, pub-2774194725043577, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 L.A.Times Crossword Corner: Thursday, December 30, 2021, August Miller


Dec 30, 2021

Thursday, December 30, 2021, August Miller


Okay, so it is one day early.  The sentiment still holds.  Happy New Year, Cruciverbalists!  

Malodorous Manatee here with today's recap.  I am back from the mountains (where the temperature dipped to minus 15°F one morning).  

A scientific journal once wrote, "The challenge to using manatees as experimental animals is not their ability to learn but the fact that they are difficult to motivate and move quite slowly."  I just might be an anomaly.  The empirical evidence seems to suggest that I can be properly motivated and can move quickly (when required) but, sometimes, seem not to learn from experience.  Therefore, in a few days it will be back to the type of cold weather that my parents, and millions of their closest friends, moved to SoCal to escape.  Of course, with vistas such as this who cares?

Teocali Mountain, Colorado - Photo by MM

Be that as it may ...


In 1983, an experimental non-narrative film was released that was called Koyaanisqatsi which is a Hopi (a few visited us yesterday) word meaning Life Out of Balance.  Today, our puzzle constructor,  August Miller, presents his take on that theme.  In four places within the grid (17, 23, 37 and 47 Across - each clue being marked with an *), the letters of the word BALANCE can be found jumbled (and adjacent to each other) within the longer answers.  If your source used them, there are circles to indicate the location of the jumbled letters.  Here is how this looks in the completed puzzle:

The unifier comes at:

58 Across:  Create instability . . . or a hint to each set of circles: UPSET THE BALANCE.

For those who are interested, here is the trailer for the film:

As there are no themed answers (merely letters located within otherwise unrelated answers), let's dive right in


1. Spanish gal pal: CHICA.  This marine mammal first tried AMIGA . . . and both the I and the A worked out.  The rest did not.

6. Bygone dictator: TSAR .  . . making frequent appearances in crossword puzzles.

10. "__ Guy": 2019 Billie Eilish #1 hit: BAD.  I checked out the video on YouTube so you don't have to.  Not my style.  Apologies to any Eilish fans here.

13. Winter warmer: COCOA.   I prefer a good single malt (yeah, I know that it actually constricts the blood vessels).

14. Troll, at times: HATER.   Troll as in internet troll.

16. Summer cooler: ADE.  LemonADE (a CSO), LimeADE, OrangeADE, etc.  Sometimes FAN.

17. 1971 road movie co-starring James Taylor: TWO LANE BLACKTOP.  The first of the locations.

20. Peddle: VEND.  SELL would have fit and the E would have worked.

21. Creator of the former messaging software AIM: AOLAOL Instant Messenger.  I confess to still having an AOL account.  I try to direct all of my "commercial" email (read: Junk) there.  Remember picking up these disks at various places around town?

22. Arab League headquarters city: CAIRO.  Egypt, not Illinois.

23. Astronaut's insulator: SPACE BLANKET.  I often carried one with me in my backpacking days.  The second answer with jumbles.

Photo Not By MM - And Not of MM

27. Suffering: IN PAIN.

30. Like crab apples: TART.  Sour.  The dictionary lists three additional definitions for TART:  (1)  A pastry shell with shallow sides and no top crust. (2) A pie.  (3) A harlot.

31. Hit the __: BOOKS.  Study, or read

32. "That was close!": PHEW.  We've seen this spelled other ways in other puzzles.

34. "Nova" airer: PBS.

37. Part ways for good: MAKE A CLEAN BREAK.  The third site.

41. Reserved: SHY.

42. Soccer legend Mia: HAMM.  Love that double M.

Mia Hamm

43. Wee, facetiously: EENSY.  Neither ITSY, BITSY, TEENY nor WEENY.  Apologies for the ear worm.

44. Flimsy: THIN.

46. Expressionless: GLASSY.  As in GLASSY Eyed

47.  * "Key Largo" co-star: LAUREN BACALL.  The fourth set of circles.

52. Ed of "Up": ASNER.  "Up" was a 2009 animated motion picture.  AKA Lou Grant.  "Up"also featured Dug the talking dog.  Crosses AS PER

53. Turn sharply: ZAG.  ZIG?

54. Dash gauge: TACH.  TACHometer.  Do you prefer analog or digital?

62. Barely passing: DEE.  We were graded on the curve a couple of weeks ago, too.

63. Last critter in a kindergarten reader, maybe: ZEBRA.

64. Revise: ALTER.

65. Act like a human?: ERR.  To ERR is human.  To forgive is against company policy.

66. Ember: COAL.  As we were driving down the road "Sweet Caroline" came on the radio.  I said to Valerie, "Did you know that Neil Diamond used to be called Neil COAL"?  "Then the pressure got to him."

67. Loses one's grip, in a way: SKIDS.


1. Surveillance system, for short: CCTV.  Closed Circuit TeleVision

2. Suffragist Julia Ward __: HOWE.  She is, perhaps, better known for writing "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic".

Glory, Glory Harry Lewis

3. App symbol: ICON.

4. Chilled Japanese brew: COLD SAKE.  SAKE is made by fermenting rice that has been polished to remove the bran.
The Lucky Sake Cat

5. Energizer size: AAA.

The Energizer Bunny

6. 2000s Fox drama set in Newport Beach: THE OC.  As in Orange County, California.

7. Weasel family member known for its fur: SABLE.

8. Ga. airport: ATL.  Code for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

9. LGBT activist __ Carey: REA.  (Born 22 December 1966)

10. It's a dyeing art: BATIK.  It was more popular in the 60's but it's not a dying art.  Oh, dye-ing art!

11. Really dig: ADORE.  The clue is from an earlier time.

12. Where to get off: DEPOT.

Grand Central Station

15. Miniature vehicle with a remote, briefly: RC CAR.  Radio Controlled CAR

18. Tandoori bread: NAAN.  Smoking or Naan?

19. "Critique of Pure Reason" writer: KANT.  He visited us last Friday.  Apparently, he just KANT stay away.

24. City with a notable tower: PISA.

Photo By MM

25. Backup group: B-TEAM.  Not The A-Team

26. Many a home front: LAWN.  Brick? Aluminum Siding?  Not the Eastern Front.

27. Models for old clones: IBMS.  IBM PC Clones

28. Biblical boater: NOAH.

Noah's Ark

29. Slow: POKY.

32. Fallback: PLAN B.  Is the B-Team called upon to execute PLAN B?

33. Something to take up with your tailor?: HEM.  Two rival tailors had a contest to see who could cut and perfectly hem a six-foot long piece of fabric.  The result was a tie.

34. Uni-ball products: PENS.

35. Low pitch pro: BASS.

36. American vodka brand: SKYY.  Actually, SKYY is now owned by Gruppo Campari of Italy.
38. __ music: small talk: CHIN.

39. Male pseudonym used by all three Brontรซ sisters: BELL.  For me, a learning moment.

40. Heart-to-heart: REAL TALK.  As in "Let's have a ...."

44. Genealogy chart: TREE.

45. Frequency unit: HERTZ.  Not the car rental company.

46. Madly in love: GAGA.  Do a web search o GAGA and it returns all sorts of other pop culture stuff.

47. Magna cum __: LAUDE.  With High Honors

48. According to: AS PER.  Crosses AS NER

49. Indy 500 family name: UNSER.  In 2015, five members of the UNSER family raced at the same time on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track.

Robby, Bobby, Al Sr.,  Al Jr., and Johnny

50. Hyundai sedan: AZERA.  Another automotive reference.

51. Plotting group: CABAL.

55. Not a fan of: ANTI.  Opposed

56. Looped in, on Gmail: CC'ED.  Remember Carbon Copies?

57. Towel term: HERS.

59. Many a noir hero: TEC.  Gritty film genre slang for DeTECtive

60. "Big Little Lies" network: HBO.

61. __ Cruces: LAS.  The Crosses.

. . . and with that geography lesson, it is time, now, to go work on my balance on a pair of skis.  I shall try not to cross my tips . . .


Jinx in Norfolk said...

FIW, settling for amICA. Knew CCTV, but sorry, that isn't a surveillance system. Guess if you already have CCTV you could kuldge in some cams to surveil things. And mOWE seemed as good as any. Now had the clue been "NHL great Gordie", I would have gotten it and maybe CCTV. Erased sour for TART, skor for SKYY, and amiga (but only got as far as amICA).

Said nobody: "Hit the BOOKS, Jack, and don'cha come back no mo no mo no mo no mo, hit the BOOKS Jack, and don'cha come back no mo.

Is there anything more redundant than a TACH on a modern car?

Thanks for the puzzle, August. Too many old authors and new media for my liking, but I did like "act like a human" for ERR. (I liked it the first time we had it clued that way too.) And thanks for the fun tour, MalMan. I hope you become friends with someone with a boat so you can ski without enduring the cold.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Very punny, Mal-Man. Yes, d-o fell into the AMIGA/CHICA trap. (Have I ever mentioned that I hate it when 1a isn't obvious?) WHEW/PHEW was another stumble. Does anybody drink COLD SAKE? Ick! And how is BELL a male pseudonym? I'm missing something. Still, it filled quickly -- quicker than yesterday -- so life is good. Thanx, August and Mal-Man. (I suspect that right after that 66a. Neil Diamond joke Valerie cried, "Stop the car. I'm outta here.")

TACH: Don't care if it's digital or analog. Actually, don't care if it's on the dash.

TREE: I built a family tree years ago. Traced things on dad's side back to Canajoharie, NY in the late 1700's -- and got stuck. Traced my maternal great grandfather back to a little town in Pomerania. I think I'm done.

LAS CRUCES: Been through there many times on Hwy 70 and a few times on I-10.

unclefred said...

A real struggle to FIR in 42, once again winning the booby prize for slowest fill. I found this a very difficult slog that I almost quit several times. Very clever CW, just (for me) very difficult. W/Os SKYE:SKYY, KENT:KANT (DOH!); AMEND:ALTER. Again, a real slog for unclefred. Thanx (I think) for the workout, AM. And thanx too for the terrific write-up, MM.

KS said...

FIW. Had amiga, and couldn't see the alternative, chica.

Wilbur Charles said...

FIW on NW as I stubbornly held onto amiga/CHICA. I had heard of JW HOWE and yes, CCTV and as it turned out, COLD SAKE made more sense. And we've seen CHICA before.

Anon-T, the act of throwing away a pack of cigarettes was the beginning of my 47 year abstinence from cigarettes.

The TSAR was very much not a dictator. Idi Amin was a dictator as were Hitler and Stalin.

Those guys with no shirts on at Sheafer Stadium* in 20 degree weather were not doing it on COCOA

17A, 15 perps. 23A only a couple.

MIA married Nomar**, an All America soccer player at Georgia Tech.

Just read a bio of Charlton Heston who was a bitter political*** rival of ED ASNER

Stoat/SABLE, SKYe/SKYY(My abstinence from alcohol only dates from 1978. I originally thought it was Skol.


** Former Patriots home built in 1974 for 7mil. Metal seats (Brr)
** Another Boston (Redsox) connection (Nts of Sweet Caroline)

*** Political re. MP Labor . Ed was very liberal, CH turned to the Right like Ronnie

ATLGranny said...

Finally a FIR after a couple of misses this week. I put "amiga" and "mocha" to start off, though I then saw the perp HOWE and figured out I had a problem. There were WOs in a couple of areas lower down on the grid where I was filling in the circles as well. I did not see BALANCE was the jumbled word until the reveal, though the letters used were helpful. All in all a surprise FIR after a bit of a struggle. Thanks, August.

MalMan, you provided a cheery review this stormy day with much needed information. Thanks. Nice to see you back.

ATL was easy for me, of course. Unfortunately no flying out of the airport lately for us. I also liked the Granny Smith cartoon. Sending smiles to you all today!

Big Easy said...

Good morning. Today was a day I actually paid attention to the circles and noticed BALANCE at SPACE BLANKET. The North was slow in filling with CHICA & REA unknown, HATER came slowly and it allowed the newly named RC CAR. I originally thought of ICED SAKE, SELL & AMIGA. Billie Eilish & BAD Guy- never heard of either but BAD was an easy WAG. Then there was the unheard of movie TWO LANE BLACKTOP which came by perps and a WAG.

CCTV, RC CAR, B TEAM, PLAN B, CC'ED- a constant consonant theme?
PHEW- that was PLAN B; WHEW was plan A.
TACH- how does a digital tach 'red line' with no line to cross? Change color?
CHIN music is a new term for me-perp
I don't pay for HBO so 'Big Little Lies' network was perps.

I've been housebound since Sunday with a cold or flu but not COVID (tested twice negatively). Sneezing & coughing finally stopped last night. But I've got enough Sudafed, Mucinex, Dayquil, & APAP to alleviate the symptoms. I'll end the year in a whimper.

Anonymous said...

Took me 10:13 to find the balance in my life this morning. Didn't see the theme until I came here.

Oh joy, circles.

Like most others, fell for amiga, didn't know Bell or Azera, & guessed at Howe.

Interesting mini-(non)theme with: CCtv, CCed, & rCCar.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I started out with a top row trifecta of errors: Amiga/Chica, Amin/Tsar, and Her/Bad. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. I also goofed on Sour/Tart and Henna/Batik. I saw the Balance jumble immediately but the reveal was a pleasant Aha, enhanced by including a 7 letter jumbled phrase, which can’t be easy to accomplish. There were several unknowns, including RC Car, Azera, Rea, Two Lane Blacktop, and Bell. Poky looks odd to me without an E and I thought Cold Sake and Real Talk were green paint-ish. We had several cute pairings with Hamm/Hem, CCTV/CCed, B Team/Plan B, HBO/PBS, As Per/Asner, and Azera/Zebra. We also had several CSOs with Lucina (Amiga), HG (Space Blanket ), Ade (Lemony), and ATL Granny (Atl)

Thanks, August, for a fun challenge and clever theme/reveal and thanks, MalMan, for a few chuckles and cheery commentary. Have fun on the slopes and watch out for Jack Frost!

Where has our resident Imp, CED, gone to?

Our weather has been very cold but no white stuff. Sooner or later, though, the flurries will fly! ❄️❄️❄️

Lobster Roll on the luncheon Menu. Yummers.

Have a great day.

Yesterday’s annoying calls totaled 18 which I guess is better than the previous day’s 30. So far today, only one, but the day is young!

waseeley said...

FIW, but I'll be back. Gotta go to Conrad's for oysters and crab meat, and after that to buy some cheap champagne. In the meantime, I get a mailing from these folks everyday and my News Resolution is to start sharing it:

Word of the day: eleemosynary

Pronunciation: e-lรช-mah-sรช-ne-ree
Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Based on charitable contributions, having to do with charity. 2. Altruistic, contributed as charity without expectation of compensation.

from the alphaDictionary. Click on the word when you get there and they'll give you all the trivia.

Lucina said...


A challenging puzzle from August Miller. The lower section filled quickly with LAUREN BACALL at the center. But the top was muy slow since I did not know TWO MAN BLACKTOP. I can't imagine what kind of movie that is.

I know someone who still has AIM as an alternate e-mail.

LAUREN BACALL in The Mirror Has Two FACES with Barbra Streisand throws out many zingers.

Thank you, MM, for your AAA review!

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Yuman said...

Like others, my chica was amiga. My favorite pen is an “EnerGel” doesn’t smear comes in lots of colors.
I’ll take a CSO at 47 across, my name is Lauren, I haven’t seen it many times in crosswords.
Cloudy, cool day here in the desert, I love it, but the golfers are not happy.

CanadianEh! said...

Tipsy Thursday. Thanks for the fun, August and MalMan.
Yes, that NW corner UPSET THE BALANCE for me and I FIWed. But I did see the theme, and used the letters to fill in some of the circles.

Hand up for Amiga, mocha, not knowing that 1971 movie or CCTV, and this Canadian could not remember HOWE (sorry!).
Another hand up for Sour before TART, Whew before PHEW.
I had Acura before AZERA perped.
THE OC was unknown, but perped.

As usual, IM noted many more pairs than the HEM/HAMM that gave me a smile.

I knew that the Brontรซ sisters used a pseudonym to avoid having their work judged on the basis of being female. But I had forgotten BELL (another fill that perped). I LIUed - Currer, Ellis and Acton BELL (Charlotte, Emily and Anne).

FLN when I was too tired to post after a busy family day (although I did FIR the CW while travelling):
AnonT - thanks for “cheques”
Picard- I was on your wavelength, as I entered Trialed for “used a bit”.

Wishing you all a great day.

oc4beach said...

FIR today. Reasonable puzzle for a Thursday. MM's tour was enjoyable also.

I didn't fall into the AMIGA/CHICA trap. I just left it blank and let perps fill it in.

Perps were instrumental in three of the four circled clues also. I waited until I had enough perps before I was able to fill the rest of them in. LAUREN BACALL was a gimme, I watched her in the 1974 version of "Murder on the Orient Express" yesterday on TMC.

The Uniball 207 Micro gel pen is my favorite pen. So, another gimme.

JINX: I think that CCTV systems include cameras and according to WikiPedia is also known as a video surveillance system. I have a number of ARLO cameras providing video coverage around my property. They're motion activated and I get a notice sent to my cell phone when there is any activity. There are a number of wired and wireless systems on the market that work.

Like others, WHEW changed to PHEW and SOUR became TART. Perps.

Have a great day everyone.

Picard said...

Hand up AMIGA before CHICA. DW uses CHICA as part of her email address. Almost DNF with ZAG/AZERA cross. But I did WAG to FIR.

Lucina I thought of you today with the BALANCE theme after the discussion about PEDAL PUSHER.

MalMan Thank you for the reminder about Koyaanisqatsi. Yes, that memorable film indeed showed that this way of living is not going to end well. At that time the problems seemed small and local compared with what we now know about the Climate Crisis. I mention this because of the comment Michael made late yesterday as well as the urgent relevance to today's theme.

Here is my article on our local DEPOT which is now a museum piece.

We had fun at our DEPOT Day in the article. But we need lots of new DEPOTs and high speed rail to connect them to come into the modern era.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

An August contructor today.๐Ÿ˜Š

Ended up with a DNF,๐Ÿ™„ Didnt get to Z during my alphabet run so was left with 1 blank: A _ ERA crossing _ AG. This so un BALANCed me I forgot to parse the theme

Did anyone put CHICA instead of amiga without perpchecking?๐Ÿค”... Add EENSY to the circular file with owie and ired et. al.๐Ÿ˜ 

Malman ...the story I heard was Neil Coal became Neil Diamond when Superman (George Reeves) gave him a big bear hug.๐Ÿฆธ‍♂️

Canada Eh, do you say ZEBRA (like Debra) or ZEEBRA? ๐Ÿฆ“ "Bront sis" male pseudonym wasn't Biff I see. A movie was made based on their novel "Kill Bell" with CW Uma Thurman.๐Ÿ˜†

Slow pitch, but "low" pitch? oh not a ball game, but both still use a BASS/base. Uni-ball products? Never heard of REA Carey. Is it really called an RCCAR? CHIN music? for real?

UPSET THE (good) , "apple cart" (not so good)

Inkovers: whew (that's what I say)/ PHEW, amend/ALTER

What a too tight seat belt in a rental car does... HERTZ
TV aviator King...SKYY
What you do to a smelter....ADORE
Volume too high in ancient Roman forum: Magna cum.....LAUDE
Revoke knighthood....UNSER
Ultimate car ride.....HERS

Short week..cannot remember these daily intermittent snowstorms each followed by total melting. Strange weather.๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Lucina said...

Are CCTV systems used much now that ring cameras are so prevalent? I only know that because my daughter's house has the ring and many thefts are caught in the ring sights.

I forgot to say that SELL changed to VEND with CCTV.

Last night I finished reading The President's Daughter by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. It is quite a good read. With my Barnes and Noble gift certificate I plan to buy the new Jacqueline Winspear novel. I also have to exchange some shoes that are too large for me. For some reason my SIL likes to gift me with shoes but never my style although last year's aren't too bad,

Husker Gary said...

-AMIGA was wrong but CHICA filled right in and reminded me of this wonderful ABBA song which is the diminutive of CHICA
-Four-letter dictator starting with T, TITO lost out to our old cwd friend
-As we’ve seen here, those HATERS go away if you don’t feed them
-I only use the TACH to see if I have the remembered to push the button to actually stop the engine
-Joann estimates she has bought at least 100 AA and AAA batteries this Christmas
-PISA - Are there other tourist attractions best known for a flaw?
-Husker football, post-Tom Osborne, must be on PLAN Q
-From 7th grade to 12th grade I went from a soprano to a BASS
-Nice job Mal Man!

Yellowrocks said...

FIW in many places. Payback for finding the puzzles earlier this week so easy.

I was retirement age before I heard zebra pronounced with a short E.

Busy day with haircut and grocery shopping this AM, library meeting at The Oaks shortly and Zoom church vestry meeting this evening.

CrossEyedDave said...

Ok Irish Miss,
You forced me out into the open...
(I have been lurking since before Xmas)

I have just been so busy this season that I have been a day behind
The Blog for weeks, and have been wanting to respond to much of
The chatter, but it had already passed.

Plus I owe two Xmas birthday cakes
(You know who you are)
(Maybe three, if you count Jesus...)

Re: today's puzzle
really knocked me for a loop...

Kind of reminded me of this tic Tok video my kids sent me:
how long before he upsets his balance?

One thing I do remember that I wanted to respond to was
IM's scam call overload.
I was go8mg to say that I painstakingly changed all my address book
Contacts to my familiar piano roll ringtone,
Then changed the the standard ringtone to something obnoxious.
Now I know not to answer based on the ringtone,
And if it is something important, like a doctor not in my address book
They will leave a voicemail.

Daughter #3 saw me typing this,
And pointed out that all that work is not necessary
As the iPhone has a button for this:

Go to settings
Scroll down to phone
Scroll down to bottom
And you will see an option that stops your
Phone from ringing if the caller is not in your address book!
(Of course, you will have to check your voicemail more often though)

Oh, and for Anon-T
I just have to chime in on the use of the word "swell."
Omitted from this clip, Lucy says
"what a swell way to get off to a lousy start."

YooperPhil said...

Started off wrong with AMIGA like most everybody, but of course it didn’t fit the perps, thought “CH_ _A” could have also been CHULA, which a Mexican woman friend of mine once told me meant “pretty girl”, which it does by one definition, while in Spain may be used as a derogatory term, which is probably why I don’t recall seeing it in a CW. I guess I’d need to see Lucina’s take on that.

Thought it was a fairly tough puzzle for a Thursday, but a very clever theme and I thank you for the challenge AM! Very clever how constructors can fit jumbled words into phrases or names with letters in consecutive order!

Didn’t understand the masculine meaning of BELL, and also had WHEW before PHEW, also thought SKYE instead of SKYY (I prefer Tito’s myself). And due to the way I was solving I first thought of Bogart before Bacall. I agree that Tachometers are a fairly useless instrument for myself, RPM’s are rarely an issue.

Very entertaining dissection of today’s puzzle MM, especially liked the quip of how Neil Diamond got his name ๐Ÿ˜‚. Good day to all!

waseeley said...

Thank you August for a very august puzzle, by which I failed to squeak. My Spanish gal pal, AMIGA jilted me and I should have PEEPED for a CHICA. She sounds like a really hot chick! The theme was really remarkable and I found it helpful, just not helpful enough to avoid an ERR. A very timely message, but sadly I doubt that our society will be able to MAKE A CLEAN BREAK with the mess we've gotten ourselves into.

Thank you MalMan for an equally remarkable review, especially the Koyaanisqatsi trailer. I saw the film when it first came out, plus the sequel Powaqqatsi, but never the third installment (Naqoyqatsi) of what is called the Qatsi trilogy. I hadn't yet heard of the composer Philip Glass at the time, but recognized his unique style the second I started the trailer. Glass is a Baltimore composer of "minimalist" music, part of a modern wave of composers born as a reaction to the dying COALS of "expressionless" Viennese serialism. Glass's music is very accessible and there nothing GLASSY about it. IIRC we even had an opera by him ("Einstein on the Beach") just this past Sunday.

Just a few favs:

14A HATER. I was driven off of Fakebook by a troll for some of my criticisms of the modern scientific ICON, Charles Darwin.

43A EENSY. Was "yellow polka dot bikini" what you were looking for MalMan?

53A ZAG. I got pretty adept at using those in the 60's MM.

64A ALTER. MalMan is my ALTER reviewer.

66A COAL. Your PUNISHING remark brought to mind the scene in the 50's Superman when George Reeves palmed two pieces of COAL and without some much as a grimace, opened them to reveal two 50 carat diamonds.

10D BATIK. My SIL Rose is an accomplished BATIK artist, and has produced many painterly works in the medium.

24D PISA. Am I imagining things or is that building next to the tower leaning in sympathy?

26D LAWN. Also a fine linen or cotton fabric used for making clothes, or maybe even BATIKS.


Ray - O @11:34 AM I think your comments could use "a little more COW BELL".
Lucina @11:35 AM CCTVs are still a staple in British detective shows.
Husker @11:36 AM Thank you Husker for the beautiful ABBA song.

Irish Miss said...

CED @ 12:43 ~ Happy to hear you’re alive and well, even though you’ve been lax in keeping us entertained. ๐Ÿคก Thanks for your tips on warding off scam/telemarketing calls but I’m dealing with a land line, not a cellphone. These are not random calls but, I believe, a result of someone acquiring my email address (secondary, not primary) and phone number and using both to generate this onslaught. Insurance companies are the majority offenders which indicates a definite pattern. Have received only two calls and one email so far today, so maybe my not answering is discouraging them. Don’t be a stranger! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Northwest Runner said...

I guess chin music is a term for idle chatter, but it seems rather dated. I've only ever heard used in the context of baseball referring to pitch thrown just below the batter's chin.

Misty said...

Challenging but clever Thursday puzzle, many thanks, August. And thanks for the neat commentary, MalMan.

Desper-otto, I was so glad to see I wasn't the only one to put AMIGA before CHICA and WHEW before PHEW. But as our list continued, it was clear we sure weren't alone on those items. Bet August knew this was going to happen and is laughing his head off at this very moment.

I kept thinking of clothes for the 'Winter warmer'--coats, scarf, and the like. But COCOA?

American vodka brand: SKYY? Give me a break. Well, ok, I drink an occasional small Merlot on occasion--but never vodka.

Yet so happy to see my friend NOAH and his favorite ZEBRA in the puzzle.

Have a great day, everybody.

Malodorous Manatee said...

Thanks to all for your kind comments. It started raining here roughly twenty hours ago and it has not stopped since it started. I spent the day pushing water around in the yard with a broom (half of my yard drains are clogged) and doing Merl Reagle puzzles. I had forgotten just how good he was at amusingly twisting words and phrases.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Thanks, A.M. & M.M. Needed the great challenge & chuckles.

Figured out the BALANCE theme on the 2nd & 3rd entries which helped on the other two & the reveal. Never heard of that movie.

Finally had to red-letter the starting square to come up with CHICA.

Tried Dubai (which fit) before CAIRO.


Started this several hours ago and had unexpected company when old friends from my working days stopped by. So good to see them. Very close to both husband & wife years ago.

Wilbur Charles said...

Sal "The Barber" Maglie got the moniker from the "Close shaves" he gave opposing batters ie. CHIN Music.

CHIN Music is a thing of the past in modern baseball.

Anonymous said...

Not to complain too much but:

The 'pal' in 1A's clue seems redundant? My Spanish is non-existent but Chica seems to translate to girl with no mention of friendship?

Can a monarch be a dictator?

Lemonade714 said...

Thank you August and Joseph. Living in South Florida I have been lucky enough to befriend a few "bonita chica" so I did not fall into the amiga trap.
I am not sure if I posted this before but I appreciate the story of the creation and naming of SKYY VODKA .
Happy erev New Year's Eve to all and wishes for a healthier and happier 2022 for all who come to the Corner to get in out of the cold.

Lemonade714 said...

Most Monarchies have elaborate protocols which control the exact power of the leader. Dictatorships do not IMO. Watch the CROWN

Lucina said...

Chula, chulo is a term used in America and means pretty and in some cases (on the street) to swagger. In Spain it means cocky or impudent. "Aye que chulo" "Oh, how pretty"

Lucina said...

Do you mean "chicas bonitas" since you said "a few"?

Spanish lesson: the adjective follows the noun unlike English.

Ol' Man Keith said...

A cool Thursday PZL from Mr. Miller! Gracefully explicated by MalManatee...

Never noticed the double "Y" before. Thought SKYY was just SKYE from hearing it.
Three diags, far side.
The main diagonal gives us a fairly obscure anagram (just 11 of 15 letters), referring to a mental visualization of a genus of small culicidae mosquitoes.
This is an...


Chairman Moe said...

Puzzling thoughts:

FIW with a most unusual NATICK at the crossing of EENSY and PENS. I had EETSY and PETS

Thanks, JS (MM) for the recap on this penultimate day of 2021. I've done a few August Miller puzzle recaps and know how involved his puzzles are. This one took quite awhile for me to solve

My limerick du jour:

One of my early childhood joys?
Watching mimes do their act with such poise.
After one of them died
We all cried, as we tried
To give him a brief moment of noise.

See you tomorrow

Lemonade714 said...

Lucy, you caught me trying to shortcut my comment. I am trying to get some work done before 6 my time and I did n't think anyone would care. Along with you, many of my friends real and virtual are chicas bonitas.

Lemonade714 said...

Moe, a sad but very clever Limerick. I am clapping with one hand.

Jayce said...

I liked this puzzle okay. Of course I put in AMIGA immediately; I thought CHICA simply means girl. Ah, gal pal, I think I get it now, sorta. WHEW had to be changed to PHEW and ZIG had to be changed to ZAG. EENSY is facetious?

In my engineering mind's imagination I have sometimes thought it would be fun as well as informative to have three, yes three, tachometers in my hybrid car, which connects the ICE (internal combustion engine), the electric traction motor, and the so-called speed motor via a planetary gear. One tach to show rpm of each of them. The software to control all of them must be horrendously complex, but Toyota does a superb job. (By the way, the speed motor can spin in either direction, depending on the relative speeds of the ICE and the traction motor. Eeenteresting.)

I just learned the heater went out yesterday at the San Francisco home of a friend of our son. He bought a space heater to tide him over until the repair guy could come today, but it turns out the darn space heater didn't work! For some reason he couldn't take it back and get a replacement until today, so he bundled up in heavy clothes and blankets all night. Today he got the replacement space heater, but as of now (3:20 PM Pacific time) the repair guy still hasn't showed up. Sheesh.

Good wishes to you all.

waseeley said...

CrossEyedDave @12:43 PM Ringer? You mean cellphones have ringers? Oh yeah, mine has a Simplex switch (it comes with an OFF only setting). If I do get a call a tiny telephone appears in my notifications bar. If I find a ROUNDTOIT, I may check my voicemail when I have nothing else to do (which this blog makes unlikely) In short my phone answering behavior, not having received positive reinforcement for so long, has extinguished.

Anonymous T said...

Hi Cornerites!

Boy, that puzzle took some noodling (and luck!) for a FIR. Thanks August.

To see that, out of the gate, IM (one of my Solver Heroes [and spot on w/ critiques of today's puzzle]) struggled; that salves my wounds.

Thanks for the expo, MManatee. Yep, amIgA really slowed me down too.
And, um, really? Really? Neil COAL?...
#DadJoke #LOL #Don'tEncourageHimRay-O #SuperMan :-)

Only the TACH is analog [center dash - between the wheel] in my '15 Civic Si w/ 6 on the floor. It will drift, er, SKID.
//Have I mentioned my other car's an Alfa? :-)

WOs: amIgA, wHEW->PHEW (Hi D-O!)

Fav: Ed ASNER clued with his Up role. I highly recommend (but you'll cry within the 1st 5 minutes).

Amazon sends me this AA & AAA pack every couplla months.

Eldest just graduated with two Summa Cum LAUDE degrees (Opera & Psych)

Fun DEPOT article, Picard.

CCTV? No - I just got some baby monitors so I can hear if DW needs me when she comes out of PAIN-meds induced naps. (I should have gotten the TWO-way so she knows I heard HER).
DW's favorite thing when ill are Dum-Dum suckers; I got her some Smarties too to counteract their side-effects :-)
//and you thought MM's #DadJokes were bad :-)

BigE - I'm sad to hear of your ailments. IIRC, Omicron only has a slight window where it tests positive. Regardless, God Speed Cornerite.

NWRunner - Nice to read you again. ++ to baseball's use of Chin Music. //WC was here 1st.

Lucina - I still know someone w/ a CompuServe [preceded AOL by decades and then acquired by them from H&R Block (some WikiP history)] email address.
Oh, and, yes CCTV is still used in secure environments.

Jinx - Hit the BOOKS:
DW's grad-school friend would, when anyone mentioned what else they had to finish in that night, lovingly annoy all of us at the pub with a cheerful "Study, Study, School's Your Buddy!"

Nice to see you back in fine fettle CED!

Waseeley - Do I need to give you one of these? I got mine at a pub in IL.

C. Moe - Just mime your own business :-)

Cheers, -T

Jinx in Norfolk said...

HG, I think the Liberty Bell is best known for its flaw. I'm told it's not all it's cracked up to be.

Bill, I was an EZ Wider man myself.

IM, I suggest you order a credit freeze from all three credit reporting agencies. Good advice even for those not getting weird communications too. You'll only be inconvenienced if you need to apply for credit, and that fix isn't much work. I "unfroze" mine for three days a couple of months ago to apply for a specific credit card.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

T- I'll bet that the voltage that drives that tach comes from a D/A converter in the car's computer. It might be derived from the crankshaft position sensor signal.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

My dos centavos

I looked up the translation of Chula Vista,California....Cool View..(but to a Spaniard, "cocky view" ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Anon T congrats to your Eldest..interesting combo of studies. She obviously gets her smarts from the Mediterranean side of the family..๐Ÿ˜

I concur that an even an absolute monarch isn't a dictator. A monarch has at least, though dubious, religio/ hereditary credentials. A dictator comes to power through strong arming or even legitimately elected...

In "The Crown" QEII has always reigned but has never ruled.๐Ÿ‘‘

Vidwan827 said...

Thank you August Miller for a very nice puzzle, which I really enjoyed, despite the confusion of Amiga/Chica .... sorry, but no spanish girlfriends ... yet.
Thank you MalMan for an excellent review.

I've also had a lot of fun reading all you all's commments. What a fun group.
Its rather late, and I am making horrible typos, all along, so I better stop.
My dear one is out of the hospital, and we are on the outer fringes of daredevil-driver-New Jersey so I can heave a sigh of relief ...

I hope Boomer is recovering well.

Hope to see you all on the last day of the year, tomorrow.
Be well and safe and gappy,

Husker Gary said...

Musings 2
-Jinx, it is somewhat ironic that you should mention the Liberty Bell. My friend’s mentally unbalanced brother is the one who jumped over the barrier in Philadelphia and started whacking on the bell with his own hammer before he was stopped. The bell is now closed off so no one can get to it.

TXMs said...

Rats! CHICA (probably the last word to come to mind), not amiga. Gold sake worked (don't know Japanese alcoholic drinks); don't know the whole list of suffragists. Oh, well - congrats to all our FIR Corner denizens! AZERA was iffy as I'm not into checking out cars these days.

IM @1:28 re all the phone scammers (30! in one day?). I too have a landline. Coupla years ago, I read a BBB or an AARP article, advising not to answer or even pick up the handset, the reason being that will alert the callers that the phone number is valid and a working number. Which, in turn, the scammers can sell or "rent" the phone number to other scammers. I've alerted my friends/family to start recording their message, and only then will I pick up. Now, I get maybe 4 (tops) or less per day. Robocalls - whatever happened to promised legislation to address that issue?

Happy New Year to all!

Lucina said...

I've been wondering if the English word, "chick" was derived from CHICA. Maybe I'll look it up. Anyway, this chica has a new good book so I'm off for the night.