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Showing posts with label Norma Steinberg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Norma Steinberg. Show all posts

Jun 21, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 Norma Steinberg

Theme: Descriptive Earnings - The theme answers (two across and two down) are common financial terms but are clued as if they were descriptions of income.

21. Honky-tonk owner's income? : JOINT RETURN

56. Actor's income? : PART PAYMENT

3. Trawler's income? : NET PROFIT

36. Librarian's income? : HUSH MONEY

Argyle here. Another unusual grid for early in the week.

Our first LAT encounter with Norma Steinberg, a regular constructor for Newsday. We also had more than 20 offerings from her in our old TMS Daily Crossword.

Across:

1. Pained expression : WINCE. Wince suggests an involuntary contraction of the facial features triggered by pain, embarrassment, or a sense of revulsion: to wince as a needle pierces the skin; to wince at coarse language.

6. City in Peru or Ohio : LIMA

10. Disallow : VETO

14. Standard of excellence : IDEAL

15. Satan's doing : EVIL

16. They can take a yoke : OXEN. Did you hear the one about....

17. __ dish: lab item : PETRI

18. Direction indicator : VANE

19. Legends and such : LORE

20. Cassandra's gift, for short : ESP. Not quite what the Greek Miss myth had but close.

24. Byways : ROADS

26. Sampled : TASTED

27. Dress (in) : CLOTHE

29. Rumple, as hair : MUSS

31. 47-Across handle : HAFT. 47A. Fencing weapon : ÉPÉE. You need the perps to decide if you want HILT or HAFT. Norma has used this before.

32. Numbers for Noah : TWO'S

34. Early anesthetic : ETHER

39. Pierre's significant other : AMIE. French.

40. Cut off : SEVER

42. Govern : RULE

43. Take a mulligan in golf, say : RETRY. I took a mulligan; I had REHIT.

45. Workshop gadget : VISE

46. Altai Mountains' continent : ASIA. The Altai Mountains define where Xinjiang meets with Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, the region is studded with prodigious peaks.

49. Political commentator Maddow : RACHEL. MSNBC

51. Spiral-shelled mollusks : SNAILS

55. Capital between Eugene and Portland : SALEM

59. Org. that advises the president in financial planning : OMB. Office of Management and Budget.

62. "We try harder" sloganeer : AVIS

63. Praise : LAUD

64. "Rubber Duckie" singer : ERNIE. Ernie went solo with this one, left poor Bert behind.

66. Consider : DEEM

67. Marseilles miss: Abbr. : MLLE.. French/Mademoiselle.

68. Oscar winner Witherspoon : REESE

69. Ultimatum ender : ELSE

70. Fortuneteller : SEER

71. Watch surreptitiously : SPY ON

Down:

1. Use a dust rag on : WIPE

2. Bad day for Caesar : IDES

4. Wheels, so to speak : CAR

5. Hebrew prophet mentioned during 55-Downs : ELIJAH. 55D. Passover meal : SEDER. Why is There a Cup of Wine for Elijah at the Passover Seder?

6. Casual brand : LEVIS

7. Tennis great Lendl : IVAN

8. Condition like new : MINT

9. Warns : ALERTS

10. Electrical units : VOLTS

11. Remove from text : EX OUT

12. __ Haute, Indiana : TERRE

13. Without stopping : ON END

22. "Golden Boy" playwright Clifford : ODETS. Big in the Thirties, he avoided being black-listed by giving up names, though he never gave a name the committee didn't already have..

23. Comfort : EASE

25. Aquatic frolicker : OTTER

27. Sear : CHAR

28. Hobbling : LAME

29. Film : MOVIE

30. Functions : USES

33. "__ Only Just Begun": Carpenters hit : WE'VE. So sweet.(3:07)

35. Smidgen : TRACE

37. "Night" author Wiesel : ELIE

38. Tangible : REAL

41. Aired again : RERAN

44. Cry from the litter : YELP

48. Biblical poems written partly by King David : PSALMS

50. Changes : ALTERS

51. Gardening tool : SPADE

52. Bellybutton : NAVEL

53. Sign of spring? : ARIES. The Ram, first astrological sign in the Zodiac.

54. "Who's there?" reply : "IT'S ME"

57. Clinton's alma mater : YALE

58. Stubborn animal : MULE

60. Sushi bar soup : MISO

61. "How've you __?" : BEEN

65. Salesperson, briefly : REP


Argyle

Aug 31, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009 Norma Steinberg

Theme: Abracadabra

17A: Magician's deception: SMOKE AND MIRRORS

35A: Magician's deception: SLEIGHT OF HAND

52A: Magician's deception: OPTICAL ILLUSION

Also, a couple bonus words which are symmetrically placed in the grid. Perfect!

27D: "Pick a __, any ...": CARD.

35D: Magic act, for one: SHOW.

The cross-referenced fill END (28D: See 38-Down) and THE (38D: With 28-Down, novel conclusion) are also symmetrically gridded. Excellently done.

Argyle here.

A very nice start to the week. A lot of three letter entries that are words and not abbreviations. A minimum of foreign words. And so many songs I could link! (This is not for everybody. Hocus Pocus Dutch insanity.)

Across:

1A: Joplin piano piece: RAG. Scott Joplin, died 1917, was an African-American dubbed the "King of Ragtime." Ragtime is an original American musical genre whose main characteristic trait is its syncopated, or "ragged", rhythm. Maple Leaf Rag.

9A: Like a disreputable hotel: SEEDY.

14A: www address: URL. Uniform Resource Locator: a protocol for specifying addresses on the Internet.

15A: Pic: PHOTO.

16A: Knight's protection: ARMOR.

20A: Kept in reserve: SAVED.

21A: Dewy: MOIST.

23A: Really smart people: BRAINS.

29A: Old salt: TAR. Sailor

30A: Investigation: PROBE.

32A: Southern breakfast side: GRITS. Either you like 'em or you don't; nothing in between.

33A: Concurrence: ACCORD.

38A: Very brief briefs: THONGS. I don't know what to say. Images.

39A: Take in or let out: ALTER. No, not the cats.

40A: Improve, as skills: HONE.

42A: __ room: play area: REC. Should this have an indication that it's a shortened version of RECreation ?

45A: Lamb's mom: EWE.

46A: Like the person in a diet ad "after" picture: LEANER.

48A: Equipment: GEAR.

49A: "Grrr!" is one: SNARL.

51A: It's enough for Luigi: BASTA. Italian for Stop! Enough! ASSEZ in French.

57A: Finish second, in a race: PLACE. Usually in a horse race: First, WIN; second, PLACE; and third, SHOW.

58A: Inventor Howe: ELIAS. He patented the first American-made sewing machine.

59A: Payable: DUE.

60A: Natives of Ankara: TURKS. The capital of Turkey.

61A: Like oboe music: REEDY. Oh, okay.

62A: Little green men, briefly: ETS. ExtraTerrestrial being, originating outside the limits of the earth.

Down:

1D: Many an Idaho potato: RUSSET.

2D: Spanish fleet: ARMADA.

3D: Danny of "Lethal Weapon" films: GLOVER. Sergeant Roger Murtaugh.

4D: Floored it: SPED.

5D: "I have the answer!": AHA.

6D: Chaney of film: LON.

7D: Takeoff approx.: ETD. Estimated Time of Departure.

8D: Christina Crawford's "__ Dearest": MOMMIE. The story of growing up with Joan Crawford for a mother. Book and Film.

9D: Wrapped garments seen in Agra culture: SARIS. Agra District is one of the districts of Uttar Pradesh state of India, and home of the Taj Mahal. Aishwarya Rai (the World's Most Beautiful Woman) in red SARI, beautiful!

10D: Says "2x2= 5," say: ERRS.

11D: :-), e.g.: EMOTICON.

12D: Palme __: Cannes film prize: D'OR. "Golden Palm Leaf", awarded for the best film. Here are three pretty women at 2004 Cannes Film Festival: the most influentical Chinese actress Gong Li, again, Aishwarya Rai and French supermodel Laeticia Casta.

19D: Cyclotron bit: ION.

23D: Naval jails: BRIGS.

24D: __IRA: ROTH.

25D: Choose not to vote: ABSTAIN.

30D: Holier-than-thou type: PRIG. Synonyms: prude, puritan, bluenose.

32D: Wilder or Hackman: GENE.

33D: Subsequent to: AFTER.

34D: "Moonstruck" Oscar winner: CHER.

36D: Texas symbol: LONE STAR.

37D: Ye __ Tea Shoppe: OLDE.

41D: Square dance leader: CALLER. Bugs Bunny, Square Dance Caller.

42D: Live (at): RESIDE.

43D: Take the family to a restaurant: EAT OUT.

44D: Building site giants: CRANES.

46D: Shoestrings: LACES.

47D: The Gay Nineties, e.g.: ERA.

48D: "Fill 'er up" filler: GAS.

50D: Just in the __ of time: NICK.

51D: Occupied: BUSY.

53D: Like "mice" and "men": Abbr.: PLU. Plural. Nice play on John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men".

54D: Land in the Seine: ILE. Islands in a French river.

56D: Young guy: LAD

Argyle

Answer grid.

Picture of the Day: Here is great photo of our fellow LAT solver Jimbo and his family. He said: "Left to right, my son, his granddaughter, his son and "yours truly".

Jan 25, 2009

Sunday January 25, 2009 Norma Steinberg

Theme: Face It

23A: Flirtatious signal: EYE CONTACT

25A: Snoop-for-hire: PRIVATE EYE

54A: Reporter's talent: NOSE FOR NEWS

73A: Meager: HAND-TO-MOUTH

103A: Scarves and such: NECK PIECES

105D: Sweater style: TURTLE NECK

36D: Old hearing devices: EAR TRUMPETS

39D: Performed without a score: PLAYED BY EAR

My theme title would be "Funny Face" because it's twisted and browless. The EYES are facing each other, so are the EARS (symmetrically). The NOSE is sitting above the MOUTH, but not directly.

Interesting to have two NECKS gridded below the MOUTH. But what animal has two NECKS? Guess it's just a wordplay of "NECK and NECK" here.

Clues I disliked:

1D: Took straw: DREW. Bad letter duplication. Besides, why not "Sketched"? It fits today's "Face" theme nicely.

5D: Manuel's hands: MANOS. HAND is already an answer for the puzzle, though it would be tough to clue MANOS without mentioning "hands".

Clue I adored:

65A: Interest free? BORED. Just brilliant.

Easiest Sunday puzzle I've ever solved. No googling. Did get help from my husband on several entries.

Across:

21A: Classic Alan Ladd Western: SHANE. Wikipedia says Edith Head, who won eight Oscars (out of 35 Academy nominations), was the costume designer for SHANE.

32A: Fruits with hard rinds: GOURDS. Cubumbers also belong to the gourd family, they don't have hard rinds though.

43A: Reconnoiter: SCOUT. Garrison Keillor writes a weekly column for our Star Tribune every Sunday. I don't know why he calls himself "The Old SCOUT".

52A: Leafy veggie: KALE. How to cook KALE/mustard green properly? They taste terrible when stir-fried.

53A: River island: AIT. Is there any famous AIT in the US?

58A: Vestibule: FOYER. Here is Degas's "Le FOYER de la Danse" again.

61A: Theater sections: LOGES. Was President Lioncoln sitting inside a LOGE when he was assassinated?

76A: Bellicose deity: ARES. Greek God of War. The Roman equivalent is MARS. The Norse counterpart is THOR, right?

78A: Abominable snowman: YETI. Myth or legend?

83A: Author of "Siddhartha": HESSE (Hermann). See the book cover. Unknown to me. Wikipedia says Hermann won Nobel Literature in 1946. He also wrote Steppenwolf . This name sounds familiar to me somehow. Oh, "Born to be Wild".

85A: Small cooker: GAS RING. Oh, I did not know this is called GAS RING in English. But why "cooker" instead of "burner"?

87A: Georgia University: EMORY. Interesting, I just found out that this university does not have a football team. How strange!

91A: Jargon: PATOIS. The plural is still PATOIS. What is the difference between PATOIS and argot?

95A: Herschel's planet: URANUS. I guessed. Have never heard of this astronomer/composer. He discovered URANUS in 1781.

109A: Related on mother's side: ENATE. AGNATE is "Related on father's side".

110A: Ex-Spice Girl Halliwell: GERI. Ginger Spice, the girl with one knee on the ground.

111A: Pundit's newspaper pg.: OP-ED. Who is your favorite columnist? I like David Brooks.

Down:

15A: Humphrey Bogart film: "High __": SIERRA. Have never seen this movie. The only Bogart movie I've watched is "Casablanca".

16D: Iowa State city: AMES. The Cyclones.

35D: Anatomical networks: RETIA. Singular is RETE.

44D: Mudville batter: CASEY. Ah, baseball, "CASEY at Bat". "... But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out."

55D: Man who portrayed Chan: OLAND (Warner). Got the answer from across fills. Charlie Chan often commented "Ah So", a Japanese expression actually.

56D: Mechanical man: ROBOT. I like the position of ROBOT in this grid.

57D: Marsh of mysteries: NGAIO. Last time MARSH is clued as "Ngaio of mysteries".

62D: Combat mission: SORTIE. Pilot's mission, to be exact.

65D: Fights: BOUTS. Boxing term. The answer did not come to me immediately.

69D: Rhyming verse: POESY. Dictionary says POSY is a variant of POESY, meaning "a brief verse or sentimental phrase, especially one inscribed on a trinket". Sounds romantic.

77D: Boxing proximity: RINGSIDE. New term to me. Boxing is too hard for me to watch.

79D: Awareness of one's position: BEARING. Are you OK with this clue?

81D: Cheesecake picture: PINUP. This is probably the most famous PINUP. Hugh Hefner told NPR that Betty Grable was "his inspiration for founding the Playboy empire".

92D: Designer Simpson: ADELE. Have never heard of this designer name before. I am used to seeing ADELE clued as "Fred's dancing sister".

95D: John Ruskin's "__ This Last": UNTO. No idea. Is this a very well-known essay?

C.C.

Jan 7, 2009

Wednesday January 7, 2009 Norma Steinberg

Theme: On the Ground

21A: Negative campaigning: MUDSLINGING

56A: Fertility goddess: EARTH MOTHER

3D: Very inexpensive: DIRT CHEAP

36D: Diminutive whirlwind: DUST DEVIL

DUST DEVIL is new to me. What causes it?

SOIL*, MUCK* and CLAY* are three other potential theme candidates I could think of. What else?

This is my first cheat-free, Wite-out free puzzle. Ms. Norma Steinberg, if you are reading this blog, please can you send me an email? I want to have my finished puzzle autographed.

Although TMS puzzles are random and do not follow NY Time's more-difficult-as-the-week-goes pattern. I do feel that Wednesday is always the easiest, with the exception of Verna Suit's Three Lines puzzle on Dec 3, 2008.

Across:

14A: Carroll heroine: ALICE. Did you all read this book when you were a child? You know, I really don't hate Chairman Mao, but I often look back on my childhood with a sense of what might have been. Cultural Revolution ruined so many people's lives.

18A: Jodie Foster film: NELL. Not a Jodie Foster fan. Don't think I want to watch NELL.

45A: Cinco y tres: OCHO. In Chinese, it's 八, the lucky number, as its pronunciation is similar to "prosper". Thus, the Olympic started at exactly 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm on 8/8/08. "I love you" is 520.

47A: Actress Heche: ANNE. So many ways to clue ANNE, ANNE Heche, ANNE Frank, ANNE Bancroft, ANNE Boleyn, who else can you think of?

56A: Belushi biography: WIRED. Not familiar with this Bob Woodward book. Easily obtainable though.

68A: Happy expression: SMILE. Wonderful intersection with AMO (65D: Caesar's loving expression). I don't believe in "Amor vincit omnia" any more. It's simply not true.

Down:

1D: Wilson's predecessor: TAFT. The only U.S. President to become Chief Justice. I have an autographed photo of Bob TAFT. I was unaware of his criminal activity when I got it.

5D: Flunky: YES-MAN. Can you call those eunuchs YES-MEN?

6D: Slugger Barry: BONDS. Have never liked him before. I do have all his rookie cards though.

9D: Nabokov title: LOLITA

10D: Pennants: FLAGS. Great pennant. I only have 1987 and 1991 Twins Championship pennants. Mine are in perfect condition.

12D: Peace in Greece: IRENE. I thought she was the goddess of peace in Greek mythology.

25D: "Siddhartha" author: HESSE. I got the answer from across fills. Have never heard of "Siddhartha". HESSE won Nobel Literature in 1946.

41D: Quiz show host Mandel: HOWIE. Another guess. He is the host of "Deal or No Deal".

48D: Maidenly minor deities: NYMPHS. Mountain nymph is OREAD. River nymph is NAIAD, Wood nymph is DRYAD. Do you know why all of them have *AD ending?

55D: Job's question?: WHY ME. From the Bible I presume?

C.C.

Dec 9, 2008

Tuesday December 9, 2008 Normal Steinberg

Theme: Window Dressing

21A: Hollywood auditions: SCREEN TESTS

56A: Reappearance on stage: CURTAIN CALL

3D: Fix-up: BLIND DATE

36D: Elm or maple, e.g.: SHADE TREE

This theme is so similar to Doug Peterson's June 25 puzzle.

No pun or any wordplay in this puzzle. Very straightforward clues. Rather bland though. Take LEAP (31A: __ of faith) for example, I remember once we had "Act of faith?" clue. I also like "Quantum movement?".

I guess it's too risky to play with ERECT (68A: Upright). I can't remember which constructor tried to clue ERECT as "Like member of congress?" for the NY Sun. I had no idea that when not capitalized, congress can have a sexual meaning (#5). Is that a familiar definition to you?

Across:

1A: Westminster, e.g.: ABBEY. Beatles' fans probably want the clue to be "ABBEY Road". The song "Come Together" is on this album.

17A: Tissue layers: PLIES. I guess our editor was not in the mood for "Knee-bending movements" any more.

19A: Writer Shelley: MARY. She wrote "Frankenstein". Wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley. I was not aware that she was writer.

26A: Actor Borgnine: ERNEST. I guessed. Have never heard of this guy before. What did he say is his secret for long life?

29A: "Star Wars" warrior: JEDI

39A: Petruchio's wife: KATE. From "The Taming of the Shrew". Another guess. Knew Kate, did not remember her husband's name.

40A: Songwriter Newman: RANDY. Unknown to me. Wow, this guy scored so many films.

64A: __ incognita: TERRA. Or TERRA Cotta, TERRA firma.

70A: __ souci (carefree): SANS. What is the opposite of SANS souci? Avec souci?

Down:

2D: Manila machete: BOLO. I obtained the answer from across fills. Not familiar with BOLO knife. Coconuts are very hard to crack.

7D: Knowing: WISE. This is a new definition of "Knowing" to me. Can you say "He is a knowing guy"?

8D: Aunt Bee's nephew: OPIE. I am more familiar with the "Mayberry kid" clue.

10D: Hucksters: ADMEN. I just learned the meaning of HUCKSTER a week ago when it's clued as "Hawker". Had no idea that it could also be an adman.

28D: Jacob's first wife: LEAH. Rachel's sister. I vaguely remember this Bible story.

29D: Singer Jackson: JANET. I was actually watching TV when the "Wardrobe malfunction" happened. I did not think it's too much though.

41D: "__Never Walk Alone": YOU'LL. Does it refer to Elvis' song?

44D: Post-storm help grp.: FEMA. I can't imagine the lives of those FEMA employees. Too much pressure.

51D: Head covering: SCALP. I wanted SCARF.

53D: Sign of spring: ARIES. Wow, they need more than one marriage to find happiness?

57D: Ephron or Lofts: NORA. Did not know the British author NORA Lofts. I liked NORA Ephron's "Sleepless in Seattle". She has such a wonderful sense of humor. I still could not believe that Carl Bernstein did not tell Ephron who "Deep Throat" was when they were married.

C.C.

Nov 25, 2008

Tuesday November 25, 2008 Norma Steinberg

Theme: Word of Mouth

17A: Stammering: TONGUE-TIED

60A: Performed like Milli Vanilli: LIP SYNCHED

10D: Ursine-shaped candies: GUMMY BEARS

30D: Five-year-old's money source: TOOTH FAIRY

A couple of things first:

1) Thank you for the nice words yesterday regarding the 1 million hit. What an interesting journey! Thank you for the company. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your generosity in sharing your knowledge and time with me and several thousands of solvers every day. I hope you continue to find this blog informative and worthy of your time. I also hope you find the comments from other solvers educating and entertaining.

2) I still can not access my Hotmail account from Firefox, and I don't like IE. So I decided to go back to my dormant Gmail account. If you have any question or comment on the blog, please email me at crosswordc@gmail.com from now on. What I don't understand is why Hotmail is suddenly blocked from Firefox. I've changed nothing for the setup.

Now back to the puzzle. I am not fond of GUM being embedded in GUMMY in 10D. Bubble gum, chewing gum are better GUM candidates.

I like how TOTO (37A: Dorothy's pet) crossing ASTA (29D: Cinema pooch). I also like how HIS (33D: That guy's) parallels HER (38D: That girl's), with HIS slightly above and on the right of HER, wonderful position.

The clue for COPRA (50D: Coconut meat) is incorrect. I cook with coconut meat and but I've never used COPRA, which is dried coconut meat and is used to extract coconut oil.

This is probably the easiest puzzle I've solved this month. Not much pause.

Across:

1A: Myers or Nesmith: MIKE. Only know MIKE Myers. Have never heard of Nesmith. What's he famous for?

5A: Elegant behavior: CLASS. I think the best CLASS clue I've seen is "Type of act". He has CLASS.

10A: Shoots the breezes: GABS. I thought of YAK first.

15A: Arthur Marx's stage name: HARPO. I did not know that his original name is Arthur.

19A: Gangster's girl: MOLL

39A: Verdi heroine: AIDA. Interesting, Wikipedia says AIDA is an "Arabic female name meaning "visitor" or "returning". And it means "reward" in Swahili.

45A: Little-hand indication: HOUR. $355 for this hand clock? Ridiculous!

52A: Norse God: THOR. God of Thunder. His hammer always returns to him magically after being thrown to a target. Most of the Norse myths come from the two Eddas I think: The Poetic Edda (the elder EDDA) or the The Prose Edda (the younger EDDA).

Down:

1D: First name in spies: MATA. Bond jumped into my my mind first. By the way, does anyone know who shot Dominic Greene in "Quantum of Solace"?

5D: Fidel's friend: CHE. If Guevara were still alive, he would have launched a revolutionary against our editor's stiff way to clue his name. I don't think he would be happy to be connected with Fidel Castro all the time.

12D: Chagall's "____ in Green": BELLA. I am not familiar with this painting. Looks like "BELLA in black" to me. BELLA is Chagall's first wife.

34D: __ Inch Nails: NINE. I guessed. This rock band is completely foreign to me. I don't like their Gothic look.

55D: Pasadena campus: UCLA. Doug Peterson, the constructor for yesterday's puzzle, is from Pasadena. Today's constructor Steinberg lives in San Francisco.

C.C.

Oct 27, 2008

Monday October 27, 2008 Norma Steinberg

Theme: Phrasal Verbs with OFF ON

17A: Authorize in writing: SIGN OFF ON

56A: Argue toe-to-toe: FACE OFF ON

11D: Begin, as a trip: START OFF ON

28D: State one's opinions: SOUND OFF ON

I wish 56A were SQUARE/SLACK OFF ON, then every theme entry would start with letter S.

I really liked the ERIE clue (13D: Superior's inferior?), very clever. UNDO (14A: Cancel) could be clued as "Computer edit command" to complete a computer sub-theme, together with EXE (20A: Program file extension) and UNIX (2D: Trademark DOS).

It's an OK puzzle. I didn't find the theme inspiring though.

Across:

15A: Icefield: FLOE. Dictionary says ice FLOE is smaller than "Icefield", which is smaller than ice sheet and similar in area to ice cap. Very confusing.

21A: Essential meaning: POINT

36A: French you: VOUS. "Voulez-VOUS" from "Mamma Mia!".

40A: Seine feeder: MARNE. Unknown to me. See this map. It's a famous W.W. I battle site. Alfred Joyce Kilmer, the poet of "I think that I shall never see /A poem lovely as a tree" was killed at the second battle of the MARNE in 1918.

42: Homer's TV neighbor: NED. No idea. NED is always clued as "Actor Beatty". So is Bart Simpson's "Aye carumba" is a corruption of Spanish "Ay caramba"?

43A: Deuterium discoverer: UREY (Harold). I forgot. Saw his name before. He won Nobel Chemistry in 1934 and he was also involved in the Manhattan Project.

44A: Film festival site: CANNES. Palme d'Or for CANNES, Golden Lion for Venice Film Festival (the oldest film festival in the world).

55A: Actress Woodard: ALFRE. Ha, what can I say. I forgot her name again. Do you watch "Desperate Housewives"?

Down:

1D: Italian actress Elenora: DUSE. No idea. Wikipedia says she is the first woman to be featured on the cover of Time magazine (July 30, 1923).

6D: Michael Caine film: ALFIE. I've only seen Jude Law's 2004 ALFIE.

8D: Only penciled in: TENTATIVE

26D: Singing chipmunk: ALVIN. Here is their "The Christmas Song". So weird.

27D: Singer Pat: BOONE. Here is his "Ain't That a Shame".

31D: Unmanned aircraft: DRONE. I wonder if the constructor's original clue is bee related, since she has STING (34A: Wasp attack) gridded so close by.

34D: Nerve - wracking: STRESSFUL

37D: Indian garb: SARI. Has anyone seen "The Darjeeling Limited"?

57D: Temporary mania: FAD. I can never understand the Beanie Babies FAD.

C.C.

Oct 14, 2008

Tuesday October 14, 2008 Norma Steinberg

Theme: Types of Lumber

17A: Legitimate: ABOVEBOARD

65A: Package delivery service: PARCEL POST

10D: Gymnastics apparatus: BALANCE BEAM

25D: Taper holder: CANDLE STICK

I am not sure I got the theme right.

Lately I've been obsessed with the consistency of theme entries. Strictly speaking, 17A does not really fit into the other 2-word pattern. But I cannot think of 2-word *BOARD with 10 letters, can you?

Interesting to see ST. PETER (48A: Heavenly gatekeeper), SATAN (26A: Head of Hades) and EVIL (31D: Devil's doings) in one grid. I would prefer cluing EVIL as "Axis of ___" , as I am averse to having duplicated letters in both the clue and the answer. I always thought the "Head of Hades" is Hades himself. Hard for me to associate SATAN with Greek Hades.

The clue for CHARM (1D: Bracelet bangle) is incorrect. "Bracelet dangler" yes.

Across:

1A: Dollar, slangily: CLAM. Dennis said last time that CLAMS is always used in plural form when it refers to money slangily.

14A: Sword handle: HILT. Sometimes it's haft. I don't know what's the difference between the two.

19A: Yearn (for): LONG. I thought of PINE first.

24A: Team animal: MASCOT. This is our Goldy Gopher.

28A: Pronto!: ASAP. And STAT (45D: Immediately, in the O. R.). STAT is from Latin "statim". Unknown to me. I am more used to the baseball "ERA or RBI" clue.

30A: Way down: DESCENT. I have problem understanding the structure of "Way down". Is "down" an adjective here?

34A: TV journalist Paula: ZAHN. Not any more. She left CNN last year.

37A: Bandleader Puente: TITO. Here is Carlos Santana's "Oye Como Va", composed by TITO, so rhythmical. I like Santana's "Smooth" a lot: "... Give me your heart, make it real, or else forget about it...".

44A: Rings out: PEALS. Why "out"? "Rings" is enough.

58A: Small cave: GROTTO. This Blue GROTTO looks magical.

64A: Son of Leah and Jacob: LEVI. Or LEVI Strauss of jeans. A bit of religious undertone in today's puzzle. See also IDOL (6D: Religious statue).

69A: Inventor Howe: ELIAS. I had no idea that he invented the sewing machine. Always thought it's Singer.

71A: Student grind: WONK. Fascinating word origin.

Down:

2D: Qaddafi's land: LIBYA. It belongs to OPEC (68A: Oil cartel).

3D: Medicinal lilies: ALOES. I did not know that ALOE is of lily family. (Note: The clue is "Medicinal plants" in syndication papers).

4D: Cable channel choice: MTV

9D: Unruffled: SEDATE. Always thought SEDATE is a verb. I wanted SERENE.

18D: Personalities: EGOS. Really? They are not the same to me.

59D: "__ Man", Harry Dean Stanton film: REPO. I've never seen this movie.

62D: Winner's mantra: I CAN. Yes, I CAN. "I am just hot, I am totally ready to lead..."

C.C.

Sep 29, 2008

Monday September 29, 2008 Norma Steinberg

Theme: Bang a Gong

20A: Verisimilitude: RING OF TRUTH

39A: Trolley sound: CLANG CLANG CLANG

53A: Yuletide song: JINGLE BELLS

I am not sure I got the theme right. RING is singular, but BELLS is plural. What purpose does CLANG CLANG CLANG serve here? The echoing sounds when you RING BELLS? I really have difficulty understanding this constructor's thinking process. (Addendum: My bad. JINGLE, not BELLS, is part of the theme).

Somehow this puzzle brought back memories of Paul Newman. Too bad our editor missed the opportunity to pay tribue to him:

14A: Macho guy: HE-MAN. Didn't Paul Newman always present a tough, rugged HE-MAN persona?

25A: Energetic drive: HUSTLE: How about "Emulate Paul Newman's Fast Eddie"?

32D:Round of applause: HAND: Who doesn't like his "Cool ___ Luke"?

The clue for FED (21D: G-man) should be changed to a simple "Nourished" to avoid the duplication of MAN & man. I would have clued CAESAR (48A: Funny Sid) as "Veni, vidi, vici" speaker" to pair up with ET TU (8D: Ides of March rebuke).

Across:

1A: Cowboy leggings: CHAPS. Can Christina Aguilera really ride a horse wearing this CHAPS?

10A: Persian poet Khayyam: OMAR. "A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and Thou..." That's all I need in paradise too. So simple, so beautiful.

19A: Jackknife or swan: DIVE. Jackknife DIVE is a new term to me.

23A: Girlie: SIS. What the heck is this? Isn't "Girlie" an offensive term to describe an effeminate man?

24A: 26th letter: ZEE. "Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

27A: Lacking vitality: PALLID

44A: Flexible joint: HINGE

45A: Upstanding: ERECT. This pink ERECT anthurium is so pretty.

62A: Composer Porter: COLE. Lovely clip.

Down:

2D: Dodge Ram engine: HEMI. New to me. I only knew HEMI as a prefix for sphere.

5D: Nodding off: SNOOZING. And SOOTHING (9D: Comforting). I think any grid should have a maximum of 2 *ING's.

28D: Actress Nazimova: ALLA. How boring! Is this the only way to clue ALLA? How about this?

40D: Office job category: CLERICAL

46D: British rule in India: RAJ. And CASTE (48D: Societal station).

47D: Jack Horner's dessert: PIE. I wonder what kind of pie he is eating.

56D: "So Big" author Ferber: EDNA. Have you read the book? What is it about? What is "So Big"?

C.C.

Sep 23, 2008

Tuesday September 23, 2008 Norma Steinberg

Theme: MIDDLEMAN (62A: Middle of 17A, 35A and 52A)

17A: Biblical injunctions: TEN COMMANDMENTS

35A: Did some questionable redistricting: GERRYMANDERED

52A: Charlemagne's domain: HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE

Very nice puzzle. I like this go-between MAN theme. But "behind every great MAN is a great WOMAN, and behind her is his wife." So I really hope Ms. Steinberg can offer us a "Pretty WOMAN" or "Scent of a WOMAN" themed puzzle soon. Wife is not necessary.

Quite a few lovely words with MAN in the middle: romantic, permanent, adamant, etc. Some celebrities also have MAN in their names: Giorgio Armani, Nicole Kidman, Gene Hackman, Hugh Jackman, etc. All beautiful people.

I dislike the clue for HMOS (51D: Med. care gps.) due to the answer MEDS (34D: Rx item). A simple "Doctors' grps" would be just fine.

Across:

15A: At large: LOOSE. What exactly is an "Editor-at-Large"? Is he/she always traveling on the road?

23A: Plays a banjo: STRUMS. As opposed to picks?

31A: Dry by rubbing: WIPE. The clue does not sound very fluid to me. "Rub dry" would be OK.

33A: Online bookseller: AMAZON. Or the "Mythical warrior" who "burned off the right breast in order to use a bow and arrow more effectively."

39A: Hot, spicy drink: TODDY. No idea, only knew GROG.

40A: Dollar, slangily: CLAM. Thought of BUCK first.

45A: Shepard or Houston: SAM. Know Houston, not Shepard.

49A: Student of Socrates: PLATO. He is also the teacher of Aristotle.

58A: Home of BYU: PROVO. Know this because of Barry.

Down:

1D: Ramada chain: MOTEL. This word MOTEL always brings to mind the scary scene in "Psycho".

3D: Refusal to admit: DENIAL. I've never understood "DENIAL isn't just a river in Egypt". What does it mean?

8D: Kept inside: PENT- UP. Oh, that PENT -UP desire...

9D: Actor Lorenzo: LAMAS. I actually watched a few episodes of his "Are You Hot?" Rachel Hunter was another judge on the show.

11D: Runtish: PINT-SIZE. Is PINT-SIZE and PINT-SIZED the same? How about bone-head and bone-headed?

13D: Punner's duo?: ENS. I think the best ENS clue I've seen is "Dinner twosome?"

19D: Comic Deluise: DOM. I've never heard of him before. Got his name from across fills.

25D: Demonstrates connections: RELATES

33D: After-market item: ADD-ON. Why?

35D: Colorado tributary: GILA. Is this how GILA monster got its name?

42D: Gender bias: SEXISM

43D: __ del Fuego: TIERRA. Foreign to me. Obtained this name from the across fills. See this map.

44D: From the mountains of Peru: ANDEAN. Very nice picture. I wonder what those llamas are thinking.

46D: Bumps on a hog?: WARTS. No idea. How come?

55D: "..... __ gloom of night...": NOR. The postal motto: "Neither rain, nor sleet, NOR gloom of night...". I wonder why our editor did not clue NOR as "Neither rain, ___ sleet...". It would be more straightforward.

C.C.

Sep 17, 2008

Wednesday September 17, 2008 Norma Steinberg

Theme: Mined Over Matter

17A: Old-time typescript duplicate: CARBON COPY

61A: Determined: IRON- WILLED

10D: Inherited wealth: SILVER SPOON

24D: Trophy wives, perhaps: GOLD DIGGERS

I am not fond of 61A, it's an adjective, all the other 3 are nouns. I thought of IRON CURTAIN & IRON HORSE, but neither fits the blank need. Maybe you can come up with a 10-letter IRON* noun phrase.

I would be very pleased if there were 5 theme answers, with IRON CHEF AMERICA (15-letter) placed in Row #8 running through the whole grid.

Very smooth puzzle. Nice and easy. I had no problem obtaining OSCAR (37A: Lyricist Hammerstein) and LEVI (58D: Italian writer Primo), though I knew neither of them. I liked this new cluing approach. Felt refreshing.

Disliked the clue for OLIVIER (22A: "Hamlet" Oscar winner) because OSCAR is an answer. I think "Fabled city of treasure" should be OK for EL DORADO (26A: Fabled city of gold) as GOLD is part of the answer for 24D.

Across:

6A: Ltr. carriers: ENVS. And ENCS (6D: Ltr. extras)

10A: Ocean extract: SALT. Don't forget SALT is also an acronym for "Strategic arms limitation talks".

19A: "Sweater Girl" Turner: LANA. She is stunning. What's that background music? Sounds so familiar.

20A: 6-points: TDS. And KOS (21A: WBA stats)

41A: Southern cornbread: PONE. Does it look like this? I've never seen PONE in person. Dictionary says it's also called johnnycake.

45A: Killer whale: ORCA. The spelling of ORCA is so close to OCA, often clued as "Andean tuber". They are longer and thicker than Hawaiian TAROS.

46A: Yearn for: DESIRE. I DESIRE U2. ".... Burning, Burning..."

48A: Thought out: REASONED. And PONDERS (15D: Mulls over).

52A: Put on: DON. And CLAD (2D: Dressed in)

50A: Lytton Strachey's first name: GILES. No idea. I got his name from across fills. Are you familiar with "The Letters of Lyatton Strachey"?

64A: Cordelia's father: LEAR. The two bad daughters are Regan and Goneril.

68A: Vogue competitor: ELLE. Or "Model MacPherson".

Down:

5D: Dracula's creator: STOKER (Bram). See this book cover.

9D: Engraving tool: STYLUS. I am not familiar with STYLUS engraver.

13D: Symbol of sadness: TEAR. Very sad "TEARS in Heaven".

32D: John ___ Gardner: NANCE. No idea. Wikipedia says he was FDR's veep from 1933 to 1941, and he was the longest-living vice-president in US history (almost 99 years old). President Ford was the oldest former president, followed by Reagan, both over 93 years old.

47D: Plaza Hotel girl of comics: ELOISE. I vaguely recalled this name, but I could not remember what was the story behind this ELOISE.

49D: Some pool balls: SOLIDS. Lois probably will give us more explanation on SOLIDS. She is an expert on balls: bowling balls, pool balls, golf balls, etc, etc, etc.

55D: Enjoy some haikus, e.g. : READ. I thought it would be a good idea to clue READ as "Enjoyed some haikus, e.g." Past tense could be very cleverly misleading.

57D: Actress Nazimova: ALLA. No idea. This is a rather unique shot of her in the silent film "Camille". Wikipedia says Rudolph Valentino starred in the movie too.

59D: First place?: EDEN. Good clue. EDEN is Hebrew for "pleasure".

C.C.

Aug 12, 2008

Tuesday August 12, 2008 Norma Steinberg

Theme: The Sound of Music

17A: Chopin song to Caesar's enemy?: ETUDE BRUTE

65A: When King David sang?: PSALM TIMES

10D: Handel's reveries? SUITE DREAMS

25D: Strauss' NYT setting?: WALTZ STREET

Oh how I struggled with the theme today! I did not know the musical meaning of SUITE, and I had no idea that Handel wrote many keyboard SUITES. "SWEET DREAMS" kept popping into my mind and I started to think that this might be a wordplay puzzle.

I wish ACT (20A: Behave) were clued as "Play part" to further enhance the musical sub-theme:

44A: Famous fair lady: ELIZA. Here is the original Broadway poster.

31D: Webber hit: CATS

53D: La __ (Milan's opera house): SCALA

I also wish POLO (35D: Equestrian game) was clued as "China explorer" to pair us with ASIA (36D: China's land). I don't believe the clue for TIED (23D: Even-steven) is the contructor's original submission. She would not have overlooked EVEN (18D: __ as we speak).

Anyway, I enjoyed this puzzle very much. It felt so feminine and pretty. Lots of girl power in the grid. And none of them is unyielding.

Across:

10A: Swedish auto: SAAB. I often wonder why this company name is SAAB AB rather than just SAAB, so repetitive.

15A: Stretch of land: TRACT. and 11D: Land measure: ACRE

22A: Show up for: ATTEND

24A: Cleansing routine: SHOWER. "Jump in the SHOWER...". Dolly Parton has such an enviable body, so sexy. I really want the rainbow, but I don't want to put up with the rain.

26A: "Dallas" matriarch: ELLIE. I lapsed into ELLEN again. I've never seen "Dallas".

30A: Secondhand ride: USED CAR

39A: Kind of queen: DRAMA

50A: Part of a poppy: STEM. I planted SEED first.

54A: Move it: HASTEN. I've never heard of "Move it". "Hightail it" yes!

58A: Rival of Athens: SPARTA. Pure guess. I don't know why SPARTA is the "Rival of Athens". Not familiar with Greek history or mythology.

69A: Actress Shire: TALIA. She is Connie in "The Godfather".

70A: Muppet with a unibrow: BERT. I don't understand this picture. What is that long stuff coming out of the peanuts jar? Looks elastic.

Down:

2D: Fire starter: MATCH

3D: Former planet: PLUTO. 冥王星 in Chinese. Literally "Star of the Underworld King". means "King" in English. More than 7% of the total population in China has as surname. That's about 93 million, 1/3 of the total US population?

4D: Punk rocker Vicious: SID. I don't know anything about his songs. I just love so much the "You were my little baby girl" poem he wrote to his girlfrend Nancy. So simple and sweet.

5D: J. Ringling's partner: P. T. BARNUM. Unknown to me. I pieced his name together from the across fills.

7D: Fry lightly: SAUTE. What's the difference between SAUTE and Stir-fry?

27D: Units of light: LUMENS. Another unknown. Easily gettable.

29D: Empower: ENABLE. I don't like the clue. I hate the repetition of letter (s) in both the clue and the answer. So many other ways to clue "ENABLE". The same with SLAB ( 58D: Thick slice). "Thick piece" would be just fine.

32D: Famous cookie maker: AMOS. This constructor clued AMOS as "Writer Oz"in her last puzzle. Listen, this is Melissa's favorite AMOS.

42D: One of the U.S. Virgin Islands: ST. THOMAS. Pure guess. Here is the map. Have you been there before?

45D: Plugging away: AT IT. OK, this is another phrase that bothers me. In which dictionary can you find "AT IT"?

67D: Big blue: IBM Think!

C.C.

Aug 4, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008 Norma Steinberg

Theme: Switch Positions

20A: Contradictory testimony: HE SAID SHE SAID

40A: Competitor's realistic expectation: WIN SOME LOSE SOME

57A: Interrogation ploy: GOOD COP BAD COP

Before I forget, I would like you to see this hillarious Crossword Inker (about 7 minutes), what a spoof! I also want to share with you this fascinating Oprah interview (about 10 minutes) with Will Shortz (NY Times crossword editor) and Merl Reagle (the genius crossword constructor).

OK, back to the puzzle. I was really disappointed at the clue for LEVEL (68A: Relative rank) because RANKS is the answer for 27D: Puts in order. I don't believe this is Ms. Steinberg's original clue.

Other than that, it's just an ordinary Monday puzzle, nothing to RAVE (16A: Great review) about. This exact theme has been tried several TIMES (33D: Multiplication word) in NY Times before, with the omission of theme entry ON AGAIN OFF AGAIN.

Across:

1A: Group of zealots: CULT. The CULT of iPod and Mac.

14A: Paducah's river: OHIO. Not familiar with Paducah. Wikipedia says MLB player Steve Finley grew up here and PGA golfer Kenny Perry graduated from a school just outside Paducah.

15A: "Rosemary's Baby" author: LEVIN (Ira). Have you seen the Roman Polanski/Mia Farrow movie? It does not sound appealing to me at all.

17A: Classic Chevy model: NOVA. Unknown to me.

23A: Outward pose, slangily: 'TUDE (Attitude). Also new to me.

25A: ___ on the side of caution: ERRED. I don't like this fill-the-blank clue, which should have some past tense hint.

28A: Old towel, perhaps: RAG

35A: Snooknums: DEARIE. I've never heard of "snooknums". Just learned "sweetums" a short while ago. What's root for this"nums"?

37A: Spanish couple?: DOS. In Chinese, one is "", two is "", three is "". So simple, isn't it? Even a caveman can write them.

45A: Springsteen's birthplace?: USA. Here is his "Born in the USA". This is probably the most sought-after Time magazine with Springsteen on the cover. This issue of Newsweek (Nov 1975) is also highly collectible, tough to find one in good condition and with no musty smell.

46A: Word on a poster: WANTED

63A: Oz man: BAUM (L. Frank). He has such a creative mind. Nice Set of Ashton Drake dolls, Dorothy looks so cute. I like these Munchkins barbies too. This is a Franklin Mint's "Wicked Witch of the West" porcelain doll. Almost impossible to find one with the original Certificate of Authenticity. I almost broke her broomstick.

Down:

4D: Speakers before drinks: TOASTERS

5D: Flowing: FLUID. Not fond of the clue. I dislike the letter "F' repetion.

7D: No. 2 in rentals: AVIS. Have not seen Alamo for a long time.

22D: Hero to some: SUB. I like this clue.

25D: "The Mystery of __ Drood": EDWIN. It's not a familar Dickens book to me.

26D: Marie Antoinett, e.g.: REINE. French for queen. Spanish is REINA.

43D: Tattle-tails: SNITCHES

48D: Skeptical disciple: THOMAS. Doubting THOMAS.

66D: Stripling: LAD. This young LAD looks very pensive.

C.C.

Aug 3, 2008

Sunday August 3, 2008 Norma Steinberg

Theme: Drop Me a Letter

23A: One way to look at dieting?: AS A MATTER OF FA(C)T

61A: Let them be so-so?: LAISSEZ - FAIR(E)

98A: Connected to nature?: (G)ONE WITH THE WIND

16D: PETA's position?: DOWN ON ALL F(O)URS

38D: Bribes?: GREASE MON(K)EY

51D: Kooky wish granter? (F)AIRY GODMOTHER

Great puzzle! Much more interesting than the "Exed Out" puzzle we had in June.

I like this kind of "word transformation" themed crossword - adding a letter or dropping a letter. I think I can handle changing- a- letter too. Not sure I am up to the word reversal or anagram, but I am game. Try me!

This morning I kept thinking why the constructor decided to drop C, E, G, O, K and F. Without the F, we could have had a "GECKO". I guess there is no hidden meaning behind her drops, she simply just needs those random drops for her grid. Sometimes a cigar is a just a cigar.

Structurally, this grid looks very appealing to me. I don't think I've seen an Across theme entry intersects a Down theme entry so perfectly, right in the middle and with the identical 11-letter word count. Very beautiful.

The only flaw is the clue for GOLLY (33A: Gee whiz! ). GEE WHIZ is the answer for (33D: Yipes). I can assure you that the constructor's original clue for GOLLY is not "Gee whiz".

I had some trouble with FAIRY GODMOTHER (51D: Kooky wish granter). I misread the clue as "Kooky fish granter", and I had the following silly intersecting fills:

68A: Scott Joplin's genre: RAG. I filled in RAP. Had never heard of Joplin before.

92A: Command to Fido: SIT. I had SIC.

77D: Dishes with chips: DIPS. Really struggled with this one. My final answer was RIMS, ridiculous, I know, but I filled in the M with a sound reason, as my answer for 65D: Covered with bubbles was FOAMY instead of SOAPY. I was thinking of dish plates with chips along the RIMS.

So I was staring at AIRYPORMOCHER for eons and could not make any sense of it. I still don't grok how "Kooky" and "AIRY" are connected. Kooky means eccentric, and AIRY means lofty or snobbish, how can they be synonymous?

Across:

13A: Miss Muffet's surprise: SPIDER. Ha, pure guess. Nursery rhymes stump me all the time.

19A: North star: POLARIS

22A: Gangster Al: CAPONE 50D: Writer Capote: TRUMAN. I always confuse CAPONE with CAPOTE.

25A: Frank admission: AVOWAL

31A: Winchester rival: ETON. Not familiar with Winchester college. ETON's rival is always "Harrow" to me. Wikipedia says ETON is modeled on Winchester.

32A: Wing movements: FLAPS

36A: Dancing Buttons: RED. I've never heard of him. Got his name from the down clues. For a long time I could not understand why RED is the "Dancing Buttons", so confused by the plural form "Buttons". Then I realized the B is in capital letter. Excellent clue. Who is that lady in the middle?

37A: Christie of "Don't Look Now": JULIE. I still think she should have won Oscar for "Away From Her", brilliant performance. I've never seen "Don't Look Now" before. Is it good?

38A: Cosmetic product: GELEE. Ah, irresistible lip gloss, tasty too.

43A: Byron poem: LARA. I don't know this poem. Only know LARA as "Dr. Zhivago's love", also played by the beautiful Julie Christie.

44A: Over in Ulm: UBER

49A: Put on: STAGED. Does this refer to "STAGED a play"?

53A: Pop preference: FAVE. Should have added "slangily' in the clue.

55A: Pavarotti performances: ARIAS

57A: Saw-tooth ranges: SIERRAS

59A: E-I connection: FGH. I think I like the "I follows them" clue better.

69A: Antique shop's affectation: OLDE. OK, this "Ye OLDE Shoppe" has been bothering me for a long time. What does "Ye" mean? Why "Shoppe" instead of "Shope"?

72A: Creamy dessert: MOUSSE. I want a slice of this berry MOUSSE.

73A: Deviation from the norm: ANOMALY

79A: Turning muscle: ROTATOR

82A: Prone to overacting: HAMMY

86A: ___, right in the kisser!: POW. I've never heard of this phrase before.

90A: Cardiff's country: WALES. Cardiff the capital of Wales. Here is Tom Jones, the best WALES has offered to us.

96A: Division in a group: SCHISM

102A: Person with a financial burden: LIENEE

107A: Moocher: CADGER. I would not have got HIC (101D: __ jacet) without this CADGER.

Down:

2D: Suggested: POSITED

3D: With ice cream: A LA MODE

4D: Asian noodles: RAMEN. I like udon, soba is good too. Lots of food in today's puzzle. Xchefwalt would have enjoyed it.

6D: Unit of Morse code: DIT. What's the difference between DIT and DOT? Someone mentioned last time that DOT and DASH are the codes, DIT & DAH are how those codes sound like aurally. Is that true?

12D: Accepted second best: SETTLED. Under certain circumstance, yes.

37D: Is in accord: JIBES

41D: Bandleader Xavier: CUGAT. Have difficulty committing his name into my memory.

43D: Burton of "Roots": LEVAR. I've seen "Roots", but I did not pay attention to his real name.

56D: Pitcher Koufax: SANDY. Gimme gimme. He is a HOFer. This is his 1955 Topps rookie card. Feels like PSA 8 rather than 5.

58D: Key of Beethoven's "Eroica": E FLAT. Learned from doing Xword. I've got no understanding of Beethoven's music. This is for you!

62D: Like speedy service: SAME DAY

63D: Throw out of bed: ROUST

76D: Tree colonies: FOREST. I just learned a new woody word today - sylvan.

78D: Cowboy bars: SALOONS. It indeed looks like a wonderful to eat, drink and have fun. Interesting photo above the bartender's head.

79D: Alice Kramden's hubby: RALPH. I don't know this RALPH. But I know this clue will someone very happy today.

80D: First part: OPENING. See, Sallyjane, here is another example where you do not need an *ING clue for an *ING answer.

81D: Love affair: ROMANCE. I think Oscar Wilde was wrong in saying "Nothing spoils a ROMANCE so much as a sense of humor in the woman."

82D: Bothersome situation: HASSLE

83D: Soul singer Keys: ALICIA. I like this photo, with her talent & passion in full display.

87D: "Our Town" playwright: WILDER (Thornton). I googled the book.

90D: Chess side: WHITE

95D: Fleck or Bartok: BELA. Know the composer Bartok, not Fleck.

To steal a line from Buckeye, I must be off. Make exciting comments today, and turn me on.

C.C.