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

Jan 11, 2018

Thursday, January 11th 2018 C.C. Burnikel

Theme: Yes, you can .. Of course you can - do all these things that the theme suggests:

17A. Step on it : WELCOME MAT. Mine reads "Hello!" when you walk in, "Goodbye!" when you leave.

39A. Sleep on it : BUNK BED

62A. Count on it : TALLY SHEET. This one looks serious:

11D. Bet on it : HORSE RACE

35D. Bank on it : POOL TABLE. Bank shot. Satisfying if you pull it off.

Very nice theme from C.C. - the theme is in the clues rather than the solutions, and both across and down. They both play their part in a fun puzzle. I liked TALLY SHEET particularly


1. Splendor : POMP

5. Lara Croft targets : TOMBS. Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. I had a maquette of her on my desk when I worked at Warner Bros. Of course, it was all in the cause of accuracy with merchandise product development.

10. In that case : THEN

14. Jamba Juice berry : ACAI. This, or Goji. Wait for the crosses.

15. "Tommy" is one : OPERA. The first "rock opera". Here's Elton John as the Pinball Wizard.

16. Chewy Hershey candy : ROLO

19. Activates, as a security system : ARMS

20. Tossed course : SALAD

21. Company that introduced Styrofoam : DOW. Really? That's a new one. I'd have guessed 3M if someone held my feet to the fire.

22. Spacek of "Bloodline" : SISSY. Ha! I had you at "Spacek".

23. Things to avoid : NO-NOS

25. Foamy pick-me-up : LATTE

27. Defeat decisively : TROMP. There's something very satisfying about this word, especially the past tense "trompled".

30. Tied in the harbor : MOORED

33. Flowing garment : CAPE

36. __ Paulo, Brazil : SÃO. The first time I flew into here I was stunned by how large the city is. I had no idea.

37. Roman poet who coined "carpe diem" : HORACE

Be wise, strain the wine; and since life is brief, prune back far-reaching hopes! 
Even while we speak, envious time has passed: 

seize the day, putting as little trust as possible in tomorrow!

38. Creator of Iceland's Imagine Peace Tower : ONO

41. "SNL" writer/actor Michael : CHE

42. "Becket" star : O'TOOLE

44. Auction ending? : -EER

45. Inert gas : NEON

46. Not very often : SELDOM

47. Like some poll questions : YES/NO

49. Youngsters : TYKES

51. Hamlet cousins : TOWNS. Very nice. First I had my mind running down the Shakespeare track, then the stogie (Hamlet was a brand of cheap cigar in the UK.) The commercials were fun. Here's a 1977 example.

54. Put down : ABASE

56. Crone : HAG

59. Knuckleheads : TWITS

61. Wild bunches : MOBS. Mobs of twits? That would be scary.

64. Lawn pest : MOLE

65. "That's too bad" : AW, GEE!

66. It might be a whole lot : ACRE. That's a good-sized lot in my part of town: 6,000 square feet is normal. An acre is 43,460 - quite some difference.

67. Follow instructions : OBEY.

68. Covert agent : PLANT

69. Safari shelter : TENT


1. Bear feet : PAWS

2. Aquaman's realm : OCEAN

3. __ Cup: classic candy in a yellow wrapper : MALLO. Thank you, crosses.

4. Hot and spicy : PICANTE. My first thought with the "P" in place was PIQUANT. French comes before Portuguese in my mind.

5. Young Spider-Man portrayer Holland : TOM. Merci, les croix.

6. Pundit's piece : OP-ED

7. Short note : MEMO. Because "Grace" didn't fit.

8. Wild fight : BRAWL

9. Suppressed, with "on" : SAT

10. False friend : TRAITOR

12. Shade trees : ELMS

13. Way too interested : NOSY

18. Dumpster output : ODOR

22. Put up with : STOOD

24. "Well, sorrrr-ry!" : SO SUE ME!

26. Massachusetts college or its town : AMHERST. I had AMHURST at first, which made BUNK BED a little troublesome. Bunk Bud?

28. "Holy smokes!" : MAN!

29. Stir : POKEY. Slangy "Jail". Good Thursday-level clue.

31. Letter between Delta and Foxtrot : ECHO. At Atlanta-Hartsfield airport, the "D" stop on the tram is announced as "D-David" as too many passengers were alighting thinking they were at the Delta Airlines terminal. There, you get Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, David and Echo.

32. "It Ain't All About the Cookin'" memoirist Paula : DEEN. She is a true culinary colossus. Here's her recipe for "English Peas" from her Food Network website:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 cans (14 1/2-ounces) English peas, drained
Melt the butter in small pot and add the peas. Cook over medium heat until peas are warm.

Wow. Genius.

33. Pigeon calls : COOS

34. Poker stake : ANTE

39. Chap : BLOKE

40. Cause of a buzz : BEE

43. Adventurous trip : ODYSSEY

45. "Another problem?" : NOW WHAT? Welcome to my world.

48. Forget-me-__: flowers : NOTS

50. Shoulder warmer : SHAWL

52. Jenna, to Jeb : NIECE.When I see "Jeb", I immediately think "Clampett", which is hopeless because he was a "Jed". These two are members of the Bush clan.

53. Unsmiling : STERN

54. Firing range supply : AMMO

55. Doofus : BOOB. Stop snickering at the back.

57. Pond plant : ALGA

58. Small valley : GLEN

60. Editor's mark : STET. As you were!

62. You may feel one on your shoulder : TAP

63. Even so : YET

I'm heading back from the frozen East Coast to unpack the scarf and gloves and pack for warmer Delhi tomorrow. However, the weather summary, usually "cloudy", "sunny", "rain" or similar shows "smoke". That's a first! If all goes well, next week's blog will be from the Taj Mahal, and that's not the Indian restaurant in Westwood.

As much flying as I do, I never fail to be in awe of nature. Here are the Rocky Mountains last Monday from 38,000 feet on my flight from LA to New York. I love the window seat.

Keep well, everybody! Get a flu shot if you've not had one yet. This winter's strain is a nasty one.


Jan 4, 2018

Thursday, January 4th 2018 Robert & Marlea Ellis

Theme: Four by Fore! Golf-related punning.

17A. Duffer's flaw from the tee? : RECKLESS DRIVING. That's me. I've lost count of the times I've walloped my first drive out of bounds and onto the road at my local club.

26A. Duffer's impossible dream? : ACE IN THE HOLE. I've hit the flagstick a couple of times and holed-in-one once on a Par-3 course for my single career ace.

48A. Duffer's cry after botching a putt and settling for par? : BYE BYE BIRDIE. I think I've birdied every hole on my course, just not all in the same round. I've also double-bogeyed or worse every hole, on a bad day all at in the same round.

63A. Duffer's sad 18th-hole reply to "Bogey for you?" ... and 19th-hole request to the bartender? : MAKE MINE A DOUBLE. See above.

Nice enough theme, maybe your mileage may vary depending on your knowledge of the golf game and the lingo. It took me a couple of laps around this one, there were a few unfamiliar proper names and some challenges in other places, but as long as the crosses are solid I can usually figure everything out. Let's see what attracts further attention:


1. Waldorf __ : SALAD. Does "Astoria" have anything to do with the Astor family? I need to go and look that up.

6. Crawford of the Timberwolves : JAMAL. Tried JALEN for no good reason at all. Wrong last name, wrong team.

11. Rx watchdog : FDA

14. Cast out : EXILE

15. Where glasses may be raised? : OPERA. Technically, it should be "the opera" but I'll let this one slide, I'm feeling charitable today.

16. Standee's lack : LAP. Nice. It's why you can't use a laptop standing up. There's no lap to top.

20. Wingless parasite : FLEA. Two "wingless" clues today.

21. "Cheers" actor Roger : REES. I never associate him with Cheers. I saw him on stage in London in an adaptation of a quite amazing treasure-hunt book called "Masquerade" by writer and artist Kit Willliams. Williams created a bejeweled gold sculpture of a hare and buried it in a ceramic container beyond the reach of metal detectors. The book contained the clues to find it. It went undiscovered for more than three years. Many of the audience went to see the production hoping to get some additional clues.

22. Approximately : CIRCA

23. Speech characteristic of Dustin on "Stranger Things" : LISP

25. "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" newsman : BAXTER

31. Family dinner entrée : ROAST

32. __ de guerre : NOM. An assumed name.

33. It may be sharp : NOTE

37. Pageant VIPs : MCS. Masters of Ceremonies.

38. Handyman's tasks : ODD JOBS

42. Each : PER

43. Bean used in Asian sauces : SOYA

45. Classic auto : R.E.O. 

46. Cutting : ACERB

52. Yelp piece : REVIEW

55. Move, in Realtor lingo : RELOcation

56. They have pHs below 7 : ACIDS

57. "Let It Go" singer in "Frozen" : ELSA. Known from crosswords.

59. Landing : QUAY. Took me a while to see the clue wanted a noun, not a verb. Nice.

66. Miner concern : ORE

67. Make __: rake it in : A MINT

68. Deal with : SEE TO

69. '60s activist gp. : S.D.S. Students for a Democratic Society. I can never seem to remember this. The first S was my last fill, crossing an unknown actress in Sarah Ramos.

70. Help for the graveyard shift, maybe : NO-DOZ

71. Slurpee insert : STRAW


1. Lowly worker : SERF

2. Winter Olympics jump : AXEL. The Winter Olympics are coming soon. Matt Lauer appeared in almost all of the promo spots that had been produced, NBC spent quite a chunk of change reshooting or editing them.

3. Wingless parasites : LICE

4. They have pHs above 7 : ALKALIS. Very nice job to get ACIDS in the puzzle as well.

5. Second-smallest U.S. state : DELaware. It's quite a bit bigger than Rhode Island, the smallest.

6. Nativity figure : JOSEPH. I tried SERAPH when I had the PH. I'm not quite sure why I sometimes overlook the totally obvious sometimes.

7. Church area : APSE

8. Rx specifications : MEDS. I was looking more for something along the "dosage" lines at first.

9. Itinerary abbr. : ARR.

10. Not of the cloth : LAICAL. Slow to emerge. I was thinking on the right lines, but neither LAIC nor LAITY was working.

11. Toy (with) : FLIRT

12. Hula or hora : DANCE

13. __ score: neonatal measure : APGAR. New one on me. I now learn it is "a method to quickly summarize the health of newborn children. Dr. Virginia Apgar, an anesthesiologist at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, developed the score in 1952 in order to quantify the effects of obstetric anesthesia on babies.". Thank you, Wikipedia.

18. Once, quaintly : ERST

19. Kit's mom : VIXEN. A kit is another word for a fox cub. I didn't know that until today. Cute little guys, aren't they?

24. Absorbed by : INTO

25. Fall flat : BOMB

26. Readies for battle : ARMS

27. 2017 Pixar film set in Mexico : COCO. I was looking at "LOCO" first. ALE IN THE HOLE is another thing entirely.

28. Like Sunday morning, in a Commodores title : EASY

29. "Have a nice time!" : ENJOY

30. "Woo-__!" : HOO!

34. Newspaper page : OP-ED

35. Actress Garr : TERI

36. Kathryn of "Law & Order: C.I." : ERBE. Another unknown.

39. Used charcoal pencils, say : DREW

40. Society newcomer : DEB. Debutante, to use the posh term.

41. Glide (through) : SAIL

44. Bear : ABIDE

47. Alice had to play it with flamingos as mallets : CROQUET

49. Sycophant : YES MAN

50. Not authentic : ERSATZ

51. Rosary unit : BEAD

52. "Parenthood" actress Sarah : RAMOS

53. Digital greeting : E-CARD

54. Twin Cities team, familiarly : VIKES. Minnesota's Vikings.

57. Oklahoma city : ENID. Nailed it, due to crosswords past.

58. Carson's successor : LENO

60. Taxi alternative : UBER. No umlaut on the company name.

61. Utah ski resort : ALTA. I always forget this one too, then kick myself when the rather obvious answer emerges.

62. "Ouch!" : YEOW!

64. Texting qualifier : IMO. In My Opinion. My opinion is always humble, therefore IMHO.

65. CIA predecessor : OSS.

Stick a fork in me, I'm done!


Dec 28, 2017

Thursday December 28th 2017 Jeff Stillman

Theme: Top 'O The Morning - Homophones. Vaguely. With an Irish twist?

17A. Author Gertrude's Irish friend? : PAL O' STEIN. Palestine. My dad was stationed in Palestine in the 1930's. He had nothing but good things to say about the county and the people.

59A. Irish physician? : MAN O' CURES. Manicures. Guinness and Jameson's whisky. Those are the Irish cures. My mom was given Guinness in hospital after I was born; she was anemic. You've got to love those kinds of diagnoses.

11D. Irish hotel that offers perfumed pillows? : INN O' SCENTS. Innocents. Here's Dublin's finest - The Clarence:

31D. Change tossed into an Irish busker's hat? : PAIR O' DIMES. Paradigms.

I'm not totally enthused by this theme. Homophones depend on how you speak, and some work for me, and some don't. Your mileage may vary. Let's leave it at that.

The North-west was a challenge, the rest was a regular Thursday experience. Let's see what jumps out:


1. Sugar amt. : TBSP. Tablespoon. Three of them in my sushi vinegar. 4-3-1 is the magic combination - 4 tbsps rice wine vinegar, 3 tbsp of sugar and the one is a teaspoon of salt.

5. Swimmer's regimen : LAPS. I once swam 334 laps of an Olympic pool for a charity event. It was a 10-mile marathon swim. I was dizzy when I got out of the pool.

9. Margaret Atwood's "__ Grace" : ALIAS. Thank you, crosses.

14. Cosmetic additive : ALOE

15. Alternatively : ELSE

16. Small drum or large antelope : BONGO. I knew the drum, not the antelope. Now I do. They're stripey:


19. Prepared to tackle : RAN AT

20. Foul odor : STENCH

21. Liquid-Plumr rival : DRANO. Probably to fix the above from a blocked drain.

23. Brewer's kiln : OAST

26. Black Sea port : ODESSA

29. Like some time-release pills : CAPSULAR. New word for me.I got there eventually, but it took some time.

33. Old Toyota subcompact : TERCEL

34. "Don't interrupt!" studio sign : ON AIR

35. Inflexibility : RIGOR

37. Head lines, for short? : E.E.G. Electroencephalography, but we all knew that.

38. Fail to attend : SKIP

39. Checkout choice : PAPER. Or Plastic. The latter is not available in LA anymore, the former you pay for. BYOB - bring your own bag. I like it.

40. Latin word on a cornerstone : ANNO. Domini. There's a new PC term for it now, but it's hard to replace all those foundation stones.

41. Road goo : TAR. Macadam. I love the smell of freshly-laid tar.

42. Church law : CANON

43. Buzzing : ASTIR

44. Pleasant emanations : AROMAS. See TAR above.

46. Antipathy : DISTASTE

48. Air traffic control devices : RADARS

49. Assist, as a theater patron : SEAT

50. Puts a dent in one's gas mileage : IDLES

52. Herbal cough drop brand : RICOLA. The commercials are annoying.

57. Carved piece of jewelry : CAMEO

62. Alaskan native : ALEUT

63. Straddling : UPON

64. "Let me know if you're coming" letters : RSVP. "Répondez s'il vous plaît". It annoys me when I see "Please RSVP". But I get annoyed with "ATM machine" and "PIN number". I guess I'm easily annoyed.

65. Mud nest builders : WASPS

66. Dinner summons at the manor house : GONG. I tried "RING" first. Was wrong.

67. Young fellows : BOYS


1. Melody from a bugler : TAPS

2. Sour note from a bugler : BLAT. Completely unknown, thank you, crosses. Any musicians amongst us care to explain?

3. Dover flatfish : SOLE

4. Menial employee : PEON

5. Quite destructive : LETHAL. Quite? Something of an understatement.

6. Bass, e.g. : ALE. Loved this clue/answer. The world's first trademark was the red triangle on the label.

7. Pressure meas. : PSI. Pounds per Square Inch. I rate cheesecake on how many pounds I gain per square inch of cheesecake eaten.

8. Dispatch : SEND

9. Carpenter's rasp, for one : ABRADER. More thank you, crosses. I'm sure an abrader is a thing, but I'm sure I'd never walk into a hardware store and ask for one.

10. Dealership vehicle : LOANER

12. Turkish title : AGA

13. Tosspot : SOT. Yet another learning moment. A tosspot in England is a loser.

18. Search far and wide : SCOUR. Great word.

22. Common pump part : ROTOR

24. Wrap for leftovers : SARAN. Plenty of these after Christmas.

25. Photography gear : TRIPODS.

27. "Already caught that movie" : SEEN IT!

28. 1990s veep : AL GORE I'm drinking some Tom Gore wine right now. Any relation?

29. Share the marquee : CO-STAR

30. Capital ESE of Istanbul : ANKARA

32. Sample some soup : SIP

36. "Arabian Nights" spirit : GENIE

39. Behind the times : PASSÉ

40. Actor Butterfield of "Ender's Game" : ASA. Hello crosses! Thank you!

42. Where lemons may be sold : CAR LOTS

43. Cobwebby place : ATTIC

45. Fictionalized : MADE UP

47. Polynesian garment : SARONG. I looked for a link, this was the first one that came up. I thought I'd keep it.

51. Self-righteous : SMUG

53. HBO's "__ Your Enthusiasm" : CURB

54. Guesstimate phrase : OR SO.

55. Tax : LEVY

56. Nile serpents : ASPS

57. Cornfield sound : CAW. Why do crows like corn so much?

58. Menu phrase : A LA. Carte. Mode. King. What was the last one?

60. Mil. mail drop : A.P.O.

61. Haitian negative : NON. You need to know French is spoken in Haiti.Crosswords teach you a lot of things.

With that, I'm done. Merry Thursday, falling between Christmas and New Year! I couldn't find any music links - have at it!


Dec 21, 2017

Thursday 21st December 2017 Morton J. Mendelson


17A. Whirligig : SPINNING TOY. I'd call it a "spinning top", but that would rather defeat the purpose of the theme.

25A. Mont Blanc, e.g. : ALPINE PEAK. It's probably the least peak-y of the well-known Alps. It's big though. The ski resort of Chamonix sits in the valley below.

37A. Fine woolen wear : CASHMERE SWEATER.

46A. Westminster award : BEST IN SHOW. The Westminster Dog Show. This commercial for Audi never fails to make me laugh.

55A. Motown group ... and what 17-, 25-, 37- and 46-Across comprise? : THE FOUR TOPS. 

It's the same old song.  No, not the theme, the music. The theme entries came pretty easily, just one very minor nit with the toy/top issue I mentioned above.

This is a rare puzzle that I didn't finish. I thought that Charlotteville was in South Carolina, but USC didn't tie with EUREKA and I flat-out could not see VW BUGS, so that V was my blank spot.

Hindsight being 20/20, it couldn't really have been any other letter, but even multiple alphabet runs brought me up short. I'll blame jet-lag, even though I never really get affected by it!

Let's see what else Mr. Mendelson challenged us with:


1. It can generate a lot of interest : CREDIT. The interest can escalate pretty quickly unless you behave. The credit card companies love that.

7. Become less aloof : THAW

11. Texting format, briefly : SMS. Short Message Service. Pictures and what-have-you use MMS, Multimedia Messaging Service.

14. Saint of Ávila : TERESA

15. Opera set in Egypt : AIDA

16. Fell with an ax : HEW

19. Toothpaste-approving org. : A.D.A.

20. Northernmost capital on the Mississippi : ST. PAUL I'm sure C.C. knew this right off the bat. I had to wait for a couple of crosses.

21. Key of Grieg's only piano concerto: Abbr. : A MIN. Nice change from the African Dictator clue.

22. Careful way to play it : SAFE

28. Class-conscious gp.? : P.T.A.

29. Actress de Armas of "Blade Runner 2049" : ANA. Thank you, crosses. I've not seen the new Blade Runner, the original was great.

30. Swivel around : SLUE. Great word.

31. Fielding mishap : ERROR

33. Attacking fiercely : STORMING. Usually the castle. With pitchforks and torches.

40. Increased steadily : SPIRALED

41. Rogue : KNAVE

42. Lively, in mus. : ANIM. Animato, in a lively manner.

43. Charlottesville sch. : U.V.A. As I mentioned in the intro, jut could not see this.

45. Majors in acting : LEE

50. Admiral who explored the Antarctic : BYRD

51. x, y and z, in math : AXES

52. 11th Greek letter : LAMBDA. These chaps. Upper and lower case. Λ λ

54. "Hey, ewe!" : BAA!

60. Large shade tree : ELM

61. Run into : MEET

62. Garden figures in red hats : GNOMES. I'm going to launch a line of sundials with a gnome as the gnomon, if somebody hasn't already thought of it.

63. Muddy pen : STY

64. Scalawags : IMPS

65. Grieg wrote only one for piano : SONATA. In E Minor, unlike his one piano concerto. I wonder why he only wrote one of each?


1. Euro parts: Abbr. : CTS. Eurolets are cents. I'm not sure I knew that.

2. Street cred : REP. Urban slang, I'm guessing from "reputation."

3. "__ tu": Verdi aria : ERI

4. Not getting it : DENSE

5. Ain't right? : ISN'T

6. Clavell's "Shogun" sequel : TAIPAN. I boomeranged between SAIPAN, TAIPEI and finally settled on the correct answer.

7. Prepare to advance after a fly ball : TAG UP. Baseball. It's like cricket, except with round bats. And four bases. And a mound. And nine on each side. And a pitcher, not a bowler. And you only have one batter up at a time. And he's not called a batsman. And he has to run if he hits the ball fair. OK, it's nothing like cricket.

8. Schedules of items to deal with : HIT LISTS. I call mine to-do lists.

9. Hubbub : ADO

10. Path : WAY. Pathway!

11. "Tut-tut!" : SHAME!

12. __ blitz : MEDIA. Nice fill-in-the-blank. Took me a while to see this one.

13. Two-time Best Actress winner Hilary : SWANK

18. Simba's mate : NALA. The Lion King. Still on my to-do list (!) to see it on Broadway.

21. Hypothetical evolutionary link : APEMAN

22. Short glasses? : SPECS

23. Set __ for: lure : A TRAP

24. Language that gave us "bazaar" : FARSI. Also khaki, caravan and julep, among others.

26. Sweet'__: coffee additive : N LOW

27. California's motto : EUREKA! I've lived here for 25 years and didn't know this. Made official in 1963, apparently comes from the Gold Rush days.

29. Stylish suit : ARMANI. Depends who's wearing it. I know people who could make an Armani suit look like a bunch of old rags.

32. "Darn it!" : OH RATS!

33. But, to Brutus : SED. Thank you, Latin lessons.

34. See 43-Down : ITALY

35. When the sun rises in the west : NEVER. Took me a while to figure this out. I toyed with SIX AM for absolutely no sensible reason until the penny dropped.

36. Avarice : GREED

38. Mother of Sam and Charlie Woods : ELIN. Tiger's offspring. I recognized the names, but couldn't place them at first.

39. Dreaming phase : R.E.M. SLEEP. Rapid Eye Movement.

43. Man, in 34-Down : UOMO

44. Beetles : VW BUGS. Stymied by the V. It's odd, I would call a VW Beetle a Bug, but not the converse.

46. Innocent ones : BABES

47. Sing the praises of : EXALT

48. Hardly wholesome : SEAMY

49. Sword handles : HAFTS. I associate hilts with swords and hafts with hand axes or hatchets.

50. Relay stick : BATON

53. Spy-fi villain on Crab Key : DR. NO. Nailed it! Thank you, ghosts of crosswords past.

55. "I don't need the deets!" : TMI! Texter's Too Much Information!

56. Fence (in) : HEM

57. Medical suffix : -OMA Haematoma, glaucoma, Sonoma - no, scrub that last one.

58. Odie, to Jon Arbuckle : PET. Garfield's apparently dim-witted co-pet.

59. Org. funded by FICA : S.S.A. Payroll taxes raised by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act fund the Social Security Administration.

I think that does it for me. Hasta luego!


Dec 14, 2017

Thursday, December 14th 2017 Ed Sessa

Theme: Johnnys-come-lately. As explained succinctly by the theme hint

35A. Classic TV intro which can be applied to the starts of the four other longest puzzle answers : HEEEEERE'S JOHNNY! Choose your own number of "E"s!

Also famously used by Jack Nicholson in the movie adaptation of Stephen King's "The Shining":

18A. Year-end rewards : CASH BONUSES. Johnny Cash."The Man in Black". Portrayed to great effect by Joaquim Phoenix in the biopic "Walk the Line".

23A. Silver State capital : CARSON CITY. Johnny Carson. The original Johnny referred to by the puzzle title. Ed McMahon's intro line for Carson on "The Tonight Show". Nevada is the Silver State.

50A. Bad break : ROTTEN LUCK. Johnny Rotten. John Lydon in his "Sex Pistols" alter ego. The Pistols were a tad controversial, but a huge influence on popular music, despite only releasing four singles and one studio album. Here's the first single if you want a taste of 1976.

56A. Dugout loudmouth : BENCH JOCKEY. Johnny Bench. Appropriate clue for the Red's catcher from 1967-1983. I don't know if he was a loudmouth in the dugout. Anyone? I'm not sure I'm familiar with the phrase, but the crosses were solid.

Nice theme from Ed, and some really nice fill, especially in the downs. POSEIDON and PLAY NICE, along with the stacked vertical 6's in the NW and SE. Good stuff. Let's see what else we've got to talk about:


1. Place for peas or z's : BED. The Princess and the Pea reference, I'm sure.

4. Bridge measure : SPAN

8. Like traffic at a bottleneck : STOP-GO. Very nice.

14. "Norma __" : RAE. Played by Sally Field in the movie.

15. She famously said "Play it" to 49-Across : ILSA.  Casablanca. No "again" contrary to some opinions.

16. Saved to watch later : TIVO'ED

17. Horace's "__ Poetica" : ARS. A poem advising others how to write poetry.

"Ye who write, make choice of a subject suitable to your abilities; and revolve in your thoughts a considerable time what your strength declines, and what it is able to support. Neither elegance of style, nor a perspicuous disposition, shall desert the man, by whom the subject matter is chosen judiciously."

20. One-step-at-a-time toy : SLINKY. The walking-downstairs spring. All the rage for a while, but essentially a one-trick pony.

22. "Only __": NPR sports program : A GAME

26. "The Mindy Project" actor Barinholtz : IKE Thank you, crosses

29. Well-endowed org.? : OPEC. Nice pun on the "well" in the clue. What did Red Adair say to "Boots" Hansen? " Oil's well that ends well".

30. McKellen and McShane : IANS. Both fine actors.

31. Said further : ADDED

33. Real estate unit : ACRE

34. Acted bullish? : MOO'ED. I associate mooing more with cows. Bulls snort.

41. Volunteer's offer : I'LL GO

42. "Vaya con __" : DIOS. "Go with God" - first sung by Freddy Fender.

43. Attach with string : TIE ON

44. Half of half-and-half : MILK. My local market has fat-free half-and-half - isn't that defeating the purpose?

45. Flower painted by van Gogh : IRIS

49. See 15-Across : SAM

52. Really worry : EAT AT

55. __ Tunes : LOONEY

60. Horseplayer's hangout, for short : OTB. Off-Track Betting facility. Every high street in every town in Britain has a betting shop, or two. They will take bets on anything you like - famously offering 5000-1 odds that the world would end as prophesied by the Mayan Calendar (and offering 1-5000 odds that it wouldn't); 5000-1 that perennial underdogs Leicester City would win the Premier League title in 2015-16 (and they did) and 175-1 odds that Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suarez would take a bite out of an opponent after two prior offenses. (He did, at the 2016 World Cup in Rio and was banned for six games).

61. "Good News" Grammy winner Kathy : MATTEA. Merci, les croixes.

62. Workshop gadget : VISE

63. Opposite of paleo- : NEO-. Paleolithic, neolithic, for example.

64. Wimps : WUSSES

65. Cheek or lip : SASS

66. "Yakety __": rock-'n'-roll novelty hit : SAX. I thought this was "Yakety Yak", so that slowed down my progress in this corner.


1. "Donnie __": Depp film : BRASCO. That's the fifth Johnny for today.

2. Part of a winter hat : EARLAP. What happened to the "F"?

3. Appetite : DESIRE

4. Michael Moore film about healthcare : SICKO

5. "No more fighting!" : PLAY NICE!

6. Pack animal : ASS

7. "Don't think so" : NAH

8. Cheap smoke : STOGY. I thought it was spelt "stogie". Mark Twain wouldn't smoke a cigar that cost more than 5¢

9. Actress Fey : TINA 

10. Egg cell : OVUM

11. Trident-carrying god : POSEIDON. Neptune is his Roman counterpart.

12. "My goodness" : GEE

13. Pigs out (on), for short : OD'S

19. Creatures in caves : BATS

21. Pres. advisory team : NSC. National Security Council.

24. "The Alienist" novelist Caleb : CARR. Indebted to you, crosses.

25. Boss' demand often followed by "now!" : I NEED IT!

27. Shrewd : KEEN

28. Circular current : EDDY

31. Tori of pop : AMOS. Aged five, she was the youngest student ever admitted to the Peabody Conservatory of Music. She was expelled at 11 years old due to her interest in rock and pop, and her dislike of sight-reading. Her first band was called "Y Kant Tori Read" as reference to that episode in her life..

32. Head-slapper's cry : DOH!

33. Long, long time : AEON

35. Search engine results : HITS

36. Director Kazan : ELIA. A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront and East of Eden are some of his best-known. A great director.

37. Basic principles : ELEMENTS

38. Big head : EGO

39. Sandy sediment : SILT

40. Like a really bad comedy skit : JOKELESS

44. Fictional detective Mr. __ : MOTO

45. U.N. workers' agcy. : ILO. The International Labour Organization. Founded in 1946, the UN's first specialized agency.
46. Sentences that need fixing : RUN-ONS

47. Summer drink : ICE TEA

48. Posh stadium seating : SKY BOX. I prefer the cheap seats. Much better atmosphere than hanging out with the mucky-mucks in the boxes.

50. Hindu princes : RAJAS

51. "The Highwayman" poet : NOYES

Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
   Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.

53. "Hair" parts : ACTS

54. Biblical pronoun : THEE

56. Big name in luxury autos : BMW. "Bayerische Motoren Werke AG". Originally an aircraft engine manufacturer. The blue-and-white badge represents an aircraft propeller. They made a three-wheel one-person car with the door opening at the front. The car had a reverse gear, unlike the Messerschmidt version, which caused the driver some problems if he pulled into the garage and stopped too close to the back wall. He couldn't open the door, and couldn't back up.

57. __ de cologne : EAU

58. Rite Aid competitor : CVS. One on every corner here in LA. I get my RX's filled through CVS.

59. Soul maker : KIA. Korean car company.. 기아자동차

And that pretty much wraps it up for me. I'm heading back East into some snow from the sunny California shores. I'm going in the wrong direction.

Here's the grid!


Dec 7, 2017

Thursday, December 7th 2017 Mark McClain

Theme: No, Why? The "Y" is dropped from the end of the theme entries and the resulting phrase is clued accordingly. As the hint says:

61A. Make smart remarks ... and a phonetic hint to the answers to starred clues : WISE OFF

And the themers:

19A. *Award-winning defense unit? : TOP FORT. Top Forty.

31A. *Manchester hospital hookup? : ENGLISH IV. English Ivy. Hedera Helix, aka common ivy, or simply ivy. This theme entry is interesting as the pre- and post- "Y" versions are homophones, and techinically "IV" is an abbreviation and not clued as such.

38A. *Either of a historic PGA pair? : ARNIE'S ARM. Arnie's Army. Golfer Arnold Palmer's legions of fans were known as "Arnie's Army". Notice that the pre- and post- versions of this entry actually refer to the same person.

49A. *Enforcer of greenhouse gas restrictions? : CARBON COP. Carbon Copy. I wonder if carbon paper actually exists any more?

Well, good day to you all. An interesting theme from Mark today. I got ENGLISH IV first, and as I mentioned above I thought that all the themers were going to be homophones, so that put me off track for a couple of minutes. I put myself firther off-track in the north-east corner when I jumped to an IAMS conclusion without waiting for any cross-confirmation, but that was easily fixed.

The Z was my final fill, and actually a WAG - Both ZESTA and AZERA were unknowns; the alphabet run turned up Z as feeling the most likely, and I guessed right. Phew!

Let's see what else we've got going on:


1. Not insignificant : BIG

4. LeBron's hometown : AKRON. Basketball star LeBron James, who famously decamped from Cleveland to Miami to win "not one, not two, not three ..." championships. He got his ego under control after a couple of years. He won two championships with Miami, then returned to Cleveland and won his third in one of the best Finals for years against the Golden State Warriors.

9. Pet food brand : ALPO

13. Discontinued iPod model : NANO. I've still got one of these somewhere, it's probably at the bottom of one of my laptop backpack pockets.

14. Saltine brand : ZESTA

15. Action word : VERB

16. Words after an estimate : ORSO

17. Divisions politiques : ÉTATS. I enjoyed seeing the close proximity of ROI in the grid; it reminded me of Louis XIV and his famous statement "L'etat c'est moi."

18. Those, to Pablo : ESOS

21. Sculler's blade : OAR

23. Capri suffix : OTE. A couple of entries filled themselves in for me today, this was one of them. A native of the island of Capri is a Capriote.

24. Trattoria menu suffix : INI. Two suffixes in a row. One would suffix - I mean suffice.

25. Chaucer offering : TALE. The Canterbury Tales. Bane of many a schoolboy's life when read in medieval English.

27. "Stagecoach," for one : OATER

29. Birdcage feature : PERCH. 

34. Multichannel : STEREO. I guess two is "multi." Quadrophonic was all the rage when I was growing up, but if you didn't sit dead center of the four speakers it was rather a waste of time. Great for lonely audiophiles though.

36. Saturn SUV : VUE

37. One of the Nereids : IONE. This was another of the entries that filled itself in for me. There are 50 of these sea-nymphs, daughters of Nereus and Doris. You've got a minute to name them all - GO!

41. Neatnik's opposite : SLOB

44. Pioneering ISP : AOL

45. Warm-weather wear : SHORTS. I wear shorts in most weathers, I've got so used to the California climate. I got some odd looks in England a couple of weeks ago, I guess an overcoat and a pair of shorts is an odd sartorial combination.

52. Three-time Wimbledon champ : EVERT. The great Chris. Her record is quite amazing - she reached the semi-finals or better in 52 of 56 of the Grand Slam tournaments she entered, and she one at least one Slam tournament for 13 consecutive years.

53. Directive : ORDER

54. One of the three bears : PAPA

56. Mai __ : TAI

57. Arctic coast explorer : RAE. Scotsman John Rae. He probably didn't wear shorts - he would have been wearing a kilt.

58. Consume : EAT

63. Mosque figure : IMAM

65. Big name in craft stores : JOANN. This had me foxed for a little while - I knew the store, but I didn't realize the name lacked a final "E"

67. Response to being slain, in texts? : ROFL. "Slain" in the "Wow, that's funny" sense. Rolling On the Floor, Laughing".

68. Khartoum's river : NILE

69. Match : AGREE

70. "Would __?" : I LIE. Usually the answer is "Yes, through your teeth."

71. Notable deed : GEST. Learning moment for me. I know the French "Geste", I didn't realize there was an English equivalent, but there it is in the dictionary.

72. Saratoga action : RACES

73. PC panic button : ESC. Escape. It usually doesn't do very much.


1. British nobleman : BARONET

2. Motivate : INSPIRE

3. Mess (up) : GOOF

4. Korean sedan to be discontinued in the U.S. after 2017 : AZERA

5. Whistling vessel : KETTLE. It took me a loooong time to see this, and it was so obvious when I did.

6. Nation surrounding 10-Down: Abbr. : R.S.A. The Republic of South Africa.
7. Director Preminger : OTTO

8. "Hidden Figures" org. : NASA

9. "__ Maria" : AVE

10. Enclaved African land : LESOTHO.  The beautiful Maletsunyane Falls:

11. Tofu nutrient : PROTEIN

12. Watch : OBSERVE

13. Custom on some cruises : NO TIPS. I've never been on a cruise; at least not one where I wasn't sailing the boat myself.

20. Multiple-choice choice : OTHER. I like this one. I was thinking of different letters at first.

22. Louis XIV, par exemple : ROI

26. Wrap around : ENVELOP

28. "I, Robot" writer : ASIMOV

30. Champion swimmer/actor Buster : CRABBE. Clarence Linden Crabbe II. He made over a hundred movies and played Flash Gordon in the TV series. However, I'm sure his middle child didn't thank him for the name "Sande".

32. Director Van Sant : GUS

33. Where ewes can hang out : LEAS. Meadows, by another name.

35. __ even keel : ON AN

39. Biennial games org. : I.O.C. The transparently honest and wholly uncorruptable International Olympic Committee.

40. Flightless birds : RHEAS. I always forget these fellas, I get stuck on EMU and go no further.

41. Making a touchdown : SCORING. Except you don't actually have to touch the ball down. The equivalent in rugby is a try, and you do have to touch the ball down, under control, otherwise the try doesn't count.

42. Metro area SSE of Casper : LARAMIE. Wyoming. I've flown over it a ton of times, but never actually been there.

43. Major hassles : ORDEALS

46. Updates the plant : RE-TOOLS. Of course I was on the flora track for the longest time.

47. Rush hour report topic : TRAFFIC. 

48. Suppress : STIFLE

50. Vein contents : ORE

51. Plains tribe : PAWNEE

55. Source of hard and soft lumber : PINES

59. A bit cracked : AJAR. I was thinking "cracked" in the mildly insane sense. I was wrong.

60. Forum attire : TOGA

62. Lackawanna's lake : ERIE. Nailed it! Thank you, hundreds of crosswords.

64. Ran into : MET

66. __ welding : ARC

That's all from me!

Except that's not all from me - here's the grid!


Nov 30, 2017

Thursday, November 30th 2017 Morton J. Mendelson

Theme: Split P's Soup - The clues form the theme with a vowel progression between the two P's

17A. Pap : MUSHY FOOD. About as appetizing as it sounds.

24A. Pep : GET UP AND GO. Nice phrase, difficult to parse from a partially-completed grid.

38A. Pip : DIE SPOT. I tried ONE SPOT first, but TEO'S and GERN at 31D and 24D respectively nudged me that something was amiss.

49A. Pop : MUSIC GENRE. "Pop" is often used derogatively, but there's something about a good pop song that lifts the soul.

60A. Pup : YOUNG SEAL. Had YOUNGSTER until nothing would work in the SW corner.

Good Morning from 39,000 feet!. It's cold outside, as the in-flight website shows:

I never cease to be amazed by technology. This wireless internet caper at this altitude is nothing more than dark magic and hocus-pocus to me.

Anyway, back to the puzzle. A nice alphabet progression from Morton, and four of the five theme entries are new to all the major puzzles which makes for a nice fresh feel to the grid.

Let's see what else catches the eye:


1. WC : LAV Common term in the UK, from whence I just returned. I can stop talking like Dick Van Dyke in "Mary Poppins" now.

4. Cardiff-born : WELSH

9. Many Dickens kids : WAIFS

14. Action film gun : UZI

15. Kauai greeting : ALOHA. Greeting and farewell. Handy word.

16. Northern home : IGLOO

19. Like hardened mud on boots : CAKED

20. Asks too many questions : PRIES

21. Central points : FOCI. Some prefer "focuses", but that's the verb, not the noun.

23. Mountain legend : YETI

30. Getting-started instruction : STEP ONE. Self-assembly furniture, the bane of modern life, usually starts with counting the screws, washers and what-not and finding yourself one short of something.

32. 1976 Dylan song about his first wife : SARA. I'd not heard this track before. When I listened to it, I would have sworn it was Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler if I didn't know it was Bob.

33. Like FM radio, typically : IN STEREO

36. Old lab heaters : ETNAS. We used Bunsen burners in school. Handy for setting fire to just about anything within reach, including your classmate's tie. I'm surprised we survived school sometimes. One of my friends once went home unawares with a flask of sulphuric acid in his overcoat pocket, slipped in there by another chum.

37. Playa __ Rey: L.A. community : DEL. Between the Marina and the airport. It's pretty peaceful in spite of the proximity to LAX.

41. Biol. or chem. : SCI. 

42. Places to find stacks : IHOPS. And blue roofs.

44. Some DVD bonus tracks : OUTTAKES. Some of the best parts of Pixer's movies are the specially-created "outtakes" that they run with the credits at the end of the film. The animators have a lot of fun with those.

46. Little dipper? : OREO We take Oreos by popular request to the UK when we visit. For some reason they're rather expensive over there. Also, the more unusual M&M flavors, Lawry's garlic salt and bean dip. It always fascinates the TSA guys when they open the bag.

47. Lovey-dovey : AMOROUS

51. Sounds of activity : HUMS

55. __ beer : NEAR. And pretty much pointless, in my humble opinion. Also known as "small beer." There's a tombstone in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral in England which serves as a dire warning against drinking this stuff. I was just there the other day.


56. Legendary moralist : AESOP

57. Angiogram image : AORTA

64. Counterintelligence targets : SPIES

65. The life of Paris? : LA VIE

66. Tre meno due : UNA. 3-2=1 in any language.

67. Disconcerting gaze : STARE. I get uncomfortable when cats stare at me. I know they're plotting something dire.

68. Stingray kin : SKATE

69. Salary : PAY


1. Like poorly made Cream of Wheat : LUMPY. Is this also pap?

2. Clear blue : AZURE

3. Stay and catch up : VISIT

4. Techniques : WAYS

5. "The Hobbit" being : ELF. "E" and wait for the crosses.

6. WC : LOO

7. "Homeland" channel, for short : SHO. Showtime.

8. Enjoyed themselves : HAD FUN

9. Contemporary pagan religion : WICCA

10. In contact with : AGAINST

11. Kind : ILK

12. A Capulet, to a Montague : FOE. Romeo and Juliet.

13. Cover for a bald spot? : SOD

18. Art theft, e.g. : HEIST. Art and bank vault robberies always seemed to be "heists". Everything else is plain old larceny.

22. Unlatch, poetically : OPE'

24. "Deadwood" actress Jewell : GERI

25. Fencing sword : EPÉE

26. "Should I have waited?" : TOO SOON? Often the question comes after a joke in bad taste regarding a recent tragic event.

27. Lenox china brand : DANSK. Crosses all the way.

28. Word with period or note : GRACE. One of these little notes on the stave. They're barely played before a quick segue into the note following.

29. It might be a mirage : OASIS

31. Koppel and others : TEDS

33. By the seat of one's pants, e.g. : IDIOM

34. Indira Gandhi's father : NEHRU. A lot of people think Mahatma Gandhi was Indira's father. Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India following independence from British rule.

35. Plumlike fruits : SLOES. Take a bottle of gin, a generous handful of sloes, prick the berries all over with a needle, steep in the gin for a few days or longer - voila, sloe gin.

36. Classic accusation : ET TU?

39. Be catty? : PURR

40. Missouri River native : OTOE

43. Laser device : POINTER. I've got one on my PowerPoint remote clicker for presentations. Dogs love chasing the red dot around the room.

45. Clambake leftovers : ASHES

47. Ottoman honorific : AGA

48. Ice dancing Olympic gold medalist Davis and Oscar winner Streep : MERYLS. I knew the actress, not the dancer.

50. Pull the plug on : CEASE

52. Run through : USE UP

53. 2016 Disney film set in the South Seas : MOANA. I think I saw film. By the fact I "think" I saw it probably means it wasn't a Disney classic.

54. Spread apart : SPLAY

56. Tommie of '60s-'70s baseball : AGEE. Nailed it!  Thanks to many crosswords under my belt.

57. Hee-hawing animal : ASS

58. Choose : OPT

59. Narrow inlet : RIA

61. Barrel wood : OAK

62. The Cavaliers of the ACC : UVA. University of Virginia, naturally.

63. It may be picked : NIT. But never, ever here at the Corner.

That about rounds it off. I'll leave you with this cloudscape in London last Sunday, and the grid. The iPhone really does take pretty good photos sometimes!


Nov 23, 2017

Thursday, November 23rd 2017 Craig Stowe

Theme: Be Quiet! - or Zip It!

58A. Compressed data ... and what the ends of the answers to starred clues form? : ZIP FILE

16A. *Passionate kiss : LIP LOCK. Ziplock. Becoming a generic term now, although a genuine Ziplock comes from SC Johnson.

22A. *Net profit or loss : BOTTOM LINE. Zip-line. I went zip-lining in the rain forest in Costa Rica a number of years ago. Lots of fun. The climb up to the first platform was a little daunting. Those trees are high!

34A. *Take for a spin : TEST DRIVE. Zip drive. You don't see these around much any more. Zip drives were external hard drives for backups and extra storage.

47A. *Password, essentially : SECRET CODE. Zip Code. Altogether now: "Zone Improvement Plan".

Happy Turkey Day from the other side of the Atlantic! Thankfully not a turkey of a puzzle today. It took me a little while to tumble to the theme even with a completed grid, but the clouds cleared after a while (unlike the clouds here in Cornwall, but that makes for great seascapes).

This was Land's End yesterday - next stop, America and turkey!

Let's see what else we've got:


1. They're often run on weekends : ERRANDS

8. Stump : BAFFLE. The theme stumped me for a while until I finally saw the add-a-word gimmick.

14. Keep in office : RE-ELECT

15. ADHD treatment : RITALIN

17. Ballpark : INEXACT. A ballpark estimate. On the British news today I heard that a nuclear power plant, originally budgeted to cost £6bn, will actually cost £34bn, That's off by five ballparks and a bit.

18. Actress Davis : GEENA
19. Long narrative : SAGA

20. Large body of eau : MER. Vive La France!

21. Put __ act : ON AN

25. Cardiff natives : WELSH.

27. "Luck __ Lady": "Guys and Dolls" song : BE A

28. "As I Lay Dying" father : ANSE. Bundren. I only know this name from crosswords.

29. Newsroom VIPs : EDS.  Editors. I always thought it apt that Lou Grant was played by "Ed" Asner.

30. Pelvic bones : ILIA

32. Marsh grasses : SEDGES. A school project taught be the difference between a grass, a sedge and a rush.

36. Relaxing : AT REST

39. Time long past : YORE

40. Flight connection word : VIA. We went LAX - LHR via SFO this trip. Direct on the way back though.

43. Actor LaBeouf : SHIA

44. Eye of el tigre : OJO

45. Many spam messages : SCAMS

51. Equipment not used in "Unplugged" albums : AMPS. My favorite "Unplugged" episodes on MTV were Eric Clapton and The 10,000 Maniacs. Here's the opening number from the latter. It's on my iTunes favorites list.

52. Metal precioso de El Dorado : ORO 

53. Uninspiring : DRAB

54. Key letter : KAPPA. The Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority membership badge is a golden key.

56. Result of a hung jury, often : RETRIAL

60. Oberon's queen : TITANIA. "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Bill the Bard.

61. Underwriter : INSURER. My first office job was working for a Lloyd's of London marine insurance underwriting syndicate. I wrote up premium payment information in a ledger the size of the Gutenberg Bible and weighing about 60 pounds. I volunteered for computer data operations as soon as I got the chance.

62. Be short with : SNAP AT

63. Untouched by time : AGELESS


1. Schubert's "The __ King" : ERL

2. Ruled : REIGNED

3. Strikes down : REPEALS

4. Gracie and Woody : ALLENS

5. Like Crayola's Laser Lemon or Shocking Pink : NEON

6. 1983 Mr. T comedy : DC CAB

7. Wall St. purchase : STK. Hmmm. Common Stock. I'm not a big fan of this abbreviation, but it's perfectly understood in the crossword world.

8. Game with cards : BINGO

9. Starting squad : A TEAM. I was quite surprised not to see this linked with 6D somehow.

10. Business card number : FAX. Becoming increasingly rare. I always wonder which "wonder salesman" sold the first fax machine. "It'll be really useful when someone else gets one. Who you know. And do business with. You know."

11. On fire : FLAMING

12. Driving need : LICENSE. Technically you don't need a license to drive. I'm currently driving a stick shift Nissan SUV with a name I can't pronounce (Quasqui, anyone?) sitting on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road.

13. Menu heading : ENTREES

15. Ranchero's rope : RIATA

19. Reliable income source : STEADY JOB

21. Run a tab, say : OWE

23. End piece? : OBIT

24. Work on the docks : LADE

26. Scurries : HIES

31. D-Day transport : LST. Landing Ship, Tank.

32. Title of honor : SIR

33. December has two big ones : EVES. Christmas and New Year, of course.

34. Hint of remorse : TEAR

35. Cross : ROOD. Here's the Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling, Scotland. Different spelling, same eventual meaning, once you put the schoolboy snickering behind you.

36. Puts in order : ASSORTS

37. "__ our letters do not well agree": Brutus : THEREIN. More Bill the Bard today. From Julius Caesar:

Therein our letters do not well agree.
Mine speak of seventy senators that died

By their proscriptions, Cicero being one.

38. Stuffing in stuffed shells : RICOTTA

40. Anne Rice character : VAMPIRE

41. Destroys, as a 40-Down : IMPALES. After a lot of shenanigans with garlic and mirrors.

42. Aesop's "The __ in the Lion's Skin" : ASS

44. Florida horse-breeding city : OCALA. I confuse this with Acela, the DC - New York express. I'm easily confused.

46. Detergent measure : CAPFUL

48. Ritzy Twin Cities suburb : EDINA. Nailed it! C.C. knows this in her sleep.

49. Characteristic : TRAIT

50. Just making, with "out" : EKING

55. Stained glass setting : APSE

57. Knock : RAP

58. '70s-'80s Pakistani leader : ZIA. General Zia. Took power in a military coup. It didn't end well, let's just put it out there.

59. Critical care ctrs. : E.R.'S

And that's it from me, except for a "Happy Thanksgiving" to everyone, especially everyone who read this far!

Oh, and the grid, of course.


Nov 16, 2017

Thursday, November 16 2017 Jason Chapnick and C.C.Burnikel

Theme: Beer me up, Scottie! The beer part of the boilermaker is highlighted:

18A. News provider in front of a camera : TV REPORTER

This is the cleanest example of TV Reporter incidents I could come up with. Google "TV Reporter Fail" and you'll see what I mean.

24A. 1993-2002 Ford-Nissan minivan : MERCURY VILLAGER

40A. Banish : CAST OUT

51A. Many a Poe work : HAIR-RAISING TALE

60A Half a boilermaker ... and what's aptly hidden in 18-, 24-, 40- and 51-Across : BEER CHASER

Whisky shot, beer to back it up. Purdue University are nicknamed The Boilermakers, and have a game shout "Boiler Up", which I always find comical. Go Irish! Go Blue! Fight On! Woo Pig Sooey! Those are shouts I can get behind. Boiler Up? What the heck is that all about?

A corner duo today with Lemonade (Jason) and C.C. - the first joint effort was back in 2014. Neat theme, I've just started a new job with a company who's offices provide free draft beer - five varieties - in the common area. Next time I'm in the office I'll "cheers" you all with as many of the theme beers I can find. Forget the free coffee, I'm going for the Pilsner.


1. El Misti's land : PERU. What? I asked my Peruvian friend who was conveniently sitting next to me, it's a volcano.

5. Want as a price : ASK

8. Debit card action : SWIPE. Less common now, more INSERT with the chip thing.

13. Shock jock Don : IMUS. I think Howard Stern out-shocked him.

14. Invoice stamp : PAID

16. Schumer's "Trainwreck" co-star : HADER. I was so close to a personal Natick with HADER crossing PEELE. The "E" seemed the most likely.

17. Attend : COME

20. Takes too much, briefly : OD'S

22. Field mouse : VOLE. Is a vole a mouse? I thought they were different beasts.

23. Head light : HALO. Fun clue.

28. Status symbol suit : ARMANI. I have an Armani blazer, I never thought of it as a status symbol. I bought it in a thrift store in Toluca Lake for peanuts and I wear it often.

29. Pull : TOW

30. Lion's home : LAIR

31. Squad : TEAM

35. Cut corners : SKIMP. I majorly skimped on the blog last week, as in I didn't write it up at all. C.C. was so generous with my faux pas.

39. Subj. for many an au pair : ESL. I dated a Danish au pair many moons ago in London. She was a classic Danish blonde, smoked a pipe, drank LAGER and drew a lot of attention in the pub. Her English as a Second Language what just what you would expect from a Scandinavian. I was a mess at "Hello". She was working for the family of a great musician, she married a guitarist in a huge rock band. I could never compete with the riffs. Happy memories.

42. __-wop : DOO

43. Best Picture Oscar nominee directed by Ava DuVernay : SELMA

45. Little chirp : PEEP

46. Big name in banking : CITI

47. __ de Triomphe : ARC

49. Musical works : OPUSES. OPERA is the plural in Latin. Irregular.

57. MLB playoff event : ALCS. Hi, C.C! American League Championship Series

58. Like webs : SPUN

59. Bailed-out insurance co. : AIG

63. Avian crop : CRAW. Something to get food stuck in. Pheasants eat little pebbles to avoid the sticking problem. I know this from dressing wild pheasant back in the old country.

66. Like Wrigley Field's walls : IVIED

67. Fraught with danger : DIRE

68. Luke's sister : LEIA. I always struggle with the Star Wars clues. I know all the names, I never know who is related to whom.

69. Works behind, as a bar : TENDS. I was a bartender in an Irish bar in London as my evening job when I first moved to the Smoke when I was 18. Filing marine insurance claims during the day, earning minimum wage, pouring Guinness and whiskey (with the "E") and be quick about it. I really enjoyed it. I can still pour a perfect pint of the black stuff. That was the Irish boilermaker along with a shot of Jameson's.

70. List-ending letters : ETC

71. Reef dwellers : EELS


1. Many a JPEG file : PIC. Technically every JPEG is a picture.

2. Expressive rock genre : EMO. Usually miserably expressive. I'd post a musical link here to The Smiths but I'd only depress you all.

3. Means of spreading dirt? : RUMOR MILL. Located next to the water cooler.

4. Wheels with a history : USED CAR. I wanted all kinds of varieties like FERRIS or MODEL-T and found nothing would fit. Eventually the cent dropped.

5. On the mark : APT. An apt remark, an apt comment.

6. Shrewdly informed : SAVVY

7. Former name of the Mariinsky Ballet : KIROV. Learning moment, thank you. I didn't know that the Kirov underwent a name change.

8. "Shameless" network, briefly : SHO. Had the "O". Went with HBO. Was wrong.

9. Bellicose sort : WAR HAWK. The WAR part was new to me. I know Hawk and Dove to describe the two opposing opinions.

10. Pet pendant : ID TAG

11. Comedy duo Key & __ : PEELE. See Natick note at 16A

12. Computer warning : ERROR

15. Sub station : DELIcatessen

19. Hide : PELT

21. One rising at dawn : SUN

24. Guys : MALES

25. Clear data from : ERASE

26. Actress Wilson of "Sleepless in Seattle" : RITA. Wanted OWEN and then read the clue properly.

27. Without a clue : LOST

32. Clairvoyance letters : ESP Both ESL and ESP today.

33. Put away the dishes? : ATE. Because "Empty the dishwasher, polish and replace in the cupboard" doesn't fit.

34. Stooge with bangs : MOE

36. Contrarian's reply : I DISAGREE

37. Econo Lodge, e.g. : MOTEL

38. Composure : POISE

40. Oakland Raiders' quarterback Derek : CARR. Oakland have had about five thousand QB's. It's hard not to have been a Raider quarterback.

41. Informed about : UP ON

44. Color that isn't an Earth tone? : MARS RED

46. Manicure concern : CUTICLE

48. Twenties, say : CASH

50. Vardon Trophy org. : P.G.A. The USA's Professional Golfer's Association award to the year's leader in scoring average. There's also a Harry Vardon Trophy in Europe too, awarded by the European Tour for a completely different reason just to muddy the issue. The P.G.A. Championship, the year's final major, awards the Wanamaker Trophy to the winner. Confused yet?

51. Order clothes : HABIT

52. Advil alternative : ALEVE

53. Strand at a chalet, maybe : ICE IN

54. Apple tablet : IPAD

55. Girl in "Calvin and Hobbes" : SUSIE. I loved the Calvin and Hobbes strip, I was surprised didn't remember her name

56. Like argon and krypton : INERT. And me, after a long day.

61. Burnable media : CD'S

62. TiVo button : REC. REC/REW - wait for the cross.

64. Feel sick : AIL

65. "That __ close!" : WAS 

Well, here's the grid, and I'm on my way to blog redemption. I'm no longer the Cal Ripken Jr. of the corner! Sorry, C.C!

I'm off back to the UK tomorrow for a vacation over Thanksgiving week before I dive into my new job; so next week's Turkey Day blog will have an English accent. Quite ironic, really.


Notes from C.C.:

1) Congratulations on your new job, Steve! Sounds like a fun company. Do you still need to travel a lot?

2) Here are the two pictures Abejo (Bradley) took yesterday. Make sure you read his comments here. What a fun encounter. Nice to "see" you, Madame DeFarge!

  Madame DeFarge's License Plate

3) For those who are new on the blog, you can click here to see all the pictures of blog regulars. Please email me if you want your picture included in the Blog Pictures archive also. I snipped some of yours from your blog Comments, Picard. I hope you don't mind.

Nov 9, 2017

Thursday Nov 9, 2017 Robert & Marlea Ellis

Theme: T-TOPS (52. Features of some sports cars, and what this puzzle's four longest answers have in common) - T is added to each R-starting theme entry. 
3D. Conductor's job? : TRAIN CHECK. Rain check.

5D. Recycling, composting, etc.? : TRASH DECISIONS. Rash decisions.
15D. Livestock feed approximation? : TROUGH ESTIMATE. Rough estimate.
30D. Tongue-in-cheek presidential tribute? : TRUMP ROAST. Rump roast.

C.C. here. I did not see a draft post from Steve, so I'm just going to put a short skeletal write-up. Hope he's OK. He never missed a write-up before, no matter how busy he was. So I'm a bit concerned.

The theme entries are placed in Down slots for visual effects. T is consistently added to the R-starting phrase for extra layer.

This must be Robert & Marlea Ellis's LAT debut. I did not find their name under our blog Labels. Congratulation!


1. Animated film set partly in Insectopia : ANTZ

5. By way of, to Burns : THRO

9. Try : STAB

13. Like many trees in winter : BARE. Certainly in our yard. Winter here. High is 27F today.

14. Respond : REACT

16. Approximately 2.2 lbs. : KILO

17. West Point, e.g.: Abbr. : ACAD

18. "Are you calling me __?" : A LIAR

19. Currier's partner : IVES

20. Moment-of-truth words : THIS IS IT. Sparkly fill.

22. Fight : OPPOSE

24. Geological period : EON

25. Track-and-field events : SHOT PUTS. This word is pluralble, D-Otto?

27. Bugs often caught : COLDS

29. DOJ chiefs : AGs

30. Cough syrup amt. : TSP

33. Jessica Simpson's pop-singing sister : ASHLEE

35. Extreme degree : NTH

36. Cookie with a limited-edition Swedish Fish variety : OREO. Constructors and Rich work hard to come up with new clues for OREO.

37. Went over the limit : SPED

38. Hidden supply : CACHE

40. Club charges : DUES

41. Some twitches : TICS

42. Nigerian native : IBO. Wiki seems to prefer Igbo.

43. Not covering much : SKIMPY

45. Calligraphy supply : INK. To answer your question, Jayce, in Chinese dictionaries, you can find a word both by pinyin and the character components if you don't know how the word is pronounced. As for google, here is an easy way. Just type in pinyin, Chinese characters will show up. Then you can copy and paste it to Google Translate.

46. Corvallis sch. : OSU. Oregon State.

47. Like either main face of El Capitan : STEEP. Got via crosses.

48. Slightly embellished truth : WHITE LIE. Nice entry as well.

50. Decay : ROT

53. Energetic worker : DYNAMO

56. Part of a proverbial secretive trio : LAMPPOST

58. Jet engine sound : ROAR

59. "The Wonder Years" mom : NORMA

61. Old El Paso product : TACO. We also have 2. Dipping chip : NACHO. Food! By the way, Anon-T, my favorite soy sauce brand is Lee Kum Kee.
62. Related : AKIN

63. Move quickly : SCOOT

64. Quickly, in memos : ASAP

65. Alice's workplace : MEL'S

66. New Year's Day word : SYNE

67. Orch. section : STRS. OK, strings.


1. Taper off : ABATE

4. Last letters in Canada : ZEDs

6. Greek sun god : HELIOS

7. "Nick of Time" singer : RAITT

8. Andean tuber : OCA. Still have not tried them.

9. Moves merrily : SKIPS

10. Couch potato's device : TIVO

11. Brown bar orders : ALES

12. Highly respected speakers maker : BOSE

21. Cruise stop : ISLE

23. NBA stats : PTS

26. It may be beaten : PATH. So spoiled by Springbrook this summer.

28. Bygone automaker : OLDS

31. Barely flow : SEEP

32. Bouquet : POSY

33. Italian wine city : ASTI

34. Public relations distortion : SPIN

35. Mil. category : NCO. Also 60. Army training ctr. : OCS

36. "Garfield" dog : ODIE

39. Touch on : ABUT

44. Board and lodging : KEEP

46. Electrical unit : OHM

47. Hit hard, as the brakes : SLAM ON

48. Yells "Fore!" at : WARNS. I was once hit hard on my left arm. Terrifying.

49. Junior Jetson : ELROY

51. First name in bologna : OSCAR

53. Eighth of a fluid ounce : DRAM

54. Oxen coupler : YOKE

55. Carpentry fastener : NAIL

57. Sch. support groups : PTAs