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Jun 22, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 Gail Grabowski

Theme: Let's Go Shopping - Before you know it, the school supplies sales will start and you might visit these four entries. Unusual two-part unifier.

20A. Information disparity in a social system: KNOWLEDGE GAP.

32A. Ready-made graphics for frames: CLIP ART BORDERS.

40A. Standard cooking supplies: KITCHEN STAPLES.

56A. Skeet challenge: MOVING TARGET.

45A. With 66-Across, each of this puzzle's four longest answers ends in one: RETAIL. and 66A. See 45-Across: STORE.

Argyle here.

The NE may have caused some problems but, all-in-all, a good continuation from Monday.

Across:

1A. Smoocher's smoochers: LIPS. More than alliteration, eh?

5A. Course with fractions: MATH.

9A. Russian country home: DACHA. Also spelled datcha. It is a second home or summer home, not just a home in the country.

14A. Short race distance, for short: ONE K.

15A. Peek or bug ending: -A-BOO.

16A. Moral principle: ETHIC.

17A. Birthday treat: CAKE.

18A. Mannerly man: GENT.

19A. "Here Come the __": 1945 college comedy: CO-EDS. Starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. The main attraction is seeing Lou Costello in drag.

23A. Greets and seats: SEES IN.

24A. Piggy bank opening: SLOT.

25A. Calif.'s second-busiest airport: SFO. San Francisco International Airport.

28A. Office conf.: MTG.. Used in texting?

30A. Clapton's strings: GUITAR. Eric Clapton, is a rock guitarist.

37A. Small songbird: WREN.

38A. Actress Lupino: IDA.

39A. Substitute spread: OLEO.

46A. NBC weekend revue: SNL.

47A. Ltr. afterthoughts: PSS.

48A. Docs prescribe them: MEDS. Docs and MEDS are both shortened versions: doctors, medications.

51A. Coffee orders: DECAF.

58A. Can't stomach: ABHOR.

61A. Wordsmith Webster: NOAH. Weak alliteration.

62A. Field of expertise: AREA.

63A. Mouthed on-field greeting: "HI, MOM".

64A. Gardner of mysteries: ERLE.

65A. Painful skin ridge: WELT.

67A. College leader: DEAN.

68A. Not as much: LESS.

Down:

1D. Security devices: LOCKS.

2D. Absurd: INANE.

3D. Orange __ tea: PEKOE.

4D. Distorts, as data: SKEWS.

5D. Purplish hue: MAGENTA. Interesting etymology: The brilliant crimson aniline dye was discovered in 1860 shortly after the Battle of Magenta, in Italy. The French and Sardinians defeated the Austrians in 1859, which advanced the cause of Italian independence and fired the imagination of European liberals. The dye magenta (commonly called fuchsine) signified the color of the land all covered by blood after the battle.

6D. Still in the sack: ABED.

7D. Salad servers: TONGS.

8D. The Waldorf, e.g.: HOTEL.

9D. Central Illinois city: DECATUR. "The Soybean Capital of the World".

10D. Situated on: ATOP.

11D. Revolutionary Guevara: CHE. We haven't seen Castro's buddy in a while.

12D. Stayed out of sight: HID.

13D. Their capacity is measured in BTUs: ACs.

21D. Flaccid: LIMP.

22D. Like disco dancers: GO-GO.

25D. Inscribed pillar: STELE. Image of a new STELE and not on the grand scale of this one.

26D. Taxi charges: FARES.

27D. Estimate phrase: OR SO.

29D. Broad smile: GRIN.

31D. Pop star: IDOL.

32D. Reacts to a tearjerker: CRIES.

33D. Baltic natives: LETTS. Archaic word for Latvians. Map

34D. Cuzco empire builder: INCA. Cusco, often spelled Cuzco, is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the historic capital of the Inca Empire. From Wikipedia.

35D. NFL six-pointers: TDs. Football TouchDowns.

36D. Dugout equipment: BATS. I got stuck on thinking dugout canoe.

37D. Sitcom radio station: "WKRP". Echo from Monday: the song that was playing "on air" when thee station made the switch from adult contemporary to Rock was "Having My Baby" (written by Paul Anka).

41D. Boyfriend-to-girlfriend "You have to choose!": "HIM OR ME!".

42D. Mountain ht.: ELEV..

43D. "Here's what happened next ...": "AND THEN...".

44D. Courtroom response: PLEA.

49D. Ate a formal meal: DINED.

50D. Sleeper's sound: SNORE.

52D. Move on all fours: CRAWL.

53D. See eye to eye: AGREE.

54D. Has a hunch: FEELS.

55D. ERA and RBI: STATS. Baseball.

56D. Drop anchor: MOOR.

57D. Red-carpet event: GALA.

58D. Satisfied sounds: AHs.

59D. Small piece: BIT.

60D. Patient care gp.: HMO.

Answer grid.

Congratulations to JD and Bob those third grandson Cameron Joseph was born yesterday! Congratulations to Shelby and Joe (front two) as well!

Argyle

Jun 21, 2010

Monday June 21, 2010 Gareth Bain

Theme: Should Have Used Cold Water - Three common phrases, the first word of which describes what can happen to clothes, and a unifier of when this happens.

17A. *Losing ground quickly: FADING FAST.

25A. *Seeking a municipal office: RUNNING FOR MAYOR.

46A. *Extreme introvert: SHRINKING VIOLET.

59A. When the accidents at the starts of the answers to starred clues are apt to occur: LAUNDRY DAY.

Argyle here with a Gareth Bain Monday.

Not bad. Two grid spanning entries, unusual for a Monday but easily attainable. A nice mix of old and new.

Across:

1A. Lost in a good book, say: RAPT.

5A. __ prof.: ASST..

9A. Attacker of seals: ORCA. Also, polar bear, up north.

13A. Length times width: AREA.

14A. In the freezer: ON ICE.

15A. Blockhead: FOOL.

16A. Jagger of the Stones: MICK.

19A. Farmer in a '40s-'50s film series: PA KETTLE. Rural comedy featuring 29D. Bumpkin: YOKEL.

21A. Golfer Els: ERNIE. He finished alone in third in the Open.

22A. Nabisco cookie: OREO.

23A. None: ZERO.

32A. Disney toon who traded her voice for legs: ARIEL. From Disney's "The Little Mermaid".

33A. Astronomical time span: EON.

34A. TV's kid explorer: DORA. Very big in product endorsements; "Dora the Explorer" everything!

35A. "The __ is up!": JIG.

36A. Southern Calif. daily: LA TIMES. Right there in the center (gotta help catch the editor's attention).

40A. The Sunflower St.: KAN..

41A. Poker "bullets": ACES.

43A. Hearty holiday quaff: NOG.

44A. Letter before iota: THETA. Greek to me.

50A. Color akin to aqua: TEAL.

51A. "Auld __ Syne": LANG.

52A. Knock out: FLOOR.

55A. Notified: SENT WORD.

62A. Atlas section: ASIA.

63A. __-skid brakes: ANTI.

64A. Whirlpool brand: AMANA.

65A. Dalmatian, e.g.: SLAV. Dalmatia, a region mainly in the southern part of modern Croatia. Map

66A. Gone by: PAST.

67A. Shaggy Tibetan beasts: YAKS. LOL Thought of Yeti first.

68A. Inedible doughnut part?: HOLE. So why can you buy them?

Down:

1D. Knievel prop: RAMP. For jumping his motorcycle.

2D. Diva's solo: ARIA.

3D. Chaste kiss: PECK.

4D. Offer from a flier distributor: "TAKE ONE".

5D. Like old television signals: ANALOG.

6D. Fries, e.g.: SIDE.

7D. __-fi: SCI.

8D. Hamilton is on it: TEN. Scott Hamilton is ON ICE.

9D. Designed for rough terrain: OFF ROAD.

10D. Palomino's stablemate, perhaps: ROAN. Two horses named for their coloring.

11D. Mozart's "__ fan tutte": COSI. Literally "Thus do all (women")." We had it on Sunday, June 6.

12D. Old, to Oskar: ALTE. German

14D. Time and again: OFTEN.

18D. Idea's start: GERM.

20D. Coloratura's vocal effect: TRILL. Wikipedia article. Probably the toughest entry today, for me at least.

23D. Camera function: ZOOM.

24D. Seaside flier: ERNE.

25D. Indian princes: RAJAS.

26D. Robert of "Spenser: For Hire": URICH. TV detective series set in Boston. Robert Urich He died in 2002.

27D. African river or country: NIGER. Map

28D. Pretend: FEIGN.

30D. Spout speeches: ORATE.

31D. Charged: RAN AT.

37D. "(You're) Having My Baby" songwriter: ANKA. Paul Anka, singer/songwriter.

38D. Hard work: TOIL.

39D. Time in the Army, e.g.: STINT.

42D. "Happy Days" catchphrase: "SIT ON IT!". The "Welcome Back, Kotter" catchphrase was...?

45D. Bunk: HOGWASH.

47D. Jock's antithesis: NERD.

48D. Learns bit by bit: GLEANS.

49D. Chekhov title uncle: VANYA. "Uncle Vanya", a play (1897) by Anton Chekhov. " ... just life, played out over four acts..."

52D. Exercise, as wings: FLAP.

53D. Turner of "Ziegfeld Girl": LANA. A poster from the 1941 film.

54D. Exposes: OUTS.

55D. Pierre's home: Abbr.: S. DAK.. Pierre, capital of South Dakota.

56D. Norwegian capital: OSLO.

57D. Iranian capital: RIAL. First, two cities then money; did it fool anybody?

58D. "I'm sorry, __": "2001: A Space Odyssey" line: DAVE. Spoken by HAL 9000 (voiced by Douglas Rain), , the computer.

60D. Flat fish: RAY.

61D. Singer Sumac: YMA.

Answer grid.

Argyle

Jun 20, 2010

Sunday June 20, 2010 Julian Lim

Theme: (Golf) Course Humor - Common phrases containing a golf term is humorously reinterpreted and clued from a golfer's point of view.

23A. Golfer's excuse for a bad chip shot?: IRON DEFICIENCY. Iron is often used for chip shot.

29A. Golfer's shot into a water hazard?: STROKE OF MISFORTUNE. Any hit in golf is counted as a stroke, regardless of the club you use.

49A. Golfer's lament about failing to recognize different ball positions?: I CANNOT TELL A LIE. Said George Washington. Lie is where your ball sits after the hit.

65A. What a golfer who's not playing well doesn't do?: GET IN THE SWING OF THINGS. Swing refers to golfers' body movement when hitting a club. An unfortunate clue/answer duplication with GYRATE (25A. Swing one's hips).

84A. Mind-set for a golfer wary of sand?: BUNKER MENTALITY. Bunker is the sand trap. Our crossword stalwart Ernie Els is pretty good at bunker shots.

97A. Golfer's slicing tee shot?: DRIVE AROUND THE BEND. Drive is the starting tee shot, often hit with a driver.

109A.Golfer's admission after missing fairways? I HAD A ROUGH TIME. Rough is the area bordering the fairway where the grass are higher and thicker. If your ball lands in the rough or bunker, you are having a "bad lie".

And the ultimate green can be found in the clues for NOD (53A. Green light) & RESOD (116A. Fix, as a green).

Fantastic theme! I am amused. So appropriate for the US Open & Father's Day. Great theme title too. Nice play on "Coarse Humor".

The theme answers are all quite long. Guess that's why we only have 136 words instead of our normal 144. I actually don't remember we have a grid-spanner 21 in a Sunday puzzle before.

Very smooth solving. Not many obscure words to stymie me (Hey, stymie, another golf term). No letter J, Q and Z is to be found in the whole grid, another reason for an easier solve I suppose. I was in the fairway most of the time. But still a bogey round. Cheated a few times.

Across:

1. Some bars: BREW PUBS. Was picturing candy bars.

9. Benjamin: C-SPOT. Might be tough for syndicate solvers outside US. Slang for a hundred-dollar-bill.

14. Political fugitive: EMIGRE. They have a special form for citizenship application.

20. Communications collectible: RADIO SET. Alliteration.

21. Overgrown tract: HEATH

22. Intolerant: NARROW. We also have ALLOW (46D. Tolerate).

26. It's multifaceted: GEM

27. Bridge opening, for short: ONE NO. I can never remember this term.

28. Checking line: REIN. It's used for "checking" indeed. Great clue.

38. Naval officer: ADMIRAL

41. Volume-control devices, in recording: FADERS. Fade/Draw is a golf term too.

42. Scads: A LOT

43. Stared salaciously: LEERED. Alliteration.

44. Where to get off: Abbr.: STA (Station)

47. Categories: TYPES

48. Like Key lime pie: TART. I've never had Key Lime pie.

52. Digs up?: AERIE. High "Digs" for the eagles. Awesome clue too.

54. Baseball great Combs: EARLE. I bet it's a gimme for Argyle & Dennis. He Played his entire career with the Yankees. Hall of Famer.

55. Fills with cargo: LADES

57. Dols. and cts.: AMTS

59. Start of a 1961 inaugural quote: ASK NOT. ''Ask not what your country can do for you . . .'' JFK inaugural quote.

60. Religious rift: SCHISM. Alliteration.

71. Greek marketplaces: AGORAE. Plural of agora, the Greek mall.

72. Got watery, in a way: TEARED

73. Thugs' pieces: GATS. Pistols.

74. Friendship bracelet items: BEADS. Obtained via crossing.

78. Drawn fawn: BAMBI. Because it's often drawn by kids?

79. "Kung Fu" actor: AHN (Philip). I've mentioned him a few times. Ahn = Ang (as in Ang Lee).

80. Indian nurses: AMAHS

89. __ of Silence: "Get Smart" security device: CONE. Not in my memory shelf.

90. Long bones: ULNAE. Plural of ulna.

91. Melancholic: SAD

92. Mike user, maybe: ORATOR

93. Minuscule amount: IOTA

94. Brad of "Deuces Wild": RENFRO. Googled the name, then realized Lemonade commented on this guy before. He died on heroin overdose.

96. Noms de guerre: ANONYMS. Pseudonyms.

102.Describe in drawing: LIMN

103.Ties: EVENS

104.Crowd around, as a celebrity: MOB

107.Pope who met with Attila the Hun: ST. LEO I. Not fond of the answer. To me, he's Pope Leo I.

115.1974 Mocedades hit: ERES TU

117.Ford 1925 "Tin Goose" aircraft, e.g.: TRIMOTOR. Uh-uh. Nope. Waiting for Dennis/Dudley for more information.

118.Vegas strategy: SYSTEM. What system?

119.Neural impulse carriers: AXONS. I don't think I have many. Are you an impulsive person?

120.Sitcom sewer worker: ED NORTON. In "The Honeymooners".

Down:

1. Sea cell: BRIG

2. Hard to come by: RARE

3. Kingdom south of Moab: EDOM. In today's Jordan.

4. Prevail: WIN

5. Cast intro?: POD. Intro to the word Podcast. Felt silly not nailing it.

6. "__ the force ...": USE

7. Hoodwink: BEFOOL. Wow, it's a real word.

8. Play terribly: STINK

9. Trouser material: CHINO

10. Yell "Bon voyage!" to: SEE OFF

11. Searing utensil: PAN

12. Non-Rx: OTC

13. Your, of yore: THY

14. Rivet: ENGROSS

15. "Waiting on the World to Change" singer John: MAYER. And TESH (50. New Ager John). two Johns.

16. Chafe: IRRITATE

17. Like salt: GRANULAR. I like mixing raw honey & granular sea salt to IRRITATE my face.

18. Baloney: ROT

19. One in a flock: EWE. Ha ha, not LAIC.

24. Start to cry?: CEE. Starting letter of the word "cry".

29. Soldier's barked denial: SIR! NO SIR! Nice entry.

30. General heading: TREND

31. Maker of the V10K, the world's hardest watch: RADO. The Swiss watch brand.

32. __ Hari: MATA

33. Tennyson work: IDYLL

34. Old photo tint: SEPIA

35. Unfettered: FREED

36. Sushi seaweed: NORI. I put nori in soup/salad too.

37. Luncheon end?: ETTE. End to the word luncheonette.

38. Husband of Fatima: ALI. Don't know Fatima, Muhammad's daughter.

39. Fourth-qtr. month: DEC

40. Predestined, with "be": MEANT TO

44. Gambler's fund: STAKE

45. Ocean fliers: TERNS

51. Beatles' last album: LET IT BE

52. Writer Sholem: ASCH. Yiddish writer. Hahtool provided us some information about him last time.

56. Abbr. pertaining to origin: ESTD (Established)

57. Muslim general: AGA. I am used to the "Turkish title" clue. Somehow I don't consider Turkey to be a Muslim country.

58. Gig fraction: MEG. I am often confused by this computer storage unit. Meg is smaller than gig?

59. To __: exactly: A TEE. I don't mind this TEE and 97A "tee" duplication. Different meaning.

61. Plateau: HIGHLAND

62. Foolishness: INANITY

63. Snorkel, e.g.: Abbr.: SGT. Sergeant Snorkel (Beetle Bailey).

64. Ed.'s workload: MSS (Manuscripts). Editors.

66. Apprehends: NABS

67. Gets close to: NEARS

68. Harmful ray type: GAMMA

69. Spherical: ORBED. Ha ha, now I see the answer as OR BED.

70. Sinn __: FEIN. The Irish Party. Left wing.

75. More likely to get hired: ABLER

76. "I'm stumped!": DUNNO

77. Big mess: SNAFU. Apropos of nothing, is this chart true for you? Too little attention span, too much sex for men. No wonder oil spill is still not curbed. What a SNAFU!

79. Claire's baby, on "Lost": AARON. Dunno. Have never watched "Lost".

80. Battery fluid: ACID

81. Peaty wasteland: MOOR

82. Curaçao's chain: ANTILLES. Chain of islands in West Indies.

83. Most weighty: HEAVIEST

85. "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" composer: KERN (Jerome). Did not know this factoid.

86. Vocal quality: TONE

87. Mix in oaters: TOM. Tom Mix.

88. Hist. class data: YRS

90. Coffinite element: URANIUM. Coffinite is the ore of uranium. New word to me also.

95. Had way too much: OD' ED ON

96. Preposterous: ABSURD

98. Ham it up: EMOTE

99. Super Bowl highlights?: TV ADS

100."Talk to __": 2002 Almodóvar film: HER. Not in my radar. Maybe Clear Ayes has seen it.

101.Online reminder: E NOTE. I don't use this word in my daily life. You?

104.Chef's protection: MITT

105.1847 novel set on Tahiti: OMOO

106.Alpine capital: BERN

107.Paris possessive: SES. His/Her. Singular pronoun.

108.Effort: TRY

109.Tax-deferral vehicle, for short: IRA

110.Bewitch: HEX

111. Japanese prime minister who succeeded Fukuda in 2008: ASO. Taro Aso. Was defeated in the 2009 election.

112.Gimlet choice: GIN. Or vodka.

113.Insurance gp.: HMO

114.Craggy crest: TOR. Learned from doing Xword. Alliteration.

Answer grid.

Congratulations to Chickie and her husband Bill, who are celebrating their 56th Wedding Anniversary today. And Happy Father's Day to all the dads there!

C.C.

Jun 19, 2010

Saturday June 19, 2010 Barry Silk

Theme: None

Total words: 72

Total blocks: 30

A typical "Pack and Stack", in Clear Ayes' words. Total ten 10-letter entries, including the triple stacks in the top left and bottom right corners. A couple of 9s too.

Barry anchors his puzzle with a cool cross-spanner WIND CHILL FACTOR (36A. Heat index counterpart).

Several music references in the grid, none particularly difficult. But the clues for some of the small words are tricky. ETUI (51. Bodkin holder) is a good example. I am used to the stock "Sewing case" clue. Did not even know the meaning of "Bodkin". Dictionary defines it as "sharply pointed instrument for making holes in fabric or leather".

Across:

1. Shell seeker: HERMIT CRAB. Wikipedia says despite their moniker, hermit crabs are social animals that do best in groups.

11. Dyne-centimeters: ERGS. Again, am used to the "Work units" clue. We've seen DYNE clued as "Unit of Force" before.

15. Graphic designer's asset: TRAINED EYE

16. Strike: X OUT. Was in the "Hit hard" direction.

17. Sinclair Lewis best-seller: MAIN STREET. Thought of "Arrowsmith", which has 10-letter also. Sinclair Lewis was a pride of Minnesota.

18. River through Lake Thun: AARE. Switzerland's longest river.

19. Trip starter: LSD. Wanted EGO.

20. Needle: PROD

21. Substance in the Nash poem "Reflection on Babies": TALCUM. No idea. The whole poem consists of "A bit of talcum is always walcum". What does "walcum" mean?

23. Stray: ROAM

24. Last, in much '60s baseball: TENTH. Was unaware that there was only one extra inning in the '60s. (Correction: Argyle said there were only 10 teams in the '60s. See here.)

25. Clarinet's home key, usually: B FLAT. Well, Jazzbumpa can confirm the clue. I simply filled in ?FLAT.

28. Cable: WIRE

29. C-ration successor: MRE (Meal Ready to Eat)

32. "thirtysomething" actor: OLIN (Lena). An onager guess. She's in "Chocolat". (Correction: It's actor Ken Olin. Thanks, Lemonade.)

33. Electric generator part: STATOR COIL. New word to me.

38. Note-clarifying symbol: TREBLE CLEF

39. Grant: CEDE

40. Oklahoma native: OTO

41. Seltzer is often used after it: ALKA. I've never had Alka-Seltzer. Ginger is my cure for everything.

42. Pin site: ALLEY. Bowling pin.

43. Rolls up: FURLS

45. Soprano Te Kanawa: KIRI. Can never commit her name to my brain. She was born in New Zealand.

47. Waver on the moon: US FLAG. Did you think of Armstrong also? Nice placement of FURLS above US FLAG.

49. Where heros are made: DELI. Hero sandwich. And RYE (56D. 49-Across choice).

50. Marlowe's "The __ of Malta": JEW. Not familiar with the book.

53. Stylish: CHIC

54. Improve: AMELIORATE. Know the word. Not the exact spelling.

57. Traditional accounts: LORE

58. Quebec export: MAPLE SYRUP. What else could it be exported from Canada? Hockey players I guess.

59. Impersonator: APER

60. Caution to one getting too hot?: EASY DOES IT. The question mark alerts me "hot" does not refer to body temperature.

Down:

1. Online file suffix: HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

2. Box score stats: ERAS. Era = Earned Run Average. It's not clued as "Notable times" to avoid the duplication with AN ERA (22. End of __ ).

3. Incursion: RAID

4. Short time?: MIN. Short for "minute".

5. Where the crowd is: IN SPOT. I don't get the clue.

6. Prefix with fluoride: TETRA. Prefix for "four".Tetrafluoride is a fluoride containing four fluorine atoms. New word to me also.

7. Jewel box contents: CD ROM

8. Portland, Oregon, college: REED. Well, maybe it's a gimme to our Oregon gang. The college is certainly not on my radar.

9. Marine assent: AYE. "Aye, Aye, Sir.".

10. Making more money, say: BETTER OFF

11. Lionize: EXALT

12. Black Flag product: ROACH MOTEL. Was ignorant of this insecticide.

13. Sikh leader: GURU. Does this refer to Guru Nanak who founded Sikh religion?

14. Stalk: STEM. Plant.

23. Grammy category: R AND B

24. Spine line: TITLE. Book spine line.

25. Greet with respect: BOW TO

26. Dally: FLIRT

27. It's not safe to be in it: LINE OF FIRE. Nice entry.

28. When doubled, an Evergreen State city: WALLA. Walla Walla, Washington.

30. __ la Plata: RIO DE. Literally "River of Silver". The muddy estuary of the Paraná and Uruguay Rivers, and forms part of the border between Argentina and Uruguay. Faintly rings a bell.

31. The king of Spain?: EL REY. Literally "the king" in Spanish.

33. Thimblerig cousin: SHELL GAME. Thimblerig is not in my vocabulary.

34. Beats: TICKS

35. Fourth-century date: CCCLI. Roman 351.

37. Schumann's composer wife: CLARA. Indeed. She's an accomplished composer also.

42. Melodic: ARIOSO

44. Stress consequence, perhaps: ULCER

45. First "Idol" winner Clarkson: KELLY. Very successful after "Idol" career.

46. Admission of deceit: I LIED

47. Pac-10 school: UCLA

48. Talking point at a business dinner?: SHOP. Shoptalk?

49. Passbook amts.: DEPS. Deposits.

50. Shocks: JARS

52. Grieved: WEPT

55. Lea cry: MAA

Answer grid.

Happy 34th Wedding Aniversary to Paolo!

C.C.

Jun 18, 2010

Friday June 18, 2010 Doug Peterson

Theme: TIE-IN - (69A. Marketing ploy, and a hint to this puzzle's theme) - TIE is inserted into different part of each two-word familiar phrase.

20A. Ones wearing designer hospital gowns?: FANCY PATIENTS. Fancy Pants. Fun clue/answer.

32A. Massive marina protectors?: JUMBO JETTIES. Jumbo Jets. With two expensive letters Js.

42A. Plaza with many levels?: TIERED SQUARE. Red Square. Central square in Moscow. Another expensive letter Q.

55A. More passionate language?: SWEATIER WORDS. Swear Words. Vivid image.

Two of the TIE additions are in second word, two first word. I liked the variety.

Nice pangram. All 26 letters are used at least once. The below two non-theme 10-letter answers are great (normally they are split into two slots to make the construction easier):

17A. "M" star: PETER LORRE. Rare to see his full name.

61A. Heavily favored squads: DREAM TEAMS

My favorite clue today is EDS (31A. Recipients of authors' gratitude, briefly). Editors. I gather it's Doug's original clue? I am sure it brought a smile to Rich's face.

Across:

1. Watch for: AWAIT. As in "Watch for an opportunity". I wanted ALERT.

6. "Big Brother" host Julie: CHEN. Very pretty. Chen = Chan (as in Jackie Chan). Former is Mandarin, latter is Cantonese.

10. Zinger: BARB

14. Extremely, in slang: MONDO. Not familiar with this slang.

15. Likely to loaf: LAZY. Alliteration.

16. Like zero: OVAL. Oh, shape.

19. Princess who battled Callisto: XENA. Played by Lucy Lawless.

22. Petting zoo sound: BAA. Sheep.

24. Some quick pitches: ADS. Of course I thought of baseball.

25. Salad oil pourer: CRUET

26. Pungent: ACRID

28. Out of the woods: SAFE

36. Basilica section: APSE

37. Three-time Clooney title role: OCEAN. Danny Ocean. I liked "Ocean's Eleven" the best.

38. Slender wind: OBOE

45. Tape deck button: REC

48. Disparage: SLUR

49. "Family Matters" misfit: URKEL (Steve). Beat me. Have never seen "Family Matters".

50. Deck out: ADORN

52. Genetic ID: DNA. Always have to waffle between DNA & RNA.

54. Accident scene initials: EMS

60. Arrange logically: SORT

64. Nuts: LOCO

65. Disney president Robert: IGER. He succeeded Michael Eisner in 2005. Quite articulate.

66. __ Island: NY/NJ landmark: ELLIS

67. Starting place?: EDEN. Can't fool me any more.

68. Play a round: GOLF. Felt stupid not nailing it immediately. Who's your pick for US Open?

Down:

1. Band booster: AMP

2. Distress: WOE

3. Colonies with tunnels: ANT FARMS. Awesome fill.

4. Brainchild: IDEA

5. Supercell product: TORNADO. Our local meteorologist is obsessed with tornado, but I don't remember he mentioned supercell.

6. Is too sweet: CLOYS

7. Emblem of Ireland: HARP. Man, I never knew this. It's on the cover of Irish passports. On the obverse of Irish Euro coins also.

8. Book before Nehemiah: EZRA. Needed crossing help. The name means "Help" in Hebrew.

9. Uh-uh, in Ufa: NYET. Russian for "No" (Da is "Yes"). Ufa is a city of west-central Russian in the Southern Ural Mountain. Doug picked Ufa for alliteration purpose. My first encounter with this name.

10. Ring competitor: BOXER

11. One of 17 Monopoly properties: AVENUE

12. Blustered: RANTED

13. Great times: BLASTS

18. Type of screen, briefly: LCD. Several abbreviated answers in this puzzle. None obscure.

21. Frozen drink brand: ICEE

22. Tijuana's region: BAJA. Is it short for Baja California?

23. Lingerie size: A CUP. First time I saw A CUP in a LAT.

27. Skeptical comment: I BET

28. Direct: STEER

29. Not much: A TAD

30. Underwater directors: FINS. "Director" made me think of a person.

33. "Just the Way You Are" singer: JOEL (Billy). Great song.

34. Stationery shade: ECRU. Alliteration.

35. Grumpy: SOUR

39. Popular fund raiser: BAKE SALE

40. Central Utah city: OREM. And Provo. Learned both from doing Xword.

41. They may be shockers: EELS. We've seen similar clue before.

43. Fails to be: ISN'T

44. Many a pop group: QUARTET

45. Grapple with, in the sticks: RASSLE. Wrestle.

46. "Plan 9 From Outer Space" director: ED WOOD. The name faintly rings a bell. Also a title of a Johnny Depp movie.

47. Put the squeeze on: COERCE

51. Inform against: RAT ON

52. Khuzdul speaker, in Tolkien: DWARF. Khuzdul is a fictional language spoken by the Dwarfs. Stumped me.

53. Metz moniker: NOM. Metz is a city in NE France. Another alliteration.

56. "Cool, man!": I DIG. I totally dig Jazzbumpa's theme title the other day "Music, Man". Mondo cool!

57. So: ERGO

58. Line holder: REEL. Oh, fishing line.

59. Ham salad seller: DELI

62. DI doubled: MII. 51X2= 1002. (Correction: It's 501X2= 1002).

63. Three-part fig.: SSN

Answer grid.

Thanks for the concern and understanding of my recent absence, everyone. I've been very busy and am always behind in catching up with the comments/emails. Dennis is the designated host in my absence, and he will (he has been) answer any question that needs to be addressed.

Additionally, I feel the quality and fun/education factor of the blog write-up have been improved considerably with regular contributions from our dedicated team of Argyle, Al, Melissa Bee, Jazzbumpa and Lemonade. They add distinctive style and flavor to our blog and I love looking at the puzzles through their eyes.

So don't worry about my diminished blogging. I assure you that a carefully written post will appear every morning at 5:30am Central Time. Just enjoy the write-up & have fun!

C.C.

Jun 17, 2010

Thursday June 17, 2010 Robert W. Harris

Theme: Double Features - Each theme answer contains two movie names, the "short" & circled one is a single word and placed orderly from left to right (the first and last one are actually in perfect symmetry).

17A. Alan Alda feature with a Will Smith short: CALIFORNIA SUITE. The circled (green color) movie title in the answer is ALI (Muhammad, the boxer). Interesting to see 54D. Branch of Islam: SHIA in the grid, which means "followers of Ali", and is based on the teaching of Muhammad and his successor (cousin) Ali. Coincidence?

27A. William Hurt feature with a Warren Beatty short: ALTERED STATES. Circled movie: REDS.

47A. Barbara Stanwyck feature with a Dustin Hoffman short: NO MAN OF HER OWN. Circled movie: HERO.

62A. Michael Redgrave feature with a Helen Gahagan short: THE LADY VANISHES. Circled short movie name: SHE.

I found this a little tough for a Thursday, especially getting started in the southwest corner. Maybe because I was a bit anxious at starting to be a regular once per week.

Al here, hope you all had a good time with this one, I know I liked the challenge. So, let's get started.

Across:

1. Tired: LIMP. Wow, a DF answer right off the bat...

5. Hall & Oates hit "__ Smile": SARA.

9. Beast of burden: LLAMA. An "orgle" is the mating sound of a llama or alpaca, made by the male. The sound is reminiscent of gargling, but with a more forceful, buzzing edge. Males begin the sound when they become ready to mate and continue throughout the act—from 15 minutes to more than an hour. That must be as annoying as a vuvuzela...

14. Higher than: OVER.

15. GM subsidiary since 1929: OPEL. Wir Leben Autos (we love cars)

16. Lady who reportedly exchanged barbs with Churchill: ASTOR. Nancy Witcher. A Viscountess, the first woman to sit as a Member of Parliament.

20. Like some condors: ANDEAN.

21. Net worth factor: DEBT. Yes, your only worth in the US is to go into debt, to keep the economy going. I know I've done my share of patriotic duty...

22. __ leaf: TEA.

23. Part of a process: STEP.

25. They take vows: NUNS. From the WTF department: "Nunnery" is slang for a brothel??

32. Prefix with sac: OVI. Usually a deposit of insect or arachnid eggs.

33. Familiar saying: SAW. Old English "sagu" (proverb), also Old Norse "saga", which is from an Old English root "secgan" (say), also related: sage.

34. Fuses, as ore: SMELTS. From German schmeltzan, which contains the word melt.

36. Prepare to fire on: AIM AT.

39. Terhune collie: LAD. Albert Payson Terhune is the author of "Lad: a Dog".

41. Hot fragment: EMBER.

42. Sets aside for later consideration: TABLES. In parliamentary sense, originally "to lay on the (speaker's) table for discussion", but it has come to mean to postpone indefinitely.

44. "Excellent!": RAD. Slang shortening of the word "radical".

46. Montana motto word: ORO. "Oro y Plata" (Spanish: Gold and Silver)

51. Frantically: AMOK. To run amok first recorded 1670s, from Malay amuk "attacking furiously." Earlier the word was used as a noun or adj. meaning "a frenzied Malay," originally in the Portuguese form amouco or amuco.

52. Management ally of a sort: SCAB. Meaning of "strikebreaker" first recorded 1806, from earlier sense of "person who refuses to join a trade union" (1777), probably from the meaning "despicable person"

53. Former flier: SST. The Concorde's last flight was on November 26, 2003.

56. Dick of adventure fiction: MOBY. I was trying to come up with a detective name, like MOTO or CHAN.

58. WWII encryption machine: ENIGMA.

65. Ipse __: DIXIT. A Latin phrase meaning he himself said it. The term labels a statement asserted but not proved, to be accepted on faith. Usually from a person of standing, such as Aristotle.

66. Grand Marquis, briefly: MERC. A Mercury full-size car, equivalent to a Ford Crown Victoria. I think I heard a rumor that Ford will shut down the Mercury line soon.

67. Depressing situation, with "the": PITS. Said to be a shortened form of armpits. Could be worse...

68. "Gymnopédies" composer: SATIE. Eric, a frequent crossword clue.

69. Spot: ESPY. Old French: espier, to spy.

70. Kiln for drying hops: OAST. Frequent crossword fill.

Down:

1. Crazy, in a Ricky Martin song: LOCA. Living la vida loca (the crazy life) Hot stuff!

2. Russian John: IVAN.

3. Blend: MELD. One for Argyle and Tinbini: The original reference is to whiskey-making.

4. Christian guide: PRIEST. Greek Presbyteros, to Latin prester, to Old English preost.

5. Norman athletes: SOONERS. Norman, Oklahoma, Oklahoma University.

6. Boston Marathon mo.: APR. Abbreviated clue (month) = abbreviated answer

7. Split apart: REND. Also rive and rent, all related.

8. Klingons, e.g.: ALIENS. Latin alienus, belonging to another, variant of Latin alius (other), related: alias.

9. Job application line: LAST NAME.

10. Fightin' Tigers' sch.: LSU. Lousiana State University.

11. Working: AT IT. OK, right, "working"...

12. Small particle: MOTE.

13. Region: AREA.

18. Inevitable outcome: FATE.

19. Borders: ABUTS.

24. Big ring: PEAL. From a bell. Clever clue, I was thinking bathtub and wondering: There's a name for that?

26D. 31-Down opposite: STEM. and 31D. 26-Down opposite: STERN.

27. Bird-related: AVIAN. Latin avis. (Rara Avis = rare bird, a pecular person)

28. Dance at a bar: LIMBO. The bar you bend under, not the one where you get bent out of shape.

29. Doc, for one: DWARF. Happy, Dopey, Sneezy, Grumpy, Bashful, Sleepy, and a list of about 50 unused names.

30. Attention-getting joint: ELBOW. Especially a poke in the gut.

32. Cereal grass: OAT.

35. Sign at a popular musical: SRO. You have to want to see a show pretty badly to pay and have to stand up all the way through it...

37. __ mater: ALMA. Bountiful mother.

38. Rice, to Montana: TEAMMATE. Tight End and Receiver both were the right length, too.

40. Some code signals: DAHS. And DITS. Morse code pulses.

43. Hair net: SNOOD.

45. Propriety: DECENCY. Appropriateness.

48. "I find that acceptable": OK BY ME.

49. Indian royal: RANI. For Queen, or the alternate spelling of RAJA for king.

50. San Luis __: OBISPO. Saint Louis, the Bishop. Halfway between San Fran and L.A.

53. Agreed-on guidelines: Abbr.: STDS. Standards. We have a saying at work, "The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from". Unofficial, of course...

55. Message often sent using thumbs: TEXT. I'm not one for doing phone text myself; I prefer the feel of a real tactile interface.

57. First name in fashion: YVES. Saint Laurent.

59. Karmann __: sports car: GHIA. Multiple car name clues today. This one's a VW.

60. 1986 World Series champs: METS. Game 6 is another coincidental movie theme tie in for this puzzle.

61. Helper: Abbr.: ASST.

63. First-century date: LII. 52. Wasn't thrilled with the clue for this. Could have been clued Caesar's deck, or something else helpful, instead of random unguessable Roman letters.

64. Dada daddy?: ARP. Jean, but also went by Hans. The other founders of the Dada movement were Max Ernst and Alfred Emanuel Ferdinand Grünwald.

LA Times website has no circles since its software does not support circled squares. You can see our Answer Grid to identify where circled letters are.

Al

Note from C.C.:

I am very pleased to announce that Al will blog Thursday puzzles from now on. Al has been a quiet hero, always there when I have a computer or crossword related question. Welcome on board, Al.

Jun 16, 2010

Wednesday June 16, 2010 Pancho Harrison

Theme: MUSIC, MAN! - Three long theme answers, two of them grid-spanning, employ homophone puns to transform mundane phrases into humorous musical references.

17 A. Songs by German wolves? LIEDER OF THE PACK. Play on "leader of the pack. LIED (pl LIEDER) is the German word for song. So - songs of the pack. This got a chuckle and a groan.

36 A. Obvious melody?: AIR APPARENT. Play on "heir apparent," the most likely successor. An AIR is a melody, obviously.

58 A. Intonations from the monastery locker room?: CHANTS OF SHOWERS. Oh my. "Chance of showers," meaning it's probably going to rain. Or, here, some very clean Gregorian chant.

Each play is on the first word in the phrase, substituting a homophone or near-homophone. Nice and tight. YMMV on puns and their quality. I thought these were rather long stretches; but that doesn't make me like them any less. And I do like them, quite a lot.

Plus, these musical encores:

57 A. Haggard of country music: MERLE

39 D. Roxy Music alum Brian: ENO

53 D. Jerry or Jerry Lee: LEWIS

Not being a country music maven (I'm more of a city boy) I'll leave it someone in the know to find the best links for Merle and Jerry Lee. And, yes, comedian Jerry Lewis did also sing, occasionally. I actually know nothing about Brian ENO, except he's in puzzles a lot.

Hi gang, it's JazzBumpa, your humble resident trombonist and music appreciator. I was pretty much in tune with this one, and able to wood-shed it in 15:27. Pancho Harrison has composed a verbal symphony for us today with only a few sour notes. Let's get inside the score.

Across:

1 A. Glass in a frame: PANE. Why is a piece of glass called a pane? I worked in the industry for 17 long, miserable years, and never gave it a thought. We called a piece of glass a "light" which is even ODDER.

5 A. Motivation target, often: SELF. In my 20+ years as a supervisor, I learned that if you won't motivate yourself, nobody can.

9 A. Hold forth: OPINE. I do this rather a lot. Opinions are cheep, or even free.

14 A. Site of a Biblical plot: EDEN. Nice double meaning: plot of land, and site of the Eve-Serpent cabal.

15 A. Flash in the brainpan: IDEA. Another clever clue, playing on "flash in the pan." I first heard this in the context of baseball, meaning a promising rookie who turns out to be a bust. The phrase comes from panning for gold, where sometimes things that glitter are worthless.

16 A. Like some ancient characters: RUNIC. Another great clue. "Characters" here mean letters or other types of symbols. RUNES were characters used in Old Norse. They are composed of straight lines so they can be easily sliced into wood or scratched onto stone.

20 A. Farther out?: ODDER. Farther out, man.

21 A. Like some highways: TWO LANE. Though not necessarily.

22 A. Huaraches, e.g.: SANDALS. Hecho en Mexico. Es verdad!

25 A. Stubborn one: ASS. Yup!

26 A. Blunderer's cry: DOH!

28 A. Final conclusion?: IST. Referring to a finalIST, one of the last standing in a contest. I offer this to the Navajo gods.

29 A. Rational: SANE. Good thinking!

31 A. Motion support: SECOND. From Robert's rules of order. May I have a motion? Second? All in favor, say "DOH!"

33 A. Overhaul: REVAMP. Is something ever VAMPED? If not, how can it be REVAMPED? English is ODDER, sometimes.

35 A. "The Clan of the Cave Bear" author: Jean AUEL.

39 A. Exile isle: ELBA. Napoleon was exiled here, and given the job of cleaning the place. It took a lot of ELBA GREECE. That's when he said, "I may not be Abel, but I do the best I Cain," which is no kind of palindrome.

41 A. Accent: STRESS.

42 A. Loch legend nickname: NESSIE. The Loch Ness Monster, not to be confused with her brother Elliot Ness.

45 A. Reb's opponent: YANK. Short for Yankee. Not necessarily from New York, but we can't rule it out.

46 A. Hoo-ha: ADO. Possibly a reference to Willie Shiverjavelin's play, "Much Hoo-ha About Nothing." What else could it mean?

49 A. Feedbag morsel: OAT. We do eat a lot of these in puzzle land.

50 A. O'Neill's "The Hairy __": APE. The Hairy Ape, a play by Eugene O'Neill, has a character in it called "Yank."

52 A. Wooden in manner: STILTED.

54 A. Tread roughly: TRAMPLE. Don't trample on me!

61 A. Right-hand page: RECTO. What is the left hand page called?

62 A. "An Essay on Man" poet Alexander: POPE. He also translated The Odyssey.

63 A. Horned goddess: ISIS. From ancient Egypt, horns and all.

64 A. Big name in lawn care: ORTHO. They make Scott's Miracle-Gro.

65 A. Notable periods: ERAS.

66 A. Plato's promenade: STOA. In ancient Greece, a public covered walkway or portico. Where you been, Plato? I had to go to the STOA.

Down:

1 D. First female Speaker of the House: PELOSI. Nancy from CA.

2 D. Reebok rival: ADIDAS. We run into these a lot, too.

3 D. "You __ bother": NEEDN'T. I needn't, but I can't resist this link.

4 D. Ran out: ENDED. BP's time ran out, but the oil flow didn't. Also: 7 D. Ran out: LEFT. This is the "I've had enough" kind of ran out, as in exit, stage LEFT.

5 D. Anthony Hopkins, for one: SIR. Aha - Anthony is a knight. My oldest grandson made up this joke: Why could they fight after dark in the middle ages? They had knight lights!

6 D. Tokyo, before 1868: EDO

8 D. Islamic decree: FATWA

9 D. Threat words: OR ELSE

10 D. Insect stage after larva: PUPA. It's when insect pups go through PUPATY .

11 D. Hard to reach at the office, say: IN AND OUT. I used to be in the office every day. Now I'm always out.

12 D. "Good shot!": NICE ONE. A complement on the golf course.

13 D. Luther opponent Johann __: ECK. He defended Catholicism. Turns out, his real name was Maier. What the ECK is that all about?

18 D. Corrective tool: ERASER. Well, nobody's perfect.

19 D. Ben Cartwright's middle son: HOSS. Plus Little Joe and . . . Luke?

23 D. Soap brand with pumice: LAVA. I didn't know this was still around. Lava los manos!

24 D. Goes nuts: SNAPS. Loses it. Goes around the bend. Flips one's lid.

27 D. "Good" cholesterol, for short: HDL. You want your High Density Lipids to be High, and your Low density lipids to be low. Easy mnemonic.

30 D. Totally drained: EMPTY. They way you felt after you RAN OUT.

33 D. Narrow inlets: RIAS. Are they the same as estuaries? I learned the word here at the Corner.

34 D. Legal aides: PARAS. Evidently referring to PARAlegals. Ugly partial. Meh.

36 D. Like a Jackson Pollock painting: ABSTRACT. Could be. I thought this was a wiring diagram.

37 D. Temporary use fee: RENT. I'll do the cookin' honey, I'll pay the rent, if I can use you temporarily.

38 D. Inuit, once: ESKIMO. Not necessarily. Could also be a Yupic or an Aleut.

40 D. Elbow patch material: LEATHER. Especially on tweed jackets.

43 D. Words of agreement: I AM TOO. Are you tired?

44 D. Omar of "House": EPPS. Never watched it.

46 D. Not in motion: AT REST. I had STATIC, which made my hair stand on end.

47 D. Texas border city: DEL RIO.

48 D. Texas oil city: ODESSA. Evidently having been moved there from the Ukraine.

51 D. Run off to join a union?: ELOPE. Very clever.

55 D. Lit. compilation: ANTH. Short for anthology. Abrev. in cl. & ans.

56 D. __ effort: E FOR. I always got an A for effort. Well, not really, but it IS in the language . . .

58 D. Vel attachment?: CRO. Velcro. I'm torn over this one. There's my aversion to affixes, or - as in this case - psuedo-affixes, which are even worse. But, OTOH, VelCRO is an attachment. I'll give in to the cleverness here, and let it go, but not without reservation.

59 D. Relaxing retreat: SPA. Or the kind of whirlpool tub found in my bathroom, and lots of puzzles.

60 D. Dudes: HES. He and he are HES - he he! The musician's first rule is to always end on a good note. Didn't happen here, alas, as this puzzle runs out with a big, flat blat at the end. Wie Shade.

Other than that, though, a fine, harmonious composition, and a fun romp. Hope y'all enjoyed it.

Answer grid.

JD's Crossword Story continues. Here is the updated version with letter F.

Cheers!

JzB