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

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!


May 3, 2018

Thursday, May 3rd 2018 Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: Dessert Mix - can't explain it better than the reveal:

59A. Ice cream features found, in a way, in this puzzle's circles: CHOCOLATE SWIRLS

Scrambled "CHOCOLATE" highlighted by the circles in the theme entries:

16A. Natural analog of sonar: BAT ECHOLOCATION. That's why they can flit around in bat caves and not smack into the walls in the dark. Truly, Nature is a wonderful thing. I walk into walls in hotels in the middle of the night going to the bathroom. I need a bat assistant.

32A. Ones who have class?: SCHOOL TEACHERS. The unsung heroes of our world. Let's have a "Buy Our Teachers Chocolate Swirl Day". BOTCWD. Aghh, need a better acronym!

36A. Old General Motors model: CHEVROLET COACH. From 1931 - I felt bad when I didn't know this, but thank you crosses! A quite lovely automobile. It looks a lot like a 30's Rolls-Royce.

This was a puzzle masterclass - thank you, Jeffrey. Wonderful theme, grid-spanners, 14's, and look at those blocks of 3x7's in the NE and SW.  Awesome.


1. Liberty __: BELL. Shoddy merchandise. Cracked on delivery. I'd have sent it back, free returns with Amazon Prime. When you order a Liberty Bell, you expect the best.

5. Troublesome types: IMPS

9. Cleaning tool: SWAB. Surgery tool too. Count 'em in, count 'em out!

13. Any number: ONE OR MORE. Is zero a number? If so, if not .... clue accuracy. Your essays are due next Thursday.

15. River through Florence: ARNO

18. Toyota RAV4, e.g.: UTE. Shorthand for "Sports Utility Vehicle".

19. The best policy, so it's said: HONESTY. Good advice.

35. Developing, biologically: IN UTERO. I had IN VITRO first. Then thought about that.

43. Literary award with a spaceship logo: HUGO. I *think* I knew this. Look up Hugo Gernsback on Wikipedia.

44. Head for the hills: RUN

45. Nothing new: OLD HAT

47. Billiards concern: ANGLE

49. Phantasy Star game maker: SEGA. I didn't know this, but SEGA seemed a good stab with the "S" in place

50. Big name in ATMs: NCR. I tried IBM first, because I had "EDAMAME" confidently in place at 38D. I love great construction and cluing when I get sent up a blind alley. This was a classic case. It was only when nothing would work around that section that I had to rethink everything in the area.

51. Egret habitats: MARSHES

58. Braggart's abundance: EGO.

62. Hard to control: EELY.Slipperly too.

63. Harley-Davidson Museum city: MILWAUKEE. Home of the knucklehead, the flathead and all other great innovations.

64. Cholesterol nos.: LDLS. I think my levels are OK. LDL is the "bad" cholesterol level. Pay attention.

65. Presently: ANON. This is one of those words I love, and I'm determined to keep "in the language". I have people who I work with, or I have worked with, who enjoy using it, just for the curiously factor.

66. Scrip items: MEDS. Where are you, HeartRX?


1. Hats like Maurice Chevalier's: BOATERS. I tried to find a musical link worthy of the blog, but failed. Here's the signature hat though:

2. Intestinal: ENTERIC.Crosses all the way. I will learn this.

3. Director with three Oscars: LEE. Ang Lee. Amazing talent. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain and The Life of Pi.

4. Welsh : llyn :: Scots : __: LOCH. I'm not sure I knew this. It made sense when I filled it in though.

5. "__ your side": I'M ON

6. "The Wind in the Willows" figure: MOLE. I loved this book as a small child. I remember falling in love with the illustrations of E.H. Shepard. Then came Winnie the Pooh. What a wonderful man.

7. They know the ropes: PROS

8. Schism group: SECT

9. Wasn't used: SAT, Sat down, rode the pine. watched from the bench. Tough.

10. Squirm: WRIGGLE

11. "And __ thing ... ": ANOTHER

12. Fish that sound good in Spanish: BONITOS? Not sure about the plural here. Fish singular - Fish plural.

14. Density symbol, in physics: RHO. Tough stuff.

16. Like bodybuilders: BUFF

17. Right at sea?: AYE! Right? Aye, sir to starboard! Yes, maybe, but right? Not sure.

22. Book before Esth.: NEH. The Old Testament. Learn your three-letter abbreviations of the Bible books if you want to solve crosswords.

24. Hessian pronoun: ICH. This was nice. Hermann Hesse, German novelist. "Ich" = "I".

26. Crime movie genre: NOIR. Watch LA Confidential for a great example.

27. Name on a museum wall: DONOR

28. When some news shows begin: AT TEN

29. Sugar source: BEET

30. Half of a call-and-response game: MARCO. Polo. One of the most annoying games in the annals of child-watching. Enough said.

33. Whopper: LULU. A BIIGGGG one!

34. "Very nice!": COOL

36. Area around the altar: CHANCEL. This took me way to long. The SW corner was tough for me.

37. Bent (over): HUNCHED

38. Asian appetizer: EGG ROLL. Yeah, I see your EGG ROLL and raise you EDAMAME - and then I lose.

39. Remote control abbr.: VOL. I just looked at mine. Indeed, it has VOL right there.

40. Cause of a paper weight increase: ADS. Think your Sunday print edition of your local newspaper. If mine delivered just the sports section, the literary review and the crossword, I'd save the trees, the delivery guys and my recycle

41. Brightened: CHEERED

42. Tries for a better price: HAGGLES

46. New Mexico county bordering Colorado: TAOS

48. Punk rock subgenre: EMO. Always. Three-letter rock genre - fill it in and move on

52. Diva Gluck: ALMA. Thank you crosses, Jeffrey is always fair.

53. Dust Bowl deficiency: RAIN

54. WWII invasion city: ST LÔ. If you have a chance to read any of the various narratives about this city in 1944, I'd encourage you to do so.

55. Cut: HEWN

56. Spanish "that": ESA

57. Like many laps: SWUM. I'd love to count my lifetime laps in the pool. It's been a lot. I love the "zen" times when you can only hear the water while you pull through each lap.

60. Pitcher Young and painter Twombly: CYS

61. Presidential nickname: IKE. I had the "E". Went went with "ABE", was wrong.

Like all of us, I am very sad about Argyle's decision to shuffle off the mortal coil. He was a wonderful man and gave great pleasure to many, many people. I would like us all to look in his mirror and feel that when our time comes we can hope everyone says that about all of us. The world would be a very better place.

And ... the grid!


Notes from C.C.:

1) OK, a real time "Happy Birthday" to Dave (D4E4H), who turned 74 today. I misunderstood an email he forwarded to me last Sunday. Hope you get in time the birthday gifts you boldly asked from my siblings.

Here is a clearer picture of Dave and Mr. Romeo. He said "I am helping him with his social media "Muzzle book" because he is all paws. He has 4,000 "licks.""

Dave (D4E4H)
2) Please click here to view Santa's obituary. Thanks for the information, Spitzboov!

Apr 26, 2018

Thursday April 26 2018 Paul Coulter

Theme: Hats Off! I mean Hats On! As the reveal helps to explain:

54A. "Shut your trap!" ... and, graphically, what the circled letters do: PUT A LID ON IT!

Three kinds of headgear in the circles: HAT, CAP and TAM, each sitting atop IT in the entry beneath.

This is one of those puzzles where the theme is more incidental than central. You solve as a themeless, then go back and look to see what you missed, which, honestly to my mind, is "not much". Three three-letter circled letters atop of three "IT" two-letter pairs.

The content is pleasing, two grid-spanners, two 11's and two long 10's in the downs, but the theme fell flat for me.

That out of the way, let's see what jumps out:


1. Distribute, with "out": METE

5. Jets and Nets: TEAMS

10. Kenan's comedy cohort: KEL

13. Like crazy: A LOT

14. Street thief: MUGGER

15. Bullring "Bravo!": OLÉ

16. Tennessee River city: CHATTANOOGA. "Pardon me, boy - is that the ..."

18. Luxury hotel facility: SPA

19. Places: SITUATES. Nice word. Just missing an "O" for the vowel grand slam.

20. Migratory herring: SHAD. High in Omega-3. Whatever that means.

21. Uni- + bi-: TRI-. 

22. H.S. exam for college credit: A.P. TEST. Advanced Placement, I believe.

24. Longtime Bob Keeshan kids' character: CAPTAIN KANGAROO. Giving children frightening fashion advice since 1955.

30. Anatomical canals: ITERS. Not only is this a plural, but it also in the singular does not appear in a Google search at all - I gave up reading about nuclear reactors after at least six pages of hits. The word should not be in the puzzle in this form.

31. On the ship: ABOARD

32. Mediterranean peak: ETNA

33. Parts: ROLES

35. Actress Headey of "Game of Thrones": LENA

38. Home of college sports' Green Wave: TULANE. New Orleans school.

40. Certain tanker: OILER

41. Philatelist's pride: STAMP COLLECTION

45. Mass communication?: LITANY

46. Final: Abbr.: ULT. Ultimate? I suppose so.

47. Sounds of disgust: UGHS

48. Calming agents: ALLAYERS

53. "The Producers" screenwriter Brooks: MEL

57. Old __: PRO

58. Becomes used (to): INURES

59. Sinewy: ROPY

60. Common ID: SSN

61. Enclosed for security, in a way: GATED. Communities.

62. Choice word: ELSE. If - Or - Else.


1. Computers that may run Virtual PC: MACS. Not any more, unless you have a very old one. The Mac motherboard has an Intel chip which runs both the Mac OS and Windows. Your choice.

2. K-12: EL-HI

3. Precisely: TO A "T"

4. Famous final question: ET TU?

5. Pay attention: TUNE IN

6. Film directors' challenges: EGOS

7. Earlier: AGO

8. "A Wrinkle in Time" girl: MEG. Apparently a character in a series of novels first published in 1962. No clue. This might be a tad obscure.

9. Mme., in Madrid: SRA

10. Where to get gefilte fish: KOSHER DELI

11. Sun Bowl city: EL PASO. College Football post-season game.

12. Bring about: LEAD TO

14. Motherly start: MATRI- I've got "-archal" and "-cide". Any other offers?

17. Cheerios: TA-TAS

20. Twinkly, skywise: STARLIT

22. Muchos meses: ANOS. Many months equate to years. as long as there are at least 13 of them.

23. Links letters: PGA. Professional Golfer's Association

24. Fr. company: CIE. 

25. Court fig.: ATT. Ball boy? Umpire? Baller? No, attorney.

26. Modern Olympic event one shoots for?: PENTATHLON. You also fence, ride, run and swim. No small feat. It was originally defined as the five disciplines that a cavalry officer must be more than proficient in to be considered one of the elite.

27. Emotional wounds: TRAUMAS

28. Krypton escapee: KAL-EL. AKA "Superman", he who wears his underwear outside of his tights. Truly from another world.

29. Presidential nickname: ABE

33. Somewhat blue: RACY

34. Artist whose apartment overlooks Strawberry Fields: ONO. The real Strawberry Field is in Liverpool, England, it was the garden of a children's home near to where John Lennon grew up.

36. Prefix for movement revivals: NEO-

37. Prince Valiant's son: ARN

39. ICU staffer: LPN. 

40. Group of eight: OCTAD

41. Competitive dry spells: SLUMPS

42. Auburn or Princeton athletes: TIGERS

43. Soothed: LULLED

44. New York Harbor's __ Island: ELLIS. The Oracle head Larry Ellison's family name comes from the-then immigrants' journey through Ellis Island.

48. Bern's river: AARE

49. Auld lang syne: YORE. What? When does "Old time's sake" translate to "Past"? We should be told.

50. Carbon compound: ENOL

51. Tears: RIPS

52. Eye malady: STYE

54. Boar, e.g. PIG

55. Spanish article: UNA

56. Tsk relative: TUT

Quick in and out today - here's the grid!


Apr 19, 2018

Thursday April 19 2018 Mark McClain

Theme: To Enlightenment - find the path.

17A. *Look for a specific passage in, as a book: PAGE THROUGH. Flip, flip, flip - there it is! I've done this a thousand times. I like the phrase.

26A. *About 22% of an average 18-hole golf course: PAR THREES. A "classic" par-72 18-hole golf course will have four par-threes, four par-fives and 10 par-fours. Of course (ha!), all is variable. Muirfield, one of the "classic" links courses in Scotland began with just 14 holes. St. Andrews began life with 22 holes. They met in the middle at 18.

37A. *Point where it starts to hurt: PAIN THRESHOLD. Ow!

51A. *Like baklava layers: PAPER-THIN. Food! You should be able to read a newspaper through the pastry when it's rolled out.

61A. Explorers ... and ones who can determine what the answers to starred clues have in common?: PATHFINDERS

Nice clean puzzle from Mark, the reveal is nicely-placed at the foot of the puzzle, and the hint is clear - look for "PATH" in the theme entries. Symmetry with the theme entries starting with "PA" and broken with the second part beginning with "TH". Pleasing, maybe just to me.

Let's go and look around:


1. Space station wear: G-SUITS. Nice enough entry, but you don't wear a G-suit in the space station, where there's zero G's - you don't need one. Fighter pilots wear them.

7. "Walk Like __": Four Seasons hit: A MAN. The best version of this I ever heard was by a British a cappella group I saw performing in a pub in London in 1980. Sadly, no recording of that survives, but here's the single they recorded in 1983 that went to number 1. They were quite amazing. No special effects, just voices.

11. Sharp-tack link: A SA

14. Stage of intensity: DEGREE

15. Pitch a fit: RANT

16. Happened upon: MET

19. It's near the midpoint of the Miss. River: ST. L. St. Loius. No "on scoreboards" reference?

20. Rap sheet data: CRIMES

21. Place Sundance liked to see: ETTA. Very nice. Etta Place, mysterious associate of the Butch and Sundance "Wild Bunch".

22. "Gotcha!": PSYCH! I'd never heard this before - the "gotcha" moment after a teasing lie. "Hey - your car is getting towed! Psych!".

28. Every time: ALWAYS

30. Key: ISLET

31. Salt formula: NACL. Good old Sodium Chloride. Don't under-use it when you cook.

32. Sprain application: ICEBAG. I'd be more likely to use an ice pack, but that's just me.

42. Watch creepily: LEER AT

43. Corn syrup brand: KARO. My sister-in-law in England asked me to bring some over on my last trip. She's just starting a cake-decorating business, and apparently neither corn syrup nor marshmallow fluff exist across the pond. Who'd a thunk it?

45. Chimney plumes: SMOKE

49. Largest cat in the genus Leopardus: OCELOT. Pretty! They can hunt by low speed-stalking, or high-speed in-your-face full-on assault. They like to swim too. Don't be a small mammal or an iguana.

56. Change as needed: ADAPT

57. Musical meter maid: RITA. The Beatles "lovely" one.

58. Exposes, in a way: RATS ON

60. Gender-neutral possessive: ITS. No apostrophe. If you're not sure - "It's an apostrophe". Contraction of "it is".

66. Numeric prefix: TRI-

67. Tête output: IDEÉ. "Je pense, donc je suis"

68. Canadian dollar coin: LOONIE. I liked the story that a loonie was smuggled in and frozen in the rink at center ice in the hockey arena at the Salt Lake Olympics and Canada won the gold medal in the men's tournament for the first time in 50 years.

69. Buddhist school: ZEN

70. Give up: CEDE

71. Con target: STOOGE


1. Macroeconomics abbr.: GDP. Gross Domestic Product. I studied Economics at school back when Adam Smith wrote "The Wealth of Nations" and no-one could agree how to measure GDP. I don't think it's changed.

2. Bering, for one: SEA. Thank you, Dutchman Vitus Bering for exploring it, so the rest of us didn't have to go up there and freeze our nadgers off.

3. Footwear brand: UGG

4. Wrath: IRE

5. Easily peeved: TETCHY

6. Very, to Schumann: SEHR. Your German lesson for the day.

7. Candle emanation: AROMA. We had "SMOKE" earlier, so here's an alternative.

8. Catcher Joe with a trio of consecutive Gold Glove Awards (2008-10): MAUER. Thank you, crosses. C.C. would have known this without pause - he is the first baseman for the Minnesota Twins.

9. Fretful feeling: ANGST

10. Indefinite ordinal: NTH. It must have been tempting to clue this with reference to 14A.

11. Heineken brand: AMSTEL. They used to be competitors. The Amstel river flows through Amsterdam. Heineken bought them out in 1968. The best bargain in Amsterdam used to be the Heineken brewery tour before these things were common. The tour lasted about 30 minutes, then you could spend as long as you liked in the tasting room for the princely sum of about $2. Eventually word spread too wide, and like all good things, the tour came to an end.

12. Parlor piece: SETTEE

13. Finally: AT LAST

18. Material flaw: RIP

21. LPN workplaces: ER'S. Emergency Rooms where those amazing Licensed Practical Nurses ply their trade.

22. __ for gold: PAN

23. Open-handed hit: SLAP

24. Fem. advocacy group: YWCA. Young Women's Christian Association. I was a member of the London Central YMCA for quite a few years - they had the most amazingly affordable gym and swimming pool for many, many miles around and slap-dab in the center of London. I even made the swim team. I believe that year they were short of talent.

25. City WSW of Bogotá: CALI

27. Expensive: HIGH

29. Where it's at: SITE. I didn't see this until now, crosses filled it in for me.

33. 2008 biopic starring Benicio del Toro: CHE. The famous "Che Lives" poster from the 70's. My sister had one on her bedroom wall:

34. Blow it: ERR

35. Arthur with two Emmys and a Tony: BEA

36. Concerning: AS TO

38. Met or Nat: NL'ER. More baseball to keep C.C. happy!

39. Signed off on: OK'ED

40. Refrain syllables: LA LA.

41. Stop talking about: DROP

44. Legendary Giant: OTT. Mel. Baseball!

45. Quick squirt: SPRITZ

46. __ d'hôtel: MAÎTRE. The one you need to impress to get a table at a popular restaurant.

47. Decides to join: OPTS IN

48. Mauna __: KEA. or LOA. Wait for the crosses.

50. "All the Light We __ See": 2015 Pulitzer novel: CANNOT. This is really fantastic book that I read a couple of years ago. If you want to see a brilliant mind at work, read Anthonys Duerr's wonderful novel.

52. Woodworking, e.g.: TRADE

53. Despised: HATED

54. "With this ring, __ ... ": I THEE

55. Bad check letters: NSF. "Not Sufficient Funds". This can have rather unhappy consequences.

59. Lubricates: OILS

61. Photo: PIC

62. __-wop: DOO

63. Roxy Music co-founder: ENO. Brian, he of "Elevator Music". Roxy Music really were ground-breakers in pop - here's their first big hit from 1972. I remember watching Bryan Ferry and wondering which planet he came from! Brian Eno is the guy with the blond hair and psychedelic tie on the other side of the stage from Bryan Ferry. David Bowie and his "Ziggy Stardust" persona landed the same year. Good times.

64. Fix badly?: RIG. But if you rig it well, is it still fixed badly?

65. Observe: SEE.

That's about it from me - I've still got Roxy Music rocking in the background, so I'll sign off with the grid!

(with Roxy Music seguing into the Bob Dylan-penned song "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall")


Apr 12, 2018

Thursday, April 12 2018 Bruce Haight

Theme: Hard Ates. I'm in Las Vegas, so "ates the hard way" was little craps-inspiration. Except there's no such thing. Sometimes when the reveal is so slick naming the theme becomes a challenge. Which I failed. Moving on:

17A. Carnivores: MEAT EATERS. That's me.

24A. Appliance needed for a hot bath: WATER HEATER

38. Latvia and Lithuania, once: SATELLITE STATES. Satellite states of the old Soviet Union.

47A. 2015 NFL controversy involving air pressure: DEFLATEGATE The Watergate cover-up has a lot to answer for, but at least you know that the latest "gate" is a controversy. The equipment manager for the New England Patriots was accused of letting air out of the match balls that QB Tom Brady would throw that game.

58A. It consists of a couple of couples ... and, when divided differently, a hint to something hidden in 17-, 24-, 38- and 47-Across: DOUBLE DATE. When divided differently, we get "DOUBLED ATE" for the very neat reveal.

I think this is a great puzzle from Bruce. The theme entries are snappy and the reveal is genuinely clever. Even with the quite heavy themage, Bruce still finds a way to add eight- and ten-letter entries in the downs.

We bloggers were discussing the quality of the fill in the LA Times, which C.C. describes as "gluey" on occasion, a polite term for "not very good". There's very little glue in the fill today, this is a high-quality puzzle.

Let's see what jumps out:


1. Jay-Z output: RAP CD

6. Reach great heights: SOAR

10. Attempt: STAB

14. White house?: IGLOO. Nice clue!

15. Fair: EXPO

16. Bear in the heavens: URSA. Two sizes of bear up there. Bear Major and Bear Minor. Sounds like two brothers at private school (or public school in the UK, which is the very opposite of what you would think it means).

19. Invite abbr.: BYOB. Bring your own B(ottle) or B(ooze). I'm not sure I'd be terribly impressed if I received an invitation that actually told me to bring a bottle. BYOB restaurants are great, you can take a great bottle of wine and not get held hostage by the wine list prices.

20. Job application fig.: S.S.N. Do you put your Social Security Number on a job application? I'm not sure this is a thing.

21. Hang around: STAY

22. "National Velvet" sister: EDWINA. Solid crosses filled this in for me. I saw the movie starring Elizabeth Taylor many moons ago.

26. Got the ball rolling?: PUTTED

30. Smooth-talking: OILY

31. "60 Minutes" regular: STAHL. Moderator Lesley.

32. Improvised jazz part: VAMP

34. Element Prometheus stole from Olympus: FIRE. Didn't go well, I seem to recall.

41. Harbinger of spring: THAW

42. "Beetle Bailey" dog: OTTO

43. 1990s-2000s skating champ Slutskaya: IRINA. I always try IRENA first and have to correct it when the cross doesn't work.

44. Davenport's place: IOWA

46. 1974 hit with Spanish lyrics: ERES TU. "It's you". Great 70's video, lots of camera-staring and men with questionable facial hair. I don't recognize the song, I have to confess.

52. Italy's __ Coast: AMALFI. This has been a regular reference recently, it seems.

53. Like arf and meow: ORAL. Fiendish clue. Very nice.

54. Hallucinogenic letters: LSD. Lysergic acid diethylamide

57. "Pleeease?": CAN I?

61. Writer Shere: HITE. Writer on feminism and women's sexuality.

62. Avant-garde: EDGY

63. Font flourish: SERIF. The default font on the blog is a "serif'ed" one.

64. "Regrettably ... ": ALAS

65. Grasps: SEES

66. Like horror films: SCARY


1. What "nothin' but net" shots don't touch: RIMS. No clanging on the basketball hoop. Just a swish as the ball goes through.

2. Periods: AGES
3. Not leave things to chance: PLAN

4. Foldable bed: COT

5. Succeeds: DOES WELL

6. Tuned to: SET AT

7. Daisy variety: OX-EYE. Pretty things.

8. Car ad abbr.: APR. Interest rate on the loan. You pay cash, no loan, no APR.

9. Botanical source of vitamin C: ROSE HIPS.

10. Commuter's cost: SUBWAY FARE. Could also be the picnic you eat on a long commute on the subway.

11. "Have a taste": TRY IT!

12. In harmony: AS ONE

13. Kiddie lit elephant: BABAR. The perfect gentleman, always doffed his hat to a lady. Which prompts a question - can you doff anything other than your hat? If you can't, the "his hat" part of the phrase is redundant, you should just "doff". If you can doff other stuff, what does doffing your shoe look like? We should be told.

18. Somewhat: A TAD

23. __ Taco: DEL. Not your first choice of venue for taco dining in Los Angeles

25. Lover of Shakespeare?: ROMEO. Nice cluing.

26. Sibilant "Yo!": PSST!

27. Its motto is "Industry": UTAH. Thanks, crosses.

28. "Cheerio!": TA-TA!

29. Jittery condition: THE WILLIES. Loved this one.

32. Curriculum __: résumé: VITAE. CV is the term in the UK and elsewhere for your job history.

33. Brief writer, briefly: ATT. Attorney. Took me a while to see this one.

35. Words before and after "what": IT IS

36. Dollars for quarters: RENT

37. Biblical twin: ESAU

39. Good times for beachcombing: LOW TIDES

40. Indefatigable: TIRELESS

45. Lummox: OAF

46. Lat. shortener: ET AL. Et alia if you want to be long-winded about it.

47. Russian country house: DACHA

48. Online message: EMAIL

49. Crush rival: FANTA. Fizzy fruit-flavored drinks. Fanta is most often associated with the orange version, but there are more than 100 flavors worldwide.
50. Overcharge but good: GOUGE

51. Chain known for roast beef: ARBY'S. "We Have The Meats"

54. Actress __ Flynn Boyle: LARA. Best known for her role in Twin Peaks, she appeared in all the episodes.

55. Show signs of life: STIR. I wasn't sure I'd be showing signs of life this morning. I'm at a convention in Las Vegas and last night was the industry association party at a nightclub. With an open bar. I actually felt rather jaunty.

56. Stand up to: DEFY

59. Laudatory poem: ODE

60. Usual Hanukkah mo.: DEC.

I think that does it for me today. Just need to add the grid and I'm done!


Apr 5, 2018

Thursday, April 5th 2018 Winston Emmons

Theme: No RE-veal - common phrases get a RE- tacked onto the beginning for a punning new phrase. No reveal entry in the puzzle.

20A. Meal owed to President Clinton? : REPAST DUE BILL

28A. Employing echo in audio? : REVERB USAGE. Here's a reverb - pretty, eh?

48A. Rules for righting wrongs? : REDRESS CODE

58A. Mail about system improvements? : REFORM LETTERS.

This looks like an LAT debut for Winston, so congratulations if it is! There's been a couple of debutants recently. I found one puzzle from Winston in the CHE, and one in Wall Street Journal, so he''s not a total rookie.

Enjoyable theme - some punning puzzles come across as groan-worthy, and not in a good way. This one was nice - the original phrases are solidly in the language, and the modified ones are fun. Some nice longer downs and the rest of the fill smooth. A good job all round.

Let's see what attracts attention;


1. Farm unit : BALE. I was tempted with ACRE, but resisted diving straight in.

5. "Uh, don't forget about me ... " : AHEM

9. Selling point : ASSET

14. Soon, quaintly : ANON. I'm not sure if this sounds quaint:

I see that you will start carving me anon, and take me to Monmouth's camp in sections.

Micah Clarke 
Arthur Conan Doyle 

15. Diamond corner : BASE. The diamond misdirection always gets me, I was thinking facets and what-not.

16. Busch Gardens city : TAMPA. Tried MIAMI at first, thought about it, took it out. There used to be one in Van Nuys, near to where I live now.

17. USAF plane for small runways : STOL. Short Take-Off and Landing. VTOL ones can go straight up.

18. Word of proof? : ERAT Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

19. Video game based on a film, e.g. : TIE-IN

23. Help : ASSIST

24. __ bran : OAT

25. PC-to-PC system : LAN. Local Area Network.

32. River to the North Sea : ELBE. A North Sea river pair today, there's another one waiting further down.

36. "Blue Bloods" rank: Abbr. : DET. Detective.

37. Devotee : ADORER. Not a fan of the word, but it's valid. I'd never use it in conversation though.

38. Northeast gubernatorial family name : CUOMO. Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York since 2011, which I where I happen to be sitting right now high above Lexington Avenue, and his father, Mario, who held the same office for three terms.

40. Paris café brew : THÉ. Tea. The elegant sounding "une tasse de thé" doesn't have the same ring to it as "a nice cuppa" to my English ears. Nice Cuppa from the Corner will agree.

42. African antelope : ELAND

43. Get in : ARRIVE

45. "__ Believer": Monkees hit : I'M A. Composed by Neil Diamond and first recorded in 1966 by The Monkees. Mickey Dolenz sang the lead. Catchy little ditty. I can't figure out how Davey Jones manages to dance like that. It looks like his top half is disconnected from the bottom half, and his legs are independently wealthy.

47. __-bitty : ITTY

51. WWII general : DDE. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

52. Map abbr. : RTE.

53. Bun, for one : HAIRDO

62. Like gymnasts : AGILE. That's an understatement

64. Camping stuff : GEAR

65. Every which way : AMOK

66. Wash cycle : RINSE

67. One-named supermodel : EMME

68. Nutrition bar with a crescent moon in its logo : LUNA. Seems logical.

69. Like pet hamsters : CAGED

70. Conciliatory gestures : SOPS

71. North Sea feeder : YSER Partner entry to 32A


1. Southeastern Iraqi port : BASRA

2. Dealer's requests : ANTES. "Ante up, fellas!" Poker dealer's call.

3. Circuitous routes : LOOPS

4. Zhou of China : EN LAI

5. Helped in a job, perhaps : ABETTED. Slow to see "job" in the larceny sense, rather than a work task.

6. Difficult : HARD

7. Biblical brother : ESAU. There's few of these four-letter biblical brothers. Wait for the crosses.

8. Comet fragment, perhaps : METEOR

9. State of mind : ATTITUDE

10. Proceed easily (through) : SAIL

11. Sense something's amiss : SMELL A RAT

12. Prefix with center : EPI-

13. "The Joy Luck Club" novelist : TAN. Amy Tan. She co-wrote the screenplay of the movie adaptation released in 1993.

21. Georgia, once: Abbr. : S.S.R. Soviet Socialist Republic.

22. Syrup-soaked cake : BABA

26. Ticket __ : AGENT

27. Dweebish : NERDY

29. Pro with a tabletop scale : VET. This stumped me for a while. I was trying to think of a three-letter word for an assayer.

30. System of moral values : ETHIC

31. Most piano sonatas : SOLI

32. product : E-CARD. My mind was firmly on the Jamaican coffee track, so this one was slow to emerge.

33. Drew : LURED

34. Adjacent to : BORDERING. Amazingly, neither this nor OVERFEED have appeared in any of the major puzzles, or at least since the Cruciverb web site began archiving the puzzles.

35. Mideast potentate : EMIR

39. Stuff at mealtime : OVERFEED

41. My Chemical Romance genre : EMO. Three-letter music genre? Fill it in and move on.

44. __ perpetua: Idaho motto : ESTO. "Let it be perpetual". Please let the Idaho Gold potatoes be perpetual too. I love 'em.

46. Sticks : ADHERES

49. Worsted fabrics : SERGES

50. Consume : EAT

54. Amalfi Coast country : ITALY

55. Romulus' twin : REMUS. Nice proximity to Italy, above. The wolf-raised brothers whose story tells of the founding of Rome by Romulus after he indulged in a spot of friendly fratricide because they couldn't agree which of the Seven Hills they should build on.

56. Source of some overhead footage : DRONE

57. Heroic Schindler : OSKAR

59. "What __ could it be?" : ELSE

60. Brief reminder : MEMO

61. "__ Unto My Feet": longtime CBS religious program : LAMP. I've never heard of the show, and I also had never heard the phrase. Combined with an unknown model where I forst wanted "ELLE" for no good reason, this was my final fill.

62. Circle part : ARC

63. Italian actress Scala : GIA

And finishing up with grid - here it is! Back to LA this afternoon, home sweet home. Well, for two days anyway!


Notes from C.C.:

1) Happy Birthday to dear Irish Miss, our loving Agnes, the life of our Crossword Corner! I finally got to talk to Agnes on the phone two weeks ago, after tons of email exchanges over the years.  Her voice is so young and reassuring. She's given me invaluable feedback and advice on various issues. I'm so lucky to have you on our blog, Agnes!

Eileen (sister of Agnes) & Agnes

2) Happy Birthday also to Abejo (Bradley), our Amazon guy who's always volunteering for various causes. Abejo is Persian for "beer". Bradley worked in Iran for a few years.

Madame DeFarge and Abejo, 11/15/2017

Mar 29, 2018

Thursday March 29 2018 Jerry Edelstein & Bob Monat

Theme: Circle Scrambles - different kinds of messages scrambled and highlighted by the circles

20A. Surprisingly little, pricewise : NEXT-TO-NOTHING. [TEXT]

27A. Superfast : A MILE A MINUTE [EMAIL] Not really so fast any more, it's only 60 MPH.

37A. Maxim about frugality : WASTE NOT, WANT NOT [NOTE]. Good housekeeping advice from 1914:

45A. It's learned the hard way : BITTER LESSON [LETTER]

and the reveal:

54A. Confusing statements ... and a hint to the circled letters : MIXED MESSAGES

I think this is the first time Bob has appeared in the LA Times, so congratulations on that debut. Jerry is a more familiar face. I found this one tough going - the circles only made sense when the theme entries were complete, so the reveal didn't help any. Some of the clues were pretty tricky too. I basically picked around letter-by-letter, not the smoothest solve.

With puzzles like this which are heavy on the themage, you are going to get a lot of three- and four-letter fill. Four longer downs broke things up a little, CONGRUENT was my favorite word in the puzzle. 

Let's see what else jumps out:


1. "... __ a puddy tat!" : I TAW. I know it's easy to criticize, but I always think that 1A sets the tone for the puzzle and I liked to come out firing. I might have stopped to rethink this corner.

5. Bygone 26-Down rival : PAN-AM. Pan-American Airways. When it filed for bankruptcy in 1991 the cross-referenced Delta bought out its last remaining viable assets.

10. Limit : CAP

13. Small rodent : VOLE

14. Bold alternative : ITALIC

16. Have a mortgage : OWE

17. "... two fives for __?" : A TEN

18. Helix-shaped pasta : ROTINI. Food! Often used in pasta salads, the spirals hold the dressing nicely.

19. Pince-__ : NEZ. Eyeglasses that sit on your nose. Literally "Nose Pliers" or "Nose Tongs" which I find rather amusing. Moral - don't try to translate words that are understood in your own language. When I first went to France with a friend we went to check our bags at the Gare Du Nord when we arrived in Paris so we were free to explore the city. These places were called "Left Luggage" offices in England. My chum, proud of our high school french, inquired as to the whereabouts of the "Bureau de gauche baggages".

23. Picasso's birth city : MALAGA

24. Desertlike : ARID

32. RR stops : STAS. Stations.

35. Healthy drink : SWIG Healthy as in large or enthusiastic.

36. Immigrant's subj. : E.S.L. 

42. Comic strip cry : ACK!

43. "Deadliest Catch" narrator Mike : ROWE. I actually knew this, one of the few TV references where I didn't need help from the crosses.

44. View from Catania : ETNA. Mt. Etna looms large in the background of this Sicilian city.

50. Put away : STOW

51. Split up : PARTED. Past tense; the clue could be present or past tense. Tricky. The "D" was my last entry.

60. MSNBC's "Morning __" : JOE

62. Add value to : ENRICH

63. Avian digestive system part : CRAW. Also known as the crop, it's just below the throat in some birds, not all birds have one. When I first dressed a wild pheasant, I was surprised to find the craw was full of little pebbles. Apparently the birds swallow them to help start the digestion process when they eat seeds.

64. Brewpub order : ALE

65. School bud : ROOMIE

66. Singer Horne : LENA

67. "Not __" : YET

68. Bond and others : SPIES. Agent 007 James, of course.

69. Macron's state : ÉTAT. President of France Emmanuel Macron suggests the french word for "state".


1. Nobelist Pavlov : IVAN. He of the "conditioned reflex".

2. Revered emblem : TOTEM

3. Singer/songwriter __ Ray Joel : ALEXA. Who? I think she's better known for being the daughter of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley.

4. Followed the crowd? : WENT LAST

5. European dumpling : PIROGI. More correctly pierogi. Steamed dumplings.

6. Not exactly hummable : ATONAL

7. Post-WWII alliance : NATO. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

8. Settled on a branch : ALIT

9. Ho Chi __ City : MINH. I have to think twice about the order of the "N" and the "H".

10. Harmonious : CONGRUENT. Word of the day. I first learned it in geometry class to describe triangles which could be proven to be identical.

11. Leave open-mouthed : AWE

12. Candy with an Emoji dispenser set : PEZ

15. VI x XVII : CII. 102.

21. Flat-topped cap : TAM

22. Editor Talese with a Doubleday imprint : NAN. I had the "A" in place and jumped in with GAY, even though at the back of my mind I knew he was a writer, not an editor.

25. "Show time!" : IT'S ON!

26. Co-founder of the SkyTeam alliance : DELTA

28. Skin care name : ESTÉE

29. "That is sooo cute!" : AWW!

30. Wasikowska of "The Kids Are All Right" : MIA. Crosses all the way. She looks familiar now that I look her up:

31. Engine starter: Abbr. : IGN. Ignition.

32. DNA lab items : SWABS

33. Unspoken : TACIT

34. Call for an appointment : ASK TO MEET

38. Before, in ballads : ERE

39. Scand. land : NOR.

40. Temple athlete : OWL

41. Squid appendage : TENTACLE. I've got fried calamari on the brain now.

46. Light opener? : TWI-

47. Coined money : SPECIE. A little obscure. When I worked for a marine insurance company I learned that "specie" described cargo that was bullion, usually silver or gold.

48. Pageant bands : SASHES

49. Anesthesiologists' work sites, briefly : OR'S. Operating Rooms.

52. White-plumed wader : EGRET. Egads! An egret!

53. "Strawberry Wine" country singer Carter : DEANA. Not familiar, the song has a nice lilt to it.

55. Gen-__ : X'ER

56. First family grandson? : ENOS. Adam and Eve's son Seth was 105 when Enos was born, according to biblical text.

57. Let go of : DROP

58. Actress Rogers : MIMI. Tom Cruise ex, also appeared in Playboy magazine. She's a professional poker player too.

59. Rescue team acronym : SWAT. Special Weapons And Tactics. I did not know that.

60. Word with hawk or walk : JAY. If a Kansas U hoops player wanders across the street, he's a jaywalking Jayhawk.

61. "¡Viva el matador!" : ¡OLÉ!

... and ¡olé! 

I took a client to a hockey game on Monday night - LA Kings vs. Calgary Flames at the Staples Center. I don't think I could have scored better seats! He could coach his own team, he's been a Flames fan since he could skate (probably before he could walk!)

And .. here's the grid:


Notes from C.C.:

Argyle is out of the hospital. He has moved to the Wesley Center on Lawrence St. in Saratoga Springs. His room has no phone at the moment. Hopefully he'll be back on line soon. Tough road ahead for dear Santa: rehab, prosthesis, etc.

Mar 22, 2018

Thursday, March 22 2018 Robert & Marlea Ellis

Theme: Odorless Wine - or "no nose". Actually, the reveal explains the theme nicely:

64A. Taboos, and a hint to the four longest puzzle answers : NO-NOS. Phrases which lose the opening "no"; and so we have

17A. Soda fountain come-on? :  [NO] GREAT SHAKES. Make three at once with this handy device on your countertop:

26A. Earthquake coverage? : [NO-]FAULT INSURANCE. You'd thing you'd need fault insurance in my home state. California isn't one of the no-fault insurance states.

43A. List in a quiz program recap? : [NO] QUESTIONS ASKED. Nice clue.

56A. Lower hulls fortified? : [NO] HOLDS BARRED. I think I'd have looked for a more elegant clue here. "Lower hull" seems a little contrived.

There was a similar theme by Jim Page in the NYT a few years ago, but he clued his theme entries as if they still had the "no" attached.

Let's see what jumps out in the fill:


1. Fall face first while skiing, say : EAT IT. I've done many a face-plant on and off piste.

6. Mighty silly : APISH. Nice word, took a while for me to see it.

11. Part of ROM: Abbr. : MEM. Read-only memory. Which leads me to the question - how do you get anything into read-only memory? We should be told.

14. Longest-serving prime minister of India : NEHRU. He of the eponymous jacket. India's first PM.

15. Austrian actress Berger : SENTA. Completely unknown to me, but the crosses filled her in.

16. Kanye West's "I __ God" : AM A. Nailed it! Thank you, crosswords past.

19. Monarch catcher : NET. Butterfly net.

20. Brooklyn Dodgers legend Campanella : ROY. Imaginatively nicknamed "Campy".

21. In questionable taste : TACKY

22. All excited : AFIRE

24. Radiant glow : AURA

25. Italian cheese : ASIAGO. Oddly, I always thought it was Spanish. Learning moment for me.

31. Aids in illegal activity : ABETS. I see "aid" as a synonym, but the crime is "aiding and abetting", so there must be a difference. We need legal help to explain this one.

32. Roberts of "That '70s Show" : TANYA. She's had some "work" done since this shot was taken, as a Google image search will confirm.

33. Comic Martha : RAYE. Thank you, crosses. Proper names are not my forte.

34. One-named singer with 15 Grammys : ADELE

36. Neeson of "Love Actually" : LIAM

40. Continue gabbing : RUN ON

42. Ship's seepage : BILGE. In the sub-lower hull.

47. Latin ballroom dances : TANGOS

48. Berlin octet : ACHT. Eight, in Essen, and elsewhere.

49. One of a Dumas trio : ATHOS. The Three Musketeers. Athos, Porthos and Aramis. D'Artagnan wasn't a musketeer when he met the three.

50. Civil rights leader Chavez : CESAR. 

52. __-tip steak : TRI. This cut of beef is unknown many places other than the West Coast. It's a triangular cut from the bottom sirloin, hence the name - it has three "tips".

55. Barnyard sound : MAA. It's a more accurate representation of the sound than "baa" although the latter is more commonly-used. "Maa maa black sheep, have you any wool?" doesn't have the same ring to it.

59. Directional suffix : ERN

60. Missouri tribe : OSAGE

61. Not-giving-up phrase : I HOPE

62. Completed : DID

63. Fishing boot : WADER


1. Career for a sci. major : ENGR. Engineer. Definitely not my favorite fill.

2. Flight-related prefix : AERO-

3. Unspecified folks : THEY. I had THEM first, but the baseball great Rom [sic] Campanella fixed that.

4. Sportswriter Berkow : IRA. Boxing, baseball, basketball among other sports. He was jointly awarded the Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 2001. Great writer.

5. Clucks of disapproval : TUT-TUTS

6. __ School: art movement featuring NYC scenes : ASHCAN. I've no idea how I knew this. Here's "McSorley's Bar" by John French Sloan.

7. Top out : PEAK

8. Very dark : INKY

9. Abbr. in some Québec addresses : STE. Ste. Jean sur Richelieu, par example.

10. Contributes : HAS A SAY

11. Oscar-nominated "Flashdance" song : MANIAC. I preferred "Flashdance .. What a Feeling" myself. In fact, let's have a Flashdance Flashback.

12. Arise : EMERGE

13. San __, California : MATEO

18. Asian dress : SARI

23. Contender for the crown : FINALIST

24. Steve Rogers, for Captain America : ALTER EGO

25. Composer of the opera "Alfred" : ARNE. Thomas Arne's score for the opera about Alfred the Great. The libretto was written by David Mallet and James Thompson. We'll have a test on this tomorrow, so pay attention.

26. At a distance : AFAR

27. Chicago-based law org. : ABA. At least this week's clue allows for no ambiguity, unlike last week's interpretation which brought all the knuckle-dragging anons out of hiding.

28: Illegal fwy. maneuver : UEY

29. Court worker : STENO

30. Co. that merged with Continental : UAL. United Airlines. My carrier of choice. It's been a good week not to be travelling, bad weather all over the place.

34. Queen's subjects : ANTS

35. "And how!" : DO I!

37. Sort : ILK

38. Sit in a cellar, maybe : AGE

39. Club __ : MED. Are they still going? Not seen these resorts advertised for quite some time.

41. Base entertainment : USO SHOW

42. Persian Gulf monarchy : BAHRAIN

43. Persian Gulf native : QATARI. I enjoyed the proximity of this clue pair.

44. Release : UNHAND

45. Egyptian leader for whom a lake is named : NASSER. Formed by the damming of the Nile at Aswan. It's the largest man-made lake in the world. The lake, was formed, that is, not the leader. The leader was formed by Mr. and Mrs. Nasser, presumably.

46. Union foe : SCAB

47. Gained control of : TAMED

50. Dressed : CLAD

51. Advantage : EDGE

52. 1982 sci-fi film : TRON. Plus the recent reboot Tron: Legacy in 2010.

53. Defaulter's risk : REPO

54. Time to beware : IDES. More ides. Shame there wasn't a month named "Tides". Then, when it was close to the middle of the month, you'd be able to say "The Ides of Tides Bides". Thank you, I'm here all week.

57. Spanish she-bear : OSA

58. Frat letter : RHO.

And - here's the grid, stick a fork in me, I'm done.


Notes from C.C.:

1) Argyle still has his phone off the hook due to the pain meds, but I'm in contact with his sister Klista. Santa is doing OK. Please continue keeping him in your thoughts and prayers.

2) Happy Birthday to dear PK, who turns 77 today. So happy that she's now on the blog regularly. PK is a Preacher's Child, but PK also stands for Passionate Kisser, and she's passionate about many subjects. She's always so attentive and observant. She was a reporter before.

3) Agnes just asked about Melissa's granddaughter Jaelyn yesterday. Here is a sweet picture of Melissa's daughter and Jaelyn. Look how she has grown.

Mar 15, 2018

Thursday, March 15 2018 Bruce Haight

Theme: Beware the herds of March. A hidden word theme from Bruce, with "herd" being the concealed noun, as the reveal explains:

61A. Certain investor ... and, based on the word hidden in each, what 17-, 26-, 37- or 50-Across is? : STOCKHOLDER

And we have:

17A. Dual-purpose machine : WASHER/DRYER. I had one in my London flat, there was no room for anything bigger. When I moved to the US I was taken about by the size of the appliances, particularly that you could fit more than a six-pack of beer and a pint of milk in the fridge.

26A. End of the end of "Gone With the Wind" : ANOTHER DAY. Tomorrow is ..

37A. Lower : FURTHER DOWN. Tricky clue, could be something to do with a cow, something to do with a sail, all kinds of options.

50A. Place to order matzo ball soup : KOSHER DELI. "All kosher delis are Jewish, but not all Jewish delis are kosher". Discuss. My favorite, Katz's in New York is "kosher style".

Straightforward theme from Bruce today, the theme entries are all solid and there's some nice fill too. Let's dig in and see what we've got:


1. Croquet surfaces : LAWNS. Did you know that the full name of Wimbledon (not Wimbleton, please) where the tennis championships are held is "The All-England Wimbledon Tennis and Croquet Club?" Wimbledon is a great place. There's a golf course I've played on Wimbledon Common where golfers have to wear a red shirt or sweater so that those strolling on the Common can see them coming and be alert for miss-hit balls whistling around their ears.

6. Chic : SMART

11. Christopher A. Wray's org. : F.B.I.

14. Roundish : OVATE

15. Course without much challenge : EASY "A"

16. Neurotic cartoon dog : REN and his buddy Stimpy.

19. Trauma ctrs. : E.R.S

20. Airport limo driver's concern, briefly : E.T.A. I'm glad I didn't have a limo driver meeting me at LAX on Tuesday from Chicago. There was an engineering problem with the plane that needed to be fixed, then a snowstorm that suspended operations for a while, then a de-icing, then Air Force One was flying into LAX which always causes delays for commerical traffic, then we had to wait 20 minutes for a gate to open up. The joys of travel. Added up to about three hours late. I've had worse.

21. "Later, dude" : PEACE

22. Scrawny : GAUNT

24. One in the woods? : BABE. I had "TREE" first. I was wrong, obviously.

28. Water filter brand : BRITA

30. Socialite adopted by the media : "IT" GIRL

31. In-house trial : TEST RUN

36. Cool drink : ADE

40. Court org. : A.B.A. American Basketball Association which merged with the NBA in 1976. Coincidentally I took this picture at the NBA office in Secaucus a couple of weeks ago of a poster which shows a few of the old ABA franchises. Miami Floridians, Oakland Oaks anyone?

42. Shut the door on : EXCLUDE

43. "How pathetic!" : SO LAME!

46. "Tree of Smoke" novelist Johnson : DENIS. Unknown to me, thank you, crosses.

55. Facebook entry : POST

56. Yarn coil : SKEIN

57. Words of urgency : I MUST. There was a breast augmentation exerciser marketed in the UK when I was growing up (I'm being serious) which had the advertising tag line "I Must, I Must, Improve My Bust". I learned this from reading my mom's copy of "Woman's Own" magazine.

59. WWII battle site, for short : IWO. Jima.

60. Rock concert effect : FOG

64. Tokyo-born artist : ONO. Yoko. Food! Ono is also an alternative name for the Hawai'ian wahoo fish.

65. Jazz pianist Chick : COREA

66. Flash of light : GLEAM

67. Word with cell or cent : RED

68. Vacuum attachments : HOSES

69. Like R.L. Stine stories : SCARY. "The Stephen King of children's writing". He looks pleasant enough.


1. Serious state of decline : LOW EBB

2. Personification : AVATAR

3. Pungent condiment : WASABI. Most wasabi you find is simply horseradish with a green food coloring. I get the genuine stuff from my local Japanese market, the flavor is a little more subtle.

4. __ degree : NTH

5. Flow slowly : SEEP

6. Four-door ride, usually : SEDAN. They call 'em "saloons" in the UK.

7. Call in a pool game : MARCO. Took me a while here. I was thinking bank shot, swerve, massé, something along the billiards lines.

8. Until now : AS YET

9. Manhattan liquor : RYE

10. Walmart rival : TARGET

11. Like some revealing slips? : FREUDIAN. Not wardrobe malfunctions.

12. Name associated with alpine rescues : BERNARD. St. Bernard rescue dogs. Don't forget the schnapps!

13. Fashion magazine : IN STYLE

18. Actor Stephen : REA

23. Tango land: Abbr. : ARG. Don't cry for me.

25. Words to a traitor : ET TU? Very apt for today.

27. Vishnu worshiper : HINDU

29. Fizzy prefix : AER-

32. Take the wheel : STEER

33. Appreciative text : THX

34. __ hall : REC

35. Bus. card address : U.R.L. Universal Resource Locator.

37. Baal : FALSE GOD

38. Like 2017 : ODD. 2017 was so last year. Odd number.

39. Lose it, in a way : WEEP

40. Requests : ASKS FOR

41. Trilogy starter : BOOK ONE

44. Sushi fish : AHI

45. Decent sort : MENSCH

47. "Darned if I know" : NO IDEA

48. "Cross my heart!" : I SWEAR!

49. Tempestuous : STORMY

51. Some designer gowns : DIORS

52. Award show VIP : EMCEE

53. Haas of "Witness" : LUKAS. First came to notice playing the role of the Amish boy in this movie. He's had a pretty successful acting and music career since. I'm not sure this is the most flattering picture though:

58. Outfits : TOGS

62. And : TOO

63. Business letters : LLC. Limited Liability Company.

And - the grid.


Notes from C.C.:

Argyle had surgery yesterday. He's stable right now. I'll let you know more information soon. Please continue keeping him in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you!