Nov 13, 2010

Saturday November 13, 2010 Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson

Theme: None

Total words: 72

Total blocks: 29

Great to see a collaboration borne out of our interview. Brad, who now has a regular monthly Saturday Stumper with Newsday, mentioned to me last time that he's co-constructed quite a few puzzles with Doug since then.

This puzzle features eight 10-letter & six 9-letter entries, mostly triple-stacked in each corner:

1A. Single-season RBI record-holder since 1930 : HACK WILSON. Total 191 RBIs in 1930. Hall of Famer. I was aware of his existence and this card, but couldn't recall his name.

15A. Not beyond belief : IMAGINABLE. REASONABLE fit too.

17A. Elementary level : FIRST GRADE. Needed crossing help.

60A. Knocking 'em dead : IN RARE FORM. Nice clue/answer.

65A. Rambo, notably : ONE MAN ARMY. Loved this one also.

67A. Circumscribes : DELINEATES

10D. Sewing circle? : NEEDLE HOLE. Why question mark?

12D. First actress to play Yente in Broadway's "Fiddler on the Roof" : BEA ARTHUR. And EMMYS (53D. Pair on the résumé of 12-Down).

13D. Wheels in a cave : BATMOBILE. In "Batman".

14D. Like many a jalopy : RUST-EATEN. New word to me.

30D. Years in which Picasso's art took a somber turn : BLUE PERIOD. Gorgeous entry.

32D. Any of the "Ocean's" movies, e.g. : HEIST FILM. Was quite fond of those silly "Ocean's" movies.

33D. Upstart : ARRIVISTE. Is it same to nouveau riche?

34D. Ultra-reliable team members : MAINSTAYS. Ah, we have quite a few on our blog. Ultra-reliable!

How long do you normally spend on a Saturday themeless? I punted after 35 minutes.


11. This ans. is one : ABBR. The word "ans" is abbreviated. I've seen similar gimmick for ACROSS.

16. __ de soie: bridal gown fabric : PEAU. Literally "skin" in French. Soie = Silk.

18. Focus of some H.S. prep courses : SATs

19. Nagano Olympics torch lighter : ITO (Midori). Japanese Figure skater. Stumped me. I wanted ALI. Silly!

20. "Cinderella" opener? : CEE. Letter C in Cinderella.

21. Like season 8 of "Dallas" : DREAMT. Didn't come immediately.

23. Light-footed woman : SYLPH. We've seen the "slender, graceful woman" clue before.

25. Esmeralda's goat in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" : DJALI. Nope! Way too hard a name for me.

28. Salty delicacy : ROE

29. Dealt with a fatal error, perhaps : REBOOTED. Computer "fatal error". Al might get this one immediately.

31. Sched. gap letters : TBA

32. Skywalker player : HAMILL (Mark). Have never seen "Star Wars".

35. Eastern theatrical style : NOH. Literally "ability". Same character as Chinese.

36. Gambler's voucher : CHIT

37. "Moriae Encomium" author : ERASMUS (Desiderius). Not familiar with "Moriae Encomium", an essay translated as "The Praise of Folly" or "In Praise of More" a la Wikipedia.

39. Ochlocracy : MOB RULE. Greek "oshlos" = Mob.

41. Bulb output, maybe : IRIS. Thought of IDEA.

42. "... and too many to mention" letters : ETC

44. Holly of Hollywood : LAUREN. She looks familiar. Nice clue.

45. Stray, in a way : SIN. "In a way", yes.

46. Reacts to an affront, maybe : SPUTTERS

48. Living room sets : TVS

49. Temporary tattoo dye : HENNA

50. Put forward : STATE

54. Less flabby : FITTER. Wanted FIRMER.

56. Bad liar's giveaway : TIC

58. Lap dog, briefly : POM

59. "By Jove!" : I SAY

64. About 5.88 trillion mi. : LT-YR (Light-year). Got me.

66. High point in a Western? : MESA. Sure was not thinking of those small plateau.


1. Old living room sets : HI-FIs.

2. Good relations : AMITY

3. "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming," e.g. : CAROL

4. Metric meas. : KGS

5. Shade tree native to the British Isles : WITCH ELM. First encounter with this tree.

6. "Bus Stop" playwright : INGE

7. I-35's southern terminus : LAREDO. Drew a blank. The U.S./Mexico border city.

8. Fed. loan source : SBA

9. GOP segment? : OLD. GOP = Grand Old Party.

11. Basilica section : APSE

22. Divested (of) : RID

24. Goody two shoes : PRISS. "Goody two shoe" is a new idiom to me.

26. Cryer in a sitcom : JON. The "sitcom" here refer to "Two and a Half Men", correct?

27. Quark's milieu : ATOM

36. It's rolled out at a patisserie : CRUST

38. Leave agape : STUN

40. What eHarmony users can avoid : BAR SCENE. Those eHarmony commercials look quite sweet.

43. UPS unit : CTN. Carton I suppose.

46. Byron's "__ Walks in Beauty" : SHE

47. Geisha's mat : TATAMI

51. Left on the bridge : APORT. Can never remember those nautical directions.

52. "It Wasn't All Velvet" memoirist : TORME (Mel). Known as "The Velvet Fog".

55. Big name in TV talk : TYRA (Banks). Her talk show was over in May.

57. Caspian Sea country : IRAN

61. Vane dir. : NNE

62. Seminary subj. : REL

63. Govt. agency with a wing on its seal : FAA. Here is its seal.

Answer grid.


Nov 12, 2010

Friday November 12, 2010 Dan Naddor

Theme: You (U) Fit In - Each theme answer is a common two word expression, with the letter “U” inserted into the second word, to create a humorous new expression, with the question mark at the end of the clue telling you a play on words is coming.

16A. Opening with a thud?: BAD DEBUT. BAD DEBT. Something becoming all too familiar after the recent mortgage debacle.

19A. Staple in a Hollywood first-aid kit?: STAR GAUZE. STAR GAZE. We love staring at our stars, making so many tabloids and tabloid tv shows popular. Do we really care that Disney child stars Lindsay Lohan and Demi Lovato are coke heads?

26A. Compulsion to set up camp?: TENT DURESS. TENT DRESS. An interesting internal deception because the meaning of Tent is very different when you are talking about this DRESS STYLE .

34A. Hoss and Little Joe's off-color jokes?: PONDEROSA RAUNCH. PONDEROSA RANCH, the home of the Cartwright family on BONANZA which was the first television show to be shown in color. My favorite phrase of the theme. Do you all remember the name of Ben’s (the father, played by Lorne Greene) horse?

43A. Civil unrest in Brest?: FRENCH FURY. FRENCH FRY. A nice rhyming clue, to obscure the French city.

50A. Restrain a legendary soul seller?: HOLD FAUST. HOLD FAST; FAUST is the Devil in German legend, made famous by Goethe’s tragic play.

58A. Classy accommodations at the Spider Ritz?: WEB SUITE. WEB SITE. Don’t you just love the mind that created the image of an exclusive hotel for spiders?

47. "Have a nice day" response, and a literal hint to this puzzle's theme: YOU TOO. YOU (U) too, meaning an added U.

Et tu Brute! Hallelujah, Lemonade here, week two already. Happy Friday, C.C. and all. Wow, another Naddor for me, and one so typical and so witty. I really enjoyed this effort, with 75 letters and 8 theme related answers. Lots of fun fill, a few things I should have recalled but had to work to get, and generally a good time for all.


1. Bucolic: PASTORAL. We begin with a pleasant straight forward image.

9. Sushi choices: EELS. I like some sushi, but am not fond of eels, probably something psychological from my childhood.

13. Wood preservative: CREOSOTE. COAL TAR CREOSOTE is an EPA registered wood preservative, distilled from crude coke oven tar, and is mainly composed of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), but also contains phenols and cresols. Like I knew that.

14. Plays the class clown: CUTS UP. Remember, Dan likes two word answers that create deceptive letter strings. 21A. Clueless: AT SEA. 65A. As terrific as they say: THAT GOOD. 7D. "Do you bite your thumb __, sir?": "Romeo and Juliet": AT US. I love that he includes some Shakespeare, as well as the very old insult of biting one’s thumb, which has resurfaced in our culture as seen in the URBAN DICTIONARY . 33D. Corner the market on: BUY UP. Speaking of which, do you remember when the Hunt brothers tried to corner the silver market? They were the inspiration for these BROTHERS .

17. Showy: ORNATE.

18. Overseas fem. title: SRA. As Kazie pointed out, the abbreviation for Senora, like most of our dear ladies.

25. Source of Ulee's gold: BEES.Hi Melissa, and yes, the gold was in the honey, honey.

29. She played Emma in "The Avengers": UMA. We all know this is true in the movie, but this will always be the real MRS.PEEL .

32. Mideast language: IRANI. Oh, in Iran, I guess.

33. Support group?: BRAS. Nice deception, but then again, it may all be DECEPTION .

40. Lake near Niagara Falls: ERIE. Where my oldest is currently freezing his little behind in grad school, though his birthday is in nine days, he will be home in 11!

41. Atlanta campus: EMORY. This is a very well respected private college that emphasizes research; it ended up in Atlanta through the generosity of the people from Coca Cola. If you go to Atlanta, go and tour the Coke factory (except Lindsay Lohan and Demi Lovato, who know better).

42. Jets coach Ryan: REX. He plays against Cleveland this week end, whose defense is coached by his older (by 5 minutes) identical twin brother ROB RYAN .

48. Fizzled out: DIED. Like so many romances…

49. Gulf of Finland city: ESPOO. The second largest city in Finland, and it took me way to long to drag from my brain. We just had the clue in August, in a Barry Silk themeless.

55. Word with a head slap: DUH. DOH, whatever you like; here we use the V-8 can against the head.

57. Six-Day War country: ISRAEL. Remember it well.

62. Insurer of Tina Turner's legs: LLOYDS. LLOYD’s of LONDON has been in the insurance business since 1688, and has always insured the odd things of value like insuring, silent film comedian Ben Turpin's eyes against uncrossing, Jimmy Durante’s nose, Troy Polamalu's hair for $1 million, and these R rated pre-silicone marvels of TEMPEST STORM .

63. One transferring property rights, in law: ASSIGNOR. Must have obscure law clues so Lemonade can feel smart. We love our ORs and EEs.

64. Plenty: TONS.


1. Banned pollutants: PCBS. They belong to a group of man made “organic” chemicals called PolyChlorinated Biphenyls.

2. Biblical resting place: ARARAT. A nice deception, for it was Noah’s Ark, not a person that ended up resting atop Mount Ararat.

3. Composed: SEDATE.

4. "The Fox and the Hound" fox: TOD. The hound was Copper, but I really do not remember the MOVIE.

5. Suffix with fruct-: OSE.Also with SUCR-, LACT- and others, it means SUGAR.

6. Hold up: ROB. Yes, to rob is to hold up, to burgle is to break in.

8. Riga resident: LETT. We see this one very often, and I actually have some clients from Latvia, but they moved to Venezuela.

9. Old lab heaters: ETNAS. Dan used this in a Sunday puzzle in August 2009, I did not know the term then, and do not now. I am strictly a BUNSEN BURNER guy.

10. Isaac's eldest: ESAU. Poor guy, hairy and he lost his birthright.

11. Eponymous skater Alois __: LUTZ. For our dear CA back from vacation, and our prodigal Robin, just back, we have the TRIPLE LUTZ in pictures and words. Eponymous, is when you give your name to something, like Joe Robbie stadium.

12. WWI German vice-admiral: SPEE. One I knew nothing about, but apparently quite a bold man, of whom Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty at London, wrote: "He was a cut flower in a vase, fair to see yet bound to die.”

14. Centers: CORES. Oh, okay, I get like the center of the earth.

15. Prods: URGES.

20. Justice Fortas: ABE. Another law tidbit for me; Justice Fortas was a very successful student of the law, and lawyer, arguing and winning the famous right to counsel case, GIDEON vs. WAINWRIGHT, in which the Supreme Court for the first time granted all who are accused of a crime the right to be represented by counsel, creating the Public Defender system. Mr. Fortas, who came from an Orthodox Jewish family became very good friends with Lyndon Johnson, who when he became president, convinced sitting Justice Arthur Goldberg (the then Jewish member of the court) to resign to become ambassador to the UN, so Fortas could be appointed to the court. Sadly, Fortas ended up resigning under a cloud for taking fees while on the bench.

22. Derisive: SNIDE. My favorite was this CHARACTER .

23. Raison d'__: ETRE. Meaning literally “ reason to be” in French.

24. Month before Nisan: ADAR. And then a little Hebrew calendar to make me feel at home; that calendar has leap months, where there is a 13th month added to catch up with the earths rotation from a moon based calendar.

27. Card game warning: UNO. A favorite of children of all ages, though my grandmother preferred Skip-Bo.

28. Out of bed: RISEN. Which of course reminds me of this SONG .

29. Still-life subject: URN. Really, I only remember the poem.

30. Bud: MAC. Talk about misleading, and yet easy. In our culture, BUD means beer, not buddy, so hey BUD and hey MAC was very hard.

31. Tip for a smoker?: ASH. Literal but hidden again; I still liked Camel Droppings best.

34. In accordance with: PER.

35. It may be found in a deposit: ORE. No not a bank deposit, silly.

36. Outlaw: NIX. Hmm, my in-laws are named NIX, so they are in-laws and outlaws!

37. Onetime Jeep mfr.: AMC. American Motors Company and one of the big four when the US controlled worldwide auto manufacture. Sadly the Rambler and the NASH American did not keep the company afloat, when the Pacer, their final effort to convince the country to drive smaller fuel efficient cars failed, they gave up. Not long after they folded, we had the first gas crisis and their small car ideas took hold.

38. Architect Mies van der __: ROHE. Did not know him, but he designed lots of BUILDINGS.

39. Pound sounds: ARFS. Another cute rhyme.

43. Fluted, in a way: FIFED. Not the champagne glass, but the guy playing the flute; hmm, a verb?

44. Old Spanish coins: REALS. Spanish Reals are often found at historic sites in the US, as during colonial days in the U.S., the silver Ocho Reales coin, referred to as the Spanish milled dollar, piece of eight, or eight bits, was the principal coin in circulation. Hence, the saying, 2 bits, 4 bits, 6 bits, a dollar; all for the home team stand up and holler. Some still refer to a quarter as two bits.

45. Web address ender: EDU.

46. House Judiciary Committee chair during the Nixon impeachment hearings: RODINO. This piece of trivia was buried deep in the brain, and crossing it with ESPOO really slowed me down. In the ironies of the world, and karma, Nixon was determined to impeach Abe Fortas, who eventually stepped down.

48. Critical moments to gear up for: D DAYS. JUNE 6, 1944 .

50. Maximum degree: HILT. This sweet phrase comes from the violent turn of stabbing a dagger or a sword into the victim all the way to the hilt (the protective handle).

51. European capital: OSLO. To our Norwegian brethren, we shout out.

52. Hubbard of Scientology: L RON. Yes, I like my religion from an unsuccessful science fiction author.

53. Team acronym: SWAT. Special Weapons and Tactics.

54. John with Emmys and a journalism award: TESH. A singer, a talk show host, a piano player and a journalist.

56. Rancher's concern: HERD. Not this ONE .

59. Jamboree gp.: BSA. We had Boy Scouts of America in the very first puzzle I blogged, back in the day.

60. Be in session: SIT. Congress, or the courts, like the Supreme Court!

61. Trendy boot brand: UGG. Worn by our temperature challenged crew, including dear Lo-li-ta. Do they come in red Fishie? I guess they do not sell too well in Arizona.

Answer grid.

Well, a long day ahead, so I am out of here, hope you enjoyed the show; see you same bat channel, same bat time.


Nov 11, 2010

Thursday November 11, 2010 Don Gagliardo

Theme: Childish Behavior - With a HINT (32A) from 56A. Admonition to one acting out the starts of 17-, 23-, 34- and 48-Across: MIND YOUR MANNERS.

17A. Battle of the Bulge air assault division: SCREAMING EAGLES. The Army 101st Airborne Division. Timely clue related to Veterans day, today.

23A. Doppelgänger: SPITTING IMAGE. In fiction and folklore, your evil double. Also considered bad luck, or even an omen of death, to see one.

34A. It's hard to get romantic with one: NAGGING HEADACHE. This is probably worse. One percent of the population, really?

48A. Reason to see a mechanic: WHINING ENGINE.

Al here.

Heavy 71 theme squares. Seven Down fill intersect 3 theme entries. An ambitious grid.

Not a pangram, missing six letters, no helper squares, better than average theme, and a few clever clues. Parts of the theme did help me for once, the "ing" letters filled in a few spots. So, on with the answers. Don included a note to C.C. about the puzzle, which is included at the end of the write-up.


1. U.S. dept. with a Race to the Top reform prog.: EDUC.ation.

5. Iconic rings: HALOS.

10. Lock style: COIF. Lock of hair. Coif from old French for a skull cap worn with headgear, as under a helmet.

14. JV team member, perhaps: SOPH. Junior Varsity, Sophomore. A second year student, literally an "arguer". From sophume, variant of sophism (specious, fallacious argument).

15. Warning: ALERT. From Italian all'erta "to the height," from erta "lookout, high tower".

16. Back in the day: ONCE.

20. Willows for weavers: OSIERS.

21. Cause to suffer: AIL. What ails you? What is causing you to suffer? Never having looked it up before, I never realized the word had this meaning, but just thought that it referred to a state of health not being good. Even knowing that, I still wouldn't ever say "A cold ails me".

22. Word with meal or cake: OAT. I've never heard of oatcakes (similar to pancakes but with a lot of fiber), most references I found seem to be from the UK. Must be more common there?

27. Name on an airport shuttle: AVIS. They try harder.

29. Incarnation of Vishnu: RAMA.

30. Alice's workplace: DINER. Mel's Diner in the TV series, with Alice played by Linda Lavin. There's also Alice's Restaurant, the spoken "song" by Arlo Guthrie, based on a true story and made into a movie.

31. Yang's partner: YIN. Male/female, day/night. The concept of balance in all things. You cannot have a back of your hand without there being a front.

32. Clue: HINT. From old English hentan "to seize", related to hunt.

33. Cul-de-__: SAC.

40. Important no. to most car buyers: MPG. Miles per gallon.

41. Coastal raptor: ERNE. The "sea eagle".

42. It starts with "http": URL. Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol, Uniform Resource Locator.

43. Sheer: STEEP.

46. Desertlike: ARID.

47. Teeny: ITSY. Could have been itty too.

51. Reservoir borders?: ARS. The letter "R" begins and ends the word reservoir.

52. Besides: TOO.

53. __ Tunes: LOONEY. Warner Bros animation.

60. Court entry: PLEA.

61. Shopping list entries: ITEMS.

62. "Woe __!": IS ME.

63. Some shooters, briefly: SLRS. Single Lens Reflex cameras.

64. Mythical animal kingdom ennead: LIVES. Ennead: "group of nine". A reference to cats.

65. Peter or Paul, but not Mary: TSAR. There were tsarinas named Maria, though. A diversion kind of clue to get you thinking MALE, or folk music instead of rulers.


1. Gas acronym: ESSO. Standard Oil initials: SO (say it out loud)

2. Holliday and others: DOCS. The two "L"s were a giveaway to look deeper than calendar dates.

3. Revolting situation: UPRISING. Punny.

4. Nest chorus: CHEEPS.

5. Target of pre-race stretching: HAMSTRING.

6. "__ Baba Bunny": classic Bugs cartoon: ALI.

7. Hall of Fame quarterback Dawson: LEN.

8. Leia's last name: ORGANA. One of her last names... The Star Wars universe. Born Leia Amadala Skywalker, daughter of Darth Vader. Hidden and adopted by Bail Organa, a royal family on Alderan. Also Mrs. Solo after being married.

9. "Shrek!" author William: STEIG.

10. Minor player: COG. Just a nameless tooth on a gear that keeps the wheel turning.

11. Checked out, as a book: ON LOAN.

12. Cooling-off period?: ICE AGE.

13. Uncle at 0001 Cemetery Lane, in '60s TV: FESTER. The Addams Family.

18. First name in shipping: ARI. Aristotle Onassis, Greek shipping magnate.

19. Angular measurement device used in surveying: ALIDADE. Many different types.

24. Bite: TANG. "Serpent's tongue" (thought to be a stinging organ), later "sharp extension of a metal blade", then "sharp taste" followed later.

25. "Count me in!": I'M THERE.

26. Mineral with basal cleavage: MICA.

27. Writer Rand: AYN. Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead.

28. Routing word: VIA. Latin, by way of.

32. __ Hop: bouncing ball brand: HIPPITY.

33. Time-measuring device: SANDGLASS. During the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan around the globe, his vessels kept 18 hourglasses per ship. It was the job of a ship's page to turn the hourglasses and thus provide the times for the ship's log.

35. Feds: G-MEN.

36. "__ go bragh!": ERIN.

37. Kitten's quality: CUTENESS.

38. Retail posting: Abbr.: HRS. Open hours.

39. Callaway of golf equipment fame: ELY. The founder and also the stock ticker name.

43. Overwhelms: SWAMPS.

44. Rollercoaster ride, e.g.: THRILL.

45. Former Disney chief: EISNER. Michael.

46. Rainforest rodent: AGOUTI.

47. Part of a conspiracy: IN ON IT. From prefix com- (together) + spire (breathe), so, to breathe together.

49. Kind of salad dressing: NO OIL. I may have mentioned before that you need (the right) oil to properly absorb the phytochemicals from plants, like carotene, lutein, and various flavenoids.

50. Charged particle: ION. A Greek word meaning "go" adapted by Michael Faraday to label particles that move towards an electrode of opposite charge.

54. Columnist Bombeck: ERMA.

55. Nieuwpoort's river: YSER. Belgium.

57. Courtroom VIPs: DAS. District Attorneys.

58. Test, as an engine: REV.

59. Sra.'s neighboring counterpart: MME. Senorita, Mademoiselle. Spanish and French for miss.

Answer grid.

Note from Don about today's theme:

"I think secretly that everybody finds a bratty kid more interesting than a thoroughly well-behaved angel. I found some words that describe the bratty behavior, and put them into phrases, wondering when the solver would catch on. It is not the usual kind of puzzle theme, which might make it more of a surprise when the solver comes to the last theme answer. I felt fortunate to find a 15-letter phrase to tidy it up. Next time someone says, “Mind your manners”, you can say “That’s a 15-letter phrase that addresses bratty behavior!"


Nov 10, 2010

Wednesday November 10, 2010 Pamela Amick Klawitter

Theme: Barter Town - The first word of each two-word theme answer is a synonym for 'trade.'

18A. Flea market cousin : SWAP MEET. San Jose, Ca hosts "The Original World's Largest Flea Market."

24A. Mickey Mantle or Mark Teixeira, notably : SWITCH HITTER. A player who bats both left- and right-handed.

39A. Fill in at school : SUBSTITUTE TEACH. Nice shout out to several of our regular commenters.

51A. Currency differential : EXCHANGE RATE.

62A. Commercial imbalance : TRADE GAP. The amount by which the value of a country's visible imports exceeds that of visible exports.

Melissa here.

A rare weekday puzzle from our LAT Sunday regular constructor Pamela Amick Klawitter. The grid design resulted in lots of 4-letter (30) & 5-letter (19) entries.


1. "60 Minutes" correspondent : SAFER. Morley. Did three tours in Vietnam.

6. __ Helens, Wash. : MT. ST. Mount Saint Helens. May 18th of this year marked the 30th anniversary of an eruption there which lasted 9 hours. The result of an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale.

10. Setup punch : JAB

13. Pump option : PREPAY. Gas pump.

15. Tad : IOTA

16. L.A.-based oil giant, familiarly : OXY. Occidental Petroleum Corporation.

17. Get there : ARRIVE

20. Soccer VIPs? : MOMS. Haha, nice.

21. Source of low-alcohol wines : ASTI. A white sparkling wine produced in an area to the south of the town of Asti, in Piedmont, Italy.

23. No longer newsworthy : PASSE

27. Diet successfully : LOSE

28. Counsel : ADVISE

32. "__ Gold": Peter Fonda film : ULEE'S

35. Helper: Abbr. : ASST.

38. Lobbying gp. : PAC. Political Action Committee.

43. Modern __ : ERA. Bit of a stretch I thought.

44. Friend's pronoun : THEE. 'All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer'. Robert Owen (1771-1858).

45. "Then ..." : AND SO

46. Karate instructor : SENSEI. Japanese title of respect, used to address teachers and professionals.

49. Glued to the tube, say : RAPT

57. Shoelace protector : AGLET. We all know this by now.

60. Smack back? : EROO. Smackeroo. Also with sock- or stink-. Or more appropriately, switch.

61. It's wet in Oaxaca : AGUA. Spanish for water.

64. "The Sound of Music" quintet : OSCARS. Best director, Best film editing, Best score, Best picture, Best Sound.

66. "Awesome!" : RAD

67. Botanical junction : NODE. The point on a stem where a leaf is attached. Like this.

68. Golf commentator Pepper : DOTTIE. Did not know her.

69. Poet Lowell : AMY. Welcome back, Clear Ayes!

70. Texter's sign-off : TTYL. Talk to you later.

71. Many Miley Cyrus fans : TEENS.


1. Sends unwanted e-mail : SPAMS

2. Road sign symbol : ARROW

3. Nuclear pioneer Enrico : FERMI. Italian physicist who developed the first nuclear reactor.

4. Bible letters : EPISTLES. Twenty one epistles in the New Testament (not counting Revelation), most believed to be written by Paul.

5. Toyota __4: SUV model : RAV

6. Peruvian volcano El __ : MISTI. Again with a volcano.

7. Namely : TO WIT. "That is to say."

8. Ticketing place: Abbr. : STA. Station.

9. Danced like Bojangles Robinson : TAPPED. Remember this scene?

10. Stereotypical diner name : JOE'S. Eat at Joe's.

11. Forest choppers : AXES

12. Unit of computer memory : BYTE. Eight bits make one byte.

14. Slangy assents : YEAHS

19. Sportscaster Albert : MARV. Broad jumper. I KID!

22. Knife holder : SHEATH

25. Budgetary concern : COST

26. British art institution : TATE. Network of four art galleries in the UK (Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate Modern, and Tate St. Ives).

29. Apple touchscreen computer : I-PAD

30. Anatomical pouches : SACS

31. Return from a cave? : ECHO. Sneaky, but I nailed it.

32. Finds a purpose for : USES

33. Dangle a carrot in front of, so to speak : LURE

34. "My Country" author : EBAN. Subtitle, "The story of modern Israel." Needed perps.

36. Seek damages : SUE

37. Buffet heater : STERNO.

40. Suffix with meteor : ITIC. Meteoric rise to fame. Sometimes unexplainable.

41. Finish line indicator : TAPE.

42. Play break : ENTR'ACTE. French for "between the acts."

47. Watermelon bit : SEED

48. Magnitude : EXTENT

50. "... 'What __ boy am I!'" : A GOOD. Little Jack Horner nursery rhyme.

52. Exciting : HEADY.

53. Adrien of cosmetics : ARPEL

54. Colorful quartz : AGATE

55. Shroud city : TURIN. Shroud of Turin.

56. Lets up : EASES

57. Name on a razor : ATRA

58. Fat measure : GRAM

59. __ Luck : LADY

63. Understood : GOT

65. Heavy drinker : SOT

Answer grid.


Nov 9, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 Julian Lim

Theme: All In - TV poker. The dealer gives two face down cards to each player. They may look at their cards and a round of betting ensues.

17A. High jump technique created by 1968 Olympic gold medalist Dick: FOSBURY FLOP. Dick Fosbury would go over the bar with his back towards it. The standard method at the time was the scissors kick, Clip.(0:22) The FLOP in the poker game is when the dealer turns over three cards at one time in front of himself. All remaining players may use them in figuring their hand and decide on whether to bet or fold(drop out).

27A. K-shaped reversal on the road: THREE POINT TURN. From the left side of the road it may look like a K. Diagram. The TURN, the dealer places one more card face up and another round of betting occurs.

45A. Longest Canadian waterway: MACKENZIE RIVER. It runs north to the Beaufort Sea. Map. The River, sink or swim time, the last card the dealer exposes. One last round of betting before the remaining players show their hand.

60A. World Series of Poker Main Event no-limit game whose 2010 winner will be revealed tonight—the last words of 17-, 27- and 45-Across refer to the cards dealt between rounds of betting: TEXAS HOLD 'EM. I never heard of this game before it appeared on TV. Informal poker games usually do not have a non-playing dealer.

Argyle here.

An interesting puzzle theme. Is our constructor a gambler, I wonder. I'll bet most of us had an easy time with the puzzle with only one or two tricky crosses.


1. One who's all skin and bones : SCRAG. Not a common word but one we've had recently.

6. Talmudic scholar : RABBI, The Talmud is the primary source of Jewish religious law.

11. Attire in which to retire, briefly : PJs

14. __ donna : PRIMA. Italian: literally, first lady. The principal female singer of an opera company.

15. Startle : ALARM

16. Jay-Z's music genre : RAP

19. December 24th, e.g. : EVE. Ho, ho, ho!

20. String ensemble instrument : CELLO

21. French greeting : 'ALLO. Presumably, an approximation of the French saying the English word, hello.

22. Lumberjack's tool : SAW

23. Street shaders : ELMS

25. Some nest eggs, for short : IRAs

33. Filmdom's Farrow : MIA. Her images.

34. Leftover scraps : ORTS

35. Chilling : EERIE

36. "My Dinner With Andre" director Louis : MALLE. He worked in both French cinema and Hollywood. Passed away in 1995.

39. "__ a done deal" : IT'S

40. Victoria's lasted longer than that of any other British monarch : REIGN

41. Dahl's "Fantastic" title character : MR. FOX. Had this just yesterday; anybody suffer short-term memory loss?

42. Speak highly of : TOUT. In Sunday's puzzle.

44. Saldana of "Avatar" : ZOE. As she appeared in "Avatar". Image.

49. Puerto __ : RICO

50. Matching : SAME

51. Caribbean music : SKA

53. Eye layer : UVEA

56. Sales pitch : SPIEL

59. Candy in a dispenser : PEZ

63. Milne's "Now We __ Six" : ARE

64. Año beginning : ENERO

65. Popeye's creator : SEGAR. The cartoon, not Popeye Doyle.

66. Get __ of: discard : RID

67. Ppd. enclosures : SASEs. Prepaid self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE)

68. Utopias : EDENS


1. Sunscreen letters : SPF. Sun Protection Factor.

2. Swamp beast : CROC

3. It may be meteoric : RISE

4. Slow walker : AMBLER

5. Charles de __ : GAULLE. French President from 1959 to 1969.

6. Blu-__ Disc : RAY. For recording movies and such, until something new comes along

7. With 18-Down, sporty Italian wheels : ALFA. 18D. See 7-Down : ROMEO

8. Really good time : BALL

9. "W." star Josh : BROLIN, 2008 movie where he portrayed the American President from 2001 to 2009

10. Tariff payer : IMPORTER

11. Prepare, as a bottle launcher : PRESSURIZE

12. Jakarta's island : JAVA. Map. Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia.

13. Expel with force : SPEW

24. Perfume squirt : SPRITZ

26. Suit to __ : A TEE

27. Pageant crown : TIARA

28. Somewhat unhinged : HALF-CRAZED

29. 10th-century emperor : OTTO I

30. Comic books, e.g. : ISSUEs

31. Hardship : RIGOR

32. Maui goose : NENE

33. "That tastes great!" : "M,M,M,M!"

37. Norse trickster : LOKI. Norse mythology.

38. Does, as a task : EXECUTES

43. Speak ill of : TRASH

46. Nine-day devotion : NOVENA

47. Levy, as a tariff : IMPOSE

48. Like many Muslim women : VEILED

51. Trade easy punches : SPAR

52. Skin lotion brand : KERI

54. Spouses no more : EXes

55. River in the Bernese Alps : AARE

57. On __: nervous : EDGE

58. Far from fatty : LEAN

61. Urgent call at sea : S-O-S

62. __ Fields: cookie brand : MRS.

Answer grid.


Nov 8, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010 Neville L. Fogarty

Theme: *Astic - The first word in the four longest entries have identical ending letters.

17A. Last resort actions: DRASTIC MEASURES

27A. 2009 Clooney/Streep film based on a Roald Dahl book: FANTASTIC MR. FOX. A stop-motion animated film.

44A. Scrunchie, e.g.: ELASTIC HAIR TIE. Image.

55A. Kitschy lawn ornament: PLASTIC FLAMINGO. We had one of these that would move on to a new lawn in the middle of the night.

Argyle here.

Even with the grid-spanning entries, I still found this puzzle IFFY. I don't want to KVETCH but a few duds dull the KARMA of the whole, starting with 1A. The total word & block count are quite low for a Monday.


1. Like 20 Questions questions : YES/NO. Where is the OR? It is like saying a True/False quiz.

6. Put together, as a book : BIND

10. Ratchets (up) : AMPS. Explanation from Spinal Tap.

14. Halloween option : TREAT. Belated entry.

15. Over, in Germany : ÜBER

16. Loughlin of "90210" : LORI. Image. This TV series premiered on The CW in 2008.

20. Celery pieces : STALKS

21. Icy space streakers : COMETS. The comets are made of dirty ice.

22. "The way I see it," in online shorthand : IMO. " my opinion..."

24. Sorrow : WOE

25. __ moment: sudden realization : AHA

26. Vote against : NAY

31. Display ostentatiously : FLAUNT. Ostentatious - adj. - characterized by pretentious, showy, or vulgar display.

32. Landlord's contract : LEASE

33. Holler : YELL

34. "__ the season to be jolly ..." : 'TIS. Ho, ho, ho!

35. Soccer moms' transports : VANS

39. Malia Obama's sister : SASHA. Number two First Daughter.

42. Gripe and grouse : KVETCH

47. "One Day __ Time" : AT A. TV show, opening theme. Video

48. Pull a scam on : CON

49. Dali display, say : ART

50. Biblical beast : ASS

51. Abandon on an island : MAROON

53. Giorgio known for snazzy suits : ARMANI. And something to go with that suit: 40D. Fancy scarf : ASCOT

59. Peru's capital : LIMA

60. Message passed in class : NOTE

61. Like some gases : INERT

62. Posing no challenge : EASY

63. Glittery rock style typified by David Bowie : GLAM. Short for glamorous.

64. Lymphatic tissue masses : NODES


1. Since Jan. 1, on a financial report : YTD. Year To Date.

2. Botch something up : ERR

3. Like corn and apples : SEASONAL

4. Condé __ Publications : NAST. Condé Nast (1873 – 1942) was the founder of Condé Nast Publications, a leading American magazine publisher known for publications such as Vanity Fair and Vogue.

5. From Canada's capital : OTTAWAN

6. Water carrier : BUCKET

7. PCs from Big Blue : IBMs. International Business Machines (IBM) headquartered in Armonk, NY.The Big Blue nickname, substantiated by people who worked for IBM at the time, is the term coined by field representatives in the 1960s, and referred to the color of the mainframes IBM installed in the 1960s and early 1970s.

8. Maiden name lead-in : NÉE

9. Old Greek coin : DRACHMA. It was still in use until replaced by the Euro.

10. Former student : ALUM

11. Rita who shouted "Hey you guys!" on "The Electric Company" : MORENO. Here's the famous "Hey you guys!" sketch with Bill Cosby. Clip. (2:16)

12. Before the state's cut, as income : PRETAX

13. Actress Spacek : SISSY

18. Words of defeat : "I LOST"

19. Flies in the clouds : SOARS

22. Uncertain : IFFY

23. Masculine : MALE

25. Top poker pair : ACES

28. Oklahoma oil city : TULSA

29. Hipbone-related : ILIAC

30. Flu symptom : FEVER

34. Like a fine line : THIN

36. Reached, as goals : ATTAINED

37. Mark Harmon military TV drama : NCIS. Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

38. Women : SHEs

41. Saint Stephen's punishment for blasphemy : STONING. I had no idea there were so many depictions of this event. Painting.

42. Destiny : KARMA

43. A, B, C, D, E, or K : VITAMIN

44. And others: Latin : ET ALIA

45. '80s-'90s Anaheim Stadium NFL team : LA RAMS. Football.

46. Apollo Theater site : HARLEM. New York City.

47. More than enough : AMPLE

52. "The Star-Spangled Banner" start : "O SAY"

53. Mennen shaving lotion : AFTA

54. El __: climate pattern : NINO

56. KFC's Sanders, e.g. : COL. That finger-lickin' Colonel.

57. Univ. sr.'s exam : GRE. Graduate Record Examination (GRE), a commercially run standardized test that is an admission requirement for many graduate schools in the United States.

58. NBA tiebreakers : OTs. National Basketball Association/OverTimes.

Answer grid.


Nov 7, 2010

Sunday November 7, 2010 Verge

Theme: Placing Changes -Changing Places. Familiar two-word phrases with A-ing B structure are changed into B-ing A.

23A. Discussion about which way to go? : HEADING TALK. The base phrase is Talking Head.

33A. Sunbeam, e.g.? : IRONING BRAND. Branding Iron.

39A. Defensive karate move? : BLOCKING CHOP. Chopping Block.

56A. Identical gift container? : MATCHING BOX. Boxing Match.

64A. Bird dog's rest? : POINTING BREAK. Breaking Point.

78A. Cause of a power tool failure? : BUSHING BURN. Burning Bush. The stuff in his hand is BUSHING?

90A. Ornithologists' bird-tagging outing? : BANDING MARCH. Marching Band.

97A. Stage players taking a nap? : COUCHING CAST. Casting Couch.

114A. Music to pitch hay by? : FORKING TUNE. Tuning Fork.

Who is Verge?

Funny, I actually read the puzzle title as "Changing Places". Grokked the theme after MATCHING BOX emerged.

Quite a struggle for me. The overall cluing is a bit challenging for a Sunday. Did nail all the lovely "It" clues though:

22A. It's a sign : OMEN

109A. It's out on a limb : HAND

4D. It may be muted : AUDIO

Also great to see the full name KIM JONG-IL ( 82D. Asian leader with a degree from a university named for his father") in the grid. The "Dear Leader". Kim = "Gold" in Korean. Same character as Chinese "Gold'.


1. Mercedes line : E-CLASS. Crossing CIERA (2D. Cutlass model). Tough start for me. We also have FURY (108A. Old Plymouth). Stumper.

7. Go 12-Down : SNAP. And 12D. Wild : BALLISTIC.

11. Turns seaward : EBBS

15. Traffic : CARS. The clue does not feel complete to me. Did like the consecutive clue for TIEUPS ( 19. Jams).

20. Wooden team, once : UCLA. Not familiar with John Wooden Center.

21. Skin : PARE. Tricky verb clue.

25. Part of a shutter : SLAT

26. Galway Bay site : EIRE. Galway Bay is on the west coast of Ireland.

27. Senator Hatch : ORRIN

28. City accessible by ferry from Marseilles : ORAN. Algerian port. Not an easy clue.

29. Many virtuoso performances : SOLI. Plural of solo.

30. Prophet : AUGUR

31. Asian parting : SAYONARA. Japanese. We also have 89D. Carp from Kyoto : KOI.

36. Microbrew, maybe : ALE

37. Turkish leader : AGHA

38. __' Pea : SWEE

44. Actress Bankhead : TALLULAH. Nope. Total stranger.

49. Movement in some Bach suites : GIGUE. New word to me. Dictionary says it derives from "jig".

50. Pickled : LIT. Drunk.

51. Family nickname : SIS

52. Supporting __ : ROLE

53. Judge's decision : OVERRULED. Or "Sustained".

60. Hair removal product : NEET. NAIR too.

61. "The World Factbook" publisher : CIA

62. Spewed magma : LAVA. Hot flow-er.

63. Afternoon rest : SIESTA

68. Pre-tied tie : CLIP-ON

72. Some Spanish medals : OROS. Gold medals.

73. Gardner on screen : AVA. And ERLE (83. Gardner of fiction). Nice Gardner clecho.

74. Japanese noodle : SOBA. Often eaten cold in summer time. Delicious!

81. Had between meals : SNACKED ON

84. Pulldown beneficiary, for short : LAT. Muscles.

85. Pull someone's leg : KID

86. "Victory was not mine" : I LOST

87. Rouse again : REAWAKEN. DF clue.

94. Hit on the head : CONK

95. Ebro and Guadalquivir, por ejemplo : RIOS

96. More or less, e.g.: Abbr. : ADJ (Adjective). Nailed it.

102. Most racers, after the race : ALSO-RANS

107. Bug : ANNOY

111. Bug : NAG AT

112. Installed, as brick : LAID

113. "Dies __" : IRAE

116. Dieter's catchword : LITE

117. Authenticated: Abbr. : CERT (Certified)

118. Skyward, in Hebrew : EL AL

119. Split equally : BISECT

120. Mars, to the Greeks : ARES

121. Stevenson villain : HYDE. Jekyll's alter ego.

122. Tony winner Neuwirth : BEBE

123. Flips the "Open" sign : CLOSES


1. Group cultural values : ETHOS. Always want ETHIC.

3. "Rescue Me" star Denis : LEARY. This guy looks familiar. Don't recall his name though.

5. Sail for a downwind course : SPINNAKER. Can never remember this name.


7. Hindu spiritual manual : SUTRA. Only know "Kama Sutra". Where are you, Vidwan?

8. Frozen Four org. : NCAA. And UCONN (54. The Huskies of the 8-Down's Big East). College sports never interest me.

9. Like most cramming : ALL NIGHT

10. Bangladesh was once part of it: Abbr. : PAK (Pakistan)

11. Printer maker : EPSON

13. Indoctrinate : BRAINWASH

14. Place : SET. Can you give me a sentence where the two are interchangeable?

15. Affaire de __ : COEUR. Literally "heart" in French. Affaire de coeur = Love affair. So common in France.

16. Pablo's gal pal : AMIGA

17. Syndication staple : RERUN

18. Bergen dummy : SNERD

24. "Contract Bridge Complete" author : GOREN (Charles)

29. Afternoon "opera" : SOAP

30. Cain's victim : ABEL. And 58. Son of Sarah : ISAAC. Two Biblical references.

32. "The Louisville Lip" : ALI

34. Pi-sigma link : RHO

35. Toothpaste option : GEL

37. What lawn liming reduces : ACID. And B GON (39. Weed __: lawn-care product). Lawn clecho.

40. Unexploded : LIVE. I don't get this clue.

41. Graceful molding : OGEE

42. Short : CURT

43. Gather little by little : GLEAN

45. Hankering : URGE. Want some pickled herring.

46. High court returns : LOBS. Tennis court.

47. Very much : A LOT

48. Quadri- plus bi- : HEXA. 4 + 2 = 6.

51. Desperation guess : STAB

55. XIII x IV : LII. 13 x 4 = 52.

56. Massenet opera : MANON. Peeked at the answer sheet.

57. Hits-per-AB stats : AVGs

59. Neat ending? : NIK. Neatnik.

62. Commuter line with a Montauk Branch: Abbr. : LIRR (Long Island Rail Road). Montauk Branch means nothing to me.

64. Taro dish : POI

65. Promote in a big way : TOUT

66. "Amazing" magician : RANDI (James)

67. Actress __ Longoria Parker : EVA. Very pretty.

68. Handle holder : CBER

69. Imitation fish food : LURE. Oh, for fish. I was in the line of limitation crab/fish for people.

70. Land surrounded by agua : ISLA

71. "That was close!" : PHEW

74. Ward of "CSI: NY" : SELA

75. Sensible emanation : ODOR

76. Type of pear : BOSC

77. "Oxford Book of Eng. Verse," e.g. : ANTH (Anthology). Not a familiar reference to me.

79. Co-writer of many Eagles hits : GLENN FREY. Nope. This dude looks cool.

80. Financial security of a kind : BANK GUARD. Security guard.

81. Caesar and others : SIDS

85. Board vacancy? : KNOTHOLE. Was thinking of board of directors. Not lumber.

88. Sore : ACHY

90. Act like an ass : BRAY. Funny clue.

91. "__ for Alibi": Grafton novel : A IS

92. Nita of silents : NALDI. Classic crossword name.

93. Mdse. : GDS. Goods.

97. Lily variety : CALLA

98. Broadcasting : ON AIR

99. Confederate : UNITE

100. Programmers' output : CODES

101. Island WSW of Rhodes : CRETE. In the Aegean Sea.

102. Leg-foot link : ANKLE

103. Dustin's '69 Oscar-nominated role : RATSO. Finally saw the movie. Disturbing.
104. Flu-like symptoms : AGUES

105. 1980s-'90s NBA forward Larry : NANCE. Have never heard of this Larry. Maybe Windhover knows.

106. "The dele is off" notations : STETS

110. Many a Saudi : ARAB

113. German "I" : ICH

114. Time period that isn't always the same: Abbr. : FEB. Different days in Feb.

115. Peacock network : NBC

Answer grid.