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Showing posts with label Tom Pruce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tom Pruce. Show all posts

Mar 21, 2009

Saturday March 21, 2009 Tom Pruce

Theme: None

Total blocks: 32

Total words: 68

Had some trouble with lower right corner. But at least I filled in lots of blanks. I only got a few words in last week's LA Times puzzle, and some were just wrong guesses.

I expect lots of fun ahead, but also plenty of struggles. I will definitely need your help to understand the cluing and get the theme right.

The clue for TONERS (46D: Soothing skin creams) is simply wrong. Toner is liquid. Mr. Pruce needs to pay close attention to what his wife is using to s-Pruce up her skin.

Across:

1A: Last letter of words?: ESS. Can't fool me.

14A: Gods of Ancient Rome: DEI. So what is the singular form of DEI then? I often confuse DEI with DEO, as in DEO gratias (thanks be to God).

16A: Actress Piper: LAURIE. No idea. Strange name, Piper, sounds like a man. Wikipedia says this lady dated Reagan a couple of times before his marriage to Nancy. And she was in some TV series called "Twin Peaks".

17A: Brown-and-white cow: GUERNSEY. "Brown-and-white" indeed. They look happy. Happy cows were bred on the British Channel Island of GUERNSEY, hence the name. I've never heard of it before.

20A: Guevara and others: ERNESTOS. I don't know any "other" ERNESTO.

25A: Fearless daring: AUDACITY. Ah, "The AUDACITY of Hope". Our governor Tim Pawlenty said "Hope is not a plan".

28A: Academy frosh: PLEBE. Navy Academy I presume?

30A: Hawkins of Dogpatch: SADIE. "Li'l Abner" stuff again. Sadly, I forgot all about her and the SADIE Hawkins Day. Did she find a husband in the end?

35A: Edberg or Sorenstam: SWEDE. Lots of great golfers are from Sweden. So is Tiger Wood's wife. Some call rutabaga as SWEDE.

38A: Salad-service piece: CRUET. Not a common item in Asian kitchens.

42A: Rump: DERRIERE. I envy those who have DERRIERE. Most Asians don't have butts.

44A: Click beetle: ELATER. No idea. Huge eyes. Do they make clicking noises? If so, they certainly won't elate me. Dennis says only male turkeys gobble, and females "make a clicking noise". I thought they make "clucking" noise. What do you think?

50A: Amati's hometown: CREMONA. Unknown to me. See this map. Also the Strad namesake "Stradivari's hometown".

54A: Quick impression: APERCU. Or Synopsis.

56A: Fast-food customers: ORDERERS. I thought of TEENAGERS first.

60A: A. J. of auto racing: FOYT. Nope. I only know A. J. of baseball. Wikipedia mentions that A. J. FOYT is the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500 (which he won four times), the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans".

Down:

2D: Premier pointillist: SEURAT (Georges). Here is his most famous work: "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte".

3D: Burnt shade: SIENNA. Like this. Don't understand why our editor has never clued SIENNA as the scorching hot/ready to burn "Actress Miller". Her name is fun to play with.

4D: Become rigid, in a way: TENSE UP. Ah, "TENSE UP".

5D: Profligates: WASTRELS. New word to me. I wanted WASTERS, but it's one letter short.

10D: Countrified: RUSTICAL. Only know Rustic.

11D: Raymond Burr TV series: IRONSIDE. Have zero familiarity with this TV series or the actor Raymond Burr.

12D: Arizona river: GILA. Or the name of this desert monster. Wikipedia says GILA monster is so sluggish in movement that it poses no threat to human.

18D: Mil. division: REGT (Regiment). I learned this morning that a regiment consists of at least two battalions and is commanded by a colonel.

25D: Poplar tree: ABELE. I need to chew an acorn. Forgot this white poplar ABELE again. Rooted in Latin albellus, meaning white.

34D: Wrongly self-willed: PERVERSE. Again, not a familiar definition to me. Sick, yes.

36D: Common: EVERYDAY

39D: Male hawk used in falconry: TIERCEL. Also spelled as TERCEL. New name to me.

48D: Fight, country-style: RASSLE. Slang for "wrestle". This kind of Dogpatch style word often stumps me.

50D: Gian __ Menotti: CARLO. Uh-uh, no. Williams often clue CARLO as "Sophia's husband" or "Director Ponti". MENOTTI was clued as "The Consul" composer in our puzzle before. He won Pulitzer for "The Consul". He also wrote the classic Christmas opera "Amahl and the Night Visitors".

52D: Opinion pg.: OP-ED. It's always placed opposite the editorials, hence the name.

53D: Rounded ottoman: POUF. Not the POUF I am familiar with. Here are some POUT ottomans.

Full answer grid.

C.C.

Mar 14, 2009

Saturday March 14, 2009 Tom Pruce

Theme: None

Total blocks: 29

Total words: 68

I often have millet soup. It's gluten free and safe for me to eat. But the finger millet RAGI (11D: Asian cereal grass) is an exotic new grain to me. Have never seen ONAGERS (62D: Wild asses of Asia) in my life, after living in Asia for over 30 years. They are native to desert areas of Asia like Syria, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, etc.

A bit of Scottish flavor in this grid:

27A: Possess like a Scot: HAE. Guessed this one. Then I remembered I linked Burns "Some HAE meat and canna eat" poem sometime last year.

28A: Scot's negative: NAE

12D: Scott hero: IVANHOE. I wanted ROB ROY. Last time IVANHOE was clued as "Sir Walter Scott hero".

Not a difficult puzzle. Most of the short words are clued very straightforwardly. So that makes the long words obtainable. I filled in lots of blanks before I googled. I think I will struggle mightily with LA Times Saturday themeless. I was only able to fill in a few words last time when Argyle blogged Barry Silk's puzzle. Rich Norris (editor for LA Times crossword) has accepted a few of Barry's puzzles, and they are all themeless. So, be prepared for the struggle.

Oh by the way, Barry's puzzle appeared in NT Times today. Read this interesting interview (Spoiler alert: It contains some answers to the puzzle) conducted by Jim Horne, the official NY Times crossword blogger. "Dr. Pangram" sounds so APT. Want to see how Barry looks like?

Additionally, Mary Elson, the Manging Director for Tribune Media Service, told me yesterday that they have informed all the papers about the puzzle change. I don't know why our local papers have not relayed this important news to us the solvers.

For those who don't have access to TMS Sunday puzzle, have a look at LA Times March 12 Thursday puzzle, Argyle will blog it tomorrow morning.

Across:

1A: Primitive believer: ANIMIST. How is it different from Shamanism?

8A: Land named for Vespucci: AMERICA. The feminized Latin version of his given name Amerigo. Here is how AMERICA is called in Chinese, "the beautiful country".

15A: Puerto Rican boxer Hector: CAMACHO. Googled his name. He looks quite gentle. Is KO a boxing magazine?

17A: Oodles: UMPTEEN

16A: Exquisite: ELEGANT. Anna Wintour is icily ELEGANT.

23A: Byrnes or Roush: EDD. Have never heard of the baseball player EDD Rouse. A HOFer. Wikipedia says he "used a massive 48-ounce Louisville Slugger (the heaviest bat used in baseball)" and he claimed that he never broke a bat in his big league career. Is that a record?

24A: Surveying instrument: ALIDADE. I forgot. This instrument appeared in our puzzle 2 months ago.

29A: Having a harmful effect: DELETERIOUS. I know the meaning of this long word. But it sure was not a gimme to me.

31A: Greenstreet and Pollack: SYDNEYS. Did not know the British actor SYDNEY Greenstreet. He is the bad club owner Signor Ferrari in "Casablanca". The big guy on the right.

36A: Roman transportation: CHARIOT. Driven by two horses. I like this Roman CHARIOT, so finely sculpted.

44A: Explore ahead: RECONNOITER. This is another long word that I can't spell it out without surrounds.

47A: Mdse. identifier: UPC

49A: J. Hancocked?: SGD. My initial answer was OK'D. Look at his autograph. Very clear indeed. No wonder "John Hancock" became an synonym for signature.

53A: Two-headed: DUAL. I don't understand this clue. "Two-headed" conjured up a very unpleasant Greek mythical animal.

57A: Separate metals by melting: LIQUATE. New word to me. I was thinking of ABLATE, which actually means "to remove or dissipate by melting, vaporization, erosion".

Down:

1D: Tapering points: ACUMENS. Not a familiar definition to me.

2D: Date to celebrate: NAME DAY. Hey, Congress just passed a National Pi Day (March 14) resolution.

4D: Groening or Dillon: MATT. Knew MATT Dillon. Loved his "Crash". Have never heard of MATT Groening, the creator of "The Simpsons". Is his named pronounced the same as "groaning"?

5D: Hard water?: ICE

6D: "Cheers" co-star: SHELLEY LONG. Dennis pointed her name last time when I linked this picture.

7D: Uvula neighbors: TONSILS

8D: Film material: ACETATE. Would not have got this material without the crossing help.

10D: Dutch commune: EDE. No idea. This is the best map I could find. The temperature is in C of course.

13D: Horse-man?: CENTAUR. No idea. Holy moly. Horse-man indeed. Reminds me of the part bull, part man Minotaur. Both end in TAUR, prefix for "bull". Those Greek mythology figures can be very absurd.

24D: Operatic soprano Patti: ADELINA. Another google. Italian soprano. Died in 1919. She looks pretty. Verdi called her the greatest vocalist that he ever heard.

25D: Vivid verbal description: DELINEATIONS

37D: Solvent from petroleum: HEPTANE. Its molecule has seven carbon atoms, hence prefix HEPT. I got the answer from across fills.

38D: Stresses: ACCENTS

40D: The Moor of Venice: OTHELLO. His betrayer is IAGO.

41D: Make less severe: ASSUAGE

51D: DCCLI doubled: MDII. 751X2=1502

58D: Sine __ non: QUA. Can you make a sentence for me? I know the meaning of this Latin phrase. Have never used it in conversation or writing.

C.C.

Mar 7, 2009

Saturday March 7, 2009 Tom Pruce

Theme: None

Total blocks: 26

Total words: 70

Hard puzzle! I don't think Mr. Tom Pruce and I speak the same language this morning.

Now I start to understand why those ace solvers like themeless grids. It's a true test of the range of your knowledge. For weekday themed puzzles, you can always rely on theme as your sherpa and fill in lots of blanks with your reasoning. No such help is available on Saturdays, except a few gimme affixes like S, ER, EST, ED, etc.

For those who don't have TMS Sunday tomorrow, here is Stan Newman's Newsday puzzle. Click on March 1, 2009 for the "Baloney Sandwich" puzzle. Argyle will blog it here tomorrow morning. I hope by introducing other puzzles on the blog, you can see how they differ from TMS offerings.

Across:

1A: Makeshift: STOPGAP. Is Obama's economic stimulus package a STOPGAP measure?

8A: Some metamorphic rocks: SCHISTS. No idea. See this SCHIST rock. Silvery color. Rich in mica. Easy to split. So close to schism in spelling.

15A: Sicilian wine: MARSALA. Not familiar with this wine. It's named after the city MARSALA where the wine is produced. Used frequently in cooking. Now I want some seafood risotto.

16A: Removal mark: ERASURE

17A: Rigby of the Beatles song: ELEANOR. The tune sounds awfully familiar. I don't remember the song title though.

18A: Tropical malady: MALARIA. Literally ''bad air'' .

19A: Diamond gal: LIL. No idea. Which one is our "Diamond gal" LIL?

22A: Hand tool for holding: PLIERS. "Hand tool for holding" can also be PINCERS, right?

25A: Old English bard: SCOP. New word to me. SCOPS often traveled to various courts to recite their courtly epic poetry. Their Scandinavian counterpart is SKALDS who composed those old Norse Eddas I think.

30A: John Hersey book: HIROSHIMA. Have never heard of this book . It's about the dropping of atomic bomb obviously. Wikipedia says his original article appeared in the August 31, 1946 issue of "The New Yorker". And "the article took up the entire issue of the magazine – something The New Yorker had never done before, nor has it since." Our editor likes to clue ADANO as "Hersey's bell town".

32A: Absorbed in thought: BEMUSED. To me, BEMUSED is confused and perplexed, not "Absorbed in thought". But RAPT is too letter short.

35A: Old draft org.: SSS (Selective Service System).

38A: Tentacled mollusk: OCTOPOD. I was thinking of octopus.

43A: Spanish island: MINORCA. Literally "Minor island", compared with Majorca, the "Larger island" on the left. I've got no idea. All I could think of is the "Girls Gone Wild" island Ibiza.

45A: Anterior flappers: FORE WINGS. The darker colored wings? I surmise the other pairs are called REAR WINGS?

54A: Novelist Kingsley: AMIS. Only know his son Martin, also a novelist, a strongly opinionated one. Tina Brown's old flame.

55A: Some wading birds: STILTS. No idea. Holy cow! Incredible long legs. No wonder it's called STILTS.

57A: Zubenelgenubi or Dubhe: STAR. Zubenelgenubi is the second brightest star in the constellation Libra. And Dubhe is a "pointer star in the constellation Ursa Major and the brightest of the seven stars that form the Big Dipper". Both were unknown to me. Stars have refused to shine for me for a few weeks.

59A: Menlo Park initials: TAE. Edison. ALVA is often clued as "Menlo Park middle name".

60A: Bat stickum: PINE TAR. Baseball players use it to improve grips. Pitchers use it too.

62A: Repeating: ITERANT. I kind of like the ING ending clue. Better than "Repetitive". Novice solvers might be tempted to fill in ING for the last 3 blank squres.

64A: Rest upon: OVERLIE. What kind of image are you picturing?

65A: Electra's brother: ORESTES. The painting of him being pursued by the three Furies jumped into my mind immediately. But I just could not remember his damned name. Anyway, he should not be faulted for killing his mother. She deserved the punishment.

66A: Succinctly: TERSELY

67A: Ilie of tennis: NASTASE. Nice reverse of the clue/answer.

Down:

2D: Eye for an eye: TALION. Another new word for me. With an "I (eye)" inserted in TALON. It's "punishment identical to the offense, as the death penalty for murder". That's exactly what ORESTES' mother got then. She killed her husband and his lover Cassandra. Then she was murdered by her own son.

3D: Vague threat: OR ELSE

4D: O. T. book: PSA (Psalms). Baseball cards collectors are probably all familiar with the grading firm PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator). Notice PSA at the very right end? That's a 1951 Mickey Mantle Bowman rookie card in NM/MT (Near Mint/Mint) condition. It's sold for $22,750.

5D: Novelist Ernest: GANN. I googled his name. Looks like he had a great aviation career as well.

7D: Jumping from a plane: PARACHUTING

9D: Junk: CRAP. Ah ya, bad word.

10D: British greetings: HALLOS. Really? I've never paid attention to that.

11D: Rider and Bowman: ISAIAHS. ISAIAH Bowman was an American geographer, who served as the President of John Hopkins University from 1935 to 1948. ISAIAH Rider is former NBA star. I knew neither of them. Bowman is always the baseball card brand to me. Topps, Bowman and Upper Deck.

12D: Certainties: SURETIES

13D: Some Roman galleys: TRIREMES. See this picture. Dictionary says it derives its name from its three rows of oars on each side, manned with one man per oar. I don't understand it. That's more than 3 rows of oars. Last time BIREMES was clued as "Roman galleys", supposedly "two tiers of oars on each side". Again, that's lots of oars. Maybe I don't even know what OARS are. (Note: Here is a good link explaining those oar positions).

14D: Marine predator: SEA SNAKE. I just learned this morning that SEA SNAKE like eels. I like eels too, unagi, yummy!

21D: Chemical warfare agent: POISON GAS

26D: Part of speech: PREPOSITION

29D: __ volente (God willing): DEO. In Islam, it's Insha' Allah.

33D: 1901: MCMI. And DCV (39D: 605).

35D: Tender regard: SOFT SPOT. Are you OK with this clue?

36D: Playful: SPORTIVE. New word to me. Is it the same as SPORTY?

37D: Sieve: STRAINER. And colander.

42D: Peter of "Being There": SELLERS. Easy guess. Have never heard of the movie "Being There". I don't know why "Being There" brought Julie Christie's "Away From Her" to my mind.

46D: Turkey feature: WATTLE. I was thinking of dewlap. That's ugly. I am glad I am not a turkey.

48D: Capital of Transkei: UMTATA. Nope. I don't know where the heck Transkei is. See this map. Nelson Mandela was born here. Wikipedia says his first 2 wives were both from this area too.

49D: Tropical creepers: LIANES. I keep remembering then forgetting these "Tropical creepers".

53D: Part of the Carpathians: TATRA. The TATRA Mountains are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains, the range in central Europe, extending from N Slovakia to central Romania. Both were unknown to me.

56D: Spinanaker or spanker: SAIL. Thought "spanker" is a person who spank. Did not know it's also a "fore-and-aft" sail.

58D: Jed of "The Chris Isaak Show": REES. Sigh. We've had the same clue several times before, yet his name keeps escaping me. He must be a very small potato. There is not even a Wikipedia entry for him.

61D: Actor Alejandro: REY. Got his name from across fills. He is in Elvis's "Fun in Acapulco". Was he very well-known?

63D: Alphabet trio: RST. "Q-U link" certainly does not sound as cute as yesterday's "RV link" for STU.

C.C.

Feb 28, 2009

Saturday February 28, 2009 Tom Pruce

Theme: None

Total blocks: 28

Total words: 70

Noticed how this puzzle differs from Matthew Higgins' themeless? The sparse and prudent use suffixes. Two ED and several S, which are very common in any Saturday grid. I simply can't stand puzzles with oodles of affixes like ER, RE, ING, ED and EST.

Lots of 10-letter words. 12, to be exact. That results in plenty of 4-letter words, most of which are clued pretty straighforwardedly.

The clue for NEWSSTANDS (1A: Place for papers) should be in plural form. I understand the constructor's alliteration purpose in cluing MISSEND (50A) as "Mail by mistake". I just dislike the letter duplication. "Mail by error" sounds OK to me.

I am lost on ANTECEDENT (14D: Cause). What's the rationale here?

For those regulars who don't have TMS Sunday puzzle, click "Over and Over". I will publish Argyle's blog post here tomorrow morning.

Across:

11A: Caesar's partner: COCA. Stumped immediately. I need "Caesar's TV partner" to think of the Imogene COCA. I thought of Caesar salad.

15A: Pharmacist: APOTHECARY. Recognize this word when I see it. But I can't spell it out.

16A: Son of Judah: ONAN. The guy who spilled his seeds on the ground. Onanism is easier to remember than the Latin "coitus interruptus". "Can I ...?"

17A: Ballet turns: PIROUETTES

18A: Flat fee?: RENT. Nice clue.

19A: Get a whiff of: SCENT. I wrote SMELL first.

21A: Summon to court: CITE. Would have come to me immediately if the clue were "Quote".

22A: Sicilian volcano: ETNA. The insurance giant AETNA is named after this volcano. Greek for "I burn". My surname Burn-ikel has no burning desire at all. It simply means "Don't kill the child" in Viking talks.

27A: Chandler novel, with "The": BIG SLEEP. Easy guess. I've never read this book.

31A: Team spirit: MORALE. I bet those Afghan warlords' MORALE is very high now, with CIA's supply of our friendship blue pills. Viagra is a potent weapon in war on terror, correct?

36A: Abbr. on folk music: TRAD. Add a prefix S, you suddenly have Joshua Bell's expensive STRAD.

46A: Black sea port: ODESSA. Still remember AZOV the "Black sea arm"? It's quite close to ODESSA.

46A: Unskilled: INEXPERT. Only know EXPERT.

56A: Of the kidney: RENAL. And OTIC (60A: Of the ear). What is "Of love"?

65A: Facial features: LINEAMENTS. You won't believe it, but I really have never heard of this word before.

67A: Took the first step: STARTED OUT

Down:

2D: Heroic in scope: EPIC. Are you a fan of "The Lord of the Rings"? Somehow I've never developed an interest in those fantasy novels.

5D: Airport connector: SHUTTLE

11D: Washington D.C. art gallery: CORCORAN. No idea. What is their most precious collection?

12D: Body of water near Syracuse: ONEIDA LAKE. It's the largest lake entirely within NY State. I just learned this morning that the name ONEIDA literally means "Erected stone".

13D: Type of bridge: CANTILEVER. Like this one? According to Dictionary, only one end of the CANTILEVER bridge is fixed. That picture does not seem to fit the definition.

24D: Sponsorship: AEGIS. See Athena's AEGIS shield. The center is Medusa's head. Poor Medusa. She used to be pretty. But then she made love to Poseidon in Athena's temple. Bam! Athena turned her into a monster! Her ugly face could turn any onlooker into stone, maybe an "Erected stone".

26D: Hang in loose folds: LOP. Not a familiar definition to me. "Chop off" is more common.

28D: Casts light on: IRRADIATES

29D: Jefferson Airplane singer: GRACE SLICK. Easy guess. In Chinese culture, that's a very rude gesture.

37D: Examines in minute detail: DISSECTS

44D: Off the charts: EXTREME. "Off the chart" is a new phrase to me.

51D: Shipboard crane: DAVIT. Is it mainly used to lift boat?

55D: Gershon of "Bound": GINA. Don't know "Bound". Only saw GINA Gershon in "Showgirls". She was rumored to have affair with Bill Clinton last year.

57D: One-billionth: pref.: NANO

58D: Westernmost of the Aleutian Islands: ATTU. Also the westernmost of the US.

C.C.

Feb 14, 2009

Saturday February 14, 2009 Tom Pruce

Theme: None

Total blocks: 34

Total words: 70

A much better puzzle today. Boy, I saw nothing positive in yesterday's grid, not even a single hit, only error after error.

I sure liked the five run-through 15-letter words in the Across. But I've also learned that 14-letter word is actually the the hardest to construct. After filling in TAILORS (62A: Suit makers", I wondered if Tom Pruce had considered a themed puzzle with FULL METAL JACKET as one entry. You know, he can add Jerry Seinfeld's PUFF SHIRT, Monica Lewinsky's Blue DRESS and Hillary Clinton's PANTSUITS. Voila, a great puzzle for President Clinton.

Very annoyed to see ELA (19A: Old-time high note) again. Why not "She, in 2D" (Sao PAULO, Brazil) as a tie-in? Also, "Cloth finish (41A)?" for IER again? Where is the imagination? How about "The back of hotel"? Hotelier, cashier, frontier, etc.

I guess there is no other better way to clue EPH (35D: New Testament bk.). But today will be a great day to clue ISA (25A: O.T. b ) as fill in the blank IN A, as in Gertrude Stein's "Rose IS A Rose ..." That's a very lonely rose struggling to blossom.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Across:

1A: Dulled by a narcotic: OPIATED. Did not know OPIATE can be a verb.

15A: Flourish of trumpets: FANFARE. Oh, is this how we got the extended "publicity" meaning?

16A: Otitis: EARACHE. Ot(a) is prefix for ear. Otalgia is EARACHE too. Gimme for Michael Phelps I am sure. He swims so often. Plus the current outcry over his marijuana use. Total overkill from Kellogg in my opinion. Backlash is coming.

17A: Kubrick's Vietnam War movie: FULL METAL JACKET. Here is the movie trailer. I was unaware of this movie. Oh, Ann Margret is sexy, no wonder that solider asked the question.

21A: Market dips: DOWNTURNS. The clue for RISE (51D: Shine's partner?) is fine. But I want "Ascend" to balance DOWNTURNS. I don't know what kind of detailed planning Wall Street was expecting from Timothy Geithner last Tuesday. But 400 point plunge is absurd.

29A: Slights: SCANTS. Scant is always a "Barely sufficient" adjective to me. Did not know it can be a verb meaning "To treat neglectfully".

32A: Acts against heirs: DISINHERITANCES

38A: Aleutian islands connection: ALASKA PENINSULA. Here is a map. It separates the Bering Sea from the Pacific. What is Becharof?

39A: Peter Sellers movie, with "The": MOUSE THAT ROARED. Looks funny. New to me. Wikipedia says the phrase "mouse that roared" proved a durable MEME over half a century, and is still current. What exactly is a MEME? Can you also give me some examples?

42A: Manuscript encl.: SAE (Stamped Addressed Envelope). Sometimes it's SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope). Can you believe Tom Vilsack (ex-Iowa governor, our current Secretary of Agriculture) folded his photo into my SASE when I asked for his autograph? But he was very nice and later mailed me a new one.

49A: One Hemingway: MARIEL. I liked her in "Manhattan". Ernest Hemingway was dead before she was born.

52A: Change in a car?: OIL. Good clue.

53A: Management by overseeing: SUPERINTENDENCE. Funny, but I really only knew "superintendent". The verb is "superintend".

59A: Acupressure massage: SHIATSU. No idea. Did recognize the Japanese kanji (指圧) when I googled. The first word means "finger", the second "pressure", so literally, "finger pressure".

61A: Nagana carriers: TSETSES. Bugger, I thought "Nagana" is a city in Japan, and the clue is asking for a Japanese airline. More used to "African flies" clue.

Down:

5D: Scottish cap: TAM. Hmm, a TAM is not complete without a kilt.

9D: One who has been to Mecca: HAJI. Oh, nice to know. Meet MN Congressman Keith Ellison, the first HAJI of US Congress. He made his HAJ pilgrimage last year.

10D: Q.E.D. word: ERAT. Quod ERAT Demonstrandum. ERAT alone is "he/she/it was" in Latin.

14D: __ up (excited): HET. This phrase has negative connotationn, right? You can't get HET up over Valentine's Day, can you?

18D: Beattie or Blyth: ANN. Easy guess. I have never heard of writer ANNE Beatties or actress ANN Blyth. Is ANN a nicknam of Anne?

22D: Oder- ___ Line: NEISSE. Poland is Polen in German?

23D: Mr. Fixit: TINKER

24D: Knocks off a boater, e.g.: UNHATS. I did not know this kind of straw hat has a special name "boater". UNHAT sounds like a made-up word.

25D: Sustain: INCUR. As in "Sustain a financial loss"?

26D: Inscribed stone: STELE. Or STELA.

27D: Syrian strongman: ASSAD. The current Syrian president. This guy is unbelievably articulate.

30D: Went by dugout: CANOED. Of course I was thinking of baseball dugout, not the dugout boat.

31D: "Broken Arrow" co-star Michael: ANSARA. No idea. He was born in Syria. Was "Broken Arrow" a popular TV series?

33D: Entertainer Massey: ILONA. Another unknown. Wikipedia says she was born in Budapest and billed as "the new Dietrich". Her legs are so long.

43D: Skull cavity: SINUS

45D: Observant: ALERT

46D: Last movement of a sonata: RONDO. Learned this from doing Xword. Wikipedia says it could be also the last movement of a symphony or concerto.

47D: Crapshooter, for example: DICER. I only knew kitchen DICER.

48D: Huskies' burdens: SLEDS. Is Balto the most famous Husky sled dog?

55D: Bakery buy: PIE. Wrote down RYE first.

56D: Performance grants org.: NEA (National Endowment for the Arts). Interesting. I don't know its chairperson has to be appointed by the president.

57D: 601: DCI

C.C.

Feb 2, 2009

Monday February 2, 2009 Tom Pruce

Theme: Feeling Blue

20A: Without warning: OUT OF THE BLUE

60A: Jamaican peak: BLUE MOUNTAIN

10D: Something to scream: BLUE MURDER

30D: Miles Davis classic: KIND OF BLUE

I was only familiar with the phrase OUT OF THE BLUE. But the other three entries were very easy to suss out once I figured out the theme. Do you know where the BLUE MOUNTAIN got its name?

A perfect puzzle for Michael Phelps. He must be feeling very blue this morning. What a disappointment. Why did he need marijuana to get high? Kind of tarnished his ONCE IN A BLUE MOON eight gold medal Olympic record.

So jarring to see RED (15A: Scarlet, e.g.) and RED-HOT (6D: Fiery) intersects one another. Also, is the clue for NSA (59A: Govt. advisory grp.) correct? I wanted NSC (National Security Council). NSA is so damned secretive that I don't know to whom they give advice to.

Across:

8A: Greyhound pacer: RABBIT. I got the answer, but have no idea how RABBIT is connected with "Greyhound pacer".

14A: Gymnast Korbut: OLGA. This is incredible. She got four gold Olympics medals.

16A: Actress Dahl: ARLENE. Can never remember this actress, mother of Lorenzo Lamas. Wikipedia says she had a relationship with JFK as well.

24A: Spinoff of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show": RHODA. Learned from doing Xword. It's often clued as "Valerie Harper sitcom". Which kind of TV program do you watch now?

25A: Samms and Lazarus: EMMAS. Have never heard of EMMA Samms before. That's a very daring dress. Nice pair of ... earrings. She is a British TV actress.

29A: City on Baranof Island: SITKA. Nailed it this time. Still can't believe it's the largest city in the US by area.

34A: Driving nails obliquely: TOEING. Learned this carpentry term last time.

38A: Inter-campus sports grp.: NCAA. Can you believe NCAA was founded in 1906 and has an annual budget of $5.64 billion? By contract, NASA annual budget is $17.3 billion.

51A: Munch Museum city: OSLO. Have never heard of Munch Museum before. It's named after the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, best known for his angst-filled "Scream".

63A: Low tracts: SWALES. The ditch on the right I presume? This word always gives me trouble.

70A: Swan genus: OLOR. No idea. Latin for swan. Too exotic a name for me to remember.

72A: French some: DES. And FRANC (21D: Old French bread?), which is also the currency for Switzerland.

Down:

2D: Chilean-born pianist Arrau: CLAUDIO. Got his name from across fills. Here is a clip. I wonder why the clue is "Chilean-born" rather than "Chilean". He must have changed his nationality later on then.

4D: Tropical root: TARO. I miss those Cantonese fried TARO cakes.

7D: Made sense: ADDED UP

26D: Med. procedure: MRI. How does MRI differ from X-ray?

27D: Gone by: AGO. "A long long time AGO... the day the music died...". It's been 50 years.

43D: NASA partner: ESA. Very tiresome clue. ESA is "That" in Spanish, right?

48D: Acquire by trickery: FINAGLE. Made me think of Merrill Lynch's John Thain and his outrageous way of using government bailout money to pay his employees bonus. I am glad he is gone.

49D: Greek letter: UPSILON. EPSILON and OMICRON also have 7 letters.

50D: Some thrown horseshoes: LEANERS. Struggled with this one. Last time I was also stumped when LEANER is clued as "Almost a ringer". It's "a thrown horseshoe that leans against the stake."

63D: Sellout theaters: SRO. No abbreviation hint in the clue. I would prefer "Sellout letters".

64D: Sebaceous cyst: WEN. This clue is getting stale too. Not sure if everyone knows, but the current Chinese Premier is named WEN Jiabao.

C.C.

Jan 31, 2009

Saturday January 31, 2009 Tom Pruce

Theme: None

Total blocks: 30

Total words: 70

This grid looks pretty to me. So open at four different corners, with those stacks of 7-letter words. I wonder what is the first word the constructor filled in for his grid. My guess is HEM AND HAW (21D: Procrastinate). But are they really interchangable?

I don't like the clue for LIT (10D: Lang. course). I think abbreviation should only be used when no other options are available. So many ways to clue LIT. "Set afire" is boring but works nicely in this grid. I just learned the other day that LIT is also a slang for "Intoxicated". Maybe you can tell me how you would clue LIT. I really enjoyed the non-tea LIPTON discussion the other day.

Had to google. Without a theme as my sherpa, I was daunted and lost. Did not know any of the two poets' name which intersects each other. Wanted Jennifer (Lopez) for 39D: One of Mark Antony's wives (OCTAVIA), confusing Marc Anthony with Mark Anthony. Anyway, Mark Anthony has five wives: Fadia, Antonia, Fulvia, OCTAVIA and Cleopatra. Looks like he liked women with a-ending names.

Across:

1A: Silent signal: GESTURE. Most of the people talk when they GESTURE.

8A: Mayflower passenger: PILGRIM. Vaguely remember there was a baby born EN ROUTE (2D: Along the way) to Plymouth.

15A: Brightest star in Scorpius: ANTARES. Literally rival of ARES (Mars for the Romans) due to the "similarity of its reddish hue to the appearance of the planet Mars". Interesting root. I have never heard of this red supergiant star before.

17A: Vaccaro and Lee: BRENDAS. BRENDA Vaccaro is an actress. BRENDA LEE is a singer. Neither was a familiar name to me.

20A: Ogden resident: UTAHAN. I used to imagine Poet Ogden Nash was born in Ogden, Utah. He was actually born in Rye, New York.

22A: Ancient ointment: NARD. Ah, I did remember this story. Just forgot who was the girl who washed Jesus' feet with NARD. Another Mary.

26A: Latvian chess master: TAL. The 1960-61 world chess champ. Wikipedia says Mikhail TAL is also called "The Magician from Riga".

32A: Group of seven: SEPTET. Sometimes the answer is HEPTAD.

36A: City near San Diego: OCEANSIDE. Here is the map. Easy guess. I did not know there is a city named OCEANSIDE, not to mention its exact location.

38A: Social Security pioneer: TOWNSEND (Francis). Another guess. Here is a picture of him giving a speech about his plan during 1939 New York World's Fair. I wonder what inspired him to think of this grand idea. What a mess we are facing today.

55A: "Animal Farm" author: ORWELL. See the book cover. We get the phrase "Big Brother" and "Orwellian" from his book "Nineteen Eighty-Four".

63A: Period of peace: DETENTE. I was thinking of Pax Romana. To me, DETENTE implies a "relaxing of tension" during JFK's cold war era.

64A: Poet Siegfried: SASSOON. This is Clear Ayes's summary of him: "SASSOON was an early 20th century poet, who was a decorated officer in WWI. He was nicknamed "Mad Jack" by his men for his near-suicidal exploits. He eventually became a vocal anti-war activist. He is memorialized in Westminster Abbey's Poet's Corner. The inscription reads, "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity." I completely forgot his name. Had to google. SASSOON is "joy" in Hebrew.

65A: Loud speaker: STENTOR. He was a herald of the Greek forces during the Trojan War. And his voice was "as powerful as fifty voices of other men", according to Homer. I have never hear of this guy before. My answer was STENTER, as I wrongly guessed ERNESTE instead of ERNESTO for 43D: Che Guevara's first name.

Down:

1D: Jabbers: GABBLES. A gaggle of Geese GABBLE.

5D: Pakistani tongue: URDU. Dictionary says URDU is "essentially identical to Hindi in its spoken form but in its literary form heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic and written in an Arabic alphabet". It's one of the official languages in India too.

6D: "Giant" ranch: REATA. Learned from doing crossword. Have never seen "Giant".

8D: Umbrella cousins: PARASOLS. Here is Monet's Lady with a Parasol (facing right) once again.

12D: Drumming sound: RAT-A-TAT. Like the drum-banging at Oakland A's ballpark? So annoying!

24D: Climber's spikes: PITONS. This guy is pounding on a PITON. Rock climbing looks very dangerous.

37D: Ancient Greek poet: ANACREON. I forgot. It appeared in our puzzle last Nov. Here is what I wrote last time: "Wikipedia says he is a "lyrical poet" and notable for his "drinking songs and hymns". And his songs often celebrated "women, wine, and entertaining, and today can be considered eroticism". Very interesting information: Francis Scott Key modified Stafford Smith's melody of "To ANACREON in Heaven" for "The Star-Spangled Banner".

38D: Parts of rocker arms: TAPPETS. Here is a diagram. Does not look like "Parts of rocker arms". Whatever. Too technical for me to understand.

54D: "Boola Boola" singers: ELIS. Oh, I did not know "Boola Boola" is Yale's fight song. What's Harvard's then?

56D: Past due: LATE. I really liked "Past Due?" clue for TRE. Very clever. Uno, due, TRE.

61D: X: TEN. The wild receiver for Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald is from Minnesota. I guess we will all root for the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.

C.C.

Jan 20, 2009

Tuesday January 20, 2009 Tom Pruce

Theme: The Fab Four

17A: Hard hat's potty: PORT-A-JOHN

35A: "A Way in the World" writer: V. S. NAIPAUL

41A: Singer O'Dowd, to fans: BOY GEORGE

57A: 1989 Jane Fonder movie: OLD GRINGO

Last time when we had "The Fab Four" puzzle, the theme answers are: JOHNNYCAKE (clued as "Cornpone"), RINGO LEVIO ("NYC street game"), PAULOWNIAS ("Asian figwort trees", ouch!) and GEORGETOWN ("D. C. neighborhood").

I had never heard of the book "A Way in the World", nor was I familiar with the author V. S. NAIPAUL. I also had zero familiarity with the movie OLD GRINGO. But I figured out the theme quickly. Otherwise, it would be a very hard puzzle for me.

This puzzle is quite scrabby, 3 Vs, 2 Xs, 1 Z, 1 J and 1K, probably my favorite Tom Pruce puzzle. I was expecting an Obama inauguration themed grid though.

I was planning to blog Barry Silk's "2008 Championship Tribute puzzle" today. But due to Barry's business trip this week, I will postpone it to next Tuesday or Wednesday. I've also uploaded the puzzle to Scribd. You can just click on iPaper, then print it out.

Across:

1A: Sleeping child: ANGEL. Stumped me. Is it somehow related to the Guardian ANGEL?

5A: Epitome of messiness: STY. Nice clue.

19A: Thick: MIDST

21A: Winter apple: RUSSET. Kind of Idaho potato. It bakes well. I like Yukon Gold for potato salad. (Addendum: RUSSET is a kind of apple. Unknown to me. I confused "Winter apple" with French pomme de terre earlier.)

28A: Maria __ of Austria: THERESA. No idea. All I could think of is Maria Antoinette, THERESA's daughter. Maria THERESA looks intimidating.

30A: Old-time high note: ELA. The sixth and highest note in Guido's musical scale. This word only exists in Xword world.

34A: Ponselle and Parks: ROSAS

38A: Town on the Firth of Lorn: OBAN. See this map. It's in west Scotland. Unknown to me.

39A: Women's sweethearts: BEAUX. Plural of beau.

44A: Curve type: ESS

48A: Blackthorns: SLOES. I can't believe these SLOES are tart, they look sweet. Have never seen them in person.

50A: Bean and Welles: ORSONS

51A: One-time French royal house: VALOIS. The House of VALOIS ruled France from 1328 to 1589. Completely unknown to me. Our fellow solver LOIS is from VA.

56A: Be jubilant: EXULT

64A: Milo of "The Verdict": O'SHEA. I always confuse Milo O'SHEA with Sal Mineo.

67A: Never existed: WASN'T

Down:

10D: Burglary: HEIST. Also the title of a Gene Hackman movie.

13D: Shot on the green: PUTT. Great PUTT.

18D: Iotas: JOTS

22D: Disco light: STROBE

23D: Satellite of Mars: PHOBOS. New to me. PHOBOS is also the God of fear" in Greek mythology. Son of Aphrodite and Ares (Mars in Roman). Phobia is rooted in PHOBOS. Also, "panic" derives from Pan, "God of shepherds and flocks". Pan inspired sudden fears in lonely places, according to Wikipedia.

25D: Large ape, briefly: ORANG

31D: Spanish quarter: BARRIO. Got it from across fills. I could only think of bodega.

39D: Clowns: BOZOS

42D: Stone tools: EOLITHS. Eo is a prefix for "early", Lith means "stone". It appeared in our puzzle before.

48D: Gannet goose: SOLAN. New goose to me. I did not know the meaning of "Gannet" either.

51D: Hindu sacred books: VEDA. Literally, "knowledge" in Sanskrit. Another new word to me, but shouldn't the clue be singular?

52D: Leafstalk angle: AXIL. See this picture. It's the angle between a leaf and its branch. Just learned this word a few days ago.

58D: O.T. book: ISA. And GEN (60D: O.T. book).

C.C.

Jan 10, 2009

Saturday January 10, 2009 Tom Pruce

Theme: None

Total block: 30

Total words: 68

I just noticed this morning that all of the Tom Pruce puzzles we've solved are themeless. Have never seen his name in other newspapers before. I sure hope he starts to look for other venues. What a mess with Tribune!

Mr. Williams, if you are reading this blog, please talk to your constructors, pay what you owe them for God's sake. You are losing the loyalty and trust of those capable puzzle makers by continuously keeping silent.

Not a hammer, but definitely a gavel for me today. Lots of troubles with lower right corner. Most of the time I find down clues to be easier than the across ones, but today is an exception. Can you still clue ITO (3D) as "OJ's judge" after his recent trial? How would you clue Judge Jackie Glass then?

Forgot to show you this huge Crossword Building earlier this week. It looks like an empty grid in the day time, but all the words become visible when the light is on in the evening. Tell me how different it is from our puzzle pattern other than that it has an additional gray shade.

Across:

1A: Armed robbery: STICKUP

8A: Spanish port: ALMERIA. Arabic for "The Mirror". Unknown to me. See here. It's a seaport in south Spain on the Mediterranean Sea.

17A: Astronomer of Alexandria: PTOLEMY. I surprised the hell out of me by getting his name with only letters PT_ _ _ _ Y filled in.

18A: Huge statues: COLOSSI. I only knew the adjective colossal. Can you give me an example of a COLOSSUS?

24A: Physics Nobel laureate Isidor: RABI. Googled his name. Nobel winner 1944.

26A: Of Rome's predecessors: ETRUSCAN. I simply forgot this word. Saw the clue before. Wikipedia says ETRUSCAN civilization extended between 1200 BC to 100 BC.

34A: Member of a Catholic order: PAULIST. It's "a member of the Roman Catholic Missionary Society of Saint Paul the Apostle, founded in New York in 1858." Another unknown to me.

40A: British weapon: BREN. See this picture. I only knew STEN.

41A: Bootleg liquor: HOOCH. Have never heard of this word before. Does not sound like a liquor name to me.

45A: Tolkien creature: HOBBIT

46A: Anglo-Saxon tax: GELD. Nailed it this time. But does "Neuter" sound like an offensive clue? "Anglo-Saxon tax" strikes me as very obscure.

48A: Garment with a tight waistband: BLOUSON. Like this? I only know blouse.

53A: Rod shaped bacteria: BACILLI. See this picture. Why some of them have black dots on? It's another new word to me. Dictionary says BACILLUS is rooted in Latin "baculum" meaning rod/walking stick.

59A: Serengeti hunter: LIONESS. I don't get this clue. LIONESS is being hunted, how can it be "hunter"?

Down:

4D: Very pale green: CELADON. Hmm, "Very pale green" indeed. Good to learn this word.

7D: PGA golfer Stewart: PAYNE. Gimme to me. He died in a plane crash in 1999. He won three majors in his life, 2 US Open, 1 PGA Championship.

8D: Discover: ASCERTAIN. New definition to me. Always associate ASCERTAIN with "To make certain".

13D: Singer DeLange: ILSE. Have never heard of this Dutch country singer. She looks very pretty.

23D: Elvis Costello hit: ALISON. I got it from the across fills. Not a familar song to me. Could not find a YouTube clip either.

26D: Moray catcher: EELER. Sniggler is "Moray catcher" too.

27D: Mediterranean evergreens: CAROBS. Oh, good to know. CAROB is always powder to me. Are those ripe pods edible also?

28D: R & B singer Keys: ALICIA. Here is her "Fallin'"again. "... Lovin' you darlin'..."

31D: Ghastly quality: LURIDNESS. I wanted pallidness, but it did not fit.

35D: Mother-of-pearl sources: ABALONES. NACRE is often clued as "Mother-of-pearl".

36D: Of the chest: THORACIC. Oh well, I guess I don't know my own chest.

39D: Roger of Byrds: McGUINN. Another google. I've never heard of "The Byrds" either. What songs are they famous for?

42D: Pointed monolith: OBELISK. Why is it also called "Cleopatra's Needle"?

45D: 1962 John Wayne movie: HATARI. New movie to me. Wikipedia says the title means "danger" in Swahili.

48D: __ out (eject): BAIL. Is this another Janus phrase? I thought BAIL out means rescue, like the current bailout package.

49D: Currency of Georgia: LARI. No idea. See this picture.

55D: Letters before the World Series: LCS (League Championship Series). I think ALCS or NLCS is a more popular term than LCS itself.

56D: Addams Family relative: ITT. The cousin. Everything I know, I learned from doing Xword.

C.C.

Dec 27, 2008

Saturday December 27, 2008 Tom Pruce

Theme: None

Total blocks: 27

Total words: 70

This grid looks unbelievably open and balanced. I wonder if it's because of the 27 neatly placed 7-letter words. And it only has six 3-letter words, probably the least I've seen in a TMS puzzle.

I did not like seeing ICE BOAT (3D: Winter craft), ICE AGE (62A: Glacial periods) and AGER (56D: Last of a teen?) in one puzzle. It does not look elegant to me.

I wish ECON (22A: M. Friedman's field) were clued as "Paul Krugman's field (abbr.)". He won Nobel prize in Economics this year and he certainly deserves a place in our puzzle.

I really like topical clues, you know, "I can see Russia from my house!" comic clue for TINA FEY amuses me. And I think "Obama's daughter" is a perfectly fine clue for "SASHA" yesterday.

Across:

8A: Skunk: POLECAT. I wonder what's the origin of "panda". We just call it "bear cat" in China.

15A: Play place: REC ROOM. I was thinking of the theater play.

16A: Prayers: ORISONS. Dictionary says that ORISON is a "doublet of oration" etymologically. What is a doublet?

18A: Organic compound: PENTANE. New word to me.

19A: Nightclubs: CABARETS

21A: Spiny-finned fish: MULLET. I only knew the awful hairstyle MULLET. See this picture. But aren't all the fish "Spiny-finned"?

25A: Clan sub-divisions: SEPTS. New word to me. Only knew SEPT as seven in French.

26A: Flat fish: SKATE. Came across this fish clue a few weeks ago. So ugly.

32A: Deprives of vigor: EMASCULATES. I thought of emaciates, but it's one letter short.

43A: Group of whales: POD. Last time when PODS was clued as "Movable classrooms", I thought it referred to "School of whales".

46A: 112 letters: CXII

47A: Jack-in-the-pulpit: ARUM. How can I remember this word? A RUM?

48A: End of land or sea?: SCAPE

55A: Loss of muscular coordination: ATAXIA. The prefix A means "not", and TAXI is a Greek suffix meaning "order". New word to me.

57A: Sweetbread: PANCREAS. Omigod, really?

59A: News: TIDINGS

61A: Author of "Gigi": COLETTE. Ha, gimme for me. COLETTE once said: "I love my past. I love my present. I'm not ashamed of what I've had, and I'm not sad because I have it no longer".

64A: Square dance leaders: CALLERS. New definition of CALLERS to me.

Down:

7D: "The Bartered Bride" composer: SMETANA. Would not have got his name without the crossing fills. I wonder what SMELTANA mean in his native language.

9D: City near Provo: OREM

10D: Chemist Pauling: LINUS. Holy moly, he is a two-time Nobel prize winner. But the only LINUS I knew is him.

11D: Crime novelist Loren D. __: ESTLEMAN. I googled this novelist. Feels like a consonant is missing from his name. Why not PESTLEMAN or NESTLEMAN?

12D: Colliery: COAL PIT. I did not know the meaning of "Colliery".

13D: Bening of "What Planet Are Your From": ANNETTE. Know Bening, who once claimed that the Columbia "Torch Lady" was modeled after her. Have never seen "What Planet Are Your From".

14D: Dreaded African flies: TSETSES

35D: Type of electrical cable: TRIAXIAL. I guessed. How is it related to cable coaxial?

37D: Of the ischium: SCIATIC. Hip related. Foreign to me. I did not what "ischium" is.

38D: Unusual stuff: EXOTICA. So close EROTICA in spelling.

39D: Fortress: CITADEL

40D: Altar constellation: ARA. Have not seen "Coach Parseghian" clue for a long time.

44D: Sleep inducers: OPIATES

58D: Last book of "The Alexandria Quartet": CLEA. No idea. Ink mentioned "The Alexandria Quartet" last time when we had LIVIA (clued as "Durrell novel") in John Underwood's "America's Major Wars" puzzle. CLEA is the name of a bi-sexual painter.

C.C.

Sep 13, 2008

Saturday September 13, 2008 Tom Pruce

Theme: None

Total blocks: 33

Sherpa, sherpa, where is my sherpa? I just cannot seem to solve a puzzle without a theme guidance, feeling so lost and helpless.

It's by no means a grid of Byzantine complexity. In fact, it has very simple structure and lots of 3-letter crosswordese. I just could not understand why I was so intimidated by this themeless.

Got stumped immediately by the "Fiery Furnace survivor", but was able to filled in lots of blanks with the down clues. Completely forgot AUTOMAT (21D: Coin-op restaurant) and penned in BEATS for TEMPI (46A: Cadences), and wasted a long time to get the curvier RIPPLIER.

I am still mad at SWINGS (9A: Move to and fro). Just what were you thinking Mr. Editor? Add a "s" if you wanted it to be a verb. Otherwise, love your grandchildren and clue SWINGS as "Playground equipment".

Across:

1A: Fiery Furnace survivor: ABEDNEGO. "...There's Shadrach, Meshach and ABEDNEGO. And the fiery coals they trod. But the form of The Fourth Man that I see, is like the Son of God". Are you familiar with this Bible story?

9A: Acts as a go-between: MEDIATES

16A: Thin layer: LAMINA. My first thought was "veneer".

18A: Disconnect: UNPLUG

19A: Many-legged insect: CENTIPEDE. Oh, I did not know the English name for this insect. So, CENTI is "hundreds", "PEDE" is "foot". Wikipedia says their mating "does not involve copulation". The male just deposits his droplet of dew sperm on a web it has spun, and then "undertakes a courtship dance to encourage the female to engulf his sperm". He must have learned the tough lessons from the male black widow spiders.

32A: Deductive: A PRIORI. The opposite is "a posteriori". I cannot think analytically and rationally. I am too intuitive a free thinker.

34A: Mazel __!" TOV. "Viel Glück", Crockett.

36A: Some deodorants: ROLL-ONS

40A: Certain hired vehicle: MINICAB

46A: Cadences: TEMPI. Does the clue sound OK to you, KittyB & Xchefwalt?

47A: "Citizen Kane" studio: RKO. Howard Hughes is such a mysterious figure. Why he ventured into movie industry and RKO is beyond me. He was an excellent golfer though, so was Katharine Hepburn.

50A: Northwestern pine: LODGEPOLE. I forgot. Here stands a LODGEPOLE pine. It does not change color. Here are some LARCH pines that do change color. Both links were provided by Argyle.

54A: Keel-like structure: CARINA. New to me. Dictionary explains it as "a keel-like part or ridge, esp. a ridge of bone on the ventral side of the sternum of birds." See this diagram.

57A: Replacing a facing: RELINING. What is "facing"?

61A: Strengthen by tempering: ANNEAL

62A: Ribbed pasta: RIGATONI. This does not look like RIGATONI, does it?

64A: Finnish-American architect: SAARINEN (Eero). If it's just "Finnish architect", it might refer to his father Eliel. Melissa, do you know that Eero also designed these tulip chairs? They look sturdy enough for the weight of two.

Down:

7D: "The Goldbergs" creator: GERTRUDE BERG. I've never heard of her name before. Could be a gimme for Barry.

8D: Port city of old Rome: OSTIA. I forgot. It's clued as "Port city of Rome" on June 15 and I complained about the absense of word "ancient" in the clue. See this map. It's located at the mouth of the Tiber river.

10D: Nomadism: WANDERLUST. I don't they they are synonymous. "Nomadism" is a kind of lifestyle, WANDERLUST refers to the itch/urge to travel.

11D: Puts in danger: IMPERILS

14D: Droop: SAG. Hmm, I don't like the image this SAG evokes. How about SAG Awards? I wonder why "The Actor" statue is nude. Or a statue is just a statue?

20D: Stock of drugs: PHARMACOPEIA. New word to me.

23D: Embitter: ENVENOM. I would prefer the clue to be "make poisonous". I hate seeing "em" in clue, then prefix EN again in answer.

23D: Henhouse hunk: ROOSTER

27D: One Snoop Sister: ERNESTA. Played by Helen Hayes. I've never heard of "The Snoop Sisters". Wikipedia has a very short entry, so I suppose this was not a popular TV series.

30D: Insignificant: FRACTIONAL

31D: Bristles: SETAE

33D: City southeast of Bombay: POONA. Foreign to me. Wikipedia says the city is now called PUNE. Bombay is now named Mumbai, so I suppose the clue is technically OK. Here is a very good map.

38D: More wavy: RIPPLIER. I've never used this word "Ripply" before. So, the lake's surface has become RIPPLIER, and the wind is soughing the meadow. Hmm, I think I need a romantic sunset too.

49D: Tooth: pref.: DENTI

51D: John of the PGA: DALY. Ah, the long John DALY. "Long ball is all he knows....".

C.C.