Showing posts with label Ed Sessa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ed Sessa. Show all posts

May 18, 2019

Saturday, May 18, 2019, Ed Sessa

Themeless Saturday by Ed Sessa

I am very happy to mention any day that celebrates members of the Armed Services. The third Saturday in May is now designated Armed Forces Day and I salute all who have served.

Today's constructor is Ed Sessa M.D., our retired N.Y. pediatrician who is now a resident of Sanibel Island, Florida 

This puzzle was just what the doctor ordered (Hey, you had to see that coming!). I came up dry in the NW but the NE yielded quickly and pretty soon the entire east coast was fully populated and it was Westward Ho! 

Triple horizontal and vertical stacks always impress me 

Now let's see the results of Dr. Sessa's making a house call to our little part of the world:


1. Noble: ARISTOCRAT and 4. Address for a 1-Across, perhaps: SIR.

11. Tic __: mints: TACS - In a rare moment of comity last week, President Trump offered Speaker Pelosi a TIC TAC and she accepted it

15. Play with unseen players: RADIO DRAMA - Perhaps the most famous RADIO DRAMA performance of all time. Orson Wells doing H.G. Wells 

16. Buck heroine: OLAN - O-LAN is a strong but mostly silent Chinese woman in Pearl Buck's The Good Earth 

17. Certain clinic contributor: SPERM DONOR - Uh, BLOOD DONOR was close but...

18. Hall of Fame quarterback Graham: OTTO - We NFL fans from the 50's remember

19. Significant span: ERA

20. Satirized: SENT UP - A great purveyor of the art:

21. Kind of list: TO DO.

22. Homework shirker's comeuppance: NO TV

24. It may hold broken pottery: RUIN- I'm sure Pompeii's RUINS had lots of broken pottery

25. Hilarious: A HOOT 

26. Frozen beverages: ICEES.

28. Source of blowups: TNT.

29. They're off-limits: NO NOS.

30. Olympic figure skating gold medalist after Kristi: OKSANA - OKSANA Baiul and her doubles partner Victor Petrenko having some fun

32. Makes a lot of progress: GETS FAR.

34. Many an Irish song: LILT.

36. Try for a better hand: DRAW - Even if you DRAW cards, it's going to be tough to make this a good hand

37. Smirks: SIMPERS - Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered has the lyric "I'm a whimpering, SIMPERING child again" and I always thought whimpering and simpering were synonyms

40. Stir to action: AROUSE  and 52. Barbarian horde: HUNS - A WWI call to action

44. Mystical views: AURAE - AURAS didn't cut it

45. Saddle-making tool: AWL - Many holes are required

47. Muesli brand: ALPEN - Swiss style muesli made in Northhampshire, England

48. Constellation points: STARS - These STARS makeup the constellation ORION

49. Musician Lennon: SEAN - son of John and Yoko 

51. Banjo bar: FRET.

53. It includes AAPL and MSFT: THE DOW Jones Average - YTD for Microsoft and Apple

59. Steal, perhaps: DEAL - At Apple's IPO, the stock price was $22/share. Four splits and nearly forty years later it would be worth $11,144/share. What a steal/DEAL!

55. Devoured, with "up": ATE.

56. Thrill from Sills: ARIA - Beverly Sills at La Scala

57. Start: ACTIVATION.

60. Dropped in on: PAID A VISIT.

61. Mrs. Krabappel (Kruh bap' ull) of "The Simpsons": EDNA - The Our Gang Comedies had Mrs. Crabapple as a teacher who spelled her name slightly differently 

62. Giovanni Ribisi title con man: SNEAKY PETE Here 'ya go


1. Former late-night talk star, familiarly: ARSENIO - Hall

2. Limp Bizkit genre: RAP ROCK If you're curious

3. Has a thought: IDEATES - Example from Merriam Webster - "A psychotic would repeatedly IDEATE the act of committing murder" Awkward perhaps, but look at all those compliant letters

5. Farm males: TOMS.

6. More kooky: ODDER.

7. Pastry portmanteau: CRONUT - When a croissant meets a doughnut

8. Sounding off: RANTING.

9. Came (to): AMOUNTED - My birthday meal "came to" $102 and was fabulous

10. One may be rolled out in the park: TARP - Roll it out (cylinder is in left field) and then spread it out

11. "Macbeth" brew ingredient before "Witches' mummy": TOOTH OF WOLF - Do want fries with that?

12. City with a Penn State campus: ALTOONA - Last week we had Penn State Schuykill 

13. Persian passageway: CAT DOOR - This is not a Persian cat but it is a CAT DOOR that only opens when the cat with the right microchip uses it

14. Pompous sorts: SNOOTS.

23. Trattoria entrÈe: VEAL MARSALA.

25. Cochise player of early TV: ANSARA - Syrian born Michael who played Native American Cochise

27. Wading birds with camouflage plumage: SNIPES 

31. Tavern offering: ALE.

33. Refrain opener: TRA.

35. Domicile in front of 123 Sesame Street: TRASH CAN - You'd be grouchy too if you lived there

37. Medically closed up: SUTURED.

38. Khamenei or Khatami: IRANIAN.

39. What often comes before pie: SWEETIE.

41. Hoist: UPRAISE.

42. Take care of business: SEE TO IT.

43. Agreement between states: ENTENTE - One is shown in green below that fought during WWI

44. Barely: A SHADE - Just A SHADE short

46. Uppity: LA DI DA.

50. B.J. of "The Office": NOVAK - He played Ryan Howard on the show and also was a writer and executive producer

53. Light touches: TAPS.

54. Rippled, like chips: WAVY.

58. Point or pointer: TIP - I'll give you a TIP on how to use the TIP of that pointer 

I hope today puts today will remind you to say, "Thank you for your service" to any member of the armed forces you see today.

Apr 24, 2019

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 Ed Sessa


The letter sequence spelling LEG occurs in vertical theme fill.  Proceeding from left to right, this sequence appears successively higher in the grid.

45 D. *What makes Guy a guy?: LITTLE G.  Referring to upper and lower case lettering.  A bit strained, in my opinion.

37 D. *Post-apocalyptic Will Smith film: I AM LEGEND.  A virus has wiped out most of man-kind and the hero, Robert Neville, played by Smith, searches for a cure while battling nocturnal mutants.

30 D. *Gray wrote one in a country churchyard: ELEGY.  A poem of lamentation.  You can read it here.

10 D. *346-piece Big Ben, e.g.: LEGO SET.  Here's a 9 1/2 minute video if you're interested.

9 D. *Telegraphed message: CABLEGRAM.

And the unifier -- 66 A. Competitive edge, as illustrated in the answers to starred clues from left to right: A LEG UP.  This phrase means some sort of boost, assistance or circumstance that gives one an advantaged position relative to the competition.  In the puzzle grid the LEG letters climb from left to right, each time advancing by exactly one square - all the while maintaining perfect rotational symmetry.  This is an unusual construction in a couple ways.  Having the theme in the vertical fill isn't unknown but it's also not common.  Further, a phrase of the type "LEG UP" generally indicates that the letters would be climbing within the fill, so they would be reversed in the answer word(s). Here, the upward motion is within the grid, from one theme fill entry to the next.  This is, in my experience, unique.  So, high marks for both technical virtuosity and creativity!  

Hi, Gang, JazzBumpa here with both feet firmly on the ground.  Let's high step through the rest of this puzzle and see what tickles our toes.


1. Keepsake containers: CHESTS.  Large storage boxes, typically made of wood.

7. Biological pouch: SAC. A cavity enclosed by a membrane that contains air, liquid, or solid structures.

10. "I'm up for it!": LET'S.  We should do this.

14. Change in a big way: REWORK. I guess changing in a small way would be a revision.

15. Santa __ winds: ANA.  Hot, dry, downsloping winds that originate inland and blow toward the coast in California.  They seem to be named for the Santa Ana Canyon in Orange County.

16. Singer Adams: EDIE.  Probably most famous for this.

17. World's largest peninsula: ARABIA.  Perhaps it should be considered a sub-continent since it lies on its own tectonic plate.

18. Antagonist in many le CarrÈ novels: KGB AGENT.  Spy stuff

20. Nemesis: BANE. A cause of great distress or annoyance.

21. Teeny-tiny fraction: TRILLIONTH.  1/10^12.  Less than miniscule.

23. "Better Call Saul" actress Seehorn: RHEA.

25. Wrigglers sought by snigglers: EELS.  Rhyme time in the EEL creel.

26. Demean: ABASE. Degrade or belittle.

29. Floating ice hazard: BERG.  Properly, ICEBERG - a large piece of freshwater ice broken from a glacier or ice shelf floating in open salt water.

31. Hearing things?: EARS.   Interesting word play.  EARS are things that hear.  If you are hearing things that are not there, the ears are not involved - it all in your head.

35. Leader of a flock: Abbr.: REV.  An ordained minister leading her/his congregation.

36. Remote precursor: DIAL.  Playing with parts of speech again - in the past, the various DIALS on your TV set performed the functions of the various buttons on your remote control unit.

38. Hooch: ROTGUT.  Bad whiskey.

40. Sport-__: UTE.  Utility vehicle

41. Oatmeal-crusted treat: DATE BAR.  A baked item containing chopped fruit.

43. 12 meses: AÑO.  12 months make a year in Spain, same as here.

44. Uproarious confusion: BEDLAM. Named for an infamous British asylum  for the insane.

46. Places to shoot hoops: GYMS. Basketball venues.

47. Big kahuna: VIPVery Important Person.

48. Jai __: ALAI.  A sport involving a ball bounced off a walled space with a hand held device [cesta.]

49. Places, as a bet: LAYS.  Probably because you LAY your money down.

51. Signs of the future: OMENS.  Events considered to announce or predict some good or evil thing that will happen soon.

53. Those opposing us: THEM. Always us vs THEM.

55. Counting-out word: EENY. Meeny, miney, moe.

57. Seven-sided: HEPTAGONAL.  Literal, if you know Greek.

61. Saintly glow: HALO.  A circle of light around or above the hear of a saint to signify her/his sanctity.

65. "Madame Bovary" subject: ADULTERY.  The ultimately tragic story of a young French woman who lived extravagantly beyond her limited means.  Bored with her dull husband, she sought pleasure and adventure though affairs with two men who eventually grew tired of her.

68. Steady look: GAZE.

69. Bridal bio word: NEE.  Referring to the bride's original surname.

70. Excitedly unwrapped: TORE AT.

71. Layer over some cities: SMOG.  A combination of fog with smoke and other atmospheric pollutants.

72. Mar.-to-Nov. hrs.: DST. Daylight Savings Time - the clock is moved forward by one hour to extend daylight into the evening.

73. Genesis follower: EXODUS.  Second book in the Bible.


1. __ bisque: CRAB.  A rich creamy soup, typically made with shell fish.

2. Mount Olympus queen: HERA.  Sister wife of Zeus in the olympian pantheon.  She was jealous of his many lovers and offspring.

3. McGregor of "Christopher Robin": EWAN.  The actor portraying a now grown-up boy who once was the playmate of Winnie the Pooh.

4. Sleeps it off, with "up": SOBERS.  Recovers from non-fatal alcohol toxemia.

5. Prefix with atomic: TRI-.  Referring to a molecule composed of three atoms.  The clue is weirdly specific for a prefix with many other, more common applications.

6. Circle the rink: SKATE.  Ice or roller SKATING.

7. H.H. Munro's pseudonym: SAKI. [1870 - 1916] A British master of the short story form who satirized Edwardian society.

8. One opening a can of worms?: ANGLER.  A fisherman getting into a container of bait.

11. Paradise: EDEN.  The biblical home of Adam and Eve, before they got kicked out for disobedience.

12. Salon treatment: TINT.  Hair coloring.

13. Meyers of "Late Night": SETH. [b 1973] American comedian, writer, actor and television host.

19. Have a bug: AIL.  Be sick from a viral or bacterial infection.

22. Moroccan capital: RABAT. Located along the Atlantic coast along the Bouregreg River.

24. Gossip columnist Hopper: HEDDA. [1885 - 1966] American actress and gossip columnist for the L.A. Times, known for feuding with her rival Luella Parsons.

26. Dutch-speaking Caribbean island: ARUBA.  One of the 4 countries comprising the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with Curaçao, and Sint Maarten.  It is located off the coast of Venezuela, about 1000 miles west of the Lesser Antilles.

27. Asian palm nut: BETEL.  Because of the materials it is prepared with, it is a serious health hazard in Asia, where it's use is very common.

28. "Plant-powered" hair care brand: AVEDA.

32. Tequila source: AGAVE. A succulent plant native to arid regions of Mexico and the American southwest.

33. Scrap: RUN IN. A disagreement or fight, especially with someone in an official position.

34. Puts an end to: STOPS.

39. Welles who played Kane: ORSON. [1915-1985] An American actor, director, writer and producer who worked in theatre, radio and film.

42. What "two" meant to Paul Revere: BY SEA. Paul Revere [1734-1818] was an American silversmith, engraver, early industrialist, and Patriot in the American Revolution. He is best known for his midnight ride to alert the colonial militia in April 1775 to the approach of British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord.  The warning signal placed in the tower of the North Church indicated British troop movement by land with one lantern and by water with two. [Wikipedia]

50. Ovid collection: AMORES.  Ovid [b 43 BC] was a contemporary of Virgil and Horace during the reign of Augustus.  AMORES is his first book of poetry, in an erotic mode, but often humorous, subversive, and sometimes even absurd.

52. "You saved me!": MY HERO.

54. Tipped top: HAT.  Tipping one's hat is a sign of respect.

56. Make very happy: ELATE.

57. Fairy tale crones: HAGS. Witches.

58. Paraffin-coated cheese: EDAM. From the Netherlands part of the Netherlands.

59. "The Godfather" novelist: PUZO. Mario [1920-1999]

60. Nureyev's no: NYET.  Literal, if you speak Russian.

62. On in years: AGED.  I'm getting there.

63. Tropical party: LUAU.  Traditional Hawaiian party or feast featuring local foods and entertainment.

64. Chooses: OPTS. Decides either for or against.

67. Bagel topper: LOX. Fillet of brined salmon.

On that tasty note, we end up another Wednesday.  Hope you found the leg lifts exhilarating.

Cool regards!

Mar 31, 2019

Sunday March 31, 2019 Ed Sessa

Theme: "Pardon My Yiddish" - One word in each familiar phrase is replaced by a soundalike Yiddish word.

23A. Bar mitzvah celebratory drink?: MAZEL TOV COCKTAIL. Molotov cocktail.

36A. Incompetent drivers?: SCHLEMIELS ON WHEELS. Meals on Wheels.

50A. Where decent people buy decent clothes at honest prices?: MENSCH STORE. Men's store.

66A. Cream cheese promotion?: SCHMEAR CAMPAIGN. Smear campaign.

84A. Trash-talking broadcaster?: SCHLOCK JOCK. Shock jock.

93A. Trudged through a nudist camp?: SCHLEPPED IN THE BUFF. Slept in the buff.
115A. Disaster for a figure skater?: KLUTZ PERFORMANCE. Clutch performance.

What a fun puzzle! So many unusual consonant combos in Yiddish, esp SCHLM/SCHL. Scrabbly too.

Mr. Ed gave us 7 entries. All of them are quite long. We have total 105 theme squares with some inconvenient letter pattern. But nothing fazes our Ed, who is one of the few constructors who make both themeless and themeless grids. Ed had a rare "Mr. Ed. Sessa" byline when his "HELLO I'M MISTER ED" puzzle was published by the New York Times a few years ago.


1. Tricks that treat: MAGIC.

6. Dalí contemporary: ARP (Jean).

9. Shame: ABASH.

14. Corp. bigwigs: CFOS. Still remember this guy?

18. Raspy-voiced Cooper: ALICE.

19. Protein provider: MEAT. Tofu for me. Mostly.

21. Evergreen bean: CACAO. The tree is evergreen.

22. Road division: LANE. So I marveled at a big maple tree in our neighborhood last week and asked Boomer "If you could be a tree, what tree would you like to be?" He said "I don't want to be a tree. I want to be a bowling ball".

26. "Roots" author Haley: ALEX.

27. Current gauge: AMMETER. Not ADAPTER.

28. Body wrap venue: SPA.

29. Jed Clampett, for one: HILLBILLY. Derogatory.

31. Sault Ste. Marie's __ Locks: SOO.

32. "That __ fact!": IS A.

33. Ring ruling: TKO.

35. Two in a canoe: OARS.

44. Seaweed product: AGAR. These are incredible mooncakes. The yellow centers are eggs, then red adzuki beans, then flour with green matcha. Reminds me of the mung bean cakes I had when I was a kid.


Mung Bean Cakes

47. Howard of old comedy films: MOE.

48. Hereditary ruler: DYNAST.

49. Thumbs-up letters: A OK.

55. Lay idle: SAT.

56. Light sparkling wine: ASTI. Have any of you tried champagne vinegar?

57. Lodging with a "keeper": INN.

58. Bank job: HEIST.

59. Collectible print, briefly: LITHO.

61. Dark marks: BLOTS.

62. Stranger things: EXOTICA.

64. Officer Kalakaua's group, familiarly: FIVE-O. Never watched "Hawaii Five-0". Here is Officer Kalakaua.

65. Rainforest vine: LIANA.

70. Sapling support: STAKE.

72. Coordinate (with): TIE IN.

73. Traffic warning signal: FLASHER.

77. Means of access: DOORS.

78. Trouble from all sides: BESET.

79. Gumbo thickeners: OKRAS. Plurable?

81. Label for some Elton John albums: MCA.

82. Son of Seth: ENOS.

83. Web address letters: URL. Glad you noticed our blog URL C.C. logo, D-Otto! It's been there since Nov 2011 though :-)

87. Pickable point: NIT.

88. Confounded: DARNED.

91. Joey's mom: DOE.

92. "Gotcha": I SEE.

99. Sport with mallets: POLO.

100. Metric introduction?: GEO. Geometric.

101. Blood classification letters: ABO.

102. Tubular pasta, for short: MAC.

105. U.K. utility cost limitations: PRICE CAPS. Also a term we use here.

110. Blow away: AWE.

112. Sufi Muslim ascetic: DERVISH. Whirling dervishes.

114. Bull's partner, in a story?: COCK. Cock-and-bull story.

118. Musical diner fixture, for short: JUKE.

119. Like Poe pieces: EERIE.

120. It ends at the gutter: ROOF.

121. Choir voices: ALTOS.

122. Nap: REST.

123. __ Haute: TERRE.

124. Letters on a Sun Bum container: SPF. Never tried this brand. 

125. Scientific methods: TESTS.


1. Some baby rockers: MAMAS. Rock-ers.

2. Legendary mission: ALAMO.

3. Rube Goldberg device, e.g.: GIZMO.

4. Brand written in frosty letters: ICEE.

5. Irish musical ensemble __ Woman: CELTIC.

6. Unprincipled: AMORAL.

7. Short spin?: REV. Short for Revolution. Nice clue.

8. D.C. fundraisers: PACS.

9. "That's awful!": ACK.

10. Whole or half home unit: BATH.

11. Smoothie berry: ACAI.

12. Wind catcher: SAIL.

13. Valleys: HOLLOWS.

14. Danes of "Homeland": CLAIRE. Her husband Hugh Dancy is going to be on the last season of "Homeland".

15. When many TV shows debut: FALL SEASON.

16. Like Nash's lama: ONE-L.

17. Steamy: SEXY.

20. Of the highest quality: TOP TIER.

24. "A Deeper Faith" musician: TESH (John)

25. It's iced and sliced: CAKE. We call that western cake. Chinese cakes can be sweet or salty, like these turnip cakes Cantonese eat during spring festival. You can find them at dim sum place also. Taro cakes are similar.

30. Thai currency: BAHT. Also 53. "The King and I" kingdom: SIAM. So Lemonade, does Oo make Nam-Pla Wan at home or just buy a jar from the Asian store? This sauce is very Thai. It's a mix of hot red pepper, dried shrimp, fish sauce, shallot and palm sugar. Then people dipping sweet apple or mango slices into the sauce.

34. Overused, jokewise: OLD.

36. Yearbook gp.: SRS.

37. Ambulance pros: EMTS.

38. Of no consequence: MOOT. Point.

39. Bettor's strategy: SYSTEM.

40. After one bounce, in baseball lingo: ON A HOP.

41. Warsaw Pact counterpart: NATO.

42. Host of, in slang: LOTTA.

43. Slope gear: SKIS.

44. François's friend: AMIE.

45. Millennials' folks: GEN X.

46. A year in Caesar's time: ANNO.

51. Peepers: CHICKS.

52. Anne of 1998's "Psycho": HECHE.

54. Brings out: ELICITS.

56. Arkin and Menken: ALANS.

60. "Terrible" despot: IVAN. 63. 60-Down et al.: TSARS.

61. No small favor: BIG ASK. That's a big ask. Ask is a noun.

64. Given away: FREE.

65. Fragrant shrub: LILAC.

67. Endless, in verse: ETERNE.

68. Organized like big stores: AISLED.

69. Jimi Hendrix do: AFRO.

70. Drive-in with skating carhops: SONIC.

71. Sticks with the Swedish meatballs: TOOTHPICKS. Boomer and I went to our local Ikea ages ago. We got hopelessly lost.

74. Med. group options: HMOS.

75. Behold, to Pilate: ECCE.

76. Dirt smoother: RAKE.

77. Red fox holes: DENS.

78. Possible result of swallowing air: BURP.

79. "Didn't expect that": OH OH.

80. Swiss painter Paul: KLEE.

85. Jewel case storage unit: CD TOWER.

86. Peter Pan rival: JIF. My favorite. Chunky.

88. Editor's mark: DELE.

89. "... __ full of rye": A POCKET. Long partial.

90. Archaeological site: DIG.

94. Tiny portrait holder: LOCKET.

95. Type of tide: NEAP.

96. In money trouble, say: BAD OFF.

97. It dropped "Cab" from its name in 2011: UBER. Lyft just went public.

98. Document details: FORMAT.

102. Diner freebies: MINTS.

103. Tied accessory: ASCOT.

104. Game with a mate: CHESS.

105. '80s IBM flop nicknamed "Peanut": PC JR.

106. Don Juan: ROUE.

107. Mariner's direction: ALEE.

108. Sound from a lynx's larynx: PURR.

109. To-do: STIR.

111. God with a bow: EROS.

113. Poetic lowland: VALE.

116. Slice of pizza?: ZEE. Pizza.

117. Dandy: FOP.

Here is a picture of Will Shortz and Mike Alpern at the Cru dinner. You can find more pictures here. Hopefully Rich will make it next year.  Below is a picture of Jeffrey Wechsler and Mike.

Cru Dinner Celebrities, Will Shortz and Mike Alpern
Jeffrey Wechsler and Mike Alpern, ACPT, 3/23/2019


Mar 21, 2019

Thursday, March 21 2019 Ed Sessa

Theme: 'K, Abe! A promise to the president, or, in this puzzle, a "bake" scramble.

17A. *Hazards for herpetologists: SNAKE BITES. My first learning moment of the day - herpetology, the study of amphibians and reptiles.

26A. *Square-shaped ice cream treat: KLONDIKE BAR. Never tried one. Am I missing out?

44A. *Novel narrated by a horse: BLACK BEAUTY. I picked up an old copy of this book in a pub in England at Christmas. I'm not sure I'd have remembered if the horse was the narrator if I hadn't skimmed a few pages.

11D. *Pry: POKE ABOUT. I wanted POKE AROUND, but not enough room.

31A. *Doggie bag item: STEAK BONE Food! If you wonder what to do with steak bones, try melting a stick of butter or two and slow cooking (or sous vide) with the bones for a couple of hours, then strain it into a jar and refrigerate it. Use it to toss vegetables in, spread it on toast, toss pasta in it, eat it out of the jar with a spoon, the options are endless.

59A. Breadcrumb coating brand ... or, as two words, what is found in the answers to starred clues: SHAKE 'N BAKE. or "Shaken Bake". Doesn't it strike you as odd that there's an apostrophe to indicate the first missing letter, but not the second?

Nice puzzle from Ed. The reveal helped me complete STEAK BONE, I was at a loss to see what could follow "STEAK". I liked the theme entries going both across and down, and the interlocking of the two down entries with two of the across ones.

As always with Ed, some challenging cluing and some nice stuff in the fill. Let's take a tour:


1. Mosque leaders: IMAMS

6. Teddy-bearlike Star Wars figure: EWOK. Wicket W. Warrick for example.

10. What many icons open: APPS

14. Prime production: MOVIE. Amazon Prime, I'm guessing. I'd be more inclined to clue it "Prime product", as "production" implies that Amazon was the producer. (In my (humble) opinion.)

15. Vase-making dynasty: MING. Try not to drop it, these things don't come cheap:

16. Legal plea, briefly: NOLO. Nolo contendere, "I do not wish to contend", or "no contest".

19. Ring calls: TKOS. Technical Knock-Out called by the referee of a boxing match. The guy getting pummeled could always plead "nolo contendere" through his mouthguard.

20. Falco of "The Sopranos": EDIE

21. Designer Schiaparelli: ELSA. Thank you, crosses.

22. Classic mother-and-son statue: PIETA. This came up last week, I believe.

23. Didn't emulate Washington?: TOLD A LIE

25. Programming language with a coffee icon: JAVA

30. North-of-the-border gas: ESSO. They have the brand in the UK too. They had a brand of paraffin called "Esso Blue" and when the Police were recording the outro of "Message in a Bottle" they replaced one of the repeated"sending out an SOS" with "sending out an Esso Blue". It was remastered at some point because you can't hear that now.

33. Not sharp: DIM

34. What the fourth little piggy had: NONE

35. Erode: EAT INTO

38. Bettor expectations: PAYOUTS

40. Brought up: BRED

41. Shuttlecock's path: ARC. Fun game, badminton. I used to play against a fiercely-competitive Pakistani lady in London, she'd wipe the floor with me at squash, but we were more evenly-matched on the badminton court, mainly because she hadn't played before!

43. Dols. and cts.: AMTS.

48. Spelled-out strikeouts: KAYS. Baseball's "K". Henry Chadwick "the father of baseball scoring" used "S" to denote sacrifice, and chose "K" for a striKeout. Some scorers mark a regular K for a swinging strikeout, and a backwards K for a batter caught looking.

49. Best Buy buys: FM RADIOS. Why do I think of these things as outdated? I listen to the one in my car all the time.

54. Sacked out: IN BED

56. Great Plains tribe: OTOE

57. Eurasia's __ Mountains: URAL

58. Groups of two: DUOS

61. Poet St. Vincent Millay: EDNA

My candle burns at both ends; 
It will not last the night; 
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light

"Figs from Thistles: First Fig"

62. Funny Fey: TINA

63. Meant to be: FATED

64. Road sign animal: DEER

65. Fragrant arrangement: POSY. Carried by ladies in times past to ward off the pungent "aromas" of urban living.

66. Property claims: LIENS


1. "That's enough, thanks": I'M SET

2. Columbus' world: MONDO. Christopher's Italian world.

3. Be of use to: AVAIL

4. Ready to be recorded: MIKED

5. Use one's eyes: SEE

6. Estevez of "The Breakfast Club": EMILIO

7. Breaking point: WIT'S END

8. Service status: ONE-A. Fit to serve in the armed forces.

9. Metric wts.: KG'S Kilograms. "Two and a quarter pounds of jam weighs about a kilogram".

10. Treatment for 17-Across: ANTIVENOM. I had ANTIVENIN first. There are rattlesnakes in the hills around here where I hike. Always good to know where the nearest urgent care location is if the worst comes to the worst. Dogs are more likely to come a cropper than humans though.

12. Novelist's starting point: PLOT

13. Slugger Sammy: SOSA

18. Tolling place: BELL. Is a bell a place?

22. Karachi's country: Abbr.: PAK.

24. "Locked Up" rapper: AKON. I'm not sure I'd describe him as a rapper - he collaborates with rappers on his singles, but his vocal parts are more mainstream than hip-hop.

25. Iwo __: JIMA

27. Drop down: DIP

28. Lines in the sand, perhaps: ANTS. Odd one this - ants marching in line, in the desert or on the beach.

29. Hi-__ image: RES

30. First name in tea: EARL. I love Earl Grey, my favorite tea. Generally understood to be named for the second Earl Grey, Charles, who was Prime Minister in the 1830's and received a gift of the bergamot-flavored blend.

32. Host of the 1950s' "Your Show of Shows": SID CAESAR. Thank you, crosses. Before my time (and geography).

35. Drop off: EBB

36. Keep-on connection: TABS

37. Cal. neighbor: ORE. 

39. Sisterhood name in a 2002 film: YAYA. "Divine Secrets of the Yaya Sisterhood".

42. Mideast tunics: CAFTANS

45. "The Spanish Tragedy" dramatist: KYD. Alternative title "Hieronimo is mad againe". Here's Mr. Kyd:

46. "I guess it's fine": UM, OKAY

47. Genealogy chart: TREE

50. Largest UAE city: DUBAI

51. Fuming: IRATE

52. Like some casks: OAKEN. I hesitated over this, STEEL being a viable alternative.

53. Downhill runners: SLEDS

54. Fingered: ID'ED. Identified a suspect.

55. Art class subject: NUDE

56. Birthplace of seven presidents: OHIO

59. Oil additive brand: STP. They make gasoline additives too. If you get Marathon gas in your area, it's got STP additives in it to compete with Chevron's "Techron" brand.

60. Org. with Vikings: NFL. The Minnesota Vikings, as local lady C.C. will attest.

And here's the suitably-highlighted grid, and that's this edition of the blog "baked".


Mar 13, 2019

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 Ed Sessa

Theme: Well, there was this guy  .  .  . and this other guy  .  .  .   Or - What's in a name? Famous men's names are linked across and within theme entries, from the generic to the specific.

First the generic:

18 D. Generic guy: TOM.
34 D. Generic guy: DICK.
50 D.  Generic guy: HARRY.
These are generally considered as a collective, referring to any guy you're likely to run into.  So to encounter every TOM, DICK and HARRY separately here made it a little hard to suss.  Of course, these given names could have been clued in a variety of other ways.  But with this theme, it's important to clue them this way, leaving them, in a sense, open ended.

67 A. 18-, 34- __ 50-Down: AND.  To bring them all together

As an aside, the most common names for boys born in 2018 were Jackson,  Liam, Noah, Aiden, Caden, Grayson, Lucas, Mason, Oliver and Elijah.  The old expression might need to be reconsidered, because nowadays, every Tom Dick and Harry is named Jackson, Liam or Noah.

Then the specific:

20 A. After 18-Down, actor/golfer combo: ARNOLD PALMER.  So we get the actor TOM ARNOLD [b 1959] and the golfer ARNOLD PALMER [1929-2016].  Tom's first wife was the now increasingly unhinged Roseanne Barr.  He is currently getting divorced from his fourth wife.  At some point you might just as well quit.  ARNOLD PALMER was, and remains, an icon in the world of golf.  Once, at his Bay Hill golf club, I had lunch with him.  Granted, we were at different tables, at opposite ends of the room, but we were eating together.  Or at least at the same time. His name could also have been clued as a soft drink made by mixing lemonade and iced tea.

37 A. After 34-Down, crime writer/poet combo: FRANCIS SCOTT KEY.  Here we have DICK FRANCIS [1920-2010], a former steeplechase jockey whose novels focus on crime in the world of British horse racing, along with FRANCIS SCOTT KEY [1779-1843] who composed the poem Defense of Fort M'Henry in September, 1814, after witnessing the battle there.  It was soon set to music, and became our unofficial national anthem.  This was made official by an executive order from President Wilson in 1916. There are good reasons why the third verse is never sung.

55. After 50-Down, president/novelist combo: TRUMAN CAPOTE.  This gives us the 33rd President [1945-1933] of the U. S., HARRY TRUMAN [1884-1972] and author TRUMAN CAPOTE [1924-1984.] President Truman implemented the Marshall Plan, benefiting Western Europe after WW II and was involved in establishing NATO.  TRUMAN CAPOTE was a novelist, playwright and actor.  At least 20 of his works have been made into movies.  The best known are probably Breakfast a Tiffany's and the non-fiction murder story In Cold Blood.

Hi Gang.  JazzBumpa here.  As you can probably tell, I had a hard time figuring out how to characterize and deal with this clever and unusual theme.  Proper names, in general, are not top notch fill.  But when they become the theme, it's a whole new ball game.  And Ed has given the idea - quite literally - a new dimension.  So - kudos for that.  Let's see what else we have.


1. Cascades peak: SHASTA.  A currently inactive [but who knows?] volcano at the southern end of the Cascade Range in Northern CA,  with a max. elevation of 14, 179 ft.

7. Cap'n's aide: BOS'N.   A contraction of boatswain, also known as the chief petty officer.

11. Classic British sports cars: MGs.  The Initials of Morris Garages.  MG is the marque for vehicles marketed as such by its parent company, Shanghai based SAIC Motors.

14. Character builder?: AUTHOR. A writer, in this case of fiction stories, where each character ought to be built of relatable human characteristics. Unless that character is Ramsey Bolton.

15. __ Domini: ANNO.  Latin for "in the year of our Lord," designating the most recent 2019 years of human history.  This idea has its own complicated history which the interested reader may perhaps pursue at one's leisure.

16. Vein contents: ORE.  Mining for minerals

17. Not yet proven: THEORETICAL.  Sometimes the theoretical can yet be proven.  All it takes are extraordinary capability and decades of single-minded devotion.

19. __ drop: MIC.  I have a mental block about pronouncing mic as Mike.  Anyway, the expression refers to a literal or figurative gesture at the end of a speech or performance indicating triumph.

22. Wrestling duo: TAG TEAM.  A two person wrestling team, only one of which is in the ring at any given time.  A replacement can only be made if the one in the ring can physically touch, or TAG, his partner.

25. Innocent: NAIVE.  Due to lack of experience with all the pitfalls, travails and villains one encounters in the real world.

26. Charlottesville sch.: UVA. University of Virginia.

27. Like a cool cat: HEP.  From Wikipedia: Hipster or hepcat, as used in the 1940s, referred to aficionados of jazz, in particular bebop, which became popular in the early 1940s. The hipster adopted the lifestyle of the jazz musician, including some or all of the following: dress, slang, use of cannabis and other drugs, relaxed attitude, sarcastic humor, self-imposed poverty, and relaxed sexual codes.

30. Edible root: BEET.  When it comes to borscht, you can't beet soup!

31. Depended (on): RELIED.

35. Sunlit lobbies: ATRIA.  Entrance areas or central courts of buildings or complexes that are either open roofed or glass covered.  I once had the opportunity to crawl around on one with a glass roof.  And, yes, I am acrophobic.  Good times.

42. Worthy of a standing O: SOCKO.  Stunningly effective or successful.

43. Pay for one's crime: DO TIME.  Go to prison.

44. Suisse peak: ALPE.  Une montagne en Français.

47. Sisters, say: KIN.  It's all relative.

48. Spam holder: TIN.  A metal can containing [presumably] food stuffs.

49. "American Horror Story" actress Paulson: SARAH. Never watched it.

51. Contents of a teacher's key: ANSWERS.

59. TV buying channel: HSNHome Shopping Network

60. Host of a Friars Club event: ROASTMASTER.  Portmanteau of ROAST and MASTER, modeled after "toastmaster, " to designate an MC at a comedy roast, in which a person is honored by being the butt of pointed jokes.

64. One of a comic trio: MOE.  Along with Larry, Curly, and Shemp.  I know - that makes 4.  Sometimes life ain't easy.

65. Invite feedback?: RSVP.  Formal request to respond to an invitation.

66. Nissan sedan: ALTIMA.  A mid-size sedan.

68. Votes for: YEAS.  All opposed say Nay.

69. Oppressive ruler: DESPOT.  A ruler with absolute power.  Power corrupts.


1. Minded the kids: SAT.  As in baby sat.

2. "What the?!": HUH.  Eh?

3. Pigged out, say: ATE.  Too much.

4. Little pig: SHOAT.  Especially one who was newly weaned.

5. Yankee manager before Girardi: TORRE.  Joe [b 1940] ranks 5th in MLB history with 2326 wins as a manger.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015.

6. __ rock: Queen genre: ARENA.  I did not know this was actually considered a genre of pop music.  Music designed to be played in large spaces before large audiences.

7. Attend to a leaking boat: BAIL.  Scoop water out of the boat with buckets.  Might be a losing battle.

8. How some data is stored: ON CD.  Increasingly less likely these days.

9. Sound made using two fingers: SNAP.  There's more than one way to do it.

10. "The Dark Knight Trilogy" director Christopher: NOLAN. [b 1970]  An English film director, screen writer and producer who holds duel British and American citizenship.

11. Family nickname: MOMMIE.

12. Mourn: GRIEVE.  Emotional distress.

13. It's not for everyone: SECRET.  Keep it under your hat.

21. Canadian brewery: LABATT.  Founded in 1847 by John Kinder Labatt in London, Ont.  Now part of international conglomerate Inbev.

22. Steak metaphor seen on menus: TURF.  Along with SURF.  What wine goes with that?

23. State with conviction: AVER.  Or AVOW.  Always need perps.

24. Charity event: GALA.  A social event with entrtainmnet.

27. Wears: HAS ON.  Is clothed with.

28. "There's more" letters: ETC.  List shortener.

29. Jab to keep them dogies rollin': PROD.  For cattle.

32. Slacks measure: INSEAM.  The seam from the crotch to the bottom of a pant leg, or its length.

33. Prefix with car: ECO.  ECoCAR is a competitive event in which engineering students design and build advanced vehicles with leading edge technologies.

36. "How was __ know?": I TO.  Somebody tell me.

38. Maneuver through moguls: SKI.  This short video shows how to do it.

39. Flier on a string: KITE.

40. Mideast mogul: EMIR. A clecho, and a different sense of the word mogul, here meaning an important or powerful person.

41. Strong desires: YENS.  Urges.  I thought about going to Japan, but didn't have he YEN to travel.

44. Bronchial disorder: ASTHMA. A chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways.

45. "The Far Side" cartoonist Gary: LARSON.  [b.1950]  Seeking to avoid what he termed "the graveyard of mediocre cartoons, he retired at the beginning of 1995 at age 44.

46. Tended to topiary: PRUNED.  Selected trimming away of branches from trees or shrubs.

51. Germane: APT. Appropriate or suitable to the situation.

52. Desert wanderer: NOMAD.  One with no permanent home, traveling from place to place to find fresh areas for livestock grazing.

53. Like many bad jokes: STALE.  Old and used up.

54. Bridge positions: WESTS.  Positions at the bridge table are named for the four main cardinal directions.

56. Bridge position: NOSE.  Another clecho, and another sense of the word bridge.

57. Vena __: major blood line: CAVA.  Either of two veins returning deoxygenated blood to the heart.

58. Sacred symbols on pyramid walls: ASPS.  The depiction of an Egyptian cobra.

61. Reward for waiting: TIP.  Not for Godot, unless he has arrived and is at the table where you are serving.

62. Confessional music genre: EMO.  Similar to punk, but having more complex arrangements, typically dealing with angst and other deep emotions.

63. Maze scurrier: RAT.  In a laboratory.

That wraps it up for another Wednesday. Good puzzle.  I didn't have any nits.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cool regards!