Showing posts with label Morton J. Mendelson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Morton J. Mendelson. Show all posts

Oct 13, 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017, Morton J. Mendelson

Title: Text speak meets grid spanner = WTF _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

How interesting that after last week where Jeffrey inserted an acronym (IOUS) to create new fill, MJM uses initialisms as the introduction to a 15 letter in the language phrase. As someone who has used initialisms my entire life (e.g. DKDC), this was easier than it might have been, as getting a word from the perps got me started. When texting first was available, a friend and I would send each other
letter strings and try to solve them. The insane responses were usually better than the intended comment. Anyway, many fun words with interesting etymology. Off we go.

The themers:

17A. TW ... : DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT (15). Two Wrongs...

25A. DCYC ... : BEFORE THEY HATCH (15). Don't Count Your Chickens...

44A. CI ... : NEXT TO GODLINESS (15). Cleanliness Is...

58A. AGT ... : MUST COME TO AN END (15). All Good Things...

The rest:


1. Yanks' foes: JAYS. No, they are playing Houston in the ALCS.

5. Operation designed to hurt: STING. Hurt? To me, they either defraud someone (the oldest was by the Praetorian guard who sold the Roman Empire to Julianus in 193 C.E.) or to arrest someone. LINK.

10. Shipboard resident: SWAB. I think of swabbie/y, but the Urban dictionary says: "This term, frequently used by non-sailors to refer to sailors, is most likely a contraction of the term "swabbie" or "swabby", presumably derived from the notion of sailors "swabbing the deck". "Swabbie/y" is currently in use only among the elderly; 'swab' is the more common term among young people." Proving once again, I am elderly.

14. CFO, e.g. : EXEC.

15. Not as likely to mess up: ABLER.

16. Walk without getting anywhere? : PACE. I like this definition.

20. Shoelace site: INSTEP. Did you ever think about the origin of this word? Sounds like it is backwards - it is where you step in the shoe. But, the dictionary says: "late Middle English: of unknown origin; compare with West Frisian ynstap ‘opening in a shoe for insertion of the foot.’"

21. Shipboard chums: MATEYS. Mini-clecho with 10A.

22. Tenn. neighbor: ALA. Abbr. - abbr.

24. Apartment listing abbr. : RMS.

34. Nice with? : AVEC. The Nice, France trick.

35. Gobs and gobs: SLEWS. More dictionary- from the Irish Slaugh.

36. Cart for heavy loads: DRAY. "for delivering beer barrels or other heavy loads, especially a low one without sides."

37. Filly's brother: COLT.

38. Fighter eulogized by Bill Clinton, among others: ALI.

39. Old-time teacher: MARM. Based on a variant pronunciation of ma'am.

40. "The Grapes of Wrath" figure: OKIE.

41. Beams: GRINS.

43. Prime real estate? : EDEN. I like this clue.

47. Downed a sub, say: ATE.

48. In-law's wife, possibly: SIS.

49. Refrigerates: CHILLS.

53. One of a biblical ten: PLAGUE. Commandments clearly did not fit.

62. Like quality beef: AGED.

63. One "sitting lonely on the placid bust," in a classic poem: RAVEN.
“But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow, he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.’
Then the bird said, 'Nevermore.”

64. Course with relevant tangents: TRIG.

65. Regular guys: JOES.

66. Finals, e.g.: EXAMS.

67. Spot: SITE. Mira, there she goes!


1. "Star Wars" warrior: JEDI. How many have seen THE Trailer?

2. Nerve cell part: AXON.

3. Cravings: YENS.

4. Ewan McGregor, for one: SCOT. More Star Wars.

5. They're often free: SAMPLES.

6. Sched. question mark: TBA.

7. Kind: ILK. A repeat.

8. Once called: NEE. Not FKA.

9. Sir Georg Solti's record 31: GRAMMYS.  Did you know? LINK.

10. Rotating rod: SPIT.

11. Conduct: WAGE. Like war.

12. Hurting: ACHY. I almost linked "Achy Breaky Heart" which was triple platinum in Australia, and number 2 on Blender magazine's 50 Worst Songs Ever.

13. Puts money (on): BETS.

18. Dash: TEAR. Tear down the stairs.

19. Not at all reflective:: RASH. Impulsive.

23. On the lam: AT LARGE.

24. Backs up a videotape: REWINDS. Backs up? Made me think of re-recording.

25. Cobb salad ingredient: BACON.

26. Bring to mind: EVOKE.

27. Composer Mendelssohn: FELIX. He looks like a young Gene Wilder. Almost a CSO; I wonder if Morton's family removed the extra "S" and the "H." Then lent them to the green stamp people.

28. Good-sized wedding band: OCTET.

29. Prefix for "sun" : HELIO. I know only this one. Hélio Castroneves.

30. Madison Ave. Pitchers: ADMEN.

31. Carpentry, e.g.: TRADE. CSO.

32. Worries: CARES.

33. Church numbers: HYMNS.

41. Reacted to an arduous workout: GOT SORE.

42. Shoes without laces: SLIP ONS. Aha! More shoe references.

45. Gymnast's powder: TALC.

46. Ibiza, por ejemplo: ISLA. Spanish.

49. Key of the finale of Brahms' Symphony No. 1: CMAJ. Lots of classical music.

50. "Les Misérables" author: HUGO.

51. "Now it's clear": I SEE.

52. Old Fords: LTDS.

54. Hard-working colonizers: ANTS.

55. Spice Girl Halliwell: GERI. Still recording.

56. Second, e.g.: UNIT.

57. Sharp side: EDGE.

59. Reach capacity, with "out": MAX.

60. Actress Mendes: EVA. Many pretty pictures.  For Splynter.

61. President pro __ : TEM. Pres·i·dent pro tem·po·re.  Latin.

Well, MJM and I have finished our work here, so it is time to bid you all adieu and hope you enjoyed the puzzle, exposition and enjoy the upcoming weekend.  It is not often I get to reference a West Frisian word. Thank you Morton - I had an Uncle Morton - and all readers - be you a lurker, a regular or unpredictable member. Lemonade out.

Mar 27, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017 Morton J. Mendelson

Theme: Borrowed Words - Lexical borrowing is the adoption of individual words or phrases in their native language and used "as is" in our English.

39A. With 42-Across, cars like BMWs and Audis ... or 18-, 24-, 53- and 63-Across: FOREIGN. 42-Across: IMPORTS

18A. Writer's chief work (Latin): MAGNUM OPUS. (great work)

24A. Done deal (French): FAIT ACCOMPLI. (fact accomplished)

53A. English, in many non-English speaking countries (Italian): LINGUA FRANCA. Literally "Frankish tongue". Good definition by Merriam-Webster. LINK Read the "Did You Know?" section.

63A. Young sensation (German): WUNDERKIND. (a wonder child)

Argyle here. Don't shoot the messenger.


1. Ponzi scheme, e.g.: SCAM

5. Impersonated: APED

9. Your __ Highness: ROYAL. 37D. Princess' headpiece: TIARA

14. Drilled bowling ball feature: HOLE

15. Artist Magritte: RENE

16. Shah of Iran, in 1979-'80: EXILE. ??

17. Bahrain big shot: EMIR. Kingdom of Bahrain is a small Arab monarchy.

20. Sphere of influence: AMBIT. The adjective form is ambient.

22. Drinking glass edges: RIMs

23. Ambulance initials: EMS. (emergency medical service)

28. Farm country skyline highlights: SILOS

29. Nissan model: SENTRA

33. "Take me for a walk!": [ARF!]

36. Expel from office: OUST

38. Amazon's business: E-TAIL

44. Rhett's last words: A DAMN

45. Siamese, now: THAI

47. __ dye: food-coloring compound: AZO. Infrequently seen fill.

48. Live (in): RESIDE

50. Lover of Euridice, in a Gluck opera: ORFEOWiki  Previously clued as Monteverdi title character. Not Monday friendly.

58. Word with health or day: SPA

61. Oboist's need: REED

62. Lagoon-enclosing isle: ATOLL

67. Sinister: EVIL

68. Cortés subject: AZTEC. I believe this refers to Cortés personally governing the Aztecs, making them his "subjects".

69. Wrinkle, as a brow: KNIT

70. San __, Italy: REMO

71. Suppose for argument's sake: POSIT

72. Many van Goghs: OILS

73. Killed, as a dragon: SLEW


1. Harvest bundle: SHEAF

2. Grammar class subject: COMMA. Also, in the news.

3. Legal defense mechanism?: ALIBI

4. Advantages: MERITS

5. Shortstop's asset: ARM. He has to rifle the ball to first base to beat the runner.

6. Green soup veggie: PEA

7. Thoroughly absorb: ENGROSS

8. Jeans fabric: DENIM

9. Dreaming phase: REM SLEEP. (rapid eye movement)

10. Kitchenware brand: OXO

11. Frightened exclamation: [YIPE!]

12. University fund-raising target: ALUM

13. A smaller amount of: LESS

19. Quartet assigned to bases: UMPs. In the big leagues, at least.

21. Mai __: TAI

25. Plumber's challenge: CLOG

26. Dracula's title: COUNT

27. Avid about: INTO

30. Skater Lipinski: TARA. Roller skating as a nine-year-old.

31. Nabisco cracker: RITZ

32. "Wait, there's more ... ": "ALSO ... " for a limited time.

33. Miles away: AFAR

34. Traveled by bike: RODE

35. Abbey titles: FRAs

40. Oscar winner Jannings: EMIL. The first Oscar recipient and one of the first persons you learn when doing crosswords.

41. Roundabout, as a route: INDIRECT

43. Offend slightly: MIFF

46. Entertainer who often got tied up in his work?: HOUDINI. Cute clue.

49. Part of DOE: Abbr.: ENERgy

51. Historic period: ERA

52. Many top-rated TV shows of the late '50s/early '60s: OATERS. Westerns.

54. Gordon __, "Wall Street" antagonist: GEKKO. "If you need a friend, get a dog."

55. James Joyce work: NOVEL. CSO

56. Weather, in poems: CLIME

57. Permit: ALLOW

58. Tit for tat, e.g.: SWAP

59. "The Godfather" novelist Mario: PUZO. It was on TV this weekend.

60. Teeny colonizers: ANTs

64. Agnus __: DEI. (Lamb of God)

65. Zip, in soccer: NIL

66. Wino's woe: DTs. (delirium tremens)


Jan 5, 2017

Thursday, January 5th 2017 Morton J. Mendelson

Theme: Emoticon Explications :)

Four theme phrases clued by their emoticons:





Four emoticons - these ones are described as "sideways, Latin only". These were the first, simple ways of denoting a facial expression in textual form and used in early chat rooms. They've now developed into a quite complex sub-language, and also sparked the development of the graphical emojis that you find on your mobile phone.

One of my favorites is the portrait of Homer Simpson  ~(_8^(I)

This puzzle looks to be the LA Times debut for Morton, so congratulations are in order. He's been published in the New York Times prior, but I can't see any history in the LAT. Four nice in-the-language phrases matching the facial expressions.

Let's see what else we've got:


1. Gucci of fashion : ALDO

5. Manual reader : USER

9. Certain highlands musician : PIPER. The Great Highland bagpipes, the ones you're probably most familiar with, are inflated by blowing down the chanter. Irish pipes use a bellows instead, so all those pipers you see on St. Patrick's Day are using the wrong instrument. Also, this tune, which you also hear a lot on March 17th is called "Scotland the Brave". Never ceases to amuse me.

14. Celebrity : LION. This is our local celebrity lion - the mountain lion which hunts in Griffith Park.

Photograph by Steve Winter/National Geographic

15. Salon service : PEDI

16. Eco-friendly spa brand : AVEDA.  Salon brand also - they make hair products as well.

20. Gazpacho ingredient : TOMATO' Food! Basic recipe, I give mine a bit of zing with a dash of balsamic and Worcestershire sauce (repeat after me - wuster sauce, not war-sester-shyre!)

21. Grammatical unit : SENTENCE

22. Make up for skipping classes, perhaps : CRAM. I did my fair share of this back in the day.

24. Scholar's deg. : PHD. 

30. Carpooling calc. : ETA. I think this refers to the time you're going to get picked up when you're part of a carpool. Makes a change from the airport clues though.

33. Frigid end? : AIRE

34. Straight man : STOOGE. Were the Three Stooges all straight men? Patricia Heaton from "Everybody Loves Raymond" was one of the best.

35. Bust : NAB

36. Vegetation : FLORA

38. Tarzan creator's monogram : ERB. Edgar Rice Burroughs. He owned a ranch a few miles from me in the San Fernando Valley, which is now the neighborhood named "Tarzana".

39. Virus named for a Congolese river : EBOLA

41. Trains above the road : ELS. Giving Ernie a rest today.

42. Allows to attack : LETS AT

45. "Smack That" rapper : AKON. Thank you, crosses.

46. Manhattan part : RYE. Bartenders tell me that the only cherries that you should use are the ones made by Luxardo. Cheers!
49. Pro : FOR

50. Cabinet dept. with an Office of Science : ENER. A guess, but seemed reasonable.

51. Dined at a table for one : SAT ALONE

56. Near-failing grade : D-MINUS

62. Reached, as expenses : RAN TO

63. Veiny cheese : BLEU. Food! Here's English Stilton, "The King of Cheeses".

64. Work with needles : KNIT

65. Med. specialty : OB-GYN

66. Couture line : SEAM. Nice clue/answer combo.

67. Gels : SETS


1. Came to rest : ALIT

2. Long drive? : LIMO. Took a couple of beats to see this one.

3. Brown digs? : DORM. Brown University.

4. Many an Albee play : ONE-ACTER. I tried ONE-ACTED first which had me looking sideways at "FLODA"

5. Puts on the internet, e.g. : UPLOADS. Like I'll do with this blog in a few minutes.

6. Poivre companion : SEL. I was given a set of electric pepper and salt grinders this Christmas, appropriately made by Peugeot, a French car company. What a car manufacturer is doing making kitchen equipment I have no idea.

7. Slow Churned ice cream : EDYS. Dreyer's out here in the West. Same stuff.

8. Swarming (with) : RIFE

9. Where many aces can be seen : PAR THREE. Most holes-in-one on the golf course come on the shorter par-3 holes. I've never made one, but I gave a club to a friend of mine, and he hit a hole-in-one with it the very next time out on the course. I claim an assist.

10. Like some academic walls : IVIED. Some baseball grounds too, Wrigley most famously.

11. Menial worker : PEON

12. Part of NEA: Abbr. : EDUC.

13. Demolish, in Devon : RASE. "Fawlty Towers" was based on a hotel in Torquay in Devon, which is a long way round of saying that John Cleese would be called John Cleeze here.

18. Gillette brand : ATRA

19. Remove wooden pins from : UNPEG

23. Sacred songs : MOTETS. Learning moment. I knew the word, I didn't know that they were sacred.

25. Mass consumption? : WAFER. Nice. Communion wafer.

26. Like links-style golf courses : HILLY. "Hilly" isn't the first adjective I'd choose to describe a links course. The Old Course at St. Andrews, the most famous of them all, is as flat as a pancake.

27. Sprang up : AROSE

28. Razzie Award adjective : WORST

29. Easy to prepare, as desserts : NO-BAKE

30. Mushroom in Asian cuisine : ENOKI. Food! I'm getting full here. Also known as enokitake, Great in noodle bowls.

31. Raptor's weapon : TALON

32. Go out with __ : A BANG

37. "The Jazz Singer" singer : AL JOLSON

40. Applicants with low credit scores, to loan officers : BAD RISKS

43. Dutch banknotes : EUROS

44. Günter Grass novel, with "The" : TIN DRUM

48. __-plié: ballet movement with knees half-bent : DEMI. Not known, but the "half-bent" makes this easy to guess.

49. Like marbled steak : FATTY. Food! I cooked a prime rib roast on New Year's Day. I dreamt about it last night. I wonder about myself sometimes.

* For extra credit, what's unique about the word "dreamt" in the language?

51. Houston pro, locally : 'STRO. Baseball's Astros. We had the long version of the name yesterday.

52. Captain who says, "For hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee" : AHAB. From "Moby Dick."This monomaniac was in our "Captains" puzzle a couple of Thursdays back.

53. Sharp flavor : TANG

54. Well-used crayons : NUBS

55. Creator of Perry and Della : ERLE. Crosses for me. Perry Mason, Della Street, Erle Stanley Gardner.

57. Diamond complement : NINE. I had to stare this one down before the penny dropped. Nice players on a baseball team.

58. Minute, e.g. : UNIT

59. Some NCOs : SGTS

61. __ shooter : PEA

That wraps it up for me. Time for dinner!