Dec 15, 2017

Friday, December 15, 2017, John Lampkin

Title: Music...Opera? Sorry I did not have time to finish....

Where do I begin in discussing this most perfect example of the constructor and his humor? JL begins with a shout out to himself, as his name Lampkin is a pet form of Lambkin. Kin was added in the 12th century when taxes began being collected from individuals rather than property and they needed surnames to keep track of who paid and who did not. (Opinion, not fact, as who really know?)
He created a 15x16 puzzle to fit in all of his whimsical reboots of famous pieces of music. John is an accomplished professional musician and piano teacher who I am sure is very familiar with each of these actually finished pieces. In contrast to the adding KIN to his name, John removes the end of each of the titles of the work and clues the result for maximum humor. The themers are presented in pinwheel with a center fill. He also adds NO CLUE, CAROMED, DESPOTS, FLEABAG, GYRATOR, the mini-theme added musical fill LULLABY and SAD SONG along with SLAMMER, UP A TREE, RECRUITS and TOOK CARE. So, here we go.

18A. Unfinished Puccini work a.k.a. "Homage to a Dairy"? : MADAMA BUTTER(FLY) (12). Before anyone calls "foul" the play was Madame Butterfly. The opera Madama. LINK.

42A. Unfinished Beethoven work a.k.a. "Salute to Manning"? : FÜR ELI(SE) (6). How up to date to use Eli Manning, and our common clue/fill LINK.

66A. Unfinished Beethoven work a.k.a. "Dracula's Boy"? : MOONLIGHT SON(ATA)(12). No sun for Drac's son; the musical piece was finished before he completely lost his hearing. LINK.

12D. Unfinished Mozart work a.k.a. "A Sorcerer's Bug"? : THE MAGIC FLU(TE) (11). This opera LINK was his last. Flu season is back, be careful.

26D. Unfinished Vivaldi work a.k.a. "Water Music for the Mathematically Challenged"? : THE FOUR SEAS(ONS) (11). He wrote these four violin concertos LINK and a poem for each. Forgetting that there are seven seas would be difficult.


1. Meat of which Australia is among the largest producers: LAMB. Shamelessly crossing 1D. Hasty flight: LAM. The self-referential beginning to this over-sized effort is wonderful.

5. Down-and-out inn: FLEABAG.  Such a fun ORIGIN.

12. Apt brew for a golfer? : TEA. A tee for two pun.

15. Healing Salve: ALOE.

16. Oral soporific? : LULLABY. More music, but not so fancy.

17. Solo with memorable lines: HAN. Very popular this week.The new Star Wars movie, without Han, opens today. It also is the 49th anniversary of my first corneal transplant and 44 years since I graduated law school.

20. Fertilization target : EGG. Ova last week. As most of you know, John Lampkin is also a world class photographer with insects his specialty. So, look at these insect eggs. The world is a fun place.

21. Cashed, as a forged check: KITED.  It actually is THIS which has nothing to do with forgery. Juxtaposed with...

22. Hoosegow: SLAMMER. Where people can end up for kiting checks.

24. Completely filled: SATED.

27. Singers do it: SEW. A fake out addition to the mini-theme. My grandfather used a Singer like this
29. Moist-eyed: TEARY.

30. "Argo" setting: TEHRANThe Movie.

32. It may make you 29-Across: SAD SONG.
Hey Jude, don't make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

35. "All bets __ off": ARE.

36. Soak (up), as gravy: SOP.

38. They may be raw: RECRUITS. A new, inexperienced, or fresh recruit, such as someone just entering the army, navy, police, etc. Also, college athletes.

41. Whistle-blower: REF. Fun.

44. Cabin bed: COT.

45. Proceeded cautiously: TOOK CARE.

48. Arcing shot: LOB. Tennis.

50. Side dish piece: FRY. The "French" is being fazed out. Freedom never caught on.

51. Stuck: UP A TREE. Cats 1?

53. What the puzzled have: NO CLUE. And of course, we have lots of clues here.

55. Baseball commission? : ERROR. Tricky baseball clue/fill; not an investigative body.

57. Mex. distances: KMS. Kilometers also in Thailand.

59. Tie for cooking: TRUSS. Did you?

60. Dictators: DESPOTS. Unless they are benevolent.

63. Track bet: PLACE. Win, place, and show = 1, 2 and 3.

65. View: SEE.

71. Actress Gabor: EVA. Merv Griffin's beard and the Green Acres' wife.

72. "M*A*S*H" unit? : EPISODE. JL was an early creator of clechos.

73. "M*A*S*H" actor: ALDA.

74. Guitarist Paul: LES.

75. Held up: DELAYED.

76. Putin's refusal: NYET.


2. In the style of: À LA.

3. Stylish, '60s-style : MOD. The mods and the rockers.  FLASHBACK.

4. Lab container: BEAKER.

5. Like day-old seltzer: FLAT. The bubbles burst.

6. Garage services: LUBES.

7. Dodges: ELUDES.

8. Key usually pressed and held: ALT. CTRL/ALT/DEL.

9. Takes cuts in a box: BATS. Another of the tricky baseball clues.

10. Slain brother: ABEL.

11. Belly dancer, e.g.: GYRATOR. You want to watch? LINK.

13. Gung-ho: EAGER.

14. Steamed: ANGRY. Coming out of your ears?

19. Gilt-ridden king? : MIDAS. There have been so many clues to this storied king, but this is perfect.

23. List of options: MENU. Not just food any longer.

24. Square one: START. GO?

25. Word on Spanish mail: AEREO.

28. Soft finish? : WARE.

31. Dietary watchwords: NO-FAT.

33. Farmer's habitat? : DELL. More baby stuff.

34. Boxy Toyota: SCION. They aren't anymore, but were in 2004.

37. Persian murmur: PURR. Another kitty cat for CED and the other feline fanatics.

39. Bagel shape: TORUS.

40. Eye sores: STYES.

43. Smell to high heaven: REEK.

46. "Gangnam Style" genre, for short: K-POPLINK.

47. Ricocheted: CAROMED. A gimme to any billiard/pool player.

49. Make a mess of: BOTCH.

52. Use: EMPLOY.

54. Ancient Knossos denizen: CRETAN. Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and has been called Europe's oldest city.  The citizens of Crete are Cretans, literally.

55. Collectible lemon: EDSEL. A fabulous CSO to yours truly!

56. "Still Me" memoirist: REEVE.                  LINK.

58. One way to come home: SLIDE. A cool baseball misdirection.

61. Hit the sauce: TOPE. Archaic, literary. Drink alcohol to excess, especially on a regular basis.
‘he was toping the while from a flagon of sack.’ Or perhaps, port.

62. Get dirty: SOIL. This has so many negative implications.

64. Like port, usually: AGED. It is one of this wine's ADVANTAGES. Something else our Renaissance Man knows about.

67. DOD division: NSADepartment oDefense oversees the National Security Agency.

68. Underhanded: SLY.

69. Keats forte: ODE.

70. 2017 NLDS player: NATional. One final baseball reference for C.C.

I have such fun doing these write-ups especially when the puzzles are as whimsical as this one was.  Happy Chanukah to those who light the candles and get ready for Christmas- 10 more shopping days. Thanks, John Lampkin, nice baseball stuff:  and all of you who come to the corner. Lemonade out.

Dec 14, 2017

Thursday, December 14th 2017 Ed Sessa

Theme: Johnnys-come-lately. As explained succinctly by the theme hint

35A. Classic TV intro which can be applied to the starts of the four other longest puzzle answers : HEEEEERE'S JOHNNY! Choose your own number of "E"s!

Also famously used by Jack Nicholson in the movie adaptation of Stephen King's "The Shining":

18A. Year-end rewards : CASH BONUSES. Johnny Cash."The Man in Black". Portrayed to great effect by Joaquim Phoenix in the biopic "Walk the Line".

23A. Silver State capital : CARSON CITY. Johnny Carson. The original Johnny referred to by the puzzle title. Ed McMahon's intro line for Carson on "The Tonight Show". Nevada is the Silver State.

50A. Bad break : ROTTEN LUCK. Johnny Rotten. John Lydon in his "Sex Pistols" alter ego. The Pistols were a tad controversial, but a huge influence on popular music, despite only releasing four singles and one studio album. Here's the first single if you want a taste of 1976.

56A. Dugout loudmouth : BENCH JOCKEY. Johnny Bench. Appropriate clue for the Red's catcher from 1967-1983. I don't know if he was a loudmouth in the dugout. Anyone? I'm not sure I'm familiar with the phrase, but the crosses were solid.

Nice theme from Ed, and some really nice fill, especially in the downs. POSEIDON and PLAY NICE, along with the stacked vertical 6's in the NW and SE. Good stuff. Let's see what else we've got to talk about:


1. Place for peas or z's : BED. The Princess and the Pea reference, I'm sure.

4. Bridge measure : SPAN

8. Like traffic at a bottleneck : STOP-GO. Very nice.

14. "Norma __" : RAE. Played by Sally Field in the movie.

15. She famously said "Play it" to 49-Across : ILSA.  Casablanca. No "again" contrary to some opinions.

16. Saved to watch later : TIVO'ED

17. Horace's "__ Poetica" : ARS. A poem advising others how to write poetry.

"Ye who write, make choice of a subject suitable to your abilities; and revolve in your thoughts a considerable time what your strength declines, and what it is able to support. Neither elegance of style, nor a perspicuous disposition, shall desert the man, by whom the subject matter is chosen judiciously."

20. One-step-at-a-time toy : SLINKY. The walking-downstairs spring. All the rage for a while, but essentially a one-trick pony.

22. "Only __": NPR sports program : A GAME

26. "The Mindy Project" actor Barinholtz : IKE Thank you, crosses

29. Well-endowed org.? : OPEC. Nice pun on the "well" in the clue. What did Red Adair say to "Boots" Hansen? " Oil's well that ends well".

30. McKellen and McShane : IANS. Both fine actors.

31. Said further : ADDED

33. Real estate unit : ACRE

34. Acted bullish? : MOO'ED. I associate mooing more with cows. Bulls snort.

41. Volunteer's offer : I'LL GO

42. "Vaya con __" : DIOS. "Go with God" - first sung by Freddy Fender.

43. Attach with string : TIE ON

44. Half of half-and-half : MILK. My local market has fat-free half-and-half - isn't that defeating the purpose?

45. Flower painted by van Gogh : IRIS

49. See 15-Across : SAM

52. Really worry : EAT AT

55. __ Tunes : LOONEY

60. Horseplayer's hangout, for short : OTB. Off-Track Betting facility. Every high street in every town in Britain has a betting shop, or two. They will take bets on anything you like - famously offering 5000-1 odds that the world would end as prophesied by the Mayan Calendar (and offering 1-5000 odds that it wouldn't); 5000-1 that perennial underdogs Leicester City would win the Premier League title in 2015-16 (and they did) and 175-1 odds that Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suarez would take a bite out of an opponent after two prior offenses. (He did, at the 2016 World Cup in Rio and was banned for six games).

61. "Good News" Grammy winner Kathy : MATTEA. Merci, les croixes.

62. Workshop gadget : VISE

63. Opposite of paleo- : NEO-. Paleolithic, neolithic, for example.

64. Wimps : WUSSES

65. Cheek or lip : SASS

66. "Yakety __": rock-'n'-roll novelty hit : SAX. I thought this was "Yakety Yak", so that slowed down my progress in this corner.


1. "Donnie __": Depp film : BRASCO. That's the fifth Johnny for today.

2. Part of a winter hat : EARLAP. What happened to the "F"?

3. Appetite : DESIRE

4. Michael Moore film about healthcare : SICKO

5. "No more fighting!" : PLAY NICE!

6. Pack animal : ASS

7. "Don't think so" : NAH

8. Cheap smoke : STOGY. I thought it was spelt "stogie". Mark Twain wouldn't smoke a cigar that cost more than 5¢

9. Actress Fey : TINA 

10. Egg cell : OVUM

11. Trident-carrying god : POSEIDON. Neptune is his Roman counterpart.

12. "My goodness" : GEE

13. Pigs out (on), for short : OD'S

19. Creatures in caves : BATS

21. Pres. advisory team : NSC. National Security Council.

24. "The Alienist" novelist Caleb : CARR. Indebted to you, crosses.

25. Boss' demand often followed by "now!" : I NEED IT!

27. Shrewd : KEEN

28. Circular current : EDDY

31. Tori of pop : AMOS. Aged five, she was the youngest student ever admitted to the Peabody Conservatory of Music. She was expelled at 11 years old due to her interest in rock and pop, and her dislike of sight-reading. Her first band was called "Y Kant Tori Read" as reference to that episode in her life..

32. Head-slapper's cry : DOH!

33. Long, long time : AEON

35. Search engine results : HITS

36. Director Kazan : ELIA. A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront and East of Eden are some of his best-known. A great director.

37. Basic principles : ELEMENTS

38. Big head : EGO

39. Sandy sediment : SILT

40. Like a really bad comedy skit : JOKELESS

44. Fictional detective Mr. __ : MOTO

45. U.N. workers' agcy. : ILO. The International Labour Organization. Founded in 1946, the UN's first specialized agency.
46. Sentences that need fixing : RUN-ONS

47. Summer drink : ICE TEA

48. Posh stadium seating : SKY BOX. I prefer the cheap seats. Much better atmosphere than hanging out with the mucky-mucks in the boxes.

50. Hindu princes : RAJAS

51. "The Highwayman" poet : NOYES

Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
   Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.

53. "Hair" parts : ACTS

54. Biblical pronoun : THEE

56. Big name in luxury autos : BMW. "Bayerische Motoren Werke AG". Originally an aircraft engine manufacturer. The blue-and-white badge represents an aircraft propeller. They made a three-wheel one-person car with the door opening at the front. The car had a reverse gear, unlike the Messerschmidt version, which caused the driver some problems if he pulled into the garage and stopped too close to the back wall. He couldn't open the door, and couldn't back up.

57. __ de cologne : EAU

58. Rite Aid competitor : CVS. One on every corner here in LA. I get my RX's filled through CVS.

59. Soul maker : KIA. Korean car company.. 기아자동차

And that pretty much wraps it up for me. I'm heading back East into some snow from the sunny California shores. I'm going in the wrong direction.

Here's the grid!


Dec 13, 2017

Wednesday, December 13 2017, Brian Gubin

3. *Friendly words to departing guests : GLAD YOU CAME. LADY is the Cocker Spaniel from Disney's Lady And The Tramp.
10. *Like medicine that works quickly : FAST ACTING. Regular crossword solvers recognize  ASTA as the Wire Fox Terrier from The Thin Man series.
21. *Extremely retro food regimen? : PALEO DIET. PAL, a Collie, was the original Lassie.
30. *"Cruel Summer" band : BANANARAMA. NANA is a St. Bernard who appears in Disney's 1953 animated film Peter Pan.
26. Common yoga pose ... and a hint to hidden names in the answers to starred clues : DOWNWARD DOG
Melissa here. A fun change to see down theme answers - and doubly fun for all the dog lovers.
1. Brainiac : EGGHEAD
8. Campus eatery, for short : CAF. I've never heard this shortened form uttered.
11. Flying Solo? : HAN. Star Wars - fun clue.
14. Brewpub brew : PALE ALE
15. Auburn University home : ALABAMA
17. #2 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time : CLAPTON. See the list here.
18. Burger bun flavorings : SESAMES. Did not come easy - have never seen this pluralized.
19. Out-of-date : OLD
20. Usual people in a roundup? : SUSPECTS
22. Small dogs : TOYS. Dog breeds by size.
24. Trafficking org. : DEA. Drug Enforcement Administration.
25. Insisted on it : SAID SO
29. Gaming rookie, in slang : NOOB. Aka, Newbie.
31. "Treasure Island" author's initials : RLS. Robert Louis Stevenson.

33. Cape : CLOAK. Jane Eyre wore one.
34. Six-sided state : UTAH. See?
36. Steinbeck's "__ of Eden" : EAST
38. Simple card game : WAR
39. Pal of Sleepy : DOC. The Seven Dwarfs.
41. "Taras Bulba" novelist Gogol : NIKOLAI
43. Org. with Thunder and Heat : NBA
44. Eggs in a lab : OVA
45. Amino __ : ACID
46. Chew (on) : GNAW
48. Male bodybuilder : HE MAN. Or a little rascal.
50. Uncle, in Mexico : TIO
52. Homecoming figure : GRAD
54. Rock show venues : ARENAS
56. U.K. country : ENG
58. Palm smartphone : TREO
60. Welcomers at the church door : GREETERS. Or Walmart.
63. Car seller's employer: Abbr. : DLR. Dealer.
64. Like some celebrity memoirs : TELL ALL.
67. Desperate : DO OR DIE
69. Salaries : INCOMES
70. Composer Puccini : GIACOMO. Never knew his first name. "The greatest composer of Italian opera after Verdi". Wikipedia.
71. 28-Down, essentially : POD
72. Solid __ rock : AS A
73. Steams up : ENRAGES
1. Spaceship Earth locale : EPCOT
2. Unit at the pumps : GALLON

4. Old-school "cool" : HEP
5. Has : EATS
6. Spoken : ALOUD
7. More heavily populated : DENSER
8. Attorney's assignment : CASE
9. Smart guys? : ALECS

11. Smoked meat : HAM
12. Zion Church letters : AME. I did not know this.
13. "One Mic" rapper : NAS. Wikipedia.
16. Pasta sauce herb : BASIL
23. Drunkard : SOT
27. Former Swedish automaker : SAAB
28. Southern veggie : OKRA
32. Mineo of movies : SAL
35. Hyphenated fruit drink brand : HI-C
37. Droop : SAG
39. Qatar's capital : DOHA
40. Done : OVER
42. Young fox : KIT
47. Hotel lobby hangings : ART
49. Prefix with Saxon : ANGLO
51. Nervous : ON EDGE
53. Remove calcium deposits from : DELIME
55. Tennis great Monica : SELES
57. Area below the abdomen : GROIN
59. Cookie bits in some Milka chocolate bars : OREOS
61. "Born Free" lioness : ELSA
62. Fly high : SOAR
64. Gratuity : TIP
65. Rock producer Brian : ENO
66. HDTV choice : LCD
68. HDTV brand : RCA

Dec 12, 2017

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 ~ Bruce Haight

Theme: Special - Festival of Lights.

17A. Potato __: 61-Across dish: PANCAKES

19A. Items in a 59-Across lit for 61-Across: CANDLES

37A. Traditional 61-Across surprise, aptly boxed, and spelled with the only four letters of the alphabet that don't appear elsewhere in this grid: GIFT

59A. 61-Across centerpiece: MENORAH

61A. Two-millennia-old tradition that begins at sunset tonight: HANUKKAH

and an added hint to the center answer. 36A. Pack in cartons: BOX UP

Argyle here. 15x16 pangram. Visual grid.


1. 1960s presidential monogram: LBJ

4. Gremlins and Pacers: AMCs. (American Motors Corporation) Cars from the seventies.

8. Lands' End rival: L.L.BEAN

14. World Cup cry: OLÉ

15. Naked: BARE

16. Cross-referencing phrase: SEE ALSO. Very apt for today's puzzle.

20. Novelist Ferber: EDNA

21. Key with four sharps: E MAJOR

23. Wife of Jacob: LEAH

24. Fervor: ZEAL

25. Rebecca of "Risky Business": DE MORNAY

27. Relaxed condition: LOOSENESS

29. "¿__ pasa?": QUE. "What's up?"

32. One lacking manners: BOOR, not 32D. Dutch South African: BOER

34. Cowboy boot attachments: SPURS

38. Range dividing Europe and Asia: URALS

39. "You gotta be kidding": "YEESH!"

40. Rx items: MEDS

41. Coffee server: URN

42. Long-finned tunas: ALBACOREs

49. Nash priest, not beast: ONE 'L' LAMA

50. Roughly: OR SO

54. Make __ dash for: A MAD

57. Expired: LAPSED

58. Contented sounds: AAHs

63. Football rushing plays: END RUNS. Offense.

64. Greek love god: EROS

65. December 24, e.g.: EVE

66. Figured (out): SUSSED

67. Suffix with ransom: WARE

68. Org. with narcs: DEA. (Drug Enforcement Administration)


1. Pop icon Jennifer: LOPEZ. J.Lo

2. Razor insert: BLADE. I barely remember.

3. Barbara Bush's twin sister: JENNA. On left.

4. Legal org.: ABA. (American Bar Association)

5. Manage somehow: MAKE DO

6. Sweet liqueurs: CRÈMES

7. Bagel seed: SESAME

8. Finds out: LEARNS

9. Actor Cariou: LENWiki. Canadian actor currently playing Henry Reagan the TV series Blue Bloods.

10. In a shoddy way: BADLY

11. She, in Paree: ELLE

12. On an ocean liner: ASEA

13. Quick snack: NOSH

16. Music for a film: SCORE

18. Hardhearted: CALLOUS

22. Actor Voight: JON

26. Take for granted: ASSUME

28. Annie, notably: ORPHAN

29. Campus hangout: QUAD

30. Addresses beginning with "http://": URLs. (Uniform Resource Locator)

31. Letter before tee: ESS

33. Plow-pulling team: OXEN

35. Washing machine cycle: PRESOAK

36. Mormon sch.: BYU. (Brigham Young University)

43. University founder Stanford: LELAND. Father of Stanford University in in Stanford, CA.

44. Malaise, with "the": BLAHS

45. Swiss peak: ALP

46. Kidney-shaped nut: CASHEW

47. 1998 Masters champ Mark: O'MEARA

48. Philadelphia suburb: RADNOR. An unincorporated community I've never heard of.

49. Smells: ODORS

51. Gathered leaves: RAKED

52. Trim whiskers: SHAVE

53. Actor Milo: O'SHEA

Milo O'Shea in Ulysses in 1967

54. Home of Iowa State: AMES

55. Diner handout: MENU

56. Added stipulations: ANDs

60. Regret: RUE

62. "__ as directed": USE


Dec 11, 2017

Monday, December 11, 2017 ~ C.C. Burnikel

Theme: Cover Up - No conspiracy, just items you can wear over your regular clothes, even shorts.

16A. Gift-wrapping need: CLEAR TAPE. CAPE

37A. Hipster: COOL CAT. COAT

56A. Garment fittingly represented by this puzzle's circles: OUTERWEAR

10D. Outdoor lot for cars: PARKING AREA. PARKA

23D. "Blurred Lines" singer: ROBIN THICKE. ROBE (He is a son of actor Alan Thicke)

Argyle here, and C.C. doing back-to-back puzzles.


1. Cushions for gymnasts: MATS

5. Guard's shout: HALT

9. Rectangular Apple: iPAD

13. Tons: A LOT

14. Student's repetitive cry with a raised hand: "OH! OH!"

15. Sports page news: TRADE

18. Country singer Steve: EARLE

19. Rowdy crowds: MOBS

20. "Mr. November," for Derek Jeter, e.g.: MONIKER

22. Put pen to paper: WRITE

24. Rep.'s campaign rival: DEM.

25. Title for a knight: SIR

26. Home for a pride: LIONS' DEN

28. Genesis paradise: EDEN

30. Exile island for Napoleon: ELBA

31. Dance for which "it takes two": TANGO

33. JPEG relative: GIF. (Graphics Interchange Format)

36. Quotable boxer: ALI. Muhammad Ali

39. Duffer's dream: ACE. Hole-in-one in golf.

40. Air circulator: FAN

41. Capital of Yemen: SANA'A

42. Large First Nations tribe: CREE

43. "__ does it!": THAT

45. Meddling type of "driver" who's not actually driving: BACKSEAT

48. "Never heard of them": "WHO?"

49. Golf great Ernie: ELS

51. "Don't sweat it!": "RELAX!". "Chill!"

52. "Is that really your opinion?": "THINK SO?". Truncated "Ya think so?"

54. Not wavering in the least: SURE

55. TV host Lake: RICKI. I don't believe she has a show currently.

61. Signed in pen: INKED

62. Leisurely gait: TROT

63. Doing nothing: IDLE

64. Bird's snack: SEED

65. Drinks slowly: SIPS

66. Dragged to court: SUED


1. Apple computer: MAC

2. Every bit: ALL

3. Little piggy: TOE

4. Staying power: STAMINA

5. Place of rapid growth: HOTBED

6. Light-bulb moments: A-HA's

7. Prune, as a branch: LOP

8. Unifying idea: THEME

9. Aggressive poker table words: "I RAISE" but they could be bluffing.

11. "Inferiority complex" coiner Alfred: ADLER. (1870-1937) A bit tough for a Monday.

12. Doe or stag: DEER

15. Half a score: TEN. Didn't fool me; a score is twenty. (Counting on your fingers and toes then making a mark. My thoughts.)

17. Goes bad: ROTS

21. Last Greek letter: OMEGA

22. "O Pioneers!" author Cather: WILLA. Recent visitors here, both the book and the author.

24. Paternity test sites: DNA LABS

26. One of many that fall in the fall: LEAF

27. School near Windsor: ETON

29. Tiny speck: DOT

32. Final Four org.: NCAA. National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball play-offs.

34. Mountaineer's tool: ICE AX. Tinbeni axes the ice.

35. Thirds of a yard: FEET

37. Civil War side: Abbr.: CSA. (Confederate States of America)

38. Hall's pop music partner: OATES. We mentioned this "Sara" song recently.

42. Narnia creator: C.S. LEWIS. He is best known for the seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia series.

44. Tooted one's horn: HONKED. Misdirected?

46. Salad oil bottles: CRUETS

47. Deborah of "The King and I": KERR. No tango here.

48. Complain with self-pity: WHINE

50. Ransacks: LOOTS

52. "Divergent" films heroine: TRIS. Tris Prior, Wiki "Divergent".

53. Baby goat: KID

54. "Enough!": "STOP!". Nope, four more.

57. School in the smallest U.S. state: URI. (University of Rhode Island)

58. End of a school address: .EDU

59. Malt beverage: ALE

60. Color of most pomegranate seeds: RED


Dec 10, 2017

Sunday, December 10, 2017, C.C. Bunikel


Husker Gary here acting as a literary Sherpa for our crossword mistress. This Sunday, C.C. had made an AMAZING (hence the title) puzzle by scrambling the word GRACE inside some two or three word phrases and situated those scrambled letters such that they span the words in the phrases. Fun! 

I am showing the grid early to help those of you who did not have the circles in your paper or electronic grid.

I saw the gimmick and struggled to see what could go with GRACE for the gimmick. However, for the payoff, C.C. substitutes the word BLESSING for GRACE to generate this reveal (not MIXED GRACES):

121. It's not all good ... and it's literally found in this puzzle's circles : MIXED BLESSING. Cool! I have always considered cell phones as a MIXED BLESSING

Let's take a look at C.C. theme entries:

22. Tehran tinderbox for 14-plus months : HOSTAGE CRISIS - They were released just minutes after Ronald Reagan's inauguration 

34. Making the Guinness Book, say : SETTING A RECORD -  Ozzie set the record for "Dog Rope Walking" by going 11.4' in 14 seconds

55. World Cup events : SOCCER GAMES - I am not a SOCCER FAN and this is the ONLY image I remember from the sport - Brandi Chastain in 1999

84. Recycling center item : BEVERAGE CAN - They can really add up

101. Log holder : FIREPLACE GRATE - This feels pretty good at this this time of year on the Great Plains

16. What a Facebook post might draw : STRONG REACTIONS - I posed what I thought was a very innocent question on FB last election season and I was bombarded by STRONG REACTIONS. To quote Edgar Allen's famous bird - NEVERMORE!!

43. Violet Crawley's title in "Downton Abbey" : DOWAGER COUNTESS - Hearing Maggie Smith wield her acid tongue in this role is well worth viewing!

Now let's what other AMAZING BLESSINGS C.C. is bestowing on us today


1. /, on some score sheets : SPARE - The bottom score here is known as a Dutch 200 where you get that score by alternating spares (/) and strikes (X) for ten frames. Boomer doesn't bother with /'s all that often! 😏

6. Herbal tea : TISANE, 1. Teahouse treat : SCONE and 80. "Unexpected blends" tea brand : TAZO provide a mini theme by tea connoisseur C.C.

12. Premier League powerhouse : CHELSEA - More Soccer

19. Ascended : SCALED

20. Calligraphy container : INKPOT

21. Top-seller : HOT ITEM

24. Getting on in years : ELDERLY - Hey! I resemble that adjective!

25. Asthmatic's device : INHALER - It got my brother through his childhood

26. Super, slangily : UBER - Today's use of that word is much better than what is was used for two generations before.

27. Batman after Michael : VAL - Can you find Mr. Kilmer?

28. Google : Android :: Apple : __ : IOS - This Operating System keeps my iPhone going

29. Got the word : HEARD

30. It borders three oceans : ASIA

32. Resort near Boston : CAPE ANN - I picked the wrong one at first

38. Wander (about) : GAD - My lovely  bride doesn't care for the fact that I do this constantly when we are shopping 

41. Took charge of : LED

44. Long stretches : AEONS

45. Netflix alternative : HULU - I'm a NETFLIXer

46. Down tune : DIRGE -These Volga boatmen have a famous one named after them. 

48. Ocean rings : ATOLLS

50. Earned : WON

51. Some charges : USER FEES - It's better to use them than to 49. Impose, as a tax : LEVY

54. Investment firm T. __ Price : ROWE

60. Plummeted : SANK

61. Ne'er-do-well : KNAVE

63. Catch of the day, perhaps : SEA BASS - $30 on this menu for Misoyaki SEA BASS

64. Inc., in Toronto : LTD

66. Euro divs. : CTS - It takes 100 €0.01 to make €1.00

67. Workout addicts : GYM RATS - Our YMCA has them of all ages and sizes

69. "That's no kidding" : I MEAN IT

72. Sault __ Marie : STE

74. Pull : TUG - Her trademark

75. Jerry-rigged, in a way : TAPED ON - Oh, like this?

79. Ekberg of "La Dolce Vita" : ANITA

82. Crime scene figure : PERP - PERP (prep) SCHOOL was our first silly, Sunday answer last week

87. Stable baby : FOAL

88. National summer sport of Canada : LACROSSE - Hmmm... A sport that only requires two months. 😜 Sorry Canadian Eh!

90. Luanda is its cap. : ANG - Where I'm sure they post many 14. Flight takeoff fig. : ETD's at their international airport

91. Mourning on the court : ALONZO - A 6'10" former NBA player

93. Distant : ALOOF

94. Sudden attack : RAID - Look out refrigerator!

96. Dish alternative : CABLE

99. Lush : SOT

100. Lady Tigers' sch. : TSU - The Tennessee State University Lady Tigers play just north of where the Vanderbilt University Lady Commodores play in Nashville

106. More offensive : NASTIER - Campaigns race to see who can be NASTIER

108. Queen in "Frozen" : ELSA (not our Born Free lioness) and 86. Film lioness : NALA (a different lioness)

109. Lackluster finish : MATTE

113. And the like: Abbr. : ETC - Yul Brynner sang/spoke it in The King and I

114. Sweetie : HON - This appellation may not be very welcome today

115. Mother of Castor : LEDA - Castor's twin Pollux had a different father. It's a long story...

117. Choice word : WHETHER 

119. Get going, as an oven : PRE-HEAT 

123. Roll call discovery : ABSENCE - A big requirement in schools these days

124. Figure of speech? : ORATOR - A clever clue for one of the best ORATORS of modern times 

125. Oddball : WEIRDO

126. Agreement often reluctant but still respectful : YES DEAR - What to say if my lovely bride is right or wrong

127. Mischief-makers : DEMONS

128. Thrills : SENDS - A great song using this 50's slang by one of the best R 'n B singers ever


2. Lara's husband in "Doctor Zhivago" : PASHA - Later in the book, this laughter prone prankster changed - "[PASHA] knew that rumor had nicknamed him Rasstrelnikov, 'the Executioner.' He took it in stride, he feared nothing" 

3. Wedding settings : ALTARS

4. Genuine article : REAL DEAL

5. Barely beat (out) : EDGE

6. It may be nervous : TIC - If Inspector Clouseau worked for you...

7. Reduced to rubble : IN RUINS - The Roman Colosseum is magnificent even in this state

8. Aspen traveler's item : SKI BAG

9. Cathedral recess : APSE

10. Detective fiction genre : NOIR - Bogie was the film master 

11. Movie makeup dept. creations : ETS - Such as in my favorite Sci-Fi movie Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

12. Inferior : CHEAPO

13. Cry out loud : HOLLER

15. '60s protest : LIE IN - When your "Sit In" just wasn't gettin' it done

17. Fish trapped in pots : EELS - I'd try them at C.C.'s house if she offered them...

18. Adams of "Her" : AMY

19. __ Tzu : SHIH - Most take great pains to pronounce this breed carefully

23. Sister of Clio : ERATO - One of the muses who frequent our little word stand here

27. Space devoid of matter : VACUUM - Here's a kitty trying to figure out a VACUUM here on Earth

31. Lust, e.g. : SIN

32. Dopey frame, e.g. : CEL - In this CEL frame, he is gettin' down with Snow White

33. Short lines at the post office? : ADDR - ADDRess

35. Hardy's "Pure Woman" : TESS - She and Yoko both are frequent fliers here

36. Now, in Nicaragua : AHORA and 53. This, to Picasso : ESTA - Aquí EST
Á la respuesta AHORA (Here is the answer now)

37. Climbing aids : RUNGS

39. Mole, perhaps : AGENT

40. Classroom array : DESKS - These DESKS have only way to be arrayed

41. Shenanigan : LARK - Or a more beautiful use of the word from a musical we all know

42. School since 1440 : ETON - The ETON Cricket team will tour Sri Lanka next spring

47. Uncertainties : IFS - If IFS and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas

50. Bug catcher : WEB -  Our lush landscape invites many of these spider constructions 

52. One-named Tejano pop star : SELENA - I subbed for a Spanish teachers for two days and I showed half of this film of her too-short life each day

56. Plains folks? : OSAGES

57. Belgium winter hrs. : CET 

58. Social division : CASTE

...but so is high school
59. Remark to the audience : ASIDE- A wonderful theatric device used in this movie

62. Pro with a siren : EMT

65. Paternity test letters : DNA - Blood tests could only tell a man he wasn't the father or that he could be

68. Uses elbow grease on : RUBS

70. Comfy slip-on : MOC

71. Skinny : INFO

72. Impact sound : SPLAT - Spaghetti's done!

73. Dabbling ducks : TEALS - New use of Dabble for me

76. Thin as __ : A RAIL  and 121. Like Twiggy's style : MOD - 5'6" 90lbs

77. Important animal in '70s U.S.-China diplomacy : PANDA - Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing

78. Future chicken : EGG

81. Heaps : A LOT

83. Golf course figure : PRO PAR

85. Ben of "Roots" : VEREEN - Chicken George

89. Send-__: farewells : OFFS 

92. "Hmm … " : LET ME SEE - Did I find all my errors or will I have to count on my friends to find them?

95. What "4" may mean: Abbr. : APR - Uncle Sam gets my last tax money as late as possible on 4/15 

96. Porcelain with a pale green glaze : CELADON - Beautiful green pottery first made in China but named in England

97. Justice Dept. bigwigs : AGS - Attorneys General (A'S G?)

98. Beaning aftermath, sometimes : BRAWL 

102. Odysseus' kingdom : ITHACA

103. Revolting sort? : RIOTER

104. Formally give : CEDE TO

105. Takes courses at home? : EATS IN

107. Felt the pain : ACHED

110. "Hot corner" base : THIRD - So called because hit balls get there very quickly, that's why all that play THIRD base should wear these

111. Ministers : TENDS

112. Cartesian connection : ERGO

113. Kathryn of HBO's "Oz" : ERBE - Google it if you're interested

115. Old Parmesan bread : LIRE - A euphemism for old money in Parma, Italy

116. Eye __ : EXAM - My 95-year-old MIL passed her eye EXAM and now her driver's license is now good until she is 100

118. Adheres (to) : HEWS - So this is where that comes from

119. Settle up : PAY

120. Biloxi-to-Mobile dir. : ENE -ESE would work for this famous song lyric "From Natchez To Mobile"

122. Places to crash, in ads : BRS - One of our 3 B(ed)R(nooms)S got converted to a computer room/office 20 minutes after on daughter got a job and moved to Lincoln. 

Now how 'bout some MIXED BLESSINGS from the peanut gallery (Man, I'm old!)


Notes from C.C.:

Here is a picture from our local crossword constructors get-together last Sunday Dec 3, 2017.  Chris is based in Iowa. Drove a long way. Quite a few are our LAT constructors. Kathy made her LAT debut earlier this year.

I recall Will Shortz mentioned a while ago that after New York and California, Minnesota has the most constructors.

Thanks for organizing the event, Tom, you're the best!

Dec 3, 2017 Sunday

Seated, L to R:  C.C. Burnikel, Theresa Horan (Teedmn), Kathy Jaschke

Standing:  George Barany, Tariq Samad (Cryptics constructor), Stew Lelievr (been to the ACPT for about 20 years straight), Andrew Sand, Amy Bemis, Jay Kaskel, David Hanson (Rosebud), Marcia Brott, Christopher Adams, Victor Barocas and Tom Pepper