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 20, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's see what other goodies we can uncover.


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

6. Pantry pest : ANT.   They bug me.

9. Puts in a cooler : JAILS.  American slang

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

15. Like many indie films : LOW BUDGET.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30. Three times, in an Rx : TER.

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

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

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

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

37. Belgian banknotes : EUROS.   All over Europe.

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

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

Are you picking up some mini-themes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

49. Baseball uniform part : CAP.

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

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

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

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

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

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

64. Book with interstates : ATLAS.    Book of maps

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16. Rudimentary : BASIC.   Or fundamental.

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

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

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

29. Only fair : SOSO.  Mediocre.  

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

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

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

39. Doll's cry : MAMA.

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

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

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

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

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

56. Work very hard : TOIL.  

58. Deep cut : GASH.

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

60. Non-Rx : Over The Counter.

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

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

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

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

Cool Regards!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


1. Stock or bond : ASSET.  Financial ASSETS.

6. Hendrix dos : AFROS.   Hair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

49. Trending : HOT.   Like the latest whatever.

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

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

60. Fury : IRE.  Anger.

61. Rub off : ERASE. As chalk.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. Wordsworth work : ODE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

26. "Mine!" : DIBS.  I called it!

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

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

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

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

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

33. Romance lang. : ITALian.

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

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

36. Deputy: Abbr. : ASST.  Assistant.

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

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

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

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

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

46. Overseas stints : TOURS.  Deployments.

47. Sharpened : HONED. As on a whetstone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

57. Java server : URN.  Big pot.

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

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

Cool regards!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

16. Islamic analogue of kosher : HALAL.

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

21. Was in charge of : RAN.

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

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

26. School gps. : Parent Teacher AssocoationS.

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

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

34. Addams family nickname : TISH.   Morticia.

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

37. Use, as resources : TAP.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

54. Marriott rival : RAMADA.  Hotels

63. Curaçao neighbor : ARUBA.  Tropical islands

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

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

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

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

68. Cognizant of : ON TO.   Aware of.


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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Kennel command : SIT.

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

9. Like Laurel, but not Hardy : THIN.

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

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

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

13. Italian racers, familiarly : ALFAS.

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

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

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

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

26. Oklahoma State mascot __ Pete : PISTOL.

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

28. Feel bad : AIL.

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

30. Basic guitar lesson : CHORDS.

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

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

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

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

41. Future therapist's maj. : PSYchology.

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

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

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

48. Capital on the Danube : VIENNA.  Austria.

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

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

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

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

56. Similar : AKIN.

57. Bench press beneficiary : DELToid muscle.

So you can shoulder a load

58. Regarding : AS TO.  In re:.

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

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

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

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

Cool Regards!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging Wednesday, June 1, 2016 C. C. Burnikel

Theme:  LET ME OUT OF HERE!  The final word of the three main theme entries can all precede the word ESCAPE, yielding a sensible, in-the-language phrase.

20A. Bar exhortation : DOWN THE HATCH.  Getting a drink to your interior as quickly as possible.  Probably the best way to handle Chicago right-of-passage liquor Malort.

An ESCAPE HATCH is an emergency exit on a submarine, ship or aircraft.

27A. "Defense of Fort McHenry" poet : FRANCIS SCOTT KEY.  This poem supplies the words for The Star Spangled Banner, the U. S. National Anthem.  Key wrote it while observing the British bombardment of the eponymous fort during the war of 1812.  

The melody, written by John Stafford Smith, was originally a British drinking song called Anacreon in Heaven.  It covers an octave and a fifth and is notoriously hard to sing.   I've hear anthem singers that made me shudder and wince; but Detroit's Karen Newman never disappoints.

And, of course, I would be terribly remiss if I failed to acknowledge 89-year-old holocaust survivor Hermina Hirsch, who fulfilled a life-long dream by singing the anthem before a recent Tigers game.

The ESCAPE KEY on your computer can sometimes be used to stop a runaway program, and is also used in shortcuts on Windows systems.

47 A. "Let's do it!" : SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN.  This expression offers approval for a suggested course of action.  An ESCAPE PLAN is a scheme, often sneaky or convoluted, to get out of a place or situation.

And the unifier -- 54 A. Magician suggested by the ends of 20-, 27- and 47-Across : ESCAPE ARTIST   My first thought is of Harry Houdini [1874-1926] Who escaped from all sorts of locks, traps, boxes and cells - all without a KEY.  And the word ESCAPE thus completes the theme concept.

Hi Gang - JazzBumpa here to lead you though and out of today's puzzle.  Is there a HATCH; will we need a KEY; do I have a PLAN?  Well - let's find out.


1. Bid with a weak hand, often : I PASS.  One can dispute whether this is a bid or the absence of a bid, but with a weak hand it's generally the right call.

6. Nikon D5300, e.g. : Single Lens Reflex, a type of camera using a mirror and prism arrangement that allows the photographer to view through the lens and see exactly what image will be captured.

9. Team up with : JOIN.  This word has a number of senses relating to bringing people or things together in a variety of ways.  Here it indicates forming or becoming a part of a group.

13. "Ya think?!" : NO DUH.  Sarcastic agreement, like with something a bit too obvious.

14. Like newly Botoxed skin : TAUT.  Pulled tight or over-inflated.

16. Clip contents : AMMO.  For fire arms.

17. Young fella : KIDDO.  Would a young gal be a kiddett?

18. When Valjean adopts Cosette : ACT I.  From Les Miz.  Two of my grandsons were in a production a couple years ago and died on the barricade.  That was wrenching.

19. Sorento and Sedona : KIAS. Sorrento [note spelling] is a village overlooking the Bay of Naples in southern Italy; Sedona is a city in Arizona.  As presented here, they are two vehicle models from the KIA, South Korea's 2nd largest auto maker. 

23. Firetruck tool : AXE.  For getting into or ESCAPING from a burning place.

25. Kerfuffle : ADO.  Much Kerfuffle About Nothing just doesn't quite sound as good.

26. It can cover a lot : TAR.  Most likely a parking lot.

33. "Total Recall" (2012) director Wiseman : LEN.  Don't know him.

34. Out-and-out : UTTER.  Modifiers that amplify some action or feeling, and generally not in a good way: UTTER contempt, out and out nonsense.

35. Designer Klein : ANNE.  [1923 - 1974] Nee Hanna Golofski, An American fashion designer, who revolutionized styles for young women in the 1940's.

36. Acting coach Hagen : UTA. [1919 - 2004]  Born in Germany, her family migrated to the U. S. in 1924.  Because of her association with Paul Robeson she was on the Hollywood Black List, so her acting career was focused on New York theater instead of movies.

37. "Don't text and drive" ad, briefly : Public Service Announcement.   Sadly, though, I see people doing it all the time.

38. Lodging provider : INN.

41. Up-in-the-air approx. : Estimated Time of Arrival, for airplane travel.

42. "This doesn't __ well ... " : BODE.  A good Anglo-Saxon word, from the Old English bodian, meaning to proclaim or foretell.  Modern usage seems to always be in anticipation of something unpleasant.  Also remotely related to "bid."

44. Wingtip strings : LACES.  I somehow got stuck on airplanes, not shoes.  [Say this with a brogue.]

46. Get someone's name wrong, e.g. : ERR.  Or muff a simple ground ball to extend the inning and allow three unearned runs to score, thus losing the game.  But I have forgiven Ian Kinsler for Sunday's ERRor.

51. Rim : LIP.  As of a cup, wine glass or volcano.

52. Wine stain color : RED.  When there is a slip between the cup and LIP.

53. Egyptian slitherer : ASP.  A snake in de Nile?

59. Sweet pea : DEAR.  Honey-snookems.

60. Seafood restaurant order : CRAB.  One of many possibilities.  FISH also fits; carp, sole, etc.

61. "In my view ... " : I'D SAY.  Offering an opinion.

65. Crew of buddies : GANG.

66. Long-drawn-out account : SAGA.   From old Norse, originally indicating a long prose narrative of heroic achievement.

67. Poppycock : TRIPE.  Nonsense, balderdash, blather; derived from 19th century Dutch dialect pappekak, from pap ‘soft’ + kak ‘dung.’   Perhaps of the kind left behind by bulls, though that is not specified.

68. Alternatively : ELSE. Either this, or ELSE that.  Those are your choices.

69. Get into the pool : BET.  And see if your bid BODES well.

70. Silver dollar topper : SYRUP.   Pancakes.  Had me buffaloed for the longest time.


1. Medium of much Chinese art : INK.   Used in calligraphy and in picture drawing, generally with the same techniques [oils are not used] typically on paper or silk.

2. Luau chow : POI.   Made from the corm of the taro plant.

3. Tack on : ADD

4. Out-of-the-blue : SUDDEN

5. "Scat!" : SHOO.   Go away!

6. Shows confidence and pride : STANDS TALL.

7. Cause of much intolerance? : LACTOSE.  My favorite clue.  LACTOSE intolerance is an inability or difficulty in digesting this sugar, which occurs naturally in milk and dairy products.

8. Babe or Baby : RUTH.  George Herman "Babe" RUTH, iconic baseball star who played from 1914 - 1935, mostly with Yankees.  Baby RUTH is a candy bar originally developed by the Curtiss Candy Company, and named suspiciously.

9. Capital of Indonesia : JAKARTA.  Located on the NorthWest coast of Java.

10. Overlook : OMIT.  Leave out.

11. All-in-one Apple : I-MAC.   Computer.

12. Quick bite : NOSH.  From Yiddish.

15. Connect with : TIE TO.

21. Bides one's time : WAITS. Like this, if you have 5 minutes.

22. Bean cover? : HAT.  Bean bein' slang for one's head.

23. Playground response : ARE TOO.  Response to a taunt.

24. Second word of Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" : XANADU.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

27. Blunders : FLUBS.  Makes an error.  I won't get into the sad events of Monday's game.

28. Flagstick holder : CUP.  On the green of a golf course.

29. It's swung by some pinch hitters : CRICKET BAT.   Well - this is a surprise.  A baseball-related misdirection. I didn't know there were pinch hitters in CRICKET.

30. Prepares to be knighted : KNEELS.  To recieve a pat on either shoulder with the flat of a sword.

31. Trick : ENTRAP.  With some sort of ruse or snare.

32. Long (for) : YEARN.  A strong desire to be with some one or some thing that is absent or missing.

From the Maxims section of The Exeter Book [ca. 975]

Longað þonne þy læs      þe him con leoþa worn, 
oþþe mid hondum con      hearpan gretan; 
hafaþ him his gliwes giefe,      þe him god sealde. 

As best I can remember, Tolkien translated this more or less as:

Longing is less troublesome to one who knows many songs, 
Or can touch the harp with his hands; 
He has his gleeful gift that God gave him.

Both "ð" and "þ" represent the modern digraph "th."  There seems to be no specific correspondence to the voiced and unvoiced pronunciations. 

39. "__ say more?" : NEED I.   Probably said too much already.

40. Decryption org. : National Security Agency.

43. Make easier to read, in a way : ENLARGE.  For old men with bifocals - like me.

45. Fits in a cabin? : AIR RAGE.  Wasn't familiar with the term, but it's easy enough to suss.  Per Wikipedia, "aberrant, abnormal, or violent behavior exhibited during the air travel process."  There is also a movie with this title.

48. Hummus, e.g. : DIP.   A thick sauce for dunking food items.  I can make a meal of hummus and the blue corn chips form Trader Joe's.

49. Publisher's guidelines : SPECS.  SPECifcationS.

50. Gently towel off : PAT DRY.  Instead of wiping, which can be harsh.

54. Slight lead : EDGE.  Relates ultimately back to the sharp edge of a blade, which can be how narrow the lead is.

55. Tough navy guy : SEAL.   Tough indeed.  These guys are elite.

56. Case units, often : CANS.  Of soup, motor oil, etc.  Usually 12 or 24, sometimes 36 or 48.  Strange when our maths are mostly base 10. 

57. Many a Meccan : ARAB.  Mecca is city in Saudi Arabia located about 50 miles inland from the Red Sea.

58. Tends tots : SITS.  As in baby sitting.

62. Military address : SIR.   Not a postal drop, but a way of speaking to superior officers.

63. Manjula's husband, on "The Simpsons" : APU.  Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is the operator of the Kwik-E-Mart on that TV show that I still have never watched.

64. "You betcha!" : YEP.  Fer sure.   My dad used to say, "You bet your life;" and I'm guessing "You betcha" is that in shortened form.

Well, folks, that wraps up another entry from our gracious hostess, whose puzzles now number in the hundreds.  Good one?  You betcha!  Hope you ESCAPED it unscathed.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging - Wednesday, May 25, 2016 Robin Stears

Theme:  Ate a picle, feeling sicle - now how about an icicle?  The fragment -ICLE is added as a suffix to four in-the-language phrases, yielding new, humorous constructions.  

20 A. Bond portrayer Daniel's BuzzFeed piece? : CRAIG'S LISTICLE.  The referent is James Bond actor Daniel CRAIG, who also starred in the Jon Favreau SF/Western mashup Cowboys and Aliens. A LISTICLE is an internet article presented as a numbered or bullet point list.  Since Daniel also starred in the incomprehensible Dream House, his could be a rank-ordered filmography.

26 A. Leftover bit of a physics experiment? : SPARE PARTICLE.  This is my favorite theme entry. A SPARE PART is an item kept on hand to replace a lost or damaged machine PART.  A PARTICLE in a physics experiment is generally something smaller than an atom - proton, neutron, quark, etc. SPARE PARTICLES might be used in subatomic games of bowling.

46 A. Ezine feature? : MODERN ARTICLE.  MODERN ART includes a variety of styles from the 19th century through the 1960's, including Bauhause, surrealism, impressionism, op art, etc.   A MODERN ARTICLE would be published in a modern venue like an Ezine, for sure.  But for my money, this entry is too close in surface meaning to the first one we encountered.

55 A. Beantown treat? : BOSTON POPSICLE.  Beantown is a common name for BOSTON, dating back to colonial times when local puritans typically had a Sunday meal of previously prepared beans and brown bread, to avoid cooking on the sabbath.  With Summer drawing nigh, a POPSICLE is an inviting treat that the Puritans would probably have considered sinful.  

There's your theme, folks.  Hope you don't think its ICLE.

Hi, gang, Jazzbumpa here to provide a quicle tour.

1. Observe Ramadan, in a way : FAST.   Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, during which the faithful avoid [among other things] eating food between dawn and dusk.

5. __ and terminer: criminal court : OYER.  From the Anglo-French meaning "to hear and to determine."

9. Tapered fastener : SCREW.  Threaded, too.

14. Scratch the surface? : ETCH.   Engrave a surface by any one of several means.

15. Sub spot : DELI.  Big sandwiches there.

16. "Glee" club : CHOIR.  "Glee" is derived form the old English word for song.

17. "Sharknado" actress Reid : TARA.  I never saw this movie, but it's generally considered to be pretty bad.

18. Banish to Hades, say : DOOM.   The modern meaning is to be relegated to some horrible fate.  The Old English meaning is closer to "judgment."

19. Like most tarantulas : HAIRY.  These are hairy spiders to which I will not link.

23. That guy : HIM.  Some fella'.

24. Stay-at-home __ : DAD.  I went with MOM first.  Does that make me old?

25. Bonfire residue : ASH.   Any fire, really.

33. Yes, on Talk Like a Pirate Day : AYE.  Avast, matey!

34. Love god : EROS.  Greek mythology.

35. Seagoing mil. group : United States Navy.

36. "__ you!" : TOLD.  Rubbing it in.

39. Source of 20s : Automatic Teller Machine.

40. Icky buildup : CRUD.  A chunk of it is a CRUDICLE.

41. Sydney school : UNI.   Near as I can tell, this refers to the UNIversity of Sydney in Australia.  Maybe I'm missing something, but this entry seems to lack specificity.

42. Charlatan : FAKE.   An imposter - one who claims to be something he isn't, while typically on a quest for some type of personal gain.  Usage for this word peaked around 1940.

44. 18%, often : TIP.  I tip 20% minimum.  It's easier to calculate.

50. "Collages" novelist : NIN.   Unlike most of her other work, this is a dreamy, experimental novel with many characters wandering in space and time.

51. Chest-beating beast : APE.

52. Marked, as a ballot : XED.

60. Real pip : BEAUT.  A Beauty - can be intended literally or sarcastically.

61. Trompe l'__ : OEIL.  An optical illusion in France.

62. Online urban music magazine : VIBE.  Where one might read a LISTICLE or other MODERN ARTICLE.

63. Actress Woodard : ALFRE.

64. Mantel piece : VASE.  An open container, often decorative, suitable for holding flowers or uncle Henry's ashes.

65. Molecule component : ATOM.  Made up of sub-atomic PARTICLES.

66. Perp subduer : TASER.  A weapon that fires electrical probes to deliver a debilitating shock.

67. Help for the poor : ALMS.  From Old English, via late liturgical Latin, and ultimately tracing to Greek roots indicating both money and compassion.

68. What's going on : NEWS.  Indicating new information obtained via a print, video, or on-line medium.


1. Sell for : FETCH.   A hot item might FETCH a pretty penny.

2. Game company formerly named Syzygy : ATARI.  I did not know that.

3. Beats it : SCRAMS.  Make one's self scarce.

4. Asian language with 44 consonants : THAI.  ODDS ARE that's more than I can pronounce.

5. "Probably ... " : ODDS ARE.  A favorable bet.

6. Shoppe descriptor : YE OLDE.  Of course we all know that the "Ye" is really "The" with the initial consonant sound rendered by the rune "thorn(Þ, þ)  rather than the digraph "Th."  The rune was often represented with a slanted slash coming from the right rather than the closed loop, hence the similar appearance to the modern letter "Y."

7. Weena's race, in "The Time Machine" : ELOI.  Occasionally, the other race - Morlocks - would eat them.  In the 1960 movie version, Weena was played by Yvette Mimieux.

8. What swish shots don't touch : RIMS.  A basketball shot that gets nothing but net.  Still only 2 points, but more pleasing to the eye and ear.

9. Flaky metamorphic rocks : SCHISTS.  Mica, talc and graphite are examples.

10. Joanie's love : CHACHI.   Played by Scott Baio, opposite Erin Moran's Joanie Cunningham from the TV show Happy Days and later it's spin-off featuring them.

11. Bubble and churn : ROIL.  Agitate something physically, and by extension emotionally.  If one become red-faced dong this, it is known as a ROIL flush.

12. Green land : EIRE.  The Emerald Isle, notably not the location of the Emerald City.

13. Seinfeldesque : WRY.  A la the humor of the TV show about nothing.  

21. Wagga Wagga welcome : G'DAY.   This is a city in New South Wales, Australia, Mate.

22. Starchy tuber : TARO.   A perennial tropical plant cultivated for its starchy tuber.

27. Shock absorber : PAD.  A thick section of soft material.

28. Saint at a gate : PETER.   In Matthew 16: 13-19,  Jesus renames Simon son of Jonah as PETER, and gives him the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.

29. Operational branch : ARM.  A subgroup dedicated to a particular purpose.

30. Mongrel : CUR.  Mutt.

31. "Geaux Tigers" SEC school : Louisiana State University.   Faux-French influenced slogan.

32. Wind down or wind up : END.   Slang terms "for bring to a close."  But a pitcher's wind up or winding up a spring-actuated mechanical device, such as the toy we will met shortly, gets things going.  One more reason to love the English language.   

36. Belly, to a tot : TUM.   Possibly derived from stomach.

37. Sean Lennon's middle name : ONO.   After his mum.

38. Jack-in-the-box flipper : LID.  Child's box-shaped toy with a crank used to start the action by winding up, and ends with a clown figure popping out through the lid.

39. Police blotter letters : Also Known As, indicating the use of an alias.

40. Lowest-ranking NCO : CPL.   Corporal is the lowest ranking non-commissioned officer.

42. Fried corn cake : FRITTER.   Any of several deep-fried, batter coated items, such as fruit, vegetables, or even meat.

43. __ Domini : ANNO.   The Year of our Lord, presumably starting with the birth of Jesus Christ, indicating a dating system that originated in the early middle ages.  But somewhere along the line, there was a mistake.  Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod, who died in 4 B. C.

44. Has a few : TIPPLES.   Indulges in alcoholic beverages, and not as in 44A..

45. Treats, as a sprain : ICES.  Tin Man - note here an acceptable use for ice; to reduce swelling of a muscle injury.

47. Make certain : ENSURE.   Why do we have this word, along with "assure" and "insure?"  They came into Old English from Norman French, so that's who I blame.

48. Lao-tzu's philosophy : TAOISM.   Meaning the way, path or principle.  Greatly simplified -- living in harmony with all that exists.

49. Whip up : EXCITE.   As a crowd, or mob.

53. Fight (through), as a crowd : ELBOW.   Not so gently nudging others out of the way.   Not very TAOIST.

54. Considers : DEEMS.    Tracing back to an Old English root meaning to judge, the same as DOOM.

55. Composer Bartók : BELA.  Hungarian composer (1881 - 1945).  The shortest clip I could find (6:20) is is setting of Romanian folk songs for violin and piano.

56. Klutzes : OAFS.   An OAF is a stupid, uncultured or clumsy person.  Strangely, the word traces back to the old Norse word for elf.   The original meaning was "elf's child" [I'm assuming changeling,] later "idiot child," later still, how we use it today.

57. Stellar phenomenon : NOVA.   A cataclysmic nuclear explosion occurring on a white dwarf star.

58. Ring out : PEAL.   Specifically, the ringing of bells.

59. Nobelist Pavlov : IVAN. (1849 - 1936)   Russian psychologist famous for his work on classical conditioning.

60. Ball club : BAT.  In baseball, the ball is clubbed with the bat.   This example is from a couple years ago.  Miggy seems to have his stride back, and has done something similar a couple times in the last week.

There you have it, a wandering in space and time, including a couple excursions into the English of our past, a dystopian view of the far future, a dollop or so of French, and finally back to current reality with some down-to-earth baseball.  Despite my earlier criticle nits, a pretty nice journey.

Cool regards!