Dec 23, 2010

Thursday December 23, 2010 John Lampkin

Theme: Seasonal puns, tipped off by a "?" in the clue. Wackiness ensues. No revealing entry in the grid.

20A. Seasonal cheeses?: SUMMER BRIES. Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts.

59A. Seasonal seasoning?: WINTER THYME. Wintertime by The Steve Miller Band.

11D. Seasonal smoked salmon?: SPRING LOX. This one puzzled me a bit as to exactly how it fits in with the theme. There are the Soo locks which open in the spring (closed in winter), and there are types of mechanical locks and latches where the bolt is driven home by a spring. Also spring lock washers. I couldn't come up with a musical connection for this like the others.

35D. Seasonal costume?: FALL GUISE. The Boys (guys) of Fall by Kenny Chesney.

Al here, with John Lampkin continuing his streak for a second Thursday in a row, talk about deja vu. Like Melissa yesterday, I saw several music tie-ins, probably unintended. As per John's style, there are clue echoes present, including one (61D) that the answer is ECHO


1. Ptolemaic constellation that is now divided into Carina (the keel), Puppis (the poop deck) and Vela (the sails): ARGO. That has to be one of the longest clue descriptions for Jason's ship, ever.

5. Utter: SHEER. Used here as an intensifier (utter delight, sheer delight), not "to say out loud".

10. Exxon forerunner: ESSO. Standard Oil, ess oh (S.O.) Along with ENCO, the combined name would have been the 4-letter EXON, but James Exon was governor of Nebraska, so to avoid problems, they added the second X.

14. Miller's product: MEAL. Cornmeal, for example, ground by a milling stone. I really wanted to put BEER instead.

15. Grade leader?: CENTI. Centigrade (100 gradients or degrees) is now called Celsius (after Swedish Astronomer Anders Celcius), because the desire for name recognition is stronger than being reasonable about having an understandable label.

16. Peak: APEX. Latin for top, peak, summit. Can be clued many ways.

17. West Point team: ARMY. U.S. Military Academy.

18A. Mountain nymph: OREAD. Tree nymph: DRYAD Water nymph: NEREID. Along with clecho 61D. Nymph who loved her own voice: ECHO.

19. Hammock support: TREE.

23. Place purveying potent pints: INN. Nice alliteration in the clue. Along with clecho 65A. Potent pints: ALES.

24. Grab from the shelves: SNAP UP.

25. Miller's salesman: LOMAN. Henry Miller's Death of a Salesman, Harry (Hap) Loman.

27. Dickens's Heep: URIAH. Also a 70's rock band.

30. Fried chicken piece: NUGGET. How they're made.

33. Klutzes: OAFS. OAF "a changeling; a foolish child left by the fairies", is related to ELF.

36. "What's cooking?" elicitor: ODOR.

38. Race with batons: RELAY.

39. Finance major's deg.: MBA. Master of Business Administration.

40. Fuming: IN A HUFF.

42. Sitcom planet: ORK. Is Mork & Mindy being rerun on some cable channel lately? It seems to be showing up a lot lately.

43. Pooped: ALL IN.

45. Con __: briskly, on scores: MOTO. Italian musical term.

46. Wheelbarrow feature: AXLE.

47. Empathize: RELATE. As in "I can relate to that".

49. Gallery events: SHOWS.

51. Troll: GNOME. Both are "earth-dwelling spirits", but not really the same. You would get an argument from someone who plays Dungeons and Dragons. Gnomes are small, usually associated with gardens (or Travelocity), and have red pointy hats. Trolls are much larger, hairier, meaner, less intelligent, and seem to densely inhabit blog comment boards.

53. Peak: TIPTOP.

57. Feathered runner: EMU. A ratite (flightless bird) Also related: ostrich, rhea, cassowary, and kiwi. Extinct species: moa and aepyornis.

62. Put down: LAID. Past tense.

64. "__ under pressure": guts, to Hemingway: GRACE.

66. Japanese soup: MISO. Has health benefits due to Omega-3 and vitamin-K content. Tastes good, too.

67. Retirement plans, informally: ROTHS. An individual retirement account, with taxes pre-paid.

68. New kids' block since 1958: LEGO. Examples of Escher structures.

69. Foreshadowing: OMEN.

70. "Cats" poet: ELIOT. T.S. Eliot, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which I'll skip any links for.

71. Musical syllables: TRAS.


1. Stockpile: AMASS.

2. Old air fare?: RERUN. Like Mork & Mindy.

3. Kind of ray emitted by a supernova: GAMMA.

4. Greek mount: OLYMPUS.

5. Venomous arachnid: SCORPION. Rock you like a hurricane.

6. It may be medicinal: HERB.

7. Nuke-testing dept.: ENER. U.S. Department of Energy.

8. Much modern business: ETAIL. Love it or hate it as a crossword answer, it's so much more convenient than trying to find a parking spot during the Christmas rush.

9. Continue the journey, oater-style: RIDE ON.

10. Corrode: EAT.

12. Dated: SEEN. Past tense of (I'm seeing her. I'm dating her.) And clecho 26D. Dating concern: AGE.

13. Paired pullers: OXEN.

21. Ger. setting: EUR. Germany, Europe.

22. Blue toon: SMURF. You'd be blue too, if there was only one female (Smurfette) in your entire village.

28. Sixth-day creation: ADAM. And all the creatures of the land.

29. Seasonal rooftop noises?: HO-HOS. I wanted HOOFS at first, but then thought it was the wrong spelling for hooves. Turns out it is a legit alternate form, but still the wrong answer.

31. British nobleman: EARL. Had to wait for perps, could have been DUKE.

32. Kid: TYKE.

33. "Rubáiyát" poet Khayyám: OMAR.

34. One-time pal of Baker and Charlie?: ABLE. Pre-1954 U.S. Navy Radio Alphabet. Replaced with the NATO phonetic alphabet: Alpha Bravo Charlie

37. Pianist Laredo: RUTH. Introduced by Van Cliburn.

40. Like trailers on the road: IN TOW.

41. Ottoman: FOOT REST. More precisely, a couch with no arms or back, for laying on, which was so-named because of the perception of Eastern (Ottoman empire) culture.

44. "At Seventeen" singer Janis: IAN.

46. Cloverleaf cover: ASPHALT.

48. Political refugee: EMIGRE.

50. Cleverness: WIT.

52. Join: ENROL. Seems odd to see only one L, but is a legit alternate spelling.

54. Tippecanoe's partner, in an 1840 campaign: TYLER. Tippecanoe (William Henry Harrison, who died shortly after being elected), and Tyler, too.

55. Last in a series: OMEGA. Last letter of the Greek alphabet.

56. Sonoran smackeroos: PESOS. Mexican Money. See? I can alliterate, too.

57. Saint with a fire: ELMO. An electrical corona plasma discharge.

58. Hurt severely: MAIM. I always hear the sequence from the old Kung-Fu TV series when I see this word: Perceive the way of nature and no force of man can harm you. Do not meet a wave head on: avoid it. You do not have to stop force: it is easier to redirect it. Learn more ways to preserve rather than destroy. Avoid rather than check. Check rather than hurt. Hurt rather than maim. Maim rather than kill. For all life is precious nor can any be replaced.

60. "Mon Oncle" director: TATI.

63. Put on: DON.

Answer grid.

Here is a fantastic Lunar Eclipse picture John Lampkin took on Tuesday. Perfect image for today's theme.