Mar 22, 2018

Thursday, March 22 2018 Robert & Marlea Ellis

Theme: Odorless Wine - or "no nose". Actually, the reveal explains the theme nicely:

64A. Taboos, and a hint to the four longest puzzle answers : NO-NOS. Phrases which lose the opening "no"; and so we have

17A. Soda fountain come-on? :  [NO] GREAT SHAKES. Make three at once with this handy device on your countertop:

26A. Earthquake coverage? : [NO-]FAULT INSURANCE. You'd thing you'd need fault insurance in my home state. California isn't one of the no-fault insurance states.

43A. List in a quiz program recap? : [NO] QUESTIONS ASKED. Nice clue.

56A. Lower hulls fortified? : [NO] HOLDS BARRED. I think I'd have looked for a more elegant clue here. "Lower hull" seems a little contrived.

There was a similar theme by Jim Page in the NYT a few years ago, but he clued his theme entries as if they still had the "no" attached.

Let's see what jumps out in the fill:


1. Fall face first while skiing, say : EAT IT. I've done many a face-plant on and off piste.

6. Mighty silly : APISH. Nice word, took a while for me to see it.

11. Part of ROM: Abbr. : MEM. Read-only memory. Which leads me to the question - how do you get anything into read-only memory? We should be told.

14. Longest-serving prime minister of India : NEHRU. He of the eponymous jacket. India's first PM.

15. Austrian actress Berger : SENTA. Completely unknown to me, but the crosses filled her in.

16. Kanye West's "I __ God" : AM A. Nailed it! Thank you, crosswords past.

19. Monarch catcher : NET. Butterfly net.

20. Brooklyn Dodgers legend Campanella : ROY. Imaginatively nicknamed "Campy".

21. In questionable taste : TACKY

22. All excited : AFIRE

24. Radiant glow : AURA

25. Italian cheese : ASIAGO. Oddly, I always thought it was Spanish. Learning moment for me.

31. Aids in illegal activity : ABETS. I see "aid" as a synonym, but the crime is "aiding and abetting", so there must be a difference. We need legal help to explain this one.

32. Roberts of "That '70s Show" : TANYA. She's had some "work" done since this shot was taken, as a Google image search will confirm.

33. Comic Martha : RAYE. Thank you, crosses. Proper names are not my forte.

34. One-named singer with 15 Grammys : ADELE

36. Neeson of "Love Actually" : LIAM

40. Continue gabbing : RUN ON

42. Ship's seepage : BILGE. In the sub-lower hull.

47. Latin ballroom dances : TANGOS

48. Berlin octet : ACHT. Eight, in Essen, and elsewhere.

49. One of a Dumas trio : ATHOS. The Three Musketeers. Athos, Porthos and Aramis. D'Artagnan wasn't a musketeer when he met the three.

50. Civil rights leader Chavez : CESAR. 

52. __-tip steak : TRI. This cut of beef is unknown many places other than the West Coast. It's a triangular cut from the bottom sirloin, hence the name - it has three "tips".

55. Barnyard sound : MAA. It's a more accurate representation of the sound than "baa" although the latter is more commonly-used. "Maa maa black sheep, have you any wool?" doesn't have the same ring to it.

59. Directional suffix : ERN

60. Missouri tribe : OSAGE

61. Not-giving-up phrase : I HOPE

62. Completed : DID

63. Fishing boot : WADER


1. Career for a sci. major : ENGR. Engineer. Definitely not my favorite fill.

2. Flight-related prefix : AERO-

3. Unspecified folks : THEY. I had THEM first, but the baseball great Rom [sic] Campanella fixed that.

4. Sportswriter Berkow : IRA. Boxing, baseball, basketball among other sports. He was jointly awarded the Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 2001. Great writer.

5. Clucks of disapproval : TUT-TUTS

6. __ School: art movement featuring NYC scenes : ASHCAN. I've no idea how I knew this. Here's "McSorley's Bar" by John French Sloan.

7. Top out : PEAK

8. Very dark : INKY

9. Abbr. in some Qu├ębec addresses : STE. Ste. Jean sur Richelieu, par example.

10. Contributes : HAS A SAY

11. Oscar-nominated "Flashdance" song : MANIAC. I preferred "Flashdance .. What a Feeling" myself. In fact, let's have a Flashdance Flashback.

12. Arise : EMERGE

13. San __, California : MATEO

18. Asian dress : SARI

23. Contender for the crown : FINALIST

24. Steve Rogers, for Captain America : ALTER EGO

25. Composer of the opera "Alfred" : ARNE. Thomas Arne's score for the opera about Alfred the Great. The libretto was written by David Mallet and James Thompson. We'll have a test on this tomorrow, so pay attention.

26. At a distance : AFAR

27. Chicago-based law org. : ABA. At least this week's clue allows for no ambiguity, unlike last week's interpretation which brought all the knuckle-dragging anons out of hiding.

28: Illegal fwy. maneuver : UEY

29. Court worker : STENO

30. Co. that merged with Continental : UAL. United Airlines. My carrier of choice. It's been a good week not to be travelling, bad weather all over the place.

34. Queen's subjects : ANTS

35. "And how!" : DO I!

37. Sort : ILK

38. Sit in a cellar, maybe : AGE

39. Club __ : MED. Are they still going? Not seen these resorts advertised for quite some time.

41. Base entertainment : USO SHOW

42. Persian Gulf monarchy : BAHRAIN

43. Persian Gulf native : QATARI. I enjoyed the proximity of this clue pair.

44. Release : UNHAND

45. Egyptian leader for whom a lake is named : NASSER. Formed by the damming of the Nile at Aswan. It's the largest man-made lake in the world. The lake, was formed, that is, not the leader. The leader was formed by Mr. and Mrs. Nasser, presumably.

46. Union foe : SCAB

47. Gained control of : TAMED

50. Dressed : CLAD

51. Advantage : EDGE

52. 1982 sci-fi film : TRON. Plus the recent reboot Tron: Legacy in 2010.

53. Defaulter's risk : REPO

54. Time to beware : IDES. More ides. Shame there wasn't a month named "Tides". Then, when it was close to the middle of the month, you'd be able to say "The Ides of Tides Bides". Thank you, I'm here all week.

57. Spanish she-bear : OSA

58. Frat letter : RHO.

And - here's the grid, stick a fork in me, I'm done.


Notes from C.C.:

1) Argyle still has his phone off the hook due to the pain meds, but I'm in contact with his sister Klista. Santa is doing OK. Please continue keeping him in your thoughts and prayers.

2) Happy Birthday to dear PK, who turns 77 today. So happy that she's now on the blog regularly. PK is a Preacher's Child, but PK also stands for Passionate Kisser, and she's passionate about many subjects. She's always so attentive and observant. She was a reporter before.

3) Agnes just asked about Melissa's granddaughter Jaelyn yesterday. Here is a sweet picture of Melissa's daughter and Jaelyn. Look how she has grown.