May 31, 2017

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 Samuel A. Donaldson

Theme: here is it is in full.

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

20. 2010 Best Picture Oscar winner : THE KING'S SPEECH.

27. Become born-again, perhaps : GET RELIGION.

37. United Nations gathering : GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

44. Self-publishing option : VANITY PRESS.

The theme fill contain some of the key words of the specified rights, and the unifier seals the deal.

52. Source of the freedoms found at the ends of this puzzle's four other longest answers : FIRST AMENDMENT.  Of the Constitution of the United States of America.

Well, here we have the two things that we do not discuss here - politics and religion. We do need to report on and discuss the content of the puzzle - and most particularly the theme - but let's all please respect the spirit of the ground rules.  The theme is well timed, coming during the week of Memorial Day.

So, let us ASSEMBLE our wits, PRESS on, and SPEAK FREELY about the rest of this puzzle.


1. Resorts with body wraps : SPAS.  Saunas, towels and robes.

5. Hook-shaped ski lift : J-BAR.  

9. Canon setting : F STOP.  The ratio of a camera's focal length to the diameter of its aperture, hence a dimensionless number relating to lens speed.

14. Formal agreement : PACT.  Treaty, deal, settlement.

15. Deep sea predator : ORCA.  AKA killer whale

16. PEN/Faulkner, for one : AWARD.   Recognition for achievement.

17. Wastes away : ATROPHIES.  Withers, shrives, shrinks.

19. Beantown team : CELTS.  Pro basketball.

22. Env. insert : ENClosure.

23. Former Mississippi senator Trent : LOTT.  Was in the House of Representatives from 1972 to 1988, then in the Senate from 1989 to 2007.  In 2008, opened a lobbying firm with former Senator John Breaux.  Careful, now.  More politics.

24. Post-J.D. degree : LLM.  Legum Magister, Latin for Master of Laws.  [In Latin the plural of a word is abbreviated by repeating the initial.]

33. Ready for a kick, with "up" : TEED.  In football, a kick off is generally executed with the ball placed on a kicking tee.

35. Society page word : NEE.   From the French word for "born," generally referring to a married woman's maiden name.

36. City bonds, for short : MUNIS.  Municipal Bonds are securities issued by a local authority to finance a capital project.  The are frequently exempt from federal taxation.

41. Layer with a hole : OZONE.  An upper atmospheric layer. 

42. Pocatello sch. : ISU.  Idaho State University.  Their mascot is Benny the Bengal.

43. "The Da Vinci Code" priory : SION.  Well - this is confusing.

48. Health products chain : GNC.  General Nutrition Center.

49. One who may converse in Erse : GAEL. Gaelic person from Ireland or Scotland. 

50. Top bond rating : AAA.  Indicating the highest degree of credit worthiness.

59. Argue with : JAW AT.  

60. One selling wheels : CAR DEALER.   "Wheels" being vernacular for a vehicle.

61. Online party notice : E-VITE.  A portmanteau of electronic and invitation.

62. Pelee Island's lake : ERIE.  Located in Canadian waters, but for me, this hits close to home.

63. Zilch : ZERO.  Nada, nuthin'.

64. Decreases in strength : WANES.   Or any other measurable characteristic.

65. Phone-answering asst. : SEC'Y.  Administrative Assistant.

66. Social sci. major : ECONomics.  The flip side of the political coin.


1. Cross words : SPAT.  An argument.

2. Way to go : PATH.  A route from point A to point B.

3. Farm fraction : ACRE.  Land area measure.

4. Feed with fuel : STOKE.  Specifically, solid fuel, as coal.

5. WWE wrestler in the film "Trainwreck" : JOHN CENA.  No idea.

6. Naval lockup : BRIG.   Jail on a ship.

7. Pocket rockets, at the poker table : ACES.  A holding of pocket aces in the game of Hold 'em.

8. Fight, in the sticks : RASSLE.  Wrestle, in the city.

9. Video chat option : FACE TIME.  Proprietary Apple app.

10. Trees with fragrant sap : SWEET GUMS.

11. Gymnast's powder : TALC.   Used to absorb moisture and as a dry lubricant.

12. Straight: Pref. : ORTH.  From the Greek.

13. Troopers' gps. : PDs.  Police Departments.

18. Troubling engine sound : PING.

21. D.C. figure : POLitician.

24. No. 2 at the statehouse : LT. GOV.  Lieutenant Governor.

25. Talk show host who won "The Celebrity Apprentice" in 2015, familiarly : LEEZA.  Gibbons.

26. Runners occupying bases : MEN ON.  They want to go home, but often do not get there.

28. No. in a contacts list : TELephone.

29. Broadcast again : REAIR.

30. With a lot at stake : IN BIG.   As a wager or financed deal.

31. Rub __: lubricate : OIL ON.

32. "Bye Bye Bye" boy band : NSYNC.  Mainly popular in the late 90's

34. Bad-mouth : DENIGRATE.  Disparage, belittle, denigrate.

38. Samples again, during cooking : RETASTES.  This entry feels awfully strained, and not especially in the language.

39. Memphis-to-Mobile dir. : SSE.   Tennessee to Alabama.

40. "The Partridge Family" actress : SUSAN DEY.  [b 1952]

45. To date : YET.  Up to now.

46. Pre-curtain call : PLACES.  Everyone get into position.

47. "Smooth Operator" singer : SADE.

51. Floor : AMAZE.  Frex: I was floored by that revelation.

52. Broad bean : FAVA.  Pairs well with a nice Chianti.

53. Triumphant shout : I WIN.

54. Stable mother : MARE.  Just horsing around.

55. Old Norse explorer : ERIC.  When you get exiled for being too obnoxious even for the Vikings to put up with, you might as well go sight seeing.

56. Util. bill : ELECtricity.

57. Detective Wolfe : NERO.  Created by Rex Stout.

58. 1982 sci-fi film with a 2010 sequel : TRON.

59. Passover observer : JEW.  Start with politics, end with religion.  Passover commemorates the Israelites departure from ancient Egypt.

Well, folks, that wraps up another Wednesday.  Hope you were able to exercise your freedoms and still get through the puzzle without too many arguments.

Cool Regards!

May 30, 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 Alex Eaton-Salners

Theme" You Can Take That To The Bank - You have a nice selection of banks to choose from.

17A. Mike and Carol's blended TV family: BRADY BUNCH. Branch Bank.

27A. Musical group with conga drums: SALSA BAND. Sandbank, of Provincial Park Ontario.

32A. Had a religious awakening: FOUND GOD. Food Bank.

45A. Lost it all: WENT BUST. West Bank, Paris. Palestine/Israel West Bank. Thank you, CanadianEh!

53A. Where to learn to crawl?: SWIM CLASS. Swiss Bank, where you're a number, not a name.

61A. Kitty Hawk locale ... and what the circled letters graphically represent: OUTER BANKS. Off the coast of North Carolina and Virginia.

Argyle here. If you don't have the circles, the outer letters of the themes form a type of bank.


1. Lather on lattes: FOAM

5. Stage performer: ACTOR

10. Tag sale tag words: AS IS

14. A6 automaker: AUDI

15. Prepare (oneself), as for a shock: BRACE

16. Gridiron strategy: PUNT

19. __ Major: URSA. The Big Dipper.

20. "Mamma __!": 5-Down musical: MIA. Abba.

21. Chinese currency: YUANWiki.

23. Season ticket holder, probably: FAN

24. Willem of "American Psycho": DAFOE.  Spider-Man's "Green Goblin".

29. Share parts with: OVERLAP

31. HBO's "Game of __": THRONES

34. Fish-and-chips fish: COD

35. Start of some email subj. lines: FWD. (forward)

36. Military day's march: ETAPE. Hello old friend.

39. __ jar: TIP

42. Upper limb: ARM

48. In any case: AT LEAST

52. Sticks (to): ADHEREs

55. Hungry, probably: UNFED

56. "For __ a jolly ... ": HE'S

57. Japanese noodle: SOBA

58. Texter's "Yikes!": "OMG!"

59. Folk singer Seeger: PETE

66. "Got it, man": "I DIG". Hippy talk.

67. Dinner holder: PLATE

68. "Star Wars" princess: LEIA

69. Tickle Me Elmo toy company: TYCO

70. Clout: SAY SO

71. Risqué message: SEXT. A text message of a suggestive nature.


1. Adjective for a British Invasion foursome: FAB. The Beatles!

2. Couple's possessive: OUR

3. Oral health org.: ADA. (American Dental Association)

4. Around 10:00 a.m.: MIDMORN

5. "Dancing Queen" pop group: ABBA

6. Grand __: wine label words: CRU. A wine that displays this label is supposed to exhibit (translated into English) Great Growth.

7. Country singer Tucker: TANYA

8. Paranormal: OCCULT

9. Discuss to death: REHASH

10. "The Simpsons" shop owner: APU

11. Steak-lobster combo, on menus: SURF AND TURF

12. Off the wall: INSANE

13. Where season ticket holders sit: STANDS

18. Triangular road sign: YIELD

22. Drug cop: NARC

24. Remove respectfully, as a hat: DOFF

25. Say openly: AVOW

26. Like medieval Europe's social structure: FEUDALISTIC

27. Catch sight of: SPOT

28. Heckler's cry: BOO

30. Grow old: AGE

33. Margery of kids' rhyme: DAW

Seesaw Margery Daw
Johnny shall have a new master
He shall earn but a penny a day
Because he can't work any faster

37. Pod veggies: PEAs

38. Cease: END

40. "Oh, of course!": "I SEE!". Echo of 66-Across.

41. Combat vet's affliction, briefly: PTSD. (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

43. Dream letters: REM. (rapid eye movement)

44. Apple computers: MACs

46. Hitchhiker's digit: THUMB

47. Cincinnati NFL team: BENGALS

48. Chimney receptacle: ASH PIT

49. Like some hunting jackets: TWEEDY

50. Single-masted ships: SLOOPS. Remember, "We come on the Sloop John B".

51. __ rasa: clean slate: TABULA

54. Skewered Indonesian dish: SATAY.  Various sauces but mainly peanut sauce.

58. Twistable cookie: OREO

60. Self-worth: EGO

62. UFO crew, supposedly: ETs. (extraterrestrials)

63. Alumna bio word: NEE

64. "Kid Tested" cereal: KIX

65. Minded the kids: SAT


May 29, 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017 Gail Grabowski & Bruce Venzke

Theme: Parse the Reveal - Parse it correctly and you'll have the theme.

17A. Corporate world meal: POWER LUNCH

31A. Instruction on a Steinway: PIANO LESSON

48A. Political head: PARTY LEADER

65A. "The Maltese Falcon" actor: PETER LORRE

73A. CFO's monetary report, and a hint to this puzzle's four longest answers: P AND L. A profit and loss statement.

Argyle here and a couple of our regular Monday constructors.


1. Corrosive compounds: ACIDS

6. Dog in "The Thin Man" mysteries: ASTA. 1935 -1947 The movie series. 1957–1959 Two seasons on television.

10. Pork serving: CHOP

14. Heath-covered wastelands: MOORS.

15. Fish tempter: BAIT

16. What the little hand shows: HOUR. Digital kid, "What are hands?"

19. Otherwise: ELSE

20. Guys-only gathering: STAG

21. Lawyer: Abbr.: ATT. (attorney)

22. Artificial: ERSATZ. German Ersatz: a substitute.

24. Took a load off: SAT

26. Helps with the holdup: ABETS

28. Manning of the NFL's Giants: ELI. He was drafted as the first overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers and immediately traded to the Giants. - Wiki.

36. Four times a day, in an Rx: QID. Latin, quater in die.

37. Early Peruvians: INCAS

38. Continental cash: EURO

39. Turn loose: UNLEASH

41. Fry cook's woe: SPATTER

44. Light bulb, in comics: IDEA

45. Motionless: INERT

47. CD-__: ROM. A Compact Disc used as a Read-Only optical Memory.

51. Obstinate beast: ASS

52. Back of the boat: STERN

53. Sky safety org.: FAA. (Federal Aviation Administration)

55. Historic Spanish fleet: ARMADA

58. Eden dweller: EVE

60. Rope source: HEMP

64. Aretha's genre: SOUL

68. Voice below soprano: ALTO

69. Defib specialists: EMTS. Defibrillation/Emergency Medical Technician

70. Disney mermaid: ARIEL

71. Burns or Byron: POET

72. Pair of performers: DUET


1. Bandstand boosters: AMPS

2. Small water bird: COOT

3. Nebraska neighbor: IOWA

4. Bottom-of-the-barrel stuff: DREGS

5. Ukr. or Lith., once: SSR. (Soviet Socialist Republic)

6. Touch the edge of: ABUT

7. "Oye Como Va" group: SANTANA

8. "__-Tac-Dough": TV game show: TIC

9. Walking obediently, as a dog: AT HEEL

10. 32 pieces and a game board: CHESS SET

11. Havana "Hi!": "¡HOLA!"

12. Force out: OUST

13. Chief exec: PREZ. Shortened forms.

18. Ancient Romans: LATINs

23. FedEx assignment: Abbr.: RTE. (route)

25. Capital of Samoa: APIA

27. Ordered (around): BOSSED

28. Provide with gear: EQUIP

29. Singer Ronstadt: LINDA

30. Thumb twiddler: IDLER

32. More in need of a rubdown: ACHIER

33. Kama __: Hindu love guide: SUTRA

34. Tiered cookies: OREOs

35. Societal expectations: NORMS

40. Reacts to being ravenous: EATS A LOT

42. Like better: PREFER

43. Big name in razors: ATRA

46. "No, No" Broadway gal: NANETTE

49. Since Jan. 1, on pay stubs: YTD. (Year To Date)

50. Jumped: LEAPED

54. Now, in Nogales: AHORA. Mexican state of Sonora or US state of Arizona, they abut.

55. Rush job letters: ASAP. (as soon as possible)

56. Caramel candy brand: ROLO

57. Volume-off button: MUTE

59. Flak jacket, e.g.: VEST

61. Whistle-blowing Brockovich: ERIN. Subject of 2000 film bearing her name.

62. Talking TV palomino: MR. ED. Yes, it is "Mister Ed" but TV is television.

63. __-mell: disorderly: PELL

66. Outback avian: EMU

67. Once around the track: LAP. Or what is formed from 24-Across.


May 28, 2017

Sunday May 28, 2017 Pancho Harrison

Theme: "Subtly Seasoned"- Various seasonings are hidden in each theme entry.

23A. Poem title following "Gin a body meet a body" : COMIN THRO' THE RYE. Mint. Herb.

34A. Brahms and Clara Schumann, by most accounts : PLATONIC LOVES. Clove. Key ingredients in Chinese Five-Spice Powder.

51A. Paid informants : NEWS AGENCIES. Sage. Herb.

70A. Axioms : UNIVERSAL TRUTHS. Just salt.

94A. Dietitian's recommendations : HEALTHY MEALS. Thyme. CrossEyedDave just linked a clip of a chef using fresh thyme for egg rolls. The sauce does look amazing, Dave!

109A. Hospital emergency units : TRAUMA CENTERS. Mace. Nutmeg spice.

125A. In danger of being towed : PARKED ILLEGALLY. Dill.

Ah, a well-seasoned puzzle for all the foodies on our blog, esp Steve, who grinds his own spices.

Notice how the seasonings consistently span across each theme entry? Pancho's choices are very limited. Not many herbs/spices are hide-able. Seven entries with 95 theme squares are quite manageable. My very comfort zone: 94/95.


1. Bambinos : TOTS

5. Kaput : SHOT. Not DEAD.

9. Workout set : REPS

13. Emergency : PINCH. Seasoning amount as well.

18. Plugging away : AT IT

19. Show impatience : SIGH. We normally get PACE.

20. Go off : ERUPT

22. End of __ : AN ERA

26. Three-star mil. officer : LT. GEN

27. Nancy Drew series author : KEENE (Carolyn)

28. Hawk's home : AERIE

29. Read carefully (over) : PORE

31. Like many Ariz. residents : RET'D. Lucina grew up here. I remember a survey said that most Americans actually live within 50 miles of where they grew up. Are you one of them?

32. Retained : KEPT

37. Film noir hat : FEDORA

40. Underground systems : METROS

41. Indian author Santha Rama __ : RAU. Never read her book. RAU seems to be a popular Indian name. I just learned that it means "Beloved".

42. What may replace you? : ONE. Oh, you may not like this clue. ONE may not like this clue.

43. Gp. with arms : NRA

45. MS. enclosures : SAES. Self-Addressed Envelope. Sometimes we get SASEs.

47. Optimistic : UPBEAT

56. No longer used : OBSOLETE

58. Replaceable tire part : TREAD

59. Privy to : IN ON

60. Early U.S.'s Northwest __ : TERR

62. One with convictions : FELON. I was thinking of belief "convictions".

63. Oil source : SOYBEAN. High in Omega-6, which is bad. I was told. But I can't live without soy milk and soy sauce.

65. Chopper : AXE

67. Modernists, for short : NEOs

69. Pose : SIT

75. Yank's foe : REB

78. Sticky situation : MESS

79. Madre's hermana : TIA

80. House-warming buys : HEATERS. Literally "warming".

84. Film with a saloon : OATER. Got via crosses.

87. Brood : STEW

89. Actress Kunis : MILA

91. Fellow "I can't be torn apart from," in a 1964 #1 hit : MY GUY. Unfamiliar to me.

92. Mona Lisa, e.g. : BRUNETTE. Such an unexpected clue.

97. GM navigation system : ONSTAR

98. Give off : EMIT

100. Retired NBA big man Ming : YAO. Owner of Shanghai Sharks, where he first started.

101. Solstice mo. : DEC

102. Flamenco shout : OLE

103. 1987 Beatty/Hoffman flop : ISHTAR. I forgot. We had this before.

106. Demands it : SAYS SO

114. Gillette Mach3 predecessor : ATRA

115. One who'd like to forget, maybe : RUER

116. Takeout : TO GO

117. Lured (in) : ROPED

119. Earthy pigment : UMBER

123. Mideast ruling family name : ASSAD. Heartless.

128. Cheap cigar : STOGY. Or STOGIE.

129. Company name that aptly begins with a periodic table symbol : ALCOA. Great observation.

130. It meant nothing to Ravel : RIEN
131. Descriptive dance : HULA

132. Really pushes : HYPES. Got via crosses.

133. Lester's bluegrass partner : EARL. Earl Scruggs & Lester Flatt.

134. Head set? : EARS. Cute clue.

135. Memphis middle name : ARON. Elvis.


1. Epitome of sharpness : TACK

2. Platte River people : OTOE

3. What's up at the end of an exam? : TIME. Drew a blank. Nice clue.

4. Snockered : STINKO

5. Droop-nosed flier : SST

6. Cymbals with a foot pedal : HI-HAT

7. Brute : OGRE

8. 1912 Olympic legend : THORPE (Jim). Astonishing career.

9. Practice lines : REHEARSE

10. Before, poetically : ERE

11. Goal : PURPOSE

12. Watch using bugs : SPY ON. Another great clue.

13. Good buddy : PAL

14. Needing assistance, maybe : IN TROUBLE. Boomer got hit by a guy at the stop light on Thursday. The back bumper assembly of our car needs to be replaced. Boomer said the guy was not drunk. Probably just distracted. Hope the insurance claim goes smoothly.

15. More than half of Israel : NEGEV

16. Whence Icarus fled : CRETE

17. Poker holdings : HANDS

21. Garr of "Young Frankenstein" : TERI

24. __-do-well : NE'ER

25. Pinball problem : TILT

30. Tan shades : ECRUS. Spell check does not like the plural form.

33. Stabbing feeling : PANG

35. Wedding reception highlight : TOAST. So happy for Melissa!

36. __ luxury : LAP OF

37. Typeface choices : FONTS

38. Diciembre follower : ENERO

39. 1944 loser to FDR : DEWEY. I knew Dewey Defeats Truman headline. Unaware that he also ran for president four years earlier.

40. "Death in Venice" author : MANN

44. Put back into the company, as profits : RE-INVEST

46. More painful : SORER

48. Congers : EELS

49. French possessive : A TOI

50. Clearing house? : TENT. I don't get it. Does it mean TENT for clearance sale?

52. "A Tiger Walks" star : SABU. Only associated him with "Elephant Boy".

53. Yemeni seaport : ADEN

54. Sandpaper descriptor : COARSE

55. "What You Need" rockers : INXS

57. Hullabaloo : BROUHAHA. Same letter count as FOOFARAW

61. Involve : ENTAIL

64. Draw a bead on, with "at" : AIM

66. Chow down : EAT

68. Fr. holy woman : STE

71. First name in skin care : ESTEE. Forbidding price. This serum.

72. Andean capital : LIMA

73. Founding member of pro soccer's Washington Freedom : HAMM. Guessable.

74. Eye sore : STYE

75. "__Cop" : ROBO

76. Bring in : EARN

77. A/C units : BTUs

81. "Zounds!" : EGADS

82. Makes a judicial decision : RULES

83. Food service giant : SYSCO. I think this is the company Jeannie used to work for. Still remember her? She's a fantastic cook.

85. Retinue : ENTOURAGE. And 95. Otherworldly : ETHEREAL. Sparkly one-word fill.

86. Kingdom : REALM

88. Bridge ancestor : WHIST

90. Space travel meas. : LT-YR

93. Spring for lunch, say : TREAT
96. Royals manager Ned : YOST

99. One of the Balearic Islands : MINORCA. Or MENORCA. Same letter count as MAJORCA.

104. Stepped (on) : TROD

105. Seek ambitiously : ASPIRE

107. Cut __: dance, in old slang : A RUG

108. Steinway competitor : YAMAHA

109. Pan, in filmdom : TRASH. Many other places too.

110. Impaired from disuse : RUSTY

111. Legendary fabulist : AESOP

112. Nightclub of song : COPA

113. The same, in Paris : EGALE

114. Holmes adversary Irene : ADLER

118. Director Kazan : ELIA. I bought this book at the flea market. Plenty mention of Elia Kazan. Best Hepburn book I've read. A. Scott Berg's "Kate Remembered" is great too.

120. Run together : BLUR. Got via crosses.

121. Eliza's greeting : 'ELLO

122. House Speaker after Boehner : RYAN (Paul)

124. Prefix with functional : DYS

126. Yellow Sea peninsula: Abbr. : KOR (Korean). Here is a great map. There is also a Yellow River, mother river of China.  It's actually the 6th longest in the world. 3,395 miles.

127. Nav. rank : ENS


May 27, 2017

Saturday, May 27th, 2017, Jeff Chen

Theme: None

Words: 68 (missing F,J,Q,X)

Blocks: 34

We have not seen a solo Jeff Chen on a Saturday in quite some time.  This one was looking pretty grim for a while, and then one or two words broke it open for me.  Triple spanner stack today, with two 9- and 10-letter climbers crossing - not the usual short 3- and 4-letter words to help out - and thus convenient tie-ins, corner to corner.  Last to fill was the NE, and I was able to finish well within my personal allotted time - but I will own up to turning on red-letters for just one cel, a crossing of a personal name and a clue that I just did not get.  Figures.  The spanners;

35. Make trouble : CREATE A NUISANCE - not exactly in the 'vernacular' I would say, so a bit of a stretch for me

38. 1997 Emmy winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series : GILLIAN ANDERSON - for her role as Agent Dana Scully from the X-files, one of my favorite shows of all time

39. It might cause quite a shock : ELECTRIC CURRENT -  I threw in the first word , and waited to see what the second half of the answer would be

¡~pɹɐʍuo (15a.)


1. Crisis advice : DON'T PANIC - ah, Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide advice

10. Military clipping? : BUZZ

14. "Fish" star : ABE VIGODA - got it, but then again, I know no one else from that show

15. It's often transported upside-down : CANOE - got it from the "C", and the clue had me intrigued - I was thinking larger, like something on a flat-bed

They caught the Loch Ness monster~!

16. Parts of many place settings : TEASPOONS - SALAD FORK~?  SOUP SPOON~? Had to wait, missed the plural

17. "Loot" playwright : ORTON - the "T" was a Natick - I tried "S" and "D"

18. Fictional 1847 autobiographer : EYRE - I tried "FINN" first

19. Physics model using an analogy to the solar system : BOHR ATOM

21. Adulterer follower, in slang : TEC - deTECtive, tho I did not get the clue at first because I was thinking "adulterer" was some sort of X-rated reference; I suppose it is, in a way

24. They're framed : CELS

25. British racing cars : MGs

28. Trees whose bark contains the anti-inflammatory salicin : ALDERS - Pondered POPLAR and WALNUT before I saw the plural "S" in treeS

31. Real piece of work : TASK

40. Coder's conditional : ELSE - why 'coder's'~?

41. Bible-toting aunt on "Sanford and Son" : ESTHER - had the "E", seemed Biblically appropriate; semi-clecho with 54d. "Sanford and Son" first name : REDD - the actor, FOXX, whose real name was Sanford

42. The French? : LES - Frawnche for "The"

43. Bite : NOSH

45. Muppets chimp __ Minella : SAL - har-har
47. Made bank : HIT IT BIG - like the second verse from this Spinal Tap song

"Hell Hole" @ 1:20

51. Thickening agent : AGAR

55. Nugget of wisdom : PEARL

56. "Pick it up!" : "LOOK ALIVE~!"

59. The "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" : SAGAS - I had EPICS; this one could not be clued as "palidromic", since that appears at 27d.

60. Like bears and koala bears : UNRELATED - clever

61. False __ : IDOL - I thought of so many other "falses"

62. Best Upset, e.g. : ESPY AWARD


1. Tinder meeting : DATE

2. Follow : OBEY

3. Around : NEAR

4. Boob tube : TV SET - I mentioned this last week

5. Dimple on a die : PIP - I just discovered there is such a thing as "back dimples"

some have gone so far as to get them pierced....

6. Earlier : AGO

7. Neophyte, briefly : NOOB

8. SSN, e.g. : ID No.

9. Problem caused by fallen dough? : CASH CRUNCH

10. MVP of Super Bowls I and II : BART STARR

11. Word that sometimes precedes itself : UNTO - unto unto~? As in do unto....~?

12. Shooter's piece : ZOOM - photo shooter, that is; I was in gangster "gat" mode

13. Peaceful : ZEN - first thought, but hesitated to fill it in

15. Shade of black : COAL - dah~!  Not EBON

20. Distillery leftovers : RESIDUES

22. Wipe out, in snowboarding slang : EAT IT

23. Least obfuscatory : CLEAREST - good $2 word in there; and when you use it, most people are obfuscated

25. Bobby in a '70s chart-topper : McGEE

26. Give the third degree : GRILL

27. Palindromic court star : SELES

29. Cheese with PGI status (protected geographical indication) : DANISH BLUE - uh, sounds like cheese....

30. Pass : ENACT

32. First name in landscape photography : ANSEL - Adams

33. Clotted cream may be put on one : SCONE - ugh - just the name makes me cringe - and my parents are English

34. Superman's kin : KENTS - here on Earth

36. Indians' habitat?: Abbr. : AL CENTRAL - I figured it was Cleveland, but did not know their specific baseball division

37. Brazilian mountain chain : SERRA

44. Essential __ : OILS

46. Bochco drama : L.A. LAW

47. Big enchilada : HEAD

48. Manipulator of the Moor : IAGO

49. They carry charges : IONS

50. It's also called scroggin or schmogle : GORP - learned here at the blog that it stands for "Good Old Raisins and Peanuts"

52. Sanskrit scripture, with "the" : GITA - Got it, since I like the TV show "Ancient Aliens"; it refers to this writing in several episodes

53. Swear to be true : AVER - or AVOW~?  Had to wait.  It's been a while since I've seen this answer.

55. Chi follower : PSI - made me change my EPICS to SAGAS

57. Instrumental : KEY

58. Styled after : Á LA


May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017, Friday, Samuel A. Donaldson

Title: Give them the finger!  Link.

Sam (not from TV) Donaldson is back for my third time to blog his work. A really creative grid with only 32 blocks and the likely controversial theme content 11-4-9-4-11. The unwritten rule about theme fill being the longest fill...well I bet some will object. For me, the central fill makes that rule seem silly for this puzzle.

Mr. D. also worked a bunch of fun stuff into his grid like OX TEAM, SIN TAX,  OLD VIC, KAVNER, SAL SODA, TABULAR,  ACREAGE, DESK SET, OPEN TOE,  ALTIMAS,  PLATYPI, KEPT FIT,  ODDBALL, REISSUED, VAN DAMME...this puzzle is a keeper.

17A. Prioritizes self-interest : LOOKS OUT FOR (11). Looks out for number one is a very popular phrase, both by those in favor and opposed.

34A. Championship team cheer : WE'RE (4). We're number one! The puzzle blogging family!!!

35A. Words needed to complete four puzzle answers : NUMBER ONE (9). The oddly placed reveal that made this an awfully easy Friday.

38A. "Let's Make a Deal" choice : DOOR (4). Being home 24/7 I managed to see a few minutes of Wayne Brady as Monty Hall....I quickly closed door number one.

58A. Object of a serious hunt : PUBLIC ENEMY (11). Is is me, or have they stopped publicizing the FBI 10 most wanted list (and the public enemy number one)?


1. Smelling __ : SALTS.

6. Olympic racers : LUGES. This was made tricky by the author.

11. Paving goo : TAR.

14. Dispatch boat : AVISO.  Here is the HISTORY.

15. Unpleasant chores : SLOGS. Vague.

16. Missile from Venus? : ACE. Nice deception- Venus Williams, a tennis service.
19. Sports __ : BRA. More Venus?

20. Levy on liquor : SIN TAX.

21. Printed again : REISSUED.

23. Dedicated works : ODES.

24. Nicholas and Peter : TSARS.

26. Buck : CLAM. Old fashioned words for money.

27. Matched office accessories : DESK SET.

29. Alternative to throwing out : STORAGE.

31. Spots : ADS.

32. Treat roughly : MAUL.

40. Square placed on a square board : TILE. Scrabble anyone?

41. Scaled diagram : MAP.

44. Stayed in shape : KEPT FIT. Venus?

47. Eccentric : ODD BALL.

49. Not free, with "for" : A FEE.

50. Bygone "SNL" rival : MAD TV. Not a real rival.

52. "At Last" singer James : ETTA. A classic. I love this.

53. "Timecop" star : VAN DAMME. He is still working. LINK.

55. Diamond mine? : I GOT IT. Great baseball misdirection. When I was 6 or 7, in a family game a pop-up was hit my way. I yelled, " I got it, I got it, I think I got it!" Family was in stitches.

57. Fanatic : NUT.

60. "Evil Woman" band : ELO.

61. __ Gay : ENOLA. Isn't time to put this trivia out to pasture?

62. "It's __!": "We've been tricked" : A TRAP.

63. Numbered rd. : RTE.

64. Aired anew : RERAN.

65. Vermouth bottle name : ROSSI. The bottle I remember.


1. Grill-cleaning solution : SAL SODA. Not to be confused with Baking soda.

2. Ducked : AVOIDED.

3. Nala, notably : LIONESSLion King.

4. "Shame!" : TSK TSK.

5. McGwire's 1998 rival : SOSA. Mark and Sammy - baseball, number 3.

6. Team with a live tiger mascot : LSU. A gimme for Susan, Big Easy, Boo and others.

7. UHF component : ULTRAUltra High Frequency.

8. Fetching employees? : GOFERS. Those who fetch- go for.

9. Altruist's opposite : EGOIST. Deducible.

10. Ukr. and Lith., formerly : SSRS. The U made them united.

11. Like spreadsheets : TABULAR. Reminded me of  these BELLS.

12. Plot : ACREAGE. Easy if you do real estate.

13. Name for a help file : READ ME.

18. Ones working together on a farm : OX TEAM. Sorry Sam, but my meh of this puzzle.

22. Slope of loose stones : SCREE. Similar to talus...yeah that helps. My unknown even after filling with perps.

25. Concert souvenir : STUB. I used to save my backstage passes.

28. Blue character : SMURF.

30. Possessed : OWNED. No exorcist needed.

33. Umpire's call : LET. Tennis.

35. Famous : NOTED.

36. Laugh-a-minute sort : RIOT.

37. It was originally established as the Royal Coburg Theatre : OLD VIC. The HISTORY.

38. Fallback provision : DEFAULT.

39. Showing off a pedi, perhaps : OPEN TOE.  You think SPLYNTER?

41. Shouldn't be ignored : MATTERS. It....

42. Nissan models : ALTIMAS.

43. Duck-billed mammals : PLATYPI. Latin plural -us leads to -i.

44. Julie who voices Marge Simpson : KAVNER. Rhoda's little sister.

45. Not susceptible : IMMUNE.

46. Emmy winner Jeffrey of "Transparent" : TAMBOR. I loved him as Hank.

48. Suspect : BE ON TO.  Onto?

51. Street of mystery : DELLA. She worked for Perry.

54. Mimic : APER.

56. Reverse, e.g. : GEAR.

59. Creator of Q and M : IAN. Fleming and he also created Bond, James Bond.

RIP Roger Moore, you were a fun Bond. Slowly trying to get back in shape, and this work out helped. Samuel made me work for the solve and it was a great . Hope you enjoyed the puzzle and all have a great Memorial Day. My oldest granddaughter has a dance recital to highlight my week end.
Thanks Mr. D. Lemonade out.

May 25, 2017

Thursday May 25th 2017 Victor Barocas

Theme: Occupational Apt-itude Three materials are paired with one of three artisans:

18A. Virginia politician for whom a university is named : GEORGE MASON. Their men's basketball team made it to the Final Four in the NCAA tournament in 2006 having never won a game in March Madness before. Quite the story.

24A. Magical literary orphan : HARRY POTTER. I've vaguely heard of him; he's a wizard or something.

33A. "Close to You" singer : KAREN CARPENTER. Lovely voice. Passed away sadly young.

42A. "Westworld" actress (who complements 33-Across?) : EVAN RACHEL WOOD. I always hesitate with her first name.

47A. 1960 Olympic boxing gold medalist (who complements 24-Across?) : CASSIUS CLAY. He fought as a light-heavyweight in 1960.

60A. "Basic Instinct" star (who complements 18-Across?) : SHARON STONE. I won't mention the infamous (or famous) leg-crossing scene. Ooops - I just did.

Clever puzzle from Victor. I thought I'd spotted the theme after the first two entries and when I filled in the third I wondered why no-one had done this theme before. Then came the fourth and the clever symmetry. Slick stuff. A whopping 72 letters of theme-age doesn't leave a lot of room for much in the way of long fill, but there's some nice 7's and 5's to keep thing ticking along. Let's take a look.


1. Reggae relative : SKA. It's Madness, I tell you.

4. Amount before deductions : GROSS. Nicely matched with 62D.

9. Unpleasant : HARSH

14. "U R funny!" : LOL!

15. Vital supply line : AORTA. Vital? I'd say.

16. Throat dangler : UVULA. Lovely word this, but - what on earth is it for?

17. Bran source : OAT

20. Ride on runners : SLED

22. __ Testamento : NUEVO. That's a new one on me.

23. Custard base : EGG. Food! The French call it "Crème anglaise". My mom used to make it from powder out of a tin. I don't think the French would have been impressed.

27. Meeting vote : YEA

28. Falls phenomena : MISTS. Here's one from Iceland at Skogafoss. Pretty.

39. Old World Style sauce : RAGU. Food! The stuff in the bottle is labelled "Old World Style". The made-from-scratch recipes such as ragù alla bolognese don't bear a whole lot of resemblance. There are many claims for the "original" recipe Bolognese, but the official version resides in the Bologna Chamber of Commerce placed there by the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, so that one seems pretty legit.

40. Formal orders : DICTA

41. Pet peeve? : FLEA

45. Analyze, in a way : PARSE

46. __ Lingus : AER

55. Like the name "Will," for an estate lawyer : APT. Or "Bill" for any kind of lawyer.

58. Get behind : TRAIL

59. If-then-__: programmer's flow : ELSE.


64. Letters between names : AKA

65. Where "Ratatouille" was cooked up : PIXAR. The studio. Food! I really wanted PARIS for this as that's where the movie was set but was dissuaded by the R which I had in place.

66. Refuge : HAVEN

67. Came together : MET

68. Not at all trustworthy : SLIMY

69. Glacial ridge : ARÊTE. Here's the North-East arête back in 1921.  A lot less traffic on the mountain back then.

70. Agency creations : ADS


1. Walk through puddles : SLOSH. Wellington boots are handy for a good puddle-sloshing.

2. It isn't really a bear : KOALA. Still cute.

3. Make different : ALTER

4. __ order : GAG

5. Sushi topper : ROE

6. Home of Stephen King's alma mater : ORONO. I only learned this from crosswords.

7. Structural support : STRUT. Should really be a strutural [sic] support in my book.

8. "Full House" star Bob : SAGET

9. "Think of it as an indulgence" : HUMOR ME

10. Oscar-nominated director DuVernay : AVA. Thank you, crosses.She won Best Director at Sundance in 2012, the first African-American woman to win the award. She comes from down the road in Long Beach and graduated UCLA.

11. Subterfuge : RUSE. Great word, subterfuge. Latin subterfugere ‘escape secretly,’ from subter- ‘beneath’ + fugere ‘flee.’

12. Uphill climb : SLOG

13. Pal around (with) : HANG

19. Big night : EVE

21. Dress rehearsals : DRY RUNS

25. "__-haw!" : YEE

26. It is really a bear : PANDA. Also cute.

29. Effective, as a rule : IN FORCE

30. D-Day city : ST LÔ. The city was practically destroyed in prolonged fighting during the 1944 liberation of France.

31. Set up for a drive : TEED

32. Mrs., in Madrid : SRA

33. Polynesian intoxicant : KAVA. This almost foxed me due to the EVAN name uncertainty.

34. Seaweed product : AGAR

35. Pres. title : C.I.C.
36. Günther's gripe : ACH!

37. Hwy., e.g. : RTE.

38. Micronesian republic : PALAU

39. Weightlifter's unit : REP

43. Parish house : RECTORY. Home to a rector. A parson lives in a parsonage, a vicar in a vicarage, a dean lives in a deanery and a priest lives in a priestary - wait no, in a presbytery, just to spoil things.

44. Director Anderson : WES

48. Prince Valiant's son : ARN. Thank you, crosses. Never saw the TV series.

49. Beyoncé's "I Am... __ Fierce" : SASHA

50. Lute kin : SITAR

51. "How do __ thee?" : I LOVE. From Elizabeth Barrett Browning's 43rd sonnet:

Let me count the ways. 
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, 
when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. 
I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. 

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

52. Camel relative : LLAMA

53. Sought answers : ASKED

54. "I Am of Ireland" poet : YEATS

55. Nile hazards : ASPS

56. Knight who co-founded Nike : PHIL. He's worth a couple of bucks now. I bought a pair of Nike running shoes back in 1982. The sole of one came unglued within a week and the store refused to exchange them. I never shopped there again and I've never bought a pair of Nikes since.

57. One in an airport line : TAXI

61. Bash : RAM

62. Amount after deductions : NET

63. Chemical suffix : -ENE

Here's the grid, and that's it from me!