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

Mar 17, 2009

Tuesday March 17, 2009 Ed Voile

Theme: The Davey Family

17A: Renowned jazz pianist: DAVE BRUBECK

24A: "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star: LARRY DAVID

48A: "Die Hard" co-star: ROBERT DAVI

57A: English LPGA golfer: LAURA DAVIES

11D: 1997 PGA champion: DAVIS LOVE

32D: Monkees singer: DAVY JONES

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! Go to solve LA Times Daily puzzle if you have time. It has a very proper theme for today.

Both DAVIS LOVE and LAURA DAVIES were gimmes to me. I remember vividly the miraculous rainbow at Winged Foot and how emotional DAVIS LOVE was. It's his first and only major. Who else but LAURA DAVIES (next to John Daly) can you fill for "English LPGA golfer"? She is the face of the British/European LPGA.

I was not familiar with the other four theme answers. But I figured out the theme earlier on. So I was able to fill in some blanks with creative guesses.

Must be a headache day for those who have trouble with Roman numerals:

11A: 605: DCV

19A: Sundial seven: VII

30A: 1405: MCDV

30D: Twice DLXXV: MCL

Some of the clues could be reworded to avoid the heaviness in abbreviated answers today. For example. BAS (21A: Some U. degs"), why not just "__ - relif"? Also, I've never liked "SSS word" for SEL (29D). Last time "Poivre companion" stumped lots of people (Poivre is French for "pepper"), but a simple "Salt in France" should be fine. I am still waiting for someone to try "Sand's seasoning?".

Across:

1A: Perpetual traveler: NOMAD. Anyone thought of GYPSY first?

6A: "Le __ du printemps": SACRE. "The Rite of Spring". Ballet by Igor Stravinsky. Unknown to me. All I could think of is the Printemps department store. Printemps is "Spring" in French.

14A: Threatened layer: OZONE

28A: Equal-sided figure: ISOGON. Like square.

29A: Part of a wd.: SYL. Why do I always think of letters instead of syllables?

37A: One-horse carriages: CHAISES. New defintion to me. CHAISE is a kind of carriage with a hood. One-horse and two-wheeled.

41A: Morse unit: DIT. What's difference between DIT and DOT again? (Answer from Barry G: DIT and DOT are synonymous. It's just that DIT is paired with dah, whereas DOT is paired with dash. DIT and dah represent the sound made by typing the characters "." and "-" with a telegraph, whereas DOT and dash represent the names of the characters.)

42A: Med. readings: EEGS. Saw a very clever clue the other day. "Head lines?"

44A: Servile: MENIAL

46A: Goya's "The Naked __": MAJA. Hey, Williams is getting DF. He could have clued MAJA as "The Clothed MAJA". But "The Naked MAJA" does look better. I wish I had her waist, so tiny!

60A: Enzyme: suff.: ASE. And ANE (4D: Chemical suffix). I am curious to see how our new editor Rich Norris clues ANE. I like the separate AN E approach.

61A: Felix or Luther: ADLER. Got it because yesterday's "Felix and Polly" clue. Have never heard of actor Luther ADLER. Barry G's Irene ADLER clue sounds equally obscure to me. And I've never heard of any of the ADLER in Ink's list. It seems that Alfred ADLER is most well-known one. Wikipedia says he coined this concept "Inferiority Complex".

Down:

1D: Of a junction: NODAL

2D: Conductor Seiji: OZAWA. His name escapes me constantly. I could only picture his face. He was actually born in Shenyang, China when it was under Japanese occupation.

5D: Boone and others: DEBBYS. Thought of DANIELS first. Here is DEBBY Boone's "You Light Up My Life".

6D: Wursts: SAUSAGES. Interesting comments from Kazie yesterday: "My son has been experimenting with sausage making recipes, and he specially ordered the intestine casings because he says when the meat dries out, the natural casings shrink with it and there are no air pockets to cause spoilage like with the synthetic casings that won't shrink."

7D: Fugitive letters: APB. I like Harrison Ford's "The Fugitive".

8D: Simpleton: CRETIN. New to me. CRETIN does not look like a stupid word.

9D: Sieved into pellets: RICED. Don't have a ricer in our kitchen.

18D: Protective hemispheres for antennas: RADOMES. Contraction of RA (dar) + DOME. Another new word to me. How can antennas work when they are domed?

23D: Beaver Cleaver's hometown: MAYFIELD. Got it from across fills.

25D: Classic Buicks: RIVIERAS. Also got from across fills.

36D: Ed.'s work pile: MSS. I'd rather the clue be "Editor's work pile, abbr."

38D: His: Fr.: SES. Or her/its.

39D: Mary Roberts of mysteries: RINEHART. I googled her name. Wikipedia says she is often called American Agatha Christie. Is it true?

41D: Cotillion gal: DEB. I did not know the meaning of "Cotillion". It's a formal ball given for debutantes.

44D: Sofa section: MODULE. New to me. Which section is MODULE?

46D: Jim or Gardner: McKAY. Did not know actor/artist Gardner McKAY. He must be very famous to grace a Life Magazine cover. Jim McKAY was the first sportscaster to win an Emmy (He won a total of 12 Emmy Awards).

48D: "The Cloister and the Hearth" writer: READE (Charles). One more google. Interesting bookcover. Is it a good read from READE?

49D: Concorde, e.g.: AVION. "Plane" in French.

C.C.

Mar 9, 2009

Monday March 9, 2009 Ed Voile

Theme: Front Man

17A: Valet: MAN SERVANT

28A: Polite: MANNERLY

45A: Seacows: MANATEES

59A: Handle: MANIPULATE

11D: Display dummy: MANNEQUIN

35D: Instruments similar to lutes: MANDOLINS

MAN! I failed again. Third day in a row.

Lots of false starts: MANNERED instead of MANNERLY. SEPARATE instead of SET APART (24A: Isolate). All my own faults though. We've solved quite a few Ed Voile puzzles lately, yet I still can not find his pattern.

"Cold War letters" (7D) would be an OK clue for USSR or SSR, but for USA? No! We've long entered the Obama era.

ADD (20A: What summers do) gave me lots of trouble. I could not figure out anything about the intersecting down clues, so I tried hard to think what summers do to me. But neither TAN or SUN fits. If there were a question mark behind the clue, I might have interpret "summers" correctly and thought of ADD. Sigh! I just mentioned a possible "Chinese summer?" for ABACUS last time.

Across:

1A: John L. or Jerry Lee: LEWIS. Did not know the CIO founder John L. LEWIS. President of the United Mine Workers of America from from 1920 to 1960. And a major player in the history of coal mining.

14A: Ward off: AVERT. I like how it crosses EVADE (2D: Escape cleverly).

16A: Gilbert of Teasdale: SARA

19A: Small piece: SNIP. New meaning of SNIP to me.

22A: Intrinsic nature: ESSENCE. PER SE is often clued as "Intrinsically".

39A: Cinematic nightmare street: ELM. "A Nightmare on ELM Street". I don't like horror movies.

42A: "William Wilson" writer: POE. Have never heard of this short story. "The Raven" & "Annabel Lee", that's all the POE work I know.

43A: Scantily: THINLY. Not fond of the LY repetition. "Without much density" is better.

49A: Airs out: FRESHENS. I kept thinking of AERATES.

56A: North sea bird: AUK. I was really fooled by this Penguin clip. Now your turn! (OK, It's an April Fools' joke.)

62A: Five-star: A ONE

65A: Profit's partner?: LOSS. Would EERS be an acceptable answer as well? Profiteers.

Down:

1D: Actor Fernando: LAMAS. No idea. He is the father of Lorenzo LAMAS (left).

3D: George of "Cheers": WENDT. Unknown to me also. I only recognize Ted Danson & Woody Harrelson in this picture.

5D: Stovetop utensils: STEWPANS. Holy cow! I've never heard of STEWPANS. Use slow cooker for stew.

6D: River to the Bristol Channel: SEVERN. Nope. Here is a map. Click on it, the map will enlarge. See the word SEVERN to the right of Newport? It's the longest river in Britain.

12D: Stoltz of "Mask": ERIC. Easy guess. Have zero familarity with this actor.

26D: Pekoe piece: TEA LEAF. Have you had chrysanthemum tea before?

33D: "Truth or __": DARE. Is this the movie about Madonna? I wanted LIES.

37D: Actress Van Devere: TRISH. Forgot. She was married to George Scott. I like his "Patton".

40D: Cushing/Lee horror film: THE SKULL. No idea. Looks terrifying.

42D: California observatory peak: PALOMAR. Spanish for "Pigeon house". Saw this clue somewhere before.

45D: Bub: MAC. This reminds me of the Baboo episode in "Seinfeld". But isn't baboo an offensive slang for Indian?

46D: Attributes: TRAITS. Did not come to me readily.

51D: Observant one: NOTER. This word feels like NEEDER/WANTER to me. It exists only in the dictionary.

55D: Corduroy rib: WALE. Like this. Ribbed twill is SERGE. Any SERGE Gainsbourg fan there? This picture looks so doctored. This is TRUER. Jane Birkin is very skinny.

C.C.

Mar 5, 2009

Thursday March 5, 2009 Ed Voile

Theme: Right on the Money

20A: Start of a quip: MONEY DOES GROW ON

37A: Part 2 of quip: TREES

50A: End of quip: IT IS MADE OF PAPER

During Chinese Spring Festival, native Cantonese always buy a big orange tree, which symbolizes abundant happiness. Some like to hang red money envelopes on the branches, similar to western Christmas tree decoration.

It's fun to spend Chinese New Year in Canton, esp for singles, as it's a custom for married couples to give red envelop to singles, regardless of their age. The amount of money inside varies. Often 8, 88, or 888. Besides Mainland China, Taiwan and Japan, 8 is also considered a lucky number in many Southeast Asian countries. But my lucky number is 3. What's yours?

This puzzle yielded too easily. Kind of bland. No clue struck me as sparkling. Two of the obscure answers (GAVOT & TALA) were all obtainable from crosses. I am not capable of solving NY Times style Friday/Saturday puzzles. But I like grid that offers some resistance. A hard-won battle is more enjoyable.

Our fellow solver Crockett1947 has created a Star Tribune Crossword Corner Google map. Please email him at Crockett1947@comcast.net if you want your name marked in that map.

Across:

1A: Org. of Toms and Tiger: PGA. Here is a picture of David Toms and Tiger Woods chatting during 2006 Ryder Cup. David Toms won 2001 PGA Championship, his only major. He won with his brain, so disciplined in his course management. Handsome too, though not as milliadonis -intensive as Adam Scott.

4A: Weapons of mass destruction: H-BOMB. Thought of A-BOMB first. I don't really know the difference between the two. Both produce mushroom clouds, right?

14A: Rower's requirement: OAR. "Oar holder' is THOLE. Here is Mark in Buenos Aires's comment yesterday: "Re Thole - Is this derived from "the hole". "where shall I put my oar - "put it in th´ ´ole, stupid."

15A: Stan's slapstick partner: OLLIE. I presume OLLIE is a nickname of Oliver?

25A: John __ Passos: DOS. Not familiar with this novelist. Got it from down fills. He wrote The U.S.A. Trilogy, which has made several appearances in our puzzle before.

35A: Gibbon, e.g.: APE. I guessed. Did not know "Gibbon" is a kind of small ape. Does it have 10 fingers as we do?

42A: Diana Ross's group: SUPREMES. Need with "The" in the clue.

45A: Psychic power: ESP. Like the power Oda Mae Brown has in "Ghost"?

56A: Italian poet: DANTE. The "Divine Comedy" sounds quite fascinating to me.

58A: Public square: PLAZA. I often wonder why we have Tiananmen Square rather than Tiananmen PLAZA. Maybe we were just imitating Soviet Union in those earlier days. They have Red Square.

Down:

2D: French peasant dance: GAVOT. Or GAVOTTE. I obtained this GAVOT dance from crossing fills. Last time GAVOTTE was clued as "Old French dance".

6D: Potpourris: OLIOS. I thought OLIO itself is a mix of various things. It has plural form also?

8D: Porgy's girlfriend: BESS. Is the grammar purposely mangled in the song "BESS, You Is My Woman Now"?

10D: Oater bar: SALOON. I just learned honky-tonk a few days ago.

22D: "__ People Play": GAMES. Easy guess. Have never heard of this song.

28D: Judd Hirsch sitcom: TAXI

30D: Escritoire: DESK. It's the only answer that makes sense. I did not know the meaning of "Escritoire". Looks like "Antique Roadshow" stuff. Can you tell Leigh Keno from Leslie Keno? I can't.

40D: Rub over: BESMEAR. Is "Rub over" an idiom? Somehow I wanted ERASE.

43D: Change dimensions: RESIZES. I like this clue. Better than "Estimate again".

46D: Summer or Shalala: DONNA. Know Clinton's DONNA Shalala. Not familiar with singer DONNA Summer. She has very fine LINEAMENTS. What are her signature songs?

47D: Disney World attraction: EPCOT. I only learned this morning that EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.

49D: Move as a throng: TROOP. Any Eagle Scout there?

51D: Samoan currency: TALA. The answer revealed itself. Here is a two TALA bank note. Samoa capital is APIA. Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa, which has American DOLLAR as their currency of course.

C.C.

Feb 26, 2009

Thursday February 26, 2009 Ed Voile

Theme: Love is Sharing

17A: Start of a quip: LOVE DOES

29A: Part 2 of quip: NOT EXIST

44A: Part 3 of quip: UNLESS IT

58A: End of quip: IS SHARED

This is so similiar to that memorable line in "Into the Wild": Happiness is only real when it's shared.

Anyway, I beg to differ. Unrequited love is not shared, but it does exist.

Nothing exciting about this puzzle. I think "Most senior" is more accurate than just "Senior " for 63A ELDEST. Really liked the clue for PARER (49D: Trimmer). The clue misguided me into thinking LEANER/THINNER.

If you have solved Barry Silk's LA Times themeless puzzle (Feb 21, Saturday), please scroll own and read Dr. Dad's blog post. I apologize for the earlier release. I am aware that some of you have not solved the puzzle yet. Neither have I, as I intended to publish the post here on March 1 Sunday. I had planned to solve it on Saturday myself so I would have fresh memories when I comment. Unfortunately the news was leaked last night and I don't want to dilute the comments into various segments.

Across:

5A: __ d'Isere, France: VAL. The French skiing resort. Literally "Valley of the Isere River".

19A: Hogs the mirror: PRIMPS. Brought back the campus life again. The girl who used to hog our mirror has changed so much.

22A: Also: PLUS. Did not come to me immediately. I am more used to the "Plus" clue for ALSO.

25A: Republican symbol: ELEPHANT. The symbol was created by cartoonist Nast. It first appeard in Harper's Weekly on Nov 7, 1874.

31A: Cover crop: SOY. What exactly is "Cover crop"?

37A: Tippy vessel: CANOE. The Eskimo CANOE is Kayak, "man's boat". Umiak is literally "woman's boat". All those paddlers are men though.

40A: Singer Vallee: RUDY. Vaguely remember this singer. What are his signature songs?

41A: Kin partner: KITH. KITH and kin.

52A: Tracy's Trueheart: TESS. I like this name Trueheart. Ada Lovelace, Baron's daughter, has an affectionate surname too.

55A: Neville and Burr: AARONS. Oh, AARON Neville and Linda Ronstadst made "Don't Know Much" famous. I did not know that.

62A: Selfsame: VERY. I thought "selfsame" means "identical", "the same".

Down:

1D: Ike's opponent: ADLAI. Better than "Loser to Ike". I imagine Illinois was as messy as it is today when ADLAI Stevenson was the governor.

5D: Bluish purple: VIOLET. This puzzle is so boring today. Let's create some silly poems. Roses are red, VIOLETS are blue .... now you finish the last two lines.

10D: Actress Van Devere: TRISH. Easy guess. She was married to George C Scott.

22D: Bases of columns: PLINTHS. I thought of PILLARS first.

25D: Demanded with force: EXACTED. Kim Jong-il has been suspiciously missing.

30D: Stars in Bordeaux: ETOILES. Van Gogh's "La Nuit Etoilée" ("Starry Night"). I wish I could paint my dreams.

36D: Capital of Ecuador: QUITO. ECUADOR was clued as "Quito's country" a week ago. Sucre is their monetary unit.

39D: Computer snag: GLITCH

41D: Israel's parliament: KNESSET. Netanyahu's right-wing Likud Party won 27 seats (out of a total of 120) in the last election. Does he look charming to you?

45D: Group in a group: SUBSET. I am very confused.

55D: Bart's grandpa: ABE. "The Simpsons". Homer's father.

56D: To a man: ALL. "To a man" is a new phrase to me. Is it similar to "As one man"?

57D: Actor Steiger: ROD. He won Best Actor Oscar for "In the Heat of the Night", my favorite Sidney Poitier movie.

C.C.

Feb 20, 2009

Friday February 20, 2009 Ed Voile

Theme: Nidget's Pal

17A: Gidget: SURFING FILM

49A: Widget: DESKTOP TOOL

11D: Fidget: SQUIRM ABOUT

25D: Midget: MINI VERSION

All the above theme answers feel like normal clues, don't you think so? "Squirm about": FIDGET. I hope this is an aberrant rather than a pattern. I don't like this reverse pattern. Hate when the clues rather than the answers are the theme. We just had "Snow, Show, Slow & Stow" the day before yesterday.

Our editor clued SANDRA DEE as "Gidget star"a few weeks ago. But the movie escaped me completely this morning. Difficult solving. The intersection of AL OERTER & ERDE is hard.

I disagree with the clue for OILER (47A: Crude workman?). OILER refers to the crude oil carrier rather than worker on the oil field, right?

Across:

5A: Acquire canines: TEETHE. "Acquire molars" too.

15A: Batman's butler: ALFRED. New to me. Not a fan of Batman or Superman. Heroic figures should not have a butler anyway.

19A: Sturm __ Drang: UND. "And" in German. "Storm AND Stress". I always think of Munch's "The Scream" whenever I see this term.

28A: Forest dweller: WOODSMAN. Did not come to me readily. Just realized that this hot-tempered Welsh golfer is called Ian Woosnam, not Ian Woodsman.

32A: Lacy houseplants: FERNS. Seedless and Flowerless. Oh, by the way, Chinese word for fig is "fruit without flowers". Do you think the flower is inside the fig fruit?

33A: Sleeve card?: ACE. Good clue.

35A: Clamps: VISES. With the ?idget theme, "Carpenter's gadget" might be a better clue.

38A: Threescore: SIXTY. Learned the meaning of "score" from Lincoln's "Fourscore and seven years ago...". I like his barebone, economical yet powerful writing. You could find some of his style in JFK's speeches.

44A: Fell as ice: SLEETED. Did not know SLEET can be a verb.

48A: Pressure meas.: PSI (Pounds per Square Inch). Also a Greek letter of course.

56A: "Das Lied von der __": ERDE. I googled. Mahler's composition. "Lied" is a German art song for solo voice and piano. ERDE means "earth". So this work is literally titled "The Song of the Earth".

58A: V-shaped fortifications: REDANS. No idea. This one is indeed V-shaped. I can't see how it serves its fortification purpose. Wikipedia says Russians used REDANS against Napoleon during one battle.

59A: Eurasian deer: ROES. Where is his tail? I learned a few days ago that antlers are deciduous. So I presume the deer shed their antlers every season? Last time our editor clued SIKA as "Japanese deer", brutal clue.

Down:

2D: Old French coin: SOU. 1/20 of the old franc. Sometimes the answer is ECU, a silver five-franc piece.

3D: Swiss river: AAR. Hmmm, Williams is not in the mood for "Swiss flow-er".

6D: "Enigma Variations" composer: ELGAR (Edward). British composer, stranger to me. What does "Nimrod" mean?

7D: Studio apts: EFFS. Saw this clue before. Not clear what exactly is an efficiency apartment.

8D: Angle or pod lead-in: TRI. "Cycle lead-in" as well.

9D: Mischievous children: HELLIONS. New word to me.

10D: O'Brien and Rostand: EDMONDS. EDMOND O'Brien was an actor who won Oscar for "The Barefoot Contessa" (Best Supporting Actor). EDMOND Rostand was a French poet and dramatist best known for his play " Cyrano de Bergerac". He said: It is at night that faith in light is admirable. What does that mean?

24D: Type of magnetism?: ANIMAL. Excellent clue.

26D: Comic Amsterdam: MOREY. Another unknown. He is best known for his role in "Dick Van Dyke Show", the guy on the most left.

28D: Adam and Benjamin: WESTS. Adam WEST played the Batman on the TV series. Benjamin WEST was an American painter of large scale historical scene during the time of American revolution. I feel sad for myself, the only WEST I know is Mae WEST.

35D: Waltz type: VIENNESE. I have no idea there are so many styles of Waltz.

36D: Olympic discus legend: AL OERTER. I don't know this legend. He won a gold medal in four consecutive Olympics, steroid-free, A-Rod.

44D: Suppress, as info: SIT ON

46D: Turkey label letters: USDA. Hey, I have the autograph of the current USDA chief.

50D: Advanced deg.: SCD (Scientiae Doctor, Latin). Doctor of Science. Same clue/ANSWER appeared our puzzle before.

53D: "__ Girls": LES. Have never heard of this comedy film. It's also known as "Cole Porter's LES Girls".

C.C.

Feb 15, 2009

Sunday February 15, 2009 Ed Voile

Theme: Dig Dug

23A: Rug: OBVIOUS TOUPEE

37A: Tug: HARBOR VESSEL

63A: Shrug: SHOULDER HEAVE

86A: Plug: WAD OF TOBACCO

101A: Fug: BAD ATMOSPHERE

17D: Bug: LISTENING DEVICE

42D: Slug: COUNTERFEIT COIN

I blanked on "Plug", though I've seen QUID or CHAW clued as "Tobacco plug" before. Did not know "Slug" can be COUNTERFEIT COIN. I do visit this hugely popular website from time to time, but I've never bothered to check what's the meaning of "Fug", always thought it's the substitute of the bad F word.

Too bad "Hug" and "Mug" are missing, they should be fun to define. And "Jug": "A Jug of Wine / A Loaf of Bread / - And Thou ... "so crudely romantic.

I don't know what's happened to our editor, this puzzle is screaming for more editing. The word "devices" should not make the appearance in the clue for ADDABLE (82D: Like auxiliary devices) due to 17D. Interesting to see ARON (8D: "East of Eden" twin) and TWIN (27A: Womb-mate) intersects one another, but the duplication of "twin" spoils the fun tremendously . "East of Eden" brother/son should be sufficient. Or just a simple "Elvis' middle name".

Too many "*est" words:

83A: At the earliest: SOONEST

51D: Most merciless: CRUELEST

109A: Most compact: DENSEST

86D: Superlatively sage: WISEST

Right now I have SEP for 10D (Calendar-watch abbr.). Does it stand for September? If so, why? Is it because NFL kicks off that month?

Click here for Argyle's Valentine Dream blog post.

Across:

1A: Soaked up rays: BASKED. Wrote down TANNED immediately and messed up my 1D: Leg-up: BOOST. I wonder if anyone tried SUNNED.

7A: Movie collie: LASSIE. Wow, this is a very old movie trailer.

13A: Pitchman: SPIELER

25A: "The Bald Soprano" playwright: IONESCO (Eugène). Got his name from the down fills. Romania-born French dramatist, a leading exponent of "Theater of the Absurd." Reminds me of Chris' research on Camus last time.

28A: "Peanuts" regular: LINUS. I don't quite get this one. Election night conservative sentiment?

33A: Conceived: IDEATED. I CREATED again, of course.

36A: First name in cartoon skunks: PEPE. Bon what?

40A: Old Portuguese currency: ESCUDOS. No idea. Here is a banknote.

44A: Planet-finding grp.: SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). I wanted NASA, as I always do.

45A: Electronic navigational system system: SHORAN (Short-Range Navigation). Forgot.

47A: 17th-century opener: MDCI. The year 1601. I like this clue.

54A: God of the east wind: EURUS. No idea. He was supposed to "bring warmth and rain, and his symbol was an inverted vase, spilling water." I can't find a good picture of him. But he is winged, as is every wind god. See this painting of Zephyrus ("God of west wind") and his lover Chloris, goddess of flower (Flora in Roman). "God of the north" wind is Boreas, and "God of south wind" is Notus. They all reported to Aeolus, right? Funny every wind god ends their name with letters "us" except Boreas.

55A: Fish like a stick?: GAR. Because it's very long? I am accustomed to seeing GAR clued as "Long-nosed needlefish".

58A: Modifiers: ADAPTERS. Why?

67A: Well-known wheel-spinner: PAT SAJAK. Really?

71A: People conquered by the Iroquois: ERIES. Easy answer. But I was not educated on this history.

73A: Fannie of vaudeville: BRICE. The funny Fannie in Barbara Streisand's "Funny Girl". What exactly is a vaudeville? See this word often in the biographies of those old movie stars.

82A: Spirit of "The Tempest": ARIEL. This ARIEL does look very airy. Hebrew for "Lion of the Lord". Shouldn't it be "Lioness of God" then?

90A: Botches: MISDOES

95A: U.S. transp. reg. agc.: ICC (Interstate Commerce Commission). From 1887-1996. I don't like the clue. No need to abbreviate all the 4 words, one is enough.

96A: Former Turkish official: PASHA. I think AGA is still in use.

99A: Anchoring place: MOORAGE

106A: Demonstrates: EVINCES

107A: Rough shelter: LEAN-TO. I thought of shanty.

110A: Going astray: ERRANT. Off-course, of course.

111A: Uses a divining rod: DOWSES. No idea. I did not know the meaning of "divining rod" either. Only know douse.

Down:

3D: Region of France: SAVOY. Unknown to me. I do love SAVOY cabbage though. Are those two related? SAVOY is in southeast France, adjacent to the Swiss-Italian border.

5D: I problem?: EGO. Good clue. EGO is Latin for "I", right?

6D: Bombarding particle used in accelerators: DEUTERON. Another unknown. Dictionary defines it as "a positively charged particle consisting of a proton and a neutron, equivalent to the nucleus of an atom of deuterium", whatever deuterium means.

12D: Bit of facial hair: EYELASH. I suppose so.

13D: Red gem: SPINEL. New gem to me. I wanted garnet.

16D: First of a gender: EVE

32D: Assassinated Egyptian leader: SADAT. He was assassinated in 1981. Wait till Mubarak die, there should be an investigation on who on earth killed SADAT.

33D: Welsh actor Novello: IVOR. Composer as well. I can never remember his name. The annual British songwriters' IVOR Award is named after him.

34D: Graphic opening?: DEMO. Demographic. Good clue.

37D: Sentimental novelist Fannie: HURST. No, nope. Does Fannie HURST write sentimental novels or was she a very sentimental woman?

44D: Ascorbic acid deficiency: SCURVY. "Ascorbic" means nothing to me.

53D: B-complex vitamin: BIOTIN. No idea. It's also called Vitamin H. How is it different from thiamin then?

54D: N.T. book: EPH (Ephesian). It appeared in our puzzle yesterday. So hard to remember these books of the Bible.

57D: Seven Wonders lighthouse: PHAROS. Is Pharaoh somehow related to this word?

79D: Converging to a point (var.): FOCUSSED. Did not know this before.

88D: Witticism: BON MOT. I thought MOT alone is BON enough.

87D: Baseball bat wood: ASH. And THREE (93D: Final strike). Babe Ruth's uniform is THREE as well.

103D: __-es-Salaam: DAR. Forgot again. It's the largest city in Tanzania. Arabic for "Abode of Peace". I am just so used to our editor's "Patriotic women's org." for DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution).

104D: Literary bits: ANA. Anecdotal olio.

C.C.

Feb 9, 2009

Monday February 9, 2009 Ed Voile

Theme: Location, Location, Location

17A: Past it: OVER THE HILL

36A: Focuses: CENTERS

56A: Pressurized: UNDER THE GUN

11D: Precedence: RIGHT OF WAY

27D: Like a southpaw: LEFT-HANDED

Nice puzzle. Simple theme. Perfectly executed. Every theme answer is gridded in its proper position. I would prefer a singular CENTER, but the grid rule dictates an odd-number word in the middle, so CENTERS has to be in plural form.

Disliked the clues for YENS (63A: Yearnings) and OCTET (12D: Octopus arms, e.g.) due to letter duplication. The stale "Group of eight" is just fine for OCTET. As for YENS, I would use a simple "Desires".

Liked the fresh clue for ENTS (54D: Adjective-forming suffixes, as in different). "Tolkien's trees" clue bores me. Happy to see our editor dumped "Poet's dusk" for EEN (37D: Ending for car or cant). But the clue was rather bland. Why not "Car tail?"

Across:

5A: Edouard's paintings: MANETS. Here is "Olympia" again. My favorite MANET. I love those daring eyes, so confronting.

14A: Porto-__, Benin: NOVO. See the bottom. Literally "New port" in Portuguese. I strung the answer together from down clues.

15A: Painter Modigliani: AMEDEO. The Italian painter. Like van Gogh, he died penniless.

21A: Slide, like a snake: SLITHER

24A: Market protests: BOYCOTTS. Named after Charles BOYCOTT, a British land agent who refused to lower rent for his tenant farmers in Ireland.

28A: $5 bill: FIN. Half a sawbuck.

29A: U.N. agcy.: ILO. Nobel Peace winner 1969. I did not know they belong to the UN.

31A: Eur. carrier: SAS. Sometimes the answer is KLM.

35A: One-time female mil. grp.: WAF. Women in the Air Force (1948-1976). New abbreviation to me.

38A: Female GI, once: WAC. Women's Army Corps (1943-1978). Saw this clue before.

39A: Compromise: SETTLE. Litigation-wise?

41A: Stephen or Chris: REA. Know Stephen REA ("Michael Collins" & "The Crying Game"). Have never heard of the British singer Chris REA.

42A: Polanki's Sharon: TATE. Was aware of the murder story, did not know her name. I am accustomed to the TATE Museum clue.

45A: Point NW of San Francisco: REYES. See the map. REYES is the plural form of REY, Spanish for king. Vs the Spanish Queen REINA.

50A: Made to join a mortise: TENONED. Did not know TENON can be a verb.

59A: Carolina river: PEE DEE. New river to me. Named after a Native American tribe.

62A: Lost sheep: STRAYS. Kept reading the clue as "Lost sleep".

Down:

5D: Olympic skier Phil: MAHRE. Foreign to me. British spelling to Maher (Bill Maher)? He does not look as cool as Bode Miller.

7D: Bk. after Ezra: NEH. Before Esth.

9D: Actor Savalas: TELLY. Have never heard of this actor. Wikipedia says he is the godfather to Jennifer Aniston, who is also of Greek root. I thought he has British blood, with this name TELLY.

10D: Importunes: SOLICITS

18D: Sales rep's domain: TERR

22D: Enameled metalware: TOLE. French for "Sheet metal". Most of the TOLE trays seem to have flowers painted on.

24D: Small bars: BISTROS. Some of the BISTROS are quite big.

26D: Winglike parts: ALAE. ALA is singular for Latin "wing". I wonder why the plural is not ALAS.

32D: Monterrey Mrs.: SRA. Alliteration again.

33D: Lot: FATE. The answer did not come to me easily. I was not in the "destiny" direction.

40D: Ex-Yankee Martinez: TINO. Yankees' ex-first base. Was replaced by Jason Giambi in 2001.

46D: One Barrymore: ETHEL. Dennis quoted her last Monday: "You must learn day by day, year by year, to broaden your horizon. The more things you love, the more things you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens."

47D: Jerry Stiller's Anne: MEARA. Ben Stiller's mother. I obtained her name from across fills.

52D: "The Night of the Hunters" screenwriter: AGEE. Also the screenwriter of "The African Queen". He drank a lot a lot.

53D: Actor Moses: GUNN. Completely unknown to me. Wikipedia says Moses GUNN was in "Roots". I don't remember seeing him though.

C.C.

Feb 7, 2009

Saturday February 7, 2009 Ed Voile

Theme: None

Total blocks: 34

Total words: 70

This is the first puzzle that I've solved with so few Down fills. Only 25 answers, compared with 45 Across words. And four of them have 15 letters:

3D: Flock and pride, e.g.: COLLECTIVE NOUNS

6D: Predatory insects: PRAYING MANTISES

7D: cousin of colitis: GASTROENTERITIS

11D: Digestive tract: ALIMENTARY CANAL

To steal a line from SEC whistle blower Harry Markopolos, this grid "roars like a lion and bites like a flea". Can't believe SEC took no action for 10 years when it took this guy only five minutes to figure out Bernie Madoff was a fraud.

I did have some trouble at the lower left quadrant. I did not know "No, no, NANETTE" and had trouble deciphering REDALGAE (37D: Source of agar). Has forgotten all the edible RED ALGAE dulse discussion we had a few weeks ago. I only use nori seaweed to wrap my rice balls.

Across:

4A: With it, once: HEP. I still see people use the word HEP occasionally. "With it, once"?

15A: Part of E.E.C.: EUR. Interesting intersection with EUROPA (5D: Icy satellite of Jupiter), which was named after the Greek goddess, from whom Europe derived.

16A: Spaces between leaf veins: AREOLAE. Last time the answer is a different plural form AREOLES. Can also be AREOLAS. Boring clue. I wanted "Nipple rings" .

25A: Elbe tributary: EGER. I can't find a map. Wikipedia says EGER is also a Hungarian city best known for its castle & thermal baths & wines. Nicknamed "Rome of Hungary". I wonder why most of those roofs are red.

26A: Capital on the Missouri River: PIERRE. Lingered here when we went to Billings a few years ago. A small charming city. Very quiet and clean. It's named after the fur trader PIERRE Chouteau.

27A: Old high note: ELA. The obscure Guido's high note.

33: Verizon, once: GTE. Only learned this morning that Verizon is a portmanteau of veritas and horizon. It's formed in 2000 when GTE merged with Bell Atlantic.

40A: Construct a retaining wall: REVET. No idea. Dictionary explains REVET as "to retain (an embankment, for example) with a layer of stone, concrete, or other supporting material; provide with a revetment." And it's rooted in French word "revetir", meaning "to clothes again". The noun is revetment. I did not know that there is a special term for those stony embankment.

38A: Adult males: MEN. And MAN (50A: Isle of __). Not sure if NY Times will allow this singular & plural form appear in one puzzle.

42A: Big place in California?: SUR. Big SUR.

44A: Invalidate: CANCEL. I thought of debunk.

51A: Prefix meaning different: HETERO. Heterosexual.

52A: __ homo (Behold the man!): ECCE. Last time ECCO is clued as "Behold, to Bellini". Italian for ECCE I suppose.

53A: Afrafat's org.: PLO. It's "Abbas's org." now.

54A: Of part of the eye: IRIDIC. New word to me. You would think the adjective for iris would be irisic.

61A: 'No, No,__": NANETTE. Have never heard of this musical before. Interesting trivia: Wikipedia says the producer of the show, a former owner of the Red Sox, financed the show by selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees.

64A: Artist's bases: GESSOES. Thought the plural form is just GESSOS.

66A: WWII landing craft: LST (Landing Ship Tank). The boat used in "Saving Private Ryan".

Down:

2D: Caspian sturgeon: BELUGA. I suppose those black stuff are BELUGA? Have never tasted it before.

9D: Clairvoyant women: SEERESSES. Cassandra was a SEERESS. She foresaw the fall of Troy. But because she did not return Apollo's love, he cursed her and nobody believed in her predictions.

12D: Certain Israeli: GALILEAN. Jesus is one.

23D: Given life, eg.: SENTENCED. I like this clue.

32D: Toss among: PITCH INTO

35D: Ducks and dodges: ELUDES

45D: hang out to freshen: AERATE

46D: John and Sondra: LOCKES. Knew John LOCKE, not Sondra LOCKE. Wikipedia says she is best known for frequently starring in films with Clint Eastwood.

57D: Presidential election loser of '50s: AES. Poor Adlai Stevenson. Always a "loser" in our editor's eye. How about "JFK's UN ambassor" or "DDE's opponent/challenger" rather than "Loser to DDE" all the time. He dated Lauren Bacall for some time, right?

C.C.

Jan 28, 2009

Wednesday January 28, 2009 Ed Voile

Theme: Dee-lightful

17A: Small gray-and-black songbird: CHICKADEE

31A: "The Four Seasons" composer: VIVALDI

49A: Restaurant employee: MAITRE D'

66A: "Gidget" star: SANDRA DEE

11D: Miscellany: SALMAGUNDI

30D: One of two rivals: TWEEDLE DEE

I have never heard of SALMAGUNDI before. Thought it would be the same as the Swedish smörgåsbord. But Dictionary says it's a kind of "salad of chopped meat, anchovies, eggs, and onions, often arranged in rows on lettuce and served with vinegar and oil." Doesn't sound good to me. Right now, I am hankering for some French toast drizzled with maple syrup and slices of fresh strawberries.

I solved this puzzle the way John Roberts administered Obama's swearing-in. It looked quite simple yet I still botched a few spots. Interesting theme concept, but I felt the constructor overdid the theme entries. Six is a lot for a weekday puzzle.

I would have picked up one DEE ending, one DI ending, and add a DY ending and worked out a puzzle with four theme answers (together with MAITRE D'), or simply a puzzle with all DEE ending theme entries. I don't know, let me have your opinion.

Across:

14A: Anthracite, e.g.: COAL. I forgot the meaning of "Anthracite", thinking of the dreadful anthrax.

20A: Shinto temple gateway: TORII. Like this one. TORI means "bird", the last I is from Iru meaning "To dwell". Japanese kanji 鳥居 literally means "Bird's Dwelling". Wikipedia says it's originally designed as a large bird perch. In Shintoism, "birds are considered messengers of the gods". I wonder how Angels' TORRI Hunter got his name. People often misspell his name as Tori.

25A: Verbena plant: LANTANA. Very pretty. Wikipedia says "LANTANA berries are edible when ripe though though like many fruit are mildly poisonous if eaten while still green." I stopped picking up and sampling exotic wild berries after watching the movie "Into the Wild".

35A: Ayres and Wallace: LEWS. Both were unknown to me. My answer was ELIS.

38A: Phony: PSEUDO. Adjective here?

41A: Game similar to keno: BEANO. Have never played BEANO or bingo.

43A: Nabokov novel: PNIN. I suppose letter P is silent? "Nabokov novel" answer is always "Ada", "PNIN" or "Lolita".

44A: Audience loudmouth: JEERER. Sounds like a made-up word.

46A: D.C. old-timer: POL. This "old-timer" confuses me. Now, if Minnesota recount mess clears up and Al Franken becomes our senator, he will be a POL, but he won't be a "D.C. old-timer", right? He will simply be a "D.C. newcomer".

47A: Rehan and Huxtable: ADAS. ADA Rehan was an actress. ADA Huxtable won Pulitzer in 1970, and is currently the architecture critic for "The Wall Street Journal". Both were unknown to me.

53A: Henry VIII's court painter: HOLBEIN. No idea. Strange necklace. Is S a special symbol for something? (Addendum: The painting is Thomas More. Here is HOLBEIN's self-portrait).

57A: Profit makers: EARNERS. What do you think of the clue/answer?

64A: Arboreal lemur: INDRI. You should eat worms if you miss this answer again.

Down:

1D: $ in the bank: ACCT. I was thinking of amount.

6D: Focal point: NODE. Is this a math term? I am not familiar with this definition.

9D: Pairs of twins: GEMINIS

22D: Polliwogs: TADPOLES. Last time TADPOLE is clued as "Frog of the future".

24D: Cerebrum's neighbor: MIDBRAIN. I guessed. I don't know anything about my brain structure.

27D: King in "The Tempest": ALONSO. I only knew King Lear.

28D: Biblical prophet: ELIJAH. "According to the Bible, he did not die but was carried skyward in a chariot of fire." Does it mean that other "Biblical prophets" all died?

29D: Moon: pref.: SELENO. New prefix for me, though I do know the Greek goddess of moon is Selene.

36D: Former Sov. unit: SSR

39D: Reg. agcy.: EPA. Luckily I got the crossing PNIN, otherwise, this would be an impossible for me. The clue is so vague.

50D: Having actual existence: Lat.: IN ESSE. Opposite IN POSSE.

54D: Actor Bostwick: BARRY. I googled his name, then I realized who he is. "Bostwick" sounds Scottish.

56D: Praise: EXALT. Extol also has 5 letters.

63D: Broadcast: SENT. I often forget that the past tense of "Broadcast" is still "Broadcast".

C.C.

Jan 4, 2009

Sunday January 4, 2009 Ed Voile

Theme: Old/New Things

23A: Any date in 2008? OLD YEAR'S DAY (New Year's Day)

25A: Replacement dog?: NEW YELLER (Old Yeller)

40A: City in ancient France?: OLD ORLEANS (New Orleans)

53A: Recently made?: NEW FASHIONED (Old Fashioned)

83A: Past eras in a city near Leeds?: OLD YORK TIMES (New York Times)

98A: Ebonics, e.g.?: NEW ENGLISH (Old English)

111A: Pink slip of a former GM Car?: OLDS PAPER (Newspaper)

116A: Waterway named for Paul?: NEWMAN RIVER (Ol' Man River)

"Ol' Man River" is a new song to me. As for 98A, Wikipedia says Ebonics refers to "Black English" or "African American Vernacular English". Why is it called NEW ENGLISH then? And How is it related to Old English? I guess I don't understand the rationale for his clue buildup.

Very nice and timely theme. Of those 8 theme answers, OLD YORK TIMES is my favorite.

Sunday's puzzle is always intimidating to me. The sheer size is overwhelming. And it often contains a few strange medical/chemical terms and obscure people' names. The difficulty level of NY Times Sunday puzzle is the same as their Thursday's. But our puzzle does not follow their pattern. I would say TMS Sunday is the most difficult, at least for me. I hope I can finish a 21*21 without cheating by the end of 2009.

Across:

11A: Playful troublemakers: SCALAWAGS. A new rascal word to me. Dictionary says that SCALAWAG also refers to "a native white Southerner who collaborated with the occupying forces during Reconstruction, often for personal gain."

20A: Unit of loudness: SONE. About 40 decibels.

21A: Civil War battle site: SHILOH. I was not familiar with Battle of SHILOH. What's so siginificant about it?

26A: Rocket launcher: BAZOOKA. OK, here is a picture. It's a portable. Topps also manufactures BAZOOKA baseball card.

27A: School in Sandhurst. Eng.: RMA (Royal Military Academy)

31A: Spaces between leaf veins: AREOLES. Can also be spelled AREOLAS, AREOLAE. The singular form is AREOLA. This is the only diagram I could find. And obviously they are not "Spaces between leaf veins".

35A: Chloroform discoverer: LIEBIG. OK, I checked, it's not a BIG LIE. This guy LIEBIG is indeed the discoverer of Chloroform, whatever it is. Wikipedia also says that he is known as the "father of the fertilizer industry" for his discovery of nitrogen as an essenitial plant nutrient.

45A: Wilson and Mulroney: BRIANS. Wilson is the lead singer for The Beach Boys. And Mulroney was the Canadian Prime Minister from 1984 to 1993. I knew neither of them. Easy guess though.

52A: Gust of wind: SCUD. I always associate SCUD with ballistic missile.

63A: Arlene or Roald: DAHL. Arlene DAHL is an actress. Roald DAHL is the author of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". Both unknown to me.

67A: Isl. of Australia: TAS. I wish it were clued as "Prof's aides".

69A: Current flow restrictors: DIODES. No idea. This is too complicated for me to understand.

75A: "The Conformist" writer Moravia: ALBERTO. I googled his name.

79A: Destitute class: HAVE-NOTS

86A: Climb (a rope): SHINNY. New to me. Looks like an adjective.

96A: Mutation: FREAK. How so?

102A: Capital of ancient Lydia: SARDIS. See this map. Way obscure to me.

104A: "Roberta" star: ASTAIRE. Alright, here is the clip. I've never heard of "Roberta".

109A: Cooking sticks: SKEWERS

120A: Seaport in the Philippines: ILOILO. I forgot. Saw this clue before. Here is the map again. The spelling reminds of the African fly TSETSE.

124A: Scott of a famous case: DRED. Was he a gimme to you? I could only picture Scott Peterson in my mind. What a awful man he is.

Down:

4D: Milne character: EEYORE. Learned from doing Xword. How to pronounce EEYORE again?

6D: Racing org.: NHRA (National Hot Rod Association)

10D: Aromatic fungicide: THYMOL. THYME & OL (suffix for alcohol). Unknown to me. How can fungicide be "Aromatic"?

19D: Old pol. unit: SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic). Pre-1991 obviously.

31D: Slow musical passages: ADAGIOS

34D: Sergeant fish: SNOOK. Had zero familiarity with this giant fish.

36D: Italian bowling: BOCCI. Or BOCCE. Yet another unknown. Looks like they are having fun.

37D: Pelvic bone: ILIUM. Also the Latin name for ancient Troy.

45D: Actor De Wilde: BRANDON. Another google. Which movie is he famous for?

47D: Mountain nymph: OREAD. Echo is an OREAD in Greek mythology.

50D: FDR or JFK: DEM. BHO is a DEM too. Weird, isn't it? Obama sounds so much better.

52D: Blues or Cardinals: ST. LOUIS

53D: Pres. advisory grp.: NSC (National Security Council). James Jones will be Obama's National Security Advisor.

59D: Love potion, in Britain: PHILTRE. Holy smoke. Really? How come I've never heard of this word? It's rooted in Greek philos, love. I suppose PHILTER is "Love potion, in America". Maybe I need to learn how to brew PHILTER.

68D: Ratfink: STOOLIE

77D: Mass calendars: ORDOS. Latin for "order". I have no doubt that I won't be able to remember this word next time the clue comes up.

80D: Director Kurosawa: AKIRA. I recognized his Japanese name when I googled. What a brilliant career!

84D: Hebrew letter: KOPH. 19th letter of Hebrew alphabet. I got it from the across fills. It's pronounced the same as cough.

90d: Master of a ship SKIPPER. I always thought Joe DiMaggio's nickname is Yankee SKIPPER rather than Yankee Clipper.

93D: "Falconer" writer: CHEEVER (John). Here is the bookcover. Is it worth reading? Have never heard of this writer.

94D: Earthly: TERRENE. Only knew terrain.

95D: Blows a gasket: SEES RED. And HUFFS (79D: Blows hard). Someone is mad.

97D: "__ Fideles": ADESTE. Semper came up first.

105D: Austrian article: DER. Never know when to put DER, when to put DAS.

110D: Macrame feature: KNOT. I did not know the meaning of Macrame.

111D: Archaic: abbr.: OBS (Obsolete). Where can you find this abbreviation?

118D:Wire measure: MIL. It's about .001 inch. Saw this clue before.

C.C.

Jun 1, 2008

Sunday June 1, 2008 Ed Voile

Theme: END IT

23A: End it: THROW IN THE TOWEL

30A: End it: PULL THE PLUG

56A: End it: KISS GOODBYE

83A: End it: ADMIT DEFEAT

104A: End it: CALL IT QUITS

118A: End it: WASH ONE'S HANDS OF

17D: End it: GRIND TO A HALT

28D: End it: SAY UNCLE

64D: End it: HAVE DONE WITH

71D: End it: PACK IT IN

Hmm, 118A is weak, isn't it? Overall, I like these theme entries. This constructor Ed Voile does have some great theme ideas. Here are some more: bring it to a standstill, stem the tide, cut short, put a period to, pull the check-string, chuck up the sponge, fall/drop by the wayside, what else can you think of?

However, this whole puzzle proved itself to be a huge PROBLEM (1A: Challenging situation) for me earlier. I really have a LOT's wife's fear of looking back at this puzzle now. Way too many names (total 18, excluding some other TV/Movie character names). And some of the cluing are very yawn-provoking and lacking in creativity. Let's see:

15A: Third-baseman Wade: BOGGS. Another baseball HOFer. The price of his baseball cards somehow does not reflect his HOF status. I don't understand why.

78A: Dressler or Osmond: MARIE. Why not clue Tennis star MARIA Sharapova during the French Open week? (Updater later: Sorry for the MARIA mistake)

79A: Lauder of cosmetics: ESTEE

99A: Johnson of "Laugh-in": ARTE. It's also ART in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

100A: Leibman and Howard: RONS. Know Howard, not Leibman.

111A: Neal's "Hud" co-star: NEWMAN (Paul)

125A: Old-time singer Lenya: LOTTE

130A: "Gone with the Wind" composer: STEINER (Max). Vaguely heard of him. He was also the composer for "Casablanca".

2D: Defensive hockey great Bobby: ORR

6D: Nobel Prize winner Wiesel: ELIE. Is Wiesel the only ELIE in this world? Who designed Halle Berry's 2002 Oscar dress?

12D: Mandel and Long: HOWIES

13D: Eugene and Ed: O'NEILLS. If I were the Editor, I would clue O'NEILLS as Tip and Ed. See the clue for 38A: Man of the house (DAD)? Tip O'NEILL's memoir is "Man of the House", which has been sitting on my bookshelf for over 3 years.

32D: Arthur C. __: CLARKE. Author for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

40D: "Airplane" star: HAYS (Robert)

50D: Baird and Keane: BILS. Know Keane (The Family Circus), not Baird.

96D: Old time journalist Nellie: BLY. I simply forgot her name. Saw this clue before.

97D: Guinness and Waugh: ALEC. This is another unbearably boring clue.

103D: Elliott of "The Spitfire Grill": ALISON. Not a familiar name to me. Only know ALISON Krauss. Love this Stick with me Baby...yes, we will find a way.

Once again, three annoyingly tedious Roman numerals in one puzzle:

27A: Roman 103: CIII

115A: 4th century date: CCCI

121D: MCII halved: DLI

And 3 difficult affixes:

77A: Both: pref.: AMBI. Ambilateral & Ambidextrous for example.

110A: Full of: suff. ULENT. Opulent & Corpulent & Fraudulent.

16D: Serpentine: pref: OPHI. Toughie. Ophidia & Ophiology.

Also new to me: CARIOLE, SHERDS (only knew SHARDS), GARDA (Irish police), SPICA, OPA, GAMBA, TIMBALS, SAHEL, ATONS, AREOLAR and FAGEN.

ACROSS:

8A: Auditory range: EARSHOT

20A: One-horse carriage: CARIOLE. No idea. Here is a picture.

21A: Car color combo: TWO TONE

25A: Chess side: WHITE

28A: Net fisherman: SEINER

29A: Brightest star in Virgo: SPICA. Stranger to me.

33A: Math fig. COEF (Coefficient)

42A: Bowl over: SLAY. I was only familiar with the "kill by violence" side of SLAY.

45A: Of iris rings: AREOLAR. Hard one. Completely unknown to me.

51A: Newspaper nickname: TRIB. Which one?

53A: Groups of nine: ENNEADS

61A: Drive-in worker: CARHOP

62A: Sub-saharan region: SAHEL. Here is the area: "On the S flank of the Sahara desert that stretches across six countries from Senegal to Chad." See this map.

65A: Tropical plant with brilliant flowers: CANNA. Here is a picture.

68A: Kind of palm: SAGO. Hmm, the SAGO Pudding.

69A: Ration group of WWII: OPA (Office of Price Administration)

70A: Froths: SPUMES. I like how it intersects with 57D: Smeltery refuse: SCUM.

75A: Vesuvian discharge: LAVA. I did not know the meaning of Vesuvian. Just an educated guess.

81A: Vinegary: ACETIC

86A: Certain nut tree: RED OAK (NJ state tree)

88A: French weapon: ARME. "A Farewell to Arms" is "L'Adieu aux ARMES" in French.

93A: Surfing the internet: ONLINE

95A: Kettledrums: TIMBALS. I googled TIMBALS, but TIMBALES came up, are they the same? Another unknown musical instrument for me in this grid is 58D: Vila da __(bass viol): GAMBA.

102A: Tony Musante's TV series: TOMA. Here is more information.

107A: Leg bone: FIBULA. And 46D: Chest bone: RIB

109A: Russian veto: NYET. Just learned that "Da" is Russian for Yes (formally). The informal way is "aga", and the slangy way is "nu". Very interesting.

113A: Kissers: LIPS

117A: Carbon-arc lamp: KLIEG

126A: Stars in the French sky: ÉTOILES. And another French word GATEAU (18D: French cake).

127A: Slope: INCLINE. And 116D: Inclination: CANT. I was not aware of the slanting side of CANT until this morning. Great intersection.

128A: Edith Wharton classic, "___ Frome": ETHAN

129A: Binges: BENDERS

DOWN:

7D: Stalker: MENACER. I only knew MENACE.

11D: Marcus Aurelius, e.g.: STOIC. Had no idea who Marcus Aurelius was. STOIC was very inferable though.

15D: Arbor: BOWER

19D: Pottery fragments: SHERDS. Variant of SHARDS.

24D: Figure of speech: TROPE

29D: Moved like a pro: SPUN. And 118D: Network: WEB

35D: ___ folly: FULTON'S. Big stumper here as I could not get the crossing 33A.

41D: Irish police: GARDA. Another unknown. GARDA is the largest lake in Italy.

43D: Coffin stands: BIERS. BIER is also German for Beer.

52D: Proverb: BYWORD. Did not know this before.

54D: Stray calf: DOGIE

56D: Fine porcelain: SPODE. Bone china. Named after the British potter Josiah SPODE. Unknown to me.

59D: New York lake: ONEIDA

63D: In haste: APACE. Lickety-split!

67D: Willingly, old style: LIEF. FAIN is another word.

72D: Entrance guard: GATEMAN

76D: Egyptian symbol: ATONS. Also spelled as ATENS. Egyptian SOLAR (62D: Battery type) god, represented as a solar disk with rays ending in human hands. Now I think I saw this picture before.

80D: Twin city: ST. PAUL. Thank you very much!

82D: Adjective-forming suffix: IAL. Proverbial for example.

84D: A-Team member: MR. T. The clue should have a quotation mark, don't you think so?

85D: Point to the right?: EAST

87D: Elitist: SNOB. Th hoity-toity folks.

94D: Rival with some success: EMULATE

98D: Chinese treats: LITCHIS. Hmm, I love LITCHIS. Ate a ton of them when I lived in Guangzhou (Canton). There are several different spellings of this fruit, lychee, leechee, lichee, etc. But it's just Lizhi (荔枝) to me.

100D: Cause bitter resentment: RANKLE

101D: Spotted wildcat: OCELOT. He seems to be very alert.

105D: Pear-shaped fruit: QUINCE. Nailed it this time, have to thank QUITS from across though.

107D: Dickens character: FAGEN. In which novel? I've never read any Dickens work.

108D: Plant pest: APHID

119D: Saul's uncle: NER. Father of Abner as well.

120D: First of several?: ESS. The first letter of Several is S.

124D: __-de-lance: FER. The large pit viper. Here is a picture.

C.C.