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Jan 1, 2021

Friday, January 1, 2021, Robin C Stears

Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit

Theme: Hindsight is 2020

Happy New Year, Cornerites! It's Chairman Moe, welcoming you all to the year 2021. No hangover for this Stooge! Not now that the year 2020 is finally "hind sight" ... and whom better to add some levity to a crossword puzzle recap than I??!

Oh ... yeah ... there is a crossword puzzle to solve! Robin Stears, to whom Lemonade paid tribute just a couple of Friday's ago, leads the 2021 Parade of Puzzles for the LA Times. She begins our "barrage of brain-teasers" with a cleverly done use of homophones that was "All Greek to Me" until discovering that she used Greek Gods and Goddesses as the homophones to parody a quartet of Pop Songs/Pop Song Lyrics.

And thanks to a FaceBook Crossword Group to which both Robin and I are members, I was able to text her to confirm my suspicions! Actually, Robin confirmed that her idea came as a result of watching - for the oompteenth time - the movie "Hercules" on Disney+. The "seed" entry was HADES GONNA HATE, and all of the entries were designed to be puns of the names of the various Greek gods and goddesses. But if it were "just a coincidence", as Robin said in our text conversation, perhaps I unearthed the second unifier (the connection to songs) that made this "meta-puzzle" Friday-worthy. Who knows ... but regardless, Robin and I are now connected, and I hope that she stops by to comment!

And ever I, who loves to go down "rabbit holes", immediately wondered, just how DO Greeks celebrate the New Year? Well, as your blogger, I think it's my responsibility to give you a resource!

OK, so that really didn't offer any clue(s) as to why Rich would choose Robin's puzzle for the first of the New Year ... so let's explore the fill and see if we can confirm that it's a meta puzzle:

17-Across. Zeus' nickname for his relentlessly tenacious wife?: HERA THE DOG. Ok; so HERA (Roman name: Juno), who was the wife of Zeus and queen of the ancient Greek gods, represented the ideal woman and was goddess of marriage and the family. To "dog" someone (verb tense) requires a level of relentless tenacity, I suppose, but I've not seen this definition used as a noun before.

"Hair' a the Dog" actually, hair OF the dog, refers to a old colloquial expression, whereby you have another alcoholic beverage to lessen the effect of a hangover. Short for "a hair of the dog that bit you". I'm guessing that many folks are "having one" on this morning after New Year's Eve ...

But in the context of the puzzle, I'm sure that Ms. Stears had this song from Nazareth in mind:

26-Across. "What else do you expect from the god of the Underworld"?: HADES GONNA HATE. HADES, in the ancient Greek religion and myth, is the god of the dead and the king of the underworld, with which his name became synonymous. Certainly, you'd think that the god of the Underworld (aka, Hell) would be a proficient HATER.

The phrase: 'Haters Gonna Hate' comes from Taylor Swift's hit "Shake it Off". Click on the link as it is only a 9-second video!!

40-Across. Allows Persephone's mother to compete in a marathon?: LETS DEMETER RUN. The wording of the clue is the first "give-away": Persephone (aka Kore) was the Greek goddess of vegetation, especially grain, and the wife of Hades, with whom she rules the Underworld (see 26-Across). Demeter is the goddess of the harvest and presides over grains and the fertility of the earth. Although she was most often referred to as the goddess of the harvest, she was also goddess of sacred law and the cycle of life and death; and, mother of Persephone. Marathon, Greek in its reference, is a term used for a long-distance road race (42.195 kilometres). The event was instituted in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, who reported the victory. And is the final event of the Summer Olympic Games.

"Let The Meter Run" is a single from Charlie Mars album "Blackberry Light". Trust me, I am as surprised as most of us here that this is a song, as I was thinking of the phrase "The Meter is Running", whose literal meaning is a taxi cab's meter running while you're stuck in traffic, or the cabbie's waiting for you. Or its metaphorical meaning of "time is running out".

Note: Robin, originally wanted the phrase "KEEP DEMETER RUNNING", but there were too many letters for a 15x15 template

50-Across. How Spanish fighters refer to the Greek god of war?: BUENOS ARES. Was this the outlier in this semi-themeless set of entries? ARES is the Greek god of war, one of the Twelve Olympian gods and the son of Zeus and Hera. In literature Ares represents the violent and physical untamed aspect of war, which is in contrast to Athena who represents military strategy and generalship as the goddess of intelligence.

So, as a play-on-words/homophone/pun, BUENOS ARES is akin to BUENOS AIRES, the Capital of Argentina. Loosely translated, buenos aires means "good looks". Would BUENOS ARES mean "good war"? Or maybe C Moe couldn't see the "bosque para los arboles".

OTOH, Moe did find a video and an image that could've been the connector to this homophone:



The Grid: 71 words/38 blank squares
Across:
1. Tammany Hall caricaturist: NAST. One of those four-letter crossword answers that often trick me: NAST vs NASH; URAL vs ARAL; ANIL vs ARIL; et al

5. Nursery buy: SHRUB. Somehow I thought this might be a reference to a plant/garden "nursery" and not the baby kind. And of course, a Monty Python skit ... oops, I meant "sk"

10-Across. Trade jabs: SPAR, along with 35-down. Fighter's training apparatus: SPEED BAG. SPAR with a SPEED BAG

14. Accurate: TRUE. But in a "TRUE/False" test, wouldn't 'FALSE' be accurate as well?

15. Discontinue: CEASE. Moe-ku #1:
Dermatologist
Will retire. But first, they'll
De-cyst; and then CEASE.

16. 100 centavos: PESO. When you translate the word PESO to English, the equivalent word is "weight". Perhaps as in the "weight" of gold? Anyhow, I found that the PESO is the basic monetary unit of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Phlippines, and Uruguay. A centavo would be akin to our penny

19. Rowing exercise targets: LATS. The latissimus dorsi muscles, known as the lats, are the large V-shaped muscles that connect your arms to your vertebral column. The action of rowing a boat or using a rowing exercise machine targets the LATS



Moe-ku #2:
What Porky the Pig
Said, after rowing his boat:
"La' La' LATS all, Folks!"

20. Gunk: CRUD. I was expecting this word to be a contraction, of sorts, to the word "crude". It's not. Takes its origin from the late Middle English, "curd". To our IT folks here, CRUD is also a computer acronym for "Create, Read, Update, and Delete".

21. "Ciao __": long-running cooking show: ITALIA. A PBS broadcast. Ms. Esposito is plugging her 11th book in this brief video

23. Ginnie __: investments: MAES. Ginnie Mae is known as a guarantor for federally backed loans, while Fannie and Freddie guarantee loans themselves. ... Fannie Mae typically buys loans from larger commercial banks. Freddie Mac purchases mortgage loans from smaller banks and credit unions, also known as “thrift” savings institutions. Here is a bit more info.

Hmm, I probably would've found a way to clue this as "Film Star West, and others"



24. Feasts: DINES. Not the first definition of the word "feasts". I think of DINES as to "sup"; "feasts" has a more gluttony meaning for me

31. 1970s first family: FORDS. "#38" Gerald, wife Betty, sons Steven, John, and Michael, and daughter Susan. Was US President from August 1974 to January of 1977.

32. Partner, often: LOVER. My S/O Margaret has a 90 year-old Mom who first referred to me as "Margaret's LOVER"!

33. At the moment: NOW. In keeping with PBS-aired shows, check out this: NOW Hear This

34. Major employer: ARMY. The word "Major" referring to a noun, as in rank/title/position, rather than an adjective, as in greater in size/extent/importance. The rank in the ARMY between Captain and Lieutenant Colonel

35. Feast where the Haggadah is read: SEDER. When I solved the puzzle, I saw the clue word and figured it had something to do with the Jewish faith/religion, and SEDER was the only 5-letter celebration that immediately came to mind

36. Penny-farthing, for one: BIKE. This video is quite informative. I'm guessing that its name came from the distinct size difference between a penny coin and a farthing coin, which kind of represents the wheel size difference on the BIKE; the penny being the larger of the two coins



37. Vow avowal: I DO. Wedding ceremonies going forward?



38. Milky stones: OPALS. Could this be an OPAL-colored OPEL?



39. What "x" may mean: TIMES. "x" also marks the spot, and could be TIC or TAC in the game TIC TAC TOE. But I like this clue; great for a Friday

43. Windblown silt: LOESS. I immediately guessed this and it proved TRUE once the perps fell into place. It makes up to 10% of the world's land area, believe it or not

44. Purges: RIDS. After making several moves this past decade, I finally RID myself of a lot of accumulated "stuff"

45. Honda model: ACCORD. ACCORDing to Car and Driver, this model can do 0-60 mph: in about 5.4–7.1 seconds

48. Keaton role in "The Founder": KROC. Ray KROC of McDonald's "fame" ... here is Michael Keaton giving an interview

49. Uneven do: SHAG. One image:

But not to be confused with this image:



56. Prefix for an assistant: PARA. As in PARAlegal

57. __ All: car care brand: ARMOR. Nice to see a car product other than STP as a crossword answer

58. 2000 candidate: GORE. Could've been BUSH, too, but GORE fit better

59. Tip-to-tip measure: SPAN. My first etched memory of the use of the word "SPAN"

60. Fills to the gills: GLUTS. Used as a verb, here, in the 3rd person, present. C Moe GLUTS you with minutiae whenever he blogs

61. Microsoft browser: EDGE. "A new report from NSS Labs has concluded that Microsoft's EDGE browser is more secure than Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome browsers. Chrome got 82.4% against phishing and 85.8% against malware while Firefox scored 81.4% and 78.3% respectively. EDGE scored 91.4% and 99%, respectively. Hmm ... might have to check it out. Anyone on the Corner use EDGE?

Down:
1. __ degree: NTH. NTH, as in "to any required power", where "N" could be any number. And for you board game players? The word "NTH" is a legal word in the game, Scrabble

2. We may precede it, but I can't: ARE. We ARE, but I am not. We and I "can", though ...

3. Big __: SUR. According to Google, Big SUR is a rugged stretch of California’s central coast between Carmel and San Simeon. Bordered to the east by the Santa Lucia Mountains and the west by the Pacific Ocean, it’s traversed by narrow, 2-lane State Route 1, known for winding turns, seaside cliffs and views of the often-misty coastline. C Moe first traveled this route in 1985. Spectacular.



4. Ceylon gunpowder container: TEA CADDY. I actually got this one, as for some reason I recall my Mom and/or sister being a fan of this type of tea. Perhaps C.C. can give more detail, but on the web I found this little snippet: Gunpowder tea (Chinese: 珠茶; pinyin: zhū chá; lit. 'pearl tea'; pronounced [ʈʂú ʈʂʰǎ]) is a form of Chinese tea in which each leaf has been rolled into a small round pellet. Its English name comes from its resemblance to grains of gunpowder. This rolling method of shaping tea is most often applied either to dried green tea (the most commonly encountered variety outside China) or oolong tea. The tea from Sri Lanka (formerly known as "Ceylon") is grown at an elevation of over 6,000'

Moe-ku #3:

Golfer likes Oolong
When he plays, his club offers
Him a TEA CADDY

5. Go downhill fast: SCHUSS. "Schuss", in German, means "shot". As in "shot out of a cannon"? I wonder if a skier from Germany would say "Tschuus" after going SCHUSS? Spitz?

6. Obey: HEED. Moe-ku #4:

If a guy is asked
To obey, by his mother,
I guess that he'd HEED

7. "Way cool, dude!": RAD. The inspiration for the 1986 film of the same name?



8. GI entertainers: USO. The United Service Organizations Inc. is an American nonprofit-charitable corporation that provides live entertainment, such as comedians, actors and musicians, social facilities, and other programs to members of the United States Armed Forces and their families. During the Vietnam War, the USO featured stars such as Bob Hope and Ann-Margaret to the delight of soldiers, even in the most remote war zones. The USO was started by FDR during WWII

9. One who has all the luck?: BEGINNER. While this "phenomenon" is mostly unfounded, some BEGINNER's do have all the luck



10. Amount of vermouth in a dry martini: SPLASH. Me? My idea of a dry martini is to open a bottle of dry Vermouth, and blow over the opening of the bottle as it's perched above my glass. I think that the use, though, of Vermouth in a martini is warranted, but even a SPLASH is too much. YMMV though

11. Ring out: PEAL. Defined as "a loud ringing of bells". From the English "appeal". Shortened, of course

12. Piedmont wine region: ASTI. OK, how much minutiae do you really want from your resident Sommelier on this one? Well, as the clue denotes, the area of Italy known as the Piedmont has a town called "ASTI". We are most familiar with ASTI Spumante (the word "Spumante" literally means "sparkling wine"), and it's made from the white grape called Moscato d'Asti. The origin of Asti Spumante dates back to the 1870's, and was made in the same manner as Champagne, where the second fermentation (process that provides the bubbles) takes place in the bottle

13. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" detective Diaz: ROSA. Stephanie Beatriz (born 10 February 1981) is an Argentine-born American actress. She is best known for playing Detective ROSA Diaz in the NBC comedy series. I never watched this

18. Beech and peach: TREES. At my alma mater, Pitt, we had a sports venue called TREES Hall. Trees Hall is named for Pitt alumnus, trustee, benefactor, and prominent athletic supporter Joseph Clifton Trees (M.E. 1895) who donated $100,000 for the construction of the original Trees Gymnasium in 1912 which, now demolished, sat near the site of the present day Veterans Administration Hospital in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, on the Pitt Campus



22. Something shed: TEAR. I'm sure that the constructor meant this literally; as in crying, and having a TEAR drop fall from ones eyes. However, some of may know that the expression: "shed a TEAR" is often used at a bar - by guys - when too much beer drinking has filled their bladders ... no images needed

23. Burrowing rodent: MARMOT. A relatively large ground squirrel; the tarbagan MARMOT has been eaten for centuries in the native cuisine of Mongolia, and in particular in a local dish called boodog. The meat is cooked by inserting hot stones, preheated in a fire, into the abdominal cavity of a deboned marmot. The skin is then tied up to make a bag within which the meat cooks. Hmm; and I just thought it was a rodent. Cute little bugger though



24. Marginal drawings: DOODLES. DOODLES, or doodling, was one of my many talents as a school boy. Does that really surprise anyone?!

25. Use money to make money: INVEST. I used to tell my ex-wife that whenever I visited a casino, I was making small "investments". But in a way, I was not wrong. INVESTing is a form of gambling ... my biggest investment "hit", percentage-wise, was turning $3 into $300 at a slot machine on the first pull ... truth



26. Multitude: HORDE. Origin of the word: mid 16th century (originally denoting a tribe or troop of Tartar or other nomads): from Polish horda, from Turkish ordu ‘(royal) camp’

27. Sparkles: GLEAMS. Perhaps this erstwhile toothpaste made ones teeth "sparkle" ... spelled differently of course ... produced by Procter and Gamble



28. Bad blood: ANIMUS. Not "bad blood" in the literal context; it means having ill feelings or hostility toward someone or something. How does it differ from a similar word, "animosity", you ask? More minutiae: animosity is violent hatred leading to active opposition; active enmity; energetic dislike while animus is the basic impulses and instincts which govern one's actions

29. T-Rex on a Monopoly board: TOKEN. I'm guessing that it had its debut in this Monopoly version:



30. Sources of Roquefort: EWES. Roquefort is a sheep milk cheese from Southern France, and is one of the world's best known blue cheeses. Wikipedia. The common name for a female sheep is a EWE. Moe-'lick #1:
During flight, when he summoned the crew,
Pilot asked if there's anything new
To eat. Perhaps some cheese.
May I have ROQUEFORT, please?
"How 'bout Swiss?" They said, out of the Bleu.

31. Fall flat: FAIL. I hope that I didn't FAIL with this recap

36. 1996 Robin Williams comedy, with "The": BIRDCAGE. One of my all-time favorite Robin Williams' movies. So many moving parts; so many great actors; too many clips to chose from, but here's what I decided: since this puzzle has a "Greek" theme, why not pick Hank Azaria's character, Agador Spartacus?



38. Gas leak tip-off: ODOR. Deja Vu? On the December 11, 2020 puzzle the clue at 64-Across was nearly identical, and MalMan had this word yesterday! 2020 ends with an ODOR, and 2021 begins with one ... I smell something fishy, Rich Norris

39. Small combos: TRIOS. According to Far Out Magazine, here are the 33 Greatest Trios of All Time. Glad to see Cream at the top of the list. Here is one of my favorites of theirs



41. L'Oréal's "Because We're Worth It," e.g.: SLOGAN. I normally don't link articles that require a subscription to read them. I do not subscribe to the WSJ, but if you do, you can read this piece

42. Bloopers: ERRORS. So many to choose from ... here is a compilation of news show bloopers

45. Nile serpents: ASPS. Plural. There's more than one?? And here I thought that the only ASP was Cleo's

46. Dry and crack: CHAP. So many definitions for this word, but in the Google Dictionary, however, the verb form of CHAP is the first listed, and "(of the skin) cracked" is the first definition. Moe-ku #5:
Sylvester the Cat
Suffers from dryness. Think it's
A case of CHAP lisp?

47. Delevingne of "Suicide Squad": CARA. Total WAG/perp/whatever. Total unknown to me. Did not know the actor nor the movie. Here is a photo of her character:



48. Macramé basic: KNOT. Macramé for beginners

51. Business card letters: URL. A Uniform Resource Locator, colloquially termed a web address, is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network and a mechanism for retrieving it. Most business cards have their company's URL address listed

52. Bird on Australian coins: EMU. The continuation of the exclusive Australian Emu coin series contains 1-ounce coins with 99.99% bullion content. Coins depict an EMU, a characteristic animal of Australia, which will undergo annual changes. The image of this year's coins from the Australian Emu series is a work of the talented illustrator Natasha Muhl.



53. Towel holder: ROD. Google the words "towel rod" and you'll see towel "bars". Guess they're one and the same, eh?

54. Indoor rower, for short: ERG. Short for ERGometer, or a rowing machine. How many of these are now acting as a towel rod/bar in ones bedroom?!

55. Go out with: SEE. When you're SEEing someone, you're likely going out with them ... on a date, e.g.

Thanks, again Robin for adding to our blog with your comments to me via text. Anyone up for announcing their New Years Resolutions? I'll go first: C Moe will write shorter blogs!! Comments below please ...

Notes from C.C.:

1) We just call the tea "Pearl tea". No idea how it became "Gunpowder" in English.

2)  Here is a lovely picture of Lemonade's family. For more sweetness, click on Charlotte

3) Happy New Year, everyone! 



60 comments:

OwenKL said...

Rabbit Rabbit, that's the name
Of the bunny in the good luck game.
Said two TIMES
Before one DINES
On breakfast, it will keep things tame.

{C+.} And it's tradition, not superstition!

Lemonade714 said...

Rabbit rabbit, white rabbit, or maybe white marmot for a new year?

30 minutes reading your blog may be a new record Chris-wow!

The paper got the constructor's name right!

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Yup, the write-up took lots longer than the solve. What an effort, C-Moe...entertaining and elucidating. Understood the homophones, but not that they were song-related. Does that still count? I've always enjoyed Robin's puzzles, and this one was no exception. Let's hope it's an auspicious start to a bright new year.

USO: They brought Miss America to our birdfarm while we were cruising Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf back in '70.

ERG: We had a home gym thingee with a rowing function, among others. The cats found the leatherette bench covering irresistable as a scratching post. I toted the tattered remains to the curb about a year ago.

ASP: If Dr. Seuss wrote a churchy book, perhaps it'd be titled The Asp In The Apse.

Happy 2021, all. The local denizens were shooting off fireworks and firing their guns beginning at 8:00 last night. They ran out of ammo before midnight. That's an assumption -- I was sound asleep and they didn't wake me up.

Lemonade714 said...

The firework brigade did not stop here until well after midnight much to our canine guest's displeasure. Jack Russell barking can be quite intense also.

Robin Stears said...

Thank you for an absolutely delightful write-up! I enjoyed every word, especially the part where you thought I was clever enough to think of a meta puzzle. :D

This puzzle's theme involved ancient Greek deities. The song lyrics were a coincidence, which is not surprising. Lots of English phrases are represented in song lyrics.

But now that the seed has been planted, I may follow up on that meta theme!

Happy New Year!

TTP said...



Good morning, and Happy New Year !

I attacked the diagonals from SW to NE and knocked those runs out in under 5 minutes, and was feeling pretty good about that. Then I got to the first three theme answers and not a single one immediately came to mind. But quickly, HADES GONNA HATE practically filled itself in and I thought, 'that sounds like the hook from Taylor Swift's song' where she sings "Haters gonna hate, hate, hate." Then did the NW corner and recognized "Hair of the Dog" by Nazareth (saw them in concert in Germany and had the album) in the HERA THE DOG answer. So that's the game. I usta dread these types of puzzles, but "no more, no more, no more" (Ray Charles).

Didn't get the song associations with the second two but got the puns, and finished in good time for a Friday (18:19). Not fast enough for the ACPT :<)

The BIRDCAGE came to mind easily. A funny movie, and I recall blogging a crossword where the clue was something like "American remake of La Cage Aux Folles" (had to look up the title to get it right).

KROC didn't come easily. When I first read "Keaton role..." I thought, which one is this clue about ? Buster, Dianne or Michael ? Perps gave me the answer KROC, and then realized it was about Ray KROC. Never saw that movie.

I'm glad the clue for PARA was simply "Prefix for an assistant" and not something like the one we once had, that was akin to "Legal assistants, familiarly" for PARAS. I know one of our regular readers here said she worked for law firms for over 40 years and never once heard paralegals referred to as paras.

Good clues, fun puzzle ! Thank you, Robin.

Thank you, Moe. I never would have known the last two songs, and thought my first guess that the themers were song related was wrong after solving the last two. Glad you reached out to Robin.

I liked all the Moe-Ku's

That pic of the guy with the watermelon rind on his head reminded me of the lore that Babe Ruth would put a cabbage leaf on his head under his baseball cap to stay cool while playing.

Exactly what you said about SEDER.

Mike Wolfe from the TV program American Pickers practically drools when he finds a Penny-farthing.

I have no idea what vermouth tastes like. I've never had a martini. Is vermouth used elsewhere ? I know vodka can be used to shine chrome. Wait, maybe that was gin. I use Turtle Wax.

TEAR came after hair and skin. ? and The Mysterians shed 96 Tears back in 1966, reaching # 1 in the US and Canada, as stated yesterday on the rock A to Z countdown. Love the keyboard riff in the song. Sometimes the band's name is written as "Question Mark and The Mysterians."

Disciple of Nan'l said...

CIAO 2020,no great LOESS, a TRUEly NASTy year. TIMES NOW to put away the PARAGOREic and LATS hope for an aMAESing 2021! And that's no KROC!

TTP said...


Should have read the other comments (especially Robin's) before posting my comments.

We didn't have many fireworks going off in the neighborhood last night. I heard a few fire crackers and maybe an M-80 or cherry bomb, but that was about it.

Lemonade714 said...

Thank you for coming and commenting Robin; most of our bloggers are wannabe constructors. In fact, C.C. was a blogger first. After grokking themes, one cannot help but have ideas. Happy and healthy 2021 RS

billocohoes said...

Albany newspaper left the "e" out of L'Oreal in its clue, so that was confusing.

Chairman, you must try the "Atomic Martini" - hold a glass of gin out the window, and it picks up a molecule of vermouth from a bottle placed (legendarily) at the top of the tower for the first a-bomb test at Los Alamos.

Hungry Mother said...

FIW, because I thought “Leta” was the mother in question and had ANIMaS. Not a great start to the year, especially being bombarded with names.

Lemonade714 said...

I had the pleasure of watching La Cage Aux Folles on Broadway. It was not as spectacular as the original film, upon which it was based. It also was not as well done as the BIRD CAGE but it was unforgettable. It has had many lives so far.

Malodorous Manatee said...

Valerie and I FIR with no help from the cats who just curled up and slept. The use of ERG and BIKE in the presented contexts were both head scratchers. Thanks, Ch Moe for explaining those. Also, a review of the meaning of Rabbit Rabbit would be helpful, someone, for this still relative noob.

desper-otto said...

MalMan, Being the first to say "Rabbit Rabbit" or "White Rabbit" on the first day of the month supposedly brings good luck. I've never heard of it any where except here.

desper-otto said...

Now why did Otto-correct split "any" and "where?"

Bob Lee said...

Kinda fun long answers today - very creative!

When I rowed on the crew team in college, I had great LATS! (And a 6-pack too). Sigh--so long gone. I do own a Concept II Ergometer and work out faithfully on it--my current best efforts would probably be called by my younger self an "easy paddle." I used to joke that Dante forgot to include an Erg in one of his nine circles of Hell.

Chairman Moe said...

Stinky Sea Cow @ 9:53 —>

HNY my cyber friend

Here’s the whole rabbit story

Anonymous said...

I liked this theme based on gods and goddesses. Two bad cells due to lack of recall of well-known data. My favorite clue was major employer/Army.
Nast was my immediate reaction for 1A. He is famous for his take-downs of the Tammany Hall political machine and also for creating the GOP elephant and the modern version of Santa Claus.
Nast
I was not familiar with the name PENNY-FARTHING. It is apt so I likely will remember it.
I have an idiosyncrasy of pronouncing URL as earl. I know it is uncommon. I read about "a" U-R-L, but say "an" earl.
I have watched A Bird Cage many times. Nathan Lane and Robin Williams were spectacular in it.
I was waiting for the ball to drop last night at 11:55. Then it was 12:55. I had fallen asleep and missed it. In lieu of the usual New Years party here, we were given goodie bags in the late afternoon. They contained cheese, crackers, chocolate, nuts, raisins, a cookie shaped like a champagne bottle, a plastic flute with a small bottle of Spumante. There were Hershey kisses for the midnight kiss. I had my own private party.
A happy, healthy new year to all of you, my friends.
Yellowrocks from Kathy

Anonymous said...

C-Moe, thanks for the wonderful, informative blog. A labor of love.
YR

Malodorous Manatee said...

Thanks, D O and Ch Moe.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Can never remember whether Ray was a KROC or a Croc (hey..you calling me a crock 😡)

The BIRDCAGE...kept trying to fit in the longer French title also containing CAGE (aux Folles)

First time I remember GLUTS used as a noun. Figured the end of the Hades clue would be "HE🏒🏒" alas, wouldn't perpwalk. Teknikly hatées would be those who are hated. The capital of Argentina: "good air" as in fair winds not good looks? C.Moe.. after your description I think I'll skip the MARMOT entrée.

Enmity/ANIMUS... but... first had LETDEMETERRas (race) leading to ANIMaS which gummed up the "Middle East" part of the puzzle. Forgot T-rex is now a Monopoly token....in other words ...FIW. Bad way to end a bad year.

Once the perps revealed TEACADDY assumed Ceylon gunpowder was tea. Be crystal clear when asking a British barber for a SHAG. DOODLES (future dudes?)

Even worse..🙄

Large knight: big ____ SUR
Fast and furious cures for constipation: Fleet ......ANIMUS
But the job ___ little ....PESO
Quickly hunt game.....SPEEDBAG
Daily Planet reporter ______ Lane...LOESS
Bovine digital text....EMU (yeah I know, as an infamous HADER of E-words)

And you're right::above comments are SCHUSSing (going downhill fast!)

Chairman Moe... lotsa fun and very informative.. thanks

Hope we all manage a Happy New Year 🥂

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I liked the theme a lot, but the clues for Bike and Erg were too obtuse, IMO, even for a Friday. I didn’t see the song connection until C Moe explained it, but pop music is just not in my sphere of interest or knowledge. Rosa and Tea Caddy, as clued, were unknowns, but I knew Ciao Italia as I’ve watched it often. I, too, liked The Bird Cage a lot. Robin Williams was one of a kind and Nathan Lane ain’t too shabby, either.

Thanks, Robin, for a challenging start to a new year and for dropping by and thanks, Moe, for the fact-filled expo and the generous serving of witticisms.

I saw the ball drop at midnight but it just wasn’t the same without the crowds of well-wishers. I just glanced at the TV and was informed that today is National Bloody Mary Day. Quite fitting as A Hair of the Dog remedy for last night’s celebrating.

Have a great day.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

At the beginning of a New Year wanted to post separately and express how much I enjoy sharing the challenges, fun and "camaraderie" with my invisible Cornerite buds. Plus the time and effort put in by of the all the commentators.

Look forward each day to taking breaks in a hectic schedule to work the puzzle, read your comments and contribute my own mischief and clowning.

You may try but you can't escape..rayfoolery...😳

Spitzboov said...

Happy New Year Everyone.

Thought we might get some NEW Year fill today, but we got other stuff which was quite good, too. Like the homophone thing, and the theme was gettable with perp support. Some fine cluing and fresh fill added to the fun. FIR.
MAJOR - Equivalent Navy rank is Lieutenant Commander.
LOESS - Must be some near Husker's bailiwick. We had windblown silt (soil) on our farm but it was a sandy silt. Thru the 1940's the sub-soil in the area was sourced for molding sand,; some for foundries in the Troy-Watervliet area.
A SCHUSSboomer is a skier who schusses; perhaps a bit too fast. C. Moe; I suppose he could say tschüüs if it was the last run and he was leaving the slopes. If someone was in the way though, it would make more sense to hear Achtung! or Pass auf!. (watch it)

Husker Gary said...

Musings
-Ford’s pardon of Nixon was the right thing to do but cost him another term
-Haggadah looks Jewish and SEDER is the only 5-letter Jewish event I know so…
-We have LOESS hills in Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa
-The SHAG haircut conjures up images of “the sock it to me girl”
-On his USO tours, Bob Hope would trot out girls like Ann Margaret and tell the soldiers, “I want to remind you what you’re fighting for!”
-Will anyone SHED a tear for the passing of 2020?
-Very enjoyable – Robin’s puzzle and comments, Moe’s write-up and figuring out what Spitz meant by “birdfarm”

inanahiker said...

Happy New Year to all!

This moved along fairly smoothly - I got the HADES GONNA HATE as a Taylor Swift lyric but needed to come to the blog for the other songs. "Shake It Off" is a upbeat song that my cardio dance teacher likes to use to keep the flow going!

I love Big SUR - we were supposed to go there last April and my husband was going to run the Big SUR marathon- you have to be pulled from a lottery to be able to enter - but one of our many 2020 cancellations.

I have never had Gunpowder tea from Sri Lanka - but I have had Ceylon Tea Dust - which was wonderful - the tea is ground very finely - so one doesn't pull out the leaves after steeping - they are left in the drink!

Thanks Moe and Robin for a fun morning!

Husker Gary said...

Yes, Spitz, you have correctly identified my bailiwick as I posted just after you did!

inanehiker said...

Oh and I forgot - like IM said - BIKE and ERG - all perps!

I also wasn't focusing when I read "Haggadah" and instead replaced it in my mind "Hadassah" the Hebrew for Esther - so I put in PURIM before SEDER - buts perps corrected it for me!

JB2 said...

Fun puzzle and what a great write-up CM!!

Wees about bike but somehow erg popped into my head. I still don't get bike as clued. I'll liu later.

I hope everyone has a happy, safe and healthy new year.

JB2

Lucina said...

Hola! Happy New Year!

Thank you, Robin Stears, for this real challenge! I solved the puzzle but not the theme as I am not a fan of popular music so had no idea about the references. This puzzle might be difficult for a BEGINNER. And thank you, MalMan, for the treatise. I'll have to go back and read some of the longer deeper themes.

Me too, about SEDER being the only Jewish feast I know. Oh, yes, Purim, but that doesn't even come to mind.

I had to laugh at BUENOS ARES! it just sounds funny.

I'll take a CSO at Honda ACCORD. That's my Axolotl (name of my car).

I love The BIRDCAGE! It's one of my all time favorite movies and have watched it many times. Robin Williams, Nathan Lane and Hank Azaria are superb and Gene Hackman in drag is The Bomb!

My only W/O was BAR to ROD and yes, I have EDGE but it isn't my main engine.

I'm glad to know you all survived the new year's eve festivities. I went to bed right around 12 when the noisemakers went off in the neighborhood.

Here's hoping and wishing for a much better year ahead!

Lucina said...

BIKE=penny farthing? I have no idea about that.

Chairman Moe said...

JB2 —> a penny-farthing is a type of bike/bicycle that originated in Great Britain. I was unaware of this definition until doing the blog. As I mentioned - but did not verify - the size difference between a Penny coin and a Farthing coin (in England) resembles the two wheels of the BIKE; hence the name. I put a video in the description but I know that I littered this blog today with links, and some may have been overlooked 😁

Appreciate your kind words!

CM

unclefred said...

I’m so glad 2020 is finally over, but so sad to start the year with a DNF. I managed to get all the theme clues, but got stuck in the west, not thinking of “Major” the right way, not coming up with “horde” and not thinking of “fords”. Besides which I had “scrub” and “ceed” (DOH!!) wrong words in place. Oy, back CW start to 2021.

NaomiZ said...

Happy 2021! Enjoyed the puzzle. Was stuck at 28 Down, Bad blood, with "enmity" and "anemia" before ANIMUS. FIR! May the new year be as kind to all. Thanks, Robin, Moe, and Cornerites!

Chairman Moe said...

Lucina —>

Here is a short video (2:00) on the penny-farthing bike

D4E4H said...

Good morning Cornerites.

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit,    
rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit. 

Yes there are 21.

:) :) :) :) Ðavið
AKA  D4E4HE2C9C3H

AnonymousPVX said...


This puzzle was a good way to start what I hope will be a better year for all.

36A....COIN B4 BIKE, so I was on the right “track”.

Ok, College Football playoff mini-rant....so ND lost big and looked bad against #3 Clemson (ND #2 at the time). So, Clemson moves up to #2, logical, and ND moves down to #4...so now they get to play #1 Alabama....as 20 point underdogs. Oh boy, this should be a close one....I wonder if Bama will win by 25 or 35. This is the best we can do? I would have preferred to see A&M play Bama, sure they’d lose too, but at least less predictably. End of rant.

Spitzboov said...

HG - I think D-O used the word "bird farm". It means aircraft carrier. Easy for the USO people to land on one, unlike a destroyer which is much more spartan. Carriers receive and send out COD flights. "Carrier Onboard Delivery"

Brent said...

Rad was shot in my hometown of Calgary. If you look hard enough you can see me in a crowd scene in the background.

desper-otto said...

C-Moe, not sure what you're doing wrong, but both of your links in the comments are broken.

Brent, oh yeah, I think I saw you there.

Misty said...

Well, Fridays are always toughies for me, but I got pretty good chunks of this one, here and there. So, many thanks, Robin--and thanks for stopping by. And thanks for your hard work, Chairman Moe.

The middle may have been my favorite area. Can't believe LOVER turned out to be correct. You don't see that very often in puzzles. DOODLES and INVEST helped me get it. Liked finally getting TIMES as the answer for what x means--oh yes, of course, 2 x 2= 4.

Have a good year coming up, everybody!

CanadianEh! said...

Fabulous Friday. Thanks for the fun, Robin (and for joining us) and MalMan.
I FIRed in good time for a Friday, and got the homophone theme but not all the songs.
Good start to the New Year.

I use EDGE on my laptop.

Brent in Calgary- good to see another Canadian drop by.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

Lucina said...

ChairmanMoe, i am so sorry. I attributed the commentary to the wrong person. Please regard my age as the reason for that. That's my story, etc.
BTW, your post at 11:50 came up blank but thank you for trying.

Me too said...

LAT print version 41 Down clue misspelling “L’Oreal’s” as “L’Oral’s”. At least they got the constructor’s name correct.

ATLGranny said...

FIR finally for a fresh start to the new year! Like others, I didn't know why BIKE was correct, but perps were solid once I realized how TOKEN described T REX. Sure, we read earlier about the tokens in Monopoly being updated. ERG was also puzzling but perps to the rescue. Saw how the theme worked but didn't know the connection to songs. Thanks Robin for the puzzle and for stopping by. Thanks, C Moe, for your extensive review. Enjoyed the video for BIKE and will remember Penny Farthing now. Lots of work by you writing the blog and it's much appreciated by me!

Happy New Year to all of you. May it be an improvement over last year!

Chairman Moe said...

Lucina --> not sure why my link came up empty other than I used my iPhone. No worries about referring to me as MalMan! I will take that as a compliment

D-Otto had the same reaction about a screwed-up link. TTP, can you see anything unusual that I did or didn't do? Or why some see them and others don't?

Regardless I will re-post the link regarding a penny-farthingfrom my laptop

Husker Gary said...

My apologies, D-O. I saw Navy and defaulted to Spitz.
I deserve a night in the brig!

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Misty - I had my troubles too and DNF'd it. I needed C. Moe's grid to help me out a bit. My lack of Greek god/esses knowledge and (really, not pop songs Robin?) handicap'd me but good.

Worse, the puzzle started out 'easy.' NW fell in ~10 seconds as did the NE (ok, pecs b/f LATS). Then the brakes turned on. I went to the South and got SW & SE easily and at least I knew eROS [sic].

Thanks Robin & C. Moe for your puzzle, expo, and banter (respectively, together).
//Now, Moe, chop down a TREE with ... A Herring!

Robin - If Rich didn't change these clues to make them more evil, give yourself a pat on the back for BIKE (≠ coin). Lot's of fun but above my knowledge-base.
//C. Moe - after watching the video I'm going to see if I can't persuade DW to get me a Penny-farthing. Can't be harder than a unicycle... Picard?

If anyone thinks EDGE is more secure than other browsers... it's because we (hackers) haven't found sufficient reason to poke holes in it yet. When it's more popular expect more vulns to be found.

Enjoyed reading everyone today.

Happy 2021! -T

SansBeach said...

Happy New Years, all and good afternoon. WEES this xword. It amazes me sometime as I look at the blank grid, scan a couple clues and think...no way. Yesterday's and today's were similar in that way. Stayed the course and FIR. Thanks Robin for the challenge and thanks MM for the ample'splainin'. Best wishes for all in this new year ☺️☺️.

CanadianEh! said...

Apologies to CMoe for not thanking the correct blogger earlier. (And I don’t think I can use Lucina’s excuse😁)
I think we led SansBeach astray also.

(CMoe & TTP- FYI I cannot see the first Pennyfarthing link but second is fine (both on my iPad)

Jayce said...

I don't know why but I didn't much care for this puzzle. DNF.

I use Edge.

Best wishes to you all for a happy and productive year ahead.

Picard said...

AnonT Thanks for asking about the PENNY FARTHING BIKE. It was a gimme. But I can't remember if I have ever actually ridden one. Yes, it would have to be easier than a unicycle. But it still would be harder than what came to be called the "Safety Bicycle" that we use today. The main thing that would be scary for me is that you could fall over and be trapped as you fell. On a unicycle you can always just jump off and land on your feet.

From Yesterday:
Here we were hiking in the snow above CARSON CITY.

We were hiking with my friends Petr and Marketa who were visiting from the Czech Republic.

TTP said...



Moe, I laid down for a few minutes as Northwestern was closing out their victory over Auburn, and the next thing you know, the second half of the Alabama and Notre Dame game was starting.

I guess I had overlooked Desper-otto's comments at 12:54.

Anyway, I sent you an email that speaks to the most likely cause of why the url was blogger.com rather than the one you wanted.

Also, CED has written here about problems posting URLs from an iPhone. Something about characters not being interpreted correctly, and you have to redefine a key. I don't know, I'm not an Apple guy. (That doesn't mean I don't like them. I have no opinion on them. I have never used them.)

Anyway, look at the note I sent, and it will explain either all or part of the problem.

CED should be able to help you create links in Blogger Comments using an iPhone...

Canadian Eh, thank you for your input as well.

Vidwan827 said...

Thank you Robin Stears for a nice and challenging puzzle, and Thank You, Chairman Moe, for a compelling, exhaustive and dedicated review. Going through your links took most of today. The puzzle was much easier...

I did learn a lot, I did not know what a speed bag was. OTOH, I am very familiar with the Penny Farthing, both the coin(s) and the bicycle.
You mention PESO as 'weight' of gold,... I think, it is more likely silver, since silver was the main precious metal discovered in S America, especially on the western coast. The concept of weight of a precious metal, seems much like the origin of the word Pound or Libre, or more ancient coins in Greece etc.

HORDE: Horda: Ordu (turkish): Army Camp ...... is also the origin, and meaning, for the word 'Urdu', one of the two national languages of Pakistan. ( The other one is English.)
Upper level Urdu, is supposed to be like French, a highly refined and an elegant language. I understand only ten percent of it, about as good as my French.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes to all at the blog.

Nice pictures of Leomonade's family !@! Thank you C.C., for posting.

TXMs said...

C-Moe, I must say, as others have, you certainly outdid yourself on this one! But very informative and enjoyable. Got the theme on the gods/goddesses, but not being into “modern” music totally missed the second theme. Have never heard of a penny-farthing, but with Monopoly in the clue, it had to be BIKE.

Fireworks here in the North Loop area started around 6pm, with sporadic gunfire–idiots. It was reported today in the Chronicle (or Barnacle, per D-O), an 8 yo boy and a 24 yo woman were taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds. Yep, what goes up, must come down. HPD won't investigate unless a specific address is given. Firecrackers going off tonight still. My always-tinkering and innovative neighbor made a miniature cannon (2 ft long), complete with a wheeled cart about 20 years ago. The first time he let ‘er rip at midnight, it rattled my windows from two doors down. Mercifully, Leroy called me immediately. He does beautiful replicas. Traditionally, he’d fire it on the 4th and NYE until an assistant DA and her husband moved into the gentrified house between us two years ago, and fearing being hauled in, he stopped. This year they were out of town, so I was happy to hear the salvo.

TTP, yes, this old retired legal secretary was relieved to see PARA as clued. Really--do we call paramedics paras?! Great memory, TTP, btw.

D-O: “birdfarm”–is that military slang for where ‘copters are parked?

Really liked this creative puzzle. Thanks, Robin. Got halfway through the comments–will read all later. Looking forward to 2021 as others have said!

TXMs said...

Correction: With Monopoly in the clue for 29D, it had to be toKen, which gave me the K for BIKE.

LEO III said...

A great big DNF to start off the new year!

I cannot really complain, though. When I first printed out and looked at the puzzle (around 0230 this morning) I thought surely there was no way I was going to have a chance. I started plugging away at it when I got up this morning, and slowly but surely, (and interrupted like FOREVER undoing and stowing Christmas decorations) I got most of it done – and correctly too! I never got HATE at the end of 26A, nor did I get RUN at the end of 40A, which meant that I never sussed the section between them. I also had ITALIO/ROSO. Like I said, though, I did much better than I thought I would.

I drove Big Sur way back in 1968. Yes, it was spectacular.

When Dad was stationed in Alaska, we got to see Bob Hope and Jayne Mansfield on a Christmas USO tour. Great fun! Also got to see Martha Raye on a 1967 tour. I forget who else was on either tour.

Thanks Robin and Chairman Mo!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!!!

WOW Ohio State's Justin Fields --- 60 yards in the air --- Right on the MONEY!!!

Sandyanon said...

Many years ago, my parents and I spent my father's vacation driving way North from SoCal on Hwy 101, far past Big Sur (which was/is magnificent), clear up north to where we took the ferry to Victoria, BC. And back again. My two strongest memories are of the Butchart Gardens in Victoria and the Trees of Mystery near the Ca/Oregon border. I think the coast redwoods may be the most magnificent things on the planet. Anyone else been there? What did you think?

LEO III said...

Correction: I saw Martha Raye in 1968, not that it makes any difference. Just correcting my error.

Lucina said...

Sandyanon:
Yes, I agree, it is spectacular scenery there.

Widwan:
In spanish "peso" means weight as well as being currency.