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

Jul 11, 2019

Thursday, July 11th 2019 Paul Coulter

Theme: The Byrds Songs - what better to celebrate a nice punning puzzle with a reminder of Roger McGuinn's 12-string Rickenbacker?

I'm assuming I don't have to explain the puns, they're pretty obvious, so let's call out the theme entries and move on.

17A. Devious nestling's cry?: CHEEP TRICK. Here's Cheap Trick for color (or black and white in this picture, darn).

27A. Early-rising duck's call?: QUACK OF DAWN

46A. Prizeworthy cornfield sounds?: CAWS CÉLÈBRE. Not sure about the definition in the clue here. "Prizeworthy" doesn't ring true. Controversial or unpopular in my dictionary.

62A. Elegant dove's murmur?: COO DE GRÂCE. Filling up my quota of diacriticals here.

I was interested to see that two of the four punning entries had been used before - no knock on Paul´s elegant puzzle, but both had appeared in the NYT, granted 20 years apart, but the most recent was 2017. I like how Paul pulled everything together with the aviarian theme though. Let's see what else we've got:


1. Red ink list: DEBTS

6. Editor's "never mind": STET

10. Fast one: SCAM

14. Naturally lit courtyards: ATRIA

15. Mex. title: SRTA. Senorita. Not just Mexico, any Spanish-speaking country.

16. Roughly: OR SO

19. Word on diet food packaging: LITE

20. Like a coach after a rough game, maybe: HOARSE

21. Marriott-owned hotel chain: SHERATON. Marriott and Hilton have pretty much acquired every other hotel chain on the planet.

23. Sets, as a price: ASKS

24. Div. won by the Braves 13 times: N.L.E. Atlanta of the National League East.

26. Besmirch: TAR

32. __ Maria: TIA. I tried AVE first, which didn't work so well. A non-religious friend of mine works with some parochial schools, and was reading a hymn sheet. She asked me why "Avenue Maria" was part of a prayer.

35. Big bully: BRUTE

36. Protected at sea: ALEE

37. Counselor: ADVISER

39. Watch for money, usually: BABYSIT

42. Four-time Grammy winners Kings of __: LEON. I decided not to link one of my favorite songs of theirs - it has the s*x word in the title, and I didn't want to upset anyone.

43. Backspace over: ERASE

45. Hosp. areas: O.R.'S My first full-time job out of high school was as a cleaner in the county hospital. I'm not sure how many O.R's and E.R's I cleaned up. That was a good education for a precocious 17-year-old. It certainly taught me a couple of life lessons.

49. Amigo: PAL

50. Letters from the Civil War: CSA

51. Mine bonanza: LODE. Is there a father lode? I know there's a mother one.

55. Skated on thin ice: RAN A RISK

59. Look into again, as a cold case: REOPEN

61. Brought into play: USED

64. Many a retired thoroughbred: SIRE

65. "It __ up to me": ISN'T

66. Catcher's interference, in baseball rules: ERROR

67. Kit Carson House site: TAOS

68. Throw away: TOSS. Nicely proximate to TAOS.

69. Nostalgically fashionable: RETRO


1. Russian country house: DACHA

2. Cultural spirit: ETHOS

3. Work stoppage?: BREAK

4. Elaborate cake layers: TIERS. I guess "elaborate" because a tier needs to be stacked on something?

5. Easy marks: SAPS

6. Kazakhstan, once: Abbr.: S.S.R. Soviet Socialist Republic.

7. Split into thirds: TRISECT. Quite an uncommon word, but perfectly logical.

8. Inscribe: ETCH

9. Start liking: TAKE TO

10. Astronomical time period: SOLAR DAY. The time it takes for a planet to rotate on its axis so that the sun appears in the same place in the sky. 24 hours on Earth, 24 hours, 39 minutes and 35 seconds on Mars.

11. Lit __: CRIT

12. In the matter of: AS TO

13. Kohler rival: MOEN

18. Academic goal: TENURE

22. Churchill's "so few": Abbr.: R.A.F. The Royal Air Force. "Per Ardua Ad Astra". I'm sure you all know the full quote:

"Never, in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many to so few".

25. Bay leaf source: LAUREL

27. Moon and Starr of the NFL: QB'S. Nice clue. Warren Moon and Bart Starr. Bart Starr led the Green Bay Packers to the first two Superbowl wins. He passed away recently, in May.

28. Skewered fare: KEBABS. I wait for crosses, as "KEBOBS" is equally valid. Also "KABOBS/KABABS".

29. "And another thing ... ": ALSO

30. 2003 Masters champ Mike: WEIR. A Canadian leftie, winning the Masters was the highlight of his career.

31. Brings home: NETS

32. Locker room sprinkle: TALC

33. Brain wave: IDEA

34. Admit frankly: AVOW. I had "AVER" first which slowed me down a little.

38. To a great degree: IN SPADES

40. Equally hard to find: AS RARE

41. Contest where participants stand for a spell: BEE. Is the National Spelling Bee done? What, eight joint winners after the organizers ran out of words this year? It seems a little silly now, especially with all the professional coaching that seems to be compulsory to give the kid a chance to compete. Let's just call it a day and move on.

44. Figures: RECKONS

47. Elevator __: CAR

48. Bring out: ELICIT

51. He played Ugarte in "Casablanca": LORRÉ. ¨He goes strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorré, contemplating a crime¨.

52. Eyeball benders: OP ART. I posted an example of this a couple of years ago, and spent the night with my eyes spinning and I couldn't sleep. Google at your own (pleasure) risk.

53. HGTV topic: DECOR

54. Two before marzo: ENERO. Spanish months, January and March.

55. Reddish shade: RUST

56. Where to find Java: ASIA. Also, my kitchen, with a pound of Blue Mountain coffee brought back from Jamaica. I use it sparingly, it's delicious but expensive.

57. Student of Seneca: NERO

58. Just all right: SO-SO

60. Hungarian wine region: EGER. Not one of the most well-known regions, but some nice reds are produced there. You need to be careful, a lot of the wineries load up the wines with a ton of alcohol, not the most subtle approach.

63. Rehab symptom, for short: DT'S. Delirium Tremens, or visions of pink elephants and the shakes, much the same that anyone would experience watching the latest Disney remake of "Dumbo". What were they thinking?

Well, that about wraps up another Thursday from me. Here's the grid and I'll get my coat.


Jul 4, 2019

Thursday July 4th, 2019 Ed Sessa

Theme: Death and ... taxes. The inevitable turns up today to celebrate July 4th. Maybe an odd choice but ...

17A. Meets unexpectedly: BUMPS INTO. Sin Tax. Excise levied on products the experts in the know think you shouldn't be buying. Tobacco, alcohol, etc. What about cheese?

23A. Works with one's private tutor, say: TAKES A LESSON. Sales tax. Getting out of hand here in California. We already have one of the highest ....

34A. Emergency run-through opening: THIS IS JUST A TEST. ... state taxes in the Union.

46A. Utah's state tree: QUAKING ASPEN. I'd never heard of the tree - well, the "quaking" part. We quake when the gas tax is increased, it seems like every budget. Pretty trees though ...

56A. Income-reducing inequity, or what can be found in the four other longest puzzle answers: HIDDEN TAX. I like the "inequity" part of the clue. Tax Freedom day was April 16th this year - the day you stop paying taxes to the Government and start making money for yourself.

Fun theme from Ed, and as usual, a nice grid, tight theme and pleasant fill. Let's see what else we've got:


1. Settle for leftovers: EAT IN

6. "A revolution is not a dinner party" statesman: MAO

9. Additions to the staff: HIRES. Deductions from the staff: FIRES. Admirable symmetry. Happier to be a hire than a fire.

14. Petting zoo critter: LLAMA. These buggers are nasty, I'm not sure they're really petting zoo candidates, they bite and have an amazing ability to spit.

15. Wayfarer's stop: INN

16. Lexus rival: ACURA

19. Connecting waterway: CANAL

20. Rock band need: AMP. I'd say "amps". Famously, the Rolling Stones brought the bass player Bill Wyman into the band because he owned an amp. I don't think Keith Richard liked him a whole lot, in his autobiography he mentioned Wyman twice - when he joined the band and when he quit. That's about 40 years of total anonymity, which seems unfair.

21. Board game with rooms: CLUE. Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Candlestick. Fun game.

22. Woo with a tune: SING TO

25. Emily Dickinson's hometown: AMHERST. Most of her work was never seen until her death, and even then was heavily edited.

28. Longtime nighttime host: LENO

29. Bread brushed with ghee: NAAN. Food! I usually stick to chapatis with Indian food, the naan are very filling.

30. Zipped: SPED

31. Feathery wrap: BOA

39. Tennis' Andy Murray's title: SIR. Wimbledon started this week, so very apt. By the way, it's "Wimbledon" with a "D", not "Wimbleton". Thank you.

40. Bud: CHUM

41. Sign of holiness: HALO

42. Facial tissue?: SKIN

43. Opposite of engagement: BOREDOM

50. When many workdays start: AT NINE. Mine usually kicks off at six - timezone issues with head office.

51. Said, "The dog ate my homework," probably: LIED. I'd love to know what the reaction is if your dog really ate your homework and you tried that excuse?

52. Notable period: ERA

55. Church offering: TITHE. Is it 5% of what you make? Seems a lot.

58. Fake handle: ALIAS

59. Many a Monopoly sq.: AVE. From memory, the British Monopoly board has only one - Northumberland Avenue, just off Trafalgar Square. When I visit London, my go-to hotel is on that street.

60. "Live at the Acropolis" keyboardist: YANNI. Who? Thank you, crosses.

61. Takes it easy: RESTS

62. "Let's do it!": YES!

63. Mild oath: EGADS!


1. Idris of "Luther": ELBA

2. College benefactor: ALUM

3. Pack (down): TAMP

4. Little dickens: IMP

5. Brickyard 400 acronym: NASCAR. I just saw an interview with Tony Stewart on Dan Patrick's Audience Network show. He was asked "What p*sses you off?" and after the "How long do we have?" response, he said, as the show was taped in LA - "Anyone that drives a Prius", I had to give a golf clap to that response.

6. Courtly dance: MINUET

7. Pays for a hand: ANTES. Poker. Ante up, people.

8. Middle name adopted by John Lennon: ONO

9. Mexicali mansion: HACIENDA

10. "Just you watch me": I CAN SO. Hopefully not ending in tears.

11. Steps up a ladder: RUNGS

12. Poetry Muse: ERATO

13. Place for a makeover: SALON

18. Sorts: ILKS

22. Icy forecast: SLEET

23. Change for a 50: TENS

24. "Heidi" setting: ALPS

25. Armadillo meal: ANTS

26. When repeated, fish on a menu: MAHI

27. Tresses: HAIR

30. Dim __: traditional Chinese food: SUM. I think we had a discussion about this a couple of weeks ago. The last time we were in the UK, we found a dim sum restaurant with a completely gluten-free menu, to the delight of my friend who can't eat wheat. It was worth every bite.

31. Spot on a sweater?: BEAD

32. Peace Prize city: OSLO

33. Minute matter: ATOM

35. Gross quality: ICKINESS

36. Stand out: SHINE

37. Freud contemporary: JUNG

38. If so: THEN

42. Schusser's topper: SKI HAT "Schuss" is the downhill ski tuck position, not turns, just get down as fast as you can.

43. They're usually not hits: B-SIDES. I think the Beatles might argue this, some of their b-sides were more successful than the "A"'s. Here's an example! 

44. Columnist's page: OP-ED

45. Overnight flight: RED-EYE. I've experienced plenty of these, absolutely horrible, I refuse to fly red-eyes as much as possible

46. Saudi Arabia's neighbor: QATAR

47. Of practical value: UTILE. I Like this word, and resolve to use it more often.

48. Voices against: ANTIS

49. Vibrant: ALIVE

52. Italian peak: ETNA

53. McNally's mapmaking partner: RAND. Did you know that Mason and Dixon, who plotted the line, were both British? One was a mapmaker, the other an astronomer.

54. Geometric reference line: AXIS

56. __ fever: HAY

57. Scraggly horse: NAG

I think that might be it from me today. Under a time-crunch, so maybe not a lot of color today, for which my apologies. However, here's the grid with some theme-color to make up for it.


Jun 27, 2019

Thursday, June 27th 2019 Bruce Haight

Theme: Corporate Takeover - the theme entries are clued punningly as commercial operations:

16A. Place to get gifts?: PRESENT COMPANY. "Present company" seems tied to the word "excepted" in my mind. Anyone else?

24A. Place to get fireplace equipment?: POKER DEALER. Disney's "Toy Story 4" is in theaters shortly and apparently features the poker-playing dogs from the movie "Up".

35A. Place to get movie actors?: EXTRA FIRM. Food! As in extra firm tofu, I use it for my pad thai noodles.

49A. Place to get laundry detergent?: ALL BUSINESS. I rarely see ALL on the shelves on my shopping forays. Is it exclusive to Walmart?

57A. Place to get help with estate planning?: PASSING CONCERN. A problem that keeps soccer coaches awake at night. Did anyone else think the England v. Cameroon game in the World Cup was one the most bizarre sports events you've ever witnessed? Quite strange.

And to the summary!

Enjoyable puzzle from Bruce. It was a pretty much left-to-right and top-to-bottom solve for me, I was firmly on the Haight wavelength today. I caught myself entering "PASSING COMP .." and then realized it must be something else, it was too similar to 16A and didn't make sense in the context of the theme.

All the theme entries are fresh, but the fill less so - maybe that's why there wasn't a lot holding me back. The puzzle is only the "Z" short of a pangram - I wonder if Bruce tried to find a place to slot one "Z" in there somewhere?

Let's go and look at what catches the eye:


1. "Welcome to Kauai!": ALOHA!

6. Channel bobber: BUOY. Pronounced "BOY" in the UK. Makes as much sense as "BOO-EE" here in the US.

10. Persian for "crown": TAJ

13. "Service at the Speed of Sound" fast-food chain: SONIC. I've never been in one, they're relatively scarce here in California, and we already boast the king of all burger chains - In N Out. If you've got a couple of spare minutes, check out the late, great Anthony Bourdain describing the glorious food item that is the In N Out burger.

14. Tolstoy title name: ANNA

15. Moment or way lead-in: IN A

19. Web statistic: HITS

20. Cruet contents: OIL. A cruet set always seemed so posh to me when I was a kid, something that exotic people had on their dining table. We had salt, (white) pepper and a bottle of malt vinegar.

21. "Yay me!": I RULE!

23. French friend: AMI

27. Hedy of Hollywood: LAMARR. She wan't just a pretty face - she and co-researcher and composer George Anthiel were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for their wartime work developing radio guidance systems.

29. Stick with a boat?: OAR

30. Singer DiFranco: ANI

31. Roman fountain: TREVI

32. "Rebel Yell" singer Billy: IDOL

34. Grasp, in slang: GROK. Well known around these parts referring to when you finally see the theme in a puzzle.

38. Put up with: BEAR

41. Techniques: WAYS

42. Liver spreads: PATÉS. Food! You could leave the accent out and have a collection of bald heads.

46. Prefix with catastrophe: ECO-

47. Online help page: FAQ

48. "My turn": I'M NEXT

53. Shopkeeper who by his own admission sells "surprisingly expensive" penny candy at the Kwik-E-Mart: APU. 

Customer 1: I need one twenty-nine cent stamp.
Apu: That's a dollar eighty-five.
Customer 2: I want two dollars worth of gas, please.
Apu: Four-twenty.
Martin: How much is your penny candy?

Apu: Surprisingly expensive.

54. Silent performers: MIMES

55. Oz. or lb.: AMT. I tried QTY first, but it looked a little odd.

56. "Instinct" star Cumming: ALAN. A very talented stage, film and TV actor, as well as performing in cabaret.

61. Park it, so to speak: SIT

62. Slope overlooking a loch: BRAE. Alan Cumming would know this, he's Scottish. Did you know there are five inlets named as lochs around Pearl Harbor?

63. Speak formally: ORATE

64. Pair of allies?: ELS. Nice clue. Two "L"s.

65. "G'day" addressee: MATE, followed closely by "Throw another shrimp on the barbie while I shout us all stubbies".

66. Put on the back burner: DEFER


1. It can cover a lot: ASPHALT. Another nice clue. I'm always tempted to put an extra H in there ... ASHPHALT - then it looks wrong and out it comes.

2. "Dallas" production studio: LORIMAR. I couldn't believe I didn't hesitate on this one. "Dallas" was enormously popular in the UK. The BBC caused all kinds of rumpus among the traditionalists when they announced the shooting of J.R. on the prime BBC news broadcast after the episode was aired.

3. Former: ONE-TIME

4. Sound neither an actor nor a hiker wants to hear: HISS.

5. Top fighter pilot: ACE

6. Dyeing art: BATIK

7. "I give up!": UNCLE!

8. Peace activist Yoko: ONO. Beatle fans on one or other side of the Yoko divide should enjoy this picture published today of John and Paul during the recording of "Abbey Road", taken by Paul's wife Linda. He says "... it reminds me that the idea we weren’t friends is rubbish. We were lifelong friends, our relationship was super-special." which might put paid to the notion that Yoko was instrumental in the breakup of the band.

9. Thanksgiving veggie: YAM

10. Royal topper: TIARA. Wasn't sure about the "royal" part here. Anyone can wear a tiara.

11. Ring-shaped: ANNULAR

12. Host of a "garage" show since 2014: JAY LENO

17. Jordan's Queen __: NOOR

18. Berth place: PIER

22. Composer Satie: ERIK. Here's "Gymnopédie No.1" beloved of unimaginative ad agencies all over the world.

24. __ fixe: PRIX

25. They may be pitched: ROOFS

26. Spanish surrealist: DALI

28. Say with conviction: AVER

32. Mosul native: IRAQI. I'm never quite sure about the middle east cities, I know I should be ashamed. IRANI/IRAQI  to me means "wait for the crosses".

33. Calendar square: DAY

34. FBI agent: G-MAN

36. Christmas poem contraction: 'TWAS

37. Tach nos.: RPMS. I wanted REVS, but the crosses I had already completed wouldn't let me.

38. Ray: BEAM

39. Total or partial event: ECLIPSE

40. Outlook alternative: AOL MAIL. Is this still a thing? I suppose it is. My first email address was with Compuserve, later acquired by AOL. In the early days, you couldn't choose your own email address, it was your 10-digit Compuserve account number. Mine was something like Hardly memorable.

43. One steeping in a cup: TEA LEAF

44. One-sided, in legal proceedings: EX PARTE

45. Huge surprise: STUNNER

47. Complain: FUSS

48. Analogy words: IS TO. There's a whole existential debate about analogies that I began to read and fell down the rabbit hole that is the Internet. I emerged an hour later with my head spinning with examples from linguistics, mathematics, artificial intelligence, anatomy and other areas I can't wrap my head around. I'll stick to "like" as evidenced in a Washington Post competition entry: "Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever." Wonderful.

50. Conquers: BESTS

51. Pester: NAG AT

52. One sporting a mic: EMCEE

56. "Back forty" unit: ACRE

58. Tech giant that sold its PC division to Lenovo: IBM. Lenovo have done a pretty good job with the tech acquisition. My last three work laptops have all been Lenovos. My personal laptop is a Chromebook, to the chagrin of my techie chums. I love it (I'm writing this blog on it as we speak).  I've not found anything I can't do on this that I did on the PC.

59. New Deal agcy.: N.R.A. The National Recovery Administration.

60. Drift (off): NOD

Well, the puzzle didn't make me nod off, so huzzah! for that. Here's the grid, "one Z short of the pangram." Do you have any expressions for someone not "quite there"? The British have "One sandwich short of a picnic", the Australians "two bricks short of a full load" (or "he's got kangaroos loose in the top paddock" which has to be my all-time favorite, but not quite fitting this theme).

OK, as you were, back to business. Here's the grid.


Jun 20, 2019

Thursday, June 20th 2019 Peter A. Collins

Theme: Seasonal Scrambles - each theme entry has a scramble of one of the seasons hidden in it, as the reveal explains:

59A. What happens tomorrow ... and a hint to this grid's circled letters: CHANGE OF SEASONS. We move from spring to summer on Friday.

17A. Brief CV: SHORT FORM RESUMÉ. Summer.

24A. Make music with one's mouth closed: HUM A TUNE. Autumn.

36A Dessert potables : PORT WINES. Winter.

52A. Some facial decor: LIP RINGS. Spring.

Cool theme, I like how the seasons follow each other rather than just appear randomly. My daughter has a LIP RING which I was rather startled by the first time I saw it, but it's grown on me. PORT WINE is my favorite go-to with the cheese plate after dinner. SHORT-FORM RESUMÉ I'm not so sure about, but I did like the overall challenge here. Solid crosses for a lot of proper names. I wonder if Peter suggested to Rich when to run this puzzle and changed the reveal clue accordingly.


1. Hogwarts professor played by Rickman: SNAPE

6. Monk style: BEBOP. Nice misdirection. I was trying to think of another word for "tonsure" when I saw the light. Thelonious Monk.

11. "It's __-win situation": A NO

14. Groovier part of a 45?: SIDE A. How many grooves are there on a standard 45? Two, one on each side.

15. Achille __: hijacked liner: LAURO

16. Baseball commentator Darling: RON. New to me. Crosses solved it for me.

20. Ristorante rice dish: RISOTTO. I can just hear Gordon Ramsay say "Two Wellingtons, one spaghetti and one perfect risotto".

21. Votin' no on: AGIN

22. The geographic center of the 48 states is in it: KANSAS. I need to look this up. I'd like to know exactly where. In the UK, it's somewhere in Leicestershire, I think, 70 miles from the sea. For a reasonably large country, 70 miles from getting wet is not a long way away.

27. Decide that one will: ELECT TO

29. Cargo unit: TON

30. Spanish article: LAS

31. __ deck: cruise ship feature: LIDO. There's a Lido pool in Paris on the Seine. I've swum in it. Not sure that was the best idea I've ever had.

32. System starter?: ECO

34. "Paper Moon" pair: O'NEALS. Ryan and daughter Tatum.

39. Quarterly Nielsen ratings periods: SWEEPS. The sweeps are getting less important. Nielsen survey a week's worth of watching broadcast TV every quarter to set the price of advertising for the next three months on any given show. The problem is - cable. Nielsen don't survey cable, so if you are watching ESPN or HBO you don't count. Have you been watching the World Cup? Fantastic soccer.

42. Wind up: END

43. Free of charge: COMP

47. Ranch nickname: TEX

48. French pronoun: TOI. The 

50. They may hold rosés: CARAFES. I hope you spotted the E-ecute in the clue. I missed it at first, and was off on the VASE trail, Then I looked again.

55. Katmandu native: NEPALI

56. Hard to watch: UGLY

57. Indentations: NOTCHES
. I
64. "Lord, is __?": IT I

65. Under-the-sink fitting: P-TRAP

66. Get ready to refinish: STRIP

67. Writer Rand: AYN. We've had Ayn Rand and Anne Rice today. Completely different writers, but I've enjoyed reading both of their work. I think "Interview with the Vampire" was one of the most stunning novels I've ever read.

68. Some globe users: SEERS

69. With great passion: HOTLY


1. Old conscription agcy.: S.S.S.

2. Bethesda-based medical org.: N.I.H. I had to look this one up after I solved the puzzle, I think this might be a tad obscure?

3. Gussied up: ADORNED

4. Sub need: PERISCOPE. Hard to steerwithout one. You tend to bump into things.

5. Preoccupies a lot: EATS AT

6. Moral flaw: BLOT

7. Terra firma: EARTH

8. Disappoint, in slang: BUM OUT

9. 1967 NHL Rookie of the Year: ORR. One of the most famous photo in sports is Bobby Orr scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal being tripped while celebrating the win. It is quite wonderful.

10. "The Tell-Tale Heart" writer: POE

11. Salad green: ARUGULA. Called "Rocket" in England, if you ever get a menu and wonder.

12. Insignificant: NOMINAL

13. Zen harmony: ONENESS. There's a spooky commercial running now about ginger beer and oneness, not sure if I like it.

18. Boy who may be adopted: FOSTER SON

19. Took a load off: SAT

22. Kenan's Nickelodeon pal: KEL. Completely clueless about this one.

23. "Green Book" Oscar winner Mahershala __: ALI

25. Van Morrison hit with the line "A fantabulous night to make romance": MOONDANCE. Let's hear from Van the Man.

26. Writer Rice: ANNE

28. Thanksgiving mo. in Canada: OCT. I have a Canadian friend here in LA who hosts a Thanksgiving Dinner in October. It's great, we get to eat turkey twice in two months. I cook turkey at Easter too - it's not particularly traditional, but our family always had an Easter turkey.

33. Fall behind: OWE

35. Reaches after getting away, as a safe haven: ESCAPES TO

37. __-FREE: contact lens solution: OPTI. Thank you crosses, no clue.

38. Forbes rival: INC Well good luck to INC's circulation numbers. Never heard of you.

39. Lesser Antilles isl. country: ST. LUCIA. A beautiful spot in the Caribbean.

40. Ponderous: WEIGHTY
41. Clarify: EXPLAIN. I used to work with a guy who would say "Let me 'splain you". it got to be quite a joke.

44. Qualifying phrase: OF A SORT

45. "Hacksaw Ridge" director Gibson: MEL

46. Tire letters: PSI. I think my tires are 32/24 on the front and back,

49. Brush aside: IGNORE

51. Go over again: REHASH. Usually no point. Accept and move on.

53. Rembrandt van __: RYN. Why do I always want to fill in RJN?

54. As of yet: SO FAR

58. Cookbook amts.: TSPS. I messed up yesterday smoking chicken. The cookbook called for 1 tbsp on wood chips, I decided more is better, and used two. Bad idea. All you can taste is smoke.

60. Modern rte. finder: G.P.S. Not Google Maps? I use my Garmin GPS sailing, but on-the-road navigation is firmly in the hands of Google.

61. Tour de France time: ÉTÉ I love the TV coverage of the Tour de France. This year will be bittersweet as Paul Sherwen, one of the the co-commentators and one of the voices of the Tour passed away this year from heart failure at the young age of 62. I was shocked when I heard the news.

62. Zilch: NIL

63. Make like a mole: SPY

And the grid:


Jun 13, 2019

Thursday, June 13th 2019 C.C. Burnikel

Theme: Fore! I mean Four! Four kinds of golf clubs hidden in the theme entries:

16A. Data-entering devices: INPUT TERMINALS. We called 'em data entry terminals back in the day. The putter is the first club we find in the theme. It's interesting that the clubs go from green-to-tee in theme order.

24A. Like bread knives: SAW-EDGED. It's acceptable to use one for carving ham too. We have some odd conventions. The wedge is the next club. I'm not sure the origin of the term, but surreptitiously using your foot to play the ball is known as using a "Texas wedge".

34A. August Wilhelmj's arrangement of a movement from Bach's "Orchestral Suite No. 3": AIR ON THE G STRING. Beloved by producers of commercials everywhere. Here's a nice recording. The iron is the penultimate club.

48A. Part of the Texas/Oklahoma border: RED RIVER. I know this from the college football match between Oklahoma and Texas - it's known as the Red River Rivalry. The final theme club is the driver.

And the reveal:

56A. Layered lunch orders ... or a hint to 16-, 24-, 34- and 48-Across: CLUB SANDWICHES. So we look for clubs sandwiched in the theme entries, which brings me to ...

... RED RIVER mildly breaks the rules, as DRIVER comes at the end of the entry. I'm going to give C.C. a pass on this one and call it an open-faced sandwich. How's that?

Timely theme this one, the U.S.Open championship begins today. I was in Las Vegas last week and put a couple of for-fun bets on Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas at 5/1 and 20/1 respectively.


1. Story trajectories: ARCS. Here's a classic example:

Episodic television is interesting, especially if there are multiple seasons. A well-written series has one overarching story arc, each season an arc of its own, and each episode a mini-arc.

5. Wild pig: BOAR

9. Pulitzer columnist Maureen: DOWD

13. Winter expense: HEAT

14. Soothing botanical: ALOE

15. Great Lake bordering four states: ERIE. Pop quiz - which four states?*

19. Brouhahas: TO DOS

20. Semi unit: TON

21. Document to protect confidential info: Abbr.: N.D.A. Non-Disclosure Agreement. I've signed a ton of these in my career.

22. "Really?": THAT SO?

26. Sinful habit: VICE

27. Chin-up targets, for short: LATS

29. Brontë heroine: EYRE. Governess Jane. We studied the novel in literature class at school for our matriculation exams. I don't remember a thing about it.

30. Creative writing deg.: M.F.A. Master of Fine Arts.

31. [I'm shocked!]: GASP!

32. Dim sum go-with: TEA. I love the jasmine tea that comes automatically with dim sum. I love the whole experience. I went for dim sum the first time I was in Hong Kong and was disconcerted to find that there were no carts, and the menu was all in Cantonese. Pointing and sign language got the job done.

40. Scheduled to arrive: DUE

41. "Really": TRUE

42. Pigeon sound: COO

43. Prefix meaning "god": THEO- A learning moment, I didn't know this.

46. Einsteinhaus locale: BERN. He was a patent clerk in Switzerland and this became the most productive years of his career. He was so fast and efficient at his day job, it left him plenty of time to ponder his physics and formulate his theories.

47. Zebra's mother: MARE

51. Concert venues: ARENAS

53. "__ the Walrus": I AM

54. Peeples of "Pretty Little Liars": NIA

55. Horse-and-buggy group: AMISH

60. Sicily's tallest mountain: ETNA. I think of it as Sicily's only mountain, but there are a few.

61. Word with fishing or party: LINE

62. Con's room: CELL

63. Many profs: PHD'S

64. Usually choppy expanses: SEAS. The Mediterranean is usually pretty placid. Yachts tend to avoid the South China Sea if at all possible.

65. Guessing game: I SPY


1. Tuna at sushi bars: AHI. Food! Can come from either bigeye or yellowfin. It's commonly used in Hawai'i for poke. My favorite sushi is toro, specifically o-toro, which comes from the belly of the bluefin.

2. Enterprise enterprise: RENT-A-CAR. Nice clue.

3. "Breakfast at Tiffany's" author: CAPOTE. 

4. Virile dudes: STUDS

5. Night fliers: BATS

6. "Bravo!": OLÉ!

7. Main arteries: AORTAS

8. Do more lawn work: RE-MOW

9. Scout group: DEN

10. Like a bad spray tan: ORANGY. Check out fashion mogul Valentino next to Anne Hathaway. He needs to have a word with himself.

11. Not as tame: WILDER

12. Marquis of note: DE SADE. I'm not sure if I could name another French Marquis. I can recall a few British ones.

17. "You missed it": TOO LATE

18. Suffix with elephant: -INE

22. "Homeland" rating: TV MA. TV, Mature Audience.

23. Old audio system: HI-FI. I remember when I got my first hi-fi, I was hearing things on my records that I'd never heard before.

24. Pearly gates greeter: ST. PETER

25. Sweetie: DEAR

28. Cigar remnants: ASH

31. Serengeti antelope: GNU

32. Word on an "evacuation route" sign: TSUNAMI

33. Sorbonne summer: ÉTÉ. There won't be many students at the Sorbonne, they'll be on summer break.

35. Trash barge emanation: ODOR

36. Boxer's warning: GRR ...

37. "Let me give you a hand": I CAN HELP

38. Screenwriter Ephron: NORA.

“When I buy a new book, I always read the last page first, that way in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends. That, my friend, is a dark side.” 

When Harry Met Sally

39. "Here __ nothing": GOES

43. __ dips: upper-arm workout: TRICEP. Lats and triceps today. I feel guilty, I should go and work out.

44. Toast topic: HEALTH

45. Mountaineer Hillary: EDMUND. He would have been horrified by the commercialization of Everest.

46. Head-hugging brimless cap: BEANIE

47. Blends well: MESHES

49. Seat winners: INS. I was almost Natick'ed with the "N" here. I just couldn't see "INS" and couldn't recall "NIA".

50. Lab containers: VIALS

52. "Now and Then" actress: RICCI. Here's Christina, "then and now":

55. Bowls over: AWES

57. __-relief: BAS

58. Genetic letters: DNA

59. Underhanded: SLY

*Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Ontario is the province to the north.

I'm off to watch some golf, and some Women's World Cup soccer. Here's the grid!


Jun 6, 2019

Thursday June 6th 2019 Stu Ockman

Theme Unoften Opposites - all the theme entries are unusual antonyms:

22A. Rarely used antonym of harmless: NOCUOUS. Innocuous. These fine gentlemen make up the metal band Nocuous. I'll check 'em out on YouTube and report back.

33A. Rarely used antonym of disheveled: KEMPT. Unkempt.

39A. Rarely used antonym of unidentified: ONYMOUS. Anonymous.

46A. Rarely used antonym of crude: COUTH. Uncouth.

57A. Rarely used antonym of cruel: RUTHFUL. Ruthless.

5D. Rarely used antonym of bumbling: GAINLY. Ungainly.

50D. Rarely used antonym of friendliness: COOLTH. Warmth.

What a great idea this puzzle is. I had a lot of fun figuring out the unknowns in the theme entries, new to me were NOCUOUS, ONYMOUS, RUTHFUL, GAINLY and COOLTH. Oddly enough, as I'm typing this, Google has highlighted all the theme entries as "unknown" to its spell-checker. They might like to have a chat to Webster's and the OED and see if they can use their word lists.

With the theme entries not being the longest in the grid, and no asterisks or reveal, then it's the common cluing that sets you on the rights track of what to look for.

Having enjoyed the antonyms, let's see what else we've got to talk about:


1. Fourth of eight: MARS. The Planets. Let's have some background music courtesy of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and "Mars" from "The Planet Suite" by Gustav Holst.

5. Classic Pontiacs: GTO'S

9. "Shrek" ogress: FIONA. I've never figured out why Shrek has a Scottish accent.

14. Colorado-based sports org.: U.S.O.C. The United States Olympic Committee.

15. Boomers' lobbying group: AARP

16. Equally hot: AS MAD

17. Ousted Iranian: SHAH. The last incumbent of "The Peacock Throne".

18. Flat-package furniture retailer: IKEA. Put it together, realize you've got one piece upside-down or back-to-front and take it all apart and start over.

19. Me.-to-Fla. highway: US ONE

20. Greek: HELLENE. From whence "hellenic".

24. Serve as a foundation for: UNDERLIE

26. Text titter: HEE

27. Grab the tab: PAY. 

28. Quick, speculative stock transaction: DAY  TRADE

36. Jorge's hand: MANO

37. Nae sayer: SCOT. We've seen this clue before, but it still makes me smile.

38. Mets' div.: NLE. MLB's National League East.

42. Inc. cousin: LLC. Incorporated, and Limited Liability Company.

43. Bullring bravos: OLÉS

45. Time line units: ERAS

48. Entrée topped with pineapple rings: BAKED HAM. Yeek! That's a throwback.

50. Tuna holder: CAN

51. Fizzy prefix: AER-ated.

52. Sticker on organic produce: ECO-LABEL. Voluntary labeling. Green Stickers, for example on appliances, are compulsory.

61. American Girl product: TOY DOLL

62. Very, in music: ASSAI. "Allegro Assai" - "Get your skates on, we've got to finish this song before we get booed off the stage".

63. British peer: EARL

65. Rossini's "Largo al factotum," e.g.: ARIA. I can see the Aria hotel from my window, I'm in Las Vegas. C.C. has a couple of pictures of her in front of the hotel. There are some fantastic restaurants inside.

66. Blown away: IN AWE

67. Pinch at the table: SALT

68. Space: ROOM

69. Small songbirds: LARKS

70. Dash gadget: TACH. I've got one on my dashboard, but I don't pay any attention to it. I did when I drove a stick-shift, but now it's just there for fun, my car makes all the decisions on when to change gear.

71. "¿Cómo __ usted?": ESTÁ. The formal or respectful way to ask "Yo, wassup?"


1. __ pork: Asian dish: MU SHU. Food!

2. Pale with fright: ASHEN

3. Wonka creator Dahl: ROALD

4. Drag: SCHLEPP

6. "Star Trek" actor: TAKEI

7. Vein glory?: ORE. Nice clue.

8. Life time: SPAN. Another nice clue, some fun ones today.

9. Tap: FAUCET. Ah, a nice reminder of me British roots, fank you, Guv'ner.

10. Publishers, e.g.: ISSUERS

11. Melville novel: OMOO

12. Half an Orkan farewell: NANU. Robin Williams' great entrance onto the grand stage. "I am Mork, from Ork; I come in peace - Nanu Nanu". I think it's like "aloha" - it's both hello and goodbye.

13. Fruity drinks: ADES

21. Poet's muse: ERATO. I know this, but I went with ERATA for no good reason. The perp eventually corrected my mistake.

23. "Such a tease!": OH YOU! This always reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when he forgets his new date's name. He resorts to "Oh, you!".

25. Sushi bar finger food: EDAMAME. Food! My local sushi bar serves them with sea salt and togarashi. Yum.

29. Years in España: AÑOS

30. Gp. with a "Know Your Rights" web page: ACLU

31. Simpleton: DOLT

32. Sharply outline: ETCH

33. Gearshift topper: KNOB

34. Scat legend Fitzgerald: ELLA

35. Submissive: MEEK

36. Vidal's Breckinridge: MYRA

40. India's first prime minister: NEHRU

41. Like the skin of most fish: SCALY. I looked up the list of scale-less fish, out of interest. There's some pretty scary ones in that community.

44. Seattle NFLer: SEAHAWK

47. How some risks are taken: ON A DARE. Usually very stupid ones, uploaded to YouTube.

49. Goes against: DEFIES

53. PC key combo for "copy": CTRL-C

54. New York City divisions, informally: BOROS. I surprised myself that I didn't hesitate over this one.

55. "The Waste Land" poet: ELIOT

56. Peruvian grazer: LLAMA

57. Amtrak track: RAIL

58. Annapolis inst.: U.S.N.A. United States Naval Academy, natch.

59. Ruler until 1917: TSAR

60. "__ we forget": LEST. Lest us not forget on this "Day of Days" - the 75th anniversary of the Normandy landings on June 6th, 1944.

64. Battery size: AAA

Update on Nocuous, the band. I listened to one of their tracks on YouTube, and discovered that their musical genre is "black metal". Per the good folks at Wikipedia:

"Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, a shrieking vocal style, heavily distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, raw recording, unconventional song structures, and an emphasis on atmosphere. Artists often appear in corpse paint and adopt pseudonyms."

Probably not the most melodious track I've ever heard, but I kinda-sorta liked it. I was the 86th hit on the post, a little short of the best-to-date 6.2 billion views of "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi. I'm sure they'll catch up eventually.

Here's the grid, and I'll get my coat.


Notes from C.C..:

Here are three pictures of Melissa's granddaughters Harper and Jaelyn and their parents. So beautiful!

May 30, 2019

Thursday, May 30th 2019 Ross Trudeau

Theme: Anagrams - the reveal explains what we're looking for - three "diapers" anagrams in the theme entries:

52A. New father's task, maybe ... and what the three other longest puzzle answers have in common?: CHANGING DIAPERS

And so we find:

17A. Dreamed of a career in politics: ASPIRED TO OFFICE. The alternative spelling of the past tense of "dream" is "dreamt", which occupies a singular place in the English language. Anyone know what's unique about the word?

26A. Took part in a revival: PRAISED THE LORD. And passed the ammunition, if you were Chaplain Forgy on the U.S.S New Orleans during the Pearl Harbor attacks in 1942.

42A. "We can't win!" and "It's useless!": CRIES OF DESPAIR. Accompanied by wailing and gnashing of teeth. Which brings me to the question of the day - what does a teeth-gnashing look like? The expression is so familiar that I never stopped to think about it before.

Fun puzzle from Ross today, it was a pretty straightforward solve even though there were quite a few unknowns for me, the crosses were all solid. By the time I'd worked my way down to the reveal, the theme entries were all complete, so it was just a case of admiring the elegant anagrams.

None of the theme entries have appeared in the major puzzles before, which is neat. There's one other "unique" word in the puzzle, we'll get to that later. Let's see what's what in the fill:


1. Hairy swinger: APE

4. Blue semiprecious stone: AZURITE. New to me. Pretty color:

11. Vainglory: EGO

14. "Blue Bloods" actor Selleck: TOM

15. Joint Chiefs member: GENERAL. There are six generals and an admiral on the current Joint Chiefs of Staff.

16. Bubbly title: DOM. Dom Pérignon, produced by the champagne house Moët & Chandon and named for a Benedictine monk who introduced a number of wine-making techniques and methods in the 1600's.

20. Mythical hunter: DIANA

21. Considerable stretches: EONS

22. Thames academy: ETON. Posh school across the river from Windsor Castle. You'd think the Queen would have sent her boys there as it's about five minutes walk from the castle, but she and Phil the Greek packed them off to a school in the north of Scotland.

23. Old Opry network: TNN. The Nashville Network, later The National Network.

24. Nice picnic spot?: PARC. The city of Nice, France.

25. Burn soothers: ALOES

29. Hit one out, in baseball parlance: GO DEEP

30. Atomic number of nitrogen: SEVEN

31. TV commentator Navarro: ANA

32. Fort Collins sch.: C.S.U. Colorado State U.

34. Cone producer: FIR

35. "Amscray!": GIT!

38. Singer Lopez: TRINI. I thought this person had passed me by thus far, but when I went look her up, I discovered firstly it's a man, and secondly he recorded "If I Had a Hammer" which I know from when I was a kid.

40. Name on a "Little Women" book jacket: LOUISA. M. Alcott.

45. "Something to Talk About" singer: RAITT. Quite a few proper names in the puzzle today.

46. Low-quality: POOR

47. Mining supply: TNT

48. Subject of the documentary "Blackfish": ORCA. The film deals critically with the treatment of orcas at SeaWorld.

49. __-g: ZERO. Took a while for the penny to drop on this one.

50. Terra __: COTTA. Resisted the temptation to fill in "FIRMA".

55. Luv: HON

56. Candy bowl holder's rule on Halloween: ONE EACH

57. __ generis: SUI

58. Short albums, for short: EP'S. Extended play 45's. Usually two songs on each side. Officially, an EP has a running time of less than 25 minutes and no more than four tracks.

59. "Afterwards ... ": AND THEN

60. Word before cow, dog or lion: SEA


1. Somewhat: A TAD

2. Physics particle: POSITRON. An electron and a positron go into a bar. The positron says "It's your round". The electron asks "Are you sure"? "I'm positive" comes the reply.

3. Spanish stuffed pastry: EMPANADA. Yum!

4. Taj Mahal city: AGRA

5. Zombiepocalypse start?: ZEE. What a great word!

6. Like a zombie: UNDEAD

7. Snappy comebacks: RETORTS

8. Japanese show set in a kitchen: IRON CHEF. I loved the show. It thought it was funny when the English voice-over translator would include the "mmmm" sounds the judges were making and add the laughs "ha ha ha" too.

9. New Mexico resort: TAOS

10. Pixie: ELF

11. Publishing house hiree: EDITOR

12. Start admitting both men and women: GO CO-ED

13. Fodder for soothsayers: OMENS

18. Navel variety: INNIE. Wait for the crosses.

19. Pen denizen: FELON

24. Soft drink choices: PEPSIS

25. Last Olds models: ALEROS

26. Dustin Johnson's org.: P.G.A. Need to be careful here - DJ belongs to the PGA TOUR. The Professional Golfer's Association of America is for club professionals.

27. Confidential: SECRET

28. More wicked: EVILER

33. Still wrapped: UNOPENED

35. Garganta of "Femforce" comics, e.g.: GIANTESS. Crosses all the way.

36. "No kidding?": IS IT TRUE?

37. Road gunk: TAR

38. Saturn's largest moon: TITAN

39. "It's not coming to me": I FORGET

41. "High five!": UP TOP!

42. Drive-in server: CAR HOP. My local Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake still features car hops on weekend nights. The Friday night has a classic and custom car show in the parking lot; Jay Leno often turns up with one of his prized collection.

43. Puerto __: San Juan natives: RICANS

44. "Camptown Races" refrain syllables: DOO-DAH

45. Valium maker: ROCHE

49. "A People's History of the United States" writer Howard: ZINN. This is the other unique word in the puzzle, which I find surprising. I'd not heard of the author before, so thank you, crosses.

50. "High Hopes" lyricist: CAHN

51. China setting: ASIA

53. Small Indian state: GOA

54. Puck's place: ICE. Topical as the Stanley Cup Finals are underway.

If you're still wondering about "dreamt", it's the only word in the English language which ends "amt".

That should do it for me. Here's the grid!


May 23, 2019

Thursday May 23rd 2019 Joe Schewe

Theme: Scramble  - as the nicely-placed reveal tells us:

60A. Simple salad ... and what the starts of the five other longest answers are?: MIXED GREENS. I like it when the reveal is placed towards the bottom of the puzzle, it gives you a chance to figure out the theme before you get to it. This time, it was key to me going back and unlocking some of the theme entries, SEGA and VOILE in this case.

17A. U.S. gaming release of 1989: SEGA GENESIS. Sage green. I'd never heard of the console, mainly because it was marketed as the Mega Drive in Europe.

24A. Chiffon-like materials: VOILE FABRICS. Olive green. Often used for sheer window drapes.

33A. Future first lady wed in 1842: MARY TODD Army green. Crosses all the way here. Mary Todd before she married Abraham Lincoln. She had a tough life, not only did she witness her husband being assassinated, but out of four children only one outlived her.

41A. Foam toy: NERF BALL Fern green. The brand is now owned by Hasbro, and annual Nerf sales are estimated at more than $400 million. Enthusiasts claim that the name is an acronym for "non-expanding recreational foam".

49A Rocky Mountains nickname: MILE HIGH CITY Lime green. Denver, home to Denver International Airport terminal which is more than half a mile long, and I always seem to arrive at Gate 95 and have to walk the 0.66 miles to Gate 17 for my LAX connection. (Gate 17 is the first gate in Terminal B, for reasons unknown to me).

Joe returns for what I think is his fourth LAT appearance. Straightforward theme once you tumble to the gimmick, some of the theme entries were obtuse enough that I needed the reveal, as I mentioned above. Let's see what else catches the eye:


1. Analyze critically: PARSE

6. Counting gadgets: ABACI. "Counting" seems a little simplistic for what you can do with an abacus.

11. Business address abbr.: STE. Suite.

14. Michener novel with astronauts: SPACE. Never heard of the book, crosses all the way.

15. Answer an insult with an insult, say: REACT

16. Short flight: HOP. The shortest commercial flights I have taken were between LAX and Carlsbad, about 80 miles as the crow flies. You'd think it would be better to drive, but the traffic between LA and San Diego is so unpredictable I'd have kept missing meetings. The airport is so tiny that almost everybody waits in a bar called "The Landings" about 20 feet from the terminal until they open security, usually about ten minutes before the flight is scheduled to depart. The planes that land there aren't exactly big:

19. It often follows you: ARE. I am, you are, he/she/it is.

20. Ivan or Nicholas: TSAR

21. Actor Chaney: LON

22. Windy home, probably: AERIE. Nice cluing.

28. Left the country?: SECEDED. Another nice clue. Some inventive stuff today.

31. Piccadilly Circus statue: EROS. Except it's not. The statue is commonly referred to as Eros, but actually it depicts his brother, Anteros. The statue is a memorial to the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, and Anteros, "the God of selfless love" symbolizes the Earl's philanthropy and his efforts to replace child labor with school education. It's a total waste of time trying to tell people this, however, but I still like to try.

32. Plain text: PROSE

37. It's all around us: AIR. Depends on whether you happen to be on dry land or not.

38. Hangs on a line?: WAITS. Seems a good excuse to revisit this Blondie hit from 1978.

40. Word from a bull: BUY

44. Line to the audience: ASIDE

46. Took the bus: RODE

47. Becomes a burden: IMPOSES

53. Give a speech: ORATE

54. Longing: YEN

55. Cheese with an edible rind: BRIE. Pretty much all cheese rinds are edible, except those made from wax or other such stuff. I always eat the rind.

59. Beans or baloney: ROT. Beans? I didn't see this until now, the crosses filled it in for me. I'd not heard of the synonym "beans" before. Webster's list about 60 synonyms for "baloney".

64. Aardvark snack: ANT

65. European woman's name meaning "peace": IRENA. Common in Russia and Poland, hence the "European" part of the clue.

66. Safe places?: BANKS

67. Caustic chemical: LYE

68. State of northeast India: ASSAM. Famous for its tea - strong and favorful. I usually blend it in with some Earl Grey for the bergamot flavor.

69. Temporarily unavailable: IN USE


1. "Hey!": PSST!

2. Gibbons, e.g.: APES

3. Music featuring sitars: RAGA

4. Often colorful accessories: SCARVES

5. Neurologist's printout, briefly: EEG. I always get mixed up with EKG. This instance was no exception - SPACE fixed my error, SPACK didn't look quite right.

6. "Dover Beach" poet: ARNOLD.
The sea is calm tonight. 
The tide is full, the moon lies fair 
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light 
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, 
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. 

That's a cross-channel ferry in the background of this picture. The Dover-Calais crossing is the shortest of the routes across the English Channel.

7. __ Bag: eponymous '70s designer label: BEENE. Geoffrey Beene created the brand in 1974 as a low-cost alternative to his haute couture offerings.

8. Remote batteries: AAS. Not always, one of my TV remotes uses AAA batteries.

9. Third-century date: CCI. 201 A.D.

10. Delivery announcement: IT'S A BOY!

11. Puppeteer Lewis: SHARI

12. Tire-shaped: TORIC. I tried OVOID at first, which didn't really make a ton of sense.

13. They're heavier than foils: EPÉES. In Olympic fencing, the foil's target is limited to the torso. In the epée competition, you can hit your opponent anywhere, including the head and feet, recreating the fighting capabilities of the weapons in actual combat.

18. Nobelist Wiesel: ELIE. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

23. Once, old-style: ERST

25. Poem of homage: ODE

26. Skillful deed: FEAT

27. SFO postings: ARRS. Arrivals at San Francisco International airport.

28. Time period: SPAN

29. Buffalo's county: ERIE

30. Irish pop group family name: CORR. I haven't heard much from this musical family recently. Four siblings, here's one of their singles from 2009.

33. End of a corporal's URL: MIL. Reserved for the U.S. Department of Defense.

34. Sapporo sashes: OBIS. The city, not the beer.

35. "Seriously, man!": DUDE!

36. Adds highlights to, perhaps: DYES

38. Arabian arroyo: WADI. I learned this from my Dad, who was posted to North Africa during WWII. He was a gunner in the Royal Artillery, but transferred to the Medical Corps when he discovered he would earn an extra sixpence a week.

39. Words after shake or break: A LEG

42. Worry: FRET

43. Czech Republic region: BOHEMIA. Leading moment for me. I always assumed, for no good reason, that it was somewhere in Germany.

44. Likely: APT

45. Nutrient-rich legume: SOYBEAN

47. Winter eave buildup: ICE DAM. I'd never heard of this before. Here's an example:

48. "Merciless" Flash Gordon foe: MING. Thank you, crosses. No clue.

49. Story lesson: MORAL

50. Device common on "Seinfeld": IRONY. Don't talk to Alanis Morissette about this. She was teased mercilessly that all the situations she described in her song "Ironic" were not, actually, ironic.

51. Starbucks order: LATTE

52. Spotted African predator: HYENA

56. OPTI-FREE rival: RENU. Contact lens cleaners. I don't have contacts, so I'd not heard of either of them.

57. Contents of many cartridges: INKS

58. To be, to Brutus: ESSE

61. Apr. addressee: I.R.S. Nice clue, I enjoyed this one. See how you can get cunning with what seems to be simple fill?

62. Crosses (out): X'ES

63. Slugger's stat: RBI. No explanation needed? Runs Batted In in baseball.

And with that, I think I'm done, save for posting the grid.


May 16, 2019

Thursday, May 16th 2019 Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: The Modern Prometheus - all the theme entries refer to the alternative title of this novel:

17A. Classic 1818 novel: FRANKENSTEIN. Here's the cover of the first edition:

20A. Unnamed character in 17-Across: THE MONSTER. "It" is known by number of names in the novel, none of them particularly flattering, including "It".

35A. Author of 17-Across: MARY SHELLEY. She wrote the novel when she was 18, she was 20 when it was published. Her, her husband Percy and Lord Byron had a competition to see who could come up with the best horror story.

47A. 1974 portrayer of 17-Across: GENE WILDER. Here's the classic moment from the movie when Wilder meets Marty Feldman's Igor for the first time.

53A. 1931 portrayer of 20-Across: BORIS KARLOFF. A little before my time, but surely everyone has seen Karloff's performance in this classic movie.

So, a nice challenge from Jeffrey, I didn't really get a toe-hold until the SW corner, then it was a question of working across and back up. The Karloff theme entry was my first, then it was just a question of fitting the pieces of the puzzle into place.

There's a lot of fresh fill in the puzzle too. SEED HEADS in the center of the downs was impressive as it crosses all five theme entries. Let's check out the rest.


1. Expert in Islamic law: MUFTI. A learning moment. I knew the word as a military term for civilian clothes but not the Islamic connection.

6. Classroom tools: RULERS

12. Nation partly in the Arctic Circle: FINLAND. Brrr. Not a whole lot of daylight in winter, either.

14. Left: GONE OUT

15. "I didn't lie!": IT WAS SO!

16. Select, as a jury: EMPANEL. I'm not sure I knew this. Crosses filled in a lot of it for me.

19. Otoscope target: EAR. I learned "oto-" from this photograph of David Niven in his book "The Moon's A Balloon". The caption read "Cupid developed otosis as a result" which sent me scurrying for the dictionary.

24. In a calculating way: SLYLY. Just pipped by "rhythm" as one of the longest words with no vowels.

27. Antipoverty agcy.: O.E.O. The Office of Economic Opportunity. Established by Lyndon Johnson to manage his War on Poverty programs. It was abolished in 1981.

28. Actor Stephen: REA. I had him as RAE first which slowed things down a tad.

29. Prefix with plus: SUR. Surplus.

31. Reduce in status: DRAG DOWN

37. Slapstick reaction: SPIT TAKE. Never heard of this term before either. One of these:

39. Borrow, but not really: BUM. "Not really" because you'e not going to give it back, as in "bum a smoke".

40. "__ you serious?": ARE

41. Talk and talk: YAP

43. Namely: TO WIT

52. "__ scale of 1 to 10 ... ": ON A. Fill it in and move on.

56. King in 1 Kings: SOLOMON

59. Shoulder piece: EPAULET

60. Like some rural bridges: ONE LANE

61. July 4, 1776, notables: SIGNERS. I tried FATHERS first, knowing it was probably wrong. I proved myself right (wrong) eventually.

62. Green field?: BOTANY. Field of study.

63. Campus figures: DEANS


1. Kind of heart valve: MITRAL

2. Easily led astray: UNWARY

3. Rich dessert: FLAN

4. Something to do: TASK

5. Map box: INSET. Took me a while to figure this out, even though the clue is familiar enough.

6. "Did my heart love till now?" speaker: ROMEO. Yay! I actually knew this.

7. Detach, as a dress pattern: UNPIN. My mom used to make her own dresses, I witnessed lots of unpinning of patterns as a kid.

8. Isn't straight: LEANS

9. Big stretch: EON

10. Deeply regret: RUE

11. Mo. town: STL St. Louis.

12. High winds: FIFES. Nice clue. A fife is a high-pitched flute.

13. Honolulu-born singer: DON HO

14. Go back for a second helping: GET MORE

18. A dandelion's are called blowballs: SEED HEADS. We used to drive my dad nuts blowing the seed heads; as fast as he was trying to get the pissenlit out of the lawn we were just compounding the problem.

21. Fox NFL analyst Aikman: TROY. He's actually pretty good as an analyst; the Cowboys did something right, Tony Romo is a quite excellent announcer.

22. "Ick!": EEW!

23. Fled: RAN

25. Future JD's exam: LSAT

26. Mongolian tent: YURT. Now available as expensive "glamping" accomodations in Big Sur, among other places.

30. Shaggy rug from 12-Across: RYA. Remembered from crosswords past.

32. Kosovo neighbor: Abbr.: ALB. Albania, on the Balkan Peninsula.

33. Surfeit: GLUT

34. How-to presentation: DEMO. I've demoed a lot of software in my time. One of the more enjoyable parts of my work day.

35. Bearing: MIEN

36. Prominent New York City feature: SKYLINE. The most impressive skyline I've seen is Hong Kong island overlooking the harbor, especially at night when all the buildings are lit up in neon.

37. Give a little: SAG

38. Not post-: PRE-

42. Short dogs, for short: PEKES

44. Like some scarves: WOOLEN. This gave me pause for quite some time. I've always spelled it with two "L"s.

45. Works out: INFERS

46. Last family to keep a White House cow: TAFTS. Two cows actually, Wooly Mooly and Pauline Wayne. There's that single "L" again in "Wooly".

48. Dangerous virus: EBOLA

49. Lennon love song: WOMAN. Written for Yoko, as 57D cross-references.

50. Twist: IRONY

51. Fleet: RAPID

54. Heated state: RAGE

55. Large green moth: LUNA. Quite impressive-looking things. I don't think I've ever seen one.

56. One may be choked back: SOB

57. Dedicatee of 49-Down: ONO

58. __ alone: not to mention: LET

And with that, I'm on my way. Have a great day!


May 9, 2019

Thursday, May 9th 2019 Roland Huget

Theme: North/South Divide - The theme entries separate the poles, as the reveal succinctly explains:

58A. In complete opposition ... and a feature of the four other longest answers: POLES APART. Or a Warsaw couple when one of them is away on a trip?

And the themers:

17A. *Finds flaws (in): PICKS HOLES, usually as relates to someone's argument. Polemicists are adept at this.

21A. *Casino fixtures where blinds might be used: POKER TABLES. This one might need some explanation. In some poker games, famously Texas Hold 'Em, after a new hand is dealt there are two "forced" bets to get the action started, the "small blind" and the "big blind". Two players must bet, irrespective of what their cards look like. The blinds rotate around the table as each hand is dealt. The amounts of the blinds are posted at each table so you know what you're getting into before you sit down, e.g. "$5/$10".

36A. *They make nuts healthy: POLYUNSATURATES. The "good" fats found in nuts, fish and other foodstuffs.

50A. *Skilled debaters: POLEMICISTS. Word of the week for me. Excellent.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable solve. It took me just over half an hour which is quite a bit longer than I'm used to on a Thursday. I didn't see the theme until the reveal, and that let me go back to 17A and fill in a lot of gaps in the Northwest. And some great words - polyunsaturates, polemicists, some long entries in the downs and I don't recall any clunk in the fill.

Great job from Roland. Let's take the Grand Tour.


1. Award named for a goddess: CLIO. Advertising awards. The muse was "the proclaimer, glorifier and celebrator of history, great deeds and accomplishments".

5. Put down: ABASE

10. First choice: FAVE

14. "You're __ luck": OUTA. I looked askance at this one, I'd always seen "outta" before. I acquiesced in the end.

15. __ shorts: BOXER

16. Truth stretcher: LIAR

19. "Star Wars" sentence inverter: YODA

20. Baseball bat wood: ASH. I thought it was ELM at first, but it's too heavy for modern-day bats.

23. Sign-off word: YOURS

25. River through Tours: LOIRE. Beautiful part of the world, the Loire valley.

26. Shot water?: RAPIDS

28. Rash: HASTY

31. Citation ender, briefly: ET AL. Texts with multiple authors in citations are shortened by citing the first author's name, followed by "et al".

32. Usually multilayered dessert: TORTE

33. Place to unwind: SPA

40. __ card: common phone component: SIM. A Subscriber Identity Module, if you ever wondered.

41. Closes in on: NEARS

42. Half of sechs: DREI. German, natürlich.

43. Alaskan cruise sight: FJORD

44. Iris ring: AREOLA

46. Milan's La __: SCALA

49. The Huskies of the NCAA's Big East: UCONN. The women have won 11 basketball and 5 field hockey national titles.

54. Tank contents: GAS

57. Tip: APEX

60. Wild, all-night party: RAVE

61. Tiny swimmer: AMEBA. I still can't get used to not spelling this AMOEBA.

62. Marine threat: ORCA

63. Kept in one's sights: EYED

64. Fixes: SPAYS

65. Urban bane: SMOG. Much, much better here in LA than it was when I first moved here. The worst smog I've ever experienced was last year in Delhi, when the AQI was 440 (out of possible 500); anything over 300 is categorized as "hazardous". I came down with bronchitis and tore a rib cartilage one night I was coughing so hard.


1. Historic NYC club, with "The": COPA. Crosses filled this in for me, it didn't spring to mind.

2. '60s-'70s All-Star pitcher Tiant: LUIS. Thank you, crosses. Way before my USA time.

3. Sensory omen regarding money: ITCHY PALM. Lovely clue and fill.

4. Wine barrel wood: OAK

5. Can't stand: ABHORS

6. Financial records: BOOKS

7. Roadster rod: AXLE

8. Oracle: SEER

9. Formerly, formerly: ERST. From whence "erstwhile".

10. Airman, slangily: FLYBOY

11. Pungent mayo: AIOLI. Pungent? Odd choice of adjective. Is the aroma of garlic pungent?

12. "Star Wars" heavy breather: VADER. Darth. I like how this crossed YODA. It was world Star Wars Day last Saturday "May the Fourth be with you". Makes me laugh every year.

13. Wipe out: ERASE

18. Source of fries: SPUD. Peeled, chipped and double-fried. Yum! Not OILY at all.

22. Let out, e.g.: ALTER

24. Like some fried food: OILY. Yech. No excuse for this. Usually caused by not having the oil hot enough before you start cooking, and not keeping it up to temp.

26. Gym iterations: REPS

27. French possessive: À TOI. "Yours".

28. Squirrel away: HOARD

29. Fine __: ARTS

30. "The Simpsons" disco guy: STU

32. Old Russian ruler: TSAR. Always need to wait for a T or S to decide between this and CZAR

33. Coerce: STRONG-ARM. Nice fill. A lot of quality in the fill today.

34. Thurman's role in "The Avengers" (1998): PEEL. Diana Rigg played Emma Peel in the original British TV series back in the '60s.

35. Home to K2: ASIA. The world's second tallest mountain, and most demanding and second-most dangerous to climb behind Annapurna.

37. Clear, as a copier: UNJAM. My printer has an annoying habit of reporting a paper jam when there isn't one. I still have to go through the rigmarole of "clearing" the non-jam before it'll start working again.

38. Prefix with natal: NEO-

39. Yemeni port: ADEN

43. Showed off a muscle: FLEXED

44. Fills in for: ACTS AS

45. Soprano Ponselle who debuted at the Met opposite Caruso: ROSA. Thank you, crosses.

46. Slash on a score sheet: SPARE. Bowling. Easy for the bowlers among us, less easy for me.

47. Insured patient's obligation: CO-PAY

48. Advil alternative: ALEVE

49. "Best before" cousin: USE BY

51. Hoppy brews: IPA'S

52. Freebie: COMP

53. Intestinal sections: ILEA

55. Violin music instruction: ARCO. Use the bow, as opposed to pizzicato, pluck the strings.

56. Unaccompanied: STAG. Took me a while to see this. I wanted SOLO first.

59. Bldgs. with many boxes: P.O.'S. I was trying to fit apt, condo, some other multi-dwelling building, then the Post Office penny dropped.

OK, I've run out of runway so time to post the grid and take off.