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

Jan 27, 2020

Monday January 27, 2020 Frank Virzi

Theme:  TAILLIGHT (35D. Rear warning lamp, and what can go with the end of each answer to a starred clue) - Last word in each theme entry can precede "light".

17A. *Mystery/soap (1956-'84) that ultimately dropped "The" from its title: EDGE OF NIGHT. Night light.

37A. *One of the four Seven Sisters magazines that are still in print: WOMAN'S DAY. Daylight.

 63A. *Televised panelist shown from the shoulders up: TALKING HEAD. Headlight.
5D. *Infielder typically between second and third: SHORTSTOP. Stoplight.

Boomer here.  Welcome to all of you crossword enthusiasts. I heard that you have company. Word is that some of our U.S. Senators were doing crossword puzzles during the impeachment talks. I can't say I blame them. I watch MSNBC for an hour or so and then I have to change the channel.

I have bowling news this week.  In my Thursday league, the bowling center was giving me trouble with sparse oil conditions on the lanes.  Since the oil pattern was similar to 1970s I pulled a 45 year old plastic ball out of the garage.   It took me a game to figure out how to work it, but my scores were 155 - 257 - 220 - for a 632 set.  My second 600 since my diagnosis, but guess which ball I will be using there next week.


1. Tibetan monks: LAMAS.  I have a story about a Tibetan monk.  He entered a monastery where the head monk could speak freely but the members were only allowed 2 words every five years. After 5 years the monk was called to a meeting. "I'm hungry," he said. The superior responded that a larger portion of food would be given.  After 5 more years, "I'm cold," he said.  The superior answered that he would be issued more blankets.  After five more years he said "I Quit".  The head monk replied, "Well that does not surprise me brother. You have done nothing but complain since you got here!"

6. Rise up against authority: REBEL.  Johnny Yuma was one,

11. U.S. interstate, e.g.: RTE.  I have always been appreciative of the Interstates.

14. Grind, as teeth: GNASH.  My family once had a 1952 Nash - without the G.

15. Amazon Echo Dot's voice service: ALEXA.  Siri's competitor.

16. West end?: ERN. Western.

19. Pilot-licensing org.: FAA.

20. "Grrr!" is one: SNARL.  If you hear one in the woods, change direction.

21. Understood by a select few: ESOTERIC.  Proceed to left field to understand some of this stuff.

23. Garden shed tool: HOE.  I only have a shovel.  We will prepare the garden when the snow melts.  I was going to grow seedless watermelon, but I don't know what to plant.

24. Smidge: TAD.  We'll plant a TAD of tomatoes.

26. Give in: RELENT.  Bowlers never relent, we just change balls.

27. Light-circling insects: MOTHS.

29. Send out: EMIT.  Won't be long and we will be EMITTING golf balls.

32. "Got it": I SEE.  "I see" said the blind man, but he really didn't. 

33. Start, as of symptoms: ONSET.I hope there is no ONSET of the coronavirus in your area. Our news paper says odds are slim in Minnesota.

34. John Brown's eulogist Stephen Vincent __: BENET.  John Brown was notable in our history.  He was an abolitionist and his raid at Harper's Ferry is linked to the Civil War.  He was hanged in 1859 and his eulogy was attended by John Wilkes Booth.  I cannot imagine what it was like to live in the USA 160 years ago.

36. "If only __ listened": HE'D.

40. H.S. equivalency test: GED.  I doubt if it is equivalent to four years of Christian Brothers.  (Sorry Brother Albert - just kidding). 

43. Hopscotch: POTSY.  How about Richie Cunningham's pal Potsie Weber.

44. Sonnet line quintet: IAMBS.

48. Chrysler Building architect William Van ___: ALEN.  You would probably have to be Lee Iacocca to know this.

50. Campus official: DEAN.  Angel's Pitcher Dean Chance.

51. Longest river in France: LOIRE.

52. As found: IN SITU.

54. Cartoon frame: CEL.  I think that is short for cellophane so they could make a movie.

56. Prefix with gender: CIS.

57. Christmas saint: NICHOLAS.  Jolly old St. Nicholas, lean your ear this way!

60. Quarterfinalists' count: EIGHT.  Not sure about this but EIGHT is enough.

62. Suffix with alp: INE.

66. Opposite of oui: NON.  If you are French

67. Under-the-roof room: ATTIC.  We don't have a room in ours. Just some insulation and a lot of dust. I did look up there once after an original Honus Wagner card was found in an attic out east somewhere.  I think it was sold by Sotheby's for a lot of money.

68. Prefix for sun: HELIO.

69. Clock-setting std.: GST.

70. Sierra __, Africa: LEONE.

71. Prom attendees: TEENS.  "Sarge I'm just Eighteen, I gotta ruptured spleen and I always carry a purse."  (Who else but the Chad Mitchell Trio - "Draft Dodger Blues")


1. Tee size: Abbr.: LGE.  I go through a few tees when playing golf.  None are large.

2. "... et cetera": AND SOON.

3. Fridge stickers: MAGNETS.  I have a lot of these.  Most are souvenirs of places I have been.

4. On the briny: ASEA.

6. Campaigned: RAN.  It's leap year.  We'll be hearing a lot this year.

7. Nobelist Wiesel: ELIE.

8. Pleads: BEGS.

9. Urged strongly: EXHORTED.

10. Barista's creation: LATTE.  Fancy coffee.  I've never tried it. I am too cheap and lattes are overpriced.  My best part of waking up, is Folger's in my cup.

11. Browser update button: REFRESH.  You may also REFRESH  Folger's with a little fake sugar and a spoonful of milk.

12. New employee: TRAINEE.  Richard Gere to Louis Gossett in "An Officer and a Gentlemen".

13. Passed, as a bill: ENACTED.  or touchdown as a football.

18. Miami's st.: FLA.  I've been there twice to play golf in February.  Went to Epcot and Disney World.  Nice place to visit but I would not want to live there. No hurricanes in MN.

22. Yale student: ELI. I thought they were Little Lambs.

23. Med. care plan: HMO.  These are getting a bit expensive.  I am sure we will be promised better before the election.  I receive health care from the VA.  Stay healthy C.C.

25. Campaign face-off: DEBATE.  We have already lived through a number of DFL debates. Can't wait until this summer when the going gets tough.

28. Use an axe on: HEW.  Or Chop.

30. High-IQ group: MENSA.

31. Simpatico (like Justin Timberlake's band?): IN SYNC.

38. Soften, as one's voice level: MODULATE.

39. Ex-NBA star Ming: YAO.  An impressive 7ft 6" Chinese ballplayer.  His career began in China but he was signed by the Houston Rockets.  I believe he looked down on Shaq.

40. Opposite of losing, weightwise: GAINING. Not me. When I turn sideways you can hardly see me.

41. Weather-changing currents: EL NINOS.  "The answer my friend, is blowin' in the wind."  Peter, Paul and Mary 

42. Climber's downward journey: DESCENT.  The DESCENT speed is greater than ASCENT.

45. "Glee" star Lea __: MICHELE.  Michelle Wie has an extra L.  We saw her a couple of times in Minnesota tournaments.  She was touted to be the next Annika.  Never happened.

46. Great __: London's island: BRITAIN.  No longer home to Harry and Meghan.

47. French possessive: SES.

49. Medical research org.: NIH.

53. Bottom line: TOTAL.  Before or after taxes?

55. Dusk, in poetry: EEN.

58. Choral part: ALTO.

59. Organ that may itch: SKIN.  We get mosquito bites in the summer here.

61. Indian butter: GHEE.

64. __ cream soda: ICE.  We get plenty of ICE in the winter.  Sometimes guys play hockey on it.

65. Spanish two: DOS.


Jan 29, 2019

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 Frank Virzi

"Paper Cutter"

16. *Killjoy: PARTY POOPER.  A wet blanket.

20. *Face consequences for poor decisions: PAY THE PIPER.  More on that in the review.

34. *Furniture restorer's chemical: PAINT STRIPPER.   I've stripped more furniture than Carter has pills. 

50. *Airborne unit member: PARATROOPER.   All U.S. military paratroopers go to "Jump School" at Ft. Benning, GA. 

55. Stationery supply with a blade ... and a hint to the answers to starred clues: PAPER CUTTER.

BTW,  Frank created one of my favorite puzzles.  It's one that every Chicago Cubs fan should solve and frame for their man cave or diva den. 

Let's slice up today's puzzle and see what we got.


1. Tricky road curves: ESSES.

6. Too hasty: RASH.   The upshot of making a rash decision might be paying the piper, possibly leading to the following self criticism:
10. "Boy, am I dumb!": DUH.

13. Bowl over: SHOCK.  Technically, pins are inanimate objects, but Boomer shocks them and sends "ten in the pit" quite frequently.

14. Valpolicella wine brand: BOLLA.   Where's Chairman Moe when you need him ?   Selling wine of course.   I'll leave descriptions to the oenophiles.   Please chime in if you've tried this wine.

15. Suffix with project or percent: ILE.

18. Metro stop: Abbr.: STA.   There are 242 stations served by Metra in the Chicagoland area.

19. State south of Wash.: ORE.   I read the history of the Tucker Sno-Cat.   It is made in Medford,  Oregon.

22. Like Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial: SEATED.

24. Yom Kippur observers: ATONERS.

25. Italian wine hub: ASTI.   Another Italian wine reference from Frank.

26. South African golfer Ernie: ELS.   Nicknamed "The Big Easy" due to his physical size and fluid golf swing.   CSO to our own Big Easy here at the Corner who also loves golf.

28. Make a wool cap, say: KNIT.   Hello Madame !  Here's a link to William Safire's  The Fumbelrules of Grammar.    I had to look it up the other day after you mentioned it.

29. MLB exec Joe who was the Yankees' manager for 12 seasons: TORRE.   Joe Torre bio at

32. Wrangler's ropes: LASSOS.

37. Wild cards, maybe: DEUCES.

38. Arrive at: GET TO.

39. "At Last" singer James: ETTA.

40. Charged particle: ION.

41. Recipe amts.: TSPS.  Teaspoons. 

45. Polar expedition vehicles: SNO-CATS.
 "... Sir Vivian Fuchs’s 2,158-mile 1958 Trans-Antarctic expedition, a journey that constituted the first land crossing of Antarctica..."

48. '70s-'80s FBI sting: ABSCAM.   One U.S. Senator, five U.S. House Representatives, and five other state and local politicians paid the piper for accepting bribes in the undercover operation. 

53. Tijuana gold: ORO.

54. "__ little teapot ... ": I'M A.  short and stout.

57. Min. part: SEC.  Minute (short i, stress on the first syllable) or minute (long i, stress on the second syllable) is an example of a heteronym.  ie, same spelling, different pronunciation and meaning.    I think Rich employs heteronyms for misdirection and to amp up the difficulty of clues when editing, especially later in the week.   Do you recall the "Flower in la Seine" clue in C.C.s Sunday puzzle ?    Here's a RECKord of heteronyms to diLIBerATE

58. Companionless: ALONE.  Again, naturally.   Remember Biz Markie from the other day ?   The judgement that changed the hip hop recording industry

59. Quai d'Orsay's river: SEINE.  Whoa !   Thank you perps.    I learned that it's an area on the left bank of the Seine.   There's a street there with the same name that houses many French government offices.  Consequently,  the French use Quai d'Orsay to refer to the French government, similar to the English referring to Downing Street for English government.    

60. WNW opposite: ESE.

61. Swiss watch brand: RADONice looking watches.   I'm not a watch wearer and have no idea where they rank.

62. Trial rounds: HEATS.


1. Señor's wife: ESPOSA.

2. Stock market purchases: SHARES.

3. Furious with: SORE AT.

4. Outer: Pref.: ECT.

5. Video conferencing choice: SKYPE.

6. Carrot or turnip: ROOT

7. Dominant dogs: ALPHAS.

8. Wintry pellets: SLEET.

9. Marx brother with a horn: HARPO.

10. Mete out, as PEZ candy: DISPENSE.

11. Hidden, as motives: ULTERIOR.

12. Publishing family: HEARSTS.

14. __ Wonder: Robin: BOY.   The Dynamic Duo superheros Batman (Bruce Wayne) and the Boy Wonder Robin (Dick Grayson) thwart evil villains in Gotham.  

17. Note-taking aid: PAD.

21. Classic '30s-'50s vocal quartet, with "the": INK SPOTS. I don't think I'm familiar with any of their songs. This one was apparently one of the famous ones:

While listening to it, I scanned the comments and came across this remark,    "I remember the first time I heard this song: I was sippin' an egg cream with some doll at some greasy-spoon diner in the Bowery.  Some mug came in and served me more lip than his face could handle.  After a little chin music, I paid my nickel, grabbed the dame and took it on the lam."    Sounds like lines out of a film noir.

23. Lake on the border of Bolivia and Peru: TITICACA10 Interesting Facts About Lake Titicaca

26. Critical-care ctrs.: ERs.

27. Release: LET GO.

30. Queen's "Another __ Bites the Dust": ONE.

31. Shares again on Twitter, briefly: RTS.

32. Set a match to: LIT.

33. Befitting: APT.

34. Love handles?: PET NAMES.

35. Grand Prix, e.g.: AUTO RACE.

36. Han and Leia's son Kylo __: REN.   Star Wars stuff.

37. Loathe: DESPISE.

40. 14-legged crustacean: ISOPOD.

42. Nova __: SCOTIA.     One of the Canadian provinces.  Halifax is the capital and the timezone is AST.   Crosswords reinforce some bits of knowledge.

43. Mother or father: PARENT.

44. Gooey campfire treats: SMORES.  The Girl Scouts are selling cookies now.   I don't understand why they sell them in January.   I bought Thin Mints and whatever they call the peanut butter cookies.  Not the S'mores though.    

46. For face value: AT PAR.   Typically used in accounting and finance.  The face (stated) value of  a stock, bond or financial instrument.

47. Song syllables: TRA LA.

48. NRC forerunner: AEC.  Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Atomic Energy Commission.  The AEC was responsible for both promotion and regulation of nuclear energy.   Both critics and supporters of nuclear energy agreed that the regulatory function should be separated.  In 1974, the NRC was created with the passage of the Energy Reorganization Act.  - Paraphrased from     

49. Hair salon staple: BRUSH.

51. Winery prefix: OENO.   A wine sub theme today.

52. Opposite of post-: PRE.

56. Shirt with a V-neck, perhaps: TEE.

Dec 20, 2018

Thursday, December 20th 2018 Frank Virzi

Theme: The Buck Starts Here: Slang terms for the mighty dollar bill head up five down entries, as the reveal explains:

35D. Highest price, and what five Down answers have: TOP DOLLAR. The dollar term is on the top of the answer, hence the need to have the themers running vertically, not horizontally.

3D. Uncovered, in a way: BUCK NAKED. Those Duluth Trading commercials have certainly had an impact, like them or not. That was the first thing I thought of when I filled this in.

6D. Grade-school formation: SINGLE FILE.

9D. Personal, as a talk: ONE-TO-ONE. I had one-ON-one first, that didn't work out so well.

31D. Political commentator who wrote "Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball": GEORGE WILL.

"Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona."

39D. Beach cookout: CLAMBAKE. Food! Now you're talking. Here's a New England version:

From New England to Old England, where I'm currently enjoying some typical British rain weather. Fun puzzle from Frank, the theme worked nicely and an absence of any "clunk" in the fill made for a smooth solve.

Let's see what else we've got to talk about:


1. Goes out: EBBS.

5. Car ad fig.: MSRP. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. I'm not quite sure how realistic the MSRP on cars actually is, no dealer ever sticks to their MSRP guns. Maybe Tesla?

9. Poppy extract: OPIUM.

14. Stretched to the max: TAUT.

15. Cambodian cash: RIEL. The British conveniently forget that trading giant Jardine Matheson was founded on the opium trade.

16. Italian grandma: NONNA.

17. West Coast gas acronym: ARCO. Atlantic Richfield Company. Known for cheap gas. I don't put it in my car, the engine doesn't like it.

18. Violation of trust: INFIDELITY.

20. Kipling's Rikki-__-Tavi: TIKKI. The mongoose in Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book:

22. __ Dane: GREAT. What happened to the little dane? The great dane is certainly aptly-named.

23. Familia member: TIA.

24. Really get to: NETTLE. Tried NEEDLE, changed it.

26. Beeps and peeps: NOISES.

28. Fluffy neckwear: BOA.

30. Acts charitably: DOES GOOD.

32. Ararat lander: ARK.

33. "__ be married, / My grave is like to be my wedding bed": Juliet: IF HE.

34. Potentially offensive, briefly: NOT PC.

38. Bumbling one: BEE.

39. MDX ÷ X: CLI. Your Roman math. Ten into 1510 gets you 151.

40. Unlock, in verse: OPE.

42. Bit of soccer support: OLÉ.

43. Feature of some Gene Autry songs: YODEL.

45. Pasternak heroine: LARA. From "Doctor Zhivago". Inspired by the real-life Olga Ivinskaya, Pasternak's great love and literary support (or manipulative self-server, depending on who you believe).

47. "An everyday spud is a commentator," e.g.: PUN. Pretty awful, this one. "Common 'Tater".

48. Super Soaker, e.g.: WATER GUN.

51. It starts in Mar.: DST. Daylight Saving Time. Californians voted to keep daylight savings time year round this November. Sensible folk, no more springing and falling.

52. Distressed damsel's cry: SAVE ME! I went for HELP ME! first and made a virtual ink-blot fixing it.

55. Do business with: SELL TO.

57. Takeout menu general: TSO.

58. Moisten: BEDEW. Very poetic.

60. Tops off: FILLS.

63. Too high for people to catch?: ULTRASONIC. Not sure what I was thinking with "HYPERSONIC", but it seemed OK at the time.

66. Meh: BLAH.

67. Jacobi of "Murder on the Orient Express" (2017): DEREK.

68. UNC Chapel __: HILL. University of North Carolina.

69. Shakespearean schemer: IAGO. From Othello. Here's Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh from the 1995 movie version:

70. Nobel, for one: SWEDE.

71. Rights org.: ACLU.

72. 1990s-2010s slugging nickname: A-ROD.


1. Californie or Floride: ÉTAT. State, in yer French, of course.

2. Italian port: BARI.

4. Stir up: STOKE.

5. Hosp. test: MRI.

7. Browser button with a curved arrow icon: REFRESH. Ah, I've got one of those. I didn't see the HOME button last week, but my refresh button is right there.

8. Move in a tutu: PLIÉ.

10. Party pro: POL.

11. Monogram ltrs.: INITS.

12. Loosen, as laces: UNTIE.

13. Uxmal inhabitants: MAYAS. Important Mayan site on the Yucatan peninsula:


19. Five-O nickname: DANO. "Book 'em, Dano!"

21. "__ be an honor!": IT'D.

25. Work up a sweat: TOIL.

27. Altar words: I DO.

28. Treat with supreme care: BABY.

29. McFlurry flavor: OREO. I've never had a McFlurry. Do they do other flavors? Speaking of Oreos, I travelled to the UK with a roll-on sized bag full of Oreos and M&M's. My family are addicted to the more unusual flavors which they can't get this side of the pond.

36. +: PLUS.

37. Lowest price: CENT.

41. Songwriter with John: PAUL. Very few of the Lennon/McCartney songs were true collaborations.

44. Girl in a pasture: EWE.

46. Poison in some whodunits: ARSENIC.

49. Tight ends?: TEES.

50. Viet Cong org.: NLF. National Liberation Front.

52. Small earrings: STUDS.

53. Heaps: A SLEW.

54. "À __ santé!" : VOTRE. Cheers! To your good health!

56. Calf neighbor: TIBIA. One of your lower leg bones. A very close neighbor to your calf.

59. Persian Gulf capital: DOHA.

61. Mar-a-__: Florida estate: LAGO. Lago and Iago today.

62. Flip-flopped?: SHOD. Who was it who blew out a flip-flop? Ah yes ... Jimmy

64. Rosy: RED.

65. Gulager of "The Virginian": CLU. William Martin "Clu" Gulager to give him his full moniker. His nickname was given to him by his father, after the clu-clu birds, or martins, nesting at the family home.

That about does it for me. Time to find out if the rain has stopped! Here's the grid, and a picture of the old mill at dusk in Lower Slaughter, the charmingly-named village I'm staying in tonight (there's an Upper Slaughter as well!)

And finally the grid:


Notes from C.C.:

1) Hi Steve, hello from the other side!

2) Here are two pictures of Melissa's sweet granddaughter Jaelyn, who's going to be a big sister next year.

Jaelyn was a pink flamingo for Halloween. you can see her black eye - she was accidentally kicked in the face by an exuberant cousin just before trick-or-treating.

Jaelyn is going to be a big sister in may!

Dec 10, 2018

Monday December 10, 2018 Frank Virzi

Theme: BOTTOM LINE (30D. Net profit, and what the answers to starred clues have) - The bottom word of each theme entry can precede "line".

3D. *Nominal leader: FIGUREHEAD. Headline.

6D. *Atmospheric wind that aids an eastbound U.S. flight: JET STREAM. Streamline.

9D. *Boston tax protest of 1773: TEA PARTY. Party line.

36D. *Failed, as a business: WENT UNDER. Underline.

39D. *2016 film wrongly announced as Best Picture: LA LA LAND. Landline.

Boomer here. 

Mom used to hang clothes on the clothesline. John Charles Daly hosted "What's my Line?"  We had a busy week last week. I finished my radiation on Nov. 28th. Relaxed a few days but then had a much needed major makeover to our bathroom. This week is a doctor visit Wednesday, then a Graybar Electric retirees' Christmas luncheon on Thursday at the boss's Country Club, the TPC in Blaine where the 3M Championship (Senior tour) played for many years.  Now it has become a regular PGA tour stop.


1. Strains to lift: HEFTS. Did he publish Playboy magazine ?

6. Scribble (down): JOT.

9. Former Russian despots: TSARS. This has always been a difficult word for me to pronounce.

14. Dickens' Heep: URIAH.  "David Copperfield" was published over 150 years ago, and yet Uriah Heep lives on as a villain and a heavy metal band.

15. Cain raiser: EVE.  This story is even older than Charles Dickens' stories

16. Florida's __ Center: EPCOT. Been there, done that. I was a little disappointed. I liked Disney World better.

17. Nabisco cookie with a pastry jacket: FIG NEWTON. Y'er darn tootin'

19. "Cold Case Files" airer: A AND E.

20. Seminoles' sch.: FSU.  Florida State, home of Disney World and the Epcot Center.

21. Lukewarm reviews?: EHS.

22. Sadden: DEPRESS.

24. Gulf Coast Florida city: SARASOTA.  On the Western shore.  Luckily the hurricanes left it alone this year. (Thanks for the corrections.)

27. Scrape or scratch: MAR.

28. F equivalent, in music: E SHARP.

29. Investigations: PROBES.

33. Hostess snack: HO HO.  There's a guy in a red suit that may be hollering this soon.

35. Sound from a tabby: MEOW. Or it could be your sound if you accidentally hit your thumb with a hammer.

37. Wee hr.: TWO AM. Yup, it's when I take a pain pill.  The wee is optional.

38. Barley brew: ALE.  Okay, I don't drink beer.  You all may argue whether this is lager, pilsner, or just plain beer.

39. __ Fáil: Irish coronation stone: LIA.

40. Joseph of ice cream fame: EDY. Famously delicious ice cream.  I think Nestle's owns the name now, but the ice cream is still unique.

42. "Cats" monogram: TSE.  T. S. Eliot. At least they are not going for chairman Mao's middle name.

43. Mazda sports car: MIATA. A fancy sports car that is surprisingly affordable.

45. City bond, briefly: MUNI.

47. Suit to __: A TEE. I hit golf balls off these.

48. The "M" in LEM: MODULE.

50. Like red-line traffic, on Google Maps: STOP GO.  You can "Stop Go" but if you go to jail, you cannot pass go nor collect $200.

52. For example: SAY.

53. Lights that darken: SUN LAMPS.

56. Kate of "Steve Jobs": WINSLET. A 2015 movie.  I am not much of a movie fan, unless it's about baseball.

Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman

60. SSW opposite: NNE.

61. Bucolic setting: LEA.

62. __ Gay: WWII bomber: ENOLA.  We have just experienced the "Day of Infamy" 77 years later.  "Enola Gay" was payback which was questionable, but I understand..

63. Succeeded big-time: MADE A MINT.  Current market conditions might include a "Junior Mint".

66. "Over the Rainbow" composer Harold: ARLEN. "Where happy little bluebirds fly".

67. Grow older: AGE.  Seems like when you get older, the only thing that grows is the waistline.

68. The Lindy, e.g.: DANCE.  How LOW can you GO ?

69. Tally again: RE-ADD.

70. Hide-hair link: NOR.

71. Jouster's ride: STEED.


1. Blows like the Big Bad Wolf: HUFFS. Puffs and down goes the roof.

2. Pension law acronym: ERISA.  Retirement Security

4. Beachgoer's color: TAN.

5. "Good grief!": SHEESH.  Charlie Brown lamented grief.  I used to bowl against a guy who was nicknamed "Sheesh".  Guess why.

7. Lacto-__ vegetarian: OVO.

8. Look after: TEND.  Then sleep under a haystack.

10. Cousin of a snowfinch: SPARROW.  The SP (500) ARROW was pointing down this week.

11. Most common skin condition in the U.S.: ACNE.

12. Fishing sticks: RODS.  Sticks are cane poles.  I don't think I would call a sleek fiberglass rod a stick.

13. Fr. holy women: STES. Saints

18. End of many a riddle: WHO AM I?

23. Holy Roman VIP: Abbr.: EMP.  The holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman but consisted of much of Western Europe.  Napoleon destroyed it.

25. Japan's largest active volcano: ASO.

26. PFC's address: APO.  When I was in the Army, APO stood for Army Post Office, and was for overseas location.  Stateside I received mail at Fort Campbell, KY 42223.

31. Lessen, as pain: EASE.

32. Hook's right hand: SMEE.

33. Soccer great Mia: HAMM.  No relation to Theo Hamm, who made "Hamm's the beer refreshing" in St. Paul, MN.

34. Mishmash: OLIO.

41. Singer Warwick: DIONNE.  "The Morning I wake up …"

44. Wrestled: TUSSLED.

46. Battleship initials: USS.

47. Turkish chief: AGA.

49. Peacock tail feature: EYE.

51. Tells it to the judge: PLEADS.  Been a lot of these in the news lately

54. Pound's 100, in England: PENCE.  Sing a song of six.

55. Totally full: SATED.

56. Be dressed in: WEAR. So Where do you WEAR it?

57. Regarding, on memos: IN RE.

58. Pelican St. city: NOLA.  Mardi Gras will be here before you know it.

59. Fed chasing Capone: T- MAN.  That time of year is coming too!

64. In the past: AGO.  "A long, long time ago... I can still remember how the music used to make me smile,"

65. Doorstep welcomer: MAT. I never knew that guy was named Matt.


Note from C.C.:

Here is a picture of the reception area at the VA Radiation Oncology. I sat opposite that "Thank You Veterans" sign every morning waiting for Boomer. Lots of candies in that basket over the counter. This place just feels warmer and friendlier than other VA places. 

Radiation Oncology, VA Medical Center, Minneapolis

Nov 5, 2018

Monday November 5, 2018 Frank Virzi

Theme::  BEDSPREAD (66. Quilt, e.g. ... and a hint to the circled letters) - Twin, Queen, Double & King are spread out in theme entries.
17. What "bosun" is short for: BOATSWAIN.

24. Necessities: REQUIREMENTS.

40. Maxwell Smart catchphrase: WOULD YOU BELIEVE.

52. October holiday in Canada: THANKSGIVING.

Boomer here.  

October is in the rearview mirror.  I hope we are all looking forward to Thanksgiving.  Let me say this about that. I HATE all the Black Friday ads, almost as much as the Medicare supplement ads.  And I will not shop at stores that ignore the holiday and open their doors on Thanksgiving evening.  Also C.C. and I will be at our polling place early Tuesday morning. I hope all of you will take the time to vote.  Thank you.


1. Gillette razor introduced several years after the Trac II: ATRA. Not sure where these names for razors come from. Maybe from the same guys that name car models.

5. Sleety road concern: SKID.  "When you go into a skid, turn in the direction of the skid".  Words to live by in Minnesota winters.

9. Spherical: ORBED.  Army cot or bed ?

14. Cook, as cavatelli: BOIL.  Hard or soft egg?

15. Alien-seeking org.: SETI.

16. "SNL" producer Michaels: LORNE.  Bonanza boss Mr. Greene

19. Words to the audience: ASIDE.

20. God of the Quran: ALLAH.

21. Minute part of a min.: NSEC. There are a billion nanoseconds in one second.  I did not count them, I googled it.

23. Voiced: SAID.

27. Town mentioned in "Sloop John B": NASSAU.  "My grandfather and me"  Beach Boys

30. Give permission to: LET.  Allow a new serve without penalty.

31. CPR expert: EMT.  Electrical Metallic tubing.  aka thinwall pipe.

32. Kind of sax: ALTO.

36. When some news shows air: AT TEN.  I remember news at six and ten.  Now CNN and MSNBC have it all day and all night (Marianne)

44. Knee-to-ankle bone: TIBIA.

45. Elevator name: OTIS. Elisha Otis invented the elevator about 150 years ago.  I wonder how many multi-story buildings there were back then.

46. A half-dozen: SIX.

47. Cinnabar or hematite: ORE. Mining is an industry in Northern Minnesota.  That's where 3M got its name" Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing.

49. How dishes are often sold: AS A SET.  How tennis is played also.

58. Draws a bead on, with "at": AIMS. Sign in a public men's room. "We aim to please, you aim too, please".

59. Centers of activity: LOCI.

60. Ventricular outlet: AORTA.

64. Bronze or beige: SHADE.  Golden Gopher helmets are sometimes a shiny shade of gold.

68. Sagal of "8 Simple Rules": KATEY.

69. Vicinity: AREA.

70. First chip in the pot: ANTE. Actually, everyone in the game must toss in a chip to play.

71. "Goosebumps" author R.L.: STINE.

72. U.K. mil. medals: DSOS. Distinguished Service Order,  (plural)

73. "The Americans" FBI agent Beeman: STAN.  I've never heard of Stan Beeman, but who could forget Oliver Hardy's buddy?  "Hard boiled eggs and nuts".


1. Palindromic Swedish band: ABBA.  "Dancing Queens" from Sweden don'tcha know.

2. Saw, for one: TOOL.

3. Iranian money: RIAL.  I've never been to Iran but it sounds like an odd name for money.

4. Rite sites: ALTARS.

5. Opposite of NNE: SSW.

6. Reeves of "John Wick": KEANU.  Dogstar is an odd name for a band, but so was Beatles and the 5th Dimension

7. Formal answer to "Who's there?": IT IS I.  Is this a knock knock joke ?

8. Home fries server: DINER.  Kind of like French Fries only chunky.

9. Suffix with Cray-: OLA. Crayola no longer sells a color they called "Dandelion".  If you have one, put it on eBay.

10. "Goblin Market" poet Christina: ROSSETTI.

11. "Monty Python's Life of __": BRIAN.

12. Split up: END IT.  Banana's and ice cream in a high dish.

13. Monopoly cards: DEEDS.  "Title Deeds" to be exact.  Take a ride on the Reading.

18. Mr. Met's former stadium: SHEA. When the Mets first appeared in the National League, they played at the Polo Grounds.  Former famous home of the New York Giants.  I think the Mets lost 120 games that first year.

22. Cartoon frame: CEL.

25. Wharf: QUAY.

26. Word after Happy or square: MEAL.  Why do they call it a square meal when hamburgers are round.

27. Politico Gingrich: NEWT.

28. Mine, in Amiens: A MOI.

29. Retained part of a paycheck: STUB.  Or a ticket.  I have five stubs from the 1987 World Series. (Yup, I saw game 5 in St. Louis)

33. Canterbury commode: LOO.  Our Minnesota race track is Canterbury Downs.  Out there they call them "rest rooms".

34. Tsk relative: TUT. I think he was an Egyptian King.

35. Kimono sash: OBI.  Mr. Wan Kinobi of "Star Wars" fame

37. Hardy's "__ of the D'Urbervilles": TESS.

38. Songwriter Sands: EVIE.

39. Bakery call: NEXT.  I don't know about a bakery, but this is the call at the government center when you go to renew a license.  However they don't call it anymore.  There's a video hanging from the ceiling that says "Now Serving".

41. Simba's home: LION'S DEN. I remember being in Cub Scouts and being part of a den.

42. Like the night, usually: DARK. A Star horse in the 1953 Kentucky Derby.  Nipped Native Dancer at the wire.

43. Morales of "La Bamba": ESAI.  Lieutenant Rodriguez on NYPD Blue.

48. Immigrant's subj.: ESL.

50. Easy thing to do: SNAP.  We used to love candy coated licorice rounds called Snaps.

51. Old Greek gathering places: AGORAS.

52. "Honey do" list items: TASKS.  Is there also a "Honey Don't" list ??

53. Drum kit cymbals: HI HAT.

54. Valuable viola: AMATI.

55. Spoil: GO BAD.

56. Cupcake-topping workers: ICERS.  Never knew why people called frosting icing.  I suppose that frost can turn into ice.

57. YouTube clip: VIDEO.  I have plenty of VHS videos, but nothing to play them with.

61. __-a-car: RENT.  We do this in Las Vegas, but never from "Dollar".  Long story.

62. "Later," stylishly: TA TA.

63. Yemeni seaport: ADEN.

65. Watching organ: EYE.  I would not call an eye an organ.  You cannot play church music on an eye.

67. Flier to Oslo: SAS.


Note from C.C.:

Here is Boomer ready for the All Saints' Day mass at Benilde St. Margaret's High School where he coaches the kids' bowling team. Click on it to enlarge. He's wearing four different pins.

Boomer, Nov 1, 2018

Oct 17, 2018

Wednesday, October 17 2018, Frank Virzi

Theme: A Touch of Class - The last word of each phrase is also the name of a university. All are research universities.

17. 2005 reality show featuring Whitney Houston: BEING BOBBY BROWN. Private Ivy League research university in Providence, Rhode Island.

23. '60s sitcom portrayer of Cathy Lane and her "identical cousin": PATTY DUKE. Private, non-profit, research university located in Durham, North Carolina.

38. Ginger-ale-and-grenadine "cocktail": SHIRLEY TEMPLE. State-related university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

55. Chinese menu standard: FRIED RICE. Private research university in Houston, Texas.

62. Where social graces are taught, and what 17-, 23-, 38-, and 55-Across each has: FINISHING SCHOOL.

Melissa here. Interesting, from Wikipedia: "The term finishing school is occasionally used, or misused, in American parlance to refer to certain small women's colleges, primarily on the East Coast, that were once known for preparing their female students for marriage. Since the 1960s, many of these schools have closed as a result of financial difficulties stemming from changing societal norms, making it easier for women to pursue academic and professional paths not open to previous generations."

Sad fact: In too many states, it costs more to house a prisoner for one year than one year of university tuition. One example.


1. Recurring theme: MOTIF.

6. Contemporary of Dashiell: ERLE. Hammett and Stanley Gardner, mystery writers. Both contributors to pulp genre publication Black Mask magazine.

10. Apple debut of 1998: IMAC.

14. Childish retort: I DO SO.

15. Group of two: DUAD. Makes sense, but I don't think I've ever seen or heard this word. Googled "how to pronounce duad," and found at least three different ways (audio clips). Cambridge dictionary doesn't have an entry at all.

16. Santa __: Sonoma County seat: ROSA. California and Florida both have Santa Rosa Counties - but according to Wikipedia, only Florida's Santa Rosa is a County Seat.

20. War on Poverty org.: OEO.

21. "In that event ... ": IF SO.

22. Kipling python: KAA. From The Jungle Book.

27. Spin, as a baton: TWIRL.

29. "The Simpsons" storekeeper: APU.

30. Leb. neighbor: SYR.

31. Looks up to: ESTEEMS.

33. Show of rural respect: YES'M.

35. Army NCO: SGT. Non-commissioned officer.

37. Little piggy: TOE. Cute.

43. 1988 noir remake: DOA. 1949 Film Noir classic, public domain, full length avail on YouTube.

44. Ewe, say: SHE. Cute.

45. Website with business reviews: YELP.

47. Supple: LISSOME.

51. Many a microbrew: ALE.

53. One in the middle of Knoxville?: VEE. I still get fooled by these sometimes.

54. FDR and JFK: INITS. Initials.

58. Announcer Hall: EDD. Jay Leno's announcer on The Tonight Show from 1992 to 2004.

59. Protein-rich food: TOFU.

61. Wish undone: RUE.

68. McFlurry cookie: OREO.

69. Start of a hymn: O GOD.

70. Creeps-inducing: EERIE. Timely for October.

71. Arms of a starfish: RAYS.

72. Over and above: Abbr.: SYNS.

73. Silvery little fish: SMELT.


1. Will Smith sci-fi series: MIB. Men in Black.

2. Laudatory piece: ODE.

3. French pronoun: TOI.

4. "You're lying!" in a playground: IS NOT. Is too!

5. "Old" old-fashioned sorts: FOGEYS.

6. Old name for Tokyo: EDO.

7. Cube creator: RUBIK. I had a classmate in HS who learned to speed-solve - was impressive to watch.

8. Bio class cost: LAB FEE.

9. Slow Churned ice cream brand: EDYS.

10. Like the vb. "be": IRR. Irregular.

11. Red Sox star Betts: MOOKIE.

12. Like angry bees: A SWARM.

13. Lock sites: CANALS. A lock is is a device used for raising and lowering boats, ships and other watercraft between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways.

18. Pro wrestling throw: BODY SLAM.

19. Deepest level: BOTTOM.

23. Shell out: PAY.

24. Jungle swingers: APES.

25. Rear: TUSH.

26. Impulse: URGE.

28. Tearful: WEEPY.

32. Team with the most Super Bowl victories: STEELERS.

34. Central spot: MIDST.

36. TV host Pennington and Hall of Famer Cobb: TYS.

39. Places to perch: ROOSTS.

40. Bangkok native: THAI.

41. Big name in denim: LEVI.

42. Power co. product: ELEC.

46. Peruvian capital?: PEE. Nice clue.

47. Commit perjury to protect: LIE FOR.

48. Former Indian prime minister Gandhi: INDIRA.

49. "Dog Day Afternoon" director Lumet: SIDNEY.

50. Crude model used for public ridicule: EFFIGY.

52. Elicits: EDUCES.

56. Long sentence: RUN ON.

57. Turn a midi into a mini, say: RE-HEM.

60. Cries of discovery: OHOS. Okay.

63. Platform for Siri: IOS.

64. Mdse.: GDS.

65. Malachite, e.g.: ORE.

66. Many a Monet: OIL.

67. Permit: LET.

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: