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, April 9, 2014

L.A.Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Tuesday, April 9, 2014 Bernice Gordon

Theme: FANNY BONE.  Well, not really, but you know I wouldn't be able to resist.  What we have is a classic VOWEL PROGRESSION.  Each two-word theme answer begins with the letter combination F_N-, and the blank is filled in with a vowel.  Progressing through the puzzle in order, the theme answer vowels are A, E, I, O, and U, just like the alphabet.  Why? Y not?

17. Waist bag : FANNY PACK.  Not a trash container, but a carrying pouch worn around the waist.  You can read here why it is not called a FANNY PACK outside the U.S.A.

25. Herbal remedy for indigestion : FENNEL TEA.  I did not know that.

38. Renege : FINK OUT.   Slang term.

50. Piece of Le Creuset cookware : FONDUE POT.   Device for melting cheese, into which can be dipped bread chunks on skewers.  Tasty, and you can have fun doing it.

60. Sense of humor : FUNNY BONE.  And a good joke might tickle it, my theme title not withstanding.

Hi Gang, JzB here to guide your stroll through the alphabet, and this puzzle by Bernice Gordon.   Now 100 years old, she has been publishing puzzles since 1952, when I was the goofy little four-eyed kindergarden kid who hated finger painting.  You can read about her and some of her puzzles, including this one, in this Philadelphia Inquirer article

Lets see what we can find, and no JAY walking!


1. Lead-in for bird or walk : JAY.  JAY birds I understand.  I've been told not to JAY walk since at least the first grade, but had to learn that a JAY is a beginner, or someone not very good at something.  So a JAY WALKER is one recklessly crossing a street away from a cross walk. Though this illustration looks dangerous, note that the umpire is calling the runner safe.


4. Nervous and irritable : UPSET.  Like a coach when his team loses to an inferior rival.

9. Thai cash : BAHT.  About 3.1 cents at the current exchange rate.

13. Musician Turner : IKE.  Also famous for his uncertain number of marriages [between 5 and 13] and beating Tina Turner.

14. Words Alice read on a cake : EAT ME.   Eating too much cake can make one too large, as she discovered.

15. Month in Madrid : ENERO.  Specifically, January.  Alliterative clues often hint at foreign language fill.

19. Once more : AGAIN.  

20. "It's __ bet": "No risk" : A SAFE.  I wanted A SURE, but can assure you that was wrong.

21. Everlasting, to a poet : ETERNE.

22. Cal. entry : APPT.   Calendar and appointment.  Note abrv. in cl. and ans. 

27. Custard dishes : QUICHES.  Would you eat one on a train?  Could I egg you on?

30. River in NW France : ORNE

31. "The Star-Spangled Banner," e.g. : ANTHEM.

32. Countdown-ending número : UNO.   When launching Spanish rockets [cohetes.]

33. Leveling wedge : SHIM.  A tapered spacer used to provide a better fit or level surface.

37. Pen name : BIC.  Cute misdirection.. BIC is a brand name.

41. Amin of Uganda : IDI

42. Twice vier : ACHT.   German, I fear.

44. Word of surprise : GEE.  GEE whiz golly wow!

45. __ Zee: area where the Hudson River widens : TAPPAN.  This wide spot in the river is named for the TAPPAN sub tribe of the Delaware people and the Dutch word Zee, meaning wide expanse of water.  In this region the river is about 5 miles wide.

47. Taj Mahal home : AGRA.  Popular cross word destination.

49. Heavenly higher-ups, in Christianity : SERAPHS.  The highest ranking angels.

54. Chess piece : ROOK

55. People with skill : ADEPTS.  Like Bernice.

56. Place to store valuables : VAULT.

59. Station : DEPOT.

64. Old hat : STALE.  Unfashionably out of date, passé  Fashionably out of date is retro.

65. Popeye creator Segar : ELZIE.  I will never remember this.

66. Type of museum : WAX.  A place exhibiting WAX-constructed human likenesses, typically of the famous and infamous.

67. Kane's Rosebud, e.g. : SLED.  Citizen Kane.

68. Nobel-winning Irish poet : YEATS.   William Butler.  He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1923.

69. It may need a boost : EGO.  I suppose a Nobel Prize might do that for you.


1. Peanut butter brand : JIF.  Because it spreads so quickly?

2. Alias, for short : A.K.AAlso Known As.

3. Hankering : YEN.   I thought about going to Japan, but didn't have the YEN to travel.

4. They may be done by ones who have gone too far : UEYS.  U-turns.  Clever clue for a word with variant spellings

5. Family nickname : PAPA.   A SURE gave me PAPU.  I prefer Bumpa.

6. Support crews : STAFFS.  A SURE got in the way here, as well.

7. Game show personality : EMCEE. Master of Ceremonies, with the initials spelt out.  What do you call that kind of construction?

8. "__War": Shatner series : TEK.  This series of Sci-Fi novels was conceived by William Shatner and ghost written by Ron Goulart,

9. Defeated : BEATEN. Like everyone who played the U. Conn. men's basketball team. 

10. 49-Across, por ejemplo : ANGELES.  Spanish Angels.  "For example" rendered in Spanish hints at the language of the fill.

11. Soul partner : HEART.   Time for a retro musical interlude.  [I thought this was interesting.]



12. Puzzle video game with three heroes : TRINE.  Check it out.

16. Top draft status : ONE-A.   We've had an all volunteer army since 1973.

18. "Of course!" : NATCH.  Derived from "naturally," I presume.

21. Along the way : EN ROUTE.

22. Red Sea port on its own gulf : AQABA.  Jordan's only coastal city.

23. __ Wars: Rome vs. Carthage : PUNIC.  The PUNICS were the people of Carthage.

24. Tuner's concern : PITCH.  Piano tuner.  You can't tune a fish.

26. Words to Nanette? : NO, NONO, NO, Nanette is the 1925 musical that gave us the songs Tea For Two and I Want to Be Happy.

28. Playboy nickname : HEF.  Hugh Hefner.

29. Political fugitives : EMIGRES. People who have migrated out, usually with a connotation of political or social self-exile.

32. Island instrument : UKE.  Hawaiian Islands, Ukelele.

34. River horse : HIPPO.  Short for hippopotamus, which is Greek for river horse.

35. Snake River state : IDAHO.  River snake is ποτάμι φίδι.

36. Belarus capital : MINSK.

39. Tide type : NEAP.  This occurs just afer the first and third quarters of the moon, when the sun and moon are at right angles relative to the earth, and their gravitational forces work against each other.  Thus, the difference between high and low tide is minimized.

40. Roofer's supply : TAR.  Tiles, shingles, nails and rolled EPDM won't fit.

43. Stage in a frog's life : TADPOLE.  A.K.A. Pollywog, this is the larval stage of toads and frogs.

46. Medicare section for physician services : PART B.  Part A covers hopitalization.

48. Destroyed the inside of, as a building : GUTTED.  My sister just bought a house, and the kitchen will be GUTTED and totally reconfigured.

49. Verse segment : STANZA.  Here, the word "Verse" means a poem.  A group of lines forming the basic metrical unit of a poem is called a STANZA, from the Latin for a stopping place, or, alternatively, a verse.  Confused?  I could be wurst.

50. Hula Hoop et al. : FADS.  Back to my childhood.  Less retro than NO, NO, Nanette, though.

51. "Golden Boy" dramatist : ODETS.  Clifford.  In this 1937 play, the hero is torn between commercial success and artistic fulfillment.

52. India neighbor : NEPAL.  Good place to get high.

53. Small egg : OVULE.  A small or immature ovum.

57. Workbook chapter : UNIT.

58. Strong alkalis : LYES.  LYE is sodium hydroxide (NaOH.)  And that's the truth.

60. "30 Rock" star : FEY.  Tina.

61. Be indebted to : OWE.

62. Pick on : NAG.

63. Outer: Pref. : EXO

All done.  Not quite everything from A to Z, but we did travel from A to U.  Hope you enjoyed the journey.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, March 1,9 2014 Jim Horne and Jeff Chen

Theme: THE I's HAVE IT, or I-YI-YI, or OH MY, MY I.  If you noticed the somewhat unusual grid, you probably also spotted the big letter I in the middle.  With my keen powers of observation, that was the LAST thing I noticed. But It's just the beginning. Every vowel in every fill word is the letter I.  There are also a few vowel-less entries.  I might nit-pick - instead I'll  identify them as illustrious enhancements.  Also, there's a unifier, though it's not identified as such in the cluing.  I'll get to it in due time.

Jim and Jeff continue their assault on the alphabet.  Just five weeks ago, I blogged their puzzle in which every entry contained the letter H.  And just 11 days ago we had the no E puzzle by Bruce Haight.  Is this a pattern?

Hi, Gang.  There's no I in JazzBumpa, nor in team, but that doesn't mean that you and I can't team up to work our way through this I-mazing puzzle together.  Let's have at it.

1. Conflict in FDR's presidency : WWII.  Here, the I's become the Roman numeral 2.  WW I was supposed to have been the war to end all wars.  You can see how well that worked out.

5. Readies, as presses : INKS.  Perfect job for a squid.

9. Pod prefix : TRI.  Of course, I wanted cephalo-, not the three-legged camera holder.

12. Rise : HILL.   Topography.

13. Carding at a door : I.D.-ING.  Identifying those over/under age.  I'll take the over.  I got carded at a Lion's game a few years ago, thinning grey hair not withstanding.

14. Indian honorifics : SRIS.  The don't spell SIRS properly.

15. Stops for Carnival custs. : ISLS.  Carnival Cruise line customers and islands.  Brief stops, come to think of it.

16. Finger, e.g. : DIGIT.  Toe, too.

17. Elton's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" duet partner : KIKI.  I remember the song, but KiKi Dee is a long faded memory.

18. T'ai __ : CHI   An exercise regimen consisting of graceful and slow movements that relax and strengthen both body and mind.  It dates from the 11th century.

19. Billy clubs : NIGHT STICKS.  Head breakers.

21. Indian language : HINDI.  My massage therapist is married to an Indian guy from Goa, where they speak Portuguese.

23. User-edited site : WIKI.  Even I could be an editor.

24. Model in a bottle : SHIP.  Not necessarily.

27. Outer coating : SKIN.  Should be bottle. See above.

29. Capital of Georgia : TBILISI. Not Atlanta, though it fits and has all wrong vowels.  Say it three times real fast. 

32. Works without a script : WINGS IT.  Or a result of being unprepared.

36. "This tape will self-destruct in five seconds" fictional spy org. : I .M. F.  Not the International Monetary Fund.

37. Architect Maya __ : LIN.  She did the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial.

38. Bug : IRK.  Irritate.

39. 24-hr. info source : CNN.  There is no I in news.

40. Longing to see : MISSING.  I am keenly aware of your absence.

42. Yellowish embellishment : GILDING.  Thou shalt not embellish lilies yellowishly.

44. "Sent" folder contents: Abbr. : MSGS.  Short, i-less messages.

45. Small cut : SNIP

46. Tizzy : SNIT.  Hissy fit.

48. Singer Minaj : NICKI.  Seek a link if you are so inclined

52. Maintaining shoe gloss, in a way : SPIT SHINING.   Instructions.

58. Popular show : HIT.

59. Friends and neighbors : KITH.  Middle English, from Old English cȳthth; akin to cūth, meaning "known," recognizable today as it's antonym, uncouth.

60. "Lemon Tree" singer Lopez : TRINI.

61. S&P 500 bank : CITI.

62. NFL stats : INTS.  Football Interceptions.

63. Easy two-pointer : TIP IN.  Basketball.  Just in time for March Madness.

64. Diner orders, briefly : BLTS.  Bacon-lettuce-tomato [no I so far] sandwiches - [Darn!]

65. Letter before omega : PSI. It's all Greek to me.

66. Start of a library conversation : PSST.  Could I have your attention, without batting an I?

67. Señor's assent : SI SI.  I agree.  Does C. C.?


 1. Question of choice : WHICH.  'Round the cauldron - which witch?

2. Words often heard before may and might : WISH I. There is an I in WISH.

3. "You Be __": 1986 Run-D.M.C. hit : ILLIN'.  Per 23A, The slang term illing means to "be uncool and unrelaxed", "be acting crazy", "be 'tripping' or 'bugging' ", or "be acting 'wack' "

4. They, in Tours : ILS.  French.  Is ILS Illin'?

5. "Got it, man" : I DIG.  Retro 60's slang.

6. At hand : NIGH.

7. Make socks, e.g. : KNIT.

8. Pepper and Bilko: Abbr. : SGTS.  There is no I in Sergeant.

9. Prank : TRICK.

10. __-Tikki-Tavi: Kipling mongoose : RIKKI.  Cobra fighter from the Jungle Book.

11. Egyptian fertility goddess : ISIS.

13. Despot Amin : IDI.  Very illin' dude.

14. Street sport : SKIING.  Now, this is tricky.  Olympic medalist Picabo Street.

19. Ones who reject established institutions : NIHILISTS.  A bit understated.  It's a belief that current conditions are so bad that existing society should be destroyed.

20. Instant : TWINKLING.  I assume this is condensed from the phrase, "In a twinkling of an I."

22. One way to get online, briefly : DSLDigital Subscriber Line.  I's everywhere.

25. "Of Thee __" : I SING.  Sweet land of liberty.

26. Sonar pulses : PINGS.

27. Way more than sips : SWIGS.  Two ways to go at your Guinness.  Before I caught on, I wanted GULPS.

28. Beer from Japan : KIRIN.  It's also good for a sip or a SWIG.

29. "A Christmas Carol" boy : TIM.

30. Ratio involving ht. and wt. : B.M.I.  Body mass index, briefly. 

31. Suppositions : IFS.  They occasionally travel with ANDS or BUTS.

33. __-fi : SCIScience Fiction.

34. Accommodating place : INN.  A place with accomodations.  Nice, fresh clue

35. Series with Capt. Picard, to fans : TNG. There's no I in Star Treck: The Next Generat -- oops!

41. Horseshoe makers : SMITHS.

43. Printer spec. : DPIDots Per Inch.

46. Quick rides : SPINS.

47. Ness foe : NITTI.  Gritty guy.  Per 23A: Francesco Raffaele Nitti (January 27, 1886 – March 19, 1943), also known as Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti, was an Italian American gangster. One of Al Capone's top henchmen, Nitti was in charge of all strong-arm and 'muscle' operations.  Eliot Paul Ness joined the U.S. Treasury Department in 1927, working with the Bureau of Prohibition, in Chicago.  Fun times.

49. Spicy pepper : CHILI.

50. Saint __ and Nevis: Caribbean country : KITTS.  More formally, St. Christopher.  These neighboring West Indies Islands form a single country.

51. Formal "Who's there?" reply : IT IS I.  Finally, it is the unifier

52. Miss on purpose : SKIP.

53. Web address letters : HTTPHyperText Transfer Protocol.

54. "Elegy for __": memoir about writer Murdoch : IRIS.  Per the font of all knowledge, she was an Irish-born British author and philosopher, best known for her novels about good and evil, sexual relationships, morality, and the power of the unconscious.

55. Pinches : NIPS.  A word with many meanings, here I take it to be arrests, as by a police officer.  You may ponder other meanings at your leisure.

56. Part of FDR: Abbr. : INIT. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Initials.

57. Diarist Anaïs : NIN.  Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell (February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977) was an author born to Spanish-Cuban parents in France.

61. "Mike & Molly" network : CBSColumbia Broadcasting System, which unfortunately contains an I.

That wraps it up.  A pleasant journey, and quite an I full, with some musical interludes and interesting authors. Hope you injoyed it.  I'll be off-line today, and will try to check in this evening.

Cool Regards!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

L.A. Times Cross word puzzle Bloging

Wednesday, March 5, 2014, John R. O'Brien

Theme: I MUST BE DREAMING.  The first word of each two-word theme answer phonetically gives us part of James Bond's Identity number: 007, usually rendered as Double-O-7, phonetically DOUBLE OH SEVEN.  In the cold imaginary universe of this series of spy novels and movies, the Double-O ID is only given to operatives who have killed in cold blood in the course of completing an assignment, and are licensed to do so again in the future, as necessary.  Per Wikipedia, in the back story preceding Casino Royal, the first Bond Novel, Bond is awarded his 007 for having twice done so.  Not until the third novel Moonraker, does the 00- designation indicate a license to kill.  We have to permit our novelists these kinds of little inconsistencies over the course of a long series.

16 A. Outing for four : DOUBLE DATE.  Two couples on one adventure.  Opportunities limited only by your imagination.

24 A. "Don't tell me!" : OH BROTHER! A colloquial expression of wonderment or disbelief.  I don't recall hearing it much in recent decades.

49A. World waters : SEVEN SEAS.   Which seas are counted depends on where and when you ask. Here's a brief run down from the National Ocean Service.

And for a unifier, we have the creator of the 007 series:  63 A. Author suggested by the starts of 16-, 24- and 49-Across : IAN FLEMING.  Wikipedia tells us: While working for Britain's Naval Intelligence Division during the Second World War, Fleming was involved in planning Operation Goldeneye and in the planning and oversight of two intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force. His wartime service and his career as a journalist provided much of the background, detail and depth of the James Bond novels.  Just the right kind of experience to give us these stories.

BTW, If you're wondering about the title, it's contained in this snippet of dialog from the movie GOLDFINGER.

Pussy Galore: “My name is Pussy Galore.”  
Bond: “I must be dreaming.”                           

And, as a bonus, if you had circles in the corner squares, they would help you notice that by proceeding clockwise starting in the NW, they contain the letters spelling BOND.  All very tidy.

Hi gang, Agent JzB on duty, licensed to guide you through today's intrigue.  With a little luck, nobody will get hurt.

But first, today's theme song.


1. Humanities degs. : BAS. Bachelors of Artses.

4. Bullpen stats : ERAS.

8. Not exceeding : UP TO.  As my father used to ask me, "What are you not exceeding, now?"  Usually it was my potential.

12. "__ way!" : ATTA.  ATTA boy or girl - OK.  ATTA way - ???

14. Soft tissue : FLESH. Mandatory Monty Python link.

15. Consequences of most missed birdie putts : PARS.  I could do worse.

18. __-Z: classic Camaro : IROC.

19. Make beloved : ENDEAR.

20. Pixar film in which Richard Petty had a voice role : CARS.

22. FDR power project : TVA. Tennessee Valley Authority, a dam good idea.  Note Ints. in cl & ans.

23. Some Iberian kings : REYES.  Spanish kings.  The Portuguese ones are REIS.

26. Soak (up) : SOP.

28. Days gone by : YORE.

29. Took out for a while : BORROWED.   Like if your DOUBLE date is to the library

34. Dvorak's last symphony : NINTH.

37. Three-part snack : OREO.  Stacked snack, suitable for dunking.

38. Delight : ELATE.

41. Work with an artist, perhaps : POSE.

42. Make sense : ADD UP.

44. "Hawaii" novelist : MICHENER.

46. Decorative sewing case : ETUI.   Meh!

48. Star quality : EGO. More a characteristic than a quality, IMHO.

53. Meet competitor : RACER.

58. Hero in the air : ACE.

59. Patio furniture protector : TARP.

60. Concert hall cry : ENCORE.

61. "Copacabana" temptress : LOLA.  As I understand it, Barry Manilow is a wonderful person.  But, alas, his music makes me gag, so no link.

65. __ vera lotion : ALOE.  It's vera soothing.

66. Mr. T's TV outfit : A-TEAM.   Mr. T. Played the part of Sgt. Bosco 'B.A.' Baracus in all 97 episodes of this TV series from 1983 to '87.  He's in the bottom left of this cast picture, which also includes Melinda Culea, who played newspaper reporter Amy Amanda Allen.  Though her Triple A initials were impeccable, this character only lasted through 25 episodes.  She wanted more action, and George Peppard, evidently scarred for life by his appearance in Breakfast At Tiffany's, wanted no female lead.  Looks as if he was licensed to kill her part.

67. "A Streetcar Named Desire" director Kazan : ELIA.

68. Quick swims : DIPS.

69. Frosty coating : HOAR.  An ancient adjective, dating from before the 12 century, meaning grey with age, here transformed into a noun.  The frost coating makes the grass look like old grey hair.  I am taking this personally.

70. Cong. bigwig : SEN.  Senator.


1. Justice Ruth __ Ginsburg : BADER.  Appointed by Clinton.

2. Advice to a sinner : ATONE.  Repent and be saved.  If you have already repented, please disregard this notice.

3. Quiet room : STUDY

4. Former times, formerly : ELD.

5. Get through to : REACH.

6. Take __ at: try : A STAB.  As in trying to get past the Black Night.

7. Amontillado, for one : SHERRYA Poe choice.

8. News gp. : UPI. United Press International

9. Acropolis temple : PARTHENON.

10. Hidden treasure : TROVE.

11. Boxer De La Hoya : OSCAR.  Could have been clued differently this week.

13. Busy as __ : A BEEWatts up, little buzzer!

14. Not agin : FER.  Ah'm agin this kinda fill.

17. Rodeo ring : LASSO.   Of rope, not fire.

21. Shortly : SOON.

24. Autobahn auto : OPEL.

25. Baloney : TRIPE.  Words not worth the air used to express them.

27. Haven't paid off yet : OWE.

29. Something to wrap around one's neck ... or maybe not : BOA.  A scarf or a choking snake.  Choose wisely.

30. Traffic reg. : ORDRegulation and ordinance.

31. Improve, as a downtown area : REDEVELOP.  Gentrification, perhaps.

32. Travel plan : ROUTE.  Did you ever go this way?

33. Water holder? : DAM.  Cf 22A.

35. "The Waste Land" poet's monogram : TSEThomas Stearns Eliot.  tl;dr.

36. "... and sat down beside __ ..." : HER.  Miss Muffet and the arachnid antagonist; could have been clued differently this week.

39. Gifts for grads or dads : TIES.  Neckties.  Who needs them?

40. Heart chart, for short : ECGElectroCardio Gram.

43. Pre-euro Irish coin : PUNT.  For in those days, football had not yet been invented.

45. Lena of "The Wiz" : HORNE.

47. "Swords into plowshares" prophet : ISAIAHChapter 2, Verse 4He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

49. Dieter's lunch : SALAD.  Yum!

50. Bacteria in rare meat, maybe : E COLI.   Yucch!

51. Muse for Shelley : ERATO.  The muse of poetry, especially love or erotic poetry

52. Sleep lab subject : APNEA

54. Cartoon supplier of anvils and explosive tennis balls : ACMEAlas, poor coyote.

55. Hoses are often stored in them : COILS. Roll 'em up.

56. Adopted son on "My Three Sons" : ERNIE.

57. Sister of Goneril : REGAN.  Cordelia, too.  Kng Lear's Daughters.

60. Scary movie street : ELM.  Did you avoid these nightmares?

62. DDE rival : AESDwight David Eisenhower and Adlai Ewing Stevenson II.

64. "__ out!" : FAR.  An expression from the 60's, the era of Sean Connery - the only REAL James Bond.

So we come to the end of this adventure.  Hope you all enjoyed the BONDing experience.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

L.A.Tmies Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, February 26, 2014, Bryan W. Young and Jeff Chen

Theme: TO GRANDMOTHER'S HOUSE WE GO.   Not necessarily over the river, but definitely through the woods, where we encounter THE BIG BAD WOLF in hot pursuit of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.  Don't be alarmed if you had trouble finding them.  The forest provides lots of hiding places. [Full disclosure: I had to get help from C. C. to spot them.]  Lots of themage, and tight construction, as all of the WOLF's entries are the first words of two word answer, hugging the left margin, and our heroine's entries are the second words of two word answers, hugging the right margin.  Note also that from top to bottom, our antagonist's and protagonist's answers alternate.  Unusual placement for theme entries makes this a bit hard to suss, but high marks for creativity in executing this original theme.

16. "Blackadder" network : THE BBC.  British Broadcasting

26. Head honcho : BIG CHEESE.   Slang.

 42. Unsavory sort : BAD EGG.   Can one spoil the whole crate?

 53. Borzois, e.g. : WOLF HOUNDS.  Russian variety.

20. Impressionist whom Mel Blanc labeled "The Man of a Thousand Voices" : RICH LITTLE.  I found one that's not political.

 35. Show shame, perhaps : GET RED.  Blushing.when you can't suss the theme.

 48. Driving with abandon : JOY RIDING.  Couldn't find an appropriate clip.

63. Prominent Ore. peak : MT. HOOD.  A stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc of northern Oregon, formed by a subduction zone on the Pacific coast.  It's last major eruptive period was about 200 years ago. Note abrv. in cl. & ans.

Hi Gang, JzB here.  Let's grab our borzoi and see if we can make our way through this forest without getting lost or consumed.


1. McCarthy's dummy friend : SNERD.  Edger Bergan's pals Charlie and Mortimer.  Here they with a LITTLE-free impersonation.

6. Baltic, e.g. : SEA.  Water you talkin' about?

9. Cougar : PUMA.  Mountain lion, not that other kind.

13. Canadian dollar coin nickname : LOONIE.  Named for the loon on the reverse of its dohler coil.


14. "I threw away my golf shoes when I got a hole in one," e.g. : PUN.  Double meaning word play

15. Computer operating system : UNIX.  Apple's OS X is a variant.

17. Hosp. heart exam : ECG.  Electro- Cardio Gram

18. Medicinal dose : PILL.  Alternative to a spoonfull.

19. Cutie pie : DOLL.  Like Nancy Wilson.

23. Baltic feeder : ODER.   Does this river smell funny?

25. "... a __ / By any other name ..." : ROSE.  Would still be surrounded by thorns.

30. Tolkien's talking trees : ENTS.  They aren't actually trees.  They just look like them.

33. Equal: Pref. : ISO.  -bar, -metric, -tonic, -mer, etc.

34. "The Mod Squad" cop : LINC.   He's the man in the middle.

37. Smudge : BLUR.

39. '60s jacket style : NEHRU.

41. UFO-tracking org. : SETISearch for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence

44. Respectful address : MA'AM.

46. From, in some European names : VON.  Like the von Trapp family.

47. Star witnesses? : MAGI.  Clever.  They followed younder star.

50. Hispaniola, por ejemplo : ISLA.  Spanish island.

52. Poet __ St. Vincent Millay : EDNA.  Famous for her poetry and many love affairs.

57. Gratify : SATE.

61. Put out : EMIT.

62. Low numero : UNO.  Also a card game, which could have been cited to avoid the Spanish

 65. Wither in the sun : BAKE.

66. Porter's "__ De-Lovely" : IT'S.  Like this DOLL.

67. B beater : A-MINUS.  Making the grade

68. Raised : BRED.  Like a Borzoi.

69. Look at : EYE.   Ogle the DOLLS.

70. Super Bowl XLVII player : NINER.  San Francisco Fourty-Niner.  They lost to the Baltimore Ravins, 34-31.


1. Area below Greenwich Village : SOHO.  Lower Manhattan area South of Houston St.

2. Sleigh ride song : NOEL.  Here we go a-caroling.

3. As a whole : EN BLOC.  I'll bet you have never said this in casual conversation.

4. Kid : RIB. Like an elbow poke there.

5. Making pronouncements : DECREEING.

6. A writer may work on it : SPEC.  Speculation - writing a piece without a contract, in hope of selling it.

7. Trick-taking card game : EUCHRE.  Pronounced Yooker.  Popular game in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin.  People from other parts of the country might never have heard of it.

8. Prefix meaning "English" : ANGLO.

9. Portable shelters : PUP TENTS.  For your young borzoi.

10. Curriculum part : UNIT.

11. Grain grinder : MILL.

12. Rod in a hot rod : AXLE.  Keeps the wheels from falling off.

13. Letters on some Brit. letterheads : LTD.  For Private Limited Liability Corporation.  It's shares may not be sold to the public.

21. Dancer Castle : IRENE.  She and her husband Vernon were the best known ballroom dancers of the early 20th century, and appeared in films and musicals.

22. Oracle's opening : I SEE.  Did you see this coming?

24. UPS competitor : DHL.  Shipping, transport, and import-export services company.

26. Lettuce variety : BIBB.  A type of head lettuce with a loose arrangement of leaves, known for its sweet flavor and tender texture.

27. Imam's faith : ISLAM.

28. Fondue choice : GOUDA.  A Big Cheese!

29. Knucklehead : SCHMO.  Typical Yiddish insult beginning with SCH-.  Originally an idiot or cuckold.

31. "Three Coins ..." fountain : TREVI.   In Rome.

32. Resolute about : SET ON.

35. Reserve soldier : GUARDSMAN.  This took a lot of perp help.

36. Minor dent : DING.

38. Put a bad present to good use : REGIFTED.  If "put to good use" means "got rid of."

40. Like daisies : RAYED.

43. Lillian of the silver screen : GISH.  Her movie career spanned 1912 to 1987.

45. Musical key abbr. : MIN.  Minor.  Here's an example from a major composer.  Note the shift to major from 1:43 to 1:57 in this 3 minute clip.

48. Smart-looking : JAUNTY

49. Enter quickly : DASH IN.

51. Character in "Donald's Nephews" (1938 cartoon) : LOUIE.  Along with Huey and Dewey

53. 5'7" Spud who won the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk contest : WEBB.  At 5'7", he's one of the shortest players in NBA history.  His career lasted from 1985 to '98.

54. "Rubáiyát" poet : OMAR. Per Wikipedia, Ghiyāth ad-Dīn Abu'l-Fatḥ ʿUmar ibn Ibrāhīm al-Khayyām Nīshāpūrī was a Persian polymath, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, and Islamic theology.  Busy guy.

55. Enjoy : LIKE

56. Bouquet : NOSE.  Aroma

58. Top-of-the-line : A-ONE.  Better than A-minus.

59. Visit with a guide : TOUR.

60. Money mgrs.? : EDSMoney Magazine Editors.  Sneaky.

64. Texter's "I didn't need to know that!" : TMI.  Too Much Information.

The theme was a tough nut to crack, and the long down fill further complicated the matter.  But still, a well-constructed, fun solve.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cool Regards

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 Jim Horne and Jeff Chen

Theme: What - the H?  or The H you say!   When you see a strikingly unusual grid, that's a strong hint that something out of the ordinary is up, and we got it today in spades.  I guess the big block H in the center of the grid, surrounded by horizontal and vertical brackets, serves as a unifier, of a sort.  Instead of a conceptual theme, today every horizontal and vertical entry contains the letter H.  I can't even imagine what was involved in putting this together.  For most of the fill, it's exactly exactly one time, but there are a few two H words. 

Hi Gang, JazzBumpa at the helm.  No Hemming and Hawing, let's have at it.


1. Scale on which diamond is assigned a "10" : MOHS.  Hardness of minerals.  Talc is softest. 

5. Owl's question? : WHO.  How should I know?

8. "Music __ charms ..." : HATH. To soothe a savage breast.  The actual quote has the word "HAS" not "HATH."  This is the first line of the play The Mourning Bride by William Congreve, spoken by Almeria in Act I, Scene 1.

12. The sego lily is its state flower : UTAH.  Hibiscus is Hawaii's

13. Map out : CHART.  Here are some of my charts [graphs, actually], if you're interested.  Six Decades of U. S. Population Growth.

15. Nymph rejected by Narcissus : ECHO.  He loved his image.  She loved her voice.  Unhappy ending

16. Actress Elisabeth : SHUE.  Heroine?

17. Deck opening : HATCH. For loading cargo.

18. Work on jerky : CHEW.  Holy mouthful, Batman.

19. WWII aircraft carrier plane : HELLCATHigh performing flyer.

21. Iowa native : HAWKEYE.

23. Tax-sheltered nest egg : ROTH IRA.

25. Hippy dance : HULA.  Hips in motion, not from the Haight-Ashbury hangout

28. 1963 Newman film : HUD.  Anti-hero.

29. Ousted Iranian : SHAH.  Horrible despot.

33. Arctic "snowshoe" critters : HARES.

34. Quizzical sounds : EHS.

35. Bears owner/coach who won eight NFL titles in four different decades : HALAS.  Highly successful.

37. Singer Piaf : EDITH.  Huge in France.

38. Soup base : BROTH.

39. Luxury craft : YACHT.

40. Quiet "Quiet!" : SHH.  Hush.

43. "Ulysses" actor Milo : O'SHEA.

44. Quaint pronoun : THEE.

45. "Isn't __ bit like you and me?": Beatles lyric : HE A.  Where is he?

46. Solvers' cries : AHAS.  Having that AHA moment.

47. Tremulous glow : SHIMMER.

50. Except : SHORT OF.

54. Beeline : MAD DASH.  Hurrying.

59. "Hava Nagila" dance : HORA.  Hold hands; dance in a circle.

60. Different : OTHER.   Who are you?

62. Worker welfare org. : Occupational Safety and Health Adminitration.

63. Progress slowly : INCH

64. Organ with chambers : HEART.  Has auricles and ventricles.

65. Son of Odin : THOR. Hammer guy.

66. Sinister chuckles : HEHS.

67. "Revenge is __ best served cold" : A DISH.  Has uncertain origin.

68. Seven: Pref. : HEPT-.  Is a member of a cool HEPTet a HEPT cat?


 1. Soft stuff : MUSH.

2. Will-wisp link : O' THE.  Hinkypunk - per Wikipedia, atmospheric ghost light seen by travelers at night, especially over bogs, swamps or marshes. It resembles a flickering lamp and is said to recede if approached, drawing travelers from the safe paths.

3. Truck : HAUL.

4. Poet Silverstein : SHEL.  He wrote Where the Sidewalk Ends.

5. Words said with a double take : WHAT THE.  Often followed by H  .  .  .

6. Fez, e.g. : HAT. Head cover.

7. Corsage flowers : ORCHIDS.

8. "Consarn it!" : HECK.  Not the H  .  .  . word I had in mind.

9. Motrin target : ACHE.   Hurts!

10. Those folks : THEY

11. Suffragette Julia Ward __ : HOWE. (1819-1910) Also abolitionist and poet, she wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

13. Former Labor secretary Elaine : CHAO.   Only cabinet member to serve under President George W. Bush for his entire administration; Wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

14. Where she blows : THAR.  Whale.

20. Vehicle safety measure : CRASH TEST.

22. Jug band percussion instrument : WASH BOARD.  Here's how it's done.

24. "Say what?" : HUH.

25. Tackled : HAD AT.  Attempted

26. "Vega$" actor : URICH.  Robert.

27. Mythical river of forgetfulness : LETHE.  Hades river, flowing around the cave of Hypnos and through the underworld.

30. Grating : HARSH.

31. "Hello, wahine!" : ALOHA. Hi.  Howaya?

32. Can't stand : HATES.

33. "You, there!" : HEY.

36. Doo-wop syllable : SHA.

40. Went from first to second, say : SHIFTED.  Ha - gears.  I wanted a stolen base.

41. Jeans bottom : HEM.  Stitchery.

42. Pounds : HAMMERS.  Like THOR.

48. Ado : HOOHA.   Or Brouhaha.

49. Mars neighbor : EARTH.  Heavenly orbs.

50. __ Tzu : SHIH.  Hairy hound

51. Fine-tune : HONE.

52. B'way seating area : ORCHestra.

53. Sounds from the stands : RAHS.  Hooray!

55. Shakespearean verb : DOTHHow DOTH the little crocodile?

56. 1975 Wimbledon winner : ASHE. Tennis star Arthur.

57. Hit the mall : SHOP.

58. Antlered deer : HART.

61. Ginza agreement : HAI はい "Yes" in Japanese.

How did you like this puzzle by Messrs. Horne and Chen ?  Has a couple of force-fit entries, but over-all pretty smooth construction, and quite an original concept.  Did anybody else think of Hard and soft G's?

Cool Regards!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, January 22, Kurt Krauss

Theme: THEM'S THE BREAKS or LEMEE OUTA HERE or BREAKING FREE.  In each theme answer, the letters of the word FREE are broken, and make bookends for the rest of the letters in the answer.

17 A. *Genealogist's tool : FAMILY TREE.  A graphic representation of parental relationships.  Here's ours.  I misread this as Geologists's tool, and was BAFFLED for a while.

24 A. *"Top Hat" leading man : FRED ASTAIRE.  Stage name for Frederick Austerlitz, actor, singer, dancer and choreographer, most famous for his dancing in 31 musical films.  Here he is with Ginger Rogers. (3:28)

 34 A. *Stewed chicken dish : FRICASSEE. In which the meat is cut up, sauteed, and traditionally served with a white sauce.  Almost, but not quite paprikas.

50 A. *Most serious or least serious : FIRST DEGREE.  Most serious for crimes, least for burns.

Note that the second and third theme entries are each broken differently, while the first and fourth are broken in the same way, making another kind of book end.

And the unifier:  58. Escapes, and, literally, what each of the answers to starred clues does :

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here.  I don't recall blogging one of Kurt's before.  Let's see if we can BREAK FREE some of this fill.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sweet Mistery of Life

Today, in honor of our 23rd wedding anniversary, I gave my lovely wife this card.

Today, in honor of our 23rd wedding anniversary, my lovely wife gave me this same card.

It is reminiscent of a picture we have hanging in the family room.


No!  Love - still the greatest mystery.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

L.A.Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 Daniel Nierenberg

Theme: Thicker than water.  The first word of each starred entry can follow the word BLOOD to yield a recognizable in-the-language phrase.

17. A *Marlin, for one : SPORT FISH.  A fish prized for the sport of catching it. Contrast minnows.  BLOOD SPORT is a sport in which blood is shed, such as hunting or cock fighting.

25. A *Source of endless funds : MONEY TREE.  As in: "He sure knows how to shake the MONEY TREE."  BLOOD MONEY has two quite different meanings. 1) money paid as compensation to a family for the loss of kin [Anglo-Saxon weregeld], and 2) money gained at the cost of another's life or livelihood.

30. A *Common Milky Way star : RED DWARF.   These relatively cool stars are, in fact, the most common in our region of the galaxy, but because they are so dim, none can be seen from earth with the naked eye. BLOOD RED is simply a descriptor for a deep red shade.

44. A *Billiards maneuver : BANK SHOT.  A shot in billiards which causes the cue ball or the object ball to rebound off a cushion before finding its target. Also a basketball shot that rebounds off the backboard. A BLOOD BANK is a storage facility for supplies of blood or plasma to be used in transfusions.

50. A *Part of a uniform : WORK SHIRT.  A heavy-duty shirt worn for manual or physical work. BLOOD WORK is laboratory analysis of blood for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.

11. D *Chocolate overdose consequence : SUGAR RUSH.  Hyperactivity caused by excessive sugar consumption.  BLOOD SUGAR is the concentration of glucose in the BLOOD stream, presumably elevated in a SUGAR RUSH.

32. D *What a driver's license may serve as : DONOR CARD.  A card that authorizes the use of your organs for transplants, after you've passed on.  A BLOOD DONOR is one who contributes blood for transfusion.

And the unifier:  62. A. Family relations, and what the first words of the answers to starred clues can have : BLOOD TIES.  Indicating an actual genetic relationship.  I have BLOOD TIES to 5 of the grandchildren, and Gloria has them to the other 6.  I'll leave sorting that out as an exercise for the interested reader. [They're all a year and a half older now.]

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here, hoping today's thickly-themed puzzle doesn't leave us too battered and bloody.  I'm feeling sanguine, so let's give it a shot.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Carpe Diem Goes Back to Its Roots #4

The goal is to write a classical 5/7/5 haiku with interchangeable first and third lines, a seasonal word, and a kireji, or cutting word, describing a discrete moment in time.  More detail at the link below.  The keriji is difficult to express or even to define in English.  When used at the end of the first or second line, it implies a pause, or caesura.  I'm taking that to be the basis of phrase and fragment construction.   I like to leave my haiku unpunctuated, but for this example indicate the kireji with a colon.

I experienced this haiku moment every time I looked out the window today.

twelve inches of snow:
as the temperature falls
no sound but the wind


in the brittle cold
my house makes cracking noises:
as if it's in pain

Carpe Diem Goes Back to Its Roots #4



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Carpe Diem #367, Kirov

We continue our journey through the novel ALEPH, and thus along the Trans-Siberian Railway, arriving at the ancient city of Kirov. 

This time I was intrigued by: "Paulo looks deep into the eyes of Hilal and enters the 'Aleph'."  Part of this experience is described as "feelings that simultaneously exalt and suffocate."  According to Wikipedia, the aleph is "a point where everything, the whole universe is contained."

Well, this is deep, and has nothing at all to do with the city of Kirov - except to the extent that the Aleph contains it, as well.

moment of aleph
eyes meet and we merge as one
sweet suffocation

I know phrase and fragment structure should have 1 caesura, never 2; but I couldn't bring it together that way.

moment of aleph
contains all of us ~ even
moose goose and spider

That one is a stretch, even for the all-containing aleph.  But - since we're all together here - why not?

Carpe Diem #367