Jun 19, 2021

Saturday, June 19, 2021, Pawel Fludzinski

Saturday Themeless by Pawel Fludzinski  

I had a run of Pawel's wonderful themeless Saturday entries in 2019 and now I am so pleased to see him back again. His last Saturday puzzle that I blogged was on May 14, 2019 but in some correspondence we have had since then he said he had received notice on 1/1/21 that he had had a themeless accepted and figured with the usual six month lag time it would be a summer puzzle. Well, here it is, two days before the first day of summer.

Pawel did his doctorate and post doctorate work in organic chemistry and retired to Santa Fe, NM after 31 years of working for Eli Lilly in Pharmaceutical R and D. Eight of those years included stints in England and Japan. Since then Pawel has moved to Denver to be closer to his new work in Boulder. 

Here are his gracious and informative comments on this puzzle:

Hi Gary,

Thanks for reaching out - always enjoy your commentaries on Saturday puzzles!  Appreciate the time and effort you put into them.

Regarding the puzzle - I seem to have gravitated towards creating themeless puzzles - about 1/2 my overall effort, and probably 80% of recent efforts.  I went through a period of trying to create puzzles with rotational symmetry - the puzzle today was the 9th such effort, but the first one accepted anywhere.  Not surprising - the pandemic has led to a whole new group of excellent constructors, so the likelihood of acceptance, especially for a themeless, is pretty low.  I am pleased/humbled that this puzzle made the grade.

In constructing themeless puzzles, I build around seed entries.  Given the symmetry of this puzzle, I had a seed for each quadrant - INDEXCASE, AREWECOOL, SILENCERS and WORMHOLES - and then I completed the construction around them.  My only regret is that my favorite clue for these four seed entries is the only one that the editor did not keep - I suggested "Librarians, at times" for SILENCERS.   Perhaps my clue was too easy - I am happy to defer to the judgement of the editor.

On Thursday, Pawel added a very insightful addition about this puzzle and I have posted it at the bottom of this write-up! You will find it very interesting!!


1. Epidemiologist's "ground zero": INDEX CASE - Also called:

10. Swiss city that hosts the World Economic Forum annual meeting: DAVOS Here ya go

15. Tourist income source for some farmers: CORN MAZES - A high tech GPS device and a low tech mower made this famous Spanish artist into a CORN MAZE

16. Isfahan inhabitant: IRANI - A 4+ hr drive south of Tehran. 

17. Emphasized: IN ITALICS.

18. Big name in skin care: ARPEL.

19. Is sweet on: LOVES.

20. Field fare, briefly: MRE - My WWII dads and uncles would probably have preferred these Meals Ready to Eat to K-Rations.

21. Mother __: GOOSE - Mother Goose headline quiz

22. River through Flanders: YSER - A 48 mile long river that empties into the North Sea that saw violent fighting in WWI.

23. Good, to Guillermo: BUENO 
¡Este rompecabezas es muy bueno! (This puzzle is very good!) 
25. Wee warbler: WREN.

26. Grumps: MUTTERS - The verb not the noun

28. Mil. group integrated with male units in 1978: WAC.

29. Eli of "The Magnificent Seven": WALLACH - Eli got second billing but played the bad guy in this 1960 classic.

33. Fill: SATIATE.

35. El __ Pacífico: OCEANO.

s36. Shredder: TEARER.

37. Sells to consumers: RETAILS.

39. Projecting architectural features: DORMERS - From the inside

40. Ed.'s inbox fillers: MSS - ManuScriptS (any port in a storm)

41. Genuine: SINCERE.

43. Cease: HALT.

45. Father-and-son actors: CAANS - Here is dad James working on Hawaii 5-0 as a guest star where son Scott has a role

James Caan                       Scott Caan

46. Vertical actions: BOBS - Ali BOBS and weaves

50. Chiwere speakers: OTOES 

52. Many a GI: PVT 

53. Solitaire measure: CARAT -  ~.007 oz 

54. "Glassheart" singer Lewis: LEONA Her IMDB

55. Many a recital piece: PIANO SOLO.

57. Twain's "Taming the Bicycle," e.g.: ESSAY A fun read

58. Depleted: EATEN INTO - Niagara Falls

59. Flute features: STEMS - Oh those flutes!
60. "All good?": ARE WE COOL?


1. How an archrival might be greeted: ICILY - Brrr...

2. Faux pas: NONO'S - Some of the group above thought certain other members of the group had committed a faux pas.

3. Initiative: DRIVE.

4. Log: ENTER - Hourly employees have to log their hours

5. 'Tis the season: XMAS - XMAS ads usually start running around Labor Day

6. __ Poly Pomona: CAL.

7. Surveyor's measurement: AZIMUTH - Astronomer's too

8. Like Superman's alter ego: SECRET - Man! The glasses really fooled me!

9. Early Judaic sect: ESSENES - They are thought to be the authors of The Dead Sea Scrolls which were written ~2,000 yrs ago near Jerusalem  

10. Laptop screen meas.: DIAG - A woman here in town bought her husband a 50" DIAG TV and then put the old TV in the new box and set it out on her porch. Some porch pirate got a big surprise!

11. Feathered flier: ARROW - There's an ARROW in there somewhere!

12. Highly touted computer product we're still waiting for: VAPORWARE - Computer hardware or software that are announced but are not and may never be available. Bluetooth was VAPORWARE for quite a while

13. Kayak, typically: ONE SEATER - This one comes with a tightly fitted "spray skirt" to keep water out of the kayak

14. Brits' mufflers: SILENCERS - In America we call that tank on the right a muffler. The Brits call it a SILENCER

23. Pastoral: BUCOLIC.

24. Figures of speech?: ORATORS - My chem teacher's lab sign

26. Salon treatments: MANIS and pedis

27. Firewood measure: STERE.

29. Sci-fi passages: WORM HOLES - Remember the recent Michael Paleos' puzzle with these WORM HOLES in the grid?

30. Nails the exam: ACES A TEST.

31. Unties, maybe: LETS LOOSE - What's in the box Pandora?

32. Trout's team, on scoreboards: LAA - LA Angel Mike Trout is proof that one very highly paid superstar can not win a baseball championship 

34. 2007 Will Smith film "__ Legend": I AM - Meh...

38. Veggie with an edible pod: SNAP PEA.

39. Like many hibiscus leaves: DENTATE - Leaves that have a dental margin

42. Blini topper: CAVIAR - Blini (Russian pancake) topped with Crème Fraîche,  smoked salmon and Hackleback CAVIAR

44. Common brunch hr.: TEN AM.

46. Simple: BASIC - Also "Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code". My first programming language

47. University town near Bangor: ORONO.

48. Heroic 1920s sled dog: BALTO - BALTO got the most credit because he arrived in Nome with the serum but the real hero was the lead dog Togo who ran much further in much worse conditions.

Balto's statue in
NYC's Central Park

49. Potter's perch: STOOL.

51. Word before or after "who": SAYS - or SEZ

53. Geometric solid: CONE - We math teachers taught about CONES and Conic sections

56. Untested: NEW.

Pawel's extra "inside baseball" comments:


I am working on another rotational themeless and I was reminded about your "inside baseball" comment.  An FYI - here is the worksheet I created for the NW corner of Saturday's puzzle - 




I found eight possibilities that worked, and then compared them two at a time to go from 8 to 4 to 2 to 1.  If I don't like any of them, I go back, tweak the black squares and then start over.   8 possibilities is a relatively low number - for the puzzle I am working on now , I started with  27 combos and gradually worked my way down.   I repeat the process for every corner, but a constructor has the most latitude with the first corner (usually the NW), since there are no other word constraints already in the puzzle.

Just some more "inside baseball" for you.



Jun 18, 2021

Friday, June 18, 2021, Paul Coulter

 Title: As we approach summer it is time for PUN IN THE SUN!

One of our friends and a regular - Paul Coulter - is back. For those who do not remember, his first LAT TIMES PUBLICATION was 6 years ago.  It makes me a bit sad to read comments all those we do not see here any longer. It was very hard introductory puzzle but we did get wonderful pics of our own Lucy Dale in her wimple. Today's puzzle was not as difficult if you have the 'proper' sense of humor; the themers are sound-alike puns. And like all of this type of puzzle, the humor is subjective, so you all might not be amused, but I was. Not to jump on the negative bandwagon, but this was not my favorite of Paul's puzzles. There were sacrifices to have the five long themers with 57 blocks dedicated to theme.  There was not much room for other sparkly fill. ISSUERS, MIDTOWN, UNCTION, NERVE ENDING and PAPER TRAILS do make the grid better but we do have an abundance of initialisms;  it is time to move to the theme.

17A. Winter wear made from tusks?: IVORY COATS (10). The Ivory Coast is both a pun and an anagram.

30A. Routines for barbecuing?: WIENIE ROTES (11). Wienie  Roast is a pun, but not an angram, but it does rhyme with 17A.

37A. Cuts back on one's livestock business?: GIVES UP THE GOATS (15). Gives up the Ghost must be the seed entry, and ta da also rhymes with...

46A. Carryalls made by Dior?: FRENCH TOTES (11). Many believe challah makes the best French Toast. 

60A. Useless castle defenses?: INNER MOATS (10). This also includes OATS, but is paired with yet a different rhyme Innermost. This an outlier, as it is one word, though I did find a clothing brand. I love that Paul found 5 different sounds that rhyme for his sound-alikes, but I am guessing some will say, "stop at four"and forget the outlier. But he would not have had the needed symmetry. Making puzzles is not for sissies. 


1. Jokers: WAGS. Unlike our Wild Ass Guesses, this goes back to the 1550s "person fond of making jokes,"  perhaps a shortening of waghalter "gallows bird," person destined to swing in a noose or halter, applied humorously to mischievous children.

5. Small ball on a string: PEARL. Our Friday cluing begins here.I needed the perps. Followed by a gimme...

10. Emulated: APED. Followed by personal poetry...

14. Classic Langston Hughes poem: I TOOLINK.

15. Portmanteau metal producer: ALCOA. No, no, no! AL CO A, aluminum company of america is not words mashed together.

16. Alley unit: LANE. Now we upset Boomer with a bowling non-sequitur. 

19. __-FREE: contact lens solution: OPTI. Which actually may be a portmanteau.

20. Asian holiday: TẾT  Tết short for Tết Nguyên Đán, Spring Festival, Lunar New Year, or Vietnamese Lunar New Year is the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture. While Asian cultures celebrate the lunar new year, only Vietnam calls it by that name.

21. Publishers: ISSUERS. A bit of a pun as they issue issues. 

23. Onetime Tide competitor: RINSO

26. Less formal alternative to a toga: TUNIC. The toga was considered Rome's "national costume," but for day-to-day activities most Romans preferred more casual, practical and comfortable clothing; the tunic, in various forms, was the basic garment for all classes, both sexes and most occupations. various.

28. Like many AARP mems.: RETired. I guess 'mems' mean members...

29. "A Chorus Line" number: ONE

33. Blows it: ERRS. But it is human, unlike...

35. Mythical monster: ORC.

36. Airport abbr.: ARRivals

43. Classified ad abbr.: EEOEqual Employment Opportunity 

44. Charged item: ION. I always pay cash when I buy ions.

45. Respectful group address: SIRS. Sexist, too.

51. PC linkup: LANLocal Area Network. A CSO to all of our techies.

52. Long, long time: EON. The largest unit of time; era = A unit of time shorter than an eon but longer than a period.

53. Loudly laments: KEENS. We are back to Friday, not a proper noun but "lament loudly over the dead, bitterly wail," 1811, from Irish caoinim "I weep, wail, lament," from Old Irish coinim "I wail." Hence "to utter in a shrill voice" (1893). We have seen it a few times. No relation to Elizabeth Keen.

54. First signs of smoke: WISPS

56. Manhattan theater district locale: MIDTOWN. A MAP

58. Blame: PIN. You can't pin that on me!

59. Others, in Latin: ALII.

66. Advance: LEND

67. "Cool!": NEATO. With another similar made up word 38D. Smashing: SOCKO.

68. Google results: URLSUniform Resource Locators, more for our savvy specialists.

69. Not at all cool: EDGY. I disagree, edgy can be way cool.

70. Midas' undoing: GREED. He had the touch.

71. What boors lack: TACT.


1. Popular console since 2006: WII. The active Nintendo console which you can buy used for $60.00 or so.

2. Off-roader's purchase, for short: ATVAll Terrain Vehicle.

3. Muck: GOO.

4. Varieties: SORTS.

5. Dispute resolution: PACT. Maybe music will help.

6. "Do Ya" rock gp.: ELO

7. 2010 health law: Abbr.: ACAAffordable Care Act. Not aqui.

8. Twisty pasta: ROTINI. It is Italian for twists, I believe.

9. Classic movie girl played by a boy: LASSIE. Fun and truthful clue. There are some very fun LASSIE FACTS.

10. 1966 N.L. batting champ Matty: ALOU. I can hear the grumbling already but the perps were fair.

11. Hard-copy evidence: PAPER TRAILS. If you watch Television crime drama the good guys are always looking for these.

12. Main course preceder, in France: ENTRÉE.  A typical French lunch will consist of: a starter (une entrée), such as a mixed salad, soup, some terrine or paté. A main course, (le plat principal), typically a choice of meat or fish, with potatoes, rice, pasta and/or vegetables; a cheese course (often a selection of local cheeses) and/or a dessert. Desserts are sometimes not detailed on the menu, so you have to listen to the waiter. 

13. Jefferson et al., religiously: DEISTS. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.

18. "Ouch!": YEOW. So many sounds...

22. Scrawny one: SCRAG. One who is scraggly

23. "The Witches" (1990) director Nicolas: ROEG. His BIOGRAPHY;           the movie 

24. Calvary inscription: INRIIesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm

25. Source of feelings: NERVE ENDING. No namby pamby emotion here, just the literal site of feeling.

26. Md. athlete: TERP. Maryland = Terrapin.

27. Religious fervor: UNCTION. This was very hard as I associate the word with the act of anointing, but a deep dive shows this connection for the word.

31. Chit: IOU. And I want my money now!

32. Top medals, in Barcelona: OROS. There's gold in them there Olympics.

34. Caught in the act: SEEN. Caught you.

39. Have the __ for: HOTS. This idiom has no known origin, except perhaps the literal autonomic response to extreme sexual attraction.

40. Chicago-to-Lansing dir.: ENE. Going to Michigan!

41. Trick, in a way: TRAP. In a lie for example.

42. IRS IDs: SSNSSocial Security NumberS.

46. Doe, for one: FEMALE. She is back!

47. Stirred up: ROILED. Why not riled? If you roil someone you're stirring them up but not necessarily annoying them. To rile someone is to deliberately provoke or antagonize them.

48. Wielding an axe: HEWING. Or a new HOTEL in Minneapolis.

49. One percent of a G: TENNER. .01 x $1,000.00 = $10.00

50. Dip: SWIM. You must get wet!

55. Two-way, as a door: IN/OUT. Important in restaurants for the servers.

57. Like some sums: TIDY.  Some HISTORY.

58. Egg on: PROD.

61. Dumfries denial: NAE. Scotland.

62. Automne preceder: ETE. Simple French seasons

63. Altar in the sky: ARA. Moe just had it in his May 28 write-up.

64. Help for a sad BFF: TLCBest Friends Forever /Tender Loving Care.

65. Retired flier: SSTSuperSonicTransport. I hear they are coming back.

Gee, I just got started and we are done again. I sense some doldrums have overtaken the Corner, no doubt a product of too much pandemic. We must be positive and happy because this is what we get, and we appear on our way back. Paul, I thank you very much for the work that you put in. Finding 5 five letter words that rhymed but did not duplicate each other was awesome. I know it takes a lot to create a puzzle and thought the puns were great. Corner, as I continue as a part-time blogger, I appreciate all who tune in. Lemonade out. 

Notes from C.C.:
Here are few beautiful pictures of Lemonade's grandkids. Click here for more sweetness. And here for all the pictures Lemonade has shared with us over the years.


Jun 17, 2021

Thursday, June 17, 2021, August Miller


Good Morning, Cruciverbalists!  Malodorous Manatee, here, this time with a leonine friend, to wish each and every one of you a rip-roaring start to this fine Thursday.  Today's constructor is August Miller.  On 20 November 2020, Lemonade recapped August Miller's debut outing in the L.A. Times and, more recently, on 05 May 2021, Melissa Bee also recapped one of his puzzles.

This morning, Leo is crowing with pride because he is featured prominently in today's offering.  So, if you have not yet looked at the puzzle, it is time to stop lion in bed and either grab today's newspaper or go on lion and get to work on solving the puzzle.

"I'll Go There For Dorothy.  Wicked Witch or No Wicked Witch."  - Lion

Let's start with the reveal at 63 Across:

Courageous . . . like 17-, 24-, 40- and 50-Across?: LION HEARTED.  At four places within the grid, our puzzle setter has worked LEO into the two-word answers (that's the LION) and those lions jump across the gaps in between the words (that's the HEARTED-ness of the matter, I suppose).  So, it would seem that August (birth sign Leo?) was not lion to us and that those four big cats were not just lion around.

Here are the four theme-related answers . . .

17 Across.  Best Actress Oscar nominee for "The Dark Angel" (1935): MERLE OBERON.

24 Across: Unpretentious ancestry: HUMBLE ORIGINS.

40 Across:  Felony, e.g.: JAILABLE OFFENSE.

50 Across:  Former First Lady behind the "Let's Move!" initiative: MICHELLE OBAMA.

. . .  and how they appear in the grid:


1. Jokingly: IN FUN.  Said in jest, perhaps.  You know.  Lion.

6. Cashed, as a bad check: KITED.  The term Check Kiting originated in the 1920's.  It stemmed from a 19th Century practice of issuing IOUs and bonds with zero collateral.  That practice became known as "flaying a kite" because there was nothing to support the loan but thin air.

11. "The __": Uris novel: HAJ.  Decades ago, I binge-read at least a half-dozen book written by Leon Uris.  His name derives from Yerushalmi, meaning man of Jerusalem.

14. Far from cramped: ROOMY.

15. Bakery offering that's always free?: AROMA.  A scent frequently wafting through crossword puzzles.

16. Orangutan, e.g.: APE.  One day, the zookeeper noticed that the orangutan was reading two books.  One was The Bible and the other was On The Origin of Species.   When asked about what he was reading the APE replied, "I am just trying to find out whether I am my brother's keeper or I am my keeper's brother."

19. Rage: IRE.  An emotion often raised in crossword puzzles.

20. Wasatch Mountains ski resort: ALTA.  I was lucky enough to ski at ALTA quite often in the 1970's and 1980's.  A great hill.  My yellow lab, Rustler, was named after a ski run there called Alf's High Rustler which was, itself, named in honor of Alf Engen (1909 - 1997).

Hi, Rustler!

21. Recreation with skis or sneakers: RUNS.  The trails that one follows down a ski hill are called Ski RUNS.  Two skiing-related entries in a row.  That's cool, or perhaps, cold.

22. Swamp thing: GATOR.  If an alliGATOR lives in a river and thinks that she's a crocodile there's a good chance that she's in da-Nile.

27. Religious devotion: PIETY.  "Piety is not a goal but a means to attain through the purest peace of mind the highest culture." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

29. GPS approx.: ETA.  Estimated Time of Arrival.

30. 8 Series automaker: BMW.  Bayerische MotorenWerke

2021 BMW 8 Series Coupe

31. Drawing contest?: RAFFLE.  Not an art competition but a random selection for a door prize.

36. Contended: VIED.

43. "Auld Lang __": SYNE.  Meaning times long past.  Slainte!

44. Reduced-rate hotel offering: DAY USE.  Hmm, a few possibilities for riffing on this one.  

45. Big gp. of towers?: AAA.  Despite the "gp" abbreviation, did anyone first think of towers as in the World Trade Center or the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur?  Instead, it's the American Automobile Association and they provide tows to stranded motorists.

Petronas Towers - Photo by MM

46. Fort Collins sch.: CSU.  As with the clue just above, the "sch" tells us that the answer will be an abbreviation:  Colorado State University at Fort Collins, CO.

48. Tycoon: MOGUL.  This could have been a third skiing-related clue.  It also could have been clued as a type of locomotive or an Indian Muslim (Mughal).

57. "Modern Family" actress Winter: ARIEL.  Despite its Christopher Lloyd pedigree, I have never watched this show and did not know the actress.  Thank you, perps.

58. In the old days: ONCE.

59. "And so . . . ": ERGO.  A horse walks into a bar and orders a triple whiskey.  The bar tender asks him, "Are you an alcoholic?"  The horse replies, "I don't think I am" and promptly vanishes into thin air.

I Don't Think, Therefore I Am Not ?

62. Cab alternative: ZIN.  Cabernet or ZINfandel.  Not Uber of Lyft as we often see.  A wine reference.  There are many very good producers of ZINfandel wines which is made in various styles from light to quite robust.

66. Key that will get you out of a window: ESC.  The first of today's computer-related riffs.

67. One Time?: ISSUE.  The fact that Time (the eponymous magazine) is capitalized makes it easier to see where the constructor, or editor, was going with this bit of humor.

68. Shadowfax, to Gandalf: STEED.  Horse would also have fit in the allotted squares.  A Lord Of The Rings reference.

69. Library reminder: SHH.

70. "A League of __ Own": THEIR.  A 1992 motion picture loosely based on the All American Girls Professional Baseball League.  A straightforward fill-in-the-blank clue and an interesting placement as Tom Hanks (see 71 Across) was in this movie, also.

71. Tom who voices Woody in "Toy Story" films: HANKS.  Tom HANKS.  A couple of weeks ago we had a Tim Allen/Buzz Lightyear reference.  There has been much speculation about the use of both Buzz and Woody as names in these films.  Years earlier, the playful folks at Termite Terrace used to pull such shenanigans.


1. Destructive 2017 hurricane: IRMA.  The first Category 5 Hurricane of the 2017 season, Irma was responsible for approximately $50 Billion in damage on the mainland U.S.

2. Yuletide tune: NOEL.  From the Latin nasci meaning to be born.

3. Golf announcer's call before a potential victory putt: FOR THE WIN.  (Note:  A lion would not play golf.  But a Tiger Wood)

4. Mötley Crüe piece: UMLAUT.  While we have seen this type of misdirection before, it was still easy to get sidetracked thinking that the answer would be a song by the band.  Instead, it was a diacritical mark.

5. Lab-coated TV educator: NYE.  Bill NYE the Science Guy also visited us two weeks ago.  Rustler would have liked this clue.

6. Afghanistan's capital: KABUL.

7. Adler of Sherlock Holmes fame: IRENE.  IRENE Adler, Sherlock Homes' respected nemesis, visits us regularly despite having appeared in only one of (and being mentioned in tree other) Arthur Conan Doyle's original stories.

8. Artist's trunk?: TORSO.  The question mark tips us off that the answer will not be something in which an artist might store her supplies.

9. Paramore genre: EMO.  Paramore is, apparently, the name of a band.  I am not familiar with their music but am very familiar with EMO popping up in crossword puzzles.

10. "Rats!": DANG IT.  Both Darn It and Damn It were, briefly, under consideration.  This one reminded me of the old Roger Miller tune.

Roger Miller With Dick Clark - 1964 - Dang Me

11. Hispaniola nation: HAITI.  Two nations occupy the island of Hispaniola -  the Dominican Republic and HAITI.  In 1657, France and Spain split control of the island between themselves.

12. Kitchen wear: APRON.

13. Catcalls: JEERS.

18. Pluto, but not Goofy: ORB.  In this case, Pluto refers to the dwarf planet.  A slightly different take on the old question:  "If Pluto is a dog what is Goofy?"

23. Tequila plant: AGAVE.  AGAVE is used to make Mezcal of which Tequila is, basically, a subset.  Mezcal may be produced from up to fifty species of AGAVE whereas Tequila is made only from Tequilana Weber aka Weber Blue Agave.

25. British pianist Hess: MYRA.  Dame Julia MYRA Hess (1890 - 1965).

26. Coral phenomena: REEFS.  Phenomenon, singular.  Phenomena, plural.

27. Lunches with Jif: PBJS.  Jif, of course, is a brand of peanut butter.  PBJ is shorthand for Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Because They Like Hydrogenated Oil and Sugar

28. "Perhaps": I MAY. . .  and then, again . . .

32. "Rush Rush" singer: ABDUL.  Although I am aware of her, I am not a fan and did not know the referenced song.  Thanks, once again, perps.

33. Hardly an orange-free st.: FLA.  An amusing play on words.  The Orange Free State was an independent Boer sovereign republic during the second half of the 19th century.  That, however, has nothing to do with the answer.  Florida (U.S. Postal abbreviation FLA) is the top orange producing state.

34. "30 Rock" creator: FEY.  Tina FEY is a frequent visitor.

35. Singer Reed: LOU.  LOU Reed was the singer, guitarist and principal songwriter for the Band the Velvet Underground perhaps best known for the song (take a) Walk On The Wild Side.

37. TV's "Barefoot Contessa": INA GARTEN.  Born in Brooklyn and raised in Stamford Connecticut, INA GARTEN, nee Rosenberg, hosts popular cooking shows and has authored many books.

38. Genesis twin: ESAU.  According to the bible, ESAU was the elder twin brother of Jacob.

My Brother Esau - Oakland Colosseum 1987 - The Grateful Dead

39. "So here's the __": DEAL.  Another fill-in-the blank clue and a phrase used often by a current national leader.

41. Monterrey milk: LECHE.  Today's Spanish lesson.  Monterrey is a city in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

42. 1-Down relief org.: FEMA.

47.  Be convincing: SELL IT.

49. Code of silence: OMERTA.  I knew this one thanks to Mario Puzo.  Originally, OMERTA was a way of opposing Spanish rule in Sicily in the 16th Century and it meant not cooperating with state authorities to settle personal grievances.

50. Confounding layouts: MAZES.

51. Like some coffee and ales: IRISH.  Whiskey, too.

52. Snap: CINCH.  Not a closure for a garment (e.g. a zipper, button or snap) but the idiom as in "That exam was very easy.  Passing it was a cinch."  Not a piece of Western horse tack.

53. Baggy: LOOSE.

54. World-weariness: ENNUI.

55. Yellowish brown: OCHER.  A color often seen in our puzzles.

56. 6th of December?: BEE.  This one was a bit puzzling.  Eventually, it dawned on me that B was the sixth letter in the word December.  Cute.  Really cute . . . and why, oh why, does this type of clue continue to fool me so consistently (at least initially)?

60. Participant in a Mac-vs-PC argument, maybe: GEEK.  . . . and the debates continue.  Our second computer GEEK reference of the day.

61. Payout determinant: ODDS.  Once, on a business trip to Las Vegas I took ill and sought out the hotel's physician.  I located her office on the door of which was posted a sign that read "Dr. Murphy 9 to 5".  I turned on my heel and walked away.  I wanted better ODDs than that.

64. Kinda-sorta: ISH.  Punt.

65. BBQ residue: ASH.
        Knock, knock.
        Who's there?
        Ash who?

, , , and on that note . . .