Apr 30, 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 Amy Johnson

Theme: Brr x 2 - The unifier can precede both parts respectively.

17A. *Protective fuse container : BREAKER BOX. ICE BREAKER, a ship that opens up the ice. ICE BOX, dare I mention refrigerator?

39A and 40A. With "Baby," a 1990's hip-hop hit that answers the question, "What can precede both parts of the answers to starred clues?" : ICE and ICE. If you care to listen. Link.

61A. *Tailgater's brew chiller : BEER BUCKET. ICE BEER, so much hype. ICE BUCKET, to keep it cold.

11D. *Flood control concern : STORM WATER. ICE STORM, I hope you all escaped any serious one this winter. ICE WATER, or iced water. Cold either way.

29D. *Era of mass production : MACHINE AGE. ICE MACHINE, built-in, in some refrigerators. ICE AGE, a time, a movie(with sequels).

Argyle here. I like the grid arrangement; center reveal with the themes surrounding it. Tougher than the usual Tuesday. What will tomorrow bring?


1. 1860s Grays : REBS. Civil War.

5. Danger : PERIL

10. __ Spumante : ASTI

14. 50+ group : AARP. It is still called by the four letters but they don't stand for anything other than their organization. So it isn't an anagram or initialism since 1999. Before then, 21A. Part of 14-Across, originally : RETIRED. (American Association of Retired Persons)

15. Verdi aria : ERI TU

16. Trans Am roof option : T-TOP

19. Mower brand : TORO

20. Set up for a fall : ENTRAP

23. Gift for el 14 de febrero : ROSAs. Some roses for your señorita on día de San Valentín.

26. Tree for which New Haven is nicknamed : ELM. But, like most places, only a few of those elms of centuries past are still standing.

27. Summits : ACMES

30. Native American weapons : TOMAHAWKS

35. "Get a __ of this!" : LOAD

36. Loud, like sirens : ABLARE. An "A" word.

37. MSN alternative : AOL. Like AARP, it was previously known as America Online but uses only the letters now.

38. Partners' legal entity: Abbr. : LLC. An initialism for Limited Liability Company.

41. Lao Tzu's "path" : TAO

42. July 4th reaction : [OOH!]

43. Early Florida explorer : DE SOTO. Early Chrysler car.

45. Get gooey : MELT

46. School term : TRIMESTER

48. Saintly circles : AURAS

49. "Uh-uh, lassie!" : "NAE!"

50. Groupon offerings : DEALS

52. Rodeo hat : STETSON

56. With 48-Down, Felipe's outfielder son : MOISES. 48D. See 56-Across : ALOU

60. Keister in a fall? : PRAT. (means buttocks)

64. Bird house : CAGE

65. Really miffed : IRATE

66. "The Clan of the Cave Bear" heroine : AYLA

67. Thumbs-up votes : AYES

68. Bellhop, at times : TOTER. One who totes.

69. Out of concern that : LEST


1. Broccoli __ : RABÉ. Dark green leaf of the mustard family.

2. Be worthy of : EARN

3. Novelist __ Easton Ellis : BRET. West coast boy who came east for an education. (Bennington College)

4. Trained with gloves : SPARRED

5. Marshmallowy Easter treats : PEEPS. Probably stale by now.

6. Miscalculate : ERR

7. Curved bone : RIB

8. "Click __ Ticket": seatbelt safety slogan : IT OR. Is this PSA nationwide?

9. Elegance : LUXE

10. Hun honcho : ATTILA

12. Ran fast : TORE

13. Apple for a music teacher? : iPOD

18. "Get Smart" evil agency : KAOS. Spelled with all capital letters but pronounced as a single word, it also is not an anagram. The individual letters do not represent anything. We have a mini-theme going here.

22. Little chuckle : TE-HEE. So little, there is only one E in TE.

24. In a perfect world : AT BEST

25. Sevillian sun : SOL. Seville, a city and province in Spain.

27. Portion out : ALLOT

28. Enjoy crayons : COLOR. The ones from Easton, PA. Remember? (Crayola manufacturer)

31. __ d'hôtel: headwaiter : MAÎTRE

32. With the bow, to a cellist : ARCO. But on the road, to a driver, it's an anagram for Atlantic Richfield Company.

33. Cuddly-looking marsupial : KOALA

34. Casino attractions : SLOTS

36. Unreturned serves : ACES

39. Inventeur's list : IDÉES. In France.

44. U.K. lexicological work : OED. (Oxford English Dictionary)

45. Many a Tony winner : MUSICAL. The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, known informally as the Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. - per Wikipedia.

47. Unglossy finishes : MATTEs. Enough with the MATTES.

51. Jewelry resin : AMBER

52. Pet adoption org. : SPCA

53. Printer paper holder : TRAY

54. Final bio? : OBIT

55. Detective Wolfe : NERO

57. Largest of the Inner Hebrides : SKYE. (Scotland)

58. Wiggly swimmers : EELS

59. On-base pct., e.g. : STAT. (statistic)

62. Have a meal : EAT

63. 66, notably: Abbr. : RTE. Time to hit the road!


Apr 29, 2013

Interview with Patti Varol

Patti Varol is the assistant to Rich Norris, editor of LA Times Crossword. She delivers the good & bad news to constructors on whether their puzzles are accepted or rejected. Patti's emails are always clear, thoughtful & gentle. As a constructor, I appreciate very much the constructive feedback she and Rich provide.

Patti is also a fast solver (176th at the ACPT 2011) & a brilliant constructor. If you click here, you'll see all the puzzles she constructed for the LA Times the past few years. They are all theme-dense & super smooth in fill. She makes things look easy.

Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you get interested in crosswords?

I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t solving puzzles! When I was a kid, I used to devour Games Magazine with my grandparents, and we’d solve all kinds of newspaper crosswords together – we weren’t picky! If it had clues and a grid, we tackled it. Puzzles and games were a big part of my childhood.

Most of the jobs I’ve had – and I’ve had a lot of very different jobs – were just a way to pay the bills while I finished school and tried to become a writer. But then I spotted an ad for a puzzle editor, and I couldn’t apply fast enough.

Being a puzzle editor for Penny Press was more than just a way to pay the bills, and I spent twelve very fun years there. I’ve edited or constructed just about every kind of puzzle you can think of, and I’ve worked on every stage of puzzle publishing – layout, design, even software development.

My first year at Penny Press, which was also Rich’s first year as the LAT editor, Rich and I met at the Pleasantville crossword tournament. About a year later, we worked together at another tournament (at Iona College, my alma mater), and we became very good friends.

Rich invited me to be an LAT test-solver, and then hired me to test-solve and fact-check puzzles for Crosswords Club. He encouraged me to start constructing crosswords, and he convinced me to go to ACPT. When I left Penny Press to become a freelance writer, Rich offered me the Assistant's job.

I usually describe myself as a freelance writer and editor, and I do still write book reviews and essays and the occasional short story, but the majority of my freelance work is in crosswords and word games. I play with words all day. Jobs don’t get better than this!
What's your philosophy when it comes to fill a Monday grid? You have 5 themes today, 5 in your last Monday puzzle. All pretty long entries, yet the fill is so clean.

Easy, early-week puzzles are such a challenge to make. A Monday needs to be accessible to every solver, even the most inexperienced – the last thing a Monday should do is frustrate a brand-new solver. The theme needs to be straightforward, the fill can’t have anything too weirdly obscure, and the clues should lead the solver to the answer. But it should also be fun and interesting for experienced solvers – that’s the trickiest part. Having 5 or more themers in a Monday can help make an easy puzzle more interesting for experienced solvers.

What kind of theme & fill fascinate you and what kind do you try to avoid in your puzzles?

I love being surprised by a puzzle – a clue that makes me look at an ordinary word in a new way, or a pun that makes me laugh out loud, or a theme with an unexpected twist. And I’m always impressed with a puzzle when the nontheme fill is as lively and as interesting as the theme itself.

Every solver has hit something in a puzzle – a lame or inconsistent themer, too-trivial trivia in a clue, crossing obscurities in a grid -- that makes you want to throw your newspaper across the room. I try to avoid the stuff that makes you want to throw things.

Which part do you enjoy the most in the construction process: theme development, filling or cluing?

It’s all great, but cluing is my favorite. Each part of the process is a different challenge for me. I’m very good at coming up with solid themes … that have been done a million times already. I’m also very good at coming up with themes that will never in a million years fit in any grid. So, when I get to the cluing stage, the hardest work is behind me. And I get to play with words some more.

What kind of tools & references do you use for theme brainstorming, cluing and fact checks?

I have a ratty old graph paper notebook that I use for developing themes and for trying out grid designs, but I use Crossword Compiler for constructing. I often dip into Steven Glazier’s Word Menu for inspiration (themes and clues). As anyone who has ever helped me move can attest, I own more dictionaries and reference books than I feel like counting or listing right now. Friends who have helped me move my very heavy reference books do not want to know that a) I do much of my fact-checking online and b) the one book I use every day is the tiniest: Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.

How challenging is it to be Rich's assistant?

I have the best job ever, with the best boss ever (and I’m not just saying that because I know he’ll read this). Rich and I have been friends and colleagues for many years; we make a great team, and I love working with him.

The biggest challenge of the job is writing emails to constructors when a theme just doesn’t appeal to Rich. Rich and I both firmly believe that constructors need detailed feedback on their work: newbie constructors can only benefit from hearing precisely what works and doesn’t work in the puzzles they’re making. And more senior constructors can sometimes develop blind spots about their puzzles. The more specific we are in our acceptance and rejection letters, the better our constructors will be.

Sometimes, though, a theme just doesn’t appeal to Rich, and there’s not much more to say about it. It’s just a taste thing. Those are the hardest letters to write, because I never want constructors to feel like they’ve been sent a form letter or that we didn’t evaluate a puzzle thoroughly.

Besides crosswords, what else do you do for fun?

At the moment, I am stiff and sore and sunburned from a 15-mile bike ride, so I’m hesitating to call it “fun,” but I do love exploring my little part of California on my bike.

I’m a Mets fan, and I’m listening to them lose to the Phillies (… again) as I’m typing these answers, so I’m starting to wonder if there’s anything I do that can be called “fun”!

I’m a bit of a foodie, and I love discovering new restaurants as much as I love to cook. I have a weakness for farmers markets, and this New York girl cannot get enough of the fresh produce available here in California year-round. I still can’t believe I can buy avocados and ginger and grapefruit at a farmers market! I really enjoy experimenting with new recipes and ingredients. Cooking helps me unwind; it’s a meditative experience for me. I just hate doing the dishes.

I’m also a bookworm; I read three or four novels a week. And I play video games more than I probably should, and I watch old episodes of Doctor Who more than anyone should.

Monday, April 29, 2013 Patti Varol

Theme: Breakfast treat - A puzzle that passes the breakfast test with flying colors. The theme entries end in varying shades of the unifier.

17A. Lacking a strong foundation, metaphorically : BUILT ON SAND

24A. Snoopy's WWI plane : SOPWITH CAMEL

38A. Shutterbug : PHOTOGRAPHY BUFF

48A. Farina-based hot cereal : CREAM OF WHEAT

60A. Ideal toast color, and a hint to the ends of 17-, 24-, 38- and 48-Across : GOLDEN BROWN

Argyle here. It would be only fitting that I should have some toast as I type this up but, alas, I am at the tail end of my loaf of bread. Oh well. It was a fun solve with a grid spanner in the middle.


1. Under-the-table money : BRIBE. Not the same as in-the-seat-cushion money.

6. Teamster's rig : SEMI. (truck)

10. Tight-lipped : MUM. Yes, mum's the word.

13. Dubuque natives : IOWANS. Native American Siouan people.

15. "Once __ a time ..." : UPON

16. Chowed down : ATE

19. Corp. board member : DIR. (director)

20. __ over backward : BEND

21. "That feels good!" : "AAH!"

22. Florence's country : ITALY. (Firenze, Italia)

Click to enlarge.

28. Prize on the mantel : TROPHY

31. Hors d'oeuvre cracker : RITZ. Golden brown cracker.

32. Northwestern Canadian territory : YUKON. (Yukon gold)

33. Naval hoosegow : BRIG

35. Brew in a bag : TEA

42. Mork's planet : ORK. (TV show)

43. Senate staffer : AIDE

44. Lusterless finish : MATTE. As opposed to gloss.

45. Windy day toy : KITE. We've had a few good kite flying days.

47. Put the blame on : ACCUSE

53. Egypt neighbor : LIBYA

54. Subway whose first line had a terminus at NYC's City Hall : IRT. (Interborough Rapid Transit)

55. Suffix with wagon : ETTE. A light four-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle with two lengthwise seats facing each other behind a crosswise driver's seat.

59. Before today : AGO

64. Hamlet, to Gertrude : SON

65. Change a manuscript : EDIT

66. "I, Robot" author : ASIMOV. (Isaac Asimov)

67. Butt in : PRY

68. 2013 Oscars host MacFarlane : SETH

69. Pert : SASSY

Down: (as in down to the heel of my loaf of bread)

1. Light-green lettuce : BIBB

2. Disreputable fellow : ROUE

3. "Heads __, tails you lose" : I WIN

4. Rogaine target : BALD SPOT

5. Dr. who treats snorers : E.N.T. (ear, nose, throat)

6. Bite-size raw Asian dish : SUSHI

7. Water quality org. : EPA. (Environmental Protection Agency)

8. Start of a wk., workwise : MON. Today

9. Formally charge, in court : INDICT

10. Sir's counterpart : MADAM

11. More than decorative : UTILE

12. Streep of "The Iron Lady" : MERYL

14. All lathered up : SOAPY

18. Folksy negative : "NAW"

23. Whirling toon devil, for short : TAZ

25. "How awful!" : "OH, NO!"

26. Hogwash : TRIPE

27. "__ Noon": Gary Cooper Western : HIGH

28. Printing error, perhaps : TYPO

29. German mining region : RUHR

30. "Quit nagging! I'll do it!" : "OK! OK!"

33. To the point : BRIEF

34. "Way cool!" : "RAD!"

35. "Black Swan" skirt : TUTU

36. Immature newts : EFTs

37. Set __: name the price : A FEE

39. Ratón chaser : GATO. Spanish mouse and cat.

40. Org. that usually has a community pool : YMCA

41. Neosporin target : BACTERIA

45. Mary __ cosmetics : KAY

46. Publicists' concerns : IMAGES

47. Blue Cross rival : AETNA

48. Anklet fastener : CLASP

49. Strictness : RIGOR

50. Dense black wood : EBONY. Ebony is dense enough to sink in water. (I didn't know that)

51. Boot spec : WIDTH

52. Otto I's realm: Abbr. : HRE. (Holy Roman Empire)

56. Male turkeys : TOMS

57. What Noah counted by : TWOS. "...and two by two my human zoo
They'll be running for to come
Running for to come out of the rain" - Queen

58. Covet : ENVY

61. "__ to Joy" : ODE. Don't be afraid to join in.

62. Set ablaze : LIT

63. Undergrad tech degs. : BSs. Plural of BS.

Toast is gone. Now for some golden griddle cakes.


Notes from C.C.:

Here is a picture of Husker Gary and his lovely wife at their granddaughter Elise's 8th birthday last Friday. 

Apr 28, 2013

Sunday April 28, 2013 Julian Lim

Theme: "It'll Have to Do" - TLE is added to the end of each theme entry.

22A. Container for mystery meat? : SPAM BOTTLE. Spambot, which send out spam. That's why Captcha is used in our blog.

31A. Action scene in "True Blood"? : VAMPIRE BATTLE. Vampire bat.

49A. Courage of Manhattanites? : NEWYORK METTLE. New York Met.

71A. Cloak for a road trip? : HIGHWAY MANTLE. Highwayman.

92A. Reaction to an alarm? : RISING STARTLE. Rising star. 

102A. Baby's pre-vacation note to self? : PACK RATTLE. Pack rat.
3D. Venue for poetry readings in space? : SLAM SHUTTLE. Slam shut.

62D. Livestock kept between buildings? : ALLEY CATTLE. Alley cat.

Fun theme. Reminds me a bit of this BLE added NYT puzzle. And the theme set is tighter here, with TLE added to the second word only.

Also, fantastic grid design. Noticed how four of the theme entries intersect? I'd probably try a paralleled two 9's in the upper right and lower left corners, not 3. Julian Lim is so good. That's why our Lucina loves him!

1. Skip it : PASS

5. Jotting on a Post-it : MEMO

9. Lowest of the low : NADIR

14. Artist who was an admirer of Freud : DALI. He was? I know Dali and Mia Farrow were close friends. Surreal!

18. Partner : ALLY

19. Invites over : HAS IN

20. "Invisible Cities" author Calvino : ITALO

21. Well-versed in : UP ON

24. How some sleep : NAKED. Do you?

25. Nanny __: security devices : CAMS

26. Fiddled (with) : TAMPERED

27. Word repeated after "que," in song : SERA

28. Lure into crime : ENTRAP

30. Rapture : ECSTASY

34. Pakistani city : LAHORE. Capital of Punjabi.

35. Order to pounce : SIC 'EM

36. Like some personalities : DYNAMIC

37. Fluent speakers avoid them : UMs

38. Dull finish : MATTE. 72. Bright finish : GLOSS

39. Runner on snow : SKI. We went on a long nature walk yesterday. Still ice and snow on some lakes. 

41. Out of breath : SPENT

42. Ones giving marching orders: Abbr. : SGTs

44. Like NES video games : RETRO

45. Pulitzer winner Walker : ALICE. The organic food pioneer is Alice Waters. I used to confuse those two.

47. Opposite of exo- : ENDO

48. Hamilton's prov. : ONT. "Prov." sure helped.

52. Crew member : TAR. Sailor.

53. Topple : FALL OVER

55. Satan's little helpers : IMPS

56. Mil. decoration : DSM

58. Wrote with limited characters : TWEETED. Information overload.

59. Vineyard grape : PINOT

61. Assess flight risk, in a way : SET BAIL

65. Crossword heading: Abbr. : ACR (Across)

66. Weirdo : WACK

67. Panaceas : CURE-ALLS. Looks strange piled together.

68. Report card calamities : EFs.

75. __ Fáil: Irish "stone of destiny" : LIA. Our old puzzle used to feature this word often.

76. Villain's base : LAIR

78. Architect Saarinen : ELIEL. Eero's father.

79. High-ranked Atlanta school : EMORY

80. Bane for bugs : DEET

81. Wrapped up : ENDED

83. Windy City airport code : ORD

84. Water filter brand : BRITA

85. Pivotal : KEY

86. Paleness causes : ANEMIAS. Did not know this word is plurable.

88. __ Manor: "Batman" setting : WAYNE

89. High light? : BEACON. Great clue.

95. Two guys out to dinner, say : MAN DATE. Wanted BRO DATE.

96. Noted lawmaker : NEWTON. Law of gravity. I was thinking of DRACO-like lawmaker.

97. MLB credits : RBIs. Twins beat the Rangers yesterday, Bill.

98. Concert setup, briefly : PA SYSTEM

99. "Look no further than me" : I'M IT

100. Require : EXACT

104. What a ponytail covers : NAPE. "Do you know my name?"

105. River measure : WIDTH

106. "Coffee __?" : OR TEA

107. Earthenware pot : OLLA

108. Turned right : GEED. Gee = Right. Haw = Left.

109. Puréeing aid : SIEVE

110. Hardy's "Pure Woman" : TESS.  "Tess of the D'Urbervilles".
111. Drudge : PEON


1. Washed-out shade : PASTEL

2. Andean herd member : ALPACA

4. Diagnostician's clues : SYMPTOMS

5. Brit's bro : MATEY

6. Abbr. before a year : ESTD

7. Part of a GI's URL : MIL. For Military.

8. Late lunch hour : ONE. And 9. Late dinner hr. : NINE PM

10. __ 2600: old video game console : ATARI

11. Capital NW of Monrovia : DAKAR. Capital of Senegal. Click on the map. It'll enlarge.

12. Loire land : ILE

13. Passed on a 19-Down : RODE BY. 19. Silver in movies : HORSE. Lone Ranger's horse Silver.

14. Versatile roll : DUCT TAPE

15. Common rental : APARTMENT

16. California city name meaning "pretty knoll" : LOMA LINDA. Loma means "knoll" then. New to me.

17. Yard worker? : INSPECTOR. OK, Scotland Yard.

23. Is worthy of, as repeating : BEARS. It bears repeating that...

27. Hook underling : SMEE

29. Persian breads : NANS.  I always thought of NAN as Indian bread. Has no idea that the Iranians eat Nan too. Chinese Muslims call theirs Nang. Delicious.

31. In __ fertilization : VITRO

32. One may be supporting : ACTOR. Nice clue.

33. Queen's decree : EDICT

35. Dionysian reveler : SATYR

38. Asked to be stroked, perhaps : MEWED

39. Pursued one's dreams? : SLEPT. Sweet!

40. Press packets : KITS

42. Out of shape : SOFT. Huh? Never heard "Out of shape" expressed as "SOFT". Long winter here. I'm SOFT.

43. Eat like a chinchilla : GNAW

44. Stargazer's state : REVERIE

45. Supplies for Rambo : AMMO

46. Geriatrician's concern, with "the" : ELDERLY

49. V-shaped mark : NOTCH

50. Twisted : KINKY

51. First name in makeup : ESTEE. To me, this is their best product. Get this for your wife/girlfriend. They'll love you.

54. Cow patch : LEA
57. Wharton Sch. conferral : MBA
59. Played with, cat-style : PAWED

60. Alphabet addition? : ICAL. Alphabetical.

61. Kama __ : SUTRA

63. Rival of Bjorn : ILIE (Nastase)

64. Some srs.' source of stress : LSAT

66. Propeller noise : WHIR

67. Thou tenth : C-NOTE. Sometimes it's C-SPOT. Thou is Thousand here.

68. Webinars, e.g. : E-LEARNING. I guess we e-learn every day.

69. Mortgage acronym : FANNIE MAE. So is Freddie Mac.

70. Glancing blow : SIDESWIPE

73. Sophie player : MERYL. "Sophie's Choice". Pure talent.

74. Nitrogen compound : AMINE

77. Sent payment : REMITTED
80. What bad traffic sometimes comes to, with "a" : DEAD STOP

82. "The Flintstones" answer to Fido : DINO

84. Swings at home : BATS. Home plate.

85. Maasai Mara game reserve locale : KENYA

87. '60s-'70s veep and family : AGNEWS. Spiro Agnew.

88. Twist in agony : WRITHE

89. City about 300 miles from Baghdad : BASRA.  Iraq's  second largest city, after  Baghdad.

90. 1887 La Scala premiere : OTELLO. Based Shakespeare's "Othello".

91. Like the lion slain by Hercules : NEMEAN. Nemean lion.

93. __ union : TRADE

94. "Suburgatory" airer : ABC TV. Never watched "Suburgatory". Wiki says it's a portmanteau of "suburban" and "purgatory".

95. Nets : MAKES

98. Statistician's figs. : PCTs

101. It may be seen opposite VI : XII. Clock.

102. Nursery container : POT

103. "The Kids __ All Right": 2010 Best Picture nominee : ARE


Apr 27, 2013

Saturday, Apr 27th, 2013, Brad Wilber

Theme: None

Words: 72 (missing J,Z)

Blocks: 29

  This one started out well enough, but the NE corner did me in - some answers were just not in my wheelhouse, so I had to switch to red-letter.  Oh well.  A little something for everyone today, myself included (see 19D.).  A rare grid pattern, nothing too intimidating, with just the triple 8's in two corners.  Worth mentioning:

7A. Dupe : CAT'S PAW - Now that I think about it, I vaguely remember something about this, but I didn't get this reference at first; it's also a 54A.

41A. City where the first koala sanctuary opened : BRISBANE

58. Underwater escape mechanism : SQUID INK - I just found out it's an ice cream flavor

O    n    w    a    r    d    ~    !


1. Protocol : RUBRIC - First line from Blue Öyster Cult song

14. Where seals are their least graceful : ON LAND

15. Script used to transcribe foreign words into Japanese : KATAKANA - more here

16. Low-tech calculator : ABACUS

17. Modeling job? : EPOXYING - Loved making scale models when I was a kid; still have some kits waiting to be finished

18. Drop shots, in badminton : DINKS

19. Nearsighted one : MYOPE

20. Was into : DUG - My first thought, but it didn't sit well with me; then the "U" showed

21. Low : SAD

22. "Daniel Deronda" (1876) was her last novel : ELIOT - the Wiki

24. Regatta racer : SCULL - ARGH~!!  Second time in two weeks that my "YACHT" was wrong

26. Osiris' sis : ISIS - ssssssss....and they had a kid, Horus, together

28. Speculate : INFER

30. Choir section : APSE - DAR~!!!  I tried ALTO, BASS - no, the actual place

31. Wielding absolute power : DESPOTIC

33. Legal extremes? : ELs - LegaL - the two "L"s on the ends of the word; didn't fool me

35. He plays Andy Bernard on "The Office" : ED HELMS

36. Tool that's swung : CLEAVER - HAMMMER was too wrong

40. Letters in a prof's email address : EDU

42. Term paper abbr. : IBID

45. Wild outing : SPREE

47. 14-time A.L. All-Star : A-ROD - Alex Rodriguez - baseball for C.C.

48. Collection of plates : ARMOR - I like Knights and Castles; I dressed in chain mail for my now-defunct wedding  (From C.C.: Very cool, Splynter!)

50. Isn't industrious : LOAFS - not LAZES

52. Tag for some as-is mdse. : IRRegular

53. Legend site : MAP

54. Get one's goat, e.g. : IDIOM - Argh~!!! I had "IRKED", going with the figurative, not the literal English reference

56. It was once called Mission San Antonio de Valero : ALAMO - W.A.G.

60. Stories on stands : ALIBIS - Court of Law stands, that is

61. Enhances : AUGMENTS

62. Slim and trim : SVELTE - sounds sexy; I once knew a Russian girl named Svetlana; she was svelte

63. Ritual candelabrum : MENORAH

64. Cutie pies : HONEYS


1. Farm stand spot : ROADSIDE - Yep, the Cidiots will be arriving soon, with their "ooh, look, a farm stand~!" rubberneck driving skills

2. Neutral : UNBIASED

3. Flatter in a cajoling way : BLANDISH - straight up definition; new word for me, tho I did consider this "BLAND - ISH"

4. Pool convenience : RACK - No, Dennis, THIS kind of rack

5. Taken : IN USE

6. Some investments, briefly : CDs - Certificates of Deposit

7. Writer who said "All literature is gossip" : CAPOTE

8. Perched on : ATOP

9. Campaign hot button : TAXES - I had MONEY, since it worked with my YACHT

10. Word with jack or box : SKY - Skyjack, Skybox

11. Settled : PAID UP

12. Cancels : ANNULS - my wedding has not been "annulled" yet

13. Part of some golfers' pre-shot routines : WAGGLE - do any of our blog golfers "waggle?"  Do you address the ball~? "Hello, ball~!"

15. It has an all-white scale : KEY OF C - Great clue/ans.

19. They show a lot of leg : MINIs - another gratuitous Splynter link

23. Chem test paper? : LITMUS - The paper's color changes depending on pH level

25. Fruit named for a Turkish town : CASABA

27. Maker of small suits : SPEEDO - a link for the ladies~!

29. A pitcher may appear in it : RELIEF - Bet C.C. nailed this one, too

32. Unlike spring chickens : OLD - "that A-Rod, he ain't no spring chicken"

34. Porter's "__ Girls" : LES

36. Stationery shade : CREAM

37. Algebraic uncertainty : VARIABLE

38. Unfathomable size : ENORMITY - Cream - Variable - Enormity; sounds like, um, how many inches of snow we might be getting....

39. Wooer's buy : RED ROSES

41. Tolerates : BROOKS - I have heard this before, but it was the perps that filled it in for me

42. Penn movie with a Seussian title : I AM SAM - IMDb

43. Cubism pioneer Georges : BRAQUE - some of his work

44. Call into question : IMPUGN - love the spelling of this; "im-pyoon"

46. Statue base : PLINTH - because PEDESTAL was unfathomably sized

49. Straphanger : RIDER - Subways

51. 21-gun salute, e.g. : SALVO

55. Actress Merrill of "Operation Petticoat" : DINA

57. Bank security : LIEN

59. Bit of blogger shorthand : IMO - In My (sometimes Humble) Opinion

60. It may be tapped off : ASH - cigarette reference; I went with KEG