Showing posts with label Frank Virzi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frank Virzi. Show all posts

Jul 12, 2018

Thursday, July 12th 2018 Frank Virzi

Theme: EVIL'R. The good Doctors Doom and Octopus might be so, but see below for a more rounded explanation.

 20A. *Doctor Octopus or Doctor Doom: SUPERVILLAIN. A villain with superhuman powers. I took a test to reveal my supervillain name, and it's time to meet .... PROFESSOR ARMAGEDON!

Try it out for yourselves here.

29A. *"The Big Country" Oscar winner: BURL IVES. Here's a good excuse for a music link that has nothing to do with Burl Ives - "In a Big Country" by Big Country. Points deducted for lack of originality, but it's still a catchy ditty.

37A. *Quick and careless treatment: ONCE-OVER-LIGHTLY. Not a phrase I was familiar with (with which I was not familiar, according to the Grammar Police.) It seems other people are though, so a learning experience for me.

44A. *On-the-scene reporter's opening: WE'RE LIVE ...

53A. Metaphor for one feeling slighted ... and what's hidden in the answers to starred clues: CHOPPED LIVER. I like the chopped liver sandwich at my local deli, so the insult doesn't work for me. Chopped raw turnip would be better, slighted-wise.

So, LIVER in a few different forms. The *asterisking of the theme entries are part of puzzle protocol, the two eight-letter entries are matched by other non-themed 8's, so the asterisk keeps things on the straight and narrow.

What else? Let's go see!


1. PlayStation handheld game: VITA. No clue, skip and move on, wait for the crosses for help.

5. Appliance with a vent: DRYER

10. Gremlins, e.g.: AMC'S. This entry filled itself in for me, I only saw it just now. The AMC Gremlin, I've seen a few restored ones here in LA. The lime-green one is particularly fetching:

14. Airline to Israel: EL AL. Is there more than one Israeli airline? I want to see the listing El Al, et al.

15. Gaucho's rope: REATA

16. World Cup skiing champ Lindsey: VONN

17. Do-fa link: RE-MI

18. Hawkeye: IOWAN. Trivia of the day - "Hawkeye" Pierce in the M*A*S*H series is not so-nicknamed because he was from Iowa, he was born in Maine. The nickname comes from "The Last of the Mohicans" and he was so-dubbed by his father.

19. A.D. part: ANNO

23. Chicago mayor Rahm: EMANUEL. YAY! Finally I know how to spell this name - no doubled consonants. Finally!

24. Obdurate: STONY

28. Nonverbal comm. method: A.S.L. American Sign Language. I know essentials, some useful at tiresome social events ("Ready to go?") or crowded bars ("Where's the bathroom?").

32. Holds up: LASTS

35. Twofer coupon acronym: BOGO. Buy One, Get One.

36. "Selma" setting: Abbr.: ALA. bama. The movie "Selma" was set partly in Selma, which is in Alabama. Seems a long way round for a clue to get to the point.

41. Freudian topic: EGO

42. Umpteen: MANY

43. "What __ has seen ... ": 1 Corinthians: NO EYE

47. Ball club: BAT. I like this. Tell me, is a college football team a "ball club"? I find it oddly irritating when I hear coaches interviewed on the telly and they make that reference.

48. Colleague of Sonia: ELENA. Supreme Court judges Sotomayor and Kagan. I've not heard anything in the news for a while about the Supreme Court. Things must be running smoothly over there.

49. Money-laundering business in "Breaking Bad": CAR WASH. I think I saw the first three episodes of the series, and the car wash was in the first scene, as I recall. Odd for me to know something like this.

57. First name at Woodstock: JIMI. Second name at Woodstock: Hendrix.

60. Bandanna kin: DO-RAG. Kin? I thought these were the same thing. I just read an internet article that runs to about 3,000 words explaining the difference. I won't bore you with the details. The things our bloggers put themselves through for veracity.

61. Gambling mecca: RENO. Mecca? I think that's a rather strong word for Reno. It's like saying Medina is more Mecca than Mecca. Vegas might argue the point.

62. Yemen neighbor: OMAN

63. Words of defeat: I LOSE. 

64. God with a bow: EROS

65. Ma with a bow: YO-YO. Quickly - name another cellist. No, not Josephine du Pré nor Pablo Casals, too easy.

66. Not as worn: NEWER

67. Ukr. and Lith., once: SSR'S. Soviet Socialist Republics, as we all knew.


1. Frost lines?: VERSE. Very nice - not the "rimes" but the "rhymes". Robert Frost.

2. Intestinal part: ILEUM

3. Clearwater neighbor: TAMPA.

4. Drive away: ALIENATE

5. Blather: DRIVEL

6. Work on more, as a squeaky hinge: RE-OIL

7. Two-master: YAWL. Ketch or Yawl. Both sailboats. Both two-masted vessels. Compare and Contrast. Essays due by Friday, please. Here's one .. or the other, I'm not quite sure. Bonus question - how do folks from the south address a fleet of two-masted sailboats? Spoiler alert: It's not "All Ketch".

8. "Too many to list" abbr.: ET AL. First EL AL. Now the competitor, ET AL. They fly on Saturdays.

9. __ close second: RAN A

10. Forward, in Firenze: AVANTI.

11. MLK Day, e.g.: MON. day.

12. "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" channel: CNN. I have no words for how sad the news of his suicide made me feel. Please call 1-800-275-8055 if you or a loved one are feeling alone and helpless. Please.

13. __-Caps: SNO

21. "Empire Falls" novelist Richard: RUSSO. I read "Nobody's Fool" first, was immediately hooked. A great writer.

22. Puerto Rico, e.g.: Abbr.: ISL. La Isla del Incanto? Not so much since Hurricane Maria. A desperately sad situation.

25. Almost round: OVATE

26. Singer Furtado: NELLY. NELLI slowed me down.

27. Belgian violin virtuoso Eugène __: YSAYE. Who? No, really, who? Name three famous Belgians. OK, name two. Is Eugène Ysaye on your list? No, and Hercule Poirot doesn't count, he's a fictional character. Here's one, you'll know him if you have any interest in the Tour de France:

29. Carried: BORNE

30. "This could get __": UGLY

31. King at Versailles: ROI

32. "Camelot" composer: LOEWE. I think LOWE, LOEW and HMMMM in that order. One day I'll get it straight.

33. Generous donor: ANGEL. In theatrical parlance, originally. An investor in a stage production.

34. Gettysburg Address unit: SCORE "Four Score and Seven Years Ago ..." Lincoln's opening line, giving everyone a couple of seconds to do the mental arithmetic to figure "Oh, 1776! Why didn't he just say that?"

35. Wally's little bro: BEAV. Leave it to Beaver, or Leav to Beav. L2B in modern parlance.

38. Southern Conf. school: V.M.I. Virginia Military Institute. New pupils are fondly called "Rats".

39. Twist: GNARL

40. Prepares to steal, probably: HOT-WIRES

45. Affluent Los Angeles district: ENCINO

46. "Well, __-di-dah!": LAH

47. Nag: BADGER

49. Desist: CEASE. What a lawyer demands "Cease and Desist" is he just covering the bases on a slight technicality, or getting paid by the word and using tautology?

50. Professes: AVERS

51. Monterrey title: SEÑOR

52. __ Perot: H. ROSS. I knew ROSS, but suspected a prior letter. H for Henry.

54. Valhalla VIP: ODIN. Wanted THOR. was wrong.

55. Firehouse fixture: POLE. Almost tempted by HOSE. Resisted.

56. Front at sea: PROW. The sharp end.

57. Good feeling: JOY

58. "I think," in texts: IMO. "In my opinion". I've always seen it IMHO, with a self-effacing "humble" for good measure. Don't be fooled, the texter is never humble.

59. Might: MAY. Nice Thursday clue/answer. "Might" could equally be looking for a word for "strength" - not in this case.

Well, apparently Football Isn't Coming Home, so I'm working on polishing up my French for Sunday's final. Allez Les Bleus!

Et ....... voici la grille:


Oct 16, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017 ~ Frank Virzi

Theme: Splitter - Start the answer with the first part of the target word and end the answer with the last part.

17. Source of valuable metal: GOLD MINE

25. Early record player: GRAMOPHONE

37. Beatles song used as wake-up music on the last Space Shuttle mission: GOOD DAY SUNSHINE. Paul McCartney - Good Day Sunshine(2:05) The Beatles version unavailable.

45. Revolving blade sharpener: GRIND STONE

58. Extinct since way back when ... and, in a way, what each set of circles represents: LONG GONE

Argumentative style here. And for the sake of argument, this seems like a C.C. puzzle. The split is GO-NE or G-ONE, alternating. The circles seem superfluous.


1. Baseball putout, often: TAG

4. Digital readouts, for short: LCDs. (liquid crystal display)

8. No more than: AT MOST

14. 401(k) kin: Abbr.: IRA. (individual retirement account)

15. Settled on a rail: ALIT. Hope it's a fence rail and not a train rail.

16. Abs exercise: CRUNCH

19. Holy __: brat: TERROR

20. Isaac's eldest: ESAU

21. Golden State wine region: NAPA. Devastated.

23. One World Trade Center topper: SPIRE

24. Sales team: REPS

27. Give it __: make an effort: A TRY

29. Work's opposite: PLAY

30. Fibber or Molly of old radio: MCGEE

32. Rationale: BASIS

34. Repair: FIX

40. Mariner's "Help!": SOS

41. Tear to pieces: RIPUP

42. Makes, as money: EARNS

43. "Buona __": Gino's "Good evening": SERA

44. Former trans-Atl. fliers: SSTs. (supersonic transport)

50. Thing to scratch: ITCH

53. Cut again, as grass: REMOW

54. Bring into the firm: HIRE

55. About 66.5 degrees, for the Arctic Circle: N LAT. (north latitude)

56. Musician Keys: ALICIA

60. Poland Spring competitor: DASANI. H²O

61. Words to Brutus: "ET TU?"

62. Dist. you can see: VIS. DISTance/VISibility, usually in miles. Important for pilots.

63. The "S" in GPS: SYSTEM. (Global Positioning System)

64. Pest-control brand: d-CON

65. Md. summer hrs.: EDT. (Eastern Daylight Time)


1. Striped big cat: TIGER

2. Got up: AROSE

3. Islands visited by Darwin: GALÁPAGOS

4. On the __: at large: LAM

5. Like Saran wrap: CLINGY

6. Bahraini money: DINAR

7. Assembly instructions start: STEP A

8. Put-on: ACT

9. Violates a "private property" sign: TRESPASSES

10. Brown played by Candice Bergen: MURPHY. (TV Series 1988–1998)

11. "Blame It __": 1984 film set in Brazil: ON RIO

12. Disdain: SCORN

13. Little pigs number: THREE

18. Looked for prints: DUSTED

22. Intensifies: AMPS UP. 11

26. Actress Lena: OLIN

28. 1967 Neil Diamond song title line preceding "Go to my head": "RED, RED, WINE"

30. British sports cars: MGs

31. Pigeon sound: COO

32. Less-traveled way: BYPATH

33. Sch. with a Phoenix campus: ASU. (Arizona State University) Most students are on the Tempe campus.

34. Grade school crush, often: FIRST LOVE

35. Quaint quarters: INN

36. Kisses, in romantic letters: X'es

38. Hoity-toity manners: AIRS

39. Detesting: HATING

43. Polar expedition vehicle: SNO-CAT

44. Taken care of: SEEN TO

45. Mortarboard tossers: GRADS

46. Race with batons: RELAY

47. "What'd __?": returning traveler's query: I MISS

48. Lubricated: OILED

49. Campus midshipmen's prog.: NROTC. (Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps)

51. Dog or coyote: CANID

52. Nuclear trial, briefly: H-TEST

57. "Ready, __, fire!": AIM

59. Staple or nail driver: GUN


Notes from C.C.:

Happy Birthday to dear CrossEyedDave & Blue Hen! Thank you for the endless joy you've brought to our life, Dave! Thank you for the tasty food hacks you've brought to our blog as well, Blue Hen!

Sep 22, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 Frank Virzi

Theme: Em Oh Town - Theme entries are required to start with M and O to live here.

17A. *Six-time '30s-'40s N.L. home run champ : MEL OTT

25A. *Donny's '70s TV co-host : MARIE OSMOND

39A. *Sense of duty, per one's personal ethics : MORAL OBLIGATION

49A. *It's often "burned" during exam week : MIDNIGHT OIL

62A. Record label founded in Detroit ... and, when divided into three words, where to find the answers to starred clues? : MOTOWN. Em. Oh. Town

Non-resident Argyle here. Our constructor has wandered into the first part of the week and it shows. Or else, I was way out of sync with him. The grid seems familiar; grid-spanner in the middle. reveal in the lower right and two long non-theme columns. Good to see MEL OTT's full name and learn some more about his career. The fill seems to be across the board and a bunch of gimmes to give you toe-holds so it should be found to be doable in the end. Let's hope.


1. Where to find screwdrivers? : BAR TAB. I doubt a tab contains the type of drink, just the price but I may be wrong.

7. Buddhist teacher : LAMA

11. Circle segment : ARC

14. Bold & Crispy Fries maker : ORE-IDA

15. Eagerly interested : AGOG

16. Sea, in Marseille : MER

18. Zippo : NADA

19. Square root of IX : III. 9/3

20. Relatives of gulfs : BAYS

21. MD-to-be's exam : MCAT. (Medical College Admission Test®)

23. Lightly burn : SINGE

27. Nickname for Ruth, with "The" : BAMBINO. George Herman "Babe" Ruth, Jr.

31. Strahan co-host : RIPA. Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan.

32. Coral island : ATOLL

33. One-named Nigerian singer : SADE. (shah-DAY)

36. Bruins' sch. : UCLA. (University of California, Los Angeles)

42. Baseball glove : MITT

43. Caustic cleaners : LYES

44. __-wip: dessert topping : REDDI

45. Swiss river : AARE

47. School periods : CLASSES

53. Cases the joint for, say : ABETS

54. Sunup point : EAST

55. Ingrid's "Casablanca" role : ILSA

59. Fashion initials : YSL. (Yves Saint Laurent)

60. Apple computer : iMAC

64. Where Antwerp is: Abbr. : BEL. Belgium

65. "Uh-uh" : "NOPE"

66. Banded together : UNITED

67. "Bambi" doe : ENA

68. Daring exploit : GEST or GESTE.

69. Gets wise with : SASSES


1. Lay an egg, so to speak : BOMB. Broadway speak.

2. Neck of the woods : AREA

3. Depend (on) : RELY

4. Hombres en la familia : TÍOs. The uncles, at least.

5. Home alarm co. : ADT. Started as "American District Telegraph" in 1874.

6. Bruce Wayne's alter ego : BATMAN

7. Island veranda : LANAI

8. Striped quartz : AGATE

9. Trendy, '60s-style : MOD

10. Andre of tennis : AGASSI

11. Protein building blocks : AMINO ACIDS

12. Sit on the throne : REIGN

13. Bawled : CRIED

22. Trio member with Stills and Nash : CROSBY

24. Ascribes : IMPUTES

25. Pepper grinder : MILL

26. Calif. neighbor : OREG.

27. When doubled, playmate of Pebbles : BAMM. "The Flintstones".

28. Yours, to Yves : Á TOI

29. Italian pork sausage : MORTADELLA. Find it at Trader Joe's.

30. Brazenly obvious : BLATANT

34. Ingredient in a black and tan : ALE. Both parts are ale or beer; one dark, one light with the dark layered on top.

35. '70s clubs : DISCOs

37. Ore deposit : LODE

38. Spanish cordial : ANIS. Wiki

40. Cassini of fashion : OLEG

41. Sea divided by shrinkage : ARAL

46. On the upswing : RISING

48. Acid or base indicator : LITMUS. Blue litmus paper turns red under acidic conditions and red litmus paper turns blue under basic or alkaline conditions.

49. Waffler's word : MAYBE

50. "A Doll's House" playwright : IBSEN

51. Oodles : HEAPS

52. "Be silent," in music : TACET

55. "How sweet __!" : IT IS. Jackie Gleason saying. (Gave up looking for a clip. Sorry.)

56. Oodles : LOTS

57. __'Pea : SWEE

58. Clause joiners : ANDS

61. Stooge with bangs : MOE

63. "Cat __ Hot Tin Roof" : ON A. And how!


Jul 19, 2015

Sunday July 19, 2015 Frank Virzi

Theme:  "Oh, I Get It!" - "Oh" sound is added to each theme entry, adjusting spellings as needed.

22A. Glass insulation consideration? : WINDOW CHILL FACTOR. Wind chill factor.

43A. Dessert served to waiting commuters? : DEPOT DISH APPLE PIE. Deep-dish apple pie.

98A. Skits at teatime? : PEKOE PERFORMANCES. Peak performances.

122A. Where clay letters are mailed? : PLAY-DOH POST OFFICE. Played post office. This changes a past tense verb into two words. Very unexpected.

3D. Alaskan butcher's tool? : JUNEAU CLEAVER. June Cleaver.

59D. Fruit used in a numbers game? : BINGO CHERRIES. Bing cherries. Seasonal right now.

So, six long theme entries, 6 different spellings of "Oh" sounds. This is another addition theme that needs creativity and imagination.

The grid is skillfully designed. Frank intersects two sets of the themers. This happens when you have quite a few theme entries, but Frank's choices are rather limited.
1. '80s IBM flop nicknamed "Peanut" : PCjr. PC Junior. Unknown to me.

5. "Do I need to draw you __?" : A MAP

9. Give some slack : LOOSEN

15. "Lord, is __?": Matthew : IT I

18. Shivering fit : AGUE

19. Fish-filled fare, frequently : TACO. What kind of fish do you use for fish tacos?

20. High-speed contest : AIR RACE

21. AOL rival : MSN

25. Shanty : HUT

26. Ground : EARTH

27. It may be covered by a wig : NAPE. Not HEAD or DOME.

28. Interval between mi and fa : HALF TONE. And 127. Scale note : SOL

30. Just-in-case strategy : PLAN B

32. Destroyer attacked in Aden in Oct., 2000 : USS COLE. Where were you in Oct 2000? I was in Shanghai for a project.

35. One known for high living? : TIBETAN. Nice clue. Tibetans drink Yak Butter tea every day. Their daily bread is Tsampa, made of barley flour.

36. Beats on streets : ROUTES

38. Buttonless top : TEE

39. This, in Tijuana : ESTO

41. Polite interruptions : AHEMs

42. Firm finish? : INC. Company. I was expecting a suffix.

47. Flo's workplace : MEL'S

49. Go limp : WILT

50. Minuscule time fraction: Abbr. : NSEC

51. Martinique, par exemple : ILE

52. Where Lux. is : EUR. Luxembourg.

54. __ Caesar, slain heir of Emperor Augustus : GAIUS. Drew a blank. Gaius is also Julius Caesar's first name.

56. Like some property : REAL. Only familiar with "Real estate".

58. Ground rule hits: Abbr. : DBLS (Doubles)

62. Gomer Pyle's "Well, I'll be!" : SHAZAM

65. Classic orange soda : FANTA

67. Kit Carson House site : TAOS. New trivia to me.

69. Slip in a pot : IOU.  I kept thinking of my soup pot.

70. Spread quickly online : GO VIRAL

72. Rapscallion : SCAMP

74. Musical section : STRINGS

76. With 125-Down, fictional tall-hat wearer : THE. 125. See 76-Across : CAT. The Cat in the Hat.

77. In a muddle : ASEA

79. Spanish souls : ALMAS. Learning moment to me. We've seen AME clued as "French soul".

81. Puts on : STAGES

82. Kind : SORT

84. Prefix with pad : HELI

86. Short-straw drawer : LOSER

88. Latin 101 verb : AMO

89. Kwik-E-Mart owner on "The Simpsons" : APU

91. Feminine suffix : ENNE. Or ETTE.

93. Overflow (with) : TEEM

95. Old Canadian skit show : SCTV. Second City TV.

104. Step on it, old-style : HIE

105. Start of a fitness buff's motto : USE IT. Or lose it.

106. Entre __ : NOUS

107. Steve Martin won its 2015 Life Achievement Award: Abbr. : AFI (American Film Institute)

108. Porcupine, e.g. : RODENT

110. Salon workers, at times : RINSERS

112. Recent delivery : NEONATE. Tried NEWBORN first.

115. "Phooey!" : NERTS

116. Storage closets : PANTRIES

118. Actress Penélope : CRUZ

119. Cacophonous : AROAR

121. Sugar suffix : OSE. Also 134. Prefix with -itis : OSTE

128. "Hands off!" : ALL MINE!

129. 67, for Beethoven's Fifth : OPUS. I bet Jayce nailed it.

130. Zoom : TEAR. Oh, the "move quickly" Zoom.

131. USCG rank : ENS (Ensigns)

132. Highlands legend nickname : NESSIE

133. Overtakes, in a way : LAPS. New meaning to me.


1. Dog offering : PAW

2. "Frozen" FX : CGI. FX= Effects. CGI= Computer-generated imagery

4. Household pest : RED ANT

5. Chem class abbr. : AT WT (Atomic Weight)

6. __ Picchu : MACHU

7. "Jiminy!" in Germany : ACH

8. Plants with their own national day every December 12 : POINSETTIAS. Easily guessable.

9. Lacking zip : LIFELESS

10. "... boy __ girl?" : OR A

11. Theater ticket abbr. : ORCH. Orchestra.

12. Perched on : SAT ATOP

13. Beef recall cause : ECOLI

14. "Throw it indoors" toy : NERF BALL

15. Architect of Egypt's Step Pyramid of Djoser : IMHOTEP. Can never remember this guy's name.

16. Quake consequence : TSUNAMI

17. Strong : INTENSE

20. It's for the dogs : ALPO. And 75. Brand at Petco : IAMS

23. "The full-__ moon with unchanged ray": Thoreau : ORBED

24. Like some punch : LACED

29. Tittered : TEHEED
30. Proper companion? : PRIM. Prim and proper.

31. Only : LONE

33. Minn. college : ST OLAF. Yay, gimme for me.

34. Surrey town where demo versions of many "White Album" songs were recorded : ESHER. Unfamiliar to me.

37. Put in stitches : SEW

40. "Be quiet," in scores : TACET

44. __ Latin : PIG. Fill in the blank clues can be tricky when you have several other choices.

45. Cable guy, e.g. : INSTALLER

46. Test episodes : PILOTS

48. "If You Knew __...": Quatro album : SUZI. I thought it's SUSIE.

53. __ avis : RARA

55. Donald, to Huey : UNCA

57. Small cells : AAs

60. Theater section : LOGE

61. Work (out) : SUSS. Suss out. Figure out.

62. Certain NCOs : SGTS

63. Twinkie relative : HO HO

64. "Glee" specialty : MASH-UP
66. Bullets : AMMO

68. Miss, in much of S.A. : SRTA

71. "Go Set a Watchman" author Harper : LEE. Timely.

73. Soup in "That's Amore" : PASTA FAZOOL. Unknown to me also. Pasta and beans.

78. Last Olds model : ALERO

80. "Already been to that movie" : SEEN IT

83. Lao-tzu follower : TAOIST

85. Just for kicks : IN FUN

87. __ room : REC

90. Book that begins, "All children, except one, grow up" : PETER PAN

92. Heat shield site : NOSE CONE

94. Nice view : MER. Nice the French city.

96. Sunglasses feature : TINT

97. Lab attendants : VETS. Dogs.

98. Aim : PURPOSE

99. Football's "Boomer" : ESIASON. Hi, Boomer, smile!

100. Watchers of boxers : KENNELS

101. Formally approves, formerly : ENSEALS. Not a word I use.

102. Show some spine : MAN UP. And 114. Enjoy thoroughly : EAT UP. Tiny UP dupe.

103. Ben, in Hebrew names : SON OF.  Ibn in Arab names.

109. Ignoring : DEAF TO

111. Lunar valley : RILLE. I only know RILL.

113. "What's Hecuba to him, __ to Hecuba": Hamlet : OR HE

117. Sylvia of jazz : SYMS. Another stranger to me. Update: Thank you, HowardW. (Argyle)

120. Eponymous sea discoverer : ROSS. Ross Sea.

123. 20% of MMDX : DII. 5/1 of 2,510= 502. (Correction: 1/5. Thanks, D-Otto.)

124. Place for sweaters : SPA. Or GYM. Sweat-ers.

126. Afore : ERE

I'd like to introduce you to Hayley Gold's Across and Down, a weekly webcomic about the New York Times crosswords. Hayley's intelligent comments & fun visuals are often more  entertaining than the puzzles themselves. I hope you all subscribe to her site. Enter your email address under "Subscribe".  You'll get a notification when she has a new post out.


Jul 1, 2015

Wednesday, July 1, 2017 Frank Virzi

Theme: Baseball - the last word is a type of pitch.
17A. *Place-setting piece : SALAD FORK. Forkball.

27A. *Inviolable, as rules : HARD AND FAST. Fastball.

42A. *Rough-and-tumble : BARE KNUCKLE. Knuckleball.

57A. *Statistical graph image : BELL CURVE. Curveball.

Reveal entry (symmetrically placed):

12D. When combined with 50-Down, this puzzle's game : BASE

50D. See 12-Down ... and a word that can follow the ends of the answers to starred clues : BALL

Bonus fill:

20A. Fenway Park and Wrigley Field : STADIUMS

6D. 10-time Gold Glove winner Roberto : ALOMAR The only Hall of Famer known to have spit at an umpire.
33D. Diamond smack : LINE DRIVE

40D. Hall of Famer Slaughter : ENOS - Once scored from first on a single.

Good morning all.  Boomer here - Happy July Fool's day.  Start dating your checks 2015 1/2. Great to see a baseball puzzle.  Made me hungry for a hot dog.  Fastball, Curve, Knuckleball made famous by Hoyt Wilhelm, the Niekro brothers, Wilbur Wood and now R.A. Dickey.  It seems the forkball is now called a split finger and notably absent is the Spitball from early baseball years.  How about the Vaseline ball from Gaylord Perry, and the beanball from the Barber, Sal Maglie, as well as Don Drysdale and many others.  Warn both benches and then start tossing people.  Here we go...


1. Waterlogged lowlands : FENS - I have no idea what this is

5. Iditarod, e.g. : RACE - Mora Minnesota has a similar race each year.

9. Talmudic scholar : RABBI - Also in jokes with a priest and a minister

14. Bountiful place? : UTAH

15. Tel Aviv airline : EL AL

16. Wee hr. : ONE AM - I get it but I'm not sure I like it.  I will be one AM at the PBA50 Pro Am Bowling event at Treasure Island in Welch, MN this month.

19. Stunned : AGASP - the result of a bean ball?

21. Sweet liqueurs : CREMES What would a Brandy Alexander be without these.

22. She, in San Remo : ESSA - I am not good at foreign words.

23. "Uptown Girl" songwriter : JOEL - Yup, Billy, I like "The Longest Time" better.

24. "Cats" monogram : TSE (T.S. Eliot)
32. Early Talmudic scholar : HILLEL  - Not in Priest and Minister jokes.

34. Need to pay : OWE

35. Back in the day : ONCE

36. Morning TV host replaced by Michael : REGIS - I never knew how Philbin got so much air time speaking through his nose.

37. Apr. addressee : IRS - Ever notice when you combine THE and IRS you get "THEIRS"

38. Roper's target : DOGIE

39. __ upswing : ON AN

40. London's Virgin __ Records : EMI

41. Raises an auction paddle for : BIDS ON - I see it in sitcoms, but I never used one on eBay.

45. Heavy wts. : TNS - I understand tons, but how is TNS an abbreviation for tons?

46. God of Spain : DIOS

47. Lamb or Bacon, e.g.: Abbr. : AUTH. Charles Lamb (ELIA) and Francis Bacon.

49. Sporty Fords : T-BIRDS - The 1957 model was always my favorite.

52. Marriott rival : SHERATON

56. Speedy : RAPID - Bob Feller's fastball earned him the nickname "Rapid Robert"

58. Start of a valentine message : I LOVE - OR Bobby Valentine had a different message for umpires.

59. S.A. country on the Pacific : ECUA - Really?  Is this a postal abbreviation?

60. Mezzanine, e.g. : TIER

61. Like Venus, to Serena : OLDER

62. "__ Mommy kissing ... " : I SAW - Santa Claus. Jimmy Boyd sang the nasal version.  I think it was redone by Wayne Newton - also nasal.

63. River of Spain : EBRO


1. Hubbub : FUSS

2. Californie, par exemple : ETAT - Boo! foreign words.

3. "The Lion King" lion : NALA

4. Protect from light : SHADE

5. Firm no : REFUSAL
7. National rentals : CARS - Ever notice how your legs don't fit in economy, compact, and mid size?

8. Deer family member : ELK - Not the Brewer's Rob Deer family.

9. Laughed heartily : ROARED

10. Type of cake made with egg whites : ANGEL FOOD - Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

11. Roof support : BEAM
13. Babysitters' challenges : IMPS - Not nice to call other people's children IMPS.  Isn't there some game that has International Match Points?  Bridge or Chess?

18. Sink clutter : DISHES - DirecTV catchers, when it's not raining.

21. Ice cream parlor order : CONE

23. Shark flick : JAWS - I cannot remember how many times I've seen this.  "I think we'll need a bigger boat!"

24. Beat : THROB

25. Tuscan city : SIENA - I had one of these in a Crayola box once.

26. "Pomp and Circumstance" composer : ELGAR (Edward)

28. Greek column style : DORIC

29. Existential woe : ANGST - How I feel about abbreviations in crossword puzzles.

30. Offspring : SCION

31. Babysitters, often : TEENS

37. Controversial radio host : IMUS - Don -- King of radio jerks!

38. Coke Zero rival : DIET RC - Diet Rite Cola was the pioneer of sugar free pop back in the fifties.  It did not taste very good but it preceded Tab which wasn't too good either.

41. Sunday shopping restriction : BLUE LAW - never heard of this.

43. One pulling your leg : KIDDER

44. Liqueur in a B-52 cocktail : KAHLUA- What would a Black Russian be without this.  Do not sub Creme de Cacao.  I can tell the difference.

48. __ cuisine : HAUTE - Rather see Terre_____, IN

49. The Andrews Sisters, e.g. : TRIO- I prefer Kingston____ or Chad Mitchell____.  The Andrew sisters were a trio but never referred to by that name.

51. Apple MP3 player : IPOD

52. Jiffies : SECS - abbreviation not shown in the clue.

53. Windy City paper : TRIB - abbreviation not shown in the clue.

54. Partner of out : OVER - Pilot in "Airplane"

55. Homebound sleuth Wolfe : NERO

57. "__ Mir Bist Du Schoen": Andrews Sisters hit : BEI - Foreign again.

The fat guy is me with my qualifying medals, getting ready to participate in the bowling event at the National Senior Games coming to Minnesota next week. Word is that there will be 9995 participants in about 17 different events.  Ages span from 50 to 102 and participants are showing up from all 50 states.  Should be a boom for the hotel trade.  If you are in the Twin Cities, I will be at Southtown Lanes in Bloomington on July 10 (singles) and July 12 (doubles).


Mar 26, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015 Frank Virzi

Theme: "Home on the Range"

20-Across. *Last president who was a Founding Father : JAMES MONROE.

36-Across. *Limp cause : GAME LEG.

3-Down. *In the low 70s, usually : ROOM TEMPERATURE. This winter, ours has been in the low 60s, usually.

7-Down. *Feature of most cars nowadays : FRONT WHEEL DRIVE. True, but I will stick with my AWD Subaru on these icy New England roads.

11-Down. *On one's own : ALONE IN THE WORLD.

And the reveal:
55-Across. Fixer-upper, perhaps, and a hint to the answers to starred clues : STARTER HOME. Put "home" at the start of the theme entires and you get quite a 12-Down:
"Home, James!" / Home game / Home room / Home front / and "Home Alone," the 1990 Macaulay  Culkin movie.

From a construction standpoint, this was quite an impressive feat: Two grid spanners that each cross one other theme entry, and one grid spanner that crosses three! The two 11-letter entries each cross two other themers. Let's see what else Frank has to offer us.


1. Big name in ATMs : NCR. Formerly National Cash Register.

4. Ten to twenty? : HALF. Nailed it on my first guess! [insert fist pump here]

8. On fire : AFLAME.

14. Worldwide workers' agcy. : ILOInternational Labour Organization.

15. On __ with : A PAR.

16. Brooklyn Bridge features : CABLES. Yes, indeed.

17. "The Matrix" hero : NEO. All perps.

18. Utah lily : SEGO.

19. Delivers an old standard, perhaps : CROONS.

23. Not from a Scot : NAE.

24. Fifth-century leader succeeded by his son Ellac : ATTILA. I nailed it on the first WAG.

25. __ Aviv : TEL.

26. Tent holder : PEG.

27. Sportscaster Andrews : ERIN.

28. New Deal org. : WPAWorks Progress Administration.

29. Hustles : HIES.

31. Smith students : WOMEN.

33. "If only __ listened!" : HE'D.

34. Memo words : IN RE.

35. Smartphone buy : APP.

40. Hold 'em tell, maybe : TIC. Keep your poker face on, and keep the other players guessing.

41. Ingredient in Off! : DEET. Common name: diethyltoluamide.

43. Top-row poet on the "Sgt. Pepper" album cover : POE. In the middle, above Marilyn.

44. Remains at the campsite : ASHES.

46. Misses the mark : ERRS.

47. Party person : POL. Political party, that is.

48. Spillane's "__ Jury" : I THE. His 1947 debut novel.

49. Org. that produces the magazines Highroads and Journey : AAA. Intuitive guess.

50. The past, in the past : ELD.

51. Risk being caught off base : GO AWOL.

54. Grisham hero, often: Abbr. : ATT.orney.

57. Only reigning pope to write an autobiography : PIUS II.

59. Tiny bit : IOTA.

60. Gun, as an engine : REV.

61. Most irritated : SOREST.

62. Emptiness : VOID.

63. T size : LGE.

64. Baby's outfit : ONESIE. They are usually sml.

65. Luncheon ender : ETTE.

66. Patriotic gp. since 1890 : DARDaughters of the American Revolution.


1. Turtle in a 2014 film : NINJA.

2. Soccer shoe feature : CLEAT. Spike also fits.

4. Bit of sibling rivalry : HASSLING. As the youngest of five, I got a lot of that.

5. Hypothetical primate : APE MAN. No such thing, really.

6. Titicaca, por ejemplo : LAGO. [updated] In South America, Titicaca is a lake (for example.)

8. Honor : ACCOLADE.

9. Charge for a ride : FARE.

10. Wall St. news : LBOLeveraged Buy Out.

12. Varied mixture : MENAGERIE.

13. To be, to Ovid : ESSE.

21. Cork's location : EIRE.

22. Opposite of attract : REPEL.

26. Chi follows it : PHI.

30. "Just a few __" : SECS.

31. Dwyane of the Miami Heat : WADE. Absolutely no clue. All perps.

32. Mathematical process : OPERATION.

37. Good thing to have before a meal : APPETITE.

38. Dinero : MOOLA.

39. Winning football coach's surprise : GATORADE.

42. Airport screening org. : TSATransportation Security Administration.

45. Persian for "king" : SHAH.

48. ''Of course!'' : I GET IT.

52. Greek finale : OMEGA.

53. Piano keyboard component : LEVER.

54. Lhasa __ : APSO.

55. Spanish ayes : SI SI. Cute.

56. Warning sound : TOOT.

58. His, to Henri : SES. Possessive adjectives change, according to the gender of the noun: son, sa or SES are three of the possibilities here.

Marti, out!

Feb 20, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015, Frank Virzi

Theme: Where do I find the "F" words? I can't C them.

Wow, it is only February and I already am blogging my second Frank Virzi puzzle this year. To refresh your recollection, Frank is a science teacher working in Townsend (?) Massachusetts (that knowledge might help solving) who gave us an 'ell of time in January with his add a sound offering. This time we have a straight letter exchange where "C" becomes "F" in 5 phrases, three of which are grid spanners. Each of the phrases had a final word that begins with C, but an F is substituted to reveal some visually amusing fill. Having the C in Cover as part of a fill may not be acceptable to some, though it is only Cs in the last word which are switched. The key to this type of theme is the wit of the new fill. I really enjoyed some of them and I hope you did as well. With 71 theme letters encased in only 5 fill we have a puzzle which has no fill longer than 6 letter, except for the theme, with 3,4 and 5 letter words dominating the grid.

17A. Forgeries that are easy to spot? : UPSIDE DOWN FAKES (15). Pineapple Upside Down Cake is the only one I have ever had. Do you get a mental image of the Mona Lisa standing on her head? Getting the theme is very critical because the perp of FIFE which intersects this and the next theme answer, is not easy.

23A. Dude in the CIA? : UNDER COVER FOP (13). I do not think of CIA operatives as Cops but I guess in the generic law enforcement sense they are. FOP is a word I know from reading  English mysteries along with TOFF.  As I said, FIFE is easy if you have the F theme.

37A. Trivial blunder? : MICKEY MOUSE FLUB (15). Ah, they have given us Annette Funicello, Britney Spears, Justin Timerlake and so many other graduates of Disney's Club. I assume we all of heard of the disparaging, what kind of Mickey Mouse operation are you running here?

49A. Pancake cook in pinstripes? : YANKEE FLIPPER (13). I love this; a reminder of Joe DiMaggio, the Yankee Clipper, in his pinstripe uniform.

58A. "My fireplace is defective!"? : I HAVEN'T GOT A FLUE (15). I also laughed out loud for this variation of I haven't got a Clue though we had many, and I hope you filled them all.

So that is the theme, just one letter changed, no spelling or sound changes, just interesting mental pictures.


1. "Invisible Cities" author Calvino : ITALO. I would guess marti knows considerably more than I do about this WRITER. Lately we are getting tough 1A starts to our Fridays.

6. "I ran away from you once. I can't do it again" speaker : ILSA. One of the most quoted films of all time, Casablanca had Ingrid say these lines:

"I can't fight it anymore.
I ran away from you once. I can't do it again.
Oh, I don' t know what's right any longer.
You have to think for both of us.
For all of us."

10. Ford Field player : LION. The stadium where the Detroit Lions play.

14. Surgery acronym : LASIK. Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis or the easier to parse Laser-Assisted Stromal In-situ Keratomileusis. I am sure we all remember KERA is Greek for cornea.

15. It's a gas : NEON. Fun clue. A touch of science.

16. "Snow White" character flaw : ENVY. Poor Queen.

20. By way of : VIA. A Latin word fully accepted into English.

21. French pronoun : TOI. Moi, toi? wait for perps.

22. Habituate : INURE. Both words mean accustom, but inure is more frequently associated with bad things.

28. Essen's valley : RUHR.

29. Spotted : SEEN.

30. Slug relative : SNAIL. A slug living in a motor home?

33. Roll : WAD. Usually seen with 'of dough.'

34. Word after clip or pop : ART.

42. Colorado native : UTE.

43. "About his head he wears the winner's __": "The Two Noble Kinsmen" : OAK. How cool, some Shakespeare that I do not know, with fill that was not easily inferable.

44. Guanaco cousin : LLAMA. This animal got its name from the Qhechua, who live in the Amazon so we are once again back in Ecuador.

45. Beantown athlete : CELTic. Boston is beantown, and they ended up making no deadline trades. Danny Ainge I thought you had the inside track for Dragic? And, 66A. City NNE of Boston : LYNN. Was this a Natick for anyone? Finally, 46D. Bay State motto starter : ENSE. "ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem" "by the sword she seeks quiet peace under liberty" How many of our Bay Staters knew the motto of their home, Massachusetts?

47. Peek follower : ABOO.

54. Some Highlanders : GAELS. Having read extensively about Scotland, this was a gimme. Their STORY. Also, 19D. County on the Firth of Forth : FIFE. I find all of this stuff interesting. LINK.

56. U.N. workers' agcy. : ILO. International Labour Organization. Don't forget the 'u.'

57. Roasting time in Toulon? : ETE. Another variation on cluing the French word for summer (without the accent.)

63. "Footloose" co-star Singer : LORI. She got the Bacon sizzling...

64. Word after "funny" that clarifies its meaning : HA HA. Not, funny odd.

65. 1995 Stallone title role : DREDD. A dreadful film, that has already been remade.

67. Senate Republican leader before Frist : LOTT.

68. Sources of wisdom : SAGES.


1. Affectionate text : I LUV U. LUV was a way to avoid saying love, when I was young.

2. It's often just inches : TAP IN. You just love those tap in pars and birdies, HG?

3. Syrian leader : ASSAD.

4. Full deck Nero wasn't playing with? : LII. Fifty-two, the number of cards in a modern deck.

5. Gave a thumbs-up : OK'D.

6. Like some soccer games : INDOOR. And football.

7. Pope before Benedict III : LEO IV. All perps; there have been 266 according to the Vatican; do even the best Catholics know them all?

8. Plant : SOW. Juxtaposed with...

9. Taylor of fashion : ANN. There is no such person, it is the name of a retail chain, and it was named after a DRESS.

10. Pressure : LEAN ON. Me.

11. Finish, as a tat : INK UP. My meh fill of the puzzle, don't  you 'ink in' the artwork?

12. Finished : OVER. I am so over this.

13. Where to see MMM : NYSE. New York Stock Exchange.  They were Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company when I was young, known then for Scotch tape. A CSO to our Minnesota heritage.  LINK.

18. "Toy Story" character who draws : ETCH.

24. Composer Satie : ERIK. More marti's STYLE.

25. Gag __ : RULE. In a trial, the judge orders the participants to not speak of the courtroom happenings.

26. Isaac's eldest : ESAU.

27. Team whose logo involves a "wishbone C" : REDS. There are many Cs but only this odd one.

30. Mustangs' sch. : SMU. A return visit for Southern Methodist University.

31. Trivial objection : NIT. You get to pick you own. A tiny clecho with the theme clue.

32. One-spot : ACE. Never heard the term.

33. Pan for Yan : WOK. I guess the rhyme is cute, but YAN is not the most well known of Chinese provinces.(up date, the reference is likely to a tv cooking show You Can Cook hosted by Martin Yan)

34. Recipe words : A LA.

35. Mojito ingredient : RUM.

36. Not yet determined, in skeds : TBA. To Be Announced.

38. It's surrounded by white : YOLK.

39. Game ender : MATE. Why do we have 'check' in chess but not in checkers?

40. Morlock prey : ELOI. Yummy?

41. Bomb : FLOP.

45. He served between Warren and Herbert : CALVIN. Coolidge in between Harding and Hoover.

47. Like most rafts : AFLOAT. Not George.

48. Rorschach image : BLOT. The oldest joke: the man goes to the doctor and is shown inkblots but after each one he tells the doctor he sees naked women fornicating. The doctor expresses amazement with the man's fixation on sex, but the patient says, "Me, Doc? I think it is you since you were the one showing me all the dirty pictures."

49. Ache : YEARN. For better jokes?

50. "__ Men Out": baseball scandal film : EIGHT. Ahhm the 1919 White Sox.

51. Pequod co-owner : PELEG. The characters in Moby Dick should all be familiar.

52. Chopin's "Winter Wind," e.g. : ETUDE. Do we like Piano music ?

53. Orchestra group : REEDS. Or do we prefer the ORCHESTRA?

54. Fish feature : GILL. Vince is hurt...

55. "Hi, sailor!" : AHOY.

59. Vezina Trophy org. : NHL. National Hockey League, the award is for the best goalie, named after a Montreal Canadien goalie who died of tuberculosis.

60. Lao Tzu principle : TAO.

61. Some pop-ups : ADS. Too many.

62. Brother : FRA. This is a variant of the word FRIAR; the Catholic encyclopedia says Friars are different from monks in that they are called to live the evangelical counsels (vows of poverty, chastity and obedience) in service to society, rather than through cloistered aestheticism and devotion. Whereas monks live in a self-sufficient community, friars work among laypeople and are supported by donations or other charitable support.

We are now getting ready for spring training baseball while we have parts of So. Fla. experiencing below 40 degree temps for the first time in four years. I realize this is not impressive to all the New England, upstate NY and Canadian readers, but is our harsh winter. Hope you enjoyed Frank V., as I did. Lemonade out (in the cold!).

Note from C.C.:
Happy Birthday to dear Argyle, my trusted adviser and close friend. I can't picture my life without Argyle, yet I forgot his birthday! I need to be punished!!