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Showing posts with label Gary J. Whitehead. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gary J. Whitehead. Show all posts

Nov 18, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 Gary J. Whitehead

Theme: A HISSY FIT BY ANY OTHER NAME.


17. Lose it : HAVE A CONNIPTION.   Equivalent slang expression.


24. Lose it : HIT THE CEILING.    Equivalent slang expression.


35. Lose it : GO APE.   Equivalent slang expression.


41. Lose it : THROW A TANTRUM.  Equivalent slang expression.



55. Lose it : FLY OFF THE HANDLE.   Equivalent slang expression.


Hi gang, JazzBumpa here, having way too much fun with this one.  Lots of anger in this theme.  Let's see if we can stay on an even keel.

Across

1. Home of the Nobel Peace Center : OSLO.  Norway, of course.

5. Loafed : IDLED.

10. Wharf : QUAY.  A wharf may be built along the shore or projecting into the water.  A QUAY is a structure built along the shore parallel to the water's edge.

14. Scandinavian royal name : OLAV.  Back to Norway.

15. Black, in Bordeaux : NOIRE.  Simply the French word for black.  Let's put it in context.


16. Johnson of "Laugh-In" : ARTE.


20. Takes advantage of a cloudless night : STAR GAZES.

21. Grating sounds : RASPS.

22. "Oui, oui," across the Pyrenees : SI SI.   From France to Spain - yes, yes?  And a homophonic call out to our fearless leader.

23. 1-Across locale: Abbr. : NORway, for the trifecta.

30. Kentucky college or its city : BEREA.   

31. Cod cousin : HAKE.   Something fishy here.

32. __ gratia artis: MGM motto : ARS.  Art for art's sake.  Latin, 'cuz who knows why?

34. Spot in the control tower : BLIP.   This is a spot on the radar screen in the control tower.  Not so much a misdirect as unanticipated specificity.

37. Twosomes : DUOS.  Some are dynamic.


38. Brillo competitor : SOS.  Scrubbing pads.

39. Alert : WARN.

40. Packers quarterback Rodgers : AARON.   Superstar QB who is having a sub-par year.  The woeful Lions managed to eke out a nail-biting, unimpressive victory in Green Bay on Sunday, the first such win since 1991.  

45. NASA affirmative : A-OK.   All systems are go.

46. Big name in speakers : BOSE.

47. Prophetess : SIBYL.  An oracle influenced by divine inspiration.



50. Works like a demon : POSSESSES.  If you accept that demon POSSESSION is a thing.  But still, it's not a demon's work, it's what it does for fun.

57. Lowly worker : PEON.  The modern meaning.  Historically, PEONAGE was involuntary servitude imposed on native populations by Spanish conquistadors.   Nasty business.

58. True-crime author Dominick : DUNNE.   If I have this right, he is also the father of actress Dominque Dunne who was tragically murdered at age 22 by her ex-boyfriend.

59. Wine barrel sources : OAKS.   Strictly speaking, the source would be a COOPERAGE, OAKS provide the raw material.

60. Applies gently : DABS.  As with a cotton ball.

61. Hilarious types : RIOTS.  Funny people

62. Bout enders, briefly : TKOs.  In boxing, Technical Knock Outs occur when the officials determine that one contestant is physically unable to continue, or is in danger of serious injury if the match continues.

Down

1. Sounds of amazement : OOHS.  Often accompanied by aahs.  At any rate, there were many of these in Detroit on Sunday.

2. Blind part : SLAT.

3. Basalt source : LAVA.  Basalt is a form of igneous [derived from ignus, the Latin word for fire] rock, formed by the cooling of LAVA or magma.

4. Exceed, as one's authority : OVERSTEP.

5. One way to pay : IN CASH.  I'll give you credit for cashing in here.

6. Humdinger : DOOZIE.   Something special, unique or outstanding.  DOOZY is the preferred spelling.  I thought the referent was the Duesenberg automobile, but the usage antedates the car by at least a couple of decades.   

7. Poem piece : LINE.

five syllable line
comprising a poem piece
only in haiku

8. Coastal raptors : ERNS.   The venerable sea eagle of vintage crossword puzzles.

9. Opus __: "The Da Vinci Code" sect : DEI.   God's Work in Latin.   Also a real world institution in the Roman Catholic Church that teaches that all are called to holiness and that ordinary life is a path to sanctity.


10. Persian Gulf native : QATARI.   Since the name of the county appears to be pronounced "Cutter," I'm not sure how to say this.

11. "Exodus" novelist : URIS.  Leon.

12. Resting upon : ATOP.  Literally on top of something, or figuratively on top of something like the standings in your fantasy football league.


13. Hankerings : YENS.   Urges.

18. Stomach discomfort : AGITA.   Indigestion.  Probably arising from Italian slang, possibly derived from the Latin agitare, to stir up [agitate] or acido, Italian for stomach acid.

19. Orwellian worker : PROLE.   In the novel 1984, by George Orwell [Eric Blair] the nation Oceania has three classes of citizens: Inner Party, Outer Party and the PROLES, constituting 85% of the population.  They are common working peons, living in poverty and deprived of education.

23. Footwear company named for a goddess : NIKE.   The Greek winged goddess of victory, whose Roman equivalent was Victoria.

24. Serf of ancient Sparta : HELOT.   One might think of them as being equivalent to PEONS or PROLES, and, according to Herodotus, they did comprise about 85% of the population of the Spartan controlled areas of Laconia and Messsenia.

25. __ whiskey : IRISH.   One of many kinds of whiskey.

26. Music from monks : CHANT.   A single line of melody [i.e. without harmony] in free rhythm and a restricted scale, developed during the 9th and 10th centuries.   The shortest clip I could find is 8 minutes.  There are some over 8 hours.  Do not feel obligated to listen.


27. "The Pit and the Pendulum" monogram : Edgar Allen Poe.

28. World's smallest island nation : NAURU.   This 8.1 square mile BLIP with fewer than 10,000 residents is northeast of the Solomon Islands, very near the equator.  The only smaller nations are Monaco and Vatican City.

29. Clean and brush, as a horse : GROOM.

30. Air gun pellets : BBs.  Metal spheres, 4.3 to 4.4 mm in diameter, typically made of steel, plated with zinc or copper to resist corrosion

33. Form 1040EZ info : SSN.   Social Security Number.

35. Rubberneck : GAWK.

36. 60 minuti : ORA.   Minutes in an Italian hour.

37. Lacks the courage to : DARES NOT.

39. Virginia of the Bloomsbury Group : WOOLF.   This was an influential group of writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists associated with the Bloomsbury area of London's Borough of Camden. 

40. On the briny : AT SEA.

42. Synthetic fabrics : RAYONS.  Orlons, nylons - polyester and acrylic don't fit.

43. Not answering roll call : ABSENT.  With or without official leave?

44. Satisfies the munchies : NOSHES.   Snacks.  Is it kosher to use NOSH as a verb?

47. Calif. law force : SFPD.  San Francisco Police Department.

48. Lower intestinal parts : ILEA.   The ILEUM is the third portion of the small intestine, between the jejunum and the cecum, where the small intestine joins the large intestine.   I didn't have the guts to post a picture.  Still - there will be a quiz.

49. "We're not serving liquor," briefly : BYOB.  Bring Your Own Booze Bottle.

50. Spitting sound : PTUI.  Onomatopoeia.

51. "That isn't good!" : OH NO.  Common reaction in Green Bay on Sunday.

52. Minn. neighbor : S. DAKota.

53. Northern Nevada city : ELKO.   No idea.  Has anyone heard of it?

54. Meeting of Cong. : SESS.   Abbreviated SESSion of Congress.

56. New Deal pres. : FDR.  Franklin Delano Roosevelt.



That's all folks.  Hope I didn't do anything to make you mad.  We had, among other things, some hard workers, indigestion, a bit of ancient music, an example of bad poetry, a sports upset and something to drink -- if you brought your own bottle.

Cool regards!
JzB



Jul 9, 2014

Wednesday, July 9th 2014 Gary J. Whitehead

Theme: Mélanges, Mash-ups and Minglings. Each theme entry is a noun that amalgamates. There -  four synonyms avoiding the word "mix" which is in the reveal:

20A. Recording industry technician : SOUND ENGINEER

The often unsung hero of the music industry. Here's the supremely talented Bill Price's mix for the Sex Pistol's "Pretty Vacant" including the curious "false start" at the three-second mark. Time Magazine in 2006 named the album "One of the 100 greatest, ever".



38A. One with a busy engagement calendar : SOCIAL BUTTERFLY. Hopefully not in the "betrothal" sense of the word "engagement"!


57A. Kitchen appliance : FOOD PROCESSOR. Food! My kitchen has five varieties in regular use - an electric whisk, a whizz-it up liquidizer, a stick blender big enough to mix concrete, a Cuisinart processor and when I need the big guns, a KitchenAid.

And now the twin unifiers:

68A. With 69-Across, what 20-, 38- and 57-Across do : THEY

69A. See 68-Across : MIX

Greetings, Earthlings. Steve here on either Wednesday or Miércoles depending on where exactly I am at 38,000 feet above the planet. Due to either alchemy or electro-magic I find myself connected to the interwebs and I don't see an ethernet cable trailing out of the back of the plane. Wonders will never cease. And Germany with a 7-1 trouncing over Brasil? Not quite sure what to say about that so I'm saying nothing! Let's move on ...

A nice Wednesday from Gary - a grid-spanner and two 13's, a couple of nice long downs and some other sparkle in the fill. Let's check out the rest.

Across:

1. Subway map abbr. : STA. Station. One of my all-time favorite bits of trivia concerns the London Underground. I've no idea how anyone actually came up with this, but there is only one Tube station on the entire system that does not contain any of the letters in the word "Mackerel". Wow!

4. Early fifth-century year : CDIV. 404. Emperor Flavius's web browser error message: "HTML CDIV. Page non est".

8. Dreadlocks wearer : RASTA. Rastafarian more formally.

13. Bud : PAL. Here's my pal:


14. Mechanical recitations : ROTES

16. Singer John : ELTON. Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE to be precise.

17. Transfusion letters : ABO. Not a good thing to get your blood types mixed up.

18. Stave off : AVERT

19. Nonsense : HOOEY. I needed the crosses for the ending of this - not a word with which I was familiar.

23. Tin Lizzie : MODEL T. "Any color you like as long as it's black".

24. Director Kazan : ELIA

25. Kingston Trio hit with the lyric "Fight the fare increase!" : M.T.A.


28. Fray, e.g. : WEAR

30. Santa __: Southwestern mountains : TERESAS. An obscure little range in Arizona.

32. Obsessed whale hunter : AHAB

35. It's not free of charge : ION. Nice clue!

37. Hoity-toity types : SNOBS

42. Take in or let out : ALTER

43. Petal puller's pronoun : SHE ... loves me, she loves me not.

44. Way out there : AFAR

45. Sicilian seaport : MESSINA

48. SOS responder : USCG. The US Coast Guard. Motto: "Semper Paratus", "Always Ready".


50. Prefix with thermal : ISO

51. Actress Catherine __-Jones : ZETA

53. Belief in one god : THEISM

60. Family car : WAGON. I hear a clecho.

62. Turkish titles : AGHAS

63. Galadriel in "The Lord of the Rings," e.g. : ELF. Not one to be messed with, either.


64. Deadly virus : EBOLA

65. Ruled perch? : ROOST. More nice cluing.

66. Ike's 1940s command : E.T.O. European Theater of Operations, as I'm sure most of us know by now.

67. Family car : SEDAN. I hear a clecho.

Down

1. Jerk : SPASM. I looked at SPAS_ for quite a while before I realized I wasn't trying to find some vaguely non-PC word for an annoying person.

2. Forbidden thing : TABOO

3. One way to read : ALOUD

4. Nursery need : CRADLE

5. Woodworking joint : DOVETAIL. We had to make these by hand in woodworking class back in school. I think it took most of one semester to join two small boards together.


6. Santa Monica-to-Jacksonville rte. : I-TEN

7. Threshold : VERGE

8. Run through lines : REHEARSE

9. Soothing succulent : ALOE. I needed some of this yesterday - I spent about 10 minutes too long in the sun.

10. Leaves in a huff : STORMS OFF

11. Pump part : TOE

12. Vague amount : ANY

15. Circus support : STILT

21. Ones with much to learn : NEWBIES

22. German's "never" : NIE. I must have known this at some point, but it slipped my mind. Crosses to the rescue.

26. Indian drum : TABLA

27. Nineveh's land: Abbr. : ASSYR. Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian empire.

29. Hold up : ROB

31. Brings to a boil : ENRAGES.

32. "Same here" : AS AM I

33. Green targets : HOLES. Oh - golf! I was scratching my head for a moment with this one.

34. Hurricanes and tornadoes, in insurance policies : ACTS OF GOD

36. School sweater letters : NUS. The lowercase letter looks like a "v". Who Nu?


39. Grand Canyon State native : ARIZONAN

40. Calendar abbr. : THU

41. Precedent-setting trial : TEST CASE

46. Outlaw Kelly : NED

47. Bond trader's phrase : AT PAR

49. Well-developed, in a way : CHESTY. I'll leave the linking to someone else for this one!

52. Shop jargon : ARGOT

54. "__ to recall ..." : I SEEM

55. Conductor Sir Georg : SOLTI. Let's link to a wonderful view of "Nimrod" from the perspective of a third (?) violin with the London Philharmonic conducted by Sir Georg. What a treat.

56. Dahl's "Fantastic" title critter : MR FOX

58. "Return of the Jedi" dancing girl : OOLA. Thank you, crosses.

59. "This is bad!" : OH-OH

60. "Rushmore" director Anderson : WES

61. Civil War prez : ABE

That about wraps it up, and just as "we are now commencing our final descent into Los Angeles International Airport and the captain has turned on the fasten seat belts sign" I'd better "power down my portable electronic device and stow it safely for landing". See you all next time!

Steve.


Dec 7, 2012

Friday, December 07, 2012, Gary J. Whitehead

Theme: The reverse "A" word!

Each of the two across and two down two word phrases have an "A" added to the "end" of the second word (all have 3 letters), as well as revealed in a central unifier. This is our second 2012 offering from Gary, and my first time writing about his creation. In honor of yesterday's Roy Campanella reference, this puzzle reminded me of that other Hall of Fame backstop, Yogi Berra and his comment that "This feels like deja vu all over again."  It was a mere 14 days from marti's "append ix" and here we have Add an end A. (addenda) which is a nice word lawyers like to use with contracts. Overall, the puzzle was not easy,  a pangram (2 Js!) to whet your creative juices, some nice music references which I actually knew and some clues I was confused about, but I finished, so here goes our Friday frolic.

20A. Enjoying "O patria mia"? : HEARING AIDA. (11) When you get older you may need a hearing aid to listen to opera.

59A. Whomping actor Eric? : SMOKING BANA (11). Giving up cigarettes would not have helped.

I think the link gives a good idea of the definition of 'whomping.' It is Eric Bana getting whomped by Mr. Pitt.

11D. Supply electricity to a California city? : POWER NAPA.(9)  This sounds like a rest for our Italian friends. I am sure we all know the area because of the wine.

35D. Spot a flamboyant singer? : SIGHT GAGA (9)That would be a knee slapper. More MUSIC.(4:40) from the Lady.
and the reveal:

40A. Contract extras, and read differently, a hint to this puzzle's theme : ADDENDA. (7) ADD END A.

Across:

1. Family nickname : MAMA. I never used this for mine, but then again, we used real nicknames as my brother Barry liked creating them. To me this name is what dolls say when the girls pull their strings.

5. Wharton hero : FROME. I am not sure hero is the correct word for Ethan, as he wants to cheat on his wife, agrees to a suicide pact with the girlfriend and then chickens out only to leave them both partially paralyzed and dependent on the wife to care for both of them.

10. Crude letters : OPECOrganization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

14. One of five Norwegian kings : OLAV. I like it when they clue OLAV V, who was a fine King I am told (Spitz?, Jerome?), for the VV combination.

15. Trapper's tool? : RADAR. The policeman hiding behind a billboard,  or Trapper John from M*A*S*H abusing Mr. O'Reilly?

16. Roast, in Rhone : ROTI. They speak French in the Rhone valley but I have never heard the word with "au boeuf" added, but I assume literally it meas roast of beef. Funny, we had mention of the Indian bread Roti yesterday, and of course we have anagramatic 65A. Knee-slapper : RIOT.

17. Eye sore : STYE. Really fun clue for on who has sore eyes often.

18. Invierno month : ENERO. Today we have Spanish, Invierno is winter, Enero January. We also have a clecho 33D. Solstice month : JUNE. Did anyone else see Gareth using the term over on the Fiend?

19. Nicole's "Moulin Rouge!" co-star : EWAN. McGregor, did you like this SONG? (3:46)

23. Legal title: Abbr. : ESQuire.  I was called Colonel, when I started to practice in Gainesville.

24. Artificial : ERSATZ. A wonderful word and a nice way to get Z into the pangram. Both title, Esquire and Colonel are ersatz.

25. "Night Moves" singer : SEGER. Apparently it is Bob Seger WEEK (5:26) here. Gentleman, enjoy reading the lyrics. We also have 43A. Time to retire : NIGHT. Nit anyone?

27. Some of its ads feature a pig named Maxwell : GEICO.(0:31) My middle name, also featured in Beatles' song, and classic American TV. I do not think he would like 53A. "Pork and Beans" band : WEEZER. My oldest son's favorite band back a few years. SONG.

30. Prima ___ : DONNAS. Italian for first lady, the connotation from the opera.

33. Cuban patriot Marti : JOSE. Living in South Florida a familiar name, but perhaps a toughie for most. He is revered both there and in Castro CUBA.

36. Ages : EONS.

38. Fight back, say : REACT.

39. Aussie's school : UNIversity.

42. Layer : PLY.

45. Copycat : APER.

46. Vichy waters : EAUX. The plural form of the the French EAU meaning water. Vichy is a City. Say that three times fast.

47. Kennedy and Waters : ETHELS. Two famous women, not related to my favorite, alcohol.

49. Like old apples : MEALY.

51. Character piece? : TRAIT. A nice literal clue.

57. Binge : JAG.

62. Literary collections : ANAS. A nice stand alone word used often in Scrabble when you have no good letters.

64. Amity : PEACE. The irony of the Amityville Horror, which is a true story made into a movie in 1979 and 2005.

66. Star in Lyra : VEGA. No, not a Nevada stripper wearing lycra, but another form of heavenly body.

67. Top of a form, perhaps : LINE A. A tricky one to parse.

68. Heraldry border : ORLE.  Like this

69. Furthest from the hole, in golf : AWAY. In golf, after the tee shot, you take turns in reverse order.

70. Big key : ENTER. Along with shift and backspace on a keyboard.

71. Fade, maybe : WEAR. I hope I am not wearing out my welcome on Fridays.

Down:

1. Israel's Dayan : MOSHE.  The debonair Israeli hero.

2. Let out, say : ALTER. After Thanksgiving and Christmas, what often happens to the waist in pants.

3. Builders of stepped pyramids : MAYAS. Do you all have your CALENDAR set?

4. Nothing special : AVERAGE. Just your normal end of the world predication, nothing to get

5. Frantic : FRENZIED. about.

6. Signaled one's arrival : RANG. Like the door bell.

7. Ancient theaters : ODEA. The plural of the Latin ODEUM, one built in Rome in 161 is still in use. They were meeting halls as well as places for entertainment. Interestingly we have the Greek  22D. Ancient assembly area : AGORA.

8. 1961 record breaker : MARIS. Roger who hit 61 in '61.

9. Ate at : ERODED. The attention and pressure ate at Maris and he starting losing his hair. He ended up in Gainesville as a Budweiser distributor. He seemed to be a very nice man.

10. Tram load : ORE. Not a pram, where the load is less lucrative.

12. Weather may delay them: Abbr. : ETAS. Estimated Time of Arrivals.

13. Half of dix : CINQ. The French 10/5.

21. Samson's end? : ITE. No not getting killed while pulling down the Philistine temple, but simply SAMSONITE, luggage. There is no mention of whatever happened to Delilah.

26. Compass hdg. : ENE.

28. Bars at the end : CODA. I leave all musical explanations to the experts.

29. Latish lunch hr. : ONE PM. We eat 1 or later here.

31. "Because freedom can't protect itself" org. : ACLU. American Civil Liberties Union.

32. "Come Sail Away" band : STYX. Love this TUNE.(5:51)

34. Doing the job : ON IT.

37. Bygone blade : SNEE. We just had this Sunday.

40. Rockefeller Center statue : ATLAS.  Impressive in person.

41. Approach : DRAW NEAR.

44. Every other hurricane : HER. Since 1979 we have men and women alternating names. All you need to KNOW.

46. One may be penciled in : EYEBROW. I love this clue/fill.

48. Like a piece of cake : SIMPLE.

50. Boost, with "up" : LEG.

52. Front-end alignment : TOE IN. Do we have any car mechanics to explain this?

54. "New" currency replaced by the Congolese franc : ZAIRE.

55. Gay leader? : ENOLA. The atom bomb dropping plane; you had to know there was no other PC answer.

56. Triple-A, at times : RATER. They rate hotels etc.

57. Software product with a cup-and-saucer logo : JAVA.

58. All over again : ANEW. Ah, the other kind of "A" word.

60. "Categorical Imperative" philosopher : KANT.  Immanuel actually could.

61. Slurpee alternative : ICEE. I am not linking TBBT again, we just had this last week.

63. Come out with : SAY.

I would have to say my time is up. As always, I hope the tour has been pleasant, and we have hit all the highlights, but if not I am sure you will tell us. It is the anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, a day we should never forget.

Peace out Lemonade.




Note from C.C.:

Happy Birthday to our philosopher/farmer Windhover (Larry),  who is an excellent runner and no doubt a good biographer! Want to see how he looked when he was 10? Click here.

Windhover, 1973



Jun 20, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 Gary J. Whitehead

Theme - BATTER UP! Three non-baseball-related phrases each end in a word that doubles as a pitch.

17A. White castle offering. HAMBURGER SLIDER. The White Castle SLIDER is a 2 1/2 inch patty served on an equally small bun. Feel free to speculate on etymology in comments. A SLIDER pitch has speed between the curve and fastball speeds. It has lateral movement, but less so than a genuine curve ball. If it doesn't break enough, it is said to be "hanging," Hitters considers these to be gifts.

24A. Gadget for sharing a TV signal: CABLE SPLITTER. Needed if you have more than one TV or signal receiving device. A SPLITTER pitch is thrown using a split-fingered grip and a fast ball delivery. It is a slower pitch, though, similar to a change up. It generally drops and breaks at the plate.

40A. Angler's weight: FISHING SINKER. This is a small weight used along with a lure to increase the rate of sink or casting distance. A SINKER pitch is a genuine fast ball that has both downward and horizontal movement.

And the unifier: 53A. Types of then can be found at the ends of 17-, 24-, and 40-Across. BASEBALL PITCHES. Nice theme - right in tune.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa at the plate. Let's strike out (no - not that way) circle the diamond, and see if this puzzle is a gem.

Across:

1. Jaunty tune: LILT. Like this.

5. Desert bloomers: CACTI. Here is a great picture by my virtual friend MMM.

10. They may be on KP: PFC'S. Kitchen Police duty for Privates First Class.

14. Land east of the Urals: ASIA. Not a specific "land," but the entire land mass.

15. Detective Pinkerton: ALLEN. (Correction: ALLAN)

16. Vex: RILE.

20. Wide cigar: ROBUSTO. That makes scents.

21. Drive on a course: TEE OFF. Husker?

22. Look like a wolf: LEER. Not resemble a canis lupus, but observe in the manor of a lady-killer.

23. Yields to gravity: SAGS. I will spare you a link.

29. The U.K.'s Labour, for one: PARTY. Politics, not a joyous gathering.

31. "Leaves of Grass" poet Whitman: WALT. This is a poetry collection that Whitman worked on for much of his adult life.

WHEN lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d—and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

32. ____ de la Cité: ÎLE. The island in the Seine where the medieval city of Paris was founded. French and a gratuitous obscurity. Bah!

33. "That makes sense.": I SEE. Get it?

34. Becomes frayed, say: WEARS. Showing signs of use? Frayed so.

36. Feds fighting counterfeiting: T-MEN. Agents of the Treasury Dept.

37. Broke a fast. ATE. When I fast, it slows me down.

38. Talk with one's hands: SIGN. Use sign language, not emphasize your spoken words with gestures. When a clue is literal, that makes it tricky.

39. It doesn't hold water: SIEVE. A kitchen strainer that holds the lumps and lets the gravy go down the drain. Two literal clues in a row! Figuratively, an idea or argument that "doesn't hold water" will not stand up to rational criticism. More politics. Let's not go there.

44. Mid-month time: IDES. The most famous occurrence is in March.

45. Not e'en once. NE'ER. Ever and never with the v's elided. Does any real person talk this way?

46. Blue shades: AZURES. AZURE is the color of a bright blue sky. What do you make of the plural?

49. Affirm under oath: SWEAR TO. Hence the phrase, "You lie and I'll swear to it."

56. Opposite of ecto-" ENDO-. Prefixes meaning external and internal, respectively.

57. Monterrey jack: PESOS. Mexican money. Note the lack of capitalization on "jack."

58. "Born in a great steak house" salad dressing. KEN'S. I'm quite fond of the sun-dried tomato.

59. Professor's boss: DEAN. Everybody has a boss, e'en in academia.

60. Confederacy: SOUTH. The Confederate States of America, brought back into the Union by the Civil War. More politics.

61. Starch from a palm: SAGO. Someday I might remember this word.

Down:

1. Cowardly Lion portrayer: LAHR. Bert, from The Wizard of Oz.

2. Golfer Aoki: ISAO. Someday I might remember his name.

3. Life partner: LIMB. From the phrase "Life and LIMB," indicating what you put at risk when engaging in reckless activity.

4. Arrange in columns: TABULATE. Only maybe. The Free Dictionary defines TABULATE as "to set out, arrange, or write in tabular form."

5. OPEC is one: CARTEL. An organization of producers whose goals are to set prices and control quantities. A characteristic of the not-so-free market.

6. Climate Reality Project Chairman: AL GORE. Where science meets politics.

7. Cavs on scoreboards: CLE. The Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team.

8. Roofer's supply: TAR. That hot gooey stuff.

9. Sets up, as software: INSTALLS. Hardware, too, come to think of it.

10. One hearing a confession: PRIEST. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned . . .

11. Everypooch: FIDO. The John Doe of the canine world. But shouldn't that be e'erypooch?

12. Curvy music figure: CLEF. Why do I always want to spell this CLEFF? Curvy, indeed! E'en the despised C Clefs.

13. Lord's laborer. SERF. Medieval peasant, bound to the soil. This was not a LABOUR party!

14. Words on a yogurt container. USE BY. I've ne'er understood this. What's it going to do - go good?

19. On the up and up. LEGIT. Two slang terms for honest and respectable.

23. Train between ropes. SPAR. Train in the (square) ring for a boxing match. I don't like it, though. "Between" suggests an intermediate relationship to two points or objects. The ring is bounded by four sets of ropes. Amidst, perhaps, or among? Can this clue be saved?

24. First Nation's members: CREES. First Nations is a Canadian term referring to Native Americans. The CREE people are one such nation. Is the term used here in the States?

25. Cygnet's parents. SWANS. Cygnets are their babies. In other news, Cygnet is a village of about 300 people on I-75 in Wood County, OH, between Bowling Green and Findlay.

26. Kitchen counter: TIMER. Counting the minutes until the cookies are ready. Mom - are they done yet?

27. Alt.: ELEVation. Note abbrvs. Sad to say, this one threw me. I was fixated on "Alt." as "alternative" and couldn't come up with any alternatives.

28. Former Quebec Premier Lévesque: RENE. This one, I knew. More politics, more Canada, more French.

29. "La Vie en Rose" chanteuse: PIAF. This I did not know, but the perps helped. Édith Giovanna Gassion, (1915 - 1961) was a French cultural icon. In the mid 30's, she took the nickname PIAF - a colloquialism for sparrow. What do you think?

30. Sparkling libation of Italy: ASTI. Named for its region of origin, this might as well be the official drink of the cross-word world.

34. Tart, juicy apples: WINESAPS. Great for baking, and one of my favorites for eating. Michigan's fruit crops - apples, pears, and peaches - were at least 90% destroyed this year by the warm April followed by overnight frosts in May. At least the vineyards in the northwestern part of the L. P. were spared.

35. Fabergé collectables: EGGS. Conspicuous consumption. Read all about it. That is quite enough French, merci.

36. Hanging organizers. TIE RACKS, not what is done after an unsuccessful coup.

39. Trapshooting. SKEET. Check it out.

41. Add to the payroll. HIRE ON. Rare occurrence, these days.

42. Place to be. IN SPOT. Hang out there, and maybe you'll SPOT the it girl. On second thought, never mind. Nobody goes there anymore - it's too crowded.

43. Rather recent. NEWISH. The word seems a bit lame-ish.

46. Propped up by pillows, perhaps. ABED. A dreaded a-word, and where I ought to be. Soon . . .

47. Writer Grey. ZANE. Did he ever see things in black and white? He did write Riders of the Purple Sage.

48. Fed. inspection org. : USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).

50. Mother of Zeus: RHEA. Zeus had a mother?!? I must have mythed it.

51. 100 C-notes.: TEN G. A G is a thousand dollars - probably from "grand." Do the math.

52. Bologna bone: OSSA. (Correction: The answer is OSSO.) I'm going to be careful here. OSSA is Italian for bone; Bologna is a city in Italy; it all fits.

54. Sign of Summer. LEO. The Zodiac sign containing the latter part of July and most of August. The LW, grandson Nate, and his dad are all LEOS.

55. Shaq's alma mater: LSU. Cager O'Neal attended Louisiana State University. He probably didn't play baseball.

Answer grid.

Well, we had a balk and a wild pitch or two, but I'll call this a quality major league effort. Hope you had a good time and stayed until the final out.

Cheers!
JzB

Jan 6, 2011

Thursday January 6, 2011 Gary J. Whitehead

Theme: You've got a lot of nerve! Revealed in 60A. Part of an axon (and what 17-, 28- and 46-Across each has?): NERVE ENDING. The last words of the three theme answers are all synonyms for Chutzpah.

17A. Marinara, for one: TOMATO SAUCE. Salty or heavily seasoned, saucy. Related: sass.

28A. Pentagon bigwigs: MILITARY BRASS.

46A. Not serious: TONGUE IN CHEEK. If you have cheek, you probably mouth off a bit.

Hi all, Al here.

Good puzzle for a Thursday. Some answers I didn't know, like LODZ, or NERI, but everything eventually fell with the perps for me today, no lookups. I think my favorite word was INEXORABLE; I want to be more like that. Other than a few, I thought all the answers were pretty easy. Some of the clues, though, were not...

ACROSS:

1. Techie talk, e.g.: JARGON. Argot is specifically the jargon of rogues and thieves. Jargon comes from Old French, literally a chattering of birds, unintelligible.

7. They have guards on both sides of them: Abbr.: CTRS. Centers and guards, football players.

11. Roman sun god: SOL.

14. Nine follower?: ONE ONE. 911. The emergency number, spelled out.

15. Menageries: ZOOS. From French ménagerie "housing for domestic animals". Zoo from Greek zoion "animal".

16. Worldwide workers' gp.: ILO. International Labour Organization. A UN agency.

19. Marked, in a way: XED.

20. Winter coat: SNOW. Or blanket. Nice misdirection.

21. Pusher pursuer: NARC.

22. The gamut: A TO Z. Originally the lowest note in the medieval musical scale "gamma ut", it came to mean the whole scale and from there expanded to mean the entire range of anything.

23. __ II, king who founded Borg (now Sarpsborg): OLAF.

25. Moor: HEATH. Swamp.

32. Swindle: CON.

33. Philip __: 16th-century Italian saint: NERI. If you say so...

34. Only just: BARELY.

36. Cheri who played Gail Hailstorm in "Scary Movie": OTERI. SNL alumna, list of characters including Ross Perot...

38. First person in Berlin?: ICH. Es gibt kein Ich im Team. Unless you look closely.

40. Yearned: PINED. Pine from Old English pineon "pain, torture, punishment".

41. Reliant Stadium NFL team: TEXANS. Houston. Unlike the Metrodome, this stadium roof won't collapse under the weight of snow. :-)

43. Latin quarters?: CASA. Spanish is a romance language derived from Latin. The clue may also mean Latin America.

45. French possessive: SES. His or her (things), plural form. Singular would be "son".

49. Artful dodges: RUSES. A clue reference to the artful dodger, who was a pickpocket in the Dickens novel Oliver Twist.

50. Mention with an ulterior motive: DROP.

51. Finish shooting: WRAP. The meaning of ending a filming session only is traced back to 1974...

53. Eldest Younger gang member: COLE. A play on the name Younger. Associated with Jesse James, and the James-Younger gang.

55. Louisville's river: OHIO.

59. Air base?: HUB. Like FedEx, I guess, a central location.

63. Feverish, say: ILL.

64. Natural balm: ALOE.

65. Browbeat: COERCE. Browbeat: to bear down with fierce or arrogant looks.

66. One of a jazz duo?: ZEE. Two letter "Z"s in the word jaZZ

67. It's often seen under a cap: GOWN. Graduation.

68. Swindle: HUSTLE.

DOWN:

1. Scribbles: JOTS.

2. Soon, poetically: ANON.

3. San __: REMO. On the Italian Rivera.

4. Commit a service infraction: GO AWOL. Absent without leave. Attempted misdirection towards a sport that has a central net, like a tennis fault.

5. Toronto's prov.: ONT.ario

6. Nursery arrival: NEONATE. Anyone else put NEWBORN at first?

7. Winter Palace figure: CZAR. The CZ spelling instead of TS for once. It was almost a welcome change.

8. Sensitive: TOUCHY.

9. "One Thousand and One Nights" bird: ROC. Associated with the story of Sinbad the Sailor.

10. GPS heading: SSE. Directional clues have apparently been updated for the digital age.

11. Intuition: SIXTH SENSE.

12. Spread on the table: OLEO.

13. One of Poland's three most populous cities: LODZ.

18. Exotic honeymoon, perhaps: SAFARI. This idea would never have crossed my mind. Heat, bugs, dust, rain, sleeping on cots in tents? Not so romantic to me. I could have the wrong impression, I suppose. Do they have safaris available using air conditioned travel trailers now?

22. Asteroids maker: ATARI. Early arcade video game.

24. Winter coat features: LININGS. Clecho with 20A.

26. Withdraw: EBB.

27. Wyoming tribe: ARAPAHO.

28. Choral piece: MOTET.

29. Unyielding: INEXORABLE. Like the martians in Jeff Wayne's musical War of the Worlds.

30. "Monster" (2003) co-star: RICCI. Christina.

31. Streamlined: SLEEK.

32. No-frills bed: COT.

35. NFL gains: YDS.

37. What the mouse did clockwise?: RAN UP. Hicory Dickory Dock.

39. Radio moniker: HANDLE. CB radio name.

42. Take to court: SUE.

44. Collision preceder: SCREECH. And here I was, trying to think of a prefix. I wonder if this was from the tires or from the passengers?

47. Money set aside: ESCROW. From Old French escroue "scrap, roll of parchment", originally a deed held by a third person until a debt was paid.

48. Lyric poems: EPODES. The third part of an ode, which followed the strophe and the antistrophe, and completed the movement.

51. Crackerjack: WHIZ.

52. Run the show: RULE.

54. Bakery appliance: OVEN.

56. "Cotton Candy" trumpeter: HIRT. A top 10 hit in 1964.

57. Not left out: Abbr.: INCL.uded

58. Curved molding: OGEE.

60. Henpeck: NAG.

61. "Strange Magic" band: ELO. Electric Light Orchestra.

62. __-turn: NO U.

Answer Grid.

Al

Aug 3, 2010

Tuesday August 3, 2010 Gary J. Whitehead

Theme: Track Bets - The start of the first word of each two-word familiar phrase is a bet on horse race finish, in win, place & show order.

20A. Cellarmaster's vessel : WINE DECANTER. Win. Finish first. Can you think of any other "win" containing phrase?

36A. Response to sugar pills, perhaps : PLACEBO EFFECT. Place. Finish second. My favorite theme entry.

53A. It might have a massage setting : SHOWER NOZZLE. Show. Finish third. Scrabbly entry. Letters JQ are missing in this grid.

64. With 65-Across, what the starts of 20-, 36- and 53-Across are : TRACK

65. See 64-Across : BETS

Tight theme. Each bet word is contained in the first word of its mother phrase. The unifier TRACK BETS is placed at the bottom edge. Clear enough for solvers to identify.

Ideally the split unifying words should be placed symmetrically, but TRACK and BETS do not have identical number of letters.

Lovely long Downs (a pair of 8s and 9s) to cross all the Across theme answers. Quite a few multi-word none-theme entries too.

Across:

1. Seize : GRAB

5. Wife of Jacob : LEAH. Rachel's sister, and the real name of our Chickie (in powder blue).

9. Center of Florida? : EPCOT. Epcot Center. I knew it's not Shaq. Thought it's playing on letter R in the very middle of Florida.

14. Move to a new city, briefly : RELO

15. Down-home music venue, familiarly : OPRY. The Grand Ole Opry.

16. Dutch cheese : GOUDA. Edam too.

17. "The Good Earth" heroine : OLAN. "The Good Earth" is the best book I've read about pre-1949 China.

18. Nasty habit : VICE

19. 20 Mule Team cleanser : BORAX

23. Small-screen heartthrob : TV IDOL

24. American or Continental : AIRLINE. Were you thinking of breakfast?

28. Cock and bull : HES. This kind of clue used to trick me.

29. Wedding symbol : RING. No wedding ring for me.

32. In the warehouse : STORED

33. Like many wallets : BIFOLD

35. Farm females : SOWS. I really liked the pigtail clue last time.

40. Wiener schnitzel meat : VEAL

41. __-faire: tact : SAVOIR. Literally "knows what to do".

42. Wan : PALLID

45. Inflection : TONE. Mandarin has four tones. Cantonese nine. Crazy.

46. Ukr. neighbor : RUS

49. Finished, as a deck : STAINED. Unexpected clue for me.

51. Imagined : DREAMT. The only English word that ends in mt, Linda said.

56. Expand, as a collection : ADD TO. Sure need some autographed baseball cards to add to my collection.

59. Author Wiesel : ELIE

60. Colorful horse : ROAN

61. Lose one's cool : PANIC

62. Those, in Tijuana : ESOS

63. Mired, after "in" : A RUT

66. Past fast fliers: Abbr. : SSTS

Down:

1. Investor's concern : GROWTH. Nice cluster of consonants.

2. Go through again : RELIVE

3. "Hand in My Pocket" singer Morissette : ALANIS. She dated Ryan Reynolds for a few years.

4. Like a fillet : BONED

5. Cosmo topic : LOVE LIFE. Cosmo magazine.

6. Grand in scope : EPIC

7. Medieval Spanish chest : ARCA. Is it Spanish for "ark"?

8. Shenzi or Banzai in "The Lion King" : HYENA.Easy guess.

9. __ Sousé, W.C. Fields's "The Bank Dick" role : EGBERT. No idea. Dictionary says the name is from old English, meaning "bright sword".

10. Bad sport : POOR LOSER. And GLOAT (31. Be a bad sport). Clue echo.

11. Mangy mutt : CUR. Alliteration.

12. Harem room : ODA. "Room" in Turkish.

13. Penultimate line on most bills : TAX. Phone/gas bill. The last item before the Total.

21. Greek architectural order : DORIC

22. "My country __ of thee ..." : 'TIS

25. __-Z: classic Camaro : IROC. Just remember it as I Rock

26. Ex-Speaker Gingrich : NEWT

27. Mag masthead names : EDS

30. Wealthy Londoners : NOBS. New meaning to me.

33. Irrational way to go : BALLISTIC. Go ballistic.

34. "Whip It" band : DEVO. Just learned that Devo comes from de-evolution (backward evolution).

36. Bog fuel : PEAT

37. Singer's syllables : LA LA

38. Affection : FONDNESS

39. '80s Pontiac : FIERO. It means "proud" in Italian and "wild", "fierce" or "ferocious" in Spanish, a la Wikipedia.

40. Biden and Bush: Abbr. : VPS

43. At the pawn shop : IN HOCK

44. "Gloria in Excelsis __" : DEO. Latin for "Glory to God in the highest".

46. Five o'clock shadow removers : RAZORS

47. German diacritical : UMLAUT. German men are hard to understand (and date).

48. Surgical blockage relievers : STENTS

50. Nerd : DWEEB

52. Poet Pound et al. : EZRAS

54. Apart from this : ELSE

55. Urban uprising : RIOT

56. Liable : APT

57. __ es Salaam : DAR. Largest city in Tanzania. Arabic for "house of Peace". I can never remember the name.

58. Genetic letters : DNA

Answer grid.

Here are the last pictures from Gunghy's bike trip. Thanks for the awesome pictures and wonderful captions, Punk! I bet you solved at least one crossword along the road, no?

C.C.