Showing posts with label Thursday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thursday. Show all posts

Jul 12, 2018

Thursday, July 12th 2018 Frank Virzi

Theme: EVIL'R. The good Doctors Doom and Octopus might be so, but see below for a more rounded explanation.

 20A. *Doctor Octopus or Doctor Doom: SUPERVILLAIN. A villain with superhuman powers. I took a test to reveal my supervillain name, and it's time to meet .... PROFESSOR ARMAGEDON!

Try it out for yourselves here.

29A. *"The Big Country" Oscar winner: BURL IVES. Here's a good excuse for a music link that has nothing to do with Burl Ives - "In a Big Country" by Big Country. Points deducted for lack of originality, but it's still a catchy ditty.

37A. *Quick and careless treatment: ONCE-OVER-LIGHTLY. Not a phrase I was familiar with (with which I was not familiar, according to the Grammar Police.) It seems other people are though, so a learning experience for me.

44A. *On-the-scene reporter's opening: WE'RE LIVE ...

53A. Metaphor for one feeling slighted ... and what's hidden in the answers to starred clues: CHOPPED LIVER. I like the chopped liver sandwich at my local deli, so the insult doesn't work for me. Chopped raw turnip would be better, slighted-wise.

So, LIVER in a few different forms. The *asterisking of the theme entries are part of puzzle protocol, the two eight-letter entries are matched by other non-themed 8's, so the asterisk keeps things on the straight and narrow.

What else? Let's go see!


1. PlayStation handheld game: VITA. No clue, skip and move on, wait for the crosses for help.

5. Appliance with a vent: DRYER

10. Gremlins, e.g.: AMC'S. This entry filled itself in for me, I only saw it just now. The AMC Gremlin, I've seen a few restored ones here in LA. The lime-green one is particularly fetching:

14. Airline to Israel: EL AL. Is there more than one Israeli airline? I want to see the listing El Al, et al.

15. Gaucho's rope: REATA

16. World Cup skiing champ Lindsey: VONN

17. Do-fa link: RE-MI

18. Hawkeye: IOWAN. Trivia of the day - "Hawkeye" Pierce in the M*A*S*H series is not so-nicknamed because he was from Iowa, he was born in Maine. The nickname comes from "The Last of the Mohicans" and he was so-dubbed by his father.

19. A.D. part: ANNO

23. Chicago mayor Rahm: EMANUEL. YAY! Finally I know how to spell this name - no doubled consonants. Finally!

24. Obdurate: STONY

28. Nonverbal comm. method: A.S.L. American Sign Language. I know essentials, some useful at tiresome social events ("Ready to go?") or crowded bars ("Where's the bathroom?").

32. Holds up: LASTS

35. Twofer coupon acronym: BOGO. Buy One, Get One.

36. "Selma" setting: Abbr.: ALA. bama. The movie "Selma" was set partly in Selma, which is in Alabama. Seems a long way round for a clue to get to the point.

41. Freudian topic: EGO

42. Umpteen: MANY

43. "What __ has seen ... ": 1 Corinthians: NO EYE

47. Ball club: BAT. I like this. Tell me, is a college football team a "ball club"? I find it oddly irritating when I hear coaches interviewed on the telly and they make that reference.

48. Colleague of Sonia: ELENA. Supreme Court judges Sotomayor and Kagan. I've not heard anything in the news for a while about the Supreme Court. Things must be running smoothly over there.

49. Money-laundering business in "Breaking Bad": CAR WASH. I think I saw the first three episodes of the series, and the car wash was in the first scene, as I recall. Odd for me to know something like this.

57. First name at Woodstock: JIMI. Second name at Woodstock: Hendrix.

60. Bandanna kin: DO-RAG. Kin? I thought these were the same thing. I just read an internet article that runs to about 3,000 words explaining the difference. I won't bore you with the details. The things our bloggers put themselves through for veracity.

61. Gambling mecca: RENO. Mecca? I think that's a rather strong word for Reno. It's like saying Medina is more Mecca than Mecca. Vegas might argue the point.

62. Yemen neighbor: OMAN

63. Words of defeat: I LOSE. 

64. God with a bow: EROS

65. Ma with a bow: YO-YO. Quickly - name another cellist. No, not Josephine du Pré nor Pablo Casals, too easy.

66. Not as worn: NEWER

67. Ukr. and Lith., once: SSR'S. Soviet Socialist Republics, as we all knew.


1. Frost lines?: VERSE. Very nice - not the "rimes" but the "rhymes". Robert Frost.

2. Intestinal part: ILEUM

3. Clearwater neighbor: TAMPA.

4. Drive away: ALIENATE

5. Blather: DRIVEL

6. Work on more, as a squeaky hinge: RE-OIL

7. Two-master: YAWL. Ketch or Yawl. Both sailboats. Both two-masted vessels. Compare and Contrast. Essays due by Friday, please. Here's one .. or the other, I'm not quite sure. Bonus question - how do folks from the south address a fleet of two-masted sailboats? Spoiler alert: It's not "All Ketch".

8. "Too many to list" abbr.: ET AL. First EL AL. Now the competitor, ET AL. They fly on Saturdays.

9. __ close second: RAN A

10. Forward, in Firenze: AVANTI.

11. MLK Day, e.g.: MON. day.

12. "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" channel: CNN. I have no words for how sad the news of his suicide made me feel. Please call 1-800-275-8055 if you or a loved one are feeling alone and helpless. Please.

13. __-Caps: SNO

21. "Empire Falls" novelist Richard: RUSSO. I read "Nobody's Fool" first, was immediately hooked. A great writer.

22. Puerto Rico, e.g.: Abbr.: ISL. La Isla del Incanto? Not so much since Hurricane Maria. A desperately sad situation.

25. Almost round: OVATE

26. Singer Furtado: NELLY. NELLI slowed me down.

27. Belgian violin virtuoso Eugène __: YSAYE. Who? No, really, who? Name three famous Belgians. OK, name two. Is Eugène Ysaye on your list? No, and Hercule Poirot doesn't count, he's a fictional character. Here's one, you'll know him if you have any interest in the Tour de France:

29. Carried: BORNE

30. "This could get __": UGLY

31. King at Versailles: ROI

32. "Camelot" composer: LOEWE. I think LOWE, LOEW and HMMMM in that order. One day I'll get it straight.

33. Generous donor: ANGEL. In theatrical parlance, originally. An investor in a stage production.

34. Gettysburg Address unit: SCORE "Four Score and Seven Years Ago ..." Lincoln's opening line, giving everyone a couple of seconds to do the mental arithmetic to figure "Oh, 1776! Why didn't he just say that?"

35. Wally's little bro: BEAV. Leave it to Beaver, or Leav to Beav. L2B in modern parlance.

38. Southern Conf. school: V.M.I. Virginia Military Institute. New pupils are fondly called "Rats".

39. Twist: GNARL

40. Prepares to steal, probably: HOT-WIRES

45. Affluent Los Angeles district: ENCINO

46. "Well, __-di-dah!": LAH

47. Nag: BADGER

49. Desist: CEASE. What a lawyer demands "Cease and Desist" is he just covering the bases on a slight technicality, or getting paid by the word and using tautology?

50. Professes: AVERS

51. Monterrey title: SEÑOR

52. __ Perot: H. ROSS. I knew ROSS, but suspected a prior letter. H for Henry.

54. Valhalla VIP: ODIN. Wanted THOR. was wrong.

55. Firehouse fixture: POLE. Almost tempted by HOSE. Resisted.

56. Front at sea: PROW. The sharp end.

57. Good feeling: JOY

58. "I think," in texts: IMO. "In my opinion". I've always seen it IMHO, with a self-effacing "humble" for good measure. Don't be fooled, the texter is never humble.

59. Might: MAY. Nice Thursday clue/answer. "Might" could equally be looking for a word for "strength" - not in this case.

Well, apparently Football Isn't Coming Home, so I'm working on polishing up my French for Sunday's final. Allez Les Bleus!

Et ....... voici la grille:


Jul 5, 2018

Thursday July 5th 2018 Agnes Davidson & C.C. Burnikel

Theme Stock Stuffers. Stuff with "stock" in them.

18A. Target, for one: BIG BOX STORE. Some people like to call the chain "Tar-jay" to make it sound posher.

24A. Dairy producer: CATTLE FARM. Now, I'm not sure I can let this one go. A dairy farm produces dairy. A feedlot, which might be called a cattle farm by some, turns cattle into beef. A cattle ranch produces more cattle. By the way, "cattle" is one of those great words that the more times you write it, the funnier it looks.

51A. Instant Pot function: SLOW COOKER. Strange really - the primary function of an Instant Pot is cook things quickly, not slowly. It's a pressure cooker, first and foremost.

60A. Typical annual meeting attendee ... or what 18-, 24- and 51-Across each can be, in a way: STOCKHOLDER

Corner stalwarts Agnes and C.C. teamed up on this one. Straightforward theme, some nice longer downs, my usual challenges with the TV show talent, but crosses took care of those. Let's see what pops:


1. Cristal maker: BIC. This is my kind of Cristal - salut!

4. Challenging: HARD

8. English town worth its salt?: EPSOM. Magnesium sulphate, chemically. The salt has quite a range of uses, from lowering blood pressure to acting as a binding agent in tofu. Handy stuff to have around. Here's the original well in Epsom:

13. "Queen of the South" TV network: USA. A drama-thriller adapted from the telenovela which aired on Telemundo. Queen of the South are also a Scottish professional soccer team, playing in the company of other splendidly-named sides such as Hamilton Academical, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, and Heart of Midlothian.

14. Moon of Uranus: ARIEL

16. Goat sound?: LONG "O". Got me again, this long/short stuff is tough for me to parse.

17. Got together: MET

20. "Goodfellas" Oscar winner: PESCI

22. What a muff may protect: EAR

23. Has debts: OWES

28. "Cheers" spin-off: FRASIER

29. Hungers: YEARNS

33. Campus official: DEAN

34. Returning GI's diagnosis: PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

36. Crush a test: ACE IT

37. A bit off: ODD

38. Ad Council ad: PSA. Public Service Advertising.

39. 18-time MLB All-Star Carew: ROD

41. Crime scene letters: DNA

42. Bowen of "Modern Family": JULIE

44. Bunny slope lift: T-BAR. When I skied in the Alps back in the Stone Age, many of the longer lifts to take you up the mountain were t-bars. It took practice not to knock your fellow-rider off when you were doubled-up.

46. After that: THEN

47. Act that warms up the crowd: OPENER

49. Baby bodysuits: ONESIES

53. Player on three FIFA World Cup champion teams: PELE. The only player in World Cup history to do so. Cracking World Cup so far this time around. It's just a shame that the announcers, analysts and play-by-play folks on Fox demonstrate at least once a minute that they have little to no clue what they're talking about.

56. Ballet shoe part: TOE

57. "Molly's Game" actor Elba: IDRIS. This is Cader Idris, or "Chair of Idris" in the Welsh mountains, named for the giant of legend:

64. Words of assent: I DO

65. Nation: STATE

66. Cluster of small stars?: D-LIST

67. Fresh: NEW

68. Aster family member: TANSY. I read "Astor" first and went to look up Tansy Astor to see where she fit in the family. Silly me.

69. Scalawags: IMPS. What do you call a Milanese opera humorist? La Scala wag.

70. Pump output: GAS


1. Road warning sign: BUMP

2. "It's clear now": I SEE

3. String game: CAT'S CRADLE

4. Patterns that repeat: HABITS

5. "Entourage" agent Gold: ARI

6. Fix: RIG

7. "A diamond is forever" sloganeer: DE BEERS. Founded by Cecil Rhodes, he of "Rhodesia" fame, or infamy, depending on your viewpoint.

8. Golfer known as "The Big Easy": ELS. South African major championship winner. His "Els For Autism" foundation focuses on helping adult ASD sufferers transition to a more independent lifestyle. Great guy.

9. Foggy Bottom river: POTOMAC. DC neighborhood west of the White House and downtown. A diner near me used to serve the "Foggy Bottom Burger" which had peanut butter and jelly along with the patty. No-one ever knew why. The place is closed now, some might say one had something to do with the other.

10. Winter coat: SNOW

11. Tyrant: OGRE

12. Springfield hangout: MOE'S. Homer's hangout in "The Simpsons".

15. Sit around: LOAF

19. Body image, perhaps: X-RAY

21. Scott of "Hawaii Five-0": CAAN

25. What waiters wait for: TIPS

26. Set on: LET AT

27. Audition (for): READ

28. Out of patience: FED UP

30. Distracting literary device: RED HERRING

31. Best-dressed goal?: NINES. "Dressed to the nines".  A Scottish phrase, alluding to the nine muses. Robert Burns' "Poem on Pastoral Poetry" has:

Thou paints auld nature to the nines,
In thy sweet Caledonian lines.

I wonder if he was an Inverness Caledonian Thistle fan?

32. "American Dad!" dad: STAN. Thank you, crosses.

33. Karate studio: DOJO

35. Pipe cleaner: DRANO

38. Rind: PEEL

40. Nabisco nibble: OREO

43. About 80% of the world's species, according to the Smithsonian: INSECTS

45. Italian tenor Andrea: BOCELLI

46. Like games needing extra innings: TIED. A tie in Test Match cricket is one of the most exciting finishes to a five-day game. There are no extra innings, you all shake hands, toast each other with a cup o' tea and go home.

48. Type of IRA: ROTH

50. Goes around: SKIRTS

52. Mahogany or oak: WOOD

53. Covert "Over here!": PSST!

54. Vocalist James: ETTA

55. Balance sheet liability: LOAN. Depends if you make the loan or take the loan.

58. Creative thought: IDEA

59. Scatters, as seed: SOWS

61. Major: KEY. Let's indulge in a little Canon in D Major played from Pachelbel's original manuscript on instruments of the era. Rather lovely. I feel a little sorry for the cellist and the dude on the theorbo stage left, unless they're deliberately camera-shy!

62. Low-lit: DIM

63. Paranormal claim: ESP. Extra-Sensory Perception.

And the grid:

That's me done!


1) Note from Agnes and C.C.:

Sorry this theme sounds familiar to some of you. We first sent this puzzle to Rich in early 2017, but our revision query got lost for some time. Then Rich had to wait a bit as he had just published another puzzle with the same reveal.

2) Here is a note from our Wednesday constructor Jeffrey:

In reference to the comment from Anthony Gael Moral at 9:42 – It is reasonable that many people were expecting a Fourth of July theme today, and some seemed rather disappointed by the lack of it. However, this specific comment seemed to imply that the LA times unpatriotically shunned the Fourth and used an acting theme instead. As a constructor who has had a July 4th themed puzzle published in the LA Times, I think this notion is rather far-fetched. The LA Times puzzle editor has no control over what puzzles are submitted; it’s probably simply the case that there happened to be no July 4th-themed offerings this year. And by the way, about a month ago I thought of a July 4th related theme, but it was too close to the holiday to submit it in time. I will do so next year. Also, I am confident that whether the puzzle is accepted or not will depend solely on the professional consideration of the editor on the objective quality of the theme concept and the filled grid.

Jun 28, 2018

Thursday, June 28 2018 Christopher Adams

Theme: The wheels on the bus ... Round and Round
17A. Generous nature: HEART OF GOLD. The Infinite Improbability Drive powered the space ship "Heart of Gold" in Douglas Adams' quite wonderful "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy".

28A. Exercising control over one's own affairs: SELF-GOVERNING

44A. 1945 Physics Nobelist who discovered the exclusion principle: WOLFGANG PAULI

"The best that most of us can hope to achieve in physics is simply to misunderstand at a deeper level."

58A. Eighteen holes ... and a hint to this puzzle's circled letters: ROUND OF GOLF. The 18th hole at St. Andrews. Don't hit into the Royal & Ancient clubhouse or the High Street.

A thoroughly entertaining puzzle from Christopher. I think this is a debut for him in the LAT, although I've seen a couple of his puzzles over at the Fireball site where he's known for his puzzles with a hidden super-theme, or "meta".

The theme letters really are a true "round" as they progress through FGOL, LFGO, OFLG and finally landing on GOLF. Nicely done.

I looked for a hidden twist, and eventually satisfied myself by convincing said self that the 18 "holes" are represented by 18 "O"s in the puzzle. Pure fluke, I'm sure, but I found the search entertaining.

Super construction too, those stacked 8's in the downs are not easy to pull off and not force anything to make it happen. Let's see what else jumps out.


1. Barfly: SOT

4. Covered with new grass: SODDED

10. Quick snooze: NAP

13. "Fortunate Son" band, briefly: CCR. Credence  Clearwater Revival's unofficial "Most American Song Ever".

14. Imagines: IDEATES. Lovely, vocabulary-expanding word.

16. "Science Friday" host Flatow: IRA. Thank you, crosses.

19. S&L offerings: CDS. I like the quirk in English where the plural of an abbreviation puts the "s" at the end, but the full phrase is pluralized differently - here "Certificates of Deposit".

20. Fortified Portuguese wine: MADEIRA. Fascinating wine-making process. The island of Madeira was the often the last port of call for ships sailing to the West Indies or the New World and fortified wine was able to stand up to the rigors of a long sea voyage.

21. Lingering traces: ECHOES

23. Eternally: ON END

24. Org. Edward Snowden worked for: NSA

27. Cigna rival: AETNA. Originally the Aetna (Fire) Insurance Company of Hartford, CT; the name was meant to evoke thoughts of fire-spewing Mt. Etna.

31. Ultrasound goo: GEL

32. One who minds his manor: LORD. Nice clue.

33. Bridal bio word: NÉE

34. Speak (up): PIPE

37. Arabian Peninsula resident: OMANI

39. Admit, with "up": 'FESS

40. World Cup chant: OLÉ. There's been plenty of those in this World Cup. The group stages wrap up today. Some low-odds favorites are already going home - Spain, Poland and, amazingly, Germany among them.

41. Persian Gulf republic: IRAN. Another World Cup country eliminated in the group stages this week.

42. CBS forensic series: CSI. One of the few shows I actually watched. The original series based in Las Vegas was excellent.

48. Bottled water brand: EVIAN

49. "__ out!": YER. An opportunity for an umpire at the plate to get all theatrical on themselves.

50. Minor dents: DINGS

53. Church official: RECTOR

55. "Just watch me!": I CAN TOO!

57. Programming pioneer Lovelace: ADA

61. Hubbub: DIN

62. Blinking diner sign: EAT HERE. I should hang one of these on my front door!

63. Asian New Year: TET

64. "District 9" extras: E.T.S Sci-Fi horror flick. I probably won't watch it. Horror movies scare the bejasus out of me and I don't sleep well. "The Exorcist" had me sleeping with the light on for a month, and I've never played Side 2 of "Tubular Bells" since.

65. Blended: MELDED

66. Texter's "No way!": OMG!


1. Loser: SCHMO

2. Indian, for one: OCEAN. Because neither "cuisine" nor "motorcycle" fit, amongst many others.

3. Baseball deals: TRADES

4. Go unused: SIT IDLE. If you're a baseball player, that usually means an impending 3D.

5. Musk, e.g.: ODOR

6. Neutralize, as a snake: DEFANG

7. Peace Nobelist Hammarskjöld: DAG. Sadly, a posthumous Nobel prize. The Secretary-General of the UN died when his plane was apparently shot down on the way to peace negotiations in the Congo.

8. WWII zone: ETO. European Theater of Operations.

9. Take-out order?: DELE. World Cup fans would clue "DELE" as an English national team midfielder!

10. Ingredient in therapeutic gum: NICOTINE

11. Battle of the Bulge region: ARDENNES

12. Excerpts: PASSAGES

15. Microchip found in cameras, briefly: SD CARD. Bzzzzz! Microchip? No, it's not. It's a removable storage medium. I just bought one for my Canon Eos camera.

18. Go back on a promise: RENEGE

22. One with nest eggs: HEN. 

25. One-named "A Seat at the Table" singer: SOLANGE

26. HarperCollins romance imprint: AVON. Thank you, crosses. I only know of the cosmetics direct-to-consumer company.

29. Native plants: FLORA. Compare and contrast with FAUNA

30. CNN correspondent Hill: ERICA

34. Coca-Cola sports drink: POWERADE

35. "Two thumbs up!": I LOVED IT!

36. New Orleans NBA team: PELICANS. One of the less-threatening US sports franchise names. Unless you're a fish. Golden State Herrings anyone?

38. Quite a few: MANY

39. Clerk's chore: FILING. My first office job. I was an underwriter's clerk at a London marine insurance company. Thank heavens computers arrived and I punched my (punch card) ticket out of policy-filing hell. I did learn "specie" back in those days though, that's come in handy in recent crosswords.

41. Deliberately overlook: IGNORE

43. Decongestant brand: SUDAFED

45. Blubber: FAT. This filled itself in. I might have been tempted by "CRY" though.

46. Rated (oneself) highly: PRIDED. "I prided myself on well-filed claims forms when I was an underwriter's clerk". Actually no, but I did pride myself on the mirror-finish of the floors I polished in the wee hours at the county hospital prior to my first office job

47. All things considered: IN TOTO

51. Clay being of Jewish folklore: GOLEM

52. Introduction to geometry?: SOFT G. These "soft" answers always stump me until the "ahhhh" moment.

54. Ramble: ROAM

56. Essence: CORE

59. 4 x 4, for short: UTE. "What's a 'ute'?" My Cousin Vinny.

60. Art Ross Trophy org.: NHL "Awarded to the player who leads the league in points at the end of the regular season". Currently held by the splendidly-named Connor McDavid. No doubt about his provenance.

And .. here's the grid. Four World Cup football matches today and I get a day off watching tomorrow, the first rest day in two weeks. It's a tough life!


Jun 21, 2018

Thursday June 21st 2018 Clive Probert

Theme: G-Minus. No, not the grade for the puzzle, but explaining the theme:

27A. Reason your ears are burning?: (G)LOBAL WARMING

20A. Girl skipping school?: (G)LASS CUTTING

46A. Farm sound after sunset?: (G)LOW IN THE DARK

54A. Knight game impact?: (G)LANCING BLOW

And the reveal:

Aha! No reveal, a nice Thursday-style theme-and-figure-it-out-yourself. With these puzzles, if they're well-constructed, it can be a big help if you do figure out the theme, the earlier the better. This puzzle from Clive is a good example of the genre. Also, look at the stacked 9's in the downs and "we've got a cracking grid (Gromit!)".

Let's see what catches the eye elsewhere:


1. Throw out a line: CAST

5. Marner of fiction: SILAS

10. Santa Monica attraction: PIER. Iconic venue here in LA. I've never really looked closely at the famous sign, but now I have to ask - where is the yacht harbor? I've sailed the Santa Monica Bay a number of times, and there's no harbor to be seen anywhere near the pier.

14. Funny Bombeck: ERMA

"Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth."

15. Letter-shaped fastener: U-BOLT. I always thought "Bolt" was a very apt name for another U.Bolt.

16. "Young Frankenstein" Fräulein: INGA

17. Meadows: LEAS

18. Siamese fighting fish: BETTA

19. New Mexico resort: TAOS

23. Plate duster: UMP. Lovely clue. Baseball home-plate umpire clearing the aforementioned of dirt. He keeps a little brush handy for the task.

24. Transparent: SHEER

25. "The Prisoner of __": 1937 Fairbanks film: ZENDA. The star, Ronald Coleman, preparing to buckle his swash.

32. Collect over time: AMASS

35. __ juice: MOO

36. Second-largest bone in the body: TIBIA

37. Ticket word: ROW

38. Note from one who's shy: IOU. Very nice. Shy of funds.

39. __ Cruces: LAS. A New Mexico geography puzzle today.

40. Low joint: ANKLE

43. ID with two hyphens: SSN

44. "Totally had you going there!": PSYCH! We had this a couple of weeks ago. Were you paying attention?

49. Backyard game for two: CATCH

50. Saudi money: RIYAL

53. Prefix with pass: SUR

59. Early automaker: OLDS

61. Trunk: TORSO

62. Kitchen floor covering, to a Brit: LINO. We had lino in our bedrooms when I was a small child and no heating upstairs. Getting out of bed on a winter's morning was a bracing experience.

63. Singer's syllables: LA LA

64. Considering everything: IN ALL

65. __ Eats: food delivery app: UBER. I've used these folks a few times when I've arrived home late from the airport and found nothing much to eat in the house. The service is really good.

66. African antelope: ORYX

67. Propagated: SOWED

68. Word on an Irish stamp: EIRE. Here's a nice example. It says "Two Pence" underneath, if you're curious.


1. "Tainted Love" band Soft __: CELL. Quick, name another Soft Cell hit. In the meantime, here's the 80's again.

2. Measurements made by planimeters: AREAS. Learning moment. Looks like something you'd find in a dentist's office:

3. Tennis shot: SMASH

4. Loafer adornments: TASSELS

5. Many a commuter's community: SUBURB. I went with "SLEEPY" first and had second, third and fourth thoughts until sanity prevailed.

6. Sarcastic comment: I BET.

7. Senate majority leader after Dole: LOTT

8. Some choristers: ALTI

9. Poetry unit: STANZA

10. Racetrack stop: PIT. I was thinking horses for a while. Then .. aha! Motor sports.

11. Lower than low?: INAUDIBLY. INAUDIBLE seemed perfect, until PSECH [sic] emerged.

12. Swellhead: EGOMANIAC

13. Speak harshly: RASP

21. Company VIPs: CEOS

22. Fröbe who played Goldfinger: GERT

26. Feature of a two-ltr. monogram: N.M.I. No Middle Initial. I've had two girlfriends with no middle name. One dropped her last name because she didn't like it and used her middle name instead, the other said her parents ran out of ideas after coming up with her first name.

28. Pennsylvania sect: AMISH

29. Relaxed: LOOSE

30. Wired, with "up": WOUND

31. Big cut: GASH

32. Severely damaged Asian sea: ARAL

33. Like a birder's field glass: MONOCULAR

34. With very little grace: AWKWARDLY

41. Burning: LIT

42. Env. fattener: ENCL. The enclosure fattens the envelope.

44. Puritan: PRIG. Likeable clue/answer. Not obvious off the bat. Nice stuff.

45. Landscape artist's shade: SKY BLUE

47. To wit: THAT IS

48. California governor after Gray: ARNOLD. Der Gübernator. I still like the way he pronounced "California". Here's a highlight reel of just that. There's nothing you can't find on the Interwebs.

51. Defensive line?: ALIBI. Very nice clue/answer. Some corkers today.

52. Hermit: LONER

53. 2018 Ron Howard film subtitled "A Star Wars Story": SOLO. Solo. Han Solo. No wait, wasn't that 007?

55. Faux pas: NO-NO

56. Bird crop: CRAW

57. Cruise stopover: ISLE. Had PORT. That's didn't help progress at the bottom.

58. Became frayed, say: WORE

60. Kenny G's horn: SAX. Nice bookend for the theme. The missing "G" appears in the final clue!

World Cup fever continues for me. There's no cure except for waiting out the crisis in Mid-July. Some of the commentary on the Fox coverage is shockingly bad - I find refuge in the Spanish-language feed on Univision.

Here's the griiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid! Griiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid!


Note from C.C.:

Irish Miss asked about Melissa's granddaughter Jaelyn yesterday. Here she is with her father's day masterpiece. You can click here to see a few more pictures of our beautiful girl.

Jun 14, 2018

Thursday June 14th 2018 Joe Kidd

Theme: Fight On! Up! No USC cheers here.

4D. Cobalt in the human body, e.g.: TRACE ELEMENT. Mêlée

Here's a cobalt atom - plenty of protons, neutrons and electrons to cause quite a mêlée!

8D. Promotion criteria: MERIT SYSTEMS. Stir. You can stir up some discontent if you don't fairly apply the criteria.

21D. Certain 19th-century history specialist: CIVIL WAR BUFF. Brawl. I guess the Civil War might be described a big brawl?

25D. Smallish, as an apartment: TWO-ROOM. Row. Do small apartments cause rows?  Might have something to do with it.

23D. Cause commotion ... or what the circled letters do?: RAISE A RUCKUS

The theme entries run north-south today, as the reveal requires that the "ruckuses" are found running upwards. This puzzle is a really nice construction - there are four long non-theme entries in the downs, and some entertaining 7's in the crosses. This isn't easy to pull off, so kudos to Joe. The rest of the fill is non too shabby either. Let's see what jumps out:


1. Common borrowing result: DEBT. Common? Isn't it always the result?

5. Add one's two cents, with "in": CHIME

10. "So that's what that means!": A-HA!  Good excuse for some 80's pop. If you're familiar with the song, you might like the awesome Literal Video version.

13. Novelist John le ___: CARRÉ. And the third diacritical mark of the blog so far. There quite a few today.

15. Resort near Vail: ASPEN

16. "Hansel and Gretel" figure: HAG

17. Pigmented eye parts: UVEAS

18. Devour, with "down": SNARF. I knew "scarf" from the "Peanuts" strip. Snarf is new to me - maybe?

19. Outback bird: EMU

20. Longtime network symbol: PEACOCK. NBC, now part of Comcast NBCUniversal. The name gets longer with each acquisition.

22. Historical display: DIORAMA

24. Lucy's co-star: DESI

25. Sandal features: T-STRAPS. I used to wear these as a kid. I never liked them, too uncool for school. Here's me rocking a pair with my big brother.

26. Hardly helpless: ABLE

28. Solemn oath: VOW

30. Subj. that may include a lab: SCIence

31. Potting need: SOIL

32. Skater who lit the Olympic cauldron in Nagano: ITO. Midori Ito. She was the first female figure skater to land a triple axel in competition.

33. Responses from a sycophant: YESES

36. Refine: HONE

37. House of __: LORDS. I had "CARDS" first. Was wrong. Fixed it.

39. Student stressor: EXAM

41. Cut even shorter, as a green: RE-MOW

43. Loophole: OUT

44. Times in classifieds: AFTS. Afternoons.

45. "Bambi" doe: ENA

46. A: ONE

47. Small deer: ROES. By the Steve Law of Things, you can have deers/roes or deer/roe, but not both. In the same fashion, you can be an actor named Seen Bean, or Sean Borne, but you can't have both.

48. Not a good fit: TANTRUM

51. Heavy hammer: MAUL

53. They're run in taverns: BAR TABS. I picked up one last night. Someone had dropped it.

54. Standoffish: ASOCIAL

57. Cracker lacking pop: DUD

58. Producer Scott with Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony wins: RUDIN Grammy for "No Country for Old Men", ditto Oscar, Emmy for "He makes me feel like dancin" and six Tony awards.

60. Tsar's decree: UKASE. I don't think I knew this. Thank you, crosses.

61. Mimic: APE

62. Poker declaration: I FOLD

63. Private student: TUTEE. Private teacher = tutor, hence tutee.

64. Strong desire: YEN

65. Spot __: OF TEA? Nice Cuppa knows the answer to this one.

66. Scorch: SEAR


1. Bra spec: D CUP. What do you call a "breaking news" item about an adult movie actress? A Stormy in a D-cup.

2. Holiday lights may be under one: EAVE

3. Depression Era sight: BREAD LINE

5. Wine container: CASK

6. TV buying channel: HSN Home Shopping Network.

7. Apple Store buys: IPADS

9. Carry out, as laws: ENFORCE

10. Lots: A HEAP

11. Actor Jon and others: HAMMS. Mia Hamm, the soccer play, I know. Jon Hamm, not so much. Thank you crosses. Now all together - the World Cup starts today - "Goooooooooooooooooooaaal"!

12. Rio contents: AGUA. "The water in the river flows down and down, down and down, down and down". Earworm alert!

14. Those, in Tijuana: ESOS. Spanish lesson #2.

26. Tapped-off remnant: ASH. As in tapping  a cigarette to remove the ash. I find it hard to believe that I did this thousands of times before I quit.

27. Uncouth sort: BOOR

29. Oklahoma people: OTO
34. Use a microdermabrasion agent, say: EXFOLIATE. Great word, especially next to a long themer. c.f. 3D also.

35. Make fully content: SATE

38. Hound for payment: DUN

40. Submissions to eds.: MS'S. Manuscripts.

42. Quebec neighbor: ONTARIO. O Canada. Eh.

48. Brownish gray: TAUPE

49. Elizabeth of beauty products: ARDEN

50. FAA overseer: US DOT I didn't know that the Department of Transport oversees the Federal Aviation Authority, I thought they were two separate departments.

52. Été month: AÔUT. Here we go with the French lesson (and the diacritical marks!). August, in summer.

53. Gift-giving occasion, for short: B-DAY

54. Shave-haircut link: AND A

55. No longer in port: ASEA

56. Not a good look: LEER. But on one hand, you are having a good look, just not in a "good look" kind of way.

59. Land in la mer: ÎLE. And the last circumflex of the day. Island, in the sea.

On a totally unrelated note, I want to take Line 6 northbound when I leave the office and change to the E Train at 51st and Lexington just so I can say I've done a "Manhattan Transfer".

I'm easily amused.

That's a wrap!


Jun 7, 2018

Thursday, June 7th 2018 Mark McClain

Theme: Round in Circles - things that revolve are nattily revealed by an appropriate agent - the circles.

Clockwise from the NE we have




HULA HOOP (The P is missing its circle from the grid below, but not from the puzzle itself).

and the reveal:

40A. How the things in the circled letters go: AROUND AND AROUND. The wheels on the bus ....

Now I've got that ear worm stuck in your heads ... good effort from Mark. The eight-letter progressions all start at the same place in the "wheel", the fill is nice with some fresh entries: OLLIE and SICK BURN! are nods to the yutes ("What's a yute?" My Cousin Vinnie) and some trickery-pokery making a nice Thursday work-out.

Lets explore:


1. Disheveled: MUSSY. Many will have had MESSY. I like MUSSY, as in having your hair mussed.

6. __ 180: skateboarding trick: OLLIE. Of course, I do these every day. Not! I tried skateboarding way back when but I just didn't have the balance for it. I couldn't even stand still on one.

11. Piqued: IN A HUFF. The other meaning is "stimulated" as in "he piqued my interest".

14. Maximally moist: DEWIEST

16. Star name meaning "she-goat" in Latin: CAPELLA

17. Weather-changing currents: EL NIÑOS

18. Footless creature: APOD. Footless MP4 player: iPOD.

19. Snorkeling spots: ATOLLS

21. Letters after Sen. Schumer's name: D-NY Democrat -  New York, naturally. Nice bit of trickery this, as the answer could have been, but wasn't, DEM.

22. Eponymous brewer Bernhard: STROH. There's a quite significant memorial to the gentleman in Detroit. He and his German compatriots revolutionized the brewing industry in the US.

24. Adjust one's sights: RE-AIM

26. Assurance on certain menus: NO MSG. As the great food writer Jeffrey Steingarten asked: "If MSG is so bad for you, why doesn't everyone in Asia have a headache?".

29. Uzbek neighbor: TAJIK. These are the languages of the people (Uzbekis, Tajiks) in the countries Uzbekistan and Tajikstan.

33. Name prefix for "son of": MAC

36. Settled: REPAID

39. U.N. chief after Boutros: KOFI. Kofi Annan who held the post from 1997 to 2006. He told stories about being mistaken for Morgan Freeman.

43. Withdraw gradually: WEAN

44. Actor Estevez: EMILIO

45. Hot __: ROD

46. Numerical relationship: RATIO

48. Citrus cuttings: ZESTS

50. Red pool ball: THREE. I don't play a lot of pool, but I knew it had to be the three or the seven. I'm pretty sure everyone knows that the eight ball is black.

53. Bay of Naples isle: CAPRI

57. [Shrug]: MEH. Oh, those kids of today, making up words and all. It's like English is a living language. *grumble*

60. Beer mug with a hinged lid: SEIDEL. I don't think I knew this. Mr. Stroh would have known.

63. Believability, briefly: CRED. Almost always with his buddy "street".

64. Device that builds six-packs?: AB TONER. Tried AB ROLLER and ran out of space.

66. Admonish: REPROVE

68. Like some sports contract clauses: NO-TRADE. Usually at the request of the player, a clause is inserted in the contract stipulating that the player cannot be traded without his or her consent.

69. Jumps to conclusions: ASSUMES

70. "Hop __": Dr. Seuss book: ON POP

71. Young salmon: SMOLT


1. Flaky minerals: MICAS. Not TALCS then?

2. Not suitable: UNAPT

3. Quality that affects taste: SAPOR. You'd be tempted by "SAVOR" when you had most of the letters in place. I was. I resisted.

4. Sprinkle with hair, cat-style: SHED ON. "Sprinkle" doesn't seem quite accurate in describing the process, but it'll do.

5. Brynner of "The Ten Commandments": YUL. He came a long way, literally. He was born in Vladivostok.

6. Takes full responsibility: OWNS IT

7. Full deck in old Rome?: LII. Fifty-two cards in a full deck of cards. Roman ones were carved out of marble and were very heavy. You had to train with the Roman army for two years before you were strong enough to play bridge.

8. Allow to use: LEND

9. Airs: IS ON. It took me a while to parse this one out.

10. Crafter's website: ETSY

12. Southernmost of the 48 sts.: FLA. Not really, not any more. This gets the (archaic) qualifier in my book.

13. Butter or lard: FAT

14. Editorial mark: DELE. Indicating deletion.

15. First name in scat: ELLA

20. Put in order: ORGANIZED

23. It may be heard on the street: HORN. Definitely heard around these parts.

25. Powerful shark: MAKO

27. Ancient Persian: MEDE. Usually seen in the plural as in "The Medes".

28. Email folder: SPAM

30. Day in Dijon: JOUR

31. "__ One Will Listen": Kelly Clarkson song: IF NO I was going to link the song as I'd not found a musical interlude today, so I went to listen to it on YouTube. I spared you the link.

32. Captain hanged for piracy: KIDD

33. Bryn __ College: MAWR

34. Vicinity: AREA

35. Nail polish layer: COAT

37. Not engaged: IDLE

38. Stand during a lecture: DAIS

41. Army outfit: UNIT

42. Campus mil. group: ROTC

47. "Sick burn!": OH SNAP! I've never heard anyone say "sick burn!" in my life. This is what Google came up with - I still don't understand it. I'm getting too old for this stuff :)

49. Bone at the base of the spine: SACRUM

51. Pond plant: REED

52. Cork locale: EIRE. Oh, begorrah, the Emerald Isle. It's green because it rains. A lot. Just so you know.

54. Teaser: PROMO

55. Glory (in): REVEL

56. Often-abbreviated Latin phrase: ID EST i.e. that is. I enjoyed writing that!

57. When repeated including "a," fighting term: MANO-a-mano

58. Black, in verse: EBON

59. URL intro: HTTP. All together now: "Hyper Text Transfer Protocol".

61. Notable time: ERA

62. Paris article: LES. Not the article you drop in the street.

65. Top medalla: ORO. Gold medal in Spain. I think they now give out medals in the World Cup, the quadrennial 2018 tournament is starting shortly in Russia. I watched every game in the last World Cup. If my blogs are short and littered with soccer references for the next month, please forgive me.

67. Ltr. addenda: P.S.'S. Postscripts. I had no idea how to punctuate this, so I guessed. I find it funny when I get an email with a PS - wouldn't it be easier to put in where it belongs in the text?

I think I'm done - I'll just check my internal temperature with my meat thermometer. I'm looking for medium-rare.


May 31, 2018

Thursday, May 31 2018 Bruce Haight

Theme: Thievery - Five synonyms, five plural nouns, five common phrases clued punningly.

19A. Steal items on parking lot windshields?: LIFT TICKETS. I got a ticket recently when I forgot that it was Saturday, not Sunday, when I went to get breakfast at the deli on Ventura Boulevard - the meters are free on Sundays. Then I forgot to pay the darn thing until it was a day too late and the charge doubled. That was one expensive plate of pastrami & eggs.

24A. Steal kitchen tools?: POCKET KNIVES. You'd make a mess of your pockets if you tried to make off with mine. They're sharp.

40A. Steal plastic?: SWIPE CREDIT CARDS. Will "swipe" cease to be a thing when all cards have chips and all readers have a slot in which to insert the card?

53A. Steal wishing well money?: PINCH PENNIES. Or redistribution of wealth, depending on how you look at it.

64A Steal watch components?: PALM SPRINGS. LCD's, batteries and solid-state movements don't work so well.

I sprinted through the top half, then waded through treacle for the bottom half of this one. The theme is solid and the grid is stretched to accommodate the 16-letter grid spanner across the center, so there's a slightly-unusual 16x15 layout today.


1. Tax time VIPs: CPA'S

5. GE competitor: AMANA. Kitchen appliance showdown.

10. "Stranger Things" actress: RYDER. The first actress/actor of the day I've never heard of.

15. A studio may be in one: LOFT

16. Doughnut-shaped: TORIC

17. Line from the heart: AORTA

18. Folksy Guthrie: ARLO

21. Bottleneck problem: SNARL

23. Neatened a bit: TIDIED UP

28. Fashion icon London: STACY. "What Not To Wear" personality.

29. Adjective for fighter Joe Frazier: SMOKIN'

34. Drivel: ROT

37. Hold responsible: BLAME

39. Western casino city: RENO

45. Trattoria bar order: VINO. Rosso or bianco. Or rosato.

46. Island east of Java: TIMOR. The sovereign state of East Timor is on the eastern part of the island (!) and Indonesia occupies the west.

47. Reuben bread: RYE. I had rye bread with my aforementioned expensive breakfast.

48. Lassie, for one: PET DOG

51. Sushi bar array: TUNAS. Back to the fish plural debate. I say "tuna" for both one and many.

59. Have an average day on the links?: SHOOT PAR. In my dreams. My average day looks a LOT different from that.

63. Buddy: KIDDO

68. "Voilà!": TADA! Beloved of online crossword solvers everywhere.

69. __ planner: EVENT

70. French film award: CÉSAR

71. Crispy snack: CHIP. CHEX, my first thought, didn't work too well.

72. Synthesizer brand: CASIO

73. Intense exams: ORALS

74. Breaks up a plot: HOES. Nice clue.


1. Necklace part: CLASP

2. X-rated stuff: PORNO. Not the first time in the LAT, but this is one of those entries that I'm surprised that Rich lets go.

3. Company whose mascot uses fowl language: AFLAC

4. Wading birds: STORKS

5. Only city from which two NHL hockey teams relocated (both went to Canada): ATL. I didn't think twice about this and I'm not even a particularly keen hockey fan. The Atlanta Flames went to Calgary (now I think about it, the name makes sense, I thought it was something to do with oilfield fires.) The Thrashers went to Winnipeg and became the second incarnation of the Jets.

6. "You can't mean me!": MOI

7. 48-Across sound: ARF

8. Capone henchman: NITTI. I knee-jerked GOTTI first before I had to unpick part of it.

9. When the "Macbeth" witches add "eye of newt": ACT IV. With the V in place, nothing else could work.

10. Subject of the film "42": RACISM

11. Farm link: YOKE. Ox-to-ox link, making yoked oxen.

12. 1857 litigant Scott: DRED

13. Caesar's last gasp: ET TU. Nice connection with the neighboring 20D

14. Rough file: RASP

20. Caesar's last day: IDES

22. Don't bother: LET BE. LET GO at first. Didn't work.

25. Powder source: TALC

26. 1980s Chrysler offering: K-CAR. Look at those sleek, elegant lines and the subtle color palette:

27. Citi Field MLBer: NY MET

30. "... boy __ girl?": OR A

31. Actress Deborah: KERR

32. 500 nickname: INDY

33. Wine quality: NOSE

34. Short answer?: RSVP. "Answer" in the sense of the instruction. Yes, No or Maybe are the answers.

35. Boo-boo: OWIE

36. Shade: TINT

38. Gloria's mom in '70s TV: EDITH. Bunker. Of course I knew this. (I didn't).

41. Okra unit: POD

42. Morning mumble: I'M UP. Alright, already.

43. Shade: TONE. 36D clecho.

44. Model T feature: CRANK. My Dad's first car had a starting handle as backup for when the battery went flat, a not-unusual occurrence.

49. Decides one will: OPTS TO

50. Reagan role in a Notre Dame football movie: GIPP. "Rock ..."

52. Teller?: SNITCH

54. DEA cop: NARCO

55. Old news source: CRIER. Oyez! Oyez!

56. State bordering six others and the Canadian mainland: IDAHO. Didn't we see this self-same clue a few weeks ago?

57. Redmayne of "The Theory of Everything": EDDIE. Thank you, crosses.

58. Some daytime TV: SOAPS

59. Building guideline: SPEC

60. "__ Nagila": HAVA

61. World Cup cheers: OLES

62. Potent start?: OMNI

65. Govt. code crackers: N.S.A. I recently hired a new analyst who previously worked for the N.S.A - her office was in a bunker on Oahu. Nice place to live, but you're still working in a bunker.

66. Square dance dancer: GAL

67. H.S. yearbook section: SR'S Seniors. Adios!

I picked up a potential new client from one of the recent Vegas expos. They're based in Australia. I smell some long-haul air travel in my tea leaves.

With that, here's the grid and g'day mates!


May 24, 2018

Thursday May 24 2018 David Poole

Theme: Fleet of Funnies -  Aquatic vessels clued unexpectedly:

17A. High-end eye makeup?: LUXURY LINER. I got this one right off the bat, I had a couple of crosses in place with the downs, and LUXURY pretty much filled itself in. LINER came naturally, then I was off to the races.

27A. One sterilizing Ping-Pong equipment?: PADDLE STEAMER. Proud Mary? Let's rock ...

48A. Squad car for soprano Kathleen?: BATTLE CRUISER. I chuckled at this one. Plus-sized divas in UK slang might be described as "having a bit of the battleship about her". Kathleen Battle, however, does not fit the description. Here with Wynton Marsalis:

64A. Worthless stuff from Beijing?: CHINESE JUNK. I saw many junks running local deliveries in Hong Kong harbor. Still highly practical.

Fun theme, some nice long downs, crisp fill, nice puzzle!


1. Outdated: PASSÉ

6. Calf-length dresses: MIDIS

11. Streaming alternative: DVD

14. Let up: ABATE

15. Hacienda material: ADOBE. I always want ADOBO - it's those smoked chipotle chilis in adobo sauce. Food!

16. Crew's control?: OAR. Some crew just use the oar for power, and leave it to the cox at the back to steer. I think the coxless four is probably the finest example of oarsmanship, power and control. Try to watch some events at the next Summer Olympic games.

19. Hollywood SFX: CGI. Movie Special Effects - SFX - Computer Generated Imagery - CGI.

20. Part of a process: STEP

21. "Pomp and Circumstance" composer: ELGAR. Edward. I thought he might get a quick cameo performance at last weekend's nuptuals.

22. Concert souvenir: STUB. Quick, where are my U2 stubs from last year? I swear just saw them.

23. First words of "Green Eggs and Ham": I AM. I'm at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas this week. It's my last chance to approach the Dr. Seuss booth with a witty sales pitch. Any ideas?

25. Creeps: TIPTOES. Ah, those find of creeps! I love noun/verb clue-play

32. Supermarket chain with a m ostly red oval logo: IGA. When I saw this and the crossing 28D I was already holding up my hands in a (personal) Natick defeat. But finally, the Ghosts of Puzzles Past bailed me out of a hole.

33. Con man?: ANTI. Pro - Con. Fer - Anti. Opposite sides of the voting spectrum.

34. Switches: SWAPS

37. Adorkable one: NERD. Clue of the day. I love it. Didn't take a second to latch on, but awesome world play.

39. Emcee duty: INTRO

42. Flute or reed, on an organ: STOP. Always wanted to have a crack at one of those huge church organs.

43. Tibetan legends: YETIS

45. Fireside stack: LOGS

47. Org. concerned with emissions: E.P.A.

52. Sign of fall: SCORPIO. Nice clue for this Zodiac sign. October 23rd - November 22nd.

54. Fish-eating eagle: ERN

55. Romp: PLAY

56. Old autocrats: TSARS

59. Historic times: AGES. The Age of .... Enlightenment/Aquarius/etc.

63. Place for a bud: EAR

66. It may be financial or legal: AID

67. Skin dye used in some wedding celebrations: HENNA. I henna'd my hair in my teens. Here is me, playing one of Winchester's "disaffected youth" occupying the historical Buttercross. Just like we did every weekend, it wasn't "Che" revolutionary, we just needed somewhere to sit when we were kicked out of the coffee shop above for not actually buying anything. I hemmed the jeans myself on my mom's Singer sewing machine

68. Overdue: TARDY

69. Measures for long-distance runners: Abbr.: KMS. One kilometer isn't even a warm-up for these folks. Coast-to-Coast - aim for 42 days to beat the record, and expect to run around 4,800 km give or take a few bathroom breaks or wrong turns.

70. Mystery award: EDGAR. Mr. Edgar Allan, and how apt it that?

71. Entertain: AMUSE


1. More than casual acquaintances: PALS

2. Touch on: ABUT

3. __-Coburg: former Bavarian duchy: SAXE

4. Idiotic: STUPID

5. "If __ I loved her, all that love is gone": Shakespeare: E'ER. Demetrius telling Lysander he's welcome to Hermia:

Lysander, keep thy Hermia. I will none.
If e'er I loved her, all that love is gone.
My heart to her but as guest-wise sojourned,
And now to Helen is it home returned,
There to remain.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act III sc. ii

6. __ of America: MALL

7. "Got it, man": I DIG! Probably not been heard since the 60's, but I could be wrong.

8. Give: DONATE

9. Gibraltar's peninsula: IBERIA. Shared with Spain and Portugal. Maybe a slice of Andorra too.

10. Sun. delivery: SER. mon. The sermon at last weekend's "royal" wedding caused a little bit of a stir.

11. High degrees: DOCTORATES

12. Ill-defined: VAGUE

13. Small amounts: DRIBS

18. Aden native: YEMENI

22. Simmers: STEWS

24. Fashioned after: À LA

26. Canadian VIPs: PM'S. Prime Ministers.

27. Like some Christmas candles: PINY

28. Tommie of the Amazin' Mets: AGEE

29. They're stuck in pubs: DARTBOARDS. At some point in dim and distant history, the numbering sequence became accepted. I understand 1-20-5, risk/reward, but I've hit 17 aiming for 19. I won my first competitive darts match by hitting double-17. Happy days.

30. RR depot: STN. 

31. IMDb search category: TITLE

35. Bishop of Rome: POPE

36. Sail support: SPAR

38. Private account: DIARY

40. Mythical bird: ROC

41. Fiona, after Shrek's kiss: OGRESS

44. Auto additive with a mostly red oval logo: STP

46. __ La Table: Williams-Sonoma rival: SUR. Ignore all these guys, find a restaurant supply store near you and get everything you need at one-tenth of the price.

49. Gave religiously: TITHED

50. Dieting successfully: LOSING

51. Stuck: IN A JAM

52. Command to Fido: SPEAK

53. GEICO submission: CLAIM

57. "Mom" co-star Faris: ANNA

58. Stern: REAR. Aft, Abaft, so many nautical terms for the blunt end.

60. Wise adviser: GURU. It's an honorific of respect in India. I've been addressed as "Steve Guru", which made me awkwardly uncomfortable until I realized it was a show of manners, and one I could embrace. I love Indian culture.

61. Objectives: ENDS

62. Inner Hebrides isle: SKYE.

"Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that's born to be King
Over the sea to Skye."

64. "The Motorcycle Diaries" revolutionary: CHE. One of my friends named her cat after the motorcycle - Fuser. Who knew that Marxists were so fond of their bikes that they gave them a name?

65. In-flight update: ETA. Did you know that an on-time departure mean that as long you push back from the gate on the appointed minute, regardless of whether you spend two hours on the tarmac fixing the fuel pump, waiting for the lightning to clear or holding in line behind 30 other planes? Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics!


May 17, 2018

Thursday, May 17 2018 Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: Triple Play. Not a baseball theme, but you can sing along with a Latin "cha cha cha" dance track.

19A. Trousers in the Liberace Museum?: CHI-CHI CHINOS. Probably covered in rhinestones and other sparkly stuff.

32A. Less colorful African carpet?: DRABBER BERBER. The Berber people are indigenous to North Africa. This traditional carpet definitely isn't drab:

39A. Surfeit of sweets?: BONBON BONANZA. Bonbons originated from the French in the 17th century, meaning "good-good".

53A. Made-to-order drum?: CUSTOM TOM-TOM. Officially, a cylindrical drum without snares.

Another nice puzzle from Jeffrey. The names in the long downs could have caused some conniptions, but that's what makes for skilled construction and editing - it's all about the crosses if the proper name is unknown to you, Claire Danes in my case. Throw in some crunch and some Thursday-level cluing and you've got yourself an enjoyable romp into Cruciverb-land.

What else have we got? Let's go and look:


1. Selfies, e.g.: PICS

5. Consumer protection org.: B.B.B. Better Business Bureau.

8. Grey Poupon variety: DIJON. Mustard. Grey Poupon is one of the better-known brand names.

13. "I must be cruel, __ to be kind": Hamlet: ONLY

14. Bar mixer: COLA. Coke and Pepsi are the cola heavyweights. Some think that Coke tried to trademark the word "cola" - not so, they trademarked Coca-Cola, the script of the name and the design of the bottle.

15. Slip away from: EVADE

16. __ all-time low: AT AN. David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" just popped into my head:

"Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know Major Tom's a junkie
Strung out in heaven's high
Hitting an all-time low"

17. "Beat it!": SCAT!

18. Bit of Blake: VERSE. The most well-known Blake is William:

"To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, 
hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour."

22. Guffaw syllable: HAR. Har.

23. Estadio cheer: OLÉ

24. Hardware item: NUT.

25. Overalls part: BIB. The part covering the chest.

28. Aquarium fish: TETRA

30. Title for Maggie Smith: DAME. British actress of renown. Played the redoubtable Dowager in "Downton Abbey"

 "I couldn't have electricity in the house, I wouldn't sleep a wink. All those vapors floating about."

31. "Mr. Robot" TV network: USA. I'll take your word for it, I haven't seen the show

35. Morales of Netflix's "Ozark": ESAI. There's actress Natalie also.

37. Father of octuplets on "The Simpsons": APU. Must be a while since I've seen the show, I didn't realize he had any kids, let alone eight.

38. Not yet up: ABED

"And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."

Henry V, Act IV sc iii

44. Many a craft beer: ALE

45. Folk singer Axton: HOYT. Thank you, crosses. Not my genre.

46. Scenic highway offerings: VIEWS. There are some fabulous ones in my part of the world, particularly from the Pacific Coast Highway.

48. "Absolutely": YES

49. Hose users: Abbr.: FDS. I had to think about this one for a second - Fire Departments

50. Holm of "The Hobbit": IAN

51. GI address: APO. Army Post Office

56. Cold dish: SALAD

59. Island off Tuscany: ELBA. "Able was I, ere I saw Elba".

60. Whodunit canine: ASTA. "The Thin Man" was the movie.

61. Interspersed with: AMONG

62. Nectar flavor: PEAR

63. User of black lipstick, perhaps: GOTH. There is an unofficial "Bat's Day" for Goths at Disneyland each year. It's quite an odd sight, all these supposedly gloomy folk riding "It's a Small World".

64. Gumption: MOXIE

65. Nursery purchase: SOD

66. "Orinoco Flow" singer: ENYA. Let's have a little New Age backing track.


1. Cook in hot milk, say: POACH

2. Since: IN THAT. In the causative sense - "I like a Riesling since it pairs well with spicy food"/"I like a Riesling in that it pairs well with spicy food". Food!

3. "Homeland" Emmy winner: CLAIRE DANES. Thank you, crosses.

4. Harmonized, with "in": SYNC

5. Lawn game: BOCCE. Most cultures seem to have a derivative of lawn bowls, be it crown bowls, bocce, boules, pétanque, even curling.

6. Vanilla: BLAH. "Meh" in modern lingo.

7. Drive someone home?: BAT IN A RUN


9. Composer Charles: IVES

10. 8-Across holder: JAR. I like the cross-references when the entries themselves cross. I've got a jar in my fridge, it goes into my home-made mayonnaise when I whip up a batch. Yum!

11. Goes overboard (on): OD'S

12. Wedding notice word: NÉE

14. Forensics facility, briefly: CSI LAB. I wanted DNA LAB first, but resisted the urge.

20. Circle dance: HORA

21. Unfeeling: NUMB

25. Masters champ in 2012 and 2014: BUBBA WATSON. A lefty, he hit an incredible hook shot out of the trees onto the 10th green in a playoff with Louis Oosthuizen to secure his first major.

26. "That's clear": I SEE

27. Meter writer: BARD. He of "Henry V" fame, above.

29. Twin Cities daily, familiarly: TRIB. The Star Tribune.

30. Home __: DEPOT

33. Slow-but-steady progress: BABY STEPS

34. Demolish: RAZE

35. Former Skype owner: EBAY. I didn't know that. We use Skype for Business, it saves a ton of money when you have a lot of international conference calling and presentations.

36. Dover fish: SOLE

40. "Dang!": OH FUDGE!

41. Some assents: NODS

42. Video game figure: AVATAR

43. Spanish lad: NIÑO. Now, here's a thing - the letter Ñ in Spanish is a completely different letter, it's not just an accented "N". Which leads the pedant in me to suggest that you should not cross it with a regular "N" as is here - Ian Holmes does not spell his name i-a-eñe.

47. Inconsistent: SPOTTY

50. Boast in a 1987 Michael Jackson hit: I'M BAD

52. Lincoln neighbor: OMAHA. Nebraskans, both.

53. "__ help you?": CAN I

54. Muffin spread: OLEO

55. Sorcerer in fantasy games: MAGE

56. "Grace and Frankie" actor Waterston: SAM. More crossing help. Thanks!

57. Latin trio word: AMO, Amas, Amat

58. Cured salmon: LOX. Lox is salt-cured. The stuff most people call "lox" nowadays is actually "nova" and is a smoke-cure. Whatever the debate, it's Food!

And with a drum roll on the tom-tom and a pic of the grid, and with a very cool explanation of lox, nova, smoked salmon and gravlax, that's all from me!


May 10, 2018

Thursday, May 10th 2018 Jeff Stillman

Theme: Career Path. Navigating the shark-infested corporate world.

17A Start of a business journey: ENTRY-LEVEL

24A. Way to get from 17- to 39-Across: CORPORATE LADDER. Here's a different take - fortunately I don't think I was in that word:

39A. Pinnacle of the journey: EXECUTIVE OFFICE. I wanted "CORNER OFFICE", except that corner was three letters too short. That was a clue.

52A. Way to get from 39- to 63-Across: GOLDEN PARACHUTE

63A. End of the journey: RETIREMENT

I enjoyed this theme from Jeff. The trick with these types of puzzle is to get enough crosses that one of the entries becomes apparent - in my case I got RETIREMENT when about six crosses were completed. From there it was a question of working backwards to guess at or solve the rest.

I like how the three "stages" were linked by two "how to get there" entries. Very elegant.


1. Bookie's concern: ODDS

5. Wedge-shaped bones: SACRA. Took me ages to tumble to this one.

10. Elite Eight org.: N.C.A.A. From the March Madness college basketball tourney organized by the N.C.A.A.

14. Bygone depilatory brand: NEET

15. Cantilevered window: ORIEL. I didn't know these were cantilevered. I do now.

16. Panhandler's income: ALMS. I see alms as more given to a charity, rather than an individual. I guess it's fine.

19. Watery defense, perhaps: MOAT

20. Hustle: HIE

21. First name in bike stunts: EVEL. Knievel.

23. Phased-out Secret Service weapon: UZI. I never knew the Secret Service used these. Wasn't there an acceptable US-made alternative?

29. Doce meses: ANO. Twelve months, one year. Spanish lesson for the day.

30. Roll of bills: WAD

31. Woolly mammal: EWE

32. Seasonal song ender: SYNE. I tried "TREE" as in the Partridge in a Pear one at first. I was wrong.

34. Proceed tediously: PLOD

37. Like pals who go way back: OLD

44. Three Gorges project: DAM. A big-assed dam spanning the Yangtze in China.

45. Wail: BAWL

46. Former autocrat: TSAR. __AR and wait for a cross to decide between TS and CZ

47. Stat for Miguel Cabrera: R.B.I. Runs Batted In. Baseball, natch.

59. Site with digging: RUIN

60. Witty remark: MOT. Doesn't it have to be a "bon mot"? I'm not convinced by "mot" flying solo here.

61. Word with work or play: BOOK. Workbook, playbook.

68. Field of work: LINE

69. Food poisoning cause: E. COLI. Nasty.

70. Times past: ERAS

71. Place of bliss: EDEN

72. Summer Triangle star: DENEB. Thank you crosses, completely unknown to me. Per Wikipedia:

"Deneb, also designated α Cygni, is the brightest star in the constellation of Cygnus. It is one of the vertices of the asterism known as the Summer Triangle and forms the 'head' of the neck-less Northern Cross."

73. WWI battle river: YSER


1. Top 40 title for Metallica or U2: ONE. Here's the U2 version.

2. Resting place: DEN

3. Overthrew: DETHRONED

4. Las Vegas feature: STRIP. Las Vegas Boulevard, officially. I'll be back in Vegas for another conference in a couple of weeks.

5. Peruvian currency: SOL. I swear I'll never remember this. I always rely on crosses.

6. Occur: ARE

7. Catlike carnivore: CIVET. I can never see "catlike" without "With catlike tread ... " from the Pirates of Penzance playing in my head.

8. "Deathtrap" actor: REEVE. Christopher Reeve in the 1972 movie adaptation of Ira Levin's stage play.

9. Gene variant: ALLELE. Thank you, crosses.

10. '60s hot spot: 'NAM

11. Data storage medium: CLOUD. Nice! With the C in place I was sorely tempted by CD-ROM but curbed my enthusiam.

12. Render speechless: AMAZE

13. On the move: ASTIR

18. Cry of pain: YEOW! That's my toe! A rather fun trait of the English is their tendency to apologize when some steps on their toe.

22. __ gravity: LAW OF

24. Wholesale quantity: CASE

25. Figurine material: ONYX

26. Mesmerized: RAPT

27. Wing it: AD LIB

28. Dutch earthenware city: DELFT. Why did I think it was DELPH? It's not, obviously.

33. High-tech greeting: E-CARD

35. Fertility clinic specimens: OVA

36. Big name in whisky: DEWAR. They make Teacher's. I mean Bell's. I mean Dewar's.

38. Naysayers: DISPUTERS

40. Darker-than-ocher pigment: UMBER. My watercolor paints sets as a kid always had "burnt umber".

41. Cantina cooker: OLLA. Big clay pot.

42. Threw: CAST

43. Pelee Island's lake: ERIE. Yay! Nailed it!

48. Toughened: INURED

50. Top of the heap: ACME

52. Triangular part of a house: GABLE. There's a mountain in the Lake District in England called Great Gable - you can see the triangular resemblance. I hiked up it a few times back in my youth.

53. Roundish: OVOID

54. Sierra __: LEONE. I stuck on MADRE and couldn't let it go for a while.

55. Pizza slice, say: PIECE. Also gable-shaped, if you think about it.

56. Playwright Chekhov: ANTON

57. Comfortably familiar: HOMEY. I'm more familiar with the British English variant "HOMELY".

62. Understanding: KEN

64. Seine site: ILE. The natural islands île Saint-Louis and île de la Cité and the man-made one île aux Cygnes

65. Corduroy feature: RIB

66. "Dream on, laddie": NAE

67. Original Dungeons & Dragons co.: T.S.R. Thanks, crosses. We've seen this before but it doesn't want to stick in my mind.

Here's the grind - I mean grid! (I'm on the daily grind). EWR to LAX later today. Home for the weekend!