Showing posts with label Joe Deeney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joe Deeney. Show all posts

Jun 25, 2020

Thursday, June 25th 2020 Joe Deeney

Theme: Two-fer - the theme entries work together to define two subsets of the theme entries:

17A. Log flume, e.g.: WATER RIDE

23A. Connection need at some coffee shops: WIFI CODE. Code, or password? When you're in the coffee shop, what do you ask for? The wifi code, or the wifi password? I know what I ask for, and it's not the "code". Maybe we can compromise on passcode?

32A. Parking ticket holder, perhaps: WIPER BLADE. Nice clue. Not a nice thing to find under your wiper blade though, the ones here in LA come with $$ signs attached.

40A. Cut into: OPERATED ON. Ouch! Towards the end of his career, when Cal Ripken Jr. discussed his various surgeries at press conferences, he'd always say that he'd been "cut on", it always sounded much more painful than "had a procedure".

50A. Late 19th-century smoking establishment: OPIUM DEN

58A. Start to turn mushy, maybe: OVER-RIPEN

The two reveals working together leading us to OPEN WIDE and WIDE OPEN and what to look for in the other six entries:

64A. With 67-Across, doctor's order ... and a hint to 40-, 50- and 58-Across: OPEN

67A. With 64-Across, like a town lacking restrictions ... and a hint to 17-, 23- and 32-Across: WIDE

I don't recall seeing a theme like this before - the two reveal entries work together and switch the theme halfway down - the first three entries split "WIDE" open, and the second theme entries have OPEN split wide. Very nicely done by Joe. It's always fun to see something a little different and this was a very slick twist on a standard gimmick.

Let's see what else we've got talk about:


1. Text: PING. The word has moved from tech-speak to common usage - to ping someone is to send a quick message that you're around if they want to respond back. The tech usage was in computer and internet networks. You would "ping" a piece of equipment with a network signal to see if it was alive - if it was, it would send an echo back, much like a sonar "ping" would be echoed back to the origin. The world of sonar is where the term came from, so if one of your geek friends tries to tell you that it stands for "Packet Internet Groper" you can correct them.

5. Nutmeg spice: MACE. The aril of a nutmeg seed is mace - it has a more earthy flavor than the nutmeg itself.

9. Newton trio: LAWS. Laws of Motion, if you recall from your science classes.

13. Bahrain bigwig: EMIR

14. Norse god: ODIN

15. Out of the wind: ALEE

16. Fur wrap: STOLE. A stole could be described as a fashion accessory, and a fashion thief's accessory would sell a stolen stole. All clear?

19. Husky hello: ARF! Huskies don't look like they "arf" to me. More a "grrrr". It's probably all the Itidarods.

20. Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," e.g.: ELEGY. So help me out with this "bloom'd" thing. What's with the apostrophes and poets? It doesn't save any space, nor add anything to the word. Why didn't Walt just write "bloomed"? Same amount of ink, same pronunciation.

22. Odds alternative: EVENS

25. Classic 1953 western: SHANE. "Shane! Come back!"

26. Charge: FEE

27. Telluride automaker: KIA. Not based in Telluride, obviously. They're pretty ugly to my eye, but of course your mileage may vary.

28. Direction opp. 8-Down: WSW. I'm not a big fan of the compass-point fill, but at least this pair have a crack at being something different from the stultifying "Random City to Anytown dir.".

30. "Avatar" actress Saldana: ZOË. Let's give her the umlaut back.

36. Iraqi money: DINAR. I tried REALS first, not quite right.

38. Cricket club: BAT. Hmmm. Do you call a baseball bat a "club"? Or a golf club a "bat"? Discuss.

39. That's a wrap!: SARAN. I liked this.

43. "The Last Jedi" heroine: REY. We're watching the Star Wars movies in narrative-chronological order. There are so many crossword references it seemed like the right thing to do. Plus, they are actually pretty good :)

44. Cholesterol letters: HDL. I had my numbers checked pre-lockdown, all good. My bad cholesterol used to be very high, but eating a lot of Asian food has helped considerably.

45. Kid: TOT

46. Alias letters: AKA

48. Like proofed dough: RISEN. You can prove a loaf and it doesn't rise at all, that's why it's called "proving" to make sure that the yeast is active.

55. Ached (for): PINED

56. Nearly boil: SCALD

57. Wt. units: OZS

60. Artifact: RELIC

62. Part of CPA: Abbr.: CERT. Certified Public Accountant, I suppose.

63. Map line: ROAD

65. Olympus neighbor: OSSA. Nice to see OSSA and ETNA hanging out so nicely. Greeks and Romans, getting along. Mt. Ossa looks volcanic from its shape, although Wikipedia is silent on its vulcan origins.

66. Sicilian volcano: ETNA. There is no doubt that this one goes off every now and again.


1. Lab glassware eponym: PETRI. Jules Richard Petri developed a shallow, lidded, glass dish to grow cultures in the lab. Alexander Fleming famously used them to isolate the future antobiotic penicillin, and so Jules gets a high-five from the human race.

2. "Gotta go!": I'M OFF!

3. Zilch: NIL

4. Aegean country: GREECE. Go and see Mt. Ossa while you're there. From the top you might be able to see the sea - the Aegean Sea - the coastline is no more than five miles away and the mountain is 6,500 feet high, so it's a fair bet you can on a clear day.

5. Worked in the yard: MOWED

6. "Opposites attract," for one: ADAGE

7. Highway alternative: CITY. Mileage stats for a car.

8. Direction opp. 28-Across: ENE

9. Insect stage: LARVA

10. Dell gaming brand whose name was inspired by "The X-Files": ALIENWARE. Thank you crosses.

11. Camel's favorite time?: WEDNESDAY. A sideways reference to an insurance company commercial - Wednesday is "Hump Day". Thankfully one of the very few (insert insurance company name here) commercials which are actually entertaining, rather than the 99% majority that have you reaching for "mute" button. Don't they have focus groups any more? Or do the focus groups still find someone wearing a white apron or an amphibian with a British accent amusing? I suppose they do.

12. Has eyes on: SEES

16. Toothed tool: SAW

18. Fixes up: REHABS

21. Movie mogul Marcus: LOEW. The theater chain he founded is now a piece of history, following mergers, buyouts, buy-backs and more corporate divestments and acquisitions. The company ended up as part of the AMC group and the brand name was phased out in 2017.

24. "My concern is ... ": I FEAR

25. Elton John's title: SIR

27. __ diet: high-fat, low-carb regimen: KETO

29. Former Chinese Premier __ Jiabao: WEN. Thank you, crosses.

30. Old storage devices: ZIP DRIVES. Funny how these are now "old". When we used to give these away at trade shows, we needed the riot squad on hand so we didn't get overrun.

31. Quips: ONE-LINERS

33. "As if!": I BET!

34. Legal __: PAD

35. Calif. NFLer: LA RAM. The Rams organization have come in for no little criticism recently for their proposed new logo, which look like it belongs more to the Chargers down the street:

36. Cry from Homer: DOH!

37. Not family-friendly: RATED "R"

41. Large load: TON. Depends what's carrying it. It wouldn't work out well in my trunk, but a container ship wouldn't notice the odd ton here or there.

42. __ salon: NAIL

47. "Web Therapy" actress Lisa: KUDROW

49. Sleeping giant: SERTA

50. Heist mastermind of film: OCEAN. I think the movie franchise has mined the "Ocean's" seam to exhaustion at this point.

51. Bamboo eater: PANDA. Is Ron Artest still "The Panda's Friend", or did he move on to another name? I lost track after "Metta World Peace".

52. Meted (out): DOLED

53. Internet issue: E-ZINE

54. Foreign policy advisory gp.: N.S.C. National Security Council. How effective it is at the moment is not for me to say.

55. Slightly, in scores: POCO. Music. Here's some, which I can't read. There appear to be some kick-ass arpeggios in the bass clef, way beyond my left-hand technique.

56. Difficult position: SPOT. You could equally be in a good spot, as opposed to a bad one.

59. Fury: IRE

61. Prefix with center: EPI-

Fittingly, that wraps up another EPI-C journey through the Thursday puzzle. Thanks to Joe again for something a little different, and some thoughtful work with the rest of the grid.

And, right on time, here IS the grid:


Apr 17, 2020

Friday, April 17, 2020, Joe Deeney

Title: Ring around a black square, a pocketful of why.

This puzzle should garner much commentary and controversy. Those who have been reading my puzzle write-ups for many years know that I enjoy a visual theme as much as a witty one. Today's challenge has only on complete theme fill, the central grid-spanning 36A. Acknowledgment of success--four are hidden in this puzzle, each adjacent to a black square: ROUND OF APPLAUSE (15) the grid shows this creation better than words.

The great beauty of the final effort is the progression of the word
CLAP. It goes west, north, east then south. The next is north, east, south then west, and so on. Around as a circle. The rest of the puzzle is loaded with fun fill. CHIRPILY, HOTPRESS, AER LINGUS,  EMILE ZOLA.  EVERY TIME. GREY GOOSE, LIVE RADIO,  PUNCHLINE,  SOFT COLOR and  WATER LEAK with those highlighted in green making their LAT debut. MC REN also makes its major puzzle debut.

Joe has become an end of the week regular with TTP and HG each having blogged multiple JD efforts. I anxiously await your comments.


1. Nice with?: AVEC. The classic French city misdirection.

5. "The Empire Strikes Back" ice planet: HOTH. Vader employed bad STRATEGY.

9. Big bucks: STAGS. Not money but deer.

14. It's mostly talk: LIVE RADIO. A fun clue.

16. __ board: EMERY. A boring fill?

17. "Les Rougon-Macquart" author: EMILE ZOLA. This is the most incredible WORK. imdb.

18. N.W.A member portrayed by Aldis Hodge in "Straight Outta Compton": MC REN. The cast of historical MOVIE.

19. Upper bod muscle: PECtoral. Abbreviation - abbreviation.

20. Drainage system component: AIR TRAP. LINK. Not being handy I leave you all to the picture. But you might need it if you develop a 57A. Drip, perhaps: WATER LEAK.

22. Caustic solution: LYE. I will not lie about it.

23. Calendering machine for glossing paper: HOT PRESS. I point only to the dictionary definition of hot-press (Entry 1 of 3)
1: a calendering machine in which paper or cloth is glossed by being pressed between glazed boards and hot metal plates. I do not know what a calendering machine is.

25. Longtime sportscaster Sager: CRAIG. A much-admired sports reporter whose death revealed a family CRISIS.

27. Cash closing?: IER. Cashier- clever.

28. Chafing dish heaters: STERNOS.

30. "Your Unfiltered View of Government" sloganeer: CSPAN. Who knew?

33. Jesus in the outfield: ALOU. The youngest of the three brothers.

35. Entertainment awards acronym: EGOT.
Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony.

39. "What __ one comes?": IF NO. You will have many leftovers.

40. Cutters: SAWS.

41. "Ready?" response: I'M SET. Not from me.

42. Michigan/Ontario border river: ST. CLAIR. Saint Clair River, outlet for Lake Huron, forming part of the boundary between Michigan, U.S. (west), and Ontario, Can. (east). Flowing southward into Lake Saint Clair, with a fall of 5.7 feet (1.7 m) in 39 miles (63 km), the river discharges through a silty, seven-mouth delta, with the South Channel (27-foot [8-metre] minimum depth) used for deep-drafted vessels. The St. Clair delta is the world’s largest delta that enters a freshwater lake. Britannica.

44. Kellogg School deg.: MBAMaster Of Business Administration.

45. Go after: CHASE.

46. In a cheerful way: CHIRPILY. "A new blog! (she tweeted chirpily)."

51. Abbr. that debuted in OED in 2011: LOL.

52. Kind of share: PRO-RATA.

54. MDX ÷ X: CLI.

55. "Three inches is such a wretched height to be" speaker: ALICE. Poor child, she did not understand what it was like to be a caterpillar.

59. World's fastest hedgehog: SONIC.

60. Always: EVERY TIME.

61. Boxer's reward: TREAT. The puppy, not pugilist.

62. 1987 Costner role: NESS.

63. ORD postings: ETAS. ORD- Chicago O'Hare.


1. Beth preceder: ALEPH. Not any longer, the popular transliteration of the Hebrew alphabet has the second letter as "bet."

2. YouTube alternative: VIMEO. This SITE.

3. Give the boot: EVICT. I think more of firing but it did not fit.

4. Toon collectible: CEL.

5. Less clear: HAZIER. Many CHOICES.

6. Olfactory triggers: ODORS.

7. Leans: TILTS.

8. Winter covering: HOAR. Rimes with boar.

9. Musical "throughout": SEMPRE. Italian, from the Latin SEMPER. Fidelis.

10. HBO competitor: TMC. Not really.

11. Carrier with a shamrock logo: AER LINGUS.

Perhaps better with a glass of...

12. Vodka brand: GREY GOOSE.

13. "Auld Lang __": SYNE. It seems a bit out of context.

15. Hit in the back: REAR END.

21. Stop working: ACT UP. This also is a very extreme example of not working unless you are talking about a machine.

24. Self-playing instrument: PIANOLA. The pianola (pronounce: "pee-ah-NO-la"), also called the player piano, is a piano that has a pneumatic mechanism so that it can play by itself. The air for this system came from a pump operated by the player's feet, and in some later models, an electric pump. When I was first married we bought a player piano and both of my sons learned to play as babies with the help of the rolls.

26. TripAdvisor offering: AREA MAP.

28. Illegal payments: SOPS. One definition is something given to pacify or quiet, or as a bribe: The political boss gave him some cash as a sop.

29. "Do not remove" mark: STET.

30. Football Hall of Famer Carter: CRIS.

31. Subdued shade: SOFT COLOR.

32. Funny part: PUNCHLINE. Do you remember?

33. A long way off: AFAR.

34. Common practice: LAW. So nobody gets good enough to stop practicing.

37. Rattan alternative: OSIER. Definition, any of various willows, as the red osier, having tough, flexible twigs or branches that are used for wickerwork.

38. Congress has a big one: LIBRARY.

43. Viewpoint: ASPECT.

44. Ceremonial headdresses: MITERS. This is a tall headdress worn by bishops and senior abbots as a symbol of office, tapering to a point at the front and back with a deep cleft between.

46. Covet: CRAVE. Thou shall not crave thy neighbor's wife?

47. Can't tolerate: HATES. Hate is more.

48. Nail down the victory: ICE IT.

49. South American carrier: LLAMA.

50. "Uh-oh!": YIKES.

51. Endure: LAST.

53. __ Lars, who raised Luke Skywalker: OWEN.
Owen Lars

56. "Homeland" org.: CIA. Not true, much of the nation's homeland security activity remains outside of DHS; for example, the FBI and CIA are not part of the Department.

58. 4G __: mobile device standard: LTE. LTE is an abbreviation for Long Term Evolution. LTE is a 4G wireless communications standard developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) that's designed to provide up to 10x the speeds of 3G networks for mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks, notebooks, and wireless hotspots.

He may not be a DiMaggio, but Joe D. is on a hitting streak here at the Corner. I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle and writing it up for your enlightenment and comments. Be careful, be safe. Lemonade out.

Mar 21, 2020

Saturday, March 21, 2020, Joe Deeney

Themeless Saturday  by Joe Deeney

A favorite picture of Joe's taken at the San Francisco Exploratorium
Joe's gracious response to my email about this puzzle:


Thanks for reaching out! I'm glad you enjoyed the puzzle. Hope all is well with you.

I built this grid in early 2019. Rich requested a revision of the SE in late August and accepted the puzzle in early October. Original SE stack was LET IT SLIDE, IRON-WILLED, and MANGO SALSA, with QAEDA and 44-Down, which in hindsight isn't a very good answer. I'm glad Rich pushed for a revision here. 

I hadn't tried making many puzzles with stair-step 13's before and wanted to give it a go with this puzzle. SAID NO ONE EVER was one of the seeds I played around with and when I found this stack it seemed like it had a lot of potential to build off of.

I hope everyone gets a satisfying Saturday workout with this one.


Take it away Joe:


1. Cathartic magnesium compound: EPSOM SALTS - My lovely gardener wife uses EPSOM SALTS to supply her tomato plants with a cathartic release from soil depletion

11. Bygone Bulgarian bigwig: TSAR - Bulgaria's last TSAR was Simeon II whose office was abolished four days after my 9/11/46 day of birth.

15. Some drag racers: ROCKET CARS - For every action...

16. Scott of "Arrested Development": BAIO  - 21 years after he was Chachi in Happy Days 

17. Comment denying kinship: NO RELATION - Latin variation of "post hoc, ego propter hoc" in this witty 1:43 West Wing scene

18. Bob Ross painted with one: AFRO - Soft spoken artist

19. Dog follower, maybe: SLED - Nome or bust!

20. "Disturbia" singer, familiarly: RIRI - Nickname for Rhianna 

21. Raise: ERECT.

22. "The Cocktail Party" monogram: TSE - A T.S. Elioplay based on Alcestis by the Greek playwright Euripides. You're welcome! 😏

23. Former Carson Daly employer: MTV  - Curious?

Parker Sibley at UNC
24. Horn for Parker: SAX - Our grandson's father is a professional musician and named his two sons for famous jazz sax musicians, one of which was Charlie "Bird" Parker. Grandson Parker is now on a drum (not a SAX) scholarship at The University of Northern Colorado

26. Where to find Ruth and Aaron: Abbr.: HOF and 51. Came clean: ADMITTED IT - If Pete Rose had just ADMITTED IT (he bet on baseball), he would be in the Hall  OFame by now. 

27. West in old movies: MAE.

28. Small book size: OCTAVO.

30. Words that contradict what preceded them: SAID NO ONE EVER And yet they continue

34. Perpetual loser: CELLAR DWELLER - Another phrase for a team that is in the bottom of the standings like the 1966 Cubs
35. Game time?: HUNTING SEASON.

36. Hydrocodone, e.g.: OPIATE - Threw mine away after surgery

37. "Too Many Rappers" rapper: NAS - Okay

38. Holstein's hi?: MOO.

39. "Flags of Our Fathers" setting, for short: IWO - A Clint Eastwood film

41. Vegas summer hrs.: PDT - Same as Los Angeles

42. Windy City train org.: CTA.

45. "Baywatch" actor: EFRON.

47. Superman's mom: LARA - Wife of dad Jor-El on Krypton. Stepmom on Earth was Martha Kent who was married to Johnathan Kent

49. Physics Nobelist the year after Einstein: BOHR - Every physical science teacher in history has had his students make a model of the BOHR atom. Science peeps will know what atom this is. (*Answer at bottom of write-up)

50. "Count on me!": I'M IN 

53. "Aww!": CUTE.

54. Source of some long flows: HEADWATERS - The HEADWATERS of the Mississippi River are in Minnesota's Lake Itasca where you can wade across Old Man River

55. Freezer aisle brand: EDYS.

56. At risk: IN JEOPARDY - Corona Virus seems to have us all IN JEOPARDY 


1. __ Blofeld, Bond bad guy: ERNST 

2. Combines: POOLS - Some workers POOL their money and buy large amounts of lottery tickets

3. Slope of loose stones: SCREE - I showed a man skiing down SCREE in Austria last week

4. Passed: OK'ED.

5. Sideshow __ of "The Simpsons": MEL If you're really that interested

6. Gave it another go: STARTED ANEW - I retired but then taught six more years after a year away from the classroom  

7. When Prospero says, "We are such stuff / As dreams are made on": ACT IV - Sam Spade's version

8. Hideaway: LAIR.

9. Dix moins sept: TROIS - 10 - 7 = 3 in any base ten math language 

10. I-9 ID: SSN.

11. Uphill aid: T-BAR.

12. Sanctuary: SAFE HAVEN - A controversial topic these days

13. Protection from planes: AIR COVER - Below is the prayer commissioned by George Patton during a run of bad weather. The entreaty was answered with clear skies and AIR COVER that was able to support his troops in the Battle Of The Bulge on 12/23/44. Patton gave Chaplain James O'Neill a bronze star for this prayer.

14. Support: ROOT FOR - Only families of players and coaches were allowed in to ROOT FOR their team at the Nebraska Boys State Championships last week

21. Does very well: EXCELS AT.

23. Do the bare minimum: MAIL IT IN - What many NBA players do until the playoffs which may not come this year

25. Welk intro words: A ONE AND A TWO.

27. Mediterranean country in which English is an official language: MALTA - My first five-letter country starting with M is a 22 hr flight away. The official languages in Macao are Cantonese and Portuguese but English is common too but no where near the Mediterranean 😜  
29. Final purpose, to Aristotle: TELOS.

30. Factor in committee assignments: SENIORITY - Competence? Not necessarily!

31. Houston's __ Stadium, named for an energy company: NRG A lovely drone tour if you're interested 

32. Has too much, briefly: OD'S.

33. Run a tab, say: OWE.

34. Coffee, in diner slang: CUP OF MUD - Diner vernacular for coffee 

35. Hockey advantage: HOME ICE - Of the last 17 Stanley Cup playoffs, the 13 champions had the advantage of playing on HOME ICE

40. From days past: OLDEN.

41. __ parade: PRIDE.

42. Python pro: CODER - A sample of what a CODER might produce in Python language

43. Bronze ordinal: THIRD - Will there be a summer Olympics?

44. Like Taos, say: ARTSY.

46. Folks: ONES

48. Key of Mozart's clarinet concerto: Abbr.: A-MAJ - The clarinetist starts playing after a 2:00 intro:

49. Version to debug: BETA - It appears The Iowa Caucus app needed to be debugged 

51. Sashimi selection: AHI.

52. Light knock: TAP - For $650 you can have this note with the first stanza about TAPPING written in the author's own hand.

Comment at will:

* That is a model of a Carbon Atom - Atomic #6

Jan 10, 2020

Friday, January 10, 2020 Joe Deeney

"Joint Ventures"

18. Joint venture?: ORTHOPEDIC OFFICE

28. Joint venture?: PRIVATE PRISON.

47. Joint venture?: MARIJUANA SHOP.

62. Joint venture?: FURNITURE FACTORY.

Four types of  joints. 

Two maintenance guys were smoking a joint and offered to share some of it with me.  I don't partake, so I declined.  Besides, I really don't care to be around high maintenance people. 


1. They may be counted: SHEEP.  A study by Oxford showed that counting sheep doesn't help you fall asleep.  It has the opposite effect.  So unless you are a worried shepherd...

6. "Masterpiece" airer: PBS.   Home of Dour Downton Abbey.

9. Hideaway: LAIR.

13. Disinclined: LOATH.   Inclined: Predisposed.

14. One in the script: LINE.   Who doesn't like this commercial ?    "Line ?"
 "Liberty biberty"   Cracks me up ! 

Sorry, Irish Miss !   I know you don't think any of the Geico, Liberty Mutual or Progressive ads are going to win a Clio, but if they keep churning them out in volume, they might.   

16. Tribal leader: ELDER.

21. Neon tips?: ENs.   "N or n is the fourteenth letter in the modern English alphabet. Its name in English is en (pronounced /ˈɛn/), plural ens."  - Wikipedia.

22. "C'mon, play along": BE A SPORT.  As in,  "C'mon, play along.  Be a sportand quit the crabbing every day about the clues and answers."  

23. A toddler may be put down for one: NAP

24. Curtails, with "in": REINS.

26. Of inferior quality: EL CHEAPO.  Pseudo Spanish. 

31. Winter Olympics event: LUGE.   "Luge is one of the most dangerous sports in the Olympic games, and the athletes who race down an icy, high-banked track at speeds typically up to 90 mph are a special breed."   daredevils !   Most of us won't drive that fast in a vehicle equipped with airbags.

32. Programming pioneer Lovelace: ADA.   Nailed it.   Her mother believed in rigorous study.  Her father was a poet.  Read all about it at by clicking her name.

33. Hustle: MOTOR.  Verb.  Informal.   Run or move as fast as possible.

37. Combustion residue: ASH.   Combustion fuel: Ash. Or Oak, Hickory, Elm etc.

38. Like the object of an "Aww!": ADORABLE.   So passé.  Now it's totes adorbs !  If you wanna be a cool cat daddy-o, you gotta dig the new kings jive.   Can the lip and focus your audio, or you'll be swinging in squaresville.   Totes = totally.  Adorbs = adorable.   YMMV.

42. U.K. singer Rita __: ORA.   Would you like a frozen margaRITA ORA classic margarita ?  Wait, never mind.  I was channeling Boomer there for a moment.  Anyway, from what I read, she's very popular in the U.K. 

43. Food packaging abbr.: NET WT.   Net weight.

45. Cause of some royal sleeplessness: PEA.    Just add another mattress.

46. Salt Lake City team: UTEs.    The college team.  The professional basketball team in Salt Lake City is the Jazz.

52. Coastal evergreen: SAND PINE.    Pinus clausa     Florida, and a little bit of coastal Alabama.

55. Character usually seen in 41-Down (LA NIÑA)TILDE.    An image of an adorable little Latina ?   No, the diacritical mark to tell you how to pronounce a letter.

56. Nail: ACE.

57. Pink drink: ROSÉ WINE.   There's another of those accent marks.

59. "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very __ Day": 2014 film: BAD.   A Disney film. Anyone see it ? 

65. Trauma pro: ER DOC.   Emergency Room Doctor.  With just the D in place, I tested for medic.  No go.  Don't know why I was thinking about the battlefield. 

66. Timbuktu's land: MALI.

67. "Stronger" rapper West: KANYE.

68. 1975 Wimbledon winner: ASHE.  Arthur.

69. Coddling, briefly: TLCThe Learning Channel.   Tender Loving Care.

70. Place: STEAD


1. Plum used to flavor spirits: SLOE.

2. Jazz band staple: HORN.   The Utah Jazz periodically play the Charlotte HORNets in pro basketball.   In fact, the Jazz will be hosting the Hornets tonight at the Vivant Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.

3. Adheres to a healthy diet: EATS RIGHT.

4. E. African land: ETH. iopia.   The capital of Ethiopia is Addis Ababa.   You will be tested on this in a future crossword puzzle.  The currency is the Birr, just in case that comes up some time.

5. It commonly involves spiders: PHOBIA.
  1. Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders.
  2. Ophidiophobia – The fear of snakes. 
  3. Acrophobia – The fear of heights. 
  4. Agoraphobia – The fear of open or crowded spaces. 
  5. Cynophobia – The fear of dogs. 
  6. Astraphobia – The fear of thunder and lightning. 
  7. Claustrophobia – The fear of small spaces. 
  8. Mysophobia – The fear of germs. 
  9.  Aerophobia – The fear of flying.
  10. Trypophobia – The fear of holes.
YMMV on the order of the above.    I found some links that listed the top phobias by state.   Most rankings were based on internet search queries, and state results seemed to vary by year.   I guess that's to be expected using that type of methodology.   Here's one: Common Fears by State

6. "I'd love that!": PLEASE DO.

7. Auction action: BIDS

8. Last-second online auction participant: SNIPER.   New to me.   A brief article  from eBay.

9. Moved out: LEFT HOME.

10. Furry TV ET: ALF.   Alf  (né Gordon Shumway; b. October 28, 1756) is the nickname (based on  Alien Life Form) of an extra planetary visitor who followed an amateur radio signal to Earth from the planet Melmac.   Be careful WikWak ! 

The series lasted about 4 years.  It was very popular in Germany.   During the series run, a place in Germany named Alf had municipal signs stolen so many times they had to have extras made and stored in reserve.  The municipality also created replicas and offered them for sale to curb the thefts.  

11. Tony winner Menzel: IDINA.   Thrice nominated.   She won in 2004 for her role in Wicked.    DW saw it in Chicago with her gal pals.   I tended the farm.   I best know Idina Menzel from crosswords and for the Top 10 song,  "Let It Go" from the Disney animated film, Frozen, in which she voiced the character of Queen Elsa. 

12. Summarize: RECAP.   As a speaker, tell them what you told them.  As a listener, tell them what you heard.  Key takeaways.

15. Food recall cause: E. coli.  Escherichia coli.

17. Auctioned wheels: REPO.   Repossessed automobiles sold at auction.  You don't actually own the automobile until you get clear title.   Lenders have repo clauses in the loan agreements to reclaim the asset for payment failure and loan default.  Some lenders may repo for failure to provide adequate insurance. 

19. Fivesome: PENTAD.   This pentad is known as the Greek Church.  It's said to be the hardest of all splits to pick up.  As all bowlers know, splits happen.

20. Tolkien brutes: ORCs.

25. Halloween __: EVE.   I've never heard of Halloween Eve as a thing.  Heard of Halloween.  Heard of All Hallow's Eve.  Different names for the eve of All Saint's Day, right ?  Halloween Eve would be like eve of the eve.  Is it a thing ?    Oh well, it's a crossword puzzle, and it perped right in. 

27. "Reflection" musician Brian: ENO.   Understanding The Importance Of Brian Eno

28. Map out: PLAN.

29. Subterfuge: RUSE.

30. It's expected: PAR.  On the golf course.  It's incredibly easy to get par and more on every single hole, but the goal is to get par or less.

34. As much as possible: TO THE BONE.   Very much, or thoroughly.  "I couldn't get to the clubhouse in time; I got soaked to the bone from the sudden downpour. "

35. "Wonderfilled" cookie: OREO.

36. Coarse file: RASP.  Coarse voice:  Coach Orgeron of the LSU Bayou Bengals has one.

38. Not without ramifications: AT A PRICE.   "Yes, we can add those additional features", the project executive said.  He quickly added, "At a price", knowing full well that this customer had a history of using "unclear communications" and "customer satisfaction" complaints to get more than was bargained for.  PEs and PMs call it scope creep.  Contract terms and conditions need specificity,  with special focus on deliverables.  Ask Jinx.  He teaches this stuff.   

39. "The Problem with __": 2017 documentary about racial stereotypes: APU.

40. Blissful: BEATIFIC.   Wanted Edenlike, but quickly ruled it out.

41. Pacific weather phenomenon: LA NIÑA.   All you wanted to know and more:  El Niño and La Niña: Frequently asked questions

44. Iraq war issue, briefly: WMD.   Weapons of Mass Destruction.

46. Currency mkt. money: USD.   United States Dollar.

48. Real hoot: RIOT.

49. "To recap ... ": IN SUM.   Didn't we just have that word in an answer ?

50. Boo: JEER AT.   Increasingly common fan interaction with players, coaches, owners and teams.

51. Smart set?: ALECKS.   Loved this clue / answer.

52. Cautious: SAFE.

53. Automaker whose current models end in X: ACURA.   Fooled me.  The Tesla Model X came to mind. 

54. "The Big Bang Theory" crowd: NERDs.

58. "Actually ... ": WELL.

60. "Game of Thrones" girl __ Stark: ARYA.   As Abejo would say, "Four perps and I had it."   I never watched Hunger Games of Thrones.

61. Turned green, say: DYED.

63. Japanese drama: NOH.

64. Skin pic: TAT. Picture / tattoo.

Here's the grid so you can check your answers:

Wrong grid.  Here's the real grid so you can check your answers:

Dec 12, 2019

Thursday, December 12th 2019 Joe Deeney

Theme: A Call to Arms Rams Mars

20A. Mars: FOURTH PLANET. The "Mars" part of Gustav Holst's "Planet Suite" is a cracking piece of music, and probably inspired more "Star Wars" and "Star Trek"-type themes than any other. Lots 'o notes in the score shown below:

33A. Mars: CHOCOLATE BAR. In the great Anglo-American confusion stakes, the Mars Bar and the Milky Way provide yet another example. The UK Mars Bar and Milky Way are similar to the US Milky Way and Three Musketeers respectively, while the US Mars Bar is similar to a Snickers bar, which until recently was called a Marathon bar in the UK. Clear? There'll be a quiz at the end.

41A. Mars: POP STAR BRUNO. I like Bruno Mars. This track from British producer and songwriter Mark Ronson  is actually credited "Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars", but of course everyone thinks of it as a Bruno Mars song. It's hella catchy though! The video was filmed on 20th Century Fox's "New York Street" set in LA, you can see the lighting mounts on top of the buildings in a couple of the shots.

53A. Mars: SON OF JUPITER. God of War, too.

Fun theme from Joe today. There seemed to be quite a few proper names in the fill, but if the crosses are solid for names unknown I've got no problem with that. SPARTACUS and EXORCISMS in the downs are excellently done, crossing no fewer than three theme entries each.

Four entries not seen before in the LA Times, including RUTHIE which surprised me.

Let's see what else there is to muse on:


1. Baseball Hall of Famer Speaker: TRIS. Note the capitalized "S" in "Speaker" that tells us we're looking for a name. Tris Speaker, of whom I had never heard until today. Tricky start at 1A, but the crosses were solid.

5. Big name in interstellar communication: UHURA Lt. Uhuru, communications officer and translator on the starship "Enterprise" in Star Trek. Nice clue to this useful crossword name.

10. Window part: SASH. Tried "PANE". Was wrong.

14. Rope fiber: HEMP

15. Weighs an empty container on, as a deli scale: TARES. I got there in the end, but I'd not heard the word used before. I wanted something on the "zeroes out" line like your kitchen scales. The crosses let me to the "oh!" moment.

16. Oberlin's state: OHIO. A town best known for its liberal arts and music college.

17. "Frozen" sister: ELSA. I must get around to watching "Frozen" one day, then I might not having to keep guessing at the frequent references to the characters; two in today's puzzle.

18. Early 2010s Mideast anti-government movement: ARAB SPRING

22. American Red Cross founder: BARTON. Clarissa Harlowe "Clara" Barton, American Civil War nurse and ... patent clerk? What is it with patent clerks - Einstein was one too.

23. Silently understood: TACIT

27. Creative nuggets: IDEAS

28. "Me too": AS AM I

32. "Te __": Rihanna song: AMO

36. Giants manager before Bochy: ALOU. Felipe of the Alou clan. He's still associated with the club in a "Special Assistant" capacity.

39. "Two Women" Oscar winner: LOREN

40. Valentine letters: XOXO

44. Number one woman?: EVE

45. Plan B lead-in: IF NOT

46. CBS news anchor Barnett: ERROL

50. It's in your jeans: DENIM. Hmm, I get the wordplay with the clue, but denim isn't really "in" your jeans, more "is" your jeans. Bar the zipper, buttons, optional rivets - and currently hipster slashes.

52. Gap: LACUNA. Often a gap in a text or manuscript.

58. Yellow mollusk that became the U.C. Santa Cruz mascot: BANANA SLUG. "Best nickname in College Basketball" according to ESPN.

61. Booted, say: SHOD

62. __ rug: AREA

63. Oozy stuff: SLIME. You can buy Banana Slug merchandise with "I've Been Slimed" on it.

64. "Hands off!": MINE!

65. __ chic: GEEK. A fashion trend, or a now-defunct manufacturer of high-end gaming tables.

66. Big name in baseball cards: TOPPS

67. Fortuneteller: SEER


1. DOJ division since 1908: THE FBI. Bit odd this one, with "The" tacked on the front, no? I think the clue would be better written as "A DOJ division ... " to include the article.

2. Browser's circular arrow function: RELOAD

3. "No doubt about it!": I'M SURE!

4. Gladiator played by Kirk Douglas: SPARTACUS

5. Jazz aficionado?: UTAHN. Basketball team from Salt Lake City. I like the word, it's got a nice unusual letter progression.

6. Angelic strings: HARP

7. Risk territory between Ukraine and Siberia: URAL

8. First name in country: REBA

9. Org.: ASSN.

10. Ish: SORTA

11. Big tuna: AHI. I've got some in my freezer right now waiting to be sushi'd for Christmas Day family pot-luck.

12. Do wrong: SIN

13. Refuse to share: HOG

19. __ four: small cake: PETIT

21. Peter of reggae: TOSH

24. Mexican resort, for short: CABO

25. Big-screen format: IMAX

26. Capa attacker: TORO. Bullfighting, the bull attacking the matador's cape. Also the best cut of tuna for sushi - the fatty part of the belly.

28. Some kind of a nut: ACORN

29. Kevin who played Hercules on TV: SORBO. Thank you, crosses.

30. On one's toes: ALERT

31. Premier League rival of Arsenal, familiarly: MAN. U. England soccer. I won't go on a bore-fest here, but Manchester United and Arsenal are not really rivals, they compete in the same league, that's all. The real rivalry for Arsenal is with Tottenham Hotspur, their North London neighbors. Man. U's true rivals are the other mancunians Manchester City and fellow Merseysiders Liverpool.

I don't know when you cross over from competitor to rival - it's the same here, especially in college sports. Take the PAC 12 - Oregon/Oregon State, Cal/Stanford, USC/UCLA are all rivalries, but none of the schools would consider fellow-confererence member Utah a rival.

34. "Frozen" snowman: OLAF

35. Ways of dealing with inner demons?: EXORCISMS. Is the red cartoon fellow on your shoulder with a trident whispering temptations in your ear an outer demon?

36. Made like: APED

37. Word with bird or nest: LOVE

38. Go first: OPEN

42. Pumbaa's "The Lion King" pal: TIMON. Where would we be without Disney crossword clues? Athens, that's where.

43. __ tide: NEAP

47. Foster of folk music: RUTHIE. Thank you, crosses. I should buy Crosses a drink today for all the help.

48. Impossible NFL score: ONE ONE. Any other score "non-one" score is theoretically possible in football, although in some cases highly unlikely. I did see a scoreboard reading "2-4" a few years ago where a college game was well into the second quarter and the only points registered at that stage in the game were three safeties.

49. Pantry: LARDER. There's an oh-so-subtle difference between the two - a larder originally was cooler than a pantry and used to store meat, milk and other foodstuffs likely to spoil faster. The pantry was where you kept your dry goods, spices and what-not. Nowadays synonymous, and perfectly OK.

51. "Wicked Game" singer Chris: ISAAK. I always want to call him ISAAC until a cross clunks me (cluncs me?) on the top of the head and tells me not to be so silly.

52. Olympic racers: LUGES. Want to slide at 80 miles an hour downhill, feet-first lying on a tray? No, me either. The doubles event is even crazier.

54. Condé __: NAST

55. Nobel ceremony city: OSLO

56. Lose one's cool: FLIP

57. Leap: JUMP

58. Carry-on unit: BAG

59. "__ you serious?": ARE

60. Used to be called: NÉE

Well, I've run out of stuff to talk about, so I'd better stick a fork in this one and call it done.


Nov 15, 2019

Friday, November 15, 2019 Joe Deeney

" What's My Line ? "

16. Clothes line?: HOW DO I LOOK ?

24. Tag line?: YOU'RE IT.

37. Border line?: PASSPORTS PLEASE.

46. Pick-up line?: WHERE TO ?

59. Defensive line?: I DIDN'T DO IT.

Joe constructed last Saturday's themeless.    If you aren't a Saturday solver, take a few moments to read Joe's comments.    Now, back to today...   A fairly easy Friday, don't you think ?   Let's call that a confidence builder.

Also, did you notice ?  Joe gave us a pangram !


1. River past the Museo Galileo: ARNO.

5. Wipe out: ERASE.

10. "Antiques Roadshow" airer: PBS.    I like how they show old clips from earlier seasons, updated with the currently appraised values. 

13. Half of rock's '60s "it" couple, per Time: CHER.   The other half would be Sonny.

14. "I've got this": LET ME.    Martin "Marty" Crane was the pragmatic and salt-of-the-earth father to psychiatrist sons Frasier and Niles Crane on the sitcom Frasier.

In the episode, "A Tsar is Born" they take a clock to the Antiques Roadshow and learn of its history.

15. Chipotle serving, casually: GUAC.   Eat This, Not That - Worst Chipotle Menu

18. Approximately: OR SO.

19. County bordering London: ESSEX.    British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is from Essex.

20. Ingredient in arròs negre, a squid-and-rice dish: INK.   Never saw the clue.

21. Pursuit: QUEST.   Do you recall Jonny Quest

22. Solidified: FROZE.

26. Able-bodied: HALE.

28. Green of "Casino Royale": EVA.    The first of the Daniel Craig Bond movies.

30. Iraq War danger: Abbr.: IED.   Improvised Explosive Device.

31. "The Wire" antihero __ Little: OMAR.   No idea.   Wikipedia tells me The Wire is an American crime drama television series broadcast by the cable network HBO.

32. Think back to: RECALL.

34. Gym surface: MAT.   I wanted a wood at first.  Oak or Ash.

40. Vague ending: ISH.

41. Bilingual Muppet: ROSITA.  No idea, but the perps helped.

42. MD's diagnostic tools: MRIs.  Magnetic Resonance Imagings

43. Big bird: EMU.   More from Sesame Street.   This Big Bird is an oversized canary.

44. Relative of Da and De: VON.    Surname prepositions.  e.g. Oscar de la Renta.  Or,   El ingenioso hidalgo don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes.   Or the von Trapp family from the Sound of Music.  Da is Portuguese, often seen in names such as da Silva, da Costa, da Bears etc.

45. Leaning: BIAS.

50. Rte. with a Lake Michigan ferry crossing: U.S. TEN.   U.S. 10.    The S.S. Badger

52. Times New __: ROMAN.

53. Health care provider: Abbr.: LPN.   Licensed Practical Nurse

55. "Set Fire to the Rain" singer: ADELE.

58. Beyond regulation play, briefly: IN OT   In Overtime.

61. WWII Axis general: TOJO.

62. Kansas Army fort: RILEY.   Home of the Big Red One.    The 1st Infantry Divison.   The 1st Infantry Division Museum is at Cantigny Park in nearby Wheaton, Illinois.  

63. Slaughter on the diamond: ENOS.

64. Asian honorific: SRI. Indian honorific.

65. Neglected: SEEDY.

66. Grant's opposite: DENY.


1. Overexertion symptom: ACHE.

2. Frat letters: RHOs.

3. Ironic "This should come as no surprise ... ": NEWS FLASH.

4. Ones stocking up: ORDERERs.   Whoa !  A buyer ?  Stocking up for resale,  or stocking up on consumables ?   That's my best guess.   I'll bet blog reader Montana stocks up for the winter in case the highways become impassable.

5. Lilly of drugs: ELI.

6. Bullpen staff: RELIEVERs.  

7. Loads: ATON.

8. Like the air around a campfire: SMOKY.

9. "What's THAT?": EEK.

10. Applesauce, e.g.: PUREE.

11. Low singers: BASSI.   Singers (being plural) told me it would end in the I.

12. "Waverley" novelist: SCOTT.    The Waverley Novels - Sir Walter Scott

15. Squash, for one: GOURD.  Versus gored. 
Bet he wished he'd picked a different sport. Perhaps squash ?

17. Big name in spatulas: OXO.    I like the ergonomic grips on their kitchen utensils.

21. Put down: QUELL.

23. Reset: ZERO OUT.

25. Crankcase reservoirs: OIL PANS.

26. Kachina carver: HOPI.

27. Reddit Q&A sessions: AMAsAsk Me Anything

29. When Prospero says, "We are such stuff as dreams are made on": ACT IV.   Filled in ACT and waited.

33. Blew away: ASTOUNDED.

34. Ford carrier in the mid-'70s: MARINE ONE.   Wasn't firing on all cylinders as I tried to recall Ford car models...  until I got enough perps to see Marine One.   President Gerald Ford, of course.

35. Tibet's place: ASIA.

36. Julia's "Ocean's Twelve" role: TESS.   Juila Roberts played Tess Ocean, divorced wife of Danny Ocean, played by George Clooney.

38. Guys who spin: PR MEN.   Started with DJ Men spinning records, and ended with Public Relations men spinning the conversation.

39. Like some war correspondents: EMBEDDED.    Or videos in this blog.

43. Poetry Muse: ERATO.   OwenKL has been struck by the poetry muse.  Ditto for Chairman Moe, Haiku Harry and Limerick Larry.

46. Court directives: WRITS.

47. Esteem: HONOR.

48. Heart Eyes or OK Hand: EMOJI.    Definitely needed perps, and then it was, "Aha, now the clue makes sense !"

49. "Yesterday," today: OLDIE.    Nailed it.   From falling in love to the heartache,  Beatles style:

"Eight Days A Week"
Oh, I need your love, babe
Guess you know it's true
Hope you need my love babe
Just like I need you

"I Feel Fine"
Baby's good to me, you know
She's happy as can be, you know
She said so
I'm in love with her and I feel fine

"Ticket to Ride"
I think I'm gonna be sad
I think it's today, yeah
The girl that's driving me mad
Is going away

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday
Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be
There's a shadow hanging over me
Oh, yesterday came suddenly
Why she had to go I don't know she wouldn't say
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday

51. Bit of body art: TAT.   Tat or ink.

54. Stack: PILE.

56. Safari sight: LION.

57. Online marketplace: ETSY.    Started with eBay. 50 % wrong.

59. Returns home?: IRS.    Great clue. The Internal Revenue Service is where you send your tax returns.

60. Big Apple team, on crawl lines: NYY.    NY and wait for the perp.  Could have been G, J, or M and possibly others. Sports news crawl lines.

Check your grid here: