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

May 22, 2019

Wednesday, May 22, 2019 Roland Huget

Theme: LABOR.  The Circled letters spell various kinds of paid gigs.

17 A. Car engine part: CRANKSHAFT.  A SHAFT constructed of a series of CRANKS and CRANK pins that attach to the connecting rods of an engine. A CRAFT is a skill used in making items by hand.

24 A. "Tell me about it": JOIN THE CLUB.  A commiserating phrase along the lines of "I feel your pain." A JOB is a paid position of regular employment.

34 A. Custodian: CARETAKER. Someone assigned to look after a person, pet, property, or entity, depending on context.  A CAREER is a long-term occupation with opportunities for progress.

50. Lonely Planet publication, e.g.: TRAVEL GUIDE.  A book of information about a location designed for visitors and tourists.  A TRADE is a skilled job usually involving manual skills and special training.

58. Temporary fix, or what's found in this puzzle's circles: WORK AROUND.  A method for overcoming a problem or limitation is a system or program.  In the theme, various synonyms for types of WORK book-end the theme fill, so WORK goes AROUND the completed answer.

Hi, Gang - JazzBumpa here, as we WORK our way through this puzzle.  Let's get on the job!


1. Receives at one's roof garden: HAS UP.  I had to ponder this one. To receive visitors, you HAVE them into your home.  So, you could have them up to your roof garden, should you be fortunate enough to possess such a thing.

6. "Shoot!": DARN. Exclamations of disappointment.

10. Bounces on the waves: BOBS.  Like a cork.

14. Food safety concern: E COLI.  Coliform bacteria that can be a food contaminant.

15. Miracle Mets outfielder Tommie: AGEE. [b 1942] He played for Cleveland and Chicago before the Mets.  The Miracle refers to their 1969 World Series win over the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles.  This was the 8th year of existence for the Mets, and their first year with a winning record.  AGEE is credited with making two of the greatest and most critical catches in World Series history in game 3, with the series tied.  He also led off the game with a home run.

16. Bell town in a Longfellow poem: ATRI.  You can read about it here.

19. Like racehorses: SHOD.  Having shoes.

20. __ Bora: Afghan region: TORA.  A cave complex in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan.

21. Roman 151: CLI.  Roman numerals.

22. Prolonged assault: SIEGE.  A tactic of surrounding the enemy's position to cut off supplies in hope of getting them to surrender.

23. U.K. honor: O.B.E.  Order of the British Empire, awarded for outstanding contributions to arts, sciences or public service.

27. Numbers to crunch: RAW DATA. Data in an unprocessed form.  Processing then leads to information.

29. Veer off course: YAW.  Twist around a vertical axis.

30. Poe's "Annabel __": LEE.

31. Stately horse: STEED.

32. Orbit segment: ARC.

33. Alpha-Bits cereal maker: POST.

38. Talk show host Cavett: DICK. [b. 1936]

41. Zamboni surface: ICE.  The Zamboni machine smooths the ice surface for hockey or figure skating.

42. Stretches out for a bit: RESTS.  Takes 5.

46. Bat wood: ASH. The best choice, but other woods are also used.

47. Aromatic garland: LEI.  Flowers strung together to be worn as a necklace.

48. Bob Cratchit's son: TINY TIM.  From A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

53. Zodiac feline: LEO.  From July 23 to August 22.

54. Relaxed: EASED.  Let up.

55. Salem-to-Portland dir.: NNE.  As the crow flies

56. Gardener's bagful: SOIL.

57. Outdo: BEST.  Perform better than someone.

61. Came to rest: ALIT.  Landed.

62. First name in stunts: EVEL.  AKA Robert Craig Knievel [1938-2007]

63. Superachievers: ELITE. A-list performers in some activity

64. Get out of bed: RISE. Even if reluctantly.  Can be alarming.

65. Obsolete demo medium: TAPE. A musical demo presented for possible publication or professional recording.

66. Cap bill: VISOR.  For shading one's eyes from the sun.


1. Strong-arms: HECTORS.  To bully, intimidate or browbeat,

2. Cirque du Soleil performer: ACROBAT.

3. "Us, too": SO ARE WE.  JOIN THE CLUB!

4. Radius neighbor: ULNA. The two long bones of the forearm.

5. Dental suffix with Water: PIK.  Device for cleaning teeth and massaging the gums.

6. Mexico's national flower: DAHLIA.

7. From the top: AGAIN.  One more time.

8. Sports replay reviewer: REF.  Always trying to get it right.

9. After-tax: NET.  What is remaining after all charges and deductions have been removed.

10. Not advanced: BASIC. The A-B-C's.

11. The lord in "O, beware, my lord, of jealousy!": OTHELLO.  From Shakespeare's play about jealousy and betrayal.

12. Irish accents: BROGUES.  I wasn't able to come up with better information.

13. Extra gambling action: SIDE BET.  An additional bet beside the main wager, generally involving a related issue.

18. Highlander: SCOT.  One likely to speak with a burr instead of a BROGUE.

22. Clinch, with "up": SEW.  Nail it down.

24. "Gotham" actress __ Pinkett Smith: JADA. [b. 1971]

25. Supermodel Banks: TYRA. [b. 1973]

26. Access illegally, as a computer: HACK.  To get unauthorized access to stored data or documents.

28. Swabbing site: DECK.  Naval activity

32. Tucked away: ATE.

33. One being hunted: PREY.

35. Cambodian currency: RIEL. .00025 U. S. Dollar.

36. Vaping product, briefly: E CIG.  It provides a mist containing nicotine, without burning tobacco.

37. Sea eagle: ERNE.  Old school crossword entry.

38. Baked snack with dried fruit: DATE BAR.  A cookie or cake-like item with fruit chunks or filling that is baked and then cut into bars.

39. Lod native: ISRAELI.  Lod is a city of 75,000 located 9 miles south-east of Tel Aviv, near Ben-Gurion airport.  The area has been inhabited since 5,000 B.C.

40. Car's supporting frame: CHASSIS.  The base frame upon which the body and other componentry is located

43. Midwest city named for a French king: ST. LOUIS.  In Missouri.

44. Connect with: TIE INTO.

45. Do a slow burn: SMOLDER.

47. Took charge of: LED.

48. Wind chime sound: TINKLE.  Tinkle, tinkle, little chime, playing in a windy time.

49. Creative spark: IDEA.

51. Sporty Chevy: VETTE.  Corvette, more formally.

52. Gen. Assembly member: U. N. REP.

56. Etudes, e.g.: SOLI.  An etude is an instrumental study piece designed to improve technique.  As such, it is a solo.. SOLI is the plural.

58. Not just damp: WET. On a spectrum from moist through inundated.

59. In vitro supply: OVA. Unfertilized eggs.

60. Race in the driveway: REV.  To 'race" an engine is to give it gas [REV] while it is not in gear.

That, my circle of friends, wraps up another Wednesday.  Hope you found the work to your liking.

Cool Regards!

May 8, 2019

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 Sam Acker

Theme: ON THE DRAWING BOARD.  Here we will DRAW on our library of in-the-language phrases, to finalize certain concepts.  Since that seems a bit cryptic and abstract, let me DRAW it  more clearly.  This will be easier if we start with the unifier.

7. Infer ... or what the answers to starred clues end with?: DRAW CONCLUSIONS.  Gleaning the meaning from information that may or may not be complete.  In the theme answers, the 2nd word of two-word phrases can also follow the word DRAW to CONCLUDE another two-word phrase.

17. *Mint target: BAD BREATH.  Halitosis.

To DRAW BREATH is simply to breathe, or to pause a moment, and take a breath, before doing something, such as DRAWING a CONCLUSION.

20. *Overhead buzzers: POWER LINES.  Conduits for electricity.  Sometimes they're noisy.  To DRAW LINES is to set limits; figuratively LINES that should not be crossed.

31. *Lists of wrestling matches, say: EVENT CARDS.  Schedules of specific activities occurring at an event.  This phrase also has a variety of other meanings, which you can google, if interested.  To DRAW CARDS is to select specific cards from a deck as part of a game, trick or reading.

39. *Building sites: VACANT LOTS.  Plots of land that are currently undeveloped.  To DRAW LOTS is to decide something - such as who will do something, or in what order things will be done -by picking an item or items at random.

57. *HBO vampire series: TRUE BLOOD.  Never watched it.  Here's the season 1 trailer.

To DRAW BLOOD means to injure an opponent, either figuratively or literally.  Alternatively it means collecting a BLOOD sample from someone to run lab tests.

50. *Civil War volley: CANNON FIRE.  Cannons are now historical weapons.  To DRAW FIRE is to attract an enemy's attention in order to distract him from other tactical activities.

Hi Gang, JazzBumpa here to see what kind of CONCLUSIONS we can DRAW.  The first one is that with 6 theme entries and a grid spanning unifier, this puzzle is extremely thematically rich.  And second, with a central vertical unifier and two stacked theme answer pairs we have an unusual, and quite creative construction. So let us commence.


1. Try to punch: JAB AT.  Could be a swing and a miss.

6. Org. concerned with outbreaks: CDC. Center for Disease Control.

9. Follower of Guru Nanak: SIKH.  The word means a "disciple", "seeker," or "learner."  This is a monotheistic religion started in the Punjab region of India during the latter part of the 15th century.

13. Shapes for running laps: OVALS.  Typical track contour.

14. Shapiro of NPR: ARI. The host of All Things Considered.

15. Sunlit lobbies: ATRIA.  Often with a glass roof.

16. Crunch-like exercise: SIT UP.  Do it properly.

19. Soccer legend Mia: HAMM.

21. Verb type without a direct obj.: INTRansitive.   It' s always an action verb. Frex.: We arrived just in time.

23. Sing smoothly: CROON.

24. Bad guy you root for: ANTI-HERO.  Like Matt Scudder in Lawrence Block's mystery novels.

27. __ de cologne: EAU.  Originally a perfume formulation fron Cologne, Germany, but now a generic term for scented formulations.

30. Slangy "No reason": CUZ.  Cuz I says so.

35. Prepare to drag: REV.  Gun the engine in preparation for a fast take off.

36. Like maple syrup: VISCOUS.  Thick and slow to pour.

37. Geographical resource: MAP.  It lets you know where you are.  But, as Ned Stark often told his son Robb, "The map is not the territory."

41. "Wherever __": One Republic song: I GO.

42. "I see it now!": OH O or O HO!  Exclamation of surprise or discovery.

43. Yet to be tried: UNTESTED.

45. Flightless birds: RHEAS.  Large South American ratites, distantly related to the ostrich and emu.

49. Aspiring DA's exam: LSATLaw School Admission Test.  It's pretty well established that such standardized tests have little if any actual value, but they continue to be used.

54. Pet healers: VETS.  Animal doctors.

58. San Diego player: PADRE.  National League West baseball team

59. Like games in an arcade bar: RETRO.  Appealing nostalgically to a time in the not too distant past.

60. Protein-building molecule: RNA.  Ribonucleaic acid.

61. Shoelace tip: AGLET.  The plastic or metal tube the keeps the end of the shoelace from unraveling.

62. Young woman: LASS.

63. Mountain road curve: ESS.  A series of curves that double back in the shape of the letter S.

64. Spanish rulers: REYES.  Kings.


1. Kid: JOSH.  Tease playfully or joke.  Also, our 11 year old grandson is a kid named Josh.

2. Nike competitor: AVIA.  Brands of athletic shoes

3. Jewish girl's coming-of-age: BAT MITZVAH.  A ceremony held on the girl's 12th or 13th birthday, in varying traditions, after which she, instead of her parent, is considered to be responsible for her own actions.

4. Grads: ALUMNI.  Those who have completed a program of study and received a diploma from an educational institution.

5. Baker's meas.: TSP.  Teaspoon.

6. __ San Lucas: Baja resort: CABO.   Located at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula.

8. Fall drink: CIDER.  Unfermented juice pressed from fruit, most typically apples.

9. "Gone With the Wind" composer Max: STEINER.  [1888-1971] An Austrian born American composer of music for theater and films.  He was one of the first composers for movies and is known as the father of film music.

10. Shiraz's country: IRAN.  Located in the southwest of the country, Shiraz has been a trade center for over 1000 years.

11. Toy on a string: KITE.  A light frame with thin material stretched over it, to be flown in the wind.

12. Guffaws: HAHs.  Laughs

15. Woody's son: ARLO. Woody [1912-1967] died of Huntington's disease. Arlo [b 1947] is most famous for his epic recording of his narrative song Alice's Restaurant.

18. Pal: BRO.  Buddie.

20. Musician André with 11 Grammys: PREVIN.  [1929 -2019]  He was famous and highly accomplished in three areas - scores for over 50 films; music director and/or conductor for several major symphony orchestras; and jazz pianist, composer and arranger.

22. GIs' support gp.: THE VA. Veterans Administration.

24. Like six starred puz. answers: ACR. Across. A meta, theme-related clue that is not part of the theme.

25. New, in Nogales: NUEVO.  Literally, in Spanish.

26. Snooze: REST.  Sleep.

28. "Truth be told ... ": ADMITTEDLY.

29. Grammarian's concern: USAGE.  The manner in which words and phrases are normally and correctly employed.

32. Animation creation: TOON.  A cartoon character.

33. Nautilus cousin: CUTTLE.  A cephalopod having 8 arms and two tentacles with denticulated suckers to latch on to their prey.  They are typically 6 to 10 inches long.

34. Donkeys: ASSES.  Horse-like animals that are smaller, having longer ears and a braying sound.  They have been used as working animals for over 5000 years.

38. Sci-fi escape unit: POD. A small, secondary vehicle used to evacuate from the main vehicle when under duress.

40. Least gooey brownie pieces: CORNERS.  They bake harder due to having more edge surface.

44. Brutal: SAVAGE.  Fierce, violent, and out of control.

46. Stereotypical train hopper: HOBO.  The term originated in the western U.S in the 1890's, referfing to an impoverished migrant worker or vagrant.

47. Blowup: Abbr.: ENLargement.

48. Ere: AFORE.  Having occurred previously

50. Bottom row PC key: CTRL. A modifier key that performs a special operation when pressed with another key.

51. Real estate calculation: AREA.  Sizes of the lot surface, total dwelling and interior room spaces.

52. Bar freebies: NUTS. Either snacks, like peanuts, or the company of bar flies in questionable mental states.

53. Nutritional stds.: RDAS. Recommended Daily Allowances.

55. Christmas decoration: TREE. I'm going to quibble.  The tree is a symbol. It is adorned with decorations.

56. "Action!" places: SETS.  Places where movie scenes are filmed.

58. 72 for 18 holes, often: PAR.  The nominal proper score for a round of golf.

That wraps it up. Despite my one ADMITTEDLY picky nit, I found this puzzle to be quite up to par.  You, of course, are free to DRAW your own CONCLUSIONS. 

There doesn't appear to be another puzzle by Sam Acker in our library.  So this might be his first L.A. Times entry.  If so, congrats for a highly successful introduction!

Cool regards!

May 1, 2019

Wednesday May 1, 2019 Paul Coulter

It’s May, ribbit, ribbit!

“Tra la, it's May, the lusty month of May
That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray
Tra la, it's here, that shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear

It's May, it's May, that gorgeous holiday
When every maiden prays that her lad will be a cad
It's mad, it's gay, a libelous display
Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks
Everyone makes divine mistakes, the lusty month of May”

Recognize those lines? I’ll confirm or inform later on.

On to the puzzle with musical interlude #1. Today's cw is by our quasi-resident wordsmith, Paul Coulter.  For this mid-week effort, Paul placed all of the theme answers in the verticals, because.....well, because the theme demanded it.  The bottom word of each theme answer is a type of bell.
As a lowly enlisted swabbie, I can relate to the naval connotation of the Bell Bottom uniform. Those pant-legs were actually more stove-pipe than bell-bottom. The trousers were stocked extra long by waist measurement, and were then shortened to fit the individual sailor. The 13 buttons may be traditional (they represent the 13 colonies), but they’re a real bother to deal with. I’d vote for a zipper fly any day.

The Reveal:

28D. Retro pants, and a hint to the answers to starred clues:  BELL BOTTOMS  The bottom word of each theme answer is a type of bell.

3D. *Many Northeast tourists look up to her: LADY LIBERTY. Lady Liberty isn’t nearly so welcoming today as in years past. But here we’re talking about the Liberty Bell. When did it get it’s famous crack?

9D. *Bring-a-dish event: POTLUCK DINNER. The triangular dinner bell became popular in the early 1800s to call the family and workers in from the fields at mealtime.

18D. *Controversial educational institution: CHARTER SCHOOL. Your school bell might have been a hand-held model wielded by a bookish schoolmarm, but more likely it was an electric bell that signaled the beginning and end of class periods. I thought “saved by the bell” probably had a school connection. Nope, it originates in the boxing ring.

26D. *Real moneymaker: CASH COW. Cow bell. The company I worked for served as a Cash Cow for the parent corporate holding company. After the long recession in the “awl patch,” I wonder if that’s still the case.
1. Indonesian resort island: BALI. Just east of Java.

5. Champagne flute part: STEM.

9. Provide with lodging: PUT UP. Tried HOUSE first.

14. Australian export: OPAL. Wool would also fit...but it would be wrong.

15. Hilo feast: LUAU.

16. "SNL" alum Cheri: OTERI. Vowel-rich, but c’mon guys, she left SNL way back in 2000.

17. Lack of propriety: INDECORUM. I’ve been known to resemble that remark.

19. Link: TIE IN.

20. Marshal at Waterloo: NEY. Why did I think it was Dey? Oh, wait, that was L. A. Law.

21. Solo played by Harrison Ford and Alden Ehrenreich: HAN. Han Solo, Star Wars.

22. Fly off the shelves: SELL.

24. Producing a direct electric current: GALVANIC. Back in the late 1700s Luigi Galvani discovered that muscle tissues would contract when electricity was passed through them. He experimented with frog legs, because he was prone to playing with his food.

27. Colorado town that means "town" in Spanish: PUEBLO. The USS Pueblo was captured by North Korea in January, 1968. The ship was about 16 miles off the coast at the time. Here’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about the incident.

31. Tel Aviv's land: Abbr.: ISR. Israel.

32. Pre-exam feeling, if you didn't study: PANIC. I wanted ANGST.

34. Brain scan letters: EEG. I wanted MRI. I had a brain MRI last year. Contrary to popular belief, they found one.

35. Clog kin: SABOT. This was actually my first thought for this answer. Yay, me.

37. Down with something: SICK.

38. Short, for short: LIL. I really, really wanted IOU for this one. You may have noticed that I didn’t get a lot of the things I wanted in this puzzle.

39. Brunch serving: CREPE. Because Mimosa and Omelet were too long.

40. "Huh?": WHA. With the W in place, I immediately inked in the TF.  Nope, not to be.

41. Sweetly, to Solti: DOLCE. What do you suppose is the musical meaning of Dolce Vita?

43. Part of HRH: HER. Put in the H and wait for the ER or IS to show up.

44. Campus mil. group: ROTC. ROTC (Reserve Officer’s Training Corps). Back in the day, orientation lectures were required of all male freshmen. Those military instructors could stand the loud stamping of feet for just so long. They usually kicked us out after 10-15 minutes.

46. Out of favor: IN BAD. Also a sailor, missing his first letter.

47. "Dig in!": EAT.

48. In one fell __: SWOOP. I always say it as one “swell foop.” “If the shoe fits” gets similar treatment.

50. Paleo- opposite: NEO. Also the hero of the Matrix movies.

51. Source of theatrical fog: DRY ICE. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide. It “sublimes” (goes directly from solid to gaseous state) when warmed. See, I didn’t sleep through every chemistry class, just most of ‘em.

53. "I'm qualified, too!": WHY NOT ME. Musical interlude #2 from this mother/daughter team.

57. "Gotcha": AH SO. Apparently “facetiously” is no longer required in the clue.

59. Bonanza find: Ore. Ben would’ve fit, but Hoss, Adam, and Little Joe were too long.

60. 1960s chess champ Mikhail: TAL. If you say so.

61. Historic Texas landmark: ALAMO. Easy for this pseudo-Texan to remember.

64. Book's epilogue: AFTERWORD.

67. "The Hobbit" hero: BILBO. Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo’s cousin, Frodo Baggins, was the hero of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

68. Hoops shot: HOOK. Basketball.

69. French friend: AMIE. Glue.

70. Creeping critter: SNAIL.

71. __ Major: URSA. The big bear in the sky.

72. Old autocrat: TSAR. “Old” tipped me off that it’d be TSAR and not CZAR.

1. Spring sound: BOING. I really liked this c/a. My first thought was CHIRP.

2. Sleep clinic study: APNEA. Is it really all that bad? I’ve never heard of death by snoring.

4. Paris's __ de la Cité: ILE. The had a fire there recently. You may have read about it.

5. "McSorley's Bar" painter: SLOAN. The oldest “Irish” tavern in NYC is actually known as McSorley’s Old Ale House.

6. Root vegetable: TURNIP. I don’t believe I’ve ever had one. How do you fix ‘em? Are they good? Do they get damaged when they fall off the truck?

7. __ Claire, Wisconsin: EAU. If it were in Florida, they’d call it Clearwater.

8. Rose Parade flowers: MUMS. Aren’t all flower types acceptable as float decoration?

10. Serving a purpose: UTILE. I’ve never spoken that word in my whole life as a person.

11. Links supporter?: TEE.

12. Ocean State sch.: URI. University of Rhode Island.

13. Debit card code: PIN. You also need a Pin from the IRS if you’ve been a victim of identify theft when somebody filed for your tax refund. (I think it’s safe to assume that nobody would steal your identity for the purpose of paying your taxes.)

23. Awesome: EPIC. Two of the most over-used words in the English language.

25. Brandy bottle abbr.: VSOP. “Very Superior Old Pale.” To bear that moniker, the youngest brandy in the blend must be at least four years old. In Wisconsin and Mini-Soda the brandy Manhattan is a popular cocktail...and only there, so far as I know.

29. German camera: LEICA. They’ve been at it since 1914.

30. Eyed inappropriately: OGLED. When is it an ogle, and when is it a leer? Discuss.

33. Long of "Empire": NIA. Recognize her name, but draw a blank at Empire.

35. Timetable: Abbr.: SCHED.

36. Backward, shipwise: AREAR. Gluey. Not to be confused with arrear or arrears – dead horses which were severely beaten in recent days.

40. Geneva-based commerce gp.: WTO. World Trade Organization.

42. Basie's "__'Clock Jump": ONE O. Musical interlude #3:

45. Has to pay: OWES.

49. Snaps: PHOTOS. Not ginger cookies.

52. Frost-y feet?: IAMBI. Robert Frost-y poetic feet.

54. California town wrongly thought to be named from a backwards "bakery" sign: YREKA. It’s the county seat of Siskiyou County, but you knew that. wy-REE-kə

55. "The Sound of Music" matriarch: MARIA. Von Trapp – that flibbertigibbet, will-o-the-wisp, and clown. In case you need a hint, the actress who played her in the movie also sang the words at the top of this post.

56. Church leader: ELDER. Also a tribal leader. I don’t remember any elders in the church I attended.

58. Maui neighbor: OAHU. Neighbor, if you ignore Molokai and Lanai…

61. Muscles seen at Muscle Beach: ABS. Does your muscle car have ABS?

62. Architect Maya __: LIN. Anybody else read this as “Ancient Mayan?” No, just me.

63. Montgomery's st.: ALA. Capital of Alabama.

65. In favor of: FOR. As opposed to agin.

66. Angkor __: Cambodian temple: WAT.

Quiz answer: Those lines were sung by Julie Andrews on Broadway as Queen Guinevere in Camelot.

I hope Melissa Bee is enjoying her time off. Desper-otto out. (With luck, C.C. will find a visual of the grid to stick here.)

Apr 24, 2019

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 Ed Sessa


The letter sequence spelling LEG occurs in vertical theme fill.  Proceeding from left to right, this sequence appears successively higher in the grid.

45 D. *What makes Guy a guy?: LITTLE G.  Referring to upper and lower case lettering.  A bit strained, in my opinion.

37 D. *Post-apocalyptic Will Smith film: I AM LEGEND.  A virus has wiped out most of man-kind and the hero, Robert Neville, played by Smith, searches for a cure while battling nocturnal mutants.

30 D. *Gray wrote one in a country churchyard: ELEGY.  A poem of lamentation.  You can read it here.

10 D. *346-piece Big Ben, e.g.: LEGO SET.  Here's a 9 1/2 minute video if you're interested.

9 D. *Telegraphed message: CABLEGRAM.

And the unifier -- 66 A. Competitive edge, as illustrated in the answers to starred clues from left to right: A LEG UP.  This phrase means some sort of boost, assistance or circumstance that gives one an advantaged position relative to the competition.  In the puzzle grid the LEG letters climb from left to right, each time advancing by exactly one square - all the while maintaining perfect rotational symmetry.  This is an unusual construction in a couple ways.  Having the theme in the vertical fill isn't unknown but it's also not common.  Further, a phrase of the type "LEG UP" generally indicates that the letters would be climbing within the fill, so they would be reversed in the answer word(s). Here, the upward motion is within the grid, from one theme fill entry to the next.  This is, in my experience, unique.  So, high marks for both technical virtuosity and creativity!  

Hi, Gang, JazzBumpa here with both feet firmly on the ground.  Let's high step through the rest of this puzzle and see what tickles our toes.


1. Keepsake containers: CHESTS.  Large storage boxes, typically made of wood.

7. Biological pouch: SAC. A cavity enclosed by a membrane that contains air, liquid, or solid structures.

10. "I'm up for it!": LET'S.  We should do this.

14. Change in a big way: REWORK. I guess changing in a small way would be a revision.

15. Santa __ winds: ANA.  Hot, dry, downsloping winds that originate inland and blow toward the coast in California.  They seem to be named for the Santa Ana Canyon in Orange County.

16. Singer Adams: EDIE.  Probably most famous for this.

17. World's largest peninsula: ARABIA.  Perhaps it should be considered a sub-continent since it lies on its own tectonic plate.

18. Antagonist in many le CarrÈ novels: KGB AGENT.  Spy stuff

20. Nemesis: BANE. A cause of great distress or annoyance.

21. Teeny-tiny fraction: TRILLIONTH.  1/10^12.  Less than miniscule.

23. "Better Call Saul" actress Seehorn: RHEA.

25. Wrigglers sought by snigglers: EELS.  Rhyme time in the EEL creel.

26. Demean: ABASE. Degrade or belittle.

29. Floating ice hazard: BERG.  Properly, ICEBERG - a large piece of freshwater ice broken from a glacier or ice shelf floating in open salt water.

31. Hearing things?: EARS.   Interesting word play.  EARS are things that hear.  If you are hearing things that are not there, the ears are not involved - it all in your head.

35. Leader of a flock: Abbr.: REV.  An ordained minister leading her/his congregation.

36. Remote precursor: DIAL.  Playing with parts of speech again - in the past, the various DIALS on your TV set performed the functions of the various buttons on your remote control unit.

38. Hooch: ROTGUT.  Bad whiskey.

40. Sport-__: UTE.  Utility vehicle

41. Oatmeal-crusted treat: DATE BAR.  A baked item containing chopped fruit.

43. 12 meses: AÑO.  12 months make a year in Spain, same as here.

44. Uproarious confusion: BEDLAM. Named for an infamous British asylum  for the insane.

46. Places to shoot hoops: GYMS. Basketball venues.

47. Big kahuna: VIPVery Important Person.

48. Jai __: ALAI.  A sport involving a ball bounced off a walled space with a hand held device [cesta.]

49. Places, as a bet: LAYS.  Probably because you LAY your money down.

51. Signs of the future: OMENS.  Events considered to announce or predict some good or evil thing that will happen soon.

53. Those opposing us: THEM. Always us vs THEM.

55. Counting-out word: EENY. Meeny, miney, moe.

57. Seven-sided: HEPTAGONAL.  Literal, if you know Greek.

61. Saintly glow: HALO.  A circle of light around or above the hear of a saint to signify her/his sanctity.

65. "Madame Bovary" subject: ADULTERY.  The ultimately tragic story of a young French woman who lived extravagantly beyond her limited means.  Bored with her dull husband, she sought pleasure and adventure though affairs with two men who eventually grew tired of her.

68. Steady look: GAZE.

69. Bridal bio word: NEE.  Referring to the bride's original surname.

70. Excitedly unwrapped: TORE AT.

71. Layer over some cities: SMOG.  A combination of fog with smoke and other atmospheric pollutants.

72. Mar.-to-Nov. hrs.: DST. Daylight Savings Time - the clock is moved forward by one hour to extend daylight into the evening.

73. Genesis follower: EXODUS.  Second book in the Bible.


1. __ bisque: CRAB.  A rich creamy soup, typically made with shell fish.

2. Mount Olympus queen: HERA.  Sister wife of Zeus in the olympian pantheon.  She was jealous of his many lovers and offspring.

3. McGregor of "Christopher Robin": EWAN.  The actor portraying a now grown-up boy who once was the playmate of Winnie the Pooh.

4. Sleeps it off, with "up": SOBERS.  Recovers from non-fatal alcohol toxemia.

5. Prefix with atomic: TRI-.  Referring to a molecule composed of three atoms.  The clue is weirdly specific for a prefix with many other, more common applications.

6. Circle the rink: SKATE.  Ice or roller SKATING.

7. H.H. Munro's pseudonym: SAKI. [1870 - 1916] A British master of the short story form who satirized Edwardian society.

8. One opening a can of worms?: ANGLER.  A fisherman getting into a container of bait.

11. Paradise: EDEN.  The biblical home of Adam and Eve, before they got kicked out for disobedience.

12. Salon treatment: TINT.  Hair coloring.

13. Meyers of "Late Night": SETH. [b 1973] American comedian, writer, actor and television host.

19. Have a bug: AIL.  Be sick from a viral or bacterial infection.

22. Moroccan capital: RABAT. Located along the Atlantic coast along the Bouregreg River.

24. Gossip columnist Hopper: HEDDA. [1885 - 1966] American actress and gossip columnist for the L.A. Times, known for feuding with her rival Luella Parsons.

26. Dutch-speaking Caribbean island: ARUBA.  One of the 4 countries comprising the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with Curaçao, and Sint Maarten.  It is located off the coast of Venezuela, about 1000 miles west of the Lesser Antilles.

27. Asian palm nut: BETEL.  Because of the materials it is prepared with, it is a serious health hazard in Asia, where it's use is very common.

28. "Plant-powered" hair care brand: AVEDA.

32. Tequila source: AGAVE. A succulent plant native to arid regions of Mexico and the American southwest.

33. Scrap: RUN IN. A disagreement or fight, especially with someone in an official position.

34. Puts an end to: STOPS.

39. Welles who played Kane: ORSON. [1915-1985] An American actor, director, writer and producer who worked in theatre, radio and film.

42. What "two" meant to Paul Revere: BY SEA. Paul Revere [1734-1818] was an American silversmith, engraver, early industrialist, and Patriot in the American Revolution. He is best known for his midnight ride to alert the colonial militia in April 1775 to the approach of British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord.  The warning signal placed in the tower of the North Church indicated British troop movement by land with one lantern and by water with two. [Wikipedia]

50. Ovid collection: AMORES.  Ovid [b 43 BC] was a contemporary of Virgil and Horace during the reign of Augustus.  AMORES is his first book of poetry, in an erotic mode, but often humorous, subversive, and sometimes even absurd.

52. "You saved me!": MY HERO.

54. Tipped top: HAT.  Tipping one's hat is a sign of respect.

56. Make very happy: ELATE.

57. Fairy tale crones: HAGS. Witches.

58. Paraffin-coated cheese: EDAM. From the Netherlands part of the Netherlands.

59. "The Godfather" novelist: PUZO. Mario [1920-1999]

60. Nureyev's no: NYET.  Literal, if you speak Russian.

62. On in years: AGED.  I'm getting there.

63. Tropical party: LUAU.  Traditional Hawaiian party or feast featuring local foods and entertainment.

64. Chooses: OPTS. Decides either for or against.

67. Bagel topper: LOX. Fillet of brined salmon.

On that tasty note, we end up another Wednesday.  Hope you found the leg lifts exhilarating.

Cool regards!