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

Jan 17, 2019

Thursday, January 15 2019 Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: Axed - The five theme entries all relate to our tree-felling brethren:

17A. Lumberjack's favorite pirate phrase?: SHIVER ME TIMBERS. Walking the plank springs to mind here too.

22A. Lumberjack's main interest in naval records?: CAPTAIN'S LOG. Did you know that the Enterprise had two captains in the first season of Star Trek - Captain James T. Kirk and Captain Slog? He made the opening announcement in every episode "Captain Slog, Stardate 22117.1 ....."

36A. Lumberjack's way to punch an opponent?: RIGHT IN THE CHOPS.

45A. Lumberjack's preferred ABC News reporter?: DIANE SAWYER

55A. Lumberjack's reaction to an overly hard crossword?: I'M REALLY STUMPED. Happily, I didn't echo the lumberjack today.

Smooth theme today and with a lot of theme squares in the grid. Often that density can lead to a somewhat scrappy fill, but Jeffrey managed to stay away from the clunky stuff for the most part.

Let's take a mosey through the rest:


1. Fear of spiders, usually: PHOBIA. Arachno. Me. Those little buggers bother me.

7. Google Earth predecessors: ATLASES

14. Aesthetic feature?: SILENT A. This didn't really work for me, I sound the "A", more like "ace-thetic". I'm not sure if that's a British English thing or just me mispronouncing.

16. Hillary supporters: SHERPAS. Sir Edmund Hillary, who jointly made the first ascent to the summit of Everest back in 1953 with Sherpa Tenzing.

19. Theater award: TONY. The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre. Note the spelling of the last word! I go to the movie theater, but to the theatre to see a stage show.

20. Actor Holm: IAN. A good excuse to play the theme from "Chariots of Fire", Ian Holm took the role of athletics coach Sam Mussabini in the movie.

21. Slender Olive: OYL

27. Eero Saarinen's father: ELIEL. Crosses all the way! He was an architect too, I discover.

30. Many Sinatra recordings: LPS

31. Pipe shape: ELL

32. Quick cuts: TRIMS

33. Gig gear: AMPS

35. "__ pinch of ... ": recipe words: ADD A

39. Reverberate: ECHO

40. Baltic capital: RIGA

41. Store __: HOURS

42. Small matter: NIT. Very few in the crossword today.

43. Toon crime-fighter __ Possible: KIM. I didn't know this, but it was a fun guess that made me grin.

44. Check phrase: PAY TO

49. Civil War soldier: REB

50. __ of the woods: mushroom type: HEN. Such an odd name. Funniest-looking hen I've ever seen:

51. Athlete who wrote a history of African-American athletes: ASHE. Tennis legend Arthur.

60. Track foundation: ROAD BED. Usually ballast. They call it a track bed in the UK because, well, it's the bed for the track. Odd folk, those Brits.

61. French's product: MUSTARD. Where would we be without French's mustard on a hot dog? I do use Coleman's English Mustard for dipping asian foods like dim sum though - it's got a nice fiery quality to it.

62. Bottomless pits: ABYSSES

63. Ignore: PASS BY


1. Sideways whisper: PSST!

2. Crackers once sold in a red box: HI-HO. I tried HO-HO for absolutely no good reason and was happy until SOLENTA looked odd.

3. Actress Lena: OLIN. She crops up in the crosswords quite frequently. Swedish actress. She probably makes the "Shortz List" of a celebrity who appears more often in the crossword than in the regular paper. ERLE Stanley Gardner leads the list.

4. Quail group: BEVY

5. Having four sharps: IN E

6. Pertaining to a heart chamber: ATRIAL

7. PEI setting: AST. Prince Edward Island up there on Atlantic Standard Time.

8. Meteorologist's scale: Abbr.: THI. This one I had to look up once I'd solved the puzzle. Temperature-Humidity Index. Seems a tad obscure.

9. Veal piccata chef's needs: LEMONS. I wanted CAPERS so badly that it took me ages to see this one.

10. Contrary to popular belief, its name is not derived from its trademark sandwich: ARBY'S. The popular belief is that "RB's" is from "Roast Beef". It actually comes from Leroy and Forrest Raffel, the founders - the Raffel Brothers.

11. Described in detail: SPELLED OUT

12. "For all in vain comes counsel to his __": Shak.: EAR. The Duke of York, advising John of Gaunt to keep his breath for staying alive, rather than giving advice which will be dutifully ignored by Richard II,

13. Old draft org.: SSS. Selective Service System. The website is still up and running though, seems odd.

15. Jane Hamilton's "__ of the World": A MAP

18. Med. specialist: E.N.T.

22. "__ la vie!": C'EST

23. A, as in Athens: ALPHA

24. __ dixit: unproven claim: IPSE

25. One who knows the ropes: OLD PRO

26. Tumbler, e.g.: GLASS

27. 13th-century Norwegian king: ERIC II

28. Sensor that detects objects using closely spaced beams: LIGHT ARRAY. This was tough to parse - I had RAY in place and tried to find some kind of ray to fit.

29. Texter's modest intro: IMHO

32. How things are going: TREND

33. Jungian concept: ANIMA

34. Corp. get-together: MTG.

35. Mate's greeting: AHOY! Lots of nautical timber-shivering and hailing going on today.

37. Bearded flower: IRIS

38. Burn a bit: CHAR

43. Food on sticks: KEBABS. Food! Also kabobs, kebobs and any variation between. The Kebab Machine was a chain of fast-food places in London (a couple still exist) which were open late at night to catch the pub crowd turning out after 11PM closing. The doner kebab in a pita bread with shredded cabbage and hot sauce was a favorite. I woke up with one stuck to my face once, but that's a story for another day.

44. Repressed: PENT UP

46. Cries out for: NEEDS

47. "Please explain": WHY? Parental reply: "Because."

48. Cowpoke's polite assent: YES'M

51. Tsp. and oz.: AMTS

52. Places to unwind: SPAS

53. Cilantro, e.g.: HERB

54. Watery swirl: EDDY

55. Nest egg acronym: IRA. Three musicians in close proximity: Herb Alpert, Nelson Eddy and Ira Gershwin.

56. __ rule: MOB

57. Novelist Harper: LEE

58. Mormon initials: LDS. Latter Day Saints.

59. Mex. neighbor: U.S.A.

Picket line duty for me again this morning.

Here's the grid:


Jan 10, 2019

Thursday January 10th 2019 David Poole

Theme: Read My Lips. As the reveal explains:

59A. Common campaign promise, and what four black squares in this puzzle create: TAX BREAK.

Four pairs of theme entries conceal a type of tax, broken up by the intervening black square:

17A Pinch pennies: SCRIMP.
18A. Strictly religious: ORTHODOX. Import tax.

23A. Toklas' life partner: STEIN.
24A Cupid cohort: COMET. Two of Santa's reindeer. I was looking for something to do with Eros at first. Income tax.

38. Lowbrow stuff: KITSCH.
40A. 58-Across type meaning "black dragon": OOLONG Learning moment regarding the tea.  School tax.

50A. Hallowed: BLEST.
52A. Starters: A-TEAM. Another little misdirection. I was trying to come up with a word for "appetizers".

It's a little easier to see the taxes looking at the grid at the foot of the blog, but there you have it.

This is one of those themes where it's extremely unlikely you're going to spot it while you're mid-solve, the challenge is to look back over the puzzle once you're done until you get the "Aha!" moment. Nicely done by David. Let's look over the fill:


1. Online shopping units: ORDERS. I get it, but "online" seems a little specific for something very generic.

7. 8 Series automaker: BMW. The base model for 2019 sets you back a cool $113,000 before you start adding upgrades. It's a good-looking car though, just a little outside my price range.

10. Comics possum: POGO. Cute little critter. I wasn't sure of the name, but the crosses quickly helped out.

14. Eagerly accept: LEAP AT.

15. Dinner table boors: REACHERS. Plain bad manners. My mom would have had a fit if any of us had tried that, along with eating off our knife, eating peas using the "shovel" technique and a myriad of other dire sins at the table.

19. __ out a living: EKE.

20. "My bad": I ADMIT IT. Difficult to parse at first.

22. "Kidding!": NOT!

28. "The Hunger Games" president Coriolanus __: SNOW. I think I should know this by now, it's pretty common in the puzzles Crosses to the rescue! Speaking of snow, did you see that Robert Frost's "Stopping by woods on a snowy evening" is now out of copyright, along with hundreds thousands of other works across the creative spectrum?

30. Flaps: ADOS.

32. "A Little Nightmare Music" composer P.D.Q. __: BACH. PDQ was my parent's version of stat! -pretty darn quick". This is an opera in one act by Peter Schickele - PDQ Bach is his pseudonym.

33. Hot under the collar: IRATE.

36. Canadian coin: LOONIE.

41. Disney's Montana: HANNAH.

42. Lamb's lament: BLEAT. I thought about Charles Lamb as my thought process's first port of call. I didn't stay there too long. "Lawyers, I suppose, were children once".

43. See 27-Down: URGE.

44. Whole lot: SCAD.

46. Hamburger's home: HAUS. The citizen, not the sandwich.

55. Durham sch.: U.N.H. University of New Hampshire. I got all confused here, jumping in with UNC, which was all kinds of wrong. Firstly, Duke is the school in Durham, NC - UNC is at nearby Chapel Hill.

56. '70s-'90s Pontiacs: SUNBIRDS. Why did I go for Sunfire? Some missteps for me today.

58. See 40-Across: TEA.

62. Tailor's measure: INSEAM.

64. Person-to-person: ONE-ON-ONE.

65. Rather thick: OBTUSE. I see obtuse more as being "stubbornly refusing to understand" than "thick". The dictionary doesn't agree with me though.

66. See 38-Down: MARX. Another one to annoy the x-ref dislikers.  Here's the memorial in the "new" cemetery. The "old" cemetery is across the road and is a nature reserve. It's a beautiful place.

67. Frowny-faced: SAD.

68. Chicken: SCARED.


1. Mary-Kate, Ashley and Elizabeth: OLSENS.

2. S'pose: RECKON.

3. "Do I __ eat a peach?": Eliot: DARE TO.

4. Prefix with graph or gram: EPI-

5. "Groundhog Day" director Harold: RAMIS.

6. Mid-Mar. honoree: ST PAT.

7. Trite saying: BROMIDE.

8. Sheep prized for its wool: MERINO.

9. Power unit: WATT.

10. Kiosk with a camera: PHOTO BOOTH.

11. Ref. work whose 2018 Word of the Year is "toxic": OED. Toxic environment, toxic workplace, toxic masculinity all got a good workout in 2018, along with the environmental toxicities.

12. Miracle-__: GRO.

13. Mac platform: OS X.

16. In vogue: CHIC.

21. First word in titles by Arthur Miller and Agatha Christie: DEATH. Death of a Salesman, and Death on the Nile for example.

25. Flutist Herbie: MANN.

26. Vaper's need, informally: E-CIG.

27. With 43-Across, feeling often fought: THE. The urge.  This one seems a little forced to me, but here it is.

29. British courtroom fixture: WITNESS BOX. I hadn't really considered that the witness box was typically British. I guess you take the witness stand here. Here's the interior of the Old Bailey in London, more properly the Central Criminal Court, scene of some famous trials:

31. Blackthorn plum: SLOE.

34. Bloemfontein's land: Abbr.: R.S.A. Republic of South Africa.

35. Rhine whines: ACHS.

37. Ipanema greeting: OLA. Portuguese drops the "H" in "Hola!".

38. With 66-Across, German philosopher buried in London's Highgate Cemetery: KARL.

39. "Bus Stop" dramatist: INGE. William Inge, the playwright. The 1956 movie of the same name with Marilyn Monroe was only loosely based on it.

40. Not as current: OLDER.

41. Busy airport: HUB.

42. Hand-dyed with wax: BATIKED.

45. Place to put on a suit: CABANA. A bathing suit. Cute clue.

47. Filmmaker with a unique style: AUTEUR.

48. Anxiety: UNEASE.

49. Disgraced: SHAMED.

51. Go sour: TURN.

53. "Hasta mañana": ADIOS.

54. "The Beat with Ari Melber" network: MSNBC. I never watch it. Seems popular though.

57. Avant-garde sorts: NEOS.

59. Hiddleston who plays Loki in Marvel films: TOM. Thank you, crosses. I'm pretty bad with proper names in film and TV.

60. Santa __: ANA. A sure-fire way to start an argument among southern Californians is to aver that the "Santa Ana Winds" are not Santa Anas at all, but "Satanás" from the Spanish for "winds".

61. Boomer's kid: XER. Generation X.

63. RR stop: STA.

Which brings us to the grid, laid out in all its colorful glory with the tax breaks. Hasta!


Jan 3, 2019

Thursday, January 3rd 2019 Pawel Fludzinski

Theme: Retirement Party - all the theme entries pun on the hang-up-your-boots topic:

17A. Watchmakers never retire, they just __: WIND DOWN. One of my favorites, along with 12D.

20A. Musicians never retire, they just __: DECOMPOSE. This one is a little bit of an outlier to my mind. I'd say that a musician and a composer are two different animals. That's just me being hyper-critical though.

39A. Beekeepers never retire, they just __: BUZZ OFF.

55A. Tree surgeons never retire, they just __: BRANCH OUT.

61A. Teachers never retire, they just __: MARK TIME. Some teachers are giving up marking homework, citing research that says it doesn't help the student improve in any way. Instead, they have interactive discussion with each student on the work that was submitted.

12D. Farmers never retire, they just __: GO TO SEED.

38D. Lumberjacks never retire, they just __: PINE AWAY.

A neat theme from Pawel, and in fact I'm surprised that it hasn't been done before. Both across and down theme entries, and both the downs interlock with one of the acrosses, that's neat. The rest of the construction and the fill are solid with just one (personal) grumble for my first blog of 2019.

Let's see what else we've got that catches the eye:


1. Save for later: LAY ASIDE.

9. Place to doodle: MARGIN. I tried napkin first.

15. Smooth talker: OPERATOR. Released in 1984, Sade's album coincided with the emerging CD music boom. It seemed like everyone I knew had a copy of it to be played at every dinner party.

16. 1969 World Series competitor: ORIOLE.

18. Elite area of the pop charts: TOP TEN.

19. Passionate about: INTO.

22. Beetle-shaped artifact: SCARAB.

25. Grad school grillings: ORALS.

26. FDA overseer: HHS. The US Department for Heath & Human Services. I didn't actually know what HHS stood for until today.

27. Urban network: ROADS.

30. First name in architecture: EERO. Very influential figure in architecture and industrial design. Here's the iconic TWA Terminal at JFK which opened in 1962:

33. Prime letters?: USDA. Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter and Canner are the seven grades of beef. Most of the Prime beef goes to restaurants and hotels.

34. Acclimate gradually: EASE IN.

36. One not seen on "MTV Unplugged": AMP. Not quite true, but you get the idea. Generally there are no electric instruments. You still need amps for the vocal and acoustic mics. There were some really great sessions in the series.

41. Anonymous surname: DOE.

42. Pal: PAISAN.

44. Polish language: EDIT. Very nice misdirection here - polish as in hone, rather than slavic.

45. Actress Collette of "United States of Tara": TONI. Thank you, crosses.

46. "Chasing Pavements" singer: ADELE. I think Adele might be winning the "singers in crosswords" count at this point.

47. Some mil. hospitals: VA'S.

50. Spew out: EGEST. Not ERUPT them. That set me off down the wrong track for a while.

53. White weasel: ERMINE. Ermine fur is (or was) used on a lot of ceremonial costume.

59. State categorically: AVER.

60. Ides of March word: BEWARE. "Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!"

64. Roughly three nautical miles: LEAGUE. So Jules Verne's Captain Nemo sailed 60,000 miles submerged in Nautilus. That's about three circumnavigations of the earth, quite a feat.

65. Often-fried tropical fruit: PLANTAIN. Food! I spent some time trying to think of another commonly-fried fruit and came up empty-handed (battered and deep-fried doesn't count).

66. Least candid: SLYEST.

67. It may be diagrammed: SENTENCE. Seems like a lot of work, I don't really see the point, to be honest.


1. On the paltry side, as an offer: LOWISH.

2. Between-finger-and-thumb quantity: A PINCH.

3. They mind your own business: YENTAS. Nice clue, this one made me laugh out loud.

4. Fervor: ARDOR.

5. Glum: SAD.

6. "What was __ do?": I TO.

7. Columnist Maureen: DOWD.

8. Marine eagle: ERNE.

9. Hustle: MOTOR.

10. Kitchen magnet?: AROMA.

11. Gentle waves: RIPPLES.

13. Dots in la mer: ÎLES. Your french lesson for the day. Paris sits in the middle of the Île-de-France region, an "island" within the larger landmass of the country itself.

14. Aloha State bird: NENE.

21. Prefix with play: COS. Cosplay, a portmanteau of costume+play. Some excellent examples of cosplay can be seen each year at Comic-con in San Diego.

23. Oranjestad's island: ARUBA. Stab in the dark, but I knew Aruba was part of the Dutch West Indies at some point, so it made sense.

24. Petty officer: BOSUN. Contraction of boatswain.

28. Woodworking tool: ADZ. You can "adds" an E if you like!

29. Out of it: DAZED.

31. __ Grande: RIO.

32. Only partner?: ONE. The one-and-only.

34. System used for many returns: E-FILE.

35. Word with dark or hours: AFTER.

36. Suitable: APT.

37. 1972 host to Nixon: MAO. Tricky Dickie's groundbreaking trip to China to meet the Chairman.

40. Horatian creation: ODE.

Be wise, and mix the wine, since time is short: limit that far-reaching hope.
The envious moment is flying now, now, while we’re speaking:
Seize the day, place in the hours that come as little faith as you can.

From "Carpe Diem"

43. Billboards and posters: SIGNAGE.

46. From __ Z: A TO.

47. Vance of "I Love Lucy": VIVIAN. Ethel to Lucy.

48. Lackluster: ANEMIC.

49. Calm: SERENE.

51. Stocking shades: ECRUS.

52. It may be fitted: SHEET.

54. Finish choice: MATTE.

55. OPEC units: BBLS. How does a barrel of oil get abbreviated to BBL? Because the 42-gallon drums were originally blue, so a Blue Barrel, or a BBL.

56. Lively country dance: REEL.

57. Decides what's fair, among other things: UMPS. Baseball umpires. Fair or foul ball.

58. Tall __: TALE.

62. Got on the ballot: RAN.

63. Round Table VIP: KNT. I've grumbled about this abbreviation before, so I'll spare you my moans. I still don't like it though.

Back stateside after my sojourn in England. I got very lucky with the weather, I only needed the umbrella on two days out of 16, which must be some kind of record in December. Here's the beach at Shoreham-on-Sea looking towards Brighton on Christmas Morning:

And that does it for me. Here's the grid:


Dec 27, 2018

Thursday December 27th 2018 Bruce Haight

Theme: Corner Crossing Crowd - the first and last name theme entries connect with each other in one corner:

1A. Popular peck picker: PETER 
1D. ---: PIPER. This one's a bit of an outlier as the other theme entries emerge - a character from a rhyme, rather than from a cartoon or a movie.

6A. Sinister "Smallville" supervillain: LEX.
6D. ---: LUTHOR. Superman's nemesis.

9A. Ghastly gargantuan gorilla: KING.
9D. ---: KONG.

31A. Conniving carrot cruncher: BUGS.
31D. ---: BUNNY.

35A. Fantastic Four foe: DOCTOR.
35D. ---: DOOM. This was all crosses for me, but not too much of a struggle.

50A. Tall toon toothpick: OLIVE.
50D. ---: OYL. The focus of Popeye's affections.

54A. Flirty Fleischer flapper: BETTY.
54D. ---: BOOP. Oddly, these cartoons were played on British TV in the children's programming. In retrospect, a strange place in the schedule considering the subject matter.

60A. Dedicated DC damsel: LOIS.
60D. ---: LANE. Another from the Superman comics.

Impressive alliterative theme today. I wonder if Bruce played with PETER PARKER rather than PIPER as he would have been more of a fit with the rest of the theme entries, but that would mean stacking 6's in those corners, not always easy.

Let's see what else we've got:


13. Peaceful: IRENIC. A new word for me today. Derived from the greek word for "peace".

15. Wire service initials: UPI. United Press International. The HQ is in Florida.

16. Music halls of old: ODEA. Odeon in the singular.

17. Black-and-white bears: PANDAS.

18. Like the most rarefied air: THINNEST.

20. DFW postings: ETDS. You need help to decide between ETA, ETD and ARR.

21. Queens tennis stadium: ASHE. The legendary Arthur Ashe. The arena is home to the US Open.

23. Small type size: AGATE. 5.5 typographical points.

24. Seafood delicacy: ROE.

25. "I'm Free" musical: TOMMY. The composer, Pete Townsend, would object to the term "musical". He composed it as the first "rock opera". Here's Elton John as the Pinball Wizard.

27. White House foreign policy gp.: NSC. National Security Council.

30. __ school: PREP. Prep schools in the US prepare the students for college. In the UK, they prepare them for a school (which are private). Go figure.

38. Self-disqualification: RECUSAL.

40. Camden Yards team: ORIOLES. Baltimore ball club.

42. Fret (over): AGONIZE.

43. Like a short report: ONE PAGE.

44. Acted badly: SINNED.

45. Sticky situation: MESS.

46. "You said it": AMEN.

49. NFC East team, on crawl lines: NYG. New York Giants.

51. Big Pharma watchdog: Abbr.: FDA. Food and Drug Administration.

58. "Me? Never!": NOT I!

61. Scenic viewpoint: OVERLOOK.

63. Certifying exams: BOARDS.

65. Wine opener?: OENO-

66. It may be brown or golden: ALE.

67. Ball State University city: MUNCIE. Something else I didn't know today. The crosses were solid.

68. Soft call: PSST!

69. "Criminal Minds" agent: FED. I've never seen the series, which currently runs to 309 episodes. I don't think I have time to catch up on all those.

70. Chilly temps: TEENS.


2. Millay's muse: ERATO. The muse of love poetry. Edna Millay was a poet and Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

"What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why, 
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain 
Under my head till morning; but the rain 
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh 
Upon the glass and listen for reply, 
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain 
For unremembered lads that not again 
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry."

3. Leanings: TENDENCIES.

4. Objectives: ENDS.

5. Narrow inlet: RIA.

7. Transitory things: EPHEMERA. Lovely word.

8. Number between I and XI?: XII. Tricky one, this. The number 12 sits between 11 and 1 on a clock face. Inverting the two clue numbers makes it even more obscure.

10. Creative spark: IDEA.

11. Fit together, as matryoshka dolls: NEST. Russian dolls, more informally.

12. Portal: GATE.

14. One side in "Gone With the Wind": Abbr.: CSA. Confederate States of America.

19. Word of dissent: NAY.

22. Indy brand: STP. Octane-boosting additive. I'm sure there are others, but STP seems to have the monopoly on race car sponsorship.

26. Digital video files: MPEGS. For the Moving Pictures Expert Group, a standards organization for audio and video compression.

28. Dots on a transit map: STOPS.

29. Pop genre?: COLA.

32. What may be resorted to when words fail: USING FORCE.

33. Long look: GAZE.

34. Downhill racer: SLED.

36. Writer Sarah __ Jewett: ORNE. An writer new to me.

37. Majestic: REGAL.

39. Element of change?: COIN. Fun clue/answer combination.

41. Florida State athlete: SEMINOLE.

47. Called forth: EVOKED.

48. Safety device: NET.

52. Brought to ruin: DID IN.

53. Horse relatives: ASSES.

55. Pre-revelry nights: EVES. There's a couple of them at this time of year!

56. Teller's stack: TENS.

57. Leisurely pace: TROT.

59. "Let's put smart to work" company: IBM. Pure guesswork, but I got this first time.

62. Buffoon: OAF.

64. Last word of "Casey at the Bat": OUT.

"But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out."

And I think that's the cue for my last out of the day. I'll be back on the west side of the Atlantic by next week. Here's the grid!


Notes from C.C.:

Happy 59th Birthday to our adventurous pilot Dudley, who started "Rabbit, Rabbit" tradition on our blog. This picture was taken during Montana's visit to Northeast in September, 2013.

Left to right: Marti, Dudley, Hondo & Montana

Dec 20, 2018

Thursday, December 20th 2018 Frank Virzi

Theme: The Buck Starts Here: Slang terms for the mighty dollar bill head up five down entries, as the reveal explains:

35D. Highest price, and what five Down answers have: TOP DOLLAR. The dollar term is on the top of the answer, hence the need to have the themers running vertically, not horizontally.

3D. Uncovered, in a way: BUCK NAKED. Those Duluth Trading commercials have certainly had an impact, like them or not. That was the first thing I thought of when I filled this in.

6D. Grade-school formation: SINGLE FILE.

9D. Personal, as a talk: ONE-TO-ONE. I had one-ON-one first, that didn't work out so well.

31D. Political commentator who wrote "Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball": GEORGE WILL.

"Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona."

39D. Beach cookout: CLAMBAKE. Food! Now you're talking. Here's a New England version:

From New England to Old England, where I'm currently enjoying some typical British rain weather. Fun puzzle from Frank, the theme worked nicely and an absence of any "clunk" in the fill made for a smooth solve.

Let's see what else we've got to talk about:


1. Goes out: EBBS.

5. Car ad fig.: MSRP. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. I'm not quite sure how realistic the MSRP on cars actually is, no dealer ever sticks to their MSRP guns. Maybe Tesla?

9. Poppy extract: OPIUM.

14. Stretched to the max: TAUT.

15. Cambodian cash: RIEL. The British conveniently forget that trading giant Jardine Matheson was founded on the opium trade.

16. Italian grandma: NONNA.

17. West Coast gas acronym: ARCO. Atlantic Richfield Company. Known for cheap gas. I don't put it in my car, the engine doesn't like it.

18. Violation of trust: INFIDELITY.

20. Kipling's Rikki-__-Tavi: TIKKI. The mongoose in Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book:

22. __ Dane: GREAT. What happened to the little dane? The great dane is certainly aptly-named.

23. Familia member: TIA.

24. Really get to: NETTLE. Tried NEEDLE, changed it.

26. Beeps and peeps: NOISES.

28. Fluffy neckwear: BOA.

30. Acts charitably: DOES GOOD.

32. Ararat lander: ARK.

33. "__ be married, / My grave is like to be my wedding bed": Juliet: IF HE.

34. Potentially offensive, briefly: NOT PC.

38. Bumbling one: BEE.

39. MDX ÷ X: CLI. Your Roman math. Ten into 1510 gets you 151.

40. Unlock, in verse: OPE.

42. Bit of soccer support: OLÉ.

43. Feature of some Gene Autry songs: YODEL.

45. Pasternak heroine: LARA. From "Doctor Zhivago". Inspired by the real-life Olga Ivinskaya, Pasternak's great love and literary support (or manipulative self-server, depending on who you believe).

47. "An everyday spud is a commentator," e.g.: PUN. Pretty awful, this one. "Common 'Tater".

48. Super Soaker, e.g.: WATER GUN.

51. It starts in Mar.: DST. Daylight Saving Time. Californians voted to keep daylight savings time year round this November. Sensible folk, no more springing and falling.

52. Distressed damsel's cry: SAVE ME! I went for HELP ME! first and made a virtual ink-blot fixing it.

55. Do business with: SELL TO.

57. Takeout menu general: TSO.

58. Moisten: BEDEW. Very poetic.

60. Tops off: FILLS.

63. Too high for people to catch?: ULTRASONIC. Not sure what I was thinking with "HYPERSONIC", but it seemed OK at the time.

66. Meh: BLAH.

67. Jacobi of "Murder on the Orient Express" (2017): DEREK.

68. UNC Chapel __: HILL. University of North Carolina.

69. Shakespearean schemer: IAGO. From Othello. Here's Laurence Fishburne and Kenneth Branagh from the 1995 movie version:

70. Nobel, for one: SWEDE.

71. Rights org.: ACLU.

72. 1990s-2010s slugging nickname: A-ROD.


1. Californie or Floride: ÉTAT. State, in yer French, of course.

2. Italian port: BARI.

4. Stir up: STOKE.

5. Hosp. test: MRI.

7. Browser button with a curved arrow icon: REFRESH. Ah, I've got one of those. I didn't see the HOME button last week, but my refresh button is right there.

8. Move in a tutu: PLIÉ.

10. Party pro: POL.

11. Monogram ltrs.: INITS.

12. Loosen, as laces: UNTIE.

13. Uxmal inhabitants: MAYAS. Important Mayan site on the Yucatan peninsula:


19. Five-O nickname: DANO. "Book 'em, Dano!"

21. "__ be an honor!": IT'D.

25. Work up a sweat: TOIL.

27. Altar words: I DO.

28. Treat with supreme care: BABY.

29. McFlurry flavor: OREO. I've never had a McFlurry. Do they do other flavors? Speaking of Oreos, I travelled to the UK with a roll-on sized bag full of Oreos and M&M's. My family are addicted to the more unusual flavors which they can't get this side of the pond.

36. +: PLUS.

37. Lowest price: CENT.

41. Songwriter with John: PAUL. Very few of the Lennon/McCartney songs were true collaborations.

44. Girl in a pasture: EWE.

46. Poison in some whodunits: ARSENIC.

49. Tight ends?: TEES.

50. Viet Cong org.: NLF. National Liberation Front.

52. Small earrings: STUDS.

53. Heaps: A SLEW.

54. "À __ santé!" : VOTRE. Cheers! To your good health!

56. Calf neighbor: TIBIA. One of your lower leg bones. A very close neighbor to your calf.

59. Persian Gulf capital: DOHA.

61. Mar-a-__: Florida estate: LAGO. Lago and Iago today.

62. Flip-flopped?: SHOD. Who was it who blew out a flip-flop? Ah yes ... Jimmy

64. Rosy: RED.

65. Gulager of "The Virginian": CLU. William Martin "Clu" Gulager to give him his full moniker. His nickname was given to him by his father, after the clu-clu birds, or martins, nesting at the family home.

That about does it for me. Time to find out if the rain has stopped! Here's the grid, and a picture of the old mill at dusk in Lower Slaughter, the charmingly-named village I'm staying in tonight (there's an Upper Slaughter as well!)

And finally the grid:


Notes from C.C.:

1) Hi Steve, hello from the other side!

2) Here are two pictures of Melissa's sweet granddaughter Jaelyn, who's going to be a big sister next year.

Jaelyn was a pink flamingo for Halloween. you can see her black eye - she was accidentally kicked in the face by an exuberant cousin just before trick-or-treating.

Jaelyn is going to be a big sister in may!

Dec 13, 2018

Thursday, December 13th 2018 David Alfred Bywaters

Theme: Eying "OR" - we look and find an alternative within the theme entries:

17A. Should we name the kid after the eldest Brady son or the James Bond author?: GREGORIAN? Greg or Ian?  Mr. Fleming had rather a rakish look about him:

I worked for the family bank in London a number of moons ago - Robert Fleming & Co. are no longer with us. Not my fault, or at least, not all my fault.

26A. Should we roll this old piano away or put it in order?: WHEEL OF FORTUNE? Wheel off, or tune? This one was the standout of the theme answers - the OR is not in any way at all easy to parse.

45A. Should we read a religious pamphlet or watch a movie ad?: TRACTOR TRAILER? Tract or trailer?

61A. Should we work on the experiment or go for a swim?: LABOR POOL? Lab or pool? Fortunately for the US audience, "labour" has lost the apparently superfluous "U".

I liked this one. The OR appears mostly where you might expect, and then the "Wheel of Fortune" entry quite takes you by surprise. I wonder if this was the seed entry that David saw and then went looking for more?

I didn't speed through this, I had a more NW-SE progress, then worked back and across. The top right corner was tricky, I didn't know Ngaio Marsh, but the downs eventually filled that in for me.

Let's see what else we can find:


1. "__ just won't do": THIS

5. "What a relief!": PHEW!

9. New Zealand mystery author Ngaio __: MARSH. So far from my wheelhouse that the house didn't even have a place to put the wheel. I'll need to go and read some back catalog from one of the "Queens of Mystery".

14. Automaker whose name means "Hark!" in Latin: AUDI! Very festive. "Audi" is more literal than the more poetic "Hark!" - "Listen!" would more fit the bill. However, let's try this stab at translation - I probably butchered it, but I gave it my best grammar school shot:

Audi! En canentes angeli:
 "Gloria Regi infanti;"

15. Peace of mind: EASE. Crackly audio but this will never get old. I sounds like it did coming out of my cheap stereo when I was a kid.

16. Expiate, with "for": ATONE

19. Done in: SLAIN

20. "Cray" and "totes adorbs," e.g.: SLANG. Oddly, I know that it should be "cray cray" for completely crazy. Why "adorbs" means "adores" I'm lost. The "totes" part is obvs, being as I live in the Valley. Totally. Whatever. Talk to the hand.

21. Same old routine: RUT

22. Moans and groans: CARPS. "Totes Carps Deems". "Seizes the Day" in the Valley.

23. Trip letters: LSD. Bad trip, good trip, roll the dice. Interesting history for the drug though.

25. __ it coming: HAS. Jumped in with "HAS". Should have waited.

34. Word in many hymn titles: PRAISE!

35. Bit: IOTA

36. Unheard-of?: NEW

37. '50s-'60s car features: FINS. Cadillacs. If you want a fun read, "How the Cadillac got its Fins" by Jack Mingo is an old book I found in my Hilton hotel room back in 1994. Want to know how the Post-It note came about? It's all in there.

38. Continental currency: EUROS. Sneaky plural.

40. As it happens: LIVE

41. Swampy area: FEN

42. Places for me-time: SPAS

43. Some party reminders: EVITES. Usually annoying.

48. Operate: RUN

49. Neutral possessive: ITS. Not IT'S. Not sure? Learn from "It's an apostrophe". I love that, saved my grammatical life a few times.

50. Sharp: ACRID

53. Mass vestment: ALB. I paid enough attention as an Altar Boy to know which was what.

55. Swear words: OATHS

60. Self-reproach: SHAME

63. Low prime: SEVEN. 1, 3, 7, 11, 13 ...

64. Lying on: ATOP

65. Austen's aspiring matchmaker: EMMA. My eldest nephew is getting married in Winchester next week - site of Jane Austen's tomb and the home of my Alma Mater. I'll be blogging from the UK next week.

66. Unexpected pleasure: TREAT

67. Mailed: SENT

68. Move slowly: SEEP


1. License plates: TAGS. Really? I put my tags on my license plate, they stick in the upper-right corner. I just renewed mine.

2. Spew, as insults: HURL. Also a less-pleasant act into a handy receptacle.

3. Notion: IDEA

4. One finger for a fastball, say: SIGN

5. According to: PER

6. Salon creation: HAIRDO

7. Isaac's eldest: ESAU

8. Departed: WENT

9. It may run during a sad movie: MASCARA. This one I loved. Thank heavens I don't wear mascara, I'd be blotchy-cheeked most movies. I cry at the slightest provocation.

10. Classic song title words before "my love has come along": AT LAST! Etta James classic.

11. Bust a gut: ROAR 

12. Tonsorial sound: SNIP. A tonsure is a monk's haircut - the "pudding bowl and bald bit on top" look. Not the most fetching, in my humble opinion.

13. Cooped-up layers: HENS

18. Looks untowardly toward: OGLES

24. Consider overnight: SLEEP ON

25. Uncomfortable situation: HOT SEAT

26. More twisted, in a way: WRIER. There's usually one entry each week that I didn't see until I came to look back at the puzzle. This one filled itself in. Personally, I'd have tried WRYER first? This a new one on me.

27. Quick Draw's co-creator: HANNA. Quick Draw McGraw. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. I was honored to visit with Joe in his Orbit City office just off the 101 freeway in Los Angeles. It was furnished like an 18th century library. Quite an amazing experience. This was the front entrance, you would never have guessed what was behind it:

28. Oktoberfest cubes: EIS. You put ice in your beer? Not me!

29. Guinness adjective: FIRST. This had me for the longest while. I was fixated on the stout, not the Book of Records.

30. Rock's __ Fighters: FOO

31. Make one: UNITE

32. Not once: NEVER

33. Ovine animals: EWES

34. [It disappeared!]: PFFT!

39. Old Mideast org.: UAR. United Arab Republic, 1958-1971. Egypt and Syria.

40. Short, for short: LI'L. Quick - any offers other than Li'l Abner?

42. Campus figure: STUDENT

44. Sun screen: VISOR

46. Black Sea peninsula: CRIMEA

47. Colorful prize: RIBBON

50. Second: Abbr.: ASST.

51. Pop diva in "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again": CHER

52. Wild party: RAVE

53. Word often said with a sigh: ALAS

54. Stuck in traffic, say: LATE. I hate being late, but I had to call just today and say "I'm stuck in traffic, I'll be there about ten minutes late", and this is when I allowed myself an hour for a 35 minute drive.

56. Big primates: APES

57. Weighty work: TOME

58. Browser button: HOME. I'm just looking at my browser as I type this and I don't see anything that looks like a "home" button? Can someone point it out for me?

59. Manual comeuppance: SLAP

62. Choose: OPT. Out or in?

And, there we are. A fun puzzle, I'm packing for my first two-week vacation in about 25 years or so, I'm going back to the UK for the wedding, Christmas and a lot of relaxation. I'm so used to travelling with a carry-on, I'm not sure what do to with a checked bag!

See you next week from the other side of the common-language divide. And here's the grid:


Notes from C.C.:

1) Have a wonderful vacation, Steve!

2) D4E4H had his Pacemaker installed on Tuesday. He was feeling a bit weak when I talked to him yesterday, but he sounded cheerful. He'll be out of the hospital today. Hopefully he will show up on the blog once he gains his strength. Please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Dec 6, 2018

Thursday December 6th 2018 Ed Sessa

Theme: The In and Out Club - the four theme entries club together as follows:

17A. Heist that really puts a burglar on the map?: BREAKOUT BREAK IN

25A. Retro renege?: BACK IN BACK OUT

42A Unexpected visit from a hippie?: DROPOUT DROP IN

56A. Scene-stealing understudy?: STAND-IN STANDOUT

Very nice theme from Mr. Sessa. I like the variations in the one-word, two-word or hyphenated entries; it's not something you'll notice if you just fill in the grid, but when you write the solution out it adds another element.

I think my favorite was the stand-in standout, but they're all pretty cool. Nice job!

My theme title comes from the home of the Naval and Military Club on London's Piccadilly which acquired the nickname "The In and Out Club" for reasons which are obvious when you see the gateposts:

Let's see what else we've got to tickle one's fancy:


1. Free-speech inhibitor: GAG LAW

7. Rep.'s opponent: DEM. Dem democrats vs. dem Republicans.

10. Southwest art colony: TAOS. A pretty little town in New Mexico.

14. From the beginning: AFRESH

15. Blood type letters: ABO. Not a blood type itself, but the classification system.

16. Palindromic French pronoun: ELLE

20. Seeded: SOWN

21. Corrida cheer: OLÉ!

22. Cable network that airs vintage sitcoms: TV LAND

23. Place for rest and exercise: SPA

24. AFL partner: CIO. AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Nations.

32. "Me too": SO DO I. Tried "AS AM I" first, and was punished for my impatience.

33. Word with goal or detail: ORIENTED

35. Remote power sources: AAA'S. Clever. Batteries for remote controls.

36. Bucks: MOOLA

38. Top of le corps: TÊTE. Some more French for a diversion. The top of your body is your head. Is "haut" too unknown for the entire clue to be in French?

39. Purplish reds: CRIMSONS

41. Oil __: BARON. I had to wait a little while for some crosses before this one became apparent.

45. Two for dinner?: ENS. Two letter "n"s in DINNER.

46. Made a getaway: RAN

47. Performer with a record 21 Oscar nominations: STREEP. She won Best Actress for Sophie's Choice and Iron Lady, and Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer. I find the last one a little odd, wasn't she the lead in the movie with Dustin Hoffman? I guess not.

51. ESPN broadcaster Shriver: PAM. Tennis great and a good broadcaster to boot.

52. Energy units: ERGS

59. Sushi seaweed: NORI. I know it well. I buy in packs of 200 sheets, I use quite a lot of it!

60. Trauma ctrs.: ER'S

61. Delicate: DAINTY

62. Did 90, say: SPED

63. Took a load off: SAT

64. Relaxed: AT EASE


1. Speaks freely: GABS

2. Spherical hairdo: AFRO. I guess it is spherical, never really thought of it like that.

3. Went up a size: GREW

4. Low-fat: LEAN

5. Say "pretty please," say: ASK

6. Actress Goldberg: WHOOPI

7. Oasis fruit: DATE

8. Weaken: EBB

9. Wednesday's mom: MORTICIA. Characters from The Addams Family

10. Blue-green hue: TEAL

11. __-Seltzer: ALKA

12. Lena of "Alias": OLIN. She was a successful theater actress in her native Sweden before launching her film career.

13. Really excite: SEND

18. __ Bator: ULAN. A friend of mine from school joined the British intelligence service; she quit when she found out that her first posting was going to be to Ulan Bator. Mongolia didn't match her aspirations.

19. Call to mind: EVOKE

23. Master moguls: SKI. I never mastered the bumps, but I did ski. I lost count of the number of times I smacked myself in the chin with my knee skiing moguls.

24. Fenway great Yastrzemski: CARL

25. Corporate body: BOARD

26. Red who put out fires: ADAIR. Along with his partner "Boots" Hansen, he became known to me in 1977 when his team were brought in to deal with an oil rig blowout in the North Sea oilfields which had been spewing oil for seven straight days.

27. Jerry's neighbor: COSMO

28. Help for a child at a parade: BOOST

29. Like some bar offerings: ON TAP

30. Development sites: UTERI

31. Grand __ National Park: TETON

32. __ bunt: productive MLB out: SAC

34. Mink lair: DEN

36. Marshmallow-filled treats: MOON PIES

37. Burden: ONUS

40. Clip: SPEED

41. "__ appétit!": BON

43. "Shoot!": DRAT

44. Wyndham-owned chain: RAMADA. It's amazing the consolidation of hotel chains now. Hilton and Starwood seem to have most of the hotel world covered.

47. Taxpayer IDs: SSN'S

48. Firebird roof option: T-TOP. They don't make 'em anymore. The feathered paint job amused me when I first moved here.

49. More than pink: RARE. Food! I went to a restaurant in Manhattan recently which serves only one entrée - Steak Frites. There's only one cut of steak, and you can have it rare, medium, medium-well or well. You can't get medium rare. I went for medium, it was excellent.

50. City near Vance Air Force Base: ENID

51. Hissed attention-getter: PSST!

52. Pop singer Brickell: EDIE

53. "Mazes and Monsters" novelist Jaffe: RONA. Crosses filled this in for me. I didn't even notice the entry until now.

54. Inner workings: GUTS

55. Lid problem: STYE

57. FDR agency: NRA. The National Recovery Administration.

58. __ King Cole: NAT. A little late for a music link, so I'll save it for next time.

With that, here's the grid!


Note from C.C.:

Happy 81st birthday to dear Lucina, who's been with our blog since Feb 2010.  Lucina travels to CA once a year. Not sure if she met with our Californian Coven there this year.

Left to Right: Chickie, JD, Garlic Gal and Lucina.
June 3, 2015 

Nov 29, 2018

Thursday November 29th 2018 C.C. Burnikel

Theme: Codology - I go to my Irish roots with the informal word for "an act of bluffing or deception." Here C.C. gives us six genuine "-ologies" each with an alternate definition. How many of those six did you know the genuine one? I scored three for sure, and one roughly-maybe.

16A. Study of a portentous woodchuck?: PHILOLOGY. Study of languages in oral and written historical context. Phil as in Punxsutawney Phil and his Groundhog Day winter prediction. I didn't know that a woodchuck was a groundhog, or vice-versa. Now I'll never forget.

23A. Study of tears?: CRYOLOGY. The study of snow and ice, or refrigeration. And bawling, like I do every time I watch "Ghost".

51A. Study of common articles?: THEOLOGY. Nature of God and religious belief. Or The Study of "the", per C.C.

62A. Study of hiking choices?: PATHOLOGY. The cause and effect of diseases.

9D. Study of literary tools?: PENOLOGY. I thought this one might be a bit of the old codology - but, it's the study of punishment of crime and prison management.

38D. Study of lids and caps?: TOPOLOGY. The study of a particular place. It has a special meaning in mathematics, the definition of which I understand about as well as I understand Tibetan:

"... a branch of mathematics concerned with those properties of geometric configurations (such as point sets) which are unaltered by elastic deformations (such as a stretching or a twisting) that are homeomorphisms ..."

Thanks to C.C. for this puzzle, and for bailing me out last week with the blog, I completely forgot that it was Thursday, hence the need for a last-minute pinch-hit. It's amazing what she does to keep us all on track.

Back on the subject of Irish codology, you might like to spend a few minutes enjoying Flann O'Brien's physics lesson.


1. Goat quote: MAA. Tried BAA. Failed.

4. Monorail users: TRAMS

9. Driving range instructors: PROS. Golf ones. Mine was an LPGA tour pro and she could hit the ball a country mile. I couldn't.

13. Central cooling systs.: A/CS

14. Kick: OOMPH

15. She converted to Judaism after marrying her comedy partner: MEARA. Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller.

18. Opposition group: ANTIS

19. Submits returns online: E-FILES

20. Prevents legally: ENJOINS

22. Hoppy brew, for short: IPA. India Pale Ale, as we should all know by now.

24. Humanities maj.: SOC. Sociology. Didn't make the grade as one of C.C.'s themers, so abbreviated and relegated to the fill.

26. Dash gauge: TACH. Tachometer. Rev counter to me.

29. Slovenia neighbor, to the IOC: CRO. Croatia, as abbrevated by the International Olympic Committee.

30. Player of The Bride in "Kill Bill" films, familiarly: UMA. Ms. Thurman, less familiarly. Here she is about to have her breastplate pierced by a hypodermic administered with "a stabbing motion" by John Travolta in Pulp Fiction:

31. Made a blunder: ERRED

33. Take suddenly: GRAB

37. Small store: MART

39. Fuzzy fruit: KIWIS

41. Exercise in a studio: YOGA

42. Android operating system named for a cookie: OREO

43. Trusty mount: STEED

45. Shaving cream type: GEL

46. "American Experience" network: PBS

49. Bart's bus driver: OTTO

50. Draw upon: USE

55. That woman: SHE

57. Echo Dot-waking words: HI ALEXA! Siri on my phone never seems to understand me. I wonder if Alexa would do a better job.

58. Cornell's home: ITHACA

61. Others, in Cuba: OTROS

65. Tells all: SINGS

66. "At the Movies" co-host: EBERT. In 1975, he became the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.

67. Shepherd's pie piece: PEA. Mmmm, Food! When I cook lamb shanks, I add an extra one to the pot especially for turning into shepherd's pie. If someone serves you a "shepherd's pie" made with ground beef, you can look disdainfully at the plate and point out that it's a cottage pie.

68. Craftsy website: ETSY

69. Brother in Roman lore: REMUS. He and Romulus had a rocky relationship. Or maybe that should be a hilly relationship.

70. Give a darn: SEW. Nice!


1. It may have an "X": MAP. I wondered why a BAP would have an X? I went on a wild ride of imagination, as a bap in parts of the UK is a colloquial name for a type of bread roll. Then the BAA/MAA penny dropped. What do you do with a bap? Make a "chip butty" of course:

2. Physical discomfort: ACHE

3. "Whatever!": AS IF I CARE! These entries can be the devil to parse, this one no exception.

4. "Missed your chance!": TOO LATE!

5. Romeo or Juliet: ROLE

6. "A Sorta Fairytale" singer Tori: AMOS. I was going to link the video on YouTube but it's a little weird.

7. New car stat: MPG

8. More timid: SHYER

10. 7:11, e.g.: RATIO. Because "Convenience Store" doesn't fit.

11. Circular gasket: O-RING

12. Impertinent: SASSY

15. The Masters, e.g.: MAJOR. By tradition, professional golf's first major of the year. It's the only major which is an invitational tournament, and is always played over the same course - Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. The course was laid in the 1930's on an old flower nursery. The scenery is stunning.

17. Carmex target: LIP. I use this magic stuff I get OTC in England called Zovirax, I think it's only available on Rx here.

21. MoMA location: NYC. The Museum of Modern Art in New York. There's a fabulous restaurant in the atrium.

23. Puppy plaything: CHEW TOY

24. Heavyweight fight?: SUMO

25. "Rubáiyát" poet: OMAR

27. First rescue boat: ARK. Nice!

28. Football Hall of Famer Carter: CRIS. Respected TV pundit now. One of the players to make a successful transition to broadcast.

32. Count calories: DIET

34. Officers who follow their own code: ROGUE COPS. One of my favorite entries today.

35. Many months: AGES

36. Christian of "The Big Short": BALE

40. Matching group: SET

44. Throw back some Absolut, say: DO SHOTS. DO A SHOT didn't work. More tricky parsing.

47. Sanctify: BLESS

48. Chi __: SOX. It's a C.C. puzzle, so there's baseball in here somewhere. Presenting to you the Chicago White Sox.

51. "All __ in favor ... ": THOSE

52. Bandleader's cue: HIT IT!

53. Works for: EARNS

54. Rubbernecker: GAPER

56. Evil film computer: HAL. I think I mentioned before that if you go one letter up in the alphabet from HAL you get IBM.

58. Thing: ITEM

59. Dead-end sign word: THRU. No Thru Road.

60. Screenwriter James: AGEE

63. Wartime prez: ABE. That's a long war ago. Abe Lincoln.

64. Veer off course: YAW

And with that, the grid:


Nov 22, 2018

Thursday November 22, 2018 Robin Stears

Theme: Last Shift - Last words in all theme entries are all anagrams of "northe":

17A. "Shake It Up" star who won a 2015 Teen Choice Award for her role in "The DUFF": BELLA THORNE.
27A. "Monster" Oscar winner: CHARLIZE THERON.

47A. Another name for the Romanov Empire: IMPERIAL THRONE.

62A. Masked hero who partners with Kato: GREEN HORNET.

C.C. here. Steve is probably caught up somewhere with no WiFi. I'll just have a simple write-up today.

We seldom see a 6-letter anangram puzzle. 3 or 4 letters are more common. I'm amazed at Robin's find. We also seldom see a anagram puzzle without a reveal.


1. Electrically flexible: AC/DC.

5. Mammals who hold hands while sleeping: OTTERS. Did not know this trivia. So sweet.

11. Cy Young Award stat: ERA.

14. "So gross": BLEH. And 52. "'Sup, homie": YO DOG. Don't recall anyone on our blog ever used these expressions.

15. Persona non grata: PARIAH.

16. Hula hoop?: LEI.

19. __ Bernardino: SAN.

20. Helicopter part: ROTOR.

21. Mineral suffix: ITE.

22. Crackerjack: ADEPT.

24. All ears: RAPT.

26. Sport-__: UTE.

34. Yellow Teletubby: LAA LAA.

35. Rower's need: OAR.

36. Like old records: MONO.

37. Returns home?: IRS. Nice clue. We also have 66. Income recipient: EARNER.

38. Blush or flush: TURN RED.

41. ATM maker: NCR.

42. Thick fog: SOUP.

44. Narc's org.: DEA.

45. Element used in atomic clocks: CESIUM. Learning moment for me.

50. Lay unused: SAT.

51. A/C units: BTUs.

55. "Ballers" network: HBO. Wiki says "Ballers is an American comedy-drama television series created by Stephen Levinson and starring Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Strasmore, a retired NFL player who must navigate his new career of choice as the financial manager of other NFL players."

57. Gets rid of: LOSES.

61. Binary digit: ONE.

65. Feel badly about: RUE.

67. Avis adjective: RARA. Rara avis.

68. Medium strength?: ESP. Another nice clue.

69. Arm-twisting: DURESS.

70. "Son of Frankenstein" role: YGOR.


1. This ans. is one: ABBR. Answer/Abbreviation.

2. Ancient queen, familiarly: CLEO. Cleopatra invented the eyeliner.

3. Bench press muscle: DELT.

4. __ hydrate: sedative: CHLORAL. Also new to me.

5. Decide: OPT.

6. South Pacific island: TAHITI. Close to the sesame paste TAHINI (for hummus).

7. Easy pace: TROT.

8. Word on an Irish euro: EIRE.

9. Hightailed it: RAN.

10. Tight-fitting dress: SHEATH.

11. "Is there something __?": ELSE.

12. Cut the crop: REAP.

13. "If it __ broke ... ": AIN'T.

18. Where Noah landed: ARARAT. Boomer started going to church again three weeks ago. He's a Catholic.

23. Consider: DEEM.

25. Strong praise: PLAUDIT.

26. Netherlands city near Amsterdam: UTRECHT. Click this map for the exact location. North of Gouda.

27. Billiards bounce: CAROM.

28. Invites to the skybox: HAS UP.

29. Divided into districts: ZONAL.

30. Corn unit: EAR.

31. Masterless samurai: RONIN. Literally "wanderer".  The character on top means "wander", the one on the bottom means "person".

32. Perfectly timed: ON CUE.

33. It's to be expected: NORM.

34. Actress Virna: LISI. Have not seen her in our grid for a long time.

39. Stephen who plays Inspector Bucket on "Dickensian": REA.

40. "Talk Dirty" singer Jason: DERULO. New to me also.

43. 100 centavos: PESO.

46. "A thousand pardons": SO SORRY.

48. Uneven: RAGGED.

49. Sizzler choices: T-BONES.

52. Knight times: YORE. I like this clue also.

53. Obligation: ONUS.

54. Like a basso profundo voice: DEEP.

55. Berlin mister: HERR.

56. N.B. part: BENE.

58. Glitch: SNAG.

59. Architect Saarinen: EERO.

60. Have the lead: STAR.

63. "This Is India" novelist Santha Rama __: RAU.

64. Billing nos.: HRS.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Thanks for being part of our Crossword Corner family. I can't imagine what my life will be without your support, esp the past few months.

I'm also grateful for our blogging team, who dedicate so much time on their writeups every week, even when traveling in other countries or dealing with some personal health issues.

Thank you, Rich Norris, Patti Varol and all the L. A. Times constructors for your daily entertainment.