Aug 10, 2010

Tuesday August 10, 2010 C.W. Stewart

Theme: Outer Clothes - The first word of the first four themes and the last word of the unifier are articles of outerwear. If you experienced déjà vu, it's because of this, just two weeks ago.

17A. Southernmost tip of South America : CAPE HORN. The Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa.

21A. Smacked someone when they least expected it? : STOLE A KISS

40A. Deadly squeezers : BOA CONSTRICTORS. No image, I know how some feel about snakes.

57A. Family crest : COAT OF ARMS . (28D __ of arms : COAT: just yesterday)

66A. Director's shout, and hint to the starts of 17-, 21-, 40- and 57-Across : "IT'S A WRAP!"

Argyle here.

Déjà boo, not nearly as tight as Harvey Estes' 27 July offering but it does have a grid spanner in the middle. (Our local paper had a story about the big snake but called it a boa restricter. A neighbor herpetologist wrote a scathing letter to the paper, upset that they could make such a basic mistake.)

Across:

1. Box-office smash : HIT

4. Hug and smooch : NECK

8. Robbins's partner : BASKIN. Baskin-Robbins premium ice cream. With more than 6,000 retail shops in 35 countries, they’re now the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shops.

14. Wrigley Field feature : IVY . Go Cubbies! Image

15. "No lie!" : TRUE

16. It can be formal or informal : ATTIRE. Or outerwear.

19. Jolly-good mates : BLOKES

20. Fort with billions in bullion : KNOX. Located in
Kentucky, the United States Bullion Depository, commonly called Fort Knox, is a fortified vault building located adjacent to Fort Knox. It holds about 4,603 tons of gold bullion. It is second in the United States only to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's underground vault in Manhattan, which holds about 5,000 metric tonnes of gold in trust for many foreign nations, central banks and official international organizations.

23. Gender-neutral possessive : ONE'S

25. Besides : ELSE

26. Sew with loose stitches : BASTE

29. Thanksgiving veggie : YAM

31. It's plighted in marriage : TROTH . Old English trēowth ; related to Old High German gitriuwida, meaning loyalty, truth

35. Mid-size Nissan : ALTIMA . Automobile.

37. Have dinner : SUP

39. Arthur of "The Golden Girls" : BEA . Passed away last year.

44. Young newt : EFT

45. La Brea goo : TAR

46. Like many CIA ops : COVERT

47. Dance components : STEPS

50. Building site : LOT

52. Actor Davis : OSSIE

53. Edible Andean tubers : OCAS . Has anyone tried one?

55. Reason to swear : OATH

61. Track figures : ODDS. Racing track. Number figure.

65. Pressing : URGENT

68. Ghostly gathering : SEANCE . A ghostly gathering only if the seance is successful.

69. Like some dorms : CO-ED

70. Gold, south of the border : ORO . Spanish

71. Luggage lugger : PORTER

72. CPR experts : EMTS

73. Stroke lovingly, or the object of a loving stroke : PET

Down:

1. Hayseed : HICK

2. "Terrible" 16th-century leader : IVAN

3. Goof for good, e.g.? : TYPO. Letters DF are together in the keyboard.

4. Utmost degree : NTH

5. Jagged, as a leaf's edge : EROSE

6. Respectful bow : CURTSY

7. Numbers game : KENO

8. Biblical tower site : BABEL

9. Finally : AT LAST

10. Furnace room worker : STOKER . I don't believe they exist anymore. Their job was to shovel coal or coke into the furnace.

11. Singer __ Dee : KIKI . And now, a musical interlude.

12. Tees off : IRES

13. Suffix with kind or fond : NESS

18. Like some dancers : EXOTIC

22. King Julien XIII in "Madagascar" : LEMUR . Madagascar is a 2005 computer-animated film produced by DreamWorks Animation. Sacha Baron Cohen is the voice of the king. What a lemur looks like.

24. Verne captain : NEMO

26. Innocents : BABES

27. Floating on high : ALOFT

28. Country division : STATE

30. N.L. Central player : ASTRO . Baseball's Houston Astros.

32. Bassoon relatives : OBOES

33. Country singer Gibbs : TERRI . No relation of Special Agent Gibbs. "Somebody's Knockin'"

34. Impulsiveness : HASTE

36. Critter on a hill : ANT

38. Snapshot, briefly : PIC

41. Lively Cuban dance : SALSA

42. Old geezer : COOT

43. NBC offering : TV SHOW

48. Strong : POTENT

49. Decorative wall light fixture : SCONCE

51. Source of oater drumming : TOM-TOM . Not only in Westerns but in jungle movies, too.

54. Later than : AFTER

56. Liability offset : ASSET

57. Zodiacal border : CUSP

58. One may be dipped in milk : OREO

59. Lab gel : AGAR

60. Paddy product : RICE

62. Lead-in for cloth or kick : DROP . Drop cloth - to catch paint spatter. Drop kick - to catch the offense off guard (football).

63. Challenge : DARE

64. Brit's bit of tea : SPOT

67. Super Bowl highlights? : ADS

Answer grid.

Argyle

Aug 9, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010 Jeff Chen

Theme: *ULUS - Two-word phrases with ULUS as the ending of the first word. If there is more than that to it, I can't see it. Disambiguation page.

17A. Economy-boosting government program : STIMULUS PACKAGE Perhaps this was the seed entry.

28A. Exam with derivatives and integrals : CALCULUS TEST

49A. Puffy sky feature : CUMULUS CLOUD

64A. Rome's twin founders, traditionally : ROMULUS AND REMUS. Total 13 letter Us in this grid. Hard to pull it off, as U is harder to place than E, or A or other vowels.

Argyle here.

I hope Jeff may show up to enlighten us on his thought process on this ambitious Monday puzzle. Now if it seemed easy to many of you; it may be because we've seen many entries before, recently (not the theme entries, which are all very fresh.)

Across:

1. Sound near an ineffective scarecrow : CAW

4. Electrical pioneer Nikola : TESLA

9. Scandinavian inlet : FJORD

14. Chef's phrase : À LA

15. Healing plants : ALOES

16. Apple pie maker's device : CORER

20. Ex-UN chief Annan : KOFI. This
man.

21. GPS suggestions : RTES

22. Greek vowels : ETAS

23. Apt name for a herding dog : SHEP As in shepherd.

26. Wedgelike tools : CHISELS

32. __ Miss : OLE. The University of Mississippi

33. Game originally named "The Conquest of the World" : "RISK" A game that takes forever to get going but ends in a hurry.

34. Gold or silver, e.g. : MEDAL. I was stuck on METAL for a long time

38. Baldwin of "30 Rock" : ALEC

40. Line spoken to the audience : ASIDE

43. Actor's assignment : ROLE

44. Big name in chicken : TYSON

46. She gets what she wants : LOLA

48. Wall Street index, with "the" : DOW. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA).

53. Hall of Fame Celtic whose initials are his given name : KC JONES. Basketball player and coach.

56. Spanish cat : GATO

57. Pakistan neighbor : IRAN

58. Benelux country: Abbr. : NETH. The Benelux is an economic union in Western Europe that comprises three neighbouring countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

60. Strong-jawed device : VISE

68. Makes a scarf, say : KNITS

69. One-eighty : U-TURN

70. Dot on a die : PIP

71. Dost lay one's eyes on : SEEST. It's in the book, the Good Book.

72. "For __ sake!" : PETE'S

73. Messy place : STY

Down:

1. Sherry container : CASK. Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez, Spain. The word "sherry" is an anglicization of Jerez. It is stored in 600-litre casks that are made of North American oak, which is slightly more porous than French or Spanish oak.

2. Choir part : ALTO

3. Homeless child : WAIF

4. Cross shape : TAU

5. Bent pipe shape : ELL

6. One with a grumpy scowl : SOURPUSS

7. "__ we forget" : LEST

8. Appearance : ASPECT

9. TV monitoring gp. : FCC. Federal Communications Commission

10. Wisecrack maker : JOKESTER

11. Give a speech : ORATE

12. Fit for a king : REGAL

13. Word with sun or evening : DRESS

18. Catchall abbr. : MISC

19. Tennis legend Arthur : ASHE

24. "Ben-__" : HUR

25. "East of Eden" director Kazan : ELIA. "East of Eden" is a 1955 film, directed by Elia Kazan, and loosely based on the second half of the novel East of Eden by author John Steinbeck. It had James Dean in his first major screen role.

27. Belief: Suff. : ISM

28. __ of arms : COAT

29. Comrade in arms : ALLY

30. Wranglers alternative : LEES

31. Proficiency : SKILL

35. Knucklehead : DODO

36. Baseball's Felipe or Moises : ALOU

37. Ribald : LEWD

39. Hard-shelled palm fruits : COCONUTS

41. Dunked morning snack : DOUGHNUT

42. Film lioness : ELSA. Nice
kitty.

45. Sister : NUN

47. "Sister __": Whoopi Goldberg film : ACT

50. List of choices : MENU

51. Runs out of : USES UP

52. Score before 15, in tennis : LOVE

53. Actor Douglas and baseballer Gibson : KIRKS. Gibson was an outfielder who batted and threw left-handed. He spent most of his career with the Detroit Tigers but also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, and Pittsburgh Pirates.

54. Witch : CRONE

55. Farr or Foxx : JAMIE. Corporal (later Sergeant) Maxwell Q. Klinger(Farr) or actor, stand-up comedian, and singer(Foxx)

59. London's __ Britain art gallery : TATE

61. Rascals : IMPS

62. Three-piece attire, maybe : SUIT

63. Glimpse : ESPY

65. WWII transport : LST. Landing Ship, Tank

66. Dr. of rap : DRE

67. Dr.'s co-workers : RNS. NOT Dr. Dre's.

Answer grid.

Argyle

Aug 8, 2010

Sunday August 8, 2010 Dan Schoenholz

Theme: "Somet(h)ing's Missing" - Letter H is dropped from common CH, SH & TH starting two-word phrases. The vowels following the *H combination are all different and the vowel sounds remain the same after the drop.

27A. Plan a Big Apple heist? : C(H)ASE MANHATTAN. Base phrase here is Chase Manhattan. CH + Long A combination.

42A. Snorkeling? : T(H)ANKLESS TASK. Thankless Task. TH + Short A.

60A. Portfolio for retirement planning? : S(H)AVING KIT. Shaving Kit. SH + Long A.

70A. Do a Gap stockroom job? : S(H)ORT PANTS. Short Pants. SH + Diphthong OR.

86A. Clothes dryer, so it's said? : S(H)OCK ABSORBER. Shocking Absorber. SH + Short O. fun clue. Nicely crossing PAIRS (71D. An 86-Across may break them up).

101A. Made off with the meat? : C(H)OPPED SIRLOIN. Chopped Sirloin. CH + Short O. "Make off with" = COP = Steal.

37D. Iguana pals in Ecuador? : T(H)REE AMIGOS. Three Amigos. THR + Long E in EE spelling. Oh, dear, I had no idea that iguana live in trees. Hence TREE AMIGOS.

45D. Shamu's arena? : S(H)EA STADIUM. Shea Stadium. SH + Long E in EA spelling. (Correction: It's SH + Long A sound in EA spelling. The only theme answer where there is vowel sound change.)

Fantastic theme title! I actually read it as "Something's Missing" instead of the H-dropped hint "Somet(h)ing's Missing', but grokked the gimmick after the second theme answer.

No I/U to follow those CH/SH/TH. I am sure the constructor considered those options but could not find sparkling phrases to fit his theme pattern or symmetry. I could only think of T(H)ICK AND THIN & T(H)UG OF WAR. But both are three-word phrases, so out and out!

Also no WH or PH play. I suspect those combination starting words do not lend themselves well to H drop.

Very enjoyable solving. Sunday puzzles are huge, but they are pegged mostly at Wednesday difficulty level. The grid breakdown is also very solver friendly, lots of accessible four-letter (52 in this grid) and 5-letter (45 today) words.

Across:

1. Mardi Gras accessory bit : BEAD. Happy start for Hahtool.

5. Relished : ATE UP

10. Skinny sort : SCRAG. I only know crag. Not enough squares for my SCRAWNY.

15. Soprano Gluck : ALMA

19. Until : UP TO

20. Latte variant : MOCHA. Would have been perfect is there's absolutely no CH/SH/TH fill in the whole grid.

21. What Spanish Olympians go for : EL ORO. The gold.

22. Ready to be driven : TEED. Golf ball.

23. Father : SIRE

24. "We're finally __ own": "Ohio" lyric : ON OUR. Easy guess.

25. Needle : TEASE

26. Hullabaloo : TO-DO

30. Consequence of a strong punch? : SHINER. Slang for "black eye". I was thinking of the beverage punch.

32. Believe : FEEL

33. Squirrel (away) : SALT

34. Windblown : AEOLIAN. New word to me. From Aeolus, god of the winds in Greek myth.

35. Possibility : OPTION

38. "__ Mio" : 'O SOLE. "My Sun".

40. Microwave maker : AMANA

41. Florist's staple : FERN

45. Utah airport initials : SLC. Oh, Salt Lake City then.

48. Less restricted : FREER

50. Sediment : LEES. Wine dregs.

51. Get affectionate, with "up" : COZY

52. Santa's reindeer, e.g. : TEAM. And DUO (79. Small 52-Across).

53. Scratch (out) : EKE

54. Excuse : ALIBI

56. Direct, as one's future : SHAPE. Nice clue.

58. Where "The Nude Maja" hangs : PRADO. In Madrid. Over 100 Goyas there. Haltool linked both The Nude and The Clothed Maja before.

59. Where Mandela was pres. : RSA (Republic of South Africa)

62. Out of bed : ARISEN. And ADOZE (107. Snoozing).

63. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, e.g. : MUPPET. I peeked at the answer sheet. Have never watched "The Muppet Show".

65. Peanut product : OIL

66. Most likable : NICEST

68. Online reading material : E-ZINES

72. All alternative : ANY

75. Unyielding : RIGID

76. Intended : MEANT

78. It might be verbal : ABUSE. Awesome clue.

80. Academic : MOOT. Dictionary has "purely academic" as the second meaning of Moot. New definition to me.

81. Southern collective? : Y'ALL

82. U.S. Treasurer Rosie : RIOS. Have never heard of this lady.

83. Car in a Beach Boys song : T-BIRD. Which song?

85. FAQ response : ANS (Answer)

90. Subterfuge : RUSE

91. Playboy bunny and others : LOGOS

92. "Amo, Amas, I Love __" : A LASS. Is this a poem?

93. Canine cover : ENAMEL. Canine teeth.

95. Nonwinner : ALSO-RAN

98. Ban target : ODOR. Read Ban as a verb rather than the noun Ban deodorant.

99. Seriously injure : MAIM

100. What you may do before you weep? : READ 'EM. Does this refer to Barry Manilow's song "Read 'Em and Weep"?

106. Jingled : RANG

109. Al __ : DENTE

110. 1944 turning point : D-DAY

112. Payment made by hand? : ANTE. I was not fooled.

113. Race official : TIMER. Always thought timer as a device rather than a person.

114. Oak, in a nutshell : ACORN. Nice clue, "in a nutshell".

115. Choice word : ELSE

116. River to the North Sea : YSER. Every letter in this river is a common word ending letter. That's why you see the river again and again at the bottom/right edge of the grid.

117. Twitch : SPASM

118. Got off the road, in a way : TOWED

119. Permits : LETS

Down:

1. Certain Volkswagen : BUS

2. Sweeping : EPIC. I don't get the clue.

3. Razor brand : ATRA

4. Has no problems : DOES FINE

5. You might need it when you're flustered : A MOMENT. To collect yourself. Great clue.

6. Like Romantic music : TONAL. What's the difference between tonal and atonal music?

7. MBA's course : ECON

8. "Nope" : UH-UH

9. Lightweight umbrellas : PARASOLS

10. Avoids a trial : SETTLES

11. Line holder, on a ship : CLEAT. Not aware of the nautical meaning. Is it like anchor?

12. Equine color : ROAN. Reddish brown.

13. Horace's "__ Poetica" : ARS

14. Doesn't push, with "on" : GOES EASY

15. Fifth-century warrior : ATTILA. Attila the Hun.

16. Téa of "Jurassic Park III" : LEONI

17. Mythical sorceress : MEDEA. Jason's wife. Lemonade knows very well how he jilted her.

18. Embellish : ADORN

28. Want ad abbr. : EEO

29. One might be hard to believe : TALE. The grammar confused me. I'd prefer the clue to be "One that might be hard to believe".

31. Response to being held up, maybe : HONK

34. Blow away : AMAZE

35. Put on the market : OFFER

36. Car allowance, preferred parking, etc. : PERKS

38. Half a quarter? : ONE BIT. Two bits = a quarter. Got me.

39. Unit of wound thread : SKEIN

40. Upon : ATOP

43. 1993 survival film : ALIVE. Was ignorant of the film.

44. Improvisational style : SCAT

46. Stow cargo : LADE

47. "Hurry up!" : C'MON

49. Croaked : RASPED

52. Speaker in the Hall of Fame : TRIS. Tris Speaker.

55. Track circuits : LAPS

56. Avoid : SKIRT

57. Dagger handle : HILT

58. Car radio feature : PRESET

61. Thug : GOON

62. Book between John and Romans : ACTS. I forgot.

64. The Big __: pitcher Randy Johnson's nickname : UNIT. Gimme. Lefty. I have his rookie card. It's not worth anything. Hall of Famer Walter Johnson (Right-handed) was nicknamed "The Big Train".

66. Agnew's natterers : NABOBS. "Nattering nabobs of negativism". Alliteration.

67. Occupied : IN USE

68. Funny Bombeck : ERMA

69. National park through which the Virgin River runs : ZION

70. Room in a casa : SALA. Casa = House. Spanish.

73. Ratched or Houlihan : NURSE. Hello, Buckeye!

74. Tyrolean refrain : YODEL. Tyrol is an province in Austria. Unknown to me.

76. Little Richard's Georgia hometown : MACON. Nicknamed "Heart of Georgia" as it lies in the geographical center of Georgia. I don't know who Little Richard is, Dennis. Safe traveling today!

77. Fraternal group : ELKS

81. Where asanas are seen : YOGA MATS. Asanas are Yoga postures.

82. Found hilarious : ROARED AT

84. Victoria's Secret catalog poser : BRA MODEL. Jazzbumpa loves Adriana Lima.

86. Ticked off : SORE

87. Salon snafu : BAD PERM

88. Cuisine for Babe : SLOP. Babe the pig.

89. Bump from behind : REAR-END

91. One of the inn crowd : LODGER

94. Zilch : NIL

95. Orderly display : ARRAY

96. Is inclined : LEANS

97. "À votre __!" : SANTE. Literally "To your health" in French.

98. Trickles : OOZES

99. Anglican Church headdress : MITRE. Like this. I can never remember the damned word.

101. Unresponsive state : COMA

102. Empire State Building style : DECO

103. Put one over on : SNOW. To deceive/fool.

104. Unoccupied : IDLE

105. Political cartoonist Thomas : NAST. He created Democrat's donkey & GOP's elephant.

108. Guacamole, for one : DIP

111. "Of course" : YES

Answer grid.

I've been enjoying MJ's always observant, sunny and caring comments, and I was so pleased that she sent me this wonderful picture to share with you. She said:

"What you'll see is a photo of our family taken yesterday (August 5, 2010) when we all got together for brunch. It's rare that we are all together, as no one has a regular M-F, 8-5pm sort of job.

Seated around the table, DIL Christianne (holding Drake, who'll be 5 months old on Sunday), middle son Andrew, DH Ray, oldest son Cameron, and his girlfriend Tess. Standing in the back. L to R, my mom Shelly, youngest son Oliver (Drake's father), and myself."

MJ is nearly 60 years old, and her husband Ray is nearly 70. But both look incredibly young, don't you think so?

C.C.

Aug 7, 2010

Saturday August 7, 2010 Joon Pahk

Theme: None

Total words: 70 / Total blocks: 31

Average Word length: 5.54

Interesting grid design, isn't it? The two cross-shaped 8-black-square blocks, the two 3-black-square blocks along the left and right edges (called "fingers" in Cruciverb talk, as they look like fingers poking into the grid. Coined by veteran constructor Mel Rosen, who also gave us the term "cruciverbalist".), as well as those single 9 stair ladder style black squares in the middle break the grid into very open yet tightly connected sections.

Triple stacks of horizontal 10s & vertical 8s in each quadrant. Each Across 10 is also intersected by several long Downs, including a triple stacked 6s in the corresponding corner. Here are the long 10s:

1A. Ripped muscles? : SIX PACK ABS. Awesomely scrabbly start. I suspect this is the seed entry. Hope it's a gimme for you after our lively discussion of Ryan Reynolds' six pack abs a while ago.

15A. While away : IN ABSENTIA. Fell into the "while away" verb phrase thinking.

17A. Like some suits : PINSTRIPED. Perfect fit for Hillary Clinton.

60A. Contemporary folklore : URBAN MYTHS. Well, maybe this is the seed entry. Nice one.

63A. Draws : STALEMATES. Was thinking of sketching "draws". Not sports tying "draws".

65A. One may be set on a stage : HORSE OPERA. I figure it had to be some kind of *OPERA.

Only 8 three-letter fill. Multiwords aplenty, some are very refreshing.

I had my normal Saturday struggle & frustration. So many things to learn. So many ways to be misled.

Across:

11. "House Hunters" network : HGTV. I am aware of the show. Have never watched it though.

16. Flying start? : AERO. Start in words related to "flying", as in aerodynamic.

18. Right-leaning: Abbr. : ITAL. Loved the clue. Right leaning indeed.

19. Christian denom. that observes the Sabbath on Saturday : SDA. No idea. It stands for Seventh-Day Adventist.

20. Fix, as a wicker chair : RECANE

21. WCs : LAVS

22. Renaissance Faire word : OLDE

24. Hide : SKIN. Was thinking of the "conceal" meaning of hide.

25. Biodegrade : ROT

26. Prefix with biology : NEURO. Neurobiology.

28. Cut : SNIP

30. Painting on utensils or furniture : TOLE. Like this tray. French for "sheet of iron", says Dictionary.

31. Former Monterey Bay fort : ORD. Fort Ord. Closed in 1994. Named after Civil War Major General Edward Ord.

33. Ringling Museum of the American Circus city : SARASOTA. Ha ha, I know this trivia.

35. Language subfamily that includes Maltese : SEMITIC. Oh, I only know Arabic and Hebrew belong to Semitic.

39. Feverishly : LIKE MAD. Nice answer.

40. Defense against intruders : WATCHDOG. To me, a watchdog is a person or an organization, not the defense itself.

42. "Vamoose!" : GIT. "Vamoose" is used several times in that silly crossword movie "All About Steve".

43. Angelo's instrument : ARPA. Italian for "harp". Angelo is "angel". I was stumped.

44. Playing a fifth qtr., say : IN OT (Overtime). Not enough block for my OTING.

46. "This I Promise You" band : 'N SYNC. I only know their "It's Gonna Be Me".

50. Any U.S. Army E-4 thru E-9 : NCO. Oh, good to know.

51. "Iron Chef America" chef Cat __ : CORA. She stymied many last time. I like the Japanese flavor in "Iron Chef America".

53. Robbie's dad : EVEL (Knievel). Know he has a daredevil son. Not the name though.

54. Fire : SACK. Not the hot fire I have in mind.

56. City SSW of Cleveland : MEDINA. No idea. We have a Medina in Minnesota too.

58. A storm may affect it, briefly : ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival). Refreshing clue.

59. "__, you noblest English!": "Henry V" : ON, ON. Shakespeare always gives me headache!

62. Shuffle alternative : NANO. Both iPod types.

64. Phosphoresce : GLOW. Phosphoresce is a new word to me. Verb. Looks like a noun, doesn't it?

Down:

1. Nurses : SIPS ON. Nurse a drink.

2. When an engine might stall : IN IDLE

3. City visited by Marco Polo : XANADU. The ending DU literally means "capital". We call it Shangdu in Chinese. Shang = Upper.

4. "Viewers Like You" help support it: Abbr. : PBS

5. Tycho Brahe's sci. : ASTR (Astronomy). I recognized Brahe when I googled his image. He had a fake nose.

6. Roman goddess of agriculture : CERES. That's how we got the word "cereal".

7. Two-time 1970s NBA champs : KNICKS. Don't know. Don't follow NBA.

8. Going to great lengths : AT PAINS

9. Like national elections : BIENNIAL

10. "Justine" author : SADE. Marquis de Sade. Hmm, An Erotic Classic.

11. Salute : HAIL

12. "Not in public, you two!" : GET A ROOM. Nice entry.

13. "Get Shorty" co-star : TRAVOLTA (John). Another gorgeous one.

14. __ Act: 1919 Prohibition legislation : VOLSTEAD. Wikipedia said it was named after Andrew Volstead, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which oversaw its passage.

23. The Boston Symphony played its second movement to commemorate FDR's death : EROICA. Beethoven's Symphony No. 3. Latin for "Heroic". Originally dedicated to Napoleon. Was unaware of this trivia.

27. Surg. specialty : ORTH. Orthopedic I suppose.

29. Moralizer : PRIG

30. Trypanosome transmitter : TSETSE. The scary African fly. I don't know the meaning of trypanosome.

32. Gogo's pal, in "Waiting for Godot" : DIDI. No idea, Sir!

34. Comparable : AKIN

35. Bittersweet farewell : SWAN SONG. Here is the origin of the phrase.

36. Drum site : EAR CANAL. Man, I was thinking of musical drum, not eardrum.

37. Resort town W. of the Delaware Water Gap : MT. POCONO. In Pennsylvania. The clue means nothing to me.

38. "Emperor __" : CONCERTO. Another Beethoven reference. OK, Jayce, tell us something about this concerto.

41. Theresa Dunn's ideal Mr., in a 1975 novel title : GOODBAR. Have never heard of the novel "Looking for Mr. Goodbar"

45. Experiments : TRIALS

47. Actress Mimieux : YVETTE. Famous for her role in "The Time Machine".

48. Like hell? : NETHER. Hot clue!

49. Midwest League's baseball level : CLASS A. Well, who pays attention to Class A league? Not I!

52. Douze mois : ANNEE. French for "year". Douze = 12. Mois = Months.

55. Not just suppose : KNOW

56. Cloying sentimentality : MUSH

57. A few rounds, perhaps : AMMO. Thought of drink rather than firearm "rounds".

61. Kisser : YAP. Both slang for "mouth".

Answer grid.

Here is a sweet photo of our Lucina and Dodo from their recent Coven gathering. This is their group photo. What were you gals cackling about?

C.C.

Aug 6, 2010

Friday August 6, 2010 Charles Barasch

Theme: Oh, K! - K is added to the end of C (in one-syllable word), which is preceded by five different vowels (O, U, A, E & I), with pronunciation unchanged.

17A. Pre-1991 Russian veto? : SOVIET BLOCK. Soviet Bloc. Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.

29A. West Florida currency? : TAMPA BAY BUCK. Tampa Bay Buc. Tampa Bay is on the west coast of Florida.

35A. Assault by killer trucks? : BIG MACK ATTACK. Big Mac Attack. Mack Trucks. Here, the middle Mac rather than the end Attack (2-syllables) is in play for the K-addition. Inconsistent with other theme entries. Maybe the constructor can't find a one syllable *AC containing common phrase to play around. Can you?

43A. Construct a microscopic house? : BUILD ON SPECK. Build on Spec.

57A. Jumpy bug? : NERVOUS TICK. Nervous Tic.

Though I am not fond of the odd entry 35A, I did like how the constructor placed it in the middle row (actually, K is in the very center of the grid) and combined the resulting end black squares with those of theme entries 29A and 43A to divide the left and right edges into two rather than our normal weekday three parts, bringing us long paralleled entries in the upper right and lower left corners.

Al mentioned that nearly half of Dan's puzzle yesterday comprises of three- or four-letter entries. This one has 42, out of a total of 74 answers. I am thinking that half of every puzzle is made up these small building units, just like half of every puzzle is consisted of vowels.

Maybe Santa or anyone who is fascinated by grid structure can count the total number of three & four entries and give us a ratio report for a week or two. Then we'll see the pattern.

Across:

1. Like some teeth : GAPPED

7. Recover : HEAL. Comforting word for our sharp-witted shenanigan-maker Lois.

11. WWII Normandy lander : LST (Landing Ship Tank)

14. '60s-'70s San Francisco mayor : ALIOTO (Joseph). Stranger to me. What was he famous for, besides the mayor-ship?

15. Business opening? : AGRI. Agribusiness.

16. National Poetry Mo. : APR.

19. Madre's brother : TIO. Mother's brother = Uncle. In Spanish.

20. Certain cardholder's cry : UNO. Had no idea that the card name is called out during the play.

21. Bit of tryst talk : COO

22. Boot : EJECT

24. Site of some adoptions : PET SHOP

27. Genes responsible for hereditary variations : ALLELES. Also RNA (55. Uracil is one of its basic components ). Both alleles and uracil are new words to me.

31. On __ with : A PAR

33. Reactor safety overseer: Abbr. : NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission). Established in 1974. Succeeded AEC (Atomic Energy Commission)

34. Opposing vote : NAY

40. Equi- ending : NOX. Equinox. Latin for "night".

41. Actress Scala : GIA. First encounter with this actress. Looks pretty.

42. He beat Okker to win the 1968 U.S. Open : ASHE. Not familiar with the Dutch Tennis player Tom Okker.

48. Out there : AT LARGE

49. Occupy : INHABIT

53. Developmental step : STAGE

54. E lead-in : BCD. Alphabetically. BCDE.

56. Chickadee relative : TIT. Oh, the bird.

62. __ Zion Church : AME. I forgot. AME = African Methodist Episcopal.

63. Gunk : CRUD

64. Easter Island attraction : STATUE. Wikipedia says Easter Island (an Polynesian island) is widely famous for its 887 extant monumental statues. Has anyone been there?

65. Not the color of money? : RED. Green is the color.

66. Directors' banes : HAMS. Well, all actors ham, don't they? Just that some are good, some are bad.

67. Respected ones : ELDERS

Down:

1. Get ready to travel : GAS UP

2. All by oneself : ALONE

3. Scissors feature : PIVOT. Always associate pivot with a living being.

4. Islands staple : POI

5. Time to tan in Cannes : ETE. Summer.

6. Web outfit : DOT COM. "Outfit" here means "company", correct?

7. Symbol of virtue : HALO. Raja has the same "halo" connotation, correct, Vidwan?

8. Kind of trip taken by oneself? : EGO. Nice clue.

9. Circle part : ARC

10. Plausible : LIKELY

11. Fashionable repast : LATE LUNCH. Needs a question mark, don't you think? Otherwise, why "fashionable"?

12. Tangy dessert : SPICE CAKE. Have never had this dessert. What makes it tangy?

13. One of the original Politburo members : TROTSKY (Leon). Assassinated in 1940 in Mexico.

18. Comet Hale-__ : BOPP. I am sure it's a gimme for Spitzboov.

23. Bush seen in Florida : JEB. He still lives in Florida?

25. Dateless : STAG

26. Hurt : HARM

27. Incantation beginning : ABRA. The beginning of the word Abracadabra.

28. Milk: Pref. : LACT. Literally ''milk''.

30. Singer Paul and family : ANKAS. OK.

31. "Finally!" : ABOUT TIME. Nice clue/answer.

32. Slightly eccentric : PIXILATED. Another new word. It's made of pix(ie) and (tit)illated.

36. Worked up : AGOG

37. Art film theater : CINE

38. Driver's gadget, for short : TACH. Thought of golfer "driver" first.

39. "May I __ favor?" : ASK A. Total 6Ks in the grid.

40. Magic, at one time : NBA STAR. Oh, Magic Johnson.

44. Hang back : LAG

45. Soak : DRENCH

46. Trillionth: Pref. : PICO. I forgot also. Al gave us a list last time.

47. Ultimate purpose : END USE

50. Shiny, in product names : BRITE. Bright.

51. Bring upon oneself : INCUR

52. Directors' units : TAKES. I like this noun clue.

54. Some underwear : BVDS

58. Notable period : ERA

59. Mai tai ingredient : RUM

60. Cardinal's letters : STL. St Louis Cardinals.

61. Pinch : TAD. A pinch/tad of. Not Tinbeni's sunset toast Pinch!

Answer grid.

Here is a recent photo of our irreplaceable and inimitable MOREL guy Dennis, who has been unfailingly supporting & helping me since the start of this blog and has been brightening our mornings with his consistently informative and entertaining comments. Thanks, Dummy!

C.C.

Aug 5, 2010

Thursday August 5, 2010 Dan Naddor

Theme: ARREST (48D. Run in, and a hint to the ends of the answers to starred clues) - To "run someone in" is to bring them to the police station. The last word of each of the theme entries means to nab an alleged lawbreaker. Nab is related to kidnap. Arrest is from Latin: ad+re+stare (to-back-stand). Stare comes from the base *sta- "to stand", and also gives us the lovely crosswordese word "STET", an editor's directive to let the text stand (without correction).

18A. *If absolutely necessary: IN A PINCH. If you pinch (steal) something, you get pinched (grabbed as though with pincers).

20A. *Ranger, for one: FORD PICKUP. The first pair of theme answers overlap each other. So do the last pair.

37A. *"Am I missing something here?": WHAT'S THE CATCH.

55A. *Like manual laborers: BLUE COLLAR. Arrest sense is to grab someone by the collar.

59A. *Boisterous frat party: BEER BUST. I wanted BASH here instead of BUST before I figured out the theme. Both mean to smash, like on a drunken spree, which has the "wild party" meaning. Prohibitionists used to bust in to speakeasys and arrest everyone they could catch.

Somewhat related: 3D. Capture: CORRAL. and 7D. Capture: TRAP.

Al here, with a Dan Nador puzzle no less.

Maybe it's just me being on Dan's wavelength most of the time, but I kind of blew through this one. Very doable puzzle, perhaps not as punny or fun as Dan's past puzzles have been though, nearly half the words were three or four letters, though also 24 non-theme entries of six or more letters, half of which are placed in each Down corner, paralleling one another. No J, Q, X, Z, so not very scrabbly.

Across:

1. Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida __": LOCA. The crazy life.

5. Start of many addresses: HTTP. Internet Addresses, otherwise known as URLs: Universal Resource Locators. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol makes it possible for browsers like Firefox and Internet Explorer to traverse the World Wide Web. URLs can start with HTTP:// but that is only one example. Many other types of internet transfer protocols are too numerous to list here, but some examples are FTP (file transfer), NNTP (network news), and SMTP (simple mail)

9. Lawyers' org.: ABA. American Bar Association.

12. Schools for Jules: ECOLES. French. And 39D. Lycée attendee: ELEVE. French for student. Lycée is the last three years of education before University.

15. Prefix with sol: AERO. Aerosol

16. Heater: GAT. Slang for a gun, taken from Gatling

17. On the line: AT RISK. Could easily tip one way or another.

22. "It's the real thing" soft drink: COKE. Coca Cola marketing campaign. Good Grief!

23. Govt. watchdog: EPA. Environmental Protection Agency.

24. Not just my: OUR. Plural possessive.

25. Current pioneer: TESLA. Nicola. Has the unit of magnetic force named after him.

26. Quandary: DILEMMA. Latin: DI (two) lemma (premise).

30. One who raised Cain: EVE. Cain and Abel were Adam and Eve's sons.

32. Sea salt?: TAR. A sailor. Could be from the job of applying tar to the bottoms of ships, or from the tarpaulin that they sometimes used in clothing. Also Gob.

33. Spare tire site?: WAIST. Not so easy to deflate.

35. Refuse to budge: INSIST. Latin: In (upon) sistere (take a stand). Related: assist (stand by), and once again STET (let stand).

40. Blacks out: FAINTS.

41. Coeur d'__: ALENE. City in Idaho.

42. Many a CBer's workplace: RIG. Citizen's Band radios. Do they still use those? Seems kind of dated. Big rig = Semi-trailer.

43. Brit. recording giant: EMI. Electric & Musical Industries Ltd.

45. "CHiPs" star: ESTRADA. Erik. California Highway Patrol motorcycle cop. His character name was Ponch. (Poncherello)

49. Kind of alcohol: ETHYL. Ethanol, the kind we drink.

51. Little john?: LAV. Abbreviation (little) for lavatory. A British crossword style of clue.

53. Lady's man: SIR. English Lords are addressed as: Sir.

54. Language that gave us "plaid": ERSE. Scottish Gaelic. The word means: Irish.

61. Lisa's "Friends" role: PHOEBE. Lisa Kudrow/Phoebe Buffay.

62. "Happiness __ Warm Puppy": "Peanuts" book: IS A.

63. Manipulative type: USER.

64. Drives: IMPELS.

65. Relative of -trix: ESS. Feminine suffixes: dominatrix, baroness

66. Place with a pool, informally: THE Y. YMCA. A bit tough to parse, doesn't it?

67. Apt name for a Dalmatian: SPOT.

Down:

1. Flipped (through): LEAFED. Book pages

2. Eight-footers?: OCTOPI. Tentacles count as feet? Or are octopi 8 feet long?

4. "Put __ on it!": A LID.

5. Three-line verse: HAIKU. 5-7-5 syllable meter. Does not need to rhyme: Yesterday it worked. /Today it is not working./ Windows is like that.

6. Professor's goal: TENURE. A guarantee they get to keep the position, usually requires research and publishing credentials, which means that rather than spending their time on students, they might be concentrating their time elsewhere. I had at least one prof like that. Schools need a different reward system IMHO.

8. Appear unexpectedly, with "up": POP. Maybe that's why dads are called pops? No, darn it, from an old French word similar to pappa.

9. Religious doubter: AGNOSTIC. Someone that asserts that it cannot be known whether God exists, compare Atheist, who asserts that there is no God, and Gnostic, who asserts that it is knowable.

10. Political repercussions: BACKLASH. Machinery too. I can see how they're related...

11. Deep down: AT HEART.

13. Sixth sense, for short: ESP. Extra (beyond) Sensory Perception.

14. Schuss, e.g.: SKI. From old Norse: skið "stick of wood".

19. Diamonds, to hoods: ICE.

21. Oregon highlight: COAST. Michigan's freshwater shoreline, at 3,288 miles is the longest in the world. Alaska has the most total coastline of the 50 states though, at 6,640 miles. Oregon only has 296, just sayin'.

25. Letter?: TENANT. One who lets (rents or leases) a room, apartment, or house.

27. McGregor of "The Men Who Stare at Goats": EWAN. Also the young version of Obi Wan Kenobe in Star Wars.

28. Hot Wheels maker: MATTEL. Mattel toys have not been made in the USA since 2002.

29. Midler's "Divine" nickname: MISS M.

31. Bad habits: VICES. If you have any, you should try to clamp down on them...

34. "J to __ L-O!": Lopez remix album: THA. Words fail me.

36. Trick ending?: STER. Suffix: trickster

37. Many a server, in the old days: WAITRESS. Not sure why it was necessary to specify "the old days", but then again, I don't go to restaurants very often. Did I miss something?

38. Boat rocker, to say the least: HIGH SEAS. Nicely done.

40. It's thrown in: FREEBIE. Also a Frisbee.

44. "Gotta think about it": I'LL SEE.

46. Napping: ASLEEP.

47. Don Quixote's devil: DIABLO. Spanish.

50. "__ out!": ump's call: YER. Baseball terseness.

52. "Back in the Saddle Again" autobiographer: AUTRY. Gene. Birth name: Orvon Eugene Autry.

55. Outback: BUSH. See Kazie's pic.

56. Cost-of-living stat: CPI. Consumer Price Index.

57. Electrical unit: OHM. Resistance measurement. Color code mnemonic for reading the values: Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Gives Willingly = Black Brown Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Violet Gray White

58. Cuts off: LOPS.

60. On the other hand: BUT.

Answer Grid.

Al

Aug 4, 2010

Wednesday August 4, 2010 Daniel A. Finan

Theme: Gram Positive - Each of the 14-letter theme answer includes two 6-letter anagrams separated by IN, and the puzzle is a pangram, continuing a very scrabbly week of puzzles.

20A. Male goose during hunting season?: GANDER IN DANGER. GANDER becomes DANGER. Well, if you goose a male in hunting season, be careful.

25A. Sought-after former football announcer?: MADDEN IN DEMAND. Now retired hall of fame NFL coach and announcer John MADDEN becomes DEMAND.

46A. Fencing implement at the shop?: RAPIER IN REPAIR. RAPIER (along with EPEE and SABER, the fencing swords) becomes REPAIR.

51A. Biblical guy who refused to believe the writing on the wall?: DANIEL IN DENIAL. Our constructor gives himself a plug. I wonder if realizing his own name worked was the inspiration for this puzzle?

It has been a long time since we had one of Mr. Finan's efforts, and I really hit a home run for personal pleasure, as I love anagrams. This effort is fabulous, all 14-letter theme entries, with perfect symmetry, each anagrammed word being six letters long, and he employs subtle differences in the use of IN for each clue.

Lemonade here and let's get to work.

Across:

1. Outré: QUEER. Well, damn, what a place to start.

6. __ Mahal: TAJ. Do we all remember TAJ means crown?

9. Door parts: JAMBS.

14. Dictionary note subject: USAGE.

15. Brandy letters: VSO. This means Very Superior Old, 12-17 years old.

16. Drools over, in a way: OGLES. Did any of you guys ever ogle, 40A Bingham of "Baywatch": TRACI. Boys, did you watch BAYWATCH ? They knew how to select lifeguards. Or perhaps, 9D. Singer with the Blackhearts: JOAN JETT?

17. "Call it __": "No winner": A DRAW.

18. S or SE: DIR. Lots of abbreviations today, 24. Small, medium, or large: Abbr.: ADJ. (Adjective), 34. Like waitresses: Abbr.: FEM.

19. Netizen who might hear "You've got mail!": AOLER. Netizen, really?

23. Novelist Deighton: LEN. His first book was the IPCRESS FILE an amazingly successful thriller.

33. Le Pew of skunkdom: PEPE. He has shown up often lately.

35. Shocking buildup?: STATIC. My mind focused on this BUILD UP .

36. Shangri-las: EDENS. A reminder of our recent Utopia puzzle…

38. Purple minus blue: RED. Oh goody, mathematical colors, maybe we can combine them with Roman Numerals. 32D. Early seventh-century year: DCIX (609)

41. Get molars, say: TEETHE.

43. Shiatsu response: AAH. A special massage AAAAAAAAAH for our own Mellissa Bee.

45. "Night at the Museum" creature, for short: T REX. I had a little trouble picturing this one even though I love the MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY .

49. Free (of): RID.

50. __-El: Superman's birth name: KAL. Son of JOR-EL. We also have 63. Super __: game console: NES, which supplanted 30D. Video game trailblazer: ATARI.

59. Part of HDTV, briefly: HI DEF. Which is how we watch 60. "South Park" brother: IKE. You either love or hate SOUTH PARK . While we have our, 6D. Swanson product: TV DINNER.

61. Main life line?: AORTA.

62. "Good __!": Charlie Brownism: GRIEF. A true AMERICAN ICON.

64. Cinemax rival: STARZ.

65. Baby-sits, e.g.: TENDS.

66. Jetta fuel: GAS.

67. English class assignment: ESSAY.

Down:

1. Marsh, for short: QUAG. This is an abbreviation for QUAGMIRE .

2. Meat pkg. letters: USDA. United States Department of Agriculture.

3. Take home: EARN.

4. "Yikes!" : EGAD.

5. Fix by fusing, as metal: REWELD.

7. B-boy connection: AS IN. Tricky for me. B as in boy.

8. Hoops legend: JORDAN. Is there anyone who does not know MJ? Or 59D. NBA bio stat: HGT. Yes, they are tall.

10. With eager anticipation: AGOG.

11. Fr. miss: MLLE.

12. Cold one, so to speak: BEER. My youngest son's other career is at ORLANDO BREWING, makes a dad proud.

13. Ukr., once : SSR.

21. Snorkeling site: REEF.

22. Chimes in with: ADDS.

25. Jason's wife: MEDEA. I made the puzzle too, you keep assigning me the right days, C. C.! Glad I was not married to her though. (Note from C.C.: Lemonade's real name is Jason.)

26. "Not __ out of you!": A PEEP.

27. Driller's prefix?: DENTI. I had trouble getting the I.

28. "That is ..." : I MEAN. Like when you got caught coming home at 2:00 am, reeking of pot and booze, gee dad, it was, I mean....

29. Rush Limbaugh ex __ Fitzgerald: MARTA. Shows who you can date if you have Money never heard of this one.

31. More agreeable: NICER.

33. '80s-'90s tennis star Korda: PETR. His daughter JESSICA is a leading amateur golfer. We also have a tennis echo with, 52D. Score after deuce, maybe: AD IN.

37. Oater lawmen: SHERIFFS.

39. What a full moon mitigates: DARKNESS.

42. Shallowest Great Lake: ERIE. We see this lake once a week at least.

44. Cattle unit: HEAD. Lois, be careful!

47. Waiting at a light, say: IDLING. Which reminds me of being 58D. Like a shirker: LAZY.

48. "The magic word": PLEASE.

51. Desperate, as straits: DIRE. I love Mark KNOPFLER.

53. Must have: NEED.

54. Swedish retail giant: IKEA. If you have not been, it is an adventure.

55. Have-__: the less fortunate: NOTS. The opposite of yesterday's NOBS.

56. S&L offerings: IRAS. Are there any S&Ls still in business?

57. Gillette razor: ATRA. Our crosswordese of the day; when will FUSION become popular in puzzledom; the shave is better.

Answer grid.

A nice tight theme, and lots of long words with all the letters, I hope you all enjoyed the ride. Happy Birthday Troy!

Today we also celebrate the birthday of a military mom, Gloria, Lovely Wife to our quick-witted Jazzbumpa. Here is a picture of Gloria with five of their beautiful granddaughters. From left to right: Abby (7+), Rebekka (10-), Gloria, Lauren (6), Amanda (13-) and Samantha (8).

Abby and Lauren live in Florida. Their dad Tom is in Afghanistan (second tour of duty, I think). The rest are in Michigan.

Lemonade

Aug 3, 2010

Tuesday August 3, 2010 Gary J. Whitehead

Theme: Track Bets - The start of the first word of each two-word familiar phrase is a bet on horse race finish, in win, place & show order.

20A. Cellarmaster's vessel : WINE DECANTER. Win. Finish first. Can you think of any other "win" containing phrase?

36A. Response to sugar pills, perhaps : PLACEBO EFFECT. Place. Finish second. My favorite theme entry.

53A. It might have a massage setting : SHOWER NOZZLE. Show. Finish third. Scrabbly entry. Letters JQ are missing in this grid.

64. With 65-Across, what the starts of 20-, 36- and 53-Across are : TRACK

65. See 64-Across : BETS

Tight theme. Each bet word is contained in the first word of its mother phrase. The unifier TRACK BETS is placed at the bottom edge. Clear enough for solvers to identify.

Ideally the split unifying words should be placed symmetrically, but TRACK and BETS do not have identical number of letters.

Lovely long Downs (a pair of 8s and 9s) to cross all the Across theme answers. Quite a few multi-word none-theme entries too.

Across:

1. Seize : GRAB

5. Wife of Jacob : LEAH. Rachel's sister, and the real name of our Chickie (in powder blue).

9. Center of Florida? : EPCOT. Epcot Center. I knew it's not Shaq. Thought it's playing on letter R in the very middle of Florida.

14. Move to a new city, briefly : RELO

15. Down-home music venue, familiarly : OPRY. The Grand Ole Opry.

16. Dutch cheese : GOUDA. Edam too.

17. "The Good Earth" heroine : OLAN. "The Good Earth" is the best book I've read about pre-1949 China.

18. Nasty habit : VICE

19. 20 Mule Team cleanser : BORAX

23. Small-screen heartthrob : TV IDOL

24. American or Continental : AIRLINE. Were you thinking of breakfast?

28. Cock and bull : HES. This kind of clue used to trick me.

29. Wedding symbol : RING. No wedding ring for me.

32. In the warehouse : STORED

33. Like many wallets : BIFOLD

35. Farm females : SOWS. I really liked the pigtail clue last time.

40. Wiener schnitzel meat : VEAL

41. __-faire: tact : SAVOIR. Literally "knows what to do".

42. Wan : PALLID

45. Inflection : TONE. Mandarin has four tones. Cantonese nine. Crazy.

46. Ukr. neighbor : RUS

49. Finished, as a deck : STAINED. Unexpected clue for me.

51. Imagined : DREAMT. The only English word that ends in mt, Linda said.

56. Expand, as a collection : ADD TO. Sure need some autographed baseball cards to add to my collection.

59. Author Wiesel : ELIE

60. Colorful horse : ROAN

61. Lose one's cool : PANIC

62. Those, in Tijuana : ESOS

63. Mired, after "in" : A RUT

66. Past fast fliers: Abbr. : SSTS

Down:

1. Investor's concern : GROWTH. Nice cluster of consonants.

2. Go through again : RELIVE

3. "Hand in My Pocket" singer Morissette : ALANIS. She dated Ryan Reynolds for a few years.

4. Like a fillet : BONED

5. Cosmo topic : LOVE LIFE. Cosmo magazine.

6. Grand in scope : EPIC

7. Medieval Spanish chest : ARCA. Is it Spanish for "ark"?

8. Shenzi or Banzai in "The Lion King" : HYENA.Easy guess.

9. __ Sousé, W.C. Fields's "The Bank Dick" role : EGBERT. No idea. Dictionary says the name is from old English, meaning "bright sword".

10. Bad sport : POOR LOSER. And GLOAT (31. Be a bad sport). Clue echo.

11. Mangy mutt : CUR. Alliteration.

12. Harem room : ODA. "Room" in Turkish.

13. Penultimate line on most bills : TAX. Phone/gas bill. The last item before the Total.

21. Greek architectural order : DORIC

22. "My country __ of thee ..." : 'TIS

25. __-Z: classic Camaro : IROC. Just remember it as I Rock

26. Ex-Speaker Gingrich : NEWT

27. Mag masthead names : EDS

30. Wealthy Londoners : NOBS. New meaning to me.

33. Irrational way to go : BALLISTIC. Go ballistic.

34. "Whip It" band : DEVO. Just learned that Devo comes from de-evolution (backward evolution).

36. Bog fuel : PEAT

37. Singer's syllables : LA LA

38. Affection : FONDNESS

39. '80s Pontiac : FIERO. It means "proud" in Italian and "wild", "fierce" or "ferocious" in Spanish, a la Wikipedia.

40. Biden and Bush: Abbr. : VPS

43. At the pawn shop : IN HOCK

44. "Gloria in Excelsis __" : DEO. Latin for "Glory to God in the highest".

46. Five o'clock shadow removers : RAZORS

47. German diacritical : UMLAUT. German men are hard to understand (and date).

48. Surgical blockage relievers : STENTS

50. Nerd : DWEEB

52. Poet Pound et al. : EZRAS

54. Apart from this : ELSE

55. Urban uprising : RIOT

56. Liable : APT

57. __ es Salaam : DAR. Largest city in Tanzania. Arabic for "house of Peace". I can never remember the name.

58. Genetic letters : DNA

Answer grid.

Here are the last pictures from Gunghy's bike trip. Thanks for the awesome pictures and wonderful captions, Punk! I bet you solved at least one crossword along the road, no?

C.C.

Aug 2, 2010

Monday August 2, 2010 Allan E. Parrish

Theme: OL' MAN RIVER (57. "Show Boat" classic, and where to find the ends of 17-, 26- and 44-Across) - The ends of first three theme entries are parts of a river.

17A. Soft mattress topper : FEATHER BED

26A. Edison's electrical preference : DIRECT CURRENT

44A. Government-owned financial institutions : NATIONAL BANKS

I am not familiar with the song. The Ol' Man River does refer to the mighty Mississippi, correct?

Actually, a 5-letter RIVER will work as a unifier too. But OL' MAN RIVER provides a more sparkling choice, in addition to its 10-letter symmetry to FEATHER BED.

Quite a scrabbly 74 worder. Only letter J is missing. Total 18 entries are of medium 6/7-letter length. A nice mix. Also a few clue echos.

C.C. here. Argyle's sister is visiting. He'll be back next Monday.

Across:

1. Money in Mumbai : RUPEE. Alliteration.

6. Lose effectiveness, as painkillers, with "off" : WEAR. And WEAKENS (10D. Loses strength).

10. Wild or Old region : WEST

14. Pole vault, e.g. : EVENT

15. Palindromic pop group : ABBA. And 'N SYNC (33. "No Strings Attached" pop group). Pop group echo.

16. Big fair : EXPO

19. Eagerly excited : AGOG

20. Monterey County seat that's the birthplace of John Steinbeck : SALINAS. I forgot. We had this clue before.

21. '50s-'60s USSR leader Khrushchev : NIKITA. Cold War is so far away.

23. Grafton's "__ for Corpse" : C IS

24. Set aside for later : STORE. TABLE also has 5 letters.

31. Bills with George on them : ONES. I'd prefer "Bills with Washington on them". Also ABE (8D. Prez on a penny).

32. Roman moon goddess : LUNA

36. NBA position : CTR (Center)

37. Grazing land : PASTURE. And LEA (58D. Grazing land).

39. Small taste : SIP

40. Composer of marches : SOUSA. He died in the month of March also.

42. Like most pets : TAME

43. Fashion's Chanel : COCO

47. Super Bowl XXI MVP Phil : SIMMS. Wikipedia says he's known for inaugurating the phrase "I'm going to Disney World!".

48. Big mouth, in slang : YAP

49. Diocese leader : BISHOP

52. Abandon : FORSAKE

56. Workplace protection org. : OSHA

60. Scold severely : FLAY

61. Croat's neighbor : SERB. I've never understood the Balkan War. Is it about religious conflict?

62. Online read : EZINE

63. Online help pages, briefly : FAQS. Frequently Asked Questions.

64. City transport : TAXI

65. Real bargains : DEALS

Down:

1. NFL arbiters : REFS

2. Eye layer containing the iris : UVEA. Latin for "grape".

3. Ring loudly : PEAL

4. Draws in : ENTICES

5. Cultural, as cuisine : ETHNIC. I miss authentic Thai food & my experiences.

6. Major conflicts : WARS

7. Flow away, as a tide : EBB

9. Philadelphia suburb : RADNOR. What is it famous for?

11. Former soldier : EX GI

12. Dick and Jane's dog : SPOT. Obtained the answer via crossers.

13. Forum garb : TOGA

18. "Born in __": Cheech Marin film : EAST LA

22. Good-night girl of song : IRENE. Have never heard of the song "Goodnight, Irene".

24. Beach bronzings : SUN TANS

25. Psychological shock : TRAUMA

26. Medicos : DOCS

27. Division word : INTO

28. Show over : RERUN

29. Standard practice : CUSTOM

30. Boxing's "Iron Mike" : TYSON. I remember the ear-biting incident.

34. Shaver's mishap : NICK

35. USN noncoms : CPOS (Chief Petty Officers)

37. Barbecue site : PATIO

38. Trust, as a friend : RELY ON

41. Walks with attitude : SASHAYS. Lucina likes to use this word.

43. Turn over at sea : CAPSIZE

45. Customs levy : IMPOST

46. Kept out : BARRED

49. Big Broadway hit, in slang : BOFF. So is BOFFO.

50. Land in el mar : ISLA

51. NBAer O'Neal : SHAQ

52. Formula One racer Teo __ : FABI. His name escaped me also.

53. Nike competitor : AVIA. Latin for "fly".

54. __ Ration: pet food : KEN- L. Third time in a month?

55. "__ Tu": 1974 hit : ERES. Eres Tu = "It is You".

59. Mysterious guy : MR. X. Nice edge word.

Answer grid.

Here is a recent photo of our Cool Hand Larry (Windhover). Looks more like a philosopher than a farmer, no? Still want to share his bike, Annette?

C.C.