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

Jan 18, 2020

Saturday, January, 18, 2020, Ed Sessa

Saturday Themeless by Dr. Ed Sessa

So you think doctors won't make a Saturday house call. Well, Dr. Ed Sessa has arrived here at our crossword stand with his little black bag full of cleverness and learning (e.g. 1 Across) to help ease the winter blues for those of us north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Bringing along his faithful companion is a further boost for us!

Just for fun I found out how far it is from my town here on the frozen steppes of eastern Nebraska to Ed's home on Sanibel Island, Florida. BTW, I see they do have three golf courses on the island.

Let's check out what Dr. Ed has for us on his rounds today:


1. Indian anna, e.g.: COIN - An anna (or ānā) was a currency unit formerly used in India and Pakistan, equal to ​116 of a rupee. I'm sure the word play similarity to Indiana did not escape Ed.
A 1919 mint condition 8 anna
coin worth $400

5. Baked potato topping: CHIVES.

11. Billy the Kid preceder?: AKA - "Also Known As" is "Better Known As" below

14. It's tossed into a pot: ANTE.

15. Play with Freudian implications: OEDIPUS REX - Freud - "It is the fate of all of us, perhaps, to direct our first sexual impulse towards our mother and our first hatred and our first murderous wish against our father18. Freudian component of 15-Across: PRIMAL URGE - You're on your own here

17. Result of spilling the beans: MESS.

19. Catering preparation: PLATTER.

21. Whale fare: KRILL - They can eat millions per day

22. Jam-packed: FILLED - NFL stadiums are not necessarily FILLED anymore 

23. 1989-'90 Broadway one-man show: TRU Robert Morse as TRUman Capote

26. Gift-wrapping occasions: EVES.

27. Arm of the sea: INLET.

28. Serial standout: SOAP STAR - The longest serving American SOAP STAR 

30. Short rules?: REGS.

31. Enjoyed a parlor game: SHOT POOL - When Fast Eddie SHOT POOL with Minnesota Fats, it was in a pool hall not parlor. "Like he's playing a violin"

32. Stumble: ERR.

33. Market research pioneer: NIELSEN - According to the NIELSEN Ratings, The Bob Hope Vietnam Christmas Show was the highest rated TV show this week 50 years ago

34. Suitable for family viewing: TV-G.

37. Actress who voiced Duchess in "The Aristocats": EVA GABOR - Movie also from 50 years ago

39. Cry over spilt milk?: MEWL - It'll be fine kitty!

40. Contemporary of le Carré: DEIGHTON - Spy novelist Len's first name is standard fare here

41. Movie character who might say 3-Down: ZORBA and 3. "No clue": IT'S ALL GREEK TO ME.

42. Facebook nudge: POKE.

43. Texting nicety: THX - YW seems to be the apt reply

44. Finalized, with "up": FIRMED - We finally FIRMED up the sale of MIL's house last month

45. Join the cast of: ACT IN - I'll bet all of you know what TV show these ladies joined to ACT IN after the previous one moved on

47. Propaganda tactics: BIG LIES - It's been done for centuries 

48. It's usually stuffed on planes: STORAGE BIN 

52. Suspicious of: ONTO.

53. Garden support: TOMATO CAGE - It's hard to see the CAGES that are holding up my wife's lush TOMATO and cucumber plants. Daughter, niece and nephew are harvesting from her bounty!

54. Storm preceder, at times: CALM.

55. "I kissed thee __ I killed thee": Othello: ERE - In English and in, uh, English

56. Govt. savings vehicles discontinued in 1980: E BONDS - Initially offered in 1941 to finance WWII. They became known as "War Bonds"

57. "Red Balloon" painter: KLEE - As it hangs in the Guggenheim 


1. Hand warmer only used outdoors: CAMP FIRE.

2. Little crack: ONE LINER - The King!

4. Settles softly: NESTLES - So many to choose from online ("from which to choose" for the grammar police 😏)

5. Managed to get by: COPED.

6. German title: HERR.

7. Forest's Oscar role: IDI - A Scottish doctor on a medical mission becomes entangled with this brutal dictator who declared himself to be the title of this movie

8. Drive: VIM.

9. Acid Rain Program org.: EPA.

10. Have a pouty face: SULK.

11. Carousel location: ARRIVAL TERMINAL - Michael Richards hurt himself sliding onto this carousel but finished this Seinfeld scene

12. Seeker of turkeys in alleys?: KEGLER - When a KEGLER (bowler)  gets three strikes in a row 

13. Eponymous jumps: AXELS - Named after its Norwegian creator AXEL Paulsen

16. Gonna: SURE TO.

20. Hanoi holiday: TET.

23. Hobbyist's organizer: TOOL BOX - I'd call this a deluxe model

24. Fingers: RATS ON.

25. __ deck: UPPER - In the UPPER deck at Yankee stadium you are 7 stories up and about 180' from home plate

28. Scabbard: SHEATH.

29. Dad bud, often: SON.

31. Tourist attraction: SIGHT - Old Yankee Stadium was on my bucket list as a SIGHT to see that I checked off

33. Badger or hound: NAG - Yeah right, I was the only one who put DOG first

35. "Punch buggy" in a car trip game: VW BEETLE - We called it "slug bug" and it gave you license to punch a sibling after yelling out "slug bug" upon seeing a VW BEETLE. Hey, we didn't have glowing screens to occupy us!

36. Full of joy: GLADSOME - Makes sense. Use over time:

38. "25 Words or Less" host Meredith: VIEIRA A play-at-home game published in 1996 and put on the TV in 2018

39. Wells predator: MORLOCK - Here they attack Sheldon in a dream he has while sitting in the prop used in the H.G. Wells movie The Time Machine

40. Who on TV, with "the": DOCTOR All you wanna know about one of aforementioned Sheldon's favorite TV characters 

41. Turn sharply: ZIG.

42. It holds things together: PASTE - Haute cuisine in Kindergarten 

44. Ticket prices?: FINES.

46. Archibald of the NBA: NATE - NATE is the second from the right standing on this team that split time between the two cities

47. Cowboys' city, familiarly: BIG D - Carol Burnett and Julie Andrews sing this fun song from Most Happy Fella

49. Lump: GOB.

50. Green opening: ECO.

51. Taboo: BAN.

Thanks for the visit, Dr. Ed. Comments?

Jan 11, 2020

Saturday January 11, 2020, Erik Agard & Wyna Liu

Saturday Themeless by Erik Agard and Wyna Liu

Today's puzzle was authored by 
frequent LA Times constructor and Jeopardy Champion Erik Agard who partnered with Wyna Liu, seen here with a good friend. 

Online, I discovered - Wyna is a mixed media sculptor and crossword puzzle constructor based in NYC. She received Master from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program in 2014. Her work combines digital fabrication techniques with fussy hand finishing processes. She is interested in modularity, mechanisms and the lathe. Okay... 

Here's a note I got from Wyna:  "This was a fun puzzle to work on! Erik and I began building the grid around CRANKYPANTS, HIDEYHOLE, and NAUGHTYLIST. We worked back and forth a number of times but finally had to lose NAUGHTYLIST to keep it clean (who likes seeing REECHO and OTTOII in a puzzle??). This was one of our first collaborations (the first themeless), and was a formative and invaluable learning experience for me."

Let's review Erik and Wyna's collaborative effort:


1. Drill bit?: MARCH - It was my first thought but tricky NW cluing held back confirmation

6. Sudden blow: GUST.

10. '60s civil rights gp. inspired by student sit-ins: SNCC - Often called "snick"
14. Recall trigger: E-COLI - They certainly experienced a recall

15. One singing in musical tones?: ALTO A list of very good ALTOS/ALTI pop singers 

16. Ponies run in it: POLO.

17. Written in mystical letters: RUNIC - Crossword learning made this my first confident fill

18. Ghanaian flag feature: STAR - Oh yeah, it's just south of Burkina Faso. BTW, changing one letter of its capital would give us 2. Luxury auto: ACURA.
19. Micro amount: ATOM and 59. Micro amount: IOTA.

20. Irritable sort, in slang: CRANKY PANTS - Grumpypants came and went before I landed on this seed entry

23. Even prime: TWO - We math peeps are aware 

24. Stadium opening?: YANKEE - New YANKEE Stadium being built adjacent to the historic old YANKEE Stadium in 2008
25. Precious person: DEAR ONE.

27. Mickey's "Love Is Strange" singing partner: SYLVIA - Despite the on-screen graphics this live performance is fun to watch 
30. Hoods: GOONS.

31. Fricative admonishment: SHH - After a "Huh?" for Fricative, the admonishment of SHH came through. Fricative is a consonant sound that is created by constricting the vocal tract, causing friction as the air passes through it. 
34. Distorts to one's advantage: SPINS - Areas for news conferences after political debates are actually called SPIN rooms

35. Clog from France: SABOT Familiar crossword footwear

36. Wasn't true: LIED.

38. Sober: STAID.

40. Gov't agency with a "meatball" logo: NASA - Students of mine have heard this space educator say "NASA meatball" for decades, therefore, I was so pleased to see Erik and Wyna make this reference. I've told Joann I want my ashes in an urn with the NASA Meatball on it!

41. Agent concerned with spots: AD REP - Singular clue should have gotten me off AD MEN a lot faster than it did!

43. Alternative to "start at," in pricing: AND UP - "Oh, if you want the 48. Opposite of austere: DELUXE model, that'll be another thousand dollars!"

45. Only article in a U.S. state capital name: DES It is on and named after the DES Moines River, which likely was adapted from the early French name, Rivière des Moinesmeaning "River of the Monks". You're welcome...

46. Key partner: PEELE - PEELE and Key did a lot of collaborative sketches but Keegan-Michael Key's portrayal of a substitute teacher is the hilarious holy grail for those of us who sub!
47. Looked bad?: LEERED paired with another 61. Look bad?: OGLE and less offensive  44. Looked over: PERUSED.

49. __ analysis: SYSTEMS - I just love this:
51. Venues with games: ARENAS.

55. Rap music article: THA.

56. Do a surveying task: TRIANGULATE 1946 Triangulation surveying of Palestine

62. Plant name from the Arabic for "red": SUMAC - SUMAC really brighten the fall landscape around here

63. Film bit: CLIP - Actors on talk shows often have CLIPS from their films to show. Sometimes it is the only interesting scene in the movie

64. Las Vegas Aces' org.: WNBA All pro teams in Vegas

65. Put into action: EXERT.

66. Was true to, as one's word: KEPT - And so he was

67. Elle Woods of "Legally Blonde" got 179 on hers, briefly: LSAT - I wonder what Reese Witherspoon, who portrayed fictional Elle Woods, would have scored.

68. Lucy's husband and son: DESIS Desi Arnaz IV, later known as Desi Arnaz Jr., appeared only once on I Love Lucy - on the final episode, June 24, 1957, along with his sister, Lucie. But he wasn't playing Little Ricky on that finale. Both Desi Jr. and Lucie later starred on their mom's show, Here's Lucy (1968-74), as her kids, Craig and Kim.


1. Compassion: MERCY.

3. Saoirse __, "Lady Bird" star: RONAN Nope, it had nothing to do with LBJ's wife

4. Toasting signs: CLINKS - CRUMBS didn't cut it for this fun clue that was heard often 12 days ago

5. Make-out spots?: HICKEYS - you might 6. Respond to a shock: GASP - if you google these
7. Beauty store chain: ULTA Find the nearest one to you

8. Get out of the way: STAND ASIDE.

9. Dessert that just sounds wrong: TORTE 
10. Ooh-and-aah site: SPA.

11. Just okay: NOT TOO BAD - AT&T's new ad pitch. Don't open if you've seen this as many times as I have

12. Classic hole-in-one site: CLOWN NOSE - How else are ya gonna put one on?

13. José's greeting: COMO ESTAS ¿Cómo estás? Adding usted is optional

21. Kennel chorus: YELPS 

22. Dips: SAGS.

26. Equine coat color: ROAN.

28. Physical figures: VITAL SIGNS - On a monitor by every hospital bed
29. Absurd: INANE.

31. Some visual humor: SLAP STICK - The Three Stooges leapt to my mind

32. Alternative to a wall safe: HIDEY HOLE - Bank Vault? Buzz, but thanks for playing!
33. Help line: HERE'S A TIP - Maxine uses that line a lot
37. Upper-bod muscle: DELT - Shoulder muscle not chest (PECT)

39. Aid in developing hair waves: DURAG - Its main purpose is to develop or preserve waves after they are in your hair. Worn by many football players under their helmets

42. Alfred of coffee fame: PEET The intertwined history of Alfred PEET and Starbucks

50. Animated Tootsie Pop eater in ads: MR OWL - 50 yrs ago he posited the question of "How many licks it takes to get to the center or a Tootsie Pop?"
52. When repeated, spills the beans: NAMES These guys refused to NAME NAMES to the HUAC committee 

53. Gaming biggie: ATARI.

54. Splinter groups: SECTS - Some SECTS form because of differing views on sex.

57. Jessica of "L.A.'s Finest": ALBA Do LA police look like this?

58. Off the rocks?: NEAT - I may have to write Tinman to warn him about this picture 😦

60. Flat: Abbr.: APT - Housing is scarce in our growing town, so finding an apt APT. is difficult 

"I'll take Comments for $1,000 Alex". "The answer is 'Fun and Stimulating'". "What is Erik's and Wyna's 1.11.20 crossword puzzle?" You have a different answer?

Note to Wyna - Would this cluing have worked? 😏

Second reverberation - REECHO

HRE emperor known as "The Red" - OTTO II

Jan 4, 2020

Saturday, January, 4, 2020, Matthew Sewell

Saturday Themeless by Matthew Sewell
Today's constructor is another in our long line of  PhDs - Matthew Sewell. He is also part of the Minnesota Crossword Cabal and teaches literature and film at Minnesota State University, Mankato (high of 28F today) but is currently on sabbatical in Richmond, VA. (high of 64F today). He has had puzzles published in the  NYT, Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Universal / Andrews McMeel.

Of this puzzle, Matt was kind enough to write to me, "I was glad to be able to get a variety of frames of reference into this one -- as a solver, I like it when a themeless calls on many different types of knowledge. The shape of this grid emerged from some experiments in unusual patterns -- for instance, I was trying to limit 3-letter entries, especially adjacent ones, and I was interested in wide-open corners like in the NE and SW. I remember the NE corner coming together pretty quickly, which seemed semi-miraculous... and then I paid for that good fortune in the SW, which required some ingenuity. My thanks for Rich and Patti for their improvements, and I hope solvers enjoy the result."

Lights, Camera, Sewell!


1. Station lineup: CABS - The lineup of taxi CABS has been greatly diminished by lines here

5. Lacks calmness, in modern slang: HAS NO CHILL - I'll file this along with "YAS QUEEN" from last Saturday, in my "Never Heard Before, but Happy To Learn" folder 😐

15. Wrench or twist: HURT 

16. SiriusXM channel devoted to "the King": ELVIS RADIO.

17. Feature of some cheeses: ODOR  and 
25. Semi-hard cheese: EDAM - is said to have almost no odor compared to other cheeses

18. Jigsaw-making process: DIE CUTTING - This machine has a DIE inside for CUTTING your own puzzles after pasting your picture on a special board

19. Site with many alterations: WIKI can explain 
35. In an atom's outer shell, two electrons not bonded to another atom: LONE PAIR if you're interested

20. Kelly of "Anchors Aweigh": GENE - His costars were Frank Sinatra and Jerry Mouse

21. Fast-food order: TO GO - Without the space, cluing could have been "21. A 1925 eponymous hero of a 2019 Disney film"

22. Eurasian ecoregion: STEPPE - America's STEPPES

24. Improvement plan: REGIMEN REGIMIN vs Regiment

27. Source of relief: OASIS.

30. Take off: DEPART 

31. Place with a bucket list?: KFC - You can get a KFC bucket in C.C.'s home town at 101 North Quinling Rd, Quinyonggung Rd, Xi'an China. 

32. Steamed by: MAD AT 34. Familia nickname: TIO Tuve catorce TÍOS en mi vida (I have had fourteen uncles in my life)
35. TV program generally targeted for women: LIFETIME MOVIE -Examples

39. With 38-Across, SLR since 1987: CANON 38. See 39-Across: EOS - The official SLR in Crosswordland

40. London's Old __: VIC - On the corner of the Cut and Waterloo Road in Lambeth, London, England

41. Loosen, in a way: UNSNAP.

43. Portfolio item: ASSET.

45. Brings back to the team, say: REHIRES - Yankee owner George Steinbrenner fired and REHIRED Billy Martin many, many times

47. Best Picture title locale the year after the West Side: ARABIA - 6' 3" Peter O'Toole played 5' 5" T.E. Lawrence

51. Uncommitted: OPEN.

52. What a reservation can prevent: WAIT - A very early Seinfeld episode was 
about not having a reservation and was shot on only one set. This is often cited as an example of the show "being about nothing"!

55. Philosopher influenced by Hegel: MARX - Last Saturday I had the MARX Brothers. 

56. Yellowish-tinted spirit: PALE BRANDY - Very Special Old PALE

59. Stress indicator: Abbr.: ITAL.

The Scream

60. Munch, e.g.: OIL PAINTER - Norwegian Edvard's most famous work

61. Period in ads: NITE.

62. Timely quality: PROMPTNESS - Is Munch's subject very 49. Steamed: IRATE about someone being late or upset because he just found out he was going to be undergoing an 
2. Regular review: AUDIT.

63. Barely gets (by): EKES.


1. Dark-tongued dogs: CHOWS.

3. Destitute: BROKE.

4. Remove, as varnish: STRIP OFF 

5. Natural windbreaks: HEDGES.

6. "Fascism is __ told by bullies": Hemingway: A LIE Wanna read the essay?

7. Old Norse name meaning "young man": SVEN.

8. Not so rough: NICER.

9. Pac-12's Beavers: OSU - It's about an hour drive from the Beavers to the Ducks

10. Early TV component: CRT - Philo Farnsworth's product

11. Genteel gesture: HAT TIP.

12. Like much spoken language: IDIOMATIC 27 Canadian speech IDIOMS

13. Chantelle offering: LINGERIE - Google at your leisure 

14. Access, in a way: LOG ONTO.

23. Indy front-runner?: PACE CAR - This year it was a 2019 Corvette in Longbeach Metallic Red Tint for the Indy 500

26. Move beyond: GET OVER - "Hey, life's unfair. GET OVER it!"

28. "Game on!": I'M IN and 
53. Play fare: ANTE - An interesting way to ANTE

29. The Apolima Strait separates its two main islands: SAMOA.

31. Greet affectionately: KISS HELLO.

33. Escape rooms: DENS.

36. Red annoyance?: TAPE - Government RED TAPE held up a viaduct in our town for seventeen years and finally it just became too expensive to build. Meanwhile a little girl died because her ambulance was blocked by a train for ten minutes.

37. Wheat germ nutrient: VITAMIN E All you need to know

38. ABBA's genre: EURO POP - I never miss a chance to post an ABBA video. Enjoy!

e42. Evening hr.: NINE PM.

44. Mythical wine lovers: SATYRS Guys out for a good time 

46. Proust character married to Odette: SWANN - Odette, in full Odette Swann, née de Crécy, fictional character, the vulgar wife of Charles SWANN in Remembrance of Things Past, or In Search of Lost Time (1913–27), by Marcel Proust. You're welcome.

48. Cloth-dyeing method: BATIK.

50. Beetle bars: AXLES - can get you one. Very tricky, Matt!

54. Shakespearean warning word: IDES.

57. Christian denom.: BAP - BAPTIST

58. Slowing, in mus.: RIT - A very familiar usage

Comments on Dr. Sewell's puzzle?