Showing posts with label Mark Diehl. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mark Diehl. Show all posts

Sep 23, 2017

Saturday, Sep 23rd, 2017, Mark Diehl

Theme: None

Words: 68 (pangram~!)

Blocks: 27

  This one looked like it was going to be brutal, but I must have been on the Mr. Diehl's wavelength, because I ended up sailing through after the first DOWN run.  A lot of my success had to do with being open-minded about two-word answers, and there were a lot of those this week(*).  Several answers were squarely in my wheelhouse, too - like 50a.  A crushing amount of 6-, 7-, and 8-letter answers - nothing longer - and a mere four 3-letter answers.  Here's some corner connector answers;

19. Former Haitian president : ARISTIDE - Unknown, filled via perps; his Wiki

47. Immortal Kiev-born pianist : HOROWITZ - LIBERACE fit, but Bzzzt

10*. D, P or S, on quarters : MINT MARK - I put in MINT CITY, which in retrospect seems odd, if not correct

 31*. Fleming work : SPY NOVEL - gratuitous Daniel Craig as James Bond image for C.C.


1. The punch in Planter's Punch : ETHANOL - I guess I must be getting sober-er, because ALCOHOL never crossed my mind, even if it was the wrong answer

8*. Set overly easy goals : AIM LOW

14. Disk problem : SCIATICA - my first thought was SCRATCH, like a Compact Disc, but it didn't fit, and so I switched mental gears and figured it referred to one's back

15. Curly-haired "Peanuts" character : FRIEDA - not a big fan of the strip, this filled via perps and a WAG

16. Foreshadows : PORTENDS

17. Like rattlers : FANGED - ah, the snake, not the baby toy

18*. Drawn : IN A TIE - ah, not sketched or saddened

21*. Policy at certain clubs : NO MEN

22. Display some guns : FLEX - the "20-inch biceps" kind of guns; curiosity got the better of me, so I measured my own - a little over 12 inches.  Now you try doing it with a standard metal tape measure....

23. "Wuthering Heights" setting : MOOR

24. Gulf States leader : EMIR

25. Taylor of "American Crime" : LILI

26. Wedding announcement : BANNS - I knew this from doing crosswords, and yet I was unsure of the origin, so I went looking for an answer - here - ironic that one outcome could be that the marriage is "BANNed"

27. It's in many poems : 'TIS

28. Sachet filler : LAVENDER - FRAGRANCE was too long

30*. Informal passing remark? : 'SCUSE ME

32*. Repository for spare or unused parts : JUNK BOX - more likely to be a junk DRAWER around here

36*. Cheerleading outfit? : PEP SQUAD - nailed it (and that helped a lot because I am familiar with 37d.)

38. Lummox : APE - oops, not OAF

39. Covered carriages : SHAYS

42. Reverse of a knit : PURL - the 'mechanics' of knitting, if you will

43. Selfish sort : USER

44. Be the first to say : COIN - I "coined"  STOG two weeks ago, and Dennis gave us "clecho" long before I got here

45. Pâté base : FOIE

46. Month after diciembre : ENERO - good guess on my part

49. Company whose name appears in an odometer in its logo : CARFAX

50. Commonly seen brown vehicle : UPS VAN - my UPS days are numbered, one way or another - I have come to the conclusion that the benefits are not worth the aggravation, and the pay is pitiful; I've already got an interview set up on Monday - it's at 9:30am, so I guess I'll have to take the day from UPS....

51. Gross out : NAUSEATE

53. It may be rolled up on a farm : SLEEVE

54. Like the praying mantis : ONE-EARED

55. In Tupperware, say : SEALED - clever; I got it

56. Ready to ride : SADDLED - I just got "saddled" with a $60 "use tax" on my work van's registration; what, I need to pay more to USE my registration~?


1. Cost-effective : ECONOMIC

2. Dessert with a kick : TIRAMISU

3. Mad __ : HATTER

4*. Took courses at home : ATE IN - meals, not school courses

5. West Coast ZIP starter : NINE - the show "90210" (CA) helped here; goes all the way to Bellingham WA, 98229 and beyond

6. Neatnik's possible condition, briefly : OCD - Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

7. Mississippi explorer : LaSALLE - perps

8. Tack on : AFFIX - I had ANNEX; 100% 40% correct

9. Line 32 items on 1040 forms : IRAs

11. Vast multitude : LEGION

12*. Had way too much of : ODed ON - life itself

Blue Öyster Cult

13. Angler's gear : WADERS

14. Grand children? : SPINETS - piano offspring~?

20. Pull over, say? : RE-INJURE - think 'pull a muscle', again

22*. Fin : FIVE SPOT - cash, moola, money

25. Lighter : LAMP - I don't associate light-er with lamp, but I guess I'll just have to.... 
26. Give a little : BEND

28. Wranglers alternative : LEES - jeans

29. Part of DINK : DUAL - Income, No Kids

33. Ride cost before taxes and such : BASE FARE

34. Ran : OPERATED

35. Ran off : XEROXED - Scrabbly

37. Subway alternative : QUIZNO'S - hero sandwich shops

39. Speed down a slope : SCHUSS

40. Rockers Mott the __ : HOOPLE

41*. Like some offshore rescues : AIR/SEA

43. "Are you kidding me?!" : UNREAL

45. Punished in court, in a way : FINED

46. Let up : EASED

48. Parade greeting : WAVE - my parents were born and raised in England, so....

Aye up, me duck~!
49. Helped on stage : CUED

52. Literary assortment : ANA - learned from doing crosswords


Jun 24, 2017

Saturday, Jun 24th, 2017, Mark Diehl

Theme: None

Words: 66 (missing J,Q,V,Z)

Blocks: 26

Phew~!  I knew this was going to be a mental workout when I saw the constructor's name, and that certainly held true.  Lots of long entries, with a stagger step of 5 ten-letter answers up the middle.  Extremely deceptive cluing, and for me, unfortunately, some awful proper names (*) - and crossing, no less.  Still, I only red-letter cheated one square, which led to the discovery of one bad entry, and that held up the SW corner, my only problem area - and I managed to finish with one second left on my personal allotted time clock.  My brain is extra extra the 15-letter climber.  Here's that and some of the long fill;

8d. Like a trenta at Starbucks : EXTRA EXTRA LARGE - I don't 'do' Starbucks - it's my own coffee, or 7-11's

 I found this, too - funny

27d. Doesn't toss and turn : SLEEPS EASY - only with the A/C these days - and hold the trenta....

9d. The Beatles' "Help!" is one : TITLE TRACK - nice clue/answer

 In semaphore, that spells N U J V; half our missing letters

37. Certain racing vehicle : BURLAP SACK - nice. And if you've got the legs, you can rock a burlap sack dress....

27a. Poor working conditions : SWEAT BOXES - uh, like UPS these days - I won the hydration raffle yesterday, so here I am with Donna, our safety girl - she brings me lollipops.    Note my new scanner, which has added to the "poor" working conditions

 Hey now - that's just a crayon in my pocket....


1. It can affect where you stop on a road trip : GAS PRICE - similar answer to last week's start - GAS PUMPS

9. Three-legged table : TEAPOY - new term for me - however when I Googled images, they seem to be more than just "three-legged" tables now

15. Customary : ORTHODOX - Orthorunics~!

16. How old radios are heard : IN MONO - total WAG, but it stayed

17. Fed with a wand : TSA AGENT - another dupe from last week

18. Plugged away : TOILED

19. Botched, with "up" : MESSED - hesitated, seemed to easy for the puzzle

20. Tiny stream : RILL

22. Milk source : EWE - not SOW, but that's 0% 33.3% correct

23. Detail on a map : INSET

24. Judicious : SANE

25*. "I Lost It at the Movies" author : KAEL - perps

26. Took part in a cover-up : LIED

29. __-Tiki : KON

30*. One with all the answers? : ALEX TREBEK - funny, I tried SMART ALEC, which didn't fit

31. Company car advantage : FLEET RATE

32. Identity verification system : BIOMETRICS

34*. Hodges of the Dodgers : GIL - hey, I knew this one~!

38. Baskin-Robbins order : CONE

39. Breezed through : ACED

40. It's under a foot : SOLE - oops, not INCH

41. Eighth of 24 : THETA - oh, got me - not THREE, but the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet

42. Many ATM deposits : CKS - ugh.  Checks are all that I deposit, but this was the weakest of the answers lot

43*. Part of a hip-hop trio name : PEPA - argh~!  I had PE-A, and was thinking peee - a, not peh-pa - as in Salt N' Pepa

44. Makes a good living : DOES OK

45*. Keys on a piano : ALICIA - deceptive; I tried BLACKS

47. Give new life to : RECREATE

49. Abs strengtheners : LEG-UPS - Argh~!  not SIT ups, my bad entry

50. It's rarely taken home : GROSS PAY

51*. Inspector in Elizabeth George mysteries : LYNLEY

52*. Two-time British Open champ : ERNIE ELS - good WAG on my part - did not get out on the course or the driving range this week - but I do want to check out that "Downhill Lie"


1. Ad campaign almost dismissed by its creators for grammatical inaccuracy : GOT MILK~?

2*. Hall of fame : ARSENIO - clever misdirection, but I got it

3*. Nine-time presidential candidate : STASSEN

4. Introduced in stages, with "in" : PHASED

5*. He had a way with words : ROGET - thesaurus guy

6. Named : IDed

7. Bamboozle : CON - semi 'eh' with KON in the puzzle, too

10. Organic compound : ENOL

11. "What __ bid for ... " : AM I - not in my wheelhouse

12. Weapon similar to a halberd : POLEAXE

13. Salary period : ONE WEEK

14. Off-peak calls? : YODELS - that kind of off (the) peak call - har-har

21. Quicker than quick : IN A TRICE

24. Fruit also called a sugar apple : SWEETSOP - never heard of or seen one - I guess I don't get out much (to the tropics)

25. __ beef : KOBE

28. Santa Anita action : BETS - west coast clue - I never heard of the place

30. Michigan city or college : ALMA

31. Decide not to call : FOLD - Poker terms

32*. "Firing Line" host : BUCKLEY

33. Parting words : "I RESIGN."

34. Has a cow : GOES APE

35. All told : IN TOTAL

36. Olduvai Gorge paleontologists : LEAKEYS - not a clue - this is what I found when I went Googling after I finished

37*. "Applause" Tony winner : BACALL

38. Jack in a box lunch : CHEESE - Monterey, that is

41. Tanks cover them : TORSI - tank tops, and upper bodies - nice deception

43. Frosty feature : PIPE - oh, the Christmas character - got me for a long time

We're halfway to UPS Christmas season already

44. Raid shelfmate : D-CON

46. __-de-sac : CUL

48. Muck it up : ERR


Nov 26, 2016

Saturday, Nov 26th, 2016, Mark Diehl

Theme: "Rough Diehl"

Words: 66 (missing J,K,Q,W,Z)

Blocks: 22

Phew~!  I solved it.  Did not look good.  Admit to one "post-fill Google", and two red-letter cheats.  Ran over my personal allotted time in less than two minutes.  I am calling this one a win.  The fateful double whammy of chunky corners tied into two double stacks of 15-letter spanners, and this one was going to be a total blank, or at best a slog, as far as I could tell - and the only reason I was able to get through this brutally brilliant construction was due to the fact that I had a streak of proper names that I knew were definitively correct; I put "*"s next to those clues.  The lowest block count I have ever seen in a 15x15 grid, with 26 being the next closest; add to that the fact that in my opinion, there was no 'meh' fill, and I have to admire this one from Mr. Diehl.  The four spanners, and the bonus 13-letter central climber;

15. Loaded : AS RICH AS CROESUS - my Google; I had the name part via crossings, and I checked to see if there was a "financial" connection to this person - the Wiki

17. Side dish in a sauce : CREAMED POTATOES - my small family decided on ordering Thankgiving dinner, and we got creamed potatoes instead of mashed - I liked them, but mom and bro did not

50. Cub, for one : NATIONAL LEAGUER - and World Series winner after 108 years

53. Saint-Exupéry classic : THE LITTLE PRINCE - asteroids are involved - the Wiki

16. Sushi bar selection : SPICY TUNA ROLL - not a fan of uncooked fish, but I am familiar with the selections being some type of "roll", which helped



1. Renewable fuel source : BIOMASS

8. Licorice-flavored liqueur : SAMBUCA - I had "FIRST DOG" for 8d., which made this hard to see, but I am rather "familiar" with this cordial

18. Rashness : HASTE

19. Came across by chance : LIT ON - I had HIT ON

20. Sch. that moved from the Mountain West Conf. to the Big 12 in 2012 : TCU - all perps

21. Prefix with analysis : META - meta-analysis, but in this case, a hyphenated prefix

22. Odd page, normally : RECTO - nailed it; I also know what the frontispiece is

23. Critter with tusks : BOAR

24. Barley wine, e.g. : ALE - argh~! How did I not get this~!? I had no clue

25. First child of Henry VIII to survive to adulthood : MARY I

26. Rummy : SOUSE - the second definition of the word is "drunkard"

27. Leaf producer : NISSAN - oh so clever misdirection; the ECO-friendly car

and a romper image, too~!

29. Like stucco : TEXTURED

31. Lavish supply : PROFUSION

33*. Gateway Arch designer : SAARINEN

36*. Author Huxley : ALDOUS

40*. "The Empire Strikes Back" director Kershner : IRVIN - seen here to the right of Geroge Lucas on the "Dagobah" set

41*. "Tell It to My Heart" singer Taylor __ : DAYNE

43. One abroad : UNE - oh, the number one, missed the misdirection

44. Béchamel base : LAIT - Frawnche for milk

45. Easing of govt. control : DEREGulation

46. Bingo call : B TEN - oops, I tried "TWO B" and "B TWO" first

47. Nature-nurturing org. : EPA

48. State of Österreich : TIROL

49. California's __ Bay : MORRO - perps, and a Natick with Marv at 59d.

54. Caustic solution : SODA LYE

55. Sells off : DIVESTS


1*. King pen name : BACHMAN - this is the name that appears on the novel "Thinner", the first one I ever read from "him"

2. Beersheba native : ISRAELI

3. Euripides tragedy : ORESTES

4. Japanese two-seater : MIATA - another car

5. Top : ACME

6. Miss : SHE - Dah~! I had "ERR", that kind of "miss"

I won't miss this kind of miss

7. British potter James known for Brown Betty teapots : SADLER

8. FDR's Fala et al. : SCOTTIES - not FIRST DOG; took a while to realize we needed a breed here

9. Film beeper, familiarly : ARTOO - Detoo, R2-D2, also a part of the Empire Strikes Back - and other films....

10. Complaint : MOAN

11. Jump in the pool? : BET - my poker game moved up one day this week

12. Bob Hope venue : USO TOUR - I figured it was "USO-", but 'venue' threw me

13. Mark of a shark : CUE CASE - a hustler, a pool hall billiards shark; I have two cases myself

14. Guaranteed : ASSURED

22. Didn't stop talking : RAN ON

23. Destined : BOUND - I suppose I was destined to finally find a new vehicle - here I am at the restaurant with my new old Dodge Caravan

25. Muir Woods' county : MARIN

26. It's a wrap : STOLE

28. Sail-extending pole : SPRIT

30. Yangtze tributary : XIANG

32. Form a political union : FEDERATE

33. Solo pianists often provided music for them : SILENTS - my new old Dodge Caravan came with a cassette player, and I have been listening to myself and friends who've made and sent me audio tapes, and this piece was on one of them;

the dexterity really starts at the 5:00 mark

34. Cheyenne allies : ARAPAHO - half filled via perps

35. Worked with props? : AVIATED - har-har~!

37. Beats to the finish line : OUTRUNS

38. Stoop-shouldered, say : UNERECT - OK, a little "meh"

39. Many in España : SEÑORES

42. Raised the roof : YELLED

45*. __ Moore: Hormel brand : DINTY

46*. '30s-'50s filmdom nickname : BOGIE - Humphrey Bogart - and featured in the song Key Largo, a song that got a lot of "muzak" air time, and I did not know who the singer was

oh, so tacky
48. Hard labor : TOIL

49. Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Levy : MARV

51. Waterfront gp. : ILA - International Longshoreman Assoc.

52. Prefix with Pen : EPI


Notes from C.C.:

1) Cool picture, Splynter, Nice to see you again.

2) Here are a couple great photos from Lemonade's Asheville Family Vacation. You can see more here.

 3) Here is Jayce's Yam/Apple recipe. I already tried last night. I used two medium-sized Asian sweet potatoes like below. Very dense & sweet. One big Honeycrisp & one medium Fuji. Coconut butter instead of regular button. It was fantastic. The kitchen smelled amazing. 

Oct 15, 2016

Saturday, Oct 15th, 2016, Mark Diehl

Theme: None

Words: 70 (missing J,Q,X)

Blocks: 27

  A new Saturday struggle from Mr. Diehl - his last offering being just a month previous, and I fared better with that construction - but then again, I was awake longer than I usually am before starting today's puzzle and blog, so a 'mental fade' might have had something to do with my need to cave in to Google.  Just too many proper names, especially in the NE.  Oh well.  A grid similar to the last puzzle, with 6x10 corners in a nearly spiral pattern, and two 9-letter climbers;

11d. Stinging builder of mud nests : MASON WASP - I should hire these guys for my next tiling job~!

32. Like tournament favorites : TOP-SEEDED



1. Raid units? : SPRAYS - Kills bugs dead

7. Pass after all else failed? : HAIL MARY - football reference

15. Mine shaft tool : TREPAN - I can see how this would be a rocks tool - the only "trepanning" I was aware of involved the skull

16. Ambiguous part : GRAY AREA

17. Cab Calloway catchphrase : HI-DE-HO - knew this from "The Blues Brothers"

18. Jonathan's cousins : WINESAPS - learning moment for me, on both varieties

19. She plays Hermione in "Harry Potter" films : EMMA - the one proper name I knew

not the Hermione you knew

20. Falls behind, perhaps : OWES - dah~! Not LAGS

22. Some sleepers : SOFAS - Dah~!  Took too long to get this answer - I was thinking trains

23. Soup vegetable : LEEK - um, is there such a thing as BEET soup~? ( I looked; it could have been correct....)

24. Big name in diamonds : ZALES

26. Parishioner's place : NAVE

27. Reagan __ : ERA - grew up during this time frame

28. Word on a business card : CELL - ugh; CORP, CALL, then CELL

29. Old tankard material : PEWTER - even clued just as "tankard material" would have worked

found this one, as well

31. Stallone, in "Capone" : NITTI - hiding in my noggin from doing past crosswords

33. Name on some euros : ESPAÑA - wondered if it was a person's name at first

35. Takes in : ABSORBS

37. Replacement for unlisted items : AND SO ON - could be parsed as AND SOON, clued as an ultimatum

41. Charity tourneys : PRO-AMS

43. Throw out an idea : OPINE

44. Takes root : SETS IN

47. Eats : CHOW - ah, the 'plural' misdirection

49. Brief subject : LAW - pondered RES, but waited

50. Spot for a scrape : KNEE


51. Starbucks order : DECAF - oops, not LATTE

53. "__-daisy!" : UPSY

54. Thumb twiddler : IDLER

56. Dough : CASH - hesitated, thought it was too easy to be "CASH"

57. Pickup spot? : NAPE - think cats, etc.

58. Baloney : FOLDEROL - never heard the term; according to the online etymology, it's derived from song refrains

60. Where Mark Twain married Olivia Langdon : ELMIRA - perps and WAGs

62. Paratrooper's start : FREEFALL

63. Like beef loin, vis-à-vis chuck : LEANER

64. Commuting metaphor : SARDINES - think subways, and people packed into a silver can

65. Bands of cerebral nerve fibers : PONTES - not the first thing that comes up on a Google search


1. Napa County city that's home to Beringer Vineyards : St. HELENA - the website

2. Pricey cut : PRIME RIB

3. 2-Down and others : RED MEATS

4. Vertical, more or less : APEAK - one of those "A" words; seems to be closely associated with anchor lines - Spitz~?

5. Slangy agreement : YAH

6. Loser's mistake? : SNOOZE - "you snooze...."

7. "The Shape of Things to Come" author : H.G. WELLS - I did not know this

8. Develop : ARISE

9. Ziering of "Sharknado" : IAN

10. Soapmaking compounds : LYES

12. See 14-Down : ARAFAT - circumreferential to 14d. With 12-Down, 1994 Peace Prize sharer : YASSER

13. Work on, as a road : REPAVE

21. Peace Nobelist of 1983 : WALESA - cheated.  Googled.

25. Bridge : SPAN

28. High clouds : CIRRI

30. Fund : ENDOW

34. Ottoman officials : PASHAS

36. Craig role : BOND - he will return (as of today) for "James Bond 25"

38. Medium for da Vinci : OIL PAINT

39. Rampaging : ON A SPREE

40. Day of resolve : NEW YEAR'S

42. Magazine renamed Rosie in 2001 : McCALLS - no clue, but got it with half the letters from perps.  I do "ReCALL" McCalls; began in 1873, "apeaked" in the 60's, changed names, and was defunct one year later....

44. One-person boats : SKIFFS

45. "Bewitched" role : ENDORA - I am not too young to remember this show, even if I saw it in syndication

46. Worker in a cage : TELLER - ah, here's my "cage" from last week

48. Useful : OF HELP

52. Nice school : ÉCOLE

53. Dispirit : UNMAN

55. S&L offering : RE-FInance

59. Fared poorly in the wash : RAN

61. Early August arrival : LEO


Sep 17, 2016

Saturday, Sep 17th, 2016, Mark Diehl

Theme: None

Words: 66 (missing Q,X,Z)

Blocks: 27

 This is my first puzzle from Mark Diehl, and when I checked, his last and only two contributions to the LA Times were both Saturday constructions, both before my blogging time.  See here and here.  With no experience to go on, I simply plugged away at any clues I might have had a shot at.  Some proper names slowed me down, and ultimately, I had to cheat for one cel with red-letters.  Dang.  Big chunky corners, two 12-letter spanners and two 10-letter climbers;

26a. Formulation in Newton's "Principia" : LAW OF GRAVITY - I knew what we were looking for, but I waited to see where the word "GRAVITY" would fall

See "The Law" @ 2:05

35a. Height is an exception to it : "I" BEFORE "E" RULE - Height, weight, eight - yeah, it's wEIrd.  More of a guideline, really

15d. "Paradise Lost" style : BLANK VERSE - I did not know anything about this style; it has no rhyme, but a steady meter

21d. One whose business is growing : DIRT FARMER - I filled in the "FARMER" part, and waited.  Basically a poor farmer.  We have lots of sod farms here on L.I., and after harvest, it looks like they're in the dirt farming business

dOwNWARD gravity~!


1. Studio department : CASTING - I contemplated "COSTUME", and that would have been 100% 42% correct

8. Fills with mortar, as tile : GROUTS - don't tell me - I just finished my bathroom, which I built from the plumbing up; I happen to like tiling, as opposed to just installing a plastic surround.  Here's a pic; I noticed that "Picasa" is no longer - it's all about Pinterest now

14. Invite : ASK OVER - and they consistently, politely decline....

15. Traditional slow cooker : BEAN POT

16. 1963 Best Actor : POITIER

17. '70s-'80s sitcom roommate : LAVERNE - ah, yes, the other one was Shirley - and Lenny was their friend, played by Michael McKean, who played David St. Hubbins of Spinal Tap fame

18. "By all means!" : "INDEED~!"

19. Central California county : MARIPOSA - the second half was perps, the first half a WAG about a place that I seemed to have heard of before

20. Contract details : TERMS - oops, not ITEMS

21. Slips on : DONS

22. Put down : LAID

23. Latin I word : AMO

24. Pen output : OINK - I did not know which "pen" this was; the writer's ( BOOK, e.g. ) or the farm one; it was the latter

25. __ warning : EARLY - I had -A-L- and thought it was "FALSE" - but FASLE looked wrong....

30. Jokingly : IN SPORT - ooops, not 'in sHort'

31. "Coming Out of the Dark" singer : ESTEFAN - Gloria, half perps and WAGs

37. Stylish beach resorts : LIDOS

40. Sanctuary part : APSE - ah, but which the part of the church~? APSE or NAVE~?

41. Eponymous 2001 album : J.Lo

42. MBA subject : ECON - good WAG on my part

43. Part of a name on the 1989 album "Dr. Feelgood" : CRÜE - Nailed it - I can't help it - these guys defined the whole 80's big hair thing, and the music was good, too.  In fact, the first puzzle Mark Diehl had for the LA Times featured "TEN SECONDS" as an answer - and here's Mötley Crüe's version

44. Congo jungle denizen : CHIMP

46. Sprint and others : TELECOMS - I went with TELCOMS, and found it too short

48. Ice cream baron William : DREYER

49. NSA home : Ft. MEADE

50. "You had your chance!" : "TOO LATE~!"

51. Certain permit holder : LEARNER - driving permits

52. Pitching pro? : AD WOMAN - ooh, nice gender misdirection.

this is one gorgeous ad woman

53. Mahmoud's PLO predecessor : YASSER

54. Lose freshness : GO STALE


1. First person indicator : CAPITAL I

2. Without dissent : AS ONE MAN

3. Rundown areas : SKID ROWS - Ironically, I thought this was SKI related, but it certainly helped to correctly guess the first 3 letters

4. Revered emblem : TOTEM - popular lately

5. Brown is one of them : IVIES - I knew where this was going, but was reluctant to fill in "IVIES"

6. Triage basis : NEED

7. Lab warning : Grr - the LABrador breed

8. First, second and third : GEARS - and many more, depending on the car.  My crappy work van has a hard time getting out of second gear; I have to get to 42mph.  Reminds me of this song

9. Norah's dad : RAVI - it took a moment to remember Norah Jones' dad is Ravi Shankar;  her Wiki

10. Like solitaire : ONE-PLAYER

11. Hue and cry : UPROAR

12. Uvula neighbor : TONSIL

13. Regular : STEADY

19. Bart Simpson's grandma : MONA - I dredged this one up from the cerebral depths

24. No gentle giant : OGRE

25. Novel ending : ETTE - novelette; I submitted a short story to Dan's Papers Literary Contest, but I didn't win - read more here,  Sep 9th issue, pg 32

27. First book of the Great Plains trilogy : OPIONEERS - no clue, and the "P" was "H" for my first guess

28. Key chain attachments : FOBS

29. "Say no more" : "I SEE."

32. Roller coaster named for a mountain : FUJIYAMA - mostly perps and a WAG - not a big roller-coaster fan

33. Like some storage shelves : ALL METAL - and F%*&ing heavy when they ship thru UPS

34. Wetsuit material : NEOPRENE - nailed it - big help in the SE

36. Sonata, e.g. : OPUS - toyed with "AUTO", since it's a Hyundai

37. Heave : LET FLY

38. Summer beverage : ICE TEA - I've come to accept the missing "D"; look away, Tin~!

39. Middle Eastern stuffed vegetable dishes : DOLMAS - ah, yes, I've had them, and they're good - I get the vine leaf stuffed with rice

43. Software whiz : CODER

44. They're often involved in murders : CROWS

45. Serf of Sparta : HELOT

47. Mr. Peanut trademark : CANE

48. Doofus : DODO

50. Touch and go? : TAG - the game - "you're IT~!"