Showing posts with label Edgar Fontaine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Edgar Fontaine. Show all posts

Aug 9, 2009

Sunday August 9, 2009 Edgar Fontaine

Theme: Initial Expo- reinterpretation of famous people's initials.

27A: Author who's rarin' to write?: EAGER BEAVER WHITE (E. B. WHITE - author of "Charlotte's Web")

45A: Daredevil writer?: HANG GLIDER WELLS (H. G. WELLS, writer of 'The Time Machine'')

67A: Explosive blues singer?: BIG BANG KING (B.B. KING, blues legend)

92A: Hard-hitting mystery writer?: PILE DRIVER JAMES (P. D. JAMES, British mystery writer)

109A: Threatening, but harmless, showman?: PAPER TIGER BARNUM (P. T. BARNUM, the circus showman)

15D: Merchant who moonlights as a union boss?: LABOR LEADER BEAN (L. L. BEAN, founder of the mail-order giant)

44D: Poet surfing the Net?: WEB BROWSER YEATS (W.B. YEATS, Nobel Literature poet)

Of all the 7 theme answers, I like PAPER TIGER BARNUM the post. Chairman Mao used to call the United States PAPER TIGER.

Good to see Edgar Fontaine's name again. It's been a long time since we last solved his TMS Daily puzzle.

Amusing theme. Some of the clues are very tough. Plus quite a few unknowns. I just struggled again.


1A: Autograph site: CAST. Wanted EBAY, the site where I got some of my autographed baseball cards.

5A: "Yesterday": ASAP

9A: Hefty competitor: GLAD

13A: Twist together: ENLACE

19A: Emperor after Galba: OTHO. No idea. He overthrew Galba and ruled for just only three months in AD 69.

20A: "A __ technicality": MERE

21A: Pressure, loan shark style: LEAN ON. Not familiar with the "Exert pressure" meaning of LEAN ON. "Rely on", yes

23A: Help out at the trampoline: SPOT. Why?

25A: Florida Marlins uniform color: TEAL. Ha ha, I've never paid attention to Marlins' uniform color. That's Miguel Cabrera, who is now with the Tigers.

26A: RoboCop, e.g.: CYBORG. It stands for Cybernetic Organism. New word to me. Not familiar with the movie RoboCop either.

31A: River through Silesia: ODER. The German/Polish border river. Flows to the Baltic Sea. I could not find Silesia though.

32A: __War: 1850s conflict: CRIMEAN

34A: Deep-seated: INBRED

36A: Connecting: BETWEEN. Can you explain to me how these two are synonymous?

39A: Insurance that covers bridges?: DENTAL. The ? mark did not prevent me from thinking of the river bridges.

41A: Vermont ski resort: STOWE. No idea. Is it named after Harriet Beecher STOWE?

50A: Jazzman Calloway's birth name: CABELL. Cab Calloway. Total stranger to me.

52A: Campanella of Ebbets Field fame: ROY. Gimme. Catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers who played in the Ebbets Field. Hall of Famer.

53A: Green-lighted: OK'D

54A: Sainted Norse King: OLAV II. Easy guess. It could only be OLAV II or OLAV IV or OLAV VI.

56A: Horse of the Middle East: ARAB

56A: Ocular sphincter: IRIS

58A: Africa's largest nation in area: SUDAN. I am glad I don't live in Darfur.

60A: Blue-pencils: EDITS. Oh, I associated EDITS with red-color.

61A: Dead center?: TOMB. Great clue.

62A: "Oh, brother!": MAN

63A: Series opener?: MINI. Miniseries.

64A: Hill worker: AIDE. Capitol Hill.

66A: Geppetto wished on one: STAR. "When You Wish Upon a STAR", from "Pinocchio". I was stumped. Did not know who Geppetoo is.

70A: Keep out of the lineup: REST

79A: Give rise to: SPAWN

82A: Pin on a rowboat: THOLE. Ah, T' HOLE. That's how I remember it.

84A: Come ci, comma ça: SOSO. "Come ci, comma ça" is literally "Like this, like that".

85A: Bring in: EARN

86A: Try to hit with: TOSS AT

88A: White House nickname: IKE. It can only be IKE or ABE.

89A: Take up, perhaps: HEM. Take up/HEM the sleeves an inch.

90A: Creamsicle color: ORANGE. Did not know the Creamsicle brand.

96A: Much of Chile: ANDES

97A: High-tech card interpreter: READER. Bar code READER?

98A: Seriously restrained, as a prisoner: IN IRONS

100A: Thwart: STYMIE. Crossing TRIPS (101D: Fools, with "up").

102A: GM debut of 1964: GTO (1964-1974).

103A: They work in wheels: POTTERS. POTTER's wheel.

108A: Rochester's love: EYRE. From "Jane EYRE".

114A: Frock wearers: FRIARS

117A: Bibliography abbr.: ET AL

118A: 13 for Al, e.g.: AT NO. Did not know aluminum's Atomic Number is 13.

119A: Go quietly: TIPTOE

120A Malibu landmark: PIER. Malibu PIER.

121A: "Clair de __": LUNE. Clair is French for "Clear". LUNE is "moon". "Clair de LUNE"= "moonlight". Debussy's piece.

122A: Luth. or Meth.: PROT (Protestant)

124A: Like a stained shirt pocket, maybe: INKY

125A: Christian name?: DIOR. Christian DIOR. Nailed it immediately.

128A: Title word in an annual Guy Lombardo classic: SYNE. "Auld Lang SYNE" (Literally "Old Long Since"). I've never heard of Guy Lombardo. He is credited with popularizing the use of the song at New Year’s celebrations in America, according to Wikipedia.


1D: Sine's reciprocal, in trig: COSEC. My goodness. I thought it's COSINE.

2D: How some stocks are sold: AT PAR

3D: Chess, Japanese style: SHOGI. Sho=General (as in Shogun). Gi=Chess.

4D: __ pole: TOTEM

5D: Unicellular life: AMEBAE. Plural of AMEBA, though AMOEBA is more common.

6D: "God Bless America" inning: SEVENTH. The effect of Sept 11. Weird to sing "Take Me to the Ball Game" while inside the stadium.

7D: Part of WATS: AREA. WATS = Wide Area Telecommunications Service. New acronym to me.

8D: Sicko, for short: PERV. Pervert. I only know perb, which stands for perpetrator (or perpendicular crossing in our blog).

9D: It doesn't conceal much: G-STRING. Lovely matching baby doll top.

10D: "Gigi" composer: LOEWE. Learner & LOEWE.

11D: Indian wet nurse: AMAH. It's called AMAH in Hongkong too.

12D: Place for a bagel with a schmear: DELI

13D: City in California's Imperial Valley: EL CENTRO. Literally "The Center". New to me. Wikipedia says Cher was born here.

14D: Napoleonic Wars marshal: NEY (Michel). Napoleon called him "the bravest of the brave".

16D: Galvanic cell part: ANODE

17D: Like baked apples: CORED. You don't want to bake an Honeycrisp apple.

18D: Certain B.S. holder: ENGR

28D: James Dean persona: REBEL. "REBEL Without a Cause" in particular. He was kind of a REBEL in "East of Eden" too.

29D: Milton's "Lycidas", e.g.: ELEGY. No idea. Wikipedia says "Lycidas" was a poem dedicated to the memory of Edward King, a collegemate of Milton's at Cambridge who had been drowned when his ship sank in the Irish Sea.

30D: Trident feature: TINE

35D: Turned on the waterworks: BAWLED

37D: Blender name: WARING. Not familiar with the brand. It's named after musician Fred WARNING.

38D: Grandson of Adam: ENOS

39D: Antelope named for the sound it makes when frightened: DIK-DIK. Oh, good to know. Good morning, DIK-DIK, don't be afraid.

40D: Icelandic epic: EDDA

41D: Sings like Ella: SCATS

42D: It has Lovers card: TAROT

43D: 2004 Democratic keynoter: OBAMA. I remember that speech very vividly. My first encounter with the name OBAMA.

46D: Lizard's habitat?: LOUNGE. LOUNGE lizard.

47D: DLX÷ X: LVI. 560÷ 10= 56.

48D: Beyong tipsy: LIT

49D: Word before boom: SIS. SIS boom bah.

51D: Perching places: LIMBS. For birds.

57D: Grammy winner Bonnie: RAITT. Fascinating voice.

58D: Inasmuch as: SINCE

59D: Some grandkid spoilers: NANAS

63D: Jiffy Bag, e.g.: MAILER. Oh, I just call Jiffy Bag bubbled envelop.

65D: All-natural abode: IGLOO. Inuit for "house". Constructed of snow, hence "all-natural" I suppose.

68D: Arrange, as a deal: BROKER

69D: Chemical relative: ISOMER. Same compound with different arrangement of atoms.

71D: Serengeti grazer: ELAND. The spiral-horned antelope.

72D: Suit material: SERGE. Woolen fabric.

73D: Nano or Shuffle fillers: TUNES. iPod Nano/iPod Shuffle.

75D: Ancient wreath for the head: ANADEM. New word to me. LAUREL doesn't fit.

79D: Indy additive: STP

80D: Pacific finger food: POI. You eat POI with finger?

81D: Comm. method reputedly used by Koko the gorilla: ASL (American Sign Language). Stumper for me.

83D: Cellular structure: HIVE

84D: High roller?: SEMI. Nice clue.

87D: Went (all over): TRAIPSED

89D: Capital WNW of Manila: HANOI. Vietnam's capital.

91D: Haile Selassie worshipper: RASTA. They wear dreadlocks.

93D: "The very __!": IDEA

94D: Wired, so to speak: JITTERY. Edgy.

95D: Opera heroine, often: SOPRANO

99D: More stately: NOBLER

100D: Fertile Crescent land: SYRIA. See this Fertile Crescent region map. It's shaped like a crescent.

102D: Gibberish, metaphorically: GREEK

104D: Nabs using trickery: TRAPS

105D: Log item: ENTRY

106D: Yak, yak, yak ..: RUN ON. I often imagine how Geri (our fellow Canadian solver) looks like. She is so quiet yet so present.

107D: Walloped, old-style: SMOTE. Biblically.

108D: New newts: EFTS

110D: Big __: baseball's David Ortiz: PAPI. Nick name for Ortiz, another steroid user.

111D: Tiger Wood's wife: ELIN. ELIN Nordegren. A former Swedish model/nanny.

112D: Fix, in a way: GELD. Oh, neuter fix.

13D: Fancy case: ETUI. Aren't you glad we don't have PTUI any more?

115D: Sushi ingredient: ROE. I've somehow lost appetite for salmon ROE sushi.

Answer grid.


Nov 21, 2008

Friday November 21, 2008 Edgar Fontaine

Theme: Sequels - Better Than the Originals

18A: Barbra Streisand sequel?: FUNNIER GIRL

24A: Adam Sandler sequel? HAPPIER GILMORE

40A: Lee Marvin sequel?: THE DIRTIER DOZEN

52A: Molly Ringwald sequel?: PRETTIER IN PINK

63A: Dennis Hopper sequel?: EASIER RIDER

Very interesting "Y" --> "IER" sequel idea, very creative. Is there a movie title with the word "ugly"?

"Dirty Harry" would have matched better with the other movie titles, with no "THE". But it has an even amount of numbers. So it's impossible to be structured in row #8.

I laughed at the clue for DIET (41D: Lose on purpose?). Remember what Lisa said about the "Loses on purpose?" clue on "The Simpsons"? Forward to 8:36, she said "DIETS.....Will Shortz, you clever rascal".

I don't think the "?" mark is necessary for PYRES (71A: Funeral arrangements?), but TILDE (13D: Spanish accent mark) could have been clued as "Señorita's curve?", with a "?" mark. The EGIS (19D: Patronage) needs a "var." hint.

I love how RAIN (42D: Precipitation) parallels DROP (43D: Let lapse). Only wish DROP were clued as "Bit of 42D".


1A: Moon buggy: LEM (Lunar Excursion Vehicle). I like this "buggy" clue. Better than "NASA vehicle".

14A: Clare of "Bleak House": ADA. I've never heard of Dickens' "Bleak House". I wanted INA, thinking of the actress INA Claire, who often appeared in our puzzle.

15A: Disney's Little Mermaid: ARIEL. Do you collect Barbie dolls? ARIEL is very reasonably priced. Some of the "I Love Lucy" and "The Munsters" dolls are quite expensive. This is the original Barbie, probably worth thousands of dollars.

16A: Isle in the Bay of Naples: CAPRI. Is "Bay of Naples" the same as Gulf of Naples?

20A: Kind of crazy?: STIR. Got it from down fills. I was not familiar with STIR-crazy. Good clue though.

22A: African river: CONGO. Too bad, our editor missed an opportunity to pay tribute to Michael Crichton.

23A: Pioneer film Browning: TOD. He is the director of "Dracula" & "Freaks". Unknown to me. He looks like a very cold guy.

30A: Affirmative action?: NOD. Great clue.

44A: Pueblo dweller: HOPI. The answer would have been ZUNI if it were a Barry Silk puzzle.

46A: Dawn goddess: EOS. It's Aurora for the Romans. I am confused, how can a goddess name ends in "os"? I thought only Greek masculine nouns end in "os", "is" and "as". Or "us" as in Zeus I suppose.

59A: Thing, in law: RES

69A: Basketry willow: OSIER


2D: Archie's better half: EDITH. I've seen one or two episodes. Pretty funny.

3D: Beatles phenomenon: MANIA

5D: Indonesian islands: ARU. See the lower right corner of this map. I would not have got it without the across fills.

6D: Insomuch as: SINCE. Do you like "SINCE I Don't Have You"?

7D: Domingo, e.g.: TENOR. Domingo performed at the closing of Beijing Summer Olympics.

9D: Roll of papyrus: SCROLL

11D: Typify: EPITOMIZE

21D: Record speed?: RPM

25D: Roz on "Frazier": PERI. Boy, I can never remember PERI Gilpin's name. PERI is also the fairy in Persian mythology.

26D: Borodin prince: IGOR. Or "Composer Stravinsky".

27D: Shifty shark: MAKO. I wanted ORCA. Wow, look at this big hook.

32D: Tongue ___: DEPRESSOR. "Twister" does not fit.

38D: Sign of summer: LEO. Or Uncle LEO of "Seinfeld".

48D: Fast-lane woe: STRESS

52D: Occurring before surg.: PRE-OP. "Before surg." should be sufficient.

58D: Whitewater vessel: KAYAK. What's so special about "Whitewater"? Why not other river? Whitewater always reminds me of the Clinton scandal.


Nov 12, 2008

Wednesday November 12, 2008 Edgar Fontaine

Theme: TERROR TRAIN (55A: Film starring first names of 21A, 33A and 42A)

21A: "The Naked Chef": JAMIE OLIVER

33A: "The Father of Radio": LEE DE FOREST

42A: "Old Iron Pants": CURTIS LEMAY

Boy, I was not familiar with any of those nicknames. I recognized JAMIE OLIVER's face when I googled his name. I must have seen him on "Iron Chef America" or some other Food Network program.

I was stumped last time when LEMAY was clued as "Wallace’s running mate". But I never bothered to read details of the Wikipedia entry. "Old Iron Pants", what a strange nickname! Have never heard of LEE DE FOREST either. I always thought Edison or Tesla is "The Father of Radio".

Easy puzzle though. Most of the unknowns were obtainable from crossing fills. I really like the clue for I DO (41A: Rite answer?"). Yesterday's "Union Contract?" is great too. ASIA is the answer for 66A: One side of the Urals, so to avoid any kind of remote duplication of clue/answer, I would have clued ABACI (2D: Asian calculations") as "63A counters" (63A: Sphere of sweat: BEAD)

The clue for EDGAR (67A: Degas or Bergen) made me laugh. Way to go, Mr. EDGAR Fountaine.


15A: Gag reflex?: HAHA. Funny clue.

16A: Waterfall fallout: SPRAY. The clue reminds me of "Deliverance", with those dangerous stretches of rapids.

18A: Joie de vivre: ELAN. I love Frédéric Fekkai's "A Year of Style". I like his view on "Joie de vivre".

19A: Irregularly notched: EROSE. Probably only a crossword word, isn't it?

23A: Mythical mariner: SINBAD. I wonder if SINBAD worshipped Poseidon/Neptune as his god of sea. Or do Arabs have their own sea god?

29A: Jodie of "The Accused": FOSTER. She won an Oscar for "The Accused". I've never seen it. I don't like her movies. "The Silence of the Lambs" is very scary.

39A: Gen. Arnold's nickname: HAP. I forgot. He is a five-star general. Was he as famous as Gen. Omar Bradley/George Marshal?

46A: Sagan series: COSMOS. I guessed. I've never heard of Carl Sagan or COSMOS.

48A: Bounding main: OCEAN. I know "main" can refer to "sea", but why "Bounding"? Or is it a common phrase?

49A: Greek god of war: ARES. It's Mars for the Romans. Do you also think that Americans are from Mars, Europeans are from Venus?

65A: Singer Simone: NINA. Nope, I've never heard of her name before. Which song(s) is she famous for?


1D: "Gigi" setting: PARIS. "Thank Heaven for Little Girls". I like the happy ending. "We will always have PARIS" at the end of "Casablanca" is so sad.

3D: Neighbor of Oman: YEMEN. It's also the "Neighbor of Saudi Arabia". San'a, strange capital name.

4D: Indy 500 sponsor: STP. Often clued as "The Racer's Edge".

9D: "The Waste Land" poet: T. S. ELIOT. Here is the poem. Why "For Ezra Pound" in the upper left corner? Hmmm, "April is the cruelest month...". I disagree.

11D: Part of Can.: PROV. I was thinking of the actual name of the provinces.

21D: Green shade: JADE. Ersatz JADE can bring you bad luck.

22D: Lummoxes: OAFS. Add one letter F, we have "flummox". English can be very confusing.

24D: Summoned: BADE

27D: Quantum theorist Niels: BOHR. He won Nobel in 1922. His son Aage Niels BOHR also received the Nobel Physics in 1975.

28D: Muse of verse: ERATO. "Muse of Love or Erotic verse", to be exact. "Muse of epic poem" is Calliope, and "Muse of lyrical poem" is Euterpe.

34D: Japanese novelist Shusaku: ENDO. I guessed. Have never heard of him. Wikipedia says his most famous work is "Silence" and Martin Scorsese "announced his intention to shoot a film based on the book in summer 2008".

35D: Cain's nephew: ENOS. Also HOF Slaughter.

47D: Tomei of "In the Bedroom": MARISA. Have you seen "In the Bedroom"? Is it good? I only saw her "My Cousin Vinny".

53D: Post sans postage: EMAIL

54D: Knobby: NODAL

59D: Pisa's river: ARNO. Or "Florence's river". A 4-letter Italian river has to be ARNO.


Nov 5, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 Edgar Fontaine

Theme: Nanny (Fine) Rhyme Time

20A: 1977 PGA Championship winner: LANNY WADKINS

50A: Slugger with second-most grand slams: MANNY RAMIREZ

3D: "Lethal Weapon" star: DANNY GLOVER

25D: Candy brand: FANNY FARMER

LANNY WADKINS is a familiar name to most golf nuts. He used to cover every PGA Championship for CBS. I did not know that he won 1977 PGA. Filled in MANNY RAMIREZ quickly, though I had no idea that he has the second-most grand slams (20), only 3 behind the record holder Lou Gehrig. Had no problem getting DANNY GLOVER. But FANNY FARMER was new to me.

Nice and easy puzzle for me. There were several unfamiliar names, but most were obtainable from the adjacent fills. I liked how the two Across theme answers intersect the two Down clues.

My favorite today is the clue for YUAN (52D: Dynasty before Ming). YUAN is mostly known as "Chinese Currency ". YUAN Dynasty (1271-1368) was founded by Khubai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan.

In his poem, Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem wrote: In Xanadu did Kubla Khan /A stately pleasure-dome decree /Where Alph, the sacred river, ran /Through caverns measureless to man/Down to a sunless sea."
The Dynasty before YUAN is called Song, and the Dynasty after Ming is Qing, the last Dynasty in China. Had to memorize this in primary school, the same as you did for all the 43 US Presidents I suppose.

Most of the crossword constructors must be excited that Obama won the election. Now they can have fun cluing his two daughters' names: Malia and Sasha, very crossword-friendly, plenty of vowels.


1A: Brewski: SUDS. This reminds me of a clue for ALE: "Bath suds". Bath is the spa capital of the UK. It's located in south-west England. See it? It's close to Bristol.

5A: Shoot from a cover: SNIPE. I love Clint Eastwood/John Malkovich's "In the Line of Fire".

10A: Principal Skinner's nemesis: BART. I got it from the down clues. Have never watched "The Simpsons".

14A: Grizzly weapon: CLAW

23A: Opposite of the seven seas?: DRYLAND. I did not know that DRYLAND is a word.

29A: "Pursuit of the Graf __": SPEE. I've never seen this movie, have you? I cannot understand the fun of "I am as mad as Hell, and I am not going to take it any more!" in Peter Finch's "Network".

31A: "Exodus" hero: ARI. He is portrayed by Paul Newman in the movie.

32A: Bases on balls: WALKS

35A: FDR's Blue Eagle: NRA (National Recovery Administration). NRA is also National Rifle Association of course. I wonder why it's called Blue Eagle instead of Brown Eagle?

38A: Nabokov novel: PNIN. Learned from doing Xword. Have never read this book.

39A: RPM part: REV. I wrote down PER first.

45A: Fire from a low-flying aircraft: STRAFE. I can never remember this word. So close to STRIFE in spelling.

53A: River of Pisa: ARNO. Here is the map. See Florence and Siena?

56A: Bible version: DOUAY. No idea. I strung the answer together from across fills. What is DOUAY?


2D: Of an arm bone: ULNAR. Ulna: ULNAR. Radius: RADIAL.

4D: Tchaikovsky ballet: SWAN LAKE. Very pretty.

5D: Gives rise to: SPAWNS.

9D: Applied scientist: ENGINEER. I would not have got this answer without the across fills. Such a narrow definition of ENGINEER.

21D: Kissers: YAPS. I sure have problem with English slangs.

26D: Gallico novel, "Mrs. __ Goes to Paris": 'ARRIS. Have you read this novel? I've never heard of it before.

27D: Laughing: RIANT. Present particle of French verb "rire" (laugh). Risible has the same root. (Note: Thanks, Martin.)

32D: Merchandise: WARES. New definition to me. I always associate WARE with hardware, software, silverware, etc.

37D: Magnificent: SPLENDID. Do you like NPR's "The SPLENDID Table"?

38D: First public performance: PREMIERE. Same pronunciation as premier, right?

48D: Love in Limousin: AMOUR. Good alliteration in the clue. "Love in Louvre" (Cupid & Psyche) will be great too.

48D: Silk -cotton tree: CEIBA. See this picture. Kind of like cotton, isn't it? New word to me. Wikipedia says it's also called kapok, and it's a sacred symbol in Maya mythology.

49D: Pound and Stone: EZRAS. Know the poet Pound, have never heard of EZRA Stone before. What is he famous for?

51D: Sushi wrapping: NORI. I also love NORI rice cracker.

55D: Keanu in "The Matrix": NEO


Oct 24, 2008

Friday October 24, 2008 Edgar Fontaine

Theme: "Marry" Has a Little Rhyme

18A: Hogwarts' student: HARRY POTTER

23A: Former Heavyweight Champion: LARRY HOLMES

38A: Director of "Rain Man": BARRY LEVINSON

51A: Phillie with eight gold gloves: GARRY MADDOX

58A: Hatchet-wielding temperance advocate: CARRY NATION

"Rain Man" is a great movie, but I've never paid attention to its director's name. I am not familiar with either LARRY HOLMES or GARRY MADDOX. The only Phillie I could think of is Mike Schmidt (also 11-letter).

Besides GARRY MADDOX, there are also CUB (58D: Chicago pro) and ABNER (54D: Doubleday of baseball) for a baseball undertone. Though it's been debunked, I still like the myth that Doubleday invented baseball.

I think our editor was watching ball games while editing this puzzle, so many flaws. Awful clue for HITHERTO (11D: Until now) due to UNTIL (63A: Up to). A clue for Clara BARTON (6D: Coen film, "__ Fink") would have avoided the COEN (27D: "Fargo" director) duplication. There should be a "briefly" hint for OTS (32A: Bonus periods).


1A: Maternal flower?: MUM. Well, only in the UK, isn't it? It's MOM here. "Silent flower?" is better.

4A: Travail: LABOR

9A: Cause for a blessing? ACHOO

17A: Sound intensity units: abbr.: DBS (Decibels). Stumper for me.

20A: Hardest to fathom?: DEEPEST. Can you think of a word/phrase to clue DEEPEST without using "-est" (or "most"/"least")?

22A: Hebrew letter: RESH. New to me. It's 20th letter of Hebrew alphabet. Notice nun, tet and shin? Great words to play around for those Xword constructors.

26A: Writer Umberto: ECO. Hee, I finally remember his name.

29A: Needle case: ETUI. Long time no see!

30A: Toshiba rival: NEC. NEC belongs to Sumitomo. One of the earliest foreign companies to enter China after our "Open Door" policy (1978). Coca - Cola was an early bird too.

31A: Rider's whip: CROP. New to me. I've never heard of riding CROP or leather tongue.

35A: Oscillates: VIBRATES. I always associate VIBRATES with a trembling motion rather than "swing back and force".

55A: Alaska's first governor: EGAN. Wikipedia says EGAN is "the only governor in the state's history to have actually been born in Alaska." Sarah Palin was born in Sandpoint, Idaho.

57A: Singer Flack: ROBERTA. I love her "Killing Me Softly With His Song".


1D: Be a busybody: MEDDLE

3D: Capital of Lesotho: MASERU. No idea. LESOTHO was clued as "Basutoland, today" on a TMS Sunday puzzle before. It's encircled by South Africa.

4D: Massachusetts medical clinic: LAHEY. Another unknown. Is it as famous as Mayo Clinic?

8D: Actor Alejandro: REY. I googled his name, then I realized that I had searched for him before. He is in Elvis's "Fun in Acapulco".

24D: Tool for evening: LEVELER. New word to me.

25D: DLII times II: MCIV. Roman 1104.

28D: Saturn's wife: OPS. Googled again. Her equivalent is Rhea in Greek mythology. Saturn (Cronus) ate all his children except Jupiter (Zeus). How cruel!

36D: Again, in music: BIS. I wonde what's the origin for BIS.

39D: Be ruled by: ANSWER TO

49D: Forces from: EXACTS. The clue should be "Forces (from)", don't you think so?


Oct 19, 2008

Sunday October 19, 2008 Edgar Fontaine

Theme: Happy Anniversary!

29A: Apt 60th anniversary destination: DIAMOND HEAD

36A: Apt 3rd anniversary gift: LEATHER BELT

54A: Apt 12th anniversary gift: SILK STOCKINGS

72A: Apt 20th anniversary film (with "The"): CHINA SYNDROME

89A: Apt 35th anniversary destination: CORAL GABLES

94A: Apt 11th anniversary gift: STEEL GUITAR

3D: Apt 15th anniversary gift: CRYSTAL BALL

14D: Apt 5th anniversary gift: WOOD CARVING

62D: Apt 10th anniversary film: TIN PAN ALLEY

64D: Apt 55th anniversary destination: EMERALD ISLE

"Girl with a PEARL Earring" would be a perfect run-through 21-letter answer for a possible "Apt 30th anniversary film". "PEARL Harbor" is great too.

Such an ambitious theme, and so nicely executed. Some of "?" clues are quite good:

8D: Early morning riser?: SUN

29D: Semi-colon?: DOT

4D: Tempest's milieu?: TEA POT

28D: Get some air?: INHALE. I don't think "?" is needed here.

112A: Pierre's noodle: TETE. The "?" is needed here.

The clue for GABBLED (48A: Chattered) should be reworded because we have CHAT (56D: Make small talk) as an answer. The same with the IOWA clue (11D: Heart of the Corn Belt). I would like to see the constructor connects "Field of Dreams" with IOWA. So many nice lines from the movie:

"If you build it, he will come."

"Is this heaven?" "It's IOWA."

"Go the distance."

Did you notice letters E, S, T at the bottom row? Very often we have D, E, R & S. Stan Newman, the crossword editor for Newsday, name this high-occurency consonant quartet as REDS.


5A: Tends to a furnace: DAMPS. New definition to me. I've never tended our furnace.

14A: Coach who won three Super Bowls: WALSH (Bill). All with San Francisco 49ers. Which coach has the most Super Bowl wins in NFL?

20A: Yale of Yale: ELIHU. Harvard is named after John Harvard. Cornell founder is Ezra Cornell.

27A: Motivator: INSPIRER. Okey-dokey, if you say so.

32A: Awaiting: IN FOR

44A: Grain bristle: ARISTA. Latin for "beard of grain". I forgot again. AWN is clued as "Arista" last time.

46A: French wine city: RHONE

52A: "The Terrible" tsar: IVAN IV. I struggled with IV.

57A: Spanish island: ISLA. Have you been to Ibiza? Everything sounds so wild there.

58A: Brief investigation: LOOK- SEE

60A: Cheech's partner: CHONG (Tommy). "Dave is not here", so funny.

63A: French Open winner of 1989: CHANG (Michael). He was very popular in Asia in 1990s.

71A: Hebrew harvest festival: OMER. It was clued as "Hebrew harvest month" in our last puzzle.

75A: Downcast: DROOPY. He is DROOPY.

78A: Very short jackets: BOLEROS. All fur BOLEROS. BOLERO is also a slow Spanish dance, though Ravel's "BOLERO" gets unbearably sexier and quicker as the tension builds up.

80A: "Semper Fidelis" composer: SOUSA. That's an odd picture. I like this clip, very touching!

83A: Indiana pros: PACERS

98A:Gregor Mendel's field: GENETICS. Mendel is called the father of GENETICS. I did not know this.

104A: New Zealand Polynesian: MAORI. And their bird MOA (104D: Extinct bird).

106A: Tiny bit of time: abbr.: MSEC (Millisecond). I was thinking of nanosecond.

108A: Folk singer Burl: IVES. Here is his "Lavender Blue".


1D: South American monkey: TITI. I forgot. Here is the picture again.

5D: Backside: DERRIERE

6D: African lily: ALOE. I did not know that ALOE belongs to the lily family.

7D: Botanical bisectors: MIDRIBS. The central vein of the leaf.

13D: Phantom: EIDOLON. Rooted in "idol", which is further derived from Greek "Eidos", meaning "form". New to me also.

15D: Asian nursemaids: AMAHS. They are more often called AYAHS in India and AMAS in mainland China (before 1949).

33D: Meshy: NETLIKE. This answer looks more like a clue.

36D: Travels on foot: LEGS IT. I thought of "Hoof it".

41D: Black cuckoos: ANIS. This ANI is indeed totally black.

42D: O. T. book: LEV (Leviticus). I suppose that's the book defines "kosher" since it "contains laws relating to the priests and Levites and to the forms of Jewish ceremonial observance."

45D: __ en scene: MISE. No idea. I obtained the answer from across clues.

52D: Holy pictures: var. IKONS

58D: Wallace's 1968 running mate: LEMAY (Curtis). I googled his name.

65D: DNA code: GENOME. Gene + (chromos)ome. New to me also.

74D: Private sector assns.: NGOS (Non-Governmental Organizations. Yet another unknown.

76D: Mil. honor: DSC. It's an Army decoration, to be exact.

78D: __ Paese cheese: BEL. I've never had this cheese before.

81D: Acclaim: PLAUDIT

82D: Take over for: RELIEVE. Tampa Bay's reliever Grant Balfour used to be with the Twins. Time for Matt Garza to shine tonight.

84D: Ships' loads: CARGOES

90D: Image file format: BITMAP. No idea. I am technologically challenged.

95D: Barreled along: TORE. New meaning of "Barrel" to me.

97D: Transit-loss allowance: TRET. I never know what TRET and TARE mean exactly.

100D: Luck of the Irish: CESS. I forgot. See "Bad CESS" origin.

101D: Glaswegian: SCOT. I cannot recall any famous SCOT who is from Glasgow. Quite a few from Edinburgh, Sean Connery & Robert Louis Stevenson for example.


Aug 24, 2008

Sunday August 24, 2008 Edgar Fontaine

Theme: Chick Flicks

24A: Diane Keaton title role: ANNIE HALL

46A: Dorothy Dandridge title role: CARMEN JONES

69A: Kirsten Dunst title role: MARIE ANTOINETTE

95A: Barbara Stanwyck title role: ANNIE OAKLEY

118A: Ingrid Bergman title role: ANASTASIA

3D: Rosalind Russell tittle role: AUNTIE MAMA

9D: Cate Blanchett title role: ELIZABETH

15D: Shirley MacLaine title role: IRMA LA DOUCE

69D: Julie Andres title role: MARY POPPINS

78D: Greer Garson title role: MRS. MINIVER

84D: Ingrid Bergman title role: JOAN OF ARC

I like the theme, very ambitious. All the theme entries except ANASTASIA (118A: Ingrid Bergman title role) look great to me.

I am annoyed at ANASTASIA not only because because we already have one Bergman movie (84D), but the crossing of ANASTASIA with RALE (112D: Last breath) corner is extremely irksome. 4 RALE/RALES in one week? Unbelievable!

This is where the editorial creativity is sorely needed, as I am sure the constructor was not aware of the RALE(S) binge we've had. After reading the news clip on Madonna's "Sticky and Sweet" tour this morning, I thought of her title role EVITA, but it's too short. And QUEEN VICTORIA (Judi Dench in "Mrs. Brown") is not a title role, and it's too long. What movie title can you think of? It has to be a 9-letter word.

Crossword constructing is so hard. I really have huge respect for those guys, even if I often criticize their work. But my complaints are "For Love of the Game".

Lots of entertainment names in the grid, fitting the theme nicely. I had fun googling, no time to fully digest what I had read/linked though.


14A: Zodiac sign: LIBRA. Mine is Cancer. How about your?

19A: Comic Anderson: LOUIE. No, I've never heard of him or his game show "Family Feud".

22A: Bottom deck: ORLOP. I forgot why Clear Ayes mentioned this ORLOP last week.

26A: Stomachs of ruminants: OMASA. Singular is OMASUM. New to me. It's "the third division of the stomach of a ruminant animal". How many stomachs does a ruminant animal have? Three?

30A: Precision machinist: DIE MAKER. Boy, I had DOE MAKER for a long time. I wrote down SOLO instead of SOLI for the intersecting 13D: Arias for one.

40A: Fall off the wagon: IMBIBE

42A: Amin's birthplace: UGANDA. Ha, I already forgot where the capital of UGANDA is. Kampala, Kampala, Kampala.

54A: South Carolina river: SANTEE. It's named after the SANTEE tribe. Here is the map. New river to me.

57A: Womanizer: TOMCAT. I just learned that TOMCAT can be a verb too.

60A: Mother of Apollo: LETO. And the "Swan lover" is LEDA (or the "Mythical queen of Sparta").

64A: Louis and Carrie: NYES. I know neither of them, though I do remember "a NYE/NIDE of peasants".

73A: Fire opal: GIRASOL. New to me.

93A: Intermittently windy: GUSTY. Really? "Intermittenly"? I thought "GUSTY" was continuously blowing hard (This sentence feels weird, correct me if I am wrong).

94A: Ninny: SIMP. So many different words to describe an airhead.

98A: Fed: G-MAN. The FBI guy. Fed can also be T-MAN, the IRS guy.

99A: Egg receptacle: OVISAC. Another new word. It's "a sac or capsule containing an ovum or ova". What a solid made-up word! Reminds me of cruciverbalist.

103A: Patagonia plains: PAMPAS. Look, this lone gaucho seems to enjoy his life on PAMPAS.

114A: Coast of Morocco: RIF. I crossed the River Lethe again on this word. Here is the map. Argyle said "Er RIF" comes from the Berber word arif (The RIF, Er-RIF in Arabic).

115A: Composer Shostakovich: DMITRI. Can you believe I forgot his name again? This is the third time he appeared in our puzzle. Was it a gimmie to you? Do you like his music?

117A: Computer language std.: ASCII. Know the word. Can never remember what the acronym stands for.

124A: Redbone and Russell: LEONS. Interesting. "Stranger on a Stranger's Land". I don't grok what he is singing.

125A: Ancient Chinese poet: LI PO. "Li Bai" in Mandarin Chinese. From the Tang Dynasty (with capital in Xi'An). Here are some lines from his well-known "Drinking Alone by Moonlight": A cup of wine, under the flowering trees; I drink alone, for no friend is near. Raising my cup I beckon the bright moon. For her, with my shadow, will make three men....."

131A: Saint of letters: CYRIL. I've never heard of this saint. Have vaguely heard of the Cyrillic alphabet though.


4D: Time of Nick?: NITE. "Nick at NITE". I've never seen it.

6D: Kiddie spoilers?: GRANDMAS

8D: Dog's first name: RIN. RIN Tin Tin.

17D: Al of the '50s Indians: ROSEN. Couldn't tell whether this card is a real card or a reprint.

25D: Mammalian epoch: EOCENE. I could not believe this is a real word. It looks so wrong. OK, Eos is Greek goddess of dawn. "cene is " means "new", like "recent" I suppose. ECOCENE is "an epoch in which mammals dominant (50 million years ago)."

28D: Like lofty poetry: ODIC. Very interesting how adjectives are formed. For Pindar, it's Pindaric; For Keats, it's Keatsian, not Keatsic.

31D: German Dadaist: ERNST (Max). A surrealist as well. Here is The Elephant Celebes. I am looking forward to seeing ERNST's buddy Paul KLEE next week.

32D: Papeete's location: TAHITI. Got it from the across fills. I had no idea where Papeete is. FYI, Gauguin painted his "Two Women on the Beach" in TAHITI also.

33D: "A Perfect Peace" author: AMOS OZ. Gimme. He knows "How to Cure a Fanatic".

39D: Central Park S. Landmark: NYAC (New York Athletic Club). No idea. I've never been to NY.

41D: Brown in fat: BRAISE. I don't think this clue is wholly accurate. The process of braising needs some liquid for simmering.

44D: Organisms requiring oxygen: AEROBES. AER(O) is air, Obe is from Microbe. Good to learn this stuff.

53D: Multi-deck game: CANASTA . Not a familiar card game to me. I've never play rummy.

56D: Wild pig: WARTHOG. I forgot. So ugly.

79D: Thick soup: POTAGE. I did not know that some POTAGES are made of thickened liquid with mashed FLOWERS/fruit. Sounds so sweet.

80D: Fred of "The Munsters": GWYNNE. I would not have got his name without the crossing fills. It's so hard for me to grasp the popularity of this show and the wide-range (often expensive) collectibles.

83D: Water-to-wine site: CANA. You can find The Wedding at CANA at Louvre.

91D: Share a book project: CO-EDIT

92D: "The Listeners" writer Walter: DE LA MARE. "Is there anybody there...." This is the first time I heard of this poet.

97D: K2 creature?: YETI. I had no idea that K2 is a mountain peak (Karakoram Range in northern Kashmir). And it's the 2nd highest in the world. I am just so used to the "Abominable Snowman" clue.

100D: Traveling bag: VALISE. This Civil War VALISE is so well preserved.

105D: Georgia city: MACON. I forgot. Dennis mentioned this name when we had the MOON PIE long time ago. MACON is nicknamed "Heart of Georgia". Lovely cherry blossom.

107D: Incendiarism: ARSON

115D: Dist. across: DIAM (Diameter). I don't like this clue. "Dist. across" what? A square? Definitely needs a "circle" in the clue.

116D: Somewhat blue: RACY. Van Gogh' somewhat blue (literally) "Starry Night Over the Rhone popped into my mind immediately. He is such a brilliant yet tragic figure. I really like his various paintings on sunflowers, esp those in full bloom. I am so touched by his bold & daring strokes of yellow color, breathtaking. Indeed, Theo, "The sunflower is mine in a way..."

123D: Lowly NCO: CPL. PFC is the lowest NCO, right?


Jul 29, 2008

Tuesday July 29, 2008 Edgar Fontaine

Theme: HUH (2D: Whazzat?)


26A: "Twelfth Night": WHAT YOU WILL


50A: Alfred E. Neuman line: WHAT, ME WORRY

61A: Streisand film: WHAT'S UP, DOC

Sub-theme: "The Sound of Music"

15A: Opera star: DIVA

22A: Prima donna's number: ARIA

23A: Notes of scales: FAS

31A: Refrain syllable: TRA

68A: Yamaha product: PIANO

3D: Lyrical Gershwin: IRA

6D: Lyric poem: ODE

30D: NYC opera house: MET. Techinically it's "The MET", isn't it?

Great puzzle. I like the grid. I simply adore puzzles with a running-through theme answer (39A). They fit my eyes. I also like how the constructor tied in the theme title HUH (2D) to the grid. Very clever, awesome "Whazzat"? clue.

Many WHAT* phrases can fit in a 15*15 grid, for example:

WHAT a cry baby!

WHAT a drag!

WHAT's the problem?

WHAT's the point?

WHAT's the meaning of this?

WHAT did you think I meant?

WHAT else?

It's a pity that MAD (46A: Insane) was not clued as the "Humor Magazine". It would have been a wonderful parallel to 50A: WHAT, ME WORRY. Maybe our editor changed the constructor's original clue. Who knows?


19A: Get-up: TOGS. Why is TOGS always in plural form? I am very confused by these clothing words: get-up, attire, apparel, dress, outfit, duds and clothes. I can never tell which one is plural and which is singular.

21A: "The Lord of Rings" baddie: ORC. Are you a Tolkien fan?

33A: Delhi attire: SARIS. Three ways to wear a SARI. The spelling of "Delhi" is very baffling to me, so is Gandhi and Lhasa, very whimsical silent "h" position.

44A: "Easy ___": RIDER. I enjoyed this clip last week.

45A: Irish Republic: EIRE

55A: Ipanema locale: RIO. Very interesting "The Girl from Ipanema"clip. Who is your favorite Bond girl?

57A: Rhine tributary: AAR. Or AARE, the Swiss river.

66A: Mark ___ -Baker: LINN. No idea. Obtained his name from the down clues.

69A: Sundance's girlfriend: ETTA. Great movie. I like Robert Redford. He is "The Natural" and he always lives what he has dreamed.


4D: Charlie Brown's exclamation: RATS. I have this bobblehead.

7D: Swivel: PIVOT

11D: New Zealand Polynesian: MAORI. Only learned this morning that the word MAORI means "ordinary people" in the native language.

12D: Potter's clay: ARGIL. No idea. Dictionary says it's mostly "a white clay used by potters". ARG(os) is a Latin prefix meaning "white". "ARG" means "angry" in Swedish/Norwegian languages, very interesting.

23D: Islamic ruling: FATWA

24D: Hi, on HI: ALOHA. "on HI"? Not "in HI"?

25D: Twilled silk fabric: SURAH. Or SURAT. New word to me. I found out that SURAH is also an alternative spelling of SURA (the Koran chapter). Odd!

28D: Major in astronomy?: URSA. I like this clue.

34D: French soul: AME. Anima/Animus in Latin.

37D: Wispy clouds: CIRRI. Singualr is CIRRUS (Latin for "a lock, curl, tendril"). Saw this clue somewhere before.

41D: Retreat: HIDEAWAY. Indeed, a beautiful place for a HIDEAWAY.

42D: Do-over service: LET. The tennis call.

46D: Sicilian spouter: MT ETNA. Ha, this one had me confused for quite sometime. Shouldn't the clue has some hint to indicate an abbreviated MT?

48D: Bellicose deity: ARES. Mars for the Romans.

50D: Marine mammal: WHALE. Thar she blows!

51D: Daily routine: HABIT. "...You could have a big dipper. Going up and down, all around the bends...I've kicked the HABIT....I've been feeding the rhythm. It's what we're doing, doing, all day and night". For Melissa.

53D: Large mackerel: WAHOO. Also called Peto. New to me. Pretty big.

54D: Borneo ape, briefly: ORANG. What are you thinking?

62D: Crumpet complement: TEA. I have not eaten CRUMPETS for ages.

65D: Kind of lettuce: COS. Romaine lettuce. My favorite.


Jul 23, 2008

Wednesday July 23, 2008 Edgar Pontaine

Theme: The Simpsons (1A: Hint at this puzzle's theme: D'OH)

3D: Jethro Burns partner: HOMER HAYNES

9D: Mrs. Clint Black: LISA HARTMAN

21D: First Super Bowl MVP: BART STARR

23D: "Gosford Park" co-star: MAGGIE SMITH

26D: "The Moon is Always Female" poet: MARGE PIERCY

Had some struggle with this puzzle, esp with Senator INOUYE's name (27D: First Japanese-American congressman). Maybe he needs to divorce his new wife, or has some other scandal so the spelling of vowel-rich, odd-looking name can be indelibly stamped on my mind.

This grid just does not fit my eyes. I've never seen one with all the theme answers contained exclusively in the DOWN clues. Wanted so badly to turn it 90 degree. I wonder why the constructor chose this style. Just to make it unique?

This is only the 2nd Edgar Fontaine puzzle I've blogged, so I can't really tell his style. Some of the cluing feel very Tom Pruce-like, esp 52A & 58A. I am so happy that we finally hit a cycle with today's AMIRS. Now we know fully how to call those Abu Dhabi bigwigs: EMIR, EMEER, AMIR and AMEER. Bring them on!


4A: The Racer's Edge: STP. The clue should have a quotation mark.

7A: Step on the scale?: SOL. I like the clue.

13A: Mesabi Range output: IRON ORE

15A: Chicago Newspaper: TRIBUNE. The 5th largest newspaper in the US in terms of circulation according to this list. TRIBUNE Media Service (TMS), which syndicates our Daily Crossword & LA Times Daily Crossword, has nothing to do with the Chicago Tribune Newspaper, though both owned by the TRIBUNE Company.

19A: Hammered on a slant: TOED. I can never remember this oblique meaning of TOE.

20A: Like straws: TUBULAR

25A: Surround: HEM IN

29A: German exclamation: ACH. "D'OH" dubbed as "Nein" in German. I suppose it's a slang for "kein", not sure.

31A: Moslem VIPs: AMIRS. I like clue. Variant in clue, variant in answer.

33A: Stewart of "Swing Shift": ALANA. Wow, what a desperate clue! Look at this cast in credits order, her name is so far down. I had no idea who she was until this morning. A gimme for Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter I am sure.

35A: Navy mascot: GOAT. Bill the GOAT. Does GOAT really need those hard horns?

36A: Timber fungus: DRY ROT. New to me.

38A: Firing: GUNSHOT

41A: Mama, for one: AUNTIE. Look at these cute Uncle Henry and AUTIE Em dolls (Madame Alexander). Or do you still prefer your McDonald's Woody & Buzz toys?

45A: Rhone tributary: ISERE. I just learned earlier that ISERE was also the name of the French ship which sent us the Statue of Liberty.

48A: Ponselle and Parks: ROSAS. Know Parks, not Ponselle.

50A: ID card letters, at times: NMI. Do you all have middle names?

52A: Iniquitous: IMMORAL. Identical clue on July 5th "Unfaithful" puzzle.

55A: Saab model: AERO. I like how it intersects OLDS (57D: Carmaker Ransoom).

58A: The devil: OLD NICK

61A: Principal: CENTRAL

63A: Peter or Paul, but not Mary: APOSTLE. Good clue.

64A: Indigestion relief: ANTACID


2D: Treat with milk: OREO. Nabisco really has a very formidable presence in China.

5D: Transport-loss allowance: TRET

6D: Lima man: PERUVIAN. Have not seen YMA Sumac for a long time. She is probably the most famous PERUVIAN in this crossword world.

8D: Hershiser of baseball: OREL. Cy Young winner 1988. Who is your all time favorite pitcher?

14D: Computer network terminal: NODE. New to me.

28D: Talk non-stop: NATTER

29D: Social event: AFFAIR. Is AFFAIR really a social event?

30D: "CSI: Miami" star: CARUSO (David). I like his role (detective John Kelly) in "NYPD Blue"

32D: Pouty look: MOUE. Would not have got this word without the across references.

36D: Carries out: DOES. DOES are also female goats, aren't they? Would be great if DOES intersects GOAT.

39D: Of a rising star: HELIACAL. HELI(0) is a prefix for sun, how is it related to star?


Apr 21, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008 Edgar Fontaine


20A: Kentucky Derby to some: RUN FOR THE ROSES

33A: 2007 Kentucky Derby winner: STREET SENSE

40A: 33A's rider: CALVIN BOREL

49A: Kentucky Derby track: CHURCHILL DOWNS

A bit extra: 45D: Headlong assault: ONRUSH. Triple Crown winner, ASSAULT, had a shock and awe performance in Kentucky Derby 1946. (update later: Please notice how 37A: OAT anchors the whole puzzle, very impressive construction!)

But why jump the gun like Barbaro at Preakness 2006? Kentucky Derby (May 3, 2008 Saturday) is still 10 days away, isn't it? I know this won't fit in the themeless Saturday pattern, but why not publish it on May 2 Friday?

Great theme entries though. Needs some "mint julep" for an intoxicating finish.

Well, you know I love ASPIC, so with the sexy "S" filled in for 33A, my choices for the horses were limited to SMARTY JONES, SEATTLE SLEW, or STREET SENSE (I don't have much knowledge on other S horses). So, the horse revealed its name to me without much spurs. I think I picked up "Any Given Saturday" last year, and got really pissed off at Todd Pletcher when none of his five horses fired!

It took a bit effort to string together the jockey's name (CALVIN BOREL). Mike Smith and Edgar Prado were the only ones that popped into my brain this morning.

I did flirt with Mr. Google a bit (3 visits). Nothing hot and heavy.


1A: Deeply engrossed: RAPT

5A: Primitive calculators: ABACI(算盤). The singular form is abacus. Had to use it in my elementary arithmetics class. Insufferable headache!

15A: Punctuation mark: COLON

16A: Bahrain ruler: EMIR. It's AMEER in yesterday's puzzle, clued as "Muslim VIP, var." So, we've got EMIR, EMEER, AMEER, next one on deck will be AMIR.

18A: Perch: ROOST

23A: Chicago Team: CUBS. Thought of BULL(S) first. Had a glance at 6D, and then filled in CUBS. The letter C was essential for me to ferret out 4D: Digging machine (TRENCHER).

25A: Respiratory disorder: ASTHMA

28A: Manacle: HANDCUFF. I did not know the meaning of "Manacle". But it's gettable.

35A: Dent starter?: TRI. Trident.

36A: Poker holding: PAIR

37A: Morsel for dobbin: OAT. Put ORT initially, did not know that "dobbin" is a horse. Great clue for a Derby themed puzzle.

38A: Sense: FEEL. Dislike the clue due to STREET SENSE.

39A: O. T. book: ISA (ISAIAH). 2 religious books today.

44A: Chemical compound: CHLORIDE. A subtle nice touch on the Derby too.

46A: Imitation gold alloy: OROIDE. Stranger to me. Could also be spelled as OREIDE. It's "alloy containing copper, tin, etc., used to imitate gold". OK, so "oro" means gold, "ide" is rooted in "eide" meaning "resembling".

47A: Hide-hair link: NOR. Unknown to me. I've never heard of this phrase before. It means "Nothing whatsoever". Here is the origin.

48A: Miners entrance: ADIT. It looks like this.

56A: Corker: LULU. Did not know the meaning of "corker".

57A: Related to the mother's side: ENATE. AGNATE is related on the father's side. COGNATE is related by birth. NATE is the pp of NASCI, Latin for to be born. Oh I guess that's how INATE got its root too. Very interesting, it reminds of "Naître".

61A: Pursuing: AFTER

62A: Pull (for): ROOT

63A: Humdrum: BLAH

64A: Active sorts: DOERS


1D: Dreamed letter: R.E.M. Ennui! Try something new to excite me.

2D: Declare: AVER. Have to ask one more time, what's the exact difference between AVER and AVOW?

4D: Digging machine: TRENCHER. Would've not got this one with C from CUBS (23A). Here is a track trencher.

5D: Circus performer: ACROBAT

6D: Crude dudes: BOORS

8D: Bobby's blackjack: COSH. Who is Bobby? (Pls visit the Comments section for explanation)

9D: "ER" extras: INTERNS

10D: Brave: HEROIC. Oh what a diving catch by Carlos Gomez yesterday! And Justin Morneau's clutch performance! "Wild thing, you make my heart sing!"

11D: Book after Joel: AMOS

12D: Sexologist Shere: HITE. Wow, she is still alive. Doubt if anyone here has ever read her book. Mary Roach's "Bonk" looks very interesting though.

13D: Greek god of war: ARES. MARS for the Romans.

21D: Seethe with anger: FUME

25D: Meat stock jelly: ASPIC. Wow, identical grid spot on April 10th puzzle!

26D: Hidden store: STASH

27D: Courtroom event: TRIAL

28D: Throw with effort: HEAVE

30D: Wombs: UTERI. Singular form is Uterus.

31D: Emancipated: FREED

32D: French girl: FILLE. Or French daughter. Fils et Fille (son and daughter).

34D: Auctioneer's last word: SOLD!

38D: Soccer skill: FOOTWORK. Is this a common soccer term?

40D: Gator's cousin: CROC

41D: Mindless individual: AIRHEAD

42D: Non-verbal consenters: NODDERS. Whoa, that's a stretch, isn't it? To me, nodders are bobblehead, like this Johan Santana one.

43D: Panache: BRIO. Hi, welcome back.

45D: Headlong assault: ONRUSH. I don't get this one. Why?

48D: Change: ALTER. Awful intersection between ALTER and AFTER.

49D: Simple weapon: CLUB. I really really like Sergio Garcia's "Hit the Club" commercial. Bet Dennis was hitting the wrong clues in South Beach.

50D: Throw: HURL. Why not "Toss" for the clue? Why did you foist two "Throw"s on us? (see 28D)?

52D: Scuttlebutt: INFO. Did not know the meaning of "scuttlebutt". Very inferable though.

53D: After time: LATE. I hate this clue. After what time?

54D: Lunch time: NOON. Time and time again!

55D: Oxford or brogue: SHOE. I like this clue.

59D: Sault __ Marie: STE. One in Michigan and one in Ontario.