Apr 26, 2018

Update on Argyle

Hi Bloggers,

Jennifer here. Argyle would like me to update you all that he is still feeling poorly and unable to effectively control his hands in order to type on the keyboard. His hands and arms and legs are spastic. His overall health is a struggle at the moment. He is being monitored by Dr's and I am monitoring their care of our Argyle. As always he misses his work on the blog. He also enjoys the cards and notes sent from you all.

Thursday April 26 2018 Paul Coulter

Theme: Hats Off! I mean Hats On! As the reveal helps to explain:

54A. "Shut your trap!" ... and, graphically, what the circled letters do: PUT A LID ON IT!

Three kinds of headgear in the circles: HAT, CAP and TAM, each sitting atop IT in the entry beneath.

This is one of those puzzles where the theme is more incidental than central. You solve as a themeless, then go back and look to see what you missed, which, honestly to my mind, is "not much". Three three-letter circled letters atop of three "IT" two-letter pairs.

The content is pleasing, two grid-spanners, two 11's and two long 10's in the downs, but the theme fell flat for me.

That out of the way, let's see what jumps out:


1. Distribute, with "out": METE

5. Jets and Nets: TEAMS

10. Kenan's comedy cohort: KEL

13. Like crazy: A LOT

14. Street thief: MUGGER

15. Bullring "Bravo!": OLÉ

16. Tennessee River city: CHATTANOOGA. "Pardon me, boy - is that the ..."

18. Luxury hotel facility: SPA

19. Places: SITUATES. Nice word. Just missing an "O" for the vowel grand slam.

20. Migratory herring: SHAD. High in Omega-3. Whatever that means.

21. Uni- + bi-: TRI-. 

22. H.S. exam for college credit: A.P. TEST. Advanced Placement, I believe.

24. Longtime Bob Keeshan kids' character: CAPTAIN KANGAROO. Giving children frightening fashion advice since 1955.

30. Anatomical canals: ITERS. Not only is this a plural, but it also in the singular does not appear in a Google search at all - I gave up reading about nuclear reactors after at least six pages of hits. The word should not be in the puzzle in this form.

31. On the ship: ABOARD

32. Mediterranean peak: ETNA

33. Parts: ROLES

35. Actress Headey of "Game of Thrones": LENA

38. Home of college sports' Green Wave: TULANE. New Orleans school.

40. Certain tanker: OILER

41. Philatelist's pride: STAMP COLLECTION

45. Mass communication?: LITANY

46. Final: Abbr.: ULT. Ultimate? I suppose so.

47. Sounds of disgust: UGHS

48. Calming agents: ALLAYERS

53. "The Producers" screenwriter Brooks: MEL

57. Old __: PRO

58. Becomes used (to): INURES

59. Sinewy: ROPY

60. Common ID: SSN

61. Enclosed for security, in a way: GATED. Communities.

62. Choice word: ELSE. If - Or - Else.


1. Computers that may run Virtual PC: MACS. Not any more, unless you have a very old one. The Mac motherboard has an Intel chip which runs both the Mac OS and Windows. Your choice.

2. K-12: EL-HI

3. Precisely: TO A "T"

4. Famous final question: ET TU?

5. Pay attention: TUNE IN

6. Film directors' challenges: EGOS

7. Earlier: AGO

8. "A Wrinkle in Time" girl: MEG. Apparently a character in a series of novels first published in 1962. No clue. This might be a tad obscure.

9. Mme., in Madrid: SRA

10. Where to get gefilte fish: KOSHER DELI

11. Sun Bowl city: EL PASO. College Football post-season game.

12. Bring about: LEAD TO

14. Motherly start: MATRI- I've got "-archal" and "-cide". Any other offers?

17. Cheerios: TA-TAS

20. Twinkly, skywise: STARLIT

22. Muchos meses: ANOS. Many months equate to years. as long as there are at least 13 of them.

23. Links letters: PGA. Professional Golfer's Association

24. Fr. company: CIE. 

25. Court fig.: ATT. Ball boy? Umpire? Baller? No, attorney.

26. Modern Olympic event one shoots for?: PENTATHLON. You also fence, ride, run and swim. No small feat. It was originally defined as the five disciplines that a cavalry officer must be more than proficient in to be considered one of the elite.

27. Emotional wounds: TRAUMAS

28. Krypton escapee: KAL-EL. AKA "Superman", he who wears his underwear outside of his tights. Truly from another world.

29. Presidential nickname: ABE

33. Somewhat blue: RACY

34. Artist whose apartment overlooks Strawberry Fields: ONO. The real Strawberry Field is in Liverpool, England, it was the garden of a children's home near to where John Lennon grew up.

36. Prefix for movement revivals: NEO-

37. Prince Valiant's son: ARN

39. ICU staffer: LPN. 

40. Group of eight: OCTAD

41. Competitive dry spells: SLUMPS

42. Auburn or Princeton athletes: TIGERS

43. Soothed: LULLED

44. New York Harbor's __ Island: ELLIS. The Oracle head Larry Ellison's family name comes from the-then immigrants' journey through Ellis Island.

48. Bern's river: AARE

49. Auld lang syne: YORE. What? When does "Old time's sake" translate to "Past"? We should be told.

50. Carbon compound: ENOL

51. Tears: RIPS

52. Eye malady: STYE

54. Boar, e.g. PIG

55. Spanish article: UNA

56. Tsk relative: TUT

Quick in and out today - here's the grid!


Apr 25, 2018

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke

Theme:  Whatever moves you.   The second word of each 2 or 3 word theme entry indicates a descriptor for being highly motivated.  I wouldn't say they are quite synonyms, by they do have a common feel.  These are the characteristics of ambition and, with along with some luck, skill, and tenacity, success - in business, sports, music or any meaningful endeavor.

17 A. Solar power, e.g. : RENEWABLE ENERGY.  Five types are recognized: solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric. Personally, ENERGY is what gets you out of bed to face the challenges of the day.

26 A. Soul mate : KINDRED SPIRIT.  Those with similar interests and attitudes are KINDRED SPIRITS.  Soul mates are bound together more tightly than that, IMHO.  Many years ago, I wrote a sonnet about them [see below].    Personally, SPIRIT is the enthusiasm that keeps you going.


There are those whose lives are meant to be entwined,
Lovers thrust together by the force of destiny,
When choice and fate converge, that they may be
Connected at the soul, the heart, the mind.

Within their closed circumference one can find
Two curves in perfect fit -- his yang, her yin,
That in each cycle once again begin
To cluster into love's sweet spiral bind.

But consider -- if in the vast span of infinity
One of them becomes displaced in small degree;
Is born a decade late, perhaps is sent
To the farthest corner of the continent --

The distant echo of an unfelt touch, an unseen face.
Who will be the one who comes to take his place?

48 A. Heavy military barrage : ARTILLERY FIRE.  An assault using cannons, mortars, and other weaponry with greater range fire power than rifles and hand guns.  Personally, FIRE [as, in the belly] is powerful ambition and determination.

63 A. Common transmission feature : FRONT WHEEL DRIVE.  Unsurprisingly, this is a tranny system that provides power to the front wheels of a vehicle.  Personally, DRIVE is the urge, sometimes innate, to achieve a goal or satisfy a need. 

This theme is at once simple, but also possibly a bit elusive.  And there's plenty of it, with 2 grid-spanning entries and 2 more at 13 letters each.  The trade-off is more words of shorter length than is typical for a Wednesday.  The lack of a unifier mid-week is also a little strange.

Hi, gang, JazzBumpa here, somehow feeling motivated.  How about you?  Lets FIRE it up, get the SPIRIT moving, and use that ENERGY to DRIVE through today's puzzle.


1. Dull : HO-HUM.  What - bored already?  C'mon, let's keep it moving - at least as far as 20A.

6. "Stronger than dirt" cleanser : AJAX.  This is how I remember it.  [Yes, I am THAT old!]

10. PCs' "brains" : CPUSCentral Processing Units.

14. Backspace over : ERASE.  On a computer, not a typewriter.

15. Try to throw, at a rodeo : BUCK.  The highly motivated action of an unwillingly mounted animal.

16. Tall concert instrument : HARP.  One harp player I've worked with transports hers in a repurposed hearse.

20. Animal that sounds dull : BOAR.  Male hog.  Here's an insect that sounds even duller.
21. Those opposed : NAYS.  Used in voice votes.

22. Simplifies : EASES.

23. Charged particle : ION.  Formed by the transfer of an electron from one atom or molecule to another.

25. Gender problem : GAP.  The discrepancy between men and women in opportunities, status, attitudes, etc.

33. Humiliate : ABASE.  Disrespect.

34. Grand-scale poetry : EPOS.  EPIC also fits, and giving it up gave me fits.

35. It's right on the map : EAST.  Clever clue.  I like it.

38. Slo-mo reviewer : REF.  Baseball, football and hockey all have slo-motion replay reviews for close calls.

39. Inning with a stretch : SEVENTHThis tradition, however, remains unique to baseball.  

42. "Michael Collins" actor Stephen : REA.

43. Any of three 10th-century Holy Roman Emperors : OTTOThe HRE started with Charlemagne in 800 A. D. and ended with Francis II in 1806.  For several decades it was run on Otto-pilot.

Otto I [The Great] 962-973
Otto II 973-983
Otto III 996-1002

45. Jazzman Jackson : MILT.   Vibraphonist Milton "Bags" Jackson [1923-1999] was a founder of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Here is a slightly different line up.

46. Caravan stops : OASES.   Fertile desert spots, with water.

51. Exact revenge on : GET.   As in GET even.

52. Big lug : OAF.  Lout, churl.

53. Letters after thetas : IOTAS.  Not fond of this at all.  The Greek alphabet is a unique thing, as are each of the letters in it. Sure, some word could have multiple IOTAS in it, but that is not the sense of this clue. 

56. Until next time, in texts : TTYLTalk To You Later.

59. Slanted page? : OP-ED. Located Opposite to the Editorial Page.  Viewpoints are only slanted if you disagree.

66. Sportswear brand : IZOD.  Ordinary clothing adorned with an expensive alligator.

67. Lawman played by Russell and Costner : EARP.  Wyatt, of OK Corral fame.

68. Ill-fated Ford : EDSEL.  Manufactured from 1958-60.  Now a collectors item.

69. Lady Gaga's "Cheek to Cheek" duettist Bennett : TONY.  These kids are having way too much fun.

70. Helpful hints : TIPS.  Pro-tip: see if you can land a gig with Lady Gaga.

71. Virtual transaction : E-SALE.   On-line commerce.


1. Chef's flavoring : HERB.  Tasty and/or aromatic plant leaves.

2. Double Delight cookie : OREO.

3. Tennis great Mandlikova : HANA.

4. Password partners : USER IDS.  Protection for your on-line activities.

5. Litter cry : MEW.  It's the cat's meow.

6. "SOS" band : ABBA.

7. Month with fireworks : JULY.  This is what makes the 4th of July my least favorite holiday.

8. Blackjack components : ACES. Along with face cards or 10s.  Blackjack is the name of the game, but also a 2-card holding consisting of an ace, counting 11 points, along with one of the other mentioned cards, counting 10.  Other spot cards have the count of their pips.  Winner is the player who comes closest to 21 without going over, regardless of the number of cards held.

9. Vintage Jag : XKE.   Jaguar car.

10. Inexpensive brand : CHEAPIE.  Probably won't last.

11. Golf targets : PARS.  In the abstract.  PINS, the physical targets, also fits.

12. Try to convince : URGE.  In another sense, could have echoed the theme.

13. 1974 Gould/Sutherland CIA spoof : SPYS.

18. "Worst Cooks in America" judge Burrell : ANNE.  This is a thing?!?

19. Within walking distance : NEAR.  Close

24. Mine extractions : ORES.  Pay dirt.

25. Main idea : GIST.  The heart of the matter.

26. Syrup brand since 1902 : KARO. Corn syrup.  Not the same as high fructose corn syrup, which is highly processed.

27. Skeptical words : I BET.  

28. Tripartite commerce pact : NAFTA. North American Free Trade Agreement.

29. Underworld boss? : DEVIL.  No typical crime syndicate don, instead the master of Hades.

30. Be in a bee : SPELL.  Participate in a spelling contest.  I would lose.

31. Florence's __ Vecchio : PONTE.  A closed bridge over the Arno, dating to some uncertain time before the 1400's.  

32. Foot bones : TARSI.  A cluster of 7 articulating bones at the back of the foot.  Five of them connect to the metatarsals - the long bones of the foot.

36. Lifeline reader : SEER.  Fortune teller, mystic.

37. Overpower with a shock : TASE.  Use a Taser, an elecroshock gun, on someone.

40. Give off : EMIT. As light, heat, or an odor.

41. Boxer Oscar De La __ : HOYA. [b 1973] He holds dual American and Mexican citizenship.  Representing the U. S., he won an olympic gold medal in 1992.

44. Fine cotton fabric : ORGANDY. A translucent fabric that is usually stiffened and used in women's clothing.

47. Provides with, as an opportunity : AFFORDS.  From an Old English root meaning "go forth."

49. Trial : TEST.

50. Hot streak : ROLL.  Experience a prolonged spell of success or good luck.

53. "__ ain't broke ... " : IF IT.  Don't fix it.

54. Minestrone pasta : ORZO. Noodles the approximate size and shape of rice grains.

55. Snagglepuss, e.g. : TOON. Created in 1959, he was featured in a series of shorts, then became a semi-regular on the Yogi Bear Show, and also appeared in other Hanna-Barbera series.
56. Bangkok native : THAI.  From the Kingdom of Thailand. The country has always been called Mueang Thai by its citizens.  Until 1949 it was called Siam by outsiders.

57. Maryland athlete, for short : TERP.  Terrapin, for long.

58. Slangy affirmatives : YEPS.

60. Tuscan tower site : PISA. Home of the leaning tower, in Italy.

61. First name in stunts : EVEL.  Mr. Knievel [b 1938, d 2007.] Contrary to rumor, he never jumped the Grand Canyon.  His Snake River Canyon jump was a bust, both as a stunt and financially.  

62. Proofreader's "drop this" : DELE.  Delete.

64. Just out of the pool : WET.  Untoweled

65. Dead end? : DEE.  Spelt out terminal letter.  Rather a sad way to end a puzzle.

That wraps up another Wednesday. With only a couple of nits, my enthusiasm remains undampened.  Don't lose that passion, peeps!

Cool regards!

Notes from C.C.:

1) Happy Birthday to Kazie (Kay), who has been with our blog since the summer of 2008. Kay used to frequent our blog and was our authority on any French and German matter. Last time when she emailed me, she was readying for a German trip to visit her old son and family. She was also very happy that her young son was engaged.

2) Women of Letters puzzle packet is ready! All the 18 puzzles were constructed and edit by women. The constructors include: Tracy Bennett, Laura Braunstein, C.C. Burnikel, Amanda Chung, Debbie Ellerin, Gail Grabowski (today's co-constructor) Tracy Gray, Mary Lou Guizzo, Angela Olson Halsted (PuzzleGirl), Pam Amick Klawitter, Sarah Keller, Lynn Lempel, Donna S. Levin, Ruth Bloomfield Margolin, Andrea Carla Michaels, Robin Stears, and Robyn Weintraub. The editors are our own Patti Varol and Amy Reyhaldo. Deb Amlen of Wordplay initiated this project in early 2017.

To get the puzzles, please donate $10 or more to any of the charities listed in the website. Then send a copy of your receipt as proof of donation to You'll get a beautifully designed puzzle pack with all the great puzzles, answer grids and all the constructor bios.

Apr 24, 2018

Tuesday April 24, 2018 Bruce Haight

Theme: Over and Over Again

 I’ve been called up from the minors to pinch-hit for TTP who’s been standing in for Argyle (How ya doin’, Marine?). Bruce gave us a nice early-week challenge with “over” split within the theme answers – twice as O-VER and twice as OVE-R: consistent.

17. Video game preview: DEMO VERSION. No “beta” this morning.

23. Exemplary: ABOVE REPROACH.

38. Romantic jewelry item: LOVE RING. Is this really a thing?

48. Latin phrase about certain effects of alcohol: IN VINO VERITAS. (Words that Tin lives by.)

And the reveal…

59. Social sin ... and what 17-, 23-, 38- and 48-Across are guilty of?: OVER SHARING. 

 Let’s see what else Bruce has hidden in the grid for our amusement.


1. __ jacket: soldier's protection: FLAK. 

5. Reeded woodwinds: OBOES. Hello again, old friend.

10. Like some humor: WRY. Could’a been DRY – I waited for the perps to decide.

13. NASA prefix: AERO.

14. Grow fond of: WARM TO.

16. Elisabeth who played Finlay on "CSI": SHUE. She was good in the role. You may remember her as Jennifer from Back To The Future II and III. She was a little younger then, but so were we.,0,214,317_AL_.jpg

19. Window section: PANE.

20. Naturally bright: SKYLIT. My thoughts were in the intelligence vein.

21. College sr.'s test: GRE. Anyone else misread the clue and ink in SAT?

22. Elevator name: OTIS. He had his ups and downs.

27. Commercial cow: ELSIE. She’s buried in New Jersey.

30. Before, in verse: ERE.

31. Many Louvre paintings: OILS. Perhaps the most famous is the Mona Lisa. She’s hung in the Louvre for more than 200 years.

32. Columnist Maureen: DOWD. NYT readers know her well.

33. End of most work wks.: FRI. Unless you’re a homemaker...

34. Arresting image?: MUGSHOT. Tried GUMSHOE first. Don’t ask why.

37. Boxing legend: ALI.

40. "A Wrinkle in Time" director DuVernay: AVA. She was the first black woman to direct an Oscar nominated film. Here’s a short two-minute film about that.

41. Sewer entrance: MANHOLE.

43. Past its prime: OLD. CSO to moi, among others who hang out here.

44. "My turn!": I’M UP.

45. Soccer score: GOAL.

46. Mineo of film: SAL. Best known for his role in Rebel Without A Clue with James Dean.

47. Muse of memory: MNEME.

52. Johns, to Elton: LOOS. Similar to “John of London” – Elton.

53. Finish in front: WIN. I was looking for a prefix which meant “finish.” D’oh!

54. Long look: EYEFUL. 

58. Riga resident: LETT. Riga is the capital of Latvia, one of the Baltic states. Latvians are called LETTs, and a third of ‘em live in Riga. I always get those three small countries mixed up: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

62. Significant others, in modern slang: BAES. Was sure this had to be wrong. Nope. Urban Dictionary says it’s a dialectical pronunciation of “Babe.” Others claim it’s an acronym for Best At Everything. I don’t plan to use it anytime soon.

63. __ Creed: NICENE. The Apostle’s Creed is a watered down version.

64. Windy City daily, familiarly: TRIB. The famed Tribune Tower had been home to the newspaper since 1925. The Gothic spires at the top look like they belong on a cathedral. At street level the facade is decorated with 149 stones from around the world – places like the Taj Mahal, the Hagia Sofia, the Parthenon, the Great Pyramid and the Alamo. If there’s a “the” in the place name, there’s probably a stone from it in the tower. The building was recently sold. It’s to be turned into condo units.

65. Take a wrong turn, say: ERR.

66. "Spider-Man" actor Willem: DAFOE. He’s originally from Appleton, not far from where I grew up.

67. Racy Snapchat message: SEXT.


1. Passing fancies: FADS.

2. Oniony soup ingredient: LEEK. It’s an onion relative. They’re both alliums; garlic is too.

3. Military force: ARMY.

4. Powdered drink mix brand: KOOL-AID. 6. Place for mixed drinks: BAR.

5. Be a debtor of: OWE TO.

7. Surgery ctrs.: ORS.

8. Political refugee: EMIGRE. Our shores are not as welcoming as they once were.

9. Shop: STORE.

10. "Such sad news!": WHAT A SHAME! Bummer was too long.

11. Written in mystical, ancient letters: RUNIC. 

12. "Holy moly!": YEESH. I’ve heard sheesh (hiya, Jayce), but I don’t recognize yeesh.

15. Candy box size: ONE POUND.

16. Thread holders: SPOOLS.

18. Vague sense: VIBE.

24. Liveliness: VERVE. Verve records has the worlds largest jazz catalogue including the likes of Stan Getz, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.

25. Of the Great Lakes, only Ontario is smaller than it: ERIE. And it’s back again!

26. Diana of "Game of Thrones": RIGG. I remember her best as the alluring Emma Peel in the ‘60s TV series The Avengers with Patrick Macnee.

27. Mild cheese: EDAM. 

28. Kinks title woman with "a dark brown voice": LOLA. In one episode Patrick plays Basil and Diana plays Lola, “a slutty, gum-smacking, ale-swilling tart.” Those Brits have a way with the language. 

29. Campaign ad target: SWING VOTER. 

33. Naturally evolving: FOLLOW ON. Awkward.

34. Pop's __ Vanilli: MILLI.

35. Fertility clinic egg: OVUM.

36. Sticky strip: TAPE. So easy. Why couldn’t I think of it?

38. Interlibrary __: LOAN. There must be a better way to clue this.

39. Strong sound from the savanna: ROAR.

42. Raises, as a sail: HOISTS. That word always makes me think of “Hoist by one’s own petard.” After reading the explanation, I still don’t know what it means.

44. Newspaper extras: INSERTS.

46. New York lake named for a Five Nations tribe: SENECA. One of the “Finger Lakes” (Hi, Spitz and I.M.)

47. Yucatán native: MAYA. One of five major Mexican civilizations. How many of the others can you name? (Answers below)

48. "Gee!": I'LL BE.

49. Musical shortcoming: NO EAR. I have a good ear, but I can’t carry a tune. I used to play a mean phonograph, though.

50. Brightly colored: VIVID. NEON was too short.

51. Snicker: TEHEE.

55. Send packing: FIRE.

56. Computer operating system: UNIX. Created in the ‘70s by AT&T’s Bell Labs. It’s still around with several spin-off descendants.

57. Pride Month letters: LGBT. Lesbian, Gay, Bi- and Trans.

60. NBA official: REF.

61. __ Balls: Hostess treats: SNO.

The other four civilizations are Olmec, Teotihuacan, Toltec and Aztec.

With C.C.’s help, the grid will now magically appear below. Desper-otto OVER and out.

Apr 23, 2018

Monday April 23, 2018 Jeff Stillman

Theme: SANS (65A. Without ... or, as a plural, what the starts of the answers to starred clues are without?) - SAN can precede the first word of each name.
16A. *Actor who played Ché in the 1996 "Evita" movie: ANTONIO BANDERAS. San Antonio.

25A. *1990s-2000s Red Sox Hall of Fame pitcher: PEDRO MARTINEZ. San Pedro.

44. *Argentine who shared the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award with Pelé: DIEGO MARADONA. San Diego.

58. *20th-century Spanish dictator: FRANCISCO FRANCO. San Francisco.
Boomer here.  Hello everyone and happy Monday to all.  Mother Nature has finally decided it is Springtime in Minnesota, and we are able to see parts of our lawn.  Maybe golf courses will open soon?


1. Ejects, volcano-style: SPEWS.

6. Coin toss: FLIP. We lost Mr. Saunders 2 1/2 years ago. Great gopher and pretty good Timberwolves coach. 

10. Org. with a "Parliament" TV channel: BBC. I never watch although it is a selection on Direct TV.

13. Vietnam's capital: HANOI.

14. Loughlin of "Full House": LORI.

15. Hide in the soil: BURY.

19. Conked out: DIED.

20. Sign light: NEON.  Neon Deion Played for the Cowboys and Falcons and a couple other teams in a long career.  Had to believe he is currently 50 years old.

21. "Snowy" bird: EGRET. Don't regret it if you did not know this one.  I think it was Anne Murray who recorded "Snowbird".

22. Sobbed: CRIED.

24. Winter bug: FLU.  So many cases, uncomfortable.  Bad word for crossword.

32. Scratch or dent: MAR. You may MAR something if you RAM it.

34. With courage: GAMELY.

35. Actress Campbell: NEVE.  "Party of Five".

36. Leave out, as the "g" when saying "sayin'": ELIDE.

38. From __ Z: A TO. Clever little play on words to make something fit.

39. It's accessed via manholes: SEWER.  The snow is flowing swiftly through the sewers on its way to the Mississippi.

40. To boot: ALSO. I am also not a big fan of this clue.

41. End of a Seuss title about a mischievous feline: THE HAT. I actually met Mr. Ted Geisel (Dr. Suess) when I was three years old at the San Diego Library.  (My aunt Virg was a librarian there).  Of course I do not remember, but he signed my copy of "If I Ran the Zoo"

43. Good bud: BRO.  A bra for men.  Kramer called it a BRO, Mr. Costanza opted for Mansiere.

47. Rte. finder: GPS. Used by delivery drivers, but I think you can also (to boot) get one to tell you how far away the pin on the green is.

48. October birthstones: OPALS. Since I was born in October, I always know this.  Ask me any other month and forgetaboutit.

50. Tea variety: PEKOE. I've heard it called "Orange Pekoe".  Must come from Florida.

53. Extra: Abbr.: ADDL.

56. British slammer: GAOL. Pronounced "JAIL". 

61. Like small print: FINE.

62. Civil mayhem: RIOT.  "They're rioting in Africa, They're starving in Spain, There's hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain."

63. Like Machu Picchu: INCAN.

64. Explosive stuff: TNT. Channel 245 on direct TV.  They are broadcasting some NBA playoff games (which I never watch since it is BASEBALL season!)

66. Winter melodies: NOELS.  The Valero golf tournament took place from San Antonio this weekend but Ernie did not participate.


1. Roe fish: SHAD.

2. Lose it in an emergency: PANIC.

3. "Star Trek" ship: ENTERPRISE.

4. Stereotypical surfer's wagon: WOODIE. - Not just for surfers. These station wagons were family vehicles back in the late 40s and early 50s.  Notably with woodgrain paneling on the sides.

5. Pride or envy: SIN.

6. Ice sheet: FLOE. - I saw on the news that Greenland and areas north are losing 300 million tons of ice each year.  Imagine how much Scotch you could go through with that.  (Sorry Argyle).

7. Gray wolf: LOBO.  I remember Rebecca LOBO, a basketball player for UCONN, and later in the WNBA.  She was an exceptional player.

8. Persian rug source: IRAN.

9. Sticker: PIN. Nope.  This is a funny shaped White thing with a red stripe that you knock over with a bowling ball.  I thought everyone knew that.

10. 1804 duel winner: BURR.  Shot Alexander Hamilton.  I think he may have been jealous and wanted HIS picture on the ten dollar bill.

11. Scottish hillside: BRAE. No Kramer, this is not an "E" bra.

12. Skin concern: CYST.

15. "Begin the __": Cole Porter song: BEGUINE.

17. Vedic weather god: INDRA.

18. Shoulder muscle, informally: DELT. Sorry, it's called a deltoid.  Never heard it cut in half.

23. Beat by a bit: EDGE. Also a little Ford SUV.

24. Cook in deep fat: FRY.

26. Nebraska city: OMAHA. Cornhusker city north of Lincoln

27. Parking __: METER.

28. Hawaiian welcome: ALOHA.

29. Puma competitor: NEW BALANCE.

30. Perpetually: EVER.

31. Celsius freezing point: ZERO.  Beetle Bailey's Friend with no last name.

32. Honeyed drink: MEAD.

33. "__ want for Christmas ... ": ALL I.

37. Danged: DOGGONE. This is not the postal abbreviation for DOGGO, NE.  (west of Omaha)

39. "Cut that out!": STOP. Okay, no more bad puns or jokes.

41. Many corp. logos: TMS.

42. First name from which the "Adi" in Adidas is derived: ADOLF. Never knew that.  The current boss is a guy named Kasper.  Not a friendly ghost.

45. Oil gp.: OPEC.

46. 1998 Olympics city: NAGANO. In Japan - held in February of that year.

49. Tinseltown region, familiarly: SOCAL. Southern California.  I don't think they ever get snow.

50. Fizzling sound: PFFT. I can also think of other things that sound like this. Stock portfolio? Tom Brady football?

51. Ireland, in verse: ERIN.

52. German thinker Immanuel: KANT.

53. Largest continent: ASIA. Huge.  I can't even try to name all the Asian countries.

54. Anti-rodent brand: DCON.

55. Things to connect: DOTS. I remember when we used to buy these at the movie theatre.  Sometimes if it was warm, they were already connected.

57. Chaney Jr. and Sr.: LONS.

59. Tax-auditing org.: IRS. We were reprieved until April 18th this year due to a weekend and a computer foul-up.  We'll see what might happen next year with the new law.

60. __ Tin Tin: RIN. Lassie competitor in the 50s.


Note from C.C.:

Here is Boomer taking a walk yesterday. Still some ice on that lake.

Apr 22, 2018

Sunday April 22, 2018 Victor Barocas

Theme: "Number One Fan"- EGO  is hidden in the very middle each theme entry.

23. Neighbor of Montenegro: HERZEGOVINA.

34. Knew unfavorable things about: HAD THE GOODS ON.

43. Put the blame on: SCAPEGOATED.

56. In the "Other" column: UNCATEGORIZED.

67. Solving a problem boldly: CUTTING THE GORDIAN KNOT.

77. Tony Gwynn, notably: SAN DIEGO PADRE.

94. Ill-advised: MISBEGOTTEN

102. Complaint about monotony: HERE WE GO AGAIN.

117. Narcissistic trait exhibited perfectly by this puzzle's eight other longest answers: EGOCENTRISM.

In this type of hidden theme, often the hidden word span across two or more words. In today's case, we have a few one-word entries due to extra "centrism" layer.

Nice to see Victor Barocas' byline again. He's incredibly talented and self-effacing.

Left to right:

C.C., Tom Pepper, George Barany, Victor Barocas, Michael David & David Liben-Nowell. Missing David Hanson (Rosebud).


1. Jennifer Saunders Britcom: AB FAB. Absolutely Fabulous.

6. Supporting structure: TRUSS.

11. When tripled, "and so on": YADA. "Seinfeld".

15. Scandinavian language: SAMI.

19. PowerPoint unit: SLIDE.

20. Greek goddesses of the seasons: HORAE.

21. K.C. Royal, e.g.: ALER. American Leaguer. Gluey.

22. Snapchat co-founder Spiegel: EVAN. Husband of Miranda Kerr.

25. Gaiety: MERRIMENT.

27. Fleeced female: EWE.

28. Put up: ERECT.

29. Goalkeeper's success: SAVE.

30. Mournful melody: DIRGE.

31. Fleece-seeking vessel: ARGO.

37. Cabinetmaker's cylinder: DOWEL ROD. We also have 4. Carpentry tool: ADZ.

41. Obama : Bo :: FDR : __: FALA.

42. Pre-riot state: UNREST.

45. Bamm-Bamm's mom: BETTY. The Flintstones.

47. Like Chichén Itzá pyramids: MAYAN.

48. Harp constellation: LYRA.

49. Brought in: HIRED.

51. "Don't Bring Me Down" rock gp.: ELO.

54. Comparison phrase: IS TO.

60. Knuckler's lack: SPIN. R. A. Dickey was a Twin, ages ago.

63. T or F, maybe: ANS. The initial of our TTP.

65. Astronomer Hale: ALAN.

66. Japanese comics: ANIME.

73. Favorite's surprise: UPSET. Dupe with 126. Beginning: ONSET.

74. Learning method: ROTE.

75. Knee-injury initials: ACL.

76. Uncle __: BEN'S. Not BUCK.

82. Sailor's saint: ELMO.

84. U.N. worker protection gp.: ILO. International Labour Organization.

85. Normand of silents: MABEL.

86. Part of Q.E.D.: ERAT.

88. Port near Sapporo: OTARU.

92. Holy, to Henriette: SACRE. I have fond memory of this place.

96. "A Fish Called Wanda" actor: CLEESE.

99. Important pipe: MAIN.

101. German state named for a river, with "the": SAARLAND. The Saar River.

106. Audible alert: BEEP.

107. Greek marketplace: AGORA.

108. Plot measure: ACRE.

109. "Swell!": NEATO.

112. Caraway-flavored bread: RYE.

115. Exam for intellectual property lawyers: PATENT BAR. Debut entry.

120. Medical suffix: ITIS.

121. Actress Fanning: ELLE.

122. Eatery freebies: MINTS.

123. Command to attack: SIC 'EM.

124. Japanese PCs: NECS.

125. Useless, battery-wise: DEAD. Yay, my 11-year-old iPod came alive again.

127. Imitation: APERY.  Not a word I use.


1. 1975 Wimbledon champ: ASHE.

2. Botched: BLEW.

3. "Ask me anything": FIRE AWAY.

5. Wax maker: BEE.

6. "__: Ragnarok": 2017 superhero film: THOR. Chris Hemsworth.

7. Meander: ROVE.

8. Robert of "Vega$": URICH.

9. Resident of America's highest capital: SANTA FEAN. Hi there Owen!

10. Coral __: SEA.

11. Piano brand: YAMAHA.

12. Advil alternative: ALEVE. Boomer's hands sometimes have these spotty purplish spots. They often go away in a few days. His bowling buddy Don said it's due to various pain killers. Boomer had another bad fall a few weeks ago due to the stupid snow. Hurt his shoulder/elbow pretty bad. He had to take those pain killers.

13. Reduction of legal constraints, briefly: DEREG.

14. Part of ETA: Abbr.: ARR.

15. With a touch of sweetness: SEMI-DRY.

16. Opposed: AVERSE.

17. Tropical fruits: MANGOS. I once bought two mangoes that refused to ripen. Very weird.

18. What manslaughter lacks: INTENT. That would be murder.

24. Composer Telemann: GEORG.

26. Words of denial: I DON'T.

29. Mo.'s largest airport: STL.

32. Did some home maintenance: REPAINTED.

33. Narrow valleys: GLENS.

35. Pops: DAD.

36. Surpass: OUTDO.

37. Mil. award: DSM.

38. Plant also called a New Zealand yam: OCA. Still have not found these tubers in our local grocery stores.

39. Wuyi Mountains tea: OOLONG. Gimme for me.

40. It breaks in the morning: DAY.

44. Play about Capote: TRU.

45. Actress Vaccaro: BRENDA. Stranger to me.

46. Mind reader?: EEG.

49. Anaheim baseball cap feature: HALO.

50. Name dropped by TASS in 2014: ITAR.

51. Paperless periodical: E-ZINE.

52. Subpar car: LEMON.

53. "Waiting for Lefty" playwright: ODETS.

55. Earth tone: TAN.

57. Not free-range: CAGED.

58. Fled on foot: RAN.

59. Item gifted with a fountain pen: INK BOTTLE. I used to dread our calligraphy class.

60. "Pardon me, Giulia": SCUSI.

61. Post-larval: PUPAL.

62. "__ problem": IT'S NO. Tiny dupe: 68. "Lord, is __?": Matthew: IT I.

64. Dance floor flasher: STROBE.

69. What optimists don't give up: HOPE.

70. List-ending abbr.: ET AL.

71. Summer brew: ICE TEA. Or ICED TEA. Spring is finally here. Reaching 60s today. Our first 60s in five months.

72. Every one of: ALL.

78. Roast host: EMCEE.

79. Needlefish: GAR.

80. Controlling: REINING IN.

81. RN workplaces: ERS.

83. "S.W.A.T." star Shemar: MOORE. Unfamiliar to me.

87. Crunch targets: ABS.

89. Not for free: AT A PRICE.

90. Toon canine: REN.

91. Grand Forks sch.: UND. University of North Dakota.

92. One looking ahead: SEERESS. Great clue.

93. City near Lake Nasser: ASWAN.

94. Hamm of soccer: MIA.

95. Neighbor of Cameroon: GABON.

96. "Cat's in the Cradle" singer Harry: CHAPIN.

97. Papal representative: LEGATE.

98. Designed to light a fire?: EROTIC. Oh!

99. Damaged: MARRED.

100. Iron __: AGE.

103. Triangular building feature: GABLE.

104. City including the former site of a Seminole War fort: OCALA. Vowel-rich.

105. Glowing signs: NEONS.

110. Entr'__: ACTE.

111. Evaluate: TEST.

113. Flemish river: YSER.

114. One of 11 for Julia Louis-Dreyfus: EMMY.

116. Texas senator Cruz: TED.

117. Moody rock genre: EMO.

118. PreCheck org.: TSA.

119. Swindle, in slang: RIP.

I don't have any update on Argyle. I got overly optimistic last Sunday when he replied quite a few emails. Since then I have not been able to reach him. His friend Jennifer said he's doing OK and he's been using his computer. So let's hope he'll stop by the blog when he feels like it.

Thanks again for the well wishes and cards (weekly from Agnes!) you've sent to him.  And your tablet gift, D-Otto. And your ready-to-Amazon external keyboard, Anon-T.

Thank you so much for the kindness and generosity.


Apr 21, 2018

Saturday, April, 21, 2018, Daniel Nierenberg


On this National Kindergarten Day Daniel Nierenberg has provided us a very worthy test. For me, Husker Gary, this is my fourth blogging effort on a Daniel puzzle - three Saturdays and one Friday. As is my M.O. on his puzzles, I employed the hunt and peck method until the NEAT/NUBIA "N" appeared and I was done!

Now, in honor of my lifetime friend Janet who is retiring after 35 years of teaching Kindergarten, let's see what word play Daniel has for us in our literary sandbox today:


1. Classic dramatic device: FATAL FLAW - The most famous FATAL FLAW in literature?

10. Demonstration of power, perhaps: N-TEST - A-Bombs and H-Bombs are both really N-(Nuclear) Bombs. One splits nuclei and the other fuses them together 

15. Winter carnival attraction: ICE PALACE - A beautiful ICE PALACE constructed in St. Paul, MN a half-hour drive from C.C.

16. Mythical myrtle-and-roses wreath wearer: ERATO - A vowel-rich crossword veteran muse of poetry 

17. Updated "What a shame!": THAT BITES

18. Cane-carrying Mr.: MAGOO and 14. 18-Across and others: TOONS. Did Mr. Peanut enter your thoughts?

19. Country E of Cyprus: SYR - SYRIA - too much in the news

20. Marsh growth: REED.

21. Beauty aisle brand: REVLON - A childhood memory of REVLON. Do you remember the show, this woman who won the big prize and what her category was? (*Answer below the grid)

22. Virus eponym: BARR.

23. Assigns new rankings to: RESEEDS - NCAA Basketball teams are RESEEDED just before the season-ending tournament 

24. Narrow types: BIGOTS - Norman Lear's Archie Bunker made us look BIGOTRY right in the face

27. Caravan components: CAMELS

28. Parting word: ADIOS

29. 1848 classic song about an Alabama-to-Louisiana traveler: OH SUSANNA - "With a banjo on my knee"

32. Court pros: REFS - These pro REFS did not see traveling here in this exhibition game.

33. Lingerie specifications: D-CUPS - It took 33. Waiting room site: DEPOT gave me the correct cup letter

34. Hair products: GELS - Mass use

35. Uris WWII novel: BATTLE CRY 

37. Harass: BESET

38. "Help me out, bro": BE A PAL

39. Nissan compact: SENTRA

40. Actor's dream: STARDOM.

42. Cleverly planned, as a trick: NEAT - Now this is a NEAT trick!

43. Warn, in a way: HISS AT

44. Territory with a palm tree in its seal: GUAM - I did not know Guam's flag or capital

45. Onetime JFK arrival: SST

48. Like some casks: OAKEN - We BIG 10 football fans know Purdue and Indiana play for the Old OAKEN Bucket each year

49. Fate of Peter's father, in kiddie lit: RABBIT PIE - I had no memory of this sad part of the story

51. Sections: AREAS - In 2003, the CIA officially acknowledged that AREA 51 exists

52. Dell gaming brand: ALIEN WARE - At the left is the $4,900 model for serious gamers, uh, not for me

53. Barista's offering: LATTE 

54. Intimidating psychological tactics: HEAD GAMES


1. Makes sense: FITS - Oh that's where it FITS

2. Hurting: ACHY.

3. Run like the wind: TEAR - What JH kids do going to lunch

4. Liable: APT

5. Research subjects: LAB RATS - Our staff and kids were LAB RATS for "Open Concept" classrooms back in the 70's. Retrofitting was expensive after the experiment failed miserably

6. Message disseminators: FLIERS - Is that why they make windshield wipers?

7. Not as punctual: LATER 

8. Justified serious studying for: ACED - Having ACED a test is usually done by serious studying (ROTE memorizing?)

9. Former NFL receiver Welker: WES - After at least six concussions from hits like this, he has retired

10. Sinestro and Professor Zoom, in their respective universes: NEMESES - Here's one, you can google the other if you like. BTW, I'd wager that dime comic is worth a few bucks these days.

11. Tour coordinator: TRAVEL AGENT - My TRAVEL AGENT arranged my trips to Florida with the kids but she also accompanied us because once we got there, she knew I ran the show

12. Home on a high cliff, perhaps: EAGLE'S NEST -  Martin Borman's gift of The EAGLE'S NEST retreat to Hitler high in the Bavarian Alps is now a cozy restaurant 

13. Rose: STOOD.

21. Important player in the founding-of-Rome story: REMUS - He was killed by his twin Romulus and hence the name of the city is...

22. Child-raising technique?: BOOSTER SEAT - Declining the BOOSTER SEAT was a landmark for our kids

23. Rough-sounding: RASPY - Joe Cocker's RASPY rendition of  the theme of this show

24. Wire sticker: BARB - Those BARBS on wire helped change ranches into farms

25. What a raised index finger may indicate: IDEA - A more prosaic use

26. Present often mailed: GIFT BASKET

27. Lout: CHURL - I've heard of/used the adjective CHURLISH

29. "Law of parsimony" philosopher: OCCAM - Another school of thought by the co-discoverer of the DNA molecule

30. Brewer, e.g., briefly: NLER National LeaguER

31. Cinema pooch: ASTA - Nick and Nora's doggy

36. Matisse work featuring hand-holding: LA DANSE.

37. Wearing a grin: BEAMING

39. Skate home: SEABED - Talk about your masters of disguises

40. Skimboarding hazard: SHOAL - I hit a STONE at first on my figurative beach skimboard

41. Top prom wear?: TIARA - Amy's dream come true

42. Abu Simbel's region: NUBIA- The pharaonic temples then and now located in the village of Abu Simbel in the most southern Egyptian region of NUBIA

44. Severe blow: GALE - We've had them here all spring

45. Filter target: SPAM - Tons of this is made here in Fremont, NE

46. "Game of Thrones" address: SIRE - I've never seen the show but Thrones and S _ _ _ address. C'mon...

47. Screen-printing targets: TEES - With b/w TV, I never knew what the Superman TEE looked like until mom bought me one

49. Sound from a fan: RAH - Football fan

50. Lindbergh Line airline: TWA - Can you find The Lindbergh Line in two places in this picture? 

A lovely credo for National Kindergarten Day:

With all these lessons in mind, SHARE your comments, BE FAIR and PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS:


a) Show - $64,000 Question hosted by Hal March and sponsored by Revlon
b) Contestant - Psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers
c) Her category - Boxing