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, March 4, 2020

Theme - SCRATCH THAT.  The theme answers start with an anagram of the word SCRATCH, kinda, sorta, almost.

18. Collision simulation aids: CRASH TEST DUMMIES.  Full scale anthropomorphic structures that approximate the size, shape and modes of motion of humans.

33. Extraordinary little one, in folklore: STAR CHILD.  News to me, but here you go.

50. Place with drawing rooms: ART SCHOOL.  A studio with art supplies, not a room in a house where guests are entertained.

43. Junk collector: TRASH CAN.  It only collects trash if you put it in there.  Not to be confused with Oscar.

And the unifier:  66. Begin all over again ... and what 18-, 33-, 43- and 50-Across all do (almost), as indicated by the circled letters: START FROM SCRATCH.

Here is a theme that by it's own admission does not quite work. The theme fill entries all lack the second letter C that would be necessary to complete the word SCRATCH.  Unless I'm missing something, this is a pretty serious flaw.  High marks for honesty, though.  Let's move on.


1. Foreboding: OMINOUS.  Giving a feeling that something bad is about to happen.

8. Optimistic: ROSY.  Having a feeling that something good is about to happen.

12. Pump product: GAS.  Fuel for your auto.

15. "Give me an example": NAME  ONE.  Any one will do

16. "The real story is ... ": ACTUALLY.  In fact  .  .  .

20. Scapula neighbor, for short: DELT.  Shoulder blade bone and DELTOID, a triangular shaped muscle to the outside of the shoulder

21. Big name in nail polish: OPI.   Pick your color.

22. "Yeah, sure": I BET.  Sarcastic expression of disbelief.

23. Partnership letters: LLC. Limited Liability Company.

25. Cleaning conveniences: SPONGES.  Soft, porous material, either natural or synthetic.

30. "Scary Movie" reaction: SCREAM.  As in last weeks Psycho.

37. Poke tuna: AHI.  Poke [pronounced poh-kay] is a salad of raw fish marinated in sesame or soy.

38. Chocolate dog: LAB.

40. Nabisco cookie: OREO.  Also chocolate on the outside.

41. Neither's partner: NOR.  Negating both one thing and the other.

42. Part of a relay: LEG.

45. Overly: TOO.  As in TOO much.

46. "So-so": MEH.  As per Homer.

47. Mark for good: ETCH.  Make a permanent mark.

48. Spanish bear: OSO.  Literal

49. Hong Kong lang.: ENGlish.

53. Womb occupant: EMBRYO. In humans, the pre-fetal stage between the 2nd and 8th week after conception.

55. Apparition: PHANTOM. Ghost or figment of the imagination.

57. Kobe cash: YEN.  Japanese money.

58. About: AS TO.  Referring to something

61. Duracell size: AAA.  Small battery.

63. Salty waters: SEAS.  Oceans

72. Ready for sleep: TUCKED IN.  Secure in the bed.

73. Lady Gaga's debut album: THE FAME.

74. Squid's defense: INK.  Obscures its location.

75. Therefore: ERGO. Literal

76. Left formally: SECEDED.  Formally withdrew from a federal union, alliance or organization.


1. How music can be stored: ON CD.  Is it obsolete yet?

2. Farm female: MARE.  Lady horse.

3. "Don't worry about me": IM ALL RIGHT.  Whatever it was, I survived.

4. Settle snugly: NESTLE.  Tucked in, frex.

5. Awed reaction: OOH.  Impressive!

6. Golden rule preposition: UNTO.  Others. It's always about the others.

7. Trickles (through): SEEPS.  Description of a very slow leek, usually of a liquid through what ought to be a solid surface.

8. Tell (on): RAT.  Tattle.

9. Med. condition with repetitive behavior: OCDObsessive-Compulsive Behavior.  Characterized by uncontrollable thoughts and behaviors that a person needs to repeat, repeatedly.

10. Man's name that sounds like a slow-cooked dish: STU.

11. "Delicious!": YUM.  Please sir, may I have some more?

12. Smooth-talking: GLIB.  Fluent, bu insincere.

13. Out of the wind: ALEE.  Protected by some barrier or structure.

14. Part of CBS: Abbr.: SYSTem.

17. Barn-raising sect: AMISH.  A group of traditionalist Christians known for simple living, plain dress and resistance to modern technology.

19. Drinks a bit at a time: SIPS.

24. Pasadena institute: CAL TECH.  California Institute of Technology.

26. Texter's "Then again ... ": OTOH. On The Other Hand.

27. Bust maker: NARCO.  Drug bust, not a sculpted statue.

28. "Summer Nights" musical: GREASE.

29. Political bragging point, when it's thriving: ECONOMY.  And when it's not  .  .  .

30. Actress Hayek: SALMA.  Salma Valgarma Hayek Jiménez ( b1966) is a Mexican and American film actress and producer.

31. Joyful shout: CHEER.  Yay, hooray!

32. First first lady: MARTHA.  Mr, Washington, nee Dandridge.

34. Online promo: INTERNET AD.  Pop-ups and other annoying features.

35. Senseless: LOONY.  Inane

36. Khal __, Daenerys' husband in HBO's "Game of Thrones": DROGO.

39. Strips for breakfast: BACON.  You can eat these strips for breakfast or you can strip for breakfast, but frying them in the nude is not recommended.

44. Opportunity: SHOT.  Take a SHOT at something.

51. Hybrid picnic utensil: SPORK.

52. Fertile soil: LOAM.  Composed of sand, silt and clay.

54. "Take care of yourself": BE SAFE.  Yes, all - please do this.

56. Mariner's supports: MASTS.  For sails.

58. Sparkling Italian wine: ASTI.  Named for it's region of origin.

59. Knock for a loop: STUN.

60. Wall map marker: TACK.  Push pin used to mark a spot or attach papers.

62. Feel sore: ACHE.  No pain, no gain.

64. Apex: ACME.  High point.

65. Spot for a mower: SHED.  Small out-building used for storage.

67. Begin a hole, with "up": TEE.  Golfing.

68. Four-term prez: FDR. Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

69. Oil field sight: RIG.  A drilling setup or operating well.

70. Musician Yoko: ONO. [b 1933] In addition to being a Japanese multimedia artist, singer, songwriter and peace activist, she is also the widow of he late John Lennon.

71. __ center: REC.  A community building used for meetings, sports and other activities.

Thus ends another Wednesday's recreation.  Hope you got through it UNSCRATCHED.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

L.A.Times Crossword - February 26, 2020 Blake Slonecker

Theme - Alas, poor Marion Crane, we hardly knew ye.  The theme answers all begin with elements of an iconic event in a classic noire movie.  First the unifier.

59A . Classic "Psycho" segment where one might see the starts of the answers to starred clues: SHOWER SCENE. Here it is, in all its screaming intensity.

17 A. *Top brass: HEAD HONCHOS.  The people in charge.   In the movie scene, there is some controversy over whether a body double was used.  But clearly, the HEAD belongs to Janet Leigh, who portrayed the unfortunate Marion Crane.

25. *Response to wild applause: CURTAIN CALL.  When the actors bet another change to bow after a great performance.  But that is after a stage play, and we're at a movie. The CURTAIN is prominent in the scene, and afterwards Norman Bates, played by Tony Perkins wraps Marion's corpse in it, and sticks it in the trunk of her car.

37. *Political metaphor about dealing with bureaucracy: DRAIN THE SWAMP.  Nope. No politics. The stage blood circling the DRAIN is a bit of cinematic brilliance.

50. *Market-based pollution-control policy: CAP AND TRADE.  The junction of politics and economics is still of limits.  Moving right along  .  .  .   One might have expected Marion's shower CAP keeps he hair neat - but all to no avail, since her corps ends up in an UNDRAINED SWAMP.
But wait - she doesn't wear one!  Am I missing something here?!?

Hi gang, a somewhat confused JazzBumpa here to direct today's excursion.  Hope we don't get too bogged down.


1. Commerce pact to be replaced by USMCA when it's ratified: NAFTA.  Trade deals, new and old.  more politics, where we dare not venture.

6. __ circus: MEDIA. A news event with hyped-up or out of proportion coverage.

11. Cook quickly: ZAP.  Use a microwave.

14. Fluffed-up dos: AFROS.  Most popular X-word hair style.

15. Apple music players: IPODS. Portable player of digital audio and video.

16. Actress Longoria: EVA. Eva Jacqueline Bastón (née Longoria; born March 15, 1975) is an American actress, producer, director, activist, and businesswoman. [Wikipedia]

19. Outlaw: BAN.  Officially or legally prohibit.

20. Iraq War concern: Abbr.: WMDWeapons of Mass Destruction.  There weren't any.

21. New beginning?: NEO-.  A prefix denoting a new or [more likely] revived form of something.

22. Spine-tingling: EERIE.  Like a scene depicting a murder in a shower.

24. Farm female: EWE.  This answer makes me feel sheepish.

28. Almost on "E": LOW.  Fuel gauge reference

29. Biblical mount: ASSHere are 76 references.

30. Attend: GO TO.

31. "The Art of Loving" author Erich: FROMM.

33. Cubs' home: DEN.  Animal offspring, not a sports team

34. Fort Collins sch.: CSU. Colorado State University.  Home of the Rams.  Our second ovine of the day.

41. Wild blue yonder: SKY.

42. Unagi, e.g.: EEL. Japanese fresh water eel.

43. Beyond angry: IRATE.  Feeling great anger.

45. Membership fees: DUES. An obligatory payment

47. "Help!" at sea: SOS.  A Morse code distress signal transmitted as an unbroken sequence of 3 dots, three dashes and three dots.

49. P-like letter: RHO.  Rho (/roʊ/; uppercase Ρ, lowercase ρ or ϱ; Greek: ῥῶ) is the 17th letter of the Greek alphabet. [Wikipedia]

54. "__ Explain Things to Me": 2014 Rebecca Solnit essay anthology: MEN.  Man-'splainin' is politically incorrect.

55. Yellow-and-white daisy: OX EYE.

56. "Otoh, what will you pay?": OBOOr Best Offer.  Price haggling phrase.

57. Long of "Empire": NIA. [b 1970] American actress

58. A-lister: VIP. Very Important Person.  I'm not sure who decides these things.

64. Canon SLR: EOS. Electro-Optical System. An autofocus single lens reflex mirrorless camera series.

65. Programmer: CODER.  Software engineer.

66. Certain Jamaican, religiously: RASTA.  A religious movement with distinctive and restrictive modes of diet, dress and behavior that honors people of African descent.

67. Brief reaction to oversharing: TMI. Too Much Information.

68. Newspaper essays: OP-EDS. Items places opposite the editorial page.

69. Wild West movie: OATER.  An allusion to horse feed.


1. "Don't think so": NAH. Slangy negation

2. Brief thing to say: A FEW WORDS. Literal

3. Basic structure: FRAMEWORK. Or supporting structure.

4. Lincoln in-law: TODD. Relative of Mary Todd Lincoln.

5. Shade of gray: ASH.

6. Ones who dig hard rock?: MINERS. Literal, not musical.

7. Florida theme park: EPCOT. At the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando.

8. Play-__: kids' clay: DOH. Colorful modeling material mostly made from flour, water and salt.

9. Wedding promise: I DO.  But, alas, so many don't.

10. Agreement: ASSENT.

11. Striped equine: ZEBRA. Native to Africa.

12. To no __: useless: AVAIL.

13. Group of judges: PANEL.

18. Weight on one's shoulders: ONUS. From the Latin word for a load or burden.

23. Tesla Model X, for one: ECOCAR. An environmentally friendly vehicle.

24. "The Hobbit" being: ELF.  ORC is also three letters, as is ENT.

25. Sleeveless top, for short: CAMI.  Camisole, for long.

26. "A Death in the Family" author: AGEE.  James AGEE [1909 - 1955] started writing this autobiographical novel about his father's 1915 death in 1948.  Ironically, he died in 1955 with the novel not quite finished.  It was released posthumously in 1957.

27. + or - particles: IONS.  Atoms or molecules with an electron either added or missing.

32. "Help!" at sea: MAYDAY.  This is repeated three times at the beginning of a transmission, to avoid any misunderstanding.  The word was selected in 1921, and is derived from the French  venez m'aider ('come and help me.') I did not know that.

33. UPS rival: DHL.  Parcel delivery companies.

35. Most ingratiatingly earnest: SMARMIEST.  In a way that is extreme and/or insincere.

36. Get serious, gambler-style: UP THE ANTE.  Increase the stakes in a deliberation, conflict or dispute.

38. Can't live without: NEED.  Must have.

39. Push to the limit: TEST. Can you do it?

40. Sage: WISE.  I met a wise man named Herb.

44. Seemingly forever: EON.  A long time of indefinite duration.

46. World Heritage Site org.: UNESCO.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

47. Civil War swords: SABERS.  A SABER is a type of backsword [having a single-edged blade and a hilt with a single-handed grip] with a curved blade associated with the light cavalry.

48. Baking soda target: ODOR.  It absorbs the odor causing substance.

50. Tenth Commandment verb: COVET.  The desire to possess something.

51. Universal principle: AXIOM.  A statement regarded as established, accepted or self-evidently true.

52. One side in the "cola wars": PEPSI.  Preferred by some in my family. My lovely wife favors Coke.  I am indifferent.

53. Crewed in a shell: ROWED.  Shell is word with many meanings.  It was my nickname for my daughter when she was little, based on her middle name, Michelle.  Here it refers to a light racing boat used in the sport of crew.

57. College Football Playoff org.: NCAANational Collegiate Athletic Association.

60. Sock __: HOP.  An informal dance event, usually to popular recorded music, generally held in a high school gymnasium.  Hard soled shoes had to be removed to protect the floor - hence the name.

61. Lyrical tribute: ODE.  A lyric poem in the form of an address to a person or object.

62. "No seats" sign: SRO. Standing Room Only, indicating an at-capacity event.

63. Cup handle: EAR.

That wraps up another Wednesday.  Crazy week so far.  We are having a snow event that closed all the schools.  Stay warm and safe.  By low and sell high.  And please be careful in the shower.

Cool regards!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

L.A. Times Crossword Wednesday, February 12, 2020 Kurt Krauss

Theme:  Throwing you a curve.  Here we have hidden words -- well, not so hidden if you got the circled letters.  And they all are completely different meanings of the word PITCH.  Each is split across two words of the theme fill, in each case with one separated letter. Lets have a look.

17 A. *Power outage standbys: GAS LANTERNS. Ours are battery powered, but to each his own.  Here,  PITCH means the SLANT, as of, frex, your roof.  This is also known as the SLOPE and is calculated as the rise divided by the run.

24 A. *"I don't care if you made plans, cancel them": GET OUT OF IT!  What? And give up a date with my lovely wife?  Not a chance!  Here we have an aggressive sales PITCH [which I am not buying] or, in verb form, to TOUT something, as an attempt to promote or convince

39 A. *Morally upright person: STRAIGHT ARROW.  One who lives according to rigidly proper or conventional standards.   The words PITCH and TAR are often used interchangeably, denoting a type of viscoelastic polymer extracted from petroleum, coal tar or by heating plant matter. It can be used as a marine caulk and for other types of water proofing.  PITCH is considered to be more solid, while TAR is more on the liquid side. The distinction seems a bit arbitrary.

53 A. *Stretch between two Bushes: CLINTON ERA.  You were probably thinking of a gap in the hedge row.  But, no.  This refers to the 41st, 42nd and 43rd presidents of the United Sates. The CLINTON era included most of the last decade of the most recent past century, and separated the terms of presidents Bush Sr. and Jr.  Here TONE describes a musical sound.  The clue relates it to the PITCH which is a vibrational frequency, relative to a standard reference, typically A = 442 Hz. This is close but not quite right. TONE refers to sound quality and timbral characteristics.  The TONE of a piano is different from the TONE of a trombone. And my TONE can vary daily based on any number of factors.  To complicate matters further, playing in tune, that is, at the proper PITCH, is called proper intonation.  Music terminology is not always rational.  Farther down that rabbit hole we shall not venture.

And, at last, the unifier -- 64 A. Ballpark brushback, perhaps ... and a hint to each set of circled letters: INSIDE PITCH.  This refers to a baseball thrown off the plate by the PITCHER, in or near the occupied batter's box, either accidentally or on purpose, possibly to make the batter uncomfortable.  MLB pitchers and catchers are reporting to their training camps this week, many of them today, so this theme is quite timely.  The other sense of the unifier is to describe the meaning of each target word HIDDEN in the theme fill entry.

Hi, Gang.  JazzBumpa here to umpire today's game.  I might not get all the calls right, but I promise to be fair.  And, yes, I do need glasses.


1. Home on the range: RANCH.  A plot of land and associated structures, typically devoted to raising and grazing live stock.

6. Hardly wimpy: MACHO.  Showing aggressive pride in one's masculinity.

11. Film watcher's channel: TMC. Turner Movie Classics.

14. Take the honey and run: ELOPE.  Run away to get married, typically secretly and without parental consent. Clever clue.  Did you hear about the heart broken melons who found out they cantaloupe?

15. "Encore!": AGAIN.  Request from an audience to have another song played after the scheduled program.

16. Évian water: EAU.  Water in French

19. Digital readout, for short: LCD. Liquid Crystal Display.

20. Up the creek: IN A SPOT.  Colloquially, in a bad situation.

21. "I, Claudius" star Jacobi: DEREK. [b 1938] British actor and stage director.

23. RSVP part: SIL. RSVP is short hand for Répondez s'il vous plaît, meaning "please respond." I can't parse the French, and Google translate renders s'il as "it."  So I'm not sure what the word [if it is a word and not a particle] actually means.

28. Airplane assignment: SEAT. Haven't been on a plane in years, but I will be next month.

31. Escape: LAM. In flight [not necessarily on a plane,] usually from law enforcement.  To be "on the lam" is late 19th century American slang of uncertain origin.

32. Man-to-man defense alternative: ZONE.  Ways of playing defensive schemes.  I'm thinking American football, but it probably applies to other sports as well.

33. Treat like a dog?: PET. Interesting and misdirecting word play.  To treat somebody like a dog means to be nasty to them.  But to give a dog a treat is to give the canine a nice reward.  This can be a food morsel or a show of physical affection.  Well played!

35. Place for a "ped" to cross: XING.  Abbreviated signage vocabulary indicating a pedestrian crossing at a roadway.

38. Bobbsey girl: NAN.  On of the famous twins from old time kiddie lit.

43. __-fi: SCI.  Abbrv. for science fiction, a genre of speculative literature.

44. Big rig: SEMI.  This is some blurry vocabulary.  The rig is the truck or tractor part of a tractor-trailer combination.   The SEMI is trailer without a front axle. Much of the trailers weight is supported by the tractor.  I doubt most people are this precise when speaking of these items.

45. Bandleader Lombardo: GUY. Of the Royal Canadiens, famous for playing Auld Lang Syne at the start of a new year.  His sugary saxophones played with vibrato about a minor third wide.  I hate that sound.  It was dated before I was born. /rant.

46. Beanery sign: EATS. Indicates an establishment unlikely to offer gourmet fare.

48. Ticker tape letters?: EKG.  The ticker being one's heart, and the tape being the paper graph readout of an electrocardiogram machine.  Clever!

50. Award adjective: BEST.  As in ___ Picture, ____ Actor, ____ In Show, etc.

57. "Huh!?": WHA?   Expressions of confusion or disbelief.

59. __ squash: ACORN.  A dark green winter squash that is roughly acorn shaped.

60. Language spoken by Jesus: ARAMAIC.

63. Bygone airline: TWATrans World Airlines, established in 1930 and acquired by American Airlines in 2001.

67. Rock's Fleetwood __: MAC.

68. Code name: MORSE.  Not a name in code, but the name of a code.

69. Driving instructor's urgent reminder: BRAKE.  The most important thing any vehicle can do is stop safely.

70. "Hometown Proud" supermarket chain: IGA.  Nope.  Not a chain.  The Independent Grocer's Alliance, founded in 1926, operates as a franchise with stores that are independently owned and operated, mostly as family businesses in small towns.

71. Weapon with a hilt: SWORD.  The hilt is the handle of a bladed weapon.

72. Fills completely: SATES.  Literal.


1. TV host Philbin: REGIS. Regis Francis Xavier Philbin [b 1931] is an American media personality who holds the Guinness world record for most time spent in front of a TV camera.

2. "Jagged Little Pill" co-songwriter Morissette: ALANIS.  [b1974] She is a Canadian singer, song writer, record producer and actress.

3. Old register key: NO SALE.  This opens the cash drawer in an instance when no transaction has occurred.

4. They report to sgts.: CPLS.  Sergeants and Corporals in the military.

5. Pile: HEAP.  Stuff thrown together in an unorganized way

6. Barbie's company: MATTEL.  True, but doesn't Ken keep her company? Barbie is a fashion doll introduced in 1959.  There have been many variants over the years since.

7. Get on in years: AGE.  This is what I do.

8. Aries or Taurus: CAR. A Plymouth and a Ford.  Any resemblance to signs of the zodiac is completely accidental.

9. Like many yoga practitioners: HINDU.  From the Indian subcontinent.

10. Beginning: ONSET.

11. Ringer in la casa: TELEFONO.  In a Spanish speaking home.

12. Wool coat that is often plaid: MACKINAW. Made of a heavy, water-resistant cloth.  They were originally made in the Straits of Mackinaw [or Mackinac, same pronunciation -it's a Michigan thing] region in the early 1800's, before Michigan was even a thing.

13. Something to chew: CUD.  If you are a cow.

18. Holiday quaff: NOG. A drink made from eggs, sugar and milk or cream, often alcoholic.

22. Cartoonist Chast: ROZ. [b 1954]  Staff cartoonist for the New Yorker, also publishes in Harvard Business Review and Scientific American.

25. Source of increased government revenue: TAX HIKE.  Yes - contrary to what you might have been told, this really is how it works.

26. Overlook: OMIT. Leave out.

27. Common base: TEN. Math?  Who said there would be math?

29. Auto financing abbr.: APRAnnual Percentage Rate.  And more math!

30. Afternoon affairs: TEAS.  Small meals where TEA is served with sandwiches some time in the afternoon, since dinner isn't until 8:00.  Wait --- what were you thinking?

Nope -- this is not ABBA

34. Even score: TIE.

36. Pester: NAG.

37. Pub __: casual fare: GRUB.  Ugly sounding word for simple food.

39. Rascal: SCALAWAG. Someone whose bad behavior is amusingly mischievous rather than evil. Or so I've been told. YMMV.

40. Bolivian border lake: TITICACA.  At an elevation of 12, 507 feet, it is the highest commercially navigable lake in the world.

41. Fed. agents: G-MEN. Government Men - federal law enforcement agents.

42. Deli choice: RYE. Bread for sandwiches.  Most delis don't serve whiskey.

43. Brief time: SEC.  An abbreviated second - so probably shorter than a normal second? 

47. __-Caps: candy: SNO.  Semi-sweet chocolate drops covered in white nonpareils.

49. Marked for the class: GRADED.  Did you get 100%?

51. Go after, as a fly: SWAT AT.  And usually miss.

52. "The Masked Singer" judge Robin: THICKE. [b 1977] An American singer, song writer and record producer.

54. Cuts back: TRIMS.

55. Currently airing: ON NOW.

56. "All bets __ off": ARE.

58. Flu symptoms: ACHES.

61. LAPD alerts: APBS. All Points Bulletins.  Broadcasts issued by a law enforcement agency to its personnel, or to other agencies, typically containing information about a wanted suspect.

62. Actress Sorvino: MIRA. [b1967] An American actress who has won Golden Globe and Academy awards.

63. Texter's "No more details!": Too Much Information.   Please -- tell me less.

65. Sellout letters: SRO. Standing Room Only

66. Leb. neighbor: ISRael.  Countries along the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea.

So - the game is now over.  Hope you didn't have to many swings and misses.  And remember - they're all judgment calls.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

L.A. Times Crossword January 15, 2020 Kevin Christian

Theme: A Day In The Life -- of a Dog.  Each theme entry interprets a canine action as a means of communication.

20A. Dog, barking: DANGER ALERT.

30. Dog, begging: TREAT PLEASE.

46. Dog, ears erect: WHAT WAS THAT?

55. Dog, tail wagging: WELCOME HOME.

These don't require a lot of elaboration, though some of them can - and sometimes should - be interpreted in other ways.  Dogs do have a rather limited vocabulary.

Hi Gang, JazzBumpa here as today's game warden.  I've never had a dog, but our four kids all have a canine companion in their families, sometimes referred to as our grand dogs. Let's unleash our minds and pound our way through today's puzzle.


1. Minor misunderstanding: TIFF.  Less severe than a spat

5. Long part of an arrow: SHAFT.  Feathers at one end, point at the other.

10. Pride Month letters: LGBT. Now LGBQTIA+, referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual or allied, with a + sign in case anyone was missed.  Don't judge.

14. Sticky pod: OKRA.  An edible plant part coming from abelmoschus esculentus, a flowering plant cultivated in warm to tropical regions around the globe.

15. Grammy winner Jones: NORAH. [b 1979] Ravi Shankar's daughter.

16. Channel marker: BUOY.  An anchored float acting as a navigation mark.

17. Letter starter: DEAR ______.  The salutation.

18. Speechify: ORATE.  Speak to an audience.

19. Soda __: fountain worker: JERK.  Maker of sodas, malts and shakes.

23. "Understand?": SEE?  Get it?

24. Common Scrabble tile value: ONE.  Used with the most commonly occurring letters.

25. Afflicts: AILS. Causes health or other kinds of problems.

27. Satisfied sigh sound: AAH.

36. Driving problem: GLARE.  This is why dash panel tops are dark.  The reflection of a light colored object on the windshield obscures the view through the glass.  The technical term is "veiling glare."  Of course there can also be direct glare, as when driving into the morning or late afternoon sun.

38. Sinewy: WIRY.  Slender and muscular.

39. Rio contents: AGUA.  Spanish water.

40. Burton of "Star Trek: TNG": LEVAR.  Levardis Robert Martyn Burton Jr.  [b 1957] is an American actor, author and producer. He also played Kunta Kinte in the 1977 ABC minseries ROOTS.

41. Rhea cousin: EMU.  Large, flightless birds.

42. Harry's mom Lily __ Potter: EVANS. The unrequited love of Severus Snape.

43. Not buttoned, as a shirt: OPEN.

44. "Bummer!": DRAT.  Exclamation of disappointment.

45. It flows below the Pont Neuf: SEINE.  French river, full of eau.

49. Nada: NIL.  Zero.

50. Steel-toe item: BOOT.  Protective footware.

51. "Just a __!": SEC. Hang on, I'll be right there.

53. Southeast airport code: ATL.  Atlanta.

62. Thigh muscle, briefly: QUAD. A group of 4 muscles in the front thigh that connect just below the knee cap.  They straighten and also bend the knee.

64. "Outlander" series novelist Gabaldon: DIANA. [b 1952] Her books merge multiple genres: historical fiction, romance, mystery, adventure, etc.

65. Big name in big projections: IMAX.   A proprietary system of high-resolution cameras, film formats, film projectors, and theaters known for having very large screens with a tall aspect ratio (approximately 1.43:1 & 1.90:1) and steep stadium seating.  [Wikipedia]

66. Bear overhead: URSA.  Either of two constellations, named as bears in Latin.  Not the highway patrol in a helicopter.

67. Sprinter Bolt: USAIN. [b 1986] Jamaican sprinter who holds the world records in 100, 200, and 4x100 relays.

68. Daughter in the 2019 film "Judy": LIZA. Garland and Minelli, respectively.

69. Unwelcome diners: ANTS.  At picnics and in pantries.

70. __ hose: PANTY.   Close-fitting legwear covering the wearer's body from the waist to the toes.

71. Agenda bullet: ITEM.  Keep the meeting on track.


1. Mary __ Lincoln: TODD. [1818-1882]  Before marrying Abraham Lincoln and becoming first lady, she was courted by his political opponent Steven A Douglas.

2. Swedish superstore: IKEA.  Purveyor of knocked down furniture and many other household items.

3. San __: Cal. city nickname: FRAN.  Properly, San Francisco.  The region is known to have been occupied 5000 years ago. The city was founded by Spanish settlers in 1776.

4. FX series inspired by a Coen brothers film: FARGO.

5. Noisy bedmate: SNORER.  Guilty.

6. Traditional group dance: HORA.  A circular folk dance that originated in the balkans.

7. Decimated Asian sea: ARAL.  Formerly the 4th largest lake in the world, it has been shrinking since the 1960's due to Soviet irrigation projects diverting the rivers that fed it.  Large portions of its four basins had dried by 1997.  A restoration project by Kazakhstan had raised the water level by 12 meters between 2003 and 2008.  You can read much more about it here.

8. Karma: FATE.  The universe giving you what you deserve.

9. Course of treatment: THERAPY.

10. JFK-RMN link: LBJ.  Readily recognizable U.S. Presidents.

11. "No, still not right": GUESS AGAIN.  Try harder.

12. Snooze inducer: BORE. An uninteresting event.

13. Tot: TYKE.  Moppet.

21. Go in: ENTER.  Also a computer key

22. Up to, briefly: TIL.  Until, more longly.

26. Split: LEAVE.  Slang.

27. Luminous: AGLOW. Radiant, dazzling.

28. First Hebrew letter: ALEPH.  More here.

29. Enjoy oneself immensely: HAVE A BLAST.  TNT not required.

31. Fancy pitchers: EWERS.  Large, wide-mouthed jugs

32. Focus on, as a bull's-eye: AIM AT.

33. Alternative to dare: TRUTH.  TRUTH or dare is a game in which players must either answer a question truthfully or perform a dare.  In one variant, the questions and dares are written on slips of paper, and the player must choose one of these, sight unseen, and cannot switch.

Also, a documentary movie about Madonna's 1990 Blonde Ambition world tour.

34. Branch of Islam: SUNNI.  The larger of the 2 main branches.  The other is Shia.

35. Watercolor prop: EASEL.  An upright support typically used for working on or displaying paintings.

37. Totaled, as costs: RAN TO.

42. First name in beauty products: ESTEE. Lauder, née Josephine Esther Mentzer [1906 – 2004] was an American businesswoman.  With her husband Joseph she founded the cosmetics company for which she is the eponym.

44. Went out with someone wealthier, say: DATED UP.  Went out with someone higher on the social ladder.

47. Amaze: WOW.  Impress excessively.

48. The same number: AS MANY.   Equality.

52. __ dog: CHILI.  In the Detroit metro area they're called coneys, and it's hard to get more than a mile away from a place that sells them.  We like the Senate on Plymouth Rd.

53. Teal relative: AQUA.  Blue-green shades.

54. Go bad: TURN.  Turn sour, as milk or wine.

56. Legal thriller writer Scottoline: LISA. [b 1955] A cum laude grad in her B.A. and law degrees, both from the university of Pennsylvania.  She was a legal clerk and litigator until the birth of her daughter when she left the law firm and took up writing.  She has since written over 30 best selling novels.

57. Scott of "Hawaii Five-0": CAAN. [b 1976] The son of James Caan.  He's been with Hawaii Five-0 since 2010

58. Tending to the matter: ON IT.  Or at it.

59. Exclude: OMIT.  Leave out.

60. Puzzle with dead ends: MAZE.  A network of paths and barriers which one is supposed to find one's way through, into the center of, or out of.

61. Checkup: EXAM.  Medical appointment

63. Prosecutors, briefly: DAS. District Attorneys.

That concludes another Wednesday.  Hope this puzzle didn't bite, and you had a doggone good time.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

L.A. Times Crossword January 8, 2020 Robin Stears

Theme - Letter Openers Redux - or - The First of the Last.  Similar to this recent puzzle we have in each clue fill a name which is a homophone of its initial letter; or, you might say, the name is that letter spelt out.  Back in October, it was done with first names, and this time with last names.

17 A. "Killing Eve" star: SANDRA OH. [b 1971] Winner of many awards.

21 A. Award-winning "A Raisin in the Sun" actress: RUBY DEE. 1922-2014] Actress, poet, screenwriter and civil rights activist.  Also a winner of many awards, she was married to Ossie Davis, and often performed with him.

36 A. "Full Frontal" host: SAMANTHA BEE. [b 1969] Yet another award winner. She was a regular correspondent on The Daily Show for 12 years.

55 A. First chief justice: JOHN JAY. [1745 - 1829]    He was "an American statesman, patriot, diplomat, Founding Father of the United States, abolitionist, negotiator and signatory of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, second Governor of New York, and the first Chief Justice of the United States (1789–1795). He directed U.S. foreign policy for much of the 1780s and was an important leader of the Federalist Party after the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788." [Wikipedia]

61 A. "Take Good Care of My Baby" singer: BOBBY VEE. Robert Thomas Velline [1943 - 1916] was an American singer, songwriter and musician.  He had 6 gold singles in his career.

Hi Gang, and happy new year.  JazzBumpa here. Not quite on topic - before my sister got married her initials spelt her name - PAT.  It's a red letter day for the famous people featured in our theme. These are my initial thoughts.  Let's see what else is in store.


1. Clemson's NCAA div.: ACC. Atlantic Coast Conference.

4. Thom of shoes: MCAN.  Brand name and former chain store, founded in 1922.  The brand is now controlled by Sears.

8. Preposterous: ABSURD.  Not to be taken seriosly

14. Mexican Mrs.: SRA.  Abrv. for Señora.

15. "__ that the truth!": AIN'T.  Well, maybe it is and maybe it ain't.

16. Bullpen ace: CLOSER. In baseball, a pitcher brought in to secure a win in the last inning of play.

19. Remote: LONELY.  Far away form everything, as in lonely outpost, frex.

20. Cockpit figure: AVIATOR.  Aircraft pilot.

22. Yin partner: YANG.  Not Andrew.  A cosmic duality, sets of two opposing and complementing principles or cosmic energies that can be observed in nature.

23. It's a long story: SAGA.  Originally a Norse story of heroic achievement.  Now any long and involved story.

25. Legal postponement: STAY.  A court ruling to stop a legal process.  Subsequently, the stay might or might not be lifted.

26. Terrific bargain: STEAL.  Figuratively speaking.

28. West with 21 Grammys: KANYE. [b 1977] American rapper, producer and fashion designer.

31. Sugar suffix: -OSE.  Generic ending for the names of various sugar molecules.  The Latin root means "full of," "given to," or "like."

32. Open __ night: MIC.  A live shoe in which audience members may participate.  Feel free to display your wisdom or foolishness.

34. Bathtub buildup: SCUM.  This occurs when hard water ions, like calcium or magnesium combine with the soap to make a hard, insoluble substance.

35. Spot for pillow talk: BED.  Or sleeping.  Your choice.

39. 23-campus West Coast ed. system: CSU. The California State University System

41. General Bradley: OMAR.  [1893 - 1981] He graduated from West Point in 1915, along with Dwight David Eisenhower.  In 1941 he became the commander of the United States Army Infantry School.  He saw extensive service during WW II, and was appointed as the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1950.

42. Ariz. neighbor: NEVada.  States in the western U.S.

43. Part of MYOB and BYOB: OWN. That which is yours.  Mind it, and bring it.

44. Justice Sotomayor: SONIA.  [b 1954]  You can read about her life and distinguished career here.

46. Big name in whisky: DEWAR.  An award winning brand of  Scotch whisky originally created in 1846, now owned by Bacardi.

50. Wine quality: NOSE. Aroma.

52. Long-running Mark Harmon military drama: NCIS. A police procedural TV drama based on special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.  It has aired for 16 full seasons and gone into syndication.

54. Congregation area: NAVE.  The central part of a church structure, adjacent to the chancel or sanctuary.

58. Made a comeback: RALLIED.  A significant recovery after a period of weakness; said of an ill person, lagging sports team or equities market.

60. Synchronicity: UNISON. Nope.  Synchronicity is the idea of "meaningful coincidence:" that events could be connected by meaning, without a common cause.  This is a paranormal concept; whereas science considers such events to be spurious correlations or mere coincidences, since the concept is neither testable nor falsifiable.

62. Fame: RENOWN.  A wag once said that a celebrity is someone famous for being well know.  It's possible I have this backwards.

63. Luminous glow: AURA.

64. KC-to-NYC dir.: ENE.  East by North East - the very antithesis of a 1959 Alfred Hitchcock

65. English Channel swimmer: EDERLE. Gertrude [1905 - 2003] accomplished this feat on Aug. 6 1926.  Whereas William the Conqueror sat on the continental side for months in 1066 waiting for a favorable wind.

66. Walk of Fame figure: STAR.  Any old star.

67. CD-__: ROM.  Digital data storage device.


1. Analyzes for purity: ASSAYS.  Conducts chemical tests for composition and quantity.

2. Decorative neckwear: CRAVAT.  Now a rather non-specific designation for various neck-ties, but originally as pictured.

3. Bloodhound, e.g.: CANINE.  Any old dog.

4. Gas station store: MART.  Convenience store.  I like Wawa.

5. They're often exchanged in Venice: CIAOS.  Word of greeting or parting.

6. Hooded Arctic jacket: ANORAK.  Anorak is typically a waterproof, hooded, pull-over jacket whereas parka is a long weatherproof jacket with a fur-lined hood. Most importantly, a parka is typically longer than an anorak. Moreover, some anoraks have drawstrings at the waist or cuffs whereas parkas do not have drawstrings.  [If you're interested]

7. Unspecified degree: NTH. Unlike B.S. M.S. and Ph. D. which are all specified.

8. Org. with a "Speak Freely" blog: ACLUAmerican Civil Liberties Union.

9. Gooey mass: BLOB.

Or see G.R.R.M.'s story A Song For Lya

10. Some HDTVs: SONYS. popular brand name.

11. Was: USED TO BE.  Formerly

12. Turn loose: RELEASE.  Uncage, untie.

13. Unmoved: DRY EYED.  Not in tears.

18. Portuguese explorer Vasco: DA GAMA.  [ca. 1460's - 1524] Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach india by sea, traveling around the souther coast of Africa. The first such voyage started in 1497.

21. Italian alternative: RANCH. Salad dressings.

24. Stomach-related: GASTRIC. The word traces back to Greek, via modern Latin.

27. Bridal party rides: LIMOS.  Large, luxurious, chauffeur-driven automobiles.

29. Chinese currency: YUAN. Approx. 0.14 U.S. Dollar

30. Insert into an email, as a video: EMBED.  Or into a blog post.

33. Commando garb, for short: CAMO.  Clothing with a combination of colors and patterns typical of camouflage, designed to blend in with surroundings.

36. Pleasant forecast word: SUNSHINE. A cloudless sky.

37. Live-in helper, perhaps: NANNY.  Children's care taker.

38. In equal shares: EVENLY.  It's only fair.

39. Cast a spell, say: CONJURE.  More exactly, call forth a spirit or demon.

40. Passed out: SWOONED. Fainted.

45. Freshen by opening windows: AIR OUT.  Let the stale air escape.

47. Written relinquishing of rights: WAIVER.

48. "Skin Mind Balance" brand: AVEENO.

49. Cash in: REDEEM. As coupons.

51. Former CNN journalist David: ENSOR.  He had a long and distinguished career in journalism and government. [reference]

53. Hummus brand: SABRA.  I have some in the fridge.

56. Lower jaw: JOWL.  The meaty part, not the bone.

57. Pulitzer poet Sexton: ANNE.

59. Letter-shaped brace: L-BAR. For mounting shelves, etc.

61. English lit degrees: BAS. Batchelor of Art.

We've come from the beginning to the end.  Hope your initial reactions were favorable.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

LA Times X-Word Wednesday, November 13, 2019 Gary Larson

Theme: The Gang's AL there.  Specified places AL contain the letter sequence A-L.  Near as I can tell, that's AL there is to it.

17 A. *Place for an eruption in Hawaii: MAUNA LOA.  This is our beleaguered planet's largest active volcanoe, and among the most active, having erupted 33 times since 1843.  It's summit is about 17 km above its deeply submerged base, which had depressed the ocean floor by 8 km. [source]

19 A. *Place for memorabilia about the 44th President: OBAMA LIBRARY.  On the south side of Chicago in Jackson Park, this is the first Presidential Library to be fully digitized.

54. *Place on "Desperate Housewives": WISTERIA LANE.  This fictional setting is a real street inside Universal Studios, Hollywood.  It has also been used for the original Leave It to Beaver series, Gremlins, The 'Burbs, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

59. *Place for a space cadet: LALA LAND.   Originally, this was - and still is - a term meaning a location for someone out of touch with reality.  Since about 1980 it's also been a disparaging nick-name for Los Angeles, for a variety of reasons. It's also the name of a 2016 movie I never watched that gets 4 1/2 stars from RottonTomatoes

36. Money ... and, in three parts, a hint to the answers to starred clues: WHEREWITHAL.  The ability - usually based on available funding - to accomplish a stated goal.  Here, we have specified locations - real or fictional - providing the WHERE, that also have the letter duo A-L prominently located within. I'm not delighted with the theme, but having each two-word combination split the A-L across the two words adds a touch of elegance.  Alas, this is somewhat offset by having a scatter of vagrant A's, and in once case L's in the theme fill.

Hi Gang, JazzBumpa here, perhaps being a bit too critical.  You may draw your own conclusions.  Let's AL move on and see what else we can locate.


1. Big name in wax museums: TUSSAUD.  Anna Maria [Marie] TUSSAUD [1761-1850] learned the art of wax modeling as a child.

8. Surpasses: TRUMPS.  A term derived from card games where one suit is TRUMP and can win a trick irrespective of face value, under stated circumstances.

14. Worldwide law enforcement group: INTERPOL.

16. Eradicate: RUBOUT.  By analogy to a rubber eraser.

18. Supreme Egyptian god: AMEN-RA.  Shhh - no religion.

21. Eight British kings: HENRYS.  Or this.

24. Disney doe: ENA. Bambi's mother-in-law, if we may ascribe such human relationships to forest animals.

25. Middling mark: CEE. In scholastic grading systems.  I would give no higher mark to a spelt-out letter.

26. Cries of pain: OWS.  Often accompanied by other, more colorful, word choices.

27. Lab work: TESTS.

30. Sondheim's "Sweeney __": TODD.  The daemon barber of Fleet Street who first appeared in the Victorian era penny dreadful novel series The String of Pearls.

31. "Robinson Crusoe" novelist: DEFOE.  Daniel DEFOE [1660 - 1731] also wrote several other novels, and was a prolific writer on many other subjects, including politics, which earned him some time in prison.  So - no politics either!

34. Shooting star: METEOR.  A chunk of space detritus that gets heated to a glow by friction as it races through the earth's atmosphere

39. Like some dress shirts: NO IRON.  I wouldn't have any other kind.

40. Digital video files: MPEGS.  An international standard for encoding and compressing video files.

43. Part of P.R.: RICO.  The other part is Puerto.  Together they mean Rich Port.

46. Dix plus dix: VINGT.  Twenty in French.

48. Agua, across the Pyrenees: EAU.  Across from Spain.  More French.  Water they talking about?

49. Smart-whip link: AS A.

50. Saigon New Year: TET.

51. Badger at the comedy club: HECKLE.  Derisive and aggressive interruptions from the audience.

58. Put in a pyramid: ENTOMB.

63. Treeless tract: STEPPE.  A flat, unforested grassland in eastern Europe or Asia.

64. Monty Python member: ERIC IDLE. [b. 1943] A British comedian, actor, author and musician.

65. Like many a salad: TOSSED. Mixed lightly until the ingredients are combined.

66. Record collection?: DATA SET.  Not sound recordings, but rather a listing of recorded data.


1. Allen of TV's "Last Man Standing": TIM.  [b. 1953]  I was not even aware of this show's existence.  I was astounded to learn that the Home improvement series ended 20 years ago.

2. Spanish "a": UNA.  Or one.

3. Name spelled with an alphabet sequence: STU.

4. Tijuana title: SENOR.  An honorific for a gentleman.

5. Sheikdom of song: ARABY.

6. Batting ninth: UP LAST.  Final batter in a baseball line up.

7. Ruination: DOOM. A grim or calamitous fate.

8. Compact cars?: TRAIN SET.  Presumably HO gauge.

9. Latin dance: RUMBA.  Or Samba.  Needs perps.

10. Car service app: UBER.  They lost an amazing $5.2 billion in the 3rd quarter.  The vast majority of this was paper losses; but I wonder if their business model is sustainable. Through June and July their stock as trading in the low 40's.  It's not around $27.

11. Mediterranean gambling mecca: MONACO.  Speaking of gambling - this the world's second smallest country, after The Vatican, bordered on 3 sides by France, and with a Mediterranean coast line.  It is also a tax haven.

12. Sounded content: PURRED.  Like a kitten.

13. Hung around: STAYED.

15. A.L. West team, on scoreboards: LAA.  Los Angeles Angels.  They were 72-90 this year.

20. Allowing: LETTING. permitting.

21. Mortar carrier: HOD.  A V-shaped poen trough on a pole.  Best keep your balance.

22. Wool coat wearer: EWE.  She said, sheepishly.

23. Brief warning accompanying a link: NSFWNot Safe For Work, generally indicating some sort of obscene content.

28. Academic retirees: EMERITI.  From Latin, meaning those who have earned their position in retirement through service.

29. Stitch into place: SEW ON.  Attach with needle and thread.

30. Mouth, in slang: TRAP.  As in, "Shut yer TRAP!"

32. Cry of woe: OH NO.  Alas.

33. Fair-hiring abbr.: EEOEqual Employment Opportunity.

35. Omega, to an electrician: OHM.  Resistance measurment.

37. Area between banks: RIVER BED.  The bottom of the river, probably not full of money.

38. Vichyssoise veggie: LEEK.  A plant related to the onion with an elongated cylindrical bulb.  Also the national symbol of Wales.  I have no idea why. Vichyssoise is a creamy potato soup, generally served cold.

41. "Wonder Woman" actress Gadot: GAL. [b 1985] Model, actress, and Miss Israel in 2004.

42. Seek damages: SUE.  Institute legal proceedings to seek redress.

43. Least refined: RAWEST. Most crude

44. Has a passion for: IS INTO.  Indulges in.

45. Social strata: CASTES.  Classes of society.  The crudest people have no class.

47. Name shared by a Grace and a Muse: THALIA. The goddess [or muse] of comedy and idyllic poetry.  The Three Graces are THALIA,  Aglaea and Euphrosyne, goddesses of order and good conduct.  In either case, the name Thalia indicated flourishing and abundance.

50. Phoenix neighbor: TEMPE.  Cities in Arizona.

52. Put on the books: ENACT.  Make into law.

53. Salsa singer Cruz: CELIA. Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso (1925 – 2003) was a Cuban singer and one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century.

55. Surpasses: TOPS.  Does better than.

56. Smithwick's brew: ALE.  An Irish Red Ale brewed in Kilkenny.

57. Fat used in baking: LARD.  Comes from a pig, is free of trans-fats.

60. Free-app interrupters: ADS.  ADvertisments.  Small videos that shill for some product or service that you almost certainly do not need.

61. Div. won by the Braves in 2019: NLE.  National League East.  But after a dismal start, the 2nd place Washington Nationals, whose line up is stacked with aging veterans, went on to win the World Series

62. City of Lions and Tigers: Abbr.: DETroit.  Speaking of sports - this is the city of perpetual sports disappointment.  These cats have neither teeth not claws.

That's a sad note to end on, yet here we AL are.  The Kitty City is blanketed with snow, and the temperatures are too small to be worth mentioning.  Stay safe out there peeps.  In the press of other things, I'm taking December off from blogging.  See you all in the new year.

Cool regards,

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 Roland Huget

Theme: Any Portmanteau in a storm.  The letters of the prefix INSTA- are scrambled, and the concept is tied together, as we shall see later, with the suffix -GRAM

17 A. Ellington-Strayhorn hit to which Johnny Mercer later added lyrics: SATIN DOLL. Love the tune, not crazy about Mercer's lyrics.  Here is the best arrangement ever, by Sammy Nestico for the Count Basie band.

27. Storied Alpine rescuer: SAINT BERNARD.  Only maybe, as it turns out.

45. Spot treatment: STAIN REMOVER.  Cleaning agent.

59. Social networking service ... or an apt portmanteau for the starts of 17-, 27- and 45-Across: INSTAGRAM.  OK.  The letters of INSTA have been presented in various configurations, and the -GRAM suffix indicates something in writing.  And mashing them together does generate a portmanteau, sort of.  But the surface sense is at best, pretty thin; and the whole concept is a bit of a stretch.  But, high marks for creativity and originality.

Hi, gang, JazzBumpa here see what else awaits us in today's adventure.


1. Give a little: BEND.  Not being rigid.

5. Under-the-sink cleaners: LYES.  Caustic drain unclogging substances.  NaOH, for the technically minded.

9. Spherical: ORBED.  Round, any way you look at it.

14. On the protected side: ALEE.  Away from the wind.

15. Ward of "FBI": SELA.

16. Author Zora __ Hurston: NEALE. [1891 -1960] An anthropologist, film maker and author of influential African-American literature.

19. Mistreat: ABUSE.

20. "The Addams Family" cousin: ITT.

21. Device for scratch removal?: ATMAutomatic Teller Machine, for extracting cash - i.e. "scratch."

22. Something found under a chest: ABDOMEN.  Body parts.

24. Viagra competitor: LEVITRA. Now, let me get this straight  .  .  .

26. Letter starter: DEAR.  The salutation.

32. Useful: OF HELP.  Providing some benefit.

35. Drop off: WANE.  Ebb, decline, fade away.

36. Motes may be seen in one: RAY.  Dust in a sun beam.

37. Two-time Indy winner Luyendyk: ARIE.  Race car driver.

38. Two-__-one: FOR.  Typical half-off sale gimmick.

39. Air Jordan company: NIKE.  Maker of athletic shoes.

40. Thing on a ring: KEY.

41. Bodily fluids: SERA.

43. Filled with wonder: AMAZED.  Cf 49 A.

48. Senate helper: PAGE.

49. "I must be seeing things": PINCH ME.  This can't be real.

53. Reliable income source: CASH COW.

56. Coll. aides: TAsTeaching Assistants

57. Feel poorly: AIL.

58. Tablet download: E-BOOK.  Electronic publication.

62. Nary a soul: NO ONE. Nope -  nobody here.

63. Snap, in ads: FOTO.  Photograph, mis-abbreviated.

64. Radiation units: REMSRoentgen Equivalent Man is an older unit measuring the health effects of low levels of ionizing radiation on the human body.

65. In good shape: TONED.  Buff.

66. Movie lab helper: IGOR.  In various Frankenstein movies.

67. Skip over: OMIT.  Or leave out.


1. Pesto herb: BASIL.  Along with olive oil, parmesan, pine nuts and garlic.

2. Really excite: ELATE.  I see elation as happiness, rather than excitement, so I think this equivalence is pretty dicey.

3. Hulu service: NET TV.  Streaming app.

4. Opus __: "The Da Vinci Code" sect: DEI.  In real life, this group is a secretive, ultra conservative institution within the Catholic Church.

5. '60s "journey": LSD TRIP.  The experience of being under the influence of a psychotropic drug.

6. Coast Guard rank: YEOMAN.  I can't find it listed in this ranking chart.

7. Angled piece: ELL.  Named for its cross-sectional profile.

8. Self-service food station: SALAD BAR.

9. How some silly things are done: ON A DARE.  Earlier: Bet you can't/won't. Later: No, you shouldn't have.

10. Spiritually awakened: REBORN.  Generally referring to a personal religious experience.

11. Gale family creator: BAUM.  In the Wizard of Oz.

12. Otherwise: ELSE. In addition, or instead of.

13. Cook Paula: DEEN.  Southern Fried Everything.

18. Birth-related: NATAL.

23. "I've __ busy": BEEN.

25. "It's clear now": I SEE.  The scales have fallen from my eyes.

28. Clock change hr. (though most do it sooner): TWO AM.  I did not know this.

29. Nev. neighbor: ARIZ.  Two western Sts.

30. Golf bunker tool: RAKE. A bunker is a sand trap.  Golf etiquette is to smooth all footprints, ball trails and club marks.

31. Like green hair: DYED.  Artificially tinted.

32. Symbols of strength: OAKS.  Mighty trees/

33. Fingerboard bar: FRET.  "Guitars and Banjos have ‘fretboards’ as they utilise a board (usually rosewood or maple) that has metal frets slotted into it and the note is sounded via your finger as it presses the string towards the board until the string meets the fret.)"

34. Casual greeting: HI-YA.  Yo, bro.

38. Coffee shop amenity: FREE WIFI.

39. DEA operative: NARC. Short for narcotics agt.

41. Ate at the theater, say: SNACKED.  On popcorn and candy.

42. Proof word: ERGO.  Therefore -

43. One who takes off a lot: AVIATOR.  Up in the sky, it's plane to see.

44. High-scoring club?: MENSA.  Organization of high IQ individuals.

46. Selfie stick attachment: I-PHONE.  Used for taking pictures - of your face.

47. Decides one will: OPTS TO.

50. Sultan's group: HAREM. Wife collection of a Sultan.

51. Marlins' home: MIAMI.  The last place team in the NL East Division, and the 3rd worst team in all of MLB

52. Title loc. in six horror films: ELM ST.  Place for nightmares.

53. Coin often left in a dish: CENT. The U.S. penny is worth one CENT.  I'm not sure what this clue is getting at.

54. Peek-__: ABOO.  Kids' hiding and peeking game.

55. "Are we there yet?" reply: SOON.

60. Yule quaff: NOG.  A spiced dairy-based beverage with variable alcohol content.

61. Miracle-__: GRO. Garden fertilizer product.

That wraps up another Wednesday.  Hope you had a good time.

Cool regards!