Dec 31, 2010

LA Times Daily Crossword 2010 Info

Below is some interesting data from Rich Norris, editor of LA Times Daily Crossword.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Rich for his daily entertainment, education & V8 moments. His dedication, professionalism and care for his solvers are beyond expectations.

C.C.

"It's a summary of who did what in the world of LAT puzzles this year.

* We published 109 different constructors in 2010: 91 men, 18 women.

* The women averaged nearly 3 puzzles each. The men averaged nearly 3.5 puzzles each.

* 25 constructors made their LAT debut in 2010.

* The top 10% of constructors accounted for more than 40% of the puzzles.

* 52 constructors were published only once.

Here are the top 10 (12 including ties) constructors for the year with the number of published puzzles for each:

Dan Naddor, 30; John Lampkin, 18; Donna Levin, 16; Don Gagliardo, 15; Barry Silk, 15; Gareth Bain, 11; Jeff Chen, 11; Jack McInturff, 9; Mike Peluso, 9; Gail Grabowski, 8; James Sajdak, 8; Bruce Venzke, 8.

The top Sunday constructors were John Lampkin, 8; Don Gagliardo, 5; Pam Klawitter, 4; Dan Naddor, 3.

To all our constructors, my deepest gratitude and appreciation.

To our bloggers and blog readers, thanks for your wonderful and insightful comments, and for keeping us on our toes!

Happy holidays to all!

Rich Norris"

Addendum:

I'd also like to share this great data sheet from JimmyB, who has meticulously kept a record of the names of constructors and the time it took him to solve each puzzle (Monday to Saturday) since March 23, 2009 when most of the papers were switched to LA Times crossword.

You can click either the LAT 2010 & LAT All button at the bottom of the page to read his complete list. Thanks for sharing, Jim!

Friday December 31, 2010 Gareth Bain

Theme: No SAINTS (STs) Allowed: The abbreviation for Saint (ST) is removed from the first word of a common two-word phrase to reveal a new and humorous two-word phrase.

17A. Conger's protection?: EEL HELMET. STEEL HELMET. Cute pun, but I did not remember this species of eels so it did not fall quickly.

26A. Tracker of bauxite thieves?: ORE DETECTIVE. STORE DETECTIVE. This is where I got going, as Bauxite is the ore from which aluminum is extracted.

43A. Roadie, after a gig?: AMP COLLECTOR. STAMP COLLECTOR. A nice reminder of the days riding on a tour bus, watching the roadies load and unload from city to city.

58A. Diamond oration?: UMP SPEECH. STUMP SPEECH. The term is from the literal delivery of political speeches while standing on a sawed off tree to allow the candidate to be seen and heard.

The unifier: 41D. Hardly a model of perfection, and a hint to how this puzzle's theme puns are derived : NO SAINT.

Lemonade here, and I found the theme easily, without the unifier, and all the answers are nice symmetrical 9 12 12 9 with the unifier adding 7 more letters. I liked each of the puns, with AMP COLLECTOR my favorite; overall this was the hardest puzzle for me that I have blogged. It is however a nice honor to prepare the final blog of 2010.

Across:

1. Blows: BOPS. Man was this corner a struggle for me; I know a BOP where you strike someone is a BLOW, but BLOW was so many meanings. Down Lois and Carol. This crossing with BEECH did not help.

5. Open some: AJAR. Whew, an easy one.

9. "The Remains of the Day" author __ Ishiguro: KAZUO. Followed by more difficulty, for while I recalled the wonderful movie version starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, I did not have any memory of this transplanted Japanese AUTHOR .

14. Sweeping story: EPIC. My FAVORITE .

15. Like some walls: BARE. Well that is depressing.

16. Collectively: IN ALL.

19. Figured (out), slangily: DOPED. Yes, we all doped out this answer, though wouldn’t slang been enough?

20. __-Magnon man: CRO. This is no longer a politically correct term, as scientists now believe the skeletons which were found in this region, and so named, are sufficiently like we HOMO SAPIENS to be called EMH, Early Modern Human.

21. '60s quartet member: MAMA. And the biggest of them all MAMA CASS.

22. Times for cool heads: CRISES. Yes, they prevailed when my computer was fighting me earlier.

23. 6 7/8, e.g.: HAT SIZE. I wear a 7 ½ which would be okay except I am pretty short. Of course some of us will speculate on body correlations, but that cannot be helped. I am sure there are research volunteers.

25. __ Age: IRON. I could not think of any other four letter ages, ICE, STONE, BRONZE?

31. Latin Quarter site: PARIS. This area on the left bank of the SEINE got its name not from any Hispanic influence, but because it is the educational center of Paris where reading, understanding Latin was important.

34. Soup vegetable: LEEK. A cousin of the onion and garlic.

35. "X-ing" one: PED. Pedestrian crossing, a cross walk. Jaywalking is taken very seriously in parts of the country, as a result drivers must brake to allow people to cross if they are in a designated area. Muhammed Ali almost ran me down in his Rolls while I was at LAX.

36. Space-saving abbr.: ET AL. My law use of the week. When you sue a bunch of people, you have to list all of them in the initial complaint. The part with the names is the caption. Once the original is filed, e.g., Lemonade vs. Dennis, Windhover, Barry G., Jeannie, Sallie and Dodo, the later pleadings will all be Lemonade vs. Dennis et al.

37. Seriously impairs: MAIMS. Yes, maiming is a specific crime, defined as injure, disable, or disfigure, usually by depriving of the use of a limb or other part of the body.

39. Loud, ringing sound: BONG. Am I the only one who thought of Michael Phelps?

40. Barnyard male: TOM. Tom Turkey? Tom Cat?

41. Lofgren of the E Street Band: NILS. He has played his GUITAR with Springsteen and Neil Young among others.

42. Flooded field: PADDY. Rice can be grown on dry land, but most of it is done underwater, in paddies.

47. Sailing, say: ASEA.

48. Alluring tops: HALTERS. Is this what you thought of for this style TOP.

52. Sign with an arrow: ONE WAY. I love this clue, so simple, but very visual.

55. Like falling off a log: EASY. A simile that always puzzled me as a child, because it is hard to get on a log.

56. Snap: PIC. Does anyone call them snaps anymore?

57. Alp-Öhi's granddaughter in an 1880 novel: HEIDI. Never read the book, but I have a close friend with the name.

60. Dum-dum: MORON. You may not know this, but this was a valid psychology term to describe mild retardation, but obviously, it has fallen out of favor. But you can still take the TEST .

61. Hook's mate: SMEE. Man, my first thoughts crook and ladder, luckily they had too many letters.

62. Appear: SEEM.

63. Hägar's dog: SNERT. Snot Nosed Egotistical Rude Teen.

64. Event with gowns: BALL. I wanted Prom.

65. __ buco: OSSO. Literally bone with a hole, the veal shank.

Okay, suck it up we are halfway home.

Down:

1. Tree with edible nuts: BEECH. There were so many, Pecan also has 4 letters.

2. "What's __, Doc?": Classic "Looney Tunes" short: OPERA. Cartoons give us so much CULTURE , of course I could tell my Pavarotti bird joke again.

3. Joystick user: PILOT. Too many video games around me for this to be as easy as it really was.

4. Univ., e.g.: SCH.

5. Burning: ABLAZE. The class A word.

6. Improvised, in a way: JAMMED. A shout out for our own JzB, the tremulous trombonist.

7. Zone: AREA.

8. Soak flax: RET. I never heard of this process of using water and the organisms to break down the fiber in flax.

9. "Devil Without a Cause" musician: KID ROCK. Be careful of the lyrics in this VIDEO .

10. Baptize with oil: ANOINT. There was lots of anointing in the bible, but I did not associate it with baptism.

11. Sci-fi effects: ZAPS. Pretty tame now that we have CG.

12. Fonda title role: ULEE. The gold was in the honey, honey.

13. Cutlass maker: OLDS. We have a zillion different ways to clue this car maker, now dead and defunct.

18. Mideast bigwigs: EMIRS.

22. First Nations members: CREES. We just had Cree but there is so much more to the indigenous of CANADA .

24. Muddy: SOIL. Oh I get it, MUDDY as a verb, not an adjective.

25. News __: ITEM.

27. Beethoven dedicatee: ELISE. Lots of this and Eroica these days.

28. Product with earbuds: IPOD. Amazing how Apple has dominated so much electronics.

29. Push, so to speak: VEND. Street vendors as pushers? Seems harsh.

30. Avant-garde: EDGY. Oh perfect for the students in the Latin Quarter.

31. Org. where fur doesn't fly?: PETA. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, often forgetting we too are animals.

32. Splitting it releases energy: ATOM. More bombs.

33. Modeling milieu: RAMP. Runway, not clay.

37. Cyrus who plays Hannah Montana: MILEY. She is studying the Lindsay Lohan from child star to slut handbook.

38. __ breve: ALLA. Musical terminology for which I will defer to out musicians

39. One of TV's Mavericks: BART. Jack Kelly; James Garner as Bret and Roger Moore as cousin Beau.

42. Sea anemone, e.g.: POLYP.

44. Macbeth's thanedom before he became king: CAWDOR. Another very difficult name to remember; his patch before he had a kingdom, his feudal lordship.

45. Vegas drive-through: CHAPEL.

46. Fez feature: TASSEL. Has anyone seen BURLESQUE ?

49. Blunted swords: EPEES.

50. Prepares potatoes, in a way: RICES. We get rice twice, it’s nice.

51. Jerk: SCHMO. I see SCHMOs as more harmless than jerks.

52. Resistance units: OHMS.

53. Its atomic number is 10: NEON.

54. Name on some neutral WWII ships: EIRE.

55. Jane Austen opus: EMMA.

58. PC port for a flash drive: USB.Universal Serial Bus.

59. Spanish pronoun: ESO. Like the song says…

Answer grid.

Well another year in the record books, and my first as an organized contributor, I want to thank C.C., Rich, all the great constructors and all of you who have been here and who comment regularly or once in a while. Happy and wonderful new year for all and special wishes to those who need them.

Lemonade out, see you next year….

Dec 30, 2010

Thursday December 30, 2010 Kelsey Blakley

Theme: 1A. Squish: MASHed up city names. The middle city name uses parts of the end of the first city name and the beginning of the last city name without adding any extra letters. Of all the cities presented, Pierre, SD and Annapolis, MD, and Concord NH are the only ones that are state capitals.

20A. Iowa/Arizona/Maryland tri-city area?: AMES ANNAPOLIS. AMES MESA ANNAPOLIS.

32A. Washington/Georgia/ New Hampshire tri-city area?: TACOMA CONCORD. TACOMA MACON CONCORD.

40A. South Dakota/Nevada/ Virginia tri-city area?: PIERRE NORFOLK. PIERRE RENO NORFOLK.

55A. California/Alaska/ Tennessee tri-city area?: FRESNO MEMPHIS.

Al here.

What a puzzle. I can't imagine what it must have taken to get all four theme entries to all be 13 letters each with overlapping names, and then fit them symmetrically into a grid with eight other non-theme answers having 9 to 10 letters in them, and 6 of them crossing 3 theme entries each.

I needed the short ones today just to get enough traction to get started. The crossing of Narz and Lai was just a guess, and the NW and SE corners did not come easily. Lots of music again today.

ACROSS:

5. Flintstone word: DABBA. Yabba dabba doo. Song written and performed by Hoagy Carmichael on the show.

10. Bairn, e.g.: SCOT. Scottish for baby.

14. Pick of the litter?: ALPO. (Dog food) Trademark applied for by Alpo circa 1985: IT'S THE PICK OF VETERINARIANS AND THE PICK OF THE LITTER

15. Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie __": AMOUR.

16. Horse around: PLAY.

17. Zoo retreat: LAIR. The root is in "lie", as "to lie down".

18. Red and yellow but not green: WARM COLORS. This had me thinking about sea names at first.

22. Sing like Slim Clark: YODEL. Not my favorite kind of music, but hey, to each their own. I had never heard of him, but with a name similar to Slim Whitman, it had to be yodeling.

23. Cut from the staff: AXE.

24. Arterial implant: STENT. A rigid tube implanted to hold a (weakened) passageway open.

27. "__ Town Too": 1981 hit: HER. James Taylor.

29. The Concord Sage's monogram: RWE. Ralph Waldo Emerson.

31. My __, Vietnam: LAI. The mass murder conducted by a unit of the U.S. Army on March 16, 1968 of 347–504 unarmed citizens in South Vietnam, all of whom were civilians and a majority of whom were women, children (including babies) and elderly people. While 26 U.S. soldiers were initially charged with criminal offenses for their actions at My Lai, only William Calley was convicted. He served only three years of an original life sentence, spent on house arrest.

36. K-12: EL-HI. Elementary - High School.

38. It may be precious: METAL.

39. Percolate: OOZE. I don't usually think of upwards percolation, but it does happen, and can cause sinkholes.

43. Like some outlet mall mdse.: IRR. Irregular.

44. Quite a long time: EON.

45. Announcer Hall: EDD. Replaced Ed McMahon on the Tonight Show after Johnny Carson retired and Jay Leno took over.

46. Alberta natives: CREES.

48. Anesthesiologists' work sites, briefly: ORS. Had to wait to see whether it would be ERs.

51. Neapolitan song starter: O SOLE. Mio.

58. Soldier who has completed most of his tour of duty: SHORT TIMER. Or an employee who has given two week's notice. Just wishful thinking these days.

60. Drops off: EBBS.

61. Saarinen who designed the Gateway Arch: EERO.

62. Even a little: AT ALL.

63. Passed-down tales: LORE. Related to "learn".

64. Skating maneuver: AXEL. Named for Norwegian figure skater Axel Paulsen.

65. Broadway matchmaker: YENTE. Fiddler on the Roof.

66. Oven cleaner chemicals: LYES. Also Butane, Monoethanolamine, Diethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether, and Diethanolamine. Wear a mask and don't breathe any of the vapors...

DOWN:

1. Asia's __ Peninsula: MALAY. Southwest of Vietnam.

2. 2007 Enterprise acquisition: ALAMO. (Rent-a-car companies) Enterprise's slogan: "We'll pick you up."

3. Spotted: SPIED.

4. Paintbrush material: HORSE HAIR. Also sable, squirrel, hog, ox, and goat.

5. Become clear to, with "on": DAWN. It took a while for this answer to, um, come to mind.

6. Radarange maker: AMANA. Now owned by Whirlpool.

7. Cleansing agent: BORAX. Anti-microbial, basic pH, buffer, dispersant. But also toxic, especially if ingested, so use it carefully if you choose to do so.

8. Crash course vehicle?: BUMPER CAR.

9. Not pizzicato: ARCO. Return to the usual smooth method of play.

10. Cheerleader's feat: SPLIT. Ouch!

11. More than a glance: CLOSE LOOK.

12. Crew tool: OAR.

13. Cobb et al.: TYS.

19. "The Daily Planet" reporter: OLSEN. Jimmy, Superman's pal.

21. Pianist Templeton: ALEC. Composer, satirist, popularizer of classical music with a jazz feel. Also blind. Died in 1963, and yet there's a Youtube clip...

25. '70s "Concentration" host Jack: NARZ. Former daytime game show host. Needed all perps for this.

26. Ocean phenomenon: TIDE. From Old English tid, a marking unit of time, in the sense of high water time. To "tide you over" is the sense of "to carry, as the tide does". Also tidings, as news, carried on the tide.

28. Lover boy: ROMEO. Always with the male bias. Why isn't there a term for a lover girl called Juliet?

30. Stout hero Nero: WOLFE. Rex Stout, but as played by Robert Conrad, also stout in stature.

32. Start of a conclusion: THEREFORE. Good play on words for the clue.

33. Anabaptist denomination: MENNONITE. All I got out of researching this was they believed in baptizing adults, not babies, then I lost interest.

34. "From __ Zinc": vitamin slogan: A TO. Centrum brand. Do your own research, but you won't catch me taking these.

35. Time to bundle up: COLD SPELL.

36. Like some proportions: EPIC.

37. NYC commuter line: LIRR. Long Island Rail Road.

41. Odometer button: RESET.

42. Blue Moon of '60s-'70s baseball: ODOM. Apparently was round-faced as a child, he got the nickname in grade school from a friend, Joe Morris.

47. Swashbuckler Flynn: ERROL. I can never remember if this is ERROL or EROLL.

49. __ candle: ROMAN. Fireworks, because scented doesn't fit.

50. Silver fish: SMELT. I remember these. Three scoopfuls with a net to fill a wash bucket, 10 minutes tops. Two hours driving round trip. Hours and hours cleaning and bagging to freeze. Pan-fried in oil with flour, salt, and pepper. They were good, but I was kind of glad the run only happened once per year.

52. "Whoopee!": OH BOY.

53. Vers __: free verse: LIBRE. French.

54. Switchback features: ESSES. Hilly roads.

56. Layover: STAY.

57. Contemporary of Rex and Agatha: ERLE. Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, Erle Stanley Gardner. Mystery/murder writers.

58. Something fishy: SEA. Until about 2048 or even sooner, unless commercial fishing is controlled and dumping garbage is stopped.

59. Give the evil eye: HEX. Both hag and hex are shortenings of the same words in Old English: hægtesse or Old High German hagazussa.

Answer Grid.

Al

Dec 29, 2010

Wednesday December 29, 2010 Gary Cee

Theme: After our discussion on themes yesterday, and despite other temptations, Eye-yi-yi, I'll just go with the unifier, EYE OPENER. For the asterisked clues, the first word of a common two-word answer can precede the word "EYE," yielding a totally different type of two-word phrase. Lots of times these are RIB TICKLERS, but today they're pretty straight forward.

17A. *Unquestioning devotion : BLIND FAITH. Belief in something, in the absence of evidence, or even disregarding contrary evidence. Don't get me started. BLIND EYE: What the devotee turns to the imperfections of the object of his devotion.

63A. *Knee-slapper : RIB TICKLER. An amusing joke or story that gets your ribs moving with a series of tee-hees. RIB EYE: A boneless, well-marbled steak, cut from the top of a standing rib roast. Cf. 23 D!

10D. *Pitchers and tumblers : GLASS WARE. The clue defines them very well. Vessels made of glass, suitable for transporting libations to and from the table, and thence to the lips. GLASS EYE. A non-functional ocular prosthesis: an artificial EYE made of GLASS, the best material for this application. Sammy Davis Jr. had one. Since I'm an EYE GLASS WEARER, I was tempted to go with the childhood taunt "FOUR EYES" for the theme, but, alas, "EYE" only shows up once - in the unifier.

34D. *Like treatment for visiting dignitaries : RED CARPET. It is literally rolled out for heads of state, and at gala celebrity events. Less formally, it indicates giving someone an unusually high level of hospitality. RED EYE: An overnight flight from point A to point B, implying discomfort and lack of sleep, hence the RED EYES. Probably not the usual means of transportation for someone about to walk the RED CARPET.

And, of course, the unifier, 38 A. A 5- or 40-Down ... or what the start of each answer to a starred clue can be : EYE OPENER. This has a few different meanings. The first is a startling revelation that gets one to see something in a new and unanticipated way. (Those with unquestioning devotion are immune.) The second is an alcoholic drink consumed early in the day, presumable to get one up and at 'em. Third, the stimulants in 5 and 40D. But, here, it also uses a common cross-word trope to cleverly indicate that the beginning of each theme answer can precede "EYE."

The below two entries are symmetrically & related to the theme:

5D. Joe's stimulant : CAFFEINE. A bitter tasting crystalline xanthine alkaloid which occurs in the beans, leaves, and fruits of some plants, notably coffee, aka JOE.

40D. Smoker's stimulant : NICOTINE. Another plant alkaloid, found in the nightshade family, and another clecho! It is what causes tobacco addiction.

Hi gang, It's JazzBumpa, with a tumbler of ginger ale at my elbow. Glenkinchie will come a little later. I don't recognize Gary Cee's byline. This puzzle was a lot of fun, and seemed pretty fresh to me, despite a few common entries. I've been anticipating AGLET for a long time, but don't recall seeing it in a puzzle before. The pinwheel theme answer arrangement is uncommon, as is placing the unifier in the center of the grid intersecting other theme answers.

Across:

1. Sound return : ECHO. I was thinking of investment returns. Now I have my eye open for clechoes!

5. Suspension bridge support : CABLE. Here is an example I get to drive across going to and from visiting my mother.

10. Obtain forcibly : GRAB

14. Miller, for one : BEER. I thought it would be a teller of a Canterbury Tale. But the miller was drunk, so it kind of fits.

15. Shoelace tip : AGLET. For some odd reason, I love this word. "Mom, they're tying the whole world together!"

16. Stubbs of the Four Tops : LEVI. News to me. But he might have just what you need.

19. Scored 100 on : ACED. Perfect!

20. Bozo : GOOF. Or a clown.

21. "When the smog clears in California, UCLA," e.g. : PUN. Sheesh. I read right through this and didn't get it.

22. Hitchcock title : SIR. Good night! I didn't know that. Nice misdirection for the director.

23. Dice-rolling game : YAHTZEE. I haven't played this game in years, and don't recall liking it very much.

26. The King or Prince : POP STAR. A royally clever clue. I think we had Jacko, the King of Pop not too long ago. Prince is the artist formerly known as "The artist Formerly known As Prince," which makes him the once and future Prince, I suppose. Never was a big fan of either. Feel free to provide links in comments.

29. Repugnant reaction : UGH. Not now. I just took a sip of the Glenkinchie!

30. Pound sounds : YIPS. Rhyme time for puppy noises.

32. Treatment plant input : SEWAGE. Now -- UGH!

33. Tie up, in a way : MOOR. I have no idea why this caused me a problem. Maybe our boaters can explain the origin if this word.

35. Home of Duke U. : N CAR. The Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill region of North Carolina, a beautiful part of the world with a lot of traffic. Note Abrv. n Cl. & Ans.

37. Looks bad, comparatively : PALES. Someone or something can PALE in comparison. But - no politics - moving right along . . .

41. Parisian daily, with "Le" : MONDE. Lucky guess. No idea where in Le Monde it came from.

44. Singer Amos : TORI. Never paid any attention to her. Here is a song for the season.

45. Latin 101 verb : ESSE. Stock fill.

49. Signs into law : ENACTS. Rumor has it that making law is like making sausage. If you won't ask, I won't tell.

51. Pool room supply : RACK. It's that triangle-shaped thingie that you put all the balls into, then take away so you can hit them.

53. Amigo : PAL. That's right friendly!

54. Reaches : ATTAINS. I always like it in those old westerns when the bad guy pulls out his gun and says, "Attain the sky."

56. Chesapeake Bay city : NORFOLK. Just across the James River is Hampton, where my step son Tom used to live. Now, home is in FLA, and he should be back there by Friday.

58. Televise : AIR. Hmmm. Don't they also AIR radio broadcasts? And 36D. Aired again : RERAN. Is it a clecho if the clue echoes an earlier answer, or just an inelegance?

59. Physicians' org. : AMA. The American Medical Association. Note Abrv.

61. Precisely : TO A "T." Sometimes it's just a "T" and sometimes it's a "TEE." Either way, the origin is disputed.

62. Fall : DROP. I always think of the stock market drop in the FALL of '29.

67. Green climber : VINE.

68. Title owner of a sitcom bookstore : ELLEN. Beats me. I haven't watched sit-coms in 30 years.

69. Homeland of the folk-singing Clancy Brothers : EIRE. Always need perp help to decide between EIRE and ERIN.

70. Two out of three, say : MOST. Is the GLASSWARE MOST full or MOST empty?

71. Teacher's directive : SEE ME. It means (s)he wants to talk. Hope it's something you want to hear.

72. Pringles-like Lay's product : STAX. I really cannot understand what justifies the existence of the Pringle, let alone a competitive product from a company that makes real chips.

Down

1. Flow back : EBB. Like the tide.

2. Place to see Bugs? : CEL. Gary got me here. A CEL is a transparent sheet that animation figures are drawn on. CEL is derived from celluloid, a plastic made from cellulose. Today, the CEL is a relic, due to CGI.

3. Dwarfs' song : HEIGH-HO. Spelling this was a guess. Disney stopped using CELS in 1990, but this was long before.

4. Self-contradictory afterthought : OR NOT. I'm never sure if I should say this, OR NOT.

6. Turkish authority : AGA. If you can't do it, the AGA KAHN.

7. Plane, in a control tower : BLIP. On a radar screen.

8. Relax : LET UP. Or ease up, stop applying so much pressure.

9. Cultural group : ETHNOS. Per the Free Dictionary, "people of the same race or nationality who share a distinctive culture."

11. Conservatory event : RECITAL. Typically a solo musical performance by a singer or instrumentalist.

12. Like Joe? : AVERAGE. He just an average Joe - but he's also a clecho!

13. Bridge action : BID. The action is an auction, and the players get to bid for the contract. Suits me!

18. Half asleep : DOZY. Pretty much the same thing as DROWSY.

23. "De-lish!" : YUM. RIB EYE, anyone?

24. Gone by: AGO. Long ago, in a galaxie far, far away . . .

25. Theme park acronym : EPCOT. Disney's "Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow." I can never remember that.

27. Toon Le Pew : PEPE. An amorous pole cat with an accent.

28. Hi-__ graphics : RES. For good pictures of THINGS!

31. Flavor : SAPOR. I think we've been disconcerted in the past by SAPID. This looks like the root of all SAPIDITY. SAPOR is the quality of a substance to produce flavor. A hungry insomniac might want a saporific soporific to get DOZY.

39. Bigfoot cousin : YETI. A very distant cousin, since bigfoot is from North America, and the Yeti lives in the Himalayas. Though sometimes he can be found in a CEL with Bugs.

41. "Give __ holler!" : ME A. Give me an "H" . . . That's not very good. My bad. I mean ME A CULPA.

42. Province bordering four Great Lakes : ONTARIO. One of the lakes has the same name. Which Great Lake does it not touch?

43. League of __ : NATIONS. "Distinguished gentlemen" wouldn't fit.

46. What a "Me and My Shadow" singer might be : SPOTLIT. In the lime light, so to speak. Here we have the star of yesterday's theme and the man with a glass eye.

47. Mineo in movies : SAL. He was a singer, too

48. Mountain lion prey : ELK. Pretty ambitious snack, if you ask me, but probably a lot of YUM!

50. Catches : SNARES. Or some drums.

52. Ray who said, "It requires a certain kind of mind to see beauty in a hamburger bun" : KROC. Ray Kroc founded McDonald's. To him I say, "That's a crock!"

55. The parenthesis in :-) : SMILE. Your basic emoticon.

57. Counterfeits : FAKES. We call them ERSATZ.

60. Competent : ABLE. Having a useful skill. One of Adam's sons was competent. The other was ABEL.

62. Pet physician's deg. : DVM. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Note Abrvs. They do not belong to the AMA.

64. Pro __: for now : TEM. Like a committee, PRO TEM, usually set up for a single purpose and dissolved when the task is complete.

65. Pitcher's stat : ERA. 'Nother Abrv. Earned Run Average.

66. Oscar winner Harrison : REX. He was a fair lady's man.

Answer grid.


That was fun and interesting. Hope you liked it too.

Cheers!

JzB

Note from C.C.:

Today we remember Dan Naddor, who passed away last year today. Dan gave us total 30 puzzles in 2010, according to Rich's LAT info, which will be published here this coming Friday.

Dec 28, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010 Ed Sessa

Theme: A few words from the Chairman of the Board - The starred clues (I hope you had starred clues) end in homophones of Frank Sinatra's trademark scat.

17A. *Amount of money to pay: BALANCE DUE

24A. *Beach Boys hit with the line "the first mate, he got drunk": "SLOOP JOHN B"

30A. *Shaggy's dog: SCOOBY DOO

44A. *Aggressive African swarmer: KILLER BEE

50A. *Drops on the grass: MORNING DEW

62A. Trademark Sinatra lyric heard at the ends of the answers to starred clues: DO BE DO BE DO

Argyle here. Let's start with a couple of songs. Strangers in the Night(2:46) and Sloop John B.(3:00)

This seems like a bono fide Tuesday level puzzle for a change. I thought it was cute having ARREARS(21A) under BALANCE DUE(17A). Also, the SAY "BOO!"(29A) in front of SCOOBY DOO(30A). Scooby is a real 'fraidy cat, for a dog.

Well, better set to work; now that the wind has died down, there will be more shoveling to do. Plus, I want to find out what twinight is!

Across

1. Six-pack muscles : ABs

4. Gets to fit : ADAPTS

10. Farm country mail rtes. : RFDs. Rural Free Delivery.

14. Prefix with light or night : TWI. It seems a few of you already know TWInight. Baseball – adjective. Pertaining to or noting a doubleheader in which the first game begins late in the afternoon and the second in the evening under lights.

15. Cap'n Crunch, e.g. : CEREAL

16. Skin care brand : OLAY. That would be OIL of OLAY. 35D. Word with pan or paint : OIL

19. Rock group : BAND

20. Popular tattoo spot : ANKLE

21. Amount of money that should have been paid : ARREARS

23. "Divine Secrets of the __ Sisterhood" : YAYA. I understand it is a good film. I haven't seen it. It is based on a novel written by Rebecca Wells.

27. Chinese chairman : MAO. Oh, the other chairman.

29. "__ to the flu": vaccination slogan : SAY BOO

36. Muslim mystic : SUFI. From Arabic sufiy, literally: (man) of wool, from suf wool; probably from the ascetic's woollen garments.

37. Swiss peak : ALP

38. Supporter of Boris Godunov, say : TSARIST. Boris Godunov is a Russian opera based on a real ruler whose career began at the court of Ivan the Terrible. Boris Badenov is a fictional character and much more well known.

41. French article : LES

42. Reindeer herder : LAPP

46. Beethoven's Third : EROICA. Third what? 3rd symphony in E flat major (Op. 55), and we've seen it a lot lately.

49. Lumberjack's tool : AXE

54. Slop eaters : HOGS

58. Dovetailed, in carpentry : TENONED. Not right. Splynter, explain the difference.

59. "Stifle yourself!" : "CAN IT!". Thought of Archie Bunker? I did.

60. Ring match : BOUT

64. Latin moon : LUNA

65. Shady Records co-founder : EMINEM

66. Always, rarely or never: Abbr. : ADV.. They are all ADVerbs.

67. Theater section : TIER

68. Begins, as work : SETS TO

69. Caustic substance : LYE

Down:

1. Cornered : AT BAY

2. Master, in Swahili : BWANA. Call Me Bwana.(1:08)

3. Velvety smooth : SILKY. Granted they are both smooth but interchangeable?

4. Spots in high school? : ACNE

5. New Year's Eve mo. : DEC.

6. "It's been __ pleasure" : A REAL

7. California's San __ Bay : PEDRO. Port district of Los Angeles.

8. Bull: Pref. : TAURO

9. Goes to the land of Nod : SLEEPS

10. Scotch cocktails : ROB ROYs. It is a Scottish Manhattan and an affront to Tinbeni.

11. Outmoded camera accessory : FLASHBULB

12. "Angels & Demons" author Brown : DAN. Book.

13. Guitarist Barrett : SYD. Gunghy, here are all the names that were missing yesterday!

18. Texas mission : ALAMO

22. 1977 Steely Dan album : "AJA"

24. Tofu beans : SOYs

25. Credit card come-on : NO FEE

26. Capital south of Coeur d'Alene : BOISE. Idaho.

28. NYC dance company : ABT. American Ballet Theatre.

30. Witch town : SALEM

31. Mild cigar : CLARO

32. Perfectly timed : OPPORTUNE

33. Terr. now divided into two states : DAK.. The Dakotas.

34. "... __ quit!" : OR I

39. Shredded side : SLAW

40. Cowpoke's nickname : TEX

43. Batter's grip aid : PINE TAR. Brings to mind the "Pine Tar Incident".

45. Detox locale : REHAB

47. Reds, on scoreboards : CIN. More baseball reference.

48. Battery terminals : ANODESs

51. Garden dwarf : GNOME. We're getting overrun by GNOMES.

52. Credit counterpart : DEBIT

53. Idyllic sites : EDENS

55. Ryan of "Love Story" : O'NEAL

56. Lightheaded : GIDDY

57. Housewarming aid? : STOVE

59. "Hot Diggity" singer Perry : COMO. One more song.(2:24)

60. Brief lunch? : BLT

61. Mont Blanc assent : OUI. French? Yes.

63. Dick Tracy, for one: Abbr. : DET.. Detective.

Answer grid.

Argyle

Dec 27, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010 Gail Grabowski

Theme: Stop the Car! - The five longest entries end with what might be a point of interest to tourists.

17A. "Awesome!": "OUTTA SIGHT!"

23A. 2006-'07 Microsoft release: WINDOWS VISTA

37A. Financial projections: ECONOMIC OUTLOOK

45A. Act embarrassingly in public: CREATE A SCENE

58A. Cable TV offering: PAY PER VIEW

Argyle(up to his ... in snow) here. Doing a hurry-up job in case the power goes out. A very decent Monday puzzle.

Across

1. Workshop holder : CLAMP

6. Fairy godmother's magic tool : WAND

10. Chopped-up fare : HASH

14. From around here : LOCAL

15. Son of Seth : ENOS

16. Indy racer : AUTO

19. Singer's syllables : TRAs. They need some LAs to sound good.

20. Rehab woes, briefly : DTs. Delirium tremens, the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal.

21. Monte __: gambling resort : CARLO

22. In pieces : APART

25. "Oops, sorry" : "MY BAD"

28. Cooped clucker : HEN. Alliteration.

29. Mideast honcho : EMIR

30. Member of the crew : SAILOR

34. Sleuths, for short : PIs. Private Investigator.

40. Coll. helpers : TAs. Teaching Assistant.

41. 1910s-'20s Ford assembly-line classic : MODEL T.

42. Prefix with septic : ANTI

43. Cone dropper : FIR. And needles.

44. Expanse with waves : OCEAN

52. Jaunty tunes : LILTS

53. Fritter away : WASTE

54. Monopoly quartet: Abbr. : RRs. The railroads: Pennsylvania, Reading, B&O, and Short Line.

57. Roller rink shape : OVAL

60. Hairy Himalayan, reportedly : YETI

61. Job site standards org. : OSHA

62. Where D.C. is, familiarly : US OF A

63. Part of a process : STEP

64. Pizza crust order : THIN

65. Out sick, say : NOT IN

Down

1. Wad of dirt : CLOD

2. Boorish sort : LOUT

3. Stops stalling : ACTS. The clue could have been for dry gas!

4. Place to wipe your shoes : MAT

5. Lake __, 1980 Winter Olympics town : PLACID. Adirondacks, NY. They probably have less snow than New York City!

6. Very odd : WEIRD. Indeed.

7. English-speaking : ANGLO

8. "Not gonna happen" : "NO HOW". Some day it will be "No Way".

9. Annual cause of losing an hr.'s sleep, perhaps : DST. Daylight Saving Time.

10. Millinery accessory : HAT PIN. Centuries ago, many of the hats that were worn by European women came from the Italian city of Milan. A person who lives in Milan is a Milaner, and traders who sold hats made in Milan came to be known as Milaners too. Gradually, this word became milliner, and women’s hats are still called millinery.

11. Subtle qualities : AURAs

12. Get going : START

13. Shade-tolerant plant : HOSTA. Image.

18. Start of many California city names : SAN

22. Keep from happening : AVERT

23. Say "Be careful" to : WARN. I was thinking of who you might say it to: WARD.

24. "Fore!" or "Olé!" : SHOUT

25. Encounter : MEET

26. Org. known by its first letter : YMCA

27. Revealing books, briefly : BIOs

30. Campground treat : SMORE. Just one SMORE?

31. Partner of abet : AID

32. Cooler cubes : ICE

33. Online cackle : LOL

34. Fried corn bread : PONE

35. Greek "i" : IOTA

36. Potato part served as an appetizer : SKIN

38. Forgets to mention : OMITS

39. Shoe securer : LACE

43. Scuffle souvenir : FAT LIP

44. What a solo homer produces : ONE RUN

45. Overdoes the sweetness : CLOYS

46. Girder fastener : RIVET

47. Send to cloud nine : ELATE

48. Flooded : AWASH

49. Greet someone casually : SAY "HI"

50. "Washington Journal" channel : C-SPAN

51. Hot time in Toulon : ÉTÉ

54. Unruly outbreak : RIOT

55. New mtge., e.g. : REFI.

56. Graceful bird : SWAN

58. Word with belly or boiler : POT

59. Brandy bottle letters : VSO. The last alliteration. VSO - Very Superior Old

Answer grid.

Argyle

Dec 26, 2010

Sunday December 26, 2010 Kathleen Fay O'Brien

Theme: Many Happy Returns - The last word of each common phrase is spelled backward. The resulted phrases are then humorously clued.

23A. "Honest, Professor, I studied very hard for this test"? : ALLEGED PREP. Alleged perp.

25A. Visibly shaken king? : PALE REGAL. Pale lager.

37A. Rejection at McDonald's? : HAMBURGER SNUB. Hamburger buns.

64A. Error that just got bigger? : DILATED SLIP-UP. Dilated pupils.

91A. What Red Riding Hood wisely didn't do? : GO WITH THE WOLF. Go with the flow.

109A. Green poet? : OLIVE BARD. Olive drab.

112A. Effect of Pepé Le Pew battling a romantic rival? : DOUBLE STINK. Double knits.

40D. Quick look across the moat? : CASTLE PEEK. What is "Castle keep"?

45D. Fowl injustice? : TURKEY TORT. Turkey Trot.

I initially thought the last word is only an anagram and couldn't quite grok the "Many Happy Returns" title.

Neat theme. Must have taken the constructor lots of time to find phrases ending in "returnable" words. I like the grid design too. All theme entries (9) are spread out.

Across:

1. Hussein : Obama :: __ : Garfield : ABRAM. Both middle names.

6. Comforter : DUVET

11. Taking badly? : ABDUCTION. Nice clue.

20. Dunces : BOOBS

21. Informal bid : ONE NO. Bridge bid.

22. Zap : MICROWAVE

26. Circus leaper : FLEA. Not real fleas, right?

27. Ad gp. : AGCY

28. U.S. tender : DOLs.

30. Oddly amusing : DROLL

31. It affects your take-home pay : TAX RATE

33. Civil War authority Shelby : FOOTE. Not familiar with this Civil War historian.

35. Per : A POP

40. Things used in semi circles? : CBs. "Semi circles" = Those who drive semis.

43. Bucky, in "Get Fuzzy" : PET CAT. What's your favorite comic strip?

47. Concludes : ENDS

48. Photographing giraffes, perhaps : ON SAFARI

50. Reunion attendees : ALUMS

51. Technology prefix : NANO. Nanotechnology

52. Pico de gallo holders : TACOS. Is pico de gallo similar to salsa?

54. Pronto, to execs : ASAP

55. Scarlett's refuge : TARA. "Gone With the Wind".

56. Like granola : OATY

57. Deck out : ARRAY

58. Bar orders for the calorie-conscious : LITES

59. Laser alternatives : INKJETS.

61. Expected to land : DUE IN

62. Gloomy atmosphere : PALL

63. Dedicated verse : ODE

68. PC panic button : ESC. I wonder if Al uses this button often.

71. The "Y" in YSL : YVES

73. Wise guys : SAGES

74. Detailed : IN DEPTH

76. Unlock the door for : LET IN

78. House reporter? : C-SPAN. House of Representatives.

79. Harlem sch. : CCNY (City College of New York)

81. Princess born on Polis Massa : LEIA. "Star Wars".

82. Love, to Caesar : AMOR. Then we also have 116. All, to Caesar : OMNIA. "Omnia vincit amor" = "Love conquers all".

83. Acts skittish : SHIES

84. Vidal's Breckinridge : MYRA. Second encounter with the book.

85. Lurches : REELS

86. Fighting practice : WAR GAMES. Nice entry.

88. Kemo __ : SABE

89. Like the Finger of Fate on "Laugh-In" : FICKLE. "The flying, fickle finger of fate". Unfamiliar reference to me.

90. Friday, e.g.: Abbr. : SGT. Sgt Joe Friday."Dragnet".

95. Betty Grable's were insured : LEGS. How tall is Grable?

96. Show again : RE-AIR

97. Source of inside info? : CAT SCAN. Saw similar clue before.

102. Suite spot : HOTEL

105. "Mr. Mom" actress : GARR (Teri)

106. Do some bartending : POUR. Hey, Jerome!

108. Wrist-to-elbow bone : ULNA

115. Pretends to be what one isn't : LIVES A LIE. Funny, I couldn't parse my answer earlier.

117. Els on the links : ERNIE

118. Backyard buildings : TOOL SHEDS

119. One you might not want to meet? : MAKER. Meet one's maker = Die.

120. Carried on : WAGED

Down:

1. Sternward : ABAFT

2. Italian vintner : BOLLA. Got me last time with the "125-year-old wine company" clue.

3. Subject of the book "The Best of Time" : ROLEX. Intuitable

4. Tough test metaphor : A BEAR

5. Stir-fry additive : MSG. No one uses it any more.

6. Former bumper car trademark : DODGEM. Learning moment to me.

7. Like "waitress," e.g. : UN-PC

8. "Ha ha" : VERY FUNNY

9. L.A.-to-N.Y. dir. : ENE

10. Champs : TOP DOGS. I always associate this phrase with big potato/cheese, not champ.

11. More copious : AMPLER

12. Preconception : BIAS

13. MCCC halved : DCL. Half of 1,300= 650

14. Cult following? : URE. Culture. Awesome clue.

15. City on the Guadalquivir River : CORDOBA. Capital of Spain under the Moors. South of Madrid. Another learning moment for me.

16. Insignificant one : TWERP

17. Othello's betrayer : IAGO

18. Like many a palette : OVAL

19. "Little" Dickens girl : NELL. Is this from the book "The Old Curiosity Shop"?

24. Bother : EAT AT

29. Suffix with Capri : OTE. Capriote.

32. Cries of clarity : AHAs

34. Novus __ seclorum: Great Seal motto : ORDO. We just had this a few weeks ago. Ordo = Order.

35. Bother : ANNOY

36. Kisser : PUSS

38. Lick : BEAT. Are you familiar with "smear" meaning "decidedly defeat"?

39. "Me too!" : SO CAN I

41. Bluff in Banff : BRAE. Scottish hillside. Banff is a town in SE Scotland. I always connect it with Canada.

42. Small samplings : SIPS

43. House party setting : PATIO

44. Serengeti grazer : ELAND

46. Key of Bizet's most popular sym. : C-MAJ. No idea.

49. Bomb : FAIL

51. Chicago Sting org. : NASL (North American Soccer League, 1968-1984). Chicago Sting was its last champion in 1984. Complete unknown to me.

52. Hair piece : TRESS

53. Seed covering : ARIL. Classic crosswordese.

56. Publisher Chandler : OTIS. Of LA Times.

57. "September 1, 1939" poet : AUDEN. W. H. Auden. Hahtool might have quoted him before.

58. Lt. Columbo's employer : LAPD. Have never seen "Columbo".

60. Starting place? : EDEN

61. Painter of ballerinas : DEGAS

62. Small and weak : PUNY

65. St. Clare's town : ASSISI. St Clare was a follower of St. Francis (of Assisi).

66. Word with deck or drive : TAPE. Got the answer via crosses.

67. __ colada : PINA

69. Unmoving : STILL

70. Scene with stuntmen : CHASE

72. Shenandoah Natl. Park site : VIRG. Was ignorant of the park, Lois!

75. Wire service?: Abbr. : ELEC (Electricity)

76. Code contents, maybe : LAWS

77. Webzine : E-MAG

78. Scolds, with "out" : CHEWS

79. High tech/lowlife sci-fi genre : CYBERPUNK. Just learned this term not long ago.

80. Hands across the water? : CREW. Oh, sailors.

83. Skyline obscurer : SMOG

84. Half a fish : MAHI. Mahi-mahi.

85. Falling-out : RIFT

87. Eternal : AGELESS

88. "Overnight" surprise for some : STARDOM. Overnight success.

89. Turnpike alert : FLARE

92. Sports page deals : TRADES. Shaq seems to have fun in Boston.

93. Ship designation : HER

94. Eye-related : OCULAR

95. Flatten : LEVEL

98. Kama __ : SUTRA. Then you can't kiss in public in India. What a complicated culture!

99. Stick : CLING

100. "Tomorrow" musical : ANNIE

101. Starkers, across the pond : NAKED. Starkers look like a plural noun rather than an adjective, isn't it, Nice Cuppa?

102. Romance novelist Victoria : HOLT. Alien to me. Man, she had so many pen names.

103. Eclectic assortment : OLIO

104. Show recorder : TiVO

105. Crisscross pattern : GRID. Like crossword.

107. Tony's cousin : OBIE. Tony: Broadway award. Obie is for off-Broadway shows.

110. Dissatisfied cry : BAH

111. Bar quaff : ALE

113. Medical suffix : OMA. "Tumor", like lymphoma.

114. Alter, perhaps : SEW

Answer grid.

C.C.

Dec 25, 2010

Saturday December 25, 2010 Doug Peterson

Total words: 72

Total blocks: 30

Merry Christmas! Today we've got a symmetrically placed Christmas mini theme:

1A. Noted list keeper : SANTA CLAUS. Ho Ho Ho, lovely entry for our Santa Argyle.

60A. Ad exec's pithy description of 1-Across? : NICK AT NITE. Fun clue/answer.

We also have NOEL (3D. "The First __") and NAST ( 14D. Cartoonist credited with the modern image of 1-Across). Thomas Nast.

Doug placed ten 10s in the grid, triple stacks of Acrosses & pairs of Downs. The puzzle is anchored by a flashy grid spanner OFF-SPEED PITCHES (35A. Surprises for some swingers). Curveballs/Changeups, etc.

Across:

11. Deuce follower, at times : AD IN. Tennis. Ad(vantage) In.

15. Depot : STOREHOUSE. Was picturing a train station.

16. Isle of Mull neighbor : IONA. On the lower left. Hebrides isle.

17. Superhero who had an arch foe named Bull's-Eye : GREEN ARROW. Unknown figure to me.

18. Expeditions, e.g. : SUVs

19. Latvian chess champ of 1960-'61 : TAL (Mikhail)

20. Biblical reformer : EZRA. I can only nail EZRA when it's poet Pound related.

21. "Ri-i-ight" : I'LL BET

23. Not well-defined : HAZY

24. Gets down, in a way : KNEELS. Thought it might be duck down.

25A. They might be stolen : BASES. I sure was not thinking of baseball. GOODS popped up in my mind.

28. __ Bass Fishing: video game : SEGA. Educated guess.

29. And such: Abbr. : ETC

31. "Haven't decided yet" : I MAY

32. Battle of Salamis victors : GREEKS. Battle of Salamis is between Greeks and Persians in 400 BC. Also new to me. Salamis is an island west of Athens.

34. Tenn. awards org. : CMA (Country Music Association)

38. Gallic title: Abbr. : MME (Madame)

39. Take over : INFEST

40. Breakfast item : LINK. Felt silly staring at ???K forever. I just don't eat links.

41. Penn. is on it : EST (Eastern Standard Time)

42. Change one's position : STIR

43. Philippics : RANTS. Dictionary says Philippic comes from the Athenian orator Demosthenes, who delivered several attacks on Philip, king of Macedon.

44. "'Tis he, that villain Romeo" speaker : TYBALT. No idea. From "Romeo and Juliet". Tybalt is Juliet's cousin.

46. Time for action : D-DAY

48. Composed : SERENE. Adjective "composed".

49. A-line designer : DIOR. Christian Dior pioneered A-line.

50. "That's odd ..." : HMM

53. __ Mountains: Mt. Narodnaya's range : URAL. Mt. Narodnaya is the highest peak of the Urals. Not in my radar.

54. Military foothold : BRIDGEHEAD. Also a new word to me.

57. Diamond with records : NEIL. Neil Diamond.

58. Bath additive : EPSOM SALTS. I add three big spoons to my bath every night.

59. Nut for drinks : KOLA. Same as cola, isn't it?

Down:

1. Mil. squad leader, perhaps : SSGT

2. Its Plus version has a lubricating strip :.. Was ignorant of Atra Plus.

4. Roman numeral : TRE. Hmm, not III.

5. Trojan War survivor : AENEAS. Protagonist of Virgil's "Aeneid".

6. Palminteri of "A Bronx Tale" : CHAZZ. Gimme for Melissa/Dennis. Both have seen his performance in person.

7. Hampshire hauler : LORRY. Hampshire England.

8. Subtle quality : AURA

9. Private entertainers, for short? : USO. Nailed it.

10. Place for pins and needles : SEWING KIT. Nice clue.

11. Target area : AISLE. Target store.

12. Chewing gum could help prevent one : DOUBLE CHIN. Great entry.

13. Bond, for one : INVESTMENT. Not James Bond.

22. Numerical extreme : LEAST. Don't get the clue.

23. Cries for attention : HEYs

24. Doesn't go bad : KEEPS

25. Tundra or coral reef, e.g. : BIOME

26. Auto feature : AM/FM STEREO. Lots of nice multi-words in the grid.

27. Toddler's bed attachment : SAFETY RAIL.

28. Meal during Nisan : SEDER

30. Staved containers : CASKS

32. '60s TV role for Bruno the Bear : GENTLE BEN. Blind spot for me.

33. Ready for another voyage : REFIT

36. Fibonacci, by birth : PISAN. Fibonacci is also known Leonardo of Pisa, Italian mathematician. Total foreign to me.

37. Makeup of Martha's Vineyard's Gay Head Cliffs : CLAY. Tough clue for me.

43. Hardest to get hold of : RAREST

45. "Twilight" protagonist : BELLA. Have never seen "Twilight".

46. Got by : DID OK

47. Bane of liberal religion : DOGMA

48. Doomed : SUNK

49. Piece in the game Reversi : DISC. First encounter with Reversi.

50. Pad opener : HELI. Helipad.

51. Simpsons creator Groening : MATT

52. Inventory abbr. : MDSE (Merchandise)

55. Tech sch. overlooking the Hudson : RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). OK, another shout-out to Splyinter who graduated from there.

56. Solo in sci-fi : HAN. "Star Wars".

Answer grid.

Safe travels, Dennis. You've made it. Have fun in Florida!

C.C.

Dec 24, 2010

Friday December 24, 2010 Kenneth J Berniker

Theme: Y me? - The letter Y is added to the start of the first word of each common phrase to create a new phrase which is quite punny. A very simple theme (add a “Y”) executed to entertain. This is only our second puzzle from Mr. Berniker, who brought us the What’s in a Name Puzzle (WOODY, ROCKY and SANDY) back in April, though this emergency room physician has had a number of NYT and other puzzles published, the theme is simple and clean.

17A. Those who outwit safecrackers?: YEGG BEATERS. The lazy man’s egg product, meets a safecracker, better known as a YEGG. YEGG has been in detective fiction from the early 1900’s, but no one is quite sure where it came from.

26A. 1945 view for Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin?: YALTA VISTA. YALTA was the site of the second of three wartime conferences between the leaders of Great Britain, Russia and the US. Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, were present, and the meeting took place on the black sea because the powerful dictator Stalin was afraid to fly. ALTA VISTA was one of the very early search engines for the world wide web, which like LYCOS, faded away under the Google onslaught.

39A. Chronologists?: YEAR SPECIALISTS. Chronology is the study of the sequence of events, and I bet you all know what an Ear Specialist is.

50A. Core of the dark side?: YIN ESSENCE. I really like this multi level clue, as it teases us with Star Wars like reference to the dark side, while literally meaning just dark. We recently discussed YIN being the shadowy side and YANG being the bright side, and of course, the essence of something is its core.

60A. Paradise brewing aid?: YEAST OF EDEN. Okay, I cannot help it, these puzzles just seem to hone in on me and my family, especially now that they both are beer maestros, with yeast the key to fermenting combined with the John Steinbeck novel East of Eden (which was made into a motion picture with James Dean) transformed into some biblical yeast to make great beer. Since beer predates wine, I guess it all makes good sense. When CAIN was exiled, it was to the east of Eden, to the land of Nod, which I mention since the book is sort of a retelling of that story. It is rumored a remake of the movie is in the works.

Lemonade here, and I enjoyed the cluing, lots of literary references with some deception and wit, for example:

33A. Bucks: BREAD. As the old joke goes, “What is a buccaneer? A really high price for corn.”

71A. Parts of pig tales: OINKS. The tails – tales reference is cute.

My favorite, 31D. Paper cutters, briefly?: EDS. Newspaper editors, tipped off by the “?” and the briefly…

38D. Lamb piece: ESSAY. Wonderful, no baa baa, but, the writer CHARLES LAMB who wrote as Elia, and had a very tragic life.

Also, in keeping with Friday and my blogging day, there are many law related references:

15A. Accustom: ENURE. We love this word, used in describing rights which enure to the benefit of someone.

16A. Its law sch. is in Concord: UNH. University of New Hampshire Law School is in “Cahncahd.”

23A. Law school standards-setting org.: ABA. American Bar Association.

56A. Auspices: AEGIS. Like ENURE, a favorite word in legal writing.

Well, enough of that, on with the show:

Across:

1. '50s headline event: A TEST. What is it with the fascination with A bombs and H bombs lately? We also have the tie in with President Eisenhower from the 50’s.

6. Architectural style: TUDOR. One of the long lasting results of the BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY.

11. Status follower: QUO. This is an Anglicization of the Latin STATU QUO, which the state in which.

14. Princess Toadstool's rescuer: MARIO. Which was played on 65D. Old console using Game Paks: NES. My boys came along just in time for me to learn all about those wacky brothers Mario and Luigi.

19. "__ Believer": I'M A. I am sure most remember this SONG but for my fellow Connecticut followers, I remind everyone Peter Tork is the son of a UConn professor (Nee Thorkelson) and Peter now lives in Storrs.

20. Artist Matisse: HENRI. He was featured in a recent puzzle, and was a master of color and a friend and rival of Picasso.

21. Regarding: AS PER. Okay, also used by lawyers but I do not want to overdo.

29. Beef: RED MEAT. I quoted Clara Peller last week, remember?

32. Really riles: IRES. A real crossword word.

34. See 51-Down: IKE. And, 51D. With 34-Across, '50s slogan: I LIKE. My earliest memory was when Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart came to my small home town, campaigning for Adlai Stevenson, and my father met them at the train station and took them to meet the mayor etc.

35. Zap with a weapon: TASE. And this VIDEO was a proud University of Florida moment.

43. Asian wrap: SARI. Cute, made you think of food didn’t he?

44. TV world: ORK. Enough already, is Robin Williams paying the constructors?

45. Chimú conquerors: INCAS. Last week I had the Aztecs now the Incas and the CHIMU .

46. Light bites: NIPS. Why many people do not like little dogs, who are yippy and bite.

48. Botanical cavity: ALVEOLA. We also had this as the cavity in the lungs, for example, but it is the same in Botany and Zoology.

54. Miss Pym's creator: TEY. How timely, as Fermatprime brought her up Wednesday; Elizabeth MacIntosh produced only ten or twelve books under various pseudonyms, but did line into her 50s, and is said to have influenced all the great cozy writers like Agatha Christie. Martha Grimes recently paid tribute to her The Daughter of Time in two Inspector Jury novels.

55. Woman in a "Paint Your Wagon" song: ELISA. I love the version sung by CLINT EASTWOOD ; where is our author Elissa?

59. Do some bartending: MIX. Yes, a bar, that is what my oldest and my nephew want to open in Buffalo.

66. Squeeze (out): EKE. The second of this puzzles tired but needed crosswordese.

67. Ranch wanderer: STRAY. Why do I picture a loose crouton trying to escape my fork? kinda goes with 64D. Forest ranger?: ELK. Well, luckily there are not many three lettered animals in the forest.

68. Boosted: STOLE. This comes from the organized shoplifters, who used a booster box, a device with a false bottom, which would be placed on top of merchandise, which would then get taken out. The store detective never saw the perp touch the merchandise.

69. Neighbor of Homer: NED. Not the author, but the Simpson, and the religious Mr. Flanders.

70. Newbery Medal winner for "Island of the Blue Dolphins": ODELL. Never heard of the BOOK or Mr. O’Dell. Whew, we are thru the acrosses.

Down:

1. Etiquette guru Vanderbilt: AMY. With a name like Vanderbilt (you all should tour the home in Newport, R.I.) who would not read this TOME .

2. Inventing initials: TAE. Thomas Alva Edison. The wizard of Menlo Park.

3. Fraction of a joule: ERG. All you need to know about ENERGY.

4. [I give up]: SIGH. Come on, no time to quit now, we are going to finish.

5. Start of a classic question: TO BE. Or not to be, that is the question; in my all boys high school, I played Gertrude in our production of Hamlet; the rest were too insecure.

6. Claw: TEAR AT. This too is timely, if you have ever seen a rabid group of children and their presents on Christmas morning.

7. Up to: UNTIL. The punch line, “Up to now, everything was okay.” The joke?

8. Anticipated: DUE.

9. Boston sports legend: ORR. Another New England reference.

10. Back up anew: RESAVE.

11. Marx forte: QUIPS. Karl? Groucho? Both?

12. Like certain expectations: UNMET. Life unfulfilled desires, also apt at Christmas as we see bonuses dwindling, presents shrinking…

13. "Pal Joey" author: O'HARA. Another author and a contemporary of John Steinbeck. When Steinbeck won the Pulitzer prize O’Hara sent him a telegram saying, he could only think of one other author who deserved the prize. O’Hara was great with dialogue, I still read his books.

18. "A Day Without Rain" musician: ENYA. Our new age queen is back.

22. __ Chapel: SISTINE. Another ceiling reference?

23. Fast food chain known for roast beef: ARBY'S. One of many food chains that began in Ohio, the name is not RB for Roast Beef, but RB for Raffel Brothers, the founders. They were the first chain to ban smoking in their facilities.

24. First multiracial coed college in the South: BEREA. The history of this COLLEGE is amazing, but I will leave the details to our own Windhover.

25. "Be __ ...": A DEAR. And get me a beer while you are up. Or take out the garbage.

27. Kind of torch: TIKI. Very big in south Florida.

28. Gazetteer figure: AREA. Gazetteer is an atlas including information like population and area.

30. Quantico inhabitants: MARINES. A shout out to our soon to be traveling and resting Dennis.

34. Opposite of "Yum!": ICK. Recall this MOVIE ?

36. English racing town: ASCOT. Next year will be the 300th anniversary of the world’s most famous horse race course.

37. Old hat: STALE. Not a fedora, or the race track Derby.

40. Opens, as a hood: POPS. Okay buddy, pop open the hood and lets see what’s making that noise.

41. Gaelic tongue: ERSE. This is the root word for what we now call IRISH.

42. Tyler of "The Incredible Hulk": LIV. Poor CHILD started out thinking she was Liv Rundgren, Todd’s daughter.

47. Words after "Because": I SAY SO. The magic words of parenting, changed my life.

48. Like a vinegar radical: ACETYL. ACETUM is the Latin word for vinegar, which is a weak acid produced by fermentation like alcohol.

49. One of more than 245,000 in a Christmas tree at a California theme park: LEGO. TREE .

50. Oman neighbor: YEMEN. Ah back in Oman.

52. Put the kibosh on: NIXED. Pronounced KIE bosh, likely from Hebrew which oddly does not use vowels.

53. Like a cold sufferer's voice: NASAL. SOUND .

57. "Say that's true ...": IF SO. Hmm, lawyers and logicians use this…

58. "The X-Files" gp.: SETI. Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence.

61. LAX listing: ETD. If it is an airport, it is going to be ETA or ETD. A=Arrival, D= Departure.

62. Exist: ARE.

63. Tough boss: DON. The Godfather.

Answer grid.

Golly, the year is almost done, I do not expect many will have time to comment today, but I wish you a very happy holiday week, until next time.

Lemonade