Showing posts with label Mike Peluso. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mike Peluso. Show all posts

Apr 20, 2017

Thursday April 20 2017 Mike Peluso

Theme: Clecho Cluster - two closely-related pairs of clues.

17A. Breakdown : CATEGORIZED LIST. Like my monthly spending report from BofA. I won't tell you how each category breaks down, but I'm sure you can guess that "Food!" is a significant slice of the pie chart.

25A. Breakdown : ENGINE FAILURE. In all the flying I've done I've thankfully only experienced one engine failure - on a 737 climbing out of Las Vegas. There was a "pop" sound and the plane seemed to slide backwards for a second. Caused a few raised eyebrows, but no-one was heard to ...

42A. Break down : WEEP IN ANGUISH.

55A. Break down : CHEMICALLY DECAY. Aluminum 26 has a half-life of 720,000 years, whereas the isotope Aluminum 29 has a half-life of 6.6 minutes. I have absolutely no idea why.

Fun offering from Mike today. The theme is nicely done; the grid has eight "cheater squares" (Rich calls them "helper" squares) but four of them are the result of the two 13-letter entries so you can't do anything about those. There's some lively fill, two or three new words for me and some canny cluing to keep us on our toes. Throw in a smattering of French, Spanish and Portuguese and it all adds up to a good Thursday challenge. Let's see what jumps out.


1. Prepare for a car trip : GAS UP

6. Sack : BAG

9. Swedish autos : SAABS. The company went out of business in 2012.

14. Nearly half of New England : MAINE. With GAS UP atop MAINE I was looking askance at some odd letter progressions for the downs but it all came good in the end.

15. In the fashion of : A LA.  For example, the cajun dish Blackened Catfish a la Mer. Food!

16. St. __ Fire : ELMOS

20. Orlando-to-Miami dir. : S.S.E.

21. Hosp. staffer : L.P.N. Licensed Practical Nurse.

22. Ebbs : ABATES

23. Ready : SET

24. Corrida cry : OLÉ!

32. Island near Java : BALI

34. 1945 conference city : YALTA. Where Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill carved up post-war Europe.

35. Snitch : RAT

36. Leche, across the Pyrenees : LAIT. Your café con leche in Spain turns into café au lait in France.

37. "The Fall" novelist : CAMUS

38. Italian beach resort : LIDO. This was my last fill. I couldn't remember RADO and I wasn't sure of the actor URICH so I had to stare this one down. We had an open-air swimming pool in the town where I grew up called The Lido, so something jogged my memory regarding the source of the name.

39. Chicago destination, on airline tickets : ORD. O'Hare was originally named Orchard Field, hence ORD.

40. Higgs particle : BOSON. A Higgs Boson walks into a bar and asks everyone to join in an act of penitence. "What are you doing?" asks the barman. "Giving mass."

41. Object of devotion : ICON

46. Balderdash : ROT

47. Angel dust, initially : PCP. Phencyclidine. I knew this! From the movie "Trading Places", just to be quite clear.

48. Round drill : TREPAN. I think this was new to me - it looks vaguely familiar so perhaps I've seen it before. I find it's a pretty scary-looking piece of surgical equipment.

51. Purpose : USE

52. Clothing dept. letters : SML Small, Medium, Large sizes.

58. It may cause a financial crisis : PANIC

59. Coral __ : SEA. Site of a pivotal naval battle in the Pacific War in 1942.

60. Fast Bolt : USAIN. The world's fastest man holds the world records for both the 100m and 200m sprint.

61. Long range : ANDES. Nice clue! The range is 4,350 miles long from Venezuela in the north to Chile in the south.

62. Half a score : TEN

63. Ltr. holder : P.O. BOX


1. Acadia and Terrain : GMCS. SUV's.

2. Remote inserts : AAAS. Batteries for your remote control.

3. Location : SITE

4. Article in Arles : UNE

5. Pirate stereotype : PEG LEG. Avast, me hearties!

6. Amish project : BARN

7. Louisville slugger? : ALI. Another nice clue. Muhammad Ali hailed from Louisville.

8. Mediterranean strip : GAZA

9. Missouri State Fair city : SEDALIA. I confidently entered ST. LOUIS when I had the "S" and was singing "Meet me in St. Louis, meet me at the fair" to myself. Then I discovered I was wrong.

10. 2009 Verizon acquisition : ALLTEL. I don't recall these folks. They were headquartered in Little Rock so that might have something to do with it.

11. Lyon gal pal : AMIE. Funny coincidence with Arles also appearing in a clue today - I got a flyer for a Lyon to Arles wine-tasting river cruise with my wine shipment yesterday.

12. Company leader : BOSS

13. Erstwhile flier : SST

18. __-Free: contact lens solution brand : OPTI. Thank you, crosses.

19. WWII torpedo launchers : E-BOATS

23. Foul mood : SNIT

25. Neglect to say : ELIDE. Another nice clue.

26. Tanzanian border lake : NYASA. I went windsurfing on this lake when I visited Malawi years ago. There are both hippos and crocodiles in the water, so you need to focus on not falling in!

27. Irish statesman de Valera : EAMON. His career had mixed reviews.

28. Heaved : FLUNG

29. "Vega$" actor Robert : URICH

30. Rolex competitor : RADO. Must try and remember this name.

31. 007's alma mater : ETON. 007's creator, Ian Fleming went to Eton. His housemaster disapproved of many things, including "his attitude, his hair oil, his ownership of a car and his relations with women." Not bad for someone yet to turn 18.

32. Lose a big lead in : BLOW

33. Bern's river : AARE

37. Cold + Flu maker : CONTAC

38. Speech therapy subject : LISP. I had speech therapy as a kid to try to correct a stammer that I developed when I was six. It didn't help at all. I finally began to get it under control in my twenties.

40. "Ali" and "Milk," e.g. : BIOPICS

43. Early arrival : PREMIE

44. Daisy preceder : UPSY

45. Got slick after sleet : ICED UP

48. "More __ a Feeling": Boston hit : THAN. Classic ballad. Little late in the blog for a music link but it's too good to miss.

49. Tear : REND

50. Tweed lampooner : NAST. Boss Tweed of the Tammany Ring as portrayed by Nast in 1871.

51. __ Bator : ULAN. One of my school friends was recruited into the British Secret Service. She found it "quite fun" until they wanted to post her to Ulan Bator. Mongolia wasn't quite what she had in mind so she quit.

52. Wound protection : SCAB

53. Spring month in Porto : MAIO. Our Portuguese lesson for the day.

54. Forest feline : LYNX

55. Tax pro : CPA. I hope we all met the tax day deadline this week.

56. Loser to Meade at Gettysburg : LEE

57. That, in Barcelona : ESO. Home of the amazing Sagrada Familia Church. "Que *** es eso?" It's still not finished.

Just time to post the grid, and I think I'm done!


Aug 4, 2016

Thursday, August 4th, 2016 Mike Peluso

Theme: Cross-Referenced Circle Chicanery

The reveal:

33A. With 43-Across, acting like an unscrupulous contractor ... and a hint to this puzzle's circles : CUTTING

43A. See 33-Across : CORNERS

Clockwise from the northwest corner, we find the nicely alliterative SEVERS, SHAVES, SLICES and SHEARS highlighted by the circles. If you don't get circles in your publication and you don't like cross-referenced clues, then this puzzle won't win your personal popularity contest.

With O'ER, E'ER and E'EN I was looking for EBON to complete a poetic quad-fecta (Yay! New word!) but we capped out at three. I have to say that there did seem to be a preponderance of bitty three-letter fill today. Let's see what else we've got going on:


1. Retro photos : SEPIAS. Suitably stern-looking gentleman in this one:

7. Condescends : STOOPS

13. Tympanic membrane : EARDRUM

15. Half a notable San Francisco intersection : ASHBURY. Hippie central at the corner of Haight.

16. Heavy marble : STEELIE. We called 'em something different in England - "dobber" springs to mind but it was many years ago that I last used one.

17. Worried about : SWEATED

18. Brandy letters : VSO. Very Superior Old. Often followed followed by "P" for "Pale".

19. Some grad students : TA'S. Apparently in middle school you are now a "paraprofessional".

21. P.O. boxful : ENVS. Envelopes stuffing your post office box. Most of the mail I get stuffed into my mailbox is junk.

22. One of a divided trio? : DEE. Three "D"s in "divided".

24. Like some room fresheners : PINEY

26. Anthem contraction : O'ER

28. Lucid : SANE

30. Tony winner Martin in the 2013 "Pippin" Broadway revival : ANDREA. No clue. Thank you, crosses.

32. Cargo wts. : TNS. Tons. I'm not sure if I've seen this abbreviation before - "t" is more common.

35. Prom dress material : TAFFETA

37. They may be crunched : ABS

38. Bollywood star Aishwarya __ : RAI. No clue. Thank you, crosses. Here she is:

39. Curaçao cocktails : MAI TAIS. Rum, curaçao and lime juice. Cheers!

47. RR schedule listing : STN.

48. Land on a lake? : REEL IN. Nice clue. Landing a fish.

50. Psyche's beloved : EROS

51. Letters on old TV dials : UHF. Ultra-High Frequency. I remember these things. I recall UHF was where the local channels lived, VHF was where the other stuff was. We only had four channels in England for the longest time. I grew up with two, went to three when the BBC introduced color TV on VHF and finally Channel Four added the second commercial channel. You didn't really need a remote - there was not much channel-hopping between the two primary channels (the publicly-funded BBC and the commercially-funded ITV).

52. Strainer : SIEVE

53. For time eterne : E'ER

54. "Girls" creator Dunham : LENA. Dug up from the deep recesses.

57. "There's __ in ... " : NO I

58. XL squared : MDC 40 x 40 = 1600. I still can't figure out how the Romans did math. "Borrow X and carry VII". Hopeless.

60. Old Buick : LE SABRE

62. Indian spiced drink : CHAI TEA

66. Wearing, with "in" : ATTIRED

67. Lots of shots : SALVOES

68. Juiced-up Roadsters? : TESLAS. A colleague of mine owns one. He lives in Texas, I thought he'd get some stick from the oil industry folks, but he says no-one's been mean to him yet.

69. Breastbones : STERNA. Really? I've never, ever had the need to use this word.


1. French possessive : SES. His, her or its plural possessive. Parisians love to tell you that you should use "son" instead of "ses" when the vowel begins with a consonant. I love to tell them that all their vines are grafted onto Californian rootstock after the phylloxera virus devastated their vineyards in the 1860's.

2. Take in : EAT

3. Hinder : PREVENT

4. Ominous date : IDES. March got a bad rap. The other nine ides didn't have such an ominous cloud looming over them.

5. Patron of Alice's : ARLO. Arlo Guthrie's song. If you can put up with 18 minutes of it, here's your link.

6. __ generis : SUI. Unique. Why use one English word when two Latin ones will do?

7. Louisville-to-Nashville dir. : SSW

8. Fare-well bridge : THEE

9. Scottish resort town known for its whisky : OBAN. In 2011, about $10,000's worth of fireworks were ignited all at once due to a computer glitch. The show was originally planned to last 30 minutes, it was all over in less than 60 seconds. Classic!

10. Defeat at the polls : OUTVOTE

11. Gift : PRESENT

12. Barrett of Pink Floyd : SYD

14. Doling (out) : METING

15. Declare : ASSERT

20. Furthermore : AND

22. Mil. bravery medal : D.S.C. Distinguished Service Cross. One notch down from the Medal of Honor.

23. Evian, par exemple : EAU

24. Colorful flowers : PANSIES

25. The very beginning, figuratively : YEAR ONE

27. Pretoria's land: Abbr. : R.S.A. Republic of South Africa.

29. Virginie, to Eugénie : ÉTAT. State.

31. A long way away : AFAR

34. Support beam : I-BAR

36. Penalty for wrongdoing : FINE

39. The Bulldogs of the SEC : M.S.U. Mississippi State University.

40. Game player : ATHLETE

41. Overruns : INFESTS

42. Fished with a net : SEINED. Fished with a seine net, like this:

43. Study of government : CIVICS

44. Meccano construction set : ERECTOR. The "Erector" brand is now being retired after the company was purchased by Meccano in 2000.

45. 1973 Court decision alias : ROE vs. Wade.

46. Old map abbr. : S.S.R. Soviet Socialist Republic

49. One of the fire signs : LEO

55. Attach, in a way : NAIL

56. Magical opening : ABRA-cadabra

58. Beer ingredient : MALT

59. Act like a loon? : DIVE.

60. Map coordinate: Abbr. : LAT. Latitude.

61. Legal thing : RES. More Latin.

63. Possesses : HAS

64. Poetic dusk : E'EN. More poetry.

65. Simile center : AS A. As happy as a clam in the sand where no-one's digging.

I'm back in LA this week. I was asked last week how many miles I fly each year - it varies, but never less than 50,000; usually quite a bit more. I'm up to about 45,000 so far in 2016. United puts your name on a plane if you hit the 10 million mile lifetime mark, I'm a LONG way from that milestone, thank goodness. I'd rather have my sanity and my home life than a 777 called "Steve".

Aaaand - here's the grid.


Jun 26, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016 Mike Peluso

Theme: "Vice Versa" - Long I sound is changed into ER sound.
27A. Optimal payment arrangements? : THE BEST OF TERMS. The best of times. Two more tiny THE's in 111A. It has finals in June : THE NBA. 4D. "Terror has no shape" sci-fi creature : THE BLOB

42A. Mideast cry of despair? : ARABIAN NERTS. Arabian Nights. Ali Baba.

67A. Gems kept in inventory? : STOCK PEARLS. Stockpiles.
96A. Like one brandishing a Super Soaker? : NERF WIELDING. Knife-wielding. I googled and found out that Super Soaker is a Nerf water gun brand.

114A. White stallion at school? : SILVER LEARNING. Silver lining.

15D. Reason for cowboy unemployment? : NOTHING TO HERD. Nothing to hide.

55D. Coquette education? : FLIRT TRAINING. Made me smile. Thought of dear Splynter, who's actually very shy. Flight training.

Two sound changes occur in the front. Five at the back. Two multi-word answers. Five two-word entries. No odd man out. Consistency!

Mike also started his first theme entry in Row 4 rather than the conventional Row 3.  I'm going to experience this design myself. 

I'm completely in awe of puzzle title, so aptly describing the theme gimmick. Genius! 

1. Offed, biblically : SMOTE. Funny how SMITTEN is the only form we still use today.

6. Matter : COUNT

11. Big D school : SMU

14. Exchanges from centers : SNAPS. Football. I had to ask Boomer.
19. Dash dials : TACHs

20. Canadian skater Brian : ORSER. Quite a few names in this grid.

21. Mother __ : HEN

22. Forum garments : TOGAE. More often TOGAS.

23. Butt ends : ASHES

24. New car option : LEASE

25. Like some exercises : ISOMETRIC. See here for definition. New to me. I do know plank & Russian Twist though.

30. "Sugar Lips" trumpeter : AL HIRT

31. Lord Grantham of Downton Abbey, e.g. : EARL.Gimme for a few blog regulars.

32. Some hosp. areas : ORs

33. Fifth-century pope : LEO I

34. "Spare me the specifics" : TMI

35. Black-and-white predator : ORCA

37. Eight-time Coty Award winner : BEENE (Geoffrey). Fashion award. Got via crosses as well.

38. Bigwig : HONCHO
47. Response to a sinking feeling? : SOS. I thought this might be sinking a putt. Nope.

49. Radiate : GLOW. And 115. Radiate : EMIT

50. Finalize, with "up" : SEW

51. Lining fabric : FLEECE

52. Yorktown __, N.Y. : HTs

53. Scrabble 8-pointer : J-TILE. Easy J crossing with JOT (53D. Write (down).

54. In the sky : ALOFT

56. Lorre's "Casablanca" role : UGARTE.  No memory of this guy. I did like the movie though.

59. Yelled excitedly : WHOOPED. Never used the word as a verb.

61. Election figure : POLLSTER

64. Tic-tac-toe loser : OOX

65. Writer: Abbr. : AUTH

66. Govt. benefit : SSI
71. Attention : EAR

74. Bring up, or something to bring up : REAR. Bring up the rear. Great clue.

76. Want ad letters : EOE

77. "Apollo 13" co-star : ED HARRIS

80. Trustbusting period : TAFT ERA

83. Berra famously jumped into his arms during the 1956 World Series : LARSEN (Don). The only perfect game in World Series.

86. Defiant retort : I DO SO

87. Egglike : OVATE

88. Morse code bit : DIT. Not DAH.

90. Senses, as trouble : SMELLS

93. Diarist Anaïs : NIN

94. Former prime minister who grew up in Milwaukee : MEIR

95. __ culpa : MEA

99. Area for growth? : BOTANY. Nice clue also.

101. Heavy hammers : MAULS. New to me.

103. Santa Monica landmark : PIER

104. It's charged : ION

105. Inactive : IDLE

106. Jump shot shape : ARC

107. Former VOA overseer : USIA (United States Information Agency). Tiny US dupe with 8. "Wild Blue Yonder" mil. branch : USAF

118. "In Rainbows" Grammy-winning rockers : RADIOHEAD. Via crosses as well.

120. One-celled critter : AMEBA. Amoeba is more common.

121. City west of Youngstown : AKRON

122. __ in itself : AN END. Easier when the partial is clued at the back: [Put ___ to (finish)].

123. Madre's hermana : TIA

124. Like forks : TINED

125. New Hampshire college town : KEENE. We had this a couple months ago.

126. Unkempt : MANGY. And 12. Most unkempt : MESSIEST

127. Spots : ADs

128. Stiff collars : ETONs

129. Maritime birds : ERNEs


1. Assert : STATE

2. One of Chekhov's "Three Sisters" : MASHA. IRINA also has 5 letters.
3. Brownish shade : OCHER

5. Latin 101 verb : ESSE

6. Monk associate : COLTRANE (John). Thelonious Monk. I was picturing a real monk.

7. Double Stuf treats : OREOs

9. Tweeting site : NEST. Always a fun clue.

10. Sapling : TREELET. Thanks for identifying my two Agnes plants, TTP. Now I'm eager to see how that English Ivy spreads. Maybe I should put the polka dot plant back to a pot. They look prettier this way.

11. Peres of Israel : SHIMON

13. Digit in diez : UNO. diez = ten.

14. Mariner's patron : ST. ELMO

16. Farming prefix : AGRI

17. Au __ : PAIR

18. Shakers, but not movers : SECT. Great clue.

26. Compulsory British subject : MATHS. I still can't believe what happened.

28. L.A.'s environs : SoCal

29. Roger of "Cheers" : REES

36. Breakups : RIFTS

37. City near Anaheim : BREA

39. Pace : CLIP

40. With 109-Down, uncommon eagle : HOLE. 109. See 40-Down : IN ONE. On a par 3 hole. Mike often posts stunning golf course pictures on his Facebook. He must play lots of golf.

41. Due : OWED

42. "Stat!" relative : ASAP

43. HR dept. concerns : RELOs

44. Base runners : AWOLs

45. Introduction to science? : NEURO, Neuroscience.

46. Heart test: Abbr. : ECG

48. Warren Commission subject : OSWALD. Oh, Lee Harvey Oswald.

52. Numerical prefix : HEXA. Six.

57. Rodeo competitor : ROPER

58. Ring site : TOE

60. Sudden silence : HUSH

62. Peter or Paul : TSAR. Not SAINT. Fantastic clue.

63. It retired its spokesbaby in 2014 : E*TRADE

68. Breton or Gael : CELT

69. Ukulele wood : KOA. Learning moment for me.

70. Take more People : RENEW. Magazine.

72. Quaker Oats product suffix : A-RONI

73. "Mr. Mojo __": repeated words in The Doors' "L.A. Woman" : RISIN'

75. Rare shoe width : EEE

78. United choice : AISLE. Another great clue.

79. Lennon work : SONG

80. Pyramid, to Tut : TOMB. Big "D'oh!"

81. Economical Chevy : AVEO

82. __ accompli : FAIT

84. Latvia and Estonia, once: Abbr. : SSRs

85. "Unbelievable" band : EMF

89. Diamond hit : I AM I SAID. Unfamiliar with the song.

91. Watches one's mouth? : LIPREADS. To me, "one's" always refers to oneself. But you read other's mouth to lipread, right?

92. Canon competitor : LEICA

95. Chatty bird : MYNAH

96. Empty : NULL

97. Improve, as one's game : ELEVATE. This "one's" works perfectly.

98. More smashed : DRUNKER. Sounds weird in ER/EST form.

100. Opposite of a star : NOBODY

102. Avia competitor : ADIDAS

106. Truman veep Barkley : ALBEN. I googled, then found out I had googled him before.

108. Sound during a chase : SIREN

110. Actress Moorehead : AGNES. Hello, Irish Miss!

111. Rail vehicle : TRAM

112. Maui's scenic __ Highway : HANA. So pretty.

113. Paradise : EDEN

116. Ashcroft's predecessor : RENO

117. One leaning against a garden fence : RAKE. Not a person.

119. Greek vowel : ETA

Happy 51st Anniversary to dear Spitzboov (Al) and his wife Betty!


Apr 14, 2016

Thursday, April 14th, 2016 Mike Peluso

Theme: Double Crosses.

18A. Start of an old news announcement : EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!

32A. Stipulation on le menu : PRIX FIXE. Food! The fixed-price menu in French restaurants; the daily specials. Most restaurants in France offer a prix fixe menu which is usually the the best value - and the best foo (as opposed to ordering à la carte).

41A. Where gas and lodging may be found : NEXT EXIT. The food! choices tend to be pretty limited.

60A. Nachos, e.g. : TEX-MEX DISH. Food! Here's a chicken fajitas, a classic Tex-Mex dish.

3D. Historic Chicago-to-Santa Monica route : SIXTY SIX. Too good to pass up for a music link. Get your kicks with the Rolling Stones before they started writing their own songs.

38D. When translated to English, beer brand that hints at the common feature of the five other longest puzzle answers : DOS EQUIS

What a great journey through 11 (count 'em!) X's and some Z's, W's, Q's and other Scrabble-tastic letters thrown in for good measure.

I loved the concept, the execution and I enjoyed the fill around those pesky X's but ..... CLANG! The reveal says "the five other longest puzzle answers" which rather insults the lovely ARSENALS and UNEARTHS which each sport eight letters - just like PRIX FIXE, NEXT EXIT and SIXTY SIX. Details, details.

Anyway - thoroughly enjoyable puzzle, thank goodness for great crosses for the obscure stuff, and a one-cup-of-coffee time for me.

Let's see what else we've got that jumps out:


1. Tousle : MUSS. No fuss with this muss.

5. F and G, e.g. : CLEFS

10. Soaks (up) : SOPS. See how you have to wait before deciding between MOPS and SOPS?

14. Bad thing to be caught in : A LIE. Because "a speed trap" or "a rip tide" didn't fit.

15. Spells : HEXES

16. Virginie, par exemple : ÉTAT. French king Louis XIV  (great crossword name!) pretty much started the wheels of the revolution turning with his assertion "L'Etat, c'est moi." - "I am the State". It all ended rather badly for the French royal family, and around 40,000 others.

17. "Need You Tonight" band : INXS

20. Frequent Lemmon co-star : MATTHAU

22. Chimney : STACK

23. Dublin-born poet : YEATS

24. AWOL trackers : MPS

26. Tiny : WEE

27. Shine, in Cambridge : LUSTRE. British spelling. For those of you that remember the picture of the crew "Boat Race" passing Chiswick Eyot on the blog a couple of weeks ago, Cambridge University was the boat on the right.

29. Ammunition dumps : ARSENALS

31. Request to Sajak : AN "I"

34. Numerical prefix : HEXA. -decimal. Base 16. I have fond(?) memories of an activity called "dump-cracking". When your IBM-mainframe program aborted, you were presented with a printed "dump" of the computer memory at the time of the error which usually measured at least a foot tall pile of of fan-fold paper, and you were left alone for a while trying to figure out what "Data Exception Error at location 9EF867D81" could possibly mean.

36. Progressive pitcher? : FLO

37. When there's no turning back : D-DAY

46. Tulsa sch. : ORU. Oral Roberts makes an appearance.

47. Brings to light : UNEARTHS

50. Pitcher, for one : VESSEL

52. Cambodia's Lon __ : NOL. Crosses, thank you.

53. Enzyme suffix : -ASE

54. Moisten, in a way : BASTE. Food! A pointless activity to spoon fat from the bottom of the roasting dish to the top of the roast. All you do is lose heat from the oven, probably burn your wrist on the oven shelf and make zero difference to the flavor of the end product.

55. Northeastern octet : IVIES. There's an acronym or mnemonic somewhere in the deepest, darkest regions of my mind to remember Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn, Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth and Cornell. I guess HYPPBCDC isn't it.

57. Old but coveted : ANTIQUE

64. Peach __ : FUZZ

65. Landed : ALIT

66. Ken Jenkins's "Scrubs" role : KELSO. It didn't help that I read "Ken Jennings" and was away with the "Jeopardy" thinking. When was Ken Jennings in a Scrubs episode? Crosses and sanity eventually prevailed.

67. CVI halved : LIII

68. Old map divs. : SSRS

69. "Dallas" Miss : ELLIE

70. North-of-the-border gas : ESSO. Also 6,000 miles east of the border in the UK, but it's not quite as much of a snappy clue.


1. Injure badly : MAIM

2. Radius neighbor : ULNA

4. Largish combo : SESTET. Hand up for "SEXTET" - with all the X's going on today it seemed a natural. Not.

5. Proctor's concern : CHEATER.

6. Infiniti competitor : LEXUS

7. No. after a phone no. : EXT. Are extensions still a thing? It seems an awfully long time since I asked to be put through to one.

8. Not agin : FER

9. Fed. benefits agency : S.S.A.

10. Stimulating message : SEXT.

11. Senators' home : OTTAWA. I tried to fit all kinds of Washington, D.C and other stuff into here. Finally the penny dropped.

12. Part of UPS : PARCEL

13. Betting specifications : STAKES

19. County bordering Suffolk : ESSEX. Easy for me. Tough for you. I lived in Essex - 60 miles from London, and a 2 1/2 hour commute from the office. When Warner Bros. offered me a transfer to Los Angeles it didn't take a whole lot to convince me!  Here's a snippet of the old map now hanging on my wall - my house was the little black dot in the yellow highlight beneath the "B1053" road designation. It was very quiet out there! The house was more than 400 years old.

21. Dwell annoyingly (on) : HARP

24. "Fantastic" Dahl character : MR. FOX

25. Initials on a radial : P.S.I. Pounds per Square Inch. Where's the "per"?

27. "Well, __-di-dah!" : LAH

28. Lyon article : UNE. One Feminine Article en France. I pitched a tent on a roundabout in Lyon once - I was hitch-hiking and dropped off at midnight by a truck driver. It was very dark and I had no idea I was standing on a traffic circle. When I woke up in the morning at rush hour, I was startled to find three lanes of traffic circling my campsite. The gendarmes who arrived shortly after were nice, but bemused.

29. Weigh station counts : AXLES

30. Composer Rorem : NED

33. "__ shoe fits ... " : IF THE. Cinderelly?

35. Literary assortment : -ANA. Very much in the "crosswordese" field. Shakespeareiana, Grishomiana. You get the idea.

39. "We __ Marshall": 2006 film : ARE. I cried. I cry in a lot of movies, but this one was a bawler.

40. Brynner of filmdom : YUL. Completely missed this during the solve, crosses filled him in for me.

42. Wipe off : ERASE

43. Some Cadillacs : XT'S. Not sure they'd give the XKE's a run for their money.

44. Scott classic : IVANHOE. Great book. Robin Hood's modern-day reputation owes much to this novel.

45. Try : TEST

47. Hall of Fame Colts quarterback : UNITAS. Peyton Manning? Not yet, be patient.

48. Grisham output : NOVELS.

49. Potion : ELIXIR. Lovely word.

51. Suppress : STIFLE

54. Low voices : BASSI

56. First responders, initially : EMTS

58. Israeli arms : UZIS

59. Opera star Pinza : EZIO. Along with the previous entry, a couple of Z's are thrown into the scrabble-fest today.

61. Classic Jag : XKE. The E-Type. Jaguar announced recently that they are going to complete the production run of the "Lightweight" low-drag coupe. There were plans to make 18 of these cars, only 12 were built between 1963 and 1964. Don't expect to see the missing six available for purchase on the open market. Here's one of the originals.

62. "Small Wonder" state: Abbr. : DEL. aware.

63. In need of treatment : ILL

And ... here's the grid.


Oct 25, 2015

Sunday Oct 25, 2015 Mike Peluso

Theme: "Now You See It ..." - C is removed from each theme answer.

22A. Coleridge love poem? : RIME OF PASSION. Crime of passion.

34A. Knight's comment when he was mistakenly put in the corner? : I'M NOT A ROOK. I'm not a crook. Nixon.

49A. King of the sea? : LEAR SAILING. Clear sailing. Does this answer sound a bit stretched to you?

68A. North African hops drier? : BARBARY OAST. Barbary Coast.

85A. Citrus high? : ORANGE RUSH. Orange Crush. I grokked the theme gimmick here.

102A. Encouraging simian? : APE OF GOOD HOPE. Cape of Good Hope.

2D. Backtalk in the Everglades? : ALLIGATOR LIP. Alligator clip. New term to me.
55D. John and Peter's woodwind? : APOSTLES' REED. Apostles' Creed.

Look, no stray C 's in the theme answers. You know Mike put extra effort in getting us this tight set. Three deletions occur at the first words, five the last words,  but all removed C's are consistently the starts of the key words. Pure letter deletion, no spelling changes involved.

Most of our Sunday grids have 144-words. This one only has 140, with four intimidating corners. Even with cheaters in four corners, those space are very hard to fill cleanly. I'd have chickened out and broken 20D/74D into two.


1. Varnish resin : MASTIC. New word to me.

7. Online cash-back deal : E-BATE. Never got an e-bate. You? I seldom shop on line.

12. God for whom Wednesday was named : WODEN. I forgot. We had this a while ago.

17. Peru's El Misti, e.g. : VOLCANO. Got via crosses. And 74. 17-Across output : ASH

18. Submit servilely : GROVEL

19. Sounded alike : RHYMED

21. Not kosher : ILLEGAL. I was thinking of TREF.

24. Problems for parades : RAINS

25. Nerds : DWEEBS

27. Quick way to reduce fat? : LIPO. Thought DIET first.

28. N.Y. engineering sch. : RPI. Why did you quit after one year, Splynter?

29. Yen : URGE

30. Form : SHAPE
31. NFL great Brown and meteorologist Cantore : JIMs

32. Bern's river : AARE

33. Fed. benefits agency : SSA
37. Words after lost or missed : A STEP

38. Hardly laid-back : TYPE A

40. La Corse, par exemple : ILE. La Corse is French for Corsica.
41. Early ascetic : ESSENE. Nailed it.

42. "Ain't gonna happen!" : NO SOAP

43. Serious oil problem : SPILL

46. To's partner : FRO

47. Sun. delivery : SER

48. Sides in a Wells—or Welles—war : WORLDS. The War of the Worlds. Orson Welles. H. G. Wells. We also have 77. 1938 broadcaster of Welles radio dramas : CBS

52. Workers' gp. in a 1955 merger : AFL

53. Step : PHASE

54. Easy chore : CAKEWALK

58. Welcoming rings : LEIS. So happy that they're now married.

60. Actor Kinski : KLAUS. Crossing 60. Pink Nintendo icon : KIRBY. The crossing K is knotty. I'd go with this KIRBY, of course!

 61. Sporty Nissans : Z-CARS. Not into sports cars, so draw a blank on this entry.

63. Lodge letters : BPOE

64. Sheriff's assistants : DEPUTIES

66. Sierra __ : LEONE

67. Charity's URL ending : ORG

71. Equilibrium : STASIS

78. "Jersey Boys" role : VALLI

79. Bikini blasts, briefly : N-TESTS

80. Like some protein drinks : CHALKY. All crosses. Never had protein drinks.

82. Vocalized "Psst!" : HEY

83. Ford flop : EDSEL

84. Maguire of "Spider-Man" : TOBEY

90. Waffle center? : EFS. Waffle.

93. Permeate : SOAK. Tried SEEP first.

94. Alternatives to fries : TOTS. I call them full name "Tater tots". You?

96. Ripley's closing words : OR NOT

97. GM sticker datum : MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price).

98. RR stop : STN

99. Celestial sci. : ASTR

100. Little burger : SLIDER

101. Natalie's "West Side Story" role : MARIA

105. How gazelles bound : AGILELY

107. "Dang!" : DARN IT. Same root, no?

108. Put out : DOUSED

109. Mistletoe may hang from them : LINTELS. Also a learning moment to me. The empty spot is called LINTEL?

110. Original environment : ROOTS

111. Energetic mount : STEED

112. Reliable : STEADY

1. Canine cousins : MOLARS. I"m seeing the periodontist on Nov 24. My poor teeth!

3. Crime __ : SCENE

4. Facebook links : TAGS. Photo tagging. I don't associate tags with "links".  They actually are. 

5. Like Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 : IN A. Put in IN?, then waited.

6. Winter time : COLD SNAP

7. Port NE of Canton, OH : ERIE PA

8. B-47, for one : BOMBER

9. Madison et al.: Abbr. : AVEs

10. Racer Fabi : TEO. This has become a gimme.

11. Diminutive : ELFLIKE

12. Deli offerings : WRAPS

13. Very : OH SO. Tricky little words.

14. Start to function? : DYS. Dysfunction.

15. Dubai-based airline : EMIRATES. The answer filled itself.

16. Synthetic used to insulate wet suits : NEOPRENE. Fashion world's new fabric darling.

17. Bug : VIRUS

18. Awe-inspiring : GREAT

20. Kiev's river : DNIEPER. Totally stranger.

23. Absent-minded Milne title character : PIM. Mr. Pim.

26. Immortal first baseman : WHO. "Who's on First?".  I loved this clue so much that I shouted at Boomer who was watching TV downstairs:

Me: Lao Gong, the clue is "Immortal first baseman", three-letter answer,  who's the guy?

Boomer: OTT.

Me: Who?

Boomer: OTT, O-T-T...

31. La __: San Diego resort area : JOLLA

32. Intractable beast : ASS

34. Apple product : IPOD.  The only Apple stuff I have.  

35. Ft. or in. : MEAS (Measurement)

36. Essential __ : OILS

37. In unison : AS ONE

39. Haute couture monogram : YSL

41. Composer Satie et al. : ERIKS. Et this Erik.

Erik Agard
42. Free, as a checking account : NO FEE

43. Hall of Fame linebacker Junior : SEAU

 44. Mountain route : PASS

45. Where Gubbeen Cheese is made: Abbr. : IRE. Never heard of the cheese. I had I?? and figured it might be Italian.

46. Highway warning : FLARE

48. Saxony woodland : WALD. German for "wood". New to me also.

49. High capital : LHASA

50. Risky boot camp response : I CAN'T

51. BHO's predecessor : GWB. Oh, hello, I drew a blank on your initials.

53. Common people : PLEBS

56. Nocturnal Indian primate : LORIS. Oh, hello, I don't know your name.

57. Powder holders : KEGS

59. Hero : SUB

61. Ardor : ZEAL

62. Mozart's "__ fan tutte" : COSI

65. Like paint when it's nearly dry : TACKY. Had STICKY first.

66. Texter's guffaw : LOL

69. KOA users : RVers

70. Sisterhood name in a Rebecca Wells novel : YA-YA

71. Regs. : STDs

72. Radio host John : TESH

73. Enzyme ending : ASE

74. Mopes : ACTS SAD

75. What duffers don't expect to do : SHOOT PAR. True for me.

76. Hot, hot pepper : HABANERO. You'll lose your mind eating these peppers.

79. Gray and tan : NEUTRALS

81. Coin in Tirana : LEK

82. Souped-up cars : HOT RODS

86. Like an ideal negotiation : NO-LOSE

87. Complained : GRIPED

88. Done : ENDED

89. Sturgeon delicacy : ROE

91. Ruffled : FRILLY

92. Renders unproductive? : SPAYS. Nailed it.

94. Some NCOs : TSGTS (Technical Sergeants). SSGTS fit the clue also. So you have to wait.

95. Plains tribe : OTO

97. European island nation : MALTA

99. Have __: lose it : A FIT

100. "Adventures in Babysitting" co-star : SHUE. Again, the answer filled in itself.

101. Cry under a pop-up : MINE

103. Plastic __ Band : ONO

104. Ellipsis element : DOT

106. "Scram, ya varmint!" : GIT

So I finally got my enhanced ID yesterday. It looks the same as my last driver's license, but with an American flag to the right of Class D. I needed birth certificate, my citizenship papers and some tax return stuff. All forms have to be original.

Boomer is still waiting for his, after several visits to the place. He lost his SSN card some time ago, and just did not have the correct document.

Do you have enhanced IDs in your state?