May 1, 2020

Friday, May 1, 2020, Jeffrey Wechsler

Title: Y did we wait so long?

It is May Day as well as being a new month. WhiteRabbit. After an absence, our all-time Friday puzzle maker is back. Jeffrey has offered a traditional add-a-letter for humor theme. The letter is "Y." To which all I can say is Y Not? Of course, there are always added layers to his work. 1) Each vowel in the word to which the Y is added changes its sound from short to long. 2) The first two change the "I", the next two change a "U."  3) The first two have the change in the beginning of the phrase, the next two in the last word. And he continues to stuff the grid with much sparkly fill. APROPOS, CLEAVER,  FLORIST, HOSTESS, SOMALIA, TIME LAG, HAIRINESS, and LIMEWATER which makes its LAT debut.

18A. Escargot gatherer's bounty?: SLIMY PICKINGS (13). Escargot is snails and they really do leave a slimy trail as they travel. They also make a loud pop when you step on one after heavy rain.

21. Harvest worker needing a bath?: THE GRIMY REAPER (14). A bit of a downer clue both before and after the Y.

40A. Much ado about nothing?: ARTIFICIAL FUR(14). Jeffrey sneaks in a Shakespeare reference. The Fur has led to an odd SUBCULTURE.

44A. Successful gem seeker's cry?: THERE'S THE RUBY (13).
More Shakespeare, the original comes from Hamlet. "To die, to sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there's the rub.

On that note, on to the rest.

1. Declare: ASSERT.

7. Domestic power connection, briefly: AC PLUG. Alternating current. DISCUSS.

13. Large envelope: MAILER. I think Boomer's stream of conscious comments have gotten to me. How else can I explain this?

14. One working on arrangements: FLORIST. This fooled me the first time I saw it.

15. Feature of communication with space probes: TIME LAG. I leave this topic for HG to explain better but will give you all this LINK.

17. Relevant: APROPOS. A morphed word from the French. 
20. Quebec neighbor: MAINE. A CSO  to Hahtoolah and our Canadian readers.

30. Chewbacca trait: HAIRINESS.

31. Club usually numbered: IRON. A CSO for our Golfers, Big Easy, Husker Gary and so many more.

33. Frisée is its curly variety: ENDIVE. I am not a fan.

34. Digestive aid: SALIVA. I need whenever I eat any type of endive.

36. Your alternative: ONE'S.

37. Flavored thirst quencher: LIMEWATER. This is an aqueous solution of slaked lime, used in medicine, antacids, and lotions, and to absorb carbon dioxide from the air. Nothing to do with the lime juice and water my wife gives me in the morning.

43. Study aids: NOTES.

52. Butcher's staple: CLEAVER. I am not keen on this choice, but I guess it related to the usage of a regular and important part or feature of something. The black dress was an enduring staple of Diana’s wardrobe.

54. Horn of Africa country: SOMALIA. Traditional Somali food is determined by a socioeconomic context. In a nomadic settlement, camel or goat meat and camel or cow milk are common staples.

55. Little Debbie competitor: HOSTESS. The showdown.

56. Blinker, e.g.: SIGNAL. Which almost no one in Florida uses.

57. Many a Sunday magazine: INSERT.

58. Kindly: PLEASE. Let's go to the downs.


1. Tsp. and tbsp.: AMTS. All abbreviated measures.

2. Sloop feature: SAIL. This is a one-masted sailboat with a fore-and-aft mainsail and a jib. Or...

3. __ Valley, Calif.: SIMI. Home of the Reagen library. A cost of living index above 100 means Simi Valley, California is more expensive. Simi Valley's cost of living is 149.9, almost 50% higher.

4. Pre-K follower: ELEM. I do not care for the fill, nor the clue. Kindergarten follows Pre-k.

5. Be dependent: RELY. A negative way to look at it.

6. Kisser: TRAP. Shut your trap or I will bust you in the kisser!

7. Type of skiing: ALPINE. Would you like to learn? Visit Montana (hi Darlene) or try THESE.

8. Natural light refractor: CORNEA. CSO to me.

9. Sophisticated rock genre, briefly: PROGressive.
Progressive rock (often shortened to prog or prog rock) is a form of rock music that evolved in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility."

10. Kissers: LIPS. See above.

11. It offered soldiers Hope: Abbr.: USO. Just prior to the onset of America’s involvement in World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to unite several service associations into one organization to lift the morale of our military and nourish support on the home front. Those entities – the Salvation Army, Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association, National Catholic Community Services, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board - became the United Service Organizations or, the USO.

12. Some hot rods: GTS. GranTurisimos.

14. Muslim ascetics: FAKIRS. A Muslim religious ascetic or religious mendicant, especially one who performs feats of magic or endurance. Origin of fakir. From Arabic faqīr.

16. Easy putt, in casual golf: GIMME. I can hear all the players practicing.

19. Low isles: CAYS. A cay (also spelled key; both pronounced alike as "key" English pronunciation: /kiː/) is a small, low island consisting mostly of sand or coral and situated on top of a coral reef. The English word cay comes from the Spanish word cayo and this from the Taíno word cayo meaning "small island". Go visit Cay West.

21. Religious prefix: THEOHISTORY.

22. Big-name in animation: HANNA. More than you ever wanted to know about the Hanna-Barbera legacy.

23. Down for a pillow: EIDER. Somehow this makes perfect sense next to...

24. Mill fill: GRIST. This is the grain that is ground to make flour.

25. Snake or Gila: Abbr.: RIVer.

26. Analogue for -like: INE. The fun part is that this suffix has two distinct pronunciations. LINK. Unless you are British or maybe Canadian? Eh?

27. Rice dish: PILAF. Not in my house. We have jasmine rice, sweet rice, sticky rice, and blue rice.

28. Verdi baritone aria: ERI TU. Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) is an 1859 opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi.

29. Relative of Fido: ROVER.

32. "You ain't gwyne to drink a drop--__ single drop": Twain: NARY. I am unfamiliar with the passage, though I have read HUCKLEBERRY FINN many times.

34. Word with lion or horse: SEA. Oo's mother's great-great-grandson's name translates to SEA.

35. Leather punch: AWL. A well-timed CSO to

37. Gallon's 3.785: LITERS. Almost another Canadian CSO, but spelled wrong.

38. Summer treats: ICES. Not for our missing Tinbeni.

39. They may drift over valleys: MISTS.

41. "You have some crust!": I NEVER. Well! I never! I hear Groucho Marx telling Margaret Dumont, "With your face, you never will!"

42. It may have many ashes: FOREST. A slight misdirection.

44. Nickname for Esther: TESS. I did not know: Tess is a given name, typically a diminutive form of Theresa or Esther.

45. __-watch: continue viewing a show you no longer like: HATE.
I have not heard of this term to watch (a television program) for the sake of the enjoyment one derives from mocking or criticizing it. It makes no sense to me.

46. ICU or ER site: HOSP.ital.

47. Expressionist painter Nolde: EMIL. My only UNKNOWN.

48. All the __: popular: RAGE.

49. Radius neighbor: ULNA. Arm bones.

50. Slant: BIAS.

51. School since 1701: YALE. It has a long HISTORY if you want to read up.

52. X as in Xerxes: CHI. It is all Greek to me.

53. Chaney of film: LON. There have been two. The father born LEONIDAS  and his son Creighton, who became LON Chaney Jr.

How nice to start the new month and the gradual return to business with a 66 word !?! puzzle from Jeffrey. Be careful, be safe. lemonade, not out in hibernation.