Showing posts with label Robin Stears. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Robin Stears. Show all posts

Jan 2, 2019

Wednesday, January 2, 2019, Robin Stears

Looking for Nemo.

Each word in the starred theme answer can be placed aHEAD of the word FISH to give us a particular type of Fish.

17-Across. * Jewelry alloy: WHITE GOLD.  White Gold is an alloy of gold and one other white metal, such as nickel, manganese or palladium.  I actually prefer white gold to yellow gold.

In keeping with today's theme, we get Whitefish and Gold Fish. The scientific name of Whitefish is Coregonus clupeaformis.  This fish lives in cold, deep-water lakes in the northern United States and Canada.  There is nothing better than a good smoked whitefish.  This fish is also used in making the best gefilte fish.

Who doesn't like a good Goldfish?
25-Across. * Genre that may be featured in the Eurovision Song Contest: SWEDISH ROCK.  I am not aware of this genre, however, the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Tel Aviv in May 2019.  Hmm... Last time I checked, Tel Aviv was in Asia.

Our fish for this clue are the Swedish Fish, which are really candies.  You can probably get some at the Eurovision Song Contest.

And we also have Rock Fish.

38-Across. * Sleight-of-hand scam: SHELL GAME.  A Shell Game is a type of con game designed to separate you from your money.

This clue gives us ShellFish.  Did you known that Shellfish isn't kosher?

We also get Game Fish, which is something you hope to get when you go Fly Fishing.  Dick Chaney does a lot of Fly Fishing in the movie Vice.

53-Across. * Food brand whose products include Caribbean curry paste and Jamaican jerk seasoning: TROPICAL SUN.  I am not familiar with this brand of food products.
I  am, however, familiar with the fish this clue produces:  It gives us Tropical Fish.

And Sun Fish.

And now for the unifier: 65-Across. 1978 novelty song with the line "Eat them up! Yum!" ... and what both parts of the answers to starred clues can be: FISH HEADS.  The video is rather creepy.  No bad words, but watch at your own peril.

1. Fictional archaeologist Croft: LARA.  She is the heroine of the Tomb Raider series of video games and was portrayed in the movies by Angelina Jolie.
5. Prep for fight night: SPAR.

9. Furry critters who helped disable the shield generator on Endor: EWOKS.  The creepy creatures from the Star Wars movies.

14. Major work: OPUS.
15. La Scala song: ARIA.

16. "Mack the Knife" singer: DARIN.
Did you know that this song came from The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht?

19. Pull together: UNITE.

20. Frenzy: MANIA.

21. Plumeria garlands: LEIS.  Plumeria are very fragrant flowers found in Hawaii, as well as other warm climates.

23. CIA relative: NSA.  The National Security Agency is a relative of the Central Intelligence Agency.  I'd tell you more, but then I'd have to kill you.

24. "__ recall ... ": AS I.

29. Serenade: SING TO.

31. "Good comeback": TOUCHÉ!

32. Palm starch: SAGO.  Also known as tapioca.  I wonder if this is what is found in Bubble Tea.

33. Julia Louis-Dreyfus comedy: VEEP.  VEEP is political satire television show in which Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays the Vice President of the United States.

37. London insurance pioneer: LLOYD.  Lloyd's of London has been in existence since 1688.  It began in Edward Lloyd's (1648 ~ 1713) coffee shop and initially covered marine and shipping insurance. 

41. Dispatch boat: AVISO.  This is a new word for me.  It comes from the Spanish and Portuguese word meaning "advice" or "warning."  Spitzboov can probably provide us with more information.

44. Apple desktop: iMAC.

45. Former Virginia senator Charles: ROBB.  Charles Spittal Robb (b. June 26, 1939) married Lynda Bird Johnson (b. 1944) in the White House on my birthday in 1967.  Kinda put a damper on my birthday party.

49. Sesame paste: TAHINI.

51. Daffy, for one: LISPER.

57. Lyft approx.: ETA.  As in Estimated Time of Arrival.

58. Strike caller: UMP.  As in the Umpire at the baseball game.

59. H.G. Wells race: ELOI.  A crossword staple.  A reference to the novel The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells (né Herbert George Wells; Sept. 21, 1866 ~ Aug. 13, 1946).

60. Actor Pratt or Pine: CHRIS.  Chris Pratt (b. June 21, 1979) was in the television sit-com Parks and Rec.  He is also the hero of the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Chris Pine (b. Aug. 26, 1980) had played Captain Kirk in some of the recent Star Trek films.

62. Flower girl, perhaps: NIECE.

67. Come next: ENSUE.

68. "Dies __": IRAE.  A crossword staple.

69. Exactly, with "to": A TEE.

70. Baby carrier?: STORK.  My favorite clue of today's puzzle.

71. Sleek swimmers: EELS.  Also a fish, in keeping with today's theme.

72. Gerritsen who created Rizzoli and Isles: TESS.  Apparently TESS Gerritsen (b. June 12, 1953) is a writer of romantic thrillers, medical thrillers and a mystery series featuring police detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles.  Tess Gerritsen is a retired physician, so her Rizzoli and Isles series combine her love of both mystery and medicine.

1. Catholic service with minimal ceremony: LOW MASS.

2. Loss of speech: APHASIA.  I don't know what to say about this clue!!!

3. Making a mess of: RUINING.

4. Bubbly city: ASTI.  Home of Asti Spumante, a sparkling Italian wine.

5. Mattress problem: SAG.  I first tried Pea, as in the Princess and the Pea.

6. Orwellian worker: PROLE.  A reference to 1984, the novel by George Orwell (né Eric Arthur Blair; June 25, 1903 ~ Jan. 21, 1950).

7. Didn't feel well: AILED.

8. Diameter halves: RADII.  The plural of Radius.  Also, apparently, a brand of sneakers.
9. College URL ending: .EDU

10. Pallid: WAN.

11. Venezuelan river: ORINOCO.  This river appears on occasion in the puzzles.  It is one of the  major rivers of South America.

12. Tacky: KITSCHY.

13. Moved furtively: SNEAKED.

18. NCAA's Big __: EAST.  College sports.  

22. Mach 1 flier: SST.

26. Made on a loom: WOVE.

27. Ian who plays Bilbo Baggins: HOLM.  That's Sir Ian Holm Cuthbert (b. Sept. 12, 1931), to you. He played Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings.

28. Things used for good measure?: RULERS.  Another fun clue.

30. Scuttlebutt: GOSSIP.

34. Nutmeg State Ivy Leaguer: ELI.  A student who attends Yale University.

35. Shade tree: ELM.

36. Vardon Trophy org.: PGA.  Golfing trophy.  It looks nice and a bit old-timey.

39. Hägar the Horrible's daughter: HONI.

40. Civil rights gp.: ACLU.  As in the American Civil Liberties Union.  In a year, the ACLU will celebrate its 100 anniversary.  It was founded on January 19, 1920.

41. Brings into harmony: ATTUNES.

42. Critter, in dialect: VARMINT.  Varmint to hunt when it's not deer season.

43. "Fingers crossed!": I HOPE SO!

46. Perform surgery: OPERATE.  Does the doctor know what he is doing?  I Hope So!

47. Happens to, quaintly: BETIDES.  I haven't had occasion to use this word.

48. Copper-zinc alloys: BRASSES.

50. Party host's bagful: ICE.  Sorry Tin!

52. Snowfall measure: INCH.  My first thought was Feet.  When I grew up, that is how we thought of the snowfall.  Now that I live in the south, we rarely get snow, but when we do, it's usually less than an inch and last only hours.

54. 2004 Jude Law title role: ALFIE.  A remake of the film that originally starred Michael Cain.  What's it all about?

55. Orléans' river: LOIRE.  I had to learn all of the rivers of France when I was in high school.

56. Rope fiber: SISAL.

61. __ index: HEAT.  A measure of how hot it feels when taking into account the relative humidity.  Our local weather forecaster often says "It's 96 degrees, but the the feel like temperature is 97 degrees."  Yeah, I can tell the difference.

63. Mongrel: CUR.

64. Startled cry: EEK!

66. "__ Just Not That Into You": 2009 film: HE'S.  I think this qualifies as a Rom-Com.

I hope you didn't have to do too much Fishing to get all the answers.  Here's the Grid.

Nov 22, 2018

Thursday November 22, 2018 Robin Stears

Theme: Last Shift - Last words in all theme entries are all anagrams of "northe":

17A. "Shake It Up" star who won a 2015 Teen Choice Award for her role in "The DUFF": BELLA THORNE.
27A. "Monster" Oscar winner: CHARLIZE THERON.

47A. Another name for the Romanov Empire: IMPERIAL THRONE.

62A. Masked hero who partners with Kato: GREEN HORNET.

C.C. here. Steve is probably caught up somewhere with no WiFi. I'll just have a simple write-up today.

We seldom see a 6-letter anangram puzzle. 3 or 4 letters are more common. I'm amazed at Robin's find. We also seldom see a anagram puzzle without a reveal.


1. Electrically flexible: AC/DC.

5. Mammals who hold hands while sleeping: OTTERS. Did not know this trivia. So sweet.

11. Cy Young Award stat: ERA.

14. "So gross": BLEH. And 52. "'Sup, homie": YO DOG. Don't recall anyone on our blog ever used these expressions.

15. Persona non grata: PARIAH.

16. Hula hoop?: LEI.

19. __ Bernardino: SAN.

20. Helicopter part: ROTOR.

21. Mineral suffix: ITE.

22. Crackerjack: ADEPT.

24. All ears: RAPT.

26. Sport-__: UTE.

34. Yellow Teletubby: LAA LAA.

35. Rower's need: OAR.

36. Like old records: MONO.

37. Returns home?: IRS. Nice clue. We also have 66. Income recipient: EARNER.

38. Blush or flush: TURN RED.

41. ATM maker: NCR.

42. Thick fog: SOUP.

44. Narc's org.: DEA.

45. Element used in atomic clocks: CESIUM. Learning moment for me.

50. Lay unused: SAT.

51. A/C units: BTUs.

55. "Ballers" network: HBO. Wiki says "Ballers is an American comedy-drama television series created by Stephen Levinson and starring Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Strasmore, a retired NFL player who must navigate his new career of choice as the financial manager of other NFL players."

57. Gets rid of: LOSES.

61. Binary digit: ONE.

65. Feel badly about: RUE.

67. Avis adjective: RARA. Rara avis.

68. Medium strength?: ESP. Another nice clue.

69. Arm-twisting: DURESS.

70. "Son of Frankenstein" role: YGOR.


1. This ans. is one: ABBR. Answer/Abbreviation.

2. Ancient queen, familiarly: CLEO. Cleopatra invented the eyeliner.

3. Bench press muscle: DELT.

4. __ hydrate: sedative: CHLORAL. Also new to me.

5. Decide: OPT.

6. South Pacific island: TAHITI. Close to the sesame paste TAHINI (for hummus).

7. Easy pace: TROT.

8. Word on an Irish euro: EIRE.

9. Hightailed it: RAN.

10. Tight-fitting dress: SHEATH.

11. "Is there something __?": ELSE.

12. Cut the crop: REAP.

13. "If it __ broke ... ": AIN'T.

18. Where Noah landed: ARARAT. Boomer started going to church again three weeks ago. He's a Catholic.

23. Consider: DEEM.

25. Strong praise: PLAUDIT.

26. Netherlands city near Amsterdam: UTRECHT. Click this map for the exact location. North of Gouda.

27. Billiards bounce: CAROM.

28. Invites to the skybox: HAS UP.

29. Divided into districts: ZONAL.

30. Corn unit: EAR.

31. Masterless samurai: RONIN. Literally "wanderer".  The character on top means "wander", the one on the bottom means "person".

32. Perfectly timed: ON CUE.

33. It's to be expected: NORM.

34. Actress Virna: LISI. Have not seen her in our grid for a long time.

39. Stephen who plays Inspector Bucket on "Dickensian": REA.

40. "Talk Dirty" singer Jason: DERULO. New to me also.

43. 100 centavos: PESO.

46. "A thousand pardons": SO SORRY.

48. Uneven: RAGGED.

49. Sizzler choices: T-BONES.

52. Knight times: YORE. I like this clue also.

53. Obligation: ONUS.

54. Like a basso profundo voice: DEEP.

55. Berlin mister: HERR.

56. N.B. part: BENE.

58. Glitch: SNAG.

59. Architect Saarinen: EERO.

60. Have the lead: STAR.

63. "This Is India" novelist Santha Rama __: RAU.

64. Billing nos.: HRS.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Thanks for being part of our Crossword Corner family. I can't imagine what my life will be without your support, esp the past few months.

I'm also grateful for our blogging team, who dedicate so much time on their writeups every week, even when traveling in other countries or dealing with some personal health issues.

Thank you, Rich Norris, Patti Varol and all the L. A. Times constructors for your daily entertainment.


Aug 26, 2018

Sunday August 26, 2018 Robin Stears

 Theme: AmazeBalls* - Ball can follow both part of each theme entry.

23. *Convenient carrier: HANDBASKET. Handball. Basketball.

25. *Small, flat legume: BUTTER BEAN. Butterball. Beanball.

44. *Octal system: BASE EIGHT. Baseball. Eight ball.

47. *Item found in a parlor: CUE STICK. Cue ball. Stickball.

64. *Pneumatic silo declogger: AIR CANNON. Air ball. Cannonball.

74. *Fund for fun: PIN MONEY. Pinball. Moneyball.

77. *Path for a promising young exec: FAST TRACK. Fastball. Trackball.

99. *It covers the Batmobile: BLACK PAINT. Black ball. Paintball

101. *Brie, e.g.: SOFT CHEESE. Softball. Cheeseball.

No reveal but theme entries are starred, puzzle title is starred also.

This type of both words can follow/precede type is quite hard to pull off. Tricky to find solid in-the- language phrases. 

Robin is very fond of this theme type, as we've seen in the past. The grid is also classic Robin. Very clean.


1. Takes the odds: BETS.

5. Flop's opposite: SMASH. Smash hit.

10. Anchored: MOORED.

16. Braying beast: ASS. Alliteration.

19. Audition piece: ARIA.

20. 1988 Summer Olympics site: KOREA.Widely watched in China. 

21. From C to C: OCTAVE.

22. __ Victor: RCA.

27. Braille bits: DOTS.

28. Poet Pablo Neruda, e.g.: CHILEAN. Boomer's 87-year-old golf buddy Jorge is Chilean.

30. "My treat": ON ME.

31. Distinctive Rolls Royce feature: GRILLE.

34. Many a text writer: SCHOLAR. We also have 96. Old copiers: SCRIBES.

36. Hikes from the center: SNAPS.

37. Wilson of "Pitch Perfect" movies: REBEL. Australian actress. 

38. Heinz Field player: STEELER.

39. Rapid __: TRANSIT.

41. Nickname for young Skywalker: ANI.

42. Ramshackle shelters: LEAN-TOS.

43. One way to get you: RUSE.

51. Like Fran Drescher's voice: NASAL. Never into "The Nanny".

52. Cheerleaders' handfuls: POMPOMS.

56. Your cousin's 81-Across, maybe: MOM. 81. See 56-Across: AUNT.

57. Plague critter: LOCUST.

60. Pudding starch: TAPIOCA. Used in Bubble tea, popular drink in Guangzhou.

61. Carne __: ASADA.

63. Subject of a Dean Martin classic: AMORE.

66. "Your table's ready" gizmo: PAGER.

67. Chekov on "Star Trek": PAVEL.

68. Directed: STEERED.

69. Last to arrive: LATEST.

70. French article: UNE.

71. Proclaims: ASSERTS. Google claims one of our May posts has a link/image/video that breaks their policy. Been a week of 1) Remove the link 2) Send in Request for Review 3) Nope, problem still exists. Repeat. Repeat. Why don't they just tell you which link is bad?!

72. Passionate: FIERY.

82. Fouls up, as plans: DERAILS.

85. "The Crow" actress Ling: BAI. Chinese. Very edgy.

86. "The Star-Spangled Banner" quartet: STANZAS.

89. "Les Misérables" girl: COSETTE. Fantine's daughter.

90. __ Ste. Marie: SAULT.

92. Prefix with centric: HELIO.

93. Barbaric: BRUTISH.

94. Worrisome engine sound: RATTLE.

95. Teatro __ Scala: ALLA.

98. Right on the map: EAST.

107. Ottoman bigwig: BEY.

108. Cooling-off period?: ICE AGE. Nice clue. Tiny clue/answer dupe with 5. Ice __: SKATE.

109. City of NE Italy: UDINE. Unfamiliar to me.

110. Garbage hauler: SCOW.

111. B-day numbers: YRS.

112. "Full House" surname: TANNER.

113. Award for "Mr. Mercedes": EDGAR. Unfamiliar with this Stephen King novel.

114. Lift one's spirits?: TOPE. Good old clue.


1. "Phooey!": BAH.

2. Significant time: ERA.

3. Bronze component: TIN.

4. Tack room item: SADDLE.

6. Shade of green: MOSS. The name of Boomer's doctor at the Orthopedic Urgent Care is Kelli Greene. Alas, the Methylprednisolone she prescribed has not worked its magic yet. And the pain spot has moved from left hip to lower/middle back.

7. What Indiana sought: ARK.

8. "What did I tell you?": SEE.

9. Chopper: HATCHET.

10. Calder pieces: MOBILES.

11. Telescope eyepiece: OCULAR.

12. Weasel relative: OTTER.

13. Pro follower: RATA.

14. 102-Down opposite: EVEN. And 102. 14-Down opposite: ODD.

15. "__ Rosenkavalier": DER.

16. Spots for sports: ARENAS.

17. Trattoria entrée: SCAMPI.

18. Least extreme: SANEST. Lower back/hip pain can drive you insane. Boomer normally has very high pain threshold.

24. Weevil's target: BOLL.

26. Tied-under-the-chin topper: BONNET.

29. Prefix with gram: HOLO.

31. Take the wrong way?: GRAB.

32. Sofer of soaps: RENA.

33. Sacred Nile bird: IBIS.

34. Longtime "60 Minutes" reporter: STAHL. She always wears pretty earrings.

35. Small price to pay: CENT.

36. Backtalk: SASS.

38. Sonic the Hedgehog maker: SEGA.

39. "Mr. Citizen" autobiographer: TRUMAN. Another learning moment.

40. Regrets: RUES.

42. Santa has a famous one: LIST. How I miss our own Santa!

45. Acclimatize: ENURE.

46. Art supporter?: EASEL.

47. Fashion first name: COCO.

48. Pixel pattern: IMAGE.

49. Secret stuff: CODES.

50. Target rival: KMART. I love these Target bath towels. So soft and light. And only $3.99. You can get a new one after a couple months. Little luxury in life.

52. Worrywart, at times: PACER.

53. Eye-fooling genre: OP ART.

54. Extraction sites: MINES.

55. Golden or Walden: POND.

57. Drink from a bowl: LAP UP.

58. Spender of rials: OMANI

59. Group of 13, traditionally: COVEN. Here is our corner blog California Coven.
L to R: JD, Garlic Gal, Chickie & Jill, 2013.
60. Genealogy chart: TREE.

61. Spaced out: APART.

62. Lustful deity: SATYR.

64. Portfolio listings: ASSETS.

65. Wee: ITSY.

69. Rents: LETS.

71. "Frozen" princess: ANNA. We see ELSA often.

72. Conviction: FAITH.

73. "Cast Away" setting: ISLE.

75. Fanatic: MANIAC

76. Anise liqueur: OUZO.

77. Dieter's concern: FATS. Both fats and carbs raise our A1C, correct?
78. Lie next to: ABUT.

79. Birdsong: CALL.

80. Toy with a tail: KITE.

82. Skeptic: DOUBTER.

83. Italian noble family: ESTE.

84. Budget bin record: REISSUE.

86. Ramshackle: SHABBY.

87. One taking a lot of notes: TELLER. Oh, I like this clue.

88. Soothes: ALLAYS. I'm also rubbing this St John's Wort oil on Boomer. So many positive reviews on Amazon. Thanks again for delivering it quickly to us, D-Otto!

89. React to an awkward moment: CRINGE.

90. Military band: SASH.

91. Bear witness: ATTEST.

93. Queen lead guitarist __ May: BRIAN.

94. Track figure: RACER.

96. Animal lovers' org.: SPCA.

97. French city where William the Conqueror is buried: CAEN. Did not know this trivia.

98. Italian smoker: ETNA.

100. Many an IKEA buy: KIT. We've only been to IKEA once. It's close to Mall of America.

103. Newton fruit: FIG. Trader Joe's Organic Turkish Figs are the best.

104. Green prefix: ECO.

105. Sponge (up): SOP.

106. Woolly mama: EWE.

The super cool crossword constructor Brendan Emmett Quigley visited Minnesota last Tuesday. Our local constructor and solvers had another gathering. You can see more pictures here. Brendan publishes two free puzzles at his site every week, Monday and Thursday. And he has been doing that for many years. Just amazing!

First Row: Brendan Emmett Quigley, David Hanson (Rosebud), Tariq Samad and Victor Barocas.

Second Row: C.C., Ron Dahlquist, George Barany, Theresa Horan (Teedmn), Chris Adams, Stew Lelievr and David Liben-Nowell
Marcia Brott was there somewhere inside Barnes & Noble also.  

Mar 14, 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 Robin Stears

Theme:  WORK.  You can WORK out, WORK at something, or WORK on someone.  Alternatively, you can use the word WORK as a modifier or compound noun component, as applied to either half of today's two-word theme entries.  Let's start off with today's theme song number 1.

17 A. Door-to-door seller's form : ORDER SHEET.  This is a list of items you can chose to buy from. A WORK ORDER tells the crew what their next job is.  A WORK SHEET can either be a student's assignment page listing questions with places for answers, or a page in a spreadsheet program.

25 A. Do some bargain-hunting : SHOP AROUND.  Search for the most cost effective alternatives.  A WORK SHOP is a meeting where people engage in activity related to a specific goal or project.  A WORK AROUND is a method for overcoming a problem or difficulty in a system or program,

35 A. Text with maps and timelines : HISTORY BOOK.  A chronicle of who did what to whom, and when and where it happened.  Your WORK HISTORY is a detailed report of all the jobs you've held, complete with dates and titles.  A WORK BOOK contains pages of student's instructions and assignments related to a specific topic.

49 A. Residential get-together : HOUSE PARTY.  A gathering at the residence of the PARTY's host. A WORK HOUSE is a prison where the inmates are subjected to labor as punishment.  A WORK PARTY can be either a social gathering of or for employees, or an organized unit of persons WORKing together.

59 A. Game with ringers : HORSE SHOES.  A game in which two players or teams alternate throwing actual HORSE SHOES or similar U-shaped objects at a stake set in the ground.  A ringer is a HORSE SHOE that completely encircles the stake.  A WORK HORSE is literally a HORSE used for work on a farm, or figuratively a person who dependably and consistently performs hard WORK. A WORK SHOE is a sturdy SHOE designed to provide protection for the foot during a labor assignment.

And the unifier -- 66 A. 2016 #1 hit for Rihanna, which can precede both parts of 17-, 25-, 35-, 49- and 59-Across : WORK.  Now that you can see how this theme WORKs, here is theme song 2.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa on the job.  We definitely have a thematically rich entry today.  How much WORK do you suppose that took?  Let's WORK our way through the puzzle and see what we can accomplish.


1. Flow back : EBB. As tide.

4. "Get outta here!" : BEAT IT.  Advice from Michael Jackson.

10. Column in a pugilist's record : TKOs.  A Technical Knock Out occurs when the referee or official ring physician decides that a boxing mach must be stopped for safety reasons, while a round is in progress.

14. Congressional auditing org. : General Accounting Office.  An independent, non-partisan agency that WORKS for Congress using facts and data to support Congress in meeting constitutional responsibilities and help improve performance and accountability.

15. Rhine wine region : ALSACE.  Located in eastern France, adjacent to Germany and Switzerland.  Historically it's control has been disputed between France and various German states.

16. Stable parent : MARE.  Horse mama.  Mental and emotional states may vary.

19. Very smart : CHIC.  Fashionable and well-appointed.  Levels of intelligence may vary.

20. Gosling of "Blade Runner 2049" : RYAN.  This is a remake of a 1982 classic neo-noir science fiction film.  I never saw either, but long ago I did read the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, on which they are [more or less] based.

21. Tupperware sound : BURP.

23. Jeans label : LEE.  Brand name.

24. Nightly TV staple : NEWS.  What weird thing happened today?

28. Where K-I-S-S-I-N-G goes on : IN A TREE.  Part of a playground taunt traditionally directed at a boy or girl suspected of being attracted to a girl or boy.

(Girl's name) and (boy's name) sitting in a tree
K-i-s-s-i-n-g! (spell it out)
First comes love.
Then comes marriage.
Then comes baby in the baby carriage,
Sucking his thumb,
Wetting his pants,
Doing the hula, hula dance!

 I can testify that I have never kissed anyone while sitting in a tree.

30. Hold the floor : ORATE.  Make a speech - especially pompously or at length.

31. Fabled beast : ASS.  Lots of animals in fables.   Levels of pomposity many vary.

32. Brad Paisley venue : OPRY.  It's grand, it's old, it's country.

34. Copycat : APE. Mimic.

39. Org. in Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress" : NSA.  National Security Agency.  

40. Temps : SUBS.  Temporary or substitute workers.

41. "There's an __ for that" : APP.  APPlication program for your computer or mobile device.

44. Figures on a sports news crawl : STATS.  Statistics - also scores and events.

47. Input, as accidentally erased data : RE-ENTER.  Tedious WORK.

53. Aviation prefix : AERO-.  Short for aeronautical, used to construct portmanteau words.

54. Pop __ : ART.  ART based on popular culture, often with critical or ironic intent.

55. Mongolia locale : ASIA.  The largest continent.

56. Camp Lejeune gp. : United States Marine Corp.

57. Losing proposition : DIET.  Ordinarily this means something that turns out - too late, alas - to be a lost cause.  But here, it's a clever misdirection for a nutritional strategy intended for weight reduction.

63. Burden : ONUS.  Literal, from Latin.

64. Smart people? : ALECKS.  Irritating people or who make rude wise-cracks or act superior in knowledge.  Actual knowledge, intelligence and fashion sense may vary.

65. NBC skit show : Saturday Night Live.

67. More sinewy : WIRIER.  More lean and tough.  Try saying it 3 times, quickly.

68. Farm area : STY. Where the pigs hang out.


1. Cause of star wars? : EGO.  Stars as celebrities, not celestial objects - so the wars are rather more trivial, and down to earth.

2. Scrubby wastelands : BARRENS.  Aptly descriptive.

3. Fragrant shower gel : BODY WASH.  Thickened liquid as an alternative to bar soap.

4. Setting for most of "Charlotte's Web" : BARN.

5. Overhead trains : ELS.  So called for their ELevated tracks.

6. Volcanic __ : ASH.  Small mineral particles expelled during a explosive volcanic eruption, correctly referred to as tephra.

7. Billy Blanks' workout system : TAE-BO.  A total body fitness system employing matial arts techniques.

8. Become frozen : ICE UP.

9. Aquarium fish : TETRA.  Small, tropical, brightly-colored tropical fresh-water fish.  Those in aquariums are penta-up.  Fortunately, they cannot put a hex on you, even if you have deviated septa.

10. SHO sister channel : TMCThe Movie Channel.

11. Liqueur in an espresso martini : KAHLUA.  Coffee flavored liqueur.

12. Point in the right direction : ORIENT.  If you point in the wrong direction, someone could end up getting lost by occident.

13. Formally withdraw : SECEDE.

18. Point in the right direction? : EAST.  A clecho, indicating the normal ORIENTation of flat maps.  Do you have to turn the map upside down when traveling south?

22. Ask for a hand? : PROPOSE.  Another nice misdirection.  Not a request for assistance or one's share of the cards, but rather a request for a loved-one's hand in marriage. Possible outcome of K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

24. "Empire" actress Long : NIA.

25. Nasal dividers : SEPTA.   The SEPTUM is the wall of cartilage and thin bone separating the nostrils.

26. Deli option : HERO.  Big sandwich of meat, cheese and spreads made on an oblong roll or similarly shaped loaf of bread that is sliced end-to-end horizontally, alternatively called the dagwood, submarine [sub], hoagy or grinder.

27. Cookie with a Peeps variety : OREO.   Please just stop.

29. Antarctic waters : ROSS SEA.  A deep bay in the extreme south pacific, at the edge of the antarctic continent.

33. Many mos. : YRS. Abbreviated or not, many months make years.

34. "__ Road": Beatles album : ABBEY.

36. QB's mistakes : INTs.  Interceptions - in American football, passes caught by the defenders instead of the intended receivers.

37. Mongolian tent : YURT.  A round, portable tent covered with skins or felt, used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of central Asia.

38. London-born supermodel : KATE MOSS.

42. Word of interest? : PERCENT.  Number used to calculate deposit earnings or loan premiums.

43. Quid __ quo : PRO.  Latin - "something for something" - a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something.

44. Omen on February 2nd : SHADOW.  Woodchuck [marmota monax] as weather maven.

45. "Starsky & Hutch" Ford model : TORINO.

46. Highbrow filmmaker : AUTEUR.  One who controls all aspects of a collaborative creative WORK.

48. The "N" of CSNY : NASH.   Graham, along with David Crosby, Steven Stills and Neil Young.

Still great 48 years later

50. "Get outta here!" : PSHAW.  An expression of contempt, impatience or disbelief.

51. Garlic mayonnaise : AIOLI.

52. Worth more to collectors : RARER.

56. KGB country : USSR.  The Soviet Union, a grouping of nominal republics under Russian hegemony that existed from 1922 - 1981.  The KGB was its main security agency.

58. "Naughty, naughty!" : TSK.  Comic book attempt to indicate the disparaging sound of tongue clucking.

60. __-fi : SCI.  Reference to the SCIence Fiction genre of speculative literature.

61. Squeeze (by) : EKE.  To barely achieve, with great difficulty.

62. Plotting : SLY.  Cunning and deceitful or secretive.

That wraps up another Wednesday's labor.  Did you love it, or were you lost?

Cool Regards!