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, October 19, 2016

L. A. Times Crossword puzzle Blogging Wednesday, October 19, 201 Bruce Haight

Theme: NUMBERS GAME.  The theme answers can be parsed by splitting off the last few letters, which in each case then constitute the spelt out name of a number.  These also appear in numerical order, which is a nice, elegant touch.  For some of them the pronunciation changes.  Fun theme for me, since I get a kick out of alternate parsings.

17 A. Does well at the casino? : BREAKS EVEN.   Since the house has a persistent advantage, one who BREAKS EVEN actually is doing well.  SEVEN is considered by some to be a lucky number.  So parsing this letter grouping to split off the number SEVEN might actually be a lucky BREAK.

25 A. Cereal box factoid : NET WEIGHT.   This is the WEIGHT of the contents of the box.  The weight of the container is called the tare, and added together they give you the total WEIGHT.  Maybe you'll get EIGHT servings, and eating them might affect your WEIGHT.

50 A. Opera house level : MEZZANINE.  This traces back to the Latin word for median, and refers to a building level between two floors, in this case the main auditorium and the balcony.  NINE is the number of either ladies dancing on the stage, or the Nazgul, though I'm not sure how that is relevant.

60 A. Bullied : BROW-BEATEN.  Influenced by verbal or psychological intimidation and abuse, rather than physical harm, though that might be threatened.   This can happen because the TEN Commandments did not include "Thou Salt Not BROW BEAT."

And the unifier -- 37 A. Concert finale ... and what 17-, 25-, 50- and 60-Across have in common: CLOSING NUMBER.  That's the last song of the performance, and points us to the tail end of each theme answer.  Having the unifier in the middle makes for nice symmetry, but can give away too much too soon, if you're filling in with top down sequence.

Good closing number - but we're just getting started!

Hi gang, JazzBumba on the job, though I'm not much of a numerologist.  Let's go check out the words and letters.  That's more my speed.


1. Unlike this clue, obviously : LAST.  So, the LAST really will be first - at least in the context of this grid.

5. Driving force? : MOTOR.  Usually this phrase is figurative, but here, it is literal, since a MOTOR provides the driving force for a vehicle or some other kind of machine.  So why the question mark?

10. Bar regulars, and then some : SOTS.  Habitual drunkards.  The word originates in medieval Latin, coming to us via late Old English, where it referred to a foolish person.  The current meaning dates for the late 16th century.

14. Bible book before Romans : ACTS. Of The Apostles.

15. One-named singer with 10 Grammys : ADELE.

16. William of "Broadcast News" : HURT. [b 1950]

19. On : ATOP.  Sitting upon.

20. URL ending : COM.  For a commercial enterprise. Others are EDU for schools and ORG for organizations.

21. Bridge call : AHOY.   The bridge of a ship, not something uttered in a card game.

22. Hang loosely : DRAPE.  

23. Star's statuette : OSCAR.  For Academy Award winners.

28. Mushroom cloud makers : A-TESTS.    Of explosive nuclear devices.

30. Pale : WAN.  Strangely, this traces back to an Old English word meaning dark black.  Go figure.

31. __ shadow : EYE.   Cosmetic type.

32. Tip to one side : TILT.  Lean over.

33. Etiquette expert Baldrige who was Jackie Kennedy's social secretary : LETITIA. [1926-2012]  Author of 20 books and a newspaper column who also ran her own PR firm.

41. Comes back with : REPLIES.  Not RETORTS, I discovered.

42. Hardly scads : A DAB.  Some undefined small quantity

44. Beer choice, briefly : IPA.  India Pale Ale - a hoppy brew originally formulated to be stable on the long sea voyage from Mother England.

47. Part of un mes : DIA.   Spanish month and day.

48. Ready for the piano recital : IN TUNE.  I could go on and on about this, but the comma of Pythagorus is too difficult to explain.

54. "Ugh!" : YECCH.  An expression of disgust, and my reaction to this fill.

55. Climbed aboard : GOT ON.   Could also be GOT IN.

56. Some Neruda poems : ODES.  Pablo Neruda was the pen name and later legal name of Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto [1904 - 1973.]

58. Hawaiian tuna : AHI.  Yellowfin tuna.

59. Snack since 1912 : OREO.   Creme filling between two chocolate coolie layers.

63. Musée Marc Chagall city : NICE.  In France.

64. Ancient Greek region : IONIA.  In present day Turkey.

65. Conversation piece? : WORD.  Sentence fragment.  Make sure you parse it properly.

66. __ chair : EASY.  A place to relax.

67. Minute : TEENY. Tiny.

68. Archer of myth : EROS. Bringer of love.  This is why it's called arrowticism.


1. Researcher's garb : LAB COAT.  For chemists, doctors, and lab workers.

2. Puzzle with a quote : ACROSTIC.  Explained here.

3. Recent medical research subject : STEM CELL.  An undifferentiated cell that is capable of developing into any of a variety of specific cell types.

4. Org. operating full-body scanners : TSA.  The Transportation Security Administration.

5. Prepare, as avocados for guacamole : MASH.  Guac a al Bumpa:  Two avocados, mashed; one 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies; two tomatillas; chopped cilantro, onion and garlic to taste.  Magnifico!

6. Ancient theater : ODEON.   Greek.

7. "Tradition" singer : TEVYE.  From Fiddler On The Roof.

He does have quite a bit of help

8. "Bravo!" : OLE. Cheers heard in sports arenas where Spanish is spoken.

9. "You eediot!" speaker of cartoons : REN.  Stimpy's costar.

10. Ventriloquist Lewis : SHARI.  

11. Delighted state? : OUTAGE.

12. Prize in a case : TROPHY.

13. Fla. city : ST. PETErsburg.

18. Go-__ : KART.  A small racing car with a lightweight or skeleton body.

22. Overalls material : DENIM.  Also blue jeans.

24. Financier aboard the Titanic : ASTOR.  John Jacob. [1864-1912]  He went down with the ship.

26. Strong string : TWINE.  From the same root as two and twin, a strong string made from two or more strands twisted together.

27. 1960s dance : WATUSI.

29. Add sneakily : SLIP IN.  As when late for a meeting, hoping to not be noticed.

34. China's Zhou __ : EN LAI. [1898 - 1976]   First Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from 1949 until his death.

35. "In Here, It's Always Friday" letters : TGI.  From the Restaurant chain TGI Friday's.

36. Diminish : ABATE.  Reduce in magnitude or intensity.

38. Enterprise choice : SEDAN.   Rental car, having nothing to do with Star Trek.

39. Academic figure : EDUCATOR.  Teacher.

40. Southwestern farm owner : RANCHERO.  Spanish for rancher.  

43. Rear ends : BEHINDS.

44. "See ya!" : I'M GONE.  Not quite - gotta finish the downs.

45. Everycity, USA : PEORIA.   This idea originated in one of Horatio Alger's plays.

46. Tenochtitlán natives : AZTECS.   They dominated meso-America in the 14th through 16th centuries and are noted for the practice of human sacrifice.

49. Where to see IBM and JNJ : NYSE.   Stock symbols on the New York Stock Exchange.

51. Deschanel of the musical duo She & Him : ZOOEY.

52. Whom to trust, in "The X-Files" : NO ONE.  Closing tag line used in certain episodes.

53. Astronomer Hubble : EDWIN. [1889 - 1953]  American astronomer who showed that the universe is expanding, and provided evidence that far off objects considered to be nebulae were actually galaxies. 

57. PayPal's former parent : EBAY.  

60. Morsel : BIT.  Or bite, perhaps an ort.

61. Salmon eggs : ROE.  Fish eggs, in general are referred to as ROE.

62. More than impress : AWE.  A reaction of wonder to something grand, sublime or powerful.

And thus ends this little number.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Mind your traditions and go in peace, my friends.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging Wednesday, October 5, Julian Lim

Theme: GRAVITY, MAGNETISM and FRICTION, or MASS x ACCELERATION.  The 2nd word of common two-word phrases combines with the word FORCE to indicate a body of people organized for a particular activity.   I FORCED those physics related ideas on you, but will not apologize.

17. *Project with many obstacles : UPHILL TASK.  Something difficult to accomplish.  I suppose the referent here is Sisyphus.  You might need some helpers to accomplish that thing - hence a TASK FORCE, an ad hoc group devoted to completing a specific assignment.

22. *E! talk show focused on celebrity outfits : FASHION POLICE.   Clothing critics, and a TV show based on their commentary about the dress modes of celebrities.  It's amazing how much time some people have on their hands.  Police FORCES are units of government charged with the prevention or detection of crime and the maintenance of public order.

47. *Britannica, e.g. : REFERENCE WORK.  A book or other repository of useful information.  Many years ago I contributed a chapter on automotive plastics and elastomers to such a book.  The WORK FORCE refers to people engaged in or available as labor within some geographic unit, industry, or business.

55. Team up ... or, literally, what the last words of the answers to starred clues can do : JOIN FORCES.  As indicated in 17 A,  to get together for some purpose.  The target words JOIN with FORCE to fulfill the theme concept.

Hi, Gang, JazzBumpa here, getting together with you to make our way through today's puzzle.  Let's have at it.


1. One of seven in "Jabberwocky" : STANZA.   A nonsense poem include in Lewis Carroll's action-adventure novel Though The Looking Glass.  You can read all 7 quatrains here.

7. Shabbat celebrant : JEW.   Shabbat is the biblical day of rest, and the source of the English word sabbath.  Rosh Hashana, the JEWish New Year celebration was from Sunday through Tuesday, so l'shana tova to all.

10. "Baby __": 2008 Fey/Poehler comedy : MAMA.   A conflict comedy involving an adoptive mother and the surrogate mother she hires.  That's more than I know about it.

14. Like some classroom aids : VISUAL.

15. Angst-filled rock genre : EMO.  Quasi-punkish emotion-laden pop music.

16. Disembarked : ALIT.  To descend, land or dismount, in past tense form.

19. Wheels for a star : LIMO.  

20. __ Grey tea : EARL.  My fav!

21. Vacation abode : CABIN.  If you can't afford a resort or luxury hotel.

26. Longest reigning Brit. monarch : ELIZabeth II.  born in 1926, and still goin'.

28. Neighbor of Venezuela : GUYANA.  A small, English-speaking country on the north coast of South America, nestled among Venezuela, Surinam, Brazil and the Atlantic Ocean, but culturally connected to the Caribbean Islands.

29. Discriminatory, as in hiring : SEXIST.  One of several possible discrimination types.

32. Pet adoption org. : SPCA. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

33. Deg. for a suit : MBA.  Masters of Business Administration.  I have one, but never qualified as a suit.

36. Annexation : SEIZURE.  Taking something by FORCE.

38. Put on a pedestal : DEIFIED.

40. Morsel : ORT.  Specifically, one left over from a meal.

41. Printed scorecard numbers : PARS.  PAR indicates the expected number of strokes a first class player would require to complete a particular golf hole or course.

43. Went (on) monotonously : DRONED.  Spoke at length in a boring manner.

44. Monotony : TEDIUM.  Possibly the result of the previous.

46. Gp. with mail trucks : USPS.  United States Postal Service.   Several of my relatives worked there.

52. Cutting : AXING.  In my 7 decades of existence on this planet, I have never heard anyone use the word AX as a verb.

53. Leaderless : TIED.  This is tricky.  With the score TIED, neither competing team is in the lead.

54. Strengthen : GIRD.   This is not quite right.  To gird is to encircle, or secure with a belt or a sash.  You can kind of see where the error comes from.

61. Giggly Muppet : ELMO.

62. To and __ : FRO.  Back and forth.

63. Poker challenge : I RAISE.  This increases the size of an existing bet in any round.  Other players must match the total bet or fold.

64. Academic leader in NBC's "Community" : DEAN.   A sit-com with an ensemble cast based on life and experiences in a fictional small junior college town in Colorado.

65. Author Kesey : KEN. [1935-2001]  Counter-culture figure, experimental drug user and author of the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

66. Kind of tax : ESTATE.  A tax levied on inheritances totaling more than $5.45 million in value. 


1. "Law & Order: __" : Special Victims Unit.  Never watched it

2. It often comes to those who wait : TIP.  For the restaurant wait staff.  Nice misdirection.

3. Volcanic fallout : ASH.   Solid residue from an eruption, Cf Pompeii.

4. Rapa __: Easter Island : NUI.  This name refers to the island itself, the Polynesian inhabitants of the island, and the language that they speak.

5. Popular mall jewelry store : ZALES.  U. S. jewelry retailer started in 1924 in Wichita Falls, Texas.

6. Mosque-goer's deity : ALLAH.  Same God, different language.

7. Like Cain, of Abel : JEALOUS.  The adjectival form of a destructive emotion relating to desire about someone else's position, possessions, or relationships.

8. Leading characters in "Mork & Mindy"? : EMS.  Characters, as in the repeated alphabet letter beginning the two subject words.  I am deeply annoyed by this type of self-referential clue.

9. Stir-fry pan : WOK.  Shallow round bottomed cook ware item.

10. __ Yousafzai, sharer of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize : MALALA.   Pakistani activist for female education.

11. Cover story : ALIBI.   A claim that you were not at a crime scene when the event took place

12. Copycat : MIMIC.  One who lacks originality in thought and action.

13. Make things right : ATONE.   Make amends.  But will it erase hard feelings?

18. Course where tangents are relevant : TRIG.   No indication that trigonometry should be abbreviated? This is not the sort of tangent off upon which one may go rambling, but rather the mathematic function that is equal to the ratio of the lengths of the sides opposite and adjacent to an angle in a right triangle.

21. *1997 movie partly set on a plane called the Jailbird : CONAIR.

If you're into that sort of a thing

22. Handy "Mr." : FIXIT.   Home improvement and DIY maven.  I do not qualify.

23. "Master of None" star __ Ansari : AZIZ.  He also created and writes this Netflix series, the G-Man tells me.

24. "Law & Order" gp. : NYPD.  New York Police Department, in custody of a chlecho.

25. Couldn't sit still, say : PACED.  Walked nervously in some relatively small space.

26. Exxon, once : ESSO.  Mega corporation and petroleum products retail outlet.

27. Lustful look : LEER.  I prefer to Ogle.

30. *High-speed skiing event, familiarly : SUPER G.   Set on a down hill course with widely set gates, with more turns than the down hill event, and greater speed than the giant slalom.

31. Discipline : TRADE.   The only sense I can make of this is that one definition of "discipline" is "a branch of knowledge," and a trade is a job category requiring skills and training, so there is that kind of a connection.  Still seems like a stretch.  Do you think of plumbing as a discipline?

33. Capital of Belarus : MINSK.  This city has existed for over 1000 years and now has a population over 2 million.   Belarus is located east of Poland and south of Lithuania and Latvia. 

34. Honk : BEEP.  Blow your own horn.  

35. Tacks on : ADDS.

37. Green land? : ERIN.  The Emerald Isle, The Auld Sod, etc.

39. Bridge table quorum : FOUR.  A four-handed card game.

42. Vacuum effect : SUCTION.

44. Ligament kin : TENDON.  Both are types of connective tissue. Ligaments connect bones or cartilages, or hold joints together.  Tendons connect muscle tissue to bones. 

45. Lo __: noodle dish : MEIN.   Mein refers to noodles made from wheat flour.  Maybe someone who know more about it should elaborate.

47. Threw a fit : RAGED.  Anger

48. Forced absence : EXILE.   An order to go away and stay away, banishment, as punishment for some offense.

49. Terra __ : FIRMA.   Sold ground, good old Mother Earth.

50. Cellphone self-pic of a group, slangily : WEFIE.  Evidently the collective equivalent of a selfie.  Who knew?

51. Smells : ODORS.  Aromas.  All suggest different nuances of meaning.

55. N.Y. airport since 1963 : JFK.  The eponym was president during the 60's and assassinated while in office.

56. Miner's matter : ORE.  Pay dirt.  Can you dig it?

57. Chinese zodiac animal : RAT.  By this reckoning, my Lovely Wife is a RAT and I am a dog.  Arf!

58. "The World Factbook" org. : CIA.  Central Intelligence Agency, where the word "Intelligence" reference to gathered information, not intellectual capability.

59. Inexact fig. : ESTimate.  An approximation that should be better than a guess.

60. Get : SEE.  Understand.  Do you see it?

Well, that ends this little get together.  I had my nits, but overall - not bad.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging - Wednesday, September 28, 2016 Timothy L. Meaker

Theme: OUT OF SIGHT, MAN.  Five two-word theme entries all relate to someone or something whose identity or existence is covered up.  The non-reveal is in the first word of each phrase.

17. Old-time bandits : MASKED MARAUDERS.   I'm not sure this is a generic expression.  Specifically, there is a so-named villain in the Marvel Comics universe who is the main antagonist in the Daredevil title.  Also, this.

26. Narc's quarry : HIDDEN STASH.  Some quantity of drugs that narcotics agents want to confiscate.  But where is it?

38. Special forces mission : COVERT OPERATION.  This is a military or espionage action that is planned and executed in such a way that the sponsor's identity is not revealed, or plausible deniability is maintained.

46. Anonymous holiday gift giver : SECRET SANTA.  A community or other group of people randomly choose individuals to whom they will give a Christmas present.

60. Air marshal's possession : CONCEALED WEAPON.   Air marshals are highly trained marksmen who blend in with other passengers and serve to deter terrorism and protect the flying public.

Pretty straight forward concept in this thematically rich entry, built with three grid spanners and two more theme fill checking in at 11 characters each.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here to uncover the secrets of today's puzzle.  Let's have a peek behind the curtain.


1. Gain experience (from) : LEARN.  Always important; not always pleasant.

6. Leg muscle : CALF.  The back of the lower leg.

10. World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie : WEBB. [b 1974] Australia's most successful female professional golfer.

14. First host of "The Tonight Show" : ALLEN.   Steve, [1921 - 2000] an American actor, writer, comedian, composer and musician.

15. Like some history : ORAL.  Not written down.

16. Original thought : IDEA.

20. "The Time Machine" race : ELOI.

21. Goes out : EBBS.   Like the tide.

22. First extra inning : TENTH.  A regulation baseball game lasts for 9 innings.  If the score is tied, they keep playing until one team wins.

23. Dallas Mavericks org. : NBA.  National Basketball Association.

25. Old Mideast alliance: Abbr. : UAR.  United Arab Republic.  A political union between Egypt and Syria that lasted from 1958 until 1961.  Egypt continued to use the name for another decade.

32. Nova Scotia hrs. : AST.  Atlantic Standard Time.  This time zone is one step to the east of the continental United States, 4 hours off Greenwich Mean Time.  It includes New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia in Canada, as well as Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands

35. City SW of St. Augustine : OCALA.  At ca. 57,500 [2013 census] it ranks as the 45th most poplous city in FLA.

36. Young boys : TADS.   Or LADS, but SLOIC ruined that concept.

37. Place for a pedicure : SPA. A commercial establishment offering health and beauty treatments.

42. Bi- halved : UNI-.   Bi- is a combining form meaning two or twice.  Except when attached to time units, when it might mean either "every two" or "twice per."  Back on topic, consider bi- and uni- -cycles or -valves.  

43. Cambodian cash : RIEL.  Most Cambodians prefer foreign currency.

44. Polar explorer : PEARY.  Robert [1865-1920] might or might not have been the first person to reach the north pole in his 1909 expedition, if he even got there at all.  He might have missed by 60 miles.  Nothing about this is certain.

45. Butter-on-hot-griddle sound : SSS.  Sizzle.

48. Bowl-shaped cookware : WOK.  A versatile round-bottomed cooking vessel of Chinese origin.

49. __ in: surround : HEM.    Specifically to surround in a restrictive manner.

50. Delta rival, as it was once known : USAIR.   Since merged with American Airlines.   The USAIR brand name was discontinued on Oct 17, 2015.

53. Tosca's "Vissi d'arte," e.g. : ARIA.   A vocal solo in the context of a larger work, such as an opera or oratorio.

56. Magic charm : MOJO.  Or spell.

63. "The Mod Squad" role : LINC.   Lincoln "Link" Hayes, portrayed by Clarence Williams III.

64. Automation prefix : ROBO-.  As in ROCO-call.  So looking forward to November 9.

65. Superman's makeup? : STEEL.  He's known as the "Man of STEEL," but this is probably hyperbole.  I suspect he really made of bronze.

66. __ code : AREA.  The regionally assigned 3 digit [in North America] prefix to your telephone number.

67. Mess offering : MEAL.  Through Middle English via Old French this word traces back to the Latin missum, meaning "something put on the table."  In modern times it most typically refers to a location where a specified group of people, such as in the armed forces, take their meals together.

68. Brits' boob tube : TELLY.  Teevee, stateside.


1. Pathetic, as an excuse : LAME.  Or as many of my jokes.

2. Airline to Jerusalem : EL AL.

3. In addition : ALSO. Too

4. Put the spark back into, as a relationship : REKINDLE.

5. Salem-to-Portland dir. : NNE.

6. It may help with a mop : COMB.  For an unruly head of hair.  Good luck.

7. Many a Syrian : ARAB.  Ethnicity inhabiting several middle eastern countries and many cross word puzzles.

8. Metallica drummer Ulrich : LARS.   I have no idea how I know this.  I think their music is ghastly.

9. St. with a panhandle : FLA.  Florida.  Other states with panhandles, formally called salients, are Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia, which has two of them.

10. Three-lane, vis-à-vis two-lane : WIDER.  Larger in the lateral dimension.

11. "I Dream of Jeannie" star : EDEN.  Barbara [b 1931] star of the show which ran for 5 seasons starting in Sept,  1965.  

12. Buddy of Kermit : BERT.  Muppets.  I can't find a vid where they appear together, so I'm not sure how this buddy thing is working.

13. Big party : BASH.  Seems like the word BEER belongs in there somewhere.

18. Leader with a .edu address : DEAN.  The faculty head of a department.

19. Beehive State : UTAH.  This emblem was chosen in 1848 to symbolize the pioneer virtues of thrift and perseverance, long before UTAH became a state in 1896.

24. Animal symbolizing the 25-Down : BEAR.  This symbol of Russia [and by extension the USSR] has been used in cartoons, articles and drama since the 16th century.

25. World power inits. until '91 : USSR.  Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, aka the Soviet Union.

26. Magical start : HOCUS.  Pocus.   Feel the magic.

27. Tappable cellphone images : ICONS.  Used to launch various apps.

28. "Miles Smiles" trumpeter : DAVIS.   I can find the whole album on YouTube, but not just this song, as played by Miles, so no link.   There are covers, but that just feels wrong.

29. Poker-faced : STOIC.  Indifferent to either pleasure or pain, referring to the Ancient Greek philosophy of Stoicism, founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium.  The IDEA is that the highest good comes from knowledge, and living in harmony with divine reason allows one to disregard fortune, pleasure and pain.

30. Come to a point : TAPER.

31. Fred's dancing sister : ADELE.  Astaire siblings.  Sadly, I can't come up with a video of her dancing.

32. Chinese or Japanese : ASIAN.  Originating in that continent.

33. Hurling or curling : SPORT.  Hurling, similar to field hockey, is the regional game of Ireland and is thousands of years old.  Curling is played with flat stones slid on an ice surface into a target circle.

34. Tucker of country : TANYA.

39. Taxing trip : TREK.

40. Semicircular church section : APSE.  Traditionally, the dome covered recess where the altar is located.

41. One who might go to bat for you? : TEAM MATE.  Baseball reference.

46. Achy : SORE.  Hurting.

47. January warm spell : THAW.  When the ice melts, for a while.

48. Modern witch's religion : WICCA.  A modern pagan belief system with no central authority that exists in many variations, generally based on a god and goddess duality.

50. Home of the NCAA's Bruins : UCLA.   College sports.

51. Evening in Quebec : SOIR.   French.

52. Klein of fashion : ANNE.   Clothing and accessories.

53. Lotion additive : ALOE.  Ubiquitous in skin care products and cross word puzzles.

54. Singer McEntire : REBA. [b 1955, McAlester, OK ] While in high school, she and her siblings sang on local radio and at rodeos. Her performance of the National Anthem at the Oklahoma City rodeo in 1974 got her invited to Nashville, where she signed with Mercury records.  In 1984 she signed with MCA Nashville, and took over creative control of her recordings.

55. Star adored by many : IDOL.   

57. Autobahn auto : OPEL.   German subsidiary of G. M. headquartered in Rüsselsheim.

58. "Piano Man" man : JOEL.   For six months in 1972, William Martin JOEL [b 1949] worked at the Executive Room piano bar on Wilshire Blvd.  This sad song, released in 1973, commemorates that time.

59. __ child : ONLY.   My sister and I are 6 1/2 years apart.  It's almost as if our parents had 2 ONLY children.

61. Branch : ARM.   Extension.

62. Approx. repair cost : EST.   Who establishes this ESTimate?

Well, that wraps it up, but does not put it under wraps.  Hope you enjoyed unraveling all the mysteries.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging - Wednesday, September 14, 2016 Gail Grabowski and Bruce Venzke

Theme: I'M SO ANGRY I COULD JUST  .  .  .  The second word of common two-word phrases is transformed from a plural noun to a singular verb, which is a synonym for displaying anger.  

20. Tailpipe emission : EXHAUST FUMES.  In the industry, we really do call them tail pipe emissions, as per the clue, but do not get angry if someone wants to use alternative terminology.

28. Tug-of-war injuries : FRICTION BURNS.  Abrasions caused by harshly rubbing the skin against some surface, in this case a rope.  Losing the war adds insult to injury, whicj does nothign good for one's disposition.

42. Hair-smoothing hairs : BRUSH BRISTLES.  When, for example, a cat is disturbed, the hairs of it back will stand upright, hence the reference.  I was surprised that there actually are boar BRISTLE hair brushes, and am chagrined that I did not know this.  How cilia me!   

47. Shellfish cookouts : SEAFOOD BOILS.  Here's a recipe.   Of course, the sea creature most likely to be angry is the crab.

Hi gang, JazzBumpa here.  Hope you're all in a good mood, and nothing in this puzzle perturbs you today.


1. Hershey's toffee bar : SKOR.  Sold in the U. S. since 1981, originally as competition for the Heath bar, which Hershey acquired along with the Leaf candy company in 1996.  Both are still available.

5. Res __ loquitur: the thing itself speaks : IPSA.  Latin.  I'll let our legal scholars expound on context.

9. Online shopping mecca : E-MALL.  A web site that displays catalogues for various suppliers and charges a commission for sales.  Seriously - this is a thing?

14. Chip in a chip : ANTE.   This one baffled me for a while, but sticking with the theme concept of noun-verb interchangeability, we see chip presented first as a verb and then as a noun.

15. Seasonal song : NOEL.  Christmas season.

16. Hunky-dory : A-OKAY.  All systems are go.

17. Start of a knitting project : LOOP. Now Gail and Bruce are just needling us.

18. Prefix with space : AERO-.   The complete word refers to technology and industry related to aviation and space flight.

19. Dry Italian wine : SOAVE.  Meaning pleasant or agreeable, this white wine is from the Veneto region around Verona.

23. Hot state : IRE.  More anger, spilling out from the theme.

24. Beatty/Hoffman box office flop : ISHTAR.  A 1987 action comedy about two inept lounge singers who book a gig in Morocco and stumble into a 4-way cold war standoff.   Widely considered to be one of the worst films ever made.

32. Former fillies : MARES.   Now we're just horsing around.  [See what I did there?]

34. Ready for a refill : EMPTY.  Like a beer glass.

35. Freelancer's email attachment: Abbr. : INV.  A freelancer works by the job, rather than for a specific employer, then sends the client an INVoice.  

36. Glider on runners : SLED.  For fun on a snowy hill.

37. Flowing garments : CAPES.  Short, sleeveless cloaks.

Not always appropriate

38. Sonar signal : BLIP.

39. Word in a bride's bio : NEE.  Referring to her maiden name.

40. Went a-courting : WOOED

C'mon Frog; I'll buy you a beer.

41. Two-time US Open winner : SELES.   Monica [b 1973] won 8 grand slam singles titles before her 20th birthday, and was the No. 1 player in the world in 1991 and 1992.

45. Library machine : COPIER.

46. "__ the Walrus" : I AM.  

Stunning low fidelity

54. Medicare prescription drug section : PART D.

57. Pre-coll. : EL-HI.  Elementary and High school come before college.

58. Brandy bottle letters : VSOP.   Very Superior Old Pale, refers to a blended cognac that must be aged in oak casks for no fewer than 3 years.  Most houses age longer than the minimum period.

59. Prospero's servant : ARIEL.  A [non-alcoholic] spirit who had been trapped in a tree, now bound to Prospero, who freed him.  Ariel causes the eponymous tempest in act one of Shakespeare's play.

60. Highest sudoku digit : NINE.  Numbers in rows, columns and boxes.

61. Hip bones : ILIA.  The largest and uppermost bone of the pelvis.

62. Free, in France : LIBRE.   Alas, the puzzle is not free of French.

63. Armoire feature : DOOR.   An armoire is a free-standing wardrobe closet.

64. Counting-out word : EENY.  Meeny, miney  .  .  .


1. Cyber Monday event : SALE.  Marketing ploy in the U. S. to get people to shop on line the Monday after Thanksgiving.

2. Fort with lots of bars : KNOX.  Gold bars, not jail cell bars. 

3. "Then again," in tweets : OTOH.  On The Other Hand  .  .  . she had warts.

4. Fixed : REPAIRED.  Corrected an inoperative condition, quite the opposite of 53D.

5. "Be right with you" : IN A SECond.  

6. Pound, but not ounce : POET.  Ezra [1885-1972] Also a noted racist and fascist sympathizer.  Very complex figure.

7. Medieval laborer : SERF.  The lowest level of feudal society and economics.  [Anyone who is interested can find my thoughts on the topic here.  Caution, though- one cannot delve into the history of economic systems without also considering politics.  That's taboo here, but not at the link.  My ideas might put you in the state of today's theme. Caveat lector. You have been warned.]

8. Six-time All-Star Moises : ALOU.   Baseball player, 4 letters, plug in ALOU and move on.  Coincidentally there are 4 of them: Dad Felipe, and bros. Matty and Jesús. Three letters, it's OTT.

9. Slips past : EASES BY.

10. __ pork: Chinese dish served with pancakes : MOO SHU.  Shredded pork with vegetables and seasonings.

11. Letters often after a perp's name : AKA. Also Known As.

12. Loo : LAV.  Personal comfort station.

13. Corrosive substance : LYE.  Sodium hydroxide [NaOH], and that's the truth.

21. "Exodus" author : URIS.  Leon [1924 - 2003]  The book was published in 1958, and made into  major motion picture in 1960.

22. Money makers : MINTS.  Where currency is manufactured

25. Warbles : TRILLS.   Yes, you can do this on the trombone.

Yeah, I can do this, too

26. Musical set in an orphanage : ANNIE.  Based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie.

27. Replies to an invite, for short : RSVPs.  Abreviated French, meaning please respond.

28. Make available : FREE UP.

29. "__ coffee?" : TEA OR.  Beverage choices.

30. Louvre Pyramid architect : I M PEI.  [b 1917] Designer of many famous projects throughout the world.

31. Pages with views : OP-EDS.  Located OPposite to the EDitorial page.

32. Rachel Maddow's network : MSNBC.  News, politics and opinion and politics.

33. Final Olds made : ALERO.  Maybe it IS your father's Oldsmobile.

37. Charming snake? : COBRA.  A snake just right for charming, if you have the right skill set.

38. 2007 animated film in which Sting voices himself : BEE MOVIE.   Never saw it, but this is brilliant casting.

40. Coax : WHEEDLE.  Using endearments or flattery - a manipulative ploy.

41. Big chunk : SLAB.  

43. Many a bridesmaid : SISTER.  Sadly COUSIN also has 6 letters.  It's all relative, I guess.

44. Less cluttered : TIDIER.   Neatness, peeps!

48. Shift (for oneself) : FEND.   To provide for or defend oneself.  I'm not getting "shift" as a meaning here.

49. Hodgepodge : OLIO.   Melange.  I'm pretty sure I've never seen "OLIO" outside of a puzzle or this website.

50. "How awful!" : OH NO.  Bad news.

51. Cruise stop : ISLE.   Port of call.

52. Pork choice : LOIN.  Well CHOP also has 4 letters.   The LOIN comes from along the top of the RIB cage.  On which, more later.

53. Do a vet's job : SPAY.  Gender neutralization of your pet.  

54. Chum : PAL.  Buddy, bro, homie, peep.

55. NPR journalist Shapiro : ARI.

56. Bone in a cage : RIB.  See, I wasn't Loin - I mean Lyin', nor was I ribbing you about anatomy.  OTOH, I wanted to come up with a picture of a trombone in a cage - 'cuz, of course I would.  Sadly, the best I could do is these guys behind a wrought iron fence.

Well, that wraps it up.  I had my moment of confusion but am not upset.  Hope the rest of your day keeps you on an even keel.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

5. Hot under the collar : ANGRY.  Perturbed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

39. Pulled off : DID.  Accomplished

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

67. Transparent : SHEER.  Rather like LACE.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

5. Chest thumper : APE.

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

7. Smooth-talking : GLIB.

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

9. Slangy "Sure" : YEH.  Uh-huh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

40. Down in the dumps : DEJECTED.

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

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

46. Milk purch. : GALlon.   Note Abrvs. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cool regards!