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

Jan 14, 2021

Thursday, January 14, 2021, MaryEllen Uthlaut


Happy Thursday, cruciverbalists!  While it is not yet time for us to poke our heads out, I hope that 2021 has gotten off to a good start with everyone staying safe and healthy.

If you were scratching your head over the theme of today's puzzle it is safe to assume that you had plenty of (socially distanced) company.  Prison breaks are, by nature, difficult to discover.  These were.  Even after solving the "tell", this moronic marine mammal had to stare at the completed grid for several minutes before the theme answers slowly revealed themselves.

I tried looking backwards and forwards within each of the long answers. Nothing.  Puns?  Homophones? Anagrams?  Still stumped.  MaryEllen had purposely used "puzzle rows" and not "answers" in her hint to the theme so, perhaps, I should look at entire rows.  The hint also contained the word "break" so something had likely been broken apart.  Even with these insights I then wasted time looking for some form of symmetry of which there was, well, none.  Finally, it dawned on me. 

Simply put, on four rows of the puzzle, synonyms for PRISON have been broken apart and wait patiently for us to reassemble them.  Of course, once the theme had been figured out, and the letters involved had been identified, everything appeared to be obvious.

Let's start with the reveal at 65 Across:  "The Shawshank Redemption" event, and what's hidden in four puzzle rows: PRISON BREAK.

At 17 Across we have - Angry reaction: HORNETS NEST followed at 19 Across by - "This American Life" host Glass: IRA

The end of the first answer combines with the start of the second to from STIR, a slangy word for prison.

At 27 Across we are asked to solve for - Indian noble: RAJA followed by 31 Across - Surly: ILLNATURED

As above, parts of these answers combine to yield JAIL.

..and so on,

38 Across - It went down in history: TITANIand 40 Across - Connects with: LINKSTO.  

CLINK is another slang term for prison

47 Across - Stable cleaner: SADDLE SOAand 51 Across - Tolkien tree creatures: ENTS.

PEN is, well, we get it, we get it.

Here is what this all looks like in the grid:

Now that we have successfully escaped the confines of our puzzle penitentiary let's take a look at the rest of today's challenge:


1. Bobbleheads, e. g.: DOLLS.  Do they have to represent 

6. Jury decision: AWARD.  Verdict was the first impulse but, of course, did not fit in the allotted space.

11. Pair of Grammys?: EMS.  We have seen this type of clue and answer many times previously...and you know that this MM appreciates EMS.

14. "It's __ time!": ABOUT.  A straightforward fill-in-the-blank clue.  The seven-letter modifier is implicit.

15. Old photo tint: SEPIA.


16. Dwarf who mixes up his words: DOC.  He's the one with the eyeglasses.


20. Meeting goal often not achieved: LENGTH.

21. Nuclear energy device: REACTOR.  You can build your own.

23. Lip: SASS.  Impudence by any name.

26. Firefighter's tool: HOSE.

35. Soft palate projection: UVULA.

37. Not what one would expect: IRONIC.


44. Mexican bread: DINERO.  Bread, of course, being slang for money.

46. Single-master: SLOOP.  This version of "The Sloop John B" involves both The Beach Boys and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra:


52. Palm tree superfood: ACAI.  A current-day crossword, and for some folks dietary, staple.  ACAI was found in yesterday's puzzle.  Manatees rarely eat ACAI berries.

53. Ancient home: EDEN.  If the stories are to be believed, the most ancient of all.


55. Predator with a heart-shaped face: BARN OWL.

59. Card game with trumps: EUCHRE.  Not Bridge.  Not Whist.

64. Hurricane season mo.: OCT.  The Atlantic Hurricane Season officially runs from June 1st through November 30th.

68. Cravat or ascot: TIE.  Not to be confused with 18 Down.  Two weeks ago the puzzle demanded No TIE.

69. Like Caspar Milquetoast: TIMID.  Caspar Milquetoast is a comic strip character created for the strip "Timid Soul" that launched in 1925.


70. Give a false idea of: BELIE.

71. Low: SAD.

72. Deposit in the attic, say: STORE.

73. Cheerleaders' assortment: YELLS.



1. "James and the Giant Peach" author: DAHL.  Roald DAHL was a spy, a fighter pilot and a medical inventor as well as an author.  In addition to the clue's referenced work, he wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda.

2. Wind heard in Dion's "Abraham, Martin and John": OBOE.  Although oboes, of course, are heard frequently in our puzzles this is one of the best clues yet.

Dion DiMucci

3. Desolate: LORN.  LORN means lonely and abandoned.  We more often see forlorn. 

4. Organ in a chest: LUNG.

5. Decides to leave alone: STETS.  STET is a proofreader's mark for Let It Stand.  Rarely, though, do we see it used as a verb.

6. Biblical mount: ASS.


7. Harmless cyst: WEN.  This week's "I'll pass on the graphics" moment.

8. Imitator: APER.  Outside of puzzles one rarely sees, or hears, APER or Aped.  Within puzzles we commonly see them both.

9. Slope: RISE.

SLOPE INTERCEPT (y = mx + b) 

10. It may be crunched: DATA.

11. Spell-checker, say: EDITOR.  Literally true but I'd bet that most of us first thought of something word-processing-related

12. Lacking in joy: MOROSE.  Our second ASS of the day (if one chooses not to count Peter Griffin):


13. Rustled (up): SCARED.  Colloquialisms.  SCARED up something to eat, Rustled up some grub.

18. Bangkok native: THAI.  There is nothing else quite like a tuk-tuk ride through the streets of Bangkok, THAIland.

22. Private laugh: CHUCKLE.  Chuckles are laughs that are quiet, inward or suppressed

24. Golfing mishaps: SLICES.

25. Camera type, briefly: SLR.  A Single Lens Reflex camera uses a mirror and prism to allow the photographer to see exactly what will be captured on the film or digitally.

27. Rural road feature: RUT.

28. Prefix with fauna: AVI.  A reference to the birds of a particular region.  I am most familiar with these:

29. Stick (out): JUT.

30. 2019 Mena Massoud title role: ALADDIN.

32. Free of commissions, as a mutual fund: NO LOAD.

33. Young Darth: ANI.  A "Star Wars" reference and a "diminutive" name to boot.


34. Cookie containers: TINS.

36. Indigo plant: ANIL.  I only know this from crossword puzzles...and the perps helped to recall it.

39. Having four sharps: IN E.  This answer obviously assumes that the clue was talking about a Major musical key.  The relative minor of E Major is C Sharp Minor and it also has four sharps.

41. Absalom, to David: SON.  A biblical reference to a story about family dynamics.


42. "PAW Patrol" fan: TOT.  Paw Patrol is a children's television series that premiered in 2013.


43. Special ___: OPS.  Both OPTS and OPS in the same puzzle!

45.  Caviar:  ROE.  I went to a sushi bar and ordered salmon roe.  It was a spawn-taneous decision.

47. Clogs: SABOTS.  In this instance, a shoe reference.  My friend Jon's father had a small sailboat that we would sometimes take out in the marina.  It was far too small for the open sea.  The logo on the sail, and the type of boat it was, was a SABOT.

48. Thorny shrub: ACACIA.  Both ACACIA and ACAI in the same puzzle!

49. Made a sudden move: DARTED.

50. Rounded hammer part: PEEN.  Usually, we hear ball peen hammer.

54. Lumpy, as a knit fabric: NUBBY.  This type of fabric is rarely seen in crossword puzzles but it has been seen before.

56. Comes down on one side of something: OPTS.  An intentionally somewhat obtuse clue?  Not incorrect, merely less straightforward than it needed to be.  Oh, wait, it's a crossword puzzle.  They do that all the time.

57. Court order: WRIT.

58. Ride to the prom: LIMO.  Perhaps riding in a LIMO is now commonplace but it sure wasn't when this manatee was in High School.  Further, unless PROM is considered to be an abbreviation for something, there is nothing in the clue that indicates LIMO in lieu of Limousine.

60. Algonquin language: CREE.  Often, CREE is clued with a reference to the Canadian indigenous population.

61. Severe criticism: HELL.  We rarely see "semi-swear-words" in puzzles.


62. Fence crosspiece: RAIL.


63. Manages to get, with "out": EKES.  We see this one a lot.  I sometimes get confused between EKES and EEKS.

66. Military address: SIR.  A bit of misdirection as APO (Army Post Office) is commonly seen as an answer to similar clues.

67. "To Autumn," for one: ODE.  What would a puzzle be without ODE somewhere in the grid?



Notes from C.C.:
1) Wendybird, hope you and Jack make a full recovery soon!
2) Happy Birthday to dear JD, who also enjoys traveling the world like Hahtoolah. The second picture was taken from the same trip but on a cruise ship, I think.

JD and Bob, Switzerland, 2017

Jan 7, 2021

Thursday, January 7, 2021, Paul Coulter

Today we have another outing with Paul Coulter, as he shares with us his favorite drinks and mixers.  The themers might be a bit easier to follow if we start with the Grid.  As there are 4 pairs of related theme clues, I've shown the pairs here connected by red lines:

The first answer set consists of four beverages, 3 alcoholic (1A, 5A, and 60A) and one a mixer (45A).  These respective beverages are then "mixed" in anagrams embedded in 4 two word answers (46A, 27A, 17A,  and 66A).  The anagrams don't seem to have any particular relationship to the drinks in the first set of clues, but EDAM cheese (in 46A) might pair nicely with a CLARET (5A).  Paul, please feel free to stop by and comment if I'm missing something.  Here are the paired theme clues:

1. Ancient beverage "mixed" in 46-Across: MEAD. A drink fermented from honey. Also the name of the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead, best known for her seminal book Coming of Age In Samoa and for her autobiography Blackberry Winter.  The anagram here is EDAM.

46. "Give me time to collect myself": I NEED A MOMENT.  I needed a lot of MOMENTS to suss all of the above! 

5. Dinner beverage "mixed" in 27-Across: CLARET.  The British term for the dry red wines vinified just across the Channel in the Bordeaux region of France.  Clarets are generally BLENDS (mixes) of the VARIETALS Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. The anagram here is CARTEL:

27. Driver's aid, once: CAR TELEPHONE. Hands up if you've ever used one.  Bluetooth links to your cellphone don't count.

45. Fountain beverage "mixed" in 17-Across: SODA.  The anagram here is ADOS.  I guess all that fizzin' stirs up a fuss!

17. Air Force Academy city: COLORADO SPRINGS.  Also known for The Garden of the Gods:

and for The Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun

66. After-dinner beverage "mixed" in 60-Across: PORTAll ports are made from a blend of grapes grown throughout Portugal's Douro valley. There are two kinds of port: TAWNY and RUBY Beyond that I've got to issue a CSO to C Moe for any additional exegesis on PORTS.  The anagram here is TROP:

60. Balancing act: TIGHTROPE WALKERHere French tightrope walker Bongonga completed a stunt on a cord hanging 35 meters from the ground at Paris' picturesque Montmartre hill, with no security cable attached to her costume.  I can barely bear to watch this. Sacré-Coeur! 

The anagram here was
TROP, which imported from French into English still means TOO MUCHIt might describe the throbbing in your head the next morning if you mixed "TOO MUCH" MEAD, CLARET, and PORT on New Years Eve!  Cheers, and here's all the rest ...


1. Cooking meas.: TSPIt couldn't be the abbreviation for tablespoon, as that's four letters.

14. Part of a pot: ANTE.  On the other side of the pond it's pronounced ONTIE, as in your mother's sister.

15. On a smaller scale: LESS SO.

16. Bit in a horse's mouth: OAT.

20. Abbr. between names, perhaps: AKA.  An author's PSEUDONYM or perhaps more often an ALIAS for someone suspected of figuring out a crossword answer from the intersecting answers.  But who might get BUSTED by the dreaded NATICK.

21. Gulf of __: OMAN.  Could be the Gulf of ADEN.  You might have to perp it.

22. Starkers, on this side of the pond: NAKED.  On this side of the pond we have a similar sounding noun STREAKERS, but on the other side of the pond the former word is an adjective.  Here's a TV frame of a breathless Benedict Cumberbach (AKA Sherlock Holmes) being Scandalised in Bohemia by his STARKERS nemesis Irene Adler.  While this image is RATED PG, the one on the BBC was definitely RATED R:

23. Not fooled by: WISE TO.

25. City blight: SLUM.

33. Sneeze syllable: CHOO.  Doubled this becomes a kiddie TRAIN.

36. It's a wrap: SARAN.  I'll make mine with a TORTILLA thank you.

37. Bond was kicked out of it: ETON. If it's a four letter English school, you can count on it being ETON.

38. Fireplace shelf: HOB.  Dw will be happy to know we have one on our gas grill.  It's also "a machine tool used for cutting gears or screw threads".  CSO to Dash T, I know you've got a SONIC SCREWDRIVER, but do you have a HOBTAPS and DIES don't count.

39. Berkeley sch.: CALCALs are something we've all resolved to avoid for at least another mo.

40. Effort: TRY.

41. ESPN MLB analyst: AROD.

43. Drive: MOTOR.  These have been known to throw A ROD from time to time.

49. Animal rights gp.: PETA.  Also a homo-phonic pocket bread used to serve FALAFELS with TAHINI and shredded lettuce.

50. Make more powerful: SOUP UP.  Like I did with the ham HOCK left over from Christmas dinner.  A bit salty though.

54. Gut feeling?: AGITA.

57. Simon Says player: APER.  So Simon was a simian?

59. That, in Oaxaca: ESA.

64. Artist Yoko: ONO.  Yoko was in the last puzzle I blogged and I'm happy to report that she is still with us.

65. Filling out forms, often: HASSLE.

67. Make a dent in: MAR.

68. Drove off: SHOOED.

69. Costner role: NESS.  A much more famous NESS is the LOCH in Scotland, the home of NESSIE, the MONSTER who warms the hearts of the Scottish tourist industry:


1. Rainforest parrot: MACAW.

2. Mushroom in Asian cuisine: ENOKI

Not to be confused with these cuddly creatures on the planet ENDOR

    Ewok Star Wars GIF - Ewok StarWars GIFs

3. World record?: ATLAS. Cute clue.  OTOH Icelandic actor and strongman Hafthor Bjornsson set a world record for the deadlift last May, when he lifted 1,104 pounds (501 kg) at Thor's Power Gym in Iceland.

4. "Gloria in Excelsis __": DEO.  The beginning of the hymn from the Latin Mass.  Here is Antonio Vivaldi's setting:

5. Demands loudly, with "for": CLAMORS  Wannabe OYSTERS if you ask me.

6. Helen of Troy's mother: LEDA.  An early #METOO victim.

7. John Irving's "__ of the Circus": A SON.  I have but one.  And 8 grandchildren.  And sometimes it IS a circus!

8. __ feed: online news aggregator: RSS.  "Really Simple Syndication" is a web protocol that allows users and applications automatic access to website updates in a standardized, computer-readable format. These FIFO feeds can give you a pull down menu on your browser listing any new posts to a site.  In order for this to work the site must support the RSS protocol.

9. Medium gift: ESP.  IMHO there is some statistical evidence that there is something to this.

10. Ripped to shreds: TORN UP.

11. Honky-__: TONK.  I read somewhere that COVID-19 has really wreaked havoc on these convivial watering holes.

12. Wise one: SAGE.  A very wise man indeed. Without him there would be no SAUSAGES.

13. Condition once called "shell shock," for short: PTSD.  My father suffered from this for 10 years after WWII.  But he recovered and managed to raise a family of 5, four very bright girls and a boy.

18. Membership list: ROTA.

19. "You found the right guy," formally: I AM HE.

24. Novelist Umberto: ECOHe was much more than a novelist, but is perhaps best known for his first novel, "The Name of the Rose", which was later made into a movie.

25. Go this way and that: SLALOM.  Sort of a gentle ZIG and ZAG.

26. Actor Cariou: LEN.   Canadian[Eh!] actor and stage director, best known for his Tony award winning portrayal of Sweeney Todd in the original Broadway cast of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

28. City near Seattle: TACOMAFrom the Salish Indian word for the mountain that provided water to their tribe (later changed to Mount Rainier - I have no have no idea what that means in Salish.  Rainer maybe?).

29. Muse for Shelley: ERATO.

30. "The Simpsons" bus driver: OTTO.

31. North of Paris: NORD.

32. One-named New Ager: ENYA.  Please forgive the recursion but ...  I used to like this singer, but as time went by she became increasing derivative of ENYA.

33. Spiced tea: CHAI.

34. Cornucopia shape: HORN.  An almost clecho to 35B next. Both BRASSES and WOODWINDS have HORN shaped instruments, but they have different timbres and belong to different orchestral groups.

35. Bassoon kin: OBOE.  One of my favorite pieces for this instrument is Ennio Moriconi's "Gabriel's Oboe" for the film "The Mission" starring Jeremy Irons:


52. Computer operators: USERS.  The oft overlooked system "component".  I prefer the term STAKEHOLDER.   And when the computer is a personal computer, USERS are the chief stakeholders.

53. Labor go-with: PARTS.

54. Tiny bit: ATOM.  But not the tiniest.  There is ample evidence for SUBATOMIC PARTICLES, like the familiar ELECTRON, the PROTON, and the NEUTRON  But the latter two are further composed of even smaller particles called QUARKS.   Physicists, despairing of describing them in terms that we mere mortals might understand, assign them bizarre names like UP, DOWN, CHARM, STRANGE, TOP, and BOTTOM, , with a total of 17 denizens  in the particle zoo known as The Standard Model.  And if that's not STRANGE enough, there is a whole theory of near infinitesimally smaller particles called STRINGS, for which there is no experimental evidence whatsoever!  And I'm not stringing you along.  But the theorists might be.

55. Carano of "Deadpool""Deadpool": GINA.  I've never seen it, but it does get a lot of press, whatever it is.  Sounds like a scary place.

56. Horror movie assistant: IGOR.  Sometimes you have to perp it for the first letter, which may be a Y.

57. Lhasa __: APSO.  This breed originated in Tibet. How they could survive Tibetan winters I have no idea.  I knew one of them once,  and I know I shouldn't generalize on a sample of one, but my impression of it was that it was a warm. cuddly, white furry lizard with a ganglion in place of a brain.  A CSO to any Lhasa Apso owners on the Corner - as a dog lover I'd be happily disavowed of my prejudice if you've had a different experience.

58. Soccer great: PELE.

61. "Go team!": RAH.

62. Spanish bear: OSO.  I don't think I can bear that again.

63. Hosp. staffer: LPN.  A CSO to the LPNs, RNs, LAB TECHS and DOCTORS (inanehiker, Ray-O and any I've missed)  on the Corner.  YOU ARE HEROES!!!


Note from C.C.:

Here are two lovely pictures of JD's family. JD lives close to her two daughters and she often helps with the grandkids' school work.