Mar 30, 2017

Thursday, March 30th 2017 Richard F. Mausser

Theme: Quadratic Locations - Four quadrangles, four seats of learning as the grid-spanning hint tells us:

39A. What the groups of circled letters graphically represent : UNIVERSITY QUADS

The schools in question are Tulane, Rice, Temple and Yale. Here's Rice:

I enjoyed the symmetry in this construction - two six- and two four-circle themers located in opposite corner blocks, the "quad quads", two intersecting 15's, both college-themed, and the journey around each quadrangle starts at the north-west corner. There's a lot else to like with the lively longer entries - two each of ten, nine and eight letters and very few threes.

I was surprised to find that "TOTAL BASES", "FINAL FOUR" and "NY JETS" have only been seen once before in the LAT crossword since the Cruciverb database records began.

Let's see what else we've got:


1. "Yeah, sure!" : PSHAW!

6. Some CPAs and MBAs : CFOS. Top Bean Counter. Sorry, Chief Financial Officer.

10. __ bean : FAVA. LIMA or SOYA are also possibilities - you need more than the "A" before deciding.

14. What choir members have to carry : A TUNE, Not "A NOTE" then. Quick work with the "backspace" key fixed that one.

15. Lined up, with "in" : A ROW. So when you have your ducks in a row, what happens? I've always wondered.

16. 2001 Winslet/Dench title role : IRIS. Novelist Iris Murdoch and her lifelong relationship with her husband. I might need to go back and re-watch this one.

17. Hero makers : DELIS. Food! You need a big appetite for one of these. Classic ingredients are meat, cheese, tomato, green pepper, lettuce and Italian dressing on a baguette. Innumerable variations abound.

18. Window shopper's buy : PANE. Nice.

19. Bottle part : NECK. The only other bottle part I can think of is the "punt", the deep indentation at the bottom of a wine bottle.

20. Double-helix molecules : DNAS

21. Stat for which Babe Ruth's 457 is the single-season record : TOTAL BASES. The 1921 season. He also set the record for extra base hits that year.

23. Site of many Ansel Adams works : YOSEMITE. Iconic photography from this fella:

25. Online chortle : LOL. Laughing Out Loud.

26. Wide awake : ALERT

28. Joan __ : OF ARC

32. Aplenty : GALORE

36. Carmelite, perhaps : NUN

38. Muffin topper : OLEO. I wanted OREO first. I'm guessing this reference is to a dollop of margarine on an English muffin. The splendidly-named Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès invented oleomargarine in France back in 1869.

42. Labyrinth : MAZE

43. Plop down : SIT

44. Legal scholar : JURIST. Not a juror. An expert in or a writer on law.

45. "Obsessable series" movie channel : STARZ. Thanks, crosses.

47. What "two" meant to Paul Revere : BY SEA. One if by land, I believe. "The British are coming!" Three if by air, in my case.

49. Bow __ : TIE

51. Billboard charts : HIT LISTS. My friend Fred Bronson writes the weekly Chart Beat column in "Billboard" magazine.

56. Tart vodka cocktails : LEMON DROPS

60. Petunia part : STEM

61. Greenish blue : CYAN

62. Use the escalator, about half the time : GO UP. Go down, roughly the other half, unless you ride up and take the stairs down.

63. Plant swelling : EDEMA

64. What a stet cancels : DELE. Editing marks. Does anyone edit manuscripts this way any more? I know print newspapers moved to digital production a long time ago.

65. Alternatively : ELSE

66. Cheap mags : PULPS

67. Old jet-set jets : SSTS. Concordes. The USSR brought out a strangely-similar looking aircraft that the UK media nicknamed "Concordski". Sadly the second production aircraft crashed while performing at the Paris Air Show in 1973, killing the six-person crew and eight people on the ground.

68. Bob or dog attachment : SLED

69. Canines, e.g. : TEETH


1. Irrigated grain field : PADDY

2. Courtroom figure : STENO

3. Hippy dances? : HULAS

4. Italian cookie flavoring : ANISE

5. Filmmaker Craven : WES

6. Holly Golightly's creator : CAPOTE. Truman's short story Breakfast at Tiffany's adapted as a screenplay and starring one of my all-time favorite actresses, the lovely Audrey Hepburn. I love this scene.

7. Place for annual pledging : FRATERNITY HOUSE. I liked that the two 15-letter grid spanners crossing each other have a college theme.

8. Chaplin of "Game of Thrones" : OONA

9. Balloon : SWELL

10. Elite Eight survivors : FINAL FOUR. Topical NCAA Basketball reference. This year's Final Four face off this Saturday with South Carolina vs. Gonzaga followed by Oregon vs. North Carolina.

11. War god : ARES

12. Target of many a New Year's resolution : VICE

13. Poses : ASKS

21. Floor installers : TILERS

22. Savior of Scout and Jem, in "To Kill a Mockingbird" : BOO. A good excuse for some super-cheeerful Britpop from the early 90's courtesy of The Boo Radleys

24. Filly, eventually : MARE

27. Mild rebuke : TUT

29. End of a ball game? : ALAI. Tricky clue. The ball-wall game Jai Alai.The ball can travel up to 188mph. it's 3/4 the size of a baseball and harder than a golf ball. It was bad enough getting hit by a squash ball back in the day.

30. Great American Ball Park team : REDS. Cincinnati, Ohio.

31. COLA component : COST. Cost Of Living Adjustment. Nice clue.

32. 69-Across holders : GUMS

33. Vet school subj. : ANAT.

34. Joel's "Cabaret" co-star : LIZA. Ms. Minnelli was a gimme, but I had to go and look up Joel. Joel Grey, he played the Master of Ceremonies.

35. Hinted-at hidden meanings : OVERTONES

37. AFC East team : NY JETS

40. Sis or bro : SIB.

41. Grade of excellence: Abbr. : QUAL. Quality, a "degree or standard of excellence, esp. a high standard".

46. Cab alternative : ZIN

48. Opposite of guzzled : SIPPED

50. Cube's dozen : EDGES

52. Expectant mom's words : IS DUE. I went for "I'M DUE". Not sure about "is due".

53. Inscribed pillar : STELE

54. Lead on : TEMPT. 

55. Blockbuster : SMASH

56. Some TV screens : LCDS

57. They work better when they focus : EYES. Unless you're trying to "see" one of those Magic Eye posters that gave us all fits in the 1990's. Here's one that resolves pretty quickly:

58. Dairy Queen order : MALT

59. Lucky streak : ROLL

63. Skillful, facetiously : EPT. "Opposite" of "inept". I like these "false" opposites. Mt. Etna is definitely "ert", unlike Vesuvius, and I hope my blogging is "ane" rather than the alternative!

With that, here's the grid!