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Dec 31, 2012

Monday Dec 31, 2012 Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke

Theme: Oh Oh, No Unifier (Argyle's title) - Each two-word theme  answer start with O* O*.

 17A. Now and then : ON OCCASION

 21A. Quick look : ONCE-OVER

 39A. Lived in by the seller : OWNER OCCUPIED

 58A. Vinaigrette dressing ingredient : OLIVE OIL. I like Balsamic vinaigrette, drizzled over Romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, slices of cucumber & avacodo, pieces of green onions. No cheese!
 
 64A. Presidential workplace : OVAL OFFICE

C.C. here. Dear Santa will be back tomorrow. He worked extra hard last week. I think a rest is needed. It's such a comfort that Argyle is there whenever I'm in trouble. Day or night. He is always there!

I'm also pleased to blog a Gail & Bruce collaboration. I picture this:

1) Gail came up with theme (Her brain is full of wonderful ideas); 

Gail Grabowski

2) Bruce said "Great idea!". Then they worked on the theme set together.

Left to Right: Bruce Venzke, Byron Walden & Rich Silvestri
3) Bruce designed the grid. 5 theme entries are always tricky, esp with a middle 13 (grid-spanning 15 or a shorter 7 are easier to maneuver). Since they had a couple of 8's, relatively short, Bruce decided to overlap the theme entries. This actually made filling easier.

4) Bruce filled the grid. Solid corner work! No cheaters! I have a sense that he did not even want the black squares before (20A IS TO) and after LATE (61A). Because he's Bruce!

5) Bruce sent the filled grid to Gail. Gail liked the result, then she clued the grid. There was also a possibility that Gail "nitpicked" on a few entries in Bruce's first draft and those entries were removed.

6) Today's puzzle was born.

Many of you can solve Monday puzzles under 10 or even 5 minutes. But Monday puzzles are the hardest to make, in my opinion. Of course, Sunday grids are bigger and more work. But a few obscure entries (like yesterday's TCHR) can be slipped in and forgiven.

No such thing on Mondays. Fill has to be common and Monday friendly. Theme has to simple but fresh.
 
Across:

1. Elementary lessons : ABCs

5. When Juliet drinks the potion : ACT IV. Sure happy I know the crossing VINCE (9D. Immortal coach Lombardi).

10. Sailing or whaling : ASEA

14. "Sommersby" actor Richard : GERE. He's a Buddhist.

15. Thérèse's thanks : MERCI. Xie Xie in Chinese. Very scrabbly.

16. Hot streak : ROLL. Have you ever had sweet potato "hot streak"? Delicious.


19. Ye __ Tea Shoppe : OLDE

20. Ratio phrase : IS TO

23. Apt. coolers : ACs

24. Bumped into : MET

27. One of 100 members of Cong. : SEN. They all have amazing egos.

28. Repairman's initial fig. : EST

29. Young socialite : DEB

30. Pre-med subj. : ANAT

32. Game with sharp projectiles : DARTS

34. Siouan speakers : OTOS

36. Dutch Renaissance humanist : ERASMUS. Wiki said he's "generally credited with originating the phrase "Pandora's box".

43. One more : ANOTHER

44. Botch : FLUB

46. Dance movements : STEPS

49. Fly in the ointment : SNAG

51. Eclectic musician Brian : ENO

52. Like the Oz woodsman : TIN. Hi there Tinbeni!

53. Baseball arbiter : UMP

56. "Xanadu" rock gp. : ELO

57. Shares an email with : CCs. My C.C. stands for Chow Chin, Cantonese for Zhouqin, my Mandarin name.

61. After the buzzer : LATE

63. '70s Russian gymnast Korbut : OLGA

68. Emeralds and pearls : GEMS

69. Delaware's capital : DOVER

70. "__ Almighty": Steve Carell film : EVAN

71. Part of Q.E.D. : ERAT

72. Deer dads : STAGS. Fun clue, Gail!

73. Had a good cry : WEPT
      
Down:

1. In the past : AGO

2. Treat with courtesy : BE NICE TO. Are you familiar with "Minnesota Nice"?

3. Medieval arrow shooter : CROSSBOW

4. Religious offshoot : SECT

5. GP's gp. : AMA

6. These, to Thérèse : CES. Plural of "Ce" (m) or "Cette (f).

7. Duo plus one : TRIO

8. Computer symbols : ICONS

10. Buck suffix : AROO

11. Crossword fan : SOLVER. For us.

12. Sibling who usually baby-sits other siblings : ELDEST. I am the oldest. You? I have a younger brother, who still lives in Xi'An.

13. Tips off : ALERTS

18. Unresponsive state : COMA

22. Ultimately become : END UP

23. Big fuss : ADO

25. Juan's January : ENERO. Happy New Year, Juan!

26. Mystic's deck : TAROT

31. RPM gauges : TACHs

33. "I highly doubt that!" : AS IF!

35. Lose one's cool : SNAP.  I bet Jayce doesn't snap easily. He's always so mellow. So are Spitzboov & D-Otto.

37. Play division : SCENE

38. Picture on a ceiling : MURAL. Look here. Surreal!



40. Happen next : ENSUE

41. Course that's not required : ELECTIVE. I wish those Marx/Lenin/Mao/Socoialism stuff were elective in our school. Wasted too much time reciting the principles.

42. Quaint headgear for a class clown : DUNCE CAP

45. Red Sox home: Abbr. : BOS. Did you see "Fever Pitch"? I bet Linda did.



46. Unwitting victim : STOOGE

47. Rudder control : TILLER

48. Puzzle : ENIGMA

50. Game with holes : GOLF. Do you know who started the Pebble Beach Pro-Am?

54. Frames of mind : MOODS. My mood ring is now blue, so I'm happy.

55. Turn on an axis : PIVOT

59. Seemingly endless : VAST

60. Volcanic flow : LAVA

62. Some : A FEW

65. Drumstick, e.g. : LEG. Guess who this girl is.



66. Surg. facilities : ORs

67. Tonsillitis M.D. : ENT

C.C.


Dec 30, 2012

Sunday Dec 30, 2012 Pancho Harrison

(If your paper does not carry the puzzle I'm blogging on Sundays, click here to solve on line or print out a copy. We don't know why the LA Times newspaper does not carry this puzzle on Sundays. It's just the way it is.)

Theme: "Missing Piece" - GUN can follow the last word of each theme entry.

23A. Item on a resolution list : STOP SMOKING. Smoking gun.

25A. Wiggly belt? : JELLO SHOT. Shotgun.

47A. Flour or sugar, e.g. : FOOD STAPLE. Staple gun.
 
70A. Classic comedy duo : BOB AND RAY. Raygun.

93A. Sucker that debuted in 1931 : TOOTSIE POP. Popgun.

117A. '60s-'70s compact resurrected in 2012 : DODGE DART. Dart gun.
 
121A. Vigorous effort : ELBOW GREASE. Grease gun. 123. Use 121-Across on : SCOUR

36D. Fixture in many an office hallway : CANDY MACHINE. Machine gun.
 
40D. Tyke : LITTLE SQUIRT. Squirt gun. I just love this picture.

Left to right: Grady (11 months), Truman 3 & Cameron (2 weeks)

120D. Piece that can follow the ends of the nine longest puzzle answers : GUN

Sensitive theme given the Sandy Hook tragedy. But remember Rich arranges his puzzle schedule a month in advance. Pancho created this puzzle months ago.

Pancho is the first LAT constructor we encountered when the Tribune made puzzle change in March 2009, so his name will always be special to me.

Across:

1. Argentine grassland : PAMPA

6. Teacher's request : SEE ME

11. Cell unit: Abbr. : MIN

14. Wise words : ADAGE

19. Oklahoma natives : OTOES

20. Poetry middle name : ALLAN. Edgar Allan Poe.

21. "Double Fantasy" artist : ONO

22. Pageant accessory : TIARA

27. Abate : EASE UP

28. Headliner : STAR

29. Choose to participate : OPT IN

30. Dr. concerned with rhythm : DRE. Rapper.

31. __ tai : MAI

33. Some are inflated : EGOS

35. Stick-to-it-iveness : TENACITY

40. Listed in England? : LEANT. We just LEANED.

42. Those, in Tijuana : ESAS

44. Look askance : GLANCE

45. __ test : ACID

51. High degrees : NTHS

52. Floride, e.g. : ETAT. Floride is French for Florida. I thought it's some kind of chemical product.

53. Desdemona's husband was one : MOOR. Othello.

54. Stage direction : ENTER

55. One may be coed : DORM

56. Words to one taking off : DON'T GO. Won't work. Just let him go.

58. Fictional plantation : TARA

61. "Madness put to good use": Santayana : SANITY

63. Richard's "Stakeout" co-star : EMILIO (Estevez). Richard Dreyfuss. 100A.

64. Blast from the past : OLDIE. So many good Chinese oldies are on YouTube.

66. Marcus's partner : NEIMAN

69. Closet contents, maybe : LINEN

73. Snacks in shells : TACOS

75. Jet-setter's transport, perhaps : CESSNA

77. Dutch painter of "The Cat Family" : STEEN (Jan). Drew a blank.


78. Blessing elicitor : AHCHOO

79. Deal with, as thirst : QUENCH

82. Andean ancient : INCA

83. Trailing : BEHIND

84. Baseball family name : ALOU. 3/4 are vowels, hence its frequent appearances in Xwords.

87. Prefix meaning "vinegar" : ACETO

89. Further : ALSO

91. Supermodel Sastre : INES. She was the Trésor spokemodel. I like Trésor, a lot.


92. Pueblo Revolt tribe : HOPI. Easy guess. Unaware of the Revolt.

96. M.I.T. grad, often : ENGR

97. Opposed : AVERSE

99. Splendor : POMP

100. "I have no idea" : GOT ME

102. It's often between two periods : SENTENCE. D'oh moment!

105. Tiff : SPAT

107. Ready, as a keg : TAP

108. But, to Brutus : SED

111. Brink : VERGE

113. Pablo __ y Picasso : RUIZ. What am I, chopped liver? OK, suspension!


115. Plant with stickers : NETTLE

124. Path to enlightenment : ZEN. The character looks like this in Chinese. I don't think Dave will ever be in a  Zen-like state. His brain is way too active.

125. Notre Dame's river : SEINE. Not the Notre Dame Steve & Irish Miss had in mind.

126. River frolicker : OTTER

127. Wimbledon courts, in essence : LAWNS

128. Cockpit calc. : ETA. I wonder why they call it cockpit.

129. Vampire's undoing : STAKE

130. Oscar winner Witherspoon : REESE. She won Oscar for "Walk the Line". Nice movie.
        
Down:
1. Got set for a shot? : POSED. Instinctive fill for me.

2. Fragrant extract : ATTAR

3. Yellowstone bellower : MOOSE. And 7. Yellowstone buglers : ELKS

4. Latino Muppet prawn : PEPE. 100A.

5. Took over : ASSUMED

6. __ Paulo : SAO

8. A-list : ELITE

9. Got by : MANAGED

10. Captivate : ENGROSS

11. Spell-casting art : MOJO

12. Not up to it : INEPT

13. "Cape Fear" actor : NOLTE (Nick)

14. Really hard to hum along to : ATONAL

15. Bad-mouth : DIS

16. "That's the spot!" : AAH

17. Miracle-__ : GRO. Do you snip the tops of your tomato plants to stop growth? I feel you can get bigger tomatoes this way.

18. Use the feed bag : EAT

24. Assigner of G's and R's : MPAA

26. Teddies and such : LINGERIE. So, how many bras do you think an average American woman own?

32. Data : INFO

34. Fill to the bursting point : SATE

37. Digging : INTO

38. Sch. staffer : TCHR. Oh no!

39. Polite rural affirmative : YES 'M

41. Very affected : TOO TOO

43. Without : SANS

45. __ energy : ATOMIC

46. Fang : CANINE

48. Toothbrush handle? : ORAL B. Great clue.

49. Home-school link: Abbr. : PTA

50. 1974 title role for Dustin : LENNY. RATSO fits as well.

52. Henry James biographer Leon : EDEL. Haven't seen this answer for a long time.

53. Alley Oop's kingdom : MOO

57. Infomercial cutter : GINSU

59. Nutritional stds. : RDAs

60. "__ a stinker?": Bugs Bunny line : AIN'T I

62. Church pledge : TITHE

65. Site of a Biblical plot : EDEN

67. In need of a massage : ACHING

68. Midday event : NOONER

70. Baccarat call : BANCO

71. One may include a walk-off homer : RECAP. Not an easy clue.

72. Like pre-digital recordings : ANALOG

74. Fixes the fairway, say : SODS

76. Made tidy : NEATENED

78. Blood typing letters : ABO

80. Bus. driver? : CEO. Didn't see the .

81. URL opener : HTTP

84. Cries of discovery : AHAs

85. It means nothing at Arthur Ashe Stadium : LOVE. Indeed.

86. Go on first : OPEN

88. Bolivian bears : OSOs

90. Tea serving? : SPOT

94. Dazzle : IMPRESS

95. Scout shirt feature : EPAULET. The shoulder piece. 

96. Largest penguin : EMPEROR

98. Breaks off : SEVERS

101. In-flight beverage? : TANG. Nice clue.

103. It doesn't last : CRAZE. I just don't see the beauty of Boyfriend jeans. The holes are great. But the jeans feel so slouchy.

104. White-plumed wader : EGRET

106. Long bone : TIBIA

108. Condition : STATE

109. "It's nobody __ business" : ELSE'S

110. Caterpillar rival : DEERE

112. Mount near Catania : ETNA. In Sicily.

114. Doze, with "out" : ZONK

116. Head of France? : TETE. Literally, "head", in France.

117. High-speed PC connection : DSL

118. Andean tuber : OCA. Our local grocery stores do not carry these. I wonder if they taste like taros.


119. Daily newspaper index : DOW

122. Pint-size : WEE

C.C.


Dec 29, 2012

Saturday, Dec 29th, 2012, Ed Sessa

Theme: None

Words: 72

Blocks: 32

  I believe this is Mr. Sessa's first LAT Saturday puzzle, at least looking back through the blog.  I did see lots of Sunday grids.  This one was fun, got stuck only in the Mid-West, having tried NY METS for the baseball team ( I know, 1962 ), and G-MAN for CZAR.  Lots of geography, and I have to admit a DNF by one letter, the "V" in MORAVIA (and LAVER) - two names I just didn't know, so I WAGed a "D", then an "N".  Bzzzt.

One grid spanner:

38A. Display anger : CLENCH ONE'S FISTS - not something I am prone to doing; biting my lower lip, well that's something else....

two 12-letter fills:

19A. "Don't just sit there!" : "SAY SOMETHING~!" - I had started with "DO...", and ran short on fill

58A. 2005 Christopher Nolan action film : BATMAN BEGINS - great movie, a well-done adaptation of the comic book vigilante; still have not seen the final movie of the trilogy.  Also a semi-clecho with 35A., Bruce Wayne's alter-ego

and three 9-letter climbers:

9D. Leave without reason? : BRAINWASH - I get it, but it's not quite right to me

20D. Hairy crawler : TARANTULA - I will not link any pics; but I will link this song from Dusk Til Dawn by Tito & Tarantula

34D. You can't eat with one : CHOPSTICK - had me fooled at first; I thought "you can eat with chopsticks - oh wait, ONE....ah-a~!"

Onward~!

ACROSS:

1. Least likely to be free : BUSIEST

8. Prime time for clammers : EBB TIDE - had LOW tide to start

15. Desperate way to run : ON EMPTY - feel free to link the song from Jackson Browne

16. Unlike bald tires : TREADED - both my van and car are well treaded right now

17. Increases, as production : STEPS UP

18. Bearded ladies and sword swallowers : CARNIES

21. Sunny Day Real Estate's music genre : EMO

22. Rating org. : MPAA - The Motion Picture Association of America; my brother bought me the Blu-ray '50 years of James Bond' collection, complete with a "slot" for when Skyfall is available; what, no $5 off coupon???
23. AriZona rival : NESTEA - the capital Z clued me in


27. Ditat __: Arizona's motto : DEUS - once I had some letters, this seemed apt

29. Botox target : BROW - not CHIN

31. Lit out : RAN

32. Biennial games gp. : IOC - International Olympic Committee, every two years; once for Summer, and then for Winter

35. '60s Bruce Wayne portrayer : ADAM WEST - we had this guy on Monday, too

42. Stopped paying attention : ZONED OUT - I had ---ED OUT, and I couldn't think of the phrase....must've zoned out

43. One acting badly : HAM - I put in IMP, and then he appeared at 4D.

44. Unlike the OED : ABR - idged, as we found out yesterday the shelves need to be over-sized for the Oxford English Dictionary

45. Aptly named pope : PIUS - yes, apt

47. Printer's measure : PICA

51. 1969 baseball expansion team : ROYALS - Kansas City;  maybe our mid-west guys have been to a game;  C.C. might have some interesting tidbit, too (From C.C.: Royals are Husker Gary's team.)

54. Earth : LOAM

57. Malmö Airport carrier : SAS - with a name like Malmö, it had to be Swedish; down at the bottom, here

61. Czech region where Freud was born : MORAVIA - got me; didn't know this at all

64. SkyDome city : TORONTO - and this one I nailed; I get geography right sometimes

65. New York film festival site : TRIBECA - the TRIangle BElow CAnal (Street), NYC.

66. One taking off regularly : AVIATOR - ah, not AIRLINE

67. Historic Venetian basilica : ST. MARKS

68. Words before a disappearing act? : GET LOST

DOWN:

1. Exercised authority over : BOSSED

2. Feral : UNTAME - I get this way watching Salma Hayek lick her leg (@2:52, if you missed it at 20D.)

3. "Toodles!" : "SEE YOU~!"

4. Little devils : IMPS - the bastards keep moving all over the gird

5. Derby setting : EPSOM

6. Campaign in : STUMP

7. Rare medical classification : TYPE AB - blood type

8. Carve in stone : ETCH

10. City east of Lac de Neuchâtel : BERNE

11. Zippy tastes : TANGS

12. Forest part of 2006 : IDI - Forest Whittaker, in this movie

13. Diamond head? : DEE - DAR~!  I didn't think of this the first pass - the "D" at the head of the word....

14. Money changers?: Abbr. : EDs - editors, working on Money magazine; anyone go with ATM?

24. Cancún crowd? : TRES

25. Nod, vis-à-vis Eden : EAST - more geography, this time Biblical

26. Workers on a hill : ANTS - anyone try REPS, SENS~?

28. __ qua non : SINE

30. Horace work : ODE

33. Anxious med. condition : OCD  - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, like arranging the shampoo bottles with the labels facing out or risk crashing a 747....I don't know, ask my ex-wife....

36. Poet's deg. : MFA - Master of Fine Arts

37. Namby-pamby : WIMP

38. Antidrug honcho : CZAR - Um, wouldn't this be the PRO drug honcho?

39. Iberian wolf : LOBO

40. Elision from Eliza : 'ENRY - the omission of the "H" sound; my parents are both English, still have their accents; so it's "bloody 'ell, lost me glasses" sometimes (From C.C.: Here is a photo of Baby Splynter and his parents.)


41. Québécois's approval : OUI - well, again, with a word like....had to be French

46. "In America" novelist : SONTAG - more here

48. Really enjoys : IS INTO

49. Dantean divisions : CANTOS

50. Put in order : ASSORT

52. Ethiopian map word : ABABA - the capital city, ADDIS ABABA

53. Four-time Wimbledon champ : LAVER - huh, this guy - I see he did it all before I was even born

55. Higher in rank than : ABOVE

56. Worth : MERIT

59. "Serpico" writer Peter : MAAS

60. Net score : GOAL - yeah, we're not seeing any hockey goals this year

61. Range parts: Abbr. : MTs - Mountains

62. Leftover bit : ORT

63. Outer margin : RIM

Splynter