The Lighter Side of JzB

Here you will find photos, poetry, and possibly some light-hearted foolishness. For the Heavier Side
of JzB
see my other blog,
Retirement Blues. (There be dragons!)

I claim copyright and reserve all rights for my original material of every type and genre.

Every day visits*
From Moose, Goose, and Orb Weaver
All seized by Haiku

"Why moose and goose?" you may ask. Back on 2/04/13 Pirate wrote a haiku with an elk in it, and I responded with
one with a moose and then included him every day. A few days later in comments Mystic asked "Where's the goose?"
So I started including her with this post on 2/07. A week later on the 14th, Mark Readfern
asked for and received a spider. The rest is history.

*Well, most days, anyway. Grant me a bit of poetic license.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

LA Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging - Wednesday, August 24, 2016, Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke

Theme: WITH APPROPRIATE ACTIONS.  The word WITH is inserted into familiar 2-word phrases, yielding a new 3-word phrase.  In each instance, the first word, originally functioning as a noun, is verberized in a way that is synonymous the verb "tweak" in its respective clue.  "Tweak" means to make some kind of adjustments to something.  As an exercise, the interested reader might want to reimagine yet another set of meanings, in which the first words are reverted back to noun status.  Thus endeth my longest ever theme exposition.

17. Tweak some violin holders? : FIDDLE WITH CASES.  Musical instruments are fragile and have specially designed cases to protect them.  One may tweak them, I suppose.  And violins are FIDDLES, so it's all good.

27. Tweak some church chimers? : TINKER WITH BELLS.  So - what does this bring to mind?  TINKER BELL or Quasimodo?  And what does this say about you?  No need to answer.

49. Tweak some ski parkas? : MESS WITH JACKETS.  A MESS JACKET is a formal waist coat.  One may tweak it, but the connection to skiing is lost on me.  

63. Tweak some business outfits? : MONKEY WITH SUITS.  Remember dress for success - navy blue suit, white shirt and rep tie?  [Too often worn by human rep-tiels, but that's another story.]  This is known in the vernacular as a MONKEY SUIT.  You can change his coat and alter its pants.
Well, these are cleverly constructed, and all four theme answers are grid-spanning.  Three of the four make a tight set.  Maybe there's a point to MESS JACKET that I'm missing; but it doesn't seem to quite fit the pattern.

Hi gang - JazzBumpa here.  Let's FIDDLE WITH this puzzle, see if anything rings a BELL, and hope it's not a MESS that makes MONKEYS of us all.


1. Just open : AJAR.   Opened slightly, not recently.

5. Hot under the collar : ANGRY.  Perturbed.

10. Loot from a heist : HAUL.  Slang for a robbery and the stolen goods.

14. Dainty trim : LACE.  Comes in many styles and designs.

15. West Indies volcano : PELEE.   On the Island of Martinique, 4583 foot elevation.

16. Site of Napoleon's first exile : ELBA.   Able was I ere I saw ELBA.

20. Maker of many kitchen rolls : ALCOA.  Aluminum foil, that is, not little bread-like items.

21. Wall St. deal : Leveraged Buy Out.   This is the purchase of a controlling share of a company, by its management or an outside investment firm using borrowed money.

22. Baking soda targets : ODORS.   Keeps your fridge fresh.

23. Like used fireplaces : ASHY.  A word you may well never see again.

25. Tach nos. : RPMs.  Revolutions Per Minute, a measure of the rotational speed of a mechanical component.  In an automobile, the RPMs of the crank shaft are displayed by the tachometer.

34. Brit. record label : EMI.  Originally an acronym for Electronic and Musical Industries.

35. A few bucks? : DEER.  Male animals of the family Cervidae.  Finding this answer did not take a lot of doe.

36. Fuss over : DOTE ON.  Treasure, cherish and be uncritically fond of.

37. Part of a sitcom farewell : NANU.    Poignant clip.

39. Pulled off : DID.  Accomplished

41. Spot for a 48-Across : SOFA.   Not a NAP spot for me.  Puts a crook in my neck.

42. Representatives : AGENTS.   A person who acts on behalf of another.

45. Nintendo rival : SEGA.  They went out of the game console business in 2001, but remain the world's most prolific arcade producer.

48. Short snooze : NAP.  Not for me.  I sack out for at least an hour.

52. __ helmet : PITH.  AKA the sola topi, a light weight cloth covered head covering made originally from the pith of the sola, an Indian swamp plant of the pea family.  Cork-like substances from other plants may also be used

53. Pre-coll. catchall : EL-HI.   Referring to ELementary and HIgh school education, my dear Watson.

54. Torch job : ARSON.  The crime of burning down a bulding.

57. And such: Abbr. : ETC.  And so on, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Abbr. for ET Cetera, from Latin for "and the rest."

59. Trims, as a lawn : EDGES.  Along the walkways, ETC.

66. Arctic formation : FLOE.  A sheet of ice that calves off a glacier.

67. Transparent : SHEER.  Rather like LACE.

68. Scientology guru Hubbard : L. RON.   Famous writer and highly influential charlatan.  Notably, he briefly commanded two ships during WW II, but each time was relieved of this duty because his superiors found him to be incapable.

69. Like most fairways, daily : MOWN.  Short cut grass.

70. Some Parliament members : LORDS.   House of Lords and House of Commons.

71. A whole bunch : TONS.  Slang for lots and lots.


1. NATO alphabet starter : ALFA.  This exists so that "critical combinations of letters and numbers can be pronounced and understood by those who exchange voice messages by radio or telephone regardless of language barriers or the quality of the communication channel."   See the whole series here.

2. Monopoly corner : JAIL.  Neither Free Parking, Go nor the awful Go To Jail square fit.

3. Adapter letters : AC-DC.  Alternating and Direct electrical Current.

4. New Jersey's state tree : RED OAK.   Michigan's is Eastern White Pine.  I'll let you guess Ohio's.

5. Chest thumper : APE.

6. One recently hitched : NEWLYWED.   Successful chest thumper, perhaps.

7. Smooth-talking : GLIB.

8. Parting shot : RETORT.   Not necessarily parting.  Could be any sharp or wittily incisive response.

9. Slangy "Sure" : YEH.  Uh-huh.

10. Hands-free devices : HEADSETS.   Devices that hold earphones and a microphone in place on a user's head.

11. To boot : ALSO.   Originally, something extra thrown into a bargain, from Old English bōt, meaning "advantage" or "remedy."  Ultimately of Germanic origin.

12. Lyft rival : UBER.  Both are app-based ride sharing protocols connecting passengers with available drivers.

13. Scottish miss : LASS.  A young lady,  Not to be confused with Swiss Miss, a chocolate-flavored drink.

18. Performed light surgery on? : LASED.   Performed surgery with a laser.

19. Jazz club performers : COMBO.  Small group of musicians.

24. Eur. power until 1806 : HRE.  I had no idea that the Holy Roman Empire existed that long.  It reached its greatest geographic extent in the 13th century, and had been losing bits and pieces since.

26. Third deg.? : PHD.  After B.S [everyone knows what that stands for;] and MS [more of the same;] comes PHD [Piled Higher and Deeper.]  The cynical view is that one advancing in specific studies gets to know more and more about less and less, until s/he knows everythign about nothing.

27. Midmorning hr. : TEN AM.  Time for a coffee break.

28. Reflection : IMAGE.  What you see in the mirror.  But the mirror sees you!

29. Little League teams : NINES.  For a baseball team at any level, the synecdoche is a NINE.

30. Like Oscar Wilde : IRISH.  Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde [1854-1900] was a playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet.  His most famous works are The Importance of Being Earnest and The picture Of Dorian Gray.  He spent time in prison for being homosexual, a crime at that time. After his release he felt London for Paris, where he died, destitute.

31. Big name in spaghetti westerns : LEONE.  Sergio, [1929 - 1989] an Italian film producer, director, and screen writer, made famous in the mid 60's by his low budget, Italian-made movies about the American old west starring Clint Eastwood.

32. OK for dieters : LO-FAT.  Or lo-cal.  Needed perps to tweak my answer.

33. Breaks like a branch : SNAPS.  As a branch from a tree in high wind.  Or, sometimes, even the trunk.

38. Implied : UNSPOKEN.  Or, at least, not spoken of directly.

40. Down in the dumps : DEJECTED.

43. Shipping department supply : TWINE.  To tie things up.

44. Lab order? : SIT.  Command to a Labrador Retriever.

46. Milk purch. : GALlon.   Note Abrvs. 

47. Feels the pain : ACHES.  Remember when Bill Clinton said, "I ACHE with you?"

50. "My Generation" band : THE WHO.   KIDULTS?

51. Portmanteau for a grown-up who hasn't yet grown up : KIDULT.   Not familiar with this term.  But my motto is,  "What I lack in youth, I make up for with immaturity. " I did grow up once, didn't like it, and I'm never doing it again.  So maybe I qualify.

54. Switch on a boom box : AM FM.  Note that "switch" here is a noun not a verb.  Toggling it actuates either of two different radio frequency bands.

55. Caramel-filled candy : ROLO.  Shaped like an inverted bucket, this candy is chocolate coated caramel.

56. Put one over on : SNOW.  An attempt to fool or mislead somebody.

58. Stadium ticket specification : TIER.   A seat grouping at some range of elevation. 

60. Copter's forerunner : GIRO.  More formally, autogiro or autogyro - a type of aircraft with both a powered propeller, as in a typical airplane, and an unpowered set of rotor blades that rotate in the slip stream to provide lift.   One was first flown in January, 1923.  The first operational helicopter was built in Germany in 1936.

61. David Cameron's alma mater : ETON.  Any hint of a 4-letter British school, plug it in.

62. Three-part figs. : SSNS.  Social Security Numbers, portrayed as 123-45-6789.

64. Monogram on some pricey handbags : YSL.  The initials of Yves Saint Laurent.  I never understood why putting some foreign guys name or initials on an article could inflate its purchase price by some high multiple.

65. Store door nos. : HRS.  Hours that they are open for business.

That wraps it up. I had my nits, but this is a fine puzzle, brought to you by two of the best names in the field. Hope you enjoyed it.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging - Wednesday, August 10, 2016 C. C. Burnikel

Theme:  TURN AROUND -- NOPE, JUST KIDDING.  The circled letters, when reversed, spell a synonym for teasing somebody.  I don't recall seeing a circle puzzle on a Wednesday before.  That more often occurs later in the week.  But other aspects of the construction lean more toward early week, and the difficulty felt about right for a Wednesday, so it all averages out.

Recognizing the theme requires locating the target letters, then reading them backwards to find the theme word.  This could be quite a problem if you didn't have the circles in your grid.  Let's have a look.

17 A. Spread some gossip : DISH THE DIRT.  Slangy expression.  I think RIDE goes a bit beyond good-natured teasing into domineering or harassing territory

24 A. Hybrid toaster oven snacks : PIZZA ROLLS.  A variation on the won ton - pierogi theme, this mini dough pillow is filled with PIZZA flavored food-like substances.  To RAZZ someone is to tease them playfully [though one may always wonder about motivation.]

38 A. He has a nest at 123½ Sesame Street : BIG BIRD.   This fowl is large, but not foul.  To RIB someone is pretty close in meaning to RAZZING them.

52 A. Stayed on : HUNG AROUND.   Loitered or lingered.  RAG, to me, seems closer to RIDE than to RAZZ or RIB, so we have a kind of symmetry.

And the reveal -- 63 A. Young player on the rebound ... or, in another way, what each set of circles in this puzzle represents : COMEBACK KID.  Indicates an athlete who showed promise, faded, then regained his former prowess.  COMEBACK is a coded hint that the theme entry is to be read retrograde, while KID is a synonym for the thus revealed words.   So our reveal takes the form of a cryptic clue.  I'll admit that it took me a few minutes to suss this one.  Fiendishly clever concept put forth by our fearless leader.

Hi, gang.   JazzBumpa on duty.  Lets see what else is in store.  Is there any more teasing hidden in today's entry?


1. Divers' destinations : REEFS.   Coral formations that are habitat for many types of underwater life.

6. Japanese cartoon art : ANIME.  In Japan, the word refers to any animation.  Most other places, it refers to a more or less specific cartoon genre associated with a style that originated in Japan. Examples.

11. "Shoot!" : ASK.  Slangy way to encourage a question.

14. Send to cloud nine : ELATE.   Make someone happy.

15. Sir Arthur __ Doyle : CONAN.  Late night host or barbarian warrior?  Nope - the author of the Sherlock Holmes tales.

16. Traffic court letters : DWI.  Driving While Intoxicated.   A serious and dangerous traffic violation than can cost you a lot of strife and dollars.  Don't do it.  And I'm not KIDDING!

19. Chow fixer? : VET.  This chow is a dog, and fixing means neutering it to prevent the appearance of unwanted puppies.

20. Emphatic affirmation : OH, YES I DO.    Imagine someone jumping up and down while clapping.  Now imagine the last time you saw a four-word fill consisting of only 8 letters.

21. Paperless tax return option : E-FILE.   File electronically, and hope you don't get hacked.

23. Original "Veronica Mars" airer : UPN.  United Paramount Network.  A TV network that ran from 1995 through 2006, when it was replaced by the CW, a joint venture venture between CBS and Warner Brothers.

27. Surrealism pioneer Max : ERNST.  [1891 - 1976]  German painter, sculptor, graphic artist and poet.  Gallery here.

29. That being the case : IF SO.  Then some conclusion ensues.
30. "... Mr. Tambourine Man, __ song for me" : PLAY A.   Bob Dylan.

32. __ standstill : AT A.   Like rush hour traffic.  Your oxymoron for the day.

33. Birch or beech : TREE.    Deciduous trees of the families Betulacaea and Fagacaea, respectively.

37. Buns and flips : DOs.  Hair styles.   A bun is a gathered style, while the flip is loose and turned up at the ends.

42. Actress Gardner : AVA.

43. Racing legend A.J. : FOYT.  [b. 1935] Retired American driver with 159 wins in a variety of motor sport genres.

45. "Later!" : BYE.  See ya'!

46. Absolute : UTTER.  Complete and total, as in, for example, a lack of milk.

48. Sharif of "Doctor Zhivago" : OMAR.  Michel Dimitri Chalhoub [1932 - 2015] an Egyptian actor, fluent in Arabic, English, Greek, French, Spanish and Italian.  He was also an avid horse racing enthusiast and one of the world's top-ranked contract bridge players.

50. Prophets : SEERS.  Predictors of the future.

56. Dutch banking giant : I N G.    Internationale Nederlanden Groep, involved in all aspects of banking, plus insurance and asset management.

58. Homeric epic : ILIAD.  Set during the Trojan war, a 10-year siege of Troy [aka Ilium] in what is now the Anatolian region of Turkey.

59. Philips electric toothbrush brand : SONICARE.

62. "Teen Wolf" network : M T V.   Originally Music TV.  Now, I have no idea what the M is supposed to stand for.

66. Iron source : ORE.  Rust filled DIRT, that the miners must dish out.

67. Go off-script : AD LIB.  Speak or perform in an improvised manner.   Would I ever do that?

68. Mix : BLEND.  Co-mingle.

69. Baby goat sound : MAA.   What - no love for paa?

70. Like mosquitoes : PESTY.   I had pesky.  Made my grid like the next fill.

71. In disarray : MESSY.   Not neat and tidy.


1. Second try : REDO.  A do over, and for some, a Mulligan.

2. Philanthropist Yale : ELIHU.  [1649 - 1721] A British merchant, president of the East India Company settlement at Madras, and benefactor of the university for which he is the Eponym.

3. "No sweat" : EASY PEASY.  A piece of cake.

4. 1862 Tenn. battle site : FT. HENRY.  Site of the first important victory on the western front of the American civil war for The Union forces and General U. S. Grant.

5. Match makers? : SETS.  In tennis and other sports, a match is divided into some number of sets.  The winner of a designated number of sets wins the match.

6. Nailed the test : ACED IT.  

7. Brand for serious last-minute preparation : NODOZ.  Caffeine supplement to forestall drowsiness.

8. Italian food ending : -INI.  As in tortellini, etc.

9. Tarnish : MAR.  Inflict damage on.

10. Comes in : ENTERS.

11. Pain reliever sold in Liqui-Gels : ADVIL.  Brand of ibuprofen.   Some people swear by it.  This is called ibuprofenity

12. "Peachy" : SWELL.  Groovy, man.

13. Windy weather fliers : KITES.

18. Arms-akimbo joints : HIPS.  I would have preferred elbows, but they don't fit.  "Akimbo," indicating a hands-on-hips posture, does not look and feel like a native English word, but it does trace back to Middle English "in kenebowe, " "kene" meaning [among other things] sharp, and "bowe" meaning bent.  So it's all good.

22. Arch site : FOOT.  The longitudinal and transverse arches of the FOOT are formed by the tarsal and metatarsal bones.   The arched construction is inherently stronger than a level arrangement, and aids in supporting body weight.

25. Oft-baked pasta : ZITI.  In the form of large tubes.

26. Miles away : AFAR.   Proper location for loving in a pure and chaste manner.

28. Arrest : NAB. To grab, therefore to catch someone in the act or aftermath of wrong doing.

30. Adobe file format : PDF.  Portable Document Format - an electronic file form that is compatible across a variety of platforms and operating systems.

31. Head of a pub? : LOO.  Compatible British words indicating a tavern and a comfort station.

32. Prez on a fiver : ABE.  Lincoln [1809-1865] the 16th President of the United States.

34. Rodent-eating reptiles : RAT SNAKES.  Common in North America, these snakes feed primarily on rodents and birds.  Though they can grow quite large, they are docile and make lovely pets.

35. Day before a big day : EVE.  The day before Adam's RIBBING was the EVE of Eve.

36. Shucker's unit : EAR.   Of corn.  Rather like my earie humor.

39. Letter-shaped beam : I-BAR.  Named for it's cross-section profile.

40. Pita sandwich : GYRO.  Pronounced yeeroh, not homophonic with the the first two syllables of a spinning disc-plus-axis device.   The meat is a dense lamb-based meat loaf cooked on a vertical spit.  It is served on a pita with diced tomatoes and tzatziki sauce [made from yogurt and cucumbers.]  IMHO, the Senate Coney Island in Livonia has the best GYROS in the Detroit metro area.

41. Deserving : DUE.   That which one has earned.   Frex.

44. Frat party wear : TOGA.   What could I possibly add?

47. Barely flow : TRICKLE.  But more than seep or ooze.

49. Wild : MADCAP.  Like a TOGA party.

50. Hoity-toity : SNOBBY.  Like a social climbing elite wannabe.

51. Flamboyant Dame : EDNA. Everage.  One of the on-stage alter egos of Australian comedian, author, actor, artist and satirist John Barry Humphries.

52. Handmade bleachers sign : HI MOM.   This year's Hall of Fame Football Classic got cancelled because of field conditions, but 3 years ago it occurred on my Lovely Wife's birthday, and her son Doug, who was in attendance, did this, taking it up a level --

I captured this fuzzy image from the TV screen

53. Hyper : ULTRA.  Taken to the highest level.

54. Skin "Creme" in blue tins : NIVEA.    The blues.

55. Workout buff's motto opener : USE IT.   Or lose it!

57. Impish looks : GRINS.   Do any of these qualify?

No granddaughters were harmed in the making of this photo

60. SALT weapon : ICBM.   The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks/Treaty started with a meeting between LBJ and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin 1967. Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles and defensive weapons [ABMs] to counter them were items of concern.  President Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev signed the ABM Treaty and interim SALT agreement on May 26, 1972, in Moscow.

61. Whirlpool : EDDY.  If my name were EDDY, I wouldn't travel in those circles.

64. Metered praise : ODE.  Laudatory poem.

65. Portland Timbers' org. : MLS.  Major League Soccer.

Well, that wraps up another Wednesday.  Hope you were able to tease out all the answers, between my lame attempts at humor.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

L.A.Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging Wednesday, July 20, 2016 Janice

Theme - HIGH TIMES.   The first word of common two-word phrases can follow the word HIGH to make other recognizable, in-the-language phrases.

Lets start with the unifier --  24 D. Top-of-the-line, and what each of the four longest puzzle answers begins with? : HIGH END.   Indicating merchandise with a large price tag, presumably justified by comparable quality or some other mark of desirability.  Let's see how it fits with the theme entries

3 D. Contact skating sport : ROLLER DERBY.   A roller skating race on a track between two 5-member teams.   Each team has a designated jammer, who attempts to score points by lapping members of the other team.  The teams attempt to assist their own jammer while hindering the other teams jammer.  The result is mayhem.

A HIGH ROLLER is a big spender or one who places large bets.

9. Act too quickly : JUMP THE GUN.   An expression derived from racing events, where the start of the race is announced with a piston shot.  One who starts too soon acts too quickly and can be disqualified.

The HIGH JUMP is an athletic event in which competitors jump over a horizontal bar.

27. Kind of tackle made illegal in the NFL in 2005 : HORSE COLLAR.   A dangerous method of tacking consisting of grabbing inside the back of another player's collar or shoulder pads and dragging him backwards to the ground.

To be on one's HIGH HORSE is to act in an arrogant and disdainful manner.

31. Cartoon bird that first appeared in "Fast and Furry-ous" : ROAD RUNNER.  Here's a clip from the 1949 cartoon.

To take the HIGH ROAD is to behave in a morally superior manner, as for example, to avoid being drawn into acting negatively.   Probably not compatible with the previous theme entry.

Hi gang - JazzBumpa here to explore today's offering.  Janice Luttrell has given us a rather unusual grid with a couple horizontal 9-stacks.  But the theme answers are all vertical 10's and 11's.   This inevitably leads to a large number [25] of three-letter fill, due to grid constraints.  But the average word length is 4.92, solidly in the Wednesday pocket.  Why arrange it this way?  Each theme word that combines with the unifier is at the HIGH END of its fill.   So the theme not only works on its own; it also illustrates itself graphically.  Most elegant!

Let's see what other goodies we can uncover.


1. Dropped the ball : ERRED.   Misplaying the ball is one way to make an ERROR in baseball.  Throwing inaccurately is another.

6. Pantry pest : ANT.   They bug me.

9. Puts in a cooler : JAILS.  American slang

14. Successor of Pope John X : LEO VI.   His term ran from ca. June, 928 until his death in ca. February 929.  

15. Like many indie films : LOW BUDGET.

17. "You Be __": 1986 Run-D.M.C. hit : ILLIN'.   Whateva'.

18. Dr. Brown's classic drink : CREAM SODA.   Rated good, not great.

19. Pasadena institute : CAL TECH.   The California Istitute of Technology, a private university specializing in science and engineering.

21. Mysterious power : ESP.   Extra-Sensory Perception.   The ability - if you believe that sort of thing - to acquire information without using the known physical senses, including such psychic phenomena as telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition.

22. Slush Puppie maker : ICEE.   Producer of frozen beverages under the ICEE and Slush Puppie brand names.

23. Little snicker : HEH.   Not to be confused with a small candy bar.

25. Cries out for calamine : ITCHES.   As from a bug bite or other skin irritation.

30. Three times, in an Rx : TER.

31. Notes after do : RE-MI.   In the English language version of solmization, these are among certain syllables assignment to musical scale steps.  

32. Prefix for "time" : CHRONO -.   From the Greek god CHRONOS, a personification of time.

33. __-wop music : DOO.  A pop music vocal style originating in the U.S. during the 50's characterized by close harmonies and often using nonsense syllables in the main line or the accompaniment.

35. Starting device: Abbr. : IGN.   Ignition, for internal combustion engine powered vehicles.

37. Belgian banknotes : EUROS.   All over Europe.

38. Speedmaster watchmaker : OMEGA.  This is a line of CHRONOGRAPH [time display plus stop watch] wrist watches.  They have been worn by U. S. astronauts during NASA's Gemini 4 and Apollo 11 missions.  It is the only watch qualified for extra-vehicular activity.

40. __ Na Na : SHA.  A retro doo-wap singing group, and also their TV show of the same name, that ran from 1977 to '81.   Their name is derived from this song, originally recorded by the Silhouettes in 1957.

Are you picking up some mini-themes?

41. Gypsum painting surface : GESSO.   A mixture of pigment, gypsum and/or chalk with a binder used a primer to prepare a wood of canvas painting surface.

42. Whittled : PARED.  Trimmed down, either literally or figuratively.

43. President pro __ : TEM.   The second highest ranking official in the U. S. Senate, typically the most senior member of the majority party.  According to the Constitution, the Vice president of the U. S. is the President of the Senate.   Theoretically, the President Pro Tem acts in his absence. In practice, though, neither person actually presides over the Senate.   This responsibility is rotated among junior senators of the majority party, to give them procedural experience - or, more likely, because the senior members foist it upon them..

44. Salt Lake City collegian : UTE.   One who matriculates at the University of Utah.

45. Remains in the fire? : EMBERS.  Last glowing bits that will soon be ashes.   Nice play on "remains."

47. Wolfgang's veto : NEIN.   No in Germany - or Austria.

49. Baseball uniform part : CAP.

52. Doesn't go for the green, in golf : LAYS UP.   Deliberately shoots short of the green, or to avoid a hazard, as a safety play, hoping to have a better opportunity on the next shot.

53. U.K. military award : DSO.   Distinguished Service Order, a military decoration awarded to officers for meritorious service in wartime.

54. Buckwheat noodle : SOBA.   From the Japanese word for buckwheat.

55. Earn after taxes : NET.   Take home pay.

57. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" autobiographer Maya : ANGELOU.  [1928-1914]  American poet, playwright and civil rights activist.

59. Writer of medical thrillers : ROBIN COOK. [b 1940] His novels, many of which have become best sellers, sometimes explore controversial topics.

64. Book with interstates : ATLAS.    Book of maps

65. Like California, to a Hawaiian : STATESIDE.   Referring to the continental U. S. from outside the country, or from the detached States.

66. Gape : STARE.   Specifically to do so open-mouthed, as from amazement.  Vide supra.

67. One in a cast : ACTOR.  It's traditional to tell an actor "break a leg" before the performance.  If taken literally, could lead to a double meaning.

68. WKRP's Nessman : LES.  portrayed by actor  Richard Sanders.

69. Pasture groups : HERDS.   Of cattle, presumably.


1. Draw out : ELICIT.  To cause a reaction by one's own action.

2. Tighten, as sneakers : RELACE.  And retie.

4. Party-planning site : EVITE.   Check it out.

5. Use the good china, say : DINE.   As opposed to chowing down, which could just as easily involve paper plates and plasticware, or merely hovering over the sink.

6. Lead-into-gold practitioner : ALCHEMIST.  Using the BASIC principle of purification to achieve gnossis [mystical enlightenment,]  an ALCHEMIST strove to transmute base metals into noble metals, create panaceas, and achieve immortality,   Not sure any was ever successful.

7. Negative connector : NOR.   Neither's companion.

8. Overly cute, to a Brit : TWEE.  What would we say, STATESIDE?  Cutesy?

10. Source of much website revenue : ADS.   Annoyances, to my way of thinking.

11. "Need __ on?" : I GO.   Yes - tell me more!

12. Had no one to catch : LED.  As in a race of some sort.

13. BART stop, e.g. : STAtion.

16. Rudimentary : BASIC.   Or fundamental.

20. Revolutionary Guevara : CHE. [1928 - 1967] An Argentine Marxist revolutionary, diplomat and military theorist who became a major figure in the Cuban revolution. 

26. Dressing holder : CRUET.    A flat-bottomed vessel with a narrow neck, a stopper, and possibly an integral spout.

28. Hall of Famer Slaughter : ENOS. [1916-2002]   His career spanned 1938-1959, interrupted by military service from 1943-5.   He was a 10-time all star and played in the World Series 5 times.

29. Only fair : SOSO.  Mediocre.  

34. Fancy moldings : OGEES. S-shaped double curves.

36. Some first-born children : NAMESAKES.  They are named after ancestors or older relatives.

38. Volkswagen rival : OPEL.  A German auto company that is a subsidiary of GM, headquartered in Rüsselsheim.

39. Doll's cry : MAMA.

46. Short job details? : SPECS.   Here, it's the designation of the job details that is short, not the job itself.

48. Electrified particle : ION.   Hydrogen atom: "I seem to have lost my electron."  Chemist:  "Are you sure?"   Hydrogen atom: "I'm positive."

50. On the train : ABOARD.  On board, probably influenced by Old French.

51. Stops to think, say : PAUSES.  Causes a slight break in the action.

54. Luigi's lucky number? : SETTE.   Seven in Italian.

56. Work very hard : TOIL.  

58. Deep cut : GASH.

59. Zimbabwe neighbor: Abbr. : Republic of South Africa.

60. Non-Rx : Over The Counter.

61. Night flier : BAT.   Effective mosquito controller, too.

62. Olympics skater Midori : ITO.   The first female to complete the triple axel in competition in 1988.  It became her signature move.

63. Neruda wrote one to salt : ODE.   .  .  .  sprinkling vital light upon our food .  .  .

There you have it.   Very nicely done puzzle, with some extra treats inside.  I liked a lot.  Hope you did, too.

Cool Regards!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging Wednesday, July 6, 2016 Vasu Saralathan

Theme: OVEREXPOSURE.  The first word of a two-word phrase is synonymous with the unifier, in each case indicating a person's state of total undress.

18 A. Hairless rodent used in lab experiments : NUDE MOUSE.  This poor critter has a genetic mutation resulting in an ineffective immune system.  This makes it an idea subject for studying the effects of grafted tumors and other tissues, since it has no power to reject them.  It also has no body hair, which is quite remarkable for a rodent - hence it's name.  To me, the word NUDE, in its human context, connotes a kind of innocence that its synonyms lack.

37 A. Basic needs : BARE NECESSITIES.  This phrase implies a condition of having just enough to get by, eking out a sparse existence with nothing to spare.  It's also the name of a retail outlet selling several brands of clothing, lingerie and swim wear, but most famously, this song.

The word BARE feels neutral to me, not implying much of anything about the circumstances nor attitude of the unclothed person.

51 A. Unaided vision : NAKED EYE.  A mode of observing things without the kind of technical assistance that can be provided by lenses, magnifiers, light filters or other devices.  A NAKED person is likely to either have an agenda, or be thrust into an uncomfortable situation by someone who does.  These are my subjective responses.  YMMV, of course. 

Then, the unifier -- 56 A. In a pure and unembellished state, and a hint to the beginnings of 18-, 20-, 37- and 51- Across : AU NATUREL.  As defined in the clue, but also indicating a person in the buff.  Somehow, the phrase makes me think of Brigitte Bardot.   Maybe it's the French connection.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here, trying to make sure we all have a decent time. Let's see what we can cover - or, perhaps, uncover.


1. Stock or bond : ASSET.  Financial ASSETS.

6. Hendrix dos : AFROS.   Hair.

11. Gullible one : SAP.  Somebody easily taken advantage of.  

14. Prophet swallowed by a big fish : JONAH.  Biblical story.

15. Party treat : GOODY.  Candy or other sweets.

16. Show on TV : AIR.  Here, show and AIR are both verbs.

17. Just eat up : ADORE.  I suppose, but am not fond of the clue.

20. Muscleman's display : RAW POWER.  Or oiled flesh.   I'm trying to maintain parity, but am having some difficulty with the photo attachments.  You can find examples here, ladies.

22. In the worst way : BADLY.  Positive form equivalent to superlative?  I don't think so.

23. "I don't have all day!" : NOW.  Stat! ASAP!

24. Online trackers : COOKIES.   A server message message stored as a text file by a browser, and sent back to the server at each browser visit.

26. "The Descent of Man" author : DARWIN.  Charles, [1809-1882] an English naturalist, geologist and pioneer in the field of evolution.

30. Chicken or turkey : FOWL.  And after 7 days in the fridge, foul.

31. Panhandle state : IDAHO.  Along with Oklahoma and Florida.  Did I miss any?

32. Hassan Rouhani's country : IRAN.   [b 1948] Lawmaker, academic, diplomat and, since 2013, the 7th president.

33. Maker of HEMNES furniture : IKEA.  Swedish provider of ready-to-assemble furniture, tasty meat balls and lingonberry jam.  They also serve a pretty darn good cheap breakfast.

40. Fish-eating duck : SMEW.   Males are mostly white with some black accents; females are red heads.

41. NERF missile : DART. Could also have been a BALL.

42. Concert sites : HALLS.   I went with ARENAS first, on a bad count.  

43. Unoccupied : IDLE. As a rest room stall.

44. Site of the first "Occupy" protest: Abbr. : WALL ST.   That den of iniquity.

45. Moral : ETHICAL.  Conforming to accepted standards of conduct.

49. Trending : HOT.   Like the latest whatever.

50. Oldest actor to play Bond : MOORE.  Roger. [b. 1927] 

59. "The Easter Parade" author Richard : YATES. [1926-1992] American novelist who achieved critical acclaim, but little commercial success.  In 2008 the movie version of his novel Revolutionary Road earned an Academy Award nomination for Kate Winslet.

60. Fury : IRE.  Anger.

61. Rub off : ERASE. As chalk.

62. Ready to draw : ON TAP. As ale.

63. "Dropped" drug : LSD.  Known as "acid" back in those hippy-dippy days of yore.

64. On pins and needles : ANTSY.  Or on edge, unsettled.

65. Scheme of high interest? : USURY.  Loans at extremely, sometimes illegally, high interest rates. Clever clue.


1. Cracked open : AJAR.  As a door, but, strangely enough, not a jar.

2. Carbonated drink : SODA.  Or pop, in the midwest.   What about where you live?

3. Cause of a school closing : SNOW.  Bad winter weather.

4. Old West marshal : EARP.  Wyatt [1848-1929] of OK Corral fame. 

5. Satirical publication that claims to be "America's Finest News Source" : THE ONION.  It is a-peeling.

6. '60s-'70s veep : AGNEW.  [1918-1996]  No politics!

7. Calling birds count, in song : FOUR.  From the 12 Days of Christmas.

8. Curtain holder : ROD.  And he never gets tired.

9. Wordsworth work : ODE.

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,  
The earth, and every common sight,  
To me did seem  
Apparell'd in celestial light . . .

10. It's just one thing instead of another : SYMBOL.  Representation, often by a solid object of something abstract.

11. Medina native : SAUDI.  Site of a man-made disaster this week.

12. Basilica part : AISLE.  Or theater, or arena.

13. Victimizes, with "on" : PREYS.  As one with an ETHICAL deficiency might do to a SAP.

19. Winery wood : OAK.  Used in making aging barrels.

21. Came out on top : WON.  Emerged victorious.

24. Proceed effortlessly : COAST.  Move without using power, as down hill or via momentum.

25. Completely dominates : OWNS.  Or pwns, as in computer games

26. "Mine!" : DIBS.  I called it!

27. Father of Seth : ADAM.  Genesis family.  No religion!

28. Steak order : RARE.  True - I RARELY order steak.

29. "I was nervous there!" : WHEW.  Sigh of relief.

30. "__ Jacques" : FRERE.   Sleepy brother John, in a song.

32. Poker declaration : I CALL.  Indicates matching a bet or raise.

33. Romance lang. : ITALian.

34. While away, as time : KILL.  No mater how much I kill time, it still marches on.

35. Slithery fish : EELS.   Long, slender fish that are members of the order Anguilliformes, and a few other similarly shaped, but unrelated, fish.

36. Deputy: Abbr. : ASST.  Assistant.

38. Historic Icelandic work : EDDA.  Either of two works, known as the Prose EDDA and the Poetic EDDA, set down in the 13th century, containing material going back several hundred more years. They are the main sources of Norse mythology.

39. Cry from a newly grounded teen : I HATE YOU.   The drama unfolds.

43. Lipton offering : ICE TEA.   Will this bring back the ICE vs ICED controversy?

44. Stir-fry pan : WOK.  A round bottomed cooking vessel of Chinese origin.

45. Yahoo! service : E-MAIL.  one of many providers

46. Overseas stints : TOURS.  Deployments.

47. Sharpened : HONED. As on a whetstone.

48. 401(k) kin : IRA.  Individual Retirement Account.

49. Claire and Phil's eldest daughter on "Modern Family" : HALEY.  

51. Untouchables leader : NESS.  Eliot, [1903 - 1957] Prohibition agent, during that dark period of American history.

52. Marino and Patrick : DANS.  Former NFL QB Marino [b 1961,] Sportscaster Patrick [b 1956,] long with my oldest grandson [b 1996.]

53. Rebuke from Caesar : ET TU.  "You too Brutus?!?", to his erstwhile friend and assassination co-conspirator.

54. Class ring datum : YEAR. As of graduation.

55. Best Female Athlete, e.g. : ESPY.  Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award, presented by ABC TV, and formerly by ESPN.   This year's candidates are Breanna Stewart [UConn Basetball,] Elena Delle Donne [Chicago Sky Pro Basketball,] Katey Ledecky [Swimming,] and Simone Biles [Gymnastics.]

57. Java server : URN.  Big pot.

58. Source of a metaphorical smell : RAT.  Indicating that something is not right.

Well, that's it.  Hope you got through without losing your shirt or getting caught with your pants down.  I made it - barely.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging June 15, 2016, Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme:  Of COURSE I will treat you in a FAIR WAY, and never give you a ROUGH time. Did you suspect a TRAP? You must be GREEN as grass!  Today we have a hidden words theme, which is much easier to spot if you also had the circles.  The hidden words, in reverse chronological order will take us through one short par 4 hole on a golf course.  Each hidden word is the name of a golf shot, and spans two words of a multi-word phrase.   

17. "It's now or never!" : I CAN'T PUT THIS OFF.  This looks over-eager, but it pays to be patient when you are lining up your PUTT.  This is the shot where you roll your ball along the green and hope that it either goes into the hole or hits some solid object behind it.

27. Play the Lute or Grasp the Sparrow's Tail, in martial arts : TAI CHI POSITION.  The CHIP is a short approach shot to the green, generally highly arched.   I know nothing of TAI CHI, but here are some of the positions.

47. Folk ballad also known as "Cowboy Love Song" : RED RIVER VALLEY.   The DRIVE is typically the first shot on any par 4 or 5 hole.

59. "Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" sitcom ... or, literally, occupants of this puzzle's circles : DIFF'RENT STROKES.   Each swing of a golf club counts as one STROKE, and here we have three diff'rent ones.  Missing from this sequence is the fairway iron shot, but if you can get close to the green with your DRIVE, you won't need one.   When I played, it was more accurately descriptive to spell golf backwards.  I have since determined that my quality of life is in direct proportion to my distance from the game.   Maybe Husker Gary should have done this one.

The subject TV show ran from 1978 to 1986, starring Gary Coleman as Arnold and Todd Bridges as his brother Willis, two orphaned African-American boys taken in by a rich white widower for whom their late mother formerly worked.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here to FLOG this one along.  Let's see if we can avoid hazards and reconnoiter on the 19th hole.


1. Ritzy : POSH.  Ostentatious display of conspicuous consumption.

5. Cockroach, e.g. : PEST.  No need for a link.

9. Puccini classic : TOSCA.  I don't like opera, so no link here either.

14. Acreage : AREA.  As of a golf course or some other plot of land.

15. Comics pooch with a big red tongue : ODIE.

16. Islamic analogue of kosher : HALAL.

20. Where to buy EBAY : NASDAQ.  Listing service for stocks not on the New York or American Stock Exchanges.

21. Was in charge of : RAN.

22. Org. for Serena Williams : Woman's Tennis Association.

23. Canine tooth : CUSPID.  A tooth with a single cusp or point.

26. School gps. : Parent Teacher AssocoationS.

32. Dating : WITH.  Sure, you can be WITH someone you're dating, but you can also be WITH your golf group or your dog.  Not fond of this clue.

33. Skin blemish : ZIT.  Acne, the adolescent's bane.

34. Addams family nickname : TISH.   Morticia.

35. Journalist Stewart or Joseph : ALSOP.   Brothers who cowrote the "Matter of Fact" column for the New York Herald Tribune from 1945 to 1958.   They were grand-nephews of Theodor Roosevelt.

37. Use, as resources : TAP.

39. Hardly economical : STEEP.   As in a high price.

42. Novelist Stoker : BRAM.  He gave us Dracula.

44. Logical beginning? : GEO-.  Prefix clue for the science of earth study. 

46. Galley implements : OARS.  Ancient warship propelled by both sails and rowers. 

50. Course elevators : TEES.  Not a teaser clue - little devices that elevate golf balls, and thus relate to the DRIVE portion of the theme.  

51. Scatter : DISPEL.  More commonly, get rid of.  Comes from the Latin, meaning to drive away -  which, I suppose, could be in several directions.  

52. Lease alternative : OWN.  We OWN one vehicle and lease the other.

53. Sit in a cellar, say : AGE.  As wine or cheese.

54. Marriott rival : RAMADA.  Hotels

63. Curaçao neighbor : ARUBA.  Tropical islands

64. Something to file : NAIL.  On the finger or toe.  As opposed to paper work.

65. Dump at the altar : JILT.  Heart-breaking moment that probably works out for the best.

66. Jacket fabric : DENIM.  Also used for blue jeans,

67. First name in advice : ABBY.  Abigail Van Buren, pseudonym for Pauline Esther Phillips [1918-2013] who began her advice column in 1956.  Her twin sister also gave advice as Ann Landers.

68. Cognizant of : ON TO.   Aware of.


1. What acupuncture relieves, for some : PAIN.  I read an article recently by an M.D. stating that all the controlled studies have determined no greater efficacy than a placebo effect.  My sister, who has had significant knee pain for years, got a great deal of relief from acupuncture, and her blood pressure dropped by about 20 points.  Go figure.

2. Killer whale : ORCA.   They are diverse eaters and apex predators - at the top of the food chain, nobody eats them. 

3. Bering and Ross : SEAS.   The Bering Sea is North of the Aleutian Islands between Alaska and Siberia. The Ross Sea is an arm of the Pacific Ocean extending into Antarctica South of New Zealand.

4. Word with deck or dock : HAND.  Either way, a hard working laborer.

5. Classroom surprise : POP QUIZ.  Surprise test - but why no love for mom?

6. Part of a collegiate address : EDU.  Slightly misleading clue, but we all know he means a web address.

7. Kennel command : SIT.

8. Game whose original packaging boasted "From Russia with Fun!" : TETRIS.  You can play it on line here.

9. Like Laurel, but not Hardy : THIN.

10. Western treaty gp. : Organization of American States.

11. Frustratingly on the mend : SLOW TO HEAL.  Hand injuries can be that way.

12. Kind of robe : CAFTAN.   Varies in style, design and fabric, often worn as a house coat or overdress.

13. Italian racers, familiarly : ALFAS.

18. Dash gauge : TACHometer.  Measures RPM's.

19. __ made: was set for life : HAD IT.   Received a large inheritance, struck oil, made a killing in the market, etc.  A then blew it all on an Alfa.

24. Rotisserie rod : SPIT.  Skewering device that rotates.

25. Thick soups : POTAGES.   From the French for "potted dish."  This type concoction, in which a variety of foodstuffs are boiled together until thick, dates back to medieval northern France.  

26. Oklahoma State mascot __ Pete : PISTOL.

27. Former flier : Trans World Airlines - from 1925 to 2001, when it was acquired by AMR, Inc, the parent company of American Airlines. 

28. Feel bad : AIL.

29. "I had a blast!" : ITS BEEN FUN.

30. Basic guitar lesson : CHORDS.

31. Carol opener : 'TIS the season, etc.

36. Line on a scorecard : PAR.   More golf.  PAR is the theoretical number of strokes to be taken on each hole. You then compare your actual number and either laugh or cry.

38. Cop's catch : PERP.   Short for PERPETRATOR, one who has committed a crime, because the cops never, ever catch an innocent person.  In Corner parlance, a PERP is a word PERPendicular to a word you're trying to fill in, which gives you a letter you need to catch your target word.

40. Before, before : ERE.  A relic from Olde English, showing it germanic roots.

41. Future therapist's maj. : PSYchology.

43. Moose's girlfriend, in Archie comics : MIDGE.

45. In plain view : OVERTLY.  Via Old French from the Latin aperire, to open.

47. Upgrade electrically : REWIRE.  Provide new electrical wiring.

48. Capital on the Danube : VIENNA.  Austria.

49. Banned fruit spray : ALAR.   It was used to prevent premature fruit dropping and improve color, firmness and quality during storage.  It was banned in 1989 due to cancer-causing concerns.  It was most famously used on apples, but also on cherries, peaches, pears, tomatoes and peanuts.

50. Inscription on a June greeting card : TO DAD.   Father's day is coming up this weekend.  My son and fam are coming over, and he's going to grill.

53. Saroyan's "My Name Is __" : ARAM.   A book of short stories first published in 1940 concerning the eponymous boy of Armenian descent living in Fresno, CA.

55. Spell-casting art : MOJO.   Probably of African origin.

56. Similar : AKIN.

57. Bench press beneficiary : DELToid muscle.

So you can shoulder a load

58. Regarding : AS TO.  In re:.

60. "Criminal Minds" agcy. : Federal Bureau of Investigation, featured on yet another TV show I've never watched.

61. It's next to Q on most keyboards : TAB.  The indent key.

62. Unc, to Dad : SIB.  Uncle and Dad are siblings.  But not for my kids, I don't have a brother.

Well, that finishes another round.  Rather odd to see Jeffrey, who I think of as Mr. Friday, show up on a Wednesday, but life is full of surprises, and it's all good.  Hope you were up to par [but not too far over] on this one.

Cool Regards!