Mar 1, 2017

Wednesday March 1, 2017 Ed Sessa

Theme: J CREW (53D. Clothing chain ... or what the answers to starred clues comprise?) - All theme entries are well-known people with J ? initials.

17A. *U.S. Steel co-founder : J.P. MORGAN

36A. *"Whiplash" Best Supporting Actor : J. K. SIMMONS. Know him as Dr. Skoda on Law & Order.

59A. *Peter Pan creator : J. M. BARRIE

10D. *"Lost" co-creator : J. J. ABRAMS. So talented.

36D. *Retail chain founder : J. C. PENNEY

C.C. here.

Total six J's in this puzzle. This is tricky to design and fill, as I learned from my own J ? puzzle five years ago (the last one is so inconsistent!). Puzzles involved lots of J's, Q's, X'es and Z's are all challenging.

Ed's reveal is perfect and gives a solid rationale for this puzzle.  His fill is great too. None of the J's are stretched. All real words.

1. Article : ITEM

5. Die down : EBB

8. Military action toys : G I JOEs. We used to own three GI Joe style Jesse Ventura action dolls.

14. Something frowned upon : NO NO. Tiny dupe with  64. "Almost ready" : NOT YET

15. Graphic introduction? : GEO. Geographic.

16. Harm : INJURE

19. Roofer's supply : SLATES

20. "August: __ County": Meryl Streep film : OSAGE

21. Spinal column part : VERTEBRA. I used to confuse this word with VERBENA.

23. Words on a candy heart : KISS ME. Not BE MINE.

25. "CHiPs" co-star Erik : ESTRADA

27. Newspaper VIPs : EDs (Editors)

28. Crèche figure : LAMB

31. Like Parmesan cheese : AGED

32. "Didn't I tell you?" : SEE

33. Peas, for shooters : AMMO

34. Racetrack equipment : TIMERS

38. Wealthy campaign donor : FAT CAT. Thought of Bundler.

41. Picture framing materials : MATS

42. Orch. section : STR, OK, string.

45. "It's not too early to call" : I'M UP. Also got via crosses.

46. Sprain support : TAPE

47. Dove's call : COO

48. New York brewery known for its cream ale : GENESEE. Learning moment for me.

51. College choices : MAJORs

54. Turncoat : RENEGADE. Code name for President Obama.

57. "Pardon me," in Palermo : SCUSI. Or SCUSA.

58. Singer Warwick : DIONNE

61. "Imagine so" : I GUESS

62. Bird on Australia's coat of arms : EMU

63. Some celebs have delicate ones : EGOS

65. Dollop : DAB

66. Took off : WENT


1. Humor for a select few : IN JOKES. To avoid the IN dupe, INS. is clued as (35. MetLife's business: Abbr.). Insurance.

2. On the open deck : TOPSIDE. Also got via crosses.

3. All together : EN MASSE

4. Classic music synthesizers : MOOGS

5. __ McMuffin : EGG. 86-year-old Warren Buffett goes to McDonald's for breakfast every morning. This lady is 105 years old, and she eats bacon every day. So what's the secret to long life?

6. Cleaver nickname : BEAV

7. Talus or radius : BONE

8. Central points : GISTS

9. Small bay : INLET

11. Serious injustice : OUTRAGE

12. What may be charged for books? : E-READER. Nice clue.

13. French possessive : SES. We also have 29. Bordeaux buddy : AMI

18. Sleep acronym : REM

22. Pickett's Charge soldier : REB (Rebels)

24. Nightmare loc. of film : ELM ST

26. Website pop-ups, e.g. : ADs

30. Matriarchal nickname : MOMMA

33. Wanted poster initials : AKA

34. __ pole : TOTEM

37. AAA handout : MAP

38. Newton fruit : FIG

39. Explorer Vespucci for whom the New World was named : AMERIGO. Chinese characters for United States is below, literally "Beautiful Country".

40. Turn a deaf ear to : TUNE OUT

42. Cause of calamity : SCOURGE. Another great word.

43. Twisting force : TORSION

44. Most cheerful : ROSIEST

46. Twinings product : TEA. Some tea bags can be toxic. Drink loose tea.

49. Sixth __ : SENSE

50. Cast out : EGEST

52. Simile words : AS A

55. Played mixes at mixers, briefly : DJ'ED

56. Jane Austen novel : EMMA

58. Racket : DIN

60. Mac : BUB

Two crossword notes:

1) The 40th American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (March 24-26, 2017) will be held at the Stamford Marriott in Stamford, Connecticut. For those who attend, I hope you won't miss the Cru Dinner organized by the great Mike Alpern. Always makes me smile to see the Crossword Pope.

The Cru Dinner officially kicks off the tournament and is a great opportunity to meet with constructors and fellow solvers. And as a newbie, you'll always get a welcome gift! The space is limited, so be sure to contact with Mike ( as soon as possible.

Not sure if Rich competes this year. He was absent last year.
Rich Norris, Mike & Kim,  ACPT, 2008

2) A few days left to sign up for Peter Gordon's 2017-18 Fireball Newsflash Crosswords. You get 20 puzzles from the master for $7. As I mentioned last year, Fireball Newsflash are mostly of LAT Tuesday level difficulty. Every puzzle features super fresh entries and fun clues.

3) Happy 90-year old birthday to Jean, a long-time crossword solver. Her local paper in Fargo carries LAT crosswords, and she solves it every day.