May 18, 2017

Thursday May 18 2017 C.C.Burnikel

Theme: Passing Lines - five different homonyms in the clues:

17A. Words requesting a pass : OPEN SESAME! The response hopefully is not a Lord of the Rings-style "Thou shalt not pass!"

21A. Words indicating a pass : NO THANKS. I'll pass.

39A. Words constituting a pass : SO, WHATS YOUR SIGN? Not a chat-up line I've ever used. I like to think the passes I've made were subtle.

55A. Words printed on a pass : ADMIT ONE. My Universal Studios annual pass just expired. I got pretty good use out of it though.

61A. Words seen in a pass : SHARP CURVE. Your Thai language lesson for the day:

Wow. This one gave me conniptions. I can't remember the last time a Thursday puzzle took me more than half an hour to git 'er done, but this one did. I had acres of white space after my first pass through.

Well now. A real challenge from C.C. but finally it all came together. The northwest was the most problematic for me, not helped by filling in DEMON at 1A . I finally saw the folly of my ways and eventually everything fell (no, was dragged (or drug)) into place. Very solid theme and some devious fill and cluing What a good crossword is all about.


1. Halloween costume that may involve a red cape and tail : SATAN. DEVIL and DEMON were my first tries. Wildly incorrect.

6. Respected men : SIRS. Yessir!

10. Banana Boat initials : SPF. Sun Protection Factor.

13. "I Fall to Pieces" singer : CLINE. Patsy. I love her voice.

14. "America's FLAVORite Frozen Beverage since 1967" : ICEE. I don't believe I've ever tried one of these. Should I put it on the bucket list?

15. Considerable age : AEON. Handy vowel sequence for constructors.

19. Apple choice : GALA. My first thought was to choose between iPad and iPod, but I held off, thankfully.

20. "Phooey!" : OH RATS!

23. Prof's aides : TA'S. Now known as Paraprofessionals.

24. Cardio chart : ECG

26. Overly : TOO

27. Team with 121 medals at the Rio Olympics : USA. Surprisingly, Great Britain came second with 67. China came in third with 70, which seems odd accounting, but GBR had more golds.

28. Throw water on : DOUSE

30. Put the kibosh on : VETO

32. Before, once : ERST. From whence "erstwhile."

36. Genetic material : RNA. _NA and wait for the crosses.

37. Cantaloupe and honeydew : MELONS

42. Infomercial staples : SPIELS

43. Tack on : ADD

44. "I almost forgot ... " : ALSO ...

45. "I'm extremely interested in squalor" speaker of literature : ESMÉ. Crosses got this for me. From a J. D. Salinger short story.

46. Ripoff : THEFT

48. "Viva __ Vegas" : LAS

49. Homer stat : RBI. C.C.'s first baseball reference for the day.

51. Camera inits. : S.L.R. Single Lens Reflex. When introduced, this type of camera allowed the photographer to see the exact same framing as would be captured on film, removing the parallax issue arising from having a separate viewfinder. I bought my first SLR many years ago, hence the research notes. I sold it when I was dead broke trying to make a living when I first left home.

52. Hrs. at Coors Field games : MDT. Denver's ballpark.

58. Childcare worker : AU PAIR. Took a while to get this. I dated a Danish au pair when I lived in London. She smoked a pipe and drank Tuborg beer in 20oz pints, which attracted a few funny looks.

60. Nullify : VOID

63. View from a pew : APSE. Nice clue for an old staple.

64. Dalí house : CASA. Spanish lesson for the day. There's a pub in north London called the "Case is Altered" which is (allegedly) a corruption of "Casa Alta", the "High House". It is on a hill, so I'm buying it.

65. Great Lakes natives : ERIES

66. That, in Tijuana : ESA

67. URL starter : HTTP. Hypertext Transfer Protocol, as we nerds all know.

68. Holding corporation that owns Kmart : SEARS


1. Get moving : SCOOT. "Scoot your buns!"

2. Dominant : ALPHA. TYPE-A got in the way of progress in this area.

3. Levels in a park : TIERS. Four tiers at Dodger Stadium. I'm going to the Rose Bowl on Sunday to see U2 playing the "Joshua Tree" tour. I bought the album when it was released 30 years ago, so I'm a tad excited. I've still got the vinyl; it's hanging on my wall next to my guitars.

4. Gunn of "Sully" : ANNA. Thank you, crosses. Enjoyed the movie.

5. Like matryoshka dolls : NESTED

6. Kim, to Khloé Kardashian : SIS

7. Offer of help : I CAN. Who can handle this for me?

8. Faraway : REMOTE

9. Take care of : SEE TO

10. It often spans decades : SAGA

11. Egg roll cooking medium : PEANUT OIL. I generally use mustard oil. Technically, you are not meant to cook with it in the US due to the fact that it contains levels of erucic acid that the powers-that-be suggest are not healthy. I'm still going strong and my doctor tells me I'm heart-healthy so ....

12. Pete Seeger's forte : FOLK SONGS

16. Rocket launcher : NASA.

18. Chaperones : ESCORTS

22. Emulate a news helicopter : HOVER. I live close to the 101 freeway, and one morning I was awoken by the sound of the hovering of two or three news helicopters. I went out on my bedroom  balcony and couldn't figure out why the morning smelt of margaritas. I turned on the news and saw that a truckload of limes had spilled on the freeway and been turned into juice as the traffic ran over them. Fun, except not so much for the commuters backed up behind the clearance crew.

25. Tries hard (for) : GUNS

29. Doctor's request : SAY AH!

31. Disney character who sings "Let It Go" : ELSA "Frozen".

32. Curved letter : ESS

33. Ali ring trademark : ROPE-A-DOPE. His technique of laying on the ropes absorbing punches to tire out the opponent, then coming at him late in the bout when tiredness set in.

34. Simply Cocoa maker : SWISS MISS

35. Other people : THEM

37. Splash guard : MUDFLAP

38. __-Cat : SNO

40. Frost advisory, e.g. : ALERT

41. Poetic paeans : ODES

46. Doughboy's helmet : TIN HAT. Actually made of steel. "Hat" is a delicate term too.

47. Peace offerings : TRUCES. The act, not the olive branch.

48. Soap brand with volcanic pumice : LAVA. Thank you, crosses.

50. Big name in kitchen appliances : BOSCH. I've got a couple of their grinders, one for coffee and the other for spices. They're great. Why two? So that my ground spices don't taste of coffee, and my morning coffee doesn't make me bust out in a sweat due to raw ground Scorpion chili contamination. Smart.

52. Two-time French Open winner Sharapova : MARIA

53. Sunken ship explorer : DIVER

54. Long lock : TRESS

56. Creative flash : IDEA

57. __ China Sea : EAST. I've sailed on the South China Sea out of Hong Kong Island. I met a Cathay Pacific airline pilot in the bar at my Kowloon hotel and he took me and a couple of colleagues out on the company yacht. Great fun. We didn't make it far enough to cross into the East China Sea though. Great lunch at a tiny seafood shack on a little isle just off Hong Kong. Four of us, a local dog, two fisherman and a cook. I really have enjoyed a lucky life. He also explained to me the 12-hour rule "Booze to Cruise" or "Bottle to Throttle" for pilots.

59. Untainted : PURE

62. Genre using speakers? : RAP. Nice clue. I like Eminem; some other hip-hop artists don't work so well for me.

Well, that's about it for me. I just need to post the grid and it's over and out! I hope you enjoyed the ride!