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Showing posts with label Gia Christian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gia Christian. Show all posts

Jun 1, 2014

Sunday June 1, 2014 Gia Christian

Theme: "The Sound of Victory" - V sound is added to the end of the first word in each theme entry.

22A. Traveler's nightmare due to a road crew strike? : PAVE AS YOU GO. Pay as you go.

27A. Wait on a knight? : SERVE GALAHAD. Sir Galahad.

52A. Rocky in a serious mood? : GRAVE SQUIRREL. Rocky the Flying Squirrel. The base phrase is "Gray squirrel".

88A. Make statues of leading reps? : CARVE SALESMEN. Car salesman

113A. Computer maintenance tool? : DRIVE CLEANER. Dry cleaner. Do you clean your keyboard with Gas Duster? I think I might have ruined our last keyboard that way. The spray was so powerful that  a few keys did not re-bounce easily.

121A. Throw out all your stuff? : SAVE NOTHING. Say nothing.
 
3D. Ancient greeting? : WAVE BACK WHEN. Way back when.

65D. Crack up during a jackknife? : DIVE LAUGHING. Die laughing.

I mentioned this before: sound addition is more interesting and challenging than simply letter string addition. You need to be really imaginative.

Gia Christian is Rich's alias name, it's an anagram of "Again It's Rich". I love when theme entries intersect, Rich makes it so easy. He did it in his last Sunday also (Nora Pearlstone byline). The only time I made it happen, I was so excited!
  
Across:

1. Cal. sequence : M T W T F. Cool cluster of consonants.

6. One pulling in pushers : NARC. Pushers the drug dealers. Yellowrocks might have seen these professional pushers when she visited Japan.



10. They're grabbed on corners : CABS

14. Fashionable fold : CUFF



18. "__ Ben Jonson": literary epitaph : ORARE. Misspelled in the inscription as O RARE.



19. Similar: Pref. : HOMEO

20. Other, in Oaxaca : OTRA

21. Paris possessive : A TOI

24. Checking aid : REIN

25. Glacial lake : TARN

26. 1954 Emmy winner for Best Female Star of a Regular Series : EVE ARDEN. "Our Miss Brooks".

30. Credit report item : DEBT

31. "Just like that!" sound : SNAP

33. Domingo, e.g. : DIA. Domingo = Sunday. Not the tenor.

34. Enviable mark : A PLUS

35. List of candidates : SLATE

37. Stake for Keats?: Abbr. : ANAG. Stake and Keats are anagrams.

39. Faux pas : SLIP

42. Unacceptable : NOT OK

44. They aren't major players : COGS

46. Social worker's backlog : CASELOAD

49. Actress Rowlands : GENA. Loved "The Notebook"

50. Legendary rescue boat : ARK

56. Pepper's title: Abbr. : SGT. Sgt Pepper.

57. Hems, say : SEWS

59. Dressy accessories : TIE CLIPS

60. Letter-shaped fastener : T NUT

62. Baseball commissioner before Ueberroth : KUHN (Bowie). OK, TTP, Husker Gary & Buckeye Bob, what did this guy achieve? He's before my time (2001).


63. Eighth Avenue subway in New York : A TRAIN. Never been to NY.

64. Joined : SIGNED UP

68. Wee hr. : ONE AM

70. 2000 Gere title role : DR. T

71. Chickadee cousin : TIT

73. Deli specialty : KNISH

74. System used in home decor : FENG SHUI. Cantonese and Hong Kongese are very into Feng Shui.

77. Largest Bay Area county : SONOMA. New trivia to me.

80. Kind of round : OVAL

81. Dated : SEEN

82. Bag on the back : RUCKSACK. Oh, I Just call it backpack.

84. __ Park: Queens area : REGO

85. Log shaper : ADZ

91. Villain Luthor : LEX.  And 95. Singer McEntire : REBA. And 6D. Reagan biographer Peggy : NOONAN. And 89D. Kilmer of "Top Gun" : VAL. And 98D. Wallace of "E.T." : DEE. And 118. Jazzy James : ETTA. All straightforward clues.

92. Ancient mountain crossing, say : TREK

94. Where keyboard users can get tips : PIANO BAR. Rich plays piano. Lots of constructors are musicians.

97. Got on : FARED

99. Gooey stuff : GLOP

100. Small-runway aircraft acronym : STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing). Gimme for Dudley.

103. Pale wine : BLUSH

106. Jewish folklore creature : GOLEM

108. Part of KJV: Abbr. : VER. KJV = King James Version. We had this clue before.

110. Wine seller : SHOP

112. Turkish general : AGHA

117. Became harder to bear : WORE THIN

119. Rajah's spouse : RANI

120. Serious surprise : JOLT

123. Revered one : ICON

124. Bassoon kin : OBOE

125. Continental boot? : ITALY


126. Nearing the hour : TEN TO

127. Personnel office array : PENS

128. Curve : BEND

129. Substance in the sea's H2O : NACL

130. Element #18 : ARGON
 
Down:

1. Tourists' rentals : MOPEDS. I never rented a moped.

2. Tour : TRAVEL

4. Buy for, as dinner : TREAT TO

5. Trepidation : FEAR

7. Asia's __ Darya river : AMU

8. Rules, briefly : REGS

9. Murmured from a cote : COOED

10. Oregon State city : CORVALLIS. Beavers. The Ducks are based in Eugene.

11. Exactly, with "to" : A TEE

12. Two-masted vessel : BRIG

13. Capital SW of Muscat : SANA'A

14. Mail-order purchase enclosure, often : CATALOG. Don't order flowers/plants/seeds from Michigan Bulb. Awful!

15. Pac-12 team : UTAH UTES

16. Really cheap : FOR A SONG

17. Discovery : FIND

19. Doglike scavenger : HYENA

23. Active campus gp. during the Vietnam War : SDS (Students for a Democratic Society)

28. Rebel : RISE UP

29. Hosp. staffer : LPN

32. Racing safety vehicle : PACE CAR

36. Breakfast food : EGG. OK, tell me what's your typical breakfast in the summer?

38. Like old Paris streets : GAS-LIT

40. High school suffix : IOR. Oh, like Junior or Senior.

41. Story opener : PART I

43. Kit __: candy bar : KAT

45. Span. lass : SRTA

47. Newspaper ad meas. : SQ IN (Square Inch)

48. Leader after Mao : DENG. In fact, Hua Guofeng succeeded Mao in 1976, but was ousted by Deng in 1978. This is like cluing OBAMA as "President after Clinton".

50. Would like from : ASK OF

51. Meet with the old gang : REUNE.

53. River islet : AIT

54. "Rigoletto" composer : VERDI

55. Blockhead : LUNK. I need to use this word.

58. Stocking mishaps : SNAGS

61. Domingo, e.g. : TENOR

64. Old porticos : STOAS

66. Dictionary note subject : USAGE

67. Showy flowers : PHLOX. I think JD has this in her garden.

69. PC time meas. : MSEC

71. Gertrude Stein confidante Alice B. __ : TOKLAS. Her lover. Lots of juicy gossip in this book.



72. Many newspaper ads : INSERTS

75. Sloppy stack : HEAP

76. Strip of gear, as a ship : UNRIG

77. Walkout walk-in : SCAB. Nice clue.

78. Year McKinley was reelected : MCM.  1900.

79. 1966 A.L. Fireman of the Year Jack : AKER . Relievers are called "Firemen". I have no memory of this guy at all. Seattle Pilots! Long long time ago.



82. Fixed up : RENOVATED

83. Event to be played in Pinehurst, N.C., in 2014 : US OPEN. Gimme for Argyle.

85. DOJ enforcer : ATF

86. Contest that's over in seconds : DRAG RACE

87. Prepare to shoot at : ZERO IN ON

90. Cornhusker's st. : NEB

93. Temperature units : KELVINS. Learning moment to me.

96. Poppycock : BLATHER

101. Sighed line : OH WELL

102. Senseless : LOONY

104. Eastern faith : SHINTO. Literally "way of the gods". Japanese "To" = Cantonese "Tao". Shin = Gods. In Chinese, it's SHEN.

105. "Please hold" equivalent : HANG ON

107. Not usually an opportunity for advancement : McJOB

109. Amber, for one : RESIN

111. With 116-Down, shared equitably : PRO. And 116. See 111-Down : RATA

113. Plumbing problem : DRIP

114. Hoop site : LOBE. Hoop earrings.

115. North Carolina school : ELON. Rich saves Musk references for Saturdays.

122. Little sucker? : VAC. Nice clue. Little indicates abbreviation.

C.C.


Jan 1, 2012

Sunday January 1, 2012 Gia Christian

Theme: January First - J sound (first letter in January) is inserted into familiar phrases, resulting in spelling changes in four theme entries, which are symmetrically placed.

23A. Advice to a nervous skier? : KILL THE JUMP. Kill the ump.

25A. Hot air in the conference room? : JARGON GAS. Argon gas.

43A. "Eat my wake!" e.g.? : SWIMMER'S JEER. Swimmer's ear.

69A. "Ode on a Grecian Urn" genre? : JARS POETICA. Ars Poetica.

94A. Halloween carving of a Yankee hero? : PUMPKIN JETER. Pumpkin eater. This answer made me laugh. Jeter, Jeter, Pumpkin eater.

117A. First punch of an old Roman bout? : JAB INITIO. Ab initio. "From the beginning" in Latin.

120A. Northern African quip? : BARBARY JAPE. Barbary ape.

39D. Multitalented court clown? : POLY JESTER. Polyester. This is the only one-word base phrase.

48D. Nattily dressed Broadway character? : JAUNTY MAME. Auntie Mame.

We also have JAY (121D. Loud bird), which could be used as a unifier. The J in JAM UP (1A. Office malfunction) and JOKE (1D. Monologue bit) is the only straying non-theme J in the whole grid, but they're excellent entries.

Gia Christian is an alias name of LA Times crossword editor Rich Norris, anagram of "Again, it's Rich". We haven't seen Rich's byline in quite some time, though every day he's challenging and entertaining us with his clues. Some solvers may not be aware that very often half of the clues we tackle every day are Rich's creation.

Across:

6. Empty the Recycle Bin, e.g. : ERASE. Your computer Recycle Bin.

11. Hit the snooze button too many times : OVERSLEPT

20. Campus town near Bangor : ORONO (Maine)

21. "The Bells of St. __" : MARY'S

22. Persona non grata : BETE NOIRE. I always associate "bete noire" with things, not person.

26. "Don't let it get cold!" : EAT. Yes, Bill G, I cook savoy cabbage occasionally. Their texture is tougher than our normal cabbage. Different taste also.

27. Hi-fi component : PREAMP

28. Where a herd is heard : LEA. Nice clue.

29. H.S. proficiency tests : GEDs

30. Fashion giant : DIOR. And 18D. Big name in fashion : PRADA. The Devil wears them.

31. Prepares, as mussels : STEAMS

35. Crewmate of Spock and Sulu : UHURA. On "Star Trek".

37. Cheats on a test, in a way : COPIES

40. R.E.M.'s "The __ Love" : ONE I

41. Flu 9-Down : AGUE. 9D. Indication : SYMPTOM.

42. Mil. mail drops : APOs

48. Gravy, on menus : JUS. Au jus.

51. High-pitched barks : YELPS

53. Hosp. drama locale, usually : ICU. Reminds me of Buckeye and his Picabo ICU center.

54. Japanese golfer Aoki : ISAO

55. Something in the oven : ROAST. No BREAD.

57. Comparatively crafty : SLYER

58. Bath salt fragrance : LILAC

61. Small-scale : MINIATURE

63. Spokesceleb for Fiat : J LO. Good match?

64. Post-WWI Treasury secretary : MELLON (Andrew). Drew a blank.

66. Girl in a Beach Boys hit : RHONDA. Beach Boys is Dummy Dennis' favorite band.

67. Menlo Park wizard, initially : TAE (Thomas Alva Edison)

73. Wee lad : TAD

74. Not hoodwinked by : WISE TO

77. Big name in little suits : SPEEDO. Look, my favorite! All right, this one for our Saturday guy Splynter.

78. Singer Winehouse : AMY

80. No longer on speaking terms : ESTRANGED

84. Remove paint from : STRIP. Oh, paint.

85. D'Artagnan's chronicler : DUMAS. I only read his "The Count of Monte Cristo".

88. Nicholas Gage bestseller : ELENI. I used to think the book was written by actor Nicolas Cage.

89. "I __ a loss for words!" : AM AT. No Amo, amas, AMAT today.

91. Urgent offshore signal : SOS

92. Barrel support : STAVE

93. "__ Rosenkavalier": Strauss opera : DER

99. "Sounds good to me!" : I'M IN

100. Reject as false : DENY

101. Geometry class calculation : AREA

102. Trojan War warrior : AENEAS. He abandoned poor Dido.

104. "Try to __ my way": Beatles lyric : SEE IT

106. Like some braids : FRENCH. Very pretty.

108. Melbourne greeting : G' DAY. 112A. Eucalyptus lovers : KOALAS. For Kazie, who's probably still in Germany.

109. Resistance units : OHMs

110. Serious conflict : WAR

114. Place to hoist a pint : PUB

122. Covent Garden notable : OPERA STAR. Covent Garden is where the Royal Opera House is. Unknown to me.

123. Concrete hunks : SLABS

124. "Storage Wars" network : A AND E. Got me. "Storage Wars" is a reality show about auctions.

125. Like a couch potato : SEDENTARY

126. Long-eared critters : ASSES

127. Online VIP : SYSOP

Down:

2. Bizet's "Toreador Song," e.g. : ARIA

3. Snakes' renewal process : MOLT. Man, I wish I could renew my skin also.

4. Like some phone nos. : UNL, Alright, unlisted.

5. Comfort food in a deep dish : POT PIE. For me, comfort food is rice congee & freshly steamed bread. How about you?

6. Arabian chief : EMEER. AMEER also, though we see EMIR more often.

7. Rani's spouse : RAJA

8. Skunk cabbage and philodendron : ARUMS

10. Eerie ability, for short : ESP

11. Transitive vb. follower : OBJ (Object)

12. Meat-yielding calves : VEALS

13. To be, in Arles : ETRE. Not to be confused with the Art Deco guy ERTE.

14. Measure again : RE-GAUGE

15. Nestlé's __-Caps : SNO

16. Chaise __ : LONGUE

17. Peak in the 59-Down : EIGER. 59D. European peaks : ALPS

19. Hardy heroine : TESS. Thomas Hardy.

24. Reform Party founder Perot : H ROSS

30. Put to rest, as rumors : DISPEL

32. Ship's hdg. : ENE

33. Atmospheric prefix : AERI

34. "Divine" showbiz nickname : MISS M. Bette Midler.

36. "Yay!" : HURRAH. The feeling I had when Lemonade was back to his blogging seat. Hopefully Melissa will be back in Feb.

37. Low isles : CAYS

38. European automaker : OPEL

41. Quite a long stretch : AEON

44. Fictional Stone Age redhead : WILMA. In "The Flintstones".

45. Not as friendly : ICIER

46. Considers carefully, with "over" : MULLS

47. __ alai : JAI

49. Dietary std. : US RDA

50. Stand in good __ : STEAD

52. "No more seats" sign : SRO (Standing Room Only)

56. Plains Indian : OTO

60. Places for chickens : COOPS. In China, prostitutes are called "wild chickens".

62. Certain tax shelter, for short : IRA

65. Nair rival, once : NEET

67. Rough wool cloth : TWEED

68. Seating request : AISLE

69. Bon Jovi of rock : JON

70. Far from verbose : TERSE. My emails are usually short. Just the way I am. I don't mean to be terse.

71. Village celebrity? : IDIOT. I don't get this clue. Why "celebrity"?

72. Small group of trees : COPSE

75. Bird by the beach : ERN. So what's the difference between ERN and TERN?

76. Eastern island capital : TAIPEI. Where Jayce spent some of his youth. Tasty snacks there.

78. Much junk mail : ADs

79. Kind of conspiracy : MUTINY

81. Like venison : GAMY

82. Ruler of anc. Rome : EMP

83. Port of Senegal : DAKAR. Gimme for Chickie, whose grandson volunteers there for Peace Corps.

86. Saucony rival : AVIA

87. D.C. hundred : SENS

90. Fade : TIRE

95. Work the kinks out of : UNTWIST

96. Former Giants pitcher Robb : NEN. You've got to commit his name into memory. Constructors have no other way to clue NEN but "Pitcher Robb".

97. African scavengers : JACKALS

98. Pitching coach's aid : RADAR

100. Appetite : DESIRE

103. Undemanding classes : EASY A's

104. Mold : SHAPE

105. Nestle securely : EMBED

106. Monastery resident : FRIAR

107. Wedding dances : HORAs. I've never attended a Jewish wedding.

108. "The __ Menagerie" : GLASS

109. Eyes, in Oaxaca : OJOS

111. "__ girl!" : ATTA

113. Songstress Lane : ABBE. Nope. Not familiar with this lady.

114. Two-thumbs-down reviews : PANS

115. Salon style : UPDO

116. Answering machine cue : BEEP

118. Bert Bobbsey's twin : NAN. I like this clue better than "Indian bread", which should be NAAN.

119. Suffix with access : ORY. Accessory.

120. Webelos' org. : BSA

Answer grid.

I wish all of you a happy and healthy 2012!

C.C.

Aug 15, 2010

Sunday August 15, 2010 Gia Christian

Theme: Knock 'Em Dead - Letter M at the beginning of one of the words in each of these familiar phrases is dropped. The vowel sound remains the same.

23A. What would trouble Trixie if the Kramdens moved away? : ABSENCE OF (M)ALICE. The base phrase is Absence of Malice. Alice Kramdens is from "The Honeymooners". Trixie is her best friend. M precedes short A.

51A. Parallel world? : (M)OTHER EARTH. Mother Earth. Short O.

69A. Badly burned British dish? : BANGERS AND (M)ASH. Bangers and Mash. Bangers = Sausages. Lois probably still could taste them. Short A. Triple B alliteration in the clue.

85A. Pint-drinking buddies' experience? : (M)ALE BONDING. Male Bonding. Long A.

117A. 19th-century queen's tough tests? : VICTORIAN (M)ORALS. Victorian Morals. Short O. Or is it "aw" sound?

14D. "Wiggly dessert stale, kemosabe" : JELLO (M)OLD. Jello Mold. The only theme entry without a question mark. Tonto is speaking ungrammatically, telling the Lone Ranger that jellos is old. Long O.

17D. Religious dissenters? : PRAYING (M)ANTIS. Praying Mantis. Dissenter = Anti. Short A.

61D. Type that regularly visits Willy Wonka's factory? : CHOCOLATE (M)ILK. Chocolate Milk. Type = Ilk. Short I.

83. Mischievous long-eared critter? : (M)ARCH HARE. March Hare. Mad as a march hare. Arch = Mischievous. I am only familiar with the "roguish/sly" meaning of arch. AR combination.

Fun puzzle from Rich Norris. Gia Christian is his alias name, an anagram of "Again, it's Rich".

No E or U is in play. I can think of (M)EAT BALL or (M)UTE POINT/BUTTON. Rich might have considered other ME* and MU* options and did not think the phrases are sparkly enough. Or sometimes the transformed phrases do not lend themselves to easy clues. Another reason for the discard.

Rich divided his upper and lower edges into three rather than standard Sunday four sections, so quite a few long words there. No helper/cheater square in this puppy either.

Very neat theme answer placement. Noticed how none of the theme entries (with four Downs) crosses each other? Artful! Rich evenly spread them in every part of the grid and gave solvers something theme-y to nibble everywhere.

On Sunday grids, we sometimes see all the theme answers placed in Across. More often two are placed in Down and intersected by some Across theme entries.


Total 13 Fill-in-the-Blank answers. Made the solving easier. Four entries with individual A as the start. A bit too much. Most of the other multi-words are quite interesting.

Across:

1. Citrus source : LIME TREE. Wish we had a lemon tree in our yard.

9. __-Turkish War : ITALO. 1911-1912. Fought between Ottoman Empire and Italy. Unknown to me.

14. Quartz variety : JASPER. Usually red. And usually our answer is ONYX.

20. Boss's okays, often : INITIALS

21. Twangy : NASAL

22. Duck à l'orange, e.g. : ENTREE. Have never had the dish.

25. "Gil Blas" novelist : LESAGE (Alain). I remember we had LESAGE as the answer before. And I tried to remember it as LE SAGE.

26. __-jongg : MAH

27. Half a dance : CHA. Cha Cha.

28. Daily opinion page, briefly : OP ED

29. Van Gogh works : OILS

31. Designer monogram : YSL

32. Whacked, biblically : SMOTE

34. Key of Brahms's Symphony No. 4 : E MINOR. Used Spitzboov's either MINOR or SHARP theory.

36. Notorious '80s-'90s crime boss : GOTTI. The Dapper Don.

38. Three-handed card game : SKAT. And WAR (84D. Simple card game). Card game echo.

39. Regret deeply : LAMENT

41. Maker of Nutri-Grain Waffles : EGGO. Crossing IGGY (30D. Pop of rock). Double Gs.

43. Cell messengers : RNAS. Thought of cell phone first.

46. Roman holiday : FESTA. Literally "holiday" in Italian. Nice play on the movie title "Roman Holiday". "Italian holiday" clue would not be so evocative.

48. "The Mod Squad" role : LINC

49. Record material : VINYL

50. Fairy tale baddie : OGRE

53. Onetime Burmese statesman : U NU. Burma's first prime minister. U = Mr. Same as the U in U Thant.

54. Go : DEPART. Al was probably thinking of the game GO.

56. Picnic spoiler : RAIN. Sorry ANTS. Next time.

57. Cars over the road : ELS. I need a train/rail reference.

58. Rocking Turner : TINA

59. Sonoma and Safari : GMCS

62. Mauna __ : LOA

64. Computer acronym : ASCII

66. Customer file ID : ACCT NO

68. Fed. medical org. : NIH (National Institutes of Health)

72. Red-and-white supermarket logo : IGA (Independent Grocers Alliance). Can never remember the name.

73. Bottom line, ideally : PROFIT

75. When gluttons eat : OFTEN. "When" made me think of a specific time. Then I parsed the answer as OF TEN.

76. Tick off : IRK

77. Rehab admission : USER. Or abuser.

78. Hail __ : A CAB. I wanted MARY.

79. Get to work again : FIX. Hey, no RE in the answer. Nice!

80. "Take __ from me": A TIP

82. Nova __ : SCOTIA

84. Bentley of "American Beauty" : WES. Saw the movie. Don't remember him.

91. Jazz immortal : ELLA. Sure immortal in Xword. And SET (45D. Jazz group?). Jazz echo. The latter refers to Utah Jazz, correct?

92. Do a double take, say : REACT

94. Wool: Pref. : LANI. Who knows?

95. Addition symbol : CARET. Like ^ . Editing addition.

96. Fanaticism : ZEAL

97. Golfer's option : CART. Many of the senior PGA guys take cart.

98. From the heart? : AORTAL. Superb clue.

100. "Soap" family name : TATE. I peeked at the answer sheet. The names are killing me.

101. PC troubleshooters : TECHS

103. Courses at bars : SALADS. Very rewarding to make salad out of our own garden now.

105. Idyllic spots : EDENS

107. Own, to a Glaswegian : HAE. Have.

109. "Excuse me ..." : AHEM

111. Store of ore : LODE. Nice rhyme.

112. Cheerleader's word : RAH

113. Space : GAP

115. Richards of "Jurassic Park" : ARIANA. First encounter with this actress.

121. Not as chilly : MILDER

122. Prosecutor's burden : PROOF

123. Perturbs : AGITATES

124. Bully's dare : MAKE ME. I hope the bully in our school is in jail now. Very bad guy.

125. Personnel : STAFF

126. Ship's cargo list : MANIFEST. Good word.

Down:

1. Neeson of "The A-Team" : LIAM. Liked his Oskar.

2. To-do pile site : IN BASKET. I only have IN TRAY.

3. Hodgepodge : MISHMASH

4. Automne preceder : ETE. Automne = Autumn. French.

5. Touch of color : TINCT

6. "The Sea Around Us" author Carson : RACHEL. Nope. Complete stranger. Marine biologist and nature writer. Must be very famous to be on the stamps.

7. Zeno's home : ELEA. Zeno of Elea.

8. That, in Tijuana : ESO

9. If nothing else works : IN A PINCH. Awesome fill.

10. Scout's discovery : TALENT

11. "... say, and not __" : AS I DO

12. Europe's __ de Genève : LAC. Lake. LPGA's annual Evian Masters is played around that area.

13. Dairy case item : OLEO

15. "__ of robins ..." : A NEST. No idea. "... A nest of robins in her hair...___ of robins ...". From Kilmer's poem "Trees".

16. OK and others : STS (States). OK = Oklahoma.

18. Bean measures? : EEGS. Bean = Head.

19. Virginia __ : REEL

24. Instigate : FOMENT

33. Aquatic frolickers : OTTERS

34. Middle East VIP : EMIR

35. Restrains : REINS IN

37. Torrid Zone boundary : TROPIC. I only know tropical zone.

38. Bay Area hub: Abbr. : SFO

40. Friends-and-family support group : AL-ANON. Used to stump me.

42. Safari sighting : GNU. Alliteration.

44. Adapt musically : ARRANGE

45. Jazz group? : SET

47. Notre Dame's Parseghian : ARA

49. Spock, partly : VULCAN. "Live long and prosper".

52. Israeli port city : EILAT. Always wanted HAIFA.

55. Inscribe : ETCH

57. Southend-on-Sea's county : ESSEX. Not familiar with Southend-on-Sea. A seaside resort in Essex.

59. Econ. measure : GNP (Gross National Product)

60. Word with drug or mile : MIRACLE. Didn't jump out to me immediately.

63. Previously : AGO

64. Museum exhibitor : ARTIST

65. Uganda's Amin : IDI

66. Invite as one's date for : ASK TO

67. Wake maker : OAR. The wave behind boat "wake".

69. Netanyahu of Israel, familiarly : BIBI. Used to have a crush on him.

70. Results : EFFECTS

71. Lawrence's land : ARABIA. "Lawrence of Arabia".

74. Femme __ : FATALE

77. Keep current : UPDATE. Nice alliteration too.

81. Business mag : INC. OK, has anyone actually read the INC magazine?

82. Speaks in slang? : SEZ

85. What you might take if you're tired? : A LOAD OFF. Another gorgeous answer.

86. Food storage area : LARDER

87. Sinus specialists, briefly : ENTS. ENT = Ear, Nose, and Throat

88. Reagan-era scandal : IRAN GATE

89. Proprietor's calculation : NET SALES

90. Onetime AT&T rival : GTE

93. Relax : EASE

98. Many : A LOT OF

99. Get closer, as to hear better : LEAN IN. Not a phrase I use.

102. Cave __: beware of the dog : CANEM. This cave and the caveat in "Caveat Emptor" is the same root I presume?

104. Foil maker : ALCOA

106. Hindu loincloth : DHOTI. Like this, Vidwan? We also have RAGA (112. Hindu music style).

107. "Go for the Goal" autobiographer : HAMM (Mia). Easy guess.

108. Operatic highlight : ARIA

110. MLB honorees : MVPS. My avatar was MVP once. Still on DL due to concussion.

114. It ain't quite "Hey!" : PSST

116. Drink stand buy : ADE. Meh!

118. NYC subway : IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit)

119. "__ Sam": "Green Eggs and Ham" opening : I AM

120. U.K. defense arm : RAF (Royal Air Force)

Answer grid.

Here are a few beautiful scenic pictures from JD's recent Oregon gathering with Dick, Carol and their spouses. What is that stuff in Picture #1?

C.C.

May 25, 2009

Monday May 25, 2009 Gia Christian

Theme: Play Ball!

18A: Not in working order, informally: OUT OF WHACK

23A: Crook who doesn't need the combination: SAFE CRACKER

36A: Union benefit during a walkout: STRIKE PAY

42A: Everything, informally: BALL OF WAX

47A: Promising picnic forecast: FAIR WEATHER

60A: Tendency to anger easily: FOUL TEMPER

(Note from C.C.: Argyle blogged today's post. Our editor Rich Norris seems to pick different alias name for himself according to the difficulty of the puzzle. All the Gia Christian and Lila Cherry puzzles we've solved are Monday's. Nora Pearlstone authored a hard Friday. Quite scrabbly puzzle today. Loved the OUT/SAFE, STRIKE/BALL & FAIR/FOUL order. Wish SHAG (54A: Thick carpet) were clued as baseball related too. )

Back to Argyle.

OUT OF WHACK. When a hitter is in a slump.

SAFECRACKER. Also known as a yegg or yeggman.

STRIKE PAY. Did ball players get any when they went on strike?

BALL OF WAX. Usually known as the whole BALL OF WAX.

FAIR WEATHER. Domed statiums don't worry about the weather.

FOUL TEMPER. None of that in baseball, is there?

Lest we forget: George Carlin's Baseball vs Football.

Across:

5A: Quick __ flash: AS A.

8A: Open, as a gate: UNBOLT.

15A: Dickens pen name: BOZ. Sketches by Boz was Dickens's first work.

16A: Connect, as a stereo: HOOK UP.

17A: Kind of party torch: TIKI. If you have watched "Survivor", you've seen these torches.

28A: Las Vegas's desert : MOJAVE. Most of it is in California.

33A: Shooter's aiming aid: SIGHT. Telescopic optic mounted on rifles.

41A: Shredded: TORE.

44A: Annual athletic awards: ESPYS. Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards from ESPN (Entertainment Sports Programming Network). If you would like to see the Best Major League Baseball Player ESPY Awards since 1993, go here. A-Rod won last year.

45A: Vote out: UNSEAT.

46A: Hip-hop Dr.: DRE.

54A: Thick carpet: SHAG. Also, a baseball term: shagging flies (to throw back fly balls during batting practice).

58A: Point on a wire fence: BARB. You won't find any barb wire fences on horse farms.

63A: Mrs. Peel of "The Avengers": EMMA. EMMA is due for a vacation.

64A: Regional dialect: PATOIS. Origin: 1635–45.

65A: Grammar best-seller "Woe __:: IS I. Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better to better English by Patricia T O Conner, an editor at the New York Times Book Review.

67A: Start to nod off: DROWSE. As at a four hour ball game.

68A: Souse's woe: DTS. We sure have a lot of drunk references lately.

69A: Full of pep: SPRY.

Down:

1D: Madrid misses: Abbr.: SRTAS. Spainish senoritas.

2D: Boxer Ali: LAILA. Laila Ali with father Muhammed Ali. She probably "floats like a butterfly but stings like a bee".

3D: Request from: ASK OF.

4D: Moby Dick, notably: WHITE WHALE. From the book by Herman Melville.

6D: Composer of marches: SOUSA. Might hear one in a parade today.

7D: Early Mexican: AZTEC.

8D: TV dial letters: UHF. VHF/UHF Very high frequency/Ultra high frequency. This will have to be clued as former TV dial letters after next month.

10D: Quantum physicist Niels: BOHR. Niels Bohr, a Danish physicist who worked on the Manhatten Project and a frequent answer in crossword puzzles.

11D: "Works for me": OKAY.

12D: Time co-founder Henry: LUCE. Time Magazine co-founders Briton Hadden and Henry Luce were classmates at Yale University: more Eli's to remember.

13D: Toll rds.: TPKS. Turnpikes: don't like 'em, take the shunpike!

24D: Maine coon, for one: CAT. I had a cat that had some Maine Coon Cat in her. And 62D: Suffix with Siam: ESE. Siamese cat.

26D: Soldier of Seoul: ROK. We learned they fought on our side in Vietnam and earned Dennis' respect.

29D: Fashionable fliers: JET SETTERS.

30D: Per unit: A POP.

31D: Fluctuate: VARY.

33D: Child star of "The Thief of Bagdad" (1940): SABU. Sabu Dastagir, 1924 – 1963, was a film actor of Indian (South Asian) origin. Credited only by his first name, Sabu, for his role as Abu. movie poster As Abu, the thief , son of Abu the thief, grandson of Abu the thief, he helps the real Prince escape prison.

37D: Hijack-prevention gp.: TSA. Transportation Security Administration

38D: "Oedipus __": REX.

40D: Old Spice alternative: AFTA.

46D: Explosion remains: DEBRIS.

48D: "Big Blue": IBM. International Business Machines Corporation, abbreviated IBM and nicknamed "Big Blue" (for its official corporate color).

49D: Fast: RAPID.

50D: Obtain using force: WREST.

51D: Overplay: HAM UP.

52D: Wascally Wabbit hunter: ELMER. Elmer Fudd, hunter.

54D: Bay Area enforcers, initially: SFPD. San Francisco Police Department.

57D: Vibrant look: GLOW.

It was a fun Monday puzzle. Everybody have a reverent Memorial Day and I don't believe today's honorees would mind if you watched a baseball game; it was one of the things they were fighting for.

Answer grid.

Argyle

May 4, 2009

Monday May 4, 2009 Gia Christian

Theme: B All You Can B

17A: Excellent performance: BANG-UP JOB

29A: Sci. class where many an "Eeuw!" is heard: BIO LAB

46A: Bill for what you drink: BAR TAB

62A: Satan: BEELZEBUB

11D: Betray by bad-mouthing: BACK STAB

39D: Angels or Dodgers: BALL CLUB

Another puzzle from our editor Rich Norris. Gia Christian is his alias name, anagram of "Again It's Rich".

There are total 16 letter B's (NY Times' record is 20) in this puzzle. And 1 Z, 1 J, 1 X and 5 K's. Quite impressive for a Monday puzzle.

I've never heard of BANG-UP referred to as "excellent". Argyle said the related words are: bully (?), corking (?), cracking, dandy and great.

My favorite fill today: KIBITZ (41D: Be a nuisance at the card game). I just learned this word a few weeks ago and I was able to nail it in one try. Quality word, very scrabbly.

Argyle co-blogged today's post with me. He will blog here alone next Monday.

Across:

5A: Beatnik's "I understood": I DIG. Whom exactly does a beatnik refer to?

9A: "I goofed": MY BAD. Can you imagine Shakespeare saying "MY BAD" to Anne Hathaway?

15A: The Beatles' "Love __": ME DO. Here is the clip.

16A: Italian violin maker: AMATI. Joshua Bell used his expensive STRAD for the famous subway incognito performance. Antonio Stradivari is a student of Nicolo AMATI.

19A: Big name in precision blades: X-ACTO. New brand name to me. Argyle said it's used by model makers everywhere.

20A: Dangerous household gas: RADON. Dictionary says it can cause lung cancer.

21A: Perp's excuse: ALIBI. Argyle is not OK with this clue.

23A: Author Kesey: KEN. He wrote "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".

24A: Winter fisherman's tool: ICE SAW. Is it electric? (Argyle said: bar, auger, yes. Saw, no. Saws are used to harvest ice blocks.)

26A: Out of kilter: AMISS

33A: Germany's von Bismarck: OTTO. He originated "Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made." Just learned the other day that OTTO has a "Wealth/Rich" root in German.

41A: Skewered meal: KABOB. Have never used KABOB alone. Always shish KABOB.

47A: Concorde, e.g.: SST. SuperSonic Transport. It's clued as "By gone boomers" in a NYT puzzle in March.

50A: Academy trainee: PLEBE. First year student. Thought of CADET first.

54A: The Big Apple, initially: NYC

55A: Eurasian range: URALS. The mountain range between Asia and Europe.

59A: Flourless cake: TORTE. This TORTE does have flour.

60A: Conger catcher. EELER. Rather ugly.

64A: Handles roughly: MAULS

66A: Old Bologna bucks: LIRE. Or LIRA.

67A: Round trip?: ORBIT. Great clue.

68A: Revue component: SKIT

Down:

1D: Rubble: DEBRIS

2D: Newton and Stern: ISAACS. A mathematician/physicist and a Jewish violin virtuoso.

3D: Smoothing tool: SANDER. Have never seen a SANDER in person.

4D: Science fiction award: HUGOS. Named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stores, according to Wikipeida. And the awards have been presented since 1955. See HUGO Awards logo. It has a rocket.

5D: Babysitter's handful: IMP. Little Beelzebub? I was thing of TOY.

6D: __ vu: DEJA. Opposite of "jamais vu". And the last vu is "presque vu".

8D: Desert largely in Mongolia: GOBI. True. It has a large presence inside China too (the Inner Mongolia autonomous region). We call GOBI Desert as "Gebi Shamo". Shamo is literally "desert" in Chinese.

9D: A stitch in time..." is one: MAXIM

10D: Vocalist Sumac: YMA. Just learned that her stage name means "beautiful flower/girl".

12D: Vouch for: ATTEST TO

13D: Singer Celine: DION. I like "The Power of Love".

18D: Lacking what it takes: UNABLE

22D: Eater of puréed peas: BABY

25D: Nintendo game system: WII. It competes with Microsoft's Xbox360 and Sony's PlayStation 3, according to Wikipedia.

27D: Dubuque native: IOWAN. Got the answer. Don't understand why the constructor singles out Dubuque.

32D: Put on __: pretend: AN ACT

34D: Tout's hangout, briefly: OTB (Off-Track Betting)

35D: Eagle's nest: AERIE. 80% vowels in this word.

38D: 2012 is the next one: LEAP YEAR

43D: "Ten-four" speaker: CBER. "Ten-four" is OK in CB talk.

44D: "Krazy" comics feline: KAT. That KAT was a real kard.

47D: Belgrade's country: SERBIA. Kosovo is part of SERBIA, isn't it?

48D: Ringed planet: SATURN. Ringed indeed.

49D: Host who expects you to answer his answer: TREBEK (Alex). This is Jeopardy!

51D: Explode: BURST

53D: Carols: NOELS

54D: Verne captain: NEMO. Has anyone read Verne's "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea"?

56D: First grade basics: ABCS

57D: Faucet problem: LEAK

58D: 18-wheeler: SEMI

61D: Connecticut Ivy Leaguer: ELI. Yale University is founded by Eli Yale.

Answer grid.

Arygle & C.C.