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, September 28, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

16. Original thought : IDEA.

20. "The Time Machine" race : ELOI.

21. Goes out : EBBS.   Like the tide.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

56. Magic charm : MOJO.  Or spell.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

2. Airline to Jerusalem : EL AL.

3. In addition : ALSO. Too

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30. Come to a point : TAPER.

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

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

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

34. Tucker of country : TANYA.

39. Taxing trip : TREK.

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

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

46. Achy : SORE.  Hurting.

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

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

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

51. Evening in Quebec : SOIR.   French.

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

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

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

55. Star adored by many : IDOL.   

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

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

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

61. Branch : ARM.   Extension.

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

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

Cool regards!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

15. Seasonal song : NOEL.  Christmas season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not always appropriate

38. Sonar signal : BLIP.

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

40. Went a-courting : WOOED

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

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

45. Library machine : COPIER.

46. "__ the Walrus" : I AM.  

Stunning low fidelity

54. Medicare prescription drug section : PART D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. Slips past : EASES BY.

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

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

12. Loo : LAV.  Personal comfort station.

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

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

22. Money makers : MINTS.  Where currency is manufactured

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

Yeah, I can do this, too

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

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

28. Make available : FREE UP.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

41. Big chunk : SLAB.  

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

44. Less cluttered : TIDIER.   Neatness, peeps!

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

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

50. "How awful!" : OH NO.  Bad news.

51. Cruise stop : ISLE.   Port of call.

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

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

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

55. NPR journalist Shapiro : ARI.

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

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

Cool regards!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

5. Hot under the collar : ANGRY.  Perturbed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

39. Pulled off : DID.  Accomplished

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

67. Transparent : SHEER.  Rather like LACE.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

5. Chest thumper : APE.

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

7. Smooth-talking : GLIB.

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

9. Slangy "Sure" : YEH.  Uh-huh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

40. Down in the dumps : DEJECTED.

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

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

46. Milk purch. : GALlon.   Note Abrvs. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cool regards!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging - Wednesday, August 10, 2016 C. C. Burnikel

Theme:  TURN AROUND -- NOPE, JUST KIDDING.  The circled letters, when reversed, spell a synonym for teasing somebody.  I don't recall seeing a circle puzzle on a Wednesday before.  That more often occurs later in the week.  But other aspects of the construction lean more toward early week, and the difficulty felt about right for a Wednesday, so it all averages out.

Recognizing the theme requires locating the target letters, then reading them backwards to find the theme word.  This could be quite a problem if you didn't have the circles in your grid.  Let's have a look.

17 A. Spread some gossip : DISH THE DIRT.  Slangy expression.  I think RIDE goes a bit beyond good-natured teasing into domineering or harassing territory

24 A. Hybrid toaster oven snacks : PIZZA ROLLS.  A variation on the won ton - pierogi theme, this mini dough pillow is filled with PIZZA flavored food-like substances.  To RAZZ someone is to tease them playfully [though one may always wonder about motivation.]

38 A. He has a nest at 123½ Sesame Street : BIG BIRD.   This fowl is large, but not foul.  To RIB someone is pretty close in meaning to RAZZING them.

52 A. Stayed on : HUNG AROUND.   Loitered or lingered.  RAG, to me, seems closer to RIDE than to RAZZ or RIB, so we have a kind of symmetry.

And the reveal -- 63 A. Young player on the rebound ... or, in another way, what each set of circles in this puzzle represents : COMEBACK KID.  Indicates an athlete who showed promise, faded, then regained his former prowess.  COMEBACK is a coded hint that the theme entry is to be read retrograde, while KID is a synonym for the thus revealed words.   So our reveal takes the form of a cryptic clue.  I'll admit that it took me a few minutes to suss this one.  Fiendishly clever concept put forth by our fearless leader.

Hi, gang.   JazzBumpa on duty.  Lets see what else is in store.  Is there any more teasing hidden in today's entry?


1. Divers' destinations : REEFS.   Coral formations that are habitat for many types of underwater life.

6. Japanese cartoon art : ANIME.  In Japan, the word refers to any animation.  Most other places, it refers to a more or less specific cartoon genre associated with a style that originated in Japan. Examples.

11. "Shoot!" : ASK.  Slangy way to encourage a question.

14. Send to cloud nine : ELATE.   Make someone happy.

15. Sir Arthur __ Doyle : CONAN.  Late night host or barbarian warrior?  Nope - the author of the Sherlock Holmes tales.

16. Traffic court letters : DWI.  Driving While Intoxicated.   A serious and dangerous traffic violation than can cost you a lot of strife and dollars.  Don't do it.  And I'm not KIDDING!

19. Chow fixer? : VET.  This chow is a dog, and fixing means neutering it to prevent the appearance of unwanted puppies.

20. Emphatic affirmation : OH, YES I DO.    Imagine someone jumping up and down while clapping.  Now imagine the last time you saw a four-word fill consisting of only 8 letters.

21. Paperless tax return option : E-FILE.   File electronically, and hope you don't get hacked.

23. Original "Veronica Mars" airer : UPN.  United Paramount Network.  A TV network that ran from 1995 through 2006, when it was replaced by the CW, a joint venture venture between CBS and Warner Brothers.

27. Surrealism pioneer Max : ERNST.  [1891 - 1976]  German painter, sculptor, graphic artist and poet.  Gallery here.

29. That being the case : IF SO.  Then some conclusion ensues.
30. "... Mr. Tambourine Man, __ song for me" : PLAY A.   Bob Dylan.

32. __ standstill : AT A.   Like rush hour traffic.  Your oxymoron for the day.

33. Birch or beech : TREE.    Deciduous trees of the families Betulacaea and Fagacaea, respectively.

37. Buns and flips : DOs.  Hair styles.   A bun is a gathered style, while the flip is loose and turned up at the ends.

42. Actress Gardner : AVA.

43. Racing legend A.J. : FOYT.  [b. 1935] Retired American driver with 159 wins in a variety of motor sport genres.

45. "Later!" : BYE.  See ya'!

46. Absolute : UTTER.  Complete and total, as in, for example, a lack of milk.

48. Sharif of "Doctor Zhivago" : OMAR.  Michel Dimitri Chalhoub [1932 - 2015] an Egyptian actor, fluent in Arabic, English, Greek, French, Spanish and Italian.  He was also an avid horse racing enthusiast and one of the world's top-ranked contract bridge players.

50. Prophets : SEERS.  Predictors of the future.

56. Dutch banking giant : I N G.    Internationale Nederlanden Groep, involved in all aspects of banking, plus insurance and asset management.

58. Homeric epic : ILIAD.  Set during the Trojan war, a 10-year siege of Troy [aka Ilium] in what is now the Anatolian region of Turkey.

59. Philips electric toothbrush brand : SONICARE.

62. "Teen Wolf" network : M T V.   Originally Music TV.  Now, I have no idea what the M is supposed to stand for.

66. Iron source : ORE.  Rust filled DIRT, that the miners must dish out.

67. Go off-script : AD LIB.  Speak or perform in an improvised manner.   Would I ever do that?

68. Mix : BLEND.  Co-mingle.

69. Baby goat sound : MAA.   What - no love for paa?

70. Like mosquitoes : PESTY.   I had pesky.  Made my grid like the next fill.

71. In disarray : MESSY.   Not neat and tidy.


1. Second try : REDO.  A do over, and for some, a Mulligan.

2. Philanthropist Yale : ELIHU.  [1649 - 1721] A British merchant, president of the East India Company settlement at Madras, and benefactor of the university for which he is the Eponym.

3. "No sweat" : EASY PEASY.  A piece of cake.

4. 1862 Tenn. battle site : FT. HENRY.  Site of the first important victory on the western front of the American civil war for The Union forces and General U. S. Grant.

5. Match makers? : SETS.  In tennis and other sports, a match is divided into some number of sets.  The winner of a designated number of sets wins the match.

6. Nailed the test : ACED IT.  

7. Brand for serious last-minute preparation : NODOZ.  Caffeine supplement to forestall drowsiness.

8. Italian food ending : -INI.  As in tortellini, etc.

9. Tarnish : MAR.  Inflict damage on.

10. Comes in : ENTERS.

11. Pain reliever sold in Liqui-Gels : ADVIL.  Brand of ibuprofen.   Some people swear by it.  This is called ibuprofenity

12. "Peachy" : SWELL.  Groovy, man.

13. Windy weather fliers : KITES.

18. Arms-akimbo joints : HIPS.  I would have preferred elbows, but they don't fit.  "Akimbo," indicating a hands-on-hips posture, does not look and feel like a native English word, but it does trace back to Middle English "in kenebowe, " "kene" meaning [among other things] sharp, and "bowe" meaning bent.  So it's all good.

22. Arch site : FOOT.  The longitudinal and transverse arches of the FOOT are formed by the tarsal and metatarsal bones.   The arched construction is inherently stronger than a level arrangement, and aids in supporting body weight.

25. Oft-baked pasta : ZITI.  In the form of large tubes.

26. Miles away : AFAR.   Proper location for loving in a pure and chaste manner.

28. Arrest : NAB. To grab, therefore to catch someone in the act or aftermath of wrong doing.

30. Adobe file format : PDF.  Portable Document Format - an electronic file form that is compatible across a variety of platforms and operating systems.

31. Head of a pub? : LOO.  Compatible British words indicating a tavern and a comfort station.

32. Prez on a fiver : ABE.  Lincoln [1809-1865] the 16th President of the United States.

34. Rodent-eating reptiles : RAT SNAKES.  Common in North America, these snakes feed primarily on rodents and birds.  Though they can grow quite large, they are docile and make lovely pets.

35. Day before a big day : EVE.  The day before Adam's RIBBING was the EVE of Eve.

36. Shucker's unit : EAR.   Of corn.  Rather like my earie humor.

39. Letter-shaped beam : I-BAR.  Named for it's cross-section profile.

40. Pita sandwich : GYRO.  Pronounced yeeroh, not homophonic with the the first two syllables of a spinning disc-plus-axis device.   The meat is a dense lamb-based meat loaf cooked on a vertical spit.  It is served on a pita with diced tomatoes and tzatziki sauce [made from yogurt and cucumbers.]  IMHO, the Senate Coney Island in Livonia has the best GYROS in the Detroit metro area.

41. Deserving : DUE.   That which one has earned.   Frex.

44. Frat party wear : TOGA.   What could I possibly add?

47. Barely flow : TRICKLE.  But more than seep or ooze.

49. Wild : MADCAP.  Like a TOGA party.

50. Hoity-toity : SNOBBY.  Like a social climbing elite wannabe.

51. Flamboyant Dame : EDNA. Everage.  One of the on-stage alter egos of Australian comedian, author, actor, artist and satirist John Barry Humphries.

52. Handmade bleachers sign : HI MOM.   This year's Hall of Fame Football Classic got cancelled because of field conditions, but 3 years ago it occurred on my Lovely Wife's birthday, and her son Doug, who was in attendance, did this, taking it up a level --

I captured this fuzzy image from the TV screen

53. Hyper : ULTRA.  Taken to the highest level.

54. Skin "Creme" in blue tins : NIVEA.    The blues.

55. Workout buff's motto opener : USE IT.   Or lose it!

57. Impish looks : GRINS.   Do any of these qualify?

No granddaughters were harmed in the making of this photo

60. SALT weapon : ICBM.   The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks/Treaty started with a meeting between LBJ and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin 1967. Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles and defensive weapons [ABMs] to counter them were items of concern.  President Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev signed the ABM Treaty and interim SALT agreement on May 26, 1972, in Moscow.

61. Whirlpool : EDDY.  If my name were EDDY, I wouldn't travel in those circles.

64. Metered praise : ODE.  Laudatory poem.

65. Portland Timbers' org. : MLS.  Major League Soccer.

Well, that wraps up another Wednesday.  Hope you were able to tease out all the answers, between my lame attempts at humor.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's see what other goodies we can uncover.


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

6. Pantry pest : ANT.   They bug me.

9. Puts in a cooler : JAILS.  American slang

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

15. Like many indie films : LOW BUDGET.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

30. Three times, in an Rx : TER.

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

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

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

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

37. Belgian banknotes : EUROS.   All over Europe.

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

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

Are you picking up some mini-themes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

49. Baseball uniform part : CAP.

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

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

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

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

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

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

64. Book with interstates : ATLAS.    Book of maps

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16. Rudimentary : BASIC.   Or fundamental.

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

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

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

29. Only fair : SOSO.  Mediocre.  

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

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

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

39. Doll's cry : MAMA.

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

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

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

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

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

56. Work very hard : TOIL.  

58. Deep cut : GASH.

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

60. Non-Rx : Over The Counter.

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

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

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

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

Cool Regards!