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, July 18, 2018

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: The Great Park Adventure.  The Theme answers in this unusual grid can be combined with the word PARK to yield a meaningful phrase.  The brilliant aspect to it is that the sense of the word PARK is different in each instance.  Let's have a look.

1 D. *It may be political: SCIENCE.  Political SCIENCE is a field of study.  Whether it is an actual SCIENCE is a debate I will not engage at this time.  And politics is outside the limits of discussion on this blog, so caution is advised.  A SCIENCE PARK or RESEARCH PARK is a location where organizations devoted to the study of various aspects of SCIENCE are clustered.

6 D. *Period in the Age of Reptiles: JURASSIC.  This period lasted 46 million years, from 201 to 145 million years ago, when it was succeeded by the Cretaceous Period.  It began with a major extinction event which wiped out over half of all species known to have existed at that time. Two additional, but less severe, mass extinctions happened during the period. JURASSIC PARK is a science fiction movie in which dinosaurs are cloned from the DNA in fossilized remains, and much mayhem ensues.  There are several sequels in the franchise.  The subject PARK is a cross between a theme PARK and a nature PARK, but since it's used as a fiction title, I'll grant it it's own category.

11 D. *New Orleans time zone: CENTRAL.  The continental U.S. has 4 time zones, Eastern, CENTRAL, Mountain and Pacific.  This zone contains all of 9 states, and parts of 6 others.  CENTRAL PARK is located in Manhattan, New York City.  I'm sure it's the best known of New York's municipal PARKS, and was surprised to learn it is only the 5th largest.  It was established in 1857 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962.  I also went to CENTRAL Catholic High School in Toledo many decades ago, but that's off topic.

13 D. *Deep __: SOUTH.  This is a geographic and cultural region of the southern United States, not necessarily defined by state boundaries.  Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas are generally included, along with all or parts of other neighboring states.  SOUTH PARK is an animated TV show for adults, set in the fictional eponymous city, that features satire via dark, surreal humor on a variety of mature topics.

15 D. *Main idea: THEME.  The major topic of a talk, written work or exhibition.  A THEME PARK is an amusement park with a unifying idea or setting.  The Disney PARKS spring to mind. 

And, of course, the unifier -- 54A. Completes a road test maneuver ... or the answers to starred clues, as arranged: PARALLEL PARKS.  This is a parking maneuver in which the vehicle ends up parallel to the street edge or curb.  I used to be pretty good at this, but cannot remember having done it in many, many years.  In this uniquely designed grid, all the above mentioned PARKS are oriented vertically and parallel to each other.  And, as a no-extra-charge bonus, the puzzle is also a pangram, with 6 letters occurring one time each.  IMHO, this is quite stellar.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa in the driver's seat.  Let's take a cruise through the rest of this puzzle.


1. Moo __ pork: SHU.  Sounds like it should be beef, and actually can also be either that or chicken.  This is a northern Chinese dish of stir fried meat, onions and eggs, wrapped in thin pancakes and served over rice.

4. Low-level employment: MCJOB.  Had this entry the last time I blogged.  A lousy job with low pay and limited prospects.

9. Starz competitor: TMC.  Turner Classic Movies.  These are cable channels featuring movies as regular programming.

12. Police: COPS. Slangily.

14. Sweet text: I LUV U.  Because I LOVE YOU has way too many letters.  Possibly influenced by the 1965 Tony Award winning play and resulting 1967 movie romantic comedy LUV.  Or maybe not.

15. "No argument": TRUE.  I agree; amen brother.

16. "Don't make __ hard!": IT SO.  Somehow, I always manage to avoid the easy way.

17. Drew (in): LURED. Was attracted to.

18. Backwoods possessive: HIS'N.  Well, y'all, I ain't so sure 'bout this'n.

19. "__, Brute?": ET TU.  Big Julie's lament, when he was done in by his friends for being too ambitious.

20. Some ski lifts: T-BARS. These are devices which push the skier up the slope by providing a bar on which to sit or lean.

21. "It is the __, and Juliet is the sun": Romeo: EAST.  In this bright metaphor, Romeo refers not only to Juliets's beauty, but also suggests that her affection has relieved the darkness of his rejection by Rosaline.

22. "How cool!": NEATO.  Well done, Will!

24. Former JFK lander: SST. Super Sonic Transport - commercial passenger aircraft that traveled faster than the speed of sound.  The last flight was in 2003.

25. "Burnt" pigment: UMBER.  Raw UMBER is a brown earth pigment containing oxides of iron and manganese.   Heat transforms this into the more richly colored red-brown burnt UMBER by dehydrating the iron oxide.

26. Comic strip woman who married Irving: CATHY.

27. Baja bear: OSO. Spanish is spoken in Baja California.

28. Mac: FELLA.  Just some guy.

29. Language suffix: -ESE.  Englandese, Germanese, Francese.  This isn't working.

30. Prefaced: LED INTO.  Preceded whatever ensued.

33. Au pair's subj.: ESL.  A foreign person who provides housework and/or baby sitting services in exchange for room and board.  So that person might study English as a Second Language.

34. Many Olympic events: RACES. Running, swimming, various down-hill events

35. Wolfs (down): SCARFS. Gobbles, devours.

40. Vistula River city: KRAKOW.  Second largest city in Poland, and an academic, cultural and artistic center that dates from the 7th century.  Early settlements there go back to the stone age.

46. Chef's hat: TOQUE.  Does the hat matter as much as what's under it?

47. Little untruth: FIB.

50. Ewe-ish?: OVINE.  Does this one have Jeffrey feeling sheepish?  How wool we ever know?

51. Uncertainty: DOUBT.   Maybe; maybe not.

52. Master: ACE.  Someone who exhibits excellent skills.

53. Medieval weapons: MACES.  A MACE is a heavy club with a metal hear and spikes.

57. Game before the finals: SEMI. Game involving the last four eligible teams.  The winners move on to the finals.

58. Doughnut finish: GLAZE.  A mixture of confectioner's sugar in milk, applied to a fresh donut and allowed to dry.. 

59. Analogy words: IS TO.  A is to B as Y is to Z.

61. __ II razor: TRAC.  A double-bladed razor.

62. One wearing gloves to work: BOXER.  An athlete who engages in pugilistics.

63. Poolroom array: CUES.  Sticks used to strike the CUE balls.

64. Tax form IDs: SSNSSocial Security Numbers.

65. Pipsqueak: TWERP.  An insignificant silly and annoying person.

66. Omar of "House": EPPS. [b 1973] American actor, rapper, song writer and record producer.


2. Starbucks purchases: HOT TEAS. Alternatives to coffees.

3. Lake Placid, vis-a-vis New York City: UPSTATE.  A place or area farther north, from the coast, or at a higher elevation from one's present location.

4. Jazz vibraphonist Jackson: MILT. [1923 - 1999] His nickname was "Bags."

5. Spritzer mixer: CLUB SODA.  Carbonated water with either potassium carbonate, potassium sulfate or both added to enhance flavor.

7. Intimation: OVERTONE.  A subtle quality, implication or connotation.

8. Blossoms-to-be: BUDS.  a BUD is a growth element on a plant that develops into a leaf, flower or shoot.

9. Subject to court judgment: TRIABLE.  Able to be put on trial.

10. Common paella ingredients: MUSSELS.  Edible marine bivalve mollusks.

23. Skinny toon Olive: OYL.

25. Mysterious craft: UFO. Unidentified Flying Objects, typically suspected of being of extra-terrestrial origin.

31. Stammering sounds: ERS.  Along with ems and ums.

32. Disapproving sound: TSK.  Tongue clucking sounds.

35. Criterion: Abbr.: STD.  Standard, or benchmark against which something may be judged..

36. Craftsmen paid by the barrel?: COOPERS.   They make and repair barrels and casks.

37. Atlantis dweller of comics: AQUAMAN.  I mis-read this as Atlanta dweller, and was vary confused.  He first appeared in MORE FUN COMICS #73 [November, 1941]; then in the late 50's became a founding member of The Justice League.

38. Protocols: RUBRICS.  Statements of policies, purpose or action.

39. Greek cheese: FETA. A Greek white cheese made from the milk of ewes or goats.

41. Tomato variety: ROMA.  A firm, meaty, flavorful tomato, suitable for canning and making paste and sauce.

42. Greed: AVARICE.  Extreme covetous materialism.

43. Creates, as a fuss: KICKS UP.

44. Ragtime dance: ONE STEP.  Shortest direct route from A to B?  With possible KICKING UP.

45. Director Craven: WES.  Best known for horror films of the slasher variety.

47. Uncultivated, as farmland: FALLOW.  Plowed, but left unsown, to restore fertility as a part of crop rotation.

48. Mountaineer's aid: ICE AXE.  Item used by climbers to cut footholds in the ice.  It has a fead with one flat and one pointed end, and a spike on the foot.

49. Richard of "Law & Order: SVU": BELZER. [b 1944] American actor, author and comedian.

55. Pride parade letters: LGBTLesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered.  The initialism has been adopted as self-identification by those so described, and is intended to emphasize the the diversity of sexuality and gender identity-based cultures.

56. Heist puller: PERP.  The original meaning of a term [that we have adopted here for some fell purpose of our own] is as the PERPETRATOR of a crime, i.e. the guilty party.

57. City map parts: Abbr.: STS.  Along with Aves. Blvds. and Pkwys.

60. CIA predecessor: OSSOffice of Strategic Services, founded in 1942 to coordinate espionage activities behind enemy lines for all armed forces branches.  other functions included the use of propaganda, subversion and post-war planning.  It was dissolved by President Truman in 1945, and it's functions assigned to other agencies.  In 1946 the Central Intelligence Group was formed by the Presidnet.  The National Security act of 1947 established the Central Intelligence Agency, which then took up OSS functions.

Having completed our maneuver, we are now safely PARKED at the finish line of this UNPARALLELED puzzle.  Hope you enjoyed the excursion.

Cool regards!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 Jeffrey Wechsler

Theme: Buried Treasures.  Highly desirable, indeed, coveted items are concealed in multi-word answers.  Let's look first at the unifier to see what kind of hidden words we should look for.

53 A. They're "presented" in 20-, 28- and 46-Across: ACTING AWARDS. They'll be identified in the theme entries below - "presented," yes, but in an obscure way.

20 A. "What a terrifying experience!": I WAS SO SCARED.  We've all had those moments.  You know what yours are.  Twenty-four OSCARs are presented each year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science for acting and various other categories of artistic and technical excellence.

28 A. "Love to everyone!": GIVE THEM MY BEST.  Lots of affection to spread around.  The EMMY awards are presented at various times throughout the year for excellence in television by three different organizations -  the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

46. Leave the firm to work solo: GO OUT ON YOUR OWN. Do you have that entrepreneurial spirit?  The TONY awards recognize excellence in Broadway plays.  They are presented at an annual ceremony in New York by the American Theater Wing and the Broadway League.

Hi, Gang - JazzBumpa on center stage today, a bit surprised to not see an Independence Day theme.  But we do have a fine entry by Jeffrey.  So let's read this script down and see if we can act on it.

But first - come on, it's the 4th of July, so this is mandatory.

Who doesn't love the Muppets?
OK - back to business.


1. Error: SLIP.  Starting off with a mistake.  Did somebody miss a cue or forget their lines?

5. Place for a panel: DAIS.  A low platform for a lectern, seats of honor or a throne. STAGE also fits.

9. Chemistry lab fluids: ACIDS.  Solutions of pH less than 7, capable of neutralizing alkaline materials by donating a proton or accepting an electron pair.  Sorry for going all geeky on you.  Long ago I was a chemist.

14. "Gray's Anatomy," for one: TOME.  A large, heavy or scholarly BOOK [which also fits, BTW,] not the like-named TV drama.

15. Austen novel: EMMA. A comedy of manners set in Regency England.  The eponym considers herself to be a match-maker, and misadventures ensue.

16. Four-page sheet: FOLIO.  This is one of three page-related meanings indicated by this word.

17. Wilson of "Father Figures": OWEN. Actor, producer and screen-writer who received an OSCAR nomination for best screen play for co-writing The Royal Tannenbaums with Wes Anderson

18. Ground corn, e.g.: MEAL.  The edible portion of ground grain.

19. "Poems are made by fools like me" poem: TREES.  By Joyce Kilmer.

I think that I shall never see 
A poem lovely as a tree. 

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest 
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; 

A tree that looks at God all day, 
And lifts her leafy arms to pray; 

A tree that may in Summer wear 
A nest of robins in her hair; 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain; 
Who intimately lives with rain. 

Poems are made by fools like me, 
But only God can make a tree.

23. __ Major: constellation: CANIS.  Had the sky bears last week, along with Orion the Hunter.  Today, it's going to the dogs.  This is the big one, Orion's hunting dog, Laelaps.

24. Fitting: APROPOS. Apropriate, apt, timely.  From French, meaning "on that subject."

32. Summer on the Seine: ETE.  A French season that is not tarragon.

33. Sch. term: SEM.  Short or long, a school term is a semester.

34. Author Joyce Carol __: OATES. [b. 1938] Author of over 40 novels, and many plays, short stories, novellas and poems.

35. Arctic deer: CARIBOU.  Also known as reindeer, they are native to all sorts of arctic and sub arctic terrain in Europe, Siberia and North America.

38. Org. providing creature comfort?: ASPCAAmerican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  Be kind to your hunting dog.  Or caribou.

42. Sue Grafton's "__ for Lawless": L IS.  Her alphabet mystery series started with A is for Alibi.  I lost interest around D.

43. "Cats" monogram: T S EThomas Sterns Elliot.  Jellicle Cat comes from his infant niece's attempts to say "calico cat," or perhaps it was "dear little cat."  Some things are uncertain.

50. Run: OPERATE.  Be in control of.

51. "There is __ in the affairs of men": Brutus: A TIDE. "  .  .  .  Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune."  Sounds like an opportunist to me.

57. Sprint, e.g.: TELCO.  Telecommunications Company.

60. Bearded critter: GOAT.  I wanted a GNU, the the news is - that didn't fit.

61. Picket fence piece: SLAT.  Aka -- picket.  If you are keenly interested, this vid might be fascinating.  Otherwise, it might cure insomnia.

62. First-stringers: A-TEAM.  The best ones we have.

63. Quasimodo creator: HUGO.  Victor [1802 - 1885] One of the best known French novelists.  Q is The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  His other famous work is Les Miserables.  Two of my grandsons were in a youth production of the musical a few years AGO.  Watching them die at the barricade was wrenching.

64. Head, in Le Havre: TETE.  French.  I have no head for French.

65. Muckety-muck: NABOB.  A person of conspicuous wealth or high status.  Sometimes used ironically about one who overestimates himself.

66. Lose one's cool: SNAP.  Throw a fit.

67. River of central Germany: EDER.  A 177 Km long tributary of the Fulda, a 220 KM long tributary of the Weser, a 281 Km long river which flows through Bremen and empties into the North Sea at Bremerhaven.  From this port my Hungarian grandmother came to America, lo, these many years past.


1. Unlikely to become overwrought: STOIC.  One who does not show emotion, named for the 3rd century B.C. Greek school of philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium.  This was a philosophy of personal ethics based on logic and an unwillingness to give in to the passions of the moment, with a view towards fairness and justice.

2. Like a McJob, typically: LOW WAGE.  Also with few prospects, for which the worker is typically over-qualified.

3. "This is serious!": I MEAN IT.  Not joking, this time.

4. Thoughtful: PENSIVE.  Long ago I saw a movie that had a snippet of dialog that went something like this --

He: You look pensive.
She: No.  I was just thinking  .  .  .

Don't remember what movie it was.

5. Sales rep's aid: DEMO.  A working model or example, used to demonstrate the product

6. Iowa college city: AMES.  Iowa State U. is in AMES, which is about 30 miles north of Des Moines.

7. All-in-one Apple desktop: I-MAC.  Computer.

8. Arabic for "peace": SALAAM.

9. Door holder's words: AFTER YOU

10. Andalusian city: CORDOBA.  In southern Spain, this area has been occupied since Neaderthal times. The city originated as a Roman settlement, then was a center of Muslim culture from the 8th century until it was recaptured by Christian forces in 1236.  It is the hottest city in Europe with an average high temperature of 37 C [99 F] in July and August.

11. Martinique, par exemple: ILE.  An island in the Lesser Antilles.

12. Quit working: DIE.  Said of batteries and machinery.  I quit working almost a decade ago, and am still alive.

13. Coast Guard pickup: SOS.  An international code signal indicating great distress and an urgent need for help, used especially by ships at sea.

21. Chicago-to-Chattanooga dir.: SSE. South-southeast.  Maybe even add in another south.

22. LP's 33 1/3: RPM.  Spin [or should I say "swirl"] rate of Long Playing phonograph records, in Revolutions Per Minute.

25. Adoptee from the 38-Across, perhaps: PET.  An animal taken into a person's home to live.

26. Sugar suffix: -OSE.  Glucose, dextrose, fructose, etc.  I wasn't able to track down the origin with only minimal effort, so we can all wonder why.

27. GPS lines: STS.  Streets.

29. Safety org. with "Travel Tips" blog posts: TSATransportation Security Administration.

30. Part of HMS: HER. The other parts are "Majesty's" and "Ship," because the Queen owns the navy.

31. First name in American poetry: EMILY.  Dickenson [1830 - 1886]

Ample Make This Bed

Ample make this bed.
Make this bed with awe;
In it wait till judgment break
Excellent and fair.

Be its mattress straight,
Be its pillow round;
Let no sunrise' yellow noise
Interrupt this ground.

- Emily Dickenson

35. Ancient underground tunnel: CATACOMB.  Originally, a subterranean cemetery, with recesses for tombs, as constructed by the Romans. Less strictly, any similar underground construction.

36. Sci. course: BIOlogy.

37. Stillwater sch.: OSU.  Oklahoma State University, not THE O. S. U.

38. In the past: AGO.  Derived from an obsolete Middle English verb used to indicate the passage of time.

39. Absorb, with "up": SOP.  As a sponge, or slice of bread.

40. "The Tell-Tale Heart" author: POE. Edgar Alan [1809-1849.]  The story of a murder, committed for no known reason, as told by the murderer, who wants us to think he is sane.

41. Mai tai liqueur: CURACAO.  It is flavored with the dried peel of the laraha, a bitter orange native to the Lesser Antilles island for which the drink is named.

43. How food may be salted: TO TASTE.  A lot or a little - your choice.

44. Moved like a dust devil: SWIRLED.  A dust devil is a well-formed, generally harmless whirl-wind a few meters wide with an upward thrust. It is formed when a pocket of warm surface air rises through cooler air above it.

45. Last chance to catch a live show: END DATE.  The date on which something comes to a close.

47. Baseball legend Mel: OTT. [1909 - 1958] Right fielder for the New York Giants from 1926 to 1947; 6-time National League home run leader; All-Star for 11 consecutive seasons; inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1952.

48. Paddock sounds: NEIGHS.  Horses, not whispering.

49. Like fish in ceviche: RAW.  This dish is popular in the Pacific coastal regions of Latin America.  The fresh fish is cured in citrus juices and spiced with peppers, and other seasonings such as onions and cilantro.  It must be prepared and eaten fresh, since it is not cooked.

52. Fragrant compound: ESTER. Formed by the reaction of an alcohol with a carboxylic acid.  Low molecular weight ESTERS are usually pleasantly fragrant.  They commonly occur in the essential oils of plants, and are responsible for the aromas of fruits.

54. Soup or salad: NOUN.  Maybe it's just me, but I find this type of reflexive clue to be profoundly annoying.

55. Wildly enthusiastic (over): GAGA.  Are you enthusiastic?

They have way too much fun

56. Surmounting: ATOP.  On top of.

57. Khaki kin: TAN.  Colors, not fabrics.

58. Landing hr. calculation: ETAEstimated Time of Arrival.

59. Isr. neighbor: LEBanon.  To the north.

Well, not surprisingly, I had my nit, but this was still a fine and fun outing from Jeffrey.

I'll close with some musical selections from last Thursday's concert when your humble trombonist performed with the Plymouth Community Band at Kellogg Park.  This program is traditional for the last performance before the 4th of July, and draws, by far, the largest audience of the Summer.  Videos courtesy of my Lovely Wife.

Cool regards - and have a happy and blessed holiday.

Liberty Fanfare and the National Anthem

America the Beautiful, Olympic Fanfare and Armed Forces Salute

And - to counter-balance that bit of foolishness at the top --

The Best Sousa march EVAH!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

L.A. Times Crossword Wednesday, June 27, 2018 Bill Zagozewski

Theme:  Failure of imagination on my part, maybe, but I can't come up with anything better than the reveal:

60. "Careful now" ... and a hint to what's hidden in 17-, 27- and 46-Across: EASY DOES IT.

Unless I'm missing something else [always a possibility] this indicates that in the two-or-three-word theme entries, the penultimate word ends in E, and the last word starts with Z; the spoken letters E-Z being phonetically equivalent to EASY.  See - it's not hard.

17. Marmalade ingredient: ORANGE ZEST.  So, it's ZEST, not PEEL, as I originally entered, and the jar in my fridge lists as an ingredient.   I'm a big fan of this jam-like preserve, but my lovely wife doesn't like it at all.  

27. Sign near school playgrounds: DRUG FREE ZONE.  Keeping our kids clean and sober.

46. Theoretical lowest temperature: ABSOLUTE ZERO.  Take some cold comfort in knowing there is a limit to how cold it can get.  This is ZERO on the Kelvin scale, -273.15 Celsius, or -459.67 Fahrenheit. Anyone for some ice cream?

Hi gang, JazzBumpa on duty.  Let's proceed and see how E-Z  today's puzzle is.


1. Far direction?: EAST.   There's a near EAST and a far EAST, which can be reached by traveling west.  That is circular reasoning.

5. Frankfurt's river: ODER.  Es gibt twei Frankurt.  Frankfurt am Main und Fankfurt an der Oder.  The Oder river rises in the Czech Republic and flows north-ish through Poland and defines 187 Km of the Germany-Poland border.  At 525 Km, the Main is the longest river completely contained in Germany.  It meanders in every direction imaginable, but ultimately westward, where it joins the Danube at the city of Mainz.  Strangely, the two names are not related.

9. Word repeated in a historic FDR quote: FEAR.  Nothing to FEAR here, move right along.

13. Formal "no" from 14-Across: VETO.  A bill passed by both houses of congress can be signed into law by 14. A or vetoed.  To over-ride a veto requires a two-thirds majority vote in both houses.

14. White House VIP: POTUS. President Of The United States.

16. Tomb Raider's __ Croft: LARA.

19. Takes the stage: IS ON.  After waiting in the wings, perhaps.

20. Hunter constellation: ORION.

21. Violent windstorm: TEMPEST.  Traces utimately back to Latin Tempus, meaning time, via Tempastas, meaning season.

23. Ceaselessly: NO END.  Going on and on and  .  .  .

26. City in Florida or Italy: NAPLESNAPLES [Napoli] Italy is a city in southern Italy, not far from Mt. Vesuvius.   It dates to the 2nd millennium, B. C. and has many centuries of important art and architecture.  NAPLES, FLA is an up-scale city in souther FLA on the Gulf of Mexico, surrounded by miles of white sand beaches.

31. Geological period: EON.  In geology and astronomy, one billion years; casually, an indefinite but very long time period.

32. __ trap: SET A.  Literally, make a trap ready to catch an animal; figuratively, invent a plan to catch someone doing something wrong.

33. Bear in two constellations: URSA.  Major and Minor, AKA Big and Little Dippers.

36. Symbol of rank: BADGE.

39. Former U.N. leader Hammarskjöld: DAG.  Swedish economist and diplomat who served as the 2nd Secretary General of the U. N.

40. Biblical song: PSALM.   A sacred hymn, specifically in the O.T Book of Psalms.    Here is a setting of Psalm 74 in the Russian chant style by Russian composer Pavel Chesnikov, arranged by Holland, that we performed last year.  One of the most beautiful compositions I've ever played.

42. Division on a Clue board: ROOM.  Have you played the Harry Potter version?  It murders the players.

43. Sardine holders: TINS.  Metal containers.  Cans also fits.

45. Philosopher __-tzu: LAO.  Ancient Chinese philosopher and writer, and founder of Taosim.  Quote: "Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."

50. Brownish horse: SORREL.  A horse of various reddish-brown hues, with same color or lighter mane and tail.  Sometimes also called chestnut; there is confusion and controversy about the two names.

53. Yarn: STORY.  Generally one that challenges the willing suspension of disbelief.

54. Mathematical proposition: THEOREM.  A proposition that is not self-evident, but can be proven by a chain of reasoning.

56. City near the Great Salt Lake: OGDEN. In the Bee Hive State.

59. Prego competitor: RAGU.  Pasta Sauces.

64. Turkmenistan neighbor: IRAN.  Turkmenistan is South of Uzbekistan, North of Afghanistan, North-east of Iran.

65. Green __: THUMB.  High level of gardening ability.

66. Actress Blanchett: CATE.  Among her many other roles, she portrayed the Elf Queen Galadriel.

67. Remain undecided: PEND.  Decisions  .  .  .

68. "Haven't decided yet": I MAY.  Still thinking  .  .  .

69. Topple from power: OUST.  Via the voting booth, or revolution.


1. Bolivian leader Morales: EVO.  President since 2006, and the first to come from the indigenous population.

2. Prefix with dynamic: AERO-.  Relating to the motion physics of air or other fluids around moving bodies.

3. Headliner: STAR.  An actor or other performer, not a celestial body.

4. Weight-training activity: TONING. Body definition from moderate muscle building and loss of fat.

5. Bar gadgets: OPENERS.  For various kinds of bottles.

6. Egg qty.: DOZ.  They usually come in cartons of 12.  Note abrv. in cl. & ans.

7. Bastille Day saison: ETE.  French Summer.

8. Fall color: RUST.  This year sure is going by quickly.  Autumn leaves are various shades of red.

9. Diving gear: FLIPPERS.  Quasi-fish feet.

10. Prop for Picasso: EASEL.  Art supporter.

11. Came up: AROSE.  Emerged, became apparant.

12. Flies off the handle: RANTS.  Loses it.

15. Shorthand expert, for short: STENOgrapher.

18. Cause for an "Oops!": GOOF.  Error, mistake, faux pas.

22. "Don't be such a baby!": MAN UP.  Be brave or tough enough to deal with it.

24. Must: NEED TO.  Meet or satisfy a requirement.

25. Nuts and bolts, so to speak: DETAILS.  God is there - or the devil, depending on your point of view.

27. Cotillion girl: DEButant.  Young ladies introduced to polite society at a formal ball.

28. Katy Perry hit with the lyric "Louder, louder than a lion": ROAR.

29. PC command after an "Oops!": UNDO.  I can realate.

30. Hershey bar in a red-and-yellow wrapper: ZAGNUT.  Peanut brittle and cocoanut with a small amount of cocoa - no chocolate to melt and make a mess.

34. Mall event: SALE.  Price reduction promotion.

35. Bygone apple spray: ALAR.  Daminozide, a plant growth regulator used to keep unripe apples from falling off the tree from 1963 to 1989, when it was voluntarily withdrawn doe to cancer fears.

37. Skirt: GO AROUND.  Evade, avoid.

38. Fireplace bit: EMBER. Glowing ash.

41. Sound from the pasture: MOO.  The song of cows.

44. Stuck with, as a friend: STOOD BY.  A friend, indeed.

47. Wintry mix component: SLEET.  Frozen rain.

48. Therefore: ERGO.  Hence, for that reason, consequently.

49. Bayou music style: ZYDECO.

50. __ mining: STRIP.   A form of extraction, most commonly used for coal, in which the surface soil and rocks are removed to reveal the mineral, which is then extracted with heavy machinery.

51. Midwestern hub: O'HARE.  Chicago airport.

52. Lear daughter: REGAN. The  middle child. Her sisters are Cordelia and the eldest, unfortunately named Goneril.

55. Half a fish: MAHI.  No better than half a fly.  MEH!

57. Jacob's twin: ESAU. Biblical antagonists.

58. Quibbles: NITS.  Half a fish, for example.

61. Bottom line: SUM.  Of an added-up column of numbers.

62. Singer Sumac: YMA. [1923-2008] Peruvian coluratura soprano with a vocal range of over 4 1/2 octaves.

63. Saigon holiday: TET.  Vietnamese lunar new year.

That's it.  Not to hard, not too E-Z, and not bad, though I had my half-nit, or so. Thus endeth another Wednesday.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Mark McClain

Theme: I'M OUTA HERE! The first word of two-word entries is a synonym for some kind of void.

17. Horror film setting: VACANT HOUSE.  I'm not a maven of this genre, but it seems like an appropriately scary choice.

24. Rural "Out of the office" sign: GONE FISHING.  Alternatively, in slang, oblivious or unconcerned about the realities of daily life.  Also, this:

37. Ammo for a starter pistol: BLANK CARTRIDGES.  Contains gunpowder, but no bullet or shot.  When fired, the blank makes a flash and an explosive sound (report), the wadding is propelled from the barrel of the gun, and the firearm's action cycles. [Wikipedia]

48. One whose "chicks" have flown?: EMPTY NESTER.  Parents in the house, after the children are grown and gone.  Tough transition for many.  Our kids are approaching that point in life.

59. Explanation for an evolutionary transition: MISSING LINK. Presumed gap in the evolutionary fossil record.  Most scientists find the term to be cringe-worthy.

Hi gang, JzB NOT absent today, and here to lead the way through - well - nothing, really.  The irony is that, with 5 entries, a theme built around absence is so full of thematic richness.  Let's see if we can poke holes in the rest of the puzzle.


1. Bullpen hero: CLOSER.  The pitcher who is usually brought in for the 9th inning of a game when his team has a small lead he is supposed to protect.

7. Technical opening?: PYRO.  PYRO-technical refers to fireworks displays or a brilliant performance of some specific skill.  Fireworks and affix clues generally leave me cold.

11. Juan or Jose lead-in: SAN.  City names.  SAN Jose is the capital of Costa Rica.   SAN Juan is a town in Trinidad and Tobago, located in the San Juan-Laventille Region in Saint George County.

14. Mom's sis: AUNTIE.  My Mom's twin sis is still alive and will be 97 in a few days.

15. Semi warning: HORN.  Beep-beep.

16. Asian menu general: TSO.

19. Physicist with a law: OHM.  His law states that the current through a conductor is equal to the voltage divided by the resistance: I = V/R.  R is a constant property of the conducting item, and the current flow depends on the applied voltage.

20. Bird feeder cake: SUET.  White animal fat.  The fat is white.  The color of the animal doesn't matter.

21. Common math base: TEN.  The base is the number of symbols [numerals or letters] that a counting system uses to represent numbers.  In base TEN, these symbols are the digits 0 through 9.

22. Ocean dots: ISLES.  Dots represent small islands on maps.

27. Acting twins Mary-Kate and Ashley: OLSENS.  Former child actresses, born in 1986, they shared the roll of Michelle Tanner on the TV series FULL HOUSE.  They have had several other acting projects, and are now fabulously wealthy fashion designers.

30. Feel some pain: ACHE.  Day-after-yard-work syndrome.

31. Send forth: ISSUE.  Emit.

32. Hotshot: ACE.  High-level performer.   What you want your CLOSER to be.

33. Easy gait: LOPE.  A long, bounding stride.

41. Zingers: MOTS.  Short for Bon MOT, which is French for "good word," said of a witticism or biting retort.

42. Vote, say: OPT.  Make a choice from among a range of options.  Also from French, and ultimately Latin optare, choose or wish.

43. Title Kazakh in a 2006 spoof: BORAT.  More low humor.

44. Big heads?: EGOS.  In psychoanalysis, the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.  More loosely, a person's sense of self esteem and importance.  In context, an overweening self-importance.

46. Revolver?: PLANET.  Each PLANET in the solar system rotates on its axis and revolves around the sun.

52. Color separator: PRISM.  This video, just under 6 minutes, gets pretty deep into the weeds.  I suspect Gary, at least, will like it.

53. __ Gang: OUR.   Kids comedy team from back in the day.  There are lots of long vids on YouTube, if you want to go down that rabbit hole.  Here's a short excerpt.  Evidently the piano was over-dubbed later, so this 7-yr-old did a really good job of staying in tune on this great old song.

54. Minimally: A BIT. Not too much off the top.  It's thin there.

58. Many times, in poems: OFT.  Because "frequently" is hard to work into the metric scheme.

63. Pointillism unit: DOT.  A neo-impressionist painiting technique that uses tiny dots of pure color that become blended in the viewer's eye.  Interesting counter-point [so to speak] to the prism we encountered not so very long ago.

64. Stirring solo: ARIA.   An operatic song, not mixing alone in the kitchen.

65. Rio Grande city: EL PASO.  In far west Texas, across from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

66. George Strait's "All My __ Live in Texas": EXS.  As long as we're in Texas, why not.   George Strait is one of the few country singers I can tolerate for more than about 12 seconds.  Here's a link.

67. Watch over: TEND.

68. Bird hangouts: ROOSTS.  Birds' resting spots.  They usually sit upright on roosts.  Bats, however, will hang.  Just sayin'  .  .  .


1. LeBron et al., briefly: CAVS.  LeBron James and his team mates on the Cleveland Cavaliers professional basketball team.

2. Waikiki party: LUAU.  A traditional Hawaiian party or feast that is usually accompanied by entertainment. It may feature food such as poi, Kalua pig, poke, lomi salmon, opihi, haupia and beer, and entertainment such as traditional Hawaiian music and hula. [Wikkipedia]

3. Back in the day: ONCE. Frex, when the OUR GANG kids were kids.

4. Saves, for a 1-Across: STAT.  If the lead is 3 runs or fewer in the expected final inning of a baseball game when the CLOSER enters, it's a save situation.  If he then shuts down the inning without the opposing team either tying or going ahead, his team wins, and the save is recorded.  Otherwise, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

5. Strauss' "__ Heldenleben": EIN.  "A Hero's Life," an 1898 tone poem by Richard Strauss.  In it's entrirety, it lasts ca. 50 minutes.  Here is a short low brass excerpt - and, oh, boy, are these guys good!

6. 1984 Olympics gymnastics standout: RETTON.  Mary Lou [b 1968] won a gold medal, along with 2 silver and 2 bronze, back in the day.

7. LG product: PHONE.  LG Electronics Inc. is a South Korean multinational electronics company headquartered in Yeouido-dong, Seoul, South Korea, and is part of the LG Group, employing 82,000 people working in 119 local subsidiaries worldwide. [Wikipedia]

8. "That's so __!": YOU.  Said of clothing or a situation that seems to suit a person perfectly.

9. $200 Monopoly props.: RRS.  The Rail Road properties.

10. Vague lunch date time: ONE-ISH.  Approximately 1:00 pm.  Hold a spot for me.

11. Skyy alternative, familiarly: STOLI.  Vodkas. Skyy, now available in at least 17 flavors, is owned by the Campari Group of italy.   Stolichnaya [for long] comes form the former Soviet Union.  Ownership is disputed between a Russian state owned company and a private company owned by a Russian billionaire.

Now vodka is fine in its place;
in martinis, though, never a trace!
It’s swilled on the docks,
Can be used to clean clocks,
The gearwork, the hands and the face.

12. Looking drained: ASHEN.  Pale from shock, fear or illness.

13. Chinese menu promise: NO MSGMonoSodium Glutmate, a flavor enhancer.

18. Coop residents: HENS.  Not sure if they are allowed to occupy the ROOSTS.

23. Jim's role on "The Big Bang Theory": SHELDON.

24. Best Buy "Squad" member: GEEK.  Computer experts.

25. It's true: FACT.  Something that is indisputably correct - though you can always find somebody who will dispute it.  Cf, Flat Earth Society.

26. One piping frosting: ICER.   Cake decorator.

27. Kon-Tiki Museum city: OSLOThe museum presents a broad selection of Thor Heyerdahl's life work.

28. Hurdle for atty. wannabes: LSAT. Law School Admission Test.

29. Stereotypical Western-ending backdrops: SUNSETS.

31. Watson's company: IBM.  Watson is a computer designed to answer questions asked in natural language.

32. National Gallery attraction: ART.  The Gallery is an ART museum located on the National Mall in Washington D. C.

34. Meanie: OGRE.  A mythical man-eating giant, or, figuratively a mean-spirited boss, or bully.

35. Fuel used in some whisky production: PEAT.  An earthy material made of partly decomposed vegetation.  It's used in Scotland for whisky production.  Anywhere else?

36. Md. winter hours: ESTEastern Standard Time.

38. Masked critter: COON.  The raccoon is the largest animal of the procyonid family,

39. Holy recess: APSE.  Usually the semi-circular or polygonal shaped end of a church, where the altar is located.

40. Building girder: I-BAR.  A metal structural beam shaped like the letter I.  this shape maximizes stability in all dimensions.

45. Floor exercise surface: GYM MAT.

46. Spitting sound: PTUI.  Erm  .  .  .

47. "My Fair Lady" lyricist: LERNER.    Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe also collaborated on Camelot, Brigadoon and Paint Your Wagon.

48. Lyric poem: EPODE.  A form written in couplets, with alternating long and short lines.  Another meaning is the third and final part of an ode, following the strophe and the antistrophe  Last time out, I had EPOS, and didn't know that, either.

49. "Fantastic" Dahl character: MR. FOX.    Eponym for the 1970 novel, and then 2009 movie.  A rare story, in which a predator is the hero, and the farmers and their live stock are the enemy.

50. Pulitzer-winning columnist Leonard: PITTS.  His home paper is the Miami Herald.  He won his Pulitzer in 2004.

51. "Alas!": SO SAD.  [sigh]

54. Lunch for Spot, maybe: ALPO.  A dog, and his dinner.

55. Fairness obstacle: BIAS.  A skewed point of view that enables interpreting new information as confirmation of existing beliefs, even when it isn't.

56. Brookings, e.g.: Abbr.: INSTitution, a century-old American research group on Think Tank Row in Washington, D.C. It conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and global economy and development. [Wikipedia] 

57. Boxing stats: TKO'sTechnical Knock Out.  A decision by the referee or ring physician that the boxing match cannot safely continue.

60. Fury: IRE.  Anger.

61. Ignore a Commandment: SIN.  A transgression of divine law.

62. Day-__: GLO.  An American paint and pigment company, and it's registered trademark for luminescent decorative products.

That wraps up another Wednesday, in a bright and colorful manner.  Here's the filled-in grid, then I really am outa-here.

Cool regards!


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

L.A. Times Crossword, Wednesday, April 25, 2018 Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke

Theme:  Whatever moves you.   The second word of each 2 or 3 word theme entry indicates a descriptor for being highly motivated.  I wouldn't say they are quite synonyms, by they do have a common feel.  These are the characteristics of ambition and, with along with some luck, skill, and tenacity, success - in business, sports, music or any meaningful endeavor.

17 A. Solar power, e.g. : RENEWABLE ENERGY.  Five types are recognized: solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric. Personally, ENERGY is what gets you out of bed to face the challenges of the day.

26 A. Soul mate : KINDRED SPIRIT.  Those with similar interests and attitudes are KINDRED SPIRITS.  Soul mates are bound together more tightly than that, IMHO.  Many years ago, I wrote a sonnet about them [see below].    Personally, SPIRIT is the enthusiasm that keeps you going.


There are those whose lives are meant to be entwined,
Lovers thrust together by the force of destiny,
When choice and fate converge, that they may be
Connected at the soul, the heart, the mind.

Within their closed circumference one can find
Two curves in perfect fit -- his yang, her yin,
That in each cycle once again begin
To cluster into love's sweet spiral bind.

But consider -- if in the vast span of infinity
One of them becomes displaced in small degree;
Is born a decade late, perhaps is sent
To the farthest corner of the continent --

The distant echo of an unfelt touch, an unseen face.
Who will be the one who comes to take his place?

48 A. Heavy military barrage : ARTILLERY FIRE.  An assault using cannons, mortars, and other weaponry with greater range fire power than rifles and hand guns.  Personally, FIRE [as, in the belly] is powerful ambition and determination.

63 A. Common transmission feature : FRONT WHEEL DRIVE.  Unsurprisingly, this is a tranny system that provides power to the front wheels of a vehicle.  Personally, DRIVE is the urge, sometimes innate, to achieve a goal or satisfy a need. 

This theme is at once simple, but also possibly a bit elusive.  And there's plenty of it, with 2 grid-spanning entries and 2 more at 13 letters each.  The trade-off is more words of shorter length than is typical for a Wednesday.  The lack of a unifier mid-week is also a little strange.

Hi, gang, JazzBumpa here, somehow feeling motivated.  How about you?  Lets FIRE it up, get the SPIRIT moving, and use that ENERGY to DRIVE through today's puzzle.


1. Dull : HO-HUM.  What - bored already?  C'mon, let's keep it moving - at least as far as 20A.

6. "Stronger than dirt" cleanser : AJAX.  This is how I remember it.  [Yes, I am THAT old!]

10. PCs' "brains" : CPUSCentral Processing Units.

14. Backspace over : ERASE.  On a computer, not a typewriter.

15. Try to throw, at a rodeo : BUCK.  The highly motivated action of an unwillingly mounted animal.

16. Tall concert instrument : HARP.  One harp player I've worked with transports hers in a repurposed hearse.

20. Animal that sounds dull : BOAR.  Male hog.  Here's an insect that sounds even duller.
21. Those opposed : NAYS.  Used in voice votes.

22. Simplifies : EASES.

23. Charged particle : ION.  Formed by the transfer of an electron from one atom or molecule to another.

25. Gender problem : GAP.  The discrepancy between men and women in opportunities, status, attitudes, etc.

33. Humiliate : ABASE.  Disrespect.

34. Grand-scale poetry : EPOS.  EPIC also fits, and giving it up gave me fits.

35. It's right on the map : EAST.  Clever clue.  I like it.

38. Slo-mo reviewer : REF.  Baseball, football and hockey all have slo-motion replay reviews for close calls.

39. Inning with a stretch : SEVENTHThis tradition, however, remains unique to baseball.  

42. "Michael Collins" actor Stephen : REA.

43. Any of three 10th-century Holy Roman Emperors : OTTOThe HRE started with Charlemagne in 800 A. D. and ended with Francis II in 1806.  For several decades it was run on Otto-pilot.

Otto I [The Great] 962-973
Otto II 973-983
Otto III 996-1002

45. Jazzman Jackson : MILT.   Vibraphonist Milton "Bags" Jackson [1923-1999] was a founder of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Here is a slightly different line up.

46. Caravan stops : OASES.   Fertile desert spots, with water.

51. Exact revenge on : GET.   As in GET even.

52. Big lug : OAF.  Lout, churl.

53. Letters after thetas : IOTAS.  Not fond of this at all.  The Greek alphabet is a unique thing, as are each of the letters in it. Sure, some word could have multiple IOTAS in it, but that is not the sense of this clue. 

56. Until next time, in texts : TTYLTalk To You Later.

59. Slanted page? : OP-ED. Located Opposite to the Editorial Page.  Viewpoints are only slanted if you disagree.

66. Sportswear brand : IZOD.  Ordinary clothing adorned with an expensive alligator.

67. Lawman played by Russell and Costner : EARP.  Wyatt, of OK Corral fame.

68. Ill-fated Ford : EDSEL.  Manufactured from 1958-60.  Now a collectors item.

69. Lady Gaga's "Cheek to Cheek" duettist Bennett : TONY.  These kids are having way too much fun.

70. Helpful hints : TIPS.  Pro-tip: see if you can land a gig with Lady Gaga.

71. Virtual transaction : E-SALE.   On-line commerce.


1. Chef's flavoring : HERB.  Tasty and/or aromatic plant leaves.

2. Double Delight cookie : OREO.

3. Tennis great Mandlikova : HANA.

4. Password partners : USER IDS.  Protection for your on-line activities.

5. Litter cry : MEW.  It's the cat's meow.

6. "SOS" band : ABBA.

7. Month with fireworks : JULY.  This is what makes the 4th of July my least favorite holiday.

8. Blackjack components : ACES. Along with face cards or 10s.  Blackjack is the name of the game, but also a 2-card holding consisting of an ace, counting 11 points, along with one of the other mentioned cards, counting 10.  Other spot cards have the count of their pips.  Winner is the player who comes closest to 21 without going over, regardless of the number of cards held.

9. Vintage Jag : XKE.   Jaguar car.

10. Inexpensive brand : CHEAPIE.  Probably won't last.

11. Golf targets : PARS.  In the abstract.  PINS, the physical targets, also fits.

12. Try to convince : URGE.  In another sense, could have echoed the theme.

13. 1974 Gould/Sutherland CIA spoof : SPYS.

18. "Worst Cooks in America" judge Burrell : ANNE.  This is a thing?!?

19. Within walking distance : NEAR.  Close

24. Mine extractions : ORES.  Pay dirt.

25. Main idea : GIST.  The heart of the matter.

26. Syrup brand since 1902 : KARO. Corn syrup.  Not the same as high fructose corn syrup, which is highly processed.

27. Skeptical words : I BET.  

28. Tripartite commerce pact : NAFTA. North American Free Trade Agreement.

29. Underworld boss? : DEVIL.  No typical crime syndicate don, instead the master of Hades.

30. Be in a bee : SPELL.  Participate in a spelling contest.  I would lose.

31. Florence's __ Vecchio : PONTE.  A closed bridge over the Arno, dating to some uncertain time before the 1400's.  

32. Foot bones : TARSI.  A cluster of 7 articulating bones at the back of the foot.  Five of them connect to the metatarsals - the long bones of the foot.

36. Lifeline reader : SEER.  Fortune teller, mystic.

37. Overpower with a shock : TASE.  Use a Taser, an elecroshock gun, on someone.

40. Give off : EMIT. As light, heat, or an odor.

41. Boxer Oscar De La __ : HOYA. [b 1973] He holds dual American and Mexican citizenship.  Representing the U. S., he won an olympic gold medal in 1992.

44. Fine cotton fabric : ORGANDY. A translucent fabric that is usually stiffened and used in women's clothing.

47. Provides with, as an opportunity : AFFORDS.  From an Old English root meaning "go forth."

49. Trial : TEST.

50. Hot streak : ROLL.  Experience a prolonged spell of success or good luck.

53. "__ ain't broke ... " : IF IT.  Don't fix it.

54. Minestrone pasta : ORZO. Noodles the approximate size and shape of rice grains.

55. Snagglepuss, e.g. : TOON. Created in 1959, he was featured in a series of shorts, then became a semi-regular on the Yogi Bear Show, and also appeared in other Hanna-Barbera series.
56. Bangkok native : THAI.  From the Kingdom of Thailand. The country has always been called Mueang Thai by its citizens.  Until 1949 it was called Siam by outsiders.

57. Maryland athlete, for short : TERP.  Terrapin, for long.

58. Slangy affirmatives : YEPS.

60. Tuscan tower site : PISA. Home of the leaning tower, in Italy.

61. First name in stunts : EVEL.  Mr. Knievel [b 1938, d 2007.] Contrary to rumor, he never jumped the Grand Canyon.  His Snake River Canyon jump was a bust, both as a stunt and financially.  

62. Proofreader's "drop this" : DELE.  Delete.

64. Just out of the pool : WET.  Untoweled

65. Dead end? : DEE.  Spelt out terminal letter.  Rather a sad way to end a puzzle.

That wraps up another Wednesday. With only a couple of nits, my enthusiasm remains undampened.  Don't lose that passion, peeps!

Cool regards!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Dave Pell - 1957

Somebody posted a link to this album at a jazz arranging page I follow on Face Book.

Great west coast coast mid-50's sound, and very precise playing.  A real treasure.

Posting it here in case anyone else digs this kind of thing.


Here is the track listing.

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Wednesday, April 11, 2018 John Guzzetta

Theme: Use Your Noodle.  This one would be pretty close to themeless if it weren't for --

55A. Old family recipe (and see circles): SECRET SAUCE.  

The remaining long fill entries, in a pinwheel array, have nothing obvious to do with each other.  If you didn't get the circles, this SECRET will be a real mystery.  If you did get them, you'll see they are centrally located in the shape of the letter S, which can stand for either SECRETSAUCE, the word that the circled letters spell, SPAGHETTI, or the letter S occurring twice each in the other long fills.

This is an original theme concept.  At least I don't remember seeing anything quite like it before.  The fill entries with the circled letters also have nothing else in common. Here they are in order.

26A. Filing tool: RASPA coarse file used for rough shaping.

30A. Collars: ARRESTS.  Places under legal custody.  When the bandit fell in love with the police woman who captured him, it was cardiac ARREST.

34A. Web unit: PAGE.  An element of internet presence, not typically associated with silken threads.

38A. Skater Sasha or comic Sacha Baron: COHEN.  Alexandra Pauline "Sasha" Cohen is an American figure skater. She is the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, a three-time World Championship medalist, the 2003 Grand Prix Final Champion, and the 2006 U.S. Champion.  Sacha Noam Baron Cohen is an English actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer. Baron Cohen is most widely known for creating and portraying four fictional characters: Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev, Brüno Gehard, and Admiral General Aladeen. Both per Wikipedia.  You probably don't confuse them.

41A. Veggie burger veggies: PEAS.   The PEA pod is actually a fruit, and the PEAS we eat are immature seeds, but are generally though of as vegetables.  I don't associate them with veggie burgers, but I'm an omnivore, so what do I know?.

43A. Struggled to achieve: EKED OUT.  Just barely succeeded at something, like survival, frex., often via excessive effort.

47A. With 31-Down, "Proud Mary" singer: TINABecause Creedence Clearwater Revival doesn't fit.

Also -- 17. Phoenix-based hotel chain (and see circles): BEST WESTERN.  The chain operates 2163 hotels in North America, and over 4000 world wide.

11D. Produce served in the fall (and see circles): ACORN SQUASH.  So named because of it's shape.  

25. Feature of some penny loafers (and see circles): SADDLE STRAP.  It's not clear to me what these last three have to do with the theme, other than each containing the letter S twice; but since the circles are mentioned, I'll include them here.  Am I missing something?

Hi, Gang.  JzB here.  And there is your tasty theme, complete with SAUCE, a veggie burger and even an unusual dessert.  The theme visual can be found in the grid diagram at the bottom of this post.  Now, let's get out of the kitchen and explore the rest of this offering.


1. Film director's honor: OSCAR.  One of 24 awards issued annually by the Academy of Motion picture Arts and Sciences for artistic or technical merit.

6. Rich, dusty soil: LOESS.  A loosely compacted deposit of windblown sediment.

11. Greeting at a dog park: ARF.  Sound of a dog's friendly bark.

14. 100 kopecks: RUBLE.  Russian money, if you are in a hurry.

15. Common film festival film: INDIE.  Independent - i. e. not associated with a major studio.

16. Loving murmur: COO.  Get a room  .  .  .

19. Mac platform: OSX.  Version 10 of the Apple Macintosh operating system.  I'm using Version 10.10.5 Yosemite.

20. Crankcase reservoir: OIL PAN.   The bottom section of the crankcase where the oil resides.

21. Small bouquet: SPRAY.  

23. "Help!" at sea: SOS.  The Morse Code international distress signal, a continuous sequence of 3 dots, 3 dashes and three dots.  So if you panic and start sending out OSO, it really doesn't matter.

27. Threadbare: WORN.  Thin and tattered with long use.

28. Place for prayer: CHAPEL.  Typically, a small church.

33. __ the hills: OLD AS.  Contrary to popular belief, I am younger than some of the hills.

36. Here, in Spanish: AQUI.  There is Ahi or alli.

Wait for it

37. Agrees quietly: NODS.  

39. Short: CURT.

40. Indianapolis NFLer: COLT.  

Are they out of Luck?

42. Accra is its capital: GHANA.  West African country located on the Gulf of Guinea.

45. Yellowstone attraction: GEYSER.  A hot spring that emits a column of water and steam.

46. Brewski: SUDS.  AKA a cold one.

49. Nine and five, in nine-to-five: Abbr.: HRS.  Typical working hours.

50. Cast a ballot: VOTED.

52. Sources of fragrant wood: CEDARS.  True CEDARS are conifer trees of the family pinaceae. There are many other many other conifers that have similarly colored and scented woods.

54. Make a mistake: ERR.  It's only human.

60. Salty body: SEA.  Of water.

61. "Carmen," e.g.: OPERA.

62. Not yet realized: UNMET.  As needs.

63. Peak: TOP.

64. Ten-time French Open winner: NADAL.  Rafael "Rafa" Nadal Parera is a Spanish professional tennis player, currently ranked world No. 1 in men's singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals.

65. Sounds from a belfry: PEALS.  The loud ringing of bells.


1. Mercury or Mars: ORB. A celestial sphere - in this case a planet.

2. Alphabet Series novelist Grafton: SUE.

3. "Young Sheldon" network: CBS.

4. Kind of clarinet: ALTO.  The clarinet you typically think of is the soprano version.  This one is larger and pitched a 5th lower in Eb and has a curved metal bell.  Little known factoid - the clarinet was invented by a French musician who named it after his daughters, Claire and Annette.

5. Does some electrical work: REWIRES.  Could be shocking.

6. Speech therapist's concerns: LISPS.  Eathy for you to thay.

7. Ready to pour: ON TAP.  As, frex, SUDS.

8. Genesis garden: EDEN.  Life was simpler back then.

9. Ringo Starr's title: SIR.   Ringo was knighted by Prince William just a few weeks ago.

10. Motion detector, e.g.: SENSOR.

12. Civil rights hero Parks: ROSA.  Rosa Louise McCauley Parks [1913 -2005] refused to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery ALA in 1955.   She was arrested for violating the segregation law, and became an important symbol of the civil rights movement.

13. Sly: FOXY.  Clever and cunning.

18. Airline to Tel Aviv: EL AL.  The flag carrying airline of Israel since 1948.

22. Tediously moralistic: PREACHY.  Often implying an undeserved tone of moral superiority.

23. One carrying a torch?: SCONCE.  A wall mounted fixture, not a person.

24. "Hey, check it out!": OH LOOK.  Get a load of that!

27. Small, chirpy bird: WREN.

29. Incurring late fees: PAST DUE.  As library books or loan payments.

30. Forever: AGES.  

31. See 47-Across: TURNER.  Tina, from the thema.

32. Indian lutes: SITARS.

34. "Always be a __, even in prose": Baudelaire: POET.  

35. Finder's cry: AHA!  Eureka!

38. Computer "brains," briefly: CPUS.  Central Processing Units.

42. Gets ready (for): GEARS UP.

44. Heavily favored: ODDS ON.

45. Pesky flier: GNAT.  Annoying insect.

47. __ cotta: TERRA.  Unglazed, typically red-brown earthenware.

48. Exemplary: IDEAL.  Perfection!

50. Garment for brisk days: VEST.  COAT also fits.

51. Two-toned snack: OREO.  More food, common x-word fare.

52. Sent a dupe to: CCED. Carbon copies are so 1980, but still the abrev persists.

53. Reasonable: SANE.  That's not-crazy talk.

56. Org. that monitors wetlands: EPA.  Environmental Protection Agency.

57. Actress Thurman: UMA.

58. Cartoon sheet: CEL.  

59. Purported UFO crew: ETS.  Extra-Terrestrials, off planet expats.

OK, Kids.  That wraps up another Wednesday. Hope you enjoyed it.

Cool regards!