Showing posts with label Bruce Venzke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bruce Venzke. Show all posts

Feb 19, 2018

Monday, February 19, 2018 ~ Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke

Theme: Buddy, Can You Spare A Dime? - Synonyms for living the dream.

20A. Inquiry meant to entrap: LOADED QUESTION

35A. Nonfluctuating method of doing things: SET FORMULA

40A. Impressionist once labeled "The Man of a Thousand Voices": RICH LITTLE

52A. Wealthy, and a hint to the first word of 20-, 35- and 40-Across: ROLLING IN DOUGH

Argyle here. The Monday mavens have struck again.


1. Android downloads: APPs

5. Array around a surge protector: WIRES. I would have said plugs.

10. Words after deal or count: ME IN. Or, as one word, my take-out order.

14. Bridges of Hollywood: BEAU

(left to right) Jeff, Beau and Lloyd Bridges.

15. Part of a sports complex: ARENA

16. Enveloping glow: AURA

17. "NBA Friday" channel: ESPN. (originally an initialism for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network)

18. Peachy: DANDY

19. Dental exam image: X-RAY

23. Right-angled shape: ELL

24. Per __: daily: DIEM

25. Freebies with a bowl of soup: CRACKERS

30. Mud __: type of wasp: DAUBER. Learn more here.

34. Sharp-eyed flier: HAWK

37. Org. supporting flossing: ADA. (American Dental Association)

38. Freelancer's encl.: SAE. (stamped addressed envelope or self-addressed envelope:)

39. QB scores: TD's. Touchdowns.

45. Pedometer unit: STEP

46. "Already?": "SO SOON?"

47. First-stringers: STARTERS

49. Honorary legal degs.: LLDs. Legum Doctor is a doctorate-level academic degree in law, or an honorary doctorate, depending on the jurisdiction. Wikipedia

51. Ipanema's city: RIO. Ipanema is a neighborhood located in the South Zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

59. Pop music's "hottest spot north of Havana": COPA. While your already dancing ....

60. Shut down: CEASE. What the heck; let's make it drei.

61. Three, in Germany: DREI

62. Baking chamber: OVEN

63. Makes docile: TAMES

64. Folklore brute: OGRE

65. Remain up in the air: PEND

66. Sport with clay disks: SKEET

67. Can't live without: NEED. Crosswords.


1. Brother of Cain: ABEL

2. Cuban currency: PESO

3. Respected Smurf: PAPA

4. Basking locale on a cruise ship: SUNDECK. On your way to Rio.

5. Walks like a duck: WADDLES. "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck." Add, "Walks like a duck."

6. Baghdad's country: IRAQ

7. Eye care solution brand: RENU

8. Pulled the plug on: ENDED

9. Ties the knot: SAYS, "I DO"

10. Largest amount: MAXIMUM

11. Money in Malta: EURO

12. Mideast nation in a 2015 nuclear deal: IRAN

13. Vote against: NAY

21. Lodge logo animal: ELK. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

22. Hazmat suit hazard: TEAR. Hazmat is an abbreviation for “hazardous materials”.

25. Seals in the juices of: CHARS

26. Traffic report source: RADIO

27. Spy plane acronym: AWACS. (airborne warning and control system)

28. Sit for a bit: REST

29. ERA and RBI, e.g.: STATS. Statistics for earned run average and run batted in.

31. Montana city: BUTTE

32. Tribal leader: ELDER

33. Talks hoarsely: RASPS

36. Stetson hat material: FELT

41. The Netherlands, informally: HOLLAND

42. Lounge around: LOLL

43. Formally accuses of, with "for": INDICTS

44. Heart-to-heart: EARNEST

45. Used to change a ceiling light bulb, as a chair: STOOD ON. Not a good idea.

48. Relieved (of): RID

50. Move on tiptoe, say: SNEAK

52. Wander: ROVE

53. Take the lid off: OPEN

54. It usually has a set of rules: GAME

55. "That makes sense": "I SEE"

56. Hard-to-resist feeling: URGE

57. Actor Richard: GERE

58. Moved quickly, old-style: HIED

59. Squad car driver: COP. Car 54, where are you?

I shall stand not upon the order of my going, but go at once. I won't stand on a chair either.


Feb 17, 2018

Saturday, February 17, 2018, Bruce Venzke


Husker Gary here, giving a guided tour of a fun Saturday, Bruce Venzke puzzle. What caught my eye first was three horizontal and vertical grid spanners. The actual design of the grid, which you will find at the bottom of the write-up,  is very elegant. said: Bruce Venzke is a veteran crossword constructor who began constructing puzzles in 2001. Of the nearly 600 puzzles he has made, about 400 have been collaborations with other puzzle creators. He has been published by the NY Times, LA Times, NY Sun, Newsday, Wall Street Journal and various other newspapers and magazines.

Here is a  C.C. interview with Bruce posted on February 2, 2011. 

Two of Bruce's parallel entries paid homage to my home state (hence the title): 

9. Land of Lincoln? : CORNHUSKER STATE - Yeah, even I had to shed the image of Illinois AND

28. Planter : SOWER - The statue that tops our state capitol building in Lincoln

Here are the balance of Bruce's wonderful grid spanners that were also very useful:

20. Grasp : GET THE MEANING OF - In Good Will Hunting, Will did GET THE MEANING OF things others couldn't 

25. Some drips : SALINE SOLUTIONS - I'm sure one of these is a SALINE SOLUTION

43. Charter acquisition : TIME WARNER CABLE - This is the change we got last year in Fremont, NE

48. Markings on gridirons : MIDFIELD STRIPES - Where coin tosses occur. Wait, Joe, someone has to call it first!

4. Unrelenting attempt : SUSTAINED EFFORT - Keep going Sisyphus! 

5. Usury protection : INTEREST RATE CAP - It's amazing what people will pay on short term loans

10. Airport agents see a lot of them : IDENTIFICATIONS - There are many of these sites online:

Here's the rest of Bruce's Saturday lineup:


1. Borrows without returning : BUMS - Also my Dad's beloved Brooklyn Dodgers 

5. Intestinal : ILEAC - Relating to the ILEUM

10. Apple that's inedible : IMAC - I've been mad enough to take a bite out of ours a couple of times but not nearly as often as with PC's

14. 1966 N.L. batting champ Matty : ALOU - Get three vowels in your name and you'll make the starting lineup here!

15. Drag-racing fuel, briefly : NITRO - NITROmethane fuel minimally costs  $10 - $15/gal but definitely gives you more 1. Value for your money, idiomatically : BANG - for your buck

16. Very serious : DIRE

17. Costner role : NESS

18. What tots might go after? : TATER - Pretty clever Bruce!

19. Many an RPI grad : ENGR - Some are on our blog here

23. Atmo- kin : AER - It's all up in the air

24. He served the fewest 20th-century days (83) as U.S. VP : HST - FDR died on April 12th and they finally gave HST details about the atomic bomb on April 24th.

34. Somali-born model : IMAN

35. Things for one to do : SOLOS

36. Blücher's title in "Young Frankenstein" : FRAU - Every time her name is mentioned:

37. Swing improvisation? : TIRE - He should improvise a sturdier rope

38. Move like Miley : TWERK - You'll have to find that on your own time

39. "__ it up and spit it out": "My Way" lyric : I ATE - Paul Anka heard this tune below (translates to As Usual) in Paris, bought the rights to it, came back to America and wrote My Way lyrics for Frank Sinatra

40. Learning ctr. : ACAD - My friend's brother got sent to Wentworth Military ACADemy to "straighten him out". Didn't work

41. "Peg Woffington" novelist : READE - Did anyone here, uh, READE it?

42. Covered, in a way : CLAD - As you see  here

46. Tailor's concern : FIT

47. H.S. hurdle : SAT

57. Assorted mixture : OLIO

58. __ Bruni-Sarkozy, former French first lady : CARLA - From model to Première Dame de France

59. "Chocolat" actress : OLIN - Lena OLIN. Now Sweden is heard from.

60. Title derived from "Caesar" : TSAR

61. Early seal hunter : ALEUT

62. It's off-limits : NO-NO - I called my Aunt Norma Aunt NONO

63. Cease : HALT 

64. Member of a 1969 MLB expansion team : PADRE - You'd have to be a real baseball junkie to recognize this most famous and highest paid 1969 Padre. Appropriate name, huh?

65. Difficult situation : STEW - A non-edible use of this word as a noun. I'd be more likely to use it as a verb unless I was cooking


2. Film apiarist : ULEE - Peter Fonda lives on in Crossword nomenclature

3. A majority : MOST - They got the MOST popular votes but not the necessary electoral ones. I couldn't name Samuel Tilden in this array.

6. He played Oskar in "Schindler's List" : LIAM - Neeson

7. Diminutive suffix : ETTE

8. Realtor's measure : AREA Claustrophobia alert! Here's a five-minute tour of a tiny house with an AREA of approx. 200 sq. ft.

11. Flash Gordon foe : MING - The Merciless

12. Mythical vessel : ARGO

13. Random House co-founder : CERF - Best known for his work on this panel. Shown here in a very early edition! 

21. Layer : HEN - It was so windy the HEN laid the same egg four times! Rim shot!

22. Tour finish? : IST

25. Occupy, as a table : SIT AT - Who is allowed to SIT AT your table is a big deal in school cafeterias

26. Firenze friends : AMICI -More than one AMICO

27. 2016 NFL returnee : LA RAM - The RAMS are easier to move because their helmets have no city designaton like KC and some others

29. City in southwestern New York : OLEAN - The largest city in Cattaraugus County

30. 2013 Grammy winner for "Royals" : LORDE - Born inNew Zealand as Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor. LORDE crossing READE could have been a trap for me but it came to heel (I'll take mixed metaphors for $200 Alex!)

31. Sonicare rival : ORAL-B

32. South African province KwaZulu-__ : NATAL - Da Gama founded this area on Christmas day and NATAL is the Portuguese word for Christmas. The northern part of this territory was ruled for years by the Zulus.

33. Kid stuff? : SUEDE - Leather items made from baby goat skins. 

44. __ Chess: video game : WII - Most nursing homes (retirement homes?) have WII bowling which I really enjoy as well.

45. Train part : CAR - Arlo sang of The City Of New Orleans which had "Fifteen CARS and fifteen restless riders. three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail."

48. Clothes consumer? : MOTH 

49. Victor Laszlo's wife, in a classic film : ILSA- When she thought Victor was dead...

50. Retro calling aid : DIAL - Thing used one is The Addams Family

51. Like a fantasy land? : LA LA

52. Historic plaintiff Scott : DRED - A horrible part of our past

53. Musical connector : SLUR - Notes sang/played without separation

54. One may be hatched : PLOT - John Wilkes Booth had laid out a very elaborate PLOT but only his tragic part of it hatched

55. Strauss' "__ Alpensinfonie" : EINE - An Alpine Symphony

56. Buffalo feature, often? : SNOW - Coming off our old cwd friend Lake Erie

What say you?


Notes from C.C.:

1) Happy 51st wedding anniversary to dear Gary and his amazing wife Joann! I met them when they came to Minneapolis for a wedding a few years ago. Gary is gracious, witty and patient in person as he is on the blog.

2) Happy Birthday to Chairman Moe (Chris), our wine and beer expert. Thanks for the punny haiku and daily fun!

3) The 41st American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (March 23-25, 2018) will be held at the Stamford Marriott in Stamford, Connecticut. For those who attend, I hope you won't miss the Cru Dinner organized by the great Mike Alpern.

The Cru Dinner officially kicks off the tournament and is a great opportunity to meet with constructors and fellow solvers. Our own Jeffrey Wechsler stopped by there last year. Today's constructor Bruce Venzke has been a ACPT judge for years. He might have attended one of those Cru Dinners also.
The space is limited, so be sure to contact with Mike ( as soon as possible. Mike also takes fantastic photos of the tournament each year. See Rich Norris?

Mike just turned 71. Have to share with you this wonderful picture of him.

Mike Alpern

Jan 22, 2018

Monday, January 22, 2018 ~ Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke

Theme: Pedestrian Span - the word FOOT bridges the theme entries.

17A. *Grocery store: FOOD MARKET

28A. *Vessel for a cheesy dip: FONDUE POT

37A. *Ballroom dance that's also a phonetic alphabet "F": FOX TROT

44A. *All-terrain high shoe: FIELD BOOT

56A. Stream crossing for pedestrians ... and what is literally provided by the interior letters in the answers to starred clues: FOOT BRIDGE

Argyle here. There are circles but not really needed.


1. Cried on cue, say: ACTED

6. Nimble-fingered: DEFT

10. Auntie on Broadway: MAME. Before the musical.

14. Africa's Sierra __: LEONE

15. Butterlike topping: OLEO

16. Beatnik's "Understood": "I DIG"

19. Join the chorus: SING

20. Like the chains in a chain necklace: LINKED

21. Camp beds: BUNKS

22. Swear (to): ATTEST

25. Pair in a dinghy: OARS

27. Employee's reward: RAISE

33. Cone-dropping trees: FIRS

34. Recycling receptacle: BIN

35. Maps within maps: INSETS

36. Therapists' org.: APA. (American Psychological Association)

39. Shatner's "__War": TEK. William Shatner

40. Cash in, as coupons: REDEEM

42. "I __ only kidding": WAS. text JK

43. Shoulder muscle, for short: DELT

46. Sandburg and Sagan: CARLS. The poet and the astronomer.

47. Highest in quality: BEST

48. Gives a thumbs-up: SAYS OK

49. Wrinkle-removing injection: BOTOX

52. Acquires, as debts: INCURS

55. State firmly: AVOW

60. Filet mignon order: RARE

61. World power initials until 1991: USSR. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)

62. How contracts are signed: IN INK

63. Iditarod vehicle: SLED

64. Fishing rod partner: REEL

65. Occur as a result: ENSUE


1. 1980s TV ET: ALF. Gordon Shumway from the planet Melmac.

2. Corporate VIP: CEO. (chief executive officer)

3. Also: TOO

4. Tiresomely long: ENDLESS

5. Downfall: DEMISE

6. Nerdy sort: DORK

7. Sommer of cinema: ELKE. For Splynter.

8. Get nourishment from: FEED ON

9. Trike rider: TOT

10. Applies incorrectly: MISUSES

11. Score after deuce: AD IN. (tennis) The server's advantage.

12. Ermine cousin: MINK

13. They're often scrambled: EGGS

18. Tiny farm denizen: ANT

21. Main impact: BRUNT

22. Repetitive barking: [ARF! ARF!] and on the opposite side of the grid, 32. "You should be ashamed!": "TSK!, TSK!"

23. Taiwan's capital: TAIPEI

24. Rabble-rousing outburst: TIRADE

26. "Hasta la vista": "ADIOS"

28. Predicament: FIX

29. Quarterback's "Snap the ball at the second 'hut'": "ON TWO"

30. Fizzles (out): PETERS

31. Verdi opera with Desdemona: OTELLO

34. Lays an egg on stage: BOMBS

37. UPS alternative: FEDEX

38. Word before or after pack: RAT

41. Nudged sharply: ELBOWED

43. Best Western competitor: DAYS INN

45. Lazy: OTIOSE. Straight from Latin.

46. Underwood who performs the "Sunday Night Football" opening: CARRIE

48. Classroom stand-in: SUB. CSO's

49. Happy hour places: BARS

50. Mirror shape: OVAL

51. Ran like mad: TORE

53. Smoke detector?: NOSE

54. PC corner key: CTRL. (control)

56. Calico coat: FUR

57. Put down: DIS. (disrespect or disparage)

58. Oxlike antelope: GNU

59. Barely manage, with "out": EKE


Note from C.C. 

Happy 72nd Birthday to our constructor John Lampkin, the master of crossword construction. John also enhances our solving pleasure by regularly providing us fantastic pictures related to this grid entries. Thank you, John!

Lemonade and John

Jan 9, 2018

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 ~ Bruce Venzke & Gail Grabowski

Theme: TCOB - "Taking Care of Buisness"

17A. *Crimes of violence, e.g.: SERIOUS OFFENSES. Serious business.

23A. *Jungle gym: MONKEY BARS. Monkey business.

37A. *Not-so-humorous humerus spot: FUNNY BONE. Funny business.

54A. *Young boy's role model: BIG BROTHER. Big business.

61A. Fledgling enterprise ... and what the first word of the answers to starred clues can literally do: START-UP BUSINESS

Former businessman Argyle here. Great puzzle from Bruce and Gail. Two spanners and triple seven letter columns in all the corners. A few nuggets to crunch on.


1. Groups of orcas: PODs

5. Quaint "Holy moly!": "EGAD!"

9. Teases: JIVES. 1928, "to deceive playfully", like gibe but not as mean.

14. Scott Turow memoir: ONE L. Crossword staple, "The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School"

15. Stubborn critter: MULE

16. Calendario page: ENERO. Spanish for this month, the one named after Janus.

20. School sport, or its setting: TRACK

21. Inheritance recipient: HEIR

22. "Singin' in the Rain" dance style: TAP. What a production number! I found this tidbit: "The title number, filmed on a street set two blocks long on the MGM backlot, took seven days to film, with six hours of fake rain each day. The water was mixed with milk to make it show better on camera, but the mixture made Kelly’s wool suit shrink. The perpetually drenched Kelly had a bad cold and fever the whole time. Dancers Gwen Verdon, Jeanne Coyne, and Carol Haney dubbed Kelly’s tap sounds and splashing noises in post-production." >Huffington Post<


26. Operatic princess: "AIDA". Verdi opera.

27. Mo. with no holidays: AUG. (August) But there are some observances. Link

28. Patriotic org. since 1890: DAR. (Daughters of the American Revolution)

29. Lightly colored: TINGED

31. Fraction of a min.: NSEC. (nanosecond) A very small fraction of a minute, I'd say.

33. Go quickly: RUSH

36. Golden __: seniors: AGERS

40. Formal will?: SHALL. A small misdirection, following 'seniors'.

43. Trampled (on): TROD

44. Doesn't keep up: LAGS

48. Lightweight straw hat: PANAMA

50. Swiffer product: MOP. Any personal reviews?

52. Divide before the deal: CUT

53. Departure notice?: OBIT

58. Game with matchsticks: NIMLink

59. "Catch a Falling Star" singer Perry: COMO

60. Verdi opera "__ Miller": LUISA. Not seen here nearly as much,if at all, as "Aida". Wiki link.

65. __ limits: extremes: OUTER

66. The life of Riley: EASE

67. Folk singer Burl: IVES. Too late for one of his many Christmas songs.

68. Snorkeling spots: REEFs

69. Inventor's spark: IDEA

70. Formally surrender: CEDE


1. One who "rings twice," in an old film: POSTMAN. The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946 film) A short clip.

2. Burdensome: ONEROUS

3. Drive up the wall: DERANGE

4. Smooth-talking: SLICK

5. Avian Aussie: EMU

6. Astronaut Grissom: GUS

7. "Welcome to Oahu!": "ALOHA!"

8. Schedule for later: DEFER

9. Boo and hiss: JEER

10. Stopover with a "keeper": INN

11. Slight trace: VESTIGE

12. Barnes &amp; Noble Nook, for one: E-READER

13. Steel wool scrubbers: S.O.S PADS

18. Gave one's blessing to: OKed

19. It may be pumped in victory: FIST

24. Knitting need: YARN

25. Full force: BRUNT

26. Well-behaved tot: ANGEL

30. English golfer Poulter: IAN. Leaving no doubt he's English.

32. Key equivalent to B: C FLAT

34. Damascus is its cap.: SYR. (Syria)

35. Weapon in a 1952 test: H-BOMB

38. Einstein's birth city: ULM

39. Baking-soda-in-the-fridge target: ODOR

40. One buying time, perhaps: SPONSOR

41. Regular patron: HABITUÉ

42. Bring to life, as cartoons: ANIMATE

45. Accomplish: ACHIEVE

46. Acted desperately on "Jeopardy!," perhaps: GUESSED

47. German street: STRASSE

49. "__ Ben Adhem": ABOU

51. __ sci: POLI

55. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame architect: I.M. PEI

56. Spoil: GO BAD

57. Roman garment of yore: TUNIC

59. NBA big men: Abbr.: CTRs. (centers)

62. Whistler between baskets: REF

63. Take advantage of: USE

64. Beach house view: SEA