Oct 24, 2009

Saturday October 24, 2009 Thomas Heilman

Theme: None

Total words: 70

Total blocks: 30

Today's grid reminds me of a Saturday themeless by Bruce Venzke and Stella Daily, with grid-spanning triple stacks at the top and bottom. Noticed it has CAUTIONARY TALES also?

Here are six 15-letter fill:

1A. Obsolete item: A THING OF THE PAST. Antiquity is too short. Multi-words continue to pose problems for me.

16A. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and others: CAUTIONARY TALES. Not familiar with Goethe's poem "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" at all.

17A. Pet that's larger than a toy: MINIATURE POODLE

60A. Tax service, familiarly: INTERNAL REVENUE

65A. It may be awakened after a period of inattention: RENEWED INTEREST. Very nice clue/fill.

66A. Retail security staff: STORE DETECTIVES. Another name for security guards?

Definitely a challenging puzzle for me. I think our eased-up phase is officially over.


18. Group originally named the Jolly Corks: ELKS. Unknown trivia to me. The name derived from a bar trick introduced by the group's organizer.

19. Zaire's Mobutu Sese __: SEKO. In office 1965-1997. I can never remember this guy's name.

20. No longer serving: Abbr.: RET (Retired)

21. Bk. before Job: ESTH (Esther). After Nehemiah. I peeked at my Bible book list.

24. Themes: TOPICS

27. Try to bean, in baseball: THROW AT. Another baseball reference is RBIS (37A. Diamond stats). Throwing at a player's head is really dangerous.

30. Easing of tension: DETENTE. I used to confuse it with international agreement ENTENTE.

31. Roadside grazer: DOE

32. False show: PRETENSE

36. Verdi aria that translates to "It was you": ERI TU. Nailed it. Eri = Were. Tu = You.

41. Hearty entrée: RIB ROAST. And ROE (44A. Caviar, say). And PAO (12D. Kung __ chicken). Hungry?

45. Quantities possessing only magnitude: SCALARS. Escaped me again. Vectors possess magnitude and direction.

50. Seat of Washington's Pierce County: TACOMA. Not familiar with the county name at all. Bing Crosby was born in Tacoma (grew up in Spokane).

51. 1956 Mideast crisis site: SUEZ. The crisis was resulted from Egypt's nationalization of the Suez Canal.

52. Part of a loop: ARC

57. McAn of shoes: THOM. The brand was named after a Scottish golfer Thomas McCann.


1. Tiptop: ACME

2. Shadow: TAIL. Verb.

3. Hid out, with "down": HUNKERED

4. "Yea, verily": IT IS SO

5. Actress Vardalos: NIA. She wrote and starred in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".

6. Contracted, as an illness: GOT

7. Burden: ONUS

8. Cab hailer: FARE. Oh, I did not know FARE can refer to a person.

9. Serious trip: TREK

10. Some triangle sides: HYPOTENUSES. Stumped. The side of a right triangle opposite the right angle.

11. WWII zone: ETO (European Theater of Operations)

13. Second man on the moon: ALDRIN (Buzz)

14. Choose: SELECT. Penned in OPT FOR.

15. Safari menace: TSETSE. Waiting for JD to tell us whether she saw TSETSE during her safari exploration.

22. Local govt. unit: TWP (Township). I failed again.

23. Half-baked: HAREBRAINED. Is this rooted in "The Tortoise and The Hare" fable?

25. They may end with 27-Down: OTS. And TDS (27D. Passes may result in them: Abbr.)

26. Equal: PEER. Noun.

29. Alaska and La., once: TERRS

30. Remove pitch stains from: DETAR. Always want UNTAR.

33. Spanish uncle: TIO. Oncle in French.

35. Alice's chronicler: ARLO. D'oh, "Alice's Restaurant". I was thinking of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland".

38. Soviet leader who signed SALT I and II: BREZHNEV (Leonid). In office 1964 to 1982. I only know the Chinese translation of his name.

39. Biennial games org.: IOC (International Olympic Committee). Winter and Summer Olympics are two years apart from each other.

40. Tennis unit: SET

42. Descartes's conclusion: I AM. "I think, therefore I am" (Cogito, ergo sum).

43. Nashville sch.: TSU (Tennessee State University). No idea. Their nickname is the Tigers.

45. Connecting flights: STAIRS. Of course, my mind flew to the airport. Very clever clue.

46. Customs exemption for an auto: CARNET (kahr-NEY). It's a "customs document a customs document allowing an automobile to be driven at no cost across international borders". New word to me.

47. Customer ID: ACCT NO (Account Number)

49. Czar known as "the Great": PETER I. He reigned from 1682 to1725.

55. Narrow opening: SLIT. Too large (and high) a slit?

56. Normandy river: ORNE (awrn). The D-Day river. And OUSE (58D. York's river). Prounouced like "ooze", meaning "water". Learned both from doing Xword.

59. "Miracle" 1969 World Series winners: METS. The "Miracle Mets", managed by Gil Hodges.

61. Chariot ending?: EER. Charioteer.

62. "Self-Reliance" essayist's monogram: RWE (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

64. Lab caretaker? VET (Veterinarian). Lab here is short for labrador. The question mark did not prevent me from going in the laboratory direction.

Answer grid.