Showing posts with label Kelsey Blakley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kelsey Blakley. Show all posts

Dec 30, 2010

Thursday December 30, 2010 Kelsey Blakley

Theme: 1A. Squish: MASHed up city names. The middle city name uses parts of the end of the first city name and the beginning of the last city name without adding any extra letters. Of all the cities presented, Pierre, SD and Annapolis, MD, and Concord NH are the only ones that are state capitals.

20A. Iowa/Arizona/Maryland tri-city area?: AMES ANNAPOLIS. AMES MESA ANNAPOLIS.

32A. Washington/Georgia/ New Hampshire tri-city area?: TACOMA CONCORD. TACOMA MACON CONCORD.

40A. South Dakota/Nevada/ Virginia tri-city area?: PIERRE NORFOLK. PIERRE RENO NORFOLK.

55A. California/Alaska/ Tennessee tri-city area?: FRESNO MEMPHIS.

Al here.

What a puzzle. I can't imagine what it must have taken to get all four theme entries to all be 13 letters each with overlapping names, and then fit them symmetrically into a grid with eight other non-theme answers having 9 to 10 letters in them, and 6 of them crossing 3 theme entries each.

I needed the short ones today just to get enough traction to get started. The crossing of Narz and Lai was just a guess, and the NW and SE corners did not come easily. Lots of music again today.


5. Flintstone word: DABBA. Yabba dabba doo. Song written and performed by Hoagy Carmichael on the show.

10. Bairn, e.g.: SCOT. Scottish for baby.

14. Pick of the litter?: ALPO. (Dog food) Trademark applied for by Alpo circa 1985: IT'S THE PICK OF VETERINARIANS AND THE PICK OF THE LITTER

15. Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie __": AMOUR.

16. Horse around: PLAY.

17. Zoo retreat: LAIR. The root is in "lie", as "to lie down".

18. Red and yellow but not green: WARM COLORS. This had me thinking about sea names at first.

22. Sing like Slim Clark: YODEL. Not my favorite kind of music, but hey, to each their own. I had never heard of him, but with a name similar to Slim Whitman, it had to be yodeling.

23. Cut from the staff: AXE.

24. Arterial implant: STENT. A rigid tube implanted to hold a (weakened) passageway open.

27. "__ Town Too": 1981 hit: HER. James Taylor.

29. The Concord Sage's monogram: RWE. Ralph Waldo Emerson.

31. My __, Vietnam: LAI. The mass murder conducted by a unit of the U.S. Army on March 16, 1968 of 347–504 unarmed citizens in South Vietnam, all of whom were civilians and a majority of whom were women, children (including babies) and elderly people. While 26 U.S. soldiers were initially charged with criminal offenses for their actions at My Lai, only William Calley was convicted. He served only three years of an original life sentence, spent on house arrest.

36. K-12: EL-HI. Elementary - High School.

38. It may be precious: METAL.

39. Percolate: OOZE. I don't usually think of upwards percolation, but it does happen, and can cause sinkholes.

43. Like some outlet mall mdse.: IRR. Irregular.

44. Quite a long time: EON.

45. Announcer Hall: EDD. Replaced Ed McMahon on the Tonight Show after Johnny Carson retired and Jay Leno took over.

46. Alberta natives: CREES.

48. Anesthesiologists' work sites, briefly: ORS. Had to wait to see whether it would be ERs.

51. Neapolitan song starter: O SOLE. Mio.

58. Soldier who has completed most of his tour of duty: SHORT TIMER. Or an employee who has given two week's notice. Just wishful thinking these days.

60. Drops off: EBBS.

61. Saarinen who designed the Gateway Arch: EERO.

62. Even a little: AT ALL.

63. Passed-down tales: LORE. Related to "learn".

64. Skating maneuver: AXEL. Named for Norwegian figure skater Axel Paulsen.

65. Broadway matchmaker: YENTE. Fiddler on the Roof.

66. Oven cleaner chemicals: LYES. Also Butane, Monoethanolamine, Diethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether, and Diethanolamine. Wear a mask and don't breathe any of the vapors...


1. Asia's __ Peninsula: MALAY. Southwest of Vietnam.

2. 2007 Enterprise acquisition: ALAMO. (Rent-a-car companies) Enterprise's slogan: "We'll pick you up."

3. Spotted: SPIED.

4. Paintbrush material: HORSE HAIR. Also sable, squirrel, hog, ox, and goat.

5. Become clear to, with "on": DAWN. It took a while for this answer to, um, come to mind.

6. Radarange maker: AMANA. Now owned by Whirlpool.

7. Cleansing agent: BORAX. Anti-microbial, basic pH, buffer, dispersant. But also toxic, especially if ingested, so use it carefully if you choose to do so.

8. Crash course vehicle?: BUMPER CAR.

9. Not pizzicato: ARCO. Return to the usual smooth method of play.

10. Cheerleader's feat: SPLIT. Ouch!

11. More than a glance: CLOSE LOOK.

12. Crew tool: OAR.

13. Cobb et al.: TYS.

19. "The Daily Planet" reporter: OLSEN. Jimmy, Superman's pal.

21. Pianist Templeton: ALEC. Composer, satirist, popularizer of classical music with a jazz feel. Also blind. Died in 1963, and yet there's a Youtube clip...

25. '70s "Concentration" host Jack: NARZ. Former daytime game show host. Needed all perps for this.

26. Ocean phenomenon: TIDE. From Old English tid, a marking unit of time, in the sense of high water time. To "tide you over" is the sense of "to carry, as the tide does". Also tidings, as news, carried on the tide.

28. Lover boy: ROMEO. Always with the male bias. Why isn't there a term for a lover girl called Juliet?

30. Stout hero Nero: WOLFE. Rex Stout, but as played by Robert Conrad, also stout in stature.

32. Start of a conclusion: THEREFORE. Good play on words for the clue.

33. Anabaptist denomination: MENNONITE. All I got out of researching this was they believed in baptizing adults, not babies, then I lost interest.

34. "From __ Zinc": vitamin slogan: A TO. Centrum brand. Do your own research, but you won't catch me taking these.

35. Time to bundle up: COLD SPELL.

36. Like some proportions: EPIC.

37. NYC commuter line: LIRR. Long Island Rail Road.

41. Odometer button: RESET.

42. Blue Moon of '60s-'70s baseball: ODOM. Apparently was round-faced as a child, he got the nickname in grade school from a friend, Joe Morris.

47. Swashbuckler Flynn: ERROL. I can never remember if this is ERROL or EROLL.

49. __ candle: ROMAN. Fireworks, because scented doesn't fit.

50. Silver fish: SMELT. I remember these. Three scoopfuls with a net to fill a wash bucket, 10 minutes tops. Two hours driving round trip. Hours and hours cleaning and bagging to freeze. Pan-fried in oil with flour, salt, and pepper. They were good, but I was kind of glad the run only happened once per year.

52. "Whoopee!": OH BOY.

53. Vers __: free verse: LIBRE. French.

54. Switchback features: ESSES. Hilly roads.

56. Layover: STAY.

57. Contemporary of Rex and Agatha: ERLE. Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, Erle Stanley Gardner. Mystery/murder writers.

58. Something fishy: SEA. Until about 2048 or even sooner, unless commercial fishing is controlled and dumping garbage is stopped.

59. Give the evil eye: HEX. Both hag and hex are shortenings of the same words in Old English: hægtesse or Old High German hagazussa.

Answer Grid.


Oct 15, 2010

Friday October 15, 2010 Kelsey Blakley

Theme: Get the L in Here! - Y is replaced by LY at the end of first word of each two-word familiar phrase.

17A. Mentioned with a yawn? :
DULLY NOTED. Base phrase is Duly Noted. Adv to Adv.

23A. Tightfistedness scale? :
MISERLY INDEX. Misery Index. Not a familiar economic term to me. A measurement of unemployment & inflation rate. Noun to Adj.

53A. Like a centaur? :
PARTLY ANIMAL. Party Animal. Centaur is part human & part horse. Noun to Adv.

64A. Old enough to know better? :
HARDLY BOYS. The Hardy Boys. Noun to Adv.

The first two theme answers experienced a vowel sound change after the transformation. Nothing happened to the last two.

Sometimes our Monday puzzles have more theme entries than Friday's, but the theme concept is definitely more complicated on Friday: Adding/Deleting/Replacing letter (or letter strings), or punny wordplay. Monday's theme tends to be more straightforward, so is Tuesday's. Then we progress to Wednesday & Thursday (often) with a unifier.


1. A popular one is modeled after the Winchester rifle :
BB GUN. Stumped immediately. Wiki says "One of the most famous BB guns is the Red Ryder BB Gun, modeled after the western Winchester rifle".

6. Three-time A.L. MVP :
A-ROD. Four letter, with abbr. hint in the clue, who else could it be?

10. Narcissist's obsession :

14. Oil source :

15. __ fide :

16. Gin flavoring :

19. Inn group member
: MAID. Nice play on "In group".

20. __ trap :
SET A. Didn't emerge quickly.

21. Like jellybeans :

22. Memo header :
IN RE. Latin for "in the matter of".

26. Swiffer WetJet, e.g. :
DAMP MOP. Have never heard of Swiffer WetJet.

29. Bereft :

30. Jupiter, for one :
ORB. Oh, God, I wanted GOD.

31. Allen contemporary :
PAAR (Jack). Steve Allen. I was at a loss.

33. Lollipop-licking cop :
KOJAK. Played by Telly Savalas.

37. Ristorante staple :

39. Explore deeply :

42. Derelict, perhaps :
WINO. "Perhaps" yes.

43. Contest entry

45. Factor opening :
BENE. Opening for the word benefactor. I don't think I would have gotten the answer even with a question mark in the clue.

47. Bucko :

48. Goofs (around) :

51. Battle preparation place, in metaphor :

57. Actress Falco :

58. Oarlock pin :
THOLE. Used to throw me off.

59. Vanishing points :

63. Outfits :
RIGS. New definition of "rig" to me.

66. Send out :

67. End of a lover's ultimatum :
OR ME. I penned in ELSE.

68. Designated :

69. Aussie sleep sounds? :
ZEDS. Z is Zed in Australia.

70. European coal region :
SAAR. No idea. Where is it?

71. Fire proof? :
ASHES. We've seen similar clue before.


1. Mr. Olympia contestants' obsessions :
BODS. The only Mr. Olympia I know is Arnold.

2. Risqué :
BLUE. In China, yellow means risqué. By the way, this is for Jayce. Just omit the bamboo shoots. No such ingredient in authentic Chinese dumplings.

3. Thin ornamental layer :

4. Black light, briefly :
UV LAMP. Not familiar with the term. What is it used for? Why "black light"?

5. Marshal under Napoleon :
NEY. Napoleon called him "bravest of the brave".

6. Good, except on the links :
ABOVE PAR. Always happy with a double bogey round.

7. Eggbeater feature :

8. Tip of Massachusetts :
O'NEILL. Tip O'Neill. From Massachusetts. Former Speaker of the House. Great clue.

9. Beatnik's address :
DADDY-O. Unknown to me. Like today's "dude". Doesn't sound cool at all.

10. Gilligan's shipwrecked ship :
S. S. MINNOW. The insane SSM* start made me doubt my crossing entries.

11. Savanna grazer :

12. River through Tours :

13. Fly-by-night co.? :
FEDEX. Nice clue too.

18. "It'll never wash!" :
NO SOAP. Another new slang for me.

24. Little cut-up :
IMP. "Cut-up" = Prankster. Followed by IRK (25. Bug like a 24-Down).

26. Went off the deep end :
DOVE. Great idiom play.

27. God wounded by Diomedes in the "Iliad" :
ARES. Greek war god. Was ignorant of the wound he suffered in "Iliad".

28. Wheels of Fortune? :
MBAS. Tricky clue.

32. Knock over :

34. "Sands of Iwo __": 1949 film :

35. Med school subj. :

36. "Mayor" author :
KOCH (Ed). Needed crossing help.

38. Doctor's orders, often :

40. Stump :

41. Plaque holder? :
ENAMEL. The question mark should point you at the teeth direction.

44. James's "Westworld" costar :
YUL (Brynner). No idea. Not familiar with the movie. James Brolin.

46. Time slice :

49. Aristotle's first element of tragedy :
MYTHOS. See here. It consists of 6 parts, a la Aristotle. Another learning moment.

50. Home to many Berbers :
SAHARA. Berbers are those North African tribesmen.

52. Annapolis newbies :

53. Two-time Venezuelan president Carlos :
PEREZ. Alien to me.

54. Turn on __ :

55. Intolerant :

56. "__ Rae" :

60. Early animal handler :
NOAH. OK, Noah handled those paired animals in his Ark.

61. Bit of force :

62. Ret. fliers :

65. Sumac from Peru :
YMA. Classic crossword name.

Answer grid.


Sep 24, 2010

Friday September 24, 2010 Kelsey Blakley

Theme: SPOONERISM - Two-layered theme. The initial consonant(s) of common word/phrases are switched, and the end of each spoonerized two-word answer is a type of knife.

17A. Choose deli platter items? : PICK CHEESE. The unspoonerized word is Chickpeas. Cheese knife.

25A. Beef marinated in Jim's bourbon? : BEAM STEAK. Steam Bake. Not a familiar cooking term to me. Steak knife.

34A. Rooster's spread? : COCK'S BUTTER. A bit DF, isn't it? Box Cutter. Massive spoonerism in this one. The only entry where the middle consonants X experiences spelling CK change. Sound remains the same of course. Butter knife.

49A. "Casablanca" nightclub income? : RICK BREAD. Brick Red. Rick's Cafe in "Casablanca". Bread here means "money", right? The other three theme entries all end in real food. Bread knife.

58A. What each of the other four longest answers in this puzzle is : SPOONERISM

55A. Ironically, the 58-Acrosses in this puzzle end in types of them : KNIVES. "Ironically"? Are they supposed to end in "SPOONS"?

We also have TINE (19A. Jabber?). You use fork to jab I suppose.

Rather complicated scheme, isn't it? I was clueless about theme until I reached the unifier. Even then I still needed a bit of head-scratching to untangle the initial base phrase.

Total 21 non-theme entries of six or more letters. Quite impressive. Mainly a result of breaking down left and right edges of the grid into two rather than our normal three parts. Two-part edges are often seen in Saturday themeless.


1. Elián Gonzalez's home : CUBA. Easy start.

5. Legendary brothers in law : EARPS. At O.K. Corral. Not brothers-in-law.

10. Hogwarts messengers : OWLS. Lovely entry for Argyle.

14. What the connected have : AN IN. Have an in. The connected people.

15. Sole projection : CLEAT. SPIKE too, in golf.

16. Unconvincing : THIN

20. Opera set on Cyprus : OTELLO. Verdi opera based on Shakespeare's Othello. Did not know where it's set.

21. Spiced 23-Across : CHAI. And TEA (23. See 21-Across). Several cross-referenced clues in the grid.

24. Oater camp sight : TEPEE

27. Both Begleys : EDS

28. Chrysler division : RAM. Dodge Ram.

30. Shooting gadget : SYRINGE. Was not picturing medicine shooting.

31. Oklahoma tribe : KIOWA. Only know OTOE.

33. Dutch physics Nobelist Simon van der __ : MEER. No idea. 1984 Physics co-Nobelist. Still alive.

38. Shelled out : PAID

40. Rival of 2-Down : US AIR. And UNITED (2D. Red Carpet Club flier). Also, MOTH (54A. Light-headed flier?). Flier clecho (clue echo)

41. Bring charges against : ARRAIGN. Learned from watching "Law & Order".

45. Stumble : ERR

46. Sagittarian's mo., probably : DEC. Probably, yes.

51. Friend of Jesús : AMIGOS. Funny clue. To me, Jesus lived in Israel and spoke Hebrew, so did his friends. (Correction: The answer is singular AMIGO.)

53. Shih __ : TZU. The Tibetan dog.

56. Pack member : WOLF

60. Subj. with skeletons in the closet?: Abbr. : ANAT. Nice clue too.

61. Balm : SALVE

62. Within: Pref. : ENTO. Opposite ECT(O).

63. Place to keep stock? : YARD. Livestock? Don't quite get the clue.

64. Grammy winner Gormé : EYDIE. Faintly rang a bell.

65. Mtg. : SESS. Meeting/Session.


1. "In Cold Blood" author : CAPOTE (Truman)

3. Arm & Hammer logo feature : BICEPS. Arm & Hammer baking soda. Novel clue.

4. __ socks : ANKLE

5. Pilot's "E" : ECHO. Well, gimme for our pilot Dudley.

6. It may be blonde or brown : ALE. Got via crosses. Tricky clue.

7. Volleyball star Gabrielle : REECE. Model too.

8. Ottoman lords : PASHAS. Used to stump me.

9. Hot and heavy : STEAMY. Love. Sex.

10. Baseball's Master Melvin : OTT. Man, I never knew Mel Ott is nicknamed called "Master Melvin".

11. Bleach : WHITENER

12. Roots : LINEAGE

13. British : trainer :: American : __ : SNEAKER. Really, Nice Cuppa, you call sneakers "trainers" in Britain?

18. Ayatollah, e.g. : CLERIC

22. Camp David Accords signer: Abbr. : ISR. Egypt too. Camp David Accords.

25. Upscale imports : BMWS

26. Source of ticking : TIMER

29. Verbal thumbs-up : A-OK. Reminded me of Jennifer Aniston "Love Happens".

31. Maker of the FunSaver disposable camera : KODAK

32. __ Dhabi : ABU

34. Advertising notice : CIRCULAR

35. Recycled : USED

36. What many rural roads lack : TAR

37. Albania's capital : TIRANE. How can I remember this name? Looks so ordinary.

38. Not completely : PARTWAY

39. Home of Carefree Highway : ARIZONA. I guessed.

42. Chip maker : IBM. Computer chips.

43. Detroit suburb __ Pointe : GROSSE. Nope. Was it the place first settled down by the French?

44. Take-home : NET PAY

46. Like some wisdom : DIVINE

47. Discharges : EGESTS. Opposite INGESTS.

48. Carl Sagan PBS series : COSMOS

50. Get __ of: locate : A HOLD

52. Entangles : MIRES

55. Bouncing joint? : KNEE. Bouncing what? Soccer ball?

57. Wire svc. involved in many arrangements : FTD. Oh, flowers.

59. Egg opening : OVI. Prefix.

Answer grid.

Since many of you do not come to the blog on weekend, I'd like to share with you a birthday puzzle I made for a special blog contributor, who is celebrating his birthday this coming Sunday. The clues are very general, you don't need to know him to solve the grid.

Click here for the puz file (Across Lite), and here for the pdf version. I also had a write-up of the puzzle and my thought process. But don't read until you solve the puzzle. It's here.


Jun 4, 2010

Friday June 4, 2010 Kelsey Blakley

Theme: Magic I - Letter I is attached to the end of a common phrase.

17A. College administrator's cocktail?: DEAN MARTINI. Dean Martin. The only theme entry where the added I changed a two-syllable sound into three-syllable one.

30A. Still in love with a legendary giant?: NOT OVER YETI. Not Over Yet. Yeti the Abominable Snowman. One syllable to two.

47A. Vehicle delivering the weekly checks?: PAYROLL TAXI. Payroll Tax. One syllable to two also.

63A. Equine teacher of Japan?: HORSE SENSEI. Horse Sense. Sensei is Japanese for "teacher". Literally "one who was born first". Sen = First. Sei = Birth. Same as Chinese. One syllable to two syllable as well. And the only I that's attached to the end of a vowel rather than a consonant.

All of the four theme answers have 11 letters. Quite scrabbly. I spotted 4 Z's.

Several of the Down clues delighted me today:

32D. Surfer's read: EZINE. E Magazine. Computer "surfer".

33D. Sentence lengths: TERMS. Prison sentence.

54D. Small fry: TYKE. Not fish.

55D. Debugging agent?: RAID. The bug killer Raid.

Several other clues have a fresh feel too.


1. Voting group: BOARD. OK, Board of Directors.

6. Big splash maker of the '60s: SHAMU. Was unaware of this original Shamu story.

11. Bit of a tryst exchange: COO. Ha ha, I know Rich would not clue SEX this way.

14. Invest, as with a quality: ENDUE. Put in ENDOW.

15. Navigational aid: LORAN. Long Range Radio Aid to Navigation. Always wanted RADAR.

16. Wood-shaping tool: ADZ

19. Product name derived from the German word for peppermint: PEZ. From German "Pfefferminz". New to me.

20. Requiring less effort: EASIER

21. Inspection requiring scales: AUTOPSY

23. Henpeck: NAG AT

26. Encouraging sound: RAH

27. Former Secret Service weapon: UZI. No longer in use, Argyle?

35. Old Chevy: NOVA. No va is "no go" in Spanish, correct?

37. Romance novelist Roberts: NORA

38. Bagel order, maybe: DOZEN. I've never ordered that many bagels.

39. Blusters: CROWS. I associate crow with brag rather than bluster.

41. Phone bk. listings: NOS

42. Christmas tree adornment: SKIRT. Is yours red also?

43. White House middle name: ABRAM. James Garfield's middle name.

44. Addie's husband in "As I Lay Dying" : ANSE. No idea. So close to the "Latin handle" ANSA.

46. Generous offer: ON ME

50. Alien's subj.: ESL (English as a Second Language). We have a few ESL teachers on the blog: Lucina, Dot, who else?

51. Joey's mom: DOE. Was unaware that a female kangaroo is called a doe. A baby kangaroo is Joey.

52. Eastwood's 1978 "co-star" Clyde, e.g.: ORANG. In "Every Which Way But Loose". I drew a blank.

54. "I wouldn't lie!": TRUST ME

58. E. Sicilian peak: MT ETNA. We often see ETNA alone.

62. Verb for Popeye: YAM. "I yam what I yam".

66. Sleep, in Sussex: KIP. Verb. It can also be noun meaning "bed". New word to me.

67. Firth: INLET

68. Without face value, as stock: NO PAR

69. Mag wheels?: EDS (Editors). Magazine big wheels.

70. "We don't see __ ..." : EYE TO. Did you get it immediately?

71. Not bland: TASTY. And HOT (7D. Like sauce with a kick).


1. Eliot's "Adam __": BEDE. Learned from doing Xword.

2. Most fit for drafting: ONE A

3. Entry-level legal jobs: Abbr. : ADAS. OK, Assistant District Attorneys.

4. Clash: RUN IN

5. Put down: DEMEAN

6. 35mm camera choice: SLR (Single-Lens Reflex)

8. Rossini specialty: ARIA

9. Soil enricher: MANURE

10. Cirque du Soleil costumes: UNITARDS. Uni + (leo)tard. With full lengh stockings. Maybe Dennis knows. I don't.

11. Sadie Hawkins Day creator: CAPP (Al)

12. "__ of Solomon": religious works: ODES. Guessed.

13. Osbourne of Black Sabbath: OZZY. Such a DF family.

18. About 1% of the Earth's atmosphere: ARGON. Inert gas. Literally "idle".

22. 1971 John Lennon song: OH YOKO. Here is the song. Blind spot for me.

24. Unkeyed: ATONAL

25. Leafs' home: TORONTO. Toronto Maple Leafs. NHL team.

27. Open, as a brew: UNCAP

28. Anthony Quinn title role: ZORBA. ''Zorba the Greek''. 1964 movie.

29. Old billiard ball material: IVORY

31. Poughkeepsie college: VASSAR. Jackie Kennedy attended Vassar.

34. Chip maker: INTEL. Computer chips.

36. Arbitration decisions: AWARDS

40. Blended fruit drink: SMOOTHIE

45. They may be physical: EXAMS. Nice clue too.

48. Like some meringue: LEMONY. Have never had lemon meringue.

49. Rapt: INTENT

53. Columbus's birthplace: GENOA

56. Tag determiners: UMPS. Baseball "tag".

57. Della's creator: ERLE. Erle Stanley Gardner. Della Street is Perry Mason's secretary.

59. Dosage abbr. : TSPS

60. Bang-up: NEAT

61. Like breezeways: AIRY

64. Headstrong: SET

65. DDE's arena: ETO (European Theater of Operations)

Thank you for the sweet comments/emails yesterday, everyone. They meant a lot to me. I was eligible for citizenship six years ago, but had never seriously considered becoming an American until I started this blog and got to know all of you on a daily basis. You have made a huge difference in my life. Thank you.

Answer grid.


Nov 12, 2009

Thursday November 12, 2009 Kelsey Blakley

Theme: DNA SEQUENCE (64A. Human fingerprint, and what's hidden in five puzzle answers) - DNA is sequentially embedded in each theme answer.

17A. All-big-gun battleship: DREADNAUGHT. Dread Not. Fear Nothing.

24A. Deeply ingrained habit: SECOND NATURE

39A. Shanghais: KIDNAPS. This extended "kidnap" meaning is named after the seaport Shanghai. Wonderful nightlife there. Great bars.

42A. Gap subsidiary: OLD NAVY

53A. Cuba or Puerto Rico, e.g.: ISLAND NATION

Two of the non-theme entries (31A. Most piquant: ZESTIEST & 48A. Convenience store: MINI-MART) have longer letters than the two shortest theme answers. Odd. They don't normally bother me if placed in Down rather than Across.

Neat to have three "filler" clues for a trio of three-letter fill:

52A. Hard-rock filler: AS A. Hard as a rock.

71A. Museum filler: ART

66D. Balloon filler: AIR

I loved the tie-in answer DNA SEQUENCE. Terrific title and great theme concept.


1. FBI sting that began during Carter's presidency: ABSCAM. What does AB stand for?

7. In this way: THUS. More used to "As a result" clue.

11. Tapped-out message: SOS. Morse code.

14. Sheep herder: COLLIE. Correct clue this time.

15. Old World Style sauce maker: RAGU. Or do you prefer Prego?

16. Hawaiian Punch rival: HI-C. Was stumped again. The C here refers to vitamin C. The Minute Maid drink brand.

19. It might be pale or brown: ALE

20. Blackguards: CADS. Blackguard is a new word to me.

21. Powerful health care lobbying gp.: AMA. "Powerful" indeed, appearing in Xword so often.

22. Budget noodle dish: RAMEN. Rooted in Chinese lamian ("pulled noodle"). The Japanese kanji for RAMEN is the same as Chinese character.

28. TV sched. notation: TBA

32. Extremely cold: POLAR

34. Birthplace of "Wayne's World," briefly: SNL. I was ignorant of the fact that the film was adapted from a sketch of the same name on SNL.

35. Cheese in a ball: EDAM. The Dutch cheese.

44. "The Time Machine" leisure class: ELOI. They are blond, they are beautiful and they are yummy entrees for the the Morlocks.

45. Org. with the blog Greenversations: EPA. Easy guess, with the "Green" hint.

47. Further off the beaten path: ODDER. "Off the beaten path" = unusual.

57. Parisian's "Presto!": VOILA!

58. Family nickname: SIS

59. "__ the hint!": I GET. I simply say "I get it!", not "I get the hint!".

63. Lat neighbors: ABS. Lat the muscles. Not the country.

68. ___ Percé: Pacific Northwest tribe: NEZ. No idea. Nez Percé is French for "pierced nose" (nez=nose). Maybe the tribe members all had pieced nose when first encountered by the explorers.

69. Irish Rose's beau: ABIE. "Abie's Irish Rose". Learned from doing Xword.

70. Prepare to slip off: UNLACE. Of shoes or lingerie.

73. Singer Sheena: EASTON. Scottish singer. Here is her "For Your Eyes Only". I've never heard of her name before.


1. Type of elec. adapter: AC/DC

2. Afghanistan's Tora __ region: BORA. The region where our military could have caught Osama during that intensive battle.

3. Huskies' burden: SLED

4. School group: CLASS

6. Serious threat: MENACE. Such as the Fort Hood military major who opened fire at the base. Ultimate betrayal.

7. Unauthorized absentees: TRUANTS. Such as the military AWOL's. And ATTEND (23D. Show up).

8. Broom rider: HAG. Could only think of witch.

9. Exclamation with a shudder: UGH

10. Buddha's teachings: SUTRAS. I wonder when Kama Sutra was written.

11. SeaWorld celebrity: SHAMU

12. Carrier of crude: OILER. Crude oil.

13. Dramatic segment: SCENE

18. Songwriter Tori: AMOS. Pure guess. What's her most famous song?

25. University founder Cornell: EZRA. You should eat worms if you missed this one. I've mentioned his name several times on the blog before.

26. Pebbles's pet: DINO. From "The Flintstones".

27. "Little" Dickens girl: NELL. No idea. Little Nell is a character from Dickens' "The Old Curiosity Shop".

28. Pay-as-you-go rd.: TPKE (Turnpike)

29. Cook, in a way: BOIL. Boiled (freshly picked) peanuts are very tasty.

30. Gucci of fashion: ALDO. Man, I can never remember his name.

33. Mink or sable: ANIMAL. Well, FUR is too short. Nice clue.

36. Pop, to baby: DADA. Chinese baby would say "BABA".

37. Parade rtes., maybe: AVES

38. Vidal's Breckinridge: MYRA. Here is the book cover. We've seen this clue before.

40. Remain undecided: PEND

46. Gathered up: AMASSED. As fortune.

49. When Rome wasn't built?: IN A DAY. Idiom: "Rome wasn't built in a day". I don't like the word "When", though I could not think of a better alternative.

50. Play to __: draw: A TIE

51. Off-color: RISQUE. Tried RIBALD first.

53. Trump with a cameo in "The First Wives Club": IVANA. Donald Trump's first ex.

54. Not even tipsy: SOBER

55. "Faust Symphony" composer: LISZT. "Faust" is also a play by Goethe.

56. Physicist Bohr: NIELS. The Danish physicist.

60. Swarm insect: GNAT

61. Nestlé cereal beverage: ECCO. Totally unknown to me. It's a barley, rye and chicory-based beverage. ECCO is Italian for ECCE, "behold".

62. High schooler: TEEN

65. Jazz org.?: NBA. Utah Jazz. Nailed it.

67. Italian "a": UNA. Spanish "a" too.

Answer grid.

Thanks for the stuffing recipes, everyone. Will ask my husband to add dried cranberries to ours this Thanksgiving (the only day Boomer actually cooks).