Dec 5, 2016

Monday, December 5, 2016 Brock Wilson

Theme: Catbird Seat? - I can see Tuesday from here.

17A. What the star gets on a marquee: TOP BILLING

23A. Dejected: CRESTFALLEN

37A. Level of optimal accomplishment: PEAK PERFORMANCE

47A. Meeting of world leaders: SUMMIT TALKS

58A. Honorable ... and like the starts of 17-, 23-, 37- and 47-Across: HIGH MINDED

Argyle here. Not much to say. A couple of clunkers but on the whole, a pleasant Monday.


1. Poets: BARDS

6. Ocean breaker: WAVE

10. Former Iranian ruler: SHAH

14. From another planet: ALIEN

15. Golfer's club selection: IRON

16. Golfer's target: HOLE

19. Express checkout lane unit: ITEM

20. "__ Haw": HEE

21. Contemptuous manner, in slang: 'TUDE. (attitude)

22. "Pet" annoyance: PEEVE

26. Wrap tightly, as in bandages: SWATHE

30. Poker holding: HAND

31. Charged atoms: IONS

32. Madame of physics: CURIE. Marie Curie, (1867 – 1934)

34. Guy's partner: GAL

41. Bygone jet, briefly: SST. (SuperSonic Transport)

42. Act with passion: EMOTE

43. Caution: WARN

44. Song at the Met: ARIA

45. Like most peanuts: SALTED

52. Name on rented trailers: U-HAUL

53. Lane with a nose for news: LOIS. Reporter for the Daily Planet.

54. Pasta suffix: -INI

57. Dirt road grooves: RUTS

61. Emancipated: FREE

62. Pigmented eye layer: UVEA

63. Watchdog warning: GROWL

64. Part of NIMBY: YARD. "Not In My Back Yard"

65. Swiss capital: BERN. Bern or Berne.

66. Foul, weather-wise: NASTY


1. It's drawn in a tub: BATH

2. Natural skin soother: ALOE

3. Unlike green tomatoes: RIPE

4. Star of the ball: DEB.(debutante)

5. Tattletale: SNITCH. BLABBY CAT.

6. Witty Oscar: WILDE

7. Astrological Ram: ARIES

8. Maria __ Trapp: VON Sound Of Music. (Today's French lesson.)

9. Subj. with grammar: ENGlish

10. Handheld riot gear: SHIELD

11. Marriott facility: HOTEL

12. Advil competitor: ALEVE

13. Macho guys: HE-MEN

18. Tempt: LURE

22. "The Hunger Games" nation: PANEM

24. Severe pang: THROE

25. Carnival: FAIR

26. Drinks that make a drink last: SIPS. Verb that makes a noun last.

27. Troubles: WOES

28. Vet sch. course: ANATomy

29. Disdainful click: "TSK!"

32. Zagreb native: CROAT

33. N.Y.-based educators' union: UFT. United Federation of Teachers, a New York City affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. A bit of stretch.

34. Insect in a dusk swarm: GNAT. Males assemble in large mating swarms known as ghosts, commonly at dusk.

35. Realtor's lot unit: ACRE

36. Allow to borrow: LEND

38. Danger: PERIL

39. Give out: EMIT

40. Tapered tool: AWL

44. Tickled: AMUSED

45. Less than 1%?: SKIM. Milk!

46. Give, as homework: ASSIGN

47. Like the beach during a storm: SURFY. Ugh!

48. "Star Trek" lieutenant: UHURA."Oh my!"

49. Alma __: MATER

50. Rags-to-riches author Horatio: ALGER. “Go West, young man” may well have been a paraphrase of advice given by Greeley in the New Yorker.  “If any young man is about to commence the world, we say to him, publicly and privately, Go to the West”

51. Lindsay who played Liz in "Liz & Dick": LOHAN

54. Wedding promises: I DO's

55. Mature eft: NEWT

56. Relaxed way to sit by: IDLY

58. O'Hare, for United Airlines: HUB. Chicago O'Hare Airport (ORD)

59. "__ been thinking ... ": I'VE. but not much.

60. Org. promoting hunter safety: NRA. (National Rifle Association)


Dec 4, 2016

Sunday, December 4, 2016 Garry Morse

(Sunday puzzle is now in the Comics section in L.A. Times.)

Theme:  "Hold the Tomato" -  T is changed into BL in each theme entry.

23A. Warning technologically unavailable in Titanic times? : BLIP OF THE ICEBERG. Tip of the iceberg.

31A. Passionate maintenance of one's Cuisinart? : BLENDER LOVING CARE. Tender loving care.

56A. Forgetting how to stay up? : FLOTATION BLANK. Flotation tank is a new word to me. Looks like a spa device.

67A. Feline snitch? : BLABBY CAT. Tabby cat.

77A. Junkyard guards? : BLIGHT SECURITY. Tight security.

101A. Haul in à la the Big Bad Wolf, as a wrecked vehicle? : BLOW BACK TO THE SHOP. Tow back to the shop.

113A. Where a chant of "Well done, blokes!" might start? : ENGLISH BLEACHERS. English teachers.

Reveal entry:

116. Sandwich that hints at this puzzle's theme : BLT

I forgot to look at the title when I downloaded the puzzle. Big "Aha!" when I came to the reveal. So unexpected. 
Out of the seven theme entries, five have the first word changed, two have the last word changed. Three multi-word entries, four two-word answer. Nice mix. No odd man out.

Six of the seven entries are quite long, so Garry had a total of 103 theme squares to deal with. 94/95 remains my magic number.


1. Like some felonies : CLASS B. Google says "A Class B felony is a category of felony that applies to crimes that are severe yet not the most serious of crimes." I got via crosses.

7. Get whipped : LOSE

11. "The Nutcracker" garb : TUTU

15. Missile with a flight : DART. 9. '80s missile prog. : SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative). Missile clue echo.

19. Rep's bad news : NO SALE

20. Vegas bigwig : ODDS MAKER

22. Asian nurse : AMAH. Most of Amahs in Hong Kong are from Philippines.

25. Second start : NANO. Nanosecond.

26. Half-__: coffee order : CAF

27. Island band The __ Men : BAHA . The annoying "Who Let the Dogs Out".

28. Plastic __ Band : ONO

29. Helps keep track : REMINDS

35. "This fortress built by Nature for __": Shakespeare : HERSELF. Got via crosses.

39. Suspicious of : ONTO

40. It merged with SAG in 2012 : AFTRA. OK, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

41. Kind of TV personality : ON AIR

42. Pitney's partner : BOWES. This stumped me last time.

44. Prince __ Khan : ALY

45. Prince Buster music genre : SKA. I thought it might be EMO.

48. Tetra- doubled : OCTA

49. One who doesn't get out : LIFER

50. At age 88, Betty White was its oldest host, briefly : SNL

51. Jah worshipers : RASTAs. Jah is Rasta's God. Hallelujah.

54. Fired by a waiter? : FLAMBE. Lovely clue.

59. University of San Marcos city : LIMA. Drew a blank. Wiki said it was established on May 12, 1551. Pretty old.

61. Form 1040 fig. : AGI

62. NASA, for one : ACRONYM

63. Out at the station : ALIBI

71. "Shucks" : AW GEE

72. Second Amendment word : MILITIA. Got via crosses.

74. __ Tomé : SAO

75. Migratory herring : SHAD. Hmm, pickled herrings.

81. Rhinos and hippos : BEASTS

86. Ducks : ELUDES

87. Hunk's pride : BOD . We also have 76. Six-pack you can't drink : ABs. And  92. Recently stolen : HOT. This model is 79 years old. Hottest grandpa in China.

88. Sharpens : WHETS

90. Six-time Hugo winner Frederik : POHL. What a creative brain.

91. __ sleep : REM

93. Link up with : TIE TO

94. Hooded snake : COBRA

95. Butter-yielding bean : CACAO. So many beans in one kernel.

98. Micro- ending : COSM

99. Finishes : WRAPS UP

106. Leeds lot : CAR PARK

107. Letters in an arrest records database : AKA

108. En __: in the lead, in French : TETE. Makes sense.

109. Early Beatle Sutcliffe : STU

112. Within: Pref. : ENTO

118. China neighbor : LAOS. Like Chinese, Lao does not have S plural form. No article "the". No tense conjugation. Life is much simpler there.

119. Kitchen whistler : TEA KETTLE

120. Just as planned : TO A TEE

121. Specks on a screen : LINT. Not computer screen.

122. Schumann quartet: Abbr. : SYMS. Alright, symphonies. Gluey fill.

123. This, in Toledo : ESTO

124. Text __ : EDITOR. NotePad is one. And 97. Marks for a 124-Across : CARETS^


1. "Power Lunch" airer : CNBC

2. Kinks title woman with "a dark brown voice" : LOLA

3. Like : AS IF

4. Patsy : SAP

5. Kiss like a dog, perhaps : SLOBBER. Fun word.

6. Happen to : BEFALL

7. Actress Lindsay : LOHAN

8. Neruda's "__ to Wine" : ODE

10. Lines of squad cars, maybe : ESCORTS

11. Simply not done : TABOO

12. Lute family member : UKE

13. Evoke screams from : TERRIFY. What's the most terrifying movie you've watched? To me, it's "Deliverance".

14. Pressing : URGENT

15. Patrick on a track : DANICA

16. Introducer of the first side-by-side refrigerator : AMANA

17. Dr.'s orders : R AND R

18. "God helps __ ... " : THOSE

21. __ Park: Edison lab site : MENLO 

24. '60s-'70s crime drama : THE FBI. Was it good?

30. Dugout VIP : MGR (Manager)

32. Carpentry pin : DOWEL

33. Warm Argentina month : ENERO 

34. "My Eyes Adored You" singer : VALLI

35. Place for a shoe : HOOF. Horse shoe.

36. Like many cks. : ENCL. I did not know "cks" stands for "checks".

37. Pro __ : RATA

38. Site of the "Shall We Dance?" dance : SIAM

43. Butcher's waste : OFFAL

44. Marx Brothers staple : ANTIC

45. Ford muscle car, to devotees : STANG

46. West of Atlanta : KANYE. He was born in Atlanta. 

47. "If you __ ... " : ASK ME

49. Floral neckwear : LEI

50. Like saltimbocca, flavorwise : SAGY.  Wiki says saltimbocca is "a dish (popular in southern Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Greece) made of veal lined or topped with prosciutto and sage or basil; marinated in wine, oil or saltwater depending on the region or one's own taste. This dish is also occasionally topped with capers depending on individual taste."

51. GOP org. : RNC

52. Rub the wrong way? : ABRADE

53. Deliberate : SLOW

55. Carefree : BLITHE

57. Drum played with a fife : TABOR

58. Promise : OATH

60. Yale School of Management degs. : MBAs

63. Brew hue : AMBER

64. City in northern France : LILLE. De Gaulle's birthplace.

65. Pelvic bone : ILIUM. I sure don't know my bones.

66. Cowboys' home, familiarly : BIG D

68. Foppish accessory : ASCOT

69. Data transfer unit : BAUD

70. To this point : AS YET

73. "__ so you!" : IT'S

78. Tablet download : E-BOOK

79. "If only" : I WISH

80. Central idea : THEME. All Sunday LAT puzzles have a theme. 

82. Informal pricing words : A POP

83. They may be choked back : SOBS

84. Word on a fast food sign : THRU

85. Waves-against-dock sound : SLAP

89. Bunting relative : TOWHEE. Hello!

92. London taxi : HACKNEY

93. As you like it : TO TASTE

94. New England tourist mecca : CAPE COD

95. Grape-Nuts creator : C. W. POST. Learning moment for me. 

96. Lawyer's org. : ABA

98. Journalist Roberts : COKIE

100. What some spits do : ROTATE

101. Bone marrow lymphocyte : B CELL. Not  T CELL.

102. Polynesian porch : LANAI. Beautiful.

103. "Entertaining Mr. Sloane" playwright : ORTON (Joe)

104. Negotiations : TALKS

105. Fifth cen. pope called "The Great" : ST LEO

109. Paving stone : SETT. Our old pal is back. 

110. Palm Pre predecessor : TREO

111. Password creator : USER

114. Pinup's leg : GAM. You guys get plenty on Saturdays.

115. Stats in NBA bios : HTS (Heights)

117. Yokohama yes : HAI. Cantonese "Yes" also.


Dec 3, 2016

Saturday, Dec 3rd, 2016, John Lieb

Theme: None

Words: 72 (missing F,Q)

Blocks: 29

Unlike last week's successful struggle, this week's puzzle was just a Google-fest for me; too many proper names that I simply had no clue about - and even some that I should have known, but were cleverly clued with misdirection.  In my humble opinion, there were a few too many "meh" clues in this one, but only because I had never heard the term, or didn't agree with the clue/answer connection.  Oh well - can't claim a win every week.... It was Mister Lieb who introduced us to "Fun Sponge".  A pinwheel grid, with no fill longer than 8 letters, all in the corners;

7a. Free speech inhibitor? : SWEAR JAR - meh.  The clue was trying to be just a little too cute; IMHO, the SWEAR JAR is for the aftermath of "free" speech; it never inhibited me.  I had "B" and "C" in there - a swear BAR makes sense, and so does CAR when you think of cell-phone free train cars - and crossing this cell with a proper name was just Natick

41d. Quality control process with an alphanumeric symbol : SIX SIGMA - new to me.  I looked it up, and the first paragraph made sense, but the rest lost me.

60. Different exercises performed consecutively : SUPER-SET - like most exercise equipment these days, too - e.g. the combo elliptical and stepper; I don't bother with exercise - I just lift everyone else's treadmills for shipping at UPS

2d. "Star Trek: Voyager" actress : JERI RYAN - Googled.  All I could think of was "JANEWAY".  Never got in to this version of Star Trek, even with a character such as Seven of Nine; I just read that she was once Borg....does that make me a Trekkie anyway~?

ONWA-[resistance is futile]


 1. Major clothing chain : TJ MAXX - I thought I'd have a chance at this one, once I got a crossing letter, and it was the last "X"

15. Morsel : WEE BIT - ugh.  TID bit was in there originally, and I refused to let go

16. Tufted tweeter : TITMOUSE

17. Unspecific threat : OR ELSE

18. "Right you are!" : "YESSIREE~!"

19. "Women and Love" author Shere : HITE - Google #4 as I solved; kept getting Women IN Love, from D.H. Lawrence

20. Tach readings : RPMs

22. Norwegian king during the Cold War : OLAV V - filled in the "OLA--" and waited, but I felt the second "V" was a pretty good WAG; either I,V, or X

23. Serial sequence : ARC

24. Attributes : TRAITS

26. Door opener? : DEE - the "D" at the front of the word DOOR

27. Where Martin Scorsese taught Oliver Stone: Abbr. : NYU - I knew it was a film school, but tried USC first.  Oh well

28. Rhein tributary : AARE - filled via perps

29. 16th-century rulers : TUDORS

32. Archaeologist, at times : DATER - as in carbon dating, etc.

34. Capital of Kazakhstan : ASTANA - filled via perps

36. Disdained, with "at" : SNEEZED - oops, I had sneeRed at to begin with

38. Mickey Rooney septet : EX-WIVES

42. Blue on screen : RATED X - "BLOODS" fit, too, a show on CBS, so I was pondering

44. Last Supper query : IS IT I~? - several awkward answers in terms of parsing....

45. Completely overhauled : REDONE - for example, this could also be RED ONE

48. Revival figs. : EMTs

50. Texter's appreciation : THX - when I start typing in my texts, the app fills in the whole word THANKS for me

51. I, perhaps : ONE - the Roman numeral "I"

52. Harsh : SEVERE

54. U.N. ambassador appointed by JFK : AES - filled via perps; Adlai E. Stevenson II

55. 2008 Best New Artist Grammy winner : ADELE

58. Sweet sign-off : X O X O - lots and lots of "X"s.  Seven of "X" (see 2d.)

59. King Ahab's father : OMRI - no clue, but filled via perps, yet again; the Wiki

62. Boxer Rebellion setting : PEKING

64. Cherish : TREASURE

65. Shady Records co-founder : EMINEM - DAH!~!!!  I like Eminem, and I know that he's "Marshall Mathers" and "Slim Shady", too.  Just didn't see the connection.  Googled.

66. Snakes : SERPENTS

67. Event associated with warm climates and big midday meals : SIESTA


1. Driving instructor's reminder : TWO HANDS - CAR driving instructor; with TID bit in the grid, I had T-T---, thought maybe this was a GOLF driving instructor; although a "two hand" reminder on the driving range is also a good tip....

3. Initial encounter in a romcom : MEET CUTE - so completely unaware of this phrase, I still couldn't believe it even after I looked it up - here.  I have to admit, I went to pay my rent for the second time at my landlord's bank (not MY bank) because he is in Florida  - the first time I made this trip was Halloween when the tellers were dressed as "Snap, Crackle, and Pop".  However, the cutie I stepped up to yesterday was none of those characters, and when I asked, she said she was on the drive-thru as a Cinnamon Toast Crunch Baker....I like cinnamon.  Does this count as a meet-cute~?

4. Fit : ABLE

5. Frat letters : XIs

6. Former Nissan SUV : XTERRA

7. Hinders : STYMIES

8. "Bullets Over Broadway" Oscar winner : WIEST

9. Sci-fi staples : ETs

10. Recess rejoinder : "AM SO~!"

11. Stir up : ROIL

12. Katy of "High Noon" : JURADO - M, B, C, J~? Take your pick

13. Sincere sign-off : AS EVER - or is it A SEVER~?

14. Player of Kent : REEVES - ah, yes.  I knew it was not Christopher REEVE; but then I recalled the character was played by George REEVES in the 50's

21. Flaunt : PARADE

24. Fiction's Lord Greystoke : TARZAN - yeah, this one eluded me for too long

25. Pringles alternative : STAX - I did get it partially right - I laid in LAYS first 

30. Ill-conceived : UNWISE

31. Stand for 45-Down : DAIS - a circumreferential clue that I figured out; 45. They involve insult comedy : ROASTS - I just watched the roast of Rob Lowe

33. First name in architecture : EERO - first name this week, last name last week (Saarinen); I did not know he died at age 51 - I am only 5 years younger than that

35. Hybrid cuisine : TEX-MEX

37. "Nos __": 2000s French-Canadian drama set in a summer home : ÉTÉS - utterly unsolvable from my point of view; and not just because it's Frawnche; filled via perps, but with 'summer' in the clue, ÉTÉ would have been a good WAG

39. Total assets? : VITAMINS - ARGH~! The cereal Total.  Got me good.

100% of 12 vitamins and minerals~!

40. One way to connect nowadays : ETHERNET

43. Allots : DEVOTES

46. Stomach : ENDURE

47. Superior, vis-à-vis Michigan : DEEPER - Great Lakes

49. Metaphors, e.g. : TROPES - OK, this word sounded familiar, but I still looked it up to be sure.  Googled.

53. Wield : EXERT

56. Vault : LEAP

57. Language that gave us "plaid" : ERSE - yeah, CELT was not right

59. Tom Joad, e.g. : OKIE - I did actually know this one

61. Flare producer : SUN - Nice 'double flare' with the flared skirt, too

63. "Big four" record company : EMI


Dec 2, 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016, Peter Koetters

Title: Over and Over Again

The odd clue ( - ) gave me a hint where I needed to look for the theme, but this was a challenge. It was great to have our LA pediatrician Peter back after a long absence. I blogged his debut puddle- I mean puzzle LINK and he has stopped by to talk with us some after his publications. With no fill longer than 9 letters, nothing jumped out. It was only by focusing on filling the downs that the light bulb came on and I 'saw' his theme in the sea of white. Very few short fill and so many interesting others like UP DRAFT,  NAVARRE,  SPLOTCH,  DEAD SEA,  SLEPT IN,  APHASIA, WHEEDLED,  UNWEANED, STEADIEST,  SLY AS A FOX. Lots of French, many witty clues and much to chew on. Welcome back Peter; we hope you stop by and give us some thoughts.

14A. Art critic's phrase, literally : STYLE (5). OVER
17A. - : SUBSTANCE (9). This CONCEPT  is called form over substance in the writing of legal briefs etc.

30A. Theme park near Dallas, literally : SIX FLAGS (8). OVER
36A. - : TEXAS (5). This THEME PARK was the response to Disneyland; it opened in 1961.

42A. Changes one's ways, literally : TURNS (5). OVER
47A. - : A NEW LEAF (8). This IDIOM appears to date back to the 1600s.

62A. Tumbles out of control, literally : FALLS HEAD (9). OVER
66A. - : HEELS (5). This PHRASE has its origin 700 years ago.


1. Test : ASSAY. I learned this word watching old westerns on TV when they brought their gold to the assay office.

6. Law degs. : JDS. Juris Doctor.

9. While-__: repair shop sign words : U-WAIT. These days they work on COMPUTERS.

15. Calendar pg. : OCTober. Random.

16. NBA's Jackson et al. : PHILS. Phil Jackson having a hard time succeeding in NY; week fill, Phil.

19. "10" co-star : DEREK. She is now with John Corbett from Cecily, Alaska

20. Send out : EMIT.

21. Pamplona's municipality : NAVARRE. I am confused, not only because I do not know geography but because I thought PAMPLONA is the city for this FESTIVAL..

23. Big stain : SPLOTCH.

25. Israeli border lake : DEAD SEA.

29. "Doubt it" : NAH.

31. "Conan" channel : TBS. Any of you watch him?

34. Dayan of Israel : MOSHE. He was a storybook hero for Israel.

37. Giants manager before Bochy : ALOU. Felipe, the oldest brother.

39. Like non-oyster months, traditionally : R-LESS. Try explaining this concept to a Thai woman where the letter that looks like "R" sounds like "L."

41. Ration (out) : DOLE.

44. "The Deep" director Peter : YATES. He directed BULLITT as well. The movie was based on a book by Peter Benchley, who also wrote JAWS. Jacqueline Bisset set the gold standard for a wet t-shirt SCENE.

46. Bottom line : NET.

49. Closing sequence : XYZ.

51. They're often numbered : STREETS. Random.

52. Bench warmers? : JURISTS. More legal misdirection.

56. Loss of speech : APHASIA. Aphasia is a communication disorder that results from damage to the parts of the brain that contain language (typically in the left half of the brain).  Growing up around a doctor and a nurse I heard this term when I was very young.

58. Drive-__ : THRU.

59. Before, in Brest : AVANT. Literal French. No Brest milk.

64. "In the Bedroom" Oscar nominee : TOMEI. I never saw this movie, but Marisa is always a pleasure.


65. Passé : OUT.

67. "Surprise Symphony" composer : HAYDNWiki says it better.

68. Big tees : XLS. Not in a world of XXXL.

69. Matrix, e.g. : ARRAY.


1. Some jennies : ASSES. A male donkey or ass is called a jack, a female a jenny or jennet; a young donkey is a foal. Jack donkeys are often used to mate with female horses to produce mules; the biological "reciprocal" of a mule, from a stallion and jenny as its parents instead, is called a hinny. Or...

2. Baffle : STUMP.

3. Prophetess : SYBIL. This is not a name but a description. There is much to learn if you like HISTORY and MYTH.

4. Longtime Dodger manager : ALSTON. Along with Tommy Lasorda, this MANAGER led the Dodgers through 4 world championships and the only one won in Brooklyn. If you love baseball you know this man.

5. Still : YET.

6. Whale of a guy? : JONAH. More of the wit in the cluing.

7. Half of MCDX : DCCV. Peter has used Roman Numerals as glue before.

8. Most constant : STEADIEST.

9. Kite aid : UPDRAFT. Soaring!

10. Cajoled : WHEEDLED.

11. Whistle blower? : AIR. Literal but deceptive!!!

12. Key for Fauré? : ILE. French for Island. hmm lots of French.

13. "For shame!" : TSK.

18. Run at the end : ANCHOR. The relay team in the race.

22. "Toy Story" dinosaur : REX.

24. Highland lid : TAM.

26. Ancient Germanic invader : SAXON.

27. Even, in Évian : EGALE. French mostly associated with equal. Liberté, égalité, fraternité (French pronunciation: [libɛʁte eɡalite fʁatɛʁnite]), French for "liberty, equality, fraternity", is the national motto of France and the Republic of Haiti, and is an example of a tripartite motto.W.

28. Valuable team member : ASSET.

30. Field unit : SHEAF.

31. Byes : TATAS. See below.

32. Not sharp : BLUNT.

33. More ticked : SORER.

35. Cunning : SLY AS A FOX. This is new stuff, only one other LAT appearance back in 2006.

38. Still breast-feeding : UNWEANED. Boobies next to...

40. __ orientation : SEXUAL.

43. Ignored the alarm : SLEPT IN. Good idea after sex.

45. Civil war site since 2011: Abbr. : SYRia.

48. E. African land : ETHiopia.

50. Dulcimer kin : ZITHER.

52. Crushes an altar ego? : JILTS. Very witty clue. You never know, but this sounds like some of Peter's earlier cluing.

53. Utter : SHEER.

54. Part of a skipping refrain : TRALA. LALA. I hope Linda is well.

55. Like some heads : SUDSY. Beer, both kinds.

57. King anointed by Samuel : SAUL.

59. Sports fig. : ATHlete. There is only one A in athlete.

60. U.S. govt. broadcaster : VOA. The fifth appearance this year in the LAT and the third on a Friday.

61. Acker of "Person of Interest" : AMY. She reappears soon enough that I recalled her.

63. Doo-wop syllable : SHA. Na Na after last weeks No no? No!

What a work out with some of the most fun cluing of the year. If you do not see the visual you lose the joy. I hope you all are having a wonderful December. Lemonade out.

Dec 1, 2016

Thursday, December 1st, 2016 Bruce Haight

Theme: Siteswap Eight - or Juggling Jive. The word JUGGLING is spelled out by the circles, starting with the J at the bottom and progressing clockwise in a circle, cascade-style.

17A. Elaborate costume parties : MASKED BALLS

53A. Places for seeing stars? : BOXING RINGS

11D. What can help you avoid getting stuck changing diapers? : SAFETY PINS

28D. Groups with a piece-keeping strategy? : CHESS CLUBS

and the reveal:

48D. Nonsense talk, whose circled letter is the start of what might be done with items in the four longest puzzle answers : JIVE. Cue those falsetto-singing Australians. Get your disco on.

Wow, what a nice puzzle! This one presented three challenges for me - the puzzle itself, trying to figure out what the reveal meant, and finally seeing the juggling theme in the circles. The way I see it, the word JIVE is the juggler (as I've colored in the grid at the bottom). Fine work from Bruce today.

The first known juggling image comes from a wall painting in the tomb of an ancient Egyptian prince c. 1750 BC. The lady on the right doesn't seem to have much to juggle, but the one next to her is doing a cross-handed bedazzle. Neat!

I learned to juggle at a trade show in Maastricht back in the 80's. I was on booth duty and the show was very poorly attended, so customers were few and far between. One of the vendors had hacky sack giveaways, so we all took three or four and learned to juggle. By the end of the week the only activity to be seen across the floor was about 100 people doing three and four siteswaps. Fun times.


1. Asset for Sherlock : LOGIC

6. Fast : RAPID

11. Additional information? : SUM. Fine example of clue trickery. 1+2 = 3.

14. Important period : EPOCH

15. Eat into : ERODE

16. What makes a deal ideal? : AN "I". Love it.

Coach: There's no "I" in "Team"!

19. Pickle : FIX

20. "Zip it!" : SHH!

21. Prosperity : WEAL. This was new to me - I thought at first I'd made a mistake in the crosses. It seems to be a pretty obscure usage, dictionary searches don't bring it up at first pass, and it's buried pretty deeply in the thesaurus. Nice learning moment.

22. "Blah, blah, blah," for short : ETC, ETC

24. Golden __ : AGER

25. "I used to be Snow White, but I __": Mae West : DRIFTED. She was pretty racy for the times. Still would be, judging by this picture:

26. Part of the pelvis : SACRUM

29. In essence : MAINLY

30. "Bor-r-ring" : HO-HUM

31. LPGA great Lopez : NANCY. During her "farewell" season on tour, one rather famous player could be heard one Thursday: "I'm so sick of this. Every week it's the same thing. Nancy shows up, Nancy gets a plaque, Nancy cries, Nancy misses the cut. Call it a career already". Made me laugh.

32. Green shade : PEA

35. Rare blood type, briefly : A-NEG

36. Shakespearean barmaid : WENCH. 

"Oh, ill-starred wench! Pale as your smock!"

37. Picky details : NITS. We never see any of those around here, right?

38. "But __ got high hopes ... ": song lyric : HE'S

39. Neutral tone : BEIGE

40. Prefix with -gram : PENTA

41. Like angel food cake : SPONGY. I had SPONGE first until MANGY corrected me. MANGE didn't work as an adjective.

43. Curry favor with, with "to" : KISS UP

44. Ill-mannered : UNCOUTH

46. Veers suddenly : ZIGS. Z_GS and wait for the cross.

47. Distance runners : MILERS. I was a pretty OK distance runner, the longer the better - I was too stubborn to admit defeat. The sprint finishers always did for me though - I had no fast gear. Not too sure I've got much of a slow one any more, come to think of it.

48. First name in folk : JONI. Mitchell.

49. How it's always done, initially : SOP. Standard Operating Procedure. The crosses filled this one in for me - I had to think quite hard as to what the acronym stood for. In fact, I had to think so hard that I had Google do the thinking.

52. Heat meas. : B.T.U. British Thermal Unit. The British are very understated with their "thermal units" of weather. Icicles hanging from your ears means "it's a bit chilly out". Hurricane-force winds are "breezy". The opposite applies with heat, as there is rarely any of it. Any day above 70F is "a scorcher". Two consecutive scorchers constitute "a heatwave" and attracts comparisons to the weather in Spain. Three in a row and the Town Hall issues a three-week hosepipe ban.

56. CSA soldier : REB.

57. Green shade : OLIVE. Two shades of green today.

58. Fragrances : ODORS

59. Pack animal : ASS

60. Snooped (around) : NOSED

61. "Check" : NO BET. Poker term. When you decline to open the betting in a particular round and pass to the next player.


1. NASA vehicles : LEMS. Lunar Exploration Modules.

2. Fish with vermilion fins : OPAH. Reminds me of the toasts in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". Ώπα! 

3. "Jeepers!" : GOSH

4. "Ugh!" : ICK

5. Enjoy Orbit : CHEW GUM. 

6. Masonry-reinforcing rod : REBAR. From "reinforcing bar", which is too much of a mouthful.

7. Inland Asian sea : ARAL

8. D.C. player : POL. Got me with "NAT" first.

9. Set-for-life set : IDLE RICH

10. Lot : DESTINY

12. Form a coalition : UNITE

13. Personalized collection of love songs, say : MIX CD. Mix tapes in my day. The main character in Nick Hornby's book "High Fidelity" makes mix tapes for any girl he's trying to date. John Cusack starred in the movie. Jack Black has an outstanding performance, one of his early successes.

18. Consider : DEEM

23. Toronto Argonauts' org. : C.F.L. Canadian Football League. Nine teams, currently.

24. "... bug in __" : A RUG. As snug as a ..

25. Hustle or shuffle : DANCE

26. Former Mideast ruler : SHAH

27. Tops : A-ONE

29. Like many a stray dog : MANGY

31. Bay sound : NEIGH

33. Incredulous dying words : ET TU?

34. "Hurry!" letters : ASAP! Not STAT. Wait for the crosses if you've just got the A.

36. Tried to make it on one's own : WENT SOLO

37. Storied loch : NESS. More than 22 miles long. Spectacular views too.

39. New Orleans' __ Street : BOURBON, I went for an early-morning run down Bourbon Street one Sunday morning. Let's just say it wasn't one of my better ideas.

40. Crude smelting product : PIG IRON

42. "Once upon a midnight dreary" poet : POE.

43. Two-checker piece : KING. I think this fella can jump backwards, but I haven't played checkers since I was five.

44. Eclipse shadow : UMBRA

45. Times in ads : NITES

46. Daydreamed, with "out" : ZONED. Sorry, what was that?

49. Stuffed shirt : SNOB

50. Brutish one : OGRE. I read "British one" first, and wondered why OGRE? We're not all meanies.

51. "You there!" : PSST

54. Ones following the nus? : XIS. It's all Greek to me.

55. Court promise : I DO. As in promising to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. We geeks learn the meaning of third normal form in a relational database by memorizing: "The key, the whole key and nothing but the key, so help me Codd".

And with that, I think I'm done. Time for some caffeine.


Nov 30, 2016

Wednesday, November 30, 2016, Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke

TITLE: AT THE TURN - Holes 1 - 9 are said to be the "front nine" in golf. Being at the turn means you've finished the front nine and are heading for the "BACK NINE", holes 10 - 18 and that is where Gail and Bruce are taking us today

Gail and Bruce have given us this theme by not only hiding the word NINE but spelling it backwards in three long fills as you can see in the grid below. 

Here is their reveal: 

59. Take on holes 10 through 18 ... and a hint to a letter sequence hidden in 17-, 27- and 45-Across : PLAY THE BACK NINE

There is a golf apparel business shop with that name in its logo.
The actual theme fills with the ENIN motif are:

17. Stock in company producing solar panels, e.g. : GREEN INVESTMENT - Perhaps one day we can invest in a Solar-Powered charging station for electric cars like this one at the University of Iowa. It will charge 40 cars/day for a 30 mile run.

27. Exonerated by the evidence : PROVEN INNOCENT - He was "found not guilty" not "PROVEN INNOCENT"

45. Standing hospitable offer : OPEN INVITATION - Our lovely, though too infrequent, blogger Chef Wendy has this house on Kauai. She has told me that Joann and I have an OPEN INVITATION to visit her and use the bedroom on the right side of this picture.

Resident golf hacker Husker Gary here, ready to holler FORE and hit the cwd links with Bruce and Gail:


1. Rough guess : STAB 

5. Company that developed the first aluminum teakettle : ALCOA

10. Pre-coll. catchall : ELHI - Not a favorite word with this veteran educator, but waddaya gonna do?

14. Words of lament : AH ME

15. Inventive types? : LIARS 

16. Wild way to run : RIOT

20. California rolls and such : SUSHI - "SPICY TUNA ROLLS" was in Mark Diehl's Saturday puzzle

21. Bud holder? : KEG

22. Touch-and-go : RISKY - Two girls trying to emulate Tom Cruises's entrance in RISKY Business.

23. Swell treatment : ICE - Tin, would you at least put ICE on a bad ankle?

25. Cato, for one : ROMAN

33. Single : LONE 

34. Suggested actions : DO'S - A DO and a DON'T for Uggs

35. Wish for : DESIRE

37. In-flight fig. : ALT - Altitude

38. Jack's value, sometimes : TEN - Pair it with and ace and you're good to go!

39. Spearheaded : LED

40. Fixture that may have claw feet : TUB

41. Closed in on : NEARED

43. Fish that can swim backwards : EEL

44. A.L. West pro, informally : STRO - Some people like to call the Huskers the Skers. I'm about as big of a fan of that as I am of ELHI.

48. Five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Ledecky : KATIE

49. Church-owned Dallas sch. : SMU

50. Moth-__ : EATEN

53. "Inside Politics" airer : CNN - Their final pre-election poll was as errant as most others

55. Initial stage : ONSET - It's hard to believe that just a year ago near the formal ONSET of this past election we were really interested in the Iowa Caucuses.

62. Vacation spot : ISLE

63. Nemesis : ENEMY

64. Canal past Rochester : ERIE

65. Far from friendly : COLD - Maybe most faculties aren't as COLD to sub teachers as they are indifferent

66. Parceled (out) : METED

67. Frees (of) : RIDS


1. Loses firmness : SAGS

2. No __ traffic : THRU - This sign might work as well

3. Former Iowa Straw Poll city : AMES

4. Dwelling fit for a queen : BEEHIVE - She's right there...

5. Boxer Laila : ALI

6. Website offering : LINK

7. Stalactite sites : CAVERNS

8. Home of college football's Ducks : OREGON

9. Mule's father : ASS

10. White-coated weasels : ERMINES

11. Golf ball positions : LIES - First rule in golf - "Play it where it LIES"

12. Sound of frustration, often : HONK

13. __-bitty : ITTY

18. Good-natured : NICE

19. Copied, in a way : TRACED - I hated it when I TRACED in books like this

24. Called the whole thing off : ENDED IT

26. Early assembly-line autos : MODEL T'S - You could have one any color you wanted EXCEPT black for the earliest ones. Years later, Ford figured out that using only black paint was cheaper and speeded up the process.

27. Arrange : PLAN

28. Logger's contest : ROLEO

29. Ready to draw, as beer : ON TAP

30. Physics particle : ION - Has an excess or deficiency of electrons

31. Capone cohort : NITTI

32. Cape Cod community : TRURO

36. Black, in verse : EBON

38. Studio renter : TENANT

39. Sweet-smelling garland : LEI

42. Typed in again : REKEYED - My specialty (curse)

43. 50-50 wager : EVEN BET - I know the Sunday LA Cwd is carried in fewer newspapers and so this is a repost of an image from my comment on Gail's solo Sunday puzzle. Two punters died this summer in a car crash, one from Nebraska and one from Michigan State. The Big Ten minted this coin to be used in the 50-50 coin toss before each game.
44. Knockout : STUNNER

46. __ Creed : NICENE

47. Wild way to run : AMOK

50. Large-scale : EPIC

51. "One more thing ... " : ALSO - One of his catchphrases

52. Towering : TALL

54. Put a handle on : NAME

56. Apple Watch assistant : SIRI

57. Oklahoma city : ENID

58. Driving needs? : TEES - Apropos for a golf-themed puzzle day

60. Clothes line : HEM - HEM lines and the stock market

61. Dancer Charisse : CYD

Well after finishing the BACK NINE, I think I'll head for the clubhouse and let you TEE off with your comments!