Showing posts with label John R. O'Brien. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John R. O'Brien. Show all posts

Jul 29, 2016

Friday, July 29, 2016, John R. Obrien

Title: Unlock the shift key!

Mr. O'Brien breaks away from his pattern of one LAT in March each year with his first venture into the world of Fridays. The theme is very cute, all the theme clues are the numbers that would show if the shift key were not held down. In other words, &$& is 747, which is a Jumbo Jet. If you are doing the puzzle on paper, this is a real bear, but with the keyboard, I found it pretty fast for a Friday, but i do get paid for sussing Friday themes. The word distribution is more early week with no long fill except the theme and many 6 letter fill:  AMORAL,  NOMADS,  NOVENA,  OMELET, VERONA, LAYMAN,  ANODES and IN A FOG   are my favorites. The 8/12/15/12/8 pattern does not feel familiar but did yield 55 theme squares. I am not suggesting the puzzle was easy, there are lots of very hard clues and slight obscurities, but we got her done.

17A. &$&: JUMBO JET (8). 747 is the real clue.Did you FLY?

24A. @! : GAMBLING GAME (12). 21 (also known as blackjack). Do you PLAY?

40A. !&&^ : BROADWAY MUSICAL (15). 1776 is the clue. Do you REMEMBER?

52A. ** : KEYS ON A PIANO (12). 88 Do you wonder WHY?

66A. What was mistakenly held for four puzzle clues : SHIFT KEY (8).


1. Bozeman sch. : MSUMontana State University. I think this is a highly regarded COLLEGE.

4. __ on the knuckles : A RAP. Generally administered with a ruler, sometimes even the sharp edge.

8. Hardly homebodies : NOMADS.

14. Black __ : OPS.

15. Protection in a purse : MACE.

16. Folded fare : OMELET. Another gift from the French chefs. LINK.

19. Romeo's home : VERONA. Cool, a Friday Shakespeare clue/fill, or two.... 49A. Cordelia, to Regan : SISTER.

20. Great way to walk : ON AIR. Did anyone else go here....Extra credit for naming both parents of the star.

21. Olympics event : RACE. Timely but vague.

23. Baseball statistic : HIT.

28. Ancient time-telling device : CANDLE. Really fun INFO.

31. Hastings Ismay was selected as its first leader in 1952 : NATO. The name sounds like bad pig Latin, and I  never heard of HIM. he was interesting and NATO was an easy guess based on the year.

32. It can come between Clinton and Rodham : NEE. Hillary Rodham Clinton, née Hillary Diane Rodham.

33. Quaint retail word : OLDE.

36. Last words? : OBITS. Well done, even if a bit depressing.

44. Zaire, nowadays : CONGOHISTORY. Not the Belgian Congo.

45. Sommelier's concern : YEAR. Wine was just too easy. Clecho-61D. Sommelier's prefix : OENO.

46. Outback native : EMU.

47. Mild cheese : EDAM. Yes, but not soft, it is is a semi-hard cheese that originated in the Netherlands. Edam ages and travels well, and does not spoil; it only hardens. These qualities (among others) made it the world's most popular cheese between the 14th and 18th centuries, both at sea and in remote colonies. (wiki).

57. Porter, for one : ALE. remember there are two basic types of Beer- ALE or LAGER. LINK.

58. Washington is prominent on them : ONES. Money, honey.

59. Property crime : ARSON. Burn baby, burn.

63. Like astronauts during liftoff : SEATED. HG, why?

68. Intact : ENTIRE.

69. Pamplona runner : TORO. The Bull, silly. he does not speak English in Pamplona.

70. Having four sharps : IN E. I defer to our musicians to explain.

71. Hoi polloi : MASSES. A Greek term, that became pejorative.

72. Like bachelor parties : STAG.

73. Bit of wit : MOT. French for word, part of the phrase "Bon mot."


1. Magic : MOJO. Defines as a magic charm, talisman, or spell. "someone must have their mojo working over at the record company" magic power.

2. Like web sites : SPUN. Cool deception, nit computer web but spider web.

3. Robert E. Lee's alma mater : USMAUnited States Military Academy, Commonly referred to as West Point.

4. Unprincipled : AMORAL.  Nice explanation of the "A" as a negative prefix. LINK.

5. British rule in India : RAJ.

6. Biting : ACERB. Never seen in this form except in puzzles.

7. "She loves me" bit : PETAL.

8. Multi-day devotion : NOVENA. From the Latin for nine.

9. Kipling's "Follow Me __" : OME.

10. Nice view : MER. When a clue begins with Nice, it usually is hiding some French, like the owrd meaning sea.

11. It's heard coming and going : ALOHA.

12. Casual Friday material : DENIM.

13. Announce : STATE.

18. Texas city nickname : BIG DDallas.

22. Word on many a marquee : CINEMA.

25. Persian greeting : MEOW. Kitty cat not Iranian.

26. Classic muscle cars : GTOS.

27. Asian expanse : GOBI. The desert.

28. "Mad Money" network : CNBC. Jim Cramer.

29. Bubbly-textured Nestlé chocolate bar : AERO. Popular in England Steve? NC?

30. Light element : NEON.

34. Hardly an expert : LAYMAN.

35. Hall of Fame golf course architect Pete : DYE. Have you played ANY?

37. "Law &Order: SVU" actor : ICE T.
38. Unexciting : TAME.

39. Nasty campaign tactic : SLUR. Timely but verboten.

41. Quite a while : AGES.

42. Carroll's stammering self-caricature in "Alice in Wonderland" : DODO. A CSO to one of our own "Dodo: I say, you'll never get dry that way.
Alice: Get dry?
Dodo: Have to run with the others. First rule of a caucus race, you know.who has left us. "
More politics to avoid.

43. Celestial bear : URSA. Major, minor? Just Latin for bear.

48. Battery terminals : ANODES.

50. Befuddled : IN A FOG. been there often.

51. Put in folders, say : SORT.

52. Longtime "American Top 40" host : KASEM. Casey...did they ever bury him?

53. Justice Kagan : ELENA. One of the three.

54. "When You Are Old" poet : YEATS.
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

55. Raid victims : PESTS.

56. Clapton's "__ the Sheriff" : I SHOT. But he did not shoot the deputy. The Bob Marley song...

60. Dairy case option : SKIM. The nut milks are taking over.

62. Russian refusal : NYET. No.

64. Frank McCourt memoir : TIS.

65. Poetic preposition : ERE.

67. George's brother : IRA. The Gershwins, but you knew that.

I really enjoyed the creativity of the theme and all the Greek and Latin as well as some great cluing- Like web sites : SPUN  is my favorite. Welcome to Friday John; Lemonade out.

Mar 15, 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 John R. O'Brien

Theme: Word Fusion - Three examples of portmanteaux.

17A. Latter-day Beau Brummell : METROSEXUAL. METRO(politan) + (hetero)SEXUAL

27A. Eponymous '80s fiscal policy : REAGANOMICS. President Reagan and economics.

46A. Crossbred guide dog : LABRADOODLE. Labrador Retriever and Poodle.

62A. 17-, 27- or 46-Across : PORTMANTEAU

Argyle here. Not much to say. Tight fit to get from the top to the bottom. "It's been a little over a year since John's last visit, I hope the next one is sooner." (Tue., Mar. 24, 2015) He got in under the wire. 


1. Transparent : LIMPID. Do you remember "those cool and limpid green eyes? Song (2:38)

7. Pasture mom : MARE

11. Beaver project : DAM

14. On the plane : ABOARD

15. Stein fillers : ALES

16. Detroit-to-Harrisburg dir. : ESE. 112.50°

19. School support gp. : PTA. (parent-teacher association)

20. No longer on one's plate : EATEN

21. Virtual people, in a game series : SIMS. Simulations.

22. Wrap for leftovers : FOIL

23. Ambles : MOSEYS

25. Mount Rushmore quartet : NOSES. Really big noses.

31. Furry Persians : CATS

35. Norse god of war : TYR

36. Wood shaper : LATHE

37. Home run jog : TROT

38. Grenoble's river : ISERE

41. Corned beef order : LEAN

42. Update, as a cartographer might : REMAP

44. Bogotá's land: Abbr. : COLombia

45. Cut a paragraph, say : EDIT

50. "Vamoose!" : "SCRAM!"

51. Threw with effort : HEAVED

55. Rocker David Lee __ : ROTH

57. Southwestern land formation : MESA

59. Lured (in) : ROPED

61. Wall St. debut : IPO. (Initial Public Offering)

64. Downing Street address : TEN. The office of the British Prime Minister.

65. Poker stake : ANTE

66. Cool and collected : SERENE

67. Chemical suffix : ENE

68. Baseball gripping point : SEAM

69. Car radio button : PRESET


1. Like a weak excuse : LAME

2. Skyscraper support : I-BEAM

3. Utah's "Industry," for one : MOTTO

4. Cuts the rind off : PARES

5. Crease maker, or crease remover : IRONER

6. Cavity filler's deg. : DDS. (Doctor of Dental Surgery)

7. Modest skirt : MAXI

8. Grad who may use "née" in a college newsletter : ALUMNA. Two grads, alumnae.

9. Good thinking : REASON

10. Night school subj. : ESL. (English as a Second Language)

11. Added to one's bank account : DEPOSITED

12. Piedmont wine region : ASTI

13. McDonald's "Happy" offering : MEAL

18. Op-ed pieces : ESSAYS

22. Hen or ewe : FEMALE

24. Himalayan legend : YETI

26. Note between fa and la : SOL

28. __-Roman wrestling : GRECO

29. Spiced Indian brew : CHAI

30. On its way : SENT

31. PC key not used alone : CTRL

32. Geometry calculation : AREA

33. Arizona town where the Earps and Clantons fought : TOMBSTONE

34. Collar stiffener : STARCH

39. '90s White House name : RODHAM. Once and future name?

40. Glamour rival : ELLE. (magazines)

43. Bogey beater : PAR. (Golf)

47. Crooner Vic : DAMONE

48. Mafioso code of honor : OMERTÁ. Code of silence.

49. W-2 form recipient : EARNER

52. "À __ santé!" : VOTRE. "To your health!"

53. Olympic swords : EPEEs

54. Revolutionary diplomat Silas : DEANE. Information

55. Solemn ceremony : RITE

56. Start the bidding : OPEN

58. Goblet part : STEM

60. "Mrs. Robinson," e.g. : DUET. It's sung by a duo but not a duet, right or wrong?

62. Partners for mas : PAs

63. Cairo cobra : ASP


Notes from C.C.:

The 39th American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (April 1-3) will be held at the Stamford Marriott in Stamford, Connecticut. For those who attend, I hope you won't miss the Cru Dinner organized by the great Mike Alpern. See the crossword pope on the third page? Ha ha.

The Cru Dinner officially kicks off the tournament and is a great opportunity to meet with constructors (esp our own Minnesotan George Barany, Tom Pepper and Marcia Brott, all will be at the Cru Dinner this year) and fellow solvers. The space is limited, so be sure to contact with Mike as soon as possible.

Mike also takes fantastic photos of the tournament each year.  I'll just pick a few pictures from his albums.

Rich, Mike & Kim,  ACPT, 2008
Marti & Rich, ACPT, 2013
Al Sanders & Tom Pepper, ACPT, 2014
Mike and George Barany

Mar 24, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 John R. O'Brien

Theme: Masquerade - All set for the masquerade ball.

17A. *One harvesting honey : BEEKEEPER

25A. *One planning a job : BANK ROBBER

40A. *One calling strikes : HOME PLATE UMPIRE

50A. *One working at a low level : SCUBA DIVER

64A. Lone Ranger epithet, or what each answer to a starred clue often is : MASKED MAN

Argyle unmasked. A definite chuckle when I got the unifier. And some other chuckles in there too but your results might vary. It's been a little over a year since John's last visit, I hope the next one is sooner.


1. Mythical bird : ROC. Off to a roc[k]y start.

4. Spanish hero played by Heston : EL CID

9. Bush successor : OBAMA

14. Oktoberfest gripe : "ACH!"

15. Protest sign word : PEACE

16. Purple Heart, e.g. : MEDAL

19. Freezing cold : GELID

20. Count in music : BASIE. (Count Basie)

21. Nothing, in Normandy : RIEN

23. Floor cleaner scent : PINE

24. MIT part: Abbr. : INST. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

27. Words before grip or life : GET A

29. Pub offering : ALE

30. Mom-and-pop org. : PTA. (parent-teacher association) I was leaning towards IGA.

32. Havens : OASES

36. Exorcism target : DEMON

43. Cara or Castle : IRENE. Irene Cara sang about dancing ("Flashdance") and Irene Castle did it with hubby, Vernon.

44. Pursue : CHASE

45. Pop : DAD Father figure.

46. Westminster show org. : AKC. (American Kennel Club)

Miss P, Westminster's 2015 Best in Show Winner
48. Wraps up : ENDS

56. Dench of "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" : JUDI. Fabulous.

59. Biceps exercise : CURL

60. Genesis brother : CAIN

61. Surround : HEM IN

62. Bird that lays blue eggs : ROBIN. They're back.

66. Muscat resident : OMANI

67. Not as happy : BLUER

68. Yale Bowl rooter : ELI

69. Class-ending sounds : DONGs

70. River to the Rhone : ISERE

71. Fish eggs : ROE


1. Synagogue official : RABBI

2. It has a floor but no ceiling : OCEAN. Might have some scuba divers.

3. Competition with knights : CHESS GAME

4. Olympian's blade : EPEE

5. Novelist Harper : LEE. Harper Lee has been in the news recently.

6. "It's a Wonderful Life" director : CAPRA. Frank Capra

7. Strand during a blizzard, say : ICE IN

8. Yankee shortstop Jeter : DEREK

9. Online "Wow!" : "OMG!". (Oh My G**)

10. "Hey, the light is green!" : [BEEP!BEEP!]

11. Wing it at the lectern : AD LIB

12. Augusta's home : MAINE. Every golfer knows it's Augusta, Georgia. The Masters will be held there April 9–12.

13. Birch family tree : ALDER

18. Flier usually shorter than its tail : KITE. Old punch line, "She said go fly a kite."

22. Gun lobby gp. : NRA. (National Rifle Association)

25. False idol : BAAL

26. "Grumpy" movie heroes : OLD MEN. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.(1993) sequel "Grumpier Old Men" (1995) But Burgess Meredith upstaged them both.

28. Sunflower State capital : TOPEKA, Kansas.

30. __ Beta Kappa : PHI

31. A.L. East team : TOR. (Toronto Blue Jays) Big CSO to CanadianEh!

33. Cul-de-__ : SAC

34. Biblical suffix : ETH

35. 50-Across milieu : SEA. The scuba diver.

37. Season in a Shakespeare title : MIDSUMMER. (A Midsummer Night's Dream)

38. "Chopsticks __ fork?" : OR A

39. "Game of Thrones" patriarch Stark : NED. No idea. Anyone?

41. Making possible : ENABLING

42. __-friendly : USER

47. Epidemic-fighting agcy. : CDC. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

49. Kept the party hopping, briefly : DJed. What will they be called when all the music has gone digital?

50. Cape Cod catch : SCROD

51. New York governor Andrew : CUOMO

52. Like city folk : URBAN

53. Poetic feet : IAMBI

54. Lab containers : VIALS

55. Follow : ENSUE

57. Way to get info, on retro phones : DIAL 'O'

58. Kind of navel : INNIE

61. "Present!" : "HERE!"

63. Grafton's "__ for Noose" : N IS. Go to this site for the list.

65. Lead-in for plunk or flooey : KER. There, another kerfuffle done.


Notes from C.C.:

1) Welcome back, real PK. You had us worried. Belated "Happy Birthday!".

2) Happy Birthday to Ray (Rainman)! So glad you can play tennis again soon after the operation. Any special plan today?

Mar 5, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014, John R. O'Brien

Theme: I MUST BE DREAMING.  The first word of each two-word theme answer phonetically gives us part of James Bond's Identity number: 007, usually rendered as Double-O-7, phonetically DOUBLE OH SEVEN.  In the cold imaginary universe of this series of spy novels and movies, the Double-O ID is only given to operatives who have killed in cold blood in the course of completing an assignment, and are licensed to do so again in the future, as necessary.  Per Wikipedia, in the back story preceding Casino Royal, the first Bond Novel, Bond is awarded his 007 for having twice done so.  Not until the third novel Moonraker, does the 00- designation indicate a license to kill.  We have to permit our novelists these kinds of little inconsistencies over the course of a long series.

16A. Outing for four : DOUBLE DATE.  Two couples on one adventure.  Opportunities limited only by your imagination.

24A. "Don't tell me!" : OH BROTHER! A colloquial expression of wonderment or disbelief.  I don't recall hearing it much in recent decades.

49A. World waters : SEVEN SEAS.   Which seas are counted depends on where and when you ask. Here's a brief run down from the National Ocean Service.

And for a unifier, we have the creator of the 007 series:  63A. Author suggested by the starts of 16-, 24- and 49-Across : IAN FLEMING.  Wikipedia tells us: While working for Britain's Naval Intelligence Division during the Second World War, Fleming was involved in planning Operation Goldeneye and in the planning and oversight of two intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force. His wartime service and his career as a journalist provided much of the background, detail and depth of the James Bond novels.  Just the right kind of experience to give us these stories.

BTW, If you're wondering about the title, it's contained in this snippet of dialog from the movie GOLDFINGER.

Pussy Galore: “My name is Pussy Galore.”  
Bond: “I must be dreaming.”                             

And, as a bonus, if you had circles in the corner squares, they would help you notice that by proceeding clockwise starting in the NW, they contain the letters spelling BOND.  All very tidy.

Hi gang, Agent JzB on duty, licensed to guide you through today's intrigue.  With a little luck, nobody will get hurt.

But first, today's theme song.


1. Humanities degs. : BAS. Bachelors of Artses.

4. Bullpen stats : ERAS.

8. Not exceeding : UP TO.  As my father used to ask me, "What are you not exceeding, now?"  Usually it was my potential.

12. "__ way!" : ATTA.  ATTA boy or girl - OK.  ATTA way - ???

14. Soft tissue : FLESH. Mandatory Monty Python link.

15. Consequences of most missed birdie putts : PARS.  I could do worse.

18. __-Z: classic Camaro : IROC.

19. Make beloved : ENDEAR.

20. Pixar film in which Richard Petty had a voice role : CARS.

22. FDR power project : TVA. Tennessee Valley Authority, a dam good idea.  Note Ints. in cl & ans.

23. Some Iberian kings : REYES.  Spanish kings.  The Portuguese ones are REIS.

26. Soak (up) : SOP.

28. Days gone by : YORE.

29. Took out for a while : BORROWED.   Like if your DOUBLE date is to the library

34. Dvorak's last symphony : NINTH.

37. Three-part snack : OREO.  Stacked snack, suitable for dunking.

38. Delight : ELATE.

41. Work with an artist, perhaps : POSE.

42. Make sense : ADD UP.

44. "Hawaii" novelist : MICHENER.

46. Decorative sewing case : ETUI.   Meh!

48. Star quality : EGO. More a characteristic than a quality, IMHO.

53. Meet competitor : RACER.

58. Hero in the air : ACE.

59. Patio furniture protector : TARP.

60. Concert hall cry : ENCORE.

61. "Copacabana" temptress : LOLA.  As I understand it, Barry Manilow is a wonderful person.  But, alas, his music makes me gag, so no link.

65. __ vera lotion : ALOE.  It's vera soothing.

66. Mr. T's TV outfit : A-TEAM.   Mr. T. Played the part of Sgt. Bosco 'B.A.' Baracus in all 97 episodes of this TV series from 1983 to '87.  He's in the bottom left of this cast picture, which also includes Melinda Culea, who played newspaper reporter Amy Amanda Allen.  Though her Triple A initials were impeccable, this character only lasted through 25 episodes.  She wanted more action, and George Peppard, evidently scarred for life by his appearance in Breakfast At Tiffany's, wanted no female lead.  Looks as if he was licensed to kill her part.

67. "A Streetcar Named Desire" director Kazan : ELIA.

68. Quick swims : DIPS.

69. Frosty coating : HOAR.  An ancient adjective, dating from before the 12 century, meaning grey with age, here transformed into a noun.  The frost coating makes the grass look like old grey hair.  I am taking this personally.

70. Cong. bigwig : SENCongressional, Senator.


1. Justice Ruth __ Ginsburg : BADER.  Appointed by Clinton.

2. Advice to a sinner : ATONE.  Repent and be saved.  If you have already repented, please disregard this notice.

3. Quiet room : STUDY

4. Former times, formerly : ELD.  Back in the day, back in the day.

5. Get through to : REACH.

6. Take __ at: try : A STAB.  As in trying to get past the Black Night.

7. Amontillado, for one : SHERRYA Poe choice.

8. News gp. : UPI. United Press International

9. Acropolis temple : PARTHENON.

10. Hidden treasure : TROVE.

11. Boxer De La Hoya : OSCAR.  Could have been clued differently this week.

13. Busy as __ : A BEEWatts up, little buzzer!

14. Not agin : FER.  Ah'm agin this kinda fill.

17. Rodeo ring : LASSO.   Of rope, not fire.

21. Shortly : SOON.

24. Autobahn auto : OPEL.

25. Baloney : TRIPE.  Words not worth the air used to express them.

27. Haven't paid off yet : OWE.

29. Something to wrap around one's neck ... or maybe not : BOA.  A scarf or a choking snake.  Choose wisely.

30. Traffic reg. : ORDRegulation and ordinance.

31. Improve, as a downtown area : REDEVELOP.  Gentrification, perhaps.

32. Travel plan : ROUTE.  Did you ever go this way?

33. Water holder? : DAM.  Cf 22A.

35. "The Waste Land" poet's monogram : TSEThomas Stearns Eliot.  tl;dr.

36. "... and sat down beside __ ..." : HER.  Miss Muffet and the arachnid antagonist; could have been clued differently this week.

39. Gifts for grads or dads : TIES.  Neckties.  Who needs them?

40. Heart chart, for short : ECGElectroCardio Gram.

43. Pre-euro Irish coin : PUNT.  For in those days, football had not yet been invented.

45. Lena of "The Wiz" : HORNE.

47. "Swords into plowshares" prophet : ISAIAHChapter 2, Verse 4He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

49. Dieter's lunch : SALAD.  Yum!

50. Bacteria in rare meat, maybe : E COLI.   Yucch!

51. Muse for Shelley : ERATO.  The muse of poetry, especially love or erotic poetry

52. Sleep lab subject : APNEA

54. Cartoon supplier of anvils and explosive tennis balls : ACMEAlas, poor coyote.

55. Hoses are often stored in them : COILS. Roll 'em up.

56. Adopted son on "My Three Sons" : ERNIE.

57. Sister of Goneril : REGAN.  Cordelia, too.  Kng Lear's Daughters.

60. Scary movie street : ELM.  Did you avoid these nightmares?

62. DDE rival : AESDwight David Eisenhower and Adlai Ewing Stevenson II.

64. "__ out!" : FAR.  An expression from the 60's, the era of Sean Connery - the only REAL James Bond.

So we come to the end of this adventure.  Looks like this might be John's first entry in the L. A. Times.  Hope you all enjoyed the BONDing experience.

Cool regards!