Showing posts with label Jazzbumpa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jazzbumpa. Show all posts

Jun 13, 2018

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 Robert E. Lee Morris

Theme: Pretty as a picture.   Let's start with the unifier, all will then be in focus.

56 A. End of a close race ... and what the last part of the answers to starred clues can literally be: PHOTO FINISH.  This is a race that is so close that a picture is taken along the finish line to see who gets a nose across it first.  In this puzzle, the last part part of each theme entry can be paired with the word PHOTO to get a specific meaning.  Of course, a PHOTO FINISH can also be matte or glossy, but that's not what we are talking about.

17 A. *Sports bookie's figure: POINT SPREAD.   The expected margin of victory - you can place a wager that a given team will win or lose a game by more than that amount.  A PHOTO SPREAD is a group of pictures on a topic that are printed together in a magazine.

37 A. *R&D setting: TEST LAB.  This is where the detail work is done to provide analytical data on the quality and performance properties of a product or its associated precesses.  A PHOTO LAB is, or was, a place where traditional photographic negatives were developed to make the real image.  Almost all photography is digital now, so I'm not sure how many PHOTO LABS exist these days.

11  D. *Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde," e.g.: DOUBLE ALBUM. This is group of two LP or CD musical recordings packaged as a unit.  Digital streaming is phasing these things out as well.  A PHOTO ALBUM is a book in which one can place cherished pictures for posterity.

25 D. *Marksmanship match: TURKEY SHOOT.  A SHOOTING proficiency contest using moving targets, with a TURKEY as the winner's prize.   A PHOTO SHOOT is an appointment with a photographer in a studio or on location to take a series of photographs.

Hi Gang - not particularly photogenic JazzBumpa here to zoom in on the fine [focal] points of this puzzle.  Full disclosure:  I am NOT a camera.

Nevertheless, here I am at the far right of a big trombone and tuba extravaganza at First Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, MI this past Sunday.  Should have vids in a week or so.

Photo credit: my Lovely Wife


1. Keebler cracker: ZESTA.  Wheat based saltines.

6. Shoots the breeze: CHATS.  Has a casual conversation.

11. E, in Morse code: DOT.  Letters are represented by sequences of dots and/or dashes.  Here, the sequence is one.

14. Parts of plots: ACRES.  Land, not story features.

15. Kama __: SUTRA.  More than just a sex manual, this ancient Hindu text is a guide to virtuous and gracious living, regarding love, family life and other pleasurable aspects of human existence.

16. Bruin great Bobby: ORR.  A famous moment.

19. Action film gun: UZI.  The Uzi is a family of Israeli open-bolt, blowback-operated submachine guns.  [Wikipedia.]

20. Caspian Sea feeder: URAL. This river originates in the Ural Mountains and flows through Russia and Kazahkstan in Eurasia.

21. Where work may pile up: IN BOX.  Mine was a compost heap.

23. Criticized unfairly, in slang: HATED ON.

27. Stand in a studio: EASEL.  Support for a picture.

29. Get away from: ELUDE.   Or evade.

30. Inoffensive: HARMLESS.

33. "Tell It Like It Is" crooner __ Neville: AARON.

34. Suffix with billion: AIRE.  A person with more money than she needs.

35. Fashionable way to arrive?: LATE.  I guess appearing on time is gauche.

36. "What a pity": TSK.  Tongue clucking.

40. Meadow: LEA.  An open area of grassy or arable land.

41. Four-stringed instruments, typically: UKES.

43. Weighty volume: TOME.  A large, scholarly book.

44. Buck the system: REBEL.  Go your own way.

46. PassÈ street corner convenience: PAY PHONE.  Among other passe things in this puzzle.

48. As __: generally: A RULE.  Most of the time.

49. Location: SCENE.  A particular place

50. Online player, briefly: P C GAMER.  Played mostly on phones, these days, I imagine.

52. Taj __: MAHALA marble mausoleum built in 1642 by the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal.  When I was young, I thought it was the Tajma Hall.  Made sense to me at the time.

54. Foundry waste: SLAG.   Stony by-product material from the smelting of ore.

55. Good Grips gadget brand: OXO.   Ergonomically designed kitchen utensils.

63. "Don't Bring Me Down" rock gp.: ELO.

64. Singer Cyrus: MILEY.  Not a fan.

65. Finnish tech giant: NOKIA.  Telecommunications, information technology and consumer electronics company.

66. Hanoi holiday: TET.  Vietnamese New Year - the most important celebration in their culture.

67. Green vehicles, for short: E-CARS.   E, for eco-friendly.

68. Belgian treaty city: GHENT.   This peace treaty formalized the end of the War of 1812.  Ghent is the largest city in the East Flanders province of Belgium.


1. Cook quickly: ZAP.  Heat in a microwave oven.

2. Prefix with logical: ECO-.  Concerning the interactions of living organisms among each other and with their surroundings.

3. __ Lanka: SRI. An island nation south-east of india.

4. Top songs set: TEN.  The 10 most popular songs in the country at any given time, based on downloaded and streamed songs from music retailers.

5. Stellar scholar: A STUDENT.  Student who gets all A's on a report card.

6. D.C. network: C-SPANCable Satellite Public Affairs Network, created in 1979 by the cable television industry as a public service.

7. Sling: HURL.  Throw forcefully.

8. Gobbled up: ATE.  Devoured.

9. Carol syllable: TRA.

10. Extreme cruelty: SADISM.  More than that - it is deriving pleasure from inflicting pain and suffering on someone.

12. Rice-shaped pasta: ORZO.

13. Froot Loops shelfmate: TRIX.  Sugary cereals marketed at children.

18. B'way sellout sign: SRO.  Standing Room Only.

22. Jodie Foster title role: NELL.  Movie about a girl raised in a mountain cabin who has no contact with the outside world, and devised her own language.

23. Intensify: HEAT UP.

24. "Seward's Folly" purchase: ALASKA.  On March 30, 1867, U. S. Secretary of State William Seward signed a treaty with czarist Russia for the purpose of purchasing Alaska for 2 cents per acre.  There was little enthusiasm in the U. S. Senate, where the treaty was ratified on April 9, by a single vote.  Settlement in the territory was sparse until gold was discovered in 1898.

26. Tokyo, long ago: EDO.

27. "Copperhead Road" singer Steve: EARLE.

28. Nevada's __ 51: AREA. A highly classified remote area located 83 miles north-northwest of Las Vegas, and the subject of popular conspiracy theories.

30. Blackjack request: HIT ME.  Request for another card.

31. Remington played by Brosnan: STEELE.  Another TV series I never watched.  You can read about it here.

32. Driveway coating: SEALER.  Petroleum based material intended to protect a black-top surface.

34. In unison: AS ONE.   Though many, we are single-minded.

38. English school since 1440: ETON.  An English independent boarding school for boys, which pops up frequently in cross words.  If the clue asks for an English School and the space provided holds four letters, fill in ETON and move on.

39. Big talk: BRAGGING.  To speak in a pompous or self-aggrandizing way about one's own accomplishments.

42. Animal welfare gp.: SPCA.   Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

45. Pitching stat: ERAEarned Run Average, the mean of the number of earned runs per nine innings thrown by a given pitcher or pitching staff.  An Earned Run is one fully resulting from the efforts and accomplishments of the offensive team; that is, one that does not result from any kind of error or mistake on the part of the defense.  WHIP [walks and hits per inning pitched] is a more modern stat that is considered to be more meaningful.

47. "I need a hand": HELP ME.  Request for assistance.

50. Tricks: PLOYS.  Devious maneuvers.

51. Half-__: coffee compromise: CAF.  Coffee with half the caffeine content.  I used to drink that before I went full decaf.

52. Bubbly brand: MOET.  Producer and distributor of champagnes.

53. Wheel connector: AXLE.  A rod or spindle passing through the center of a wheel.

54. Ending for young and old alike?: STER.  Suffix denoting a person engaged n or associated with a particular activity or thing, frex.: gangster.

57. Hyphenated Minute Maid brand: HI-C.  Marketed since 1948.  The original flavor was orange. The name reflects the high content of vitamin C.  No idea if that is still accurate 70 years later.

58. Schnozz extension?: -OLA.  A suffix of no specific meaning.  in this case the effect is mildly humerous.

59. Japanese drama: NOH.  A highly stylized form of classical theater involving, masks, costumes and various props.

60. '50s prez: IKE.  Dwight David Eisenhower.

61. Sermon subject: SIN.  An immoral act breaking divine law.

62. Boater or bowler: HAT.  Fitting, I think, that we top this off with a couple pretty pictures.  So here I will put a lid on it.

Cool regards!

May 30, 2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2018, C. C. Burnikel

Theme: SHORT WEIGHT LIST.  Three entries have circled letters at their beginnings and endings that spell out units of weight measurement.  Might be tough to spot if you didn't get the circles.

16 A. Latter Day Saints' sacred text : THE BOOK OF MORMON.   Also an irreverent Broadway musical that mocks Mormon beliefs and practices.

26 A. Occupy oneself with trivial tasks : PUTTER AROUND.   The story of my retirement.

45 A. Like a budget with more expenses than income : OUT OF BALANCE.  Deficit spending.  

And the unifier -- 59 A. Radical solutions ... and what this puzzle's circles literally represent : EXTREME MEASURES.   Exceeding what is usual or reasonable to achieve some end. Here, the names of English System weights are divided and the chunks placed at the extremes, so to speak, of the theme entries, presented in descending order.

Hi Gang, Jazzbumpa here, sadly having hit a several-month-long plateau in the personal weight loss program.  Maybe this theme, with a couple of grid-spanners, will inspire me to greater effort.  Meanwhile, let's see if this puzzle, presented by a Lady we all know, is heavy or light weight.


1. Young chaps : LADS.  This word, going back to Middle English is of unknown origin.

5. Stitchless? : NUDE.  Absence of threads.  I get it, but it's kind of a stretch.  So, possibly double-knit?

9. Right-leaning print: Abbr. : ITAL. Italics.  Are they prim and proper? No politics!

13. Tan shade : ECRU.  From French "écru," meaning "unbleached," describing the light tan color of unbleached linen. 

14. One picking a rock : MINER.   You can select the rock to have at with your pick.

15. It may fly by : TIME.  If you're having fun.

19. Pirate's milieu : SEA.  The setting, background or environment for a pirate is on the briney.

20. Mop & __: floor cleaner : GLO.  Multi-purpose cleaner that also helps shine and protect vinyl flooring.

21. The bubbles in bubble tea, usually : TAPIOCALearning moment.

22. Youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate __ Yousafzai : MALALA.

25. Architect Saarinen : EERO.  [1910-1961] Finnish-American architect and industrial designer.  One of his most notable creations is the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mo.

30. Butter substitute : OLEO.  Aka Margarine.  But not in this tasty Sonny Rollins tune.

31. How, to José : COMO.   Spanish translation.

32. Retirement place : BED.  When I retire for the night.  Not to be confused with my other retirement from the daily rat race.

35. Beverage with a "Real Facts" Web page : SNAPPLE.  A brand of tea and fruit drinks.

39. Curious box opener : PANDORA.  From Greek mythology.  She was the first woman created by the gods. She opened a jar that released all the evils of humanity.  Echoes of mother Eve.

41. Meat in a typical Denver omelet : HAM.  Diced small.

42. Succotash bean : LIMA.  Mixed with corn.  The name is derived from a Narragansett word meaning "broken corn kernels."  The combination of corn with a legume provides complete protein.  it was poplar during the great depression because the ingredients were readily available and relatively inexpensive.

44. Sportscaster Andrews : ERIN. [b. 1978]

49. Jockey strap : REIN. A narrow strap attached to each end of a hoerse's bit, used to guide the horse while riding.

51. Bright blue shade : COBALT.  Made from a pigment containing the element COBALT.  Think of the color of Phillip's Milk of Magnesia bottles.  Or this.

52. Bygone heating fuel : COAL GAS.  A gas mixture containing hydrogen, methane and carbon monoxide, made from the desturctive distillation of coal.

55. Wall St. maneuver : LBOLeveraged Buy Out.   An acquisition method in which the assets of the purchased company are used as collateral for a large loan, so the transaction can be completed with minimal capital expenditure.

56. Select, with "for" : OPT.  Make a choice, via French from the Latin optare, chose.

62. "In __ of flowers ... " : LIEU.  Instead of.  From Middle English, via French again, back to the Latin, locus, place.

63. Mideast dignitaries : EMIRS. Indicating various high positions, such as military commender, local chieftain, or head of state.

64. Disk slapped by Ducks : PUCK.  The Anaheim Ducks are a team in the National Hockey League.  This year they finished 2nd in the Pacific Division and got swept out in the first round of the playoffs by the San Jose Sharks.

65. Croat neighbor : SERB. Citizens of Eastern European countries Serbia and Croatia.

66. Boy, in Bilbao : NINO. LAD, in Spanish.

67. Tattoo parlor supplies : INKS.  For body decoration.


1. "Why don't we?!" : LET'S.  As one vegetarian said to another, "Let us eat lettuce.

2. Tylenol target : ACHE.  Pain killer.

3. Superstar lineup : DREAM TEAM.  A collection of the best athletes.

4. Pinch hitter, say : SUB. One who substitutes for another.

5. Electricity pioneer Tesla : NIKOLA. [1856-1943] Serbian-American Engineer and inventor who made contributions to the design of electricity delivery systems

6. Kid-friendly card game : UNO.  And frequent X-word entry.

7. Nimble : DEFT.  Agile.

8. "At Wit's End" columnist Bombeck : ERMA. [1927 - 1996]   Wrote humorously about daily life.

9. "Did my best" : I TRIED.  But probably didn't succeed.

10. Divided island north of Australia : TIMOR.  East Timor is a sovereign nation.  The western part of the island belongs to Indonesia.

11. BP merger partner : AMOCO.  Big oil gets bigger.

12. Actress Olin : LENA.  In THE NINTH GATE

14. Canine neighbor : MOLAR.  Teeth, not pets.

17. Eye wolfishly : OGLE.   

18. Premiere, datewise : OPEN ON.   This seems kind of clumsy, but it works.

23. At the pinnacle of : ATOP.  

24. Semicircle, e.g. : ARC.    Any portion of a circle.

26. Like five-star hotels : POSH.   High class and expensive.

27. Radius neighbor : ULNA.   Bones of the forearm.

28. "Alley __" : OOP.   Erstwhile cartoon caveman.

29. Thurman of "Kill Bill" : UMA.

32. Springsteen's first Top 40 hit : BORN TO RUN.

33. Red explorer? : ERIC.  Eiríkr Þorvaldsson; [950 – c. 1003]  Following the family tradition, Eric was exiled for killing a man.  His explorations then took him to Greenland, but he was probably not the first European to land there.  [Wikipedia]

34. Victor Borge, by birth : DANE.   Pianist and comic.

36. Fall precipitously : PLUNGE. Plummet.

37. Short stories? : LIT.  Literature, abbreviated.

38. Broody rock genre : EMO.  Emotional punk rock, for emotional punks.

40. "Sold!" : DEAL.  Artful agreement.

43. Pro Bowl team, briefly : AFC.   America Football Conference.

45. Massage option : OIL RUB.  All of my massage therapists have used essential oils.

46. Ravel classic used in the film "10" : BOLERO.

47. Palestinian leader Mahmoud : ABBAS. [b 1935]  Palesinian president since 2005.

48. Thailand neighbor : LAOS. East of Thailand, West of Viet Nam.

49. "Chicago" showgirl : ROXIE.

50. Diner patron : EATER.  Literal consumer.

52. Roger Rabbit frames : CELSPick one.

53. "I totally agree!" : AMEN.  "So be it."

54. Rig on the road : SEMI. A tractor-trailer rig.

57. Quick kiss : PECK.  Usually on the cheek.

58. Disapproving sounds : TSKS.  Tongue clucks.

60. 60 secs. : MIN.  One minute

61. AP competitor : UPIUnited Press International

That wraps it up.  C. C. took us around the world and provided a lot of musical options, with no major nits.   Pretty good Wednesday, IMHO.

Cool regards!


May 9, 2018

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Mark McClain

Theme: I'M OUTA HERE! The first word of two-word entries is a synonym for some kind of void.

17. Horror film setting: VACANT HOUSE.  I'm not a maven of this genre, but it seems like an appropriately scary choice.

24. Rural "Out of the office" sign: GONE FISHING.  Alternatively, in slang, oblivious or unconcerned about the realities of daily life.  Also, this:

37. Ammo for a starter pistol: BLANK CARTRIDGES.  Contains gunpowder, but no bullet or shot.  When fired, the blank makes a flash and an explosive sound (report), the wadding is propelled from the barrel of the gun, and the firearm's action cycles. [Wikipedia]

48. One whose "chicks" have flown?: EMPTY NESTER.  Parents in the house, after the children are grown and gone.  Tough transition for many.  Our kids are approaching that point in life.

59. Explanation for an evolutionary transition: MISSING LINK. Presumed gap in the evolutionary fossil record.  Most scientists find the term to be cringe-worthy.

Hi gang, JzB NOT absent today, and here to lead the way through - well - nothing, really.  The irony is that, with 5 entries, a theme built around absence is so full of thematic richness.  Let's see if we can poke holes in the rest of the puzzle.


1. Bullpen hero: CLOSER.  The pitcher who is usually brought in for the 9th inning of a game when his team has a small lead he is supposed to protect.

7. Technical opening?: PYRO.  PYRO-technical refers to fireworks displays or a brilliant performance of some specific skill.  Fireworks and affix clues generally leave me cold.

11. Juan or Jose lead-in: SAN.  City names.  SAN Jose is the capital of Costa Rica.   SAN Juan is a town in Trinidad and Tobago, located in the San Juan-Laventille Region in Saint George County.

14. Mom's sis: AUNTIE.  My Mom's twin sis is still alive and will be 97 in a few days.

15. Semi warning: HORN.  Beep-beep.

16. Asian menu general: TSO.

19. Physicist with a law: OHM.  His law states that the current through a conductor is equal to the voltage divided by the resistance: I = V/R.  R is a constant property of the conducting item, and the current flow depends on the applied voltage.

20. Bird feeder cake: SUET.  White animal fat.  The fat is white.  The color of the animal doesn't matter.

21. Common math base: TEN.  The base is the number of symbols [numerals or letters] that a counting system uses to represent numbers.  In base TEN, these symbols are the digits 0 through 9.

22. Ocean dots: ISLES.  Dots represent small islands on maps.

27. Acting twins Mary-Kate and Ashley: OLSENS.  Former child actresses, born in 1986, they shared the roll of Michelle Tanner on the TV series FULL HOUSE.  They have had several other acting projects, and are now fabulously wealthy fashion designers.

30. Feel some pain: ACHE.  Day-after-yard-work syndrome.

31. Send forth: ISSUE.  Emit.

32. Hotshot: ACE.  High-level performer.   What you want your CLOSER to be.

33. Easy gait: LOPE.  A long, bounding stride.

41. Zingers: MOTS.  Short for Bon MOT, which is French for "good word," said of a witticism or biting retort.

42. Vote, say: OPT.  Make a choice from among a range of options.  Also from French, and ultimately Latin optare, choose or wish.

43. Title Kazakh in a 2006 spoof: BORAT.  More low humor.

44. Big heads?: EGOS.  In psychoanalysis, the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.  More loosely, a person's sense of self esteem and importance.  In context, an overweening self-importance.

46. Revolver?: PLANET.  Each PLANET in the solar system rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun.

52. Color separator: PRISM.  This video, just under 6 minutes, gets pretty deep into the weeds.  I suspect Gary, at least, will like it.

53. __ Gang: OUR.   Kids comedy team from back in the day.  There are lots of long vids on YouTube, if you want to go down that rabbit hole.  Here's a short excerpt.  Evidently the piano was over-dubbed later, so this 7-yr-old did a really good job of staying in tune on this great old song.

54. Minimally: A BIT. Not too much off the top.  It's thin there.

58. Many times, in poems: OFT.  Because "frequently" is hard to work into the metric scheme.

63. Pointillism unit: DOT.  A neo-impressionist painting technique that uses tiny dots of pure color that become blended in the viewer's eye.  Interesting counter-point [so to speak] to the prism we encountered not so very long ago.

64. Stirring solo: ARIA.   An operatic song, not mixing alone in the kitchen.

65. Rio Grande city: EL PASO.  In far west Texas, across from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

66. George Strait's "All My __ Live in Texas": EXS.  As long as we're in Texas, why not.   George Strait is one of the few country singers I can tolerate for more than about 12 seconds.  Here's a link.

67. Watch over: TEND.

68. Bird hangouts: ROOSTS.  Birds' resting spots.  They usually sit upright on roosts.  Bats, however, will hang.  Just sayin'  .  .  .


1. LeBron et al., briefly: CAVS.  LeBron James and his team mates on the Cleveland Cavaliers professional basketball team.

2. Waikiki party: LUAU.  A traditional Hawaiian party or feast that is usually accompanied by entertainment. It may feature food such as poi, Kalua pig, poke, lomi salmon, opihi, haupia and beer, and entertainment such as traditional Hawaiian music and hula. [Wikkipedia]

3. Back in the day: ONCE. Frex, when the OUR GANG kids were kids.

4. Saves, for a 1-Across: STAT.  If the lead is 3 runs or fewer in the expected final inning of a baseball game when the CLOSER enters, it's a save situation.  If he then shuts down the inning without the opposing team either tying or going ahead, his team wins, and the save is recorded.  Otherwise, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

5. Strauss' "__ Heldenleben": EIN.  "A Hero's Life," an 1898 tone poem by Richard Strauss.  In it's entirety, it lasts ca. 50 minutes.  Here is a short low brass excerpt - and, oh, boy, are these guys good!

6. 1984 Olympics gymnastics standout: RETTON.  Mary Lou [b 1968] won a gold medal, along with 2 silver and 2 bronze, back in the day.

7. LG product: PHONE.  LG Electronics Inc. is a South Korean multinational electronics company headquartered in Yeouido-dong, Seoul, South Korea, and is part of the LG Group, employing 82,000 people working in 119 local subsidiaries worldwide. [Wikipedia]

8. "That's so __!": YOU.  Said of clothing or a situation that seems to suit a person perfectly.

9. $200 Monopoly props.: RRS.  The Rail Road properties.

10. Vague lunch date time: ONE-ISH.  Approximately 1:00 pm.  Hold a spot for me.

11. Skyy alternative, familiarly: STOLI.  Vodkas. Skyy, now available in at least 17 flavors, is owned by the Campari Group of italy.   Stolichnaya [for long] comes from the former Soviet Union.  Ownership is disputed between a Russian state owned company and a private company owned by a Russian billionaire.

Now vodka is fine in its place;
in martinis, though, never a trace!
It’s swilled on the docks,
Can be used to clean clocks,
The gearwork, the hands and the face.

12. Looking drained: ASHEN.  Pale from shock, fear or illness.

13. Chinese menu promise: NO MSGMonoSodium Glutmate, a flavor enhancer.

18. Coop residents: HENS.  Not sure if they are allowed to occupy the ROOSTS.

23. Jim's role on "The Big Bang Theory": SHELDON.

24. Best Buy "Squad" member: GEEK.  Computer experts.

25. It's true: FACT.  Something that is indisputably correct - though you can always find somebody who will dispute it.  Cf, Flat Earth Society.

26. One piping frosting: ICER.   Cake decorator.

27. Kon-Tiki Museum city: OSLOThe museum presents a broad selection of Thor Heyerdahl's life work.

28. Hurdle for atty. wannabes: LSAT. Law School Admission Test.

29. Stereotypical Western-ending backdrops: SUNSETS.

31. Watson's company: IBM.  Watson is a computer designed to answer questions asked in natural language.

32. National Gallery attraction: ART.  The Gallery is an ART museum located on the National Mall in Washington D. C.

34. Meanie: OGRE.  A mythical man-eating giant, or, figuratively a mean-spirited boss, or bully.

35. Fuel used in some whisky production: PEAT.  An earthy material made of partly decomposed vegetation.  It's used in Scotland for whisky production.  Anywhere else?

36. Md. winter hours: ESTEastern Standard Time.

38. Masked critter: COON.  The raccoon is the largest animal of the procyonid family,

39. Holy recess: APSE.  Usually the semi-circular or polygonal shaped end of a church, where the altar is located.

40. Building girder: I-BAR.  A metal structural beam shaped like the letter I.  this shape maximizes stability in all dimensions.

45. Floor exercise surface: GYM MAT.

46. Spitting sound: PTUI.  Erm  .  .  .

47. "My Fair Lady" lyricist: LERNER.    Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe also collaborated on Camelot, Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon.

48. Lyric poem: EPODE.  A form written in couplets, with alternating long and short lines.  Another meaning is the third and final part of an ode, following the strophe and the antistrophe  Last time out, I had EPOS, and didn't know that, either.

49. "Fantastic" Dahl character: MR. FOX.    Eponym for the 1970 novel, and then 2009 movie.  A rare story, in which a predator is the hero, and the farmers and their live stock are the enemy.

50. Pulitzer-winning columnist Leonard: PITTS.  His home paper is the Miami Herald.  He won his Pulitzer in 2004.

51. "Alas!": SO SAD.  [sigh]

54. Lunch for Spot, maybe: ALPO.  A dog, and his dinner.

55. Fairness obstacle: BIAS.  A skewed point of view that enables interpreting new information as confirmation of existing beliefs, even when it isn't.

56. Brookings, e.g.: Abbr.: INSTitution, a century-old American research group on Think Tank Row in Washington, D.C. It conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and global economy and development. [Wikipedia] 

57. Boxing stats: TKO'sTechnical Knock Out.  A decision by the referee or ring physician that the boxing match cannot safely continue.

60. Fury: IRE.  Anger.

61. Ignore a Commandment: SIN.  A transgression of divine law.

62. Day-__: GLO.  An American paint and pigment company, and it's registered trademark for luminescent decorative products.

That wraps up another Wednesday, in a bright and colorful manner.  Here's the filled-in grid, then I really am outa-here.

Cool regards!


Note from C.C.:

Happy 55th birthday to Yellowrocks' son Alan! Have a wonderful day shopping and visiting places you love. You have the best mom!
Kathy and her son Alan, Costa Ric, 2009

Apr 25, 2018

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke

Theme:  Whatever moves you.   The second word of each 2 or 3 word theme entry indicates a descriptor for being highly motivated.  I wouldn't say they are quite synonyms, by they do have a common feel.  These are the characteristics of ambition and, with along with some luck, skill, and tenacity, success - in business, sports, music or any meaningful endeavor.

17 A. Solar power, e.g. : RENEWABLE ENERGY.  Five types are recognized: solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric. Personally, ENERGY is what gets you out of bed to face the challenges of the day.

26 A. Soul mate : KINDRED SPIRIT.  Those with similar interests and attitudes are KINDRED SPIRITS.  Soul mates are bound together more tightly than that, IMHO.  Many years ago, I wrote a sonnet about them [see below].    Personally, SPIRIT is the enthusiasm that keeps you going.


There are those whose lives are meant to be entwined,
Lovers thrust together by the force of destiny,
When choice and fate converge, that they may be
Connected at the soul, the heart, the mind.

Within their closed circumference one can find
Two curves in perfect fit -- his yang, her yin,
That in each cycle once again begin
To cluster into love's sweet spiral bind.

But consider -- if in the vast span of infinity
One of them becomes displaced in small degree;
Is born a decade late, perhaps is sent
To the farthest corner of the continent --

The distant echo of an unfelt touch, an unseen face.
Who will be the one who comes to take his place?

48 A. Heavy military barrage : ARTILLERY FIRE.  An assault using cannons, mortars, and other weaponry with greater range fire power than rifles and hand guns.  Personally, FIRE [as, in the belly] is powerful ambition and determination.

63 A. Common transmission feature : FRONT WHEEL DRIVE.  Unsurprisingly, this is a tranny system that provides power to the front wheels of a vehicle.  Personally, DRIVE is the urge, sometimes innate, to achieve a goal or satisfy a need. 

This theme is at once simple, but also possibly a bit elusive.  And there's plenty of it, with 2 grid-spanning entries and 2 more at 13 letters each.  The trade-off is more words of shorter length than is typical for a Wednesday.  The lack of a unifier mid-week is also a little strange.

Hi, gang, JazzBumpa here, somehow feeling motivated.  How about you?  Lets FIRE it up, get the SPIRIT moving, and use that ENERGY to DRIVE through today's puzzle.


1. Dull : HO-HUM.  What - bored already?  C'mon, let's keep it moving - at least as far as 20A.

6. "Stronger than dirt" cleanser : AJAX.  This is how I remember it.  [Yes, I am THAT old!]

10. PCs' "brains" : CPUSCentral Processing Units.

14. Backspace over : ERASE.  On a computer, not a typewriter.

15. Try to throw, at a rodeo : BUCK.  The highly motivated action of an unwillingly mounted animal.

16. Tall concert instrument : HARP.  One harp player I've worked with transports hers in a repurposed hearse.

20. Animal that sounds dull : BOAR.  Male hog.  Here's an insect that sounds even duller.
21. Those opposed : NAYS.  Used in voice votes.

22. Simplifies : EASES.

23. Charged particle : ION.  Formed by the transfer of an electron from one atom or molecule to another.

25. Gender problem : GAP.  The discrepancy between men and women in opportunities, status, attitudes, etc.

33. Humiliate : ABASE.  Disrespect.

34. Grand-scale poetry : EPOS.  EPIC also fits, and giving it up gave me fits.

35. It's right on the map : EAST.  Clever clue.  I like it.

38. Slo-mo reviewer : REF.  Baseball, football and hockey all have slo-motion replay reviews for close calls.

39. Inning with a stretch : SEVENTHThis tradition, however, remains unique to baseball.  

42. "Michael Collins" actor Stephen : REA.

43. Any of three 10th-century Holy Roman Emperors : OTTOThe HRE started with Charlemagne in 800 A. D. and ended with Francis II in 1806.  For several decades it was run on Otto-pilot.

Otto I [The Great] 962-973
Otto II 973-983
Otto III 996-1002

45. Jazzman Jackson : MILT.   Vibraphonist Milton "Bags" Jackson [1923-1999] was a founder of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Here is a slightly different line up.

46. Caravan stops : OASES.   Fertile desert spots, with water.

51. Exact revenge on : GET.   As in GET even.

52. Big lug : OAF.  Lout, churl.

53. Letters after thetas : IOTAS.  Not fond of this at all.  The Greek alphabet is a unique thing, as are each of the letters in it. Sure, some word could have multiple IOTAS in it, but that is not the sense of this clue. 

56. Until next time, in texts : TTYLTalk To You Later.

59. Slanted page? : OP-ED. Located Opposite to the Editorial Page.  Viewpoints are only slanted if you disagree.

66. Sportswear brand : IZOD.  Ordinary clothing adorned with an expensive alligator.

67. Lawman played by Russell and Costner : EARP.  Wyatt, of OK Corral fame.

68. Ill-fated Ford : EDSEL.  Manufactured from 1958-60.  Now a collectors item.

69. Lady Gaga's "Cheek to Cheek" duettist Bennett : TONY.  These kids are having way too much fun.

70. Helpful hints : TIPS.  Pro-tip: see if you can land a gig with Lady Gaga.

71. Virtual transaction : E-SALE.   On-line commerce.


1. Chef's flavoring : HERB.  Tasty and/or aromatic plant leaves.

2. Double Delight cookie : OREO.

3. Tennis great Mandlikova : HANA.

4. Password partners : USER IDS.  Protection for your on-line activities.

5. Litter cry : MEW.  It's the cat's meow.

6. "SOS" band : ABBA.

7. Month with fireworks : JULY.  This is what makes the 4th of July my least favorite holiday.

8. Blackjack components : ACES. Along with face cards or 10s.  Blackjack is the name of the game, but also a 2-card holding consisting of an ace, counting 11 points, along with one of the other mentioned cards, counting 10.  Other spot cards have the count of their pips.  Winner is the player who comes closest to 21 without going over, regardless of the number of cards held.

9. Vintage Jag : XKE.   Jaguar car.

10. Inexpensive brand : CHEAPIE.  Probably won't last.

11. Golf targets : PARS.  In the abstract.  PINS, the physical targets, also fits.

12. Try to convince : URGE.  In another sense, could have echoed the theme.

13. 1974 Gould/Sutherland CIA spoof : SPYS.

18. "Worst Cooks in America" judge Burrell : ANNE.  This is a thing?!?

19. Within walking distance : NEAR.  Close

24. Mine extractions : ORES.  Pay dirt.

25. Main idea : GIST.  The heart of the matter.

26. Syrup brand since 1902 : KARO. Corn syrup.  Not the same as high fructose corn syrup, which is highly processed.

27. Skeptical words : I BET.  

28. Tripartite commerce pact : NAFTA. North American Free Trade Agreement.

29. Underworld boss? : DEVIL.  No typical crime syndicate don, instead the master of Hades.

30. Be in a bee : SPELL.  Participate in a spelling contest.  I would lose.

31. Florence's __ Vecchio : PONTE.  A closed bridge over the Arno, dating to some uncertain time before the 1400's.  

32. Foot bones : TARSI.  A cluster of 7 articulating bones at the back of the foot.  Five of them connect to the metatarsals - the long bones of the foot.

36. Lifeline reader : SEER.  Fortune teller, mystic.

37. Overpower with a shock : TASE.  Use a Taser, an elecroshock gun, on someone.

40. Give off : EMIT. As light, heat, or an odor.

41. Boxer Oscar De La __ : HOYA. [b 1973] He holds dual American and Mexican citizenship.  Representing the U. S., he won an olympic gold medal in 1992.

44. Fine cotton fabric : ORGANDY. A translucent fabric that is usually stiffened and used in women's clothing.

47. Provides with, as an opportunity : AFFORDS.  From an Old English root meaning "go forth."

49. Trial : TEST.

50. Hot streak : ROLL.  Experience a prolonged spell of success or good luck.

53. "__ ain't broke ... " : IF IT.  Don't fix it.

54. Minestrone pasta : ORZO. Noodles the approximate size and shape of rice grains.

55. Snagglepuss, e.g. : TOON. Created in 1959, he was featured in a series of shorts, then became a semi-regular on the Yogi Bear Show, and also appeared in other Hanna-Barbera series.
56. Bangkok native : THAI.  From the Kingdom of Thailand. The country has always been called Mueang Thai by its citizens.  Until 1949 it was called Siam by outsiders.

57. Maryland athlete, for short : TERP.  Terrapin, for long.

58. Slangy affirmatives : YEPS.

60. Tuscan tower site : PISA. Home of the leaning tower, in Italy.

61. First name in stunts : EVEL.  Mr. Knievel [b 1938, d 2007.] Contrary to rumor, he never jumped the Grand Canyon.  His Snake River Canyon jump was a bust, both as a stunt and financially.  

62. Proofreader's "drop this" : DELE.  Delete.

64. Just out of the pool : WET.  Untoweled

65. Dead end? : DEE.  Spelt out terminal letter.  Rather a sad way to end a puzzle.

That wraps up another Wednesday. With only a couple of nits, my enthusiasm remains undampened.  Don't lose that passion, peeps!

Cool regards!

Notes from C.C.:

1) Happy Birthday to Kazie (Kay), who has been with our blog since the summer of 2008. Kay used to frequent our blog and was our authority on any French and German matter. Last time when she emailed me, she was readying for a German trip to visit her old son and family. She was also very happy that her young son was engaged.

2) Women of Letters puzzle packet is ready! All the 18 puzzles were constructed and edit by women. The constructors include: Tracy Bennett, Laura Braunstein, C.C. Burnikel, Amanda Chung, Debbie Ellerin, Gail Grabowski (today's co-constructor) Tracy Gray, Mary Lou Guizzo, Angela Olson Halsted (PuzzleGirl), Pam Amick Klawitter, Sarah Keller, Lynn Lempel, Donna S. Levin, Ruth Bloomfield Margolin, Andrea Carla Michaels, Robin Stears, and Robyn Weintraub. The editors are our own Patti Varol and Amy Reyhaldo. Deb Amlen of Wordplay initiated this project in early 2017.

To get the puzzles, please donate $10 or more to any of the charities listed in the website. Then send a copy of your receipt as proof of donation to You'll get a beautifully designed puzzle pack with all the great puzzles, answer grids and all the constructor bios.