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Showing posts with label Annabel Michaels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Annabel Michaels. Show all posts

Mar 12, 2009

Thursday March 12, 2009 Annabel Michaels

Theme: Carrot and Stick

20A: Start of a Johnny Carson quip: YOU GET MORE WITH

32A: Part 2 of quip: A KIND WORD AND

41A: Part 3 of quip: A GUN THAN WITH

56A: End of quip: A KIND WORD ALONE

His original quote is "You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can get with a kind word alone." TR's adage "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." came from a Western African proverb.

A BAS la quip/quote! I've had enough. So happy we only have one left.

Balzac is always Balzac to me. I did not know his given name HONORE (49D: M. de Balzac). Not fond of the abbreviation M. "Novelist de Balzac", yes. Just read "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" the other day. It brought back lots of sad memories.

Balzac said "Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane". It seems that French are stalwart believers in the juice-perfuming/sweetening power of tisane. Have you tried the orange & rose water & mint combination? Does it work?

Speaking of orange, our crossword Orange (Amy Reynaldo) emailed me yesterday about "Marbles Amateur Crossword Tournament". It will be held in Chicago on Saturday April 18, 2009. The contest will use NY Time's Monday to Thursday puzzles from the following week. And the registration is $20. All proceeds go to charities. I hope you guys in Chicago will take part and support her effort.

Across:

14A: Set of antlers: RACK. How many in a "set"? Two? I still can't believe that deer antlers are deciduous. I wonder if there is any pain when the antlers fall off/grow back every year.

18A: French historian: RENAN (Ernest). No idea. He looks like a historian who smokes heavily and collects tobacco pipes, the real ones.

19A: Org. of court player: USTA. "Org. of course player" is USGA. I still can't decide whether I like "Putter Palmer" for ARNIE or not. Nobody ever calls a golfer who puts as "putter", but Dictionary.com says otherwise.

25A: Peer Gynt's mother: ASE. Forgot her name again. Now I am going to connect her with ASSE the African fox. ASE & ASSE.

26A: Mary of "Where Eagles Dare": URE. Another memory failURE for me. Why can't I remember this girl's name?

28A: Evil spirit: var.: DAEMON. Can also be spelled as DAIMON. Both unknown to me.

30A: Tux adjuster: TAILOR. Did not come to me immediately.

46A: Actor Cesar: ROMERO. I googled his name. He was the first actor to play the Joker in "Batman".

55A: Carpool-lane letters: HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle)

61A: Medical prefix: IATRO. Stumped me again. I kept thinking ITIS the "Medical suffix". IATRO is Greek for "Physician", as in IATROGENIC, "a disease or problem caused, or made worse by a physician, surgeon or by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures." Look, IATROPHOBIA (Fear of Doctors). Gosh, what would you do if you have bestiphobia (Fear of clothing)?

66A: Corduroy rib: WALE. 3rd time in a week?

Down:

2D: Puget Sound port: TACOMA. Bing Crosby was born here (grew up in Spokane).

4D: Keel extension: SKEG. No idea. This picture came up when I googled SKEG. What's the function of SKEG?

5D: Italian ice cream: TORTONI. I only know gelato. This TORTONI looks delicious, with those crumbled macaroons and minced almonds. It's "named after a famous Italian cafe owner of the same name in the 19th century Paris".

6D: Wind: pref.: ANEMO. Nope! It's rooted in ANEMOI the Greek wind gods. The Roman equivalent were VENTI. Question for Ink: Wikipedia says ANEMOI are all male gods, how come the word does not end in masculine-ending S?

7D: Spanish health: SANO. Guessed. Is it somehow related to SANE?

9D: Che's first name: ERNESTO. Got it this time.

11D: Of skin eruptions: PUSTULAR. The noun is pustule, pus-filled pimple. Another new word to me.

13D: NASA partner: ESA (European Space Agency). I am glad NASA spotted the hydrogen gas leak yesterday. I shudder to think what might have happened had Discovery lifted off.

21D: Cuddly George Lucas creature: EWOK. Learned this furry creature from doing Xword. It does not look "cuddly" to me.

27D: Mother of Brunhilde: ERDA. No idea. She is the Mother of Earth. I am not familiar with Wager's "The Ring of the Nibelung". Did not know Brunhilde is a valkyrie, the girl who brings back those who died bravely in the battle to Odin's Valhalla, the afterlife hall of the slain.

34D: Rather or Blocker: DAN. DAN Blocker is foreign to me. Loved DAN Rather' curtain closer “And, to each of you, Courage".

37D: Me, myself and I problem: EGOMANIA. Looks good with NUMSKULL (38D: Blockhead).

42D: Disney sci-fi film: TRON

43D: Greetings: HOWDIES

44D: Singer of M. I. T.: ISADORE. Is this guy very famous? I thought M. I. T. might be band I've never heard of.

48D: Chest: THORAX. Last time I was stumped by THORACIC, clued as "Of the chest".

53D: First president of South Africa: SWART. No idea. See this list. I thought of (De) Klerk, but he was the last president of the apartheid era.

57D: Adjective forming suffix: IBLE. As in collectible. Baseball cards for me. I like old Life magazine too. What do you collect?

58D: Juanita's other: OTRA. "Juan's other" would be OTRO.

C.C.

Mar 6, 2009

Friday March 6, 2009 Annabel Michaels

Theme: Scrub Away

17A: Warmer on the table: CHAFING DISH

24A: Tall building: SKY SCRAPER

39A: Disease spread by kittens: CAT SCRATCH FEVER

51A: Graphics program tool: PAINT BRUSH

64A: Elastic substance: INDIA RUBBER

I am not a cat person. Have never heard of CAT SCRATCH FEVER. Not familiar with INDIAN RUBBER either.

I disliked the jarring inconsistency in today's theme entries. CHAFE, SCRAPE, SCRATCH, BRUSH and RUB would be an OK set.

Also hated all the "More" clues. Three ER is too much for a grid. Besides, I think the clues could be reworded to disguise the unpleasant repetitiveness "More".

42D: More intoxicated: HIGHER. Try "Kind of education".

48D: More coarse: CRUDER. Try "Less refined".

53D: More sickly: ILLER. I don't know. Maybe you can come up with a better clue. ILLER is such a made-up word. Nobody feels ILLER. One might feel worse, not ILLER.

I do love the clues for ISH (10D: Sort of ending?) and STU (32D: R-V hookup, RSTUV, alphabet). Very cute. Can't decide whether I like ARNIE (52D: Putter Palmer) or not. To me, "Putter" is just a putter, a golf club. I've never heard anyone being called a "Putter".

Across:

6A: Early adders: ABACI. I can't remember what kind of wood my primary school abacus was made of. But it was very heavy to carry around for a little girl.

14A: Billiard shot: CAROM. Sometimes the answer is MASSE. See 1:35, pretty cool.

19A: G.I. wear: ODS (Olive Drabs). Someone mentioned on the Comments section that you never call a Marine a soldier. So does "solider" apply only to Army grunt? Dictionary says "jarhead" is a disparaging slang for a Marine. I wonder why Navy picked up "squid" as their nickname. "Zoomies" for Air Force sounds quite appropriate. Hayrake said "wing nut" is for Navy aviator, what is the slang for a Marines pilot then? Does Army have a flying division as well?

20A: Noisemaker: RATTLE

22A: Large blob: GOUT. I only know GOUT is a kind of arthritic disease and those who have GOUT can't eat certain fish.

29A: Safe and sound: OKAY. And ACCEPT (28D: Answer affirmatively).

33A: Small harbor: COVE. It's for also small boats, correct? Or can you dock a big yacht there as well?

35A: Traveled by plane: FLOWN. I FLIED first. Dictionary.com seems to imply that there is a difference between FLIED and FLOWN.

44A: French eye: OEIL. Here is one more Julian Beever for you. He is really the Picasso in creating Trompe l'OEIL pavement art.

49A: Arch type: OGEE. Like this one.

55A: Balmy: DAFT. Had no idea that "Balmy" has a "eccentric" side.

60A: Self: pref.: AUT. I thought it's AUTO.

63A: Darkroom abbr. ENL. No waffling between ENL and NEG this time.

70A: Pound and Cornell: EZRAS. Did not know EZRA Cornell, founder of Cornell University. More used to seeing EZRAS clued as "Pound and Stone".

71A: Japanese fencing: KENDO. No idea. The kanji characters 剣道 mean "Way of the Sword" in English. Japanese DO is a corruption of Chinese TAO (Way). Judo is literally "Soft way".

Down:

1D: Ghana's capital: ACCRA. "Ghana's largest city" as well. Surprised to learn that 69% of the population in Ghana are Christians, compared with 16% of Muslims.

3D: Whitney's partner: PRATT. I can never remember this engine maker.

4D: Propelled in a high arc: LOFTED. Did not know LOFT is a verb as well. My answer was LOBBED, thinking of Phil Michelson's lob shot.

8D: Melodic passage: ARIOSO. Got it from the across fills. Here is Julian Lloyd Webber playing Bach's "ARIOSO". Weird. I thought ARIOSO is like ARIA, a song.

9D: "Serendipity" star John: CUSACK. Finally a move star I know and a movie I've seen.

12D: Embody with: ENDUE. Mine was ENDOW.

13D: Stomach: pref: GASTR. Similar to my AUTO/AUT experience earlier, I thought the prefix is GASTRO.

18D: Greek advisor at Troy: NESTOR. I blanked on his name again. Saw this clue before. He was the oldest and wisest men of the Greeks in Trojan War. But the Greek was still the loser of Trojan War. Maybe he was not really that wise.

22D: Singer Crystal: GAYLE. The long hair country singer. That's all I know about her.

25D: Polynesian beverage: KAVA. No idea. Looks like raw organic apple cider vinegar. Hard to imagine these roots can produce something intoxicating.

26D: Fund-raising event: RAFFLE

30D: Service winner: ACE. Tennis.

34D: WWII arena: ETO. Often clued as "DDE arena".

37D: Unseld of the NBA: WES. Hall-of-Famer. Too bad. I've never heard of him.

47D: Guitar brand: IBANEZ. Nope. Is it a famous brand? Who are their competitors?

54D: New York city: UTICA. Interesting, the first Woolworth's was opened here in 1878, though it failed within a year. Target just opened its first store in Hawaii. Right now, Vermont is the only state in the US Target-less.

56D: Composer Berg: ALBAN. Why is his name so hard for me to remember? And I also confuse him with LABAN, "Rachel's father".

57D: Demon: FIEND. Devil is another 5-letter word.

64D: __- de-France: ILE. And "ILE locale" is MER.

C.C.

Feb 25, 2009

Wednesday February 25, 2009 Annabel Michaels

Theme: "Pulp" Art

17A: Accordion: SQUEEZE BOX

26A: Broadway moneymaker: SMASH HIT

32A: 1977-79 Broncos' nickname: ORANGE CRUSH

41A: Crash protection space: CRUMPLE ZONE

50A: Whiskey ingredient: SOUR MASH

61A: When push comes to shove: CRUNCH TIME

I think we've done two similar themed puzzles before, though neither contained so many theme answers.

What exactly is SOUR MASH? I got the answer from down fills. ORANGE CRUSH was an easy guess. I don't even know why Vikings were called "Purple People Eaters" in 1970's. Who cares! They want to move to Los Angeles anyway.

There should be a "briefly" with the clue for TKOS (60A: Fight stoppers). Otherwise, no twisty clues. Solvable if you are not PRESSed for time.

Across:

1A: Tessie or Milo: O'SHEA. Not familiar with Welsh actress/singer Tessie O'SHEA. She sounds like genuinely funny. Wikipedia says she was on "The Ed Sullivan Show" the same day when the Beatles made their first appearance.

10A: Sphere starter?: ATMO. Atmosphere.

15A: Corduroy rib: WALE. Faintly remembered the term corduroy WALE.

22A: French floor: ETAGE. The bric-a-brac shelf ETAGERE is rooted in ETAGE.

28AL Czech Republic region: MORAVIA. No idea. I could only think of Bohemia. Here is the map. Madeleine Albright is probably the most famous Czech American. She could, if she would, have become Czech's President in 2002.

31A: Balanced conditions: STASES. Singular is STASIS. Can you make a sentence for me? I've never used this word before. Equilibriums, yes.

35A: Wall upright: STUD. Very unfamiliar definition to me. Dictionary explains STUD as "an upright post in the framework of a wall for supporting sheets of lath, wallboard, or similar material."

36A: Moon car, briefly: LEM. To an untrained eye, this Apollo 11 Eagle looks ugly and junky. Who is that astronaut?

45A: Greek letters: THETAS. The 8th of Greek alphabet (total 24). Consonant. Interesting how Egyptian hieroglyph has 24 glyphes, but no vowel. I like that "tongue" (mdw).

49A: Wise king: SOLOMON. OK, the first paragraph here: "I've been staring at this Academy Award ballot for the past 20 minutes. The decisions! Now I know how SOLOMON felt." What does "The decisions! Now I know how SOLOMON felt" mean?

66A: "Bellefleur" writer: OATES. Probably our editor's favorite OATES book. He keeps using the same clue. Have you read Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar"? Joyce Carol OATES said it's a "near perfect work of art".

67A: Unfledged bird: EYAS. Uh-uh, nope, this is an imagined word.

69A: City on the Adige: TRENT. Called TRENTO in Italy. Adige River seems to be a branch of that unnamed river that runs through Trento, doesn't it?

Down:

2D: Roman acronym: SPQR. Senatus Populusque Romanus (the Senate and the people of Rome). I can only remember "pigs". Maria mentioned last time that Italians call SPQR "Sono Porci Questi Romani", loosely translated as "These Romans are Pigs".

3D: Soccer mom in Munich?: HAUSFRAU. It's just German for "housewife", right, Kazie? I don't know what's so fun about this clue.

5D: Peer Gynt's mother: ASE. I can never remember this lady's name. Nor can I commit the African bushy-tailed fox ASSE into my memory. Can anyone who has read this Ibsen play give us a short summary of what "Peer Gynt" is about?

6D: Bedside pitcher: EWER. No EWER on my bedside table. Never. What's on your bedside? EWER?

9D: Put forth flowers: BLOOM. "Put forth" sounds so laborious. Most flowers "Burst through". The clue reminded me of this Anais Nin quote: And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

11D: Synagogue scrolls: TORAHS. Does synagogue allow non-Jewish people in?

12D: Actress Smith: MAGGIE. She is so old. Time to clue MAGGIE Q, the hottest MAGGIE on earth.

18D: Yikes!: ZOWIE. I need to use this word often.

34D: Pitch callers: UMPS. Cute, so cute. Can't find an UMP bobblehead. Has to be 1960's & Made in Japan to be valuable.

37D: Black Sea arm: AZOV. I was unaware of Sea of AZOV.

45D: Pestilent fly: TSETSE. Have you heard of blow-fly? Wikipedia says it belongs to the same family as TSETSE fly does.

47D: Satellite of Jupiter: EUROPA. Galileo must be very versed in Greek mythology. Otherwise, he would not have named this moon as EUROPA.

52D: Noon and midnight, e.g.: HOURS. Boy, I felt dense. This did not come to me readily at all.

61D: 905: CMV

C.C.

Feb 17, 2009

Tuesday February 17, 2009 Annabel Michaels

Theme: Weather Unit(s)

17A: Weather unit: SNOWFLAKE

59A: Weather units: RAINDROPS

10D: Weather unit: ICE CRYSTAL

29D: Weather units: HAILSTONES

I doubt the above theme clues are the constructor's originals. Remember what our editor did with John Underwood's Jan 12, 2009 puzzle? He changed all of Underwood's colorful and evocative clues into boring "Someone's opera".

I like the clue for LIED (21D: Manufactured facts). Quite tricky, with the plural "facts", the answer could also be LIES. Would have preferred "More factual" for TRUER (12D: Less of a lie?) due to the duplication of "lie".

As ART is the answer for 66A: Fleming or Garfunkel, it shouldn't appear as clue for INTAGLIO (6D: Glyptic art).

Across:

1A: African river: CONGO. The second longest river in Africa after Nile.

14A: Lend beauty to: ADORN. And the measurement for beauty is millihelen, after Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ship. How many millihelens here?

15A: Lon __ of Cambodia: NOL. I thought U Thant was from Cambodia also. Turns out he was a Burmese. U simply means "sir".

22A: Pile of rocks: SCREE. I forgot. This word needs an additional letter N or D at the tail to make sense to me.

26A: Fancy schmancy: POSH. "Fancy Schmancy" indeed. They've decided to leave the US. David Beckham has probably made enough money for LA Galaxy.

33A: Raines of old film: ELLA. No idea. Her eyes are so piercing. I was actually picturing O-Lan, the "Good Earth" actress Luise Rainer. Raines & Rainer, quite close.

39A: Clan pattern: PLAID. I mindlessly wrote down TOTEM. Always associate "Clan" with those Native Indian tribes rather than the Scottish highlanders and their tartan kilt.

48A: Water of Guadalajara: AGUA. It's Shui (水) in Chinese. Feng (风) is wind. So "Feng Shui" is literally "Wind-water".

51A: "Stay (I Missed You)" singer Lisa: LOEB. Here is the song. She wears glasses all the time.

52A: Field event: SHOTPUT. Look at his left arm.

67A: Ancient region of Asia Minor: IONIA. Still remember last week's answer AEOLIS? I wanted IONIA then. How long did the Greek colonize Turkey?

70A: Subject to random chance: FLUKY. New adjective to me.

Down:

9D: Wynton or Branford: MARSALIS. No idea. I am very ignorant on jazz musicians. Wynton MARSALIS is a trumpeter. Brandford MARSALIS is a saxophone player.

11D: One of Bolivia's capitals: SUCRE. I wonder why it's named SUCRE, so sweet. Barry Silk probably would have gone LA PAZ, given his affinity with scrabbly letters.

26D: First name in cartoon skunks: PEPE. I linked this clip last Sunday. "Bon what?" I could not understand his first sentence.

28D: Smeltery waste: SLAG. Sometimes the answer is DROSS. Scum is "Pond dross".

36D: "Othello" conniver: IAGO. I used to confuse him with Prince IGOR.

37D: New Zealand island territory: NIUE. Unknown to me. See this map, between Tonga and Cook Islands. It's discovered by Captain Cook in 1774. This might be a tough fill if you don't know the intersecting singer Lisa LOEB.

53D: Craft starter?: HOVER. Also called ACV (Air-Cushion Vehicle). I have never heard of it before.

57D: Enlighten: EDIFY. Same root with edifice?

63D: Explorer Zebulon: PIKE. Did not know this guy or his exploration. Wikipedia says PIKES Peak in CO is named after him.

C.C.

Feb 13, 2009

Friday February 13, 2009 Annabel Michaels

Theme: Chow Time

17A: Well-rounded repasts: SQUARE MEALS

60A: Purim: FEAST OF LOTS

11D: Summoner to supper: DINNER BELL

29D: Dinner for thirteen: LAST SUPPER

"With "The"" should be added to the last clue.

What a terrible editing job! I don't mind seeing SYRIA (68A: Aleppo's land) and BREAM (51D: Silvery European fish) for second day in a row, with the identical clues. But supper SUPPER, dinner DINNER duplications are outrageous. More felonies:

49A: Prov. follower: ECCLES. Have never seen Proverbs abbreviated as Prov before.

44D: Ecclesiastical residence: DEANERY. I was not aware of this ecclesiastical dean residence. But the clue definitely should be reworded to accommodate ECCLES.

47A: Unbroken stretch: STREAK. Why not "Unbroken run"?

Too many Roman numerals:

21A: 7 on a sundial: VII

46A: CCLXIII x IV: MLII

63D: CXII halved: LVI

I did not enjoy this puzzle at all. I've seen much better puzzles from Annabel Michaels.

Across:

1A: Fonda film: JULIA. Obtained the film title with the down fill help. Has anyone seen Annette Bening's "Being JULIA"?

15A: Gods' images: IDOLS. I wrote down ICONS first.

16A: Adjective-forming suffix: IAL. Presidential?

19A: Govt. advisory grp.: NSA (National Security Agency). Will Smith's "Enemy of the State" is about those NSA agents and their wire-tapping activities.

20A: Old California fort: ORD. What's so special about this fort? I faintly remember we had this answer before.

22A: Part of LBJ: BAINES. All his family members, including his dog, share the LBJ initials. I don't think any US president knows more about the congressional maneuvers than LBJ did. Stunning record of legislative achievements.

25A: Protesting workers: STRIKERS

27A: Native American language: SALISH. New word to me. Wikipedia says "All SALISH (or Salishan) languages are endangered - some extremely so with only three or four speakers left".

30A: Obedient dog?: HEELER

31A: Active volcano near Manila: TAAL. No idea. See this map. I wonder what TAAL means in local language.

37A: African fever: LASSA. I forgot. The disease was first discovered in a town called LASSA in Nigeria. Can't find a map.

39A: Score of zero: NIL. Soccer, I think.

51A: Sunday prohibitions: BLUE LAWS

53A: Bygone bird: MOA. The extinct New Zealand flightless bird. See Australia's coat of arms. It has a kangaroo and emu. Incapable of stepping backward, they can only move forward, signifying Australia's forward progression. "Forward with Pride", the Aussi spirit.

54A: Lasso: ROPE IN

55A: Cure or gram preceder: EPI

56A: Marsh or West: MAE. Have never heard of MAE Marsh before. She looks like a dangerous lorelei who delights in breaking others' heart. Men might need some of this magic nepenthe to relieve their sorrows.

59A: Key-punch bus.: EDP (Electronic Data Processing). Got it with the surrounds.

67A: Sea to Debussy: MER. Here is Debussy's "La MER."

Down:

2D: Roman acronym: SPQR. Holy mackerel Roman Empire! I really don't know this acronym. It stands for Senatus Populusque Romanus (the Senate and the people of Rome). OK, Maria said SPQR is most commonly known among Italians as "Sono Porci Questi Romani", loosely translated as " These Romans are Pigs".

3D: King Ibn -- of Saudi Arabia: SAUD. I am confused here. Wikipedia says this guy is the first monarch of Saudi Arabia. I thought Saudi has a long kingdom history.

7D: Ulan-_, Russ.: UDE. See this map. Located on the Siberian Uda River. Quite close to Mongolian capital Ulan Bator. Ulan is "red" in Mongolian. Ulan Bator means "Red Hero". Ulan Ude is simply "Red Ude". A bit of communism vestiage.

10D: Beset: ASSAIL

12D: Loom bar: EASER. Uh-uh, no, no. No idea. What is it?

23D: Eisenhower: IKE. Strictly speaking, this is not allowed in crossword construction. An abbreviated answer (even if it's a nickname) needs an abbreviation hint.

25D: Frantic cries: SHRIEKS

38D: Flying rescue missions: AIRLIFTS

58D: Book after Neh.: ESTH. Before Job. Often see NEH clued as "Bk before Esth".

C.C.

Sep 14, 2008

Sunday September 14, 2008 Annabel Michaels

Theme: Icky Stuff

23A: Of ill health: SICKLINESS

25A: Knockout drink: MICKEY FINN

39A: Quick as a wink: LICKETY-SPLIT

100A: Treat: PICK UP THE TAB

115A: Superlatively dilapidated: RICKETIEST

120A: Assigning monikers: NICKNAMING

36D: Running smoothly: TICKING OVER

45D: Doors in doors: WICKET GATES

48D: Whistle stop: HICK TOWN

51D: Battled for bargains: DICKERED

I hope you liked this puzzle. I did not. Too "Icky" for me. The overuse of suffixes like NESS, ED, EST, ING in the theme answers struck me as unimaginative and uncreative. The whole puzzle conjured up an image of the "WICKED Witch of the West" frantically swinging her BROOMSTICK, trying to get the magical "Icky" slippers.

I would not mind if sweet "Icky Stuff" like CINNAMON STICK, and POPSICKLE are constructed into the puzzle, or exciting words like HOCKEY STICK, GIMMICKY, MAVERICK, LIMERICK, SCHTICK, or other whole BAGS OF TRICKS.

CHERRY PICKING sounds good too. What do you think of FLOWER PICKER?

Two counts of major felonies:

22A: Stout's stout sleuth: NERO

127A: Duchin or Nero: PETER

52D: Peter of "My Favorite Year": O'TOOL

I remember Stan Newman of Newsday mentioned that on average crossword editors make about 4 such mistakes in a year. Our editor has been committing this sin on a daily basis. Unbelievable!

Across:

1A: Limelight hog: HAM. I like this clue. "Stage hog" would be great too.

15A: Middle of Roman months: IDES. Or "Fateful day for Caesar".

19A: Altar constellation: ARA. It's always ARA when the clue is asking for a 3-letter constellation.

21A: Violinist's move: UP-BOW. New term to me. It's "an upward stroke from the tip to the heel of the bow".

28A: Swan genus: OLOR. New to me also. I don't think this is an accurate clue though. The complete name is Cygnus OLOR.

31A: "___ and Louise": THELMA. Good movie, very nice "You Needed Me". I've been constantly impressed by the creativity shown in some of the YouTube clips.

42A: Controlled entrance: STILE. Like this one?

43A: Coolidge's VP: DAWES (Charles). Not familiar with this name. He won Nobel Peace Prize in 1925 for his work on DAWES Plan - "a program to enable Germany to restore and stabilize its economy."

47A: Psalm ending: SELAH

51A: Polyester fabric: DACRON. No idea. It's wrinkle-resistant. These sails are made of DACRON.

54A: Anchor position: ATRIP

56A: Frontier scout Carson: KIT. Have never heard of him before. Lois probably wants KIT to be clued as “Santa Baby” singer.

61A: Musical sweet potato: OCARINA. New wood instrument to me. It does look like sweet potato.

66A: Old Scottish dagger: SKEAN

67A: African antelope: RHEBOK. New to me also. See this picture. Wikipedia says the Afrikaans/Dutch spelling is Reebok. That's how Reebok sportwear got its name.

69A: Of pants: TROUSER. Wow, I had no idea that TROUSER can be an adjective.

81A: Italian gentleman: SIGNORE

87A: Pagliacci's beloved: NEDDA. I can never remember her name.

97A: Distresses: HURTS. They are not really synonymous, are they? HURTS bring "Distresses".

106A: Barnum's first name: PHINEAS. Sigh... no, how could I know? Wikipedia says he never said "There is a sucker born every minute".

107A: Attack of painful spasms: ANGINA. Completely unknown to me. Dictionary says ANGINA is "a condition, such as severe sore throat, in which spasmodic attacks of suffocating pain occur." ANGINA looks very DF to me.

114A: Sharp-cornered: ANGULAR. Katharine Hepburn has the classic ANGULAR face.

122A: Big name in sound system: BOSE. No idea. I've never paid attention to the names of those car audio manufacturers.

126A: Munich's river: ISAR

Down:

1D: Attacks: HAS AT

3D: Twinned crystal: MACLE. See this picture. It appeared in our puzzle before. I still don't understand why it's called "Twinned crystal".

5D: Egg receptacle: OVISAC. I like the makeup of this word, OVI & SAC, easy to remember.

9D: Ballerina Collier: LESLEY. Pure guess. I don't think her name is recognized by many, if any. "60 Minutes" LESLEY Stahl would be a very reasonable clue.

10D: False accusations: BUM RAPS. New idiom to me.

15D: Congregates too much: INFESTS. I don't like the clue. I don't think they are of the same meaning.

18D: Word in sequels: SON. What "sequels"?

29D: Goddess of harvest: OPS. She is the wife of Saturn.

32D: Mariner's jacket: PEA COAT

37D: French actor Delon: ALAIN. I just discovered this morning that his first major role was Tom Ripley in "Plein Soleil", the French version of "The Talented Mr. Ripley".

38D: "The Flying Dutchman" girl: SENTA. I forgot. I always associated "The Flying Dutchman" with T206 Honus Wagner.

40D: S.S. Kresge's discount chain: KMART. Another guess. I was not aware of KMART's origin.

60D: Mignonette: RESEDA. I've never heard of RESEDA before. Had no idea that "Mignonette" was a plant of the genus RESEDA. Very quiet-looking flowers. Wikipedia says it's extremely fragrant.

71D: Indonesia currency: RUPIAHS. Foreign to me. Here are some Indonesia banknotes. The exchange rate is about 9,428 RUPIAHS = 1 US $.

79D: Bay on the English Channel: POOLE. I got it from the across fills.

81D: Newsman Frank: SESNO. He appears on Wolf Blitzer's "Situation Room" often.

82D: Bulge at the back of the head: INION. Strung this word together from the across clues.

90D: Revolt against conventions: TITANISM. New to me also. Only faintly aware of the Titans in Greek mythology.

91D: Chinese dish: SUBGUM. Weird Cantonese spelling. It's Shijin in Mandarin Chinese.

93D: Goldbrick: SLACKER. I did not know the meaning of "Goldbrick". I was picturing gold ingots.

101D: Nice one?: UNE. And Spanish UNO (125A: One to Juan).

102D: Bird feathers: PENNAE. Nope, nope. Did not know that there is a special name for "Bird feathers".

105D: Legally bar: ESTOP

108D: Pelvic bone: ILIUM. Also the Latin name for the ancient Troy.

110D: Rival of Sparta and Athens: ARGOS. Wikipedia also shows that ARGOS was also the name of "Odysseus' faithful dog", who waited over 20 years for Odyssues to return to Ithaca.

116D: Greek island: IOS. Homer is buried here.

121D: Cohort of Fidel: CHE (Guevara). He was a highly romanticized character in my childhood textbooks. Oh, by the way, the symbol HAMMER AND SICKLE would be a great theme answer too.

C.C.

Jun 22, 2008

Sunday June 22, 2008 Annabel Michaels

Theme: EXED OUT

24A: Underground publisher, perhaps: MIDNIGHT (EX)PRESS

50A: Receive wine from France?: IMPORT (EX)PORT

70A: U.N.'s stance?: INTERNATIONAL (EX)POSITION

88A: Hamming it up?: OVER (EX) POSING

118A: Grinding power of molars?: TOOTH (EX)TRACTION

6D: Flippantly cocky point of view: (EX)PERT OPINION

73D: Keep a supply of coins?: STOCK (EX)CHANGE

The answer for 6D stands out as the only one with the head EXED. As an adjective, PERT is difficult to be clued as the second part of the phrase than a noun or verb I suppose. I thought of "COMPUTER (EX)PERT" and "ESCAPE (EX)PERT", but both have different amount of letters than "(EX)PERT OPINION". That would have screwed up the whole upper left corner.

But for a shock and awe effect, I would have clued 29A: METERS (Taxi device) as "Coin takers", so the letter X would be completely axed out of the answers and the clues.

I really like today's theme concept, but the puzzle is made more difficult than it should be due to the rigidly constrained theme answers. I experienced nightmares at several crucial intersections: SENNET and CONNATET, PESETA and SCUP. And these fishes really gave me headache today:

79A: Pogy: MENHADEN. Absolutely no idea. Dictionary says "Pogy" is short for "Poghaden", which is explained as MENHADEN, a herring like fish. See this picture.

113D: Type of Porgy: SCUP. Completely foreign to me. It's spelled out as a "Porgy of the northern Atlantic coastal waters, important commercially as a food fish." Look at his SCUP.

I did get GRILSE (101D: Young salmon) by crossing clues, but it's definitely a stranger to me. Dictionary said it originated from Middle English "grills/grilles". Obviously I don't know anything about fish or fishing. I also pieced together DAP (15D: Fly-fishing action) with the across references. It's a new word to me. I've never fly-fished before, have you?

It looks like our editor quit Roman numerals cold-turkey after the "Numerous Movies" binge on June 8. Great! Several major flaws in today's puzzle though:

39A: Mach + jets: SSTS. And 87A: Mach + plane: SST. This is simply unacceptable!

115A: Reach across: SPAN. And 1D: Spanning: ACROSS. Unbelievable! What can I say? Nuts! You either change SPAN's clue to "Time period" or reword ACROSS clue to "Down's opposite".

127A: Compositions: ESSAYS. Needs to add "Literary" to the clue.

51D: U. of Maine town: ORONO. The clue U. should NOT be abbreviated. Barry Silk has explained it clearly in his last BYU construction: "Generally, when a clue is abbreviated, the answer is also abbreviated."

90D: Green-eyed?: ENVIOUS. Why question mark? "Green-eyed" is "jealous", isn't it? If you want to be cutesy and loves to ask, try "Green?"

Alright, enough whining, let's go!

ACROSS:

1A: King Herold's last name: AGRIPPA. Stumped immediately. Hard to get A GRIP on his name. He defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the "Battle of Actium".

14A: "___ Fideles": ADESTE. One more Latin: 30A: In ___ (in position): SITU

20A: Loop thread with a hooked needle: CROCHET

21A: Hit the big time: ARRIVE

22A: Lurch and swerve: CAREEN. "Lurch" or "Swerve", one word clue is enough. Why waste ink?

23A: Correct maps: RECHART

27A: Collar fastener: STUD. Stunning STUD fee for Big Brown, isn't it? See also 77A: Fastens: TIES.

33A: Branding tool: IRON. I don't understand this clue or the answer. Why? It's not the Callaway or TaylorMade IRON brand, is it?

40A: Foot: pref.: PEDI. Pedicure.

45A: Straighten up: NEATEN

47A: City in southern France: AVIGNON. Here is the map. See it? It's on the Rhone River, very close to Marseille. This is the Papal palace in AVIGNON.

52A: Grad. deg.: SCD (Scientiae Doctor, Latin). Doctor of Science.

59A: Richard Attenborough film: CHAPLIN. I've never seen the movie, have you? I like this tag line: "Everyone has a wild side. Even a legend."

62A: Living on the street: HOMELESS

66A: Shout for attention: HALLOO. And 119D: Attention getter: HEY

75A: Man from Aberdeen: SCOT. This word has become our editor's new obsession lately. And 93D: Possess like a Scotsman: HAE. Scottish for "Have". Interesting Robert Burns' Some Hae Meat and Cannae Eat poem.

76A: Dance in France: BAL. BAL Masqué (costume party) for example.

78A: Adopted: TOOK ON

86A: Centering points: FOCI

83A: Like fluids trapped in rocks: CONNATE. Is this a familiar geology term to you? I don't think I even know the Chinese word for it.

92A: Sitarist Ravi: SHANKAR. Good to see SHANKAR clued as an answer.

99A: Links grp: USGA (United States Golf Association). Have to applaud them for their fair course setup during the last US Open.

112A: Old money of Madrid: PESETA. Toughie for me, as I had no idea about the intersecting SCUP.

122A: Authorize: ENTITLE

124A: Solicited orders: TOUTED. And 128A: Sales pitches: SPIELS

125A: Hawaii dress: MUUMUU. She looks pretty in her blue MUUMUU.

126A: Eternal: AGELESS. Helen Mirren, her beauty is AGELESS!

129A: Demonstrates connections: RELATES

DOWN:

2D: Legendary ones: GREATS. Here are two examples: 106A: Pitcher Hershiser: OREL. He won Cy Young in 1988. And HOFer "STAN the Man" (67D: Musial of baseball).

3D: Missile: ROCKET. Do you think "The ROCKET" Roger Clemens will make HOF someday?

4D: German pronoun: ICH. ICH Liebe Dich (我爱你 in Chinese). Say it!

5D: Distinct stage: PHASE

7D: Aleutian island: ATTU. The U from the crossing STUD prevented me from considering ADAK or ATKA.

9D: The best!: PRIMO

11D: Effort: DINT. I only know this word being used in the phrase "By DINT of". Found out today that DINT can also be a verb.

10D: Zealous: ARDENT

12D: Actress Arden, casually: EVIE. "Any Way That You Want Me" by EVIE Sands.

13D: Get back into formation: REGROUP. Does this clue sound OK to you? I always think of REGROUP as "Restart".

17D: Pursue an inquiry: SEE INTO

19D: Consequent: ENSUANT. Unknown to me. I got it from the down clue. Only knew ENSUE.

28D: Failed to: DIDN'T

32D: Mandela's nat.: RSA (Republic of South Africa). His party is ANC (African National Congress).

34D: Roberto's river: RIO. Are we talking about Spanish or Portuguese river here? I think Roberto is also a very popular Italian name.

36D: Against a thing: IN REM. No problem today.

37D: Bristles: SETAE Singular form is SETA.

41D: Richard of "A Summer Place": EGAN. I wanted GERE. I didn't know Richard EGAN. Learned from doing Xword that the "First governor of Alaska" was named EGAN (Willam A.)

43D: Hastens: HIES

46D: Wisconsin city: APPLETON. I can not recall anything special about this city. I only remember its Mini Golf course.

52D: Division into sects: SCHISM

57D: Capital on the Delaware: TRENTON. The Delaware River.

60D: Overabundance: PLETHORA. Did not know that PLETHORA is also a medical term for "excess of body fluid". Dictionary says it's from the Greek plethore (fullness).

62D: Pelvic projections: HIPS. Great Clip on Shakira's "HIPS Don't Lie" Dubai Concert.

64D: Noses: SNOOTS

65D: Elizabethan fanfare: SENNET. Or SENNIT. From French "Signe" (sign). Completely unknown to me. Had great difficulty getting 83A: CONNATE. Here is the definition: "A call on a trumpet or cornet signaling the ceremonial exits and entrances of actors in Elizabethan drama."

74D: Greek colony: IONIA. I simply forgot. A total SNAFU in this CONNATE, IONIA and SENNET area.

80D: Plentifully: AMPLY

81D: Semiconductor: DIODE. I am just so used to the "Electron tube" clue.

88D: Saxophonist Coleman: ORNETTE. Vaguely remember his name from the Jazz Image. I don't think I would have got it without the crossing references. His album 'Sound Grammar" won 2007 Pulitzer for music.

89D: West Indian witchcrafts: VOODOOS

91D: Tailor's measure: INSEAM

94D: K. Capek play: R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots). The debut of the word Robot (1921).

97D: Wink of an eye: NO TIME

100D: Group of seven: SEPTET. Heptad also means "Group of seven".

105D: "Car Talk" broadcaster: NPR. Do you like NPR's "The Splendid Table"?

107D: Dufy or Walsh: RAOUL. I don't know either of them. Is it a gimme to you?

109D: Chip maker: INTEL. Hope you don't own INTEL stock.

116D: Partridge's tree: PEAR. Lovely PEAR blossom.

121D: Greek letters: NUS, followed by XIS.

121D: 6-pointers: TDS (Touchdowns). T.D.S. in prescription means "Ter Die Sumendum" (to be taken three times a day.

123D: Dockers grp.: ILA ( International Longshoremen's Association).

C.C.

May 11, 2008

Sunday May 11, 2008 Annabel Michaels

Theme: HEADY DOINGS

28A: Passing gossip: CHIN WAGGING

66A: M-m-m-good: MOUTH WATERING

103A: Awesome: JAW DROPPING

3D: Psychiatrist's treatment?: HEAD SHRINKING

15D: Nuzzie greeting: NOSE RUBBING

40D: Eerie: HAIR RAISING

56D: Verbal chastisement: TONGUE LASHING

66D: Maximally boring: MIND NUMBING

Here are more:

EAR SPLITTING, EYE OPENING, TEETH CLENCHING, BRAINWASHING or BRAINTEASING, LIP SYNCING, BROW LIFTING, What else?

I am of two minds on today's puzzles. I do like the "HEADY DOINGS" theme idea, but I get dizzy just looking at this inordinate amount of ING's (8, including 29D: GOING OUT). What's your opinion?

It's a bit disappointing, thought hardly surprising given this editor's poor track record in timing his puzzles, that a "Mothers' Day" theme or even a "Related to the mother's side" (ENATE) clue is no where to be seen today. You would think he could work out a TV MOMS themed puzzle to balance his TV DADS puzzle (Tuesday May 6, 2008).

And 48D: Wake of a scythe (SWATHE), no VAR mark with the clue? Did you expect me to know that SWATHE could be spelled as SWATH when it means "the scythe path"? Obviously you MISOVERESTIMATED me, the way this country MISUNDERESTIMATED President Bush's resolve to get things done.

I laughed when I first saw 73A: I came: Lat. VENI. Then I filled in ALLUDE for 79A: Refer indirectly and LAY for 93A: Non-clerical. Then I found myself writing CAME for 94A: Showed up. I was stunned. CAME twice in less than 2 minute? You are amazing! Very ÉTÉ (98A: Nice hot time?) indeed.

But nothing is funny about 90A: Win a chase (OUT RUN). 93D: Ran out (LAPSED). You've gonna be kidding me. Just when I thought he could not sink any lower, along come this ghastly cluing! This editor definitely has no intention to improve the quality of his puzzles. His stubbornness is only paled by his arrogance.

Quite a few obscure city names in today's puzzle: NIAMEY, NEVERS, ALEPPO. The only place I know is 70D: Strasbourg's region (ALSACE). QUAGGAS, TOCSIN, MIOSIS, BOCCI were completely unknown to me. I've never heard of Nicolas ROEG either. But thanks to this editor's painful "Medical pref:" clue in April, I was able to get 54A: Healer: pref (IATRO) without any problem, otherwise, I would have big trouble with RICTUS (50D: Fixed, gaping grin). And without the generous help from those ING's, I think I would have completely tanked this puzzle.

ACROSS:

4A: Bring upon oneself: BUCK FOR. I am only familiar with BUCK UP, not BUCK FOR.

11A: Michael of Monty Python: PALIN. Nailed him today.

16A: Letters in math proofs: QED (Quod Erat Démōnstrandum). Latin. I am so proud I got this one.

20A: Shakespearean tragedy: OTHELLO

21A: Dispatch boat: AVISO. I completely forgot this word. But was able to string it together by the down clues. Always want a verb for the fill.

24A: Widespread slaughter: CARNAGE

30A: Fraction of a joule: ERG. 1 joule = 107 erg.

35A: Mount Hood's state: OREGON. Hi there!

39A: NATO word: ATL (Atlantic). Do you know that NATO also stands for "North African Theater of Operations"? IKE served both NATO's.

41A: "Teenage __ Ninja Turtles:": MUTANT. Not familiar with this comic book at all.

42A: Singer Carter: DEANA. "Everything's Gonna Be Alright". Here is my favorite "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" (Bob Marley).

48A: Squelch: STIFLE

53A: Ascended: WENT UP

55A: Like plays and movies: SCRIPTED

65A: PA nuclear accident site: TMI (Three Miles Island). To me, TMI is simply "Too Much Information".

70A: Painter Matisse: HENRI. This Luxe, Calme, et Volupté is the only Matisse I've seen in person, and I don't think I like it.

72A: Raw fish dish: SUSHI. Technically, it's SASHIMI. SUSHI toppings are always cooked. I like how SUSHI parallels MOUTHWATERING. M-m-m good!

74A: Greek contest: AGON. I simply forgot. It's "a contest in which prizes were awarded in any of a number of events, as athletics, drama, music, poetry, and painting" in ancient Greece.

75A: Tense state: EDGINESS

82A: "M*A*S*H" co-star: STIERS (David Ogen). No idea. I've never watched "M*A*S*H".

83A: Strolls easily: MOSEYS

89A: Silver or Gold: METAL. I put MEDAL first, then my fill for 80D: Husband of Salt? became LOD, which confused me for a long time.

92A: Big bell sound: BONG

97A: Most favorable conditions: OPTIMA. Singular form is OPTIMUM.

99A: Pig's sire: BOAR

101A: Norse pantheon: AESIR. Ugh, I forgot. This word is hard to remember.

106A: 90 deg. from vert. HOR (Horizontal)

107A: Scatter: DISSIPATE

110A: Type of general: ONE STAR

111A: O.T. book: ISA (Isaiah)

114A: Make a widow: BEREAVE. It bothers me a bit to see BEREAVE crossing 89D: Connubial: MARITAL.

117A: Pituitary or pineal: GLAND. I did not know the meaning of "Pituitary" and I have never heard of "pineal gland" before. Had to consult my dictionary.

118A: Washington Post honcho: BRADLEE (Ben). I did not realize that he is still with the Washington Post (vice president). Thought he left long time ago. I like his "A Good Life".

DOWN:

4D: Italian lawn bowling: BOCCI. Completely unknown to me. It's "an Italian variety of lawn bowling played on a dirt court that is shorter and narrower than the rink of a bowling green."

6D: Legendary Giant Mathewson: CHRISTY. Gimme for me. One of the first crop of Baseball HOFers 1936. The other 4 are Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson.

7D: Condominium for canines: KENNEL

8D: Blemishes: FLAWS

10D: "Performance" director Nicolas: ROEG. No, I've never heard of him.

11D: Neighbor of Iran: PAKISTAN

13D: Lisa of "The View": LING. She is not with "The View" any more.

16D: Extinct kin of zebra: QUAGGAS. No idea. Gettable though. Here is a picture.

18D: John's last name?: DOE. I like the "?" in the clue.

29D: Becoming extinguished: GOING OUT. Two OUT in the fills today, see 90A: OUT RUN.

32D: Crevices: CLEFTS

35D: Syndicated astrologer Sydney: OMARR. Unknown to me.

39D: Syrian city: ALEPPO. No, no, have never heard of it.

46D: Alarm bell: TOCSIN. No idea. Dictionary says this word derives from French "tocasenh", "tocar" means to strike, "senh" comes from the Latin signal, so it's bell.

48D: Wake of a scythe: SWATHE. A "VAR" mark is essential for this clue in my opinion.

49D: Designated: TERMED. Why? Can you explain it to me?

50D: Fixed, gaping grin: RICTUS. Completely unknown to me. It's from the past participle of Latin word ringī (to gape).

57D: Incarnate: EMBODY

58D: Keaton and Ladd: DIANES. Know Keaton, not Ladd.

61D: Down Under one?: AUSSIE. Good one.

63D: City on the Loire: NEVERS. Capital city of Nièvre (central France), on the Loire River. I've never heard of it.

67D: Bleached: WHITENED

68D: Capital of Niger: NIAMEY. I did not know. Got it from across clues. Interesting, they grow millet there. Have you had millet couscous before? The capital of Nigeria is Abuja, pretty cool name, isn't it?

74D: Strasbourg's region: ALSACE. In eastern France. The food there is mostly German style, lots of rye bread.

80D: Husband of salt?: LOT. Great clue. What is exactly the name of LOT's wife anyway? A Pillar of Salt? She shouldn't have looked back obviously, the same with Orpheus. He would have brought his wife out of Hades if he did not glance back. But it's just so hard to resist the temptation in life.

82D: Make a strong metal connection: SPOT WELD. No idea.

84D: Moo __ gai pan: GOO. "Moo GOO" means "mushroom" in Chinese. Gai is chicken. Pan means slice. Americanized Chinese dish. You won't find it in a real Chinese dining table.

89D: Connubial: MARITAL. It bothers me to see MARITAL crossing BEREAVE.

92D: Defeated: BEATEN

95D: Contraction of the pupil: MIOSIS. No, nope, total stranger to me. It's "excessive constriction of the pupil of the eye, as a result of drugs, disease, or the like". I do like how this author structured MIOSIS and 2D: Membrane of the eye: CORNEA in the same grid in such a balanced fashion. Very nice. And one more, 51A: Eyes, in poems (ORBS)

96D: Listing of text mistakes: ERRATA

99D: Goofy error: BONER

104D: Pitcher Nen: ROBB. Wow, I've never heard of his name before. Not a Giants fan.

108D: Tape-counter abbr.: IPS (Inches Per Second)

C.C.

May 2, 2008

Friday, May 2, 2008 Annabel Michaels

Theme: PLAYING CARDS

17A: Emotional anguish: HEARTACHE

57A: Preparatory research: SPADEWORK

11D: One of the Brady Bunch?: DIAMOND JIM

27D: 19th-hole locations: CLUBHOUSES

Sub-theme: Music

20A: Russian pianist: SCRIABIN

25A: "Goldberg Variations" composer: BACH

35A: Bluegrass instruments: BANJOS

45A: A Shore: DINAH

6D: Student's performance: RECITAL

25D: Charlie Parker's jazz: BOP

36D: Poetic piece: ODE

53D: Abie's Irish lass: ROSE ("My Wild Irish Rose" theme music).

Almost aced this puzzle if not for the crossing letter N between HAHNIUM and SCRIABIN. I have never heard of BAUXITE (8D) before, though ORE was inferable. Unnipentium was also a stranger to me, but all the letters except N were obtainable from the across clues. Not familiar with the Russian pianist SCRIABIN either.

I loved the clue for 11D: One of the Brady bunch? Very cleverly misleading. I also enjoyed seeing ROSE, DIAMOND, SHE, HEARTACHE, EVER, (AT)LAST, (G)MEN, EAT, HER(MES), and MORE(L) in the same grid.

Umm, OMEGA yesterday, HERMÈS today, CARTIER tomorrow? How much does Louis Vuitton pay you to put their DIOR brand in our puzzle so often? What's the fee for GUCCI's YSL? Should I call TIFFANY for sponsorship also? You don't like PRADA? Afraid of "The Devil Wears PRADA" backlash? How about BURBERRY then?

ACROSS:

6A: Greek letter: RHO. Or South Korea's ___ Moo-hyuan. Or maybe not. His presidency was probably too short and too scandalous to carve a niche in history. He showed some episodic guts in 2003 though.

9A: Doc on the battlefield: MEDIC

16A: Sheeplike: OVINE. Cattle: BOVINE. Horse: EQUINE. Donkey: ASSININE. Dog: CANINE. Cat: FELINE. Pig: PORCINE. What else?

19A: Gaucho's rope: REATA

21A: God of cunning: HERMES. I am not fond of HERMÈS scarf, but I do love this HERMÈS Birkin bag to go with my OMEGA watch. Do you like Birkin's Je t'aime... moi non plus? So breathtakingly erotic and sexy (Just listen to the last 20 seconds if you don't have time). Oh, the Roman equivalent for HERMES is Mercury.

22A: Decisive: CRITICAL

28A: Mud smears: DAUBS

31A: Ships' tillers: HELMS. Why "ships" rather than "ship"?

33A: Showy feathers: PLUMES

38A: __ mot (witticism): BON

39A: Item in the plus column: ASSET

42A: Hollywood's Lupino: IDA. Another TMS stalwart.

43A: 1975 Wimbledon champion: ASHE

46A: FBI personnel: G - MEN

48A: Of the household: FAMILIAL

50A: Jewelers' glasses: LOUPES

52A: Box of ill fame: PANDORA'S. I don't like this clue. Felt very forced.

58A: Clip sheep: SHEAR. Um, Clip & Cut (40D: Cut with quick strokes: SNIPPED). Still have some nagging dislike of SHEAR and SHE (57D) though.

59A: Haw's partner: HEM

60A: Joe of "GoodFellas": PESCI. Good movie. The only Ray Liotta movie that I really like. I guess his "Field of Dream" is OK too.

63A: Lock or shock: TRESS

DOWN:

4D: Improve in quality: ENRICH

5D: Patch road: RETAR

7D: Unnilpentium: HAHNIUM. Unnilpentium is Element 105 (Latin), symbol UNP. Hard one. Very interesting root here: "un" is one, "nil" is nothing (both Latin), and "pente" is five in Greek, then we have a noun suffix "ium". So, there you go, element 105, wonderful! HAHNIUM was named after Otto Hahn, Nobel Chemistry winner 1944. Called "The father of Nuclear Chemistry" according to Wikipedia. (Please note, the current Element 105 is DUBNIUM, symbol DB. Thanks for the information NYTanonimo)

8D: Bauxite, e.g.: ORE. OK, Beauxite is "a rock consisting of aluminum oxides and hydroxides with various impurities: the principal ore of aluminum". It's named after the small village Les Baux -de-Provence (S France), and "ite" is just a noun forming suffix.

9D: Mushroom choice: MOREL. Wow, this one is definitely LONG.

12D: Purpose: INTENT. The clue is OK. I just dislike "Purpose" appearances twice in the clues (see 39D).

13D: Discontinues: CEASES

18D: Puts up with: ABIDES

29D: Mass. cape: ANN. Cape ANN. Felt strained too.

34D: Top Stooge: MOE

35D: In arrears: BEHIND

41D: Deep bows: SALAAMS. From Arabic "salām", peace.

43D: Finally!: At LAST!

44D: Mollify: SOOTHE. Like this one, SOOTHE & HEARTACHE.

45D: Prosecutors, for short: DAS (District Attorneys)

46D: Stare angrily: GLOWER

48D: Phobias: FEARS. Here is a complete list of all kinds of phobias. Mine is scotophobia. I never knew that there is such special word for my fear.

49D: Skilled one: ADEPT

51D: Fuel from bogs: PEAT

55D: Schusses: SKIS. Saw Schuss before, but then I forgot. SKIS is very gettable though. Schuss comes from German word "Schuz" meaning shot. Schuss is "a fast straight downhill run in skiing. Could be a verb too.

C.C.