Showing posts with label Alex Miller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alex Miller. Show all posts

Mar 12, 2015

Thursday, March 12, 2015 Alex Miller

Theme: "Mad As A March Hare"

Here we have a scrambled word at the beginning of each theme entry:

20-Across. Russian composer and piano virtuoso : RACHMANINOFF.  His "Piano Concerto No. 2" is one of my favorites. 31:16 - just listen to the first 40 seconds and you might recognize it.

29-Across. Café breakfast order : HAM CREPE. Never had one.  This is the one outlier, because it is the only entry with the hidden theme spread across two words.

37-Across. TV fantasy about three magical sisters : CHARMED. I think I watched it. Once.

45-Across. Den piece : ARMCHAIR.

54-Across. Annual sports event that begins with Selection Sunday on 3/15 ... or, cryptically, a hint to the scrambled word found at the starts of 20-, 29-, 37- and 45-Across : MARCH MADNESS.

This one seemed a bit tough for a Thursday - it took me close to my Saturday time to finish. Words like FANFIC and STRADE might have tripped up more than one unwary solver.  Throw in some myrmecological cluing, and I went down many a garden path before finding my way home!


1. Atkins no-no : CARB. I entered "fats"...

5. "__ bad idea" : NOT A. (Yes it was - I had "It's a" for a while.)

9. Brothers Grimm creature : FAIRY. Oh dear, why doesn't "ogre" fit???

14. Old apple spray : ALAR. Whew! Old crosswordese to the rescue.

15. Pinnacle : APEX.

16. Painful turning point? : ANKLE. Indeed, if you turn your ANKLE, it can be very painful!

17. Elizabeth of "Lone Star" : PENA. Oh, my, I am going to crash and burn for not knowing an actress from a nearly two-decades-old movie?

18. Nothing : ZERO. So far, it seems like that's what I have.

19. Experimental blast : N TEST. OK - I admit, I filled in *TEST and waited for perps to tell me whether it would be N- H- or A. But with the crossing of FAN FIC, I needed a total WAG at the N.

23. Related compounds : ISOMERS. Ah, now that's more in my comfort zone!

24. Gap : HIATUS. Take a deep breath before plowing on...

28. Italian roads : STRADE. Even though I lived in Italy for a while, I was thinking of ITERs, but still too short. I guess I needed to remember my many trips on the "A1 autoSTRADa" to finally get the correct answer.

By this time, I was really feeling like a
31. Birdbrain : NITWIT.

33. Arrived just in time for : MADE. "Phew! I made the bell!"

34. Reservoir creator : DAM.

40. Delivery person? : MOM. Well, yes.

41. Some Persians : RUGS. Hands up for "cats"?

43. Absolute ruler : DESPOT.

48. Arrival announcement : I'M HERE. Hands up for "I'M Home"?

52. Deduce : GATHER.

53. Manned the helm : STEERED.

57. Provide a spread for : CATER.

60. Script "Q" feature : LOOP. I hear they are doing away with teaching script in schools. Good idea? Bad idea?

61. In the past : ONCE.

62. Scenic route, perhaps : BYWAY.

63. Curvature : ARCH.

64. Stax Records genre : SOUL.

65. Sleep soundly? : SNORE. Ha-ha, I loved the double entendre of "sound-ly"!!

66. Milk sources for some Tibetan cheese : YAKS.
and a partial clecho:
67. Milk sources for some Greek cheese : EWES.


1. Crop pants : CAPRIS.

2. Orioles' div. : A. L. EAST. Oh good grief, I may as well just throw in the towel.

3. Venom : RANCOR.

4. Hindu priest : BRAHMAN.

5. Childhood home of Jesus : NAZARETH. Well, I'm starting to get some words filled by this time.

6. Makes the first move : OPENS.

7. Actress Hatcher : TERI. (Thank you "Desperate Housewives"!!)

8. Nerve cell transmitter : AXON.

9. Story you might find on, briefly : FAN FIC. is a web site dedicated to all things Harry Potter.  "Fan Fiction" is stories written by fans (not the original author) that expand on characters or events in the original book.

10. Myrmecologist's subject : ANT FARM. Definitely a Saturday clue! From the Greek word mýrmēx (ant).

11. '50s political nickname : IKE.

12. Jekyll creator's monogram : RLSRobert Louis Stevenson.

13. However : YET.

21. Doc : MEDIC.

22. Resistance unit : OHM.

25. Lions, Tigers or Bears : TEAM.

26. Fancy coif : UPDO.

27. Come off as : SEEM.

29. Personnel employee : HIRER. In my experience, the Personnel department simply screened the resumes, and I was the one who was the HIRER.

30. Dough dispensers, for short : ATMs.

32. Dry riverbed : WADI. I had to dig to come up with this one.
But somehow I was able to...
34. Pull with effort : DRAG. it out of the recesses.

35. Special something : AURA.

36. Co. runners : MGMT.anagement. The guys who hire.

38. Dorothy Parker's "Excuse my dust" and others : EPITAPHS. If that is really her epitaph, it's a great one!

39. Like the Taj Mahal : DOMED.

42. Bagel topping : SCHMEAR. Another one that stayed blank for a while.

44. Precisely, after "on" : THE NOSE.

46. Town crier's cry : HEAR YE.

47. JFK info : ARR.ivals

49. Prior to today, poetically : ERE NOW.

50. Save : RESCUE.

51. Fords that never got going : EDSELS.

53. Usually stained work garb : SMOCK.

55. French Open surface : CLAY.

56. Bat mitzvah dance : HORA.

57. "The Big Bang Theory" network : CBS. Gimme.

58. Author Rand : AYN.

59. Seesaw need : TWO. I seesawed back and forth between loving the devious cluing and tearing my hair out.  But by the time I got it all done, I really appreciated the challenge!

Dec 31, 2014

Wednesday, December 31st 2014 Alex Miller

Theme: I'Ve got an idea!

20A. King who supported Molière : LOUIS XIV. The Sun King didn't support him enough to intervene when the comedy "Tartouffe" was banned for five years for being overly critical of the Catholic church. Even French kings didn't mess with the cardinals if they had a hankering for some measure of longevity.

31A. Colorful mnemonic : ROY G. BIV. I always thought that this wasn't exactly the most memorable mnemonic, which kind of defeats the purpose.

49A. City name meaning "spring mound" : TEL AVIV. A learning moment for me.

Somewhere underneath this lot there's a mound
61A. Maker of Smart Target acne treatment : PROACTIV. It didn't exist when I was a spotty teen, fortunately I wasn't badly afflicted. Even so, my mother told me to use more soap and scrub my face with a pumice stone!

and tying the four theme entries together:

38A. Northeastern educational octet ... or, in a way, what the ends of 20-, 31-, 49- and 61-Across comprise : IVY LEAGUE. Phonetically I-V. If you want a mnemonic for the eight schools: BC-CD HAPPY. Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale.

Steve here, checking in for the last puzzle of the year. I think this is Alex's LAT debut. If that's the case, congratulations! It's fun to see that we're at the end of the year MMXIV, where the "year end" so happens to be today's theme. I don't know if Rich intended this when he slotted this puzzle in for New Year's Eve, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me if he did.

This wasn't totally plain sailing for me today, there were some unknowns, some self-inflicted stumbles, a groan or two and a WAG but everything came together in the end. All good fun. The 8-letter downs were all great. Thanks, Alex!


1. See the sites? : SURF

5. Parker who played Davy Crockett : FESS. I stayed at Fess's hotel in Los Olivos a few years ago before he passed away. The evening was spent in the lounge singing around the piano with him, his wife and the other guests. She had a great voice - she was a nightclub singer when they first met.

9. Vagabond : TRAMP

14. Dept. with a sun on its seal : ENER. Makes sense, I guess. Crosses for me.

15. Future D.A.'s hurdle : LSAT

16. Putting green features : HOLES. Hopefully the ones made for the purpose, not random gopher creations.

17. Tiny pond plant : ALGA. There can be some big ones - the sea-dwelling giant kelp can grow up to 50 feet long. There are kelp beds off the coast here in California.

18. Holiday lights site : EAVE. I jumped in feet-first with TREE here. That slowed things up for a while.

19. Slate of VIPs : A-LIST

22. Highfalutin sorts : SNOBS

23. Hoi __ : POLLOI

24. Egg-white omelet's lack : YOLK

26. Blotter letters : AKA. There's no better way to get a feel for a strange town than from reading the local police blotter.

28. Ryder Cup team : USA. Cluing this as "Losing Ryder Cup team" would have been too easy. The Europeans are on something of a winning streak.

29. "Mystery!" network : PBS

33. Line to tear along: Abbr. : PERF.

35. "Constant Craving" singer : LANG. Canadian singer/songwriter K.D.

37. Pontificate : ORATE

41. Big mess : SNAFU. Now here's an acronym I'm familiar with - Situation Normal - All "Fouled" Up!

44. Isle of Mull neighbor : IONA. Home of the wonderfully-named "Bay at the Back of the Ocean".

45. Beauties : GEMS

51. Naval off. : ADM. I had the "D" and tried CDR first, but I didn't like it much. I didn't like this any better, to be honest.

53. Welcoming accessory : MAT

54. Carpentry tool : AWL

55. Some, in Seville : UNAS

57. Two-gamete cell : ZYGOTE. Great Scrabble word too!

59. Blow away : AMAZE

63. Limber : AGILE

64. Snack in a stack : OREO

65. Singles bar conversation starter : LINE

66. Easily corrupted : VENAL

67. Badly need a bath : REEK

68. Squared up : EVEN

69. Anaheim's Honda Center, e.g. : ARENA. It was the Arrowhead Pond before Honda paid for the naming rights. I do miss the days when sporting venues were given a name and kept it.

70. Kings and queens : BEDS. Nice clue!

71. They may be tacked on : FEES


1. Blubbery baby? : SEAL PUP

2. Free : UNLOOSE. Personally, this one fits in my "well, it's a word, but not one you'd actually use" pigeonhole.

3. Like some verbs and gas : REGULAR

4. Hardly hardy : FRAIL

5. With some wiggle room : FLEXIBLY

6. Hollywood's Morales : ESAI

7. Shrewd : SAVVY

8. Canonized mlle. : STE. A French mademoiselle may become une sainte if she behaves herself.

9. Gift recipient's sentiment : THANK YOU

10. Lampshade-shaped chocolate : ROLO

11. Woodcutter who knew the magic words : ALI BABA

12. Camper's dining gear : MESS KIT. Painted myself into a corner with MESS TIN as my first effort.

13. West Coast hrs. : PST

21. Food for dunking : SOP

22. __-mo replay : SLO

25. Princess Leia's last name : ORGANA. Crosses to the rescue. I didn't know Ms. Earmuffs' family moniker.

27. City thoroughfare: Abbr. : AVE

30. Whistle wetter : SALIVA

32. First name of TV's Dr. House : GREG

34. World Cup org. : F.I.F.A. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Not a stranger to allegations of corruption.

36. Classical lead-in : NEO

39. Horn banned from the 2014 World Cup : VUVUZELA. And praise be that they were banned. I watched most of the 2010 World Cup with the sound muted. I don't know how the players managed to stay sane.

40. "Zounds!" : GADZOOKS. Wonderful Word of the Day!

41. RR stop : STA

42. Many an Enya fan : NEW AGER.

43. Hoarder's cry : ALL MINE

46. Showing strong feeling : EMOTIVE. I fell into the gerund clue trap and had "EMOTING" at first.

47. Day play : MATINEE

48. Justice replaced by Kagan : STEVENS

50. Having four sharps : IN E

52. One-named R&B singer : MYA. I'm going out on a blaze of glory with the wonderful "Lady Marmalade" cover from "Moulin Rouge". Cover the eyes of any minors, work through the 15-second ad and enjoy this.

56. Bender : SPREE

58. Treble staff symbol : G-CLEF. Here's the clef and the key signature for E Major from 50A

60. Logician Turing : ALAN. A heroic character.

62. Clarinet insert : REED

63. Actress Gardner : AVA

64. Ball : ORB

And there we are. The highlights of 2014 are here every day at the Corner. Unlike most other media today, it's impossible to pick out any "Top 10" moments from the 365 days of this year. Each and every one of us, commenters, solvers, anons, snarky anons, constructors, bloggers all keep this place alive and a go-to part of our days. Here's to everyone who visits and everyone who contributes - but one - special exception - a shout-out to C.C. who created this place and made us all welcome.

A Happy New Year to all of you.


Notes from C.C.:

1) I echo what Steve said earlier: "The highlights of 2014 are here every day at the Corner" Thanks for your daily visits & contributions. I'm very grateful for your loyal support. 

2) In yesterday's blog, Rainman asked how to make a link at the blog Comments section. I know several newbies want to know the steps also. Please click here for the instructions.  Feel free to ask regulars for help if you encounter any problem. It's tricky at first and may take a few practice.