Showing posts with label Kurt Mueller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kurt Mueller. Show all posts

Sep 25, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 Kurt Mueller

Theme: "Bad girls, bad girls, whatcha gonna do when they come for you."

17A. 31/42-Across in a 1967 Dustin Hoffman film : MRS. ROBINSON

23A. 31/42-Across in a Ken Kesey novel : NURSE RATCHED

51A. 31/42-Across in a 1961 Disney animated film : CRUELLA DE VIL

64A. 31/42-Across in a Shakespeare tragedy : LADY MACBETH

31A. With 42-Across, a 1975 hit for 41-Across : EVIL and 42A. See 31-Across : WOMAN

41A. Rock gp. known for its symphonic sound : ELO. (Electric Light Orchestra)

Argyle here. A nice change of pace for the theme today. I'd say more but I have some evil women to round up.


1. Spell starter : ABRA. (Abracadabra)

5. Scours : SCRUBS

11. "Viva __ Vegas!" : LAS

14. Roller coaster feature : LOOP. Hands up for you daring individuals who have ridden a loop coaster.

15. Muscat natives : OMANIs. Muscat is the capital of Oman.

16. Blow away : AWE

19. Detroit labor org. : UAW. (United Auto Workers)

20. "Volunteers?" : "ANY ONE?"

21. Precious stone : GEM

22. Shrek, e.g. : OGRE

26. Director Craven : WES

29. Shar-__: wrinkly dog : PEI

30. Seashell seller : SHE. She sells seashells by the seashore. The shells she sells are surely seashells. So if she sells shells on the seashore, I'm sure she sells seashore shells.

33. Writes briefly (to) : DROPS A LINE

39. Neighbor of Chad : NIGER. Map.

43. Loving feelings : TENDERNESS

46. Like Granny Smith apples : TART

47. "Golly!" : "GEE!"

48. Looney Tunes dynamo, familiarly : TAZ

50. Injection amts. : CC's

57. Man around the Haus : HERR. German.

58. Actress Lupino : IDA

59. Win the heart of : ENAMOR

63. Batting stat. : AVG.

66. Take to court : SUE. For selling sea shells without a license.

67. Necessarily involve : ENTAIL

68. Suffix with switch : EROO

69. Septiembre, por ejemplo : MES. Spanish "month".

70. Without a musical key : ATONAL

71. On sale, say : LESS. This seems a little odd.


1. __ mater : ALMA

2. Brought into existence : BORN

3. Like a good outlook : ROSY

4. It may have strings attached : APRON. Cool.

5. Put all kidding aside : SOBERED

6. Roman 901 : CMI

7. Mountain chain : RANGE

8. Indy great Al : UNSER

9. Organic matter used for fuel : BIOMASS

10. Payroll ID : SSN

11. Cackle or chuckle : LAUGH

12. Clued in : AWARE

13. Put in stitches : SEWED

18. "Movin' __": "The Jeffersons" theme : ON UP. Closing theme. Much jazzier than the opening.

22. Spotted wildcat : OCELOT. What would you do if you spotted a wildcat?

24. Police car warning : SIREN

25. Winter warmer of a sort : THAW

26. "They __ thataway!" : WENT. From the old oaters.

27. Singer/songwriter Sands : EVIE. Poor quality but interesting video.(4:08) Wiki entry.

28. Omen : SIGN

32. Bookkeeper's book : LEDGER

34. Corrida cheer : ¡OLÉ!

35. Madame's mail : POSTE. French.

36. 14-year-old Apple : iMAC

37. Drug cop : NARC

38. Sinusitis docs : ENT's. (ear, nose, and throat)

40. Movie roll : REEL. Outdated.

44. Dependent : RELIANT

45. Receptacle for preventing waste : SAVE-ALL. I am unclear on what this is. Anyone with personal experience that would like to weigh in on it, please do.

49. Metal in pennies : ZINC. Thin veneer of copper.

51. Deep fissure : CHASM

52. Song-and-dance program : REVUE. Another outdated.

53. Impulses : URGES

54. Supplement : ADD TO

55. Six-Day War leader Moshe : DAYAN

56. Clothing tag : LABEL

60. Piddling : MERE

61. Midwest Native Americans : OTOs. Without the E this time.

62. P's on sorority sweaters : RHOs

64. Meadow : LEA

65. Jane Eyre portrayer Wasikowska : MIA. Image.


Sep 7, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012, Kurt Mueller

Theme: Y me? Happy September, and I hope you all enjoyed last month's Blue Moon, which I forgot to mention, which segues into our 4th offering from Mr. Mueller, who also has 5 NY Times publications, including 2 Sundays. I had difficulty with this because it was (a) not easy; (b) the 5 theme answers each have a "Y" inserted in a common two word phrase to create a new and rib tickling phrase, clued to amuse. My problem is the first two have the Y replace an "E" while the last three just add the Y at the end of the first word. To add to the difficulty of constructing, all five theme answers have food related roots. The puzzle itself is a nice blend of mid-range 6, 7 and 8 letter words with lots of new stuff, but a great many very challenging intersections- no Naticks, but maybe a Framingham or two.

17A. Inferior swim? : CHEESY (E) DIP. (9) Cheese dip emerges from the pool.

26A. Impertinent camera movement? : SAUCY (E) PAN. (8). When a camera moves about to show a scene, it called panning, and this group certainly knows what saucy means.

35A. Burly Green Bay gridder? : MEATY PACKER. (11) We all know the team from Wisconsin and these days even the little guys are burly.

52A. Canine telling bad jokes? : CORNY DOG.(8) I might have tried something more with the dog part of the clue, considering all the other words in here subject to double meanings.

62A. Suspicious wartime sight? : FISHY TANK.(9) What image do you get?


1. Musician Ocasek et al. : RICS. Not to sound like marti, but who are the other ones? Here is a CUT (3:43) from his debut album after he left the Cars. You might want to hang on to some of it guys.

5. See 15-Across : JUST. with 15A. With 5-Across, barely : ONLY. I only just got this.

9. Cavaradossi's love : TOSCA. I did not know this, and the crossing with Henry Moore was tough, but the TO___ was enough for to make an educated guess. An excuse to LINK (3:00) some Placido.

14. When some deadlocks are resolved, briefly : IN OT, Over Time. I first read this as DREADLOCKS, too much SKA.

16. Racing venue near Windsor Castle : ASCOT. We had this track recently in a Bruce S./Doug P. collaboration.

19. Quick trip : JAUNT.

20. Ran out of patience : HAD IT. I've had with all the sniping in the world.

21. Column affording views : OP- ED. Last time I had this fill we started another dispute over the meaning so I am out of it.

23. Shirt size: Abbr. : LGE.

24. Novelist Glyn : ELINOR. Another unknown AUTHOR.

29. Shoved off : SET SAIL. Nice new fill.

31. Cried : SHOUTED. Hmm, okay another one.

32. Half a tuba sound : OOM. PAH!

34. Oafs : CLODS. We could be back playing in the dirt with C.C. and Hard G.

40. Split : APART. TomKat. You all enjoy the new Cruise scandal with the pretty Iranian girl? She was Barney's girlfriend on How I Met Your Mother.

42. Calypso cousin : SKA. Again?

43. Shackle : LEG IRON. More nice fill.

46. Kind of offer that saves time : ALL CASH. And money, usually.

54. Over : FINITO. A common foreign word, used in the language, like Ciao!

55. "He's mine, ___ am his": "Coriolanus" : OR I. Act I, Scene 10. Obscure Shakespeare, but still...

  • Tullus Aufidius. Condition!
    I would I were a Roman; for I cannot,
    Being a Volsce, be that I am. Condition!
    What good condition can a treaty find
    I' the part that is at mercy? Five times, CORIOLANUS, 885
    I have fought with thee: so often hast thou beat me,
    And wouldst do so, I think, should we encounter
    As often as we eat. By the elements,
    If e'er again I meet him beard to beard,
    He's mine, or I am his: mine emulation
    Hath not that honour in't it had; for where
    I thought to crush him in an equal force,
    True sword to sword, I'll potch at him some way
    Or wrath or craft may get him.

56. "Get __": 1967 Esquires hit : ON UP. This SONG (2:30) which you will recognize, was recorded by many others who were more famous.

58. GPS precursor : LORAN. LOng RAnge Navigation is how ships long use triangulation to plot courses.

59. Critical : VITAL.

64. Wonderland cake words : EAT ME. You all are on your own here, as my thoughts cannot be captured, this puzzle begs for a Lois recap.

65. Urgent letters : ASAP. As Soon As Possible.

66. Behold, to Caesar : ECCE. back to haunt me from last week, the ECCO is part of the conjugation of the verb.

67. "Golf Begins at Forty" author : SNEAD. Slammin' Sammy, one of the 3 greats born in 1912.

68. Asian holidays : TETS. I do not want to be offensive, but I am sure we all have bad memories of this.

69. Starting point : SEED. Oh I do miss Lois and her comments; Dennis any comment from you?


1. Megabucks : RICHES. Like these? LINK.(1:55).

2. Sniff : INHALE. Tricky.

3. Make the cut together? : CO-EDIT. Another very difficult clue to suss.

4. Oktoberfest souvenirs : STEINS. The Friday beer reference.

5. Dawn rival : JOY. Not Tony Orlando, not dusk, not even Palmolive.

6. Menu choice : UNDO. I hit that key often when I write here.

7. Receipts, e.g. : SLIPS. I had a tough time with this as well.

8. High-strung sorts : TYPE A'S. I know no apostrophe goes there but you have to get away from reading it "AS."

9. New Jersey casino, with "The" : TAJ. Mahal.

10. Mama bear, in Madrid : OSA. We have this Spanish word often.

11. Henry Moore, e.g. : SCULPTOR. The only Henry Moore I knew was tailor in Hartford, but I guess it is my LOSS,. very abstractly sexual.

12. Joined a line, in a way : CONGAED. Is this a real verb? I know you dance in a CONGA (2:17) line, so I guess....

13. Shows up : ATTENDS.

18. Old congregating locale : STOA. The Greek built these for public gatherings.

22. "Like, no kidding!" : DUH.

25. Scream : RIOT. Similar to a Panic.

27. Prepare to fire : COCK. To pull back the hammer...

28. Noel : YULE.

30. Powell's "The Thin Man" co-star : LOY. Myrna as Nora CHARLES,(2:50).

33. Gitmo guards : MPS. Military Police (S?)

35. Belgian surrealist : MAGRITTE. Also very SEXUAL but not so abstract.

36. Yeats's home : ERIN. Considering all the sex and innuendo in this puzzle, I have to add, Go Braghless.

37. "It's worth ___" : A TRY.

38. Rap sheet letters : AKA. Also Known As.

39. New gnu : CALF. Who knew?

40. Breakfast places : ALCOVES. Not related to AL GORES.

41. Average American, it's said : PEORIAN. When I was a kid, they said the standard for airing a television show was, "would it play in Peoria" so this was a gimme for me.

44. "Star Trek: DSN" character : ODO. he is the shape shifting head of security on Deep Space Nine, played by René Auberjonois, a character actor from many series.

45. Milk for losers : NON-FAT. Loser of weight, nothing un-pc.

47. ___ pad : LILY. Nickname of Marshall's wife on How I Met Your Mother. (See it really all ties together).

48. Grand decade : C-NOTES. It takes ten $100 bills to make a Grand, very hard.

49. Top gun : AIR ACE. We have had ace many times. More Tom Cruise?

50. Batting coach's subject : STANCE. Feet shoulder width, weight slightly on your back foot...

51. Tooted : HONKED. No bathroom humor hear.

53. Semblance : GUISE. The root word for disguise.

57. H.S. exam : PSAT. You know this one.

60. Dr.'s order? : AMA. American Medical Association.

61. Set the pace : LED. Wow, finally an easy one!

63. Some PCs : HPS. Hewlett Packards.

Answer grid.

This was quite a work out with a little of everything, by far my most time consuming solve and write up in a while, but you know what? We made it to the end, and we overcame- or was that a different puzzle? Kurt Mueller, hmm KM, killing me....until next time....มีวันหยุดที่ดี. Ha en flott helg.


May 28, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012 Kurt Mueller

Theme: That's One Strange Critter - Do we have any artists that could sketch this animal and posted it somehow? I'm sure I could search all of Googledom and not find an image to match!

17A. TV-top antenna : RABBIT EARS. You don't see ads for rabbit ear antennas much anymore.

30A. Airhead : BIRDBRAIN

36A. Sharp bends in fairways : DOGLEGS

38A. Reedy marsh plant : CATTAIL. They are being pushed out by invasive Phragmites.

46A. Craps loser : SNAKE EYES. Rolling a two(3 or 12 are crap/loser, also.) in the dice game called craps.

63A. Snug-collared top : TURTLENECK

Argyle here. Minor problem: some entries are one word and some are two. Does it matter? Not to me. They are all animals and they are all body parts but they are clued as animorphized objects. Don't bother looking that one up; I just coined it. It is giving animal traits to non-animals. You got something better, let's hear it.

In the meantime, six entries and a couple of strong corners make for a pretty good Monday puzzle, eh? Kurt hasn't been around for a couple of years but he still has it.

Well, I'll be, the NYT puzzle today is Kurt Mueller's, too.


1. Cotton swabs : Q-TIPS

6. "Rush Hour" co-star Jackie : CHAN

10. Installs, as carpeting : LAYS

14. Figure out, as a bill : TOT UP

15. Promote extravagantly : HYPE

16. All over again : ANEW

19. Enthusiastic hand-raiser's cry : "ME! ME!"

20. Canonized mlle. : STE. French.

21. Iowa crop : CORN

22. Like pant legs : SEAMED. Or a silk stocking.

24. Adjust the pitch of, as a guitar string : RETUNE

26. Pickling liquid : BRINE

27. Hightail it : FLEE

32. Corrida showman : TORERO. A bullfighter. Kingston Trio - El Matador.(2:28)

35. Stud farm stud : SIRE

43. Where resented comments stick, metaphorically : CRAW. (throat)

45. Concert memento : T-SHIRT

51. The "E" in FEMA: Abbr. : EMER. Fed. Emer. Mgmt. Agcy.

52. Circle dances : HORAs

53. Mr. Bill's nemesis, in "Saturday Night Live" skits : SLUGGO

56. Unwilling (to) : AVERSE

58. "Pants on fire" fellow : LIAR

59. __ Vegas : LAS. No longer a Splynter destination.

62. Man-to-man defense alternative : ZONE

66. "This weighs __!" : A TON

67. Hint : CLUE

68. Atlanta university : EMORY

69. David Wright's team : METS. Third baseman.

70. Ranch employee : HAND

71. Vetoes : NIXES


1. Fiscal-yr. fourths : QTR's. (quarters)

2. Right on the nose : TO A "T"

3. "Could __ Magic": Barry Manilow hit : IT BE. Barry with the late Donna Summer, Link(5:42), at the Mandalay Bay Arena in Las Vegas, NV, on June 5, 2004.

4. Place for drafts and darts : PUB

5. Cinnamon or cloves : SPICE. Spice up your eggnog.

6. Rosy-cheeked angel : CHERUB

7. Cape Cod fishing port : HYANNIS. Gee, isn't there a famous compound out there.

8. Mo. for fools? : APR.. When the 99% pay taxes.

9. Monster's loch : NESS

10. Hollywood's Hedy : LAMARR

11. Iron-poor blood condition : ANEMIA

12. Sana'a native : YEMENI. Map. West of Oman, which means it is west of Mumbai.

13. Homeland of Saab and Volvo : SWEDEN. Sob! Sob! Saab is homeless now.

18. Moppet : TOT

23. __ Field: Brooklyn Dodgers' home : EBBETS. Charles Ebbets financed the building of Ebbets Field in 1912 by selling half his shares in the team to the McKeever Brothers.

24. Barn dance dance : REEL. Yellowrocks.

25. Songwriter Clapton : ERIC. He's much more than just a songwriter.

27. Busy co. on Mother's Day : FTD. Founded as Florists' Telegraph Delivery, it is now Florists' Transworld Delivery.

28. Lav in London : LOO. Lav is shortened lavatory.

29. Unit of work : ERG

31. "Dang!" : "DRAT!"

33. Schoolyard playtime : RECESS

34. Fairy tale baddie : OGRE

37. Utters : SAYS

39. Van Gogh's brother : THEO. A quick peek at the Wikipedia article, will explain why he is famous.

40. Zero in : AIM

41. Ill temper : IRE

42. Photocopier tray size: Abbr. : LTR. (letter size)

44. Like an efficiently managed business : WELL RUN

46. Exclamation from Gomer Pyle : "SHAZAM!"

47. Dissenting ballot : NO VOTE

48. "Am too!" reply : "ARE NOT!"

49. Actresses Black and Allen : KARENs

50. Befitted : SUITED

54. Guy's partner : GAL. Guys and Gals premiered on Broadway in 1950.

55. Eco-friendly : GREEN

57. Make an engraving : ETCH

59. Tenth of 13 popes : LEO X.

John - 23 times
Benedict - 16 times
Gregory - 16 times
Clement - 14 times
Innocent - 13 times
Leo - 13 times
Pius - 12 times
Stephen - 10 times

60. Farm fraction : ACRE

61. "The __ the limit!" : SKY'S

64. Suffix with "form" : ULA

65. Abbr. for people with only two names : NMI. (no middle initial)


Dec 9, 2010

Thursday December 9, 2010 Kurt Mueller

Theme: Add a letter - Not to the answer, but to each successive clue.

16A. M: JAMES BOND'S BOSS. Sir Miles Messervy, as per The Man With the Golden Gun.


37A. Max: PHYSICIST PLANCK. The founder of quantum theory.

51A. Maxi: LONG SKIRT. You have to be a special kind of person to pull this off.

62A. Maxim: PITHY PRINCIPLE. Because "men's magazine" didn't fit...

Hi all, Al here.

A tough theme to continue, I could only go two more steps without resorting to plurals:

Maxima: Nissan Model
Maximal: BeastWars Transformer

I found this puzzle both fun and entertaining, almost Naddoresque in places for the choice of answers like JIM DANDY, CHEAPO, TRIKE, and ZANIER. Also clues that tied together like "little wood", "little butt", "little rascal", and other misdirections. There did seem to be a few names, most not too bad, but the cross of AFT and FROMM did make me have to guess at first, not being one to read classified ads.


1. Magic: MOJO. Originally meant a lucky charm in the shape of a hand, often worn between the legs, by gamblers and by women (against infidelity). It may derive from the West African Fula word moco’o, a medicine man, or from Gullah moco, meaning witchcraft or magic.

5. Time in a classified ad: AFT. Afternoon, I'm guessing...

8. Syrian president: ASSAD.

13. Surrounded by: AMID.

14. Bud: BRO. Pal, chum, homey, cuz.

15. Little wood: COPSE. Shortening of "coppice", which also has the same meaning: a small grove of trees planted specifically for cutting.

19. So-so connection?: AND. The original use was just to indicate something that is unspecified: "If I want to do so and so, then that's my business!" A similar phrase is "such and such". It has evolved into a euphemism for something unmentionable due to common use, thus acquiring a negative connotation itself: "You dirty so and so!" .

20. __ forces: ARMED. The notion of arms seems to be "that which is fitted together." Meaning "heraldic insignia" (in coat of arms, etc.) originally displayed on shields of fully armed knights or barons.

21. Senate majority leader Harry: REID.

23. Baseball stat.: AVG.

28. More clownish: ZANIER. Originally Zanni, Venetian dialect variant of Gianni, pet form of Giovanni "John." A stock character in old comedies, he aped the principal actors.

31. Doesn't try to reach the green, in golf: LAYS UP. For a safer next shot, use one instead of losing two. Unless you're like me and lose the next two in the pond anyway.

32. Current letters: AC-DC. Also an Aussie hard rock band.

33. Less taxing: EASIER. Like this clue.

43. Most tender: SOREST. I had wondered about the use of "sore" in a few old movies as meaning "very" (I am plumb sore wore out), until the eytmology dictionary pointed out the related German word "sehr", which, oddly enough, means "very".

44. Pace: GAIT. "A walking, or departure", related to gate, from Old Norse gata, a way or path.

45. Low-quality: CHEAPO. Brings to mind bad-smelling cigars.

49. Sumatran swingers: ORANGS.

55. Site of a 1981 sitcom honeymoon: ORK. Mork & Mindy. We've been seeing a lot of them lately.

56. Minute amount: IOTA. The Greek letter "i", which is the smallest letter, so literally the least part of anything.

57. __ badge: MERIT.

59. "Big Blue": IBM. Perhaps the logo, suits, mainframe color, or a combination of all three.

66. Old number?: ETHER. Not a counting number, but to numb your senses, an anesthetic.

67. Instrument on which Jake Shimabukuro can play "Bohemian Rhapsody": UKE. Jake is simply awe-inspiring. I may have also linked his version of Harrison's WMGGW before, but I'm doing it again, just because I think it would have been an even better choice for the clue.

68. Kind of officer or shark: LOAN.

69. Meg and Robert: RYANS.

70. __ Perce tribe: NEZ.

71. Asian beef source: KOBE. Kobe beef fat will actually begin dissolving at 77F degrees, which means the meat will literally melt in your mouth. If prepared as steak, kobe beef cannot be cooked more than medium rare, as it would otherwise liquefy.


1. Goya subject: MAJA. Two paintings, same model and pose, one clothed, one nude.

2. Yemen neighbor: OMAN.

3. Crackerjack: JIM DANDY.

4. Poetic tribute: ODE. From Late Latin, a "lyric song".

5. Common crossword clue letters: ABBR. Why does the word abbreviate need to be so long?

6. "The Art of Loving" author: FROMM. Erich, who presents love as a skill that can be taught and developed. I thought that book was called the Kama Sutra...

7. Cartridge filler: TONER. I started thinking gunpowder, then ink.

8. Coolers, briefly: ACS. Recently saw this clue for air conditioners.

9. One may be choked back: SOB. There, there, just let it all out.

10. Stylish: SPORTY. Concerning cars, I guess.

11. They may be liquid or frozen: ASSETS.

12. Original "Star Trek" studio: DESILU. Was owned by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball.

17. Wise one: SAGE. Also an acoustic performance by Greg Lake of ELP.

18. Driller's deg.: DDS. Doctor of Dental Surgery.

22. Bank acct. entry: DEP. Deposit. Could have been INT.

24. Morrow and Damone: VICS.

26. One who lifts a lot?: KLEPTO. Lifting as slang for theft, not like these people.

27. '50s-'60s chief justice Warren: EARL.

28. Microwave: ZAP.

29. Cologne cry: ACH. German interjection. Lieber Augustin was a popular street musician, who, according to legend, fell into a pit filled with bodies of plague victims, late at night when he was drunk. Assuming that he was certain to catch the disease they left him for dead. Augustin did not contract the disease, which may have been owed to the influence of the alcohol. That sounds like a story for Ripley's Believe it or Not...

30. Boil over?: RECOOK. Over as "again", not as spilling onto the stove.

34. __ Jordan: Nike brand: AIR. I tend to avoid celebrity-endorsed products. Does that make me a hipster?

35. Vane dir.: SSE.

36. Part of TGIF: ITS. Thank God It's Friday. A mantra to take you to a happy place.

38. AOL et al.: ISPS. Internet Service Providers. It was pretty short-sighted to call it America on line, but the internet was young and hadn't taken over the world yet, I guess.

39. Culture medium: AGAR. They don't call it "smelly lab" for nothing... Not the agar itself, but the bacteria that gets grown on it.

40. Lover of Yum-Yum in "The Mikado": NANKIPOO.

41. Little butt?: CIG. Abbreviation for cigarette.

42. Gold meas.: KTS. Karats are the purity proportion. Carats are weight.

45. Second-century date: CLI. Well, it had to start with a C. After that, hope for perps.

46. Barrel worker: HOOPER. Someone had to make those metal bands that held the staves together.

47. Thing: ENTITY. That which is. Related to the crosswordese Latin word ESSE: "to be"

48. Hercule's creator: AGATHA. Hercule Poirot, Christie's Belgian detective with the active "little grey cells". David Suchet is my favorite portrayer.

50. Uniformed campus gp.: ROTC. Reserve Officers' Training Corps. I kept reading this as un-informed for some reason.

52. Little rascal: IMP. Originally just meant a shoot or graft of a plant, then transferred to human form with the sense of "newness". Pejorative association with phrases like "imp of Satan" gives us the present day meaning.

53. Chance to see what you missed the first time: RERUN.

54. Early mode of transportation: TRIKE. Cute clue. Early, meaning young, not ages ago. I wanted something else at first, like a horse.

58. Powerful 1966 hurricane: INEZ. Because the date was given to be in 1966, just find a female name that fits the perp letters and move along without further comment.

60. Yak: BLAB.

61. Word on a biblical wall: MENE. The idiom "The writing on the wall", to be able to foresee doom approaching, is a biblical story in the book of Daniel. King Belshazzar and his court praise the gods of gold and silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone. A disembodied hand appears and writes "Mene, Mene, Tekel u-Pharsin" on the wall. Daniel interprets this to mean God is displeased, and the end of the kingdom is at hand. Sure enough, the king is slain that night. You really had to be careful what you said to people back then, I guess...

63. Cock's mate: HEN. I've never heard it called that before...

64. Jr. and sr.: YRS. School years.

65. Type: ILK. Same. Related word: like

Notes from C.C.:

1) Today, we celebrate the birthday of the always attentive & caring Hahhool, who, together with Argyle & Dennis, has probably read every comment on the blog in the past two years, including those (deleted) mean-spirited troll posts.

2) We also celebrate, though a bit late, Bill G's return to his wonderful home & our blog for the holidays. Click here to see a picture of Bill, his loving wife Barbara and their three beautiful kids. And here to see Bill, Barbara and their adorable grand-kids. Both photos were taken last Sunday. Yesterday Bill asked how everyone pronounces "dissect". I "die-SECT", with long I. How about you?


Sep 25, 2009

Friday September 25, 2009 Kurt Mueller

Theme: Kinship - KIN is inserted into a familiar phrase.

17A. Gear up for Halloween?: PRIME THE PUMP(KIN). Dictionary defines "prime the pump" as "to increase government expenditure in an effort to stimulate the economy". So the current economic stimulus package is pump-priming, correct?

38A. Yokel resting in the woods?: BUMP(KIN) ON A LOG. "Like a bump on a log" = unmoving/inactive. New idiom to me.

60A. Steals the dinner cloth from Garfield's lap?: TAKES A CAT NAP(KIN). Take a catnap. Garfield is a cat in comic strip "Garfield".

How I wish the last theme answer started with KIN*! It would be very balanced.

We seem to follow the old TMS Daily mode now. Monday and Tuesday puzzles get a bit tougher than normal and the late week puzzles are considerably easier.

How do feel about this trend? Happy? Unhappy? Come to the Comments section and let me know your opinion.


1. Held (on) by stitches: SEWN. It's clued as "Attached with thread" the other day. Rich mentioned he tries not to repeat the same clue for at least 2 months.

5. Cavalry weapon: LANCE. Oh, still no Armstrong reference? "It's Not about Bike" is a great read.

10. Farm females: EWES. Tell us more about EWE or you, Windhover. What are you going to bring to the Farmer's Market tomorrow?

15. Starting unit: A-TEAM

20. Heart-to-heart talk: TETE-A-TETE. Just mentioned this phrase the other day. Literally "head to head".

21. Hurricane feature: EYE

22. Maui strings: UKE. Waiting for Al for some G string education.

23. Pin near the gutter: TEN. Or SEVEN.

24. Per se: AS SUCH

27. "Frankenstein" author Shelley: MARY. Poet Shelley's wife.

29. Swings around: SLUES

32. Mahmoud Abbas's gp.: PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization). Abbas looks like a person of reason. Arafat was hopeless.

36. How ballerinas dance: ON TIPTOE

41. Split up: SEPARATE

43. Withdrawal site, for short: ATM. Ha ha, money. I was picturing a REHAB center.

44. Arcade games trailblazer: ATARI

46. Univ. sports organizer: NCAA

50. Any one of Cinderella's stepfamily, e.g.: MEANIE. JD has over 60 versions of Cinderella.

52. Expert on IRS forms: CPA. This answer pops up way too often.

55. Fest mo.: OCT. Octoberfest.

56. Wood of the Rolling Stones: RON

57. Enter stealthily: SNEAK INTO. There is a KIN inside this phrase.

63. Rink jump: AXEL

65. Ballesteros of the PGA: SEVE. He'll be at the British Open next year. No Tom Watson miracle I am afraid.

66. Queens team: METS. Sigh! Tigers won again, Jazzbumpa/Fred.


1. Facial wall that may be deviated: SEPTUM. New word to me. The clue means nothing to me.

2. "Bingo!": EUREKA. Ah, California!

3. Columnist, e.g.: WRITER. "Blogger, e.g." too.

4. Alaskan gold-rush town: NOME. Gold-rush around 1899, when NOME was the most populated city in Alaska.

5. Cappuccino cousin: LATTE

6. Capital north of the Sea of Crete: ATHENS

7. Big name in hair-removal cream: NEET. Rival of NAIR.

9. Big bird: EMU. Big and flightless. I like the two "Big" clue echo.

10. Annual sports awards: ESPYS. ESPY Awards = Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards.

11. Be roused from sleep by, as music: WAKE UP TO

12. Yale Blue wearer: ELI. "Boola Boola" is Yale's fight song.

18. Put away: EAT. Got the answer from Across fill. Not a familiar definition to me.

19. Handel oratorio: MESSIAH. Handel's most famous work.

24. Health insurance giant: AETNA. Named after the volcano ETNA. AETNA might have start ed as fire insurance company.

25. Roto-Rooter target: CLOG

26. Weeding tool: HOE. I am going to grow zucchini next year. Sounds fun.

28. Arizona city on the Colorado River: YUMA

30. Soloist?: LONER. Reminds me of the single bullet theory. Who do you think killed JFK?

31. Game with Skip cards: UNO

34. Wrist twists, e.g.: SPRAINS. I've sprained my left ankle three times.

35. Boot with a blade: SKATE

38. __ noire: bane: BETE. Literally beast. BETE noire = black beast.

39. High-end, as merchandise: UPMARKET. New word to me.

41. Friend of Frodo: SAM. Easy guess. Have never read "The Lord of the Rings".

45. Summer drink with a lemon twist, maybe: ICE TEA. Or ICED TEA. The latter is more common. I only drink hot tea.

47. Bopped on the bean: CONKED

48. On the go: ACTIVE

53. Cultivated violet: PANSY. Delicate yet hardy.

54. Rap sheet letters: AKA

58. Part of N.L.: Abbr.: NATL

59. __ facto: IPSO. Literally itself. facto= fact. IPSO facto = by the fact itself.

60. Skye cap: TAM. Skye is an island in Scotland. The clue plays on skycap the airport porter.

61. Dismiss, informally: AXE

62. Pal of Pierre: AMI. Boring clue, isn't it? Alliteration won't help.

Answer grid.

When you have time, read this crossword article Dennis linked yesterday. The constructor Bernice Gorden is 95 years old and still at it.

Come back tomorrow to celebrate the birthday and the guest-blogging debut of a regular commenter.