Showing posts with label Gary Steinmehl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gary Steinmehl. Show all posts

Mar 27, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 Gary Steinmehl(1937-2012)

Theme: Pep Rally - Combine the ends of the theme entries and you get the unifier.

20A. The smile on an email happy face : PARENTHESIS

37A. Barrier-breaking noise : SONIC BOOM

56A. Exalted group leader, facetiously : GRAND POOBAH

65A. Encouraging cry, such as the one formed by the ends of 20-, 37-, and 56-Across : CHEER

Argyle here. Today's constructor passed away in January. C.C. interviewed him in April, 2010. link. Scroll the comments to see his take on his family's name.

Today's theme may have been hard to suss without the unifier. Certainly, some of the entries harder than normal Tuesday's but do reflect Gary's interests; bridge, jazz, sports, etc. But like all puzzles, I have found one man's Natick is another man's gimme.

Triple seven letter files in all four corners.


1. __ Tomé and Príncipe : SÃO. The Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, is a Portuguese-speaking island nation in the Gulf of Guinea. Map.

4. Cap on spending, say : LIMIT

9. Norwegian Sea arm : FJORD

14. Footed vase : URN

15. Habituate : ENURE

16. Friend of Fido : ROVER. "Woof!"

17. Agt.'s cut : PCT. (%)

18. Grouchy Muppet : OSCAR

19. The other side : ENEMY

23. Director Reiner : ROB

24. Jazz singer Anita : O'DAY. Skylark(3:07)

25. Vatican City is one : ENCLAVE

27. Split end in a uniform : RECEIVER. A football player that lines up apart from the formation.

32. Air-conditioned : COOLED

33. Tut's cousin? : "TSK!"

34. Andrea __: ill-fated vessel : DORIA. Collided with the MS Stockholm in 1956 off the coast of Nantucket, MA. The Wikipedia article is interesting in how the sinking was handled, given the recent Costa Concordia event.

36. 88 or 98 automaker : OLDS. Not only your father's Olds but your grandfather's, too. Bill Haley and his Comets sing about his "88". Clip.

40. "Pygmalion" playwright : SHAW. (George Bernard Shaw)

43. Reeves of "Speed" : KEANU. Movie with co-star Sandra Bullock.

44. Palindromic Altar : ARA. A southern constellation situated between Scorpius and Triangulum Australe. Which ties in with 42-Down. Supergiant in Scorpius : ANTARES. Antares is a star in the constellation Scorpius.

47. Bridge holding such as ace-queen : TENACE. Nothing to do with TEN ACE. Derived from the same root as TONGS and indicates a pair of cards that is missing the intervening card.

50. Surprises : STARTLES. Verbs.

52. More decrepit : RATTIER

54. Wuss : WIMP

55. Topsy's playmate in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" : EVA

61. __ cotta : TERRA

63. Household cleanser : BORAX. Still available, I believe. 20 Mule Team® Borax

64. Alternate identity letters : AKA. (also known as)

66. Trumpet sound : BLARE

67. __ canto: singing style : BEL. BEL canto (Italian, "beautiful singing") is an Italian opera term. It has several different meanings and is subject to a wide array of interpretations.(per Wikipedia)

68. Leno and Letterman, e.g. : HOSTS. If you're up late.

69. Artist Grant Wood, by birth : IOWAN. So maybe American Gothic were his neighbors.

70. Bermuda hrs. : AST. Summer hours would be ADT (Atlantic Daylight Time)


1. Provide for, as a dependent : SUPPORT

2. Teen haunts : ARCADES

3. According to plan : ON TRACK

4. Ponce de __ : LEON. He led an expedition to Florida, looking for the Fountain of Youth. And still they come.

5. R&D site : INST.. (institute, such as RPI, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

6. A whole lot : MUCH

7. "Dies __": Latin hymn : IRAE. (Day of Wrath)

8. Short and sweet : TERSE. Not necessarily sweet but you get the point.

9. Mural on wet plaster : FRESCO

10. Comedian Lovitz : JON. Feel free to link your favorite clip.

11. From one end to the other : OVERALL

12. Took out : REMOVED

13. Ditches where creeks once were : DRY BEDS. Oddly clued.

21. A patch may cover one : EYE

22. Co. designation : INC. (incorporated)

26. Rise up dramatically : LOOM

28. Courtroom oath : "I DO". Swear to tell the truth.

29. Otto __ Bismarck : VON. (1815–1898)

30. The Phantom of the Opera : ERIK

31. Puts through a food press : RICES

35. Blind as __ : A BAT

37. Babe Ruth's sultanate? : SWAT. Just one of his nicknames was The Sultan of Swat, coined by sportswriter, Warren Brown.

38. "I'm __ roll!" : ON A

39. Wilder's "__ Town" : OUR

40. Final race leg : STRETCH

41. Bum's rush : HEAVE-HO

44. Woodcutter who stole from thieves : ALI BABA

45. New versions of old films : REMAKES

46. Paving material : ASPHALT

48. Perfectos, e.g. : CIGARS

49. Suffix with profit : EER

51. Pair : TWO

53. Jewish holy man : RABBI

57. __ contendere: court plea : NOLO

58. Shootout shout : "DRAW!"

59. Lawyer's aide : PARA. Shortened from paralegal.

60. Plow pullers : OXEN

62. Inactive mil. status : RET. (retired)


Mar 15, 2011

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 Gary Steinmehl

Theme: "ET TU, BRUTAL"?  -
Exercise and workout terms for today, the 15th, and Ides, of March.

20A. Last leg of a race : HOME STRETCH - Highly recommended activity before any activity; as a goalie, it is imperative that I STRETCH first.

27A. Chocolate bar with crisped rice : NESTLE CRUNCH - Too many of these, and you'll need to do more CRUNCHES, those sit-ups for 'rock hard ABS', a crossword staple (but not today).

49A. Overseas news-gatherers : FOREIGN PRESS - Leg, bench PRESS, etc., as I am sure there are others.

59A. Very little, in slang : DIDDLY SQUAT - wonderful phrase to speak, like "my pay is diddly squat", and a SQUAT; bend at the knees with a straight back - harder than it sounds, let me tell you.

and the unifier at 57D: PR specialists, and a word associated with the ends of 20-, 27-, 49- and 59-Across : REPS - PR Public Relations REPresentative, (ixnay on Mr. Sheen) and a REPetition, the number of times each exercise is performed within a set - and I am not a gym rat; all my exercise comes from 4 straight hours of carrying varying sizes of packages from the conveyor to the UPS truck.

Splynter filling in for a Santa with a sick "Elf".

And away we GO~!


1. Cote bleats : BAAS - [koht] - noun: 1. a shelter, coop, or small shed for sheep, pigs, pigeons, etc.

5. Further : ALSO - also: hence, therefore, ergo, and, then....

9. Big name in restaurant guides : ZAGAT - established by Tim and Nina Zagat in 1979; see the Wiki article.

14. Flattop opposite : AFRO

15. Steady fellow : BEAU - French

16. Author Zola : EMILE - French Author, a regular in crosswords.

17. Plane or sander : TOOL - got me several of these. Plane.

18. Elongated fish : EELS - the plural implication on "fish" got me on this one.

19. Turning point : PIVOT

23. Nice season? : ETE - oh man, French, again, I seem to get a lot of this - Nice, the city in France, and the French word for summer (season).

24. Snail mail need : STAMP - I just used one yesterday, first time in forever....

25. Color in the four-color process : CYAN - CYMK, the process that uses CYAN, Yellow, Magenta, and blacK; as opposed to the RGB, two of the options in Photoshop and printing processes.

34. Plug-and-play PC port : USB - another computer term, Universal Serial Bus, for connections between devices. The abbr. of PC for Personal Computer = the abbr. answer.

37. Borat creator Sacha Baron __ : COHEN - love him, or hate him, I guess I am on the fence....

38. Trapper's gear : SNARE

39. Sheltered Greek walkway : STOA

41. Number-guessing fund-raiser : LOTTO

43. IRS agent : T-MAN - Tax Man, like a G-man, a Gov't Agent.

44. False __ : ALARM

46. Paris's __ la Paix : RUE DE - Eh, more French. Map, middle right going diagonally right.

48. Ambulance initials : EMS

52. Run or ruin : DASH - as in "dashed hopes"

53. Times spent in prison or in office : TERMS

57. Dusting aid : RAG - thought MOP first

64. Remove from the videotape : ERASE

66. Cleveland's lake : ERIE

67. DDE's alma mater : USMA - Dwight David Eisenhower, 34th president, and the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY.

68. Argentine grassland : PAMPA - Image

69. Ole Miss rival : 'BAMA - Alabama, crossword regular.

70. Modern Roman, e.g.: Abbr. : ITALian

71. Take badly? : STEAL - Good clue

72. Disappearing slope apparatus : T-BAR Skiers' assist getting up a hill.

73. Big Board letters : NYSE -New York Stock Exchange - I think this was in my first blog, too....


1. They're drawn in tubs : BATHS - very good clue; did anyone think "rings"?

2. In progress : AFOOT - "Strange things are AFOOT..."

3. Bakery quality : AROMA

4. Serious : SOLEMN

5. Aid's partner : ABET

6. Look that may be accompanied by a smirk : LEER

7. Shopping news : SALE - another great clue

8. Bounce, as from a bar : OUST

9. Gentle winds : ZEPHYRS

10. Porthos, to Athos : AMI - uh, French !

11. Abraham, to Lincoln : GIVEN NAME

12. Oodles : ALOT - never liked this answer

13. Place for a beret : TETE - yup, it's French

21. Risky business, briefly : SPEC - Speculation, that someone might come along and buy, as a house.

22. Brutus' 300 : CCC - Hey~! Ides related~! Roman 100 = C

26. Bee or Em : AUNT

28. Fa follower : SOL

29. Rose feature : THORN

30. Rain more gently : LET UP

31. Rectangular computer key : ENTER - Space, too

32. Stuff (into) : CRAM

33. Lady birds : HENS

34. DoD fliers : USAF - Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force.

35. D-Day target city : STLO - Oh, man, French - Conan had a guest last week who claimed in shock, he "turned white as a Frenchman's Flag" - that's funny....

36. Monopoly, for one : BOARD GAME - one of my favorites; you can get them custom made to any city, and movie, too.

40. House painter's calculation : AREA - height is a factor, too - ever try to paint a stair well?

42. Dedicated verse : ODE

45. Card player's goof : MISDEAL

47. Ballpark figs. : ESTS - Estimates. - What's your Ballpark, C.C.?

50. Letters under a 4 : GHI - duh, got me. Look at your phone.

51. Fashion sparkler : SEQUIN

54. Out of practice : RUSTY

55. Cass and Michelle, famously : MAMAS

56. Old hat : STALE

58. "I smell __!" : A RAT

60. Unpaid loan, e.g. : DEBT

61. Not bright at all : DRAB

62. Bean town? : LIMA - ah, not a Bahston reference, but the Peruvian city.

63. Wine taster's guesstimate : YEAR - our friend Tinbeni, any good at this ? I did not drink for the "year", let me tell you....

65. Healthful resort : SPA - after a good workout, head for the SPA~!

Thanks for the chance to "pinch hit", C.C., look forward to more opportunities.


Jan 7, 2011

Friday January 7, 2011 Gary Steinmehl

Apr 14, 2010

Interview with Gary Steinmehl

Gary Steinmehl, whose surname means "stone flour" according to our regular poster Spitzboov, has had over 165 puzzles published by various major newspapers, including LA Times, NY Times, NY Sun, USA Today, Chronicle of Higher Learning, etc.

No more introduction is needed. This interview is definitely one of the most inspiring and inspired ones I've conducted

What is your background? And how did you get into constructing crossword puzzles?

I started making crosswords at the age of 12. My mother was a very good solver, and I noticed that it didn’t seem hard for me to make them. I eventually made books of them for her and her friends. It all seemed to come to me naturally. Eventually, I sold a puzzle to Senior Scholastic magazine, what a thrill. (By the way, not long ago a junior editor of the NYT wrote me and said that he thought he had found the first crossword I ever sold, Dec. 1954 (That’s the one - I have a copy.) While in the Army, I made crosswords for the Army Newspaper using names of our personnel as the “theme”; later when working at ITT Gilfillan, I also made name and product crosswords for their newsletters (I retired there as a Publications Manager after 36 years). And, as an aside, all my Christmas cards for the past 25 years have been puzzles of one sort or another.

How does becoming a constructor affect the way you solve & enjoy a puzzle? Do you mentally rework a portion of others' grid when the part is surfeited with obscure answers/crosswordese/abbreviations?

For me, the main link between maker and doer primarily involves admiration for the very things I attempt to do: use of a good theme, interesting words, and clever clues. However, when some parts get a bit clumsy for my taste. I have been known to jot down in the margin a better version of a given corner.

You've had over 126 puzzles published by major newspapers since 2003. How do you maintain such productivity? What kind of magazines/books do you read every day for theme inspirations?

I am happy to report that, with today’s puzzle, I now have 165 puzzles published in the LAT, NYT, USA Today, Chronicle of Higher Learning, a large number of them in the NY Sun (no longer in business), and recently, one in GAMES magazine.

Motivation: about 6 years ago I was diagnosed with cancer, and was told that I should keep my mind stimulated by reading and doing crosswords. Well, I had been constructing them as a hobby since I was 12 years old, so I decided to step-up my hobby activities. I began constructing dozens of them, circulating them around to my friends, convinced that they were as good as the newspaper versions. Sadly, for quite a while. … rejection… , rejection… , rejection… , and finally, an acceptance by USA Today. What a thrill! It seemed to be a version of a glass ceiling breakthrough – because for a while thereafter, I was accepted more and more, particularly with the NY Sun. Since I was dealing with cancer, I was interested in fast turnarounds since my personal time frame was a priority. NY Sun received a submission and responded with yes or no in a day or two. Most of them were completed within a week; (NYT turnaround is about 4 months; LAT is a comfortable one month or so - I also enjoy working with Rich Norris.)

Typically, everyday news, advertisements, phrases, movies, events and names provide my inspiration - involving these elements and interesting words in clever ways. Sometimes my “cleverness” is so obscure that my editor wife doesn’t know what I’m talking about. They get discarded or seriously reworked.

I constantly am on the lookout for theme ideas in newspapers, literature, trivia sources, and I scribble notes of “good stuff” on little pieces of paper that clutter my pockets, and I mentally stack letter groupings for future use. My wife often kids me about staring off into space at inappropriate times, working on thematic ideas. It’s true, all quite puzzling. Since I am retired (now 73 years old) I have plenty of time to work on my creations. So far, the ideas just keep coming from deep inside somewhere. I don’t question or analyze the process, I’m just happy it happens.

What is a perfect puzzle to you? And what kind of themes/fill appeal to you and what kind do you try to avoid in your puzzles?

I enjoy clever word themes and amusing ideas – I am surprised when a particularly simple one appears. As far as fills, I can’t help but admire multiple words stacked up. I constantly play with trying to make them, but have some difficulty. I recently read where computers are used fill grids. That probably explains some of the stupendous built-up groupings. I still like to do them by hand. I try to keep crosswordese down to a minimum. Interestingly, solvers don’t seem to realize that we don’t want to use “those” words; rather (unfortunately) they’re a necessity when other good parts come together.

Which puzzles do you solve every day? And who are your favorite constructors?

My wife and I do the LA Times and NY Times crosswords daily over breakfast (on NYT Fridays and Saturdays we occasionally “cheat” with a Google answer or two.)

As far as favorite constructors, strangely enough, I don’t have any. I just approach each solution on its own merits. (Although out of curiosity, I recently have followed some of Dan Naddor’s work in the LAT more closely after sadly finding out about his passing from cancer.) Our syndicated version of the NYT does not carry the author’s name, so I don’t know who did them anyway.

Besides crossword, what are your other hobbies?

I am an avid amateur piano player (jazz and standards). I had two years of lessons when I was nine years old, and have played by ear ever since. I have also made a number of films as a hobby: a documentary to explain Jazz to non-jazz folks, one for each of my girls for their wedding program, one to commemorate my uncle's 90th birthday, and another more recently for my grandkids so when I'm gone they can see what their "Pops" was all about. I enjoy sports of every kind (as can be seen by many of my puzzle entries). All of which leads to activities with my wife and our five children and twelve grandchildren: trips by plane to Hawaii, by cruise ship to Mexico, and by pool parties in our backyard. And by the way, yes, those kids do make my life fuller and make me feel younger!

Wednesday April 14, 2010 Gary Steinmehl

Theme: SOAP (68A. This puzzle's theme) - The end of each theme answer is a brand of soap.

16A. Ingredient in some glazed chicken wings: ORANGE ZEST. Needs a bit of honey too.

30A. Dashboard tuner: RADIO DIAL

37A. 1982 McCartney/Wonder hit: EBONY AND IVORY. Here is a clip.

44A. It became Ghana in 1957: GOLD COAST. I only know Ivory Coast. Dennis uses Coast, I think.

62A. One of two in a Christmas song: TURTLE DOVE. "The Twelve Days of Christmas".

Nice theme, simple & clean! As the norm with most of the "unifier" puzzles, all of the above soap brands come out of a non-soap context phrases.

I love Olay and Lux brands, can't think of a similar way to phrase them though. What other soap brands are missing?

We also have BATH (67A. Bad thing to take in Vegas?), though clued as financial loss "Take a bath". I penned in ODDS.


1. Talk back to: SASS. Normally the right or down edge word.

5. Super Bowl XXXIV winners: RAMS. St Louis Rams, 2000.

9. Dance move: STEP

13. Super stars?: NOVAE. Have seen this clue before. Still like it.

14. Singer Brickell: EDIE

15. Land of the Incas: PERU

18. Bring in: REAP

19. Land a plane: SET DOWN

20. Charlie of "Two and a Half Men": SHEEN. Rich always gives us either a given name or a surname in the clues for Wednesday puzzles.

22. Morales of "Jericho": ESAI. Only know him as Tony from the "NYPD Blues".

23. Classified letters: EOE (Equal-Opportunity Employer)

25. Ming things: VASES. Ming Vases. Rhyme.

28. Throat problem: STREP

33. Hood's "piece": GAT. Slang for gun.

35. Drum effect: ROLL. Wrote down ECHO.

36. That, in Toledo: ESO. Alliteration.

41. Carte lead-in: A LA. A la carte.

42. Sanctuary section: APSE. Alliteration.

43. Elongated swimmer: EEL. Long indeed. Nice new clue.

47. American revolutionary who recruited Lafayette: DEANE (Silas). His name rang a faint bell. American's first foreign diplomat.

51. Conductor Previn: ANDRE

52. Rice or Curry: TIM. Fell into the ANN trap.

54. War deity: ARES. Greek god of War.

55. Chicago Eight defendant Bobby: SEALE. No idea. He co-founded the Black Panthers.

58. Gold diggers?: PANNERS. Great clue.

60. "NFL Live" airer: ESPN

64. Political group: BLOC

65. Bond's first movie foe: DR. NO

66. Fax predecessor: TELEX. I first saw a fax machine in 1994. Thought it was a miracle thing.

69. Ladies in Mex.: SRAS


1. Hurting the most: SOREST

2. 2009 film set in 2154: AVATAR. Several regulars on our blog have seen this movie.

3. City known for its zoo: SAN DIEGO

4. Bell-shaped lily: SEGO. Sego lily.

5. Nine Inch Nails founder Trent __: REZNOR. This dude stumped me last time. Again today. Lethologica!

6. Punch cousin: ADE

7. Overlook: MISS

8. Father of Enos: SETH

9. Large ranch, say: SPREAD. Oh, well, I suppose you can clue RANCH as "Large spread" too, though Dennis might come up with a different answer.

10. More minuscule: TEENSIER

11. Significant time: ERA

12. Litter yipper: PUP. Man, I have difficulty pronouncing the clue. You?

13. They're rubbed in Eskimo kissing: NOSES. Lovely clue.

17. Lea lady: EWE. Nice alliteration also.

21. Slowly developed: EVOLVED

24. Heartfelt: EARNEST

27. __-mo replay: SLO

29. It'll cure anything: PANACEA. Wish it were true.

31. Pentagon tenant, briefly: DOD (Department of Defense)

32. "Would __?": I LIE

34. Secretary's slip: TYPO. Another alliteration.

37. Tar Heel State university: ELON. In Elon, North Carolina. I can never remember it.

38. Comb-over target: BALD SPOT

39. Big-house link: AS A

40. Poisonous ornamental: OLEANDER

41. Ottoman VIP: AGA. So are BEY and PASHA.

45. Soak: DRENCH

46. Of the highest quality: TIPTOP

48. Ring of color: AREOLA. Ah, here you are again. JD, is your lily still blooming?

49. Reason for shaking hands?: NERVES. Your hands are shaking because you are nervous?

50. Devereux's earldom: ESSEX. Easy guess. Don't know who Devereux is.

53. Prefix with content: MAL. Malcontent.

56. 1960s-'80s Fords: LTDS

59. Circus safety features: NETS

60. Go out: EBB. Good clue too.

61. Gp. that kidnapped Patty Hearst: SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army). Any other way to clue SLA besides the Patty Hearst connection?

63. Genetic initials: RNA

Answer grid.


Mar 26, 2010

Friday March 26, 2010 Gary Steinmehl

Theme: THE POWER OF TEN (51A. Exponential measurement, and in a way, what's demonstrated in how answers were formed in 20-, 34- and 41-Across?) - IO, which looks like Arabic number 10 in a way, is attached to the end of each common phrase.

20A. Barbecue area without chairs?: STANDING PAT(IO). Standing Pat.

34A. Relative value used in a scientific workplace?: LABORATORY RAT(IO). Laboratory Rat.

41A. Small apartment for a comical septet?: SEVEN CARD STUD(IO). Seven-Card Stud. Poker game. (Card is a slang for someone who is comical/facetious. Thanks, Dennis.)

Then we also have OHIO (63A. One of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers). OH, IO, marvelous! Did you guys catch the IO & 10 connection immediately? I hope Bill G did. He just encountered a similar gimmick in another puzzle.

I really like the theme tie-in entry THE POWER OF TEN. It certainly spices up our regular add/delete/substitute a letter string Friday fare, exponentially.

The four 9-letter non-theme answers all crumbled easily for me, with their straightforward clues. Did struggle a bit with a few short entries, very deceptive clues with several alternative answers.


1. Sugar substitute?: DEAR. Endearment "Sugar" substitute. The intersecting DOT (1D. Pointillism unit) prevented me from filling in BABY/BABE. Shout-out to our Dot, whose husband Irv will be 96 years old at the end of this month. Possibly the oldest crossword solver in our group.

5. Flirtation: PASS

9. Travel needs, perhaps: VISAS. Travel abroad.

14. End of an estimate: OR SO

15. Rival rival: ALPO. Not familiar with the pet food brand Rival.

16. __ coffee: IRISH. I wanted TEA OR.

17. Hobart resident: TASMANIAN. Did not know Hobart is the capital of Tasmania, though the answer appeared rather swiftly.

19. Lip-smacking: TASTY.

22. Certain mil. member: NCO

23. Gray head?: LEE (R. E. ). The Civil War "Gray" side. Great clue.

24. Cereal ingredient: BRAN

27. Stallone role: RAMBO. Did you want ROCKY also?

31. Plant activity: Abbr.: MFG (Manufacturing)

38. Lost a lap?: AROSE. Mine was STOOD. At least, I was in the correct "lap" direction.

39. Padre's hermana: TIA. Hermana is Spanish for "sister". Father's sister = Aunt. Several Spanish references in the grid.

40. Snacking (on) to excess: OD'ING. Overdosing.

44. Before, in verse: ERE

45. Backspace, often: ERASE. And ERROR (61. What an X may indicate).

46. "O, gie me the __ that has acres o' charms": Burns: LASS. I peeked at the answer sheet. Have ne'er heard of the poem.

47. Word-word link: FOR. Word for word. FOR links word & word.

49. Pres. between JAG and GC: CAA (Chester A. Arthur). JAG = James A Garfield. GC = Grover Cleveland. Stumped me. Gimme, Melissa?

58. Bread: MOOLA. Tough without the question mark.

59. Like clones: IDENTICAL

62. Supply, as paper to a copier: FEED

64. California baseballer: GIANT. Could also be ANGEL.

65. Signs: INKS

66. Chuck __, only coach to win four Super Bowls: NOLL. With the Steelers. Learning moment for me.


3. __ mgr.: ASST

4. Prominent facial feature: ROMAN NOSE

5. Ill-fated opener of myth: PANDORA. Pandora's Box.

6. Et __: and others: ALII. Masculine plural. Et alia is neutral plural. Et aliae is feminine plural.

7. Bridge: SPAN

8. Berlin number: SONG. Irving Berlin. I bet Kazie was in the German "number" direction too.

9. Curriculum __: VITAE. CV. Resumé.

10. Fit to be tied: IRATE

11. Spanish ayes: SI SI

12. Reference words: AS TO

13. Unassuming: SHY. Was surprised by how unassuming Andre Agassi is in his various interviews.

18. Mandela's gp.: ANC (African National Congress)

21. Gamer's maneuver: PLOT. (Added later: The answer should be PLOY. Sorry for the error.)

24. Apathetic: BLASE

25. Harder to dig up: RARER. Harder to find (dig up), like a Mint/Near Mint condition Mickey Mantle Topps 1956.

26. Upstairs: ABOVE

28. Fragrant oil: ATTAR. Rose oil.

29. Kelly of "One Tree Hill": MOIRA. First encounter with this actress. She looks demure.

30. Wire fasteners: BRADS

31. Highest peak on Crete: Abbr.: MT. IDA. Got me again. MT always give me trouble.

32. "Done!": FINIS. I sure need a French hint in the clue.

33. "We Got the Beat" singers: GO-GO'S. Here is the clip. I cheated.

35. TV Chihuahua: REN. Ren and Stimpy.

36. Baloney: ROT

37. Excessive flattery: ADULATION

42. Uno minus uno: CERO. Spanish for "zero" I suppose.

43. They can ruin diets: SECONDS. Really?

47. Pen resident: FELON. The prison "pen". I just can't get pigs out of my mind. I am a Pig. Can't be friends with those who are born in the year of Snake.

48. Illusionary genre: OP ART

50. Back on the water: AFT. Back of the boat.

51. Famous Amos: TORI. Tori Amos. Loved the sweet "Famous Amos" clue. What's your favorite cookie?

52. Joyful group dance: HORA

53. Coffeehouse connection: WIFI

54. 1950s British prime minister: EDEN (Anthony). Prime Minister from 1955-1957. Succeeded Churchill on the latter's second term.

55. Offend the olfactories: REEK. Thanks for the ODOR explanation yesterday, everyone.

57. Pointed fastener: NAIL

58. Unit of RAM: MEG (Megbyte). I was thinking of the component word unit for RAM (Random Access Memory).

60. Texter's tehee: LOL.

Answer grid.

Picture of the Day: Here is a happy photo of our gifted linguist Kazie and her husband in front of the Little Rock Capitol Building. The picture was taken last Friday March 19, 2010.

On the front page of the blog, there is a Blog Photo sidebar. Please email me ( your picture if you want to be included in our virtual family. Thanks.


Mar 10, 2010

Wednesday March 10, 2010 Gary Steinmehl

Theme: The Ties That Bind - The first words of the five theme answers are all homophones, with a different spelling of the "tie" sound. The village Tye Green was left out.

17A. National sport of South Korea: TAE KWON DO. Foot hand art.

29A. Longtime skating partner of Randy Gardner: TAI BABILONIA

38A. Places to order tom yum goong: THAI RESTAURANTS

47A. Host of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition": TY PENNINGTON

65A. Overtime causes: TIE SCORES. That would be 20 to 20.

Hey all, Al here.

This didn't seem too tough for a Wednesday, pretty much sped through it. Not too much really stood out, but we'll see what can be educed from it anyway.


1. __ de deux: PAS. A dance for two.

4. Therapy center, for short: REHAB

9. Parts of fast food orders: SODAS

14. Four-legged bugler: ELK

15. Where the ecstatic walk: ON AIR

16. Salt's "Halt!": AVAST. Also a free anti-virus program if used non-commercially.

19. Having a beanpole physique: LANKY

20. "Baseball Tonight" station: ESPN. Entertainment and Sports Programming Network

21. Year-end mall temp: SANTA. Argyle. Missed it by one day.

23. Jon Stewart's "moment of __": ZEN

24. Like drive-thru orders: TO GO

27. Bosom buddy: COMRADE. 1590s, from M.Fr. camarade, from Sp. camarada "chamber mate,"

33. The Trojans of the Pac-10: USC. University of Southern California. I wonder if they ever respond to criticism with: "I am rubber, you are glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you"?

34. Go hither and yon: ROVE

35. Au __: menu phrase: JUS. French. Meat served in its own juices.

44. "Xanadu" band, for short: ELO. Electric Light Orchestra, with Olivia Newton John.

45. __ time: pronto: IN NO. Pronto (sp.) from Latin promptus: prompt.

46. Like some grins: SLY

52. 12 Tribes religion: JUDAISM

55. Caesar's unlucky number?: XIII. I know that some solvers dislike roman numerals, but I found this one amusing for some reason. Fifteen (the ides) could have been used if the answer was one letter shorter.

56. Schooner filler: ALE. One of my hometown favorites.

57. One of the Yokums: PAPPY. L'il Abner's sire in Dogpatch.

60. Pre-dye shade, perhaps: GRAY. If things keep going the way they are now, I'll never have to worry about gray hair. I wish there was a food remedy for that.

63. Open, in a way: UNCAP

68. Mother-of-pearl: NACRE. 97% lime, but has a thousand times higher breaking strength due to layering.

69. In first place: ON TOP

70. Prior to, in verse: ERE

71. Tiny amount: TRACE

72. Tack room gear: REINS

73. Rimsky-Korsakov's "Le Coq __": d'Or. The Golden Cockerel.


1. "Our Gang" dog: PETE

2. Word of pity: ALAS. Self-pity, perhaps.

3. Having one's doubts: SKEPTICAL. My dictionary has a picture of me by this word.

4. Heed the coxswain: ROW

5. Ambient music composer Brian: ENO

6. Brinker of kiddie lit: HANS. The Silver Skates book had an often excerpted sub-story in it about a nameless little boy who used his finger to plug the dike. It wasn't Hans, though, he was probably the first reference to speed skating in the US...

7. Operatic slave girl: AIDA. Why do famous love stories always seem to have tragic endings? No wonder guys don't want to commit.

8. Old Ford SUV: BRONCO

9. Sub meat: SALAMI. Don't read this if you like salami.

10. In vitro cells: OVA. Latin.

11. Tony of "Who's the Boss?": DANZA. Played the father of a young Alyssa Milano, who turned out well.

12. Part of FAQ: ASKED. Frequently Asked Questions. Infrequently read answers.

13. "Gypsy" composer Jule: STYNE, also Funny Girl and Pal Joey.

18. Door feature: KNOB. Funny how knockers is also spelled the same way.

22. Bricks unit: TON. Did this hit you right away?

25. "Mr. Mom" actress: GARR. Teri.

26. Instrument to which an orchestra tunes: OBOE

28. Big Indian: RAJA

29. Word of rebuke: TUT

30. Big Apple tennis stadium: ASHE

31. Drips in an ICU: IVS. Or DRS if they have bad bedside manner.

32. Open the door to: LET IN

36. Like 007's martinis: UNSTIRRED

37. Normandy battle site: ST LO

39. Wee bit: IOTA

40. Gothic novelist Radcliffe: ANN. Her books always came up with a real explanation for unreal events.

41. Operating system developed at Bell Labs: UNIX. I've spent 22 years on this so far and probably understand less than half of everything it encompasses.

42. Rice-A-__: RONI

43. Roget entry: Abbr.: SYNonym

48. "Hooray!": YIPPEE. --Darth Vader.

49. Non-commercial TV spot: PSA. Public Service Announcement.

50. Caveat __: EMPTOR. Buyer beware.

51. Computer acronym about faulty data: GIGO. Garbage in, Garbage out.

52. Quick trip: JAUNT

53. Of an arm bone: ULNAR. Radius, Ulna (lower pair), and Humerus (upper arm). Your "funny bone" is really the ulnar nerve located near the lower end of the humerus.

54. Bing Crosby's primary label: DECCA. The name "Decca" was coined by Wilfred S. Samuel by merging the word "Mecca" with the initial D of their logo "Dulcet" or their trademark "Dulcephone." Samuel, a linguist, chose "Decca" as a brand name as it was easy to pronounce in most languages.

58. Bench material: PINE

59. Hairy mountain sighting: YETI. They do exist.

61. Musical prefix with smith?: AERO. Aerosmith. Dream on.

62. River of Flanders: YSER

64. Slo-pitch path: ARC

66. Zak, to Ringo: SON

67. Early computer printer speed meas.: CPS. Characters per Second. 1 character = 8 bits = 1 byte.

Answer grid.


Feb 25, 2010

Thursday February 25, 2010 Gary Steinmehl

Theme: HEAD (65A. Word that can precede each word in 17-, 38- and 61-Across) - All three component words in each theme entry can follow HEAD.

17A. Detectives assigned to unsolved mysteries?: COLD CASE HUNTERS. Head Cold. Headcase (a mentally unstable person). Headhunters (professional recruiters).

38A. Intermission queues?: RESTROOM LINES. Headrest. Headroom (Nautical term for "the clear space between two decks", new word to me). Headlines.

61A. Shower gifts for brie lovers?: CHEESEBOARD SETS. Headcheese is defined as "A jellied loaf or sausage made from chopped and boiled parts of the feet, head, and sometimes the tongue and heart of an animal, usually a hog". Yuck! I am glad I've never had (or heard) of it. Headboard (of bed). Headsets.

I've never seen a theme with a defining word that can precede three different words in each theme entry. Very ambitious, isn't it? Reminds me of this constructor's last "LINCOLN CENTER" puzzle. Just ingenious! Gary Steinmehl not only placed LINCOLN CENTER in the very heart of the grid, he also embedded ABE in each of the four theme answers.

Although I am not familiar with every "head" word, the resulting theme phrases all sound natural and fun to me. I also love the twisty clues for the below small words:

27A. Stable diet?: HAY. Nice play on "Staple diet".

29D. House call?: YEA. The congressional vote.

36D. Like a whip?: SMART. Idiom: smart as a whip. I was thinking of the lashing whip.

64D. Fled or bled: RAN. Good rhyme.


1. Quick kiss: PECK. I like how it crosses PACK UP (1D. Get ready to go).

5. Bond player, seven times: MOORE (Roger)

10. Confiscated auto: REPO

14. End of a fronton game?: ALAI. Literally the end of the term Jai Alai. Fronton is the Jai Alai arena. Stumped many of us last time.

15. Back list: INDEX

16. Court cry: OYEZ. And NINE (19. High Court count). The High Court (Supreme Court) has NINE justices.

21. Calls, in a way: RADIOS

22. Waste not: USE. Just could not think of a three-letter word synonym for SAVE.

23. Navig. guide: GPS

26. Quarterback Roethlisberger: BEN. With the Pittsburgh Steelers. A pretty good golfer.

30. Soak through: PERMEATE. Nice word.

33. Siesta shawl: SERAPE. It's a wrap!

35. Local groups: UNIONS

37. Start of a theory: IDEA. Ah, no wordplay on "start".

42. Hawaii's "Valley Isle": MAUI

43. Midwestern landscape: PLAINS

44. Ring setting: CIRCUS. Was thinking of the wedding ring.

47. Carrying capacities: ARMLOADS. Came to me slowly.

51. Pavement warning: SLO. Wrote down WET first.

52. Word processor setting: TAB

54. Mad Hatter's drink: TEA. "Alice in Wonderland".

55. Fjord relative: RIA. Narrow inlet. Fjord is the Norwegian long & narrow inlet.

56. Like some bio majors: PRE-MED

59. Daphne eloped with him on "Frasier": NILES (Crane). I've never seen "Frasier".

66. Crucial artery: AORTA

67. Regarding, to counsel: IN RE

69. Watch secretly: SPY ON

70. "Just a coupla __": SECS


2. Kay Thompson's impish six-year-old: ELOISE. The girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel.

3. Mobile maker: CALDER (Alexander). The sculptor who invented the mobile art.

4. William the pirate: KIDD. William the Kidd. He was hanged for piracy in 1701. New to me. Interesting crossing with KIDDO (20A. Buddy boy).

5. Hamm of soccer: MIA. Wife of Nomar Garciaparra (ex-Red Sox).

6. Switch positions: ONS. Or OFFS.

7. River forming part of Germany's eastern border: ODER. Kazie just mentioned yesterday that it flows north to the Baltic.

8. Betty Ford Center program: REHAB

9. Oozes out: EXUDES

10. Prefix with tiller: ROTO. Rototiller.

11. Sleeping aid: EYESHADE. Got a lovely pillow-like lavender-scented eyeshade for Christmas.

12. A pop: PER

13. Jigger's 11/2: Abbr.: OZS. Dictionary defines jigger as "a small whiskey glass holding 11/2 ounce".

18. Clear and convincing: COGENT

24. Poker holding: PAIR

25. Condescend: STOOP. Penned in DEIGN.

31. Partner of words: MUSIC. Shouldn't it be "Partner of lyrics"?

32. Gay leader?: ENOLA. Enola Gay, the WWII bomber. Got me.

34. Unilever laundry soap brand: RINSO. I've never heard of this brand.

38. Train guide: RAIL

39. Continental: EUROPEAN

41. Away from the coast: INLAND

42. Roast hosts, for short: MCS

45. Sport __: family vehicles: UTES. We had plenty of discussions (and whining) about this fill before.

46. Equal to, with "the": SAME AS

48. Actress Dahl: ARLENE

49. No-calorie cola: DIET RC. Have never tried RC Cola.

50. Gets fresh with: SASSES. Classic right or bottom edge word. Four Ss.

53. Dizzy's jazz: BEBOP

57. Wine list heading: REDS

58. Fishing craft: DORY

60. Cow-horned goddess: ISIS. Maybe JD can tell us more about this Egyptian goddess of fertility.

61. Comic Margaret: CHO. Of Korean descent. Her stuff is often too racy for my taste. Cho is Cao in Chinese.

62. Cut off: HEW