Showing posts with label Wednesday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wednesday. Show all posts

Mar 21, 2018

Wednesday, March 21 2018, Mark McClain

Theme: CHECKING IN- The first words can be CHECKED.

17. *Many a museum piece : OIL PAINTING. Oil Check.

36. *Choice spot at the opera : BOX SEAT. Checkbox.

11. *Family crest : COAT OF ARMS. Coat check.

27. *Ellington genre : SWING MUSIC. Check swing. (Baseball.)

56. Words to a server ... or a hint to the first words of the answers to starred clues : CHECK PLEASE.
Melissa here. I struggled more than I should have with this one, due to a handful of tricky clues and a few unknowns. The theme didn't help with solving much because sometimes CHECK preceded the first word of the answer, and sometimes it followed. Only short a Q and Z of a pangram.


1. Jordan's capital : AMMAN

6. Amounts to : COSTS

11. Cleveland hoopster : CAV

14. Tour leader : GUIDE

15. Popcorn brand whose logo resembles a movie marquee : ACT II

16. Corrida cheer : OLE

19. "MSNBC Live" co-anchor Velshi : ALI

20. Big Dipper's constellation : GREAT BEAR

21. Birth-related : NATAL

23. Couple of gags? : GEES. Wording of clue seems odd. Couple IN gags would make more sense.

24. Tied-on protectors : APRONS

25. Without : ABSENT

28. Not even close : WAY OFF

30. Vise features : JAWS

31. British nobles : EARLS

32. Roger Federer's org. : ATP. Association of Tennis Professionals (males). Female counterpart is WTA (Women's Tennis Association), founded by Billie Jean King in 1973.

35. French buddy : AMI. AMIE is the feminine form.

38. Pi follower : RHO

39. Stood for office : RAN

40. Powerful Japanese dog : AKITA. Much like yesterday's SHIBA INU.

41. Black bird or black cat, to some : OMEN

42. Go round and round : GYRATE

44. Messed (up) : LOUSED

46. Obtain : COME BY. Stumped me.

48. Is not misused? : AINT. Nice clue.

49. Very serious, as a water shortage : ACUTE. Medically speaking, ACUTE does not always mean serious, but indicates sudden or recent onset - as opposed to chronic, which is long-lasting.

50. Blunder : FALSE STEP

55. Humanities degs. : MASE. Master of Arts in Special Education. Not sure why this clue is plural. (Correction: the answer is MAS. Master of Arts. Thanks, everyone.)

58. "The Book of __": 2010 Denzel Washington film : ELI

59. Exorbitant interest : USURY

60. Ceremonial place : ALTAR. I like this clue 💕.

61. Fond du __, Wisconsin : LAC

62. Closed : ENDED

63. Braid : PLAIT


1. Twittering : AGOG. In this internet age, twittering has a new meaning.

2. "Studies in the Sierra" writer John : MUIR.
Originally appeared in 1874 and 1875 as a series of seven articles in the Overland Monthly, which were later (1915 to 1921) reprinted in the Sierra Club Bulletin

3. Fitbit unit : MILE. Not STEP.

4. Much of the Sunday paper : AD PAGES. Not ADVERTS.

5. Spruce (up) : NEATEN

6. Walking sticks : CANES

7. Penta- plus three : OCTA

8. Cup-a-Soup direction : STIR

9. Pewter component : TIN

10. Footpath aid : SIGNPOST 

12. Poe's middle name : ALLAN

13. Concealing accessories : VEILS

18. "Probably not" : I BET. Sneaky because it's sarcasm - normally "I bet" indicates total agreement.

22. "Wanna go out?" response : ARF

24. Protagonist of Auel's "Earth's Children" novels : AYLA

25. Somewhat open : AJAR

26. Auburn rival, familiarly : BAMA

28. Squander : WASTE

29. Surface product : AREA. For rectangles and squares - height x width = AREA. Area calculator.

31. Bright word in a dark theater : EXIT

33. You, back in the day : THEE

34. Koi habitat : POND

36. Kansas City cuisine : BARBECUE. Variation is BARBEQUE. That and a Z would make for a pangram.

37. Not bad : OKAY

41. Fly off the shelf faster than : OUTSELL

43. To date : YET

44. Struggle with sisters? : LISP. Great clue.

45. 400 meters, on many tracks : ONE LAP

46. It has one hump or two : CAMEL

47. Florida's __ National Forest : OCALA

48. Binder for some paints : ALKYD. New to me.

50. 2017 FX miniseries subtitled "Bette and Joan" : FEUD. Anyone watch this series?

51. Spacious lot : ACRE

52. Part of TTFN : TATA

53. Actor Morales : ESAI

54. Cheeky : PERT

57. QVC sister station : HSN. Home Shopping Network.

Mar 14, 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 Robin Stears

Theme:  WORK.  You can WORK out, WORK at something, or WORK on someone.  Alternatively, you can use the word WORK as a modifier or compound noun component, as applied to either half of today's two-word theme entries.  Let's start off with today's theme song number 1.

17 A. Door-to-door seller's form : ORDER SHEET.  This is a list of items you can chose to buy from. A WORK ORDER tells the crew what their next job is.  A WORK SHEET can either be a student's assignment page listing questions with places for answers, or a page in a spreadsheet program.

25 A. Do some bargain-hunting : SHOP AROUND.  Search for the most cost effective alternatives.  A WORK SHOP is a meeting where people engage in activity related to a specific goal or project.  A WORK AROUND is a method for overcoming a problem or difficulty in a system or program,

35 A. Text with maps and timelines : HISTORY BOOK.  A chronicle of who did what to whom, and when and where it happened.  Your WORK HISTORY is a detailed report of all the jobs you've held, complete with dates and titles.  A WORK BOOK contains pages of student's instructions and assignments related to a specific topic.

49 A. Residential get-together : HOUSE PARTY.  A gathering at the residence of the PARTY's host. A WORK HOUSE is a prison where the inmates are subjected to labor as punishment.  A WORK PARTY can be either a social gathering of or for employees, or an organized unit of persons WORKing together.

59 A. Game with ringers : HORSE SHOES.  A game in which two players or teams alternate throwing actual HORSE SHOES or similar U-shaped objects at a stake set in the ground.  A ringer is a HORSE SHOE that completely encircles the stake.  A WORK HORSE is literally a HORSE used for work on a farm, or figuratively a person who dependably and consistently performs hard WORK. A WORK SHOE is a sturdy SHOE designed to provide protection for the foot during a labor assignment.

And the unifier -- 66 A. 2016 #1 hit for Rihanna, which can precede both parts of 17-, 25-, 35-, 49- and 59-Across : WORK.  Now that you can see how this theme WORKs, here is theme song 2.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa on the job.  We definitely have a thematically rich entry today.  How much WORK do you suppose that took?  Let's WORK our way through the puzzle and see what we can accomplish.


1. Flow back : EBB. As tide.

4. "Get outta here!" : BEAT IT.  Advice from Michael Jackson.

10. Column in a pugilist's record : TKOs.  A Technical Knock Out occurs when the referee or official ring physician decides that a boxing mach must be stopped for safety reasons, while a round is in progress.

14. Congressional auditing org. : General Accounting Office.  An independent, non-partisan agency that WORKS for Congress using facts and data to support Congress in meeting constitutional responsibilities and help improve performance and accountability.

15. Rhine wine region : ALSACE.  Located in eastern France, adjacent to Germany and Switzerland.  Historically it's control has been disputed between France and various German states.

16. Stable parent : MARE.  Horse mama.  Mental and emotional states may vary.

19. Very smart : CHIC.  Fashionable and well-appointed.  Levels of intelligence may vary.

20. Gosling of "Blade Runner 2049" : RYAN.  This is a remake of a 1982 classic neo-noir science fiction film.  I never saw either, but long ago I did read the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, on which they are [more or less] based.

21. Tupperware sound : BURP.

23. Jeans label : LEE.  Brand name.

24. Nightly TV staple : NEWS.  What weird thing happened today?

28. Where K-I-S-S-I-N-G goes on : IN A TREE.  Part of a playground taunt traditionally directed at a boy or girl suspected of being attracted to a girl or boy.

(Girl's name) and (boy's name) sitting in a tree
K-i-s-s-i-n-g! (spell it out)
First comes love.
Then comes marriage.
Then comes baby in the baby carriage,
Sucking his thumb,
Wetting his pants,
Doing the hula, hula dance!

 I can testify that I have never kissed anyone while sitting in a tree.

30. Hold the floor : ORATE.  Make a speech - especially pompously or at length.

31. Fabled beast : ASS.  Lots of animals in fables.   Levels of pomposity many vary.

32. Brad Paisley venue : OPRY.  It's grand, it's old, it's country.

34. Copycat : APE. Mimic.

39. Org. in Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress" : NSA.  National Security Agency.  

40. Temps : SUBS.  Temporary or substitute workers.

41. "There's an __ for that" : APP.  APPlication program for your computer or mobile device.

44. Figures on a sports news crawl : STATS.  Statistics - also scores and events.

47. Input, as accidentally erased data : RE-ENTER.  Tedious WORK.

53. Aviation prefix : AERO-.  Short for aeronautical, used to construct portmanteau words.

54. Pop __ : ART.  ART based on popular culture, often with critical or ironic intent.

55. Mongolia locale : ASIA.  The largest continent.

56. Camp Lejeune gp. : United States Marine Corp.

57. Losing proposition : DIET.  Ordinarily this means something that turns out - too late, alas - to be a lost cause.  But here, it's a clever misdirection for a nutritional strategy intended for weight reduction.

63. Burden : ONUS.  Literal, from Latin.

64. Smart people? : ALECKS.  Irritating people or who make rude wise-cracks or act superior in knowledge.  Actual knowledge, intelligence and fashion sense may vary.

65. NBC skit show : Saturday Night Live.

67. More sinewy : WIRIER.  More lean and tough.  Try saying it 3 times, quickly.

68. Farm area : STY. Where the pigs hang out.


1. Cause of star wars? : EGO.  Stars as celebrities, not celestial objects - so the wars are rather more trivial, and down to earth.

2. Scrubby wastelands : BARRENS.  Aptly descriptive.

3. Fragrant shower gel : BODY WASH.  Thickened liquid as an alternative to bar soap.

4. Setting for most of "Charlotte's Web" : BARN.

5. Overhead trains : ELS.  So called for their ELevated tracks.

6. Volcanic __ : ASH.  Small mineral particles expelled during a explosive volcanic eruption, correctly referred to as tephra.

7. Billy Blanks' workout system : TAE-BO.  A total body fitness system employing matial arts techniques.

8. Become frozen : ICE UP.

9. Aquarium fish : TETRA.  Small, tropical, brightly-colored tropical fresh-water fish.  Those in aquariums are penta-up.  Fortunately, they cannot put a hex on you, even if you have deviated septa.

10. SHO sister channel : TMCThe Movie Channel.

11. Liqueur in an espresso martini : KAHLUA.  Coffee flavored liqueur.

12. Point in the right direction : ORIENT.  If you point in the wrong direction, someone could end up getting lost by occident.

13. Formally withdraw : SECEDE.

18. Point in the right direction? : EAST.  A clecho, indicating the normal ORIENTation of flat maps.  Do you have to turn the map upside down when traveling south?

22. Ask for a hand? : PROPOSE.  Another nice misdirection.  Not a request for assistance or one's share of the cards, but rather a request for a loved-one's hand in marriage. Possible outcome of K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

24. "Empire" actress Long : NIA.

25. Nasal dividers : SEPTA.   The SEPTUM is the wall of cartilage and thin bone separating the nostrils.

26. Deli option : HERO.  Big sandwich of meat, cheese and spreads made on an oblong roll or similarly shaped loaf of bread that is sliced end-to-end horizontally, alternatively called the dagwood, submarine [sub], hoagy or grinder.

27. Cookie with a Peeps variety : OREO.   Please just stop.

29. Antarctic waters : ROSS SEA.  A deep bay in the extreme south pacific, at the edge of the antarctic continent.

33. Many mos. : YRS. Abbreviated or not, many months make years.

34. "__ Road": Beatles album : ABBEY.

36. QB's mistakes : INTs.  Interceptions - in American football, passes caught by the defenders instead of the intended receivers.

37. Mongolian tent : YURT.  A round, portable tent covered with skins or felt, used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of central Asia.

38. London-born supermodel : KATE MOSS.

42. Word of interest? : PERCENT.  Number used to calculate deposit earnings or loan premiums.

43. Quid __ quo : PRO.  Latin - "something for something" - a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something.

44. Omen on February 2nd : SHADOW.  Woodchuck [marmota monax] as weather maven.

45. "Starsky & Hutch" Ford model : TORINO.

46. Highbrow filmmaker : AUTEUR.  One who controls all aspects of a collaborative creative WORK.

48. The "N" of CSNY : NASH.   Graham, along with David Crosby, Steven Stills and Neil Young.

Still great 48 years later

50. "Get outta here!" : PSHAW.  An expression of contempt, impatience or disbelief.

51. Garlic mayonnaise : AIOLI.

52. Worth more to collectors : RARER.

56. KGB country : USSR.  The Soviet Union, a grouping of nominal republics under Russian hegemony that existed from 1922 - 1981.  The KGB was its main security agency.

58. "Naughty, naughty!" : TSK.  Comic book attempt to indicate the disparaging sound of tongue clucking.

60. __-fi : SCI.  Reference to the SCIence Fiction genre of speculative literature.

61. Squeeze (by) : EKE.  To barely achieve, with great difficulty.

62. Plotting : SLY.  Cunning and deceitful or secretive.

That wraps up another Wednesday's labor.  Did you love it, or were you lost?

Cool Regards!

Mar 7, 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018, Jeffrey Wechsler


4. Sunday dinner side dish : ROASTED POTATOES

6. Driving : AT THE WHEEL
10. Summer Olympics event since 1996 : BEACH VOLLEYBALL
31. Gravy thickener : CORNSTARCH

61. Body part whose parts are aptly found at the bottom of this puzzle's four longest answers : FOOT

Melissa here. Not only are the theme answers all down, but also all except one are positioned at the very bottom of the grid. Nice.


1. Drone sound : WHIR. Not BUZZ.

5. Spicy dip : SALSA

10. French flag couleur : BLEU

14. Parade celebrity : HERO

15. Cotton swabs : Q-TIPS. Appropriately, right next to ...

16. Pair on a Disneyland hat : EARS

17. Verdi highlight : ARIA

18. It's prohibited on many highways : U-TURN

19. Vast landmass : ASIA

20. Musical Christmas staple : MESSIAH. Handel.

22. Culinary student's assent : YES CHEF

24. Native American symbol : TOTEM

26. Bit of cheer? : RAH

27. 22% of the U.S. Senate : WOMEN. Appropriately right next to ...

30. WWII female : WAC.
Women's Army Corps was the women's branch of the United States Army.

32. Program breaks : TV ADS

36. Enthusiastic : AVID

37. "Good Lord!" : OH GOD. That's what he said.

39. Miscellany : OLIO

40. [Uh-oh!] : GULP

41. Big name in threshers : DEERE

42. In __ of: replacing : LIEU

43. City ENE of Reno : ELKO. Perped.

44. One of pop music's Papas : DENNY. Dennis Doherty was a founding member of the 1960s musical group The Mamas & the Papas.


45. Permits : LETS

46. Takes a load off : RESTS

48. Mil. officers : LTS.

49. High-IQ group : MENSA

50. Perilous hisser : ASP

52. In check : AT BAY

54. Succeeding like nobody's business : ON A TEAR. Wictionary definition:
Engaged in a continuous, fast-paced procession of actions or events, especially with favorable results.

58. Like most kosher frankfurters : ALL BEEF

62. Water sport : POLO

63. Only inanimate zodiac sign : LIBRA

65. Iams alternative : ALPO

66. "Quite so" : TRUE

67. Historical period : EPOCH

68. Slimming procedure, briefly : LIPO

69. Shopping club : SAMS

70. Swearing-in rituals : OATHS

71. For fear that : LEST


1. "Careless Whisper" pop group : WHAM

2. "__ comes trouble!" : HERE

3. Eye part : IRIS

5. Weightlifting maneuver : SQUAT

7. "Elementary" co-star Lucy : LIU

8. Nimble : SPRY

9. Ed with seven Emmys : ASNER.
The first actor to win an Emmy award in both comedy and drama genres for the same role (for the character Lou Grant in both The Mary Tyler Moore show and Lou Grant). List of awards and nominations received by Ed Asner.

11. Word with back or whip : LASH

12. Historic canal : ERIE

13. "Aim High ... Fly-Fight-Win" military org. : USAF

21. Non-neutral atom : ION

23. Took a load off : SAT

25. Purplish hue : MAGENTA

27. Ante, e.g. : WAGER. Ohhh ... I was thinking the prefix.

28. Small egg : OVULE

29. Takes full advantage of : MILK. EXPLOIT didn't fit.

33. From far away (perhaps very far) : ALIEN

34. See 51-Down : DIETS

and 51. With 34-Down, really retro eating programs : PALEO

35. "The March King" : SOUSA. John Philip Sousa composed 136 marches, including Semper Fidelis (1888), which became the official march of the U.S. Marine Corps. You may recognize The Liberty Bell as the theme song for Monty Python's Flying Circus. "And now for something completely different:"

37. Unexpected : ODD

38. Susan of "L.A. Law" : DEY

47. Ottawa-to-NYC dir. : SSE

49. Prefix with ware : MAL

53. Vague discomfort, with "the" : BLAHS

54. Makes a choice : OPTS

55. Romance writer Roberts : NORA

56. Grad : ALUM

57. Longtime "Live!" host : RIPA

59. Author Wiesel : ELIE. "
We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph."

60. Omar of "Shooter" : EPPS. Never heard of this USA Network series. 
It originated as a film in 2007, where the role of Bob Lee Swagger was played by Mark Wahlberg. That film is actually based on the book Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter, which is inspired by a real Vietnam sniper. More here.

64. Plant sci. : BOT. Short for botany.

Feb 28, 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 Paul Coulter

Theme: CAPITAL IDEAS.  This one is unusual.  Four country names cross the names of their capital cities.  They are arranged in two country-capital pairs, each of which is diagonally symmetrically placed in the grid.  Each country is placed across and each capital is placed down.  Lots of geometric thought went into this arrangement.  Note that the grid symmetry is 180 degree rotation around the central cell - the G of GRIDLOCK. Also, quite a trick finding the places that make this work.

3 D. With 17-Across, where the Duma sits : MOSCOW.
17 A. See 3-Down : RUSSIA.

13 D. With 23-Across, where the Hellenic Parliament sits : ATHENS.
23 A. See 13-Down : GREECE.

42 D. With 52-Across, where the Assembleia Nacional sits : LUANDA.
52 A. See 42-Down : ANGOLA.

45 D. With 58-Across, where Parliament sits : OTTAWA.
58 A. See 45-Down : CANADA.

And the centrally-placed, vertical, grid-spanning unifier -- 7 D. Legislative impasse ... and what occurs at this puzzle's circles? : CAPITAL GRIDLOCK.  Without getting political, this refers to the inability of congress to pass meaningful legislation due to intractable competing interests.  In the puzzle, the crossing of the countries with their capital cities locks both into the grid.  Nicely done.  And a lesson in the spellings of CAPITAL and CAPITOL, for those like me who need it.

Hi Gang, JazzBumpa here. Let's unlock the grid.


1. Fitting the season : TIMELY.  Our daffodils are about 2 inches tall, but the crocuses have yet to make an appearance.

7. Innermost part : CORE.  Of an apple or nuclear reactor, among other things.

11. Gp. known for travelers' checks? : TSA.  The Transportation Safety Administration checks the travelers before they board airplanes.  Clever misdirection.

14. Ancient markets : AGORAE.  In ATHENS.  I wanted a terminal S, but the perps took care of that.

15. Erelong : ANON.  Soon.

16. Bow (out) : OPT.  You can also OPT in.

18. Sullen look : POUT.  Girls in my family, across the generations, have an infamous lower lip pout.

19. "Well, __-di-dah!" : LAH. An expression of derision directed at the pretentious.

20. Nutmeg spice : MACE.  Nutmeg is the ground seed-stone of the nutmeg plant.  MACE is the dried fibers of the surrounding fruit.

21. NY engineering sch. near Albany : RPIRensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a private research university and space-grant institution located in Troy, N. Y.  To the best of my knowledge, Helen never matriculated.

25. Enero to enero : ANO.  From January to January is one year in Spain, just like everywhere else.

26. Charcuterie fare : MEAT.  This is a store selling cold cooked MEATs.

27. Tippi of "The Birds" : HEDREN.  Famous Hitchcock movie.

28. Black bird's call : CAW.  Vide supra.

29. Necessitate : ENTAIL.

31. Goes on and on : GABS.  Blah, blah, blah.

32. Fish often fried : COD.  From the north Atlantic.

33. "The Thin Man" actress : LOY.

34. Zeta follower : ETA.  Letters from ATHENS.

35. Pack away : STOW.

37. Ratings for family-friendly films : PGS.  No sax or violins.

38. Rathskeller draft : BIER.   Contents are closely regulated.

39. __ goo gai pan : MOO.   Americanized Chinese cuisine - a stir-fried dish of chicken with button mushrooms and vegetables.

40. Wine-and-cassis drink : KIR.   Cassis is a black current liquer.  KIR is a measure of cassis topped up with white wine, usually drunk as an apéritif.

41. Cooped-up female : HEN.   Chicken lady.

42. Break in the action : LULL.  Time out.

43. 20 Questions category : ANIMAL.  Along with vegetable and mineral.  One of my long ago colleagues, a PHD physicist, chose something he claimed as vegetable, and nobody could suss it.  Turned out to be crude oil.

45. Food scrap : ORT.  Crossword fodder.

48. More unsightly : UGLIER.

50. Minor body-shop job : DENT.

51. Lipton product : TEA.  I happen to be sipping a mug of Twinings Earl Grey at the moment.

53. Inc., in London : LTD.  Designations for a limited liability corporation.

54. Wild guess : STAB.  Shot in the dark.

55. Class-conscious org.? : The National Education Association is a professional organization for teachers and support personnel.  Another misdirection.

56. Bouncing effect : ECHO.

60. "Spring forward" letters : DSTDaylight Savings Time.

61. À la mode : CHIC.  Per the current fashion, rather than served with ice cream.  Will be passé in no time.

62. Confessor : AVOWER.  I knew to avow meant to assert.  Didn't know it also meant to confess.  Learning moment.

63. Enzyme suffix : -ASE.   An enzyme is a large molecule that aids chemical reactions in biochemistry.

64. Watch word? : TICK.  It's companion is TOCK.

65. Word on a lost-dog poster : REWARD.


1. Airport surface : TARMAC.  Pavement, generally made from tar and crushed rock.

2. Galápagos lizard : IGUANA.  A large arboreal lizard native to Central and South America.  Be careful in Florida.

4. Hebrides language : ERSE.  Scottish Gaelic.

5. French narrative poem : LAI.  A rhyming, counted-syllable form.

6. Like closing financial reports :  YEAR END.

8. "Oh Yoko!" dedicatee : ONO.  Japanese mulimedia artist and activist, best known as John Lennon's second wife.

9. Or so : ROUGHLY.  An approximation.

10. __ nous : ENTRE.  Just between us,

11. Stand : TOLERATE.  Put up with.

12. Long key : SPACEBAR.  On your keyboard.

22. Bit of butter : PAT.  A non-specific rather small quantity, so-called because fancy restaurants would pat butter into a mold to give it a decorative shape, such as a flower.

24. Enter cautiously : EDGE IN.

26. Cat call : MEOW.

30. Platform for Siri : IOS.  Operating system for Apple branded mobile devices.

32. "Cookin' With __": rapper/chef's web show : COOLIO.  Artis Leon Ivey Jr. (born 1963) is an American rapper, actor, chef, and record producer.

35. Overconfidence : SMUGNESS.  More like excessive pride.

36. Bridge entrance structure : TOLL GATE.  Only if it's a bridge that requires that a toll be paid.

37. ATM code : PINPersonal Identification Number.

38. One-swallow drink : BELT. Slug, gulp.

40. Pakistani port : KARACHI.  The CAPITAL of Sindh Province and, with 21.1 million residents, the most populous city in the country, and also a major industrial and financial center.

41. Railroad maintenance vehicle : HAND CAR.

44. Bumped into : MET.

46. Library patron : READER.

47. "The Canterbury Tales" inn : TABARD.  This is a real place, established in 1307, that was often used by pilgrims on the way to Canterbury.  Also the name of a peanut-shell-strewn tavern, back in the day, just down the road from my alma mater.

49. Campaign poster word : ELECT.  Vote for me!

54. White flakes : SNOW.  Winter is going.

57. Hawaiian Punch alternative : HI-C.  A fruit juice flavored drink made by the Minute-Maid division of the Coca-Cola Company.

59. Hail, to Caesar : AVE.  Latin word of greeting.

That's it for another Wednesday.  Hope you were able to work through it.

Cool regards!

Feb 21, 2018

Wednesday, February 21 2018, Amy Johnson


17. Like a cowboy in denial? : WEARING BLINDERS

26. Like an eager cowboy? : CHAFING AT THE BIT

44. Like a cowboy out of retirement? : BACK IN THE SADDLE

59. Like a cowboy in charge? : HOLDING THE REINS 

Howdy Pardners! Melissa here. Four grid-spanning theme answers. High-falutin' impressive, ain't it? I reckon let's giddy up! 🤠


1. Your business is her business : YENTA. Fun clue.

6. Tiny cut : SNIP. Not SLIT.

10. Jeans line : SEAM

15. Comes to the rescue of : AIDS

16. "The Time Machine" race : ELOI. From Wiki:
In H. G. Wells's The Time Machine. By the year AD 802,701, humanity has evolved into two separate species: the Eloi and the Morlocks, whereof the Eloi live a banal life of ease on the surface of the earth, while the Morlocks live underground, tending machinery and providing food, clothing, and inventory for the Eloi.

20. Emotional wound : SCAR

21. "At __, soldier!" : EASE

22. Quartet in "Whose woods these are I think I know" : IAMBS

23. Fodder for Forbes, initially : IPO

25. Play a part : ACT

35. Riveting icon : ROSIE. Great clue.

36. Overplay a part : EMOTE

37. Mission lead-in : ON A

38. Potentially offensive, for short : UNPC

39. Tends to the sauce : STIRS

40. Nerve : GUTS

41. Early 16th-century date : MDI

42. Earthquake : SEISM

43. "Impression, Sunrise" painter : MONET 

47. Ky. neighbor : IND

48. Show stoppers : ADS. Love this clue.

49. Limoges product : CHINA. For them there city slickers.

52. Entertainment show VIP : HOST

55. Builder's map : PLAT

62. Area behind an altar : APSE

63. Wonder Woman's friend __ Candy : ETTA 

64. Temporary tattoo dye : HENNA 

65. Get weepy, with "up" : TEAR

66. State openly : AVOW

67. More curious : ODDER


1. Trees that sound like sheep : YEWS. Nice clue.

2. Corporate VIP : EXEC

3. Final Four letters : NCAA

4. Marvelous : TERRIFIC

5. "Hidden Figures" actor Mahershala __ : ALI.
He plays Taraji P. Henson's love interest.

6. Epic tale : SAGA

7. They may be fine points : NIBS

8. Sit in traffic : IDLE

9. Tire gauge no. : PSI. Pounds per square inch.

10. Tranquil : SEDATE

11. Periodic table listing: Abbr. : ELEM(ent).

12. Limited choice : A OR B

13. Fail to see : MISS

18. Vegas illuminator : NEON

19. Nook or cranny : NICHE

24. Peach dessert : PIE

25. Many "Suits" characters: Abbr. : ATTS. Attorneys. Suits is a TV legal drama on USA Network, about a law firm in Manhattan.

26. Busser's target : CRUMB

27. Maker of Clarity alternative fuel cars : HONDA

28. Jelly made from meat stock : ASPIC

29. "Capisce?" : GET IT

30. Anabaptist descendants : AMISH. Meet the Amish.
31. Velvet-voiced Mel : TORME

32. Like most books : BOUND

33. Recon goal : INTEL

34. Palate : TASTE

39. FedEx, say : SEND. Verb, not noun. Sneaky.

40. "Safe travels!" : GODSPEED.
Happy Trails!

42. Egyptian peninsula : SINAI

43. Satiric magazine since 1952 : MAD

45. Less harsh : KINDER

46. Fill and then some : SATE

49. Converse : CHAT

50. Partner of pray : HOPE

51. Ingrid's "Casablanca" role : ILSA

52. "Tiny House Hunters" cable channel : HGTV

53. Bart and Lisa's bus driver : OTTO

54. Professor Higgins' creator : SHAW 

56. Swedish soprano Jenny : LIND. Wikipedia.

57. Hathaway of "The Intern" (2015) : ANNE

58. Winter Palace resident : TSAR

60. Org. for teachers : NEA. National Education Association.

61. 17th Greek letter : RHO 

That's it y'all - time to skedaddle.

Feb 14, 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 Loren Muse Smith and Bruce Haight


Our theme song.

Wow - that's horrible. Moving right along, here are our theme entries.  The first words of each horizontal three-word entry build up to today's pressing question.

19 A. Has no chance of working : WILL NEVER FLY.   Won't get off the ground.

23 A. "This is a sure bet" : YOU CANT LOSE.   If it's too good to be true  .  .  .

42 A. "Hold on a sec" : BE RIGHT BACK.   Don't wait up for me.

48 A. 2000s sitcom starring Jason Lee : MY NAME IS EARL.  Grifting bully wins the lottery and has an epiphany, then decides to use his new unearned wealth to right all the wrongs of his life.  Never watched it.

Today's quasi-unifier completes the idea.  20 D. End of a question begun by part of 19-, 23-, 42- and 48-Across : VALENTINE.  You can read about the eponymous saint here.

Putting it all together: WILL YOU BE MY VALENTINE?.  Of course I will, I love you all.

Found these gems on Face Book.

Hi gang, Jazzbumpa on duty.  I didn't bring you any chocolates,  but let's see what other lovely delights we can uncover.


1. Drive-thru device : ATMAutomatic Teller Machine for banking from your driver's seat.

4. Org. people line up for? : TSA. Transportation Security Administration.   I used to love air travel.  This is one more reason not to.

7. Sell under false pretenses : PALM OFF.  I had PASS OFF, which slowed me down a bit.

14. Tries to scam online : PHISHES.   Uses fraudulent e-mail to get people to reveal personal information, like pass words or credit card numbers.

16. South Pacific region : OCEANIA.  A collective name for the many scattered islands in the  Pacific Ocean, north and south of the equator, plus Australia.

17. Good thing to break gently : BAD NEWS.  Otherwise, you're breaking bad, badly.

18. Bought time : STALLED.  Dragged one's feet.

21. "__ Lisa" : MONA.  Famous painting, and a chance for some better music.

22. Golf's "Big Easy" : ELS.  South African golfer Theodore Ernest [Ernie] b.1969, with 19 PGA wins, 28 European Tour wins, and dozens of other trophies.

28. "Halt and Catch Fire" network : AMC.  TV network formerly known as American Movie Classics.  The named program was a fictional drama series about the early days of personal computing and the growth of the world wide web.

31. Writers Patchett and Brashares : ANNS.  I'm currently reading Lords and Ladies, [without having read the necesssarry prequels, and it's till working out OK] and misread Patchett as Pratchett.  But TERRY doesn't fit.  Ms Patchett [b 1963] is an American writer of magazine articles, short stories and novels.  Her novel Bel Canto won the PEN/Faulkner award in 2002.  Ms Brashares [b 1967] is an American writer of YA fiction, best know for her novel The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

32. Korea setting : EAST ASIA.  With whom we have not always been at war.

34. Rhodes of Rhodesia fame : CECIL John Rhodes [1853-1902]. Without spending more time than I was willing to, I couldn't verify that he was the eponym for Rhodesia, but I'll still make that intuitive leap.  His Wikipedia entry says he was a mining magnate, businessman and staunch believer in British imperialism, which I take to mean he was also a virulent racist and exploiter.

36. "__-Man": superhero film : ANT.  The IMDB entry for this movie says, "Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world."

37. Longtime SeaWorld star : SHAMU.  The killer whale.

38. Four-legged collar wearer : HOUSE PET.  Cat or dog, most of the time.

40. Indigo plant : ANIL.  Indigofera suffruticosa, is a flowering plant of the pea family native to tropical and subtropical Americas.  It is a source of indigo dye.

41. Rubble-making stuff : TNT. TriNitroToluene.  Originally used as a yellow dye, it is now best known as an explosive.  Since it is rather difficult to detonate, it has relatively safe handling properties.

46. Storybook crone : HAG.  Witch.

47. Close at hand : NEAR.

53. "God willing!" : I HOPE SO.  Wishful thinking.

55. "We've heard enough" : SPARE US. T M I.

57. Accumulates : PILES UP.  I had AMASSES, leading to more difficulty.

58. Cautious bettors : HEDGERSHere is how they do it.

59. Mailer's need : ADDRESS.  Only if you want it to arrive.

60. Many promos : ADS.

61. Spot for family game night : DEN.  AKA, family room.


1. Manhunt letters : APBAll Points Bulletin.  A broadcast to law enforcement agencies to be on the look out for a certain dangerous or missing person.

2. Winter warm spell : THAW.  We had two or three last week, with snow storms in between.

3. Skirt style : MIDI.  I had MINI first.  More wishful thinking, I suppose.  Then MAXI 'cuz i go to extremes.

4. Title role for Geena : THELMA.  Along with Susan as Louise.  Iconic feminist story with a Greek tragedy finale.

5. Attached, as a button : SEWN ON.  Holding on by a threat

6. Give the go-ahead : ASSENT.

7. Something struck by a model? : POSE.

8. One in a cast : ACTRESS.  I believe ACTOR is now the preferred non-gender-specific term.

9. Circulars : LEAFLETS.  Things that are circulated, not things that are shaped round.

10. Store collections : MALLS.  Nice misdirection.  Collections of stores rather than collections of things in stores.

11. The Beach Boys' "God __ Knows" : ONLY.   I never knew this was title.

12. Quaint "For shame!" : FIE.  Expression of outrage or disgust.

13. Fidget spinners, apparently : FAD.   Short-lived enthusiasm for some thing that generally doen't deserve it.

15. Kate McKinnon is in its ensemble, briefly : SNLSaturday Night Live.  Common X-word TV entry.

23. Regatta entry : YACHT.  A recreational boat in a race.  The word YACHT derives from the Dutch word for "hunt."  Originally it meant a fast sailing ship used to hunt down pirates and other aquatic miscreants.

24. Diamond situation after a leadoff double : ONE ON.  One base runner in baseball.  Why a double and not a single, triple, walk, or batter hit by pitch?

25. Full-length, as a film : UNCUT.  Unabridged.

26. Several CBS dramas : CSIs.  Crime Scene Investigation - a franchise of CBS crime dramas involving procedural forensics in evidence gathering and crime solving.  Never watched any of them.

27. Bread grain : OAT.  Not just for horses.

28. Yoga pose : ASANA.  Didn't we already have a POSE?!?  An ASANA is a seated posture, or other yoga position.

29. Make like : MIMIC.  Act in the manner of, aka a la.

30. Sink sealant : CAULK.  A waterproof sealant.

33. Captain described as a "grand, ungodly, god-like man" : AHAB.  From Melville's classic Moby Dick.

35. Beirut natives : LEBANESE.

36. Bubbly prefix : AER-.  [gurgle]

39. Winged steed of myth : PEGASUS.

43. Performer with many fans? : GEISHA.  Another misdirection.

44. Secured, as a gate : HASPED.  Dating back to the Germanic origins of Old, English, a HASP is a perforated metal plate that fits over a metal loop that can then be secured with a lock.  Its use as a verb is archaic.

45. Tire features : TREADS.  The textured surfaces where the rubber meets the road.

46. Bouncing off the walls : HYPER.  Over-excited or -active.

48. Shape : MOLD.

49. Hairdressing challenges : MOPS.  Unruly locks.  Maybe a HASP would help?

50. Uru. neighbor : ARG. Two So. Amer. Ctries.

51. Swamp thing : REED.   Plant life.

52. Angler's fly, e.g. : LURE.  A type of bait that attracts the targeted fish.

53. Pub letters : IPAIndia Pale Ale.   A high hop content brew, originally designed to be brewed in England and shipped to India.  The hops stabilize the product in transit.

54. Squirreled away : HID.

56. Bank acct. info : SSNSocial Security Number.  Guard it from the PHISHermen.

OK kids. That wraps up another Wednesday.  And since it's Valentine's day, I'll close with this. Nā Pana 'Elua, in Hawiian means "The Two Heartbeats."

Peace and Love!

Feb 7, 2018

Wednesday, February 7 2018, Roland Huget


17. Super-fun experience : BANGUP TIME

24. Certain baby tiger : BENGAL CUB

35. Cramming three seasons into a weekend, say : BINGE WATCHING

48. Salsa percussion instrument : BONGO DRUM

57. Securing strap : BUNGEE CORD

Melissa here. Vowel progression theme, with a few unknowns (for me).


1. Curve on a slalom, e.g. : ESS

4. Frugal folks : SAVERS. Anyone remember Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet? He always said that frugal did not necessarily mean "cheap," but that you use everything and are careful with your time as well as with your food products. I miss the early cooking shows without all the absurd game-show antics.

10. Sea devastated by irrigation projects : ARAL

14. "Something tells __ should've stayed in bed" : ME I

15. Brunch staple : OMELET

16. Walk worriedly : PACE

19. Tolkien beasts : ORCS

20. Concrete strengtheners : REBARS

21. German auto pioneer : DAIMLER. Unknown for me. Wikipedia.

23. Junior or senior : YEAR

26. Grandmotherly type : OLD DEAR. As a grandmother, I don't love this clue ;).

29. Sarge's superior : LOOIE. Did not know this spelling.

30. Stand behind : ENDORSE

34. Rural stopover : INN

39. A pop : PER

40. Contemptuous one : SNEERER

41. Wolf pack member : U-BOAT

44. Natural night lights : AURORAS

52. Crowe's "A Beautiful Mind" role : NASH. Based on the book by the same name. Died in 2015.

53. Remove field heat from before storage, as crops : PRECOOL. Okay.

54. Japanese faith : SHINTO

56. Like cotton candy : SPUN

59. Owned : HELD

60. Horseshoes score : LEANER

61. Short-lived obsession : FAD

62. Neighborhood : AREA

63. Make certain : ENSURE

64. Trout lure : FLY


1. Developmental stage : EMBRYO

2. Sargasso wriggler : SEA EEL

3. Nautical stage name of comedian David Adkins : SINBAD

4. Lemony cocktail : SOUR

5. Rock concert gear : AMPS

6. Zoo staffer : VET

7. Slur over : ELIDE

8. Hire a new crew for : REMAN

9. "Shrek!" author William : STEIG

10. Historic Harlem theater : APOLLO. Has anyone else rubbed the wood?

11. Treasury collectible : RARE COIN

12. Accumulating, as interest : ACCRUING

13. "__ Miz" : LES

18. Source of tomatoes for homemade sauce : GARDEN

22. Bad beginning? : MAL

24. "Iron Chef Showdown" host Alton : BROWN

25. "Big" London attraction : BEN

27. ESL part: Abbr. : ENG

28. Citrus drinks : ADES

31. "Is This Love" singer Corinne Bailey __ : RAE

32. Power source : STEAM

33. Sandy-colored : ECRU

35. 1940s jazzman : BEBOPPER. Sneaky clue.

36. Totalitarian control : IRON RULE

37. Naval pronoun : HER

38. Having a twist : IRONIC

39. Happy hour site : PUB

42. It may form the outline for a meeting's minutes : AGENDA

43. Front-of-bk. list : TOC

45. Skedaddled : RAN OFF

46. Celestial : ASTRAL

47. Substandard : SHODDY

49. Paso __: two-step dance : DOBLE.

50. City where Joan of Arc died : ROUEN

51. Arm bones : ULNAS

54. Crystal ball reader : SEER

55. Where you are, on a mall map : HERE

56. __ Na Na : SHA

58. Bearded grazer : GNU

Note from C.C.:

Here is a wonderful article about the cause our dear Melissa has been working on tirelessly the past few years. Talk about personal sacrifice. She's just amazing!