Showing posts with label Saturday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saturday. Show all posts

Apr 4, 2020

Saturday, April 4, 2020, Brian E Paquin

Themeless Saturday by Brian E. Paquin

Brian E. Paquin is the author of today's puzzle. He is our retired computer systems developer, and now crossword constructor from Kingston, Ontario. He and I were of very like mind today as I polished this puzzle off very quickly (I have sworn off  saying my solving times here).

On Brian's last themeless Saturday he included actress Anna Paquin as fill and said she might be some distant relative as she was born in Winnipeg, Ontario.

Here was Brian's gracious reply to my inquiry about this puzzle:

Hi Gary,

Not a lot to say about it...I liked the way it turned out, except maybe for the S/E corner.   41A ESSE, 41D EKEOUT and 54D SST are all tiresome entries to me.  But if there is to be a weak area, then the S/E is my choice.  Solvers will have enjoyed the better parts by the time they get there.

Let's see what Brian has developed for us today from north of the border:


1. One of the partying elite: A-LISTER.

8. Dessert option: A LA MODE 

15. Emphasize strongly: RAM HOME - Every government agency is trying to RAM HOME wha we must do be safe(r)

16. Online group study: WEBINAR - When I think of all those trips to The University of Nebraska at Omaha I made to get my Masters...

17. Visiting the Louvre, say: IN PARIS - What Rick and Isla will always have

18. Namesake of brunch sauce: HOLLAND - HOLLANDAISE sauce originated in Normandy, France in 1651 as Sauce Isigny not HOLLAND. [Side note - French fries are said to have originated in Belgium and Crab Rangoon in San Francisco] 

19. Sweet after-dinner drink: PORT WINE - On the subject of name derivations, PORT WINE came from the Portuguese city of Oporto

21. Cpl., for one: NCO - Non Commissioned Officer

22. Some street performers: MIMES - Wait a minute... 

25. __ learning: ROTE 

26. Conks out: DIES.

27. "The Cookie Never Crumbles" co-author Wally: AMOS - Famous AMOS

28. Stick: MIRE.

29. Apollo unit, briefly: LEM - Here's the ascent stage of the Lunar Excursion Module taking off from the Moon to reunite with the Command Module that was still orbiting the Moon so the three astronauts could return to Earth. 

30. Flour bag abbr.: LBS.

31. Enthusiastic well-wisher: BACKSLAPPER - Gone with hand shaking for now

35. Retire: PUT OUT TO PASTURE - Subbing keeps at least one foot out of the pasture

37. Took over in a supervisor's absence: HELD THE FORT - After President Reagan was shot, Alexander Haig strode into the West Wing and said he was in charge, i.e. HOLDING (DOWN) THE FORT. Some thought, "Well, 38. __-di-dah: LAH"

40. __ web: DARK Here 'ya go

41. To be, in Latin: ESSE - "
ESSE aut non ESSE illud est quaestio" - Hamlet's musing

42. Hardy title teenager: TESS - TESS of the d"Ubervilles 

44. Small store: MART.

45. 12-time NBA All-Star Olajuwon, as originally spelled: AKEEM - Alt. spelling on this card

46. Big bird: EMU - If commercials are supposed to be annoying to stick in your mind, the poor EMU and his witless handler are successful

47. Dessert made with Oreos: DIRTCAKE - How 'bout adding some (Gummy) worms?

49. Fell behind: RAN LATE.

51. Baseball's Browns, since 1954: ORIOLES - They started as Milwaukee Brewers in 1881 but moved to St. Louis in 1901 as the Browns where they played for 52 years and then became the Baltimore Orioles in 1954 which they still are 39. So far: YET.

1891 Milwaukee Brewers
55. Camera maker that merged with Konica: MINOLTA.

56. What financial projections are compared with: ACTUALS - Everybody's 2020 financial projections are pretty much trash now

57. Guile: SLYNESS.

58. "We're done": THAT'S IT - Going to Husker games?


1. Bush press secretary Fleischer: ARI.

2. PC linkup: LAN - Local Area Network

3. Little rascal: IMP.

4. Pentagon and others: SHAPES - Those pentagonal home plates are still in storage

5. Corrida chargers: TOROS - Corrida is a word meaning bullfight

6. Muslim noble: EMIR 23. Permeate: IMBUE IMBUE used in The Call an EMIR might say

7. They're not for everyone: RESTRICTED AREAS - It'd be about a 20 hr drive for me to get to this famous RESTRICTED AREA

8. 1957 Marty Robbins hit: A WHITE SPORT COAT to wear to the 13. Prom, say: DANCE. - This avid Marty Robbins fan first put his less famous song A BIG IRON ON HIS HIP which fit but the title is only BIG IRON and, uh, wrong!

9. Spaghetti Western director Sergio: LEONE - The Danish National Symphony performs the haunting theme from the spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly with plenty of voices but not one discernible word. [A Danish orchestra directed by a Japanese-American woman that is the theme for an American-Style western directed by an non-English speaking Italian man shot mostly in Spain]

10. Up to it: ABLE.

11. Wire measure: MIL - 1 MIL wire is .001" thick

12. Without thinking: ON AN IMPULSE - Last week I showed my prized Superman shirt of my misspent yute. ON AN IMPULSE I thought I could fly and took a leap. I told mom and the doctor I was pushed.

14. Hungarian mathematician Paul: ERDOS - The one unknown for me but if you're interested

20. Museum piece: WORK OF ART.

22. "Happy Days" character Ralph: MALPH - If you really care, you'll know which one he is in this picture

24. Promising forecast: MOSTLY SUNNY - Is the same as partly cloudy?

26. Commerce, e.g.: Abbr.: DEPT 

28. "Do the __!": MATH - Can I afford this Ferrari on a retired teacher's income? 

29. Stand the test of time: LAST.

31. Target: BUTT - Being the BUTT of the joke is misery for some and a 
32. Playful prank: LARK to others

33. Scrub away: ERASE - 44 sec. video of amazing 3D art and ERASING it

34. Alter, as a skirt: REHEM - This dress has had some significant REHEMMING

36. Poems of honor: ODES.

41. Just manage: EKE OUT.

42. Contract listing: TERMS - Selling my MIL's house contained TERMS where she had to pay for a new roof

43. Text alternative: E-MAIL 

44. Catchers' catchers: MITTS - The first catcher to use one was thought of as a sissy

45. Curly-tailed dog: AKITA - Can't we all use a cute picture today?

47. Valley: DALE.

48. Bridge structure: ARCH - For some reason, the General W.K. Wilson Bridge is called the Dolly Parton Bridge. 

50. Actor Chaney: LON.

52. Scale notes: LAS - A note to follow SO(L)

53. Skull and Bones member: ELI - These three members of this secret society at Yale later became presidents. The Video Daily Double Jeopardy question for the far left man is, "Who is the only president to later become Chief Justice Of The Supreme Court?"

54. Old boomer: SST.

I add for no apparent reason: If Brian drove from his home in Kingston, Ontario to Buffalo, N.Y. he would travel from  the east end of Lake Ontario to the east end of Lake Erie. 

Note from C.C.:

Constructor Todd Gross created a series of YouTube videos on themed crosswords. Click here for his latest "For the Birds". I would not have seen the extra layers without his explanations.

Mar 28, 2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020, Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber

Themeless Saturday by Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber

Today we have a tag team offering from Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber. This picture is from the NYT puzzle site about another of their collaborations.

The gentlemen left several very "gettable" Easter eggs around the grid which greatly facilitated solving and I managed to get through quite nicely. The NW and SE corners were full before I knew it. O HOLY NIGHT was a freebie but was counterbalanced by my complete ignorance of its neighbors of LANA DELREY and SLADE. Constructors giveth and constructors taketh away.

Off we go:


1. "Play it cool": ACT NATURAL - Ringo gets a chance on this cover of the Buck Owens ear worm

11. A cup's 48: Abbr.: TSPS.

15. One of a set of faddish toys that at its peak made up 10% of all eBay sales: BEANIE BABY 

16. D-Day code name: UTAH - My bride's Uncle landed at UTAH Beach on D-Day+2

17. Staple of many Oktoberfest costumes: LEDERHOSEN - What my cousin in Eastern Switzerland had this to say about this apparel (his English is way better than my Deutsch): Lederhosen are not traditionally worn, LEDERHOSEN belong to the Bavarian costume. From time to time she sees with us at local Oktoberfests, which were looked at and copied by businessmen from the Bavarians. I have no Lederhosen. These are very expensive and cost about 400 to 500 $. My son Fabian owns one, because he goes to such festivals. I am not a fan of drinking a lot of beer and the music played there.
18. Casual gait: LOPE.

19. Superhero uniform symbol: ESS - I literally wore mine until it fell apart! Sometime I will tell you the story about wearing it while I was up on a roof...

20. Pipe section: TRAP.

21. Investigations with strange features: X-FILES Mulder and Scully

23. Ferrari's former parent: FIAT - Both are now looking into making ventilators for Italy

24. Tuna __: Betty Crocker brand: HELPER.

25. Portico support: COLUMN - Here we are in front of COLUMNS that are part of a famous North Portico 

28. "Prince of Motown": GAYE Four minutes of social comment and "that voice"

29. Subj. of some 2015 WikiLeaks content: NSA Here 'ya go

31. United hub: O'HARE - United Airlines hubs

32. Honeycomb holder: CEREAL BOX - Cute!

34. One-track: MONO - Even in MONO, the Everly Brothers sounded great 

35. Declined: WANED.

36. Drip site: EAVE.

37. Fearmongers: ALARMISTS 

39. Swiss city with suburbs in Germany and France: BASEL - BASEL sprawls out across both sides of the Rhine from Schwiez into Deutschland and 

40. Qantas baggage tag abbr.: SYD.

41. Greek war god: ARES.

42. Repair request recipients: SUPERS - Do you remember the name of this TV SUPERintendent?

43. Like many stored measuring cups: NESTED.

45. Dispatched: SENT.

46. Military lodging: BILLET - It used to not be optional

47. Breathing space?: LUNG - A real area of concern with COVID-19 

48. Degree for a CFO: MBA.

51. Tourist mecca with a mausoleum: AGRA Eight secrets of the Taj Mahal

52. Napoleon is a dictator in it: ANIMAL FARM - ...all are equal except some are more equal than others

55. Rid oneself of: SHED.

56. Main menace: PIRATE SHIP 

57. Ocular inflammation: STYE.

58. Aids in coping with pressure?: SPACE SUITS - SPACE SUITS dealt with the LACK of pressure in the vacuum on the Moon (YES! WE WENT TO THE MOON!)


1. Proficient: ABLE.

2. The limits of chic?: CEES ChiC

3. Wee ones: TADS.

4. Peoria-to-Green Bay dir.: NNE 

5. Exposure, to a deejay: AIR TIME - Paul Simon gives credit to a Florida DJ for giving Sound Of Silence a lot of AIR TIME after many requests from kids and giving him and Art Garfunkel a big boost

6. World capital in 1979-'80 headlines: TEHRAN - The 52 hostages held in TEHRAN for 444 days were one factor that cost Jimmy Carter a second term

7. Lusitania sinker: U-BOAT A fascinating, detailed story of America's delayed reaction 

8. Gravelly utterance: RASP - RASPY-voiced Joe Cocker TV theme song

9. Japanese host of the 2019 G20 summit: ABE - Shinzo ABE will not host the Olympics for at least a year. The G20? Don't know.

10. Sharp-sighted: LYNX-EYED They were forced into the open, easy prey for the first LYNX-EYED Mercutian. "Slaves of Mercury" by Nat Schachner. A variation of eagle-eyed that is new to me

11. Lily family flower: TULIP.

12. Theft not involving money or merchandise: STOLEN BASE - This baseball fan took too long to get this one

13. Explains too glibly: PAPERS OVER - A favorite of mine!

14. "__ Like the Wind": "Dirty Dancing" tune: SHE'S - Patrick Swayze sings the song and, uh, engages in Dirty Dancing

22. Circus hopper: FLEA - You really want to see one?

23. Public outcry: FUROR.

24. Leveret raisers: HARES - Leveret and mom HARE

25. Deep sleeps: COMAS.

26. Christmas song containing "a thrill of hope": O HOLY NIGHT 

27. "Summertime Sadness" hitmaker: LANA DELREY Here 'ya go!

28. Restroom label: GENTS - or...

30. Rink acrobatics: AXELS - A triple AXEL in a roller rink and 
33. Did 30-Down: LEAPT.

32. Studied for a job?: CASED - Prepped for a bank job (robbery)

35. Bugs: WIRETAPS 

38. Second sock: MATE.

39. Butchers: BUNGLES 

42. 100-member group: SENATE - Rather than a 100-member group it can often be a 53/47 unit

44. Glam rock band: SLADE Their top ten hits. 
Uh, I didn't know many (any)

45. Rash cause, maybe: SUMAC.

46. Sarastro in "The Magic Flute," e.g.: BASS - Franz Xavier Gerl sang this BASS role at the September 20, 1791 Vienna premiere under the direction of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

47. Italian bread that's no longer tender: LIRA - Italian LIRA ceased to be legal tender in Italy as of February, 28, 2002

48. Half a seafood dinner?: MAHI.

49. Liverpudlian, e.g.: BRIT - This house at 251 Menlove Ave. in Liverpool, England was where BRIT John Lennon was raised by his Aunt Mimi and her husband George Smith. His three band mates were also Liverpudlians

50. Bandstand boosters: AMPS.

53. Obedience school no-no: NIP - No, Fido, no!

54. Sch. with five Orange Bowl victories: FSU - When Husker Byron Bennett missed this FG in the 1994 Orange Bowl, FSU won 18 - 16 and the Husker lost a National Championship, sigh...

Comments for Doug and Brad?

Mar 21, 2020

Saturday, March 21, 2020, Joe Deeney

Themeless Saturday  by Joe Deeney

A favorite picture of Joe's taken at the San Francisco Exploratorium
Joe's gracious response to my email about this puzzle:


Thanks for reaching out! I'm glad you enjoyed the puzzle. Hope all is well with you.

I built this grid in early 2019. Rich requested a revision of the SE in late August and accepted the puzzle in early October. Original SE stack was LET IT SLIDE, IRON-WILLED, and MANGO SALSA, with QAEDA and 44-Down, which in hindsight isn't a very good answer. I'm glad Rich pushed for a revision here. 

I hadn't tried making many puzzles with stair-step 13's before and wanted to give it a go with this puzzle. SAID NO ONE EVER was one of the seeds I played around with and when I found this stack it seemed like it had a lot of potential to build off of.

I hope everyone gets a satisfying Saturday workout with this one.


Take it away Joe:


1. Cathartic magnesium compound: EPSOM SALTS - My lovely gardener wife uses EPSOM SALTS to supply her tomato plants with a cathartic release from soil depletion

11. Bygone Bulgarian bigwig: TSAR - Bulgaria's last TSAR was Simeon II whose office was abolished four days after my 9/11/46 day of birth.

15. Some drag racers: ROCKET CARS - For every action...

16. Scott of "Arrested Development": BAIO  - 21 years after he was Chachi in Happy Days 

17. Comment denying kinship: NO RELATION - Latin variation of "post hoc, ego propter hoc" in this witty 1:43 West Wing scene

18. Bob Ross painted with one: AFRO - Soft spoken artist

19. Dog follower, maybe: SLED - Nome or bust!

20. "Disturbia" singer, familiarly: RIRI - Nickname for Rhianna 

21. Raise: ERECT.

22. "The Cocktail Party" monogram: TSE - A T.S. Elioplay based on Alcestis by the Greek playwright Euripides. You're welcome! 😏

23. Former Carson Daly employer: MTV  - Curious?

Parker Sibley at UNC
24. Horn for Parker: SAX - Our grandson's father is a professional musician and named his two sons for famous jazz sax musicians, one of which was Charlie "Bird" Parker. Grandson Parker is now on a drum (not a SAX) scholarship at The University of Northern Colorado

26. Where to find Ruth and Aaron: Abbr.: HOF and 51. Came clean: ADMITTED IT - If Pete Rose had just ADMITTED IT (he bet on baseball), he would be in the Hall  OFame by now. 

27. West in old movies: MAE.

28. Small book size: OCTAVO.

30. Words that contradict what preceded them: SAID NO ONE EVER And yet they continue

34. Perpetual loser: CELLAR DWELLER - Another phrase for a team that is in the bottom of the standings like the 1966 Cubs
35. Game time?: HUNTING SEASON.

36. Hydrocodone, e.g.: OPIATE - Threw mine away after surgery

37. "Too Many Rappers" rapper: NAS - Okay

38. Holstein's hi?: MOO.

39. "Flags of Our Fathers" setting, for short: IWO - A Clint Eastwood film

41. Vegas summer hrs.: PDT - Same as Los Angeles

42. Windy City train org.: CTA.

45. "Baywatch" actor: EFRON.

47. Superman's mom: LARA - Wife of dad Jor-El on Krypton. Stepmom on Earth was Martha Kent who was married to Johnathan Kent

49. Physics Nobelist the year after Einstein: BOHR - Every physical science teacher in history has had his students make a model of the BOHR atom. Science peeps will know what atom this is. (*Answer at bottom of write-up)

50. "Count on me!": I'M IN 

53. "Aww!": CUTE.

54. Source of some long flows: HEADWATERS - The HEADWATERS of the Mississippi River are in Minnesota's Lake Itasca where you can wade across Old Man River

55. Freezer aisle brand: EDYS.

56. At risk: IN JEOPARDY - Corona Virus seems to have us all IN JEOPARDY 


1. __ Blofeld, Bond bad guy: ERNST 

2. Combines: POOLS - Some workers POOL their money and buy large amounts of lottery tickets

3. Slope of loose stones: SCREE - I showed a man skiing down SCREE in Austria last week

4. Passed: OK'ED.

5. Sideshow __ of "The Simpsons": MEL If you're really that interested

6. Gave it another go: STARTED ANEW - I retired but then taught six more years after a year away from the classroom  

7. When Prospero says, "We are such stuff / As dreams are made on": ACT IV - Sam Spade's version

8. Hideaway: LAIR.

9. Dix moins sept: TROIS - 10 - 7 = 3 in any base ten math language 

10. I-9 ID: SSN.

11. Uphill aid: T-BAR.

12. Sanctuary: SAFE HAVEN - A controversial topic these days

13. Protection from planes: AIR COVER - Below is the prayer commissioned by George Patton during a run of bad weather. The entreaty was answered with clear skies and AIR COVER that was able to support his troops in the Battle Of The Bulge on 12/23/44. Patton gave Chaplain James O'Neill a bronze star for this prayer.

14. Support: ROOT FOR - Only families of players and coaches were allowed in to ROOT FOR their team at the Nebraska Boys State Championships last week

21. Does very well: EXCELS AT.

23. Do the bare minimum: MAIL IT IN - What many NBA players do until the playoffs which may not come this year

25. Welk intro words: A ONE AND A TWO.

27. Mediterranean country in which English is an official language: MALTA - My first five-letter country starting with M is a 22 hr flight away. The official languages in Macao are Cantonese and Portuguese but English is common too but no where near the Mediterranean 😜  
29. Final purpose, to Aristotle: TELOS.

30. Factor in committee assignments: SENIORITY - Competence? Not necessarily!

31. Houston's __ Stadium, named for an energy company: NRG A lovely drone tour if you're interested 

32. Has too much, briefly: OD'S.

33. Run a tab, say: OWE.

34. Coffee, in diner slang: CUP OF MUD - Diner vernacular for coffee 

35. Hockey advantage: HOME ICE - Of the last 17 Stanley Cup playoffs, the 13 champions had the advantage of playing on HOME ICE

40. From days past: OLDEN.

41. __ parade: PRIDE.

42. Python pro: CODER - A sample of what a CODER might produce in Python language

43. Bronze ordinal: THIRD - Will there be a summer Olympics?

44. Like Taos, say: ARTSY.

46. Folks: ONES

48. Key of Mozart's clarinet concerto: Abbr.: A-MAJ - The clarinetist starts playing after a 2:00 intro:

49. Version to debug: BETA - It appears The Iowa Caucus app needed to be debugged 

51. Sashimi selection: AHI.

52. Light knock: TAP - For $650 you can have this note with the first stanza about TAPPING written in the author's own hand.

Comment at will:

* That is a model of a Carbon Atom - Atomic #6