Jul 23, 2015

Thursday, July 23, 2015 Gareth Bain

Theme: "AYYYYY!" A two-fer-one. (See 20-A)

17. Cats' request on seeing birds through the window? : LET US PREY. This one made me smile. Now I know why they put their little paws together whenever they see a bird outside.

25. Attention-getting craze? : HEY FEVER. Like Willie Mays, the Say HEY kid?

41. Ottoman ruler's pier? : THE DOCK OF THE BEY. I guess Mos Def's real name of Yasiin BEY would have been too obscure to use for this entry, huh?

52. "L.A. Law" actress' work period? : DEY SHIFT. This one doesn't really work for me - it should be "DEY's Shift."

66. Optimistic Spanish ruler? : REY OF HOPE. If you don't know your Spanish, this could have been a toughie.

I caught onto the theme right away, so the puzzle was pretty much solved left-to-right, top-to-bottom.


1. Pros handling returns : CPAs.

5. Nos. that affect connecting flights : ETAs. I wonder if a CPA's GPA would affect the ETA of your IRA?

9. Like dry mud on cleats : CAKED.

14. 1979 DownBeat Hall of Fame inductee, familiarly : ELLA. The great Fitzgerald.

15. Beer ingredient : MALT.

16. "Spider-Man" director : RAIMI.

19. Brother of Miriam : AARON. Could also have been Moses.

20. Obeyed the doctor : SAID "AH".

21. Romp : PLAY.

23. Suffix with Capri : OTE. A Capriote is an inhabitant of Capri.

24. Actress Kunis : MILA.

27. "Bravo, señor!" : OLE.

29. "Blah blah blah": Abbr. : ETC.

31. Bavarian article : EIN.

32. Kid-lit detective __ the Great : NATE.

34. Speck : IOTA.

37. Dangerous bacterium : STAPH.

44. Senate Finance Committee chair Hatch : ORRIN.

45. Sundance's gal : ETTA. Place.

46. Like Gen. Powell : RET'D.

47. Storm, on the Beaufort scale : TEN. An empirical scale that relates observed conditions to wind speed.

49. iTunes purchase : APP.

51. Sign of success : VEEVictory. Or two. Or peace.

57. California's __ Valley: Reagan Library site : SIMI.

59. Porter, e.g. : ALE.

60. Wind with a wide range : OBOE.

61. __-Dazs : HÄAGEN. Real ice cream, but totally bogus name.

64. Choir platform : RISER.

68. Taboos : NO-NOs.

69. Banjo spot : KNEE.

70. Tennis edge : AD IN. After deuce (a tie score of 3 each), a player must be up by two points to win the game. So if the server is up by one point, (s)he has the "AD" vantage "IN" his/her court, since if they win the next point, they would win the game.

71. Ring setting : STONE.

72. Proverbs : SAWS.

73. Trim on a curtain : LACE.


1. Animation units : CELS.

2. Court entry : PLEA.

3. Skydiving device : ALTIMETER.

4. Riyadh native : SAUDI.

5. No-nonsense : EMPHATIC.

6. Stuff on the street : TAR.

7. Hebrew alphabet opener : ALEPH.

8. Topic for Strunk and White : STYLE. Pay $9.99 for the paperback, or read "Elements of Style" online for free.

9. Ingredient in the stew étouffée : CRAYFISH. I wonder what CREY FISH would be? "Crey" is slang for crazy, I think.

10. Financial rating : AAA.

11. Russian ballet name : KIROV.

12. Act badly? : EMOTE.

13. Eatery with its own lingo : DINER.

18. Fire __ : SALE.

22. "'Tis true!" : AYE.

26. Put in a log : ENTER.

27. Savvy about : ON TO.

28. Portrayer of a big scaredy-cat : LAHR. The cowardly lion in "The Wizard of Oz."

30. Soft drink choice : COKE.

33. Works on books : EDITS.

35. Elmo fan : TOT.

36. Old Spice rival : AFTA.

38. Sal Tessio portrayer in "The Godfather" : ABE VIGODA.

39. Folk icon Seeger : PETE.

40. Stevenson villain : HYDE.

42. Podunk-like : ONE HORSE.

43. Footwear for the Step Brothers : TAP SHOES. I never heard of these guys, but the answer could be intuited.

48. Penpoint : NIB.

50. "La Vie en Rose" chanteuse : PIAF. It was the signature song for Édith.

52. Fixes, as a heel, perhaps : DARNS. I know women who have married a heel, thinking they could fix him. Never works.

53. "Middlemarch" novelist : ELIOT.

54. Easy kind of question : YES/NO.

55. Where roads divide : FORKS.

56. Singer __ Marie : TEENA. Lots of singers today, it seems.

58. Taj __ : MAHAL.

62. Bigger than big : EPIC.

63. Hawaiian goose : NENE. We now know what they look like, right?

65. It's quite a stretch : EON. I know, I know - but I am almost done.

67. Source of pliable wood : YEW. See? I told YEW it would soon end.

That's it from me for now!

Jul 22, 2015

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 Tom McCoy

Theme: The Deion Sanders Shout-Out

The first word of each theme entry is a prime number, the second word is a period of time. This actually is a blecho from Argyle's blog on Monday ("Not ready for prime time") which is kinda neat.

16A. *It classifies ancient times based on metals : THREE AGE SYSTEM. A very rare cluing misstep here. The three ages are the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Spot the one that isn't a metal. The basis for the system is the material used to make tools.

31A. *Typical worker's break : TWO DAY WEEKEND. Theme entry odd-man out here - the third word of this entry is also a time period, which seems a shame to me.

44A. *Possible reason for marriage counseling : SEVEN YEAR ITCH. And the best possible excuse for posting this iconic image of Tom Ewell from the movie of that name. I'm not sure who the scene-stealing actress in the dress was.

62A.*Justification for eating food that's fallen on the ground : FIVE SECOND RULE. Also depends on where you dropped it, whether anyone has trodden on it, and whether you  have to fight the dog for it.

and the reveal entries:

69A. With 70-Across, prized programming slot ... or a hint to the first two parts of the answers to starred clues : PRIME

70A. See 69-Across : TIME

Merry Wednesday, everyone. Steve here with an unusual 14x16 grid from Tom McCoy. I liked the theme a lot, with the exception of the "WEEKEND" entry comprising two time periods, rather than a single one like the rest. That's my minor nit. Your mileage may vary. This is Tom's second LAT publication, the last one ("MERCURY") sparked a lot of debate here at the Corner.

I'm assuming that the grid dimensions came about due to difficulty finding an acceptable fill around the 63 theme squares - that's quite an impressive number for a midweek puzzle. I tried to fill a 15x15 grid for fun, but the SE and South-Central section with "PRIME" and "TIME" turned out to be a problem. At this point I'd have thrown in the towel, but kudos to Tom for resizing the grid and delivering a really fun Wednesday.

I remember reading that as late as the early twentieth century, the number 1 was considered to be prime, but that apparently made a mess of some mathematical theories so it was quietly dropped and swept under the rug. Poor digit. That leaves these four as the first four primes.

Righty-ho. Let's see what else we've got:


1. Place for Lightning and Hurricanes : RINK. Respectively, Tampa Bay and Carolina of the NHL

5. Confederate soldiers : GRAYS. I finally remembered how to spell "gray" in US English. Yay!

10. "It's okay, I guess" : MEH

13. Sign : OMEN

14. Screen dot : PIXEL. My laptop has got almost two million of the little blighters.My first computer had eight or so. Or was it two?

15. "Rumble in the Jungle" fighter : ALI. The classic Ali vs. Foreman fight. Ali, the challenger, knocked out the previously-undefeated Foreman for the Heavyweight title.

19. Ancient volume : CODEX. I learned this when I read "The Da Vinci Code". Shame that I filled it in as "CODEC" when my computerese-brain got in the way.

20. Passports, licenses, etc. : IDS

21. "Egad!" : OH NO! Eek!

22. Itty bit : TAD

24. "Green Eggs and Ham" opening : I AM SAM. I've never read this. Perhaps I should.

26. Toward the back : ASTERN

30. Jamaican export : RUM. Cheers! Myers is probably the best-known variety.

36. Seals with pitch : TARS. I'd have gone for a "sailor" type clue here, being as RUM is right next door.

37. Some drafts : ALES. Cheers! Tinbeni's happy today.

38. Frightful cry : EEK! Egad!

40. Fitting : APT

41. Cone droppers : FIRS

43. Where Georgia is : ASIA. An ex-member of the Soviet Union. Here's the flag, I don't recall ever seeing it before:

48. Fictional planet : ORK. Birthplace of Mork.

49. Go downhill : WORSEN

50. "The Kiss" and "The Thinker" : RODINS. Both sculptures by the good Monsieur Auguste. There are three versions of "The Kiss" which are sculpted in marble, and more than 20 of "The Thinker", which are cast in bronze.

53. Soup veggie : PEA. Food! I make mine with a smoked ham hock thrown in for flavor and seasoning.

54. Many a miniseries : EPIC

55. Spoil : MAR

57. Obedience school item : LEASH

65. Genetic info carrier : R.N.A. Compare and contrast with D.N.A. Fill in the "NA" and wait for the crosses.

66. Like Cheerios : OATEN

67. "Paradise Lost" character : ADAM

68. Hankering : YEN


1. Military prep prog. : R.O.T.C. The Reserve Officer's Training Program.

2. Texter's qualifier : IMHO. In my humble opinion, this now qualifies as crosswordese.

3. Stereotypical sci-fi fan : NERD

4. Joint where kids are welcome? : KNEE. Nice clue!

5. A D will usually lower it: Abbr. : G.P.A.

6. Unbending : RIGID

7. Took a hatchet to : AXED

8. "You got that right!" : YESSIREE! Egads! Eek! Quite a few "exclamations" in the puzzle today.

9. Wily : SLY

10. Trig or calc, to a Brit : MATHS. Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezy for me. I was surprised to discover that this word has never been used (in the modern era at least) in either the LAT or the NYT crosswords.

11. Colleague of Antonin and Anthony : ELENA. The crosses filled this one in for me, so it's only now I look back and wonder where this came from. All Supreme Court Judges, thank you Google. Wow - and it's only Wednesday? Argyle called it on Monday expecting some unexpected hurdles during the week.

12. Call-home opener : HI MOM! Popular stadium sign text too.

17. Not needed : EXTRA

18. French river to the English Channel : SOMME. I had the "S" so SEINE went in, then quickly came out.

23. "__ more bright ideas?" : ANY

25. Arctic divers : AUKS

26. "__ girl!" : ATTA

27. Cashless deals : SWAPS. Does anyone swap things at a swap meet any more? I think it's all cash. C.C? (From C.C.: Mostly cash. And I do swap things with others at the flea market.)

28. Rich dessert : TORTE. Food! Gimme. As in, gimme more torte.

29. Newspaper figs. : EDS. Rich Norris is our favorite editor.

32. On the lookout : WARY

33. Otherwise : ELSE

34. Stacks like Tupperware : NESTS. Because "teeters uncontrollably in a cupboard with a collection of mismatched lids which cascade on your head when you open aforesaid cupboard" doesn't fit.

35. Unfreeze : DE-ICE

39. Madeline of "Clue" : KAHN. Thank you, crosses. It's very rare that I can fill in an actor without help.

41. Seedless plant : FERN

42. Lefty's writing concern : INK SMEAR. My brother is left-handed. I wanted to tease his writing style when we were kids, but he's two years older than me and he would have done unspeakable things to me. So I kept quiet.

43. __ Jordan : AIR

45. Give expression to : VOICE

46. Stun : AWE

47. Willy Wonka creator Dahl : ROALD. Why on earth for a brief couple of seconds did I think his name was RAOUL and was confused that it wouldn't fit?

50. Prepare beans, Mexican-style : REFRY

51. Weigh in : OPINE

52. Backless sofa : DIVAN

53. Introduction : PROEM. Brand-new to me, and therefore my personal word of the day. Introduction to a book written by the author. I thought it would crop up more due to the convenient vowel progression, but it was last seen in the LAT crossword back in 2008.

56. When Tony sings "Maria" : ACT I. Saving my music link to the end. Worth every saved second.

58. Q.E.D. word : ERAT

59. BMW rival : AUDI

60. Shut angrily : SLAM

61. Iron-rich blood pigment : HEME

63. Bread, at times : SOP

64. Hershey-to-Scranton dir. : NNE. From Chocolatetown, USA to the Electric City.

And .... the grid. See my word of the day the last to fill.


Notes from C.C.:

1) Congrats to TTP on his retirement! Now he'll have plenty of time to improve his golf and cooking skills. So nice to have you back, pal.

2) Last night Jazzbumpa (Ron) sent me this lovely picture of him and his grandkids. Nate has grown up! Ron said that Nate's team went to the Cal Ripken tournament at Myrtle Beach after this picture was taken and Nate pitched the last couple innings in their last game.

In front: Samantha, Emily and Nate.
Behind: Danny, Alexa, me, Amanda, Ryan.

July 2, 2015

Jul 21, 2015

Tuesday, July 21 2015, Daniel Nierenberg

Theme: Spread 'em. Words for edible spreads are s-p-r-e-a-d across the theme answers.

17. Betrayal : DOUBLE CROSS. Oleo.

23. Mailroom device : POSTAGE METER. Pate.

37. Sandstone, for one : SEDIMENTARY ROCK. Mayo. Impressive - can you think of any other phrase in which to hide MAYO? 

49. Old West reward seeker : BOUNTY HUNTER. Butter.

61. Enthusiastic smorgasbord words ... and hint to this puzzle's circled letters : WHAT A SPREAD

Mostly a quick solve with a few exceptions. If it weren't for the circles I would never have found the hidden "spreads." Very cleverly done. 

Melissa here. I am playing ketchup after being out of town for girls weekend (I relish the thought). I apologize to olive you, these are the wurst puns ever. Surely you can do butter than this. 


1. Barroom fisticuffs : BRAWL

6. Triangular pelvic bones : SACRA. Tricky plural form unless you've seen it recently. 

11. Soldier under Stonewall Jackson : REB. "Johnny Reb" was the term for the rank-and-file confederate soldier.

14. YouTube upload : VIDEO. See above :).

15. Code of conduct : ETHIC

16. Hustle and bustle : ADO

19. Spiky plant part that sticks to your clothes : BUR. To dogs, too. Interesting story about the inspiration of Velcro.

20. Pilfers : STEALS

21. Pen filler : INK

22. Clock front : FACE

26. "Yay!" : YIPPEE

28. Beaver's structure : DAM

29. Old Opry network : TNN. Grand 'Ole Opry stage.

30. Minimum-range tide : NEAP

33. Uses lidocaine on : NUMBS

41. Damaged layer : OZONE

42. Dreamcast game console developer : SEGA

43. Questionnaire choice, in Bordeaux : OUI. Yes.

44. Swiss landscape feature : ALP. Next girls weekend?

46. B-flat equivalent : A SHARP

54. Frosty coating : RIME. Who knew there was a rime festival?

55. Back-row bowling pin : TEN

56. Nome home : ALASKA. I was thinking gnome at first. That's different.

60. Mass vestment : ALB

63. Neckline shape : VEE

64. Driver's invitation : HOP IN

65. Canada's official tree : MAPLE

66. Be human, so they say : ERR

67. Initial appearance : ONSET

68. Plural diminutive suffix : ETTES


1. Brand of skivvies : BVD'S

2. Civil uprising : RIOT

3. Both players in unison, musically : ADUE. Needed perps. Italian word, pronounced ah doo-ey. Literally meaning "by two." In French, it is 
 à deux.

4. Program running in a browser, informally : WEB APP

5. Lounge about, in British dialect : LOLLOP. Umm ... what? Okay this is my new favorite word. Listen to the British vs. American pronunciation.

6. "Be with you in a __" : SEC. Later. As soon as I finish lolloping.

7. Sun-brightened lobbies : ATRIA

8. Cheech's buddy : CHONG

9. Took a chance on : RISKED

10. Bldg. coolers : AC'S. 

11. Capital of Morocco : RABAT. I never remember this.

12. Bring out : EDUCE. Or this.

13. Hole-making insect : BORER. One who bores. I know a few.

18. Reputed Dead Sea Scrolls writer : ESSENE. Such a fascinating discovery (scroll down page to see pictures of the ruins).

22. Longest human bone : FEMUR

24. Cold temperatures : TEENS

25. Loads of : MANY. 

26. Santa __ Valley: wine region in which "Sideways" was set : YNEZ. Only a few Santa _ _ _ _ possibilities.

27. Prefix with European : INDO

29. Chinese menu general : TSO

31. Had breakfast : ATE

32. Missionary's concern : PAGAN. Nice clue.

34. Keep from floating away : MOOR. Perps, please.

35. Bra size : B CUP

36. Glide on snow : SKI

38. Foolish : INANE

39. Soften, as sorbet : MELT

40. Dreadlocks wearers : RASTAS. No dreads, but if you close your eyes ...

45. "Monty __ and the Holy Grail" : PYTHON. Just a flesh wound.

47. "I need another pair of hands, please" : HELP ME. See above.

48. Where Noah landed : ARARAT. Turkey.

49. Gutsy : BRAVE. I read gusty. That's different.

50. Petroleum transporter : OILER

51. "Raw" pigment : UMBER

52. Jalopies : HEAPS

53. Set free : UNTIE. I guess. I will set free my shoes at the end of the day.

57. Pennant race mo. : SEPT. Baseball, I presume.

58. Leafy green : KALE

59. Fruity drinks : ADES

61. Investigator's pronoun : WHO

62. Tiny tunneler : ANT. Cute.


Notes from C.C.:

1) Please click here for a few pictures from Melissa's Girls Weekend outing in Bodega Bay, the city where hitchcock's "the birds" was filmed. Melissa further said that "... our limo driver stopped on the way back from our winery tours to see the church and schoolhouse used in the movie. The gentleman on the steps of the church was on holiday from the UK, crossing off landmarks to see from his 'bucket list.'"
2) Victor Barocas, the talented NYT/LAT constructor and the self-effacing editor behind our annual Minnesota Crossword Tournament, has launched a Kickstarter to "write a series of mysteries in which the detective gets help from solving a series of crosswords, and the solver does the crosswords along with the detective". Please click here for details on Victor's Ada Cross, Crossword Detective. I hope you can back his project.