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 16, 2014

L A Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 Robert E. Lee Morris

Theme: An ordinary, unexceptional, prosaic, standard-issue, run of the mill Wednesday at The Corner.  The first word of today's theme entries can be combined with the unifier word GARDEN to present a VARIETY of in-the-language pairings.  Often with this kind of theme the generated phrase is original, clever and humorous.  Today, true to the spirit of the theme, the resulting phrases are of the GARDEN VARIETY.

The unifier first.  36 A. Commonplace, and what the start of 17-, 24-, 51- or 60-Across is : GARDEN VARIETY.  The first recorded use in a figurative sense is from 1928.   The evident reference is to something that might be found in anyone's home garden, hence, not special, unique nor exotic.  The meaning has expanded a bit to imply mediocrity.

17. Green Day's "American Idiot," e.g. : ROCK OPERA.  Released 10 years ago. A sample follows, if you're into that sort of thing.   A ROCK GARDEN, cleverly enough, is an an area landscaped with ROCKs and plants suited to that environment.

24. NASCAR winner's celebration : VICTORY LAP.  One turn around the track at low speed to allow the winner to bask in the adulation of her/his adoring fans.  VICTORY GARDENs were vegetable and herb gardens planted at private residences or public parks in the U.S. and several other countries during WW II.  They took considerable pressure off of the public food supply and contributed to morale on the home front.

51. 1995 Stephen King novel : ROSE MADDER.  Story about abuse, with the main character ROSE Daniels, in which the pigment ROSE MADDER plays a peripheral role.  There are many ROSE GARDENs.  One of the famous ones borders the Oval Office and West Wing of the White House.  It was established in 1913 by First Lady Ellen Loise Axson Wilson.

 60. Spare tire : BEER BELLY.   Two slang expressions denoting excess in the midriff region, aka Dunlop's Disease, 'cuz when you sits down, yer belly done lops over yer belt.  A BEER GARDEN is an outdoor area, usually associated with a pub or restaurant where beer and food are served.  The history is quite interesting.

This clever theme presents us with four quite different VARIETIES of GARDENS.   Mediocre?  I think not.

Hi, gang, it's JzB your humble GARDEN VARIETY trombonist.  Let's see what else Robert has planted for us. 


1. Place to wipe your boots : MAT.  On the floor by the door.

4. Vice squad strategies : RAIDS

9. "Darn!" : SHOOT.  I'm guessing this is a not-quite-sound-alike substitute for a less polite word.

14. Sister of Zsa Zsa : EVA. The third sib is Magda.

15. Flynn of film : ERROL.  Famous buckler of swashes in Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk and many more.

16. Main artery : AORTA. Literally, the main artery of the blood stream.

19. Govt.-backed bond : T-NOTET is for Treasury. These notes are issued in terms of 2, 3, 5, 7 and 10 years.

20. Secretary of the Interior under FDR : ICKES.  Harold L., progressive Republican deeply involved in Chicago politics, who was recruited by FDR to appeal to middle-of-the-road [Garden Variety?] voters.  No politics at The Corner, but you can read about him here.

21. Navel type : INNIE. There are two varieties.  Check them out [or in] here.

23. Commuting start? : TELE. Working from home via an electronic device. 

29. First-class : STELLAR.  The best - probably because this word in its literal sense refers to stars, and they are brilliant.

31. Sales incentive : REBATE.  Money back from the seller can be STELLAR.

32. Send to the statehouse : ELECT.  In this case, as the governor.

35. "¿Cómo __?" : ESTA.  How are you, amigo?  Lots of Spanish today.

41. Shade of green : JADE.  Green-blue hue named for a gem stone.

42. German steel city : ESSEN. This western German city dates from the 9th century.  For the last 400 years it has been associated with the Krupp steel company.

43. __ energy : ATOMIC.  Kinetic, potential, chemical, mechanical, magnetic, thermal -- the list goes on.

46. Sleeveless shirt : TANK TOP.   Here's one in JADE green.

54. Prefix with space : AERO.  A refreshingly honest prefix clue referring to efforts in science, engineering and business to fly in the atmosphere of Earth (aeronautics) and surrounding space (astronautics). [Wikipedia]

55. English Channel port : DOVER.  In a region famous for it's white cliffs, as in this WW II era song.

56. Fashionista Mary-Kate : OLSEN.  I guess M-K and her twin sis Ashley have become celebrities, which one wag defined as people well-known for being famous.

57. Bolt on a track : USAIN.  Love this clue.  Bolt means [among other things] to move fast, and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt certainly does that.

63. Red Sea peninsula : SINAIA region of Egypt between the Red Sea to the south and the Mediterranean to the north.  To the East, it borders Israel.  It is mostly separated from the rest of Egypt by the Gulf of Suez.

64. Pi, for one : RATIO.  Specifically, the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.

65. Tempe sch. : ASUArizona State University.

66. Prop for a clown : STILT.  Nice double meaning.  Looks harmless.

67. Hacienda brick : ADOBE.  Straw reinforced bricks of clay or mud, dried in the sun.

68. Fall mo. : SEPtember.


1. Inherent rights and wrongs, as of a case : MERITS.  Perhaps our legal beagles can elaborate.

2. Long-legged shore bird : AVOCET.  This had me so stumped for a while, that I doubted the perp EVA.  Finally had to go googling.

3. Take on, as a challenge : TACKLE.

4. Vintage cars : REOS.  It seems that Ransom Eli Olds enjoyed naming cars after himself.  I don't think he has anything to do with this, though.

5. Dadaism founder : ARP.  Jean or Hans, depending on his audience, a French-German sculptor, painter, poet, and abstract artist.  Dada [a word of uncertain origin] rejected reason and logic, prizing nonsense, irrationality and intuition.

6. Rage : IRE. Anger.

7. Greek architectural style : DORIC. The plainest of the three classic support column styles.

8. Viewpoint : SLANT.  Everybody has one.

9. "The Colbert Report" stock-in-trade : SATIRE. Political.

10. Winged stinger : HONEY BEE.

11. Gold, in Guadalajara : ORO.  Spanish gold.

12. Polo Grounds hero Mel : OTT.  Most famous crossword baseball player.

13. __ Bo : TAE.  a total body fitness system that incorporates Martial Arts techniques.  This phrase is both a portmanteau and a backronym.  I am not making this up.

18. Ship stabilizer : KEEL. Either the backbone of a ship or a vertical projection from the bottom of a boat.  It lowers the center of gravity to help keep the vessel upright, and also aids forward motion by resisting side-slipping. 

22. "... a borrower __ a lender ...": "Hamlet" : NOR.  I thought it came from Ben Franklin.  Live and learn.

24. Low-lying land : VALE.

25. "Me, Myself & __": Jim Carrey film : IRENE.   I wanted EILENE.  That's my mom.  IRENE is her twin sister.

26. In the cellar, sportswise : LAST.   Surprisingly, where the Red Sox are at the moment.

27. ABA member : ATTYAmerican Bar Association and ATTorneY.

28. Pot pie veggie : PEA.  I like them, but not everybody does.

30. Was in front : LED.  Like the K. C. Royals did briefly in mid-June.

33. Rite Aid rival : CVS.   Drug stores

34. Sample : TASTE.  Is it in good taste to taste a TASTE?

36. Chihuahua cat : GATO.   Mas Español.

37. Ruckuses : ADOS.   Not often seen in the plural. 

38. Like some skill-building classes : REMEDIAL.  These classes are intended to correct a deficiency.

39. __ admiral : REAR.  The lowest of the admiral ranks.

40. Bed-and-breakfast, e.g. : INN.  Establishment offering food and lodgings.

41. Moonshine container : JAR.  I had JUG at first.

44. "Consider the job done!" : I'M ON IT.   As with this puzzle, but I'm not done yet.

45. Cleveland NBAer : CAValier.

47. Cabbagelike plant : KALE.  A leafy green.

48. Electric cars named for a physicist : TESLAS.

49. Ultimatum words : OR ELSE.  Sounds like a threat.

50. Fork over what's due : PONY UP.   The meaning is clear.  The origin - not so much.

52. Actress Winger : DEBRA.  Her break-through role was in Urban Cowboy (1980.)

53. Profound fear : DREAD.

56. Clarinet cousin : OBOE.  I don't think this is valid.  Cylindrical vs conical bore is simply too great a difference in my mind, let alone single vs double reed.  But you can check it out and draw your own conclusions.

57. Naval letters : USSUnited States Ship.  I just recently learned that SS means Steam Ship.

58. Grab a stool : SIT.  In a bar or a barn?

59. "Give me __!": start of a Hoosier cheer : AN I.  For Indiana.  Why Hoosier?  There's more here than I cared to read.

61. WWII arena : ETOEuropean Theater of Operations.

62. Tease : RIB.  Another word uncertain origin, perhaps from something funny being rib-tickling.

Quite a nice puzzle, despite a couple nits, and fun to blog.  Hope you all enjoyed it.

Cool regards!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hangin' With Kirk

 Me with John Stoddard (left) and Kirk Whalum

It sounds like a cliche, but it was a privilege, an honor, and a real delight to spend some time with grammy winning musician and recording artist Kirk Whalum yesterday.  Kirk and his accompanist John Stoddard were in town to perform with the Schoolcraft College Jazz program on Monday evening, and they gave a clinic on Monday afternoon.

There were only about 20 people in the audience, which is shame because this was a great opportunity.  But with such a small crowd, it became an intimate and personal experience - almost like just hangin' out with some friends.

Kirk and John spoke about music as communication than can operate on a different level from human language, and that being able to express yourself in that way is a sacred trust.  This operates horizontally when we transmit or absorb ideas from, or impress or are impressed by other people.  Besides just the notes, consonance, dissonance, the musical context and attitude of the player all come into play.

The language of music can communicate, entertain, and uplift with emotions and feelings that are outside of spoken language or even comprehension.

The horizontal aspect comes to and from each other, from experiences and cultural richness.  In the process we can impress each other, but impressions wear off.   However, it is possible to go beyond that and make an impact that moves someone in a permanent way.

The vertical aspect is more elusive, and has a spiritual component.  Kirk is also an ordained minister, and in his view the kind of inspiration that produces great improvisation comes directly from God.  But to get there, you have to be prepared.  His analogy was that when you put God in the driver's seat, you don't want to provide a broken down 1983 Chevvy.  You want to have a shiny, new Chrysler 300.

The strategy for better inspiration comes from a grounding in fundamentals, preparation and practice.  The fundamentals are your musical vocabulary.  Preparation and practice develop first what Kirk called "head room" -  what an engineer would call a margin of safety: a grounding in fundamentals such that when the moment for vertical inspiration arrives, you don't run out of tools and horse power; and second "working it out."

He emphasized the importance of practicing slow - walk before you run.  The other element is repetition.  This can be the drudgery part of practice, but use your creativity to find a way to make it fun.

In the Q and A, I asked Kirk how an improvisor should approach taking on a new song with a difficult set of chord changes.  He said, first get to know the song - really KNOW that song.  Memorize the melody, feel the chord moments, sing the words.  Then play the roots, in time with a metronome.  A hundred times.  Then play the thirds another hundred.  Then fit in the scales associated with the chords.  Ill throw in that it's also worth while to know the arpeggios.  There is a certain nerdiness to approaching music this way.

Kirk's advice:  Embrace the nerdiness.

Afterward, I shook his hand and told him that I had never heard him before, but within two minutes of when he started talking, I felt like I'd known him forever.  He is a very genuine, well grounded guy, and seemed to be touched by that.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

 Wednesday, June 25, 2014  Matt Skoczen

Theme: ALL THAT BLOWS IS NOT THE WIND.  The first word of each theme answer can follow the word BLOW, yielding a common, in-the-language phrase.

17 A. *Bit of formalwear : TOP HAT.  To BLOW one's TOP is to get very angry.  But nobody could be angered by Fred Astair showing us the entire formal outfit.

 18 A. *Interrupt : HORN IN ON.  This implies a forceful and unwelcome inerruption or coercion -- or something a trombonist might happily do.

39 A. *Scandal management ploy : COVER UP.  You can run, but you can't hide.  I'm sure you can think of an example or two.  Seems like somebody always BLOWs the COVER, though.

60 A. *Less intense workout after a workout : COOL DOWN.  Self explanatory, I hope.  After working on my feeble high register, I COOL DOWN by playing low notes.  BLOWing one's COOL is similar, but perhaps less severe than BLOWing one's TOP.

11 D. *Psychologically manipulative tactics : MIND GAMES.   A series of deliberate ploys planned to achieve some advantage or superior position.  To BLOW one's MIND is to make a particularly strong impression.

33 D. *Snoop : NOSE ABOUT.  I'm not sure this is a common phrase, but the meaning is clear enough.  As for BLOWing one's NOSE - well, it's allergy season, s'nuff said.

And, of course, the unifier. 62 A. Lose when you should have won, and a hint to the start of the answers to starred clues : BLOW IT.  But viewed from the other side, it's a clutch come-from-behind victory.  It all depends on whose ox is being gored.  But why am I thinking about Joe Nathan?

Hi gang, it's JzB, your humble resident trombonist and frustrated Tigers fan, in case you haven't guessed by now.  Today we have a very rich and well-executed, perfectly symmetrical theme, with horizontal and  long vertical crossing entries.  Did it BLOW your MIND?  Let's see if I can lead the way through without BLOWing IT.


1. Looking at the stars : GAZINGAstronomy perhaps. Star gazing can also imply absorption in chimerical or impractical ideas, or the quality or state of being absentminded. How do you spend your nights?  

7. Dog star's first name? : RIN.  RIN Tin Tin.  And I'm Sirius.

10. Singing an olde-fashioned love song? : SMIT.  Derived from "smite" to strike forcefully - yet another kind of BLOW.  Here, pierced by Cupid's arrow -- but --
I've heard of being SMITTEN, but not being SMIT,
There are old-fashioned love songs, but this doesn't quite fit.
So SMIT can be today's odd SMITTEN nit.

14. Saudi neighbors : OMANIS. To the East.

15. Poetic preposition : ERE.  I've heard this before

16. Opera set in Egypt : AIDA.  Premiered in Cairo in 1871.  The story of a love triangle between AIDA, an Ethiopian Princess captured and enslaved by the Egyptians; Ramides, an Egyptian military commander torn between duty and his love for her; and Amneris, the Pharaohe's daughter, whose love for Ramides is unrequited.  "In fact, a perfect opera."

20. Wear a long face : MOPE.  I have granddaughters who have raised this to the level of high art.

21. Lucrative way for a handicapper's bet to pay off : TENFOLD.  A long shot winning at 10-1 odds.

22. Supply with weapons, old-style : ENARM.  The erstwhile arms race, as 'twere.

24. Letters for the Queen Mary : HMSHer Majesty's Ship.

25. Numeral : DIGIT.  Any number, suitable for counting on your fingers.

28. Mideast ruler : EMIR.

30. Delaware tribe : LENAPE.  Also known as the Delaware tribe.  Because of displacements from their native territory along the Delaware River watershed, they are now mainly located in Ontario, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma.

31. "General Hospital" extra, for short : LPNLicensed Practical Nurse

34. Territory in dispute between Russia and Ukraine : CRIMEA.   The OTHER Crimean war occurred from 1853 to 1856.  Either way, a sad story.

37. FBI agent : G-MANGovernment Guy.

38. U.N. workers' rights agcy. : I. L. O.   International Labor Organization.

41. Memphis-to-Nashville dir. : ENE. East North East.

42. Condé __ Publications : NAST.  A mass media company headquartered in New York, and famous for its many magazines.  Read all about it.

44. Like Enya's music : NEW AGE.   Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin has shown up as fill so many times in puzzles I've blogged.  It's refreshing to see her in a clue.  As a music genre, NEW AGE is rather bland and amorphous, intended to inspire relaxation, optimism and NEW AGE spirituality, sadly characterized by a conspicuous absence of trombones.  It probably will not BLOW your MIND.

45. Emulated Miss Muffet : SAT.  On a tuffet.  Said Miss Muffet to the Spider:  "Get out of my whey!"

46. Vigor : ENERGY

48. Open carriage : SHAY.   It seems this is a back-formation from chaise, taken as plural.

50. Jazz player, briefly : NBA- ER.  As you can well imagine, this had me entirely down the wrong track.  I hold this fill in the same high regard that I hold NFL-ER, AL-ER, and NL-ER.  Which, I suppose, makes me a nitter.

51. "__ seen enough!" : I'VE.  Well placed fill, IMHO.

53. Stavros superior, in '70s TV : KOJAK.  Another famous show I never watched.  But I still know "Who loves ya!"

57. "Star Wars" weapon : BLASTER.  Which makes me wonder why the Imperial troopes even bothered with their totally ineffective armor.

59. Mandlikova of tennis : HANA.  From the '80's.

64. Molokai neighbor : MAUI.  Islands.

65. When repeated, a Kenyan rebel : MAU.  The MAU MAUs revolted against British occupation in the 50's.

66. Puccini's "La __" : BOHEME.   More opera.  It's premier was in  Turin in 1896, conducted by Arturo Tuscanini.  The Bohemians were the dirty hippies of a by-gone time. 

67. Times in the p.m. : AFTSAFTernoonS.  Also, I'm guessing, the best time to go to the back of a boat.

68. Suffix with Canton : -ESE. Food, language, people.

69. Quarters : ABODES.  Living quarters, not fourths of things.


1. "I dunno" : GOT ME.

2. "There's __ Out Tonight": 1961 hit : A MOON.  When you get tired of Star GAZING, you can go MOONing.

3. Rock legend Frank : ZAPPA.  Pappa of Dweezil and Moon Unit.

4. Response from the next room : IN HERE.  Where are you, Pappa?

5. Singer Peeples : NIA.   Virenia Gwendolyn Peeples is also an actress.

6. Clock-setting std. : G.S.T.  Greenwich Sidereal Time. More astronomy.

7. Sew up again : REHEM.  A HEM is a narrow cloth edge folded over and sewn to provide a finished look and prevent unraveling. REHEMing a dress or skit would make it shorter.  Selena Gomez demonstrates.

8. Presses : IRONS.  Next step after REHEMing.

9. Indoor ball brand : NERF.  The trademark for this line of polyurethane foam game and play products introduced in 1970 is in all caps.

10. Asea : SAILING.  Literally out on the waves.  Another frequent filler turned refreshingly into a clue.

12. Words often said in front of a priest : I DO.  Not always.  We got married in the Courthouse in Dearborn.  As it turned out, not the best VENUE.

13. Brown shade : TAN.  Can be confusing at times

19. Plant stem joint : NODE.

21. Flourish : THRIVE.

23. DL x IV : MMCC.  Erstwhile 550 x 4 = 2200.

26. "Brusha, brusha, brusha" toothpaste : IPANA.  Takes me back to my 'ute.

27. Maxim : TENET.  Core belief.

29. "The Twilight Zone" plot device : IRONY.  In this sense, dashed expectations, often associated with a plot twist.

30. Chuckle : LAUGH.  HA!

31. Flax fabric : LINEN

32. Something to fall back on : PLAN B.  If you BLOW plan A.

35. Litter sound : MEW.  Kittens.

36. Pencil topper : ERASER.  Mistake eliminator.  Necessary with Sudoku.

40. Busiest type of season : PEAK

43. Ivy support : TRELLIS

47. Alum : GRAD. Alumnus and GRADuate.   A former student who made the grade

49. Start of a pirate's refrain : YO HO HO.   And a bottle of rum.  Absolutely no ice, though.

51. "__ a dark and stormy night ..." : IT WAS.  Does any story actually start this way?

52. Locale : VENUE.  Place where something happens.

54. Yakked : JAWED.  Gabbed.

55. Cartoon genre : ANIME.  The concept seems a bit muddled, but I guess I know it when I see it.  It can look like this.

56. Beckinsale and Chopin : KATES.   Kathrin Romary Beckinsale (b. 1973) is a British actress.  Katherine Chopin (nee O'Flaherty, 1850 — 1904) was an American author of short stories and novels.

58. A few : SOME.  Not many.

60. Awards often co-hosted by Carrie Underwood: Abbr. :  C.M.A.  Country Music Awards.  No link.  I'm not a fan.

62. Mgr.'s degree : B.B.A.  Bachelor of Business Administration.

63. Toss : LOB.  A soft throw.

We made it.  A couple of nits, but nothing to BLOW your COOL over.  I had a lot of fun with this one, and hope you did, too.

[Not BLOWN] Cool regards!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

L. A Times Crossword puzzzle Blogging

Wednesay, June 11, 2014  Gail Gabowski

Theme:  Verkehrs-marmelade.   Decades ago, when I was in German class, we invented this Teutonic psuedo-portmanteau for today's hidden word theme.  To dispel whatever mystery there might be, let's start with the unifier.

64A. Rush-hour headache, components of which are hidden in the answers to starred clues : TRAFFIC JAM.   Of course, here JAM means a condition of being stuck and unable to move, not a confection made of smashed fruit cooked with sugar.  Lets check out the components.

17 A. *Big name in veggie patties : BOCA BURGER.   The original vegan version is mostly soy protein and wheat gluten, but there are variations.  The hidden word is a CAB, aka Taxi, a ride for hire.

40 A. *Certain surfer : WEB USER.  We're all WEB USERS on this BUS.   WI FI?  WI not?

11 D. *Passé reception aid : TV ANTENNA.   Gone the way of the rotary phone.  Now it's cable, U-verse or satellite.  You might even get reception in your VAN

35. *Steamy gallery display : EROTIC ART.  Putting a CAR into EROTIC ART is a somewhat different take on auto-eroticism.  I wasted a few good moments trying to find something worth posting, and finally had to settle for this.

Hi gang,  JzB here.  Let's get it in gear and see if we can motor through this puzzle without mashing up too much fruit.


1. Finch or falcon : BIRD.  One would probably eat the other.

5. Heart-to-hearts : TALKS.  Serious buisness

10. City southwest of Bayeux : ST LO.  Timely with the 70th anniversary of D-Day this past week.  The town was reduced to rubble by the fighting.

14. Actor Ladd : ALAN.  Appeared mainly in westerns and film noir, where he was often paired with Veronica Lake.

15. Intermediary : AGENT.  Cut taker.

16. It bakes the cake : OVEN.   Hot spot.

19. Great __ : DANE.   Going to the dogs.

20. Invite for : ASK TO.   Our two oldest grandchildren got asked to Prom for the first time this spring.  [Back in the day, it was THE Prom but not so now.]  They are both Juniors, and Danny's date had to ASK him, because she's a Senior.

21. Land in the ocean : ISLE.   Speck of land, not a splash.

22. "Fire" bugs : ANTS.  Ants work so hard.  Why would anybody fire them?   The stinging omnivorous variety also popped up in C.C.'s puzzle the last time I blogged.

23. Get one's back up about : RESENT.  Odd, phrase that.  Any INPUT from out linguists?

25. Went for a rebound, say : LEAPT.   Pretty much the antithesis of this.

27. Letter flourish : SERIF.   With Serif.   Sans Serif.  Check under the R and the F.

30. Like some omelets : TWO EGG.  Breakfast!

33. Borscht base : BEET.   As they once said on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, when it come to Borscht, you can't beat soup!

36. Sch. with 110 NCAA titles : UCLAUniversity of California, Los Angeles

38. Snorer's problem, perhaps : APNEA.  A momentary lull in breathing, while asleep.  The most effect preventive is insomnia.

39. "__ Town" : OUR.  Play about early 20th century Americana by Thorton Wilder.  Oscar was Wilde, but Thorton was Wilder.

42. Time out? : NAP.  Out, as in asleep.  Potenital apnea venue.

43. Pledge of fidelity : TROTH.  Solemn pledge, and that's the truth.

45. Chef's protection : MITT.  Hand in glove, as we say here  in MI.

46. Take the risk : DARE.  Dare to be [fill in the blank.]

47. Blowhard's output : HOT AIR. Nope.  No politics.

49. Playground comeback : DID SO.   Did not!

51. Feedback : INPUT.  Do you input my output, or is there too much FEEDBACK?

53. Unattached : SINGLE.  Unmarried.

57. Clock sound : TICK.  We have ways of making you tock!

59. Spot for a 42-Across : SOFA.  Not for me.  phooey on SOFA NAPS.  I do it right, and take me to bed!

62. "Even so ..." : STILL.  Bu, anyway .  .  .

63. Berry promoted as a superfood : ACAI.  There are no known health benefits that are specific to this fruit.

66. In a dilemma : TORN.  Could be a clash of ideas.

67. Actress Lenya : LOTTE.  Wife of Kurt Weill

68. "La Dolce Vita" setting : ROME.   Doesn't really seem that sweet.

69. One opposed : ANTI.  The anti-bellum are opposed to war.

70. College paper : ESSAY.   Write on.

71. Timeline component : YEAR.


1. Elephant in picture books : BABAR.

2. "Guess you beat me" : I LOSE.  Something the Tigers are saying far too often these days.

3. Clothing store fixtures : RACKS

4. Paternity suit procedure : DNA TEST.  The most reliable method to prove or disprove if there s a parent-child relationship.

5. Sigma follower : TAU.  It's all Greek [letters] to me

6. Business opening? : AGRI-   Bah!

7. Chair parts : LEGS.  I see.

8. Solemn ring : KNELL.  Ask not for whole the bell KNELLS.

9. Main drag, e.g. : STREET. You know its a small town if Main Street is the main street.

10. Picnic drink : SODA POP.  Carbonated.

12. Advanced : LENT.  An advance of money is a loan.

13. Tip jar fillers : ONES.  Dollar bills.  Different sense of the word SINGLE.

18. Dog biscuit shape : BONE. As if the dog cares.

24. "I can't deny that" : TRUE.  It's a fact

26. Wage __ of words : A WAR.   A long argument.

28. Long-range weapon, for short : ICBM.  Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile for long.

29. Gin or tonic : FLUID.  Any liquid. These two work together rather well.

31. Paraphernalia : GEAR.  Stuff.

32. Hang open : GAPE.  As a mouth

33. The pair : BOTH.  The one and the other one.

34. Continental cash : EURO.

37. Piedmont wine area : ASTI.

40. Prepare quickly, with "up" : WHIP.

41. LAX data : ETDS.  ETD or ETA always takes perp help.

44. Beachwear portmanteau : TANKINI.  A portmanteau of TANK top and biKINI, refering to an article of swim wear consisting of a TANK top [imagine that] and biKINI bottom.

46. Comforting words : DON'T CRY.  I don't see a lot of comfort here.

48. Prepare quickly, with "up" : RUSTLE.  As in dinner.

50. Emphatic Spanish assent : SI SI!  We all say "SI SI!" to C.C.

52. Pamplona runners : TOROS.  That's a lot of bull.

54. WWII enlistee : GI JOE.  Before he became an action figure and then a cartoon character.

55. Andean hauler : LLAMA.  South American humpless camelid.

56. Wabbit hunter : ELMER. Fudd.

57. "Toodle-oo!" : TATA.   Bye, now.  No - wait.  Four more to go.

58. Screen image : ICON.  Kinda-sorta.

60. They may be saturated : FATS.  The ones from animals and avocados.

61. Colgate-Palmolive shaving lotion : AFTA.

65. Baldwin's "30 Rock" co-star : FEY.  Tina.

There We made it to the finish line.   Hope you all enjoyed the trip.

Cool regards!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 C. C. Burnikle

Theme: Not until you see the whites of their eyes.

Let's start with the unifier.  21 D. No-parking areas, four of which are formed, in a way, by the answers to the starred clues :  FIRE LANES.

Each theme answer can follow the word FIRE, yielding an in-the-language noun or two-word noun phrase. The LANES result from the left-right symmetry of the placement of the theme answers.  Two LANES are formed by the theme fill along the vertical edges, and two more LANES are located at the fifth column in from each vertical edge.   Each LANE is made up of three theme answers, so we have a puzzle that is unusually rich in both theme density and number of theme fill entries.

A typical grid has a small number of horizontally-placed long theme answers.  This one has a large number of vertically-placed short theme answers.  Lets sniff them out.

 1 D. *Rocking good time : BALL.  Have a BALL with this puzzle.  A FIREBALL is either,  literally, a ball of fire, a projectile filled with explosives, or a bright meteor.

5 D. *"Holy smokes!" : MAN.  An expression of surprise or dismay.  Don't have a cow.   A FIREMAN is someone whose job is usually [but not always] putting out fires.

10 D. *Frighten : ALARM.  But don't be ALARMed.  A FIRE ALARM is a warning device in case of fire.

14 D. *Cyber Monday event : SALE.  The Monday after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday is used as an e-tail marketing ploy.  A FIRE SALE originally referred to goods deeply discounted due to FIRE damage.  Now it's any sales event at steeply discounted prices, though often occurring under financial distress.

23 D. *Attack forcefully : STORM.  Often a full frontal assault.  A FIRESTORM is a large, powerful FIRE that burns so hot that it produces strong winds.  Less literally, it refers to a raging controversy or strong and sudden outburst.

25 D. *Delivery vehicle : TRUCK.  A FIRE TRUCK does not [usually] deliver FIRE.

34 D. *Authority : POWER FIRE POWER is the destructive capacity of your military arsenal

37 D. *Gem : STONE. Precious or semi-precious mineral matter.   FIRESTONE is the lone proper noun in this conflagration, the name of a tire and rubber company.. 

52 D. *Smoking gun, e.g. : PROOF.   Refers colloquially to a bit of incontrovertible incriminating evidence.  FIREPROOF means impervious or resistant to damage by fire.

55 D. *Down Under gem : OPAL FIRE OPALs, so named because of their vibrant color display, were first discovered in Australia in the second half of the 19th century.

62 D. *Secret to crack : CODE.  A word of many meanings, here indicating a system of symbols used instead of words or letters to conceal the meaning of a message.  In another sense, a FIRE CODE is a set of standards established and enforced by government for fire prevention and safety in case of fire.

66 D. *Picnic invader : ANT.  Frequent cross word invader as well.  FIRE ANTs are fiercely stinging omnivorous ants native to South America.

This is the second puzzle this month by our own dear  C.C., and I have been fortunate enough to blog them both.  Raising the coincidence quotient another notch, both of these puzzles have four vertically placed theme elements, and a centrally placed vertical unifier.  Plus, you could be burnt by both themes  High marks for creative, original and consistent thinking.

Lets put on our asbestos underwear, delve into this puzzle, and see if we can avoid being charred.


1. Islands north of Cuba : BAHAMAS.  A string of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean southeast of Florida.

8. Earl Grey pouches : TEA BAGS. Flavored with oil of bergamot. My go-to tea.

15. Fruit that's a source of cosmetic oil : AVOCADO.  More oil.  Watch out, this stuff is flammable

16. Hay fever drug brand : ALLEGRA.  The LW is struggling this week.  How are you doin'?

17. Beirut's country : LEBANON.  Middle-eastern coastal country nestled snugly between Israel and Syria.

18. Chicago mayor Rahm : EMANUEL

19. Belt holder : LOOP.   Also Chicago's commercial core

20. Luftwaffe foes of WWII : RAFRoyal Air Force.  Airborn FIRE POWER.

22. Red Cross training course : TRIAGE.  The assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties.

23. LPGA star __ Pak : SE RI.  Will she talk on your i-Phone?

24. Veep before LBJ : RMN.  Vice Prez in the 50s.  AKA Trickie Dickie.

25. Plot surprises : TWISTS

29. Sushi topper : ROE.  Fish eggs.  Yum?

31. Snack on the trail : GORP.  Disgusting sounding name for a trail mix of peanuts, raisins and M&Ms.

35. Aptly named laundry soap : RINSO.  One of the first mass-marketed soap powders over 100 years ago.  It was unable to compete with Tide in the 50's, was modified as Rinso Blue, and was eventually rebranded as Surf.  Rinso brand is still marketed in other parts of the world, but Rinso Blue is now sold exclusively to Smurfs.

36. Roman goddess of agriculture : CERES.  And eponym for the largest body in the asteroid belt, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter - a rock and ice [not FIRE] ball 590 miles in diameter.

38. Letter after pi : RHO.   If you rho, rho, rho your boat, will you get to eat pi?

39. Answering to : UNDER.   This works in two senses.  In an organization you are under the person you answer to, and if you answer to an assumed name, you are UNDER an alias. 

40. Birmingham's st. : ALAbama.

41. 2007 Heisman Trophy winner : TEBOW.  Tim, a University of Florida QB who went on to a flash-in-the-pan career with the Denver Broncos before being traded to the Jets, then the Patriots who cut him last August.  He is now a college football analyst for ESPN.

43. Half of CDII : CCI  402/2 = 201.  Bach sometimes included his musical signature in compositions.  What could C C I mean?

44. It may be precious : METAL.  Especially a certain gold ring.

46. Zinc __ : OXIDE.  Opaque sun block

47. Capsize, with "over" : KEEL.  The keel is on the bottom of the boat - until it KEELs over.

49. Harry Potter pal : RON.  And your humble blogging trombonist.

50. GM security system : ON STAR. You can use your smart phone to lock your car.

51. Therapists' org. : APA. American Psychiatry Association.

53. Munich article : EINE. Meaning a, an or one.

55. Takes place : OCCURS.

58. Home of Absolut Vodka: Abbr. : SWEden.

59. Like "le" in Fr. : MASCuline.

63. Talk openly about, as one's feelings : POUR OUT.  Could be a heated conversation.  Maybe the Tin Man can come up with an alternate clue.

65. Emphatic denial : I SAID NO. Could be prt of a heated conversation

67. Existing independent of experience, in logic : A PRIORI.  Instead, relating to or derived by reasoning from self-evident propositions.

68. Type of oil : LINSEED.  Yet another flammable oil, this one is colourless to yellowish, obtained from the dried, ripened seeds of the flax plant, and used in paints, varnishes, inks, soaps, and surface protectants.

69. Visa penalty : LATE FEE.   Worse than interest.

70. "Hmm ..." : LET'S SEE  .  .  .   Are we there yet?  Nope - a ways to go yet.


2. Small Chevy model : AVEO.  Offered from 2004-11.

3. Handbag brand with a bindle-toting icon : HOBO.

4. Put __ on: limit : A CAP.  I wanted A LID.

6. Is crazy about : ADORES.

7. Echolocation device : SONAR.  Originally an acronym for SOund Navigation And Ranging.

8. __ kwon do : TAE.   Martial art

9. Shade provider : ELM TREE.  Sadly retro

11. Actress Annette : BENING.

12. Mexican water : AGUA.  To put out the fuego.

13. 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Maddux : GREG.  BASEBALL! He's the only pitcher in MLB history to win at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons.  Read more here.

26. React to a shot : WINCE.  Hypodermic or basketball?  You be the judge.

27. Typical Sundance film : INDIE.  Independent.

28. Madison-to-Nashville dir. : SSE.

30. Like much lore : ORAL.  Passed down by word of mouth. 

32. Once around : ORBIT.  A circuit of the FIREBALL.

33. '70s sitcom spin-off : RHODA.  From the Mary Tyler Moore show

36. "The Censor" of Rome : CATO.  Marcus Porcius Cato, the elder, holder of many offices in Roman government.  As Censor he was responsible for maintaining the census, supervising public morality [from which we get our modern word censorship], and overseeing certain aspects of the government's finances.  Probably not invited to many BALLs.

42. Strait's "All My __ Live in Texas" : EXS. Which is why he resides in Tennessee.

45. Sign of a changed sheet : ERASURE.  Sheet of paper.  Common when I attempt sudoku.
48. "House" star Hugh : LAURIE.

Well, I had a hot time.  Hope you made it through without burning up your eraser.

Hot regards!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, May 14, 2014  C. C. Burnikel

Theme: We all have our ups and downs; even the center of our solar system. I hope you got to see the circles in the puzzle, since they are crucial to discovering the placement and meaning of this clever and original theme.  The word SUN is contained in four symmetrically-placed, multiple-word vertical theme answers, alternating in retrograde and prograde arrangement, giving us two each of  SUN RISE and SUN SET.  I guess that makes this some sort of a concealed rebus, but I'll set aside my usual disdain in deference to this beautiful construction.

Here are the theme entries, presented from left to right in the grid, rather than numerical order, to preserve the rise and fall.

3 D. Pageant for under-20s : MISS TEEN USA.   This year's pageant will be at 8:00 p.m. on August 2nd at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Nassau, Bahamas, many hours after SUNrise.  

32 D. Admits defeat : SAYS UNCLE.  Otherwise the victim's arm could get twisted until SUNset.  This expression might go all the way back to ancient Rome.

9 D. Like our secret : BETWEEN US.  Shhhh! Don't tell anyone.  At least not before SUNrise.

25 D. Cheating victim's cry : THAT'S UNFAIRA fair person would never let the SUN set on such an outrage.

And the centrally placed unifier, 14. "Fiddler on the Roof" song suggested twice by this puzzle's circles : SUNRISE, SUNSET, which then naturally becomes today's theme song.

A nice, elegant touch is that at each rotation of the SUN, the word is broken at the first letter encountered in reading, N for the rises and S for the sets.  Looks like North and South, rather than East and West.

This is not a startlingly unusual grid, but, upon closer inspection, it does seem a bit out of the ordinary.  The symmetrically placed horizontal 6 and 8 stacks near the top and bottom don't leave room for a more typical theme placement.  The 13-letter vertical unifier is not an axis of symmetry.  The only symmetry in the grid is 180 degree rotational, around the center square.  Let's see what else is in orbit.


1. Downfall : DEMISE.  From Late Middle English via Old French, and ultimately Latin.

7. Msg. to squad cars : APBAll Points Bulletin.  Note Abrv. in Cl. & Ans.

10. Luxury resort amenity : SPA.

13. "Savages" director Stone : OLIVER.  Not my kind of movie, but here is the trailer.

14. Unsportsmanlike sort : SOREHEAD.  Bad loser.

16. Egyptian president during the Suez Crisis : NASSER.  Gamal Abdal, Jan 15, 1918 - Sep 28, 1970.  He died of a heart attack shortly after the conclusion of the Arab League Summit Conference.

17. One-piece garments : UNITARDS.  Leotards with legs.

18. Golf Hall of Famer Ernie : ELS.   He is one of six golfers to twice win both the U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

 19. "Death in Venice" author : MANN.  Thomas.

21. Bugs on a highway : VWs.  Beetles.  In August you might see monarch butterflies.

22. Wobble : TEETER.  Weebles TEETER, but they don't fall down.

24. Gossip : YENTA.  Yiddish.

27. See 26-Down : SEA.   Plus:  26 D. With 27-Across, one end of the Dardanelles : AEGEAN.  The Dardanelles is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the AEGEAN SEA to the Sea of Marmara.

28. Bird: Pref. : AVI-. So why isn't AVI-brained a common expression?

29. Tie up : TETHER.

31. Still-life pitchers : EWERS.

33. __ Martin: Bond's car : ASTON.

35. Dating service datum : AGE.

36. Summer of songs : DONNA.  Summer is hot.

37. Narc's org. : DEADrug Enforcement Agency.

38. Peso spender's pronoun : USTED.  You, nominative case, formal.

40. __-turn : NO U.  Ixnay on the ooeyay.

41. Brewery supply : YEAST.   Hops, barley, malt.

43. "What a shame!" : SO SAD.

44. Size up : ASSESS.  Want to ASSESS these asses?

46. Beehive State college player : UTE.

48. Attila follower : HUN.  Atilla ruled the Huns from 434 until his death in 453.  This great warrior died of a nose bleed on his wedding night.  The recent report that his grave had been found turned out to be a hoax.

49. Overact : HAM UP.  And 45 D. Overact : EMOTE.  Crossing clechos share the M.

50. Big name in antivirus software : NORTON.

52. "Dear Yoko" subject : ONO.  Song from the Double Fantasy album.

53. Rise precipitously : SOAR

54. Coat lining : FUR.  Silver is for clouds

57. Treatment for burnout : REST CURE

61. "Confidence in Motion" car : SUBARU.  

63. Has a knack for : EXCELS AT

64. Online order confirmations : E-MAILS

65. Designer of Hong Kong's Bank of China Tower : PEI.   Ieoh Ming Pei (born April 26, 1917) is a Chinese born American architect who likes sweeping lines and cantilevered structures.

66. Brain scan letters : EEG. ElectroEncepheloGraph

67. Far from abundant : SPARSE.   I had SCARCE.


1. "Ta-da!" : DONE.  Did you get the Ta-da?

2. Airline to Tel Aviv : EL AL.

4. Drips in the ICU : IVs. Intensive Care Unit and  Intra-Venous.  Note Abrvs.

5. Terse meeting request : SEE ME.  Usually not good news.

6. Editorial slips : ERRATA.  Mistakes in copy.

7. Chicago Loop's __ Center : AON.  Skyscraper completed in 1974, originally the Standard Oil Building

8. In on : PRIVY TO.

10. Inspiring lesson, perhaps: Abbr. : SER.  Sermon.

11. Spot for notes : PAD.  Is your i-Pad a note pad?

12. Website clutter : ADs.

15. "It __ hit me yet" : HASN'T.  And maybe it won't

20. Place name meaning "snow-covered" : NEVADA.  Spanish.

23. Draw wages : EARN.  I'm very disappointed that I couldn't find a picture of a cartoonist literally drawing wages.

27. Logo on some sports bras : SWOOSH.

30. Funny Foxx : REDD.  Of Sanford and Son fame.

31. Writer Ferber : EDNA.  August 18, 1885, July 16, 1968.  She wrote Giant, So Big, Showboat and Cimarron.

34. Skin picture : TATTOO.

39. NYC gallery district : SOHOSouth of Houston Street.

42. Champion, as a cause : ESPOUSE.

47. Deletes : ERASES.

51. "You're fired!" speaker : TRUMP.  The Donald.

55. Bing results, briefly : URLs.  Internet search engine.

56. Stratagem : RUSE

57. GOP member : REPublican.  No politics.

58. Program file suffix : EXEcutable.

59. "Nova" subj. : SCIence.

60. Tattered tee, maybe : RAG.  Re-use for old clothes.

62. Pipe up in the pasture : BAA.  "Is it ewe?" Tom asked, sheepishly.

An excellent puzzle by our own fearless leader.  Hope you all enjoyed this cirque du soleil.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

 Wednesday, April 23, 2014 Matt Scoczen

Theme:  Suddenly it all becomes clear, or Bring on the V-8 can. Each two word theme entry starts with the letters A, and AH, respectively, and represents the unifier in a literal way.  Without the unifier, there would have been no AHA MOMENT for me.  I can't think of anything else these four entries might have in common.

 17 A. "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" collaborator : ALEX HALEY.  More famous for ROOTS, perhaps.

 24 A. "The helpful place" sloganeer : ACE HARDWARE.  Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man. 

 36 A. Many a circus employee : ANIMAL HANDLER.  Somebody has to clean up after the elephants.

 53 A. Wayne Manor resident : AUNT HARRIET.  I know nothing about this character.  Do they keep her locked in the attic?

 And the unifier -   62 A. Light-bulb-over-the-head instance, and a hint to 17-, 24-, 36- and 53-Across : AHA MOMENT

Hi Gang, JzB reporting for duty.   It's been over three months since the Christian Feast of the Epiphany, but that doesn't mean we can't have our own little experiences of sudden and striking realization.  I had one once in a graduate level class on organic photochemistry.  I was spinning my wheels for half the term, then suddenly one day I got it.  Then I couldn't understand why I had ever thought it was hard.  Baffling experience.   Let's see if we can find any startling revelations in today's puzzle.


1. Spice organizer : RACK.  You can alphabetize your spice jars on a wooden structure specifically defined for that purpose.  Or you can randomly place them on a lazy susan, as I do, and hope for the best.

5. 48-Across brand : SOBE.  An abbreviation of SOuth BEach, as in Miami's upscale area.  They make teas, fruit-juice blends and enhanced water beverages, and are owned by PepsiCo.  Along with 48. Iced drink : TEA.

9. Right-angled supports : L-BARSAvailable in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

14. K-12, to textbook publishers : EL-HIELementary and HIgh school.

15. Neck and neck : TIED.  As in the score of an even game.   Or this.

16. Slightly moisten : BEDEW.  As if moistened by dew [or whatever.]  Goes back to the 14th century.

19. Green hue : OLIVE.  The only color I allow in a martini.  When Bluto made off with Popeye's best girl, was he OLIVE with envy?

20. Camcorder button : RECord.

21. Google executive chairman Schmidt : ERIC.  Alternate clue, JzB's son. I would have known it then.

22. Had too much, briefly : OD'EDOverDosed, as on Easter candy.

23. Antlered animal : ELKCervus canadensis, one of the largest species in the deer family.

28. Mu followers : NUS.  Mind your mus and NUS.  It's all Greek alphabet to me.  Is that news?

29. Pt. of a sentence : PHR.  Phrase.  Seems like an odd abrv.

30. Vote against : NAY.

31. Certain commuter's destination: Abbr. : STN  Station.

32. Belmonts frontman : DION.  DiMucci.  Do you wonder why?

34. 1930s migrants : OKIES  Escapees from the Oklahoma dust bowl.  About 15% of the population of the state fled to California along Rt. 66.

42. Scheherazade's milieu : HAREM. The "forbidden place," home to the many wives [and concubines] of a polygynous household, off limits to men.

43. Designer St. Laurent : YVES.

45. Tech sch. overlooking the Hudson : RPIRensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Founded in 1824, it is the oldest technological university in the English speaking world

48. Iced drink : TEA.  Our Tin Man can relax - this is no sacrilege.

49. "Just an update" letters : FYIFor Your Information.

52. Pipe bend : ELL.

56. Actress Peeples : NIA.   AKA Virenia Gwendolyn Peeples. She was once young and restless.

57. Sasquatch cousin : YETI.  Distant cousins, I presume.

58. "The Dukes of Hazzard" deputy : ENOS.

59. Mt. Sunflower is its highest point : KANsas

60. Antacid, briefly : BROMO Seltzer.

64. When many take morning breaks : AT TEN. TEN AM also fits. 

65. Proofreading mark : DELE.  Delete.

66. Winans of gospel : CECE.  Not always, though.   C.C. - can you sing like this?

67. Calf-roping loop : NOOSE.  Greek cattle require NUS.

68. Sign : OMEN.

69. You might steer one with your feet : SLED.  Downhill racer.


1. Behind, or hit from behind : REAR END Back side [noun] of a car, for example, or collide with one from the back [verb.]

2. Christian chant : ALLELUIA.   Goes back to Middle English, via late Latin and Greek from Hebrew for a song of praise to God.  Lots of these on Easter.

3. Inspects : CHECKS ON.

4. "Kid-tested" cereal : KIX.  Puffed whole grain corn

5. Pasta or potato, e.g. : STARCH.  Cereal, too, like KIX, Trix or Chex.

6. More slippery : OILIER.

7. Nut-bearing tree : BEECH.

8. Big name in ice cream : EDY.  And a Crossword favorite.

9. Wall St. deal : LBOLeveraged Buy Out.  IPO also fits.

10. Subordinate to : BELOW

11. Athletic brand founded by Adolf Dassler : ADIDAS.  A new fact to quickly forget.

12. Backslide : REVERT.  To a previous inferior condition.  As in forgetting new facts?

13. Birthplace of Bergman and Garbo : SWEDEN.  Ingrid and Greta.

18. Accumulation : HEAP.  Pile up, not necessarily involving a rear end.

25. "Eso Beso" singer : ANKA.  Paul.  That kiss.

26. Picnic worry : RAIN.  Ants, too.

27. Turned green, say : DYED.  She dyed from envy, turning OLIVE.

33. Bethesda-based medical org. : NIHNational Institutes of Health.  American medial research agency, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

34. Resistance unit : OHM.  Electricity

35. Devious : SLY.

37. Field with roots and logs : MATH.  Clever clue

38. __ rug : AREA.

39. King with three daughters : LEAR.  Regan, Cordelia, and the unfortunately named Goneril.

40. Symbol of balance : EVEN KEEL.

41. Faith : RELIANCE.

44. Italicized : SLANTED.   Some think I have Italicized political views.

45. Sunglass Hut brand : RAYBAN.

46. Mexico's __ Vallarta : PUERTO.

47. Altogether : IN TOTO.   "What happened to the meat balls I was going to have for lunch," inquired the Wizard.  "I believe they are all together IN TOTO," Dorothy replied.

49. Fireworks highlight : FINALE.   A big end, not to be confused with  REAR END

50. Naval petty officers : YEOMEN.  Maybe Spitz can elaborate.

51. "Make __": Picard catchphrase : IT SO.   Go get 'er done.

54. Movie listing listings : TIMES.

55. Bring up again? : REHEM.  Another clever clue.  A HEM is a narrow cloth edge folded over and sewn to provide a finished look and prevent unraveling. REHEMing a dress or skit would make it shorter.

61. What two heads are better than : ONE.

62. Disturbance : ADO.

63. Intro givers : MCS.  Masters of Ceremonies

That wraps up this nicely done puzzle.  Hope your forehead got through it unscathed.

Cool regards!