Oct 22, 2016

Saturday, Oct 22nd, 2016, Brad Wilber & Samuel A. Donaldson

Theme: None

Words: 70 (missing Q,Z)

Blocks: 32

   Brad Wilber is a familiar name, but I did not recognize the co-author today - he has contributed several times to the LA Times, mostly Fridays.  The grid itself looked like a typical weekday puzzle, not so intimidating.  I forgot to set the clock, but I do believe I went over my allotted personal time.  The triples on the left and the crossings of the names in the SE slowed me down, again, and had to guess for most of them.  Triple 10-letter corners in the Down, and a pair of 11-letter climbers crossing a pair of 9's;

8. They may provide track details : SLEEVE NOTES - I filled this in, but did not make the connection - I was thinking "track" as in horse racing, not albums/CDs

 back half of a sleeve from a 1985 album

29. Turning point? : USE BY DATE - har-har

23. Signs of infrequent cleaning : DUST BUNNIES

 you might not want to look too closely

44. Line after Casca's "Speak, hands, for me!" : "ET TU, BRUTE~?" - the whole phrase



1. Rose of rock : AXL - of Guns N' Roses fame

4. Incidental catches by South Pacific tuna fishermen : OPAHS

9. Mall Santa, probably : TEMP

13. Endodontic therapy : ROOT CANAL - the "-dontic" part helped me out

15. "Finding Dory" studio : PIXAR - "Finding Nemo" characters return

16. Reject : PUSH ASIDE - ah, the verb, not the noun. 

17. As expected : ON CUE - strange.  I nailed this.

18. Roundup group : STEERS - POSSE was not long enough

19. When the French fry? : ÉTÉ - Frawnche summer

21. Terrible's two : ARs - the two "R"s of teRRible

22. Presented an invention? : LIED - clever

24. Compared with : VIS-À-VIS - from the Frawnche for face to face

26. Canada's highest peak : LOGAN - OK, I cheated.  I looked at a list of mountains in Canada

31. World leader whose name shares its last four letters with a state : OBAMA - this was my first guess, since it had occurred to me in the past that Obama and Alabama had the common ending

32. Together : SANE - Oh, that kind of together

33. "South Park" kid : STAN - or KYLE~!?  I went with STAN, then switched, and then switched back

34. Station that employed Lou Grant : WJM - before my time; perps

35. WWI hero portrayed by Gary Cooper : SGT. YORK - again, before my time

38. Bond yield: Abbr. : INTerest

39. Creepy look : LEER - I saw your wolfish look yesterday, Lemonade

41. Not much at all : A BIT - SOME~?  A FEW~?

42. Golfer with an "army" : ARNIE - R.I.P.

46. Longtime Indiana senator Dick : LUGAR - perps and two WAGs

47. Hall of Fame outfielder Richie of the '40s-'50s Phillies : ASHBURN - perps and two WAGs

48. Automaker that introduced headlight wipers : SAAB - oops, not AUDI, but I was close

50. Last pres. born in the 19th century : DDE - not sure if we were looking for a short name, or initials.  At first I had was "E" in the middle, since I misspelled the Frawnche crossing

51. Dr. for women : GYNecologist

52. Cold-stricken : RHEUMY - Dah~!  Not CHILLY - that's 33.33% 100% correct, tho

56. Coventry coolers : GAOLS - argh~!  I was stuck looking for some sort of drink to 'cool' off.  This is the clink, the brig, the gulag, the pokey....

58. Corfu locale : IONIAN SEA - my "OMA" WAG was a big help here

61. Impressive lineup : ARRAY

62. "A Room With a View" author : E.M. FORSTER - his Wiki

63. Final crossing? : STYX

64. Nixon-Brezhnev missile pact : SALT I

65. Approved : OK'D - again, had it, took it out, put it back in


1. Some dadaist works : ARPS - ooo, close, I went with ARTE

2. Cross off : X OUT

3. Shake, as a tail : LOSE - when you are 14d.

4. Ovoid winds : OCARINAS

5. So five minutes ago : PASSÉ

6. Young Darth's nickname : ANI - Anakin Skywalker

7. Victimized : HAD

9. __ can : TIN

10. Dig action : EXCAVATING

11. Senegal neighbor : MAURITANIA - I got it, but don't ask me how I knew it

12. Common computer manual step : PRESS ENTER

14. Running, with "on" : THE LAM - a Blue Öyster Cult song~!

15. Browning field : POESY - I had a feeling POEMS was not going to last

20. River through Umbria : TIBER

25. Break fillers : ADS

26. Focus of an EPA phasedown introduced in 1973 : LOW LEAD GAS - I tried "NON" at the start, but it was not jibing for me

27. Curiosities : OBJETS D' ART - more Frawnche - we got hit hard today~!

28. Mathematical approach to military strategy, say : GAME THEORY

30. "Speak!" : "SAY IT~!"

36. Chess luminary Kasparov : GARRY - Larry, Barry, Garry, I tried them all

37. Much of Botswana : KALAHARI - SAHARAN did not fit - because I was too far north

40. Barbecue seasoning : RUB

43. 17th-century Flemish painter : RUBENS

45. Film Warren commissioned? : BUGSY - I had the "--GSY" part, so I hardly read the clue

49. Hilarious : A RIOT

53. "Teach __ number our days": Psalm 90 : US TO

54. Like doormats : MEEK - I like this door mat

more funny ones here

55. Sale area : YARD - ah, took a moment.  I like "yard saleing"

57. Negligent : LAX

59. Medical suffix : OMA - a cancerous growth/tumor

60. Org. with Colts and Cowboys : NFL - and a gimme to end the day


Oct 21, 2016

Friday, October 21, 2016, Chuck Deodene

Title: Chuck you are driving me crazy!

After more than four years, Chuck D. is back. LINK I recalled the name, but had to go to the archives to look over the puzzle I had blogged of his. I hope he stops by - he had 38 NYT puzzles published by 2012 and 3 LAT but nothing in either place since until today. This effort is a variation of the 'one word' as the clue for all theme answers, but here the word not only is used if 4 different meanings, but modified. I had a hard time getting the rhythm of this puzzle, though the fill was overall not too challenging, with no non-theme fill longer than 6 letters. With Cattle Drive and Blood Drive showing one view and the other three places where there are drives it seemed choppy. I saw a mini-theme of drinking, but that was just me. There was some nice wit in the cluing, so I look forward to hearing from you all also today.

17A. Place to take a 36-Down : EXPRESSWAY (10). Here we have the place where we drive vehicles.

25A. Place to run a 36-Down : CATTLE RANCH (11). You gather up the cows and head to Kansas City on your cattle drive.

37A. Place to install a 36-Down : DESKTOP COMPUTER (15). The office server has about 10 drives, we use mostly g and h.

47A. Place to hold a 36-Down : BLOOD MOBILE (11). They park outside the movie theater here for their blood drive.

57A. Place to hit a 36-Down : GOLF COURSE (10). With HG, Big Easy, Moe and other of our golfing group, hitting one long straight drive per round keeps them going back.
And the reveal:

36D. Theme of this puzzle : DRIVE (5). How direct is that for a reveal, but  is it?


1. Deceptive operation : STING. Immediate clecho 10A. Deceptive distortion : SPIN.

6. Work with a number : OPUS. I always have like this piece by Chopin. My THOUGHT.

14. Indulge : HUMOR. Nice Friday clue, as we all have humored our spouses or children or even parents at one time in our lives.

15. Probe-launching org. : NASA. CSO to HG.

16. Words often after a number : OR SO. This took me 10 minutes or so to complete.

19. Attire : WEAR.

20. Euripides drama : MEDEA. CSO to me as Jason played a large part in this Tragedy - just not a nice part.

21. Cook books, say : CHEAT. Many businesses do keep different sets of books, cash accounting, GAAP accounting and regulatory accounting, Way beyond me.

22. Venomous reptile : ASP. Cleopatra another tragic figure.

28. Horror film reaction : SHRIEK.

30. Way out : EXIT. Literal.

31. __ Throne: "Game of Thrones" monarchy : IRON. Wonderful fun. LINK.

32. They may span decades : SAGAS. The first one I heard of was THIS.

34. Tack on : ADD.

41. Pasture parent : EWE. I like the alliteration. Ma maa.

42. Members of an exclusive league : IVIES. Hmm- 53A. One percent, so to speak : ELITE.

43. Pasta choice : ZITI. Probably time for a refresher on the many shapes of PASTA.

44. Lack of focus : BLUR. My eye doctor says I am blessed with blurred vision recognition.

45. See 12-Down : ASIMOV. 12D. With 45-Across, "The Bicentennial Man" author : ISAAC. While an interesting book (which is only slightly related to the Robin Williams movie version) this was one in his robot series. He is the most impressive AUTHOR I have read because of hs facility in so many fields.

52. PC file extension : EXE.  An executable file for DOS

54. Lead-in to a drink? : I NEED.

56. Fund-raiser, perhaps : GALA. Lots of drinking there usually.

62. "Totally!" : AMEN. From Moses to Mos Def.

63. Brink : EDGE.

64. Mill output : FLOUR. Steel anyone?

65. Not : NARY.

66. Wolfish look : LEER. Splynter?

67. Neighborhood posting : FLYER.


1. "__ Hate Me": Spike Lee film : SHE. Worth watching.

2. Prom duds : TUX.

3. Devil : IMP.

4. Social convention : NORM. I knew he was social but an entire convention?

5. Country bordering three seas : GREECE. Extra credit if you can name all three.

6. Kickoff : ONSET. 46D. Wave to from the dock : SEE OFF.

7. Grab for clumsily : PAW AT.

8. "Royal Pains" network : USA.

9. Declare : SAY.

10. "Well, whoop-de-do" : SO WHAT.

11. Get duded up : PREEN.

13. Up __ : NORTH. So random, but "YOURS" seemed impolite.

18. Deadwood's state: Abbr. : SDAK.

21. Like new bills : CRISP.

22. Out of the way : ASIDE.

23. Nag : SHREW.

24. Essay makeup : PROSE.

26. Locking blocks : LEGOS. Anyone been?
27. End-of-term ordeal : EXAM.

29. Letterpress need : INK.

32. VP after Hubert : SPIRO. He resigned just over 43 years ago. In cas you forgot....

33. Expert : ACE.

34. Fairy-tale intro words : A TIME. The dreaded partial?

35. Do a juice cleanse, say : DETOX.

38. El Niño feature : TILDE. Nicely disguised.

39. Female gamete : OVUM.

40. Action film weapon : UZI.

44. Mendel's science : BOTANY.
An analysis of genetic crosses depends upon an understanding of Mendel's two laws: The principle of segregation (First Law): The two members of a gene pair (alleles) segregate (separate) from each other in the formation of gametes. Half the gametes carry one allele, and the other half carry the other allele. His seeds were seeds.

45. Novelist Waugh : ALEC. Most famous as Evelyn's brother. Tin, he also said, "I am prepared to believe that a dry martini slightly impairs the palate, but think what it does for the soul."

47. Initiated : BEGAN.

48. Andean transport : LLAMA.

49. Edmonton NHL player : OILER. Splynter?

50. Hull region : BILGE. This TERM has been around 500 years.

51. Deduce : INFER. Nero Wolfe used to get apoplectic about those who misused this WORD.

55. Sigh-inducing : DULL.

57. Holder of locks : GEL. hair, silly.

58. Shelley work : ODE. For the season - the first stanza of Ode To The West Wind
O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

59. Scheider of "Jaws" : ROY. He had a long and successful CAREER.

60. Seek payback, maybe : SUE. The law is the only field where one professional creates business for another.

61. Fumble, e.g. : ERR. is human, to forgive divine. Not in Cleveland.

Well hopefully I did not fumble the ball in discussing this Friday frolic. Welcome back Chuck. Lemonade out.

Oct 20, 2016

Thursday, October 20th 2016 Jacob Stulberg

Theme: V-oice Exercise: A vowel progression on "V". I shared a flat with two drama students in London many moons ago, and they would trill their vowel progression voice exercises over breakfast: "Mah-may-mee-my-mow-moo-mah" or in this case "Va-Veh-Vih-Voe-Vuh". Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders were in the same class; Jennifer's boyfriend owned the house we were renting. What's that got to do with the price of gas? Not a whole lot, let's get back on track.

18A. Personal guide : VALUE SYSTEM. Not Nordstrom shopper?

24A. Shoe fastener : VELCRO STRIP. My bike cleats have these. Handy.

38A. Historic Manhattan jazz club : VILLAGE VANGUARD. Crosses all the way for me. The club opened in Greenwich Village in 1935 and became an all-jazz venue in 1975.

48A. Cloud above a peak : VOLCANIC ASH. One of those tricky-to-parse entries. I had "CASH" in place at the end, and once you see something like that, it's tough to un-see it.

58A. Source of the Romance languages : VULGAR LATIN. Or what is inscribed on the walls of Roman public bathrooms? We studied Latin poetry at school; let me tell you, some of the stanzas from Catullus and Martial would make your hair curl. Google at your peril.

Solid Thursday from Jacob; minor gripe is that VANGUARD repeats the first vowel progression and doesn't form part of the theme, although it's part of a theme entry. Minor, but a gripe.

Let's see what else we've got:


1. One of a pair in "Waiting for Godot" : ACT. Not "tramp" or derivative thereof - nice cluing. I once saw a production of "Godot" where Vladimir and Estragon were both in grecian urns with only their heads visible. It's not exactly the most exciting play, and this static staging was curious to say the least.

4. __ ray : COSMIC

10. Where rds. meet : JCTS. Roads/Junctions. How about some Tuxedo Junction?

14. Frat address : BRO. bluto@deltatauchi.bro? Maybe not that kind of address.

15. Iris ring : AREOLA. I'm going to sit back and wait for the picture links in the comments.

16. Obama's birthplace : OAHU

17. Basic resting place : COT. Basic Training. Barracks. Cot. Basic it might have been, but very welcome.

20. Start of "A Visit From St. Nicholas" : 'TWAS the night before Christmas ...

22. Common base : TEN. We geeks also have binary, octal and hexadecimal in our bag of bases.

23. "Joke's on you!" : HA HA!

27. Animal's gullet : MAW

30. "To see __ is a picture": Dickinson : HER

31. Make subservient : ENSLAVE

33. Nincompoop : BOOB. Snigger. With 15A. Snigger.

35. "Biggest Little City in the World" : RENO

37. Next Dodger after Fernando to win the Cy Young Award : OREL. If Clayton Kershaw keeps it up, he's going to be the next Cy Young winner.

41. Ancient Icelandic text : EDDA

42. Birthstone for some Scorpios : OPAL

43. Bavarian count opener : EINS, zwei, drei ...

44. Pose anew, as a question : REFRAME

46. Hosp. areas : E.R.S

47. Put away : ATE

54. Hideout : LAIR

56. Crude shelter : HUT

57. Thing on a string : KITE

62. Sound after a punch : OOF!

63. How some games are won, briefly : IN O.T.

64. Dawn goddess : AURORA

65. Aflame : LIT

66. Cuts : MOWS. All sing along: "One man went to mow, went to mow a meadow, one man and his dog went to mow a meadow. Two men went to mow, went to mow a meadow, two men one man and his dog, Spot, went to mow a meadow. Three men went to mow ... " Continue ad nauseam.

When I used to go to Stamford Bridge in London in the '70s to watch my soccer club Chelsea, prior to kick-off the pitch would be given the once-over with the mower, Zamboni-style, and the crowd would serenade the mower guy up and down the pitch. He usually finished around "Twenty-three men went to mow". We were easily amused in those halcyon days. You want an ear worm? Here you go!

67. Shows disapproval, in a way : HISSES

68. Far from friendly : ICY


1. "How to Get Away With Murder" airer : ABC TV

2. Actor Russell : CROWE

3. Whole : TOTAL

4. Member of the reigning NBA champs : CAV. This clue breaks the "time-independent" convention for crosswords. If I came to solve this puzzle next year, there's no guarantee this clue/answer would be correct.

5. Big talker : ORATOR

6. Graf rival : SELES. Steffi and Monica of 90's professional tennis.

7. See 12-Down : MOUNT. Cross-referential angst for some.

8. The Seine's __ Saint-Germain : ÎLE. The city's' foremost professional soccer team is Paris Saint-Germain, which gives English-speaking commentators a crisis of pronunciation. Do you say "Paree" or "Paris"? You can't say "Parriss Saint Jerman", that sounds all wrong, "Parriss San-Germanne" is a curious hybrid and the correct "Paree San-Germanne" seems peculiar when you've been calling the city "Paris" all night. I'd stick to "PSG", but it's fun to listen to the manglings on TV.

9. Use to one's advantage : CASH IN ON

10. Tease : JOSH

11. Regatta racer : CATAMARAN

12. With 7-Down, sermon site : THE

13. (In) brief : SUM

19. Prattles : YAPS

21. Gentleman, at times? : SCHOLAR. Not always.

25. Sitcom that starred a singer : REBA

26. Kidney-related : RENAL

28. States as fact : AVERS

29. Join with heat : WELD

32. Comedian who said, "I have a lot of beliefs, and I live by none of 'em" : LOUIS C.K. Never heard of him, so had to look up how to parse the name. Crosses all the way for me. His real name is Louis Székely.

33. Lavatory fixture : BIDET. The first time I saw one I thought it was for washing your socks.

34. Chap : OLD FELLOW

35. Turn off : REPEL

36. Green of "Penny Dreadful" : EVA. Thank you, crosses. BBC America "psychological thriller" series, apparently. Here's Ms. Green looking appropriately deep and disturbed:

38. Designer Wang : VERA

39. Scene of biblical destruction : GOMORRAH. Twin city of Begorrah, Ireland. No, wait ...

40. Spice Girl Halliwell : GERI

45. Nike competitor : AVIA. I had ASIC first, forgetting the final "S".

46. Whole : ENTIRE

49. Blackens : CHARS

50. Jaguars, for instance : AUTOS. Funny, I'm much more likely to think of German cars as "autos" rather than British ones. Automobiles, maybe.

51. Garlicky spread : AIOLI

52. Unlikely to come unglued : STOIC

53. Big name in the bags aisle : HEFTY. Was looking for purses at first. Louis Vuitton didn't fit, Coach didn't work with my crosses, then I was struggling. Ah, trash!

55. Fed. employees : AGTS

58. Energetic spirit : VIM. Usually partnered with "Vigor". A tennis doubles duo you don't want to come up against.

59. Game with wild cards : UNO. Never played it. Anyone know the rules?

60. Him, to Henri : LUI

61. "A Queens Story" rapper : NAS. Slowly but surely this is taking root in my crossword brain.

Alrighty then! Heeere's the grid! My work here is done.


Oct 19, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 Bruce Haight

Theme: NUMBERS GAME.  The theme answers can be parsed by splitting off the last few letters, which in each case then constitute the spelt out name of a number.  These also appear in numerical order, which is a nice, elegant touch.  For some of them the pronunciation changes.  Fun theme for me, since I get a kick out of alternate parsings.

17 A. Does well at the casino? : BREAKS EVEN.   Since the house has a persistent advantage, one who BREAKS EVEN actually is doing well.  SEVEN is considered by some to be a lucky number.  So parsing this letter grouping to split off the number SEVEN might actually be a lucky BREAK.

25 A. Cereal box factoid : NET WEIGHT.   This is the WEIGHT of the contents of the box.  The weight of the container is called the tare, and added together they give you the total WEIGHT.  Maybe you'll get EIGHT servings, and eating them might affect your WEIGHT.

50 A. Opera house level : MEZZANINE.  This traces back to the Latin word for median, and refers to a building level between two floors, in this case the main auditorium and the balcony.  NINE is the number of either ladies dancing on the stage, or the Nazgul, though I'm not sure how that is relevant.

60 A. Bullied : BROW-BEATEN.  Influenced by verbal or psychological intimidation and abuse, rather than physical harm, though that might be threatened.   This can happen because the TEN Commandments did not include "Thou Salt Not BROW BEAT."

And the unifier -- 37 A. Concert finale ... and what 17-, 25-, 50- and 60-Across have in common: CLOSING NUMBER.  That's the last song of the performance, and points us to the tail end of each theme answer.  Having the unifier in the middle makes for nice symmetry, but can give away too much too soon, if you're filling in with top down sequence.

Good closing number - but we're just getting started!

Hi gang, JazzBumba on the job, though I'm not much of a numerologist.  Let's go check out the words and letters.  That's more my speed.


1. Unlike this clue, obviously : LAST.  So, the LAST really will be first - at least in the context of this grid.

5. Driving force? : MOTOR.  Usually this phrase is figurative, but here, it is literal, since a MOTOR provides the driving force for a vehicle or some other kind of machine.  So why the question mark?

10. Bar regulars, and then some : SOTS.  Habitual drunkards.  The word originates in medieval Latin, coming to us via late Old English, where it referred to a foolish person.  The current meaning dates from the late 16th century.

14. Bible book before Romans : ACTS. Of The Apostles.

15. One-named singer with 10 Grammys : ADELE.

16. William of "Broadcast News" : HURT. [b 1950]

19. On : ATOP.  Sitting upon.

20. URL ending : COM.  For a commercial enterprise. Others are EDU for schools and ORG for organizations.

21. Bridge call : AHOY.   The bridge of a ship, not something uttered in a card game.

22. Hang loosely : DRAPE.  

23. Star's statuette : OSCAR.  For Academy Award winners.

28. Mushroom cloud makers : A-TESTS.    Of explosive nuclear devices.

30. Pale : WAN.  Strangely, this traces back to an Old English word meaning dark black.  Go figure.

31. __ shadow : EYE.   Cosmetic type.

32. Tip to one side : TILT.  Lean over.

33. Etiquette expert Baldrige who was Jackie Kennedy's social secretary : LETITIA. [1926-2012]  Author of 20 books and a newspaper column who also ran her own PR firm.

41. Comes back with : REPLIES.  Not RETORTS, I discovered.

42. Hardly scads : A DAB.  Some undefined small quantity

44. Beer choice, briefly : IPA.  India Pale Ale - a hoppy brew originally formulated to be stable on the long sea voyage from Mother England.

47. Part of un mes : DIA.   Spanish month and day.

48. Ready for the piano recital : IN TUNE.  I could go on and on about this, but the comma of Pythagorus is too difficult to explain.

54. "Ugh!" : YECCH.  An expression of disgust, and my reaction to this fill.

55. Climbed aboard : GOT ON.   Could also be GOT IN.

56. Some Neruda poems : ODES.  Pablo Neruda was the pen name and later legal name of Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto [1904 - 1973.]

58. Hawaiian tuna : AHI.  Yellowfin tuna.

59. Snack since 1912 : OREO.   Creme filling between two chocolate cookie layers.

63. Musée Marc Chagall city : NICE.  In France.

64. Ancient Greek region : IONIA.  In present day Turkey.

65. Conversation piece? : WORD.  Sentence fragment.  Make sure you parse it properly.

66. __ chair : EASY.  A place to relax.

67. Minute : TEENY. Tiny.

68. Archer of myth : EROS. Bringer of love.  This is why it's called arrowticism.


1. Researcher's garb : LAB COAT.  For chemists, doctors, and lab workers.

2. Puzzle with a quote : ACROSTIC.  Explained here.

3. Recent medical research subject : STEM CELL.  An undifferentiated cell that is capable of developing into any of a variety of specific cell types.

4. Org. operating full-body scanners : TSA.  The Transportation Security Administration.

5. Prepare, as avocados for guacamole : MASH.  Guac a al Bumpa:  Two avocados, mashed; one 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies; two tomatillas, finely diced; chopped cilantro, onion and garlic to taste.  Magnifico!

6. Ancient theater : ODEON.   Greek.

7. "Tradition" singer : TEVYE.  From Fiddler On The Roof.

He does have quite a bit of help

8. "Bravo!" : OLE. Cheers heard in sports arenas where Spanish is spoken.

9. "You eediot!" speaker of cartoons : REN.  Stimpy's costar.

10. Ventriloquist Lewis : SHARI.  

11. Delighted state? : OUTAGE.  Now this is clever.  When the electricity is out, you are left in the dark, powerless.

12. Prize in a case : TROPHY.   An OSCAR, frex.

13. Fla. city : ST. PETErsburg.

18. Go-__ : KART.  A small racing car with a lightweight or skeleton body.

22. Overalls material : DENIM.  Also blue jeans.

24. Financier aboard the Titanic : ASTOR.  John Jacob. [1864-1912]  He went down with the ship.

26. Strong string : TWINE.  From the same root as two and twin, a strong string made from two or more strands twisted together.

27. 1960s dance : WATUSI.

29. Add sneakily : SLIP IN.  As when late for a meeting, hoping to not be noticed.

34. China's Zhou __ : EN LAI. [1898 - 1976]   First Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from 1949 until his death.

35. "In Here, It's Always Friday" letters : TGI.  From the Restaurant chain TGI Friday's.

36. Diminish : ABATE.  Reduce in magnitude or intensity.

38. Enterprise choice : SEDAN.   Rental car, having nothing to do with Star Trek.

39. Academic figure : EDUCATOR.  Teacher.

40. Southwestern farm owner : RANCHERO.  Spanish for rancher.  

43. Rear ends : BEHINDS.

44. "See ya!" : I'M GONE.  Not quite - gotta finish the downs.

45. Everycity, USA : PEORIA.   This idea originated in one of Horatio Alger's plays.

46. Tenochtitlán natives : AZTECS.   They dominated meso-America in the 14th through 16th centuries and are noted for the practice of human sacrifice.

49. Where to see IBM and JNJ : NYSE.   Stock symbols on the New York Stock Exchange.

51. Deschanel of the musical duo She & Him : ZOOEY.

52. Whom to trust, in "The X-Files" : NO ONE.  Closing tag line used in certain episodes.

53. Astronomer Hubble : EDWIN. [1889 - 1953]  American astronomer who showed that the universe is expanding, and provided evidence that far off objects considered to be nebulae were actually galaxies. 

57. PayPal's former parent : EBAY.  

60. Morsel : BIT.  Or bite, perhaps an ort.

61. Salmon eggs : ROE.  Fish eggs, in general are referred to as ROE.

62. More than impress : AWE.  A reaction of wonder to something grand, sublime or powerful.

And thus ends this little number.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Mind your traditions and go in peace, my friends.

Cool regards!


Note from C.C.:

Anon T (Tony) and I made today's WSJ. You can click here to print out pdf. Read Jim's review after you're done. Congrats on your WSJ debut, Tony!
Anon T, Giza, Feb 2014

Oct 18, 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 Agnes Davidson & C.C. Burnikel

Theme: Fry a brain - trying to think of a good theme title for this puzzle.

18A. Mug for the camera: MAKE A FACE

23A. Pitch in: LEND A HAND

37A. Do the slightest thing: LIFT A FINGER

50A. What the winning quarterback may do as time runs out: TAKE A KNEE

57A. Theatrical "Good luck!": BREAK A LEG

Argyle here. Very tight theme construction from C.C. and Irish Miss but I am at a loss at what to call it. Help me, please.


1. With 66-Across, crisp serving with pâté: MELBA. 66-Across. See 1-Across: TOAST

6. Gush forth: SPEW

10. Australian gem: OPAL

14. Mountains between Europe and Asia: URALS. How many euros to visit the Urals?

15. Singer Guthrie: ARLO

16. Bring on board, workwise: HIRE

17. Enjoy to the max: EAT UP

20. Govt. assistance program: SSI. (Supplemental Security Income)

21. "Holy smokes!": "WOW!". What you might say when you see how much we pay for SSI.

22. Hot spot: SAUNA

27. Battery post: ANODE

29. Aggressive poker words: "I RAISE". Non-aggressive, "I fold."

30. Some iTunes downloads, briefly: EPs. Extended play. It usually has 3-5 tracks.

32. Queen __: BEE. Every hive has one.

33. Road problem needing patching: POTHOLE

36. Catcher's protection: MASK

39. Aware of: IN ON

41. Voice of Carl Fredricksen in "Up": ED ASNER

42. "What's up, __?": DOC. "Carl Fredricksen"

43. iPhone, e.g., briefly: PDA. (personal digital assistant)


48. Shoulder wrap: STOLE

53. Contemptible sort: TWERP

55. Prosecutors, for short: DAs, (District Attorney)

56. Seine season: ÉTÉ. Save up your euros and take a boat trip on the Seine next summer.

59. "Really, bro?!": "AW, MAN!"

61. Was sorry for: RUED

62. Grand soirée: GALA

63. Super Bowl party bowlful: CHILI. Any Super Bowl pools started yet?

64. Chianti and cabernet: REDs. Wines; good with chili?

65. Paradise: EDEN


1. Granola kin: MUESLI

2. Error remover: ERASER

3. Rita Moreno or Gloria Estefan: LATINA

4. __-ray Disc: BLU

5. Snake that bit Cleopatra: ASP

6. South Pacific island nation: SAMOA

7. Shrimp kin: PRAWN

8. Fraternal club member: ELK. Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

9. Misfortunes: WOES

10. "Terrific ... not!": "OH, FUN"

11. Lounge with keyboard music: PIANO BAR

12. Video game spots: ARCADEs

13. Dixie general: LEE. We haven't seen much of the General in some time.

19. Remote batteries: AAAs

21. Stimulated, as one's appetite: WHETTED

24. Scoop up, as salsa with a chip: DIP IN. Don't be a George.

25. Starting on: AS OF

26. Meat markets: DELIs

28. Cry of fright: [EEK!]

31. Cents: PENNIES

34. Attacked: HAD AT

35. All __ sudden: OF A

36. Pfizer rival: MERCK. (pharmaceutical companies)

37. Plant that is poisonous to livestock: LOCOWEED

38. Rowlands of "The Notebook": GENAIMBd Gena portrays an old woman and Rachel McAdams has the role of the same character when she was young.

39. Crooks may have fake ones: IDs. (identification card)

40. "You lie!": "NOT TRUE!"

43. Company car, e.g.: PERK

45. Lack of vim and vigor: ANEMIA

46. Colorful flower parts: PETALS

47. "Caught that movie last week": "SEEN IT"

49. Detectives follow them: LEADS

51. Singer with the albums "19," "21" and "25": ADELE. Albums were named for how old she was when she made them.

52. Sotomayor colleague: KAGAN. Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

54. Senate aide: PAGE

57. "I'm freezing!": [BRR!]. Not here, not this week. Eighties predicted.

58. Young fellow: LAD

59. Fake it: ACT

60. "__ goes there?": WHO


Oct 17, 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016 Carolyn Farmer & Mary Lou Guizzo

Theme: Four Letter Jumble - The word is FATE.

17. Noir film temptress: FEMME FATALE

28. Football-like sport played with a disc: ULTIMATE FRISBEE


56. Ironic change in destiny ... and, literally, what happens in this puzzle's circles: TWIST OF FATE

Argyle here. We have a lot to like here. No stretching of the 'in language' themes to make them fit even though two are grid spanners. Many six letter fill and a good mix overall.

These two partnered before on a BuzzFeed crossword last year. Food-themed Star Wars puns. LINK


1. Solidifies: GELS

5. Extends, as a building: ADDS TO

11. Triple __: liqueur: SEC. An orange flavored clear liqueur.

14. Golfer Aoki: ISAO. Isao Aoki, crossword regular.

15. Unfortunate event: MISHAP

16. Thurman of "Kill Bill": UMA. Also a regular.

19. Writing implement: PEN

20. Therapeutic ointment: BALM. I swear by it.

21. Tenants: RENTERs

23. Engineer Nikola: TESLA. A former regular.

25. "__F!": pre-weekend cry: TGI. A bit early for Thank God It's Friday.

27. Homer Simpson's wife: MARGE. She of the blue hair.

31. Falsehood: LIE

32. __ Angeles: LOS

33. '50s prez: IKE. DDE, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President.

34. Kareem's former name: LEW. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was Lew Alcindor. (Basketball)

35. Dangerous current: RIPTIDE. I know you should swim perpendicular to one if caught in it. Don't try to swim straight back to shore. Today's PSA.

37. Female pronoun: SHE

40. Cupid's mo.: FEB. Valentine's Day, Tuesday, February 14, 2017.

41. Year, in Spain: ANO. 6-Down. Day, in Spain: DIA

42. Ate: HAD

49. "__ Rae": NORMA. Norma Rae is a 1979 American drama film.

50. "__ who?!": SEZ "Sez IMDb, that's who!"

51. Execs, or outfits hanging in their closets: SUITS

52. Goes on the offensive: ATTACKS

54. Gentle: SOFT

55. Life story, briefly: BIO. (biography)

61. Egg cells: OVA

62. Transition slowly: EASE IN

63. __ out a living: EKEs

64. Crossed (out): Xed

65. Same-as-above marks: DITTOs. "

66. Fender damage: DENT


1. Animated Internet file suffix: GIF. (Graphics Interchange Format)

2. Suffix with Siam: ESE

3. Meaty dish that would make Mary sad?: LAMB STEW

4. Mogadishu native: SOMALI

5. Radio band-switching switch: AM/FM

7. Hrs. that begin when we "spring forward": DST. Daylight Saving Time 2016 began at 2:00 AM on Sunday, March 13 and ends at 2:00 AM on Sunday, November 6. Another Public Service Announcement.

8. "Doctor Zhivago" actor Omar: SHARIF

9. "Tall" story: TALE

10. Amateur night at a comedy club, e.g.: OPEN MIKE

11. Exquisite: SUPERB

12. Come into view: EMERGE

13. As far as the eye __: CAN SEE

18. Jack of old Westerns: ELAM. Just one of his many deaths.

22. Stun with a gun: TASE. Jack was being shot long before tasers.

23. Rock's Jethro __: TULL

24. Nobelist Wiesel: ELIE

25. Sporty sunroof: T-TOP

26. Develop in the womb: GESTATE

29. "I was with my girlfriend all night," say: ALIBI

30. No longer encumbered by: RID OF

35. Edited: REDACTED

36. "Mockingbird" singer Foxx: INEZ. A different video for Splynter here.

37. Asian mushroom with an odd spelling: SHIITAKE

38. "Freeze!": "HALT!"

39. Breyers competitor: EDY'S Ice cream.

40. Storm relief org.: FEMA. (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

43. Packed up for shipping: IN A BOX

44. Whodunit reason: MOTIVE

45. "The Wind in the Willows" croaker: MR. TOAD

46. Help out: ASSIST

47. Dating from: AS OF

48. Bungled: MUFFED

53. "The Bridge on the River __": KWAI. 1957 British-American epic war film.

54. Daughters' brothers: SONS

57. Part of a tennis match: SET

58. Padre's hermano: TIO. father's brother/uncle

59. On a scale of one to __: TEN

60. Approx. figure: ESTimate.


Oct 16, 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016 Matt McKinley

Theme: "Get With It" - You need to add "Get" to each clue to make sense of the answer.

23A. Away : EVADE THE POLICE. Get away.

42A. By : MAKE ENDS MEET. Get by.

50A. Hitched : TIE THE KNOT. Get hitched. This and 42A are solid "in the language" phrases.

68A. Wise : ACT ARROGANTLY. Get wise.

89A. On : JUMP ABOARD. Get on. "In the language" also.

96A. Even : AVENGE A WRONG. Get even.
118A. Ahead : ACHIEVE SUCCESS. Get ahead.

17D. Through : BECOME CLEAR. Get through. Two of the Down themers intersect two Aross entries. Nice.
67D. Over : RECOVER FROM. Get over. 

I grokked the gimmick immediately, having encountered Alex Boisvert's "Get It?" puzzle in my theme brainstorm a while ago.

This is basically a Definition puzzle with key part of the clue missing, so not all the phrases are idiomatic. But trust me, it's not easy to come up with a set of entries that work perfectly letter-wise and definition-wise.


1. Using currency : IN CASH. Lots of solid 6s in this grid.

7. Reacted to a late night out : SLEPT IN

14. Frozen dessert : SORBET. Sorbet/sherbet used to confuse me.

20. Snack chip : DORITO

21. Derogatory statement : CALUMNY. Not a word I use.

22. Puddy tat's quarry : TWEETY

25. Baggage porter : REDCAP

26. "__ difference" : SAME

27. Throat tissue : TONSIL

28. Org. associated with long lines : TSA

30. 2016 Olympics golf gold medalist Justin __ : ROSE. Met him & Adam Scott at the PGA long time ago. They had the same coach then.

31. Honey brand : SUE BEE. I just learned that drinking a cup of hot water with honey before bed helps sleep.
33. Something to soak in : TUB

36. "Recapping ... " : IN SUM

38. Blanc with many voices : MEL

41. Resort NE of Los Alamos : TAOS. Also 44. City south of Salem : EUGENE. Also 85. Russian city northeast of Kiev : OREL

 46. Pizza parlor lure : AROMA

48. "Duh!" evoker : NO BRAINER. Duh!

49. Stick in a parlor : CUE

54. Street __ : CRED. Not FAIR/FOOD.

55. Pond growth : ALGA

56. Hanging on by a thread : SEWN. I like this clue.

57. Vintage autos : REOs

58. Throbbed : ACHED, Sorry for the unpleasant experience on Thursday, Agnes!

60. Frozen drinks : ICEEs

61. Ounce : SCINTILLA

64. Patriot Silas : DEANE

65. Round fig. : CIR (Circle). Not EST.

73. In medias __ : RES

74. In full view : OVERT

76. Literary motto words : ONE FOR ALL. The Three Musketeers.

78. Securing strings : LACES

79. See 51-Down : GAGNE. And 51. With 79-Across, 2003 N.L. Cy Young Award winner : ERIC. One of the very few who wear glasses on the field.

82. Setting of Camus' "The Plague" : ORAN. Guilty of putting this in my own grids before.

83. Wind with keys : OBOE. Tricky clue.

87. Soon, in verse : ANON

88. One way to fly : SOLO. We also have 58. Unaccompanied : ALONE

 91. AFC South, e.g. : DIV (Division)

92. Typical fast-food offering : CHEAP MEAL. KFC was a luxury place in my college years. Xi'an had no McDonald's then.

95. Tossed in a chip : ANTED
98. Bedside toggle switch : AM/FM

101. Crafty : SLY

102. Fence pieces : RAILS

103. Case in Eng. class : OBJ (Objective)

104. Like some dress patterns : FLORAL. So pretty.

106. Only president who was also chief justice : TAFT. Learned a ton while making the  CHIEF JUSTICE puzzle with Big Easy.

108. Norse war god : TYR. Learned from doing crosswords. Tuesday god.

110. Algonquin kin : OJIBWA. I use OJIBWE.

112. "Exodus" novelist : URIS

116. Land, say : ARRIVE. Verb "Land".

122. Metaphor for the good life : CLOVER. In clover.

123. Explorer of new territory : PIONEER

124. Connecticut town on Long Island Sound : DARIEN. No idea. What's it famous for?

125. Hits involving trots : HOMERS. Home run trot.

126. Leading position : TOP SPOT

127. Bergman and Borg : SWEDES
1. Middle March : IDES

2. Smoked salmon : NOVA. Kind of lox.

3. Compensate for prior laziness, perhaps : CRAM. Simple in retrospect.

4. Hill workers : AIDES

5. Sault __ Marie : STE

6. It may be herbal : HOT TEA. Mine is always hot, even in summer.

7. Discomfiting displays : SCENES. I just realize the clue is not "Discomforting".

8. Oversight : LAPSE

9. Fair-haired sci-fi race : ELOI. It's back!

10. Soda can feature : PULL TAB

11. "That's more than enough!" : TMI

12. Business issue : INC.  The magazine.

13. Natasha's no : NYET. Don't think Trump understands the clue.

14. Broken down, say : STRANDED

15. Must pay : OWE

16. "The Shining" word with two mirror-image letters : REDRUM. "Murder" spelled backwards.

18. T-storms may delay them : ETAs

19. Sort : TYPE

24. Bindle carrier : HOBO

29. Broke a Commandment : SINNED

32. "Point Break" FBI agent Johnny : UTAH. Aleppo moment. No idea.

34. Former 37-Down : UKR. And 37. Abbr. on Cold War maps : SSR

35. Vacation spot : BEACH

38. Shoes may be left on them : MATS

39. Lake that anagrams 43-Down : ERIE. And 43. Land that anagrams 39-Down : EIRE

40. Movie mogul Marcus : LOEW

42. Clever remark : MOT
45. Kids : TEASES

47. Ozarks, e.g.: Abbr. : MTNs

48. Polite refusal : NO SIR

52. Lane co-worker : KENT. Lois Lane. See also 72. Lois' "Superboy" counterpart : LANA
53. "It's __ good sign" : NOT A

55. Golfer's thrill : ACE

59. Put behind bars : CAGE

60. Country poem : IDYL. I use IDYLL.

62. Scratching post users : CATS

63. Dianetics creator Hubbard : L. RON. Lawrence Wright talked in depth about him and Scientology a few years ago.

 65. Piña __ : COLADA

66. "Terrible" tsar : IVAN IV

69. On the bad side (of) : AFOUL

70. Expected result : NORM

71. Deceitful lure : TRAP

75. Stimpy's chum : REN

77. Bird on Canada's dollar coin : LOON

79. Give some slack, with "on" : GO EASY. Slight GO dupe with 81. Relinquish amateur status : GO PRO

80. What there oughta be : A LAW

84. Nocturnal mammals : BATS

86. Hot tub feature : EDDY

88. Stray caretakers : SHELTERS. The Ottos' in Texas.

89. Spree : JAG

90. Auburn rival, familiarly : BAMA

92. Cinematic FX : CGI

93. Criminal element, with "the" : MOB

94. Legally prohibits : ENJOINS

97. Indigenous : NATIVE

98. Uncle in a McCartney hit : ALBERT. Unfamiliar with the song.

99. Trims the lawn : MOWS

100. Phonies : FRAUDS

104. McGarrett's force, familiarly : FIVE-O

105. Immoral profit : LUCRE. I need the "Filthy" hint.

106. Dash instrument : TACH

107. Woody's son : ARLO

109. Absorbed : RAPT

111. "Go Anywhere. Do Anything" vehicle : JEEP

113. Senate minority leader : REID (Harry)

114. "Of course" : I SEE

115. Tax form IDs : SSNs

117. Bible transl., e.g. : VER. Version?

119. 1955 labor merger gp. : CIO

120. I follower : HOP. Not BET or KID.

121. Cry close to the ears : CAW. Corn. Nice clue also.

Happy Birthday to our CrossEyedDave & Blue Hen! Thank you for the fun, laughter and various life hacks you two have brought to our blog. Soaking Porcini/Shiitake in stock instead of water has made my mushrooms extra tasty, Blue Hen!