Showing posts with label Friday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friday. Show all posts

Jul 3, 2020

Friday, July 3, 2020, David Alfred Bywaters

Title: This puzzle is similar to an animal I used to know.

David debuted here in 2016 and has more than 20 LAT publications. His first 10 were all Fridays and all written up by yours truly. Since then I have cut back and missed many Friday DABs though I did blog one about the time of his third anniversary last December. This time he uses animal species and repurposes them by using some common phrases that made them sound classier. The "-ine" suffix works for more than animals but boy there are many animals. A sampling: accipitrine – hawk, eagle; aedine or anopheline – mosquito; alcelaphine or antilopine – antelopes; anatine – ducks, geese, swans; anguine or elapine – snake; anserine – geese; aquiline – eagle; assinine – donkey; avine – birds; bovine – cattle; cancrine – crab; canine – dog; cervine – deer; cetacine – whales; columbine – doves, pigeons; corvine – crow; delphinine or delphine – dolphins; equine – horse; elaphine – deer; elaphantine – elephant; ermine – weasel; feline – cat; hippotigrine – zebras; hircine – goat; hominine – human; lacertine – lizards; leonine – lion; leporine – rabbit, hare; leopardine – leopards; lupine – wolf; lutrine – otters; lyncine – lynxes; macropine – kangaroos; meline – badgers; murine – rodent; noctilionine or pteropine – bats; ovine – sheep; pavonine – peacock; phocine – seals; piscine – fish; porcine – pig; rusine – deer; sciurine – squirrel; serpentine – snake; ursine – bear; vulpine – fox.

The theme:

17A. Horse sense?: EQUINE AWARENESS (15). Literal.

23A. Cattle call?: BOVINE SUMMONS (13). Literal.

39A. Cat's paw?: FELINE EXTREMITY (15). Literal.

49A. Fox hole?: VULPINE CAVITY (13). Literal.

61A. Hog wash?: PORCINE ABLUTION (15). Literal.

He presented them with three grid-spanners and two 13s. Also, he snuck in MELANIN, REUTERS, BLUEBELLS, and DIRTY MIND as fun fill. Both in blue are new to the LAT. So on to the grid.


1. Abate: EBB. And flow.

4. Brit. detective's rank: INSPector. They are often the foils for the unofficial detectives such as LESTRADE from Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and JAPP from Christie's Poirot. A perhaps little known fact,  DAVID SUCHET the iconic Poirot got his acting introduction to Agatha Christie playing Japp opposite the dreadful Peter Ustinov portrayal of Poirot.

8. Gastropod associated with traditional mail: SNAIL. Rhyme time.

13. It may result in an RBI: DBL. Double.

14. Staircase post: NEWEL. My first mother-in-law (may she rest in peace) was born with Newell as her maiden name.

16. Lead-in for jet or Tax: TURBO.

20. Tiny fraction of a min.: N-SEC.

21. Gas pump choice: DIESEL. Counterintuitive? Is diesel gas? Doesn't come out of a different pump?

22. Witness: SEE. With cell phones, we see so much.
26. Act part: SCENE. This is from the mid 16th century (denoting a subdivision of a play, or (a piece of) stage scenery): from Latin scena, from Greek skēnē ‘tent, stage’.

28. Piper's son of rhyme: TOM.
Tom, Tom, the piper’s son,
Stole a pig, and away he run,
The pig was eat,
And Tom was beat,
And Tom ran crying down the street.

29. Afflicted: ILL.

30. Force oneself (on): IMPOSE. Very controversial words.

35. Gds.: MDSE. Goods equal merchandise, with these days is merch.

42. Lob: TOSS. I assume it started in tennis, which was interesting because I had a Professor of English, a former Davis Cup player from New Zealand, named JOHN LOBB. I often babysat for his daughter Hannah. When we played tennis, I seldom returned a serve.

43. Least strict: LAXEST. Nothing to do with the airport.

44. Bread grain: RYE. But it can make ergot, he said wryly.

45. Actress Thurman: UMA. She appears considerably more often in puzzles than in movies.

47. "¿Cómo está __?": USTED. Good morning Lucy.

56. Lincoln, familiarly: ABE. No politics.

57. Inventor Tesla: NIKOLA. Didn't I just discuss the rivalry with Edison?

58. Austen's aspiring matchmaker: EMMA.

64. Online financial services pioneer: E-LOAN.

65. "Nature's soft nurse," to Shakespeare: SLEEP. Henry IV
"O gentle sleep,
Nature’s soft nurse,
how have I frighted thee..."

66. "You're __ me": NOT. Good thing for both of us.

67. Wasp's assault: STING. No comment; too political.

68. Collections: SETS. Also Tennis divisions.

69. MASH staff: DRS. Doctors, such vital people in these difficult times.


1. Paradise: EDEN. I recently met a lovely young lady named Eden, I wondered if she had eaten an apple.

2. Backyard parties, briefly: BBQs. With no open restaurants, they are very popular here. They often need charcoal 53D. Briquettes: COALS.
3. Flowers named for their color: BLUEBELLS. Also PROTECTED in Britain.

4. Place to stay: INN. But not OUTT.

5. "Then live, Macduff; what __ fear of thee?": Macbeth: NEED I.
A double dose of Will S. JW must be proud.

6. Suffix with boat or cox: SWAIN.

7. Small bird with a small-sounding name: PEWEE. He has a very self-confident look. Cutie.

8. Sailor's guardian: ST ELMO. Fire sale?

9. Cloistered female: NUN.

10. Riposte to "Am not!": ARE SO.

11. "A Doll's House" dramatist: IBSEN. All you need to KNOW.

12. Doesn't prevail: LOSES.

15. Highlands miss: LASS. With all due respect to Owen and Moe

An indolent cleric frae May
His roses allowed to decay.
His wife, more alert,
Bought a powerful squirt
And said to her spouse : "Let us spray".

18. Wikipedia's globe, say: ICON.

19. News service since 1851: REUTERS.

24. Blood carrier: VEIN.

25. Campbell jingle letters: MMMM. Good!

26. Go (through) carefully: SIFT.

27. Egyptian queen, familiarly: CLEOpatra. I seriously doubt she was ever called that, though it sounds like a good name for a psychic.

31. Skin pigment: MELANIN. Melanin is a complex polymer derived from the amino acid tyrosine. Melanin is responsible for determining skin and hair color.

32. Spherical legume: PEA. Princess and a...

33. Tic-tac-toe loser: OXX.

34. Jeanne d'Arc, e.g.: Abbr.: STE. French abbreviation for a female saint. Joan of Arc.

36. Lascivious mental state: DIRTY MIND. Too un-pc.

37. Ophthalmologist's concern: STYE. Weird next to...

38. Looked at carefully: EYED.

40. Has arisen: IS UP. Too religious.

41. Needle case: ETUI. Not "et ui."

46. One of the 3M Company's M's, originally: MINING. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing. CSO to Boomer and C.C.

48. Editorial reconsideration word: STET.

49. Absorbs nicotine smokelessly: VAPES. Uggh.

50. Letter-shaped fastener: UBOLT.

51. "Vive __!": LE ROI. Long live the King!

52. Manages to attain, with "out": EKES.

54. Edward who wrote, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?": ALBEE.

55. Parking lot employee: VALET. I always get so embarrassed dressing in the parking lot.

59. Secure in a harbor: MOOR. Poor Othello.

60. Hill-building insects: ANTS. Are they talking Capitol Hill? No, too political.

62. Soup holder: CAN. Cannot.

63. Increases: UPS. The ante. and the number of the final down clue is also the number of theme squares in this 15x15. 63 is impressive. Have a very safe 4th of July; Thank you DAB and C.C.  forever.

Jun 26, 2020

Friday, June 26, 2020 Mark McClain

Straight Fs

If you've never been able to solve a Friday, today should be your lucky day.

20. Avian athletic contest?: GAME OF FINCHES.

28. Advanced degree for a gemologist?: DOCTOR OF FLAWS.

47. Metropolis, thanks to Superman?: CITY OF FLIGHTS.

57. Flunk out ... and what three long answers do?: GET STRAIGHT FS.

Straight Fs would be bad for your GPA.   No one should flunk out today. 

I always enjoy solving Mark's puzzles.   He's definitely in my top 5 favorite constructors.   Today was no different, and each of the the three theme answers made me smile. 

But IMHO, this was way, way too easy for a Friday.   A scheduling error ?  What do you think ?  Oh, and I'm sorry if I burst your bubble.

I was confounded by the answer to 9D, IN A HUFF.   It obviously doesn't fit with the theme answers of the added F.   The two Fs still gave pause. 


1. President before Wilson: TAFT.

5. Sign of shock: GASP.

9. Classical inspiration for the 2004 film "Troy": ILIAD.   Troy ?   Hello, Irish Miss !   Hope you are feeling a little better. 

14. Another, in Mexico: OTRO.   Fill in OTR and check the perp to decide if it will be A (feminine) or O (masculine).   Oh no !  The perp is also Spanish.   Good thing we all know the Spanish word for bullfighter.

15. __ ID: USER.   You can make your USERIDs complex, but there's no need.   Keep them simple.  Make your passwords complex, and change them frequently. 

16. Chip in a bowl: NACHO.   Doritos Nacho Cheese are favored chips in this casa.

17. Almost at: NEAR.

18. Long vehicle: LIMO.  A conversation starter for your Limo driver ?  It's derived from Limousine.   From Limousin, a region in France.  A Gallic tribe (Celtics on the continent) lived there in the time of Caesar.   They were known as Lemovices, which means "those who vanquish by the elm."  Lemo - elm, and uices - victors.   In the end, their elm bows and lances were no match as Caesar's armies laid siege.  Even though the Roman Army was outnumbered 4 to 1, they won the battle and claimed Gaul once and for all as a Roman province.   If you driver has no interest,  just talk about the weather.

19. It has no subs: A TEAM.   Loved this clue.

23. Like a disciplinarian: STERN.

24. Torque symbol, in mechanics: TAU.

25. RV chain: KOA

33. Ominous: DIRE.

34. Destinies: FATEs.  There were three Goddesses of Fates, as we learned in Steve's write up on June 18th.  They were Clotho the Spinner, Lachesis the Alloter, and Atropos the Inflexible.   Speaking of destinies, the all girl group Destiny's Child consisted of Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams.

35. Push-up targets: PECs.   Pectoral muscles. 

39. Not against the rules: LEGAL.   Licit.

42. Like a hairpin: BENT.

43. Stretched circles?: OVALs.

45. Brewpub array: ALEs

52. Corrida cheer: OLE.  For the torero. 

53. Waze suggestion: Abbr.: RTE.   Waze is a GPS app from Google.

54. Estée Lauder subsidiary: AVEDA.   Never heard of it until solving C.C.'s "Back to Basics" crossword puzzle last Sunday.    She remarked in the review that it is a Minnesota based company owned by Estee Lauder.

62. Problematic bacterium: E. coli.

64. The Mississippi forms its eastern border: IOWA.   And the Missouri forms most of its western border.

65. Northern European capital: OSLO.

66. Singer nicknamed "The Velvet Fog": TORME.   I read that at age 19 he composed the music and co-wrote the lyrics for this song made famous by Nat King Cole.

67. Visible pollution: SMOG.   Fog and then smog ? And ice crystals in the air forming a sundog ?

68. Comics icon Lee: STAN.   Marvel Comics. 

69. Vast chasm: ABYSS.

70. Sun dog, e.g.: HALO.  I believe you pretty much have to be in a colder climate like the northern states or Canada to see these when the sun is at the horizon.

71. Carry: TOTE.


1. Kitchen picker-uppers: TONGs.

2. Patronized, as a diner: ATE AT.

3. Like many museum paintings: FRAMED

4. Corrida star: TORERO.   Bullfight star:  Bullfighter.

5. Wide gap: GULF.

6. "Dream on!": AS IF.

7. Big rig: SEMI.   One of my "other duties" in the Army was driving one of these M818  5 ton tractor trucks.   Mine was a -A2 multifuel with  a ragtop and a semi trailer rather than the lowboy pictured.  10 wheels on 3 driven axles with a lot of torque, and no creature comforts in the cab. 

8. Stat relative: PRONTO.

9. Highly annoyed: IN A HUFF.

10. Having missed the deadline: LATE.

11. Item of hockey equipment: ICE SKATE.  Like some potato chips, one is usually not enough.

12. Cry of discovery: AHA.

13. Champagne title: DOM.

21. Like much '80s-'90s music: ON CD.

22. Half-__: coffee order: CAF.

26. Wilson who voiced Lightning McQueen in "Cars" films: OWEN.  Also the first name of our resident poet and host of Jumblehints Blogspot

27. A new exec may hire one: ASST.   The position title is usually ...

29. Shop __ you drop: 'TIL.   "Honey, look how much money I saved !"

30. Hematite, for one: OREProperties, uses, and occurrence of the most important ore of iron. Among others, ballast for ships, protection from x-rays, and jeweler's rouge.  DNK.

31. Fit for a queen: REGAL.

32. Yellow __: LAB.   The most popular dog in the United States is the Labrador.

35. Somewhat, to Schubert: POCO.    When it came to music, he was anything but poco.   He went full-bore.   One of the most prolific composers of all time.  Schubert only lived to age 31.   Steve had poco yesterday in Joe Denney's puzzle yesterday with the clue [Slightly, in scores].

36. Villainous: EVIL.

37. One in a Trivial Pursuit sextet: CATEGORY.

38. Slick: SLY.

40. Big name in Islam: ALI.

41. KFC selection: LEG.

44. Military pilot's missions: SORTIEs.

46. Heavy carpet: SHAG.

48. NBA foul shots: FTs.  Free throws.

49. Magic charm: FETISH.
   1.  any object believed by some person or group to have magic power
   2.  any thing or activity to which one is irrationally devoted to make a fetish of sports
   3.  Psychiatry any nonsexual object, such as a foot or a glove, that abnormally excites erotic feelings

50. Jay Leno, for many years: TV HOST

51. Starts: SETS TO

55. Key of Chopin's "Minute Waltz": D FLAT.

56. In concert: AS ONE.  Harmony, unity, accord

58. "Slippery" trees: ELMs.

59. Capital SSE of Firenze: ROMA.  Florence  / Rome in Italian.

60. Nowhere to be found: AWOL.

61. "Aladdin" parrot: IAGO.

62. Pilot's approx.: ETA.

63. Corn discard: COB.

Jun 19, 2020

Friday, June 19, 2020, Pam Amick Klawitter

Title: Puzzle was done ere there were four.

I am a great admirer of Pam's many Sunday publications here, and I did blog a Friday of her creation way back on New Year's Day, 2016. This effort was cute, the three themers are all nice homonyms of AIR. They are consistent with all the homonyms the first word of each fill. They are 12, 15, and 12. They each are amusing repurposing of the "air" phrases. Another three theme fill after Monday, this week. The rest of the puzzle does not seem like a Friday, with very few long words outside of the theme. ARRESTED,  PARAGONS, SIXPACKS, and TEAR INTO being the set. I await your comments.
The theme:

19A. What "You're not leaving me enough!" demonstrates?: HEIR PRESSURE (12). Part of my job has exposed me to all too many unfeeling avaricious progenies. The worst so far was the son who ran home to steal his father's coin collection so he would not have to share with his sister.

36A. Learning to live with your mistakes?: ERR (again) CONDITIONING (15). They say you can be conditioned to do anything.

52A. Malady caused by overexposure to a Brontë work?: EYRE SICKNESS. Jane returns; have we been overexposed? And there you have the theme.

The rest.


1. Shopping club: SAM'S. The club created by the Walmart people named for the founder.

5. Assist, in a way: ABET. (again) Abet is often heard in the legal sense of "aiding and abetting" a crime and often has a negative implication. Although this is the most common use, abet is also used in a positive sense and is a more sophisticated way of saying "help."

9. With 43-Across, shipshape: NEAT. 43A. See 9-Across: AS A PIN. Also fitting with our Monday pin setting discussion.

13. Settled: ALIT. Picture a butterfly.

14. __ parade: PRIDE. Well placed as this month is Pride month. The month of June was chosen for LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. FIB 1.

15. Folksy Burl: IVES.

16. Pop opener: SODA. For you midwesterners Soda Pop.

17. Golfing nickname: ARNIE. 8D. Prepare to swing: TEE UP. Go, Boomer, Gary, and George.
18. Mariner org.: NASANational Aeronautics and Space Administration.

22. Saddlebag carrier: ASS.

23. __-been: HAS. never was. FIB 2.

24. __-Locka, Fla.: OPA. The area was originally named by the Native Americans “Opa-tisha-wocka-locka” meaning “a big island covered with many trees and swamps” but the name was quickly shortened to Opa-locka. It sounds like it was named by the Muppets. FIB 3.

25. Obstacle for salmon: DAM. Yes, this is tough when you are swimming upstream.

28. Rutgers' conference: BIG TEN. The famous midwest football conference and a New Jersey school.

30. Tundra neighbor: TAIGA. A Friday word: a swampy coniferous forest of high northern latitudes, especially that between the tundra and steppes of Siberia and North America. Dictionary.

32. Bit of intimacy in a crowd, briefly: PDAPublic Display of Affection.

34. J.R.R. Tolkien did some research for it: OEDOxford English Dictionary.

35. Backup __: SINGER. A change from Isaac Bashevis. FIB 4.

39. Lock shops?: SALONS. Hah hah, locks of hair. Add an m and you have...

40. Chihuahua neighbor: Abbr.: TEXas. Has the state gone to the dogs?

41. Hill builder: ANT.

42. Ostentatious: SWANK. Hilary? She took three years off to care for her father who needed a lung transplant.

45. Artists Against Fracking co-founder: ONO. Artists Against Fracking is an association of artists initiated by Yoko Ono and her son, Sean Lennon, also including Mark Ruffalo, Robert de Niro, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, and Deepak Chopra

46. Pitcher feature: EAR. None bigger than Don Mossie's. For you Boomer and HG.

48. Cool relative: RAD. Already passé slang.

49. Bossy comeback: MOO. Cow humor.

55. Preacher's support: AMEN.

58. How much signing is done: IN INK. Also an integral part of my current work, but we use blue ink for a "wet" signature.

59. Coup d'__: ETAT. This is also like putsch: a secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government. FIB 5.

60. Rocky __: ROAD. Ice cream. FIB 6.

61. Tars: SALTS. Both names for sailors.

62. Socially conscious: WOKE. Be alert to injustice in society, especially racism.

63. Dieter's count: FATS. Not calories?

64. This, in Toledo: ESTO. Lucina, how are you.

65. Do some parasailing, say: SOAR.


1. 2000s White House girl: SASHA. No politics, just a college kid.
2. Fleshy-leaved plants: ALOES

3. Modest skirts: MIDIS.

4. Symbol for Macy's: STAR.

5. Checked: ARRESTED. We can debate this meaning?

6. Storage aids: BINS.

7. Tesla rival: EDISON. The SKINNY.

9. Important number in Sudoku grid construction: NINE. The key number, as our many Sudokuites would explain.

10. Actress Mendes: EVA.

11. DDE rival: AESAdlai Ewing Stevenson II.

12. "3-1-1" enforcement gp.: TSATransportation Security Administration

14. Perfect models: PARAGONS.

20. 21st of 24: PHI. Greek letters.

21. There's often a colon in one: RATIO.

25. "Mangia!": DIG IN. Today's clecho with 57D. Mangia!":  EAT. Usually heard as mangia, mangia! Italian home cooking can be some of the best meals you ever have whether they use sauce or gravy.

26. Deal maker: AGENT. Think actors and sports stars.
27. Helgenberger of "A Dog's Journey": MARGChina Beach and CSI

28. "Everything Tastes Better With __": Sara Perry cookbook: BACON. Does everyone agree? I do not eat bacon. FIB 7.  She also has one about Garlic.

29. Fixes People, say: EDITS. The magazine, which you can tell by the capital P.

31. Former U.N. chief: ANNANKOFI from Ghana. An impressive man.

32. Shrimp kin: PRAWN.

33. 1964 Tony Randall title role: DR LAO. An odd movie.

35. Gym developments: SIX PACKS. I have one, but I keep it safe under a nice layer of adipose cells.

36. Exxon, formerly: ESSO. This is classic crosswordese.

37. Perfectly pitched: ON KEY.

38. Verbally assault: TEAR INTO.

43. Play areas: ARENAS.

44. Texter's "Beats me": IDKI Don't Know.

47. Come to light: ARISE.

49. Empowerment hashtag: ME TOO. A movement.

50. Universal Studios Japan home: OSAKA. To compete with Disney Japan, I guess. USJ

51. Blender brand: OSTER. I like Oster toaster.

52. Purposes: ENDS.

53. River sediment: SILT. A circular meaning as it is fine sand, clay, or other material carried by running water and deposited as a sediment, especially in a channel or harbor.

54. It breaks quickly nowadays: NEWS.

55. Bit of dogspeak: ARF.

56. Bygone New Zealand bird: MOA. There is no more Moa. A dinosaur descendant. And there is no Moa of me today, but thank you PAK and all who read. Lemonade out, the grid below.

Jun 12, 2020

Friday, Jun 12, 2020 Gary Larson

Golf Strokes and Strong Arming by Gary Larson

TTP is still recuperating from his at-home projects. He asked me if I'd sub once again and give him a chance to get the drywall compound and latex paint off his hands, and the ache out of his back. So, here goes...

Gary has given us a traditional letter swap puzzle with accompanying witty cluing and ensuing hilarity. In this case the swap is fully explained in his reveal answers: 

63. Golf strokes...and when combined with 48-Down (Strong arming), and divided in four parts, a hint to four puzzle answers: PUTTS + FORCE = PUT "TS" FOR "CE." As my sister used to say to me, "Simple, stu."

17. Emulates Ogden Nash?: MINT SWORDS.

Oops -- MINTS WORDS (Mince words).

The Rhinoceros.
The rhino is a homely beast,
For human eyes he's not a feast.
Farewell, farewell, you old rhinoceros,
I'll stare at something less prepoceros.

27. Imagined gifts?: PRESENTS OF MIND (Presence of Mind).

44. What cheerleaders lead?: SPORTING CHANTS (Sporting Chance).

"Siss-Boom-Bee, kick him in the knee.
Siss-Boom-Bass, kick him in the other knee."

54. Tracks on a lily pad?: FROG PRINTS (Frog Prince).

And here's what else Gary provided for our consideration...


1. Throw off: EMIT. SCWA*

5. Like some firs: NOBLE. I only learned of these recently. They're native to the Cascade and Coast ranges along the West Coast. Reportedly, you can recognize them by the vertically standing cones atop the branches.

10. After-school treat: MALT. C'mon. You put in OREO, didn't you.

14. Actress Anderson: LONI.

Guess what? Her name is actually Loni Anderson. Who knew? She burst (bust?) onto the scene in 1978 as Jennifer Marlowe, the buxom receptionist at WKRP in Cincinnati.

15. Source of net profits?: ETAIL. It can also be the source of net losses.

16. Cooking acronym popularized by Rachael Ray: EVOO. I actually knew this -- Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

19. Early light time: DAWN. "O Jose can you see, by the dawn's early light..."

20. Can't stand: HATES. ABHOR would've worked, until it wouldn't.

21. Student of Graham: AILEY. This one sent me down the rabbit hole. Turns out it has nothing to do with crackers. Alvin Ailey was a dance student of Martha Graham. Before my eyeballs glazed over I found this.

22. "Of course": SURE DO.

25. Ones working with maître d's: GARÇONS. French waiters.

30. Word on a dipstick: ADD. Have you ever tried to read the level of synthetic oil on a bright metal dipstick? Taint easy.

31. Country singer Blake who's a coach on "The Voice": SHELTON. This was his first hit (3:47) back in '01.

32. Noted work: MUSIC. The music is made up of notes...and rests, and other stuff.

35. Want ad initials: EEO. Equal Employment Opportunity.

36. Lies: RESTS. Where it sits.

40. Fiber-rich snack: RAISINS. I used to think dietary fiber was a specific compound. Nope. It's basically that which cannot be digested. It comes out virtually unchanged from the way it went in. TMI?

43. Slip in a pot: IOU. Think poker.

48. Remote situation: FARNESS. Nose-raiser, if I ever saw one.

49. Gets more out of: REUSES. SCWA*

50. Gone by: OF OLD. OLDEN, PASSÉ.

51. Kooky: WEIRD.

53. Gifford's successor on "Live!": RIPA. Kathy Lee Gifford was Regis Philbin's costar before Kelly Ripa came along.

59. Rep on the street: CRED. Rep = Reputation. Cred = Credibility.

60. Deck with a Hanged Man: TAROT. SCWA*

61. Duck that lends its name to a color: TEAL. SCWA*

62. Wriggling: EELY. SCWA*

64. Like hunks and knockouts: SEXY. Personally, I don't see it...


1. West __: upscale store: ELM. I looked 'em up. They sell furniture. Hadn't heard of 'em but there is a store about 50 miles away in west Houston.

2. "Who, me?": MOI.

3. Certain keeper's charge: INN. The innkeeper is in charge of the inn, I guess.

4. Some church contributions: TITHES. Some people still do this.

5. Units of force: NEWTONS. How many figs to make a Newton?

6. Chiwere-speaking native: OTOE.

7. Breakfast snacks: BARS.

8. Topper: LID. HAT, CAP.

9. Yellow pair?: ELS. YeLLow.

10. It requires some orderly help: MEDICINE. Medical orderlies get the worst jobs, think of fraternity hazing.

11. Toyota model: AVALON. There's a neighborhood lady who we meet on our walks through the 'hood. She drives one, and we refer to her as Mrs. Avalon when we're not referring to her as "Our Lady of the Walking."

12. Bargain-basement: LOW END.

13. Tommy Tune's ten: TONYS. You can read about him here.

18. One-named Nigerian singer: SADE.

21. Defensive covering: ARMOR. This was slow in dawning, but makes perfect sense.

22. WWII supply referred to as "meatloaf without basic training": SPAM. Official lunchmeat of Hawaii.

23. Pakistani tongue: URDU. SCWA*

24. Wine list heading: REDS.

25. Prepare for a Hail Mary: GO LONG. and pray...

26. Where to see a wake: AFT. Behind the boat.

28. Degree requirement, perhaps: THESIS.

29. Greet and seat: SEE IN. USHER into the house of.

33. Nickname in late 20th-century British politics: IRON LADY. Lady Margaret Thatcher.

34. Liked, with "for": CARED. "No thank you, I don't care for it."

37. Offenses: SINS.

38. Schlep: TOTE. HAUL.

39. Unravel, with "out": SUSS, in the mystery sense of unraveling.

41. TGIF part: ITS. "Thank GoODness It's Friday." Always follows "Sure Happy It's Thursday."

42. Libretto cousins: SCRIPTS.

44. "On Language" columnist: SAFIRE. William Safire (1929-2009) was a longtime NYT political columnist. He also wrote the On Language column in the NYT Magazine. You might remember his "nattering nabobs of negativism."

45. Move forward: PROPEL. IMPEL was too short.

46. München mister: HERR. München -- we spell it Munich. MIL lives there. She turned 95 a couple months ago, and is still as crabby feisty as ever.

47. Book reviews: AUDITS. CPA reviews.

51. St.-John's-__: WORT. It's used in traditional medicine and warrants this high praise: -- "High-quality clinical evidence for its effectiveness remains absent." Red-headed stepchild of Hydroxychloroquine.

52. Showbiz award "grand slam": EGOT. I learned this just a few weeks ago -- Emmy-Grammy-Oscar-Tony. At first glance, it looks like a rye fungus.

54. Uploading letters: FTP. File Transfer Protocol, but you knew that.

55. India-born author Santha Rama __: RAU (1923-2009).
She was best known for her travel books.

56. Originally: NEE. Used in announcements.

57. Try: TAX.

58. Dodgy, on this side of the pond: SLY. I thought it meant iffy or questionable. Hmmm. It can mean both.

* SCWA -- Standard CrossWord Answer

And here's the grid. Desper-otto out.

Jun 5, 2020

Friday, June 5, 2020, Jeffrey Wechsler

Title: No more Montreal Canadians hockey club! No

Okay, That might be a stretch and not that helpful but my other choices were: ISO country code for Switzerland; Continuum hypothesis, in set theory; Cholesterol and so on. I could have just removed the first two letters of my last name, but not everyone knows my secret identity. Hi, like our first Friday in June, we begin this month with a puzzle from Jeffrey Wechsler. As always in addition to a theme with wit, there are some nice fill like, BECLOUD, BERATED (interesting how the "BE" beginning works so differently), GLUTTON, HIGH ART (JW's career as a curator)  IN A MEMO, LATE PASS, MADE A BID, OVERRIPE and PET HORSE.

18A. Result of severe yoga class over-registration?: THREE ON A MATCH (11). The mental picture of three enthusiasts sharing a single mat opens the mind to many possibilities.

30A. Jeweler's assurance about mounting one flashy gem?: IT'LL DO IN A PINCH (12). Pins and brooches just are not as popular now.

36A. Show whose wit is quicker?: BEAT TO THE PUNCH (12). This reminds me of shows like above.

52A. Dander-sensitive visitor's query at the doorway?: IS THERE A CATCH? (11). For HG, and all of the non-allergic cat owners.
And the rare Friday reveal.

45D. V-shaped cut ... or, in two parts, a hint to four long puzzle answers: NOTCH (5). Parsed as Not CH. I did not need it, and I wonder if this was JW or Rich's suggestion?


1. Italian sausage choice: MILD. These days everything in my home is a choice of spicy or Thai spicy.

5. Small amounts: BITS. I have to eat most meals in...

9. Texter's "Holy moly!": OMGOMG(od) (oodness)!

12. As of today: TO NOW. I think "Up to now" but what do I know.

13. Code type: PENAL. Sounds obscene.

14. Batman after Michael: VAL. KEATON - KILMER. I never noticed the K symmetry.

15. Liszt creation: ETUDE. He wrote MANY.

16. Sister of Thalia: ERATO. Nine Muses. Muses. Calliope · Clio · Euterpe; Erato; Melpomene · Polyhymnia · Terpsichore · Thalia · Urania.

17. Brown URL suffix: EDU. The Ivy League school in Rhode Island.

20. Like many SSA payment recipients: RETired. Not mandatory, but you will be taxed if you make too much money.

21. Natural resource: ORE. Nice, simple fill. Paired with

22. Zion National Park sight: BUTTE. There are many to climb. Here is ONE.

23. Thin man of rhyme: SPRAT. Jack could eat no fat.

25. Automaker whose Rambler sales were likely aided by the 1958 hit "Beep Beep": NASH.

27. Swarms (with): TEEMS.

29. Part of RNA: RIBO. Ribonucleic acid (RNA), a nucleic acid present in all living cells. Its principal role is to act as a messenger carrying instructions from DNA. Dictionary.

33. Dallas suburb: PLANO. CSO to our Texans.

35. Asked for milk, maybe: MEWED. Kitty cat.

40. Words from Caesar: ET TU. Brutus!

41. Whale's mouthful: KRILL. Krill are small crustaceans of the order Euphausiacea, and are found in all the world's oceans. The name "krill" comes from the Norwegian word krill, meaning "small fry of fish."

42. Gemini, e.g.: SIGN.

46. Musical with the song "Endgame": CHESS. This is way out of my musical knowledge and league.

48. Obvious flirt: OGLER. Ogling is not flirting; it is aggressive and invasive.

50. God in the Vatican: DIO. Italian word.

51. Slice (off): LOP.

55. U.K. singer Rita: ORA.

56. Volga-Ural ethnic group member: TATAR.

57. Alpine mont: BLANC.

58. Enterprise letters: USS.

59. Word before now and then: EVERY.

60. Heaven partner: EARTH. They are going dancing this Saturday.

61. __ Moines: DES.

62. Rockefeller Center muralist: SERT.

63. Tupperware parts: LIDS. Why don't they ever match?


1. Flying foe of Godzilla: MOTHRA. I watched this MOVIE alone in the basement of my Uncle's house when I was little.

2. Accustoms (to): INURES. This word is often seen in legal double talk.

4. Socially inept sort: DWEEB. First used in 1964. Why?

5. Dressed down: BERATED. There are 79 such "BE" words. 36D. Muddle, as one's judgment: BECLOUD.

6. How office directives may be relayed: IN A MEMO. Too often.

7. Leaving word: TA-TA. This is of British origin. The OED defines it as "nursery expression for 'Good-bye'".

8. Vegas array: SLOTS. Do your casinos still allow indoor smoking?

9. Like bananas used for bread, often: OVERRIPE. Yum.

10. Raised one's auction paddle, say: MADE A BID. Or played bridge or so many other choices.

11. Insatiable sort: GLUTTON. Even for punishment.

12. Wyoming's __ Range: TETON. The Teton Range is a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in North America. It extends for approximately 40 miles in a north-south direction through the U.S. state of Wyoming, east of the Idaho state line.

13. Felt-tip marker pioneer: PENTEL.

19. Microsoft Office component: OUTLOOK. We use that for the office.

24. Shellfish entrée: PRAWNS. Prawn is a common name for small aquatic crustaceans with an exoskeleton and ten legs, some of which can be eaten.

26. Break: HIATUS. Spring hiatus does not seem as exciting.

28. Requiring less effort: SIMPLER.

31. Boomer?: TNT. Our Boomer - Tried 'N True.

32. Fresh, to a Fräulein: NEU. New. Nu?

33. Lucy, a Clydesdale, in the comic "Non Sequitur," for one: PET HORSE.  The horse is riding the Moose.Non Sequitur Comic Strip for December 15, 2003

34. Tardy student's admission slip: LATE PASS. They bring the parent's note to the office and they are issued a 'late pass.'

37. Harness racer: TROTTER. Breeds that are used for flat racing include the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Arabian, Paint, and Appaloosa

38. Sophisticated paintings, say: HIGH ART. Do you see it?

39. Logical Queen: ELLERY. We are approaching the 100th anniversary of the creation of this character. Ellery Queen was created in 1928 when cousins Dannay and Lee entered a writing contest sponsored by McClure's magazine for the best first mystery novel.

43. Security desk request: ID CARD.

44. NFL team that doesn't play home games in the state it's named for: GIANTS. New Jersey - New York... meh. JW lives in New Jersey.

47. Locations: SITES.

49. Rise up: REBEL.

53. Store for future use: SAVE.

54. Court game word: ALAI. Jai will now leave on this note and hope you enjoyed the ride. I do not alai to you. Thank you, Jeffrey, and all who read and write. Lemonade out.

May 29, 2020

Friday, March 29, 2020, Alan Massengill and Jeff Chen

Title: Follow the circles from end to end.

We have another new collaboration featuring regular constructor Jeff Chen and noob (newbie?) Alan Massengill who already has two solo Universal puzzles published. Jeff has about 70 puzzles in the LAT of which I think 27 are collaborations. He also has 111 NYT publications, of which 70 are joint efforts. That qualifies him as HOF mentor. This primarily a visual puzzle, which once you see one of the theme answers, fills fairly easily for a Friday. Not much in the way in new fill, E-FILED, being the only introductory word. There some sparkles in the fill like AWESOME, DESSERT (this time) LOAN OUT, PARTIAL (a CWD nono) PETALED, SWISHED, FAULKNER and  HINT HINT. I hope Jeff or Alan will stop by to tell us more about this puzzle and constructor.

On to the theme:

17A. Feeling upon being stretched thinUTTER EXHAUSTIO(15). THIN is stretched from the second letter to the last.

26A. Earth-shattering realization: THE AWFUL TRUTH (13).
EARTH is broken up.

44A. Cutting-edge fashion icon: COUTURE DESIGNE(13). Designers create their fashions by cutting up cloth.

59A. Exhibit widespread political appeal: WIN BY A LANDSLIDE (15). WI and DE = WIDE which are spread far apart.



1. OTC drug overseer: FDAFood and Drug Administration.

4. Like a honeymoon couple's bed, perhaps: PETALED. Or this...

11. It may be brown or blonde: ALEASH was my first thought. That was a seed planted by Monday's puzzle.

14. Realty unit: LOT. I like this better than "acre."

15. "Killer, dude!": AWESOME. Surfer talk.

16. Proponent's preposition: FOR. This and the next are just definitions.

20. Ill-suited: INAPT.

21. Two-time Seth MacFarlane title character: TED. Why not.

22. Browses: SURFS. The other surfer,

23. Duplicity: DECEIT. No comment, too political.

25. Charges: SETS AT.

30. Actor-for-actor movie studio exchange: LOAN OUT.  READ and discuss.

31. Closest buds, for short: BFFsBest Friends Forever. The "s" is like an appendix in the human body. Followed by...

35. Open parenthesis, in some emoticons: FROWN. ಠ╭╮ಠ is what is listed in Unicode Emoticons. Also, 6D. Row of emoji, perhaps: TEXT.

36. Spiced tea: CHAI. This is generally a blend of black tea, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. There are variations throughout the world.

40. Cook in fat in a closed pot: BRAISE. This is to fry lightly and then stew it slowly in a closed container. Braising is used with larger or whole pieces of meat and very little liquid.

42. Cary Grant's chin dimple et al.: TRAITS. Our Charlotte has a chin dimple. Do you find them attractive or awful?

48. Zeppelin leader?: LED. Musical interlude? No Stairway today.

49. Spare tire makeup: FAT. A little deception, but men of our age do fight the battle of the bulge.

50. Hoops hanger: NET. They hang at each end of the court. Also, they make the sound in 53A. Sank perfectly, as a jump shot: SWISHED.

51. Jan. honoree: MLKMartin Luther King, Jr.

56. Top 40 song, e.g.: HIT.

62. Taiwanese tech giant: ACER.

63. Surprises in bottles: GENII. Back again.

64. Tip jar deposits: ONES. These days I see mostly quarters.

65. Tijuana Brass leader Alpert: HERB. Musical interlude. Hell yeah.

66. Fiat: EDICT. Not a car but from the Latin for "let it be done," the word fiat is a binding edict issued by a person in command. It can gain an almost Biblical aura of authority, like a movie Pharaoh saying, "So let it be written, so let it be done." Or Picard,  "make it so."

67. ASAP in the ER: STAT. It is more compelling the As Soon As Possible. It comes from the Latin and is an abbreviation of the word statim, which has the meaning "instantly/immediately."


1. Word with gender or lighter: FLUID. I knew lighter fluid but had not run across gender fluid which is a gender identity. A gender fluid person may feel male on some days, female on others, both male and female, or neither. A gender fluid person might also identify as genderqueer.

2. ISP suffix: DOT NET. Many of these mixed answer spelling out punctuation.

3. Stick on: ATTACH.

4. Not all there: PARTIAL. The dreaded crossword faux pas.

5. Farm female: EWE. Only you...

7. ESPY Courage Award namesake: ASHE. Arthur has had a great career in puzzles. His hair was neither ash brown nor blonde.

8. Unit to be washed: LOAD. Sunday was a wash day for us.

9. Layer of dark green eggs: EMU. An Emu egg is the equivalent of approximately 10 chicken eggs. The shell has a beautiful teal color (sometimes darker in color) and is prized as a decorative piece. We recommend using a chisel and hammer or dremel-type tool to get into the egg. Emu eggs make an incredible omelet or frittata. Also, irritating commercials if you ask some.

10. Napoléon, for one: DESSERT. This was not a tribute dessert but the cake initially named mille-feuille (which means a "thousand layers" in French) was brought to Russia in the early 19th century and was widely cooked during the festivities after the victory against the French army of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1812.

11. Something never done before: A FIRST. This collaboration for example.

12. Exfoliating sponge: LOOFAH. Loofahs — sometimes spelled luffas — are popular shower accessories used for cleaning and exfoliating your skin. No relation to sea sponges;  natural loofahs are made from a gourd in the cucumber family.

13. Bond villain Blofeld: ERNST. He has appeared, played by many actors, in SEVEN Bond films. Can you name them?

18. Dueling sword: EPEE.

19. Fantasia hippo's outfit: TUTU.


25. Evel doings?: STUNTS. Knievel- take that Robbie.

27. Not even close: FAR. Literal again and in a logical place.

28. Card game whose name is spoken during play: UNO. My maternal grandmother, may she rest in peace, traveled with a deck in her purse.

29. Dirty: LOW. Down rat!

31. English channel: BBC.

32. To and __: FRO.

33. Only Mississippi-born Literature Nobelist: FAULKNER.

34. Browsing target: SITE.

36. Animal house: CAGE.

37. Comment with a wink and an elbow: HINT HINT.

38. Consumed: ATE.

39. Med. country: ISRael.

41. Like bubble baths: SUDSY. And generally covering bouncy boobies. Unlike...

43. Cantaloupe coverings: RINDSNutrition but then boobies can be melons.

45. Submitted returns online: E-FILED.

46. Water brand: DASANI. For some reason, my least favorite of the bottle brands.

47. Cultural, as cuisine: ETHNIC.

51. [Blown kiss]: MWAH.

52. Causes of some head-scratching: LICE. Very literal.

54. Minimum __: WAGE. The new reality.

55. Revise: EDIT.

57. A light bulb may symbolize one: IDEA.

58. Sample: TEST.

60. "Hang on a sec," in texts: BRBBRight Back.

61. __ Alamos, NM: LOS. We finish with Los Alamos and its  National Laboratory (LANL) is probably the most famous federal government laboratory. Synonymous with both clandestine and well-known paradigm-shifting research, it is most recognized as serving as the birthplace of the atomic bomb.

I am outta here after another week having fun and with a new twist on an old concept. Thank you, Alan and Jeff,

May 22, 2020

Friday May 22, 2020 Kevin Christian

Theme: "Before and After" by Kevin Christian 

(Kevin is a veteran constructor, and he appears here often. C.C. interviewed him back in 2015.)

TTP emailed me last week asking if I'd be willing to sub for him this morning. That could mean only one thing – everyone on his a-list had already turned him down. I don't often get a shot at late-week puzzles, so I was happy to take this opportunity to make a fool of myself.

Methinks Kevin may be a Wheel of Torture fan. Each 3-word themer is a mash-up of two common phrases. The middle word can cleverly be expressed as a word or as a single letter. That gives us…

17a. One studying the waters near England
IRISH SEA STUDENT – Irish Sea / C Student (I can relate!)

27a. Communication device with a fancy patterned case
TIGER EYE PHONE – Tiger Eye / iPhone (I cannot relate.)

47a. Part of a Chinese restaurant’s expenses?
OOLONG TEA BILL – Oolong Tea / T-Bill

62a. Nutrition for a leading insect?
QUEEN BEE VITAMIN – Queen Bee / B Vitamin

As an added bonus (at least for me), there is no reveal that someone might miss in his haste to solve.

Here’s what else Kevin served up for our breakfast crunch today.


1. Conference giveaways: SWAG

5. Tampa NFLers: BUCS   I was thinking “Bucks” but nope, “Buccaneers.”

9. Place for a phone no.: ID TAG

14. Capital of Cuba: PESO

15. Drama honor: OBIE

16. “Odyssey” enchantress: CIRCE

20. Cool kin: NEATO

21.Loud sound:ROAR.

22. Comprehends: GETS

23. Jackson of country: ALAN. You might remember Midnight in Montgomery.

25. Namesake of a speed ratio: MACH. Named for Austrian physicist Ernst Mach (1838-1916). Mach I is the speed of sound – about 767 mph. Of course, 0 mph is known as “Mach’s nichts.”

32. Benefit: AID

33. Equine parent: SIRE

34. People pairs, say: ITEM. People magazine. Didn’t last.

36. Dinner party insert: LEAF.  in the dining room table.

38. There are two pennies in a classic one. ADAGE

41. Word with wing or life: SPAN

42. Value system: ETHIC. I’m never sure if it’ll be Ethic or Ethos. Perps will decide.

44. Irritated: SORE

46. Be indisposed: AIL

51. Unpleasant look: LEER. Sometimes it’s OGLE.

52. Bloom support. STEM

53. Radio switch: AM/FM

56. Lush: WINO. The noun, not the adjective.

58. Swindles: REAMS. I was not familiar with this usage. Now I am.

65. Old Northwest competitor: US AIR

66. Nixon or Agnew, once: VEEP

67. Storage structure: SILO. In my ute, dairy farmers filled them with chopped corn stalks.

68. Insurance giant: AETNA. Named after our old cw friend, Mt. Etna.

69. Misses the mark: ERRS

70. “That hurts!”: YEOW. I thought of several colorful possibilities for this 4-letter answer.


1. Public relations specialty: SPIN

2. Are in the past?: WERE. Tense answer.

3. “Heat of the Moment” band: ASIA. You Tube’s got it, if you’re interested.

4. Attend alone: GO STAG

5. Only 21st-century four-time World Series champs, on scoreboards: BOSton. (C.C. would’ve known this immediately. Moi, not so much.)

6. Geekiest of geeks: UBERNERD. I believe it’s a single word.

7. “Buh-bye!”: CIAO

8. Street on TV since 1969: SESAME

9. IV site: ICU (I tried ARM first.)

10. Imbibed in small doses: DID SHOTS. I learned many years ago that this can be a recipe for close-range sidewalk inspection.

11. Playhouse locale, perhaps: TREE

12. Unwanted spots: ACNE. Could’ve been SPAM.

13. Comprehends: GETS (I tried SEES first.)

18. Donut features: HOLES

19. Speed ____: TRAP

24. “Nessum dorma,” e.g.: ARIA. I’m not much of an opera fan (surprise, surprise), but I found Nessum Dorma to be particularly moving near the end of The Sum Of All Fears as the co-conspirators get their comeuppance.

26. Antepenultimte Greek letter: CHI. I first became acquainted with this 64-dollar word back in ‘61 when the Limeliters performed Have Some Madeira, M’Dear. You’ll hear “antepenultimate” – second from last -- at the 4:21 mark. If you’ve never heard the song, it’s a real treat. If you have heard the song, it’s still a real treat.

27. Connect with: TIE TO

28. State with a Sawtooth Range: IDAHO (I suspect Ray-O-Sunshine will have some fun with this one.) Looks pretty.

29. Beer-making ingredient: YEAST (I thought it was just grain, water, malt, and hops.)

30. Country between China and India: NEPAL

31. Office chore: EMAIL (I don’t think of it as a chore.)

32. Newcastle Brown ___: ALE

35. NBC show with many Second City alumni: SNL. Saturday Night Live. From day one. Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd to name a few.

37. “I’d like to know more.” FILL ME IN

39. Peruses: GOES OVER

40: Part of Q.E.D.: ERAT  What was to be shown.

43. Iowa campus: COE. It’s in Cedar Rapids on First Avenue S.E., just up the street from the former KHAK studios. Now how did I know that?

45. Roeper’s former partner: EBERT. Richard Roeper became the co-host after Gene Siskel died.

48. Rookie, briefly: NEWB. I think it’s pronounced “Noob,” though it could be New-B.

49. Lament: GRIEVE

50. “Whatevs”: I’M EASY

53. Ocean shade: AQUA

54. Erato, for one: MUSE

55. Exploit: FEAT (Could’a been DEED.)

57. “In thy dreams!” NEER. “Thy” clues us that it’ll be old-timey.

59. Parisian friend: AMIE

60. “The Phantom Tollbooth” protagonist: MILO. Not a clue! Plus, I misread Tollbooth as Toothbrush.

61. “The Hunger Games” president: SNOW. Donald Sutherland played him in the movie.

63. FDR “fair practices” agency: NRA. No, not that NRA, the National Recovery Administration.

64. URL addresses: IPS. The only IPS I’m familiar with is “Inches Per Second“ from the old tape-recorder days. Feel free to educate me in the comments.

That does it! C.C. will now make the completed grid magically appear. Desper-otto out.