Showing posts with label Paul Coulter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paul Coulter. Show all posts

Jul 2, 2020

Thursday, July 2nd 2020 Paul Coulter

Theme: The Cruciverbalist's Lament.

16A. "No idea": HOW SHOULD I KNOW?

26A. "No idea": I'M STUMPED. Interesting word, "stump". There are a ton of different meanings beyond the tree stump. You stump up for something when you pay, a politician stumps on the campaign trail. This batsman has just been stumped playing cricket:

38A. [No idea]: SHRUG. Note the brackets around the clue to indicate a gesture.

51A. "No idea": IT BEATS ME

60A. "No idea": I DON'T HAVE A CLUE

Paul sings us the song of the sad crossword solver today. Five theme entries indicated by the common clue, and together forming a tide of woeful ignorance.

The puzzle itself was pretty straightforward (for me, anyway). There's some good stuff in the fill and some nice long entries in the downs to keep things entertaining. Nice job from Mr. Coulter. Let's go for a wander:


1. Indian noblewoman: RANI

5. Pressure meas.: P.S.I. Pound force per Square Inch. There are many kinds of measurements of pressure - newtons, pascals, atmospheres, all kinds of goodies.

8. Little lies: FIBS

12. Like port, usually: AGED. Technically, a wine can only be called a port if it's made in Portugal's Doura region. There are a few very good California "port-style" wines. The Fairbanks brand is not amongst them, so steer well clear, the same goes for their "sherry". First law of wine - don't cook with something you wouldn't drink.

13. W. alliance since 1948: O.A.S. The Organization of American States, comprising all 35 independent states of the Americas, including the USA.

14. Southwestern grassy plain: LLANO. Here's one in Columbia:

19. Make a minister: ORDAIN

20. Soft drink nut: KOLA

22. Flings: CASTS

28. Cost of preventing deterioration: UPKEEP

30. Adhesive: PASTE

31. Protein-rich bean: SOYA

32. Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo __: EPSTEIN As GM of the Red Sox, he delivered the first World Series to Boston in 86 years, ending the "Curse of the Bambino" championship drought. What is less commonly-known is that the GM post was first offered to Billy Beane of "Moneyball" fame, who was tempted by the eye-watering salary offered by owner John Henry but elected to stay at Oakland.

John Henry should be feeling pretty good this week - he is also the majority owner of Liverpool F.C. in England, who just sealed their first championship win in the Premier League era, and their first title for 30 years dating back to the 1989/90 First Division championship. But I digress.

37. Blueprint detail, for short: SPEC.

39. Charity: ALMS

43. Wearing away gradually: ERODING

45. Greek earth goddess: GAIA. Thank you, crosswords past!

46. Autocrats of old Russia: TSARS. Is there a preferred spelling of TSAR vs CZAR? I'm not sure if one is closer to the Cyrillic original "царь" than the other.

49. 100 agorot, in Israel: SHEKEL. I'm sure if this clue was written the other way around not many people would know "agorot".

56. Dancer Castle: IRENE. Here she is modelling in 1917.

57. Strait-laced: PRIM

58. Storywriter known for irony: O. HENRY. The "O" doesn't really stand for anything, although when asked in an interview for a French newspaper, William Porter told them it was the inital for "Olivier" and it became a "fact" that the full name was "Oliver Henry".

66. Pasta often served alla vodka: PENNE. Food! Just a splash is needed to give the sauce a little bite.

67. Louis XIV, par exemple: ROI

68. Unnerve: FAZE

69. Hides the gray, maybe: DYES. Not me, I proudly sport my gray.

70. "Atlas Shrugged" writer Rand: AYN. OK, so this clue I thought was badly done - SHRUG is part of the theme, I'd have avoided reusing the root in an unrelated clue. "The Fountainhead" is an equally well-known Rand work, so I'd have used that instead. Minor nit.

71. Mattress spring: COIL


1. "Go team!": RAH!

2. Back in the day: AGO. Not my favorite. I don't associate "ago" with "back in the day".

3. Still in the package: NEW. Garage sale or eBay win - NOS - "New Old Stock", or BNIB - "Brand New In Box."

4. Fake __: ID'S

5. Not up to snuff: POOR

6. Mecca native: SAUDI

7. Religion of Mecca: ISLAM. Nice pairing of these two answers.

8. Low-tech fire starter: FLINT. In my youth, I lived in Winchester, a historic city in the south of England. The old city walls were made of flint cobbles, and we used to have fun striking sparks by bashing two pieces against each other. This is the Great Hall, flint-built; with the c1400 Round Table hanging on the wall. Not a bad wall decoration!

9. Breed: ILK. Breed? Not really, more fiefdom. I refer you to many "of that ilk" references. Instead of the belabored "Lord Clackmannan, of Clackmannan" which is a tad redundant, it was rendered "Lord Clackmannan, of that ilk". I bet you didn't expect to learn that when you woke up this morning?

10. Supervisor at a financial institution: BANK MANAGER. "Back in the day", you knew you were in trouble if you got a letter from the bank manager, usually "politely" pointing out that you had overdrawn your account.

11. Busybodies: SNOOPS. Bank Managers also.

15. Young hooter: OWLET

17. One may wind up on a fire truck: HOSE. Nice clue.

18. Bad-mouth: DIS

21. Beverage suffix: -ADE

22. Use bad words: CUSS

23. Informal pricing words: A POP

24. Largest of the Inner Hebrides: SKYE. Here's a little musical interlude - "Over the Sea to Skye". Quite a few different lyrics were set to this music. The Saltire looks grand against a blue sky.

25. Japanese ritual with an iron pot: TEA CEREMONY

27. Org. with an Odd News web page: U.P.I. United Press International, the Washington-based wire service.

29. Baja bread: PESO. Not tortilla? Nope, not enough room.

33. Scholar's deg.: PH.D

34. __ Lanka: SRI

35. Winery cask: TUN

36. French toast maker's need: EGGS

40. Victoria, for one: LAKE. The name should be reverted to the original Lake Nyanza, there's been way too many names lost to colonial flag-planters. Do you have a flag?

41. Appearance: MIEN

42. BOGO event: SALE. "Buy One, Get One". A cunning marketing ploy. Always hooks me, line and sinker, even though I hear the soundtrack in my head: "That's cunning! Stick a tail on it and call it a weasel!".

44. Cape Town's country: Abbr.: R.S.A. The Republic of South Africa. Probably another candidate for returning to pre-Colonial naming.

46. Pointed end: TIP

47. Narrow piece: STRIP

48. Tolerated: ABIDED

50. Breezy greeting: HIYA!

52. Big name in raingear: TOTES. Has the "totes adorbs" run been exhausted? Hard to keep up with the language sometimes.

53. "Use your inside voice": SHH!

54. Comedian featured in Jerry Stiller's "Married to Laughter": MEARA. Anne, Jerry's wife.

55. Official representative: ENVOY

59. Horse rider's strap: REIN

61. Shreveport-to-Little Rock dir.: N.N.E. Ah, back to the random-place-to-random-place chestnut. One moment of reprieve last week, but reverting to type with this one. Let's just agree to use the literal clue "Compass Point" from hereon. It's lame fill, and why pretend otherwise?

62. Ozone-depleting chemical: CFC. Also the initials of the soccer team I support in England, Chelsea F.C.

63. Language of Southeast Asia: LAO

64. Special forces weapon: UZI

65. Unagi, e.g.: EEL. A freshwater eel, in this case., which is what the "for example" bit is all about. All unagi are eel, but not all eel are unagi. ウナギ in Japanese.

And with the final clue making me Food! happy, here's the grid!


Note from C.C.:

Evan Birnholz, constructor for the Washington Post, just released below information:

"I am very proud to announce the release of "Grids for Good"! This is a collection of 42 crosswords and variety puzzles by 44 different constructors to raise money for coronavirus relief and as well as organizations fighting against institutional racism."
I'm one of the constructors. Go to "Grids for Good" for those great puzzles and support charitable causes. The puzzles are available in PDF and puz formats.

Jun 28, 2020

Sunday, Jun 28, 2020 Paul Coulter

Theme:  "Breakfast with Your Sunday Puzzle" - Phrases are humorously interpreted as if they're breakfast-related.
23. Wry suggestion at breakfast about what to feed the cat when you're out of milk?: GIVE IT SOME JUICE.
34. Suggested which breakfast bread to brown?: PROPOSED A TOAST.

52. Sign of a sloppy breakfast eater?: EGG ON ONE'S FACE.

71. Secure a breakfast supply?: BRING HOME THE BACON.

92. Breakfast complaint about getting the oolong by mistake?: NOT MY CUP OF TEA.

 107. Breakfast go-with that comes from a plant?: CREAM OF THE CROP.

124. Reference with rows and columns covering all varieties of a breakfast drink?: COFFEE TABLE BOOK.

See, Paul sure loves food and loves play with food. He's made a few puzzles with food themes.

Today's seven theme entries are all quite long and take lots of squares, but the fill is smooth.

Paul Coulter


1. Kind of pool: TIDAL.

6. Arthur Ashe's alma mater: UCLA.

10. Clyde cap: TAM.

13. British bakery buy: SCONE. Breakfast item.

18. Antipasto morsel: OLIVE. Food again.

19. Insulted smack: SLAP.

20. Asian nurse: AMAH. I've mentioned before. Many households in Hong Kong have amahs. Most of them are from the Philippians and they have regular gatherings on Sundays in Central Hong Kong.

22. Welcome words to a hitchhiker: HOP IN.

26. "A Passage to India" heroine: ADELA. Played by Judy Davis. I watched it ages ago. So glad the guy was cleared in the end.

27. Nostradamus, e.g.: SEER.

28. Seagoing force: ARMADA.

29. Thumb-and-finger sounds: SNAPS.

31. __ center: REC.

32. Retired flier: SST.

37. Strike out: DELETE.

40. R&B's Boyz II __: MEN. Loved their "End of the Road".

41. Story featuring Paris: ILIAD. Not the city.

42. Choice group: ELITE.

43. A, in Arles: UNE.

46. Title sitcom bookstore owner: ELLEN. Turns out she's pretty tough in in real life.

48. Columnist Bombeck: ERMA.

56. Nine-digit ID: SSN.

58. Chit: IOU.

59. Code word: DAH.

60. "The Seinfeld Chronicles," e.g.: TV PILOT.

61. @@@@: ATS.

63. Intensified: AMPED.

65. Mex. miss: SRTA.

67. Brain scan letters: EEG.

68. Make __ of: botch: A HASH.

70. Mantegna's "Criminal Minds" role: ROSSI. Never saw the series.

76. Somewhat, informally: SORTA.

78. Beast of Borden: ELSIE.

79. One of the Reagans: RON. Remember Air America?

80. First-rate: TOPS.

83. Introduction: PROEM.

84. St. with a panhandle: IDA.

85. Monterey County seat that's the birthplace of John Steinbeck: SALINAS. We also have 8D. Truman's Missouri birthplace: LAMAR.

88. 50 Cent piece: RAP.

89. Handful: FEW. Still lots of buds in our lilies. So beautiful.

90. "__ voyage!": BON.

95. Family lads: SONS.

97. Advances: LENDS.

99. "Come again?" replies: EHS.

100. Apprehension: DREAD.

101. Video store section: SCI-FI.

103. It's game: TAG.

106. Damon appears as him in five films: BOURNE (Jason)

113. Sundial marking: III.

114. Curtain holder: ROD.

115. French Alps river: ISERE. Merges with the Rhone.

116. Humble: MENIAL.

118. Not that: THIS.

122. Like many elephants: ASIAN.

127. Cheesy snack: NACHO.

128. 1984 Peace Nobelist: TUTU.

129. Sitcom sign-off word: NANU.

130. Pan-fry: SAUTE.

131. Relatively cool heavenly body: K STAR. C/S STAR is cool too, right.

132. Damascus is its cap.: SYR.

133. Detect: SPOT.

134. Scarecrow stuff: STRAW.


1. Clothes: TOGS.

2. Tennis great Nastase: ILIE.

3. One may be done from a cliff: DIVE.

4. Put off by: AVERSE TO.

5. Floral necklace: LEI. My fresh lei from JimmyB.

6. World power initials until 1991: USSR.

7. Walk noisily: CLOMP.

9. Tarzan's realm: APEDOM.

10. Upsilon preceder: TAU.

11. Awry: AMISS.

12. Longtime Lehrer partner: MACNEIL.

13. Cascades peak: SHASTA.

14. Atlantic catch: COD.

15. Palais Garnier performance: OPERA. Palais Garnier was mentioned in "The Phantom of the Opera".

16. "Frasier" character: NILES.

17. Legislate: ENACT.

21. Like Irving's horseman: HEADLESS.

24. London art gallery: TATE.

25. Jest: JAPE.

30. What careful people take: PAINS.

33. Surgical tube: STENT.

35. Ten sawbucks: ONE C.

36. Gray's "The Progress of Poesy," e.g.: ODE.

37. Accomplishments: DEEDS.

38. "Enigma Variations" composer: ELGAR (Edward)

39. Jeanie's hair color, in an old song: LIGHT BROWN.

43. Allow to fluctuate, as a currency: UNPEG.

44. Whinnied, say: NEIGHED.

45. Immigrant's class: Abbr.: ESL.

47. Boxer's director: LEASH. Great clue.

49. Humdinger: RIPSNORTER. I've yet to use this word in my daily conversation.

50. Homer's hangout: MOE'S.

51. Autobahn auto: AUDI.

53. Baker: OVEN.

54. Brewery heads: FOAMS.

55. Believer's antithesis: ATHEIST.

57. Bust maker: NARC.

62. Storied Robin Hood target: THE RICH.

64. Debatable: MOOT.

66. Johnson of "Laugh-In": ARTE.

69. Elite unit: A TEAM.

72. Foot in a poem: IAMB.

73. Chan portrayer Warner __: OLAND.

74. Perk: BONUS.

75. Take __: rest: A NAP.

76. Nos. affecting UV exposure: SPFS.

77. Crumbled sundae topper: OREO.

81. Song of joy: PAEAN.

82. Fictional falcon seeker: SPADE. Sam Spade.

84. Essentially: IN EFFECT.

86. Alkaline solution: LYE.

87. "Same here": SO DO I.

91. Blends: OLIOS.

93. Bone head?: OSTE.

94. Large flying mammal: FRUIT BAT.  Bats makes me nervous.

96. Govt. benefits org.: SSA.

98. Laughing gas, familiarly: NITROUS.

102. Key of Brahms' First Symphony: C MINOR.

104. Pinnacle: ACME.

105. Targets marked with flags: GREENS.

106. Tab: BILL.

107. Annoying, as a call: CRANK.

108. Gift for el 14 de febrero: ROSAS.

109. Decree: EDICT.

110. Substantial: HEFTY.

111. Ready to pour: ON TAP.

112. Instrument for Joel or John: PIANO.

117. Adjoin: ABUT.

119. Rush __: HOUR.

120. Letter before kappa: IOTA.

121. Bias: SKEW.

123. "Bingo!": AHA.

125. Cat coat: FUR.

126. Capital of Switzerland?: ESS. Just the starting letter: Switzerland.


Jun 11, 2020

Thursday, June 11th 2020 Paul Coulter

Theme: Doh! Homer Simpson feeling right at home in this puzzle!

17A. Fail at a barbecue?: FLAME OUT

23A. Fail on a field?: DROP THE BALL. Our GOAT at 59D rarely fumbles, but it does happen:

36A. Fail in a ring?: TAKE IT ON THE CHIN. Generally a "lights out" moment.

46A. Fail at a dock?: MISS THE BOAT

58A. Fail on a dance floor?: FALL FLAT. Usually "dad dances" at weddings end this way.

Fun theme from Paul, five epic fails, but the puzzle doesn't make a sixth, thank goodness. Some good stuff in the fill, full of learning moments for me. Time to take the tour.


1. Color similar to sand: ECRU

5. NBC show since 1975: SNL

8. Instrument played with a plectrum: GUITAR. More commonly called a pick.

14. Lorelei Lee's creator: LOOS. A character in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes". A Google search for the name brought up something which I wasn't quite expecting; she is also an actress in *ahem* movies of a "saucy" nature.

15. Middling grade: CEE

16. Con: INMATE

19. One of the lesser apes: GIBBON

20. Star in the Plowman constellation: ARCTURUS. I'd never heard of the constellation, let alone the star. The crosses filled most of it in nicely for me though.

22. Fancy home: VILLA

25. Pressure: STRESS

29. Simple partner?: PURE. Pure and Simple.

30. OPEC member: IRAN

31. Head lock: TRESS

33. Pop duo __  & Him: SHE. The band name vaguely rings a bell, but you could hold my feet to a very large fire I woudn't be able to tell you anything about them or their songs.

40. Artist's skill: EYE

41. Like crook and creek, etymologically: NORSE

42. Nesting site: EAVE

43. One spelling a superior: Abbr.: ASST. "Spell" in this sense is firmly North American English. A backup will spell someone for a time to give them a rest; often used in a sporting context.

44. Bread flavoring: GINGER

51. Cheapen: ABASE

52. Beachgoer's protection: SUN BLOCK

56. Big name in sports caps: NEW ERA. A really big name. New Era supply all the Major League Baseball caps, both the ones worn by the players and officials and those sold to the fans.

60. Competed on TV's "Ink Master": TATTED

61. Quaint word of disapproval: FIE. As Olivia remarks of Sir Toby in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night:

"Fetch him off, I pray you; he speaks nothing but madman. Fie on him!".

I LOVE that expression "he speaks nothing but madman". I'm using that at the first opportunity.

62. Game for which Wyatt Earp was once a dealer: FARO

63. "In the Land of Israel" author: AMOS OZ. Thank you, crosses. And thank you Lemonade, for correcting my parsing.

64. Age abbr.: YRS

65. Triathlon part: SWIM. The first leg, then the bike and the run. When I was entering triathlons back in my yoot, I was never sure how to say that I was "doing" one the next day. You can say you're running a 10k, or riding in a bike race, or swimming at a meet, but what do you say for a tri? I'm swibikrunning tomorrow? I stuck to "doing".


1. "The Lord of the Rings" figure: ELF. Could easily be "ENT" so wait for the crosses.

2. Roy Rogers ingredient: COLA. Nice, I didn't know this. One of the original "mocktails": Grenadine, Coke and a Maraschino cherry.

3. Big laugh: ROAR

4. Letters at Camp Lejeune: USMC. Oorah!

5. Scrubs: SCOURS

6. Introduction to chemistry?: NEURO-

7. Abate: LET UP

8. Band booking: GIG

9. TV's "Fringe" involved a parallel one: UNIVERSE. I never saw the show, but "parallel" is all you need to solve this one.

10. Drink: IMBIBE. Can you imbibe a mocktail? I'm not sure you can.

11. Indian drum: TABLA.

12. Bikini, for one: ATOLL

13. Kidney-related: RENAL

18. LAX listings: ETD'S

21. City WNW of Boca: ST. PETE. Actually "St. Petersburg". I assume Floridians know the affectionate term for the city, but I'd have liked to see something alluding to that in the clue.

24. "Pipe down!": HUSH

25. Place: SITE

26. Cafeteria item: TRAY. I cannot resist the tempation to link this Eddie Izzard monologue accompanying a Lego animation. I've linked it before but it never fails to make me laugh.

27. Autumn item: RAKE

28. Charlotte-to-Raleigh dir.: ENE

31. Rich desserts: TORTES

32. ER staffers: RN'S

33. Catch during practice: SHAG. Stop sniggering, you Brits at the back. Shag is a slang word for an *ahem* adult activity.

34. Busy place: HIVE

35. Dept. formed under Carter: ENER.

37. Like much FM radio: IN STEREO. Aren't all FM broadcasts in stereo? There's not much point using an FM wavelength otherwise.

38. Brit's "Baloney!": TOSH!

39. 100 yrs.: CEN. I wasn't sure about the abbreviation here. I tried CTY first, but then Century City here in LA would be CTY CTY.

43. Holdings: ASSETS

44. Hawthorne title septet: GABLES

45. "__ take time": IT'LL

46. Reef denizen: MANTA

47. Construction girder: I-BEAM

48. Took care of: SAW TO

49. Role for Kristy and Sarah: BUFFY. Vampire Slayers. Kristy Swanson played Buffy in the movie, Sarah Michelle Gellar played her in the TV series.

50. Live, TV-wise: ON AIR

53. Rubs out: OFFS. Mob slang.

54. Cat's scratcher: CLAW

55. Byron of "MythBusters": KARI. She is great. She's part of the innovative toy company "Smart Gurlz" aimed at helping girls aged six and upwards immerse themselves in science, tech, engineering and math.

57. Cutting tool: ADZ

59. Brady of Tampa Bay, now: TOM. The GOAT will be facing a brand new challenge when the NFL season kicks off again, whenever that will be.

And that wraps things up for me. Here's the grid!


May 25, 2020

Monday May 25, 2020 Paul Coulter

Theme: ESSAY TEST (55. Exam answered in a blue book ... and a phonetic hint to 17-, 23- and 44-Across) - Each theme entry is in the pattern of S* A* and they're all study-related:

7. Old enough to start kindergarten: SCHOOL AGE.

23. Attend a foreign university, say: STUDY ABROAD.

44. Kind of exam with brief responses: SHORT ANSWER.

Boomer here.  

Greetings and best wishes for a great holiday! I am happy to join you in remembering friends and loved ones which have gone before us.


1. Terrible reviews: PANS.  I am not going to abuse this puzzle with cookware.

5. Dots in the Seine: ILES.  The Seine, the Seine, when will I again, meet her there, Greet her there on the moonlit banks of the Seine.  (Kingston Trio and others)

9. Shoelace tip: AGLET.  I hate when they fall off.

14. Baseball's Hershiser: OREL.  Dodger great with an odd first name.

15. Pie à la __: MODE.

16. Singer Lopez: TRINI.  He had a hammer.

19. Divided Southeast Asian island: TIMOR.

20. Sing to romantically: SERENADE.

21. Roll the dice: GAMBLE. There are many ways to gamble in Nevada, but my favorite is craps.

22. Academic URL ending: EDU.  Many are trying to decide whether to open in the fall.

25. Way to get off base?: JEEP.  I drove a Jeep at Fort Campbell.

26. Wind quintet wind: OBOE.

27. Native Alaskan: ALEUT.  Many Aleutian islands off Alaska's horse's leg.

30. Ability to float: BUOYANCY. We had many families in MN spending time at lakes and campgrounds this weekend.  Lots of kids bring plastic float toys.

34. Spill the beans: SING.  Sing a song, Make it simple to last the whole night long.  Don't worry if it's not good enough.  (Carpenters)

35. Done to __: perfectly cooked: A TURN.  I think you may have to give it A TURN to make sure it's done on both sides.

37. Numbered book part: PAGE.

38. Sonic, in gaming: HEDGEHOG.  If you can stand their looks, you may want to keep one in your garden to get rid of pests.

40. Old photo tone: SEPIA.  Reddish brown.

41. Dept. with a sun on its seal: ENER.

42. Carbon monoxide's lack: ODOR.  Texas Rangers Rougned.  Second baseman with a funny name.

48. Scratch the surface of: MAR.  More than one could be a planet.

51. Attached, as a corsage: PINNED. I guess there could be a bowling reference here.

52. Go up, as prices: INCREASE. Groceries are not too bad, except toilet paper. Gasoline is working its way up.  $1.79 per gallon here in MN. Was 1.49 two weeks ago.

54. Beelike: APIAN.

56. Pontificate: SPOUT.  I'm a little teapot short and stout.  Here is my handle and here is my SPOUT.  (Kid's song)

57. Fab Four fellow: PAUL.  McCartney. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

58. Assert as true: AVER.

59. Three-card con: MONTE.  Nickname for Colin Montgomerie, British pro golfer

60. Heidi's range: ALPS.  Huge mountain range in Europe.  Often an answer on "Jeopardy".

61. Jared of "Panic Room": LETO.


1. Rapper's entourage: POSSE.  Hey Chester, fix one up for Marshall Dillon.  We need to catch bank robbers.

2. Rainbow-shaped: ARCED.  A decent bowling shot may arc from the 15 board out to ten. Then back to carry the back row.  For an arced golf shot - use the correct club.  That's all I know.

3. '60s jacket style: NEHRU.  I lived in the 60's but never had a NEHRU.  Funny collar.

4. Gin flavor: SLOE.  SLOE is a berry for this gin.  Slow is how you should drink it.

5. Behind-schedule comment: I'M LATE.  I'M LATE, for a very important date.  White Rabbit in Wonderland.

6. Amass, with "on": LOAD UP.

7. Barely defeated: EDGED.  Time to LOAD UP the edger with some of that plastic string and EDGE the garden.

8. Observe: SEE.  I joined the Navy to see the world, but what did I see - I saw the SEA.

9. "Way to go, fella!": ATTA BOY.  You can say it, but no high fives.  Social Distancing is the rule these days.

10. Scary scythe bearer: GRIM REAPER.

11. Dance under a bar: LIMBO.  How low can you go, Chubby Checker.

12. __ Gay: WWII bomber: ENOLA.  I was not alive in 1945, however I believe this B-29 was payback for the Pearl Harbor attack.  I don't think I agree with this but I was not around then.

13. Out of gas: TIRED.  Nope, I still have a way to go.

18. Initial stage: ONSET.  Interesting word in this age of Covid-19.  Stay safe.

21. West African country: GABON.

24. Part of BYO: YOUR.  Add a "B" for Bottle ??

25. Inexorable force: JUGGERNAUT.

27. Blond shade: ASH.  I think I have mentioned this before.  In a short time of my life, I used to smoke a pipe.  I bought tobacco from "Ashes" in a shopping center.  The owner was George Ash.

28. Fish story, so to speak: LIE.  So remember if you lie, Everyone will know.  The Boogie Man will get you..  Your nose is gonna grow.  Johnny Crawford.

29. Call off: END.  A tight lineman in the NFL.  I wonder if they will play this year.  Probably for TV only.  That's okay with me.  I have not been to a game since the Metrodome.

30. Software glitch: BUG.

31. Day break?: NAP.  Don't BUG me, I'm taking a NAP.

32. Cinematic FX: CGI.

33. Vote for: YEA.  I am amazed that Congress still uses this word to tally votes.

35. Leading in the race: AHEAD.

36. In tatters: TORN.  Elmore "RIP" Torn was an American Actor.  He passed away last July. R.I.P. RIP

39. Diplomatic accord: ENTENTE.

40. "My bad!": SORRY.  "I'm Sorry, So Sorry, please accept my apology". Brenda Lee.

42. Says "My bad!": OWNS UP.

43. Car window stickers: DECALS.  There was a time when nearly every car had decals for where they had been.  Now bowling centers and golf courses don't give decals so my van windows are clear.

44. Involuntary jerk: SPASM.

45. Safari heavyweight: HIPPO.

46. Gibson garnish: ONION.  I do not drink alcohol now so my onions garnish a hamburger.

47. Rope fiber: SISAL.

48. "Circle of Friends" author Binchy: MAEVE.

49. Balance sheet item: ASSET.  A lot of assets slipped away in February.  Hope you all are okay.  Thank the stars, they did not whack Social Security.

50. Back in style: RETRO.  I have been watching RETRO baseball and golf on TV for a month.  I'm ready for the real thing again.

53. And others: Abbr.: ET AL.  No others, we are done.  Thanks for playing.

55. Org. concerned with PCB's: EPA.


May 10, 2020

Sunday May 10, 2020 Paul Coulter

Theme: "Trade School" - X is orderly changed into letters S/T/U/D/E/N/T.

 23. This year's hatchlings?: NEST GENERATION. Next generation.
37. Chopin virtuoso's self-assurance?: ETUDE CONFIDENCE. Exude confidence.
50. Greek cross in a company logo?: CORPORATE TAU. Corporate tax.

58. Opinion surveys on text changes?: EDIT POLLS. Exit polls.

80. Time to honor an aircraft manufacturer?: BOEING DAY. Boxing Day.

91. Shark's interim appendage?: TEMPORARY FIN. Temporary fix.

97. Ripening of a Mediterranean fruit?: OLIVE COMPLETION. Olive complexion.


120. Pupil with a phonetic beginning that hints at what the circled letters comprise: X CHANGE STUDENT.

BOEING DAY and OLIVE COMPLETION changes are amazing, long and unexpected.

No straying X'es, so all's good. Paul probably had plenty of theme choices. But once Rich OK'ed the final set, he had to grid the entries in the strict order. Not much gridding flexibility.

1. Noble, unselfish sort: GALAHAD. Son of Lancelot.

8. Copy: PARROT.

14. Language of the Quran: ARABIC.

20. Magnetite, e.g.: IRON ORE.

21. Port N of Pittsburgh: ERIE PA. N hints at an Abbr.

22. Examine in detail: PERUSE.

25. Influential groups: ELITES.

26. Quelques-__: a few, in French: UNES. 119. East, in Essen: OST.  And two Spanish references: 33. Acapulco aunt: TIA. And 34. Mayo is found in it: ANO.

27. One in a shell: TURTLE.

28. ER workers: RNS.

30. "Bellefleur" author: OATES. Wiki says Joyce Carol Oates has 58 novels published. Stunning.

31. Half a tuba sound: PAH.

32. Scrips: MEDS.

35. Quarterback Manning: ELI.

45. Highland hillsides: BRAES.

47. Attorney general after Sessions: BARR. He and Roseanne. Not many cluing options.
48. Tummy muscles: ABS.

49. Coal carrier: HOD. Looks heavy.

54. Exist: ARE.

55. Diva deliveries: SOLI. Plural of solo.

56. Formally commend: CITE.

57. Ancient assembly areas: AGORAS. Alliterative all the way.

60. Extend People: RENEW.

62. Santa feature: BEARD.

64. Kids' song refrain: E I E I O.

65. Some QB protectors: RGS. Right guards.

68. Alpine peasant dress: DIRNDL. Consonant-rich.

70. Sealed: UNOPEN. I use "unopened".

73. Animal house: DEN.

74. Skateboarding move: OLLIE.

76. Peak: CREST.

78. Lover of Silvio in "Pagliacci": NEDDA. We had this before. I forgot.

83. Jeered: HOOTED.

85. Buckwheat noodle: SOBA. Plenty in our local grocery stores. But no udon.

89. U.K. honors: OBES. OBE = Order of the British Empire.

90. Faller of 2001: MIR.  De-orbited in March 2001.

93. Bug: TAP.

94. Knock: RAP.

95. Q.E.D. word: ERAT.

96. Hoists: HEFTS.

103. UFO crew, in theory: ETS.

104. "One Mic" rapper: NAS.

105. Anaheim MLB team, in crawl lines: LAA. And 112. Baseball brother: ALOU. Korean baseball is on.

106. Meh: SO SO.

108. Film buff's channel: TCM.

111. Typical hole-in-one, e.g.: EAGLE.

113. Triage ctrs.: ERS.

114. Piggies' protector: BOOTIE.

117. "... __ saw Elba": ERE I.

118. White rat, e.g.: ALBINO.

123. Beach locales: COASTS. Lots of solid 6-worders in Paul's grid.

124. Bread maker: EARNER.

125. Heartfelt: EARNEST.

126. Most massive: HUGEST.

127. Heavy hammer: SLEDGE.

128. High houses: SENATES.


1. Generate: GIN UP.

2. Place to play: ARENA.

3. Become discouraged: LOSE HEART. Great fill.

4. Queen's offspring: ANTS.

5. Monopolize: HOG.

6. Mountain ridge: ARETE. Learned from doing crosswords.

7. Strip of vegetation: DENUDE.

8. Chipper: PERT.

9. Seriously shrunken sea: ARAL.

10. Baptism, for one: RITE.

11. Outdoor gear brand: REI. And 67. Item of camping gear: SLEEPING BAG.

12. Portugal's second-largest city: OPORTO.

13. Astringent in red wine: TANNIN. Also in tea.

14. "Tarzan" critter: APE.

15. Puts in more film: RELOADS.

16. French satellite launcher: ARIANE. No idea. Read more here.

17. Grabbed for a chat: BUTTONHOLED. Another great fill.

18. "Of course": I SEE. 42. "As if": I BET.

19. Prefix with pit: CESS.

24. At one time, at one time: ERST.

29. Apple browser: SAFARI.

32. Japanese soup: MISO. Just don't feel comfortable going to our Asian grocery stores. I really miss touching things that I don't intend to buy.

36. Sufferer healed by Jesus: LEPER.

38. Super, slangily: UBER.

39. Like some artifacts, thanks to radiocarbon: DATABLE.

40. Clear: ERASE.

41. French vineyard: CRU.

43. Border __: COLLIE.

44. Inventor of an early stock ticker: EDISON.

45. Discreetly send a dupe email to: BCC.

46. "Vive le __!": ROI.

51. Eastern royal: RANI.

52. New __: AGER.

53. Limo service vehicle: TOWN CAR.

54. Extend: ADD ONTO.

55. "... or __ thought": SO I.

58. Coastal flier: ERN. Sometimes it's ERNE.

59. Await judgment: PEND.

61. Sistine Chapel mural setting: EDEN.

63. Quaint coin-op eatery: AUTOMAT.

65. Surname in a 1983 Styx hit: ROBOTO.

66. Worldwide: GLOBAL. This picture is widely circulated in Chinese social media. The coronavirus is under control there. This is the price of victory.

69. Arid: DRY.

71. Equal: PEER.

72. Historic Icelandic work: EDDA.

75. "__ for Innocent": Grafton novel: I IS.

77. Sex educator Hite: SHERE.

79. So far: AS YET. My home town Xi'an has 12 million people. Total 123 coronavirus cases. 3 deaths.  No new cases for the past 10 weeks. But people still wear masks, fearing of second wave. You still have to have your temperature taken when you take a bus or go to a grocery store.

81. 2008 TARP beneficiary renamed Ally Financial: GMAC.

82. Simple radio antenna: DIPOLE.

84. Eye opener?: OPTI. And 92. Stat start: RHEO. And 101. Bone: Pref.: OSTE.

86. Like garage parking: OFF-STREET.

87. Modicum: BIT.

88. Reply to a ques.: ANS. Answer.

91. Bus. card info: TEL.

94. Is indignant about: RESENTS.

98. Carousel traveler: VALISE.

99. Funny brothers: MARXES.

100. Programming language named for a mathematician: PASCAL.

102. Sounds: NOISES.

107. Bristlelike parts: SETAE.

109. Perfume, as at High Mass: CENSE.

110. Hands, in slang: MITTS.

111. Apiece: EACH.

114. Boston or Chicago: BAND.

115. Blood type, briefly: O NEG.

116. Shrek, for one: OGRE.

117. "Giant" author Ferber: EDNA.

121. Charlemagne's domain: Abbr.: HRE. Holy Roman Empire.

122. Coffee hour vessel: URN.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms on our blog!


Apr 5, 2020

Sunday April 5, 2020 Paul Coulter

Theme: "The Other Half" - One part of a familiar phrase is replaced by its partner in a "A and B" phrase.

23. Pasta on the barbie?: GRILLED MACARONI. Grilled cheese. Macaroni and cheese.

32. Like the club that Sinatra, Zappa and Capra belonged to?: FULL OF FRANKS. Full of beans. Franks and beans.

51. "Don't forget we're having omelets"?: BRING HOME THE EGGS. Bring home the bacon. Bacon and eggs.

68. Town group that decides what kinds of lawns are allowed?: TURF BOARD. Surf board. Surf and turf.

88. Unexpected eccentric skydiver?: A NUT OUT OF THE BLUE. A bolt out of the blue.

101. Lucky one at the dairy raffle?: BUTTER WINNER. Breadwinner. Bread and butter.

118. Sniffing the jalapeños?: SMELLING PEPPERS. Smelling salts.

Love the first four as the base phrases are all food items and the changes are so smooth.

The last three still have a food item in the theme entries. 88A & 118 are a bit odd-man out to me as the phrases are "nuts and bolts" & "salt and pepper". 


1. Haunt: OBSESS. This Coronavirus model seems to be the most reliable. Click on United States of America, then scroll down to your own state. Minnesota will peak on April 22, 2020. Louisiana and New York on April 9th.

7. Mountain geography feature: GAP.

10. Calypso offshoot: SKA.

13. Pond buildup: ALGAE.

18. Arrive onshore, perhaps: ROLL IN.

19. Slate or Salon: E-MAG.

21. Plop or plunk preceder: KER.

22. Nobelist Bohr: NIELS.  Physics Nobelist.

26. Bill with billions: GATES. Great clue. Great visionary. Thank you, Bill Gates!

27. Brother of Andrew the Apostle: ST PETER.

28. Detective's aid: LEAD.

29. Chilled: ON ICE.

30. Churchill's "so few": Abbr.: RAF. Royal Air Force.

35. Like Stout's Wolfe: OBESE.

40. Buxom: BOSOMY. Not a word I use.

42. Hawaiian for "long": LOA.

43. Some summer shows: RERUNS.

45. Each: A POP.

46. Defense gp. since 1948: OAS.  Organization of American States.

47. Give or take, say: VERB. Another great clue.

55. Sea of troubles: ARAL.

56. On the job, for short: TCB. Take Care of Business.

57. Havens: OASES.

58. Au pair's subj.: ESL. English as a Second Language.

59. How early LPs were recorded: IN MONO.

61. Roswell sightings, briefly: UFOS.

63. Johnson of "Laugh-In": ARTE. Learned from doing crosswords.

64. Peke or Pom: LAPDOG.

65. Angry reaction: SNARL.

73. Legal claims: LIENS.

74. Court contest: TENNIS. Not legal court.

76. Ravel's "Gaspard de la __": NUIT. Listen here.

77. Banned fruit spray: ALAR.

79. Kiwi or rhea: RATITE.

80. "Anderson Cooper 360°" channel: CNN. Also 123. Atlanta-based channel: TBS.

81. Facebook option: SHARE.

84. "The Gold-Bug" monogram: EAP. Edgar Allan Poe.

87. School near Windsor: ETON.

93. Basic video game: PONG.

94. "Saving Private Ryan" craft: Abbr.: LST. Landing Ship, Tank. Also 102. WWII sub: U BOAT.

95. "I, Claudius" role: NERO.

96. "You left me no choice": I HAD TO.

97. Mag man with a mansion: HEF.

98. Square: EVEN UP.

100. Condition: STATE.

107. Splitting target: LOG.

109. Opposite of love: ABHOR.

110. Yours, to Yvette: A TOI.

 111. Largest of the Balearic Islands: MAJORCA. Rafael Nadal was born and got married here.

117. Lush: SOUSE.

122. Makes less unruly: TAMES.

124. Ad headline: SALE.

125. Biblical miracle units: LOAVES.

126. In check: AT BAY.

127. Approx.: EST.

128. Nintendo's Super __: NES.

129. Suppressed anger: SPLEEN.


1. Assns.: ORGS.

2. Diamond used as an abrasive: BORT. Never heard of the term.

3. Tongue trouble?: SLIP. Slip of the tongue.

4. W competitor: ELLE. W magazine is now on hiatus.

5. Bank deposit: SILT.

6. Contemptuous look: SNEER.

7. Beauty: GEM.

8. Doc bloc: AMA.

9. __-12 Conference: PAC.

10. "Cheers!": SKOAL.

11. Martial art with bamboo swords: KENDO. Literally "sword way". Japanese "do" is like Chinese "Dao"/"Tao", meaning "way".

12. "Exodus" hero: ARI.

13. Sweater material: ANGORA.

14. Jungle climber: LIANA.

15. Arrive: GET IN.

16. Smart follower: ALECK.

17. Saint-Saëns trio: ESSES. Just the three letters in Saint-Saëns.

20. Walk clumsily, like the Jabberwock slayer: GALUMPH.

24. Blah: DRAB.

25. Bank (on): RELY.

31. Features of beer and sponges: FOAMS.

32. Pays: FOOTS.

33. June 14 honoree: FLAG. We have the best flag in the neighborhood. Thanks, Spitzboov!

34. Fuddy-duddy: FOSSIL.

35. Uranus, e.g.: ORB.

36. Ernie's pal: BERT.

37. Obama attorney general Holder: ERIC.

38. Getting too many rays: SUNBURNING.

39. Coll. major: ENG.

41. WWI battleship Graf __: SPEE.

44. "Beat it!": SHOO.

46. Leering sort: OGLER.

47. Colonial bloodsucker: VAMPIRE BAT. "Colonial" because they live in colonies. Wish all the bats would just disappear from this world.

48. Wear down: ERODE.

49. Wouldn't stop talking: RAN ON.

50. Modern sources of reflections: BLOGS. Most blogs, yes.

52. Brewer's oven: OAST.

53. Architect Saarinen: EERO.

54. This, in Toledo: ESTA.

60. Kiara's mother in "The Lion King": NALA.

62. Dart: FLIT.

63. NYC dance troupe: ABT. American Ballet Theatre.

65. Throat problem: STREP.

66. "Cool beans!": NEATO.

67. Austrian composer Webern: ANTON. Also unknown to me.

69. Full-length: UNCUT.

70. "Babe" in the 1995 film, e.g.: RUNT.

71. Dry Spanish sherry: FINO. We had this before.

72. Sticker in a bar: DART.

75. Undercoat: SEALER.

78. Mormon prophet, or the Utah city named for him: LEHI.

81. One in a roundup: STEER.

82. Pedestrian startler: HORN.

83. In conflict with, with "of": AFOUL.

85. "Crimes and Misdemeanors" actor: ALDA (Alan)

86. Short stroke: PUTT.

89. Brief warning about the links?: NSFW. Not Safe For Work.

90. Shows for the first time: UNVEILS.

91. "How's that again?" words: EHS.

92. Help-wanted ad abbr.: EOE.

97. Luther's crime, per the Diet of Worms: HERESY.

98. Carbon compound: ENOL.

99. Splendor: POMP.

101. It's enough for Juan: BASTA.

103. Hitching aid: THUMB.

104. Where mariners go: TO SEA.

105. Poetic feet: IAMBS.

106. Bikini blast: N TEST.

108. Iona College athletes: GAELS.

112. Asian genre influenced by The Beatles: J POP. When I left Guangzhou in 2001, Namie Amuro was hugely popular.

113. Australian export: OPAL.

114. Debussy's dream: REVE.

115. Hudson Bay nation: CREE.

116. NBA part: Abbr.: ASSN.

118. Canonized Mlle.: STE.

119. "At Seventeen" singer Janis: IAN.

120. 2019 MLB World Series champs' division: NLE. National League East.

121. Some appliances: GES.

Happy 79th birthday to dear Irish Miss, the sunshine of our corner. This picture is so precious. Those simple, loving and chatty days! Thanks for being my friend and supporting me and this blog all these years, Agnes! Boomer cherishes and always finds strength and comfort in your cards.
L-R: Anne, Agnes, Eileen, Mary, and Peggy.
St Patrick's Day, 2019

2) Happy Birthday also to Abejo (Bradley), the certified master gardener! Bradley worked in Iran for a few years, hence his handle Abejo, Persian for "beer".
Left to Right: Abejo, WikWak, Madame DeFarge and TTP, 7/19/2018