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

Jul 15, 2020

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 Ed Sessa

Theme - Isn't It Romantic - brought to you by Darmon Meader, who would have been our guest artist this Spring, except all the music events got cancelled.

Let's go with the unifier, to make sense of the circles - if you got them.

51 A. Like some conventional romances, as illustrated by each set of circled letters: BOY MEETS GIRL.  The first word each 2-word theme entry ends with the letters of a common male name, and the second word starts with the letters of a common female name - hence the meeting of BOY and GIRL.  There is actually a rather short list of generic plot types for stories, and this is one of them.

20 A. Sweets in an edible bouquet: CANDY FLOWERS.  Confections molded into the shapes of blooms and buds.  It's almost a shame to eat them. Here our romantic pair are ANDY and FLO.  I hope for his sake that it's not the annoying lady from the Progressive Insurance ads.  Our tour guide on a long ago white water rafting adventure was named FLO.  Our motto was "go with the Flo." [I am not making this up.]

27A . Birth of a baby: BLESSED EVENT.  I don't know the origin of this phrase, but it does keep the human race going.  I hope ED and EVE have a long and happy marriage that commenced before the blessed event took place.

43 A. Government bonds are part of it: NATIONAL DEBT.  This is the current total of all government borrowings.  I hope AL and DEB don't have too much of this sort of thing hanging over their heads.

Hi Gang, it's JazzBumpa, your matchmaker making today's introductions.


1. Esau's twin: JACOB.  These brothers got into a stew in an early disfunctional family.

6. Latticework piece: LATH.  A thin, flat strip of wood with various uses in construction.

10. Anew Skinvincible maker: AVON.

14. Act unceremoniously?: ELOPE.  Run away and get married, presumable avoiding a wedding ceremony.

15. Boo-boo: OWIE.  Minor injury, usually on a minor

16. Start to suction?: LIPO- .  A surgical procedure that uses suction to remove fat cells from specific areas of the body.  I think this type of affix clue uses suction.

17. Improvised container for roses: WINE CARAFE.  OK.  I suppose you could also use a catsup bottle

19. Aspiring DA's exam: LSAT.  The form of standardized test used specifically for admission to a law school.  It has long been established that there is scant - if any - correlation between standardized  test score and academic performance.  IMHO, the whole thing is a sham.

22. Urgent PD call: APBAll Points Bulletin.  A broadcast from a law enforcement agency to its personnel or other such agencies, generally containing information about a wanted suspect or person of interest.

25. Sport-__: UTE.  A Sport utility vehicle - a rugged automotive vehicle similar to a station wagon but built on a light-truck chassis.

26. Deceives: LIES TO.  Prevaricates.

31. Hanukkah pancake: LATKE.  Potato pancake.

32. Chance: RISK.  Specifically, the chance that some sort of loss or harm may ensue.

33. Mosquito-eating critter: BAT.  The only mammal capable of true flight.    Bats are more maneuverable than birds,

36. DIY website: ETSY.  An American e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies.

37. Seafood boil staple: CLAMS.   Any of several kinds of bivalve molluscs. The word is often applied only to those that are edible and live as infauna, spending most of their lives halfway buried in the sand of the seafloor or riverbeds.

39. Wait patiently: BIDE.  A good old Anglo-Saxon word meaning to wait or stay.

40. Singer Orbison: ROY.  [1936-1988] From 1960 to 1966, 22 of his singles reached the top 40.

Boy loses Girl

41. Tallow source: SUET.  SUET is the raw hard fat from beef or mutton.  Tallow is the fat portion of SUET, removed from the fibers and membranes by melting

42. Dealership inventory: AUTOS.  Cars, and also trucks.

46. Italian fashion giant: ARMANI.  An Italian luxury fashion house founded by Giorgio Armani in 1975.

49. Fashioned after: A LA.  In the manner of ---

50. "Big Eyes" singer Lana Del __: REY.   Elizabeth Woolridge Grant (b. 1985), known by her stage name Lana Del Rey, is an American singer-songwriter and poet. Her music is noted for its stylized cinematic quality; its themes of tragic romance, glamour, and melancholia; and its references to pop culture, particularly 1950s and 1960s Americana.

Girl leaves Boy

55. Wile E. Coyote's supplier: ACME.

It never ends well

56. Hardware store gadget that creates the perfect color: PAINT MIXER.

60. Cardamom-flavored Indian tea: CHAI.

61. She asked Sam to play "As Time Goes By": ILSA.

Boy meets Girl's Husband

62. Writer Zola: EMILE.  Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola [1840-1902] was a French author, playwright, journalist and political activist.

63. Mild-mannered Clark: KENT.  Superman, by another name.

64. Vaping device, casually: E-CIG.  An electronic gadget that simulates smoking by generating an aerosol vapor from a heated liquid.

65. Jeans material: DENIM.  A sturdy cotton warp-faced textile in which the weft passes under two or more warp threads.  Now that is something that you know.


1. Moses, for one: JEW.  Kind of an important one, actually.

2. Boxing legend: ALI.  Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. [1942 – 2016] was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist.   He is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

3. Hornswoggle: CON.  Gain an advantage over someone by cheating and deception.

4. Crude gp.?: OPECOrganization of Petroleum Exporting Companies.

5. "__ I said so!": BECAUSE.  Do as I say!

6. __ it over: ruled: LORDED.  Dominated.

7. Off in the distance: AWAY.  Afar

8. Small spat: TIFF.  A petty quarrel between friends or lovers.

9. Like gravity wedges: HEELLESS.  I never knew.

10. Full of baloney: ALL WET.  Saying ridiculous things.

11. Woodshop grippers: VISES.  A metal tool with movable jaws used to hold a work piece firmly in place

12. Reality-bending paintings: OP ART.  Short for optical art,  a style of visual art that uses optical illusions.

13. "You're mistaken": NOT SO.    Possibly full of bologna.

18. Feed the kitty: ANTE.  At the start of a card game.

21. Trough grunt: OINK.  Pig talk.

22. More proficient: ABLER. Anything you can do, I can do better.

23. "Allegory of the cave" philosopher: PLATO.  Pondering belief vs knowledge.  More here.

24. "Breaking Bad" actress Brandt: BETSY.  [b 1973] She is an American Actress.

28. Star-spangled expanse: SKY.  The firmament.

29. Muse for poets: ERATO.

30. Vigor's partner: VIM.  If you take your vitamins.

33. Dog to beware: BITER.   I think I had this cur the last time.  Wary or not, I can't avoid it.

34. Sun-dried brick: ADOBE.  Made from clay.

35. Out of sorts: TESTY.  Irascible.

37. Cupcake: CUTIE PIE.  Affectionate terms that might not go over so well these days.

38. Wreath of plumeria blossoms: LEI.  A garland necklace.

39. Chum: BUD.  Pal.

41. Sensible: SANE.  Rational.

42. Protected from burglars: ALARMED.  But I would be ALARMED if the ALARM were to make a sound.

43. "Your call": NAME IT. What ever you like.

44. "Stop reminding me!": NAG NAG.  Give it a rest, already.

45. Touched down: ALIT.  Landed.

46. Taken __: ABACK.  Recoiling from surprise or shock

47. Tamiflu producer: ROCHE.  F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG is a Swiss multinational healthcare company that operates worldwide under two divisions: Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics. Its holding company, Roche Holding AG, has bearer shares listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. The company headquarters are located in Basel.  Tamiflu is an oral antiviral medication used to treat and prevent influenza A and influenza B.

48. "Bro!": MY MAN.  Chum, bud, pal.

52. Soft mineral: TALC.  Hydrated magnesium silicate.

53. Spanish ayes: SI SI.  Yes, Yes, as we all say to C.C.

54. Mojito fruit: LIME.  A traditional Cuban cocktail, made with 5 ingredients.  The other 4 are white rum, sugar, soda water and mint.

57. Mark, as a survey square: X IN.  Indicate with an X or a check mark.

58. Manning who announced his retirement in 2020: ELI.  Quarterback for the New York Football Giants.

59. Sleep cycle: REM.  Rapid eye movement - when you are dreaming.

That wraps it up for today.  Wishing you all sweet, romantic dreams.

Cool regards,

Jul 5, 2020

Sunday July 5th, 2020 Ed Sessa

Theme: "The Magnificent Seven" - The first word in each theme entry can follow "grand".
23A. *Pro in a ring: PRIZE FIGHTER. Grand prize.

36A. *Challenge for a hopeful collegian: ENTRANCE EXAM. Grand entrance.

55A *Multi-faceted stage performance: SLAM POETRY. Grand slam.

77A. *Military stint: TOUR OF DUTY. Grand tour.

94A. *Act of genius: MASTER STROKE. Grandmaster.

16D. *1977 Eagles hit: HOTEL CALIFORNIA. Grand Hotel.

44D. *Liszt list, e.g.: PIANO REPERTOIRE. Grand piano.


111. Ribbon-cutting event, or what the starts of the answers to starred clues can have: GRAND OPENING.

We have not seen "words that can precede/follow" Sunday theme type for a while. Rich normally saves the type for weekdays.

Such a clever title.

1. Graf with 22 Grand Slam singles titles: STEFFI.

7. Epcot's Spaceship Earth, e.g.: GLOBE.

12. Sacha Baron Cohen alter ego: ALI G.

16. Part of HMS: HER.

19. Soup dish: TUREEN. This looks quite delicate.

20. Like many feedbag cereals: OATEN.

21. NFL analyst Tony: ROMO.

22. Big name in kitchen gadgets: OXO. D-Otto's brand.

25. Helped throw a party: CO-HOSTED.

27. Boxers' org.?: AKC. Great clue. We also have 29. Boxer's wound: GASH.

28. Birth day ordeal: LABOR.

31. Clock watchers: IDLERS.

32. Bygone Russian ruler: TSARINA.

34. Sonic the Hedgehog creator: SEGA.

35. Math class for coll. credit: AP CALC.

40. Footnote abbr.: OP CIT.

42. Removes fasteners from: UNPEGS.

45. Hand-rubbing chuckle: HEH.

46. Trawler's catch: SHRIMP. Most of the shrimp we eat are probably from some farms.

48. Firewood option: ASH.

49. Title for Marian: MAID. Maid Marian. Robin Hood.

50. Reacts with obvious pleasure: BEAMS.

52. Comply with: OBEY.

53. Pet peeve?: FLEA. And 54. Cap-and-crown org.?: ADA. 105. Winter coat?: SNOW.

58. Believer: THEIST.

60. Least amt.: MIN.

61. Reasons against: CONS.

62. Lands' End department: MEN'S.

63. Barrier __: REEF.

64. Historic toolmaking period: IRON AGE.

66. Practices, as a trade: PLIES.

68. Eyes and ears: SENSORS.

71. Chocolate-caramel candy brand: ROLO.

72. Industrial arts class, informally: SHOP.

73. Actor Cumming of "The Good Wife": ALAN.

74. River inlet: RIA.

75. International economic coalition: G SEVEN.

80. One of the Bobbsey twins: NAN.

81. Valley with cellars and sellers: NAPA. Extra homophone touch.

82. On the fence: TORN.

84. Loathing: ODIUM.

85. "__ Misbehavin'": Fats Waller song: AIN'T.

86. Suffix with glob: ULE.

87. Ingratiates oneself (to), with "up": COZIES.

89. The NBA's Magic: ORL.

90. Leave the larval stage: PUPATE. Not a word I use.

92. __-Croatian language: SERBO.

97. Plant-based sugar substitute: STEVIA. Boomer uses it occasionally.

99. Charged atoms: IONS.

100. Earliest work in a musical chronology: OPUS ONE.

104. One making amends: ATONER.

106. Afghan capital: KABUL.

108. Initialism for some time away from work: LOA. OK, Leave of Absence. Give [Hawaii's Mauna ___] a rest.

109. Met a monthly obligation: PAID RENT.

114. Canon initials: SLR.

115. Singer from County Donegal: ENYA.

116. Like many roofs: EAVED.

117. Parking garage designation: A LEVEL.

118. Just make, with "out": EKE.

119. Insect repellent: DEET.

120. Gushes: SPEWS.

121. Forensic competition: DEBATE. I'm not familiar with this meaning of "forensics".


1. Mar. 17 figure: ST PAT.

2. Ankara natives: TURKS. 4. Topper for 2-Down: FEZ.

3. "Fear of Flying" author Jong: ERICA.

5. Premonition: FEELING.

6. Hospital deliveries: INFANTS.

7. Disco era word: GO GO.

8. Lion player Bert: LAHR. Never saw "The Wizard of Oz" until I came to the US. We had our first TV in late 1980s. By then, Hong Kong movies were all the rage.

9. 5'9" Giant Mel: OTT.

10. Disco band brother: BEE GEE.

11. Makes hopping mad: ENRAGES.

12. Foot part: ARCH.

13. Bath bathroom: LOO.

14. "Gotcha, man": I'M HIP.

15. Perp's pretend friend, in interrogation: GOOD COP. Looks like our state might change our flag also.

17. Works out: EXERCISES.

18. Reel holders: RODS.

24. Letter-shaped girder: I BAR.

26. Hand-to-hand sound: SLAP.

30. Brass band members: SAXHORNS.

33. Marsh plant: REED.

34. Bonehead: SCHMO.

35. Yves' squeeze: AMIE.

37. Interruption lead-ins: AHEMS.

38. Tide type: NEAP.

39. "We Have the Meats" sandwich chain: ARBY'S.

41. This, when over there: THAT.

42. Fish sauce taste: UMAMI. Important ingredient in kimchi sauce.

43. Low point: NADIR.

47. "I'm buying": MY TREAT.

50. Downfall: BANE.

51. Part-time player: SEMI-PRO.

53. Bank add-ons: FEES.

55. What weight watchers watch: SCALE.

56. Access, as a site: LOG ONTO. And 66. Calls work from home: PHONES IN.

57. Drive origination point: TEE.

59. __ Penny: folk tale name: HENNY.

65. Smoked salmon: NOVA.

67. Grant on old TV: LOU.

68. Blighted area: SLUM.

69. Mirthful: RIANT. Not a word I use.

70. "À votre __!": SANTE.

72. Stretch mark, say: STRIA.

73. Grownup: ADULT.

75. Safari sights: GNUS.

76. Pitch from a rep: SALES TALK.

78. Lysol targets: ODORS.

79. Stands in the forest, perhaps: FIRS.

83. Baum princess: OZMA.

85. A group of them may be called a shrewdness: APES. Such a long word for "group".

87. Dealt with: COVERED.

88. Memorable pie throwers: STOOGES.

90. Window one would rather keep closed: POP-UP AD.

91. Tiny Tim's strings: UKULELE.

93. Oregon golfing mecca: BEND.

95. Swathe: ENWRAP.

96. Automaton prefix: ROBO.

98. Sherlock's foe Adler: IRENE.

101. Three-time A.L. batting champ Tony: OLIVA. Still waiting for him to get into the Hall of Fame.

C.C. & Tony Oliva, 9/15/2011

102. Nine-piece combo: NONET.

103. Sharp-eyed bird: EAGLE.

104. Cathedral recess: APSE.

105. ER directive: STAT.

106. Had already learned: KNEW.

107. Supplements, with "to": ADDS.

110. Emmy-winning scientist: NYE.

112. Melrose in L.A., say: AVE.

113. Lincoln's st.: NEB. Here there, Gary, Avg. Joe and Brad!


Apr 23, 2020

Thursday, April 23rd 2020 Ed Sessa

Theme Metallic Mystery - the word "golden" has gone missing from five theme entries

The reveal hints at the word we're missing:

59A. His touch will complete five puzzle answers: KING MIDAS. It didn't work out quite the way Midas had planned, he didn't really think it through, did he?

and so we find:

17A. Generous severance package: [Golden] PARACHUTE

32A. Chance of a lifetime: [Golden] OPPORTUNITY

41A. Marriage milestone: [Golden] ANNIVERSARY

10D. McDonald's trademark: [Golden] ARCHES

45D. Automatic promotion on "America's Got Talent": [Golden] BUZZER

A slick theme from Ed. I actually saw the theme right away when I got to 17A, but it was only the symmetry with ARCHES that led me to BUZZER - I don't watch America's Got Talent and so I had no idea there was such a device as a "golden buzzer" which I discover immediately puts a contestant through to the final rounds.

Let's take a tour:


1. Title critter in Blake's "Songs of Innocence": LAMB. Blake was apparently quite fond of lambs, if you look at his "Songs of Innocence" (strictly speaking, "Songs of Innocence and of Experience") there's not only "The Lamb" referenced by this clue, but a whole bunch of lamb-y lines in other poems. If you've ever seen the movie "Chariots of Fire" you'll be familiar with my school hymn "Jerusalem" which plays at the end. And references a lamb. Talented chap, lamb-centric.

5. Almost dry: DAMP

9. Football's "Papa Bear": HALAS. George Halas, founder, owner and head coach of the Chicago Bears. He was also known as "Mr. Everything" in consequence.

14. __ vera: ALOE

15. __ Eats: delivery service: UBER. Their drivers are busy at the moment. Note that there's no umlaut in the company name.

16. Hold the floor: ORATE

19. Bobby in a 1971 #1 hit: MCGEE. Janis Joplin classic which still sounds great today. The recording was released posthumously and reached number 1 on the Billboard chart. It was written by Kris Kristofferson.

20. Toss aside: DITCH

21. Bad loser: SOREHEAD. I've never heard this expression. Sore loser, of course, but not sorehead.

23. Locks: HAIR

26. Stage of adolescence: PUBERTY. All angst and acne.

27. Frito-Lay brand: TOSTITOS. Chips and salsas.

31. Sudoku fill: Abbr.: NOS.

34. Web spots: ADS

37. Ethically uncertain: GRAY. American spelling. Wouldn't it be more accurately be a "gray area"?

38. Ring bearer: EAR

39. Came down to earth: ALIT

40. "Atlas Shrugged" writer Rand: AYN. I read this a number of years ago and I can't remember a single thing about it.

45. Lily of France garment: BRA. I had to validate, of course, that this clue/answer combination was in fact correct. After much long and painful research I can confirm that it is. You're welcome!

46. Citrus grove sight: LIME TREE

47. Covered, in a way: INSURED

51. NYC area above Houston Street: NOHO. There's a NoHo in LA too, the trendy name for North Hollywood. It's a bit of an oddity, to be honest. It's so far north of Hollywood that it's across the Cahuenga Pass in the San Fernando Valley, and you have to struggle through Studio City and Toluca Lake before you actually get there.

52. Suddenly stops working, as an engine: SEIZES UP. Not a good thing to happen. My motorbike sprung an oil leak while I was riding back in 1976 and I didn't notice. Suddenly the engine went from a two-cylinder four-stroke to a single, and useless, lump of metal.

54. __ Gay: ENOLA. Not so fast, it could be sprinter Tyson Gay. And he is fast.

58. TV host Gibbons: LEEZA

62. Garden tool: EDGER

63. Biblical twin: ESAU

64. California's __ Valley: SIMI. It's the safest city with a population of more than 100,000 in the USA, primarily because police officers from the LAPD were given incentives to move there by the City Council.

65. Stadium levels: TIERS

66. Droops: SAGS. What "Lily of France" hopes to have us avoid.

67. Air filter acronym: HEPA, our old friend the High Efficiency Particulate Absorbing filter.


1. W. Coast force: LAPD. Nice clue, it took me a which to see this one. In fact this corner of the puzzle was my last fill.

2. Court game word: ALAI

3. Cartoonist Drucker: MORT. "Master of the Mad Caricature".

4. Bucket shaped like a sandcastle, for one: BEACH TOY. I find this clue a little odd. Would you call a bucket that's designed to make sandcastles "shaped" like one?

5. "Thank you, Captain Obvious": DUH! I love Billie Eilish's song "Bad Guy" which is so catchy and features a few "DUH"s.

6. __ Dhabi: ABU

7. Team that retired Mike Piazza's #31: METS. It's odd, I associate him more with the Dodgers than the Mets, but the Dodgers didn't retire his number. I remember him hitting a home run clean out of Dodger Stadium and into the parking lot, a wallop estimated to be 440 feet.

8. Hosp. area: PRE-OP

9. __ Industries: L.A. youth program: HOMEBOY. I like the salsas produced by Homeboy Grocery which are sold in my local Kroger market.

11. Ale alternative: LAGER. I bought a couple of bottles yesterday of "limited edition" Midnight Lager produced by Stella Artois. It's almost black in color. I'll report back when I've tried it.

12. Bugged a lot: ATE AT

13. Like some bagels: SEEDY. Did you know that restauranteur Joe Bastianich is credited with inventing the "everything" bagel? He was working in a bagel bakery and was tasked with putting the poppy seeds, sesame seeds and what-not on each type of bagel. At the end of his shift he decided to dip the last few bagels in the spillover of all the toppings, and bingo, the Everything Bagel was born.

18. Department head: CHAIR

22. Litter lightweight: RUNT

24. Addams cousin: ITT

25. Monet's "Cathedral Series" city: ROUEN. I once stayed in a hotel opposite the cathedral in the main square in Rouen. The bellringers started on Sunday morning 6AM, and that was the end of my night's sleep.

27. Forum robe: TOGA

28. "Live at the __": Patsy Cline album: OPRY

29. Spread across: SPAN

30. __ mail: SNAIL. 

33. "The Empire Strikes Back" director Kershner: IRVIN. Thank you, crosses

34. Old apple spray: ALAR. Daminozide was banned in 1989 as a "probable carcinogen".

35. Desperate: DIRE

36. Eye woe: STYE

39. Blow away: ASTONISH

41. Unpaid balance: ARREARS

42. Highland refusals: NAES

43. Punk subgenre: EMO. I never really got into Emo music; it seemed a little too naval-gazing for my taste.

44. Shorten, as a pants leg: RE-HEM

47. Spot of land: ISLET

48. "__ say more?": NEED I

49. Onslaught: SIEGE

50. They're put up in fights: DUKES

Did you know that Notre Dame were called, variously, The Terriers, the Horrible Hibernians, The Catholics and the Ramblers before settling on the Fighting Irish moniker? I quite like the Hibernians one.

53. City in Tuscany: PISA

55. Comic strip canine: ODIE. From the "Garfield" strip by Jim Davis.

56. Light source: LAMP

57. Sri Lanka locale: ASIA. Because "Laccadive Sea" doesn't fit.

60. Old horse: NAG

61. "Better Call Saul" drug lord Fring: GUS. Another "thank you" to the crosses today.

Which just leaves the grid to wrap things up:


Mar 16, 2020

Monday March 16, 2020 Ed Sessa

Theme: CANDY WRAPPERS (59. Halloween discards, and what the three sets of circles represent?)  - Three different candies bookend each theme answer.

20. Winding, hilly thoroughfares: MOUNTAIN ROADS. Mounds.

28. Not kid around: PLAY FOR KEEPS. Peeps.

49. Traitorous spies: DOUBLE AGENTS. Dots.

Boomer here.  

Yes, I remember Halloween. We would go all around the neighborhood and collect candy.  We especially loved a 5 cent Hershey bar or Butterfinger.  That's in my rear view mirror now but diabetes (type 2) is not too bad.  Lots of sugar substitute in our cupboard. 

Now I wish EVERYONE safety in these days of Covid 19.  Our grocery stores were crowded this week, and I have to admit that C.C. and I visited several. My golf school was postponed but I can live with that.  Believe it or not, I received two emails from local golf courses letting me know that they are open on March 14!!  They must be crazy, this is Minnesota and I think that our high temperature over the weekend was 45 degrees. (F not C).  My clubs are in the garage, I can wait.


1. Potentially insensitive, briefly: UN PC.

5. Police: COPS.  This was short for Copper, the metal of the badge.  My friend Mike did not like the term COP.

9. ABBA's "__ Mia!": MAMMA.  Remember the dolls you could buy that said MAMMA when you squeezed them?

14. Vidal's Breckinridge: MYRA.

15. Pequod captain: AHAB.  The ARAB?

16. Native Nebraskans: OTOES.  This tribe is also native to Missouri and Iowa, I think.

17. Plenty: A LOT.  When you go to a store, where do you park?  A LOT.  I heard that Costco customers had to wait for a parking spot before getting in line to enter the store!!

18. Islamic branch: SHIA.

19. Transports by truck: HAULS. Sounds like airlines and cruise ships will not be making too many hauls in the near future.

23. Gandhi's land: INDIA.  Interesting, when Columbus hit our shores, he thought he made it to INDIA.  The capital of Ohio was named after Ol'Chris, and Cleveland named their baseball team ... Oh never mind.

24. Like oysters on the half shell: RAW.  No thanks.  The only think I eat RAW is celery.

25. French water: EAU.  Add CLAIRE and you have a fine city in Wisconsin.  I used to bowl in a big tournament there every year.

33. IV amounts: CCS.  Or look in our Fridge.  Some of the food is mine, and some is C.C.'s

36. List-shortening abbr.: ET AL.  I prefer ETC.

37. Italics feature: SLANT.

38. Walter White shaved his off: HAIR. "Breaking Bad" guy. "Gimme a head with Hair, Long beautiful Hair.  Shinin' Gleamin" Streamin' Flaxen Waxin'."  (The Cowsills.)

40. In contention (for): VYING.  As far as I know, our Monday bowling league is on.  We will be VYING for the championship.  (PS.  I had 236-232-216 - 684 last week.  Best in two years.)

43. On the house: FREE.  Don't fall for buy one get one FREE. They just double the price on the first one.

44. Aimée of "La Dolce Vita": ANOUK.

46. Dmitri's dissent: NYET.

48. In low spirits: SAD.  I used to love the Sad Sack comics.  He was never sad, just looked that way.

53. Driver's license info: SEX.  Both C.C. and I purchased "Enhanced" Driver's licenses in MN a few years ago.  They never asked for "SEX" but we had to prove a bunch of other stuff.  However now and beginning October 1, we can board domestic flights in the US.  Assuming that there will be any airlines still in business.

54. Wayside stop: INN.  I have mentioned this before, my favorite is the C'MON INN in Billings Montana.

55. One-up: OUTDO.  See Bowling goal above.

64. "Dallas" surname: EWING.  I never got into that show, I still do not know who shot J.R.  But I remember Patrick of the Knicks.  I think he's coaching Georgetown now.

66. Solid precipitation: HAIL.  "Hail Mary"!  Our local Archbishop made Mass optional yesterday.

67. Backside in a fall?: PRAT. Pratfall.

68. Long-shot rags-to-riches enabler: LOTTO.  Long shot is right.  We play the Minnesota Lottery once in a while and I don't think we ever won more than five bucks.

69. Ices, mob-style: OFFS.  MLB, PGA, NCAA, NBA, all are OFFS.  Talk about March Madness!!

70. Girl in a Salinger story: ESME.

71. Enter on a laptop: KEY IN.  C.C. has a laptop.  I KEY IN on a new Microsoft 5050 keyboard.

72. Italian eight: OTTO.  Reminds me of OTTO Graham, HOF quarterback back when the Cleveland Browns were good.

73. Sweetheart: DEAR.


1. Savory taste first identified in Tokyo: UMAMI.

2. Carpet synthetic: NYLON.  My Mom used to have stockings called NYLONS.

3. __ as a peacock: PROUD.

4. Tabby stimulant: CATNIP.  Why not slip a shot of Chivas Regal into its kitty dish ?

5. José's house: CASA.

6. "Fancy meeting you here!": OH HI.

7. "No __, no gain": PAIN.  "Drop and give me 20"  (My Drill Sergeant) .

8. Mall pizza chain: SBARRO.  I know of no mall where you can buy a decent pizza.

9. Goth hairstyles: MOHAWKS.  I had one of these once when I was a kid,  I think it was a Davy Crockett thing.

10. Opposite of 17-Across: A TAD.

11. Headpiece for kids in Mickey's TV club: MOUSE EARS.  "Who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me ?"  Annette was every guy's favorite.

12. Filmmaker Brooks: MEL.  Hanging in there at 93 years of age.  Who can forget "Blazing Saddles" ?

13. Biblical beast of burden: ASS.  Prefix for Kicking.

21. Yarn: TALE.

22. Boating blade: OAR.  Years ago I rowed and rowed all over North Star Lake near Marcell, MN.  Then my dad purchased a 5 horse Johnson.

26. Sleep concern: APNEA.  Sometimes I get neuropathy which is worse.

27. "¿Cómo está __?": USTED.

29. Dune buggy, briefly: ATV.  All Terrain Vehicle.  I never owned one and never will.

30. "We did it!": YAY.  There won't be Too Many YAYs in the near future.

31. Throw wildly: FLING.  Although I do not throw my golf ball, I have a feeling that some are FLINGs.

32. North Pole toymaker: ELF.

33. "Hanging" problems in the 2000 election: CHADS.  I hope Florida has fixed it.

34. Algonquin transport: CANOE.  A five horse Johnson won't fit on the back.  You will need paddles.

35. Iowa port on the Lewis and Clark Trail: SIOUX CITY.  Just a bit South of Minnesota on the Iowa Western Border.  Very interesting city.

39. Coax (out), as a genie: RUB.  A dub dub dub, three men in a tub.

41. "Science Guy" Bill: NYE.

42. Title for DDE: GEN.  A Great man.  I am not old enough to remember the Normandy invasion which was a final spike in the end of WWII. However, I am old enough to remember President IKE, and he visited Minneapolis in the late fifties.  I also remember 1960 which was the first time in eight years that Americans had an opportunity to vote for a president with hair.

45. Fictional language spoken by Sheldon and Leonard on "The Big Bang Theory": KLINGON.

47. Sporty car roof: T TOP.  Chevy Corvette Sting Ray.  I cannot afford but it's okay, I would not be able to get into one anyway.

50. Wind up: END.  Not yet, there are more clues.

51. Slangy "Movin' right along ... ": ANYHOO.

52. Had a late meal: SUPPED.

56. Not long-winded: TERSE.  Shut Up !!!

57. Daytime soap, e.g.: DRAMA.

58. Big name in blenders: OSTER.  Graybar used to sell these when I worked there.  I think Target and Walmart ended up buying them direct from Oster so we gave up the small appliance business.  It was a very good move for Graybar.  We made about a dollar on a blender and about 25% came back after Christmas.

60. Opposed to: ANTI.

61. Float like a feather in the breeze: WAFT.  Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.  (Cassius Clay).

62. Breakup: RIFT.

63. "Let me add ... ": ALSO.  65 (down an inch)

64. Yellowstone grazers: ELK.

65. Misery: WOE.  Is me if I miss a spare or catch a virus.  I am 72 with diabetes and cancer.  CNN and MSNBC both tell me I am in danger, yet I cannot find a test and Minnesota has about 35 cases out there. so I'll be careful. My bowling team bumps elbows after strikes and good shots. Don't worry about me.


Mar 6, 2020

Friday, March 6, 2019, Ed Sessa

Title: It's all in where you cut it.

Dr. Ed returns to Friday for the first time since his mini-theme puzzle on November 1, 2019. One of many prolific constructors who publish often in the LAT; he started in 2007 with this PUZZLE in the NYT. He takes some in the language phrases and by adding an apostrophe, repurposes and redefines the clue. The concept is simple and it was easy for a Friday. Not any extra-interesting fill other than the themers.

17A. What Dr. Frankenstein kept at his bar?: MONSTER'S ALE. I do not recall Boris Karloff drinking ALE, but it does repurpose MONSTER SALE. P.S., I think Peter Boyle did.

24A. Sass from a therapist?: FREUDIAN'S LIP. Sigmund talking back to his old lady patients redoes FREUDIAN SLIP.

38A. Uncle Buck, perhaps?: DOE'S KIN. A central rework for DOE SKIN which is great for gloves. And not a great John Candy MOVIE.

52A. Dracula's haul in the poker game?: VAMPIRE'S TAKE. We get both Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi and the iconic VAMPIRE STAKE.

62A. Big cat's belly?: LEOPARD'S POT. I doubt there are many fat Leopards but they all have a LEOPARD SPOT.

On to the rest:


1. Mid-size Nissan: ALTIMA. They made the MAXIMA first, and I guess they liked the pseudo-Latin sound.

7. Ammo sold in rolls: CAPS. Almost tricky unless you played for hours every day with your cap gun when you were little.

11. By way of: VIA. Just a Latin word that was taken over by English.

14. Like many arcade games: COIN-OP.

15. Helter-skelter: AMOK.

16. Mantra syllables: OMS.

19. Fiddle player of rhyme: CAT.
Hey, diddle, diddle
The cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon
The little dog laughed to see such fun
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

20. North-of-the-border gas: ESSO. CSO to our Canadian Corner.

21. Zany trio member: MOE. Our Chairman Moe has moved to Arizona and seems to be living well.

22. "See if __": I CARE.

28. "SNL" castmate of Gilda and Jane: LARAINE. The SCREEN TEST for Ms. Newman.

31. It "hath charms to soothe a savage breast": MUSIC. The phrase sounds Shakespearian but in fact comes to us from The Mourning Bride, a poem by William Congreve, 1697. And yes, it is breast, not a savage beast.

32. Oak fruit: ACORN. Did you ever think of this as a fruit?

33. Marine mammal group: POD. We had the list published here recently.

34. Bed foundation?: SOIL. Garden bed.

42. Broadcasting pioneer: RCA. I went to grammar school with one of the descendants of the Sarnoff family.

43. Religious offshoot: SECT.

45. Meddle: PRY.

46. City near the Golden Spike: OGDEN. Where the transcontinental railroad met. More of the STORY.

48. Veronica of "Hill Street Blues": HAMEL. I wonder if she is related to last week's constructor Debra or Ray.

50. Spurred on: AROUSED. Well- gee. That is a titillating turn.

55. Orchestras tune to them: OBOES. I will let JzB explain again.

56. One of Venus de Milo's two that are conspicuous for their absence: ARM. She is back so soon.

57. Drink brand with a lizard logo: SOBE. SoBe is the abbreviation for South Beach, the southernmost part of the manmade island.

61. Leave in ruins: GUT. In all of SoFla. we are always tearing down to build up. Did you see the story on the news of the 95-year-old home that was moved to keep it from demolition? LINK.

66. Take advantage of: USE.

67. Parrot: ECHO.

68. Tater Tots maker: ORE-IDA. Sadly this region has some virus issues.

69. Sniggler's quarry: EEL. They catch them by hand; 1645–55; snig eel (late Middle English snygge + le).

70. It may be cracked open: DOOR. My second place clue/fill favorite.

71. Sweat inducer: DURESS. Stress.


1. Highest point: ACME.

2. Restrooms for blokes: LOOS. British.

3. Metal containers: TINS. British.

4. To such an extent: INSOFAR.

5. Bon __: MOT. French

6. So-called missing links: APEMEN. My limited movie career. 48 or 49 seconds in. This was the Rathskeller at the U. of Florida.

7. Checked out before a heist: CASED.

8. GP's gp.: AMA.

9. D.C. figure: POLitician.

10. Knitter's supply: SKEINS. KNITTING 101.

11. They help one speak one's mind: VOCAL CORDS. My favorite clue/fill.

12. Japanese porcelain: IMARI.

13. __ in the right direction: A STEP.

18. Scoundrel: ROUÉ. The French word derives from the Latin rota (“wheel”), broken on the wheel.

23. Forensic TV episodes: CSIS. Meh. 37D. Specimen for 23-Down: DNA.

25. Melon feature: RIND.

26. Reassurance after a fall: I'M OK. Paint.

27. A4 automaker: AUDI.

28. Youths: LADS. Next to...

29. Teen malady: ACNE.

30. Black Flag product: ROACH MOTEL.

33. Humanities subj.: PSYchology. My undergraduate and graduate major.

35. Cold drink brand: ICEE.

36. Come down: LAND.

39. Letters near zero: OPERater. On your telephone.

40. Creator of Perry and Della: ERLE. Stanley Gardner.

41. Kindle rival: NOOK. I believe Hahtoolah uses one.

44. Scotch roll: TAPE. Maybe, MAYBE NOT.

47. Hangman player, e.g.: GUESSER. The Wheel of Fortune.

49. Took for a ride: MISLED.

50. First razor with a pivoting head: ATRA.

51. Force (through): RAMROD. verb (used with object), ram·rod·ded, ram·rod·ding. ... to accomplish or put into action by force, intimidation, etc.: to ramrod a bill through Congress

52. Popularity: VOGUE. This was difficult for me.

53. Treat badly: ABUSE.

54. Flavor: SAPOR. Sapor is what creates the flavor of something.
An example of sapor is chocolate ice cream tasting sweet.

58. Andy's catfishing partner: OPIE. Andy Griffith in Mayberry.
59. Beefcake features: BODS. You want a pic ladies?

60. Flight deck data, briefly: ETAS.

63. Prefix with conscious: ECO.

64. "I see it now!": OHO. AHA!

65. R and B group __ Hill: DRU. Not sure, but here is a LINK.

That went quickly; enjoy Tom F. next week. I will be back. Thanks, Dr. Ed and all of you who read whether you comment or not, though I learn something every time. Lemonade out.

Feb 16, 2020

Sunday February 16, 2020 Ed Sessa

Theme: "Change for a Buck" - Anagrams of HORSE span across each theme entry.

26. *Ball game record: SCORE SHEET.

37. *One may be six feet long: HERO SANDWICH.

55. *Historic site in Paris' Latin Quarter: THE SORBONNE.

72. *Epithet for a fair British maiden: ENGLISH ROSE.

87. *Totally ripped: TORN TO SHREDS.
16D. *Car coolant carrier: RADIATOR HOSE.

61D. *Tourist's eye-opening experience, perhaps: CULTURE SHOCK.


102A. 1971 Stones hit, or what can be found in the answers to starred clues: WILD HORSES.

Great title. I'd be stumped and sent a SOS title help to Gary and D-Otto.

The key is to find different combinations of the letter HORSES and make sure they span across two more more words.

Lots of sparkly long fill in the grid, as it's expected from Ed, who's also an accomplished themeless constructor.


1. Ports in a storm: HAVENS.

7. Queens stadium namesake: ASHE.

11. HUN neighbor, to the IOC: CRO. Hungary. Croatia.

14. Wasn't indifferent: CARED.

19. Reading disorder: ALEXIA.

20. Car thief's contact: CHOP SHOP.

22. Cremona strings master: AMATI. Stradivarius' teacher. Sometimes we get STRAD in the grid.

23. How to handle fine china: GENTLY. Pretty tea cup.

24. "In your dreams!": NOT A HOPE.

25. Encouraged through chicanery: LED ON.

28. Was indebted to: OWED.

29. One way to solve crosswords: IN INK.

30. Nomadic Kenyans: MASAI. Maasai is the Wiki spelling.

31. Need an eraser, say: ERR.

33. __ New Guinea: PAPUA.

35. Near-eternity: AEON.

42. Asian holiday: TET.

45. Leveled, with "up": TRUED.

47. Like many indie films: ARTY.

48. Some interruptions: AHEMS.

49. Music to a matador's ears: OLE.

50. "Try it": TASTE THIS. That's baby yellow squash on the left.

53. Diner menu info: PRICE.

54. Apple starter: CRAN.

58. Indian title of respect: SAHIB.

59. Early Earth life forms: BACTERIA.

63. "The Great Dictator" Oscar nominee Jack: OAKIE. Oldie.

64. As an example: FOR ONE.

65. Either of two Indy 500 racers: AL UNSER.

66. Not fulfilled: UNMET.

67. Wanted poster listings: ALIASES.

68. Weaken: DILUTE.

69. Sheik's land, in song: ARABY.

70. Most ready for trouble: ALERTEST. And 76. Ready for trouble: ON THE BALL.

71. Baltic people: LETTS. FINNS too.

74. Burden: ONUS.

75. Yucatán "you": USTED.

81. __ Lingus: AER.

82. "The Jungle" author Sinclair: UPTON. A couple more authors:  94. "The Black Cat" author: POE. 110. "Rabbit" series author: UPDIKE.

83. Smoothie berry: ACAI.

85. Reliever's stat: SAVES.

86. Born, in some bios: NEE.

91. Woodwind piece: REED.

92. Courtroom pro: STENO.

95. Blood of the gods: ICHOR.

97. First name in furniture: ETHAN. There's an Ethan Allen in our neighborhood. The good old Slumberland was closed last year.

99. Intent look: GAZE.

107. Level and plane: TOOLS.

108. Mix thoroughly, as oil and vinegar: EMULSIFY.

111. Musician Minaj: NICKI.

112. Poppycock: NONSENSE.

113. E Street Band notable Van Zandt: STEVEN.  Wiki says he plays plays guitar and mandolin for the band.

114. Hydrocarbon group: ALKYL.

115. Enjoy a run, perhaps: SKI.

116. Director's challenges: EGOS.

117. Most affected by a workout: SOREST.


1. Baddies with pointy hats: HAGS.

2. Actor Guinness: ALEC.

3. Like cobras, but not pythons: VENOMOUS.

4. Web system allowing outside access: EXTRANET. Only knew INTRANET.

5. Frasier's brother: NILES.

6. Obeys a stick-wielding doctor: SAYS AH.

7. Bad marks in high school?: ACNE.

8. "If it fits" item: SHOE.

9. Most popular: HOTTEST.

10. Lead monitor, for short: EPA.

11. Word with line or hound: CHOW.

12. Climbing gear: ROPE.

13. Slanted column: OP-ED PIECE.

14. Islamic leaders: CALIPHS.

15. "Can we see __?": diner's request: A MENU.

17. Thames campus: ETON.

18. Tennis drop shot: DINK.

21. Fleeced: SHORN.

27. "... __ you home to dinner": Shak.: HIE.

32. Flat fish: RAY.

34. Summit: ACME.

35. Motion maker: Abbr.: ATT. Attorney.

36. Period of time: ERA.

38. Mrs. Gorbachev: RAISA. So elegant. Her husband is still alive.

39. Roughly: OR SO.

40. "Shoot!": DARN IT.

41. Weimaraner's complaint: WHINE.

43. Eatery seen in the film "Manhattan": ELAINE'S.

44. Car and Driver yearly listing: TEN BEST.

46. Can't brook: DETESTS.

51. Number of singers in The Chipmunks: THREE.

52. Estate beneficiary: HEIR.

53. Cans for cons: POKEYS. Great clue.

54. Jeweler's measure: CARAT.

56. Clown mascot's first name: RONALD.

57. Thumper's friend: BAMBI.

58. Evening parties: SOIREES.

59. Banking misjudgment: BAD LOAN.

60. Property recipient, in legal language: ALIENEE.

62. Letter-shaped fasteners: T NUTS.

64. Crayola color renamed Peach in 1962: FLESH.

66. Like a "Stat!" instruction: URGENT.

67. Way more than some: A LOT.

69. Composer Bruckner: ANTON. This is like our English Anthony, right?

70. Links army leader: ARNIE. Palmer. "The King" .

72. Ovarian hormones: ESTROGENS.

73. Frosty coat: HOAR.

75. Knowledgeable about: UPON.

77. Manhattan, say: BAR ORDER. Another great clue.

78. Causing avoidance: AVERSIVE. Only know AVERSE.

79. Peggy or Brenda of song: LEE.

80. Hallucinogenic letters: LSD.

82. Fork, for instance: UTENSIL.

83. Japan's largest active volcano: ASO. Mount Aso. We also have 97. Italian hot spot: ETNA.

84. Pondering, with "on": CHEWING.

88. Cars that sound like gems: OPELS. Opals.

89. "__ you really just say that?": DID.

90. Run down a mountain: SCHUSS.

93. Blathering: TALKY.

96. "__ it!": "Get moving!": HOP TO.

98. Hard work: TOIL.

100. Berserk: AMOK.

101. Pueblo people: ZUNI.

103. "That being the case ... ": IF SO.

104. Soapmaker's supplies: LYES.

105. Just makes, with "out": EKES.

106. Mailed: SENT.

109. Watch: SEE.


Feb 8, 2020

Saturday, February 8, 2020, Ed Sessa

Saturday Themeless by Dr. Ed Sessa

After only three weeks, Dr. Ed is back again and his distinctive grid immediately caught my eye.  His 10/13/15 horizontal top rows were mirrored with his 15/13/10 bottom row (TERRACE LEVEL?) in this 64-word puzzle. The bottom such trio was much more helpful but as usual Dr. Ed's Rhelped mitigate some of the gloom of this dreary, winter season here on the Great Plains. I wonder if the fill dictated the grid or the grid dictated the fill. Maybe the good doctor will enlighten us.

Avoid Walgreens today and get your elixir direct from the Sessa enclave on Sanibel Island, FL (a spoonful of crossword helps the medicine go down):


1. "We're done here": CASE CLOSED.

11. Wit: FACETIOUSNESS - How hard can she throw that club?

14. Lead-in for an old saw: AS THE SAYING GOES - "Hell hath no fury..." (see above)

16. Bio lab preparation: STAIN 

17. Star associated with Venus: SERENA - The tennis star sisters

18. It may be taken before a vote: POLL 

19. Reality: FACT.

23. __ Stadium, home to the 49ers: LEVIS and 48. Word with box or dome: SKY - Here's a SKYBOX at LEVIS Stadium

24. Wild fruit is a feature of it: PALEO DIET - A diet that emulates our hunter-gatherer ancestors

27. Unadon fish: EELS - A classic Japanese dish consisting of steamed rice topped with filets of EELS (Unagi).

28. Manufacturing statistic: NEW ORDERS 

30. Either co-author of Curious George books: REY.

31. Ward of "FBI": SELA - A beautiful and frequent crossword law enforcement visitor

32. Clubs for Cubs: BATS - In 1932

34. Movement-controlling pedal: GAS 42. Fill up again: REPLENISH - How hard you push the pedal determines how often you have to REPLENISH the GAS

37. Decides when: SETS A DATE - My granddaughter Emma has SET A DATE of January 2021 for her wedding after Colten popped the question in Estes park

40. Aphrodite's love child: EROS - Another cwd All Star

44. Opposite of original: TIRED.

46. Baseball's Maglie and Bando: SALS - If you're interested - Maglie - Bando

47. TurboTax pros: CPA'S - My tenth year using this instead of a CPA

49. Tequila sources: AGAVES.

51. Short-legged lizard: SKINK - Cute?

52. Song title line after "once, twice": THREE TIMES A LADY - A very nice musical respite

57. Basements, to Realtors: TERRACE LEVELS - This apartment building units are Upper Floor, Main Floor and, uh, TERRACE LEVEL

58. Sources of sprays: NEBULIZERS - The only way my poor asthmatic brother got through his childhood


1. Andorra's only official language: CATALAN - "I am a citizen of Andora" is "Sóc ciutadà d’Andorra" in CATALAN and "Soy ciudadano de Andorra" in Spanish

CATALAN is the first language of 38% of Andorrans
2. Victim of Paris: ACHILLES - I think we all know where Paris is aiming to kill ACHILLES 

3. Understood: SEEN.

4. "Men in Black" gp.: ETS and 5. "Men in black" gp., some say: CIA - Aliens and spooks

6. Myrna who played Nora Charles: LOY.

7. Sí, across the Pyrenees: OUI - When those ANDORRANS cross the Pyrenees into France 

8. Figs. with two dashes: SSN'S.

9. Tannenbaum topper: ENGEL - In Deustchland, "Our Christmas tree has an angel on top" becomes  "Unser Tannenbaum hat einen ENGEL an der Spitze"

10. Master's award: DEGREE - I've got one of those 

11. Depth-of-field setting: F-STOP.

12. To any extent: SO EVER.

13. Declining in later years: SENILE - MIL's Dementia and Alzheimers issues have dominated our last few months

14. Slithery danger: ASP.

15. Back-talking: SASSY.

19. Bit of deception: FOOLER - If Penn and Teller can't figure out how a magician does a trick on their TV show, the magician is called a FOOLER, wins a cheesy FU (Fooled You) trophy and gets to appear in their Las Vegas show. Sample

20. Marketing fees: AD RATES - The AD RATE for the Super Bowl I was $37,000 for thirty seconds. This year for Super Bowl LIV, it was over $5M for the same time 

21. "El Cantar de mío __": Castilian epic poem: CID The Song Of My CID (Lord or master)

More Spanish Geography

22. Minor league game?: TEE BALL - This minor is serious about using a TEE in this league game

25. Farm animals that sound like trees: EWES - Yews/EWES

26. Sports news highlights: TRADES The most lop-sided TRADES in history

29. Hockey Hall of Famer Mikita: STAN - One of a few STANS we get here

33. Exacting sort: STICKLER 

34. Try to say: GET AT.

35. Correctly: ARIGHT - Have you ever said something stupid and then had to set things ARIGHT with a sincere apology? Me too!!

36. Like a June day, to Lowell: SO RARE.

38. Where many get manis: SPA.

39. Observations: ESPIALS - A natural collection of ESPYING efforts

41. The U.S. Naval Academy is situated at is mouth: SEVERN - Two weeks ago, Evan Kalish clued Annapolis as the second city in an alphabetic list of state capitals.

43. Piano duet quartet: HANDS - These four hands had a beautiful Top 40 Hit in my yute

45. Caterpillar rival: DEERE.

50. Whack: STAB - I'll take a STAB/Whack at it!

51. Act with a rainy day in mind?: SAVE.

53. Hosp. area with few visitors: ICU.

54. "AGT" judge __ B: MEL She storms off the show dramatically by throwing water in Simon's face during a taping of America's Got Talent 

55. Singer in the Whiffenpoofs, e.g.: ELI.

56. Slangy states?: SEZ Mike Royko's book

I'm thinking of going off to pack to take up Dr. Ed's invitation of three weeks ago for any of us to visit him on Sanibel Island. You can comment while I get out my suitcase.