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Showing posts with label Willy A Wiseman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Willy A Wiseman. Show all posts

Mar 22, 2009

Sunday March 22, 2009 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: Parting Words

1A: With 132A: parting words to a hermit: FAREWELL,

132A: See 1A: MY LONELY ("Farewell, My Lovely")

27A: Parting words from a gambler: GOODBYE, MY CHIPS ("Goodbye, Mr. Chips")

36A: Parting words extended with a look: ALOHA STARE (Aloha State)

58A: With 61A: parting words to a swamp daddy: SEE YA PATER,

61A: See 58A: ALLIGATOR (See ya later, alligator)

70A: With 83A & 86A, parting words from Douglas Adams to a gossip: SO LONG, AND

83A: See 70A: THANKS FOR

86A: See 70A: ALL THE DISH ("So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish")

102A: Parting words in person: BYE BYE LIVE ("Bye Bye Love")

113A: Parting words when going to meet Mr. Reed: I'LL BE SEEING LOU ("I'll be Seeing You")

I only know "BYE BYE LOVE" , ALOHA STATE & "I'LL BE SEEING YOU". But it's not difficult to figure out what names the constructor was playing.

I still don't quite get why "a swamp daddy" is PATER. Also, the clue for RABIN (109D: Itzshak of Israel) is missing one letter Y. Or are Yitzshak and Itzshak the same?

Quite a few misstarts today. Wrote down EATS instead of AILS for 72D: Has something. And penned in PATSY instead of SOFTY for 70D: Easy mark. I don't know. After more than a year of solving Mr. Williams' puzzles, I still struggle mightily. Hard to read his mind.

Got a bit emotional solving this grid. Whatever you do, whereever you go, Mr. Williams, I wish you all the best. Thanks for the fun and frustrations.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank Philip J. Anderson, Diane C Baldwin, Matthew Higgins, Annabel Michaels, Alan P. Olschwang, Allan E. Parrish, Doug Peterson, Tom Pruce, Barry Silk, Norma Steinberg, Verna Suit, John Underwood, Ed Voile, Michael T. Williams, Stan B. Whitten, Robert H. Wolfe and other TMS Daily contributors. Thank you so much for the great puzzles. I look forward to seeing your byline in LA Times.

Across:

9A: Host of "Scientific American Frontiers": ALDA (Alan). I was unaware of this PBS program.

20A: Formal written defense: APOLOGIA. No problem this time.

22A: New version: REVISAL. New word to me.

25A: Outbreeding: EXOGAMY. Opposite of endogamy. Exo is prefix for "outer", and "endo" is prefix for "within". Both unknown to me.

26A: Classic TV sitcom equine: MR. ED

35A: Marketing starter?: TELE. Telemarketing.

50A: Arquette of "Desperately Seeing Susan": ROSANNA. Googled her name. Very unusual surname, Arquette.

53A: Hoover Dam's lake: MEAD. Have never been here before.

64A: Verdi classic: AIDA. Can you believe it debuted in Cairo in 1871?

69A: Tahleuah, OK school: NSU (Northeastern State University). Easy guess. I don't know where Tahleuash, OK is.

93A: Evening in Montmartre: SOIR. Lingered in Montmartre for a long time trying to feel Monet & van Gogh. Also went to Sacré-Cœur. My first time ever in a church.

99A: Little lion of stars: LEO MINOR. Here is a diagram.

104A: Cat's-paw: DUPE. "Cat's-paw" is a new word to me.

120A: Utah ski resort: ALTA. Thought of Liam Neeson's wife. She was actually alright immediately after the skiing fall and she refused the medical help.

121A: Sibyl: DIVINER. Cassandra is one, though no one would ever believe what she divined.

123A: Man from Windhoek: NAMIBIAN. Windhoek is the capital of Namibia. New to me. The letter W is pronounced like V, strange.

1129A: Like raw footage: UNEDITED

130A: Heads side of a coin: OBVERSE. Vs. REVERSE.

Down:

1D: Granges: FARMS. I used to confuse "Grange" with "Grunge".

7D: Half of CIV: LII. Roman 52. The number of weeks for Caesar. Did they have Sunday off at that time?

8D: Pioneer director: LANG. Have never heard of Fritz LANG. "Pioneer" for what?

9D: If all goes wrong: AT WORST

10D: Navigation guide (var.): LOADSTAR. Variant of lodestar. Neither is a familiar word to me.

14D: Compound radical: HEXYL. The last 2 letters "yl" is a suffix used in the names of radicals, like "ethyl". Dictionary defines HEXYL as "the hydrocarbon radical", whatever that is.

15D: Shorebirds with upturned beaks: AVOCETS. Forgot. They belong to the same wading family as stilts. OK, her beak does seem to turn upward.

33D: Book after Daniel: HOSEA. Before Joel.

37D: Preliminary race: HEAT. Why is it called HEAT? Because the competitions are heated?

39D: Barrett or Jaffe: RONA. RONA Barrett is the gossip columnist. And RONA Jaffe was a novelist. Learned their name from doing Xwords.

41D: Vishnu incarnation: RAMA. No idea. RAMA is a she?

42D: First ceremony: INITIATION

43D: Nightmarish Belgian artist: ENSOR (James). Unknown to me. It does look nightmarish. I was thinking of Edvard Munch and his "The Scream", but he was from Norway.

44D: Pelvic bones: SACRA. Singular is sacrum. Unknown to me. I don't know its Chinese equivalent either. I definitely don't know my body. Such strange sacr-prefix, what's so sacred about that bone?

47D: Actress Frances: STERNHAGEN. Googled her name. I like the way she looks.

48D: Legumes with oily seeds: SOYAS. I've never called them as SOYAS, always soybeans.

59D: Wild way to run?: AMUCK. Need a "Var." mark.

62D: "Beau __": GESTE. Saw this clue a few times when I first started solving TMS puzzle in 2008. Is the movie good?

76D: "Chico and the Man" co-star: CHARO. Holy cow! Look at her original long name, and look at her body. Are they real? I would never have gotten the answer without across fills.

80D: Tuesday before Ash Wednesday: SHROVE. No idea. I only know Fat Tuesday.

81D: Analogy phrase: IS TO

85D: Mcllroy of golf: RORY. Uh-uh, no, can't recall his name. He looks like Tony Blaire. I used to follow European Tour when Adam Scott was playing.

88D: Promo link: TIE-IN. Should be the full term "Promotional link", as the answer is not abbreviated.

92D: "12 Angry Men": ED BEGLEY. Maybe Chris in LA knows. I can only remember Henry Fonda.

96D: Horizontal expander: WIDENER. So the "Vertical expander" would be DEEPENER? Made-up words.

98D: "__ in Gaza": EYELESS. Here is the book cover, written by Aldous Huxley.

103D: "Do Ya" grp.: ELO. Every crossword constructor's three letter go-to music grp due to its unique letter combination. See the clip.

106D: Intrinsically: PER SE

111D: Madame de __: STAEL. Got her name from crossing fills. Had a quick google afterward, then realized I had searched for her before. Her life sounded very complicated.

112D: Actress Jessica: TANDY. Unknown to me. She won an Oscar for "Driving Miss Daisy". She was also a Tony winner for her Blanche DuBois role in "A Streetcar Named Desire". I watched Vivien Leigh's movie. Very heavy. Not my type.

115D: Ukrainian city: LVOV. Also LVIV. On the upper left corner. Wikipedia says part of "Schindler's List" was shot here. My answer was KIEV.

116D: Fast food: BITE. Okey-dokey, I suppose "Grab a BITE" means "Eat it fast".

C.C.

Mar 19, 2009

Thursday March 19, 2009 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: None or a Farewell Message?

Well, I was expecting a coup de grâce quip/quote today. Did not expect such a short two line "parting words" from our editor Wayne R. Williams (aka Willy A. Wiseman/Josiah Breward).

A themed puzzle should have at least three entries, but I only found two:

31A: Start of parting words: SEE YOU IN THE

40A: End of parting words: FUNNY PAPERS

So, technically this is a themeless. I've never heard of the above idiom before. Does it really carry an air of "mild contempt"?

The clue for NOUVEAU (5D: Word with riche or cuisine) is simply wrong. Cuisine is a feminine noun, so the adjective is nouvelle, not NOUVEAU. Haute cuisine, not "haut" cuisine. "Word with riche or art" would be OK.

Across:

1A: Novice reporter: CUB. Surprised that Wiseman did not use "Chicago pro" clue in his last puzzle to pay tribute to his major audience, the Chicago Tribune solvers.

4A: Preserved for later: ON ICE

15A: Musical wrap-ups: CODAS

18A: City on the Arkansas: TULSA. See this map. I got the answer from down fills. Wikipedia says "For most of the 20th century, the city held the nickname "Oil Capital of the World". Which city holds the title now? Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)?

23A: Stuck around: WAITED

26A: Nobleman: EARLS. Thought of PEERS first, then LORDS, then EARLS.

28A: Established in office: INSTATED. One more blank, the answer would be INSTALLED.

44A: Powers of "Hart to Hart": STEFANIE. New actress to me. Often see girls named Stephanie. Wikipedia says "Hart to Hart" was created by Sidney Sheldon. I like his "Rage of Angels".

46A: New Haven alum: ELI. How many of our presidents graduated from Yale? I only know Bush 41, Clinton & Bush 43.

47A: Artifact: RELIC. This word always reminds me of Agatha Christie. She left the comfort of England and accompanied her archaeologist husband to the extremely tough-to-live Iraq exploring those digs. Yet he still cheated on her. Why are most men unfaithful?

48A: Theater section: BALCONY. The answer is often LOGE.

57A: Above it all: ALOOF. I like this quote: "Anger, ego, jealousy are the biggest diseases. Keep yourself ALOOF from these three diseases".

61A: Miller's product: FLOUR. "Milliner's product" will be HAT. I can never understand the rage about that hat.

63A: Clay or Frick: HENRY. No idea. According to Wiki, HENRY Clay was more than any other individual responsible for the War of 1812. And he was greatly admired by Lincoln and JFK. Henry Clay Frick was an industrialist and art patron, once known as "America's most hated man". Why was he hated so much?

64A: Rhythm of activity: TEMPO

Down:

2D: Detach: UNFIX

9D: Fertility goddess: ASTARTE. I forgot. Could only think of the "Egyptian goddess of fertility" ISIS. ASTARTE is the ancient Semitic goddess, worshiped by both Phonicians and cannanites.

10D: Australian lass: SHEILA. Kazie says this is an outdated Aussi slang.

11D: Ohio school: KENT STATE. Lou Holtz' alma mater. Here is their Golden Flashes logo.

13D: Scott of a famous case: DRED. I blanked again. Could only think of Scott Peterson.

21D: Nymph chaser: SATYR. See this picture. Very ugly libertine. Part-man, part-horse. The Roman equivalent is Fauns.

23D: Dry streambed: WASH. Have never heard of Dry WASH before.

26D: Portal: ENTRY

28D: Vacuous: INANE

31D: Black and White: SEAS. I've heard of White SEA, but I forgot where it's located. Do those purple colored areas all belong to Norway?

33D: Duck product: EIDERDOWN

34D: Type of Greek column: IONIC. This is quite tricky, as DORIC almost fits in too. See this D.I.C picture (Thanks, Kazie). I don't believe we had Corinthian in our puzzle before.

38D: Pizazz: SPICE. Pizazz, pizzaz, pizzazz. So many different spellings.

40D: In error: FALSELY

41D: Detachment: UNIT. Why? I was thinking of aloofness.

42D: London fog: PEA SOUP. Have never been to London. Does the fog really look like PEA SOUP?

45D: Tributary: FEEDER

49D: "La Boheme" or "The Girl of the Golden West": OPERA. Both by Puccini. I am not familiar with "The Girl of the Golden West".

50D: Peter and Franco: NEROS. Peter NERO is an American pianist. He appeared in our puzzle before. Franco NERO is an Italian actor, husband of Vanessa Redgrave (the girl on his left). Redgrave is the mother of Natasha Richardson, who died last night after suffering a head injury from a skiing accident. Natasha is the wife of Liam Neeson ("Schindler's List"). He is going to play Abe Lincoln in Spielberg's biopic. Too much information?

51D: "The Shadowy Waters" poet: YEATS. Got the answer. Have never heard of the poem. Does not look interesting to me. YEATS won Nobel in 1923.

54D: Cosmo competition: ELLE. The girl on this ELLE China is Zhang Ziyi, probably the most influential Chinese actress right now. She played Sayuri in "Memoirs of a Geisha", a role should have been given to a Japanese actress in my opinion.

C.C.

Mar 15, 2009

Sunday March 15, 2009 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: Cards for Two

23A: Blackjack: POLICEMAN'S CLUB

36A: War: OPEN HOSTILITIES

73A: Scatter: CUT AND RUN

108A: Casino: TRUMP PLAZA OR RIO

126A: Gin: COTTON SHUFFLER

17D: Nautically nauseous: CAPTAIN'S DECK

64D: Solitaire: A DIAMOND RING

I hope I got the theme answers correct. I am a dummy when it comes to card games. Why "Card for Two" as the theme title?

I don't know. HAND PICK (8D: Select personally) might be part of the theme answers too. But there is nothing hidden in its symmetrical partner SAL MINEO (93D: "Exodus" co-star). Or am I missing something here?

Struggled with this puzzle. Too many proper names. Our editor is on a name binge today. He could easily clue KEENER (107D: Catherine of "Full Frontal") as "More acute". "Single Sra" for SRTA (66A) is such a lazy cluing.

I have never seen a word number indicator like 67D: Time qualifier: __ about (2 words): AT OR. Normally Williams would go with "End of comment?" (commentator). He hates partials.

See here for Argyle's post on Rich Norris' Thursday SPAGHETTI puzzle.

Across:

1A: Simpson's songwriting partner: ASHFORD (Nickolas). Stumped immediately. Have never heard of him or his wife Valerie Simpson. They wrote "Ain't No Mountain High Enough".

8A: Seize a vehicle in transit: HIJACK. I had this wrong notion that HIJACK means "Seize a plane in transit" and CARJACK is the answer the clue is looking for.

20A: Put away one's sword: SHEATHE

21A: Comparable thing: ANALOG. Not analogy?

22A: Chilly period: ICE AGE. I wrote WINTER first. It's indeed the "Chilly period" here in MN.

30A: Memory unit: BIT. Know nothing about computer. BIT, byte. Which is bigger?

33A: Tom Sawyer's sweetheart: BECKY. Guessed. His love for her is unrequited, right?

48A: Hitters: BATSMEN. My inital answer is BATTERS.

70A: Senior members: DOYENS. Female is called doyenne. Helen Thomas is often referred to as the doyenne of the White House press corps.

71A: Diameter halves: RADII. Probably only math geeks celebrated the National Pi Day yesterday.

76A: Mother-of-pearl: NACRE. Here is a picture. I don't know why NACRE is precious. Some drums have very nicely encircled NACRE around its body.

77A: With hands on hips: AKIMBO. I can never remember this position. Sounds like a Japanese word.

79A: Iditarod terminus: NOME

87A: S.F. underground: BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Oh, I did not know it's underground.

89A: Bookkeeping abbr.: EOM. Glory be! I am not familar with this abbreviation at all. It's just "End of Month".

105A: Flasks: PHIALS. Only knew vial.

106A: No-good-__: NIK. I need to use this word. I've never used ne'er-do-well in my conversation either.

112A: Grasslike wetland plant: SEDGE. The leaves looks cutting.

114A Asian range: ALTAI. It's called 阿尔泰山脉 in Chinese. Wikipedia said the ALTAI mountains are known as the Turkic people's birthplace. Originated in the word Altau. AL means "gold", TAU means "mount". So ALTAI means the "Mountains of Gold" in their language.

117A: Gifts bestowed: LARGESS

122A: Blood: pref.: HEMA. Or hemo. As in hemophilia, the disease Byron Nelson died of.

130A: Guy of "Factory Girl": PEARCE. I googled. Here is a picture of him and Sienna Miller who starred in the "Factory Girl". He is an Aussi also.

131A: Military decoration: EPAULET. I used to remember this word.

133A: Arialike solo: ARIOSO. Forgot again.

134A: Schedules anew: RESLOTS

Down:

2D: Brogue or wingtip: SHOE. Did not know brogue and wingtip means the same thing.

3D: Recklessly determined: HELLBENT

5D: Stock-market abbr.: OTC. Over-the-Counter. I don't know anything about stock market, except my GE stock keeps dropping. How is OTC different from NYSE trading? Also, if most of us are losing money in this market, who is winning? If no one, where did the money disappear to?

10D: Actor Derek: JACOBI. Googled him, then realized that I had googled him before. An illustrous career.

11D: Completely wrong: ALL WET

12D: Administrative body: COUNCIL. Can't believe I struggled with this one.

24D: Having wings: ALATE. I only knew ALAR, which actually means "Winglike".

29D: Cicely and Mike: TYSONS. Cicely is Miles Davis' wife.

31D: Essay: THEME. New definition to me.

34D: Largo and Longboat: KEYS. Both KEYS are in FL. Here is my favorite KEYS.

37D: "Waiting for Lefty" playwright: ODETS. Another google. Is ODETS very famous? Very odd picture. What are they trying to achieve?

46D: William Sydney Porter: O HENRY. Easy guess. I did not know O HENRY's original name. What does O stand for? Why not O'HENRY?

49D: DEA type: NARC. It's always "D.E.A. agent". I don't know why it's "type".

59D: Rail: SORA. The Carolina rail.

61D: Unfledged bird: EYAS. Would not got this weird word without the surrounds. The British spelling is Eyass.

81D: Legendary drummer Gene: KRUPA. He was played by SAL MINEO (93D: "Exodus" co-star) in the 1959 biopic "The Gene KRUPA story".

91D: Black bird: MERL. Also MERLE. Not fully black. I learned the meaning of this word a few months ago when someone talked about MERL Reagle, the genius crossword constructor for Dennis's "Philadelphia Inquirer".

96D: Actor Mastroianni: MARCELLO. Another google. Found his mug to be very familiar, then I remember I saw his movie "A Very Private Affair" with Brigitte Bardot.

98D: Brit. quartermaster: RSO (Regimental Supply Officer).

100D: Hunting trophy: BIG GAME. New phrase to me. I thought there is a special trophy for hunters.

102D: Surpasser: OUTDOER. Made-up "er" word.

109D: Rum cocktail: MAI TAI. Nice to see its full name. Wikipedia says MAI TAI means "good" in Tahitian. What is that flower besides the mint leaves?

110D: Poet Metastasio: PIETRO. No idea. He was "an Italian poet and librettist, considered the most important writer of opera seria libretti", whatever that is. And he is known as an "emotional, lyrical, and romantic poet". His hands look like a lady's . Wonder how long his thumbs are.

111D: "The Third Man" instrument: ZITHER. Got the Z from the intersecting PLAZA. So the only viable answer is ZITHER.

113D: Having auricles: EARED. AURI/OTO is prefix for ear.

121D: "Little Latin __ Lu": LUPE. Have never heard of this song before.

126D: Bks balancer: CPA. This "er" word really annoys me. "Balancing pro" is better.

127D: Mil. training course: OCS. Officer Candidate School. New to me. Why "course" then?

C.C.

Mar 1, 2009

Sunday March 1, 2009 Willy A Wiseman

Theme: Verbatim

23A: Bankruptcy reorganization: CHAPTER ELEVEN

39A: Felon's full term: LIFE SENTENCE

61A: Annual muscleman contest: MR. UNIVERSE

85A: Repeat, but not verbatim: PARAPHRASE

104A: Japanese compact model: NISSAN STANZA

125A: Product for contemporary penners: MICROSOFT WORD

17D: Tim Allen film: THE SANTA CLAUSE

50D: NYC talk show host: DAVID LETTERMAN

I am confused by the theme title. All the above theme answers feel like part of a virtual epic poem. I don't know how they are connected to "Verbatim". Maybe I don't fully understand the meaning of "Verbatim".

Not a very tough puzzle. Some of the obscure answers are gettable from crossing fills. Still, I had to rely on Google for some thorny sticklers. But it's just such a bothering solving experience. I was/am clueless about the theme.

Some quibbles:

13A: Device for tossing empties: EJECTOR. It intersects OUSTED (18D), which is clued as "Ejected". Why not "Forced out"? Rod Blagojevich style!

41D: Dead Sea kingdom: EDOM. "Ancient" is needed for the clue.

79D: Crosses: SPANS. Intersects EONS (92D: Geologic span).

Is Barry Silk's "The Cruciverbalist" (NY Times syndication) puzzle in your paper today? Feel free to post your comments here. I am interested in what you have to say. Here is Dr. Dad's blog post on Barry Silk's LA Times themeless. Click here for Argyle's post on "Over and Over".

Across:

1A: Gloomy gus: SOURPUSS. Good clue alliteration.

9A: Lacking zip: SLOW. I interpreted "zip" as "oomph" rather than "speed". So the answer did not jump to me immediately.

20A: Irrationality: UNREASON. Did not know this is a word. It can also be a verb.

21A: Small and weak: PUNY. Mine was TINY initially.

28A: Handlelike parts: ANSAE. I can never remember this loopy word ANSA. Besides, I thought the plural form is ANSAS.

31A: Parts of bird wings: ALULAE. No idea. ALULAE is also called "Bastard Wing" or "Spurious Wing". Ala is Latin for "wing". The answer reminds me of "Spaces between leaf veins" AREOLES. Weird looking words.

38A: Radicals of the '60s: SDS (Students for a Democratic Society). Not a familiar group. I was thinking of SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army) which is often clued as "Radical group". But they are of '70s. Wikipedia says Tom Hayden is one of the founders of SDS. I presume all their activities are related to Vietnam War protests.

44A: In force: VALID

45A: Willie Wonka creator: DAHL (Roald). Another PETR style odd looking name. Maybe his mom did not know how to spell Ronald, as Mark said the other day. (Note: DAHL means "valley" in Norwegian language.)

48A: South of France: MIDI. Need Kazie's help here. I wanted SUD (106D: Nord's opposite). To me, MIDI is "noon". The best explanation I could find is that "Midday is synonymous with the direction of south because in France the Sun is in the south at noon".

68A: In an irregularly notched fashion: EROSELY. Like these EROSE lips.

84A: Part of AST: ATL. I blanked on this one. AST is Atlantic Standard Time.

90A: Satellite of Jupiter: ELARA. This small moon escaped me long time ago. It's named after the mother by Zeus of the giant Tityus, who, according to Wikipedia, was phallic being who grew so vast that he split his mother's womb and had to be carried to term by Gaia herself. Tityos attempted to rape Leto at the behest of Hera and was slain by Apollo and Artemis. As a punishment, he was stretched out in Hades and and tortured by two vultures who fed on his liver. This punishment is extremely similar to that of the Titan Promeheus, whose liver was eaten by a huge eagle every day only to have it grow back to be eaten again the next day. Kind of like the dripping venom over Loki's face, right? Are you still reading? OK, what is phallic being?

96A: Racing org.: NHRA

102A: Dugout stack: BATS. Awesome bat. Every baseball bat I've seen seems to be made by Louisville Slugger. Why?

111A: Calais summers: ETES. See this map. Calais is French port nearest England. It's on the Strait of Dover.

112A: Soviet mil. intelligence: GRU. Absolutely no idea. I wrote down KGB. GRU stands for Glavnoe Razvedyvatel'noe Uupravlenie (Chief Intelligence Directorate). Founded in 1920 as a complement to the KGB.

123A: Homo sapiens: HOMINID. New word to me. Are we all HOMINID?

130A: Dimensions: abbr. MEAS. Measurement I presume.

131A: Island in the Baltic Sea: SAAREMAA. Nope! Lots of those words end with MAA? I suppose it means "land" in local language.

132A: Linear distances: LENGTHS

133A: Comic Johnson: ARTE. His name is tailor-made for crossword.

134A: In a stupid manner: OBTUSELY. I felt dense. The answer did not come to me easily.

Down:

1D: For example: SUCH AS

3D: Seventh planet: URANUS. Fun trivia. It has 27 known moons. all of which are named after characters from the works of Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.

7D: Alphabetize: SORT. Mine was LIST.

8D: Macbeth's dagger: SNEE. Thought of dirk. Never know when to put which.

9D: Relieved: SPELLED. Forgot this definition.

10D: Jack Lemmon film: LUV. I guessed. Is it romantic?

12D: Keenan or Ed: WYNN. Ed WYNN is a comedian. Keenan the actor is his son. They were strangers to me.

13D: Of Icelandic tales: EDDAIC. Only know EDDA.

14D: "The Joker is Wild" subject: JOE E LEWIS. I googled this one. Played by Frank Sinatra. I like this Joe Lewis quote: "I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in 14 days I lost two weeks."

33D: Brennan and Heckart: EILEENS. I guessed. Don't know who they are.

42D: French student: ELEVE. Have not seen ECOLE in our puzzle for a long time.

47D: Fish for fertilizer: ALEWIFE. No idea. Why "fertilizer"? Are they not edible? Strange name. I can't find a fish that's named ALE HUSBAND.

55D: Indo-European: ARYAN. Why do I associate this word with Hitler?

57D: Distance measure: ROD. Unknown to me. "Distance" of what? And how long?

58D: Goddess of dawn: EOS. Aurora for the Romans. That's a perfect body. I want to have it.

63D: Slugger Garciaparra: NOMAR. He is married to Mia Hamm.

64D: Luigi's island: ISOLA. Is Luigi a common Italian name? Somehow I thought of the "Dracula" actor Bela Lugosi and started to imagine an island in Transylvania. My mind is not well constructed.

67D: Missionary Junipero: SERRA. The answer revealed itself. Have never heard of this guy.

75D: "Magnificent" Medici: LORENZO. Would not have got his name without the crossing fills. According to Wikipedia, this dude was the de factor ruler of the Florence Republic during the Italian Renaissance.

97D: More accessible: HANDIER

102D: Town near Jerusalem: BETHEL. A bit north of Jerusalem. Hebrew for "house of god". I only know Bethlehem.

105D: Sultan's decrees: IRADES. Arab for "Will/wish". I was only aware of FATWA, which is often issued by those terrorists.

107D: Over distance: pref.: TELO. As in Telodynamic, "pertaining to the transmission of mechanical power over considerable distances, as by means of endless cables on pulleys". I don't understand what I just wrote.

108D: DNA code: GENOME. Forgot. It's a combination of Gene & (chromos)om.

109D: Of religious rites: SACRAL. Another new word.

115D: "Love Boat" co-star: TEWES (Lauren). Well, the only "Love Boat" I was aware of is our Vikings' Love Boat Sex Scandale. But Daunte Culpepper won't fit. Lauren TEWES looks pretty, very fine facial LINEAMENTS.

121D: Utah city: MOAB. Was this city a gimme to you? I was stumped. The 4-letter answer for "Utah city" is always OREM.

C.C.

Feb 24, 2009

Tuesday February 24, 2009 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: Double O

17A: Kenny Loggins hit: FOOT LOOSE

22A: Handyman's space: TOOL ROOM

33A: Alternative to a T-top: MOON ROOF

40A: Chef's reading: COOKBOOK

49A: Make light of: POOH-POOH

59A: Handsomeness: GOOD LOOK

11D: Cereal brand: FROOT LOOPS

27D: Expectorant source: BLOODROOTS

I have never heard of BLOODROOTS before. They look so clean and innocent. I think I am more of a "Double O" CHOO-CHOO solver rather than a BLOODROOTS one. The clue "Expectorant" is too sophisticated for me to understand.

Too bad GOODEN (45D: Former Mets pitcher), the rotational partner for BOOBOO (5D: Child's injury), is not called GOO GOO, otherwise, We would have one more pair of theme answers.

Dwight GOODEN ruined his career with drug abuse. His rookie season is 1985, the same as Kirby Puckett's and Roger Clemens'. Now Kirby is dead, Clemens is implicated in steroid scandal.

Structurally this is an outstanding puzzle, with total 38 Os in the grid, easily smashed NY Time's 34 Os record created on Dec 16, 1993.

Also, there are 68 theme squares, that's about 35% of the total fills (Total: 191. And 34 blocks). I think that's the most I've encountered in a TMS puzzle.

But I was not excited about this puzzle at all. Too many Os confused me. I like daily puzzles with no more than 5 theme entries.

Across:

5A: A/C figures: BTUS (British Thermal Units). Memorized from doing the Xword. I don't really know what the heck BTU measures.

9A: To the most extreme degree: BY FAR. Really? I've never used "BY FAR" this way. Maybe I confuse BY FAR with SO FAR.

15A: Birthplace of Camembert: ORNE. No idea. ORNE is a department in the northwest of France, named named after the ORNE River. Every time I see Camembert, Dali's "Melting Clock"("The Persistence of Memory") pops into my head. He was inspired by the leftover Camembert cheese dissolving on a hot summer's day.

19A: Feel rapture: SWOON. Its rotational symmetrical partner is BROOD (58A: Hatch eggs). I would prefer BROOD clued as "Feel moody" to contrast "Feel rapture".

20A: Deprive of strength: ENFEEBLE. Thought of ENERVATE, which has 8 letters also.

21A: Fit in: BELONG. Embien, why "You BELONG with me" instead of "You BELONG to me"?

25A: Queen of the fairies: MAB. Coined by Shakespeare. MAB is supposedly "a tiny fairy who comes to people when they sleep. Then she haunts their dreams by making the person dream of what they want and cannot have." Sounds very cruel, doesn't it? Reminds me of Odin's wife Frigg. She has the prophecy power yet she never reveals to others what she knows.

37A: Le Mans lasses: abbr.: MLLES. Got the answer. Did not know where Le Mans is. Quite close to Paris. Host to the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans car race, whatever it is. Know nothing about Grand Prix or Formula One racing. Doubt I will ever be interested. What a mess! You, sir, should have resigned a year ago.

42A: Newton's fruit?: APPLE. Good clue. Could be FIG too.

47A: Shortened bk: ABR (Abridged)

52A: Freetown moola: LEONES. See these banknotes. Had no idea that Freetown is the capital of Sierra Leone. Now, there is word describing a Middle East sheik or some big potatoe. It spells similiar to moola. What is that word? This is really bothering me. It's not moula.

54A: Formal written defense: APOLOGIA. New word to me. Any famous one in history?

60A: MetLife rival: AETNA. Named after the Sicilian vocano I suppose.

63A: Stuffy-sounding: NASAL

Down:

2D: Carolina university: ELON. See this Phoenix Rising statue at ELON University. Their sports teams are called the Phoenix. Learned from doing Xword.

4D: Church coral work: MOTET. I forgot this word. It's "a composition based on a sacred text and usually sung without accompaniment". Rooted in French word "mot".

6D: Ogre associates: TROLLS. I once had a beautifully ugly Norwegian TROLL similar to this one. The real deal.

7D: Family of Indy winners: UNSER

9D: First, second or third infielder: BASEMAN. My favorite BASEMAN.

10D: Mournful wail: YOWL. In Chinese countryside, those villagers really YOWL at the funerals, as if the loudness of their YOWL is the measurement of their love for the deceased.

12D: Egyptian symbols: ATONS. Or ATENS. I am used to the "Egyptian sun god" clue. I have a question JD: If the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs contained only consonants and involved no vowels, why did the moderan interpreation become ATON/ATEN instead of ATIN/ATUN?

18D: Spinks and Ames: LEONS. Bill mentioned the boxer LEON Spinks last time, but I forgot. I also did not know the actor LEON Ames.

21D: Julius or Guy of golf: BOROS. Julius is in Golf HOF. Nothing extraordinary about his son Guy. I've never heard of their names before. Too obscure.

25D: 1700 in letters: MDCC

26D: Saab model: AERO. More often see AERO clued as "Prefix for dynamics".

41D: Two-footed: BIPEDAL. Only know BIPED.

44D: Place side by side: APPOSE. How is it different from juxtapose?

47D: Composer Berg: ALBAN. Why do keep I forgetting this Austrian composer?

48D: Suburb of Cleveland: BEREA. Bloody blue murder! No idea. What's so special about this suburb?

50D: Hawaiian word for foreign: HAOLE. Just learned this word a few days ago. It actually only refers to white people.

53D: Nine: pref.: NONA. As in nonagon. New to me. I only know NONET, the composition for group of nine. Our editor clued ENNEA as "Nine: pref: " before.

55D: Wound from a bullfight: GORE. Come on, this is really "The Assault on Reason", Mr. Editor. Why "Wound" when you have a Nobel Peace/Oscar winner as clue?

C.C.

Jan 23, 2009

Friday January 23, 2009 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: Heady Stuff

20A: Calming look?: TRANQUIL EYES (Tranquilize)

39A: Organs purchased on the sly?: BLACKMARKET EARS (Blackmarketeers)

55A: Kenny Loggins' rhinoplasty?: SOMEBODY NOSE (Somebody Knows)

"Blackmarketeer" is a new verb to me. I also have never heard of the song "Somebody Knows", so the PUN (63D: Play on words") for SOMEBODY NOSE did not come to me readily.

I was going to complain that EYES and EARS are plural while NOSE is singular, then it dawned on me that I only have one NOSE on my face.

Very bad clue for LUG (61D: Earlike part), as EARS are part of the theme entries. A simple "Pull/Drag" would be just fine. Is the brown colored section LUG? I have never heard of it before.

Across:

15A: Samoan port: APIA

19A: Toss about, as ideas: BANDY. Learned this word a couple of months ago.

23A: Taiwan currency: YUAN. I thought it's called 台幣 (Taiwan dollar) there. YUAN is the currency in Mainland China. Literally, "round".

24A: Florida raptor: OSPREY. Ah, the fish hawk.

28A: Boxer's stats: KOS (Knockouts)

38A: Small barracuda: SPET. New fish to me. I did not know the meaning of "barracuda" either. Looks menacing.

40A: Slick: OILY. I though of WILY first.

44A: Chemical suffix: INE. Could be ANE and ENE too. Williams likes to clue INE as "Serpent ending".

45A: Beethoven dedicatee: ELISE. "Fur ELISE".

46A: PAT value: ONE. No idea. Why? What is PAT?

47A: Perk up: ANIMATE. Intransitive?

50A: Silver or Leibman: RON. Learned RON Silver's name from doing Xword. Have never heard of RON Leibman. He looks familiar. I must have seen him somewhere before.

51A: Noble Italian family: MEDICI. Absolutely no idea. I only know ESTE (of Ferrara). Wikipedia says the MEDICI family were "a powerful and influential Florentine family from the 13th to 17th century. The family produced three popes (Leo X, Clement VII and Leo XI)."

53A: Chinese secret society: TONG. Not true. "Chinatown's secret society", yes.

64A: Actress Washbourne: MONA. Alien to me. The only MONA I know is her (or she?). Wikipedia says MONA Washbourne played Higgins' housekeeper Mrs. Pearce in "My Fair Lady" (1964). Oh, I forgot. I also know MONA Charen, the Neocon columnist.

67A: Any part of EAP: INIT. It took me a while to realize EAP is Edgar Allen Poe.

69A: Tierney and Tunney: GENES. Is GENE Tunney very famous? I've never heard of him.

Down:

2D: Professional golfers' circuit: TOUR. Meet Ryo Ishikawa, the sensational Japanese golfer, the youngest ever (born in 1991) to reach the top 100 of the Official World Golf Rankings. He was invited to play at 2009 Masters.

4D: Wet out: RAINY. "Wet out"? Isn't it a verbal phrase? "Wet" is enough for me.

5D: New Guinea language: PAPUAN

6D: Man-Lion figure: SPHINX. How an Egyptian figure became part of Greek mythology is beyond me.

7D: Continental crust: SIAL. Obtained the answer from across fills. Do not know what SIAL is.

8D: Grain-field weed: TARE. The Biblical weed? I am more familiar with the "Truck weight allowance" clue.

9D: Convent head: ABBESS. I only know ABBOT, the "Monastery head".

22D: "__ Got Mail": YOU'VE. Very romantic. Meg Ryan's "Courage Under Fire" is very confusing to me though. I still don't know who is telling the truth and who is lying.

27D: China's Sun__: YAT-SEN. "Father of Modern China". He was Chiang Kai Shek brother-in-law. His name is spelled as Sun Zhong-Shan in Mandarin Chinese.

32D: Legal phrase: IN REM. Latin for "In a thing". Here is the explanation. Unknown to me. But isn't "thing" RES in Latin?

33D: __ Ridge Boys: OAK. No idea. Easy guess though. Here is a clip.

38D: Poivre companion: SEL. French for "salt". Poivre is "pepper".

40D: Small portion: MINIM. Another new word to me. Dictionary says MINIM is roughly one drop of liquid. "Small portion" indeed then.

41D: Colonial blackbird: ANI. Here is the picture again. Why "Colonial"?

48D: Not accented: ATONIC. Was this a gimme to you? This is my first meeting with ATONIC.

52D: Val d'___, Fr.: ISERE. The ski resort in France. Our editor clued ISERE as "Grenoble's river" last time.

58D: Hautboy: OBOE. "Hautboy"/hautbois is French for OBOE.

59D: Very dry: SERE. Probably the same word origin as the verb SEAR.

C.C.

Jan 21, 2009

Wednesday January 21, 2009 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: NN-ending Famous Names

17A: "Songcatcher" co-star: AIDAN QUINN

36A: Former Georgia Senator: SAM NUNN

56A: "Little Big Man" director: ARTHUR PENN

11D: "Death in Venice" author: THOMAS MANN

27D: Star of "Captain Blood": ERROL FLYNN

*ANN, *ENN, *INN, *UNN, *YNN, the only one missing is *ONN. I bet Wiseman searched hard for an *ONN ending famous name but came up with nothing. He did compensate this with BONN (6A: Beethoven's birthplace).

I've never heard of "Songcatcher", "Litttle Big Man" or "Captain Blood", but the theme answers were not difficult to obtain, given the easy crossings and self-evident theme.

I dislike the clue for SOWED (60A): Scattered (seeds) since SEED POD is the answer for 42D: Vanilla bean. Also, why "Vanilla bean" for SEED POD? I don't get it.

Across:

15A: Half of CXIV: LVII. Roman 57. I am so happy that I am not a Roman. I don't think I can calculate without first converting those Roman numerals into Arabic numbers first.

16A: Auto-racing org.: NHRA (National Hot Rod Association)

21A: Kern and Robbins: JEROMES. JEROME Kern composed "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes". JEROME Robbins won an Oscar for directing "West Side Story". I knew neither of them.

24A: Argentine port: PARANA. See this map. I've never heard of PARANA River/port. My wrong guess was MARANA.

33A: Municipal grp.: DPW (Department of Public Works)

38A: Islands of Indonesia: ARU. Here is ARU Islands again (lower right corner).

39A: NHL coach Bowman: SCOTTY. Wow, 11 Stanley Cups, very impressive. Too bad, his name means nothing to me.

45A: Some changes: CENTS

49A: Peace pipe: CALUMET. No idea. Dictionary says CALUMET is "a long-stemmed sacred or ceremonial tobacco pipe used by certain Native American peoples." Native Indians seem to love feathers for decorations.

51A: Bay of Alaska: PRUDHOE. Have never heard of PRUDHOE Bay. Easy inference though.

Down:

8D: Martial arts masters: NINJAS. It's rooted in Chinese 忍者. Nin is "endure". Ja is "person". I know the name, did not know that they are "Martial arts masters".

9D: SF gridder: NINER. Wikipedia says San Francisco 49ers have won 5 Super Bowls, and they "share the Super Bowl win record with the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers". For another 10 days?

12D: Art Deco artist: ERTE. "Symphony in Black" is probably ERTE's most famous image.

24D: Platte River valley people: PAWNEES. New word to me. Does PAWNEE have any special meaning in their own language? Can't be PAWN related.

25D: Canton folk: SWISS. Good clue. I was thinking of those folks I left behind in Canton (Guangzhou), China. Did anyone think of those football Hall-of-Famers in Canton, OH?

26D: Stupor: pref.: NARCO

37D: Ref's cohort: UMP. Look at this guy's impressive bobblehead collection. I wonder if he has a 1960' UMP nodder.

40D: Screes: TALUSES. I did not know the meaning of "Scree". Checked the dictionary and it explains "scree" as TALUS, broken rock debris at the base of a cliff.

44D: Gas in Glasgow: PETROL. Good alliteration.

52D: Shaped with an ax: HEWN

50D: First-class: A ONE. And ONE A (53D: SSS class)

C.C.

Dec 25, 2008

Thursday December 25, 2008 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: A Red and Green Christmas

18A: Eco-vineyards' product?: GREEN WINES (Red Wines. Eco=Green)

20A: Overnight flight to Ireland?: GREEN-EYE (Red-Eye. The Emerald Isle = Green)

33A: Sitcom set in Georgia?: RED ACRES ("Green Acres". Georgia soil = Red)

43A: Rookie emmet?: GREEN ANT (Red Ant. Rookie = Green)

57A: Embarrassed bird?: RED HERON (Green Heron. Embarrased = Red)

61A: Song about a jacket?: RED SLEEVES ("Greensleeves". How is "jacket" connected to Red? Red Jacket? If so, shouldn't jacket be capitalized?)

3D: Big star in canned veggies?: RED GIANT (Green Giant. Big star = Red)

40D: Five-dollar pickerel?: GREENFIN (Redfin. Fin is slang for five-dollar bill. Color of money = Green)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wow, I've never seen a weekday puzzle with eight theme answers, which are more commonly found in a Sunday 21*21 grid.

I muddled through this puzzle like a mad mouse. I got the theme quickly, but I was utterly confused by some of the theme clues, esp 61A & 40D. Have never heard of the song or the redfin fish. Did not know the meaning of "pickerel" either.

Great puzzle from our editor Wayne Williams (Willy A. Wiseman is an anagram of his real name). I liked the balance of four red colors and 4 green colors. Wish EVE (34D: Night before" were clued as "Night before Christmas, e.g.".

Across:

5A: Wrinkly fruits: UGLIS. Have never seen an UGLI in person.

14A: Royal role for Liz: CLEO. The "Advertising award" is CLIO.

15A: Pearl Harbor's island: OAHU. And UKES (56A: Hawaiian strings).

16A: Mystery story?: ALIBI. Nice clue.

23A: Abnormal wobbling: SHIMMY. Is this SHIMMY "abnormal"?

22A: Resembling: QUASI

32A: Game pieces: MEN. This clue has worn out its welcome.

36A: Comparative phrase: IS TO. I wrote down THAN first.

38A: Larger and deeper fiddle: VIOLA. "Larger and deeper"? Compared to what? Violin?

39A: Some NCOs: SGTS

47A: Cubic meter: STERE

55A: Serving dish: TUREEN. This one looks very fancy.

69A: Burst of energy: SPASM

Down:

2D: "Telephone Line" grp.: ELO. Here is the clip, not a familiar song to me. But when in doubt, fill in ELO.

4D: Battle cry: TO ARMS. Why? I don't get it. Do soldiers really cry "TO ARMS" on battlefield?

7D: Chop __ : SUEY. American Chinese food. I had never heard of it until I arrived in the US.

9D: Big letters in Detroit: UAW. Why are they so adamanet about not cutting the salaries? Sacrifice should be shared.

10D: Superficial proficiency: GLIBNESS

12D: Spain's place: IBERIA. "Portugal's place" too.

23D: Area meas.: SQ MI. Lots of trouble in this area for me.

29D: Rhone tributary: SAONE. No idea. See this map. I am not sure if it's accurate. SAONE is supposed to join Rhone at Lyon.

37D: Female monsters: OGRESSES. Only knew OGRE.

44D: Notes of scales: RES. Sometimes RES is clued as "Legal thing".

48D: Drinks noisily: SLURPS. We Chinese/Japanese SLURP when we eat noodles too.

49D: Resume: TAKE UP. Really? They are not synonymous to me.

49D: Greek stone seat for several: EXEDRA. New word to me. Also spelled as EXHEDRA. Alright, EX is a prefix for "out of", and HEDRA is Greek for "seat".

52D: Golf events: PRO-AMS. Have not seen Mark McGwire for a long time. He used to be very active in those PRO-AMS.

54D: Uno e due: TRE. Italian for three. I think the best clue I've seen for TRE is "It's past due".

59D: Half of MXIV: DVII. Roman 507.

62D: Moon buggy: LEM

C.C.

Nov 4, 2008

Tuesday November 4, 2008 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: Winner or Loser?

4A: Winner or loser?: BARACK OBAMA

58A: Winner of loser?: JOSEPH BIDEN

1D: Winner or loser?: JOHN MCCAIN

31D: Winner or loser?: SARAH PALIN

I wish 58A were JOE BIDEN. But then the symmetry would have been lost.

Great puzzle, perfectly matched theme pairs in the grid. Brilliant! Even the none-theme presidential fills have a 180-degree symmetry and evenly divided between GOP and Dem:

3D: W: GEORGE BUSH. His anagram is "He bugs Gore".

29D: "Commander in Chief" star: GEENA DAVIS. Her Veep is a Democrat.

25D: Dick Cheney's predecessor: AL GORE

28D: Presidential also-ran of the past: LANDON. He lost to FDR in 1936.

Only one minor flaw, the clue for EKING (44A: Barely making do) should be "Barely making do, with "out").

I want to share with you this hilarious Yma Dream. Some of those guests are our crossword stalwarts: Yma Sumac, Ava Gardner, Abba Eban, Oona O'Neill, Eva Gabor, Uta Hagen, Ida Lupino, Matah Hari. The others are: Ugo Betti, Ona Munson, Aga Khan, Ira Wolfert, Ilya Ehrenburg, Anna Magnani, Pia Lindstrom & Mieczyslaw Horszowski. I love those photos in the clip.

All right, if you haven't, get out and vote.

Across:

16A: Exploit too much: OVERDEVELOP. Isn't this a photography term?

19A: Saul's uncle: NER. I memorized this name from doing Xword. OK, so Saul's father is Kish. And Kish and NER (father of Abner) are sons of Abiel. So complicated.

21A: Dodger Pee Wee: REESE. Ha, I did not know that he is a champion marbles player and pee wee is a small clay marble. I always thought he was very short. He is in the HOF of course. Here is a picture of REESE with Jackie Robinson.

24A: Speaks roughly: RASPS. Or "Sings roughly"? Do you like "Good Morning, Vietnam"?

28A: George Sand novel: LELIA. I've never read LELIA. I truly believe Chopin would have lived longer had he not left George Sand. "There is only one happiness in this life: to love and to be loved".

33A: Closet item: HANGER

34A: Former queen of Spain: ENA. She is the Queen of Spain from 1906 -1931.

39A: A Gandhi: INDIRA. Interesting, her son Rajiv's name is "lotus flower" in Hindu language. Why would she name her son a flower?

43A: Yellowish pink: PEACH. It's symbol of longevity in China.

50A: Altar of stars: ARA. It's always the palindromic ARA if it's a 3-letter blank.

56A: Extinct: DEAD AS A DODO. New expression to me, though I knew DODO is extinct.

Down:

2D: Too much to take: UNBEARABLE. Our Xword actress Lena Olin is in "The UNBEARABLE Lightness of Being". She also appears in "Chocolat", together with Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp.

4D: Hobgobins: BOGIES. What does "Boogie Street" refer in Leonard Cohen's song?

7D: Island group in the Moluccas: ARU. See this map. It's Indonesia's island. I've never heard of ARU or Moluccas before.

8D: Mil. watchdog grp.: CDI (Center for Defense Information). Absolutely no idea. Got it from the across clues. It's established in 1972 according to Wikipedia.

26D: Tuscany commune: SIENA. Our editor has been very fond of "commune" lately. But it's a city, isn't it?

30D: Factual fault: INACCURACY

37D: Phom Penh cash: RIEL. I guessed. Here is their bank note.

39D: Mushroom with black gills: INKY CAP. Unknown to me. See this picture. Wikipedia says INKY CAP is "poisonous when consumed with alcohol, hence another common name Tippler's Bane." Have you ever had it? Does it blacken your tongue?

45D: Chrissie of the Pretenders: HYNDE. Another unknown. Here is their "Stop Your Sobbing".

46D: Pilgrimage to Mecca: HADJ. Also spelled as HAJJ. It's the 5th pillar of Islam.

C.C.

Sep 27, 2008

Saturday September 27, 2008 Willy A. Wiseman

Theme: None

Total blocks: 32

Definitely not an easy puzzle for me. Somehow I just could not focus on solving it. My mind was somewhere else.

Quite a few unfamiliar clues/anwers. Great to see ARI clued as "Jackie's second husband" (48A) rather than the factually wrong "Jackie's ex". I still do not understand the clue for NOMINATIONS (20A: Proposed candidates). Shouldn't the answer be NOMINEES?

I wonder if our editor is also clueless about Governor Sarah PALIN (66A: Michael of Monty Python). What a missed opportunity! With the current financial crisis, you would think he would choose "Fannie & Ginnie" rather than "West and Jemison" (61A).

I am so tired seeing ESA clued as "NASA's partner in space" (59D). Why not "Spanish pronoun" for a change?

I've never heard of BRIN (32D: Sci-fi writer David). Is he more famous than Sergey BRIN, the founder of Google?

Across:

1A: Jessica Parker or Vaughan: SARAH. Do you think SARAH Jessica Parker is UNE (50A: Nice one?) jolie-laide?

15A: ____ Spumante: ASTI. The sparkling white wine.

17A: Noted violin maker: AMATI. He is the teacher of STRAD. Joshua Bell used a $3.5 million STRAD in this famous Metro morning rush hour incognito performance. Over 1,000 people hurried by him, and he collected a total of $32.

18A: Furry-muzzled dog: SCHNAUZER. Here is a snow white miniture SCHNAUZER. Not a familiar breed to me. I am not a dog (or cat) person.

23A: Vin of movies: DIESEL. I wonder why he picked up Vin Diesel as his name.

27A: Danced to victory: CAKEWALKED. I did not know that CAKEWALK can be a verb too.

31A: Big band leader: LES BROWN. Unknown to me. Wikipedia says he wrote "Sentimental Journey", which brought Doris Day to fame.

35A: Bring back to life: REANIMATE. I didn't like this answer.

38A: Melodies: MUSIC. I penned in SONGS first. I rather like Huge Grant and Drew Barrymore's "MUSIC and Lyrics".

41A: Be tipped off: FOREKNOW. What a strange word!

45A: Style of Gaudi: ART NOUVEAU. I've never heard of Gaudi before. He designed Casa Mila. Some of René Lalique's ART NOUVEAU piece can fetch thousands of dollars.

49A: Uris novel, with "The": HAJ

58A: Efficiency expert: TIMESAVER

62A: Vaccines: SERA

64A: Latin handle: ANSA. I am really tired of this clue too.

Down:

1D: Cause of public outrage: SCANDAL

2D: Ornate wardrobe: ARMOIRE

5D: "Die Lorelei" poet: HEINE (Heinrich). Unknown to me also. Kazie probably knows this poet. She mentioned about Lorelei and its seamen-luring sirens in a comment some time ago.

7D: Spore sacs: ASCI. Singular is ascus. Big stumper for me.

11D: Lively Polish dance: MAZURKA. Another unknown to me. See this clip.

19D: Actor Armand: ASSANTE. I googled his name. His mug looks very familiar. I must have seen him in some movies.

28D: Arista: AWN. I forgot the meaning of "Arista".

30D: Symbol of Wales: LEEK. Good to know. This LEEK potato soup looks so white. Too much potato, Xchefwalt?

33D: Makes up for: RECOUPS

36D: Extinct bird: MOA. DODO if it's a 4-letter blank.

37D: Orangjestad's island: ARUBA

38A: Gandhi's title: MAHATMA. Sage. Ha, I always thought MAHATAMA was Gandhi's given name.

39D: Person of a third sex: URANIAN. What???

40D: "____ Infirmary Blues": ST. JAMES. Is this the song? I've never heard of it before.

44D: Groom or Churchill: WINSTON. Had no idea who WINSTON Groom is. He wrote "Forrest Gump".

47D: Old World monkey: VERVET. Another unknown. What happened to his tail?

C.C.