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 22, 2017

Wednesday March 22, 2017 Dan Gagliardo and C. C. Burnikel

Theme: VOWEL TRIFECTA.  In the 2nd, 4th and 6th letter position of the first word of each two-word theme entry is a repeated vowel.  These entries appear in the grid in alphabetical order, viz. A-E-I-O-U. Let's have a look.

16 A. Monkey cage discard : BANANA PEEL.  Stereotypically, monkeys love BANANAS, but who wants to eat the outer part, despite its having appeal?  You don't want to encounter one at the top of a slippery slope

22 A. Reason for totaling, as an insured car : SEVERE DAMAGE.  "Totaling," in this sense indicates declaring the vehicle to be a total wreck, destined for the junk yard.  Sadly, I totaled my most favorite car in a multi-vehicle pile up on the Southfield Freeway, back in 1991.

29 A. Cause of some tan lines : BIKINI TOP.  A BIKINI is a two piece swim suit consisting of a bra top and a separate bottom part.  Coverage is widely variable, depending on the specific design parameters.  Of course, the covered parts will not be suntanned, resulting in tan lines.  Per Wikipedia: "The name was coined in 1946 by French engineer and clothing designer Louis Réard, after the recent nuclear tests at Bikini atoll —often better known than its namesake—and with the slogan 'an anatomic bomb.'''

37 A. Ornate 18th-century genre : ROCOCO ART.  This is a late baroque style that originated in Paris that employed a jocular and florid approach.  The style was ornate, colorful, curvy, and asymmetric, frequently based on witty or playful themes.

44 A. Fluffy sun blocker : CUMULUS CLOUD.   Well described by the clue, these clouds are generally of low altitude, and often have a flat base along with a puffy, cotton-like top.

55 A. Baseball rarity, and a hint to the vowels in the first words of 16-, 22-, 29-, 37- and 44-Across : TRIPLE PLAY.  Of course, the mandatory baseball reference!  Here, the triple play refers to the repeated vowel in each theme entry.  In baseball, it's an event in which 3 outs are made on a single batted ball.  As rare as this occurrence is, this example is of what must be an even more rare variety.

Hi gang, JzB reporting for duty, with a fine puzzle by our famous dynamic duo.  Clever gimmick and elegant execution.  Very rich themeage, with five entries, plus a unifier.  Nicely done.


1. "That's enough out of you" : CAN IT.  Put a lid on it; give it a rest.

6. Addams family nickname : TISH. Morticia Addams.

10. Festoons with Charmin, for short : TPS. The childish prank of Toilet Papering a tree.

13. Chicago airport : O'HARE.

14. Barak of Israel : EHUD.  Prime Minister from 1999 to 2001, also a highly decorated soldier who held several other political and government positions.

15. __ butter : SHEA.  A fatty substance from the nut of the SHEA tree.

18. Phone using a tower : CELL

19. Govt. agency that supports startups : Small Business Administration.

20. Kettle output : STEAM.

21. Ride in the desert : CAMEL.  The ship of the desert.

24. Social ranking : STATUS.  

27. Many mobile downloads : APPS.  APPlications.

28. Coral component : POLYP.  This is an individual animal that, when combined into large clusters can form a coral reef.

34. "All Things Considered" co-host Shapiro : ARI.

35. Day of song : DORIS.  Not a day of the week.

36. Fleece source : EWE.  Lamb's mom.

40. Thyme piece : SPRIG.  A small stem, including it's minor branches.

42. Pre-hurricane emergency op : EVACuation.

43. Runs after : CHASES.   Can also involve vehicles.

49. "No one can beat me" : I RULE.  Arrogant.

50. Poker game concern : CHEAT.  Well - any game, really.

51. Unit of resistance : OHM.  Electricity.

54. Poker at the table? : TINE.  Part of a fork.

57. Where buds may go : EARS.  For listening to music, podcasts, etc.

58. Right hand : AIDE.  Top assistant.

59. Meditation teachers : YOGIS.  

60. "The Affair" network, briefly : SHOtime.

61. Flow with force : SPEW.

62. Place on a pedestal : EXALT.


1. Corny leftovers : COBS.

2. Starbuck's boss : AHAB.  Characters from Moby Dick.

3. Child tender : NANA.  Grandmother.

4. Tax-deferred plan, briefly : Individual Retirement Account.

5. Stiffen in fear : TENSE UP.

6. Prairie home : TEPEE. A portable conical tent made from skins, cloth or canvas on a frame of poles.

7. The Supremes' "__ a Symphony" : I HEAR.

8. "See if I care!" : SUE ME.

9. Cholesterol letters : High Density Lipoprotein. 

10. Annual Augusta National event : THE MASTERS.  Golf tournament.

11. "Pequod" co-owner : PELEG.  The pequod is the Nantucket-based whaling ship from the novel Mobey Dick.

12. Room in a maison : SALLE.  French for house and room, respectively.

15. Shrimp dish : SCAMPI.  This is the Italian word for prawn, which is a crustacean similar, but not quite identical to a shrimp.  You have to count their legs to tell.  The dish is typically made by broiling with garlic butter.

17. Off-roaders, for short : ATVS. All Terrain Vehicles.

21. 2-Down's title, informally : CAP'N.

22. Dirty digs : STY.  A pig's place.

23. Place of honor : DAIS.  A low platform for a lectern, seat of honor, or throne.

24. Prep for a bout : SPAR.  Boxing practice.

25. Big name in riding mowers : TORO.

26. Canadian short story writer awarded a Nobel Prize in 2013 : ALICE MUNRO. [b. 1931]  Her stories explore human complexities in an uncomplicated prose style.

29. Lavish wrap : BOA.

30. Discount rack abbr. : IRRegular.

31. First-aid gear : KIT.

32. Boo-boo : OWIE.  Kid-speak for a minor injury.

33. Cribbage markers : PEGS.

35. Prefix with drama : DOCU-.

38. Small eggs : OVULES.

39. NASCAR's Yarborough : CALE. [b. 1939] One of only two NASCAR drivers to win three consecutive championships, with 83 total wins on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner's list.

40. Z's : SHUT EYE.  Sleepy time.

41. Elbow protector : PAD.  Cushioning gear to protect against injury.

43. Mine extraction : COAL. A combustable black or brown rock composed of fossilized organic material.

44. Names as a reference : CITES.  Typically in a foot note.

45. Hater of David, in Dickens : URIAH.  Mr. Heap, the obsequious weasel from the Charles Dickens novel, David Copperfield.

46. Rx : SCRIP.  A doctor's prescription for a certain medication.

47. Reprimand : CHIDE.

48. Aggressive cat lover of cartoons : LEPEW.  Pepe.

51. Gymnast Korbut : OLGA.   She won 4 gold and 2 silver medals for the Soviet team in the 1972 and 1976 Summer Olympics.

52. Flag down : HAIL.

53. Classic PC adventure game : MYST.  A graphic puzzle-adventure game having a variety of endings, depending on the player's choices.

55. Some univ. proctors : TAS. Teaching Assistants.

56. Curse : POX.

Lots of good stuff here, including a whaling sub-theme.  No less than we would expect form this all star team.

Cool regards!

Thursday, March 16, 2017


St. Urho's day crocus report. 
Looks like we will have three purple blooms this year. 
It's always been just one.

earliest blossoms
arrive before snow departs
leave in early spring

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle - Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Jascha Smilack

Theme: THE COLOR OF ANGER.  Each theme fill entry is two words, the first of which is a color. Notably, one color is missing from this exposition, but shows up both in the unifier, and elsewhere, as we will see - in disguise.

20 A. *Fictional road material : YELLOW BRICK.   From the Wizard of Oz, of course.

57 A. *Cola flavor : BLACK CHERRY.

10 D. *One with noble lineage : BLUE BLOOD.  Presumably because, since they never had to do manual labor and led an indoor existence, their pale skin allowed the blue of veins to show through.

14 D. *Floral papal ornament : GOLDEN ROSE.  Despite growing up Catholic, I know nothing of this tradition.

26 D. *Chard, by another name : SILVER BEET.  I knew this was a green leafy plant in the beet family, but didn't know about the silver part, which refers to the white stalk.

33 D. Angrily ignoring the first half of the answers to starred clues? : SEEING RED.  Well, ignoring all the other colors somehow equates to seeing RED, but not GREEN nor VIOLET.  But, OK, let's just go with it.  The color of Magic, BTW, is Octarine.

High gang, JazzBumpa here to guide you through a late winter color tour.  Let's see if we can get through it without too much rancor.


1. Spot for an AirPod : EAR.   Wireless headphone parking place.

4. Chowder morsel : CLAM.  Soup ingredient.

8. Moscow currency : RUBLE.  The Russian monetary unit for the last 500 years.  Currently equal to about 1.7 US cents.

13. Slept like __ : A LOG.  I wonder how that feels?

15. Color in a Spanish rainbow : ROJO.  Red, of course.  Irritably missing from the theme, but we have it here.

16. Religion of Basra : ISLAM.  Basra is a city in Iraq whose local economy is largely dependent on petroleum.

17. Corn Belt tower : SILO.  Here's an example in Maumee, a suburb of Toledo.

18. Latin I verb : AMAT.  Do I love this entry?  No, I do not.

19. Riyadh resident : SAUDI.  The capital and most populous city in the country.

23. Bookshelf bracket shape : ELL.  The "L" you say!

24. Of a battery terminal : ANODAL.  Specifically, the positive one.  Would it be an anodyne to say I'm positive?

25. Necessity for a game of Ultimate : FRISBEE.  This is the trademark for a flying disc, owned by the Wham-O toy company.  Points are scored by passing the disc to a team mate in the opponent's end zone

27. History class assignment : ESSAY.  A written paper on a specific topic.

30. Elec. or water : UTILity.

31. __ a clue : HASN'T.  I tried HADN'T first.  HAVEN'T also does not work.

34. Slangy pounds : QUID.  British money.  Even before Brexit they opted out of using the Euro.

36. Financial help : LOAN.

39. End __ : USER.

40. Tomato product : PUREE.

41. Preference indicator : VOTE.

42. Religious prefix : THEO-.

43. Grub : EATS.  Unattractive sounding vernacular.

44. Brought about : LED TO.  Preceded and caused whatever then ensued.

45. Tenerife, por ejemplo : ISLA.  Spanish Island.

47. Take the helm : STEER.  Direct the movement of a vehicle, in this case a ship.

49. Surface layers : VENEERS.   Generally decorative, as a fine wood over a less elegant wood.

52. Clogs from France : SABOTS.  Each one hollowed out of a single piece of wood.  Hence the word sabotage, meaning to wreck something by kicking with sabots.   I read once somewhere that the Luddites sabotaged weaving machinery by throwing sabots into the works, but that might be apocryphal.

56. Neurologist's order, briefly : EEG. The ElectroEncephaloGram detects electrical activity in the brain.

60. Pop-up foul-up : ERROR.  Baseball boo-boo, dropping a short fly ball.

62. Stereotypical family spoiler : NANA.  Grandmother, or, as some in our clan say, "Grandmom."

63. Pulitzer-winning novelist Jennifer : EGAN.  In 2011 her novel A Visit From The Goon Squad won the Pulitzer prize for fiction.

64. Renaissance painter __ della Francesca : PIERO.  Many of his paintings are on religious themes.

65. Minute quantity : DROP.  A drib, a drab or a TRACE.

66. Fish __ : TACO.   I had one once.  It was OK.

67. Family car : SEDAN.  Typical 2 or 4 door auto with front and rear seats.

68. __-Coburg: former Bavarian duchy : SAXE.  Read all about it.

69. Homer's neighbor : NED.  Flanders from the Simpsons.  


1. Class requiring little effort : EASY A.

2. Distant and then some : ALIEN.  Beyond the pale, perhaps.

3. Pal of Nancy, in comics : ROLLO.

4. Barely advances : CRAWLS.  Makes slow, possibly steady progress. 

5. Big name in vision care : LOMB.  Along with Bausch.

6. Slightly open : AJAR. When is a door not a door?  When it is a jar.

7. Recurring theme : MOTIF.  As in music, literature or visual design.

8. Go out on a limb : RISK IT. Take a chance.

9. Stars and Stripes land: Abbr. : USA.  Mandatory.

11. Crock-Pot server : LADLE. For soups and stews.

12. French novelist Zola : EMILE. [1840-1902] Also a playwright, journalist and contributor to literary and theatrical realism.  Also a major figure in the exoneration of wrongly accused and convicted military officer Alfred Dreyfus.

21. Brewery kiln : OAST.  A drying oven.

22. Input for a refinery : CRUDE.  Petroleum.

28. Marine shade : AQUA.   Ocean blue - a hue tinged with green.

29. Portable Mongolian dwellings : YURTS.  Collapsable circular tents used by nomads.

31. Simple dwelling : HUT.  A simple, single-story dwelling, perhaps a step up from a YURT. 

32. Shade of gray : ASH.  Not all grays are created equal.  

35. Luck, pluck or duck ending : IEST.  Modifier degrees are positive, comparative, and superlative.  This illustrates the latter.

37. Part of D.A.: Abbr. : ATT.  District ATTorney.  Typically, a prosecutor.

38. Prefix with con : NEO-.  Referring to NEO-conservatism, which is distinguished by aggressively interventionist foreign policy, strong support for Israel, and hostility toward other middle-eastern regimes.

40. Shade of gray : PEARL.  A gray shade tinged with blue or green, having a pearlescent luster.

44. Jacob's wife before Rachel : LEAH.  Jake got snookered by Lebon, his mother's brother into marrying LEAH, Lebon's older daughter, when he was expecting to marry the younger sister Rachel, whom he loved.  Eventually he married Rachel as well.  Both of them bore him children, as did Zilpah, a servant that Leban had given to Leah.  

46. James with three NBA titles : LEBRON.  Not to be confused with Lebon, he was first loved and then hated by Cleveland fans.  Not sure what his status is now.
48. Tunnel out, maybe : ESCAPE.  As from prison or a PoW camp.

49. Many future presidents, as it turned out : VEEPS.   Vice Presidents.

50. Like "Stranger Things," e.g. : EERIE.  Weird and/or spooky.  The show is a Netflix original series concerning the searches for a 12- year-old boy who disappeared amid supernatural occurrences.

51. Metaphorical moments of time : SANDS.

53. Skin, but not bones : ORGAN.   A body part with a distinct structure that performs a specialized task.  From my brief on-line research, it seems that bones are considered to be organs.  Hmmmm  .  .  .

54. Kind of evidence : TRACE.  Some small incriminating quantity - only a DROP, perhaps.

55. Ecclesiastical council : SYNOD.  In modern usage, the governing body of a particular church.

58. Word of amore : CARA.  Italian term of endearment.

59. Fort with billions in bullion : KNOX.  Located near the Ohio River, south-west of Louisville.  

61. "... man __ mouse?" : OR A.  Challenging words.

That wraps it up.  We had some religion and politics in the fill, so please don't go there in the comments. Also, some colors outside the theme fill.  Did you color within the lines?  Hope after all this, you're not seeing RED.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzles Blogging - Wednesday, February 8, 2017 Peg Slay

Theme: Commercial Opportunity.  The two-word theme entries have no surface connection, being mere vehicles to hold the letters of the concept theme entries.  These letters are circled, and if you didn't get the circles, the theme might be tough to suss.  There is a unifier though, so let's start with that.

33. Program interruptions literally demonstrated by this puzzle's four sets of circles : STATION BREAKS.  This is a pause between broadcast programs, when a transmitting station can identify itself and slip in a few commercials.   As we will see, each theme entry holds a type of station, spelt with its first and last few letters.  Thus the STATION is BROKEN within the entry.

17 A. World-class : FIRST RATE.  Something world class or FIRST RATE is as good as it gets. And our first break gives us a FIRE station - a place where the FIRE fighters reside between calls, and keep their vehicles and equipment.

23 A. Mantilla material : SPANISH LACE.   A Mantilla is a lace or silk lady's scarf worn over the head and shoulders.

The Mantilla Company

A SPACE STATION is an artificial satellite used as a base for off-planet activities.

49 A. It may be shaped on a wheel : POTTER'S CLAY.  An iron-free earthy material, consisting mainly of hydrated aluminum silicates that is plastic when wet, but hard when fired, used to make pottery and decorate ceramics.

The PLAY STATION is a video game console developed by Sony.

55 A. Sacred lily of ancient Egypt : BLUE LOTUS.   This is a water lily containing the psychoactive alkaloid apomorphine.   It was important in ancient Egyptian religion and mythology.

A BUS STATION is a terminal building where long-distance buses arrive and depart.

Hi Gang - Jazzbumpa STATIONED here to guide you through today's puzzlement.  We have four quite different types of STATION, split out for our edification and enjoyment.  Let's see what else there is.


1. Blowout victory : ROMP.  A game where one team scores a lot, and the other not so much.  I was hoping for one the other day; but, alas, 'twas not to be.

5. Airline mentioned in the first line of the Beatles' "Back in the U.S.S.R." : British Overseas Airways Corporation.  Here's Paul.

9. Taj Mahal city : AGRA.

13. Old Renault : LE CAR.   The U. S. marketed version of the Renault 5, sold here from 1976-83.

14. Cold, in Cádiz : FRIO.  Spanish.

15. Mark as important : FLAG.  Not the first definition you'd think of, but valid.

16. Like most triangle angles : ACUTE.  An angle of less than 90 degrees.  An angle of exactly 90 degrees is a right angle.  At greater than 90 degrees,  it is obtuse, rather like Mr. Armstrong, below.

19. Glass manufacturing dioxide : SILICA.   This is what is commonly known as sand.  Common window glass also contains oxides of sodium and Calcium, together comprising about 25% of the batch.  Though both are ceramics, this material is quite different from POTTER'S CLAY.  It is also different from Mrs. TESH. [Vide infra.]

21. Bk. read at Purim : ESTHer.   A festival held to commemorate the defeat of Haman's plot to massacre the Jews.

22. Sports doc's scan : Magnetic Resonance Image.

25. Univ. dorm overseers : RAs.  Resident Advisors.

26. "__ the fields we go ... " : O'ER.  To Grandmother's house.

27. Codebreaking org. : National Security Agency.

28. Dream up : CONCOCT.  Create, devise, fabricate.

30. One inch = one foot, e.g. : SCALE.  As in maps or modeling.

32. Seals, as a deal : ICES.  To secure the deal.  I guess because ice was fluid, but is now solidified.

38. Not quite place : SHOW.  In horse racing - win, place, and SHOW are betting protocols.  the terms refer to the first, second, and third place finishers, respectively. 

39. California's San __ Zoo : DIEGO.

40. Rubs elbows (with) : HOB-NOBS.

44. Kids' recess game : TAG.

45. Time of yr. for new growth : SPRing.

48. She raised Cain : EVE.   Not very well, though, in the original dysfunctional family, since he grew up to be a fratricide.

52. Legal thing : RES.   From Latin.

53. Thickening agent : AGAR.  A gelatinous polysaccharide substance obtained from red algae.

54. African desert : SAHARA.  Lots of SILICA there.

58. Allow to pass : LET IN.

59. Architect Saarinen : EERO.  From Finland, known for his neofuturistic designs.

60. Composer who was a CBS reporter : TESH.  John [b 1952] Former sportscaster, now a composer, performer, and radio and TV personality.

61. Bay and gray followers : AREAS.  Referring first to the region around San Fransisco Bay, and then to something less certain.

62. Uno y dos : TRES.  1 + 2 = 3, En Español.

63. Concerning : AS TO.  Regarding.

64. Spoon's escape partner : DISH.  From the same nursery rhyme as the musical feline, the out-of-this-world acrobatic bovine and the cackling canine.


1. Means to an end : RECIPE.  Odd way to think of it, but a recipe is something designed to achieve a certain outcome, so OK.

2. Pertaining to the eye : OCULAR.  From Latin.

3. Marseille morning : MATIN.  Hence, a morning prayer service is called Matins, though not likely to be offered to EOS, these days. [Vide infra.]

4. Police unit : PRECINCT.  A section of the city, as defined for police purposes.

5. Fave texting bud : BFF.  Best Friend Forever.

6. Projecting window : ORIEL.  Bay and bow windows are common types.  Perhaps useful for viewing orioles.

7. Respiratory cavity : AIRSAC.  Per this definition, an alveolus.  Birds have several other AIR SACS in their bodies.

8. Bulk-purchase club : COSTCO.  If you see something you like there, buy it now.  Next week, it may be gone forever.  BTW, their pumpkin pies are awesome.

9. Kilimanjaro's cont. : AFRica.

10. Genre that influenced Prince : GLAM ROCK.  Pop music style from the U.K. in the 70's featuring outrageous costumes, make up,  hair styles and glitter.

11. Hectic lifestyles : RAT RACES.

12. Biased targets of the Gray Panthers : AGEISTS.  Age discriminators.

13. Rodeo need : LASSO.  Loop on a rope.

18. In that case : THEN.  Indicates what follows.

20. Extremely, musically : ASSAI.  Accompanies and intensifies a tempo marking.

24. Angelic ring : HALO.  It's like a sunburst behind the head.

29. "Later!" : CIAO.  Informal exclamation at meeting or departure, coming via Italian schiavo [I am your slave] and relating back to the Latin word for slave, sclavus.

30. Like logs : SAWN.  Having been cut with a saw.

31. Bitter __ : END.  A nautical term, referring to the end of a rope to which an anchor is attached.  If that is reached, then the water is too deep for anchorage.

33. Snow remover : SHOVELER.  The person, not the tool.

34. Without a doubt : TO BE SURE.  Of a certainty.

35. Tasting menu portion : BITE.  A nibble.

36. Brings up : REARS.  Refers to nurturing a child until full grown.  Other senses of the word indicate cultivating plants, raising animals, rising to great heights, or - of a quadruped - raising up on its hind legs.

37. Sandwich filling for a lacto-ovo vegetarian : EGG SALAD.  Unlike vegans, they will consume eggs and dairy.

38. Frozen dessert : SHERBET.  A fruity frozen confection, and a sure bet to please.

41. Play-of-color gem : OPAL.

42. South American capital : BOGOTA.

43. Australian sextet : STATES.  I was thinking of kangaroos, opals, Vegemite, platypuses, The Great Barrier Reef and Crocodile Dundee, but could not find a way to express all that in 6 letters. So, instead, we have Western Australia, Northern Australia, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria.

45. Lists of nominees : SLATES.

46. Persona non grata : PARIAH. Any social outcast, originally, the lowest caste in southern India.

47. "__ Hope": '70s-'80s soap : RYAN'S.  The Irish immigrant Ryan family owned a bar in New York city, and had several upwardly-mobile adult children.  This is already more than I knew about it. 

50. Have faith : TRUST.

51. French darling : CHERI.   No matter how you spell it.

56. Dawn goddess : EOS.  Perhaps one of the most ancient deities in human history.

57. HBO competitor : SHO.  Showtime - premium cable channels.

Well, that's the end of this show.  Hope it didn't BREAK you.

Cool regards!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

L. A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging - Wednesday, January 18, 2017 C. C. Bernikel

Theme - BE NOT AFRAID.  A variety of things are related to the fears they might - or in this case, might not - cause.   This is pretty deep.  Each word relating to a common phobia is placed in a different, much safer context.  This makes it a figurative rather than literal reference.  I don't recall seeing a twist like this before.  Very clever and original.

17 A. Not a fearful place for acrophobia sufferers : BROOKLYN HEIGHTS.  Not sure what the elevation is there, but here in the Detroit area, Dearborn and Dearborn HEIGHTS are pretty flat and even.

36 A. Not a fearful fund for agoraphobia sufferers : MONEY MARKET.  This phobia relates to the fear of open places, or any place that might seem to be difficult to escape from, such as a shopping mall.  In the original Greek, an Agora was a public gathering and commercial location - hence the connection to a MARKET.

45 A. Not a fearful Camus work for xenophobia sufferers : THE STRANGER.  This fear relates to foreigners, who might be thought of as strange.   In the absurdist novel, the protagonist Meursault is a stranger in his own land, due to his emotional disconnection.

65 A. Not a fearful roadster for arachnophobia sufferers : ALFA ROMEO SPIDER. Four wheels instead of 8 legs for this model originally introduced in 1966.

Hi gang - Jazzbumpa here with quite the intrepid offering from our Fearless Leader.  It hit on a couple of my favorite phobias; but let's gather our courage, and see what we can discover.


1. Early sitcom co-star Arnaz : DESI.  He and Luci had a Ball.  

5. It's over a foot : SHIN.  No bones about it, the shin is literally above the foot.

9. Zagreb native : CROAT.  In Croatia.

14. Wolfs down : EATS.  Gobbles.

15. Madre's boy : NINO.  Spanish kid.

16. Toy in many "Peanuts" panels : PIANO.

20. Casino lineup : SLOTS.  One armed bandits.

21. Starting on : AS OF.  Some particular date.

22. Palette choices : HUES.  Colors.

23. Morose : DOUR.  From Scottish Gaelic, meaning dull, obstinate or stupid; perhaps related to Latin durus, meaning hard.

25. Droop in the garden : WILT.  So - if your cherry tree wilts, it is a drooping drupe.

27. Tight hold : GRIP.  Though suffering from the grippe, the Grip had a tight GRIP on his grip.

29. 401(k) alternative, briefly : IRA.  Individual Retirement Account.

32. Went ballistic : LOST IT.  Had a fit; went ape.

39. Folk rocker DiFranco : ANI.

40. Belittle : ABASE.

41. Showy Japanese school : KOI.  Of ornamental fish.

42. To a degree, informally : SORTA.   I had KINDA, which is more or less the same idea.

44. Haul to the garage : TOW.  

48. Name on the 1967 album "I Was Made to Love Her" : STEVIE.  Here he is, in case you were wondering.

50. Pilot's stat : ETA.  Estimated Time of Arrival.  Good luck with that.

51. Ward of "Sisters" : SELA.

52. City with ferry service to Copenhagen : OSLO.

54. Damon of "Interstellar" : MATT.

56. Fix, as a pet : SPAY.   Neutering operation.

59. Deft tennis shots : LOBS.  Soft arc.

62. Ragu rival : PREGO.   Pasta sauces.  

68. Prolonged assault : SIEGE.

69. Way through the trees : PATH.

70. Curly cabbage : KALE.  Having green or purple leaves that do not form a head.  This vegetable was common during the middle ages.

71. Wielded an ax : HEWED.  A good old, Anglo-Saxon word meaning to chop.

72. "Button it!" : HUSH.  BE quiet!

73. Actor Byrnes and announcer Hall : EDDS.  Presented for your edification.


1. Cotillion attendees : DEBS.   At formal balls, young ladies of aristocratic birth make their debuts into formal society.  Seems like a sexist and elitist tradition.

 2. Banjoist Scruggs : EARL.  Has a banjo, and knows how to use it.

 3. Admired reverentially, with "of" : STOOD IN AWE. As, for example, of banjo virtuosity.

 4. Elemental forms used in carbon dating : ISOTOPES.  A radioactive form of an element with a known decay rate.

 5. NBC weekend skit show : SNL.  Live from New York, It's Saturday Night Live.

 6. "'Sup" : HI YA.  Slangy greetings.

 7. Travel section listing : INNS.  Quaint lodgings.

 8. "Not happenin'" : NO HOW.  Slangy denial.

 9. Key econ. indicator : CPI.  Usually it's GDP or GNP.  But not this time - It's the Consumer Price Index, which, as you can see, has been quite tame lately.

 10. Subjects of the first 10 Amendments : RIGHTS.  The Bill of RIGHTS amended to the U. S. Constitution.

 11. Iolani Palace island : OAHU.  Hawaii.

 12. Kitty starter : ANTE.  For the poker pot.

 13. Throw : TOSS.

 18. Sch. near Topeka : KSU.  Kansas State University, home of the Wildcats.

 19. TurboTax option : E-FILE.  Electronically submit your tax return.

 24. Outer edge : RIM.  Of a crater or coffee cup.

 26. Mucho : LOTS A.  Large, slangy quantities.

 27. Future MBAs' exams : GMATS.  Graduate Management Admission Tests.  I don't remember taking one, but since I have an MBA, I probably did.   IMHO, standardized testing is a huge scam offering very little of value.

 28. High-tech worker : ROBOT.  Not often resembling an anthropomorphic machine, but more often specifically designed for the job at hand [so to speak.]  Estimates are that almost all jobs will be replaced by ROBOTS or AI systems in the next 30 years.  Then, what will we do?

 30. Golf bunker tool : RAKE.  I wanted a WEDGE, which didn't fit.  Golf etiquette is to rake a sand trap [bunker] smooth after taking your shot.

 31. Got up : AROSE.

 33. Online pop-up tailored to individual tastes : TARGETED AD.  After I do a google search for something, that item often then shows up on the right side bar of Face Book.  Big Brother really is watching.

 34. Recon goal : INTEL.  Reconnaissance to gather intelligence.

 35. Pageant headpiece : TIARA.  Winner's crown.

 37. Elusive Himalayans : YETIS. The legendary mountain creatures.

 38. "Batman" actress Eartha : KITT.  She was the KITT Cat.

 43. Picket line placard : ON STRIKE.  Unfair!

 46. Word of greeting : HELLO.  'Sup?

 47. Aries symbol : RAM.  Astrology.  Don't let it get your goat.

 49. Journey : VOYAGE.    Trip.

 53. Zing : OOMPH.  Chutzpa.

 55. Droid download : APP.  Application for your mobile device.

 56. Pageant band : SASH.  A wide fabric ribbon, usually brightly colored worn draping across the body from one shoulder to the opposite hip.

 57. Ballet class bend : PLIE.

 58. Small number :  A FEW.  Less than several.

 60. Main squeeze : BEAU.  Boy friend.

 61. Pub crawlers : SOTS.  Heavy drinkers.

 63. Fix, as a horse : GELD.  Back to neutering.

 64. Tram loads : ORES.  From the mine.

 66. Chinese lantern color : RED.

Traditional Dragon Chinese Lantern

 67. "Button it!" : SHH.   Quietly, now.

That wraps it up.  See - there never was any danger - except for certain domesticated quadrupeds. Now, with that calm conclusion, we can all go about our business secure in the knowledge that we are safe.

Cool regards!

Friday, January 6, 2017

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging Wednesday, January 4, 2017 Ed Sessna

Theme: FLIGHTS OF FANCY.  We'll let Frank take it away, and save the unifier for last.

20 A. Gathering for February's big game : SUPER BOWL PARTY.  A group of friends might get together to watch the game, and there is a certain culinary item, to be identified in good time, which might be consider traditional for the event.  It is related to the city of Buffalo, though their team is about as likely to show up there as the Lions.  At least the Lions squeaked into the play-offs this year. gives them a 29% chance of getting past the Sea Hawks and <1% chance of winning the SUPER BOWL.  I love their optimism.

38 A. George Washington never slept there : THE WHITE HOUSE.  This has been the presidential residence since John Adams occupied it in 1800.   George Washington was the first president after the adoption of the Constitution, serving from 1789 to 1797.  The interior of the original structure was destroyed by the British during the war of 1812, but reconstruction began almost immediately.  An addition on the western side of the building was completed in 1901.  An addition on the east side, now used as the visitor's entrance, was completed in 1942. More on these later.

58 A. Heavenly protectors : GUARDIAN ANGELS.  Since antiquity, ANGELS have been believed to be spiritual beings that are superior to humans in power and intelligence.  The Christian concept of their hierarchy and duties was largely developed in the 5th century.  A GUARDIAN ANGEL is presumed to watch over and guide a specific person, group, or nation.  When anthropomorphized in art and literature, they are generally conceived as having certain anatomical features that are not characteristic of human kind.  So ---

At last, the unifier: 70 A. What 20-, 38- and 58-Across have in common : WINGS.  

The PARTY WINGS come from chickens, and are deep fried and served with sauces, originally vinegar and cayenne pepper based, but now existing in a variety of types, flavors and heat intensities.

The WHITE HOUSE east and west WINGS,as mentioned above.

ANGELS are generally pictured with enormous WINGS sprouting from where their shoulder blades ought to be.  How they get into those robes is a bit of a mystery.

Hi gang, and happy New Year.  JazzBumpa here to take you soaring through Ed's entry. This is pretty much my kind of theme, with a common word displaying a few different meanings. Let's launch into it!


1. "Scrubs" nurse married to Dr. Turk : CARLA.   TV show that ran from 2001 to 2010.  I only watched it a few times.

6. Suddenly became attentive : SAT UP.  And took notice.

11. Letter addition letters : PPS.  Post Scripts.  I wanted PS'S.

14. They may be gray : AREAS.  Found in many regions of thought and philosophy.

15. Make one of many : UNITE.

16. __ polloi : HOI.  Ordinary folk  .  .  .

17. Brown bread : TOAST.  S/B browned bread.

18. Files in a recycle bin : DELETIONS.   Computer files.

22. Exploit : USE.

23. Flooring choice : OAK.  

24. Irish lullaby syllables : LOORA.

26. Colombia neighbor : PERU.   South American countries.

28. Lead-in for jet or prop : TURBO.  Airplane propulsion systems.

32. Gritty genre : NOIR.  Crime fiction characterized by fatalism, cynicism and moral ambiguity.

33. Second of three O's : TAC.  In the game of noughts and crosses, aka tic-tac-toe, played on a hash tag grid.

35. Job rights agcy. : EEOC.  Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

37. Adobe file format : PDF.  Portable Data File

42. Singer Carly __ Jepsen : RAE.  Canadian singer/song writer who has won many awards.

43. Sainted fifth-century pope : LEO I.  Pope from 440 t0 461.  An Italian aristocrat who persuaded Attila the Hun to not attack Rome in 452.

44. Novelist Deighton : LEN.  Acclaimed spy novelist, military historian, cookery writer and graphic artist.

45. Publication sales fig. : CIRCulation.

47. 1983 60-Down winner Tom : SNEVA.  Also known for his several crashes, holding the record for the most crashes during the Indianapolis 500 race.  The most notable was in 1977, when his car got ripped in half.

49. Siouan tribe : OTOE.  A semi-nomadic people who lived along the Missouri River, farming and hunting buffalo.  With or without the terminal E they populate far more crossword puzzles than do the Iroquois.

53. Big aluminum producer : ALCOA.  Foiled again!

55. Yale Blue wearer : ELI.  The nickname for the Yale student.

57. Took cover : HID.

63. Fleeting affair : DALLIANCE.  A fling.

64. "The Maltese Falcon" actor Peter : LORRE.  Speaking of film NOIR - this 1941 adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's 1929 novel stars Humphrey Bogart as detective Sam Spade and Mary Astor as his femme fatal client.  

65. French season : ETE.  Summer.

66. Pianist Watts : ANDRE.

A short excerpt

67. Bubbling hot : ABOIL.  A dreaded A- word.  Dreaded because they are almost never used in actual conversation, thus not really in the language, except perhaps at the fringe.

68. Director Anderson : WES.  Known for The Royal Tenenbaums, Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and several others.

69. Seven-__ cake : LAYER.  Rich desert.  Have a narrow slice.


1. Takeout packet : CATSUP.  Side vegetable to go with your happy meal.

2. Stir to action : AROUSE.  Excite or incite.

3. One with a sickle : REAPER.   He can be grim.

4. Operate using a beam : LASE.   Using a LASER in a surgical or commercial operation.

5. Houston pro : ASTRO.   Baseball - many long and dreary months away.

6. Daily paper logic puzzle : SUDOKU.  Numbers in a box.

7. From the beginning : ANEW.  All over again.  Devja vu, anyone?

8. Dough drawer : TILL.  Cash register drawer; dough, as in bread, so to speak.

9. Sch. near the Rio Grande : University of Texas at El Paso. 

10. Iris part : PETAL.  Flower, not a portion of the uvea.  Anyway, I went into a blind ally with sepal.

11. Occasions that usually elicit big smiles : PHOTO-OPS.  Chances for publicity pics.  Say cheesy.

12. Fair activity for kids : PONY RIDE.  Activity at the fair, not necessarily in a fair way, which would involve golf.  This is getting rough.

13. One of the fam : SIS.  I have one.  No bro, though.

19. Waffle maker : IRON.  Batter up!

21. Baker's units : BATCHES.  As, frex, of cookies, from my SIS.

25. "Walk me!" : ARF.   Dog speak.

27. 4 x 4, briefly : UTE. Sports Utility Vehicle.

29. Tighten, as laces : RETIE.  Shoe business.

30. Nectar eater : BEE.

31. French "Wowza!" : OOH LA LA.

34. Leather punch : AWL.  Small pointed tool used to pierce holes.

36. Miler Sebastian : COE.  British inner of 4 Olympic gold metals in 1980 and '84, who went on to be a member of parliament from 1992-97.   Now he is a chancellor at Loughborough University and chairman of the British Olympic Association.

38. Follow too closely : TAILGATE.  Alternatively, a pre-game outdoor party that might involve WINGS.

39. Mythical hero with a labor force? : HERCULES.  He was forced to perform 12 labors, involving a great deal of murder, theft and mayhem.   Sneaky clue.

40. Electrified particle : ION.  An atom or molecule either having or lacking one or more electrons from its neutral state.

41. Colorful card game : UNO.

42. LG rival : RCA.

46. Early steam engine fuel : COAL.

48. Facade : VENEER.   This is a stretch.  A VENEER is a thin layer of fine wood applied over a not so fine wood, while a facade is the front of a building.  Either might also indicate an outward appearance designed to conceal something that is probably dishonest or unpleasant.

50. Charlize of "Monster" : THERONA movie about that rare aberration - a female serial killer.  Quite a transformation for this role.

51. Coastal fuel extractor : OIL RIG.  We won't talk about the spills.

52. 1950s disasters : EDSELS.  This classic car a disaster?!?  Oh, come now.

54. Easy-to-read font : ARIAL.  Like this.

56. Marriage acquisition : IN-LAW.  Relatively speaking.

59. Perfumery that created Tabu : DANA.   House of DANA perfumery was established in Barcelona, Spain in 1932.  the headquarters moved to Paris, then to the U.S. during WW II

60. 200-lap race, briefly : INDY. The Indianapolis 500.

61. 43,560 square feet : ACRE.  Or, 1/640 Sq. Mi.

62. Asian desert : GOBI.  Spanning northwestern China and southern Mongolia.

63. Grass coating : DEWDroplets of condensed water.

As you have probably guessed by now, I usually just WING it on these write-ups.  Hope this one didn't ruffle your feathers.

Cool regards!