-o couldn't afford another DNF this week. I always enjoy Robin's puzzles, and this one was no exception. Lemonade, thanx for the tour. (I also noticed the SO to Lucina.)

SOY: According to America's Test Kitchen, Kikkoman is the soy sauce of choice. When I was in college, lo those many years ago, Kikkoman purchased my roommate's grandfather's farm in Walworth, WI for the site of their U.S. manufacturing plant.

BobB said...

Had duncecard vs dancecard. Never went back to correct it

Anonymous said...

TGIG. Thank Goodness I Finished. Took me 14:45 today, and 1/3 of that time was spent in the lower left. Avonlea and Ini were unknown, as was "do" for a party. Couldn't remember Halal and Leela either. Ivories took too long for me to see.
I always want to put Vassal for Vassar, and I probably will next time too.

Anonymous said...

*oops. TGIF.

Mark said...

The ? clue for 42A had me thinking it was a themed clue. With studio or flat or something. So a simple one word IVORIES answer just couldn't be correct. That and DO for a party made SW a mess and DNF.

Malodorous Manatee said...

I did not know AVONLEA - but now I do. Everything else was pretty straight forward with DO WONDERS being the last theme entry to be completed.

Personally, at 24 Across, I would not use "classic" to describe that game. As someone with multiple connections to UCLA, I would, and most certainly did, employ other adjectives.

ATLGranny said...

As Anon said, TGIF. Yes, another FIR this week! Pride goeth before a fall, I know, so we'll see how tomorrow's puzzle looks....

My only WO was putting SLIMEd before I saw I had made a MESS of it. I really enjoyed the puzzle and found the theme was helpful. LIke others, DOWONDERS gave me pause, but then figured out. Thanks, Robin. And many thanks for an excellent year of reviews, Lemonade! Looking forward to 2021. Enjoy the weekend y'all.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

FIR and for a Friday in record time for me. (Don't ask). A fun puzzle, ingenious answers. Who would think to ever use word play that way, who? πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€” DOWONDERS escaped me till Lemmy 'splained it. Kind of a stretch.

"Veep" was an outstanding HBO comedy series that eventually became a bizarre reflection of reality. Seventeen well deserved Emmys.

Isn't her name more accurately DORer
Yesterday's SNOCAPs today's REDCAP. Does anyone under 50 know what "Don't touch that DIAL" means? No, not an alternative to IVORIES(oap)

The second L in LEELA NECESSITATEd the NAIL perp. MERYL played Julia and yesterday's Amy ADAMS played Julie, in the film. Rouses to ROUSTS, the single inkover.

Who says the CRAYONs with the kids menu are just for the kids? ("You call that a tree? I'll show you how to draw a tree")...Speaking of kids and grandkids...last year vacation took the crew to the Nickelodeon resort in the DR where SIL, GD Eve, and Catherine


Slavic safe: _____ vault...POLE
Deer and antelope playground.....ARRANGE
Awesome insects...COOLANTS
Final story...ENTAIL
Type of belly button..___ or ___ INI, AUDI
Io sono, je suis, yo __ SOY

Bonus groanworthy nonsense:
Does the composer return frequently? Yes he's Offenbach

Where did the composer go now? He's Offenbach

Bob Lee said...

Filled everything out successfully, although I never did figure out the theme. It's still not obvious to me.

Like others, the O in DoWonders came last.

Anonymous said...

Must be a senior morning. I’m with Bob Lee, FIR, but still don’t understand the theme. Help!

Big Easy said...

Hello. The 'wordplay gimmick' showed its head in the SHOWER HEAD. Easier that the usual Friday with some unknown proper names filled by perps. VEEP, LONI Love, Lucy LIU, TED, LEELA, & INI. No HBO in my house.

Jamie- never seen Dr. Who, Star Trek, or Futurama; LEELA was a complete unheard of.

I learned HALAL when a restaurant call "The HALAL Bros" opened (and folded ) near my house.
BROWN BAGging is so much cheaper than going to lunch or ordering out for a 'hot meal'.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Got the theme with DANCE CARD. Couldn't describe it quickly but knew what I was looking for. They actually helped make the puzzle easier. Only wite-out was I had 'arises' before ROUSTS. Liked the clue for that. FIR.
BROWN BAGger - Slang for married guys on our ship. (circa 1960)
ALEUT - Thanks Lemonade for providing some context to the relativeness to the Inuit.

Boomer; we had under 12". Mid-Hudson Valley and eastern Southern Tier got a lot more. Binghamton got 41".

Anonymous said...

The MIDEAST may INHABIT three continents, but it does not SPAN any one of them.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

A very pleasant offering from Robin, as usual. My favorite themers were: Shower Head and Dance Card. The one I struggled with was Do Wonders because I immediately entered Do Gooders. The SW corner played toughest because of the aforementioned Do Gooders and trying to fit Avalon, which I was certain was correct until the light bulb came on and I realized it was Avonlea. My middle name is Anne with an E, as was my sister Anne. I thought the cluing was outstanding, devious but fair and fun. My only w/o was Rouses before Rousts but I needed perps for Loni, Tesla, Leela, and Ini, none of whom I’ve ever heard, except Tesla. Ennui is a favorite word, even though I never use it. (Sometimes feel it, though.) As mentioned, CSO to Lucina at Dales.

Thanks, Robin, for an enjoyable solve of a clever theme and thanks, Lemony, for the wit and wisdom of today’s expo, and for every other blog you’ve written. Well done, Sir.

Hi, Boomer. Having lived in this area most of my life, I’m used to the winters and major snowstorms. When we were kids, snowstorms meant sledding πŸ›· and freezing temps meant ice skating ⛸ . Now, in the golden years, they mean hibernating and curling up with an iPad. 😊

Have a great day. Stay safe and warm.

Husker Gary said...

-SW corner took some doing and SE corner practically filled in itself
-I tried to find a connective gimmick other than just fun personification word play
-LEELA, INI and that LONI were gettable unknowns
-Great POLE Vaulters have more courage than any other track athlete
-ALEUT or INUIT? Never mind, ALEUT is in the clue
-Arrangement: Neil Sedaka’s 1962 pop version and 1975 slow version of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do both made the Top Ten
-Calling license plates TAGS is not common in my little world
-Dumb DORA was a staple on this show
-It appears ALPACA has no double consonants
-Danica made money by being a RACER and posing for RACY pix

Shankers said...

I see that I have a lot of company agreeing it was not difficult for a Friday, but that there were many answers gotten by perps such as Leela, Loni and Ini. I would not have known "cis" at 56A were it not for a dissertation by one of our Cornerites a few weeks ago. After finishing I had to look long and hard at dowonders and let it go thinking it was wrong. Nope, not so. Turned out to be a relatively fun FIR.

Lucina said...


Many thanks to Robin Stears, not David Poole as noted in my newspaper. I enjoyed this and solved it quickly. Great fun with the puns. I can't even pick a favorite.

Who used to say "tickle the IVORIES"?

We call license plates TAGS and in fact that is what we get, a small TAG to stick onto the plate.

Lemonade and Irish Miss, thank you for the CSO! I'll take one at SUNNY as well. We have sunshine all day, every day and not a drop of rain. At least the temperatures have gone down with the onset of cool weather.

My one W/O was LLAMA before ALPACA. POLE vault set me straight. And the only LONI I know is Ms. Anderson. Never heard of LONI Love.

The ALB is a white garment worn by the priest and in fact ALBA means white in Latin.

Today we have not only RACER but TESLA and AUDI for car references.

MERYL's voice as Julia Child was masterful and as usual she NAILed the role.

Thank you, Lemonade, for your enlightening expose. I hope you can rest over the holiday season.

Wishing you all a SUNNY day even if you are inside!

NaomiZ said...

Robin, this was a fun puzzle, but you nearly stumped me in the SW where I had Eurasia and America before MIDEAST. I guess I was thinking of "comprising" rather than "spanning." DO WONDERS was a toughie.

Ray - O - Sunshine, you suggest that you are slow to solve, but your wit is quick! You seem to invent Ray-isms at blinding speed. Very clever.

Thanks, Lemonade, for the tour, and Cornerites all for sharing the experience.

Misty said...

Same constructor problem as we've been having for the last two or three weeks now in the Los Angeles Times--constructor was listed as David Poole--sorry, Robin. I just wish someone could fix this annoying hassle. We'll see if Lucina had the same problem. But thanks, Lemonade, for your commentary.

I found this one of the easiest and most fun Friday puzzles in a long time. ACEY got me started on the northeast corner, even though I didn't know HALAL. Then I got VASSAR, SAP, and ALEUT in the northwest. And, of course, Offenbach's music had to be an OPERA. And so it went. Loved Lucy LIU on "Elementary" for many years. And am happy that I never have ENNUI--at 75 it's just wonderful to be alive.

Have a good weekend coming up, everybody.

Malodorous Manatee said...

The Shortyz app has the correct contractor attribution and has had the correct authors all through this streak of mislabeling. The L.A. Times is not the newspaper that it used to be.

I.M., Ray and others who are able to insert emojis in their comments here: How do you do that?

Malodorous Manatee said...

Constructor - darn auto correct.

Vidwan827 said...

Thank you Ms. Stears for a very challenging CW, and Lemonade for a thought provoking explanatory review.
Well, someone has to 'do' a Friday puzzle, and Lemon, it is good, that we had you to explain the subtle meanings and be a real trooper, without an unkind word.

The word that resonated with me was LEELA, because that's the name of one of my grandkids. It means a play, as in drama, or just mere amusement.
Fridays are always a difficult solve, and I am glad I learnt a lot of things, and now I can go back to the rest of my business.

Have a great weekend all, keep safe, drive carefully, and be careful with the snow on the ground.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain the theme?


inanehiker said...

This was a pretty smooth solve for a Friday. I had a few do-overs - like Spitzboov- I had ARISES before ROUSTS. I also tried to put in ALICIA for Keys in a music room - but not enough letters so it switched to IVORIES.

I thought the theme was very clever - except for the last one - PICNIC HAMS - meh! It was easily figured out between the radio operator and the perps - but that phrase isn't as "in the language" as the others IMO. I originally spelled HALAL wrong (HALEL) so ENLARGE took me a minute.

Thanks Lemonade for the entertaining blog and Robin for the puzzle!

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Thanks Robin for a fun grid. I caught the theme at DANCE CARD and that helped in both the NW & SW -- and that SW was a bear.

Fun expo Lem - now I know who INI is.

WOs: VASSeR, ShY, ariSeS b/f SEAT changed it to ROUSTS.
Fav: I kinda like how ESCAPE and ELOPE mirror.

Oh wow - I don't know that many folks that followed Babylon 5. Did you also watch VR.5?

D-O: America's Test Kitchen on that SOY ranking. Kikkoman's is what I use too; pretty good quality and cheap enough to use for marinades.

Ray-O: Your SLIMEd pic seems broken.

BigE - We have 3 HALAL Guys in Houston. I've eaten at the one on Shepard a few times - very good.

Gotta run. Play later!

Cheers, -T

Bootheels said...

Lucina: I know this is picking some nits, but we all get tags to put on our plates so that makes them something other than our plates. The clue could have been something like “States’ plates’ add-ons.” Fun puzzle, though.

Spitzboov said...

Vidwan - Whatever your intent, talking about animist Gods is religion, a no-no here. IMO

Lemonade714 said...

Blogger BobB said...Had duncecard vs dancecard. Never went back to correct it

I hate to be cruel but isn't that a self-fulfilling prophecy BB?

The theme is easy, the ones chosen are hard- take a word or phrase that relates to a social setting. Then pair t with a word that both creates an actual something but which also changes the meaning of the social event.


Spitzboov said...

TAGS is not commonly used in NYS. For registration renewal we get a sticker to place in the lower left corner of the windshield. DMV calls it a 'sticker'. DMV also calls it a 'registration document'.

Kelly Clark said...

Just to clarify the theme on this really fun puzzle -- it's "Get Togethers." Or, in a broader sense, "parties." Shower, Dance, Ball, Do, and Picnic. I hope this helps.

Really love coming here,'s such a friendly place!

desper-otto said...

Spitz, we also get a sticker for the lower left of the windshield. We used to have both a registration and inspection sticker. Then the guvment decided we should provide proof of inspection to them in order to get a registration sticker. So, no more inspection sticker.

BTW, Texas used to have renewal stickers that went onto the corner of the license plate, but sticker theft became a problem. Now the license plate contains no indication of the expiration date -- it's on the registration sticker.

People around here are a little casual about renewing their registration. We see several vehicles on our morning march through the 'hood that are a year or more out of date. The authorities don't seem to care.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Mal man @ 12pm

I just got back from a 1 hr. drive to the Adirondacks with the excuse to see if my place was still standing. Tons of snow. So just saw your post/emoji question. As I leanred from Agnes Anne (the notorious Irish MissπŸ€) Print your comment without the preview setting. πŸ˜‰

My problem is posting personal pics. Thought mine came OK, AnonT says no.

Anonymous T said...

Ray-O: On my personal laptop I can see the image I can see it OK. I may have the filters for the office network turned up to 11 and that blocked it. -T

Wilbur Charles said...

Did I say " Thanks Robin and Gary. "
I just finished the NW corner of Saturday's xword and my mind was in Saturday mode. I even checked my answers and I'm thrilled to FIR. No hints per TTP-speaking of... I'm sitting at Firestone with the Evan Birnholz Wa-Post from 12/6. Just finished. I'm about to start 12/17.

Speaking of Lemonade? I thought he explained the themes very well YMMV

My first job was shucking lobster at the Boston docks(16). By the third day I was BROWN BAGging. All the lobster I could eat. I didn't eat any for twenty years*.

Gary, I'm in Florida I learned they are indeed, TAGS. The plate itself.

If memory serves you won't be 75 for long, Misty


*If you want some lobster go to Hampton Beach, NH. On the south entrance there are two or three restaurants that steam about a thousand a day. Prices vary quite a bit; they had a surplus awhile back. Ironically there was a Sports Bar in St Pete that had NE lobster on Tuesdays.

WC - oh yeah, I mentioned how important a good pen I'd for solving. I stumbled on a Pilot and it's terrific

Spitzboov said...

On the 16th the theme was Beethoven. The WSJ had an Op-Ed piece yesterday that you might like. Very readable and offers insight to his early life. Here is the link:

Beethoven’s Fifth, Ninth and 250th

Avg Joe said...

Fun puzzle and an interesting theme. Tripped on that theme after the second entry. Did have a hard time parsing Do Wonders, but eventually figured it all out. Several unknowns, but nothing that was a full blown Natick. Enjoyed the outing Robin, and thanks for the writeup Lemon.

WC, I lived in Tampa for a brief period, and can attest that in FL plates are definitely called tags. For a few years after I returned to the middle of the country I'd get a weird look when I used that phrase, but these days it seems pretty much interchangeable. At least I've not had to explain it in decades, and it's my preferred term.

Also WC. Smells can be powerful sensory stimulants (i.e. your aversion to lobster). I worked in a soybean oil extraction plant for a short while (my only factory job ever), and for a couple years after that I could hardly stomach the smell of margarine or vegetable oil. Thankfully it passed.

Tony, check your email before you tackle the GFI chore. Call me if need be.

JB2 said...

A tad easy for a Friday, yes. But I really liked it. Lots of fun (to me at least) misdirection/clues. Really liked brownbag. DNK Ini but perps were solid.

We've been basically snow free here in Chicago - just a couple of dustings. I'm sure Mother Nature will get around to us fairly soon.

Stay safe and well everyone.


Anonymous said...

Fast for a Friday, I caught the punny gimmick quickly. Loved it. Ini and Leela were all perp
It makes sense that those little add-ons to change the date on vehicle licenses are called tags. NJ does not have them, but some of us still call the whole plate a tag. There goes a car with no tags. Maybe it was stolen. Police here are quick to spot expired registration stickers on windshields.
IMO the MIDEAST is an area. People inhabit an area. Some Mideasterners, not the MIDEAST, inhabit two continents. Traveltrivia agrees. "Several countries have a home on two continents. These special places have developed their own distinct identities, mixing elements from both continents. Here are seven countries that SPAN two continents — some obvious and others a little more surprising."
Out of quarantine, I was able to fetch my Christmas decorations from storage and set them up with the help of aides at no extra charge. The apt. looks lovely. After the storm, helpers cleaned my car and the area around and under it. Ms Independent, here, is accepting help gratefully. I guess I am officially old.
Avg Joe, nice to hear from you.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Thanks for letting me know...was worried all that slime for naught

desper-otto said...

Ray-O, personal pics must be stored somewhere public (ie: internet). You provide a link to that address. An address on your local computer won't cut it.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Always thought it was the Middle East. Mideast sounds like a part of the US opposite the Midwest...

In Utica we have some great Middle Eastern restaurants

Irish Miss said...

Ray O @ 2:43 ~ I’m brimming with curiosity about what I did (or didn’t do) to become Notorious. 😈 Is Cary Grant involved, perhaps?

Brian said...

When I was growing up, I remember PICNIC HAMS as a real thing. I think it's a ham from a front shoulder (therefore smaller) rather than the more typical rear shoulder.

Anonymous T said...

Ray-O: Sorry I worried you.

D-O: When I moved south, TAGS == License Plates confused me. When I say Tags to family in IL, they are now confused.
Ah, yes the Texas Two Step to renew - that's why my '86 Alfa is 2 years out of compliance - try to get someone to inspect (and pass!) it. Even after it starts :-)

YR - sounds like your new digs come with some benefits. Glad they're taking good care of you like you've taken care of Alan for so many years.

AveJoe! - So nice to read you. I got your email but forgot to reply until you posted. I'm saving the GFI project for tomorrow when someone's home to call 911 if (when?) I MESS up.

KellyC @1:58 - welcome. Stay and play in our little sandbox.

WC - I use a Pilot G-2 .05 when inking my grid. Maybe that's why my filled grids are so "neat."

I was catching up on the paper and read about vaccine distribution... With Spring Training only two months away - who's with me inre MLB should be put 3rd in line? :-) //Verlander plans to stay w/ Houston!

Cheers, -T

Anonymous said...

This was easier than tuesday.

Chairman Moe said...

Puzzling Thoughts:

Just got back from my trip to GA to see my daughter, son-in-law (aka, Sil; I'm Fil), new grandson (Ok, he's ALMOST 7 months old now) and new granddog. I have a fully-charged emotional gas tank!

I'm sure many/most of you had your first grandchild at an earlier age than I. I had almost given up thinking that either of my "kids" would provide me with a grandchild, as my older one is over 40 and unmarried; and the younger one is in her late 30's. But she is an incredible mom, and the new grandson is a joy to be around.

I went sans S/O as she was still quite afraid of traveling during the pandemic. I'm in a self-quarantine status until I am able to take another COVID test (has to be at least 7-10 days past travel, according to the studies we've read), so our Christmas may have to be celebrated past "Boxing Day" ... but given all of the outbreaks here in our state, Christmas celebration was going to be pretty weird, regardless ...

I got lots of puzzles to catch up on. Did yesterday's - MM, great job with the recap - and today's was done moments ago. One Natick as the BROWN BAG was a BROWN BAR, and TAGS was TARS. Thanks Jason for the recap and explanation of the theme.

As others said, "credit" for today's puzzle went to Ed Sessa.

Anyhoo, C Moe is back ... no more blogs for me until 2021 (Lemony received his "Divine Intervention"!!) but I promise to stop by and offer my two scents every so often

Happy Weekend

Lucina said...

From yesterday. I meant to comment that I expected you to mention Cary Grant after I posted about Paul Newman as I know you are a big fan and actually I am, too. It would be very difficult to choose between the two if ever that possibility arose!

With the exception of some packages still due to arrive in the mail I am finished wrapping! The pile is definitely up to standard.

Until someone in the publishing world takes notice I believe the constructor errors will continue. It's just weird.

Ol' Man Keith said...

Why--AGAIN!--can't the LA Times get the name of the constructor right? What's wrong with them?

Good pzl from Ms. Stears. Got 'em all in the end, but was forced to linger over the SW quad, as those were (to me) the toughest clues. I had DO WONDERS for the longest time...
A 3-way in opposition.
The central diagonal offers an anagram. This is dedicated to those amateurs who may be called up from the audience and drafted into a boxing match with each other!
We call this the...

Wilbur Charles said...

AvgJoe, no not the seafood smell which is a problem for many*. My problem was akin to the character in Guy DeMaupassant Short story of the man who was challenged to eat only chicken(poulet) for a month. I ate so much lobster that it was no longer desirable. Betsy though considers me a pro at eating lobster because I suck out the tendrils.

-T, mine is a Pilot G-2 10. What a difference. Btw, if TTP is anywhere around, I've finished both Evan Birnholz Wa-Post xwords. Not so sure about 12/13.

Re. Constructors: Brian Paquin tomorrow. No comment. Quelle difference? I've read easy, medium and difficult for this and yesterday. YMMV


*I went to stop at a seafood shop that specialized in fried fish, clams etc(on the way to Hampton Beach btw) and my son and his friends said "No way".

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

I M @ 4:12...Your notoriety derives from your inciteful dissections of the CW challenges.

But Cary Grant? Something you're suggesting but teasingly not revealing? πŸ˜‰

sasses said...

Fun puzzle, esp. gets lippy with = sasses!

Picard said...

From yesterday:
Wilbur Charles, Yellowrocks, AnonT, Lucina thank you all for the greetings and good wishes. Yes, we are mostly settled in now. Hope you are settling in OK, too, Yellowrocks.

Here are some of my photo highlights of our activities this past year.

As for today's theme I feel the same as others. I kinda think I got it, but not totally sure. I never heard of DANCE CARD or PICNIC HAMS or DO used that way. If it is just punny dual-use meanings of these expressions, then I got it.

Jamie thank you for the reminder about the similarity of LEELA to the other science fiction female names of LEETA and LYTA.

Your comment prompted me to dig out my photos of LEETA actress Chase Masterson.

This was at our Science of Consciousness convention at the University of Arizona. I was very moved by this Hollywood actress massaging the feet of the woman who organized the conference.

Irish Miss said...

Ray O @ 5:45 ~ Read Lucina’s comment @ 5:04. Plus, he starred in an excellent movie opposite Ingrid Bergman : “Notorious”. My brain works in strange ways, at times. (I hope you meant “insightful.”) πŸ™ƒ

Yellowrocks said...

Brian @ 4:15. Exactly. When I had a big family and not much money I used to buy picnic hams as fresh (pork shoulder) or smoked.
Long ago a lady had a dance card at a ball. Men signed the dance card taking turns to dance with her.
Picard, lovely pictures
Ray o@ 4:45. Does IM incite trouble and controversy, inciteful, or is she perceptive, insightful? I choose the latter. IM, I see you saw that, too.
The Midwest is often in the news. Middle East seems not to be used as much these days.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Wait wait, not incite-ful...INSIGHTFUL!!...a victim of my own wordplay. Mea maxima culpa.


Lucina said...

We had DANCE CARDS at one of our proms. I found it embarrassing to ask the boys to sign them and the boys, being teenagers, liked to embarrass us. It was not a happy event for me as I was a shy teenager.

Robin Stears said...

Hi, everyone! I'm glad that you enjoyed this puzzle, and gratified that all the things you didn't like were editorial changes! 😁