Showing posts with label Jo Vita. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jo Vita. Show all posts

Mar 16, 2009

Monday March 16, 2009 Jo Vita

Theme: Colorful Places

29A: Southernmost city in Texas: BROWNSVILLE

58A: Town on Great Slave Lake: YELLOWKNIFE

11D: Virginia Tech location: BLACKSBURG

28D: Neighbor of Winston-Salem: GREENSBORO

BLACKSBURG brought back the horrifying scenes of the Virginia Tech shooting. It's the only theme answer I've heard of.

Why would someone name a town YELLOWKNIFE? Sounds haunted and dangerous to live. Is GREENSBORO a shortened word for Greensborough? BROWNSVILLE was very easy to obtain. Wikipedia says Kris Kristofferson was born there.

I had trouble with the intersection of NORMA and ADLERS. Otherwise, an OK grid, our last TMS Daily Monday puzzle. By the way, here is a picture of Rich Norris, the editor for LA Times Daily puzzle. He looks very serious, doesn't he? On the other hand, Barry Silk looks so relaxed and morally MOREL.


1A: Diet beers: LITES. I don't eat or drink anything LITE or no-fat. Have to eat real food.

9A: Native Israeli: SABRA. Dictionary says it means "prickly pear" in Hebrew. A person who immigrates to Israel is called OLEH (masculine) or OLAH (feminine). I suppose SABRA can be either a man or a woman?

14A: Stern or Babel: ISAAC. I did not know ISAAC Babel, the Russian Jewish writer. He was shot to death by Stalin's secret police.

17A: Very large in scale: MACRO. I think my diet mirrors that of Macrobiotics, except that I don't eat brown rice.

19A: National symbols: FLAGS. This is Chinese National flag, with 5 stars. The colors and designs kind of resembles the old Soviet Union flag.

24A: Glacial epoch: ICE AGES

26A: Skeans and dirks: DAGGERS. Skean is a new DAGGER to me. It's formerly used in Ireland and in the Scottish Highlands.

29A: Arlene and Roald: DAHLS. Someone mentioned last time that DAHL means "valley" in Norwegian language. Related to DALE I suppose.

31A: "Over There" cont.: EUR. Guessed. Why "Over There"? Old movie title?

42A: Verdun's river: MEUSE. No idea. I did not know where Verdun is. See this map. It flows from NE France through E Belgium and S Netherlands into the North Sea. Last time I linked the same map when ARGONNE was clued as "WWI battle site".

43A: Spanish dish: PAELLA. Literally "frying pan" in Catalan. Saffron is probably the most expensive spice in the world.

48A: Bellini opera: NORMA. Unknown to me. Wikipedia says it's first produced at La Scala in 1831 and it is generally regarded as an example of the supreme height of the Bel canto tradition, whatever that is. This is the only NORMA I know.

53A: Engaged: BUSY. I wanted RAPT.

57A: Poetic peeper: ORB. Maybe you can find me a poem where the poet wrote "Oh, how lovely thine ORBS are".

62A: Mythical weeper: NIOBE. Can you believe this is a gimme for me? Lots of solvers found me last year when they searched this word. Anyway, NIOBE had 14 kids, and she she bragged of her superiority to LETO, who only had two kids (the Twins Apollo & Artemis, fathered by Zeus). Then all her kids were slewn by Apollo and Artemis. And NIOBE herself was turned into stone by Zeus while weeping her loss.

66A: Stuffed __ (kishke): DERMA. Nope. Have never heard of kishke either. Looks just like sausage. I hope it's sweet and not garlicky.

68A: Jamaican cultist: RASTA. Ah, Bob Marley. Here is his "No Woman No Cry", to comfort our "Mythical weeper" NIOBE.


2D: Munich's river: ISAR

4D: Solicit persistently: EARWIG. New word to me. This insect shows up when I googled EARWIG.

5D: Wall bracket: SCONCE. Mine was SOCKET.

6D: Glacial chasm: CREVASSE. Same as crevice?

7D: 1953 Jane Wyman movie: SO BIG. The answer presented itself to me. The original novel won a Pulitzer for Edna Ferber in 1925.

12D: Moore or Mudd: ROGER. Not familiar with the journalist ROGER Mudd.

21D: Evening in Venezia: SERA. Italian for evening. I did not know Venezia is Italian for Venice.

26D: Star of "Sleepy Hollow": DEPP (Johnny). Have never seen this movie. "Heads will roll" sounds scary.

27D: Intangible quality: AURA. "Intangible" indeed.

35D: Aoki of golf: ISAO. Golf HOFer. He belongs to history. Now all eyes are on Ryo Ishikawa. Sensational. We will see him at the Masters this year.

44D: Henri's girl: AMIE. How to say "girlfriend" in Spanish? By the way, I've had enough Bernard-Henri Levy and his narcissistic unbuttoned white shirt.

46D: Garbage boat: SCOW. Barge popped into my mind. It's also a garbage boat, isn't it?

49D: Felix and Polly: ADLERS. No idea. Polly ADLER was a Russia-born brothel madam. Three Felix ADLERS here. I don't know which one the constructor was thinking.

54D: One archangel: URIEL

56D: Aluminum company: ALCOA. Oh my God, I just found out this morning that ALCOA is traded at $5.73/share. Unbelievable.

59D: Singer Delange: ILSE. I forgot. She is a Dutch country singer.

63D: NYC subway line: BMT (Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit). Can never remember this initial.


Mar 11, 2009

Wednesday March 11, 2009 Jo Vita

Theme: Crack Up

17A: Broadway moneymaker: SMASH HIT

30A: Blast from the past?: BIG BANG

47A: Soft drink: SODA POP

62A: Launch: BLAST OFF

11D: Bases-loaded homer: GRAND SLAM

35D: Radical food fad: CRASH DIET

Not happy with 30A clue. BLAST is part of the theme answer for 62A. Tell me how you would clue BIG BANG.

The clue for ESS (13D: Part of CBS?) is quite tricky. I thought of SYS first, then EYE. Finally realized ESS refers to the letter S in CBS.

Mary Elson, the Managing Director of Tribune Media Service, emailed me yesterday that TMS will be ending Wayne R Williams syndication puzzle on Sunday March 22, 2009. So, starting on March 23 (Monday) most of the papers that currently have TMS Daily will carry LA Times Daily edited by Rich Norris.

This is a great news for us, as LA Times puzzles are definitely of superior quality. Besides, we can have the same Sunday puzzles to work with. I am aware, however, that some of you might be given a different LA Times Sunday crossword edited by Sylvia Bursztyn. But you can always print out the Rich Norris Sunday puzzle from LA Time's website.


8A: 1997 20-game winner Denny: NEAGLE. Guessed. Have never heard of this pitcher. He was actually drafted by the Twins in 1989. Wikipedia says his name was mentioned in the Mitchell Report in connection with steroids. Boo!

14A: __ Valley, CA: SIMI. Reagan Library is located here.

19A: Bernhardt and Siddons: SARAHS. SARAH Bernhardt was a French actress nicknamed "The Divine SARAH". SARAH Siddon was a British actress most famous for her portrayal of Lady Macbeth. Of all the SARAHS in the world, our editor wanted these two, absurdly obscure. Boo!

20A: Nautical rescue system: AIR SEA

21A: Cossack chief: HETMAN. No idea. Last time the answer is ATAMAN.

23A: NASA outpost: ISS (International Space Station). Williams like to clue ESA as "NASA's ISS partner".

27A: Mil. honor: DSC (Distinguished Service Cross). I wanted DSM. Wikipedia says DSC is "the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of US Army". What is the highest then? Purple Heart? By the way, DSO (Distingushed Service Order) is the "British military award".

33A: Abominable: ACCURSED. New word to me. Same as CURSED?

36A: Vexed: GALLED. His chutzpah used to GALL me.

38A: Myanmar, by another name: BURMA. Capital city: Yangon. Currency: Kyat. Strange country. Governed by those bloody military juntas. Aung San Suu Kyi needs more than just the glibido from the west for her fight.

41A: Employment: USAGE

44A: Representative examples: EPITOMES

49A: Numerical ending: ETH. "Ordinal suffix" to be exact.

51A: C.S.A. soldier: REB. Opposite Yank?

52A: Actress Meyers: ARI. No idea. Thought ARI is man's name. What's her face shape? Square?

55A: Fanning of "Man on Fire": DAKOTA. She grows up quickly. Her interviews are uniformly boring.

58A: Signaled: CUED IN

64A: Lack of vigor: ANEMIA. Dates help. Lots of irons in dates. Nuts stuffed honeyed dates. Delicious!

65A: NRC forerunner: AEC (1946 to 1975)

66A: Heraldic border: ORLE. Learned this word from doing crossword. What's the difference between heraldry and coat-of-arms?

67A: climber's spikes: PITONS

68A: '60 radicals: SDS. Was this a gimme to you? I keep confusing SDS with '70 radicals SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army).


1D: Very, in music: ASSAI. "Allegro ASSAI" means very fast. Add one letter L, it becomes the "attack vigorously" ASSAIL.

4D: "Beth" singer: KISS. Here is the clip. Definitely not my style. Any KISS collectors there? Do you have the original KISS bobbleheads?

6D: Colonial cuckoo: ANI. Why "Colonial"?

7D: Prot. sect: METH. The same abbreviation as the drug?

8D: Savings: NEST EGG. Dwindling quickly! My GE stock is now traded at $8 per share. Terrible.

18D: Flights to safety: HEGIRAS. No idea. Dictionary also says that HEGIRA refers to the flight of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina in 622 ad. So it's the starting point of the Muslim era.

29D: Aqua and motor endings: CADES. Aquacade is new to me.

32D: Biographer of FDR: ALSOP. Almost every JFK book I've read mentioned Joseph ALSOP. Are you familiar with General Chenault's Flying Tigers? ALSOP served as Chenault's "Staff Secretary" when they trained in Rangoon, BURMA.

33D: Poplar tree: ABELE. I forgot. What's the difference between ABELE and aspen again?

34D: Flat face of a gem: CULET. No idea. See this digram.

43D: Spanish mates: ESPOSAS. Got the answer from across fills. It's Spanish for "wife". I thought it means "Spouse".

45D: Emetine source plants: IPECACS. I can never remember this word. Their roots contain "emetine", whatever it is.

56D: Sphere starter?: ATMO. Atmosphere.

57D: Down with!: A BAS. Know this from the French Revolutionary cry "A BAS le roi!" Our editor used to clue ABAS as "Arab garments".

61D: Verse starter?: UNI. Universe. "Sex starter?" is also good, yes?


Mar 2, 2009

Monday March 2, 2009 Jo Vita

Theme: Put on a Hat!

17A: Fish farms: HATCHERIES

25A: Three consecutive goals: HAT TRICK

53A: Carolina cape: HATTERAS

62A: Female pharaoh: HATSHEPSUT

11D: Location of Southern Miss: HATTIESBURG

24D: Sharp-featured visage: HATCHET FACE

Luckily we had HAT TRICK in our puzzle last week. Otherwise, I would have struck out six straight times. HATSHEPSUT looks insanely wrong to me. Wikipedia says this lady was the fifth pharaoh of Egypt, and is generally regarded by Egyptologists as one of the most successful ones.

Took me a while to realize CIT (3D: U. S. voter) stands for citizen. Is it a common abbreviation? I was not familiar with it at all. I love America and American politics, but I don't have the right to vote. I don't have the patience and courage to go through INS application again. They screwed up my green card big last time. Obviously my Chinese name Zhouqin needs a "u" to make sense to others.

I'd like to have a survey today. If you read this blog every day, can you pop into the Comments section and introduce yourself? Tell me which city/state you are from. Maybe your favorite breakfast too.

Here is the detailed instruction on how to post a comment. I look forward to hearing from you. (Note: Please post your comment on today's Comments section rather than the instruction Comments part).


1A: Chocolate coffee: MOCHA. Named after the Yemen port city MOCHA, from which the coffee was exported. Yemen is the birthplace of coffee cultivation. But Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee itself.

10A: Cartoonist Addams: CHAS. No idea. Nickname for Charles? The creator of "The Addams Family".

30A: Nearby things: THESE. Oh, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)". I always thought they are made of THESE.

35A: Full of worthless stuff: DROSSY. Only know DROSS.

38A: Golfer Mediate: ROCCO. Gimme. ROCCO Mediate finished second at US Open last year. I don't know. I can never warm up to this guy. Maybe he needs to change his glasses.

40A: A-Team guy: MR. T

42A: Pianist Blake: EUBIE. Ah, EUBIE, why did you pick up this nickname? So hard for me to remember.

43A: In heaven: ON HIGH

47A: Chinawood oil: TUNG. Glory be! Have never heard of TUNG oil before. It's used as varnish ingredient for furniture. I recognized the Chinese character for TUNG tree (油桐) when I googled. Did not know it's also called China wood-oil tree.

56A: Martina of tennis: HINGIS. Shocked to learn she used cocaine. Maybe she should not have broken up with Sergio Garcia. They were cute together. Sergio is a close amigo of Rafael Nadal. And Tiger Woods is of course rooting for his pal Roger Federer. Now you know Tiger and Sergio are no real buddies. Hope US Open (Bethpage Black) this year is as entertaining as the 2002 one.

59A: Caspian sturgeon: BELUGA. This looks dangerous. I did not know BELUGA is that huge. What is the average size of BELUGA caviar then?

66A: 750 in letters: DCCL

67A: Cinema pooch: ASTA. And ASTRO (22D: "The Jetsons").

68A: TV journalist Frank: SESNO. I know how he looks like, but would not have got his name without the down fills. He used to appear on Wolf Blitzer's "The Situation Room" often.

71A: Hebrew letter: TSADI. Nope. Can also be spelled as TSADE or SADHE. 18th of the 22 Hebrew letter. I only know the first one ALEF.


2D: Can or cup ending: OLA. I cook with canola oil. Oliver oil is too strong for me.

4D: One hundred : pref.: HECTO. As in hectogram. I know this prefix when I see it. But I can't spell it out without adjecent help.

12D: "Toys in the __": ATTIC. Easy guess. Not familiar with this Aerosmith album. Hmmm, Aerosmith sounds like a great name to play for an AERO clue. "Smith intro/head?".

23D: Eating utensil: SPOON. Bet Dennis wanted FORK. I really really like this Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture. That SPOON weighs about 5,800 pounds. Walker Arts Center just removed the cherry (1,200 pounds) to give it a fresh paint.

26D: Religious deg.: TH. D. (Theologicae Doctor). Doctor of Theology. Not a familiar abbreviation to me. Know SEM (29D: Theol. sch.) though.

32D: Minute trace: SCINTILLA

34D: Altar constellation: ARA. See this diagram. Latin for "Altar".

37D: Safecrackers: YEGGS. I wonder what's the origin of YEGG. It sounds Hebrew to me.

46D: Yep: UH-HUH

49D: "__ Cannonball": WABASH. Is this a very well-known song? I've never heard of it before. Very strange song title.

51D: Abridged version: DIGEST

55D: Fracas: SET-TO. Reminds me of the slangy & obscure squabble word RHUBARB we had last time.

65D: You, to Yves: TOI. "... C'est TOI pour moi. Moi pour TOI...."


Feb 27, 2009

Friday February 27, 2009 Jo Vita

Theme: Go a-head

17A: Deceived: HOODWINKED

34A: Eat quickly: SCARF DOWN

45A: Hockey feats: HAT-TRICKS

66A: Collectible toy tot: BEANIE BABY

11D: North African city: FEZ, MOROCCO

29D: Financial investor: CAPITALIST

I am not hip into the hockey term HAT-TRICK. Is it equivalent to baseball's grand slam?

This puzzle held my interest. Great to see FEZ, MOROCCO in the grid. What a brilliant theme entry! Bonnet is missing. So is bowler hat. What else can you think of?

Why "Wild again" for FERAL (12D)? Isn't "Wild" sufficient? I would have clued SMEAR (72A: Smudge) as "Campaign tactic" due to my averseness to letter duplication. SLOTH (24D: Unau or ai) made me think of our constructor John Underwood. His old website is called SLOTH2toed. Our editor used to clue UNAU as "Two-toed sloth". AI is a just 3-toed sloth that lives in who knows where.


1A: Booty: SWAG. I forgot this slang. It's clued as "Thief's haul" last time.

15A: Artist Matisse: HENRI. Without Gertrude/Leo Stein, I doubt Matisse would have achieved what he later achieved.

19A: Stone or Pound: EZRA. In 10 years' time, EZRA probably will be clued as "Pundit Klein". He is the current liberal darling.

20A: Touchdown vessel: LANDER. Like LEM?

23A: Puppy barks: YIPS. Have yet to see YIPS clued as golf-related.

27A: NRC preceder: AEC. Existed from 1946 to 1975.

32A: Czech physicist Beckmann: PETR. Zowie! Look at the book he is holding, "The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear". I wonder if his theories have been challenged. Anyway, I forgot all about him. He also wrote "The History of Pi." I think his mom forgot to put an vowel at the end of his name.

38A: Corsican patriot: PAOLI. Had to get reacquainted with this fellow again. Could only think of Napoléon, as he was born in Corsica. Why is he considered a patriot?

41A: Natural starter?: SUPER. Supernatural. Good clue.

44A: Artless: NAIVE

50A: Explorer Johnson: OSA. Are those eggs? Her name escaped me once again. OSA, OSA, she-bear. Won't forget you next time.

51A: Andes tuber: OCA. Learned these tubers the way I learned about UGLI, from doing crossword.

56A: Ayres and Wallace: LEWS. I wanted ELIS again, confusing the "Ben-Hur" author LEW Wallace with ELI Wallach. Wikipedia says the actor LEW Ayres was married to Ginger Rogers from 1934 until 1940. And Jane Wyman fell in love with him while filing "Johnny Belinda" and left her husband Ronald Reagan for him, "albeit unsuccessfully".

61A: Kevin of "SNL": NEALON. I googled his name. Hard to find a perfect Granny Smith at this time of the year.

68A: Unless, in law: NISI. Decree NISI. Learned from doing crossword. You can't get married if you have received "Decree NISI" but not "Decree absolute". Maybe Paul McCartney has secretly married to her girlfriend, who received her "Decree absolute" from the court a while ago.

69A: Eccentric: OUTRE. I wrote down WEIRD first.

70A: Ends of small intestines: ILEA. Singular is ileum. (Note: Sorry about the mistake earlier. I mixed it up with the hipbones ILIA (singular Ilium).

71A: 1994 pact: GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades). Gimme. GATT was mentioned so often in China around the time when I graduated from college. It was replaced by WTO in 1994. Tough entering process for China.

73A: DEA Operative: NARC. DEA is often clued as "Narc's agcy."


3D: Egyptian god: AMON. Or AMEN/AMUN. No AMIN, since there is no "I" in modern interpretation of those Egyptian heiroglyphs. See this AMON-Ra on relief.

4D: Lee of Rush: GEDDY. No idea. Not familiar with the Canadian rock band Rush or the lead singer Geddy Lee, the guy in the middle.

7D: Egyptian cross: ANKH. I tend to confuse this word with the Hindu SIKH.

18D: Chinese dynasty: WEI. There are two WEI Dynasties in Chinese history. Here is a great list of all major dynasties. Click on Three Kingdoms or Southern and Northern Dynasties, you will find detailed information on the two WEIs that you don't really need to know.

28D: S. Amer. nation: ECUA. Capital: Quito. Currency: Sucre. Sucre has nothing to do with sugar. It's named after a South American independence leader named Antonio Jose de Sucre.

33D: Hirsch sitcom: TAXI. Easy guess. I've never heard of the actor Judd Hirsch. He is the guy with big nose. I was thinking of Emile Hirsch, the actor in "Into the Wild". Are they somehow related?

35D: Dream in Rheims: REVE. French for "Dream". Got the answer. Had no idea where exactly Rheims is. No painting is more erotic and DF than Picasso's "Le REVE".

36D: Soft-drink brand: FRESCA. Only Pepsi products in our house.

39D: Bird's display area: LEKS. I forgot. Saw this clue before. It's basically bird's mating arena. LEK is also Albanian currency.

48D: Some sports cars: TURBOS. Don't know anything about sports cars.

52D: Compound in ceramics: CERIA. Completely unknown to me. Some kind of white powder to polish ceramics or glass.

54D: Lung: pref: PNEUM. This prefix stumps me all the time.

57D: Polio vaccine developer: SABIN. He developed oral, "live virus" vaccine. Salk developed "killed virus" injection vaccine.

62D: Los Angeles land?: LA-LA

63D: German head waiter: OBER. Alien to me. I only know Über, German for "over".

64D: Central park S. landmark: NYAC (New York Athletic Club). Blue murder! I can never remember this building or its abbreviation.

Is anyone going to attend the ACPT this weekend? Barry Silk will be there.


Feb 16, 2009

Monday February 16, 2009 Jo Vita

Theme: It's Scintilla-ting

20A: Musical featuring "Maniac": FLASHDANCE

62A: Navigation beacon: LIGHTHOUSE

10D: Igniter: SPARKPLUG

33D: Luminous larvae: GLOWWORMS

I wonder why GLOWWORMS glow. Aren't they afraid of being eaten by bats or those night owls?

I rather like the theme answers today, very consistent. Those gleaming words brought to mind William Manchester's "One Brief Shining Moment" about JFK and his Camelot years. Truly beautiful things, like cherry blossoms, only last a very short time.

I don't think the clue for WHIT (34A: Smallest amount) is accurate. "Small amount", yes.

I don't understand why "Failing on purpose" for TANKING (24A). The stock market has been TANKING since last September, is it "Failing on purpose"? Who manipulated this scandal then? "The Talented Mr. Madoff"?

Also, why "Alternative beau" for RIVAL (55D)? RIVAL to whom?


1A: Thief's haul: SWAG. New slang to me. I could only think of LOOT.

5A: Stowaway, e.g.: HIDER. And NEWER (18A: More recent). And SCOWLER (52A: Sour looker). Special deal for ER today, buy one, get two free.

15A: Dig deeply?: ADORE. Good clue.

16A: Carson's predecessor: PAAR. I often confuse Jack PAAR with Catherine PARR, Henry VIII's wife.

40A: Eye: pref.: OCULO. I am more familiar with ocular. Easily gettable though. Oculus is Latin for "eye".

42A: "__ You Experienced?": ARE. Have never heard of this Jimi Hendrix song.

43A: Pianist Blake: EUBIE. Obtained his name with down fill help. Wikipedia says he smoked all his life and he died five days after his 100th birthday.

44A: Domingo, eg.: TENOR. The Three Tenors. Domingo is in the left.

45A: Cartoonist Drucker: MORT. Googled his name, cartoonist for the "Mad Magazine". Egads, I did not know that "Mad Magazine" is still in circulation.

64A: Drunkard: WINO. Thought of LUSH immediately, after our "A lush lushed lush in a lush lush" discussion last week.

65A: Asseverate: AVER. Did not know the meaning of "Asseverate". I parsed the word as "Make less severe", but EASE did not fit.

67A: Ready and willing partner: ABLE. I am ready, willing and ABLE to let Vikings go. Los Angeles Vikings does have a nice ring on it.

68A: Writer O'Flaherty: LIAM. Irish writer. Unknown to me. Is LIAM an unique Irish name? LIAM Neeson (Oskar in "Schindler's List") is from Ireland. He is going to play ABE (37D: Presidential nickname) in a Steven Spielberg biopic.

69A: Moon lander: EAGLE. Was not aware of this Apollo 11’s module name. Spider (Apollo 9) sounds quite apt.

71A: Bracket shapes: ELLS. Holy moley. I was really uneducated on this term.


2D: Writer Cather: WILLA. Her "O Pineers" appeared in our puzzle before. Unfortunately I don't remember her name.

3D: Mr. T's outfit: A-TEAM. I was thinking of the enormous amount of bling blings he is wearing, not the TV series. "The" is missing from the clue.

4D: Painter's base: GESSO. Eat a worm if you missed this one.

8D: Standing: ERECT. Made me think of the "Like member of congress clue" again. I bet John Boehner/Eric Cantor would go nuts if this clue appeared in a newspaper.

11D: Hawaiian island: KAUAI. What's so special about this island? I've never been to Hawaii. Must be very difficult to live with only 12 letters. I can understand 5 vowels, but only 7 consonants (h, k, l, m, n, p and w)?

25D: French Riviera resort: NICE."To Catch a Thief" is set in French Riviera. Nice movie. There is a picnic scene when Grace Kelly offered Cary Grant some chicken, and she asked "Do you want a leg or a breast?" Don't google, give me your guess on Grant's response.

27D: Put-up job: SHAM. Like FEMA's fake "News Conference".

28D: Russian city on the Vyatka: KIROV. See this map. Vyatka is a river. It has appeared in our puzzle several times. But I would not have got it without the Across fills. Chris mentioned the KIROV Ballet last time.

31D: Service winner: ACE. Tennis.

46D: Dreaded flies: TSETSES. I am surprised that our editor did not bring back "Nagana carriers" this time. He seems to be in an incurable repeating mood right now.

52D: Low tract: SWALE. This has become a gimme. Swamp anyone?

58D: Minsk money: RUBLE. Only knew RUBLE is Putin's bread. Was unaware that it's used in Belarus as well.

59D: Country singer K.T.: OSLIN. See, whatever Jimbo wants, Jimbo gets.

63D: Caron role: GIGI. Colette's most famous novel. Once again, her great quote: "I love my past, I love my present. I am not ashamed of what I have had, and I am not sad because I no longer have it".

64D: 1965 Beatles movie: HELP. This promo looks great. Here is the list of movies the Beatles made.


Feb 10, 2009

Tuesday February 10, 2009 Jo Vita

Theme: Moo, Moo, Good!

20A: Dairy exercise?: CHEESE CURLS

51A: Dairy pests?: BUTTER FLIES

11D: Dairy winds?: CREAM PUFFS


A couple of things first:

1) I missed two important theme answers in John Underwood's Feb 6 "KNOT" puzzle. I failed to pick up BOW OUT and SLIP UP. Both are so short that I just did not think they are part of the theme. In his original submission, he has * marked in front of all the theme clues, and his clue for KNOT is "Theme clue, when added to the first word of * entries". The obscure "Interferometer instrument" for AERI is our editor's creation. Underwood's clue is simply "Atmosheric prefix". As for ATH, his original submission is "Olympic VIP". The clue we were given is "NCAA word", which is erroneous since ATH is not a word.

2) For those who don't get the TMS Daily Sunday puzzle, here is a special "Valentine Dream" from a different TMS syndication. Argyle plans to blog it next Sunday. Post-Star only keeps a one-week archive. So, please get it printed immediately.

Back to the puzzle. I really liked those theme answers, so vivid and evocative. I might have done too many puzzles. Now whenever I see BUTTER, I see ram (butt-er). "Hard butter?" for RAM is one of the cleverest clue I've ever seen.

Without the "Dairy..?" clues, I might have had difficulty finding the theme, as the fills for 33A, 40A, 4D and 26D are all very long and deceptively theme-answer looking.


5A: Payt. option: C.O.D

8A: Violinist Elman: MISCHA. First encounter with this Kiev-born violinist. MISCHA is just a Russian nickname for either Mikhail (dancer MISHA Baryshnikov) or Michelle (actress MISCHA Barton).

14A: Colombian city: CALI. Great nightlife in CALI I suppose, given its title as "Salsa Capital of the World".

16A: Egyptian judge of the dead: OSIRIS. I only knew him as the husband/brother of Isis, the Egyptian goddess of fertility. Wikipedia says OSIRIS is usually depicted as a green-skinned because green was the color of rebirth. I was thinking he might be a very jealous husband. What's his Greek counterpart then? Hades?

17A: 1/4 of MXX: CCLV. Roman numeral 255. It intersects 1D: L x XVI: DCCC. Roman 800. Not a great corner there.

27A: Lincoln and Zumwalt: ELMOS. No idea. ELMO Lincoln was the first Tarzan. ELMO Zumwalt modernized the US Navy. And he was the youngest man to serve as Chief of Navy Operations. Interesting quote from him: "There is no black Navy, no white Navy -- just one Navy -- the United States Navy.'' Reminded me of Obama's keynote speech at 2004 Democratic National Convention: ".... there's not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America".

44A: Celtic Neptune: LER Or Lir. Celtic god of sea. The Greek counterpart is Poseidon, brother of Zeus/Hades/Hera.

46A: Old English letters: EDHS. Sometimes the answer is ETHS. I don't know the difference between the two.

56A: Tarsal bangle: ANKLET. This one is pretty. This one is too much.

58A: Presidential nickname: IKE. I wrote down ABE first.

60A: Conceive: IDEATE. Mine was CREATE.

61A: "The Daughter of Time" author: TEY. Not familiar with this Scottish mystery writer. Oh, the book cover looks quite interesting. Wikipedia says the title of the novel is taken from Bertolt Brecht's play "Life of Galileo", in which the eponymous hero observes: "Truth is the Daughter of Time, not of authority."

62A: German coal region: SAAR. Lower left. New to me. I kept thinking Ruhr, which is a coal region too, isn't it?

63A: Antiseptic surgery founder: LISTER (Joseph). Listerine is named after him.


5D: 7-time A.L. batting champ: CAREW (Rod). Gimme for any Twins fan. HOFer of course. Shocking to hear A-Rod took steroids. Time for Roger Clemens to come clean has passed. Have to admire Jason Giambi for his honesty.

7D: Remove sweetness: DESUGAR. Not a word to me.

8D: Shed feathers, in England: MOULT. Only knew MOLT.

12D: U. S. Grant's first name: HIRAM. I forgot. Hebrew for "Noble".

30D: Tidal area: MUDFLAT. New word to me. Looks very muddy.

31D: Easy as __: ABC. I wrote down PIE first.

34D: Swiss river: AAR. Or AARE. Here is the map. It flows into to the Rhine at the Swiss/German borner.

38D: Brit. quartermaster: RSO. Steve said this last time: "A quartermaster is a supply sergeant or officer in the American military. So RSO must mean Regimental Supply Officer."

41D: Meteorite remains: TEKTITE. Completely alien to me. Dictionary explains TEKTITE as "any of numerous generally small, rounded, dark brown to green glassy objects that are composed of silicate glass and are thought to have been formed by the impact of a meteorite with the earth's surface".

47D: Old comic-strip boy: DONDI. Another unknown. Wikipedia explains that "DONDI's original backstory describes him as a five year old, World War II war orphan of Italian descent. A soldier who was to be his future adoptive father (and who knew no Italian) found the child wandering in a war-torn village repeating the word "Donde" ("where") as he was looking for his slain parents."

49D: Two toppers: TREYS. I wanted THREE. This word stumps me way too often. Shouldn't the clue be "Deuce toppers"?

52D: Lived day to day: EKED. Needs an additional "with "out" I think.

54D: The same: Fr.: EGAL. The noun is egalité. As in the French motto: Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité. The last three lines are Italian, right? What do they mean, Maria?

55D: Carolina rail: SORA. See this picture. Why is it called "Carolina rail"?


Jan 26, 2009

Monday January 26, 2009 Jo Vita

Theme: Animal in Action

17A: Marine gliders: FLYING FISH

63A: Sport utility canine: HUNTING DOG

11D: Avian mimic: MOCKINGBIRD

26D: North Atlantic flier: HERRING GULL

Happy Spring Festival! 春节快乐!

I have never heard of HERRING GULL before. Are they fond of herrings? I wish there were a HEARING GULL instead. HERRING does not really fit the theme pattern here.

I think "Clique" alone is enough for IN-GROUP (53A: Elite clique), since ELITIST is the answer for 28A: Snob.

I believe this is Joe Vita's first TMS puzzle. If so, congratulations.


1A: Food for Silver: OATS. "Hi-yo, Silver". That's all I know about "The Lone Ranger".

2A: Michelangelo masterpiece: PIETA. The only work Michelangelo ever signed. I thought of DAVID first.

16A: Layer: COAT. Paint?

27A: Musical time unit: BAR. Not familiar with this exact definition. Music was regarded as a corrupt Western capitalist product and was not taught when I grew up. The loudspeaker blasted "The East is Red" every morning to wake us up.

32A: Mil. probe: RECON. I was thinking of the "A Few Good Men" style military probe.

33A: Razor choice: ATRA. Gillette should send free razors to our editor for this free publicity.

57A: Old Gray Mare, for one: NAG. Have never heard of "this folk song" before.


2D: To a man: ALL. First encounter with the phrase "To a man". Or maybe I saw it before and just did not pay attention to its usage. I tend to check the dictionary when the word is long and complicated.

5D: Braided danglers: PIGTAILS. Brought to mind the long "Braided danglers (queue)" hairstyle the Manchurians forced upon Han people till 1912, when Sun Yat-Sen and his followers finally overthrew the Machurians. That's why he is often referred to as the "Father of Modern China". About 92% of Chinese (almost 20% of the entire global population) are of Han ethnicity.

6D: Diabolical: INFERNAL

9D: For a short time: A WHILE. Often see people write AWHILE when A WHILE should be used.

12D: "Gigi" setting: PARIS. Here is the trailer. "Gigi" is probably Colette's most famous novel.

24D: Kazakhstan range: URALS. European/Asian border.

42D: Food poisoning: PTOMAINE. New word to me. Dictionary says this word derives from Greek "ptoma" meaning "corpse".

45D: Aphrodite's child: EROS. Greek equivalent of Cupid. This will be a great Valentine's Day gift. ARES, the bellicose Greek war god, is "Aphrodite's lover".

49D: Duke's location: DURHAM. The only thing I know about Duke is Coach K & the lacrosse scandal.

52D: Keenan or Ed: WYNN. Got the answer from across fills. Know either of them.

53D: Arboreal lemur: INDRI. Literally "there it is".

54D: Nostril: NARIS. Plural NARES.

64D: Org. of Capitals and Senators: NHL. Holy cow! I've never heard of Ottawa Senators or Washington Capitals. Great clue. I had no idea that there are so many teams in NHL.