Mar 24, 2017

Friday, March 24, 2017, Ed Sessa

Title: Are you crazy, you are acting ENOTS?

It has been a few years since I had the pleasure of writing up an Ed Sessa puzzle. This one made me miss Barry G., as the revealing circles do not exist on this Friday effort, eliminating the competitive disadvantage we have heard about.  After filling the first three theme answers, I had no clue where we were going. It did not take long to decipher the reveal, but finding the "stones" which were hidden was a challenge. Once RUBY was was revealed, it made me look for GEM stones, and poof.  Thank you my role model and mentor. With two 15 letter themers and two 12s, we have a full theme. We also have some very interesting fill -  JELLICLE, CEREBRAL, ISLAMABAD and  FRAGRANCE are each nice challenges.

17A. Last line of Dale Evans Rogers' "Happy Trails" : TILL WE MEET AGAIN (15). This was one of the first TV shows I saw in the mid 50's. I sing it in my head, but never aloud.

27A. Got laughs, hopefully : CRACKED A JOKE (12). I was trying to make something out of rearranging JOKE.

43A. Alternative for beef avoiders : TURKEY  BURGER (12). Then this happened and I was lost, until the RUB met the Y.

57A. What's left by an ace investigator ... and in each of the four longest puzzle answers : NO ENOTS UNTURNED (15). NO STONE UNTURNED is the phrase that turns STONE to ENOTS, ETAGA to AGATE; EDAJ to JADE and YBUR to RUBY. It is also what a good detective would do. Since solvers are in part detectives, I say- the game is afoot Watson!


1. Device used with a planchette : OUIJA. Really cool, hard first clue, which luckily comes from French. (little plank)

6. Hail in old Rome : AVEAve atque vale. Catullus.

9. 2000s Israeli prime minister Sharon : ARIEL. His END was a strange story.

14. Rip out stitchwork in : UNSEW. Legitimate word, but why do we need it.

15. "The Louisville __": nickname for Ali : LIP. Mostly when he was still Cassius Clay.

16. "Five Weeks in a Balloon" novelist : VERNE. This was his last publication. LIST.

20. Puget Sound swimmer : SEAL.  These GUYS.

21. Bull pen locale : RODEO. Nice deception for the baseball people.

22. Sci. subject : ANATomy.

23. Recipe directive : MIX IN.

25. Cat of many colors : CALICO.

31. Stately : NOBLE.

32. Tomato type : ROMA. I mentioned this before, but they are not from Italy.  "It was developed by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Beltsville, Maryland in the 1950s as a fusarium wilt-resistant cultivar." Wiki.

33. Bird __ : FLU.

36. Scottish countryside sight : BRAE.

37. Northern Kentucky county : BOONE. Not far from Cincinnati.

39. Complain : CRAB. An odd dupe with this Simpson's star...56D. Krabappel of "The Simpsons" : EDNA. When actress Marcia Wallace died so did this CHARACTER.

40. Dancer Charisse : CYD. Making her second appearance this week. She was born Tula Ellice Finklea and her baby brother called her "sid" trying to say sis. She was an amazing dancer, and her turn was a great part of Dancing in the Rain.

41. Stew veggies : PEAS. I never use them, but it does rhyme with....

42. Kid around with : TEASE.

46. Prepare for cooking, as sole : DEBONE. Fillet anyone?

49. One getting under your skin : VEXER. Okay Ed, you win. I know this is real, from the French VEXER, but with CRAB, DEBONE etc. it is a bit much.

50. From the top : ANEW.

51. Time server, usually : FELON.

54. Block in a barn : BALE. Hay, now many barns have you been to lately?

60. Mischievous : ELFIN. Because they were small they were not thought to be as dangerous.

61. Gloucester's cape : ANN. Not a garment but a New England site to see.

62. "The Heart of Georgia" : MACON. It is literally close to the center by the Ocmulgee River,

63. MS. enclosures : SASES. Self addressed stamped envelopes.

64. Strings for Israel Kamakawiwo'ole : UKE. The name was obviously Hawaiian so the fill was easy. I was not familiar with this bigger than life performer.

65. Legislative assemblies : PLENA. While I know the Latin, I do not understand this usage. I know it is the plural of PLENUM....anyway a tough beginning and end to the acrosses.


1. See 59-Down : OUTS. OOOO.

2. Combined, in Cannes : UNIE. Etats unis.

3. Capital NW of New Delhi : ISLAMABAD. Maybe for your next VACATION some time in Pakistan.

4. Type of cat in "Cats" : JELLICLE.

5. "How cute!" : AWW. I am sure CED went to see Cats many times..

6. Marzipan staple : ALMOND. I am a FAN.

7. Competed : VIED.

8. Parrier's tool : EPEE.  To ward off a sword.

9. Clark's "Mogambo" co-star : AVA.

10. Entertain lavishly : REGALE.

11. Tabriz native : IRANI. More mid-east geography.

12. "Giant Brain" unveiled in 1946 : ENIAC.

13. Slowly, to Salieri : LENTO. The Italian composer depicted in Amadeus as Mozart's rival.

18. Point Pelee's lake : ERIE. Back to our heartland.

19. In the future : TO COME.

24. Jag model : XKE. I wanted one badly back in 1972 but could not afford the $2,500.00 she wanted.

26. Dossier shorthand : AKA. Also known as.

27. "Squawk Box" airer : CNBC.

28. 2016 FedExCup winner McIlroy : RORY.

29. Came up : AROSE.

30. "The Daily Show" host before Trevor : JON. Stewart.

33. Chanel offering : FRAGRANCE. Or more officially- smell good.

34. Whack a mole? : LASE. All perps- no idea what this game has to do with lasers.

35. Lyft competitor : UBER.

37. Deprived (of) : BEREFT.

38. Whiskey barrel wood : OAK. Now breweries are buying them to use for their beer.

39. Highbrow : CEREBRAL.

41. "The lowest form of humor—when you don't think of it first": Oscar Levant : PUN. My kind of guy; he would tell all the starlets if they played their cards right they could take home an Oscar.

42. Prom rental : TUX.

43. Many an off-campus local : TOWNIE. As a product of private schools, I had many varied experiences with townies.

44. '60s Batgirl portrayer Craig : YVONNE. She was on the TV show. I remember best for this DANCE.

45. At an angle : BENT.

46. Some North Sea fishermen : DANES.

47. Name on a historic B-29 : ENOLA. The first A-bomb.

48. Squawks : BEEFS.

52. Genesis brother : ESAU. Who was sadly for him and his children...a....

53. Blockhead : LUNK.

55. "Coming Home" singer Bridges : LEON.

58. Add-__ : ONS.

59. Caller of 1-Down : UMP. End where we began the downs.

Well, I am back this week with a challenge from Ed. I look forward to your thoughts as my mind is all over the place. Thank you all, and thank you Ed. Lemonade out.

Mar 23, 2017

Thursday March 23 2017 Matthew Sewell

Theme: Bigger is Better? Augmented alternatives. Three options and then the fourth as the unifier.

17A. 7-Eleven's Big Gulp, for one : SUPER-SIZED DRINK. This one weighs in at 30oz of soda, the Super Big Gulp is 40oz and the Double Gulp is, weirdly, 50oz, considering the Gulp is 20oz. Whichever one you pick you've got way too much sugar. Yikes.

25A. It makes for easier reading : LARGE PRINT BOOK. I'm not sure one of these would help if I lose my glasses. You turn 40 - boom! Everything goes blurry.

46A. Teased style : BOUFFANT HAIRDO. Here's one of the most famous:

59A. What a deejay might do to create energy ... or a request that may lead to 17-, 25- and 46-Across : PUMP UP THE VOLUME. I just had my own personal volume-pump - Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" album just popped up on my iTunes. That will see me nicely through blog-duty. As a segue, here's a recording of a Bob Dylan song on the aforementioned album I hadn't heard until today.

Great theme - three variations on "volume" - the fluid ounces of a soda, the book-volume print size and the updo bouffi-ness of (e.g.) Marge's hair. Great fill too, I don't believe there was one "ugh" moment for me. Of course, your mileage may vary, so let's hear it in the comments.

Let's see what else:


1. Munro pen name : SAKI. Why do I always fill in TAKI and then take it out?

5. Fix, as faulty code : DEBUG. Yep. Many of these moments in my programming career. One in (something) lines of code contains a bug. I think I was one-in-ten. You'll be grateful I wasn't working on the Airbus fly-by-wire systems.

10. Shorten : CLIP

14. Scoundrel of "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" : ALEC. He was a dashed rotten cove. Great book, a Thomas Hardy classic.

15. One of Chekhov's "Three Sisters" : IRINA. I'll learn them all one day. I've seen the play, but I can't recall the character traits of any of the sisters.

16. Sharpen : HONE

20. Prepare to relax : SIT BACK. SIT DOWN didn't work. Eventually corrected.

21. "__ Pointe Blank": 1997 film : GROSSE

22. Shipping nickname : ARI. Aristotle Onassis. Still a popular crossword fill after all these years.

23. Marketing gimmick : TIE-IN

31. McKinley's first lady : IDA.

32. Like mud in election season : SLUNG. Plenty of that in 2016, and it hasn't really stopped since.

33. Serious violations : SINS. You get a pass on venial ones, if memory serves correctly, as long as you confess. Mortal ones not so much.

35. PC's spacebar neighbor : ALT. No-look answer, as befitting March Madness.

36. Mayor pro __ : TEM. For now. Don't get used to the seat.

37. Swallow : EAT. Be careful, otherwise there'll be Heimlich involved. Bite, chew, swallow.

40. Replayed service : LET. I used to want the job of the net umpire at Wimbledon. You've got the best seat in the house, you put your finger on the top of the net, call a "LET!" or not, then watch the rest of the rally. Rinse and repeat. Awesome.

41. Lay on the line : RISK

43. "The Haywain Triptych" painter : BOSCH. I think I knew this. I was more familiar with "The Haywain" by John Constable in the National Gallery in London. Crosses helped. Here's Constable's:

45. Keen perception : EAR

50. Many a "Call the Midwife" character : NURSE!

51. Part of FWIW : IT'S. Those pesky texters, extending the language! For What It's Worth.

52. Yak-like : SHAGGY

55. Honeymoon spots : RESORTS

62. Digital imaging brand : AGFA. Are these guys still around?

63. Lodging : ABODE

64. Highly prized : DEAR. Dear to my heart.

65. Exec's dispatch : MEMO. More likely an irate email blast nowadays, quickly regretted.

66. iPods since 2005 : NANOS. I had one, I think I lost it at a TSA checkpoint in Atlanta.

67. "The Facts of Life" mentor Garrett : EDNA. Thank you crosses, never saw the show.


1. Get fresh with : SASS

2. His, in Le Havre : A LUI "To him". You know the French still don't officially have email? "Courrier  électronique", s'il vous plaît.

3. Didn't surrender : KEPT. Held onto.

4. Old-style hangover relief : ICE BAG. I'm pretty sure this never worked. Hydrate before you go to bed, get up with the sun and go hike up a big hill. Carbonated Coca Cola was invented by a desperate gentleman one morning in an Atlanta drugstore though, history has it. How big was the Gulp?

5. Devoted follower : DISCIPLE

6. He played Frank on "CHiPs" : ERIK. Estrada. He's not impressed one bit with the new WB movie reboot.

7. Commercial URL suffix : BIZ. Hand up for "COM". Was wrong.

8. French article : UNE

9. Many an infomercial offering : GADGET

10. Greek personification of time : CHRONOS

11. Lane often in distress : LOIS

12. Honeymoon options : INNS

13. Long-haired lap dog, familiarly : PEKE

18. Most interesting to a collector : RAREST

19. Minute amount : DRIB. Marginally smaller than a DRAB I'm told. Or largest.

23. Element in pewter : TIN, plus copper, antimony and lead. It was the lead that did for you when you used a pewter mug for your beer. It was that leaching thing, you know.

24. Swallow : INGEST

25. Accusatory retort : LIAR

26. Impulsive line : AD-LIB

27. "I'm walkin' here!" speaker of 1969 : RATSO. "Midnight Cowboy". Best Picture at the Oscar ceremony in 1970. Not an easy subject, but a great movie.

28. "Dancing With the Stars" dances : RUMBAS

29. Persian Gulf sight : OILER. Didn't we talk about these last week?

30. Massage : KNEAD

34. Texas ALer : 'STRO Houston, natch.

38. Pulls off : ACHIEVES

39. "Oh yeah?" : THAT SO?

42. Spicy Chinese dish : KUNG PAO. Now, this surprises me. This entry has only been used once before by Matt Skoczen in the LAT (last year) and never in the NYT. I did raise my eyebrows when I saw it - it's a preparation method for chicken, not a finished dish. Nevertheless, food!

44. A : ONE

47. Fish whose preparation is strictly regulated in Japan : FUGU. A slip with the knife during prep will make you definitely ill, if not being measured up for your funeral. However, just avoid the liver, ovaries and intestines and you're fine. Which is what I would probably avoid anyway. I'm trying to think if I've ever eaten a fish liver. I've had goose intestines in Hong Kong, but they were harmless enough. I wouldn't recognize a fish ovary if I tripped over it in the street, even if it came from a sturgeon.

48. Griddle alternative : FRY PAN. For my fugo. Sans liver, thank you.

49. Lover of Tristan : ISOLDE

52. Virtually bombard : SPAM. I read the clue as "Visually bombard". I told you I need reading glasses

53. Voluminous : HUGE

54. Switch on a radio : AM/FM

55. Modernize : REDO

56. Kicked oneself about : RUED

57. IRS agent : T-MAN. Don't mess with these people.

58. Vaccines : SERA

60. Placeholder abbr. : T.B.A. To Be Arranged. I'm having lunch with a gentleman today at a venue in Burbank T.B.A.

61. Sweetheart : HON

Well, after a little diversion due to the fugu discussion, here's the grid!


Notes from C.C.:

1) I agree with Steve on Kung Pao, but Wiki says "Versions commonly found in the west, called "Kung Pao chicken", "Kung Po"", or just "chicken chilli and garlic"..."  Do you call the dish "Kong Pao" alone?

2) PK asked me to thank all of you for your kind birthday wishes.

Mar 22, 2017

Wednesday March 22, 2017 Don Gagliardo and C. C. Burnikel

Theme: VOWEL TRIFECTA.  In the 2nd, 4th and 6th letter position of the first word of each two-word theme entry is a repeated vowel.  These entries appear in the grid in alphabetical order, viz. A-E-I-O-U. Let's have a look.

16 A. Monkey cage discard : BANANA PEEL.  Stereotypically, monkeys love BANANAS, but who wants to eat the outer part, despite its having appeal?  You don't want to encounter one at the top of a slippery slope

22 A. Reason for totaling, as an insured car : SEVERE DAMAGE.  "Totaling," in this sense indicates declaring the vehicle to be a total wreck, destined for the junk yard.  Sadly, I totaled my most favorite car in a multi-vehicle pile up on the Southfield Freeway, back in 1991.

29 A. Cause of some tan lines : BIKINI TOP.  A BIKINI is a two piece swim suit consisting of a bra top and a separate bottom part.  Coverage is widely variable, depending on the specific design parameters.  Of course, the covered parts will not be suntanned, resulting in tan lines.  Per Wikipedia: "The name was coined in 1946 by French engineer and clothing designer Louis Réard, after the recent nuclear tests at Bikini atoll —often better known than its namesake—and with the slogan 'an anatomic bomb.'''

37 A. Ornate 18th-century genre : ROCOCO ART.  This is a late baroque style that originated in Paris that employed a jocular and florid approach.  The style was ornate, colorful, curvy, and asymmetric, frequently based on witty or playful themes.

44 A. Fluffy sun blocker : CUMULUS CLOUD.   Well described by the clue, these clouds are generally of low altitude, and often have a flat base along with a puffy, cotton-like top.

55 A. Baseball rarity, and a hint to the vowels in the first words of 16-, 22-, 29-, 37- and 44-Across : TRIPLE PLAY.  Of course, the mandatory baseball reference!  Here, the triple play refers to the repeated vowel in each theme entry.  In baseball, it's an event in which 3 outs are made on a single batted ball.  As rare as this occurrence is, this example is of what must be an even more rare variety.

Hi gang, JzB reporting for duty, with a fine puzzle by our famous dynamic duo.  Clever gimmick and elegant execution.  Very rich themeage, with five entries, plus a unifier.  Nicely done.


1. "That's enough out of you" : CAN IT.  Put a lid on it; give it a rest.

6. Addams family nickname : TISH. Morticia Addams.

10. Festoons with Charmin, for short : TPS. The childish prank of Toilet Papering a tree.

13. Chicago airport : O'HARE.

14. Barak of Israel : EHUD.  Prime Minister from 1999 to 2001, also a highly decorated soldier who held several other political and government positions.

15. __ butter : SHEA.  A fatty substance from the nut of the SHEA tree.

18. Phone using a tower : CELL

19. Govt. agency that supports startups : Small Business Administration.

20. Kettle output : STEAM.

21. Ride in the desert : CAMEL.  The ship of the desert.

24. Social ranking : STATUS.  

27. Many mobile downloads : APPS.  APPlications.

28. Coral component : POLYP.  This is an individual animal that, when combined into large clusters can form a coral reef.

34. "All Things Considered" co-host Shapiro : ARI.

35. Day of song : DORIS.  Not a day of the week.

36. Fleece source : EWE.  Lamb's mom.

40. Thyme piece : SPRIG.  A small stem, including it's minor branches.

42. Pre-hurricane emergency op : EVACuation.

43. Runs after : CHASES.   Can also involve vehicles.

49. "No one can beat me" : I RULE.  Arrogant.

50. Poker game concern : CHEAT.  Well - any game, really.

51. Unit of resistance : OHM.  Electricity.

54. Poker at the table? : TINE.  Part of a fork.

57. Where buds may go : EARS.  For listening to music, podcasts, etc.

58. Right hand : AIDE.  Top assistant.

59. Meditation teachers : YOGIS.  

60. "The Affair" network, briefly : SHOtime.

61. Flow with force : SPEW.

62. Place on a pedestal : EXALT.


1. Corny leftovers : COBS.

2. Starbuck's boss : AHAB.  Characters from Moby Dick.

3. Child tender : NANA.  Grandmother.

4. Tax-deferred plan, briefly : Individual Retirement Account.

5. Stiffen in fear : TENSE UP.

6. Prairie home : TEPEE. A portable conical tent made from skins, cloth or canvas on a frame of poles.

7. The Supremes' "__ a Symphony" : I HEAR.

8. "See if I care!" : SUE ME.

9. Cholesterol letters : High Density Lipoprotein. 

10. Annual Augusta National event : THE MASTERS.  Golf tournament.

11. "Pequod" co-owner : PELEG.  The pequod is the Nantucket-based whaling ship from the novel Mobey Dick.

12. Room in a maison : SALLE.  French for house and room, respectively.

15. Shrimp dish : SCAMPI.  This is the Italian word for prawn, which is a crustacean similar, but not quite identical to a shrimp.  You have to count their legs to tell.  The dish is typically made by broiling with garlic butter.

17. Off-roaders, for short : ATVS. All Terrain Vehicles.

21. 2-Down's title, informally : CAP'N.

22. Dirty digs : STY.  A pig's place.

23. Place of honor : DAIS.  A low platform for a lectern, seat of honor, or throne.

24. Prep for a bout : SPAR.  Boxing practice.

25. Big name in riding mowers : TORO.

26. Canadian short story writer awarded a Nobel Prize in 2013 : ALICE MUNRO. [b. 1931]  Her stories explore human complexities in an uncomplicated prose style.

29. Lavish wrap : BOA.

30. Discount rack abbr. : IRRegular.

31. First-aid gear : KIT.

32. Boo-boo : OWIE.  Kid-speak for a minor injury.

33. Cribbage markers : PEGS.

35. Prefix with drama : DOCU-.

38. Small eggs : OVULES.

39. NASCAR's Yarborough : CALE. [b. 1939] One of only two NASCAR drivers to win three consecutive championships, with 83 total wins on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner's list.

40. Z's : SHUT EYE.  Sleepy time.

41. Elbow protector : PAD.  Cushioning gear to protect against injury.

43. Mine extraction : COAL. A combustable black or brown rock composed of fossilized organic material.

44. Names as a reference : CITES.  Typically in a foot note.

45. Hater of David, in Dickens : URIAH.  Mr. Heap, the obsequious weasel from the Charles Dickens novel, David Copperfield.

46. Rx : SCRIP.  A doctor's prescription for a certain medication.

47. Reprimand : CHIDE.

48. Aggressive cat lover of cartoons : LEPEW.  Pepe.

51. Gymnast Korbut : OLGA.   She won 4 gold and 2 silver medals for the Soviet team in the 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympics.

52. Flag down : HAIL.

53. Classic PC adventure game : MYST.  A graphic puzzle-adventure game having a variety of endings, depending on the player's choices.

55. Some univ. proctors : TAS. Teaching Assistants.

56. Curse : POX.

Lots of good stuff here, including a whale of a sub-theme.  No less than we would expect from this all star team.

Cool regards!

Note from C.C.:

Happy Birthday to dear PK, who turns 76 years old today. She can read our blog write-ups and comments, but she can't comment. Her iMac is so un-Apple!

Mar 21, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 Kevin Christian

Theme: Kevin Christian - An initial puzzle.

17. *Home of baseball's Royals: KANSAS CITY

24. *Diagonally: KITTY CORNER

34. *Large venomous snake: KING COBRA

51. *Hang out (with): KEEP COMPANY

60. *Martial arts move: KARATE CHOP

67. Strikeout victim of poetry, and a phonetic hint to the answers to starred clues: CASEY (K C)

Argyle here. A pleasant Tuesday.


1. __ torch: party light: TIKI

5. Gone from one's plate: EATEN

10. "Eleni" author Nicholas: GAGE

14. Nailed, as a test: ACED

15. Carne __: taco filling: ASADA. We have had it here at the corner before but I haven't had any personally. Ranchero Platter (for 2 persons) Carne asada (grilled shell steak), 2 carnitas (pork), chorizo, guacamole, refried beans, corn tortillas - $25.00 - at our local restaurant.

16. Loads (of): A TON. The amount of food that come with the Ranchero Platter.

19. Online journal: BLOG. Somebody asked me the meaning the other day and I couldn't tell them. "The definition of BLOG is "Web-log, online diary".

20. Terminate: END

21. Sign light: NEON

22. Dutch cheese: GOUDA. The five letter Dutch cheese.

23. Federal hush-hush org.: NSA. (No Such Agency)

27. Lament: BEMOAN

29. Clod: OAF

30. "Silk Stockings" actress Charisse: CYD

31. Wine collector's datum: YEAR

32. Gumbo vegetable: OKRA

33. Laugh half: HEE

39. Young fellow: LAD

42. Opposite of spicy: MILD

43. Nile wading bird: IBIS

47. Here, in Haiti: ICI. French.

48. Santa __ winds: ANA

49. GI's mess work: KP DUTY. We had ON KP Saturday.

55. X, in old Rome: TEN

56. Cultural spirit: ETHOS

57. Not on base when req.: AWOL. (Absent Without Leave)

58. Org. whose awards ceremony Vince Gill hosted or co-hosted from 1992-2003: CMA. (Country Music Association)

59. Indian bread: NAAN

63. Raison d'__: ÊTRE

64. Exchange suggestive glances, say: FLIRT. Some people's raison d'être.

65. Cub scout units: DENs

66. Marries: WEDS

68. Canadian tribe: CREE


1. Impressed with: TAKEN BY

2. Words when the blindfold comes off: "I CAN SEE!"

3. Japanese ball-and-cups toy: KENDAMA

4. Passports, e.g.: IDs

5. Enter slowly: EASE IN

6. Foppish neckwear: ASCOT. Not foppish if you got the panache.

7. Besmirch: TAINT

8. Summer hrs. at Yankee Stadium: EDT. (Eastern Daylight Time)

9. Thumbs-down vote: NAY

10. Eva or Zsa Zsa: GABOR, or Magda.

11. Out for a midday meal: AT LUNCH

12. The one without the patch, for Bazooka Joe: GOOD EYE

13. Dueler's cry: "EN GARDE!"

18. "Puppy Love" singer Paul: ANKA

22. Excel in one's career: GO FAR. Paul Anka did.

25. Ono from Tokyo: YOKO. She did too, in her own way.

26. Low-__ diet: CARB

28. Mork's planet: ORK

32. Med. condition that may involve excessive hand-washing: OCD. (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) Judi Dench as Lady Macbeth. Clip(4:33)

35. Apple desktops: i-MACS

36. Bogotá boy: NIÑO

37. Glittery rock genre: GLAM

38. Help: AID

39. Refurbished: LIKE NEW

40. Protective plastic film: ACETATE

41. Fanatically devoted: DIE HARD. The "Die Hard" franchise has been very good to Bruce Willis.

44. Cleaver user: BUTCHER

45. Agenda start: ITEM ONE

46. Neural transmission point: SYNAPSE

49. __ pine: paneling wood: KNOTTY

50. Gomer of TV: PYLE. "Shazam!"

52. Corn breads: PONEs

53. "Les Misérables" city: PARIS

54. Not clueless: AWARE

60. Col. Sanders' chain: KFC. (Kentucky Fried Chicken)

61. __ carte: À LA

62. Atlanta-based public health org.: CDC. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


Mar 20, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017 Bruce Haight

Theme: And it's a grand day to be sure!

17A. Change one's route to avoid heavy traffic, say: MAKE A DETOUR. Grand tour.

23A. Likely successor to the throne: HEIR APPARENT. Grandparent

37A. "You're confusing me": "I DON'T UNDERSTAND". Grandstand, verb or noun.

48A. Sprained ankle, often: SPORTS INJURY. Grand jury.

59A. Climactic show ending, and a literal hint to this puzzle's circled letters: GRAND FINALE. The word in the circles can follow GRAND and they are the final word in their entries.

Argyle here. We have a quick return of Bruce Haight, a grid spanner; we have circles, a tight theme, a very necessary reveal. I hope we all have great week on this first day of spring.


1. Negative attention from the press, briefly: BAD PR. (bad public relations)

6. Deep-voiced opera singer: BASSO

11. "I knew it!": "HAH!"

14. Blazing: AFIRE. AWORD.

15. Gossip spreader: YENTA

16. Abu Dhabi is its cap.: UAE. (United Arab Emirates) Visit Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, if you dare.

19. Org. for marksmen: NRA. (National Rifle Association)

20. "You __ here": ARE

21. Pipe-cleaning brand: DRANO. (Not recommended for tobacco pipes.)

22. Composer Stravinsky: IGOR. His wife's name was "Katya".

26. Magnificent: SUPERB

29. Epps of "House": OMAR. His IMDb page.

30. Have no doubt: KNOW

31. Fabulist mentioned by Aristotle: AESOP. (fabulist - a person who composes or relates fables.)

34. Soda: POP

41. Capitol Hill fig.: POL

42. Quarrel: ARGUE

43. Machu Picchu resident: INCA

44. "Me neither!": "NOR I!"

46. Sacred river of India: GANGES

53. "Peter Pan" beast: CROC. Tic-toc croc.

54. Safe place?: VAULT

55. Help in finding the hidden treasure: MAP

58. Kept under wraps: HID

62. Blanc who voiced Bugs: MEL

63. "__ bet?": WANNA

64. Kind of panel or system: SOLAR

65. Keats work: ODE

66. Annual celebrations, for short: B-DAYS

67. Plot surprise: TWIST


1. The Crimson Tide, familiarly: BAMA. (Alabama)

2. In the distance: AFAR

3. Storied water barrier: DIKE. Dutch boy story, perhaps.

4. Ante-: PRE-. Prefixes.

5. Page turner: READER

6. Way to play music if you can't read it: BY EAR

7. Insurance giant: AETNA

8. Busybody: SNOOP

9. Good name for a lover of hearty meals: STU

10. Paddle: OAR

11. Gut feeling at dinner time?: HUNGER PANG

12. Packers quarterback Rodgers: AARON. Green Bay Packers, Green Bay, Wisconsin.

13. EKG organ: HEART

18. Smidgen: DRIB. Often found as dribs and drabs.

22. Nest egg acronym: IRA. (Individual Retirement Account)

23. Previously cut, as timber: HEWN

24. Penniless: POOR

25. Gig equipment: AMPs

26. Decide not to go to: SKIP

27. Loosen, as a knot: UNDO

28. Cylindrical water toy: POOL NOODLE

31. Director Lee: ANG. Taiwanese-born Ang Lee, not "Spike" Lee.

32. School URL ending: .EDU

33. "Comprende?": "SEE?". Spanish to English.

35. Fairy tale starter: ONCE

36. High-tech appt. books: PDAs. (personal digital assistant)

38. Sharp-tasting: TART

39. "Exodus" author Leon: URIS

40. Minuscule: TINY

45. Tolkien beast: ORC

46. __ of Mexico: GULF

47. Whistler, but not his mother: ARTIST

48. Blockhead: SCHMO

49. Jimmied (open): PRIED

50. The first Mrs. Trump: IVANA

51. Mary Poppins, e.g.: NANNY

52. Biblical betrayer: JUDAS

55. Timbuktu's country: MALI

56. "__, poor Yorick!": Hamlet: ALAS

57. Cheeky: PERT

59. Pres. #43: GWB.(George Walker Bush)

60. "Cool!": "RAD!"

61. "Immediately!": "NOW!"


Notes from C.C.:

1) Happy Birthday to dear Spitzboov (Al), our always cheerful and knowledgeable imp (Spitzboov is Low German for "rascal/"imp".) Spitzboov served in the Navy Reserve for over 20 years & retired as Commander. He continues to support the Navy in any way he can. The Annin flag he sent to me after I got my US citizenship is from the Navy. Hopefully you and Betty can meet with Argyle again this year.

Argyle and Spitzboov
(August 23, 2014, Washington County Fair)

2) Happy Birthday to John28man as well! He pops in on the blog from time to time.

Mar 19, 2017

Sunday, March 19, 2017 Cheri Kedrowski and Victor Barocas

Theme: "Big Appetite" - The last words (all animals) are replaced by the bigger animals in the successive theme entries.

22A. Practice good web courtesy? : NOT HURT A SPIDER. Not hurt a fly (back to the reveal theme entry). Like the Jains. Fun clue. Made me think of Internet.

30A. Description of the start of some Road Runner cartoons? : ALONG CAME A BIRD. Along Came a Spider.

53A. Nibbles on Friskies? : EATS LIKE A CAT. Eats like a bird.

61A. Warning for a snoopy Snoopy? : CURIOSITY KILLED THE DOG. Grid spanner. Curiosity killed the cat.

73A. Treatment for a milk hangover? : HAIR OF THE COW. Hair of the dog.

95A. Line that might not calm down Richard III? : DON'T HAVE A HORSE. Don't have a cow. "My kingdom for a horse".

107A. Song that inspired this puzzle : I KNOW AN OLD LADY. I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,

C.C. here. Alas, I have no memory of this song, despite a Jeffrey puzzle a few years ago.

Asked Boomer. He started to sing "... I don't know why she swallowed a fly. Perhaps she'll die...". Then I checked the Wiki page and understood the rationale of Cheri and Victor's approach. Quite neat. Orderly increase of animal size. 

Google shows that Cheri Kedrowski is a manager with 3M. This seems to be her debut. Congrats, Cheri!

You all know Victor Barocas, the very  talented and self-effacing crossword constructor and editor of our local Minnesota Crossword Tournament.

 Victor Barocas, David Liben-Nowell & Michael David

The 7 theme entries are all fairly long. Total 101 theme squares.  Heavy themage. Cheri and Victor still managed to put two great 11's and five 9's in the Down slots.

1. Plymouth Reliant, e.g. : K-CAR

5. Spanish cathedral city : LEON. Here is the cathedral.

9. Yawner : DRAG

13. Flakes in geology class : MICA

17. Language that gave us "bard" : ERSE

18. Magazine founder Eric : UTNE. Our local Barnes & Noble carries Uten Reader. But no LA Times.

19. Graceful leap : JETE. Clue echo with 36. Graceful leap : AXEL

20. Wasn't plumb : LEANED. I read it as "Wasn't plump".

25. With merchandise, say, as payments : IN KIND

26. Snack cake that can be deep-fried : TWINKIE. I meant to ask. Have any of you had these Oreo pies before? 
27. Author Morrison : TONI. Also 89. Mystery author Grafton : SUE

28. Bening of "The Kids Are All Right" : ANNETTE

29. Proof-ending abbr. : QED

33. Foot bone : TALUS

37. Clarifying words : AS IN. V as in Victor.

38. Non-discriminatory hiring abbr. : EOE

39. Et __ : ALII. Put in ALI? then wait.

40. Cruised through : ACED

41. Cool play area, maybe : RINK. Nice clue.

43. "Erie Canal" mule : SAL

45. Frequent mother-and-child painter : CASSATT (Mary)

47. Last verb in the Gettysburg Address : PERISH. "... shall not perish from the earth". Victor always digs deep for different clue angles.

49. Bar game : LIMBO

56. Supreme Roman : EMPEROR

58. Pamplona's kingdom : NAVARRE. Forgot. We had this a while ago.

59. '70s extremist gp. : SLA. Symbionese Liberation Army.

60. Boast opener : VENI. "veni, vidi, vici"

68. Scads : A TON

69. Chilean pronoun : ESO

70. Cellphone setting : VIBRATE

71. Rock band member : BASSIST

78. 1921 Valentino role : SHEIK

79. Breastbones : STERNA. I learned this word from an Alan Cumming/Fresh Air interview.

81. Not let go of : BELABOR

83. __ Moines : DES

85. Jackie's designer : OLEG (Cassini)

86. Tobacco plug : CHAW

88. Record, in a way : TIVO

91. Distinctive flavor : TANG. Also the last major Chinese dynasty with capital in my hometown Xi'an. Zhou, Qin, Han & Tang. That's how I got my Mandarin name.

93. Like details you'd rather be spared : GORY

94. In the stars : FATED

99. Tool for Cinderella : MOP

100. Remove from the box : UNCRATE

101. The __: Horace works : ODES

102. Small detail : MINUTIA

106. 1958 hit that won the first Song of the Year Grammy : VOLARE. Learning moment for me. Wiki says it's Italian for "To fly".

110. Puts up : ERECTS

111. Level : TIER

112. Humor that evokes winces : CORN

113. Myrtle or hazel : TREE

114. Thing to do : TASK

115. Postulates : SAYS

116. Joint for jumping : KNEE. Another nice clue.

117. Large septet : SEAS


1. Surrey neighbor : KENT

2. Fox's fabled flattery victim : CROW

3. Italian sparkler : ASTI

4. Burger successor : REHNQUIST. The Chief Justice when I first came here.

5. Shocking : LURID

6. Kitchen extension? : ETTE. Kitchenette. Also  55. Trick ending? : ERY. Trickery.

7. Bump-log link : ON A

8. Snugly situated : NESTLED

9. Muslim spirit : DJINN. Also JINNI.

10. Make anew, as a trench : RE-DIG

11. Downed : ATE

12. Lang. of Luther : GER

13. Pretend : MAKE BELIEVE.Also 64. Advantage : INSIDE TRACK. Sparkly 11s.

14. Ab __: from the start : INITIO 

15. Middle of England? : CENTRE. Normally a clue for ELL.

16. Threw in : ADDED

20. Housekeeping concern : LINENS

21. Sicilian province or its capital : ENNA

23. Maui music makers : UKEs

24. Combine : POOL

28. Port-au-Prince pal : AMI

30. Pink-slip : AXE

31. "That's enough!" : CAN IT

32. Poses : ASKS

33. Middle X, in a game : TAC

34. Roman wings : ALAE. Learned from doing crosswords.

35. Hall of Fame WNBA star __ Leslie : LISA Incredible career.

36. Ones seeking change : ACTIVISTS

40. Books with legends : ATLASES

41. Warehouse job : RECEIVING

42. Savings plan letters : IRA

44. European peak : ALP

46. "This comes __ surprise" : AS NO

47. Leave in the garage : PARK

48. Kept down : HELD AT BAY. Great fill as well.

50. Sitcom with the episode "Stable for Three" : MR. ED. Mister Ed is the preferred spelling. Rich also prefers Doctor Who rather than DR WHO.

51. Lead singer on "The Joshua Tree" : BONO

52. Not a copy: Abbr. : ORIG

54. Green Hornet's driver : KATO
57. First book of the New Testament : MATTHEW

59. Feudal peasant : SERF

61. Pickup artists? : CABS. Not CONS. The driver can be the "Pickup artist". Not the car itself. 

62. Bountiful locale : UTAH. Bountiful, Utah.

63. Left the ground : ROSE

65. Turkish coin : LIRA

66. Corp. raider's ploy : LBO. Leveraged Buyout.

67. Cad : HEEL

72. Devastating 2008 hurricane : IKE

73. Comic strip mother of Hamlet and Honi : HELGA. Hagar the Horrible.

74. "You __": Lionel Richie hit : ARE

75. Launches : CATAPULTS. Love this word.

76. Departure notice? : OBIT

77. Emulated Arachne : WOVE

80. Word with musical or muscle : TONE

82. Reel partner : ROD

84. With 92-Down, Monopoly prop. bordering the Electric Company : STATES. And 92. See 84-Down : AVE
86. Russian Civil War fighter : COSSACK

87. Maximilian I's realm: Abbr. : HRE

89. Chihuahua neighbor : SONORA

90. Ben and Sam : UNCLES
93. Gathered steam : GREW

94. Affectionate : FOND

95. Bed cover : DUVET. Not SHEET.

96. Playwright Moss : HART

97. Baklava sweetener : HONEY. I recall Baklava is favorite at the Spitzboov household. Best wishes for Betty's quick recovery! Relieved to hear the good news for your son too, Wilbur!

Spitzboov, Betty and Argyle

98. Glade targets : ODORS

99. "The Wrong Sort of Bees" author : MILNE

102. Seconds : MORE

103. Shipping deduction : TARE

104. Planning session input : IDEA

105. Positive words : AYEs

107. "__ Not Easy Being Green" : IT'S

108. Soul seller : KIA. Not FAUST. Great clue.

109. Nantes negative : NON