Sep 2, 2015

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 Ed Sessa

Theme: Four of a kind ... Four Jacks in this case, as explained by the reveal entries:

39A. With 40-Across, toy with a crank ... and what each set of four circled puzzle squares graphically represents : JACK IN

40A. See 39-Across : THE BOX

Welcome to Wednesday, everyone. Steve here with an Ed Sessa "circles" theme. If you're one of the circle-less solvers amongst us you weren't at any disadvantage today, you just didn't get the post-solve "oh look, there's some names of people there" moment. 

We've got two actors - WEBB and LORD (Dragnet and Hawaii 5-0 respectively), one talk show host PAAR and one football player/politician KEMP.

I'm treating this more as a "Wednesday themeless", unless I'm missing something deep and mysterious about the names or the placement in the grid. 

Moving on ...


1. Flier among hangers : MOTH

5. Hurt : ACHE

9. Exams for future attys. : LSATS

14. Alpine feedback : ECHO. Yodeling probably wouldn't be as much fun without the sound rebound.

15. Something to chew on : FOOD

16. Open courtyards : ATRIA. "Open" in the sense of "uncluttered", not necessarily "open to the air".

17. Some Broadway theater handouts : SHOWBILLS. Hand up for HANDBILLS first. Interestingly, the only Broadway theater that gives you a showbill is the New Amsterdam, for reasons explained here. Who knew?

19. Green shampoo : PRELL. Crosses for me. I thought it might be eco-friendly, but no, it's just green.

20. Raised on one's own ranch, as a horse : HOMEBRED

21. Pilot-licensing org. : F.A.A. Our friends at the Federal Aviation Authority. The UK equivalent is the Civil Aviation Authority, which sounds to me like they must be jolly polite.

22. Like many senior part-timers : SEMI-RETIRED

27. Hemingway nickname : PAPA

31. Yours, in Toulouse : A TOI

32. Stadium level : TIER. You need one cross to decide between TIER and the also-popular LOGE.

33. __ husky : ALASKAN

36. PC exit key : ESC

38. Tournament advantage : BYE

42. D-backs, on scoreboards : ARI. Officially, the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball, but that would need to be one heck of a wide scoreboard to fit that lot in.

43. "Little Red Book" author : MAO

45. It's not pretty to look at : EYESORE

46. Certain bond, briefly : MUNI

48. Tae __ do : KWON

50. "The __ lama, he's a priest ... ": Nash : ONE L

51. Sherry in a Poe title : AMONTILLADO. A jaunty, cheerful and uplifting tale of burial alive.

55. When doubled, a number puzzle : KEN. From the Japanese word for cleverness, ken, so I'm told.

56. "Beatles '65" song : I'M A LOSER. Not one of their best-known, that's for sure. The album the song was on was released as "Beatles for Sale" in the UK, not the album title in the clue, so I thought '65 referred to the release year, but that was actually 1964. Confused yet?

61. Common news hr. : TEN P.M.

64. Intensely active state : OVERDRIVE

65. Greek storyteller : AESOP

66. Reject suddenly : JILT, as a lover.

67. Field : AREA

68. Land maps : PLATS. Learning moment for me. I had PLANS at first until INKPON showed up at 47D.

69. Ornamental band : SASH

70. Socially awkward type : NERD


1. Interlock : MESH

2. Nueve menos uno : OCHO. Spanish math.

3. McAn of footwear : THOM. Crosses for me. Never heard of the brand.

4. NHL great Gordie : HOWE

5. In flames : AFIRE

6. Camping gear company with a lantern in its logo : COLEMAN

7. "Wait a minute!" : HOLD IT!

8. People working for People, briefly : EDS. Magazine editors.

9. Wash gently against : LAP AT. This one seems to have been cropping up a lot recently, or perhaps I'm just noticing it more. Funny how that happens.

10. Narrow waterway : STRAIT. "Narrow" would appear to be a relative term. The Bass Strait, which separates Tasmania from mainland Australia, is approximately 220 miles wide.

11. "__ you coming?" : ARE

12. Up to, casually : 'TIL "Open 8 'til Late".

13. Mineo of "Exodus" : SAL

18. Air rifle ammo : BB'S

21. Full of gumption : FEISTY

23. Caviar, e.g. : ROE

24. Award often blue : RIBBON. The alternately-spelled BLUE RIBAND trophy is held by the liner United States for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by a passenger ship.

25. Pooh pal : EEYORE. With Piglet, my favorite character from the books (don't get me started on the Disney abominations). Is his rundown house EEYORE'S EYESORE?

26. Philadelphia university : DREXEL. Oh, so that's where it is. I wondered.

27. __ party : PAJAMA. PYJAMA in British English, so I waited for ALASKAN to resolve matters for me.

28. Shakespearean call to arms : ALARUM. Great word.

29. "Scarface" (1983) star : PACINO

30. "Try me" : ASK

34. "Bette Davis Eyes" singer Carnes : KIM. Gravelly-throated songstress. Good stuff.

35. Luke and Leia's father : ANAKIN. Get your Star Wars nerd on today.

37. Friend of Fidel : CHE. Cue iconic image:

41. Spanish "that" : ESO

44. Woodland mouser : OWL

45. Glossy coats : ENAMELS

47. Place to dip a quill : INKPOT. Corrected my erroneous PLANS at 68A

49. Piglet of children's books : OLIVIA. Cute looking pig!

52. Holiday hires : TEMPS

53. 35-Down, as a Sith lord : DARTH. I can't remember if I linked this before, but it tickles me to death every time I watch it. Adult language warning for a couple of F-bombs.

54. Rusted, perhaps : OLD

57. Setting of Camus' "The Plague" : ORAN. Algerian city which suffered a repeat outbreak in 2003.

58. Many a retired racehorse : SIRE

59. At any time : EVER

60. Spent time with Time : READ. You could clue either "Spend" or "Spent" and just change the pronunciation of the answer, which is neat, no?

61. Gentle touch : TAP. I had PAT first, which amused me when I noticed that I simply had it backwards.

62. Oft-smoked fish : EEL

63. DOD intel arm : N.S.A. The National Security Agency, brought to prominence (unhappily for them!) in recent times by Edward Snowden.

64. Drinks at IHOP : OJ'S 

That's about it from me. Here's the grid while I get my coat.