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

Jul 4, 2019

Thursday July 4th, 2019 Ed Sessa

Theme: Death and ... taxes. The inevitable turns up today to celebrate July 4th. Maybe an odd choice but ...

17A. Meets unexpectedly: BUMPS INTO. Sin Tax. Excise levied on products the experts in the know think you shouldn't be buying. Tobacco, alcohol, etc. What about cheese?

23A. Works with one's private tutor, say: TAKES A LESSON. Sales tax. Getting out of hand here in California. We already have one of the highest ....

34A. Emergency run-through opening: THIS IS JUST A TEST. ... state taxes in the Union.

46A. Utah's state tree: QUAKING ASPEN. I'd never heard of the tree - well, the "quaking" part. We quake when the gas tax is increased, it seems like every budget. Pretty trees though ...

56A. Income-reducing inequity, or what can be found in the four other longest puzzle answers: HIDDEN TAX. I like the "inequity" part of the clue. Tax Freedom day was April 16th this year - the day you stop paying taxes to the Government and start making money for yourself.

Fun theme from Ed, and as usual, a nice grid, tight theme and pleasant fill. Let's see what else we've got:


1. Settle for leftovers: EAT IN

6. "A revolution is not a dinner party" statesman: MAO

9. Additions to the staff: HIRES. Deductions from the staff: FIRES. Admirable symmetry. Happier to be a hire than a fire.

14. Petting zoo critter: LLAMA. These buggers are nasty, I'm not sure they're really petting zoo candidates, they bite and have an amazing ability to spit.

15. Wayfarer's stop: INN

16. Lexus rival: ACURA

19. Connecting waterway: CANAL

20. Rock band need: AMP. I'd say "amps". Famously, the Rolling Stones brought the bass player Bill Wyman into the band because he owned an amp. I don't think Keith Richard liked him a whole lot, in his autobiography he mentioned Wyman twice - when he joined the band and when he quit. That's about 40 years of total anonymity, which seems unfair.

21. Board game with rooms: CLUE. Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Candlestick. Fun game.

22. Woo with a tune: SING TO

25. Emily Dickinson's hometown: AMHERST. Most of her work was never seen until her death, and even then was heavily edited.

28. Longtime nighttime host: LENO

29. Bread brushed with ghee: NAAN. Food! I usually stick to chapatis with Indian food, the naan are very filling.

30. Zipped: SPED

31. Feathery wrap: BOA

39. Tennis' Andy Murray's title: SIR. Wimbledon started this week, so very apt. By the way, it's "Wimbledon" with a "D", not "Wimbleton". Thank you.

40. Bud: CHUM

41. Sign of holiness: HALO

42. Facial tissue?: SKIN

43. Opposite of engagement: BOREDOM

50. When many workdays start: AT NINE. Mine usually kicks off at six - timezone issues with head office.

51. Said, "The dog ate my homework," probably: LIED. I'd love to know what the reaction is if your dog really ate your homework and you tried that excuse?

52. Notable period: ERA

55. Church offering: TITHE. Is it 5% of what you make? Seems a lot.

58. Fake handle: ALIAS

59. Many a Monopoly sq.: AVE. From memory, the British Monopoly board has only one - Northumberland Avenue, just off Trafalgar Square. When I visit London, my go-to hotel is on that street.

60. "Live at the Acropolis" keyboardist: YANNI. Who? Thank you, crosses.

61. Takes it easy: RESTS

62. "Let's do it!": YES!

63. Mild oath: EGADS!


1. Idris of "Luther": ELBA

2. College benefactor: ALUM

3. Pack (down): TAMP

4. Little dickens: IMP

5. Brickyard 400 acronym: NASCAR. I just saw an interview with Tony Stewart on Dan Patrick's Audience Network show. He was asked "What p*sses you off?" and after the "How long do we have?" response, he said, as the show was taped in LA - "Anyone that drives a Prius", I had to give a golf clap to that response.

6. Courtly dance: MINUET

7. Pays for a hand: ANTES. Poker. Ante up, people.

8. Middle name adopted by John Lennon: ONO

9. Mexicali mansion: HACIENDA

10. "Just you watch me": I CAN SO. Hopefully not ending in tears.

11. Steps up a ladder: RUNGS

12. Poetry Muse: ERATO

13. Place for a makeover: SALON

18. Sorts: ILKS

22. Icy forecast: SLEET

23. Change for a 50: TENS

24. "Heidi" setting: ALPS

25. Armadillo meal: ANTS

26. When repeated, fish on a menu: MAHI

27. Tresses: HAIR

30. Dim __: traditional Chinese food: SUM. I think we had a discussion about this a couple of weeks ago. The last time we were in the UK, we found a dim sum restaurant with a completely gluten-free menu, to the delight of my friend who can't eat wheat. It was worth every bite.

31. Spot on a sweater?: BEAD

32. Peace Prize city: OSLO

33. Minute matter: ATOM

35. Gross quality: ICKINESS

36. Stand out: SHINE

37. Freud contemporary: JUNG

38. If so: THEN

42. Schusser's topper: SKI HAT "Schuss" is the downhill ski tuck position, not turns, just get down as fast as you can.

43. They're usually not hits: B-SIDES. I think the Beatles might argue this, some of their b-sides were more successful than the "A"'s. Here's an example! 

44. Columnist's page: OP-ED

45. Overnight flight: RED-EYE. I've experienced plenty of these, absolutely horrible, I refuse to fly red-eyes as much as possible

46. Saudi Arabia's neighbor: QATAR

47. Of practical value: UTILE. I Like this word, and resolve to use it more often.

48. Voices against: ANTIS

49. Vibrant: ALIVE

52. Italian peak: ETNA

53. McNally's mapmaking partner: RAND. Did you know that Mason and Dixon, who plotted the line, were both British? One was a mapmaker, the other an astronomer.

54. Geometric reference line: AXIS

56. __ fever: HAY

57. Scraggly horse: NAG

I think that might be it from me today. Under a time-crunch, so maybe not a lot of color today, for which my apologies. However, here's the grid with some theme-color to make up for it.


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".