Showing posts with label Kevin Christian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kevin Christian. Show all posts

May 22, 2020

Friday May 22, 2020 Kevin Christian

Theme: "Before and After" by Kevin Christian 

(Kevin is a veteran constructor, and he appears here often. C.C. interviewed him back in 2015.)

TTP emailed me last week asking if I'd be willing to sub for him this morning. That could mean only one thing – everyone on his a-list had already turned him down. I don't often get a shot at late-week puzzles, so I was happy to take this opportunity to make a fool of myself.

Methinks Kevin may be a Wheel of Torture fan. Each 3-word themer is a mash-up of two common phrases. The middle word can cleverly be expressed as a word or as a single letter. That gives us…

17a. One studying the waters near England
IRISH SEA STUDENT – Irish Sea / C Student (I can relate!)

27a. Communication device with a fancy patterned case
TIGER EYE PHONE – Tiger Eye / iPhone (I cannot relate.)

47a. Part of a Chinese restaurant’s expenses?
OOLONG TEA BILL – Oolong Tea / T-Bill

62a. Nutrition for a leading insect?
QUEEN BEE VITAMIN – Queen Bee / B Vitamin

As an added bonus (at least for me), there is no reveal that someone might miss in his haste to solve.

Here’s what else Kevin served up for our breakfast crunch today.


1. Conference giveaways: SWAG

5. Tampa NFLers: BUCS   I was thinking “Bucks” but nope, “Buccaneers.”

9. Place for a phone no.: ID TAG

14. Capital of Cuba: PESO

15. Drama honor: OBIE

16. “Odyssey” enchantress: CIRCE

20. Cool kin: NEATO

21.Loud sound:ROAR.

22. Comprehends: GETS

23. Jackson of country: ALAN. You might remember Midnight in Montgomery.

25. Namesake of a speed ratio: MACH. Named for Austrian physicist Ernst Mach (1838-1916). Mach I is the speed of sound – about 767 mph. Of course, 0 mph is known as “Mach’s nichts.”

32. Benefit: AID

33. Equine parent: SIRE

34. People pairs, say: ITEM. People magazine. Didn’t last.

36. Dinner party insert: LEAF.  in the dining room table.

38. There are two pennies in a classic one. ADAGE

41. Word with wing or life: SPAN

42. Value system: ETHIC. I’m never sure if it’ll be Ethic or Ethos. Perps will decide.

44. Irritated: SORE

46. Be indisposed: AIL

51. Unpleasant look: LEER. Sometimes it’s OGLE.

52. Bloom support. STEM

53. Radio switch: AM/FM

56. Lush: WINO. The noun, not the adjective.

58. Swindles: REAMS. I was not familiar with this usage. Now I am.

65. Old Northwest competitor: US AIR

66. Nixon or Agnew, once: VEEP

67. Storage structure: SILO. In my ute, dairy farmers filled them with chopped corn stalks.

68. Insurance giant: AETNA. Named after our old cw friend, Mt. Etna.

69. Misses the mark: ERRS

70. “That hurts!”: YEOW. I thought of several colorful possibilities for this 4-letter answer.


1. Public relations specialty: SPIN

2. Are in the past?: WERE. Tense answer.

3. “Heat of the Moment” band: ASIA. You Tube’s got it, if you’re interested.

4. Attend alone: GO STAG

5. Only 21st-century four-time World Series champs, on scoreboards: BOSton. (C.C. would’ve known this immediately. Moi, not so much.)

6. Geekiest of geeks: UBERNERD. I believe it’s a single word.

7. “Buh-bye!”: CIAO

8. Street on TV since 1969: SESAME

9. IV site: ICU (I tried ARM first.)

10. Imbibed in small doses: DID SHOTS. I learned many years ago that this can be a recipe for close-range sidewalk inspection.

11. Playhouse locale, perhaps: TREE

12. Unwanted spots: ACNE. Could’ve been SPAM.

13. Comprehends: GETS (I tried SEES first.)

18. Donut features: HOLES

19. Speed ____: TRAP

24. “Nessum dorma,” e.g.: ARIA. I’m not much of an opera fan (surprise, surprise), but I found Nessum Dorma to be particularly moving near the end of The Sum Of All Fears as the co-conspirators get their comeuppance.

26. Antepenultimte Greek letter: CHI. I first became acquainted with this 64-dollar word back in ‘61 when the Limeliters performed Have Some Madeira, M’Dear. You’ll hear “antepenultimate” – second from last -- at the 4:21 mark. If you’ve never heard the song, it’s a real treat. If you have heard the song, it’s still a real treat.

27. Connect with: TIE TO

28. State with a Sawtooth Range: IDAHO (I suspect Ray-O-Sunshine will have some fun with this one.) Looks pretty.

29. Beer-making ingredient: YEAST (I thought it was just grain, water, malt, and hops.)

30. Country between China and India: NEPAL

31. Office chore: EMAIL (I don’t think of it as a chore.)

32. Newcastle Brown ___: ALE

35. NBC show with many Second City alumni: SNL. Saturday Night Live. From day one. Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd to name a few.

37. “I’d like to know more.” FILL ME IN

39. Peruses: GOES OVER

40: Part of Q.E.D.: ERAT  What was to be shown.

43. Iowa campus: COE. It’s in Cedar Rapids on First Avenue S.E., just up the street from the former KHAK studios. Now how did I know that?

45. Roeper’s former partner: EBERT. Richard Roeper became the co-host after Gene Siskel died.

48. Rookie, briefly: NEWB. I think it’s pronounced “Noob,” though it could be New-B.

49. Lament: GRIEVE

50. “Whatevs”: I’M EASY

53. Ocean shade: AQUA

54. Erato, for one: MUSE

55. Exploit: FEAT (Could’a been DEED.)

57. “In thy dreams!” NEER. “Thy” clues us that it’ll be old-timey.

59. Parisian friend: AMIE

60. “The Phantom Tollbooth” protagonist: MILO. Not a clue! Plus, I misread Tollbooth as Toothbrush.

61. “The Hunger Games” president: SNOW. Donald Sutherland played him in the movie.

63. FDR “fair practices” agency: NRA. No, not that NRA, the National Recovery Administration.

64. URL addresses: IPS. The only IPS I’m familiar with is “Inches Per Second“ from the old tape-recorder days. Feel free to educate me in the comments.

That does it! C.C. will now make the completed grid magically appear. Desper-otto out.

Mar 31, 2020

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 Kevin Christian and Bruce Haight

What are Little Girls Made of?   Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice.

16-Across. Sweetened, as something harsh to hear: SUGAR-COATED.

24-Across. Variety, idiomatically, with "the": SPICE OF LIFE.

38-Across. Loaded bakery item: EVERYTHING BAGEL.  Yummers!  My favorite kind of Bagel; especially good with cream cheese and lox.

47-Across. "Don't make any sudden moves": NICE AND EASY.

And the Unifier:

59-Across. What the starts of 16-, 24-, 38- and 47-Across make?: LITTLE GIRLS.

And, just so the boys don't feel left out:

1. Fords and Chevys: AUTOS.  Because Cars was too short.

6. Trick: FOOL.

10. Electric guitarist's need: AMP.  A crossword staple.

13. "When __ we three meet again": "Macbeth" opening line: SHALL.

14. Baseball card transaction: TRADE.

15. "You think I did it?!": MOI?  Here's workout video to do at home, since we can't go to the gym.  My trainer prepared several nice videos for me to do at home until the fitness center opens again.  Her video is a bit more strenous than Miss Piggy's.

18. Had a bite: ATE.

19. Culturally pretentious: ARTY.

20. Coffee container: URN.  John Keats wrote an Ode on a Grecian one.

21. __ nerve: OPTIC.

23. Daisy __: Li'l Abner's wife: MAE.

27. Amazes: AWES.

29. "A," in pilot shorthand: ALFA.

30. Bulova competitor: TIMEX.  Both are watches.  I think of Bulova is being a bit more upscale than the Timex watch, however ...

32. Give a hoot: CARE.

34. Credit in a footnote: CITE.

41. Surrender, as land: CEDE.

42. "Star __: The Rise of Skywalker": WARS.  I stopped watching the Star Wars films decades ago.

43. Molecule parts: ATOMS.  Chemistry 101.

44. Recipe instruction: STIR.

46. Aid in crime: ABET.  A crossword staple.

52. "No more sharing," briefly: TMI.  Textspeak for Too Much Information.

55. Island in "Jaws": AMITY.

56. Bethesda research org.: NIH.  As in the National Institutes of Health, where you can get the latest information on Covid-19.

57. Mythical man-goat: FAUN.  Roman mythology.  A Satyr is it's Greek counterpart.

58. Cacophony: DIN.

63. Ltd., across the pond: INC.  Clever!  Going East to West, instead of the usual West to East across the pond.

64. Sooner State natives: OKIES.  An Okie is a resident of Oklahoma, but is also a somewhat derogatory term used to describe migrant workers during the Great Depression during the 1930s.  Here's the reason why Oklahoma is nicknamed the Sooner State.

65. Jump for joy: EXULT.

66. In the past: AGO.

67. Rump: REAR.

68. Brainy bunch: MENSA.

1. Black tea from India: ASSAM.  Assam is a state in northeastern India and is known for its tea plantations.

2. "Star Trek" lieutenant: UHURA.

3. Worked closely with a partner on a task: TAG TEAMED.

4. Skin care brand: OLAY.  A crossword staple.

5. Camera initials: SLR.  As in Single Lens Reflex camera.  We see this a lot in the puzzles, but what does it really mean?  I'll let the the Britannica explain.

6. Old Paris coin: FRANC.  I lived in France before the Euro.  We went to Switzerland and had to exchange our French Francs for Swiss Francs.  Before returning to France, we went into a Swiss chocolate shop and plopped the remainder of our Swiss Francs on the counter and asked to purchase as much chocolate as our money could buy.

7. Horse morsel: OAT.

8. Shelley's "__ to the West Wind": ODE.

9. Batted first: LED OFF.

10. Stradivari's tutor: AMATI.  Antonio Stradivari (1644 ~ Dec. 18, 1737) was an Italian stringed instrument maker.  He is best known for his violins.  He is believed to have crafted over 950 violins, of which approximately half that number are known to have survived through the centuries.  Nicolò Amati (Dec. 3, 1596 ~ Apr. 12, 1684) came from a family of violin makers.  He is known for adopting the form of the violin to give it a greater power of tone.  He is said to have taught Stradivari, however, this may or may not have been correct.  Stradivari is said to have begun an appreticeship at age 12 under the guidance of the aged Amati.  A Brief History of Amati and Stradivari.

11. Central idea: MOTIF.  I was so sure that Theme was the correct answer.

12. Cake serving: PIECE.  I wanted a Slice of cake.

14. Singer Amos: TORI.  Tori Amos (née Myra Ellen Amos; b. Aug. 22, 1963) won a full scholarship to the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University at age 5.  She was expelled 6 years later, at age 11, for musical insubordination.

17. Pair in a pint: CUPS.

22. Appease: PLACATE.

24. Hot: SEXY.

25. Makes on the job: EARNS.

26. Cassini of fashion: OLEG.  Oleg Cassini (né Oleg Aleksandrovich Cassini Loiewski; Apr. 11, 1913 ~ Mar. 17, 2006) was an American fashion designer with an interesting ancestry.  He was born in Paris, France to an Italian Countess and a Russian diplomat.  He ultimately made his way to the United States and became a naturalized citizen.  He designed costumes for Hollywood, but is probably best known for his White House connection.  In 1961, he became Jackie Kennedy's exclusive couturier.
28. "No more for us": WE'RE SET.

30. Noir sleuth: TEC.

31. "__ been wrong before": I'VE.

32. Zin cousin: CHARD.  Think of the Red and White wines of Zinfandel and Chardonnay.

33. Broadcast: AIR.

35. "Time for me to split": I GOTTA RUN.

36. President pro __: TEM.  Pro tem. is short for Pro Tempore.  Article One, Section Three, Paragraph 5 of the United States Consitution reads:  "The Senate shall chuse (sic) their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States."  The President pro tempore is the second highest ranking officer in the Senate.  The current President pro tem is Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa.  End of civic lesson.

37. Hallelujah trio?: ELs.  As in the letter "L".  I wasn't fooled by this clue.

39. Bed size: TWIN.

40. Life-changing household arrival: BABY.

45. Pop star Swift: TAYLOR.  Taylor Allison Swift (b. Dec. 13, 1989) is only 30 years old, but she seems to have been around forever.

46. Tennis great Arthur: ASHE.  Our good friend Arthur Robert Ashe (July 10, 1943 ~ Feb. 6, 1993) makes another guest appearance in the crossword puzzle.

47. First name in 1970s gymnastics: NADIA.  As in Nadia Comăneci (b. Nov. 12, 1961).  In 1976, at just the age of 14, she was the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect 10 at Olympic Games.

48. Cyberchatting: IMING.  As in Instant Messaging.

49. __ de Mayo: CINCO.  A brief history of Cinco de Mayo.

50. Oversized keyboard key: ENTER.

51. Feels poorly: AILS.

53. Thinks (over): MULLS.

54. Photo-sharing website, familiarly: INSTA.

57. Prix __ menu: FIXE.  Today's French lesson.  The phrase means Fixed Price.

60. '50s presidential nickname: IKE.

61. Aunt in Acapulco: TIA.  Today's Spanish lesson.

62. Great fielding play, say: GEM.

Here's the Grid:

QOD:  It’s not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.  ~  René Descartes (Mar. 31, 1596 ~ Feb. 11, 1650), French philosopher

Stay safe everyone and please mind the stay-at-home orders.  This is serious, folks. My sister is a nurse in a hot-spot area.  She said she has never been more scared in all her 30 + years of nursing.  She is tapped to work on the frontline.  After working all day, she has to go home and make masks for her staff!  She said that the hospital is having to use trucks to haul out the bodies.  Please mind the orders and stay the requisite distance from others.  We need you all to come back to continue this crossword community.  Maria from The Sound of Music reminds us to Stay at Home.

Jan 15, 2020

Wednesday January 15, 2020 Kevin Christian

Theme: A Day In The Life -- of a Dog.  Each theme entry interprets a canine action as a means of communication.

20A. Dog, barking: DANGER ALERT.

30. Dog, begging: TREAT PLEASE.

46. Dog, ears erect: WHAT WAS THAT?

55. Dog, tail wagging: WELCOME HOME.

These don't require a lot of elaboration, though some of them can - and sometimes should - be interpreted in other ways.  Dogs do have a rather limited vocabulary.

Hi Gang, JazzBumpa here as today's game warden.  I've never had a dog, but our four kids all have a canine companion in their families, sometimes referred to as our grand dogs. Let's unleash our minds and pound our way through today's puzzle.


1. Minor misunderstanding: TIFF.  Less severe than a spat

5. Long part of an arrow: SHAFT.  Feathers at one end, point at the other.

10. Pride Month letters: LGBT. Now LGBQTIA+, referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual or allied, with a + sign in case anyone was missed.  Don't judge.

14. Sticky pod: OKRA.  An edible plant part coming from abelmoschus esculentus, a flowering plant cultivated in warm to tropical regions around the globe.

15. Grammy winner Jones: NORAH. [b 1979] Ravi Shankar's daughter.

16. Channel marker: BUOY.  An anchored float acting as a navigation mark.

17. Letter starter: DEAR ______.  The salutation.

18. Speechify: ORATE.  Speak to an audience.

19. Soda __: fountain worker: JERK.  Maker of sodas, malts and shakes.

23. "Understand?": SEE?  Get it?

24. Common Scrabble tile value: ONE.  Used with the most commonly occurring letters.

25. Afflicts: AILS. Causes health or other kinds of problems.

27. Satisfied sigh sound: AAH.

36. Driving problem: GLARE.  This is why dash panel tops are dark.  The reflection of a light colored object on the windshield obscures the view through the glass.  The technical term is "veiling glare."  Of course there can also be direct glare, as when driving into the morning or late afternoon sun.

38. Sinewy: WIRY.  Slender and muscular.

39. Rio contents: AGUA.  Spanish water.

40. Burton of "Star Trek: TNG": LEVAR.  Levardis Robert Martyn Burton Jr.  [b 1957] is an American actor, author and producer. He also played Kunta Kinte in the 1977 ABC minseries ROOTS.

41. Rhea cousin: EMU.  Large, flightless birds.

42. Harry's mom Lily __ Potter: EVANS. The unrequited love of Severus Snape.

43. Not buttoned, as a shirt: OPEN.

44. "Bummer!": DRAT.  Exclamation of disappointment.

45. It flows below the Pont Neuf: SEINE.  French river, full of eau.

49. Nada: NIL.  Zero.

50. Steel-toe item: BOOT.  Protective footware.

51. "Just a __!": SEC. Hang on, I'll be right there.

53. Southeast airport code: ATL.  Atlanta.

62. Thigh muscle, briefly: QUAD. A group of 4 muscles in the front thigh that connect just below the knee cap.  They straighten and also bend the knee.

64. "Outlander" series novelist Gabaldon: DIANA. [b 1952] Her books merge multiple genres: historical fiction, romance, mystery, adventure, etc.

65. Big name in big projections: IMAX.   A proprietary system of high-resolution cameras, film formats, film projectors, and theaters known for having very large screens with a tall aspect ratio (approximately 1.43:1 & 1.90:1) and steep stadium seating.  [Wikipedia]

66. Bear overhead: URSA.  Either of two constellations, named as bears in Latin.  Not the highway patrol in a helicopter.

67. Sprinter Bolt: USAIN. [b 1986] Jamaican sprinter who holds the world records in 100, 200, and 4x100 relays.

68. Daughter in the 2019 film "Judy": LIZA. Garland and Minelli, respectively.

69. Unwelcome diners: ANTS.  At picnics and in pantries.

70. __ hose: PANTY.   Close-fitting legwear covering the wearer's body from the waist to the toes.

71. Agenda bullet: ITEM.  Keep the meeting on track.


1. Mary __ Lincoln: TODD. [1818-1882]  Before marrying Abraham Lincoln and becoming first lady, she was courted by his political opponent Steven A Douglas.

2. Swedish superstore: IKEA.  Purveyor of knocked down furniture and many other household items.

3. San __: Cal. city nickname: FRAN.  Properly, San Francisco.  The region is known to have been occupied 5000 years ago. The city was founded by Spanish settlers in 1776.

4. FX series inspired by a Coen brothers film: FARGO.

5. Noisy bedmate: SNORER.  Guilty.

6. Traditional group dance: HORA.  A circular folk dance that originated in the balkans.

7. Decimated Asian sea: ARAL.  Formerly the 4th largest lake in the world, it has been shrinking since the 1960's due to Soviet irrigation projects diverting the rivers that fed it.  Large portions of its four basins had dried by 1997.  A restoration project by Kazakhstan had raised the water level by 12 meters between 2003 and 2008.  You can read much more about it here.

8. Karma: FATE.  The universe giving you what you deserve.

9. Course of treatment: THERAPY.

10. JFK-RMN link: LBJ.  Readily recognizable U.S. Presidents.

11. "No, still not right": GUESS AGAIN.  Try harder.

12. Snooze inducer: BORE. An uninteresting event.

13. Tot: TYKE.  Moppet.

21. Go in: ENTER.  Also a computer key

22. Up to, briefly: TIL.  Until, more longly.

26. Split: LEAVE.  Slang.

27. Luminous: AGLOW. Radiant, dazzling.

28. First Hebrew letter: ALEPH.  More here.

29. Enjoy oneself immensely: HAVE A BLAST.  TNT not required.

31. Fancy pitchers: EWERS.  Large, wide-mouthed jugs

32. Focus on, as a bull's-eye: AIM AT.

33. Alternative to dare: TRUTH.  TRUTH or dare is a game in which players must either answer a question truthfully or perform a dare.  In one variant, the questions and dares are written on slips of paper, and the player must choose one of these, sight unseen, and cannot switch.

Also, a documentary movie about Madonna's 1990 Blonde Ambition world tour.

34. Branch of Islam: SUNNI.  The larger of the 2 main branches.  The other is Shia.

35. Watercolor prop: EASEL.  An upright support typically used for working on or displaying paintings.

37. Totaled, as costs: RAN TO.

42. First name in beauty products: ESTEE. Lauder, née Josephine Esther Mentzer [1906 – 2004] was an American businesswoman.  With her husband Joseph she founded the cosmetics company for which she is the eponym.

44. Went out with someone wealthier, say: DATED UP.  Went out with someone higher on the social ladder.

47. Amaze: WOW.  Impress excessively.

48. The same number: AS MANY.   Equality.

52. __ dog: CHILI.  In the Detroit metro area they're called coneys, and it's hard to get more than a mile away from a place that sells them.  We like the Senate on Plymouth Rd.

53. Teal relative: AQUA.  Blue-green shades.

54. Go bad: TURN.  Turn sour, as milk or wine.

56. Legal thriller writer Scottoline: LISA. [b 1955] A cum laude grad in her B.A. and law degrees, both from the university of Pennsylvania.  She was a legal clerk and litigator until the birth of her daughter when she left the law firm and took up writing.  She has since written over 30 best selling novels.

57. Scott of "Hawaii Five-0": CAAN. [b 1976] The son of James Caan.  He's been with Hawaii Five-0 since 2010

58. Tending to the matter: ON IT.  Or at it.

59. Exclude: OMIT.  Leave out.

60. Puzzle with dead ends: MAZE.  A network of paths and barriers which one is supposed to find one's way through, into the center of, or out of.

61. Checkup: EXAM.  Medical appointment

63. Prosecutors, briefly: DAS. District Attorneys.

That concludes another Wednesday.  Hope this puzzle didn't bite, and you had a doggone good time.

Cool regards!